Links 10/8/2022

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

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


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

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

* * *

William Shatner: My Trip To Space Filled Me With ‘Overwhelming Sadness’ Variety

Slight shifts in magnetic field preceded California earthquakes PhysOrg (David L)

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, The World’s Largest Volcano, Is Starting To Rumble Forbes (David L)

The First Cricket Match Report: Goldwin’s In Certamen Pilae Antigone Journal (Anthony L)

Will the Wise Man Get Drunk? Antigone Journal (Anthony L)



COVID cases rising in Europe point to a coming U.S. surge NPR (David L)

How the splintering of Omicron could shape Covid’s next phase STAT (Dr. Kevin)

Study suggests an immunological benefit of combining previous natural infection with vaccination against COVID-19 using a combination of different vaccine platforms (Kevin W)

Did California Just Ban Medical Misinformation? What We Know Healthline (J-LS). Here because this law is the result of Covid narrative control. IM Doc says three California doctors have just applied to his hospital in Flyover as a result.

Not a fan, but even more not a fan of Twitter doing this sort of thing:


Researchers Think a Key To Cooling Cities Lies in Naples’ Ancient Aqueducts NBC

Dancers’ moves help to power Glasgow music venue BBC (David L)

Electric vehicles are exploding from water damage after Hurricane Ian, Florida official warns Fox5 (resilc)

Tens of thousands of salmon found dead after Canada drought BBC (furzy)

Drought takes toll on country’s largest cotton producer Associated Press (resilc)

Florida’s insurance market was in crisis well before Hurricane Ian hit Grid (furzy)


US ramps up curbs on chip sales to China BBC (Kevin W)


Gambia: India-made drugs may be linked to death of dozens of children DW. Resilc: “And little to no DA control of all the stuff India makes for USA USA.

Maiden Pharma, the Company Whose Syrup Killed Gambian Children, Is a Habitual Offender The Wire

New Not-So-Cold War

For the most part, Russia has steered clear of destroying dual-use (civilian and military) infrastructure. Looks like the time has come for Russia to take out most if not all of electrical grid and cell phones in Western Ukraine (its earlier strike on the grid deliberately hit parts that could be restored quickly). Lambert remarked that this was totally Ukraine: It would have been more strategically effective to have been done three weeks ago. Russia has already fortified Kherson and moved many of the partially mobilized men into Southern Ukraine for training. And they didn’t even do this on Putin’s birthday. This is a day late. But oh the dramatic photos!

More detail in this thread. Apparently a suicide truck bomb:

Ukraine SitRep – Recent Incidents Of Concern For All Sides Moon of Alabama (Kevin W). Moon is fast out of the box and argues Starlink is a much bigger deal than Kerch….but that’s militarily. Politically, Russia will have to Do Something.

Ukraine Latest: Putin Orders Probe Into Key Crimea Bridge Blast Bloomberg

* * *

Opposing Armageddon To Trigger The Libs Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Biden’s Fearmongers About A Russian Nuclear Threat That No One Has Made Moon of Alabama. Yours truly is not happy about this, not that my vote matters, since this looks intended to paint Putin as an existential threat to justify a US/NATO extreme action. Shorter: WMD in Iraq 2.0.

Russians being prepared for nuclear war – Zelensky BBC

* * *

Putin and Zelensky to attend G20 – Indonesia RT

Putin and M.B.S. Are Laughing at Us New York Times: Resilc: “‘And we have Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bernie Sanders, the House progressive caucus and the whole G.O.P. all working — deliberately or because they are dupes — to ensure that Putin has more oil revenue than ever to kill Ukrainians and freeze the Europeans this winter until they abandon Kyiv.’ Fuck you, asshole.”

No one told India to not buy oil from Russia: Hardeep Singh Puri Hindustan Times (J-LS)

* * *

Michael Hudson: A roadmap to escape the west’s stranglehold. The Cradle. Interview with Pepe Escobar. While it’s easy to understand the desire to slip free of the dollar hegemony, setting up the needed institutions and infrastructure will take much longer than this discussion contemplates. For instance, I have to differ with Hudson on the idea that there is demand for yuan. Someone will be willing to hold yuan only 1. on a short term basis because they expect to buy goods and services in yuan soon; 2. there are liquid instruments in which they can invest in yuan. Despite its many many flaws, the dollar has deep and liquid capital markets and strong regulations as far as disclosure and transaction execution are concerned. It is still far and away the least bad of available choices. China has had capital controls. And those are applied on an every broader basis than sanctions. Similarly, Russia shut down its stock exchange so foreign investors in Russian ETFs face a total loss:

* * *

Ukraine Passes 2023 Budget in Secret, Expects US To Cover Deficit Antiwar

Americans Need a Say in How Far the US is Goes in Backing Ukraine CounterPunch. Resilc: “DeeCee could give a shit about what ‘merikinz think. It’s what the SP500 thinkzzzzzz”

AP PHOTOS: Backbreaking work for kids in Afghan brick kilns Associated Press (resilc)


US strikes in Syria kill top ′IS′ leaders DW. Resilc: “Made up bullshit to justify staying there.”

US to strengthen penalties for joining Arab League’s Israel boycott Middle East Eye

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Twitter Knows You Took a Screenshot, Asks You To Share Instead arstechnica

Papa John’s Sued For ‘Wiretap’ Spying on Website Mouse Clicks, Keystrokes The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

US hypersonic program back on a fast track Asia Times (resilc)

An Epidemic of Delusions Commonweal (resilc)

The most terrifying case of all is about to be heard by the US supreme court Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

We Had to Force the Constitution to Accommodate Democracy, and It Shows New York Times (David L)


Arizona court halts enforcement of near-total abortion ban Washington Post (Kevin W)

The Election-Swinging, Facebook-Fueled, Get-Out-the-Vote Machine Wired. Resilc: “Now that Facebook is declining, why not.”

GOP Clown Car

Herschel Walker, Donald Trump, and the Christian right’s long, slow self-destruction Salon

Democrats en déshabille

Democrats are operating a series of 51 ‘fake news’ websites pushing left-wing stories in toss-up states in a bid to turn the midterms in their favor, shocking investigation finds Daily Mail

Newsom calls special session of Legislature to consider windfall tax on oil companies over high California gas prices Politico

New York City declares emergency over migrant ‘crisis’ BBC

Morgan Stanley-Led Banks Face $500 Million Loss on Twitter Debt Bloomberg

Unemployment rate falls to 3.5% in September, payrolls rise by 263,000 as job market stays strong CNBC

Fed on Track for Another Large Interest-Rate Hike After Jobs Report Wall Street Journal

Fears of a Housing Crash Threaten Life Savings of Tens of Millions in the US Truthout. Um, fears do not threaten savings. Crashes threaten savings.

Class Warfare

Boston Dynamics and five other tech firms pledge not to weaponize their robots NPR (David L). Just the way Google promised “Don’t be evil.”

A New Benefit for Hungry Troops Is at Risk of Failure Before It Even Starts

Antidote du jour. Ann M:

Some dogs like hunting jackets and some cats like napkins!! Emmett lay down on one, and then my son and husband put the others under his head and across his body. Surprised he tolerated it.

And a bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash)

    NATO made some sense up until 1991
    The USSR died that year, and Russia came undone
    The West came in to buy it all, for pennies and a song
    But that stopped after 2000, when Putin came along

    Putin took it all back, from all the oligarchs
    He saved the Russian nation from the circling sharks
    Russia kept its treasures, oceans of oil and gas
    But NATO wants those assets; they want the whole landmass

    So NATO kept expanding, and crowding Russia tight
    Adding eastern members, and spoiling for a fight
    Till they finally got to Ukraine, and Russia told them NO
    That’s when they got to fighting; they still can’t let it go

    Well, Russia knows it’s existential — if they lose they lose it all
    They’ll see Mother Russia take her final curtain call
    They say if they have to see that, they’ll watch the whole world burn
    There’s no victory in reaching that point of no return

  2. Sardonia

    Joe Biden, placing a little call to Mohammed bin Salman, after OPEC’s announcement of plans to reduce oil exports, to the tune of The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”

    I know, you might cut production
    But I refuse to let that be
    If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy
    I don’t mind, cuz it means that much to me

    Ain’t too proud to beg (sweet Salman)
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow
    Ain’t to proud to plead, Baby, Baby
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow

    Mid-term elections, are right upon me
    If I lose the House, they’ll investigate
    All the things my family’s been up to
    It’ll be the Biden clan’s Watergate

    Ain’t too proud to beg (sweet Salman)
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow
    Ain’t to proud to plead, Baby, Baby
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow

    Just tell me what it takes, to make you smile
    A freshly stocked, Lolita’s Isle?
    I’ll do whatever I can, to give you a thrill
    Bin Laden’s face, on our Dollar Bill?

    Ain’t too proud to beg (sweet Salman)
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow
    Ain’t to proud to plead, Baby, Baby
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow

    Now I’ve got a fear so deep, in the pit of my heart
    As I imagine Jim Jordan’s joy
    Chairing a House televised committee
    Posing probing questions, to my little boy

    Ain’t too proud to beg (sweet Salman)
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow
    Ain’t to proud to plead, Baby, Baby
    Please don’t do this, don’t cut the flow
    Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby (sweet Salman)

      1. John Zelnicker

        What a bonanza today!

        Two great songs to add to the Naked Capitalism Songbook.

        Thank you Antifa and Sardonia.

        Sardonia – Please contact me at zelnickertaxservice [at] comcast [dot] net to talk about your songs. Thanks.

    1. Carolinian

      That Shatner is pretty good. Or should we credit his ghost, er, co-writer?

      Regardless, it’s good.

      1. dermotmoconnor

        Pascal’s Terror, from ‘The Pensees’:

        “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread.”

    2. Samuel Conner

      Alas, the days when “live long and prosper” could be said in sincerity with some hope that it might happen, … those days seem gone.

      1. Bugs

        I’m optimistic that we’ll get there eventually. Maybe not by the 24th century, and maybe not so pretty.

        This is one of my favorite scenes of all Trek, where Jean-Luc Picard talks about economics with a woman from the 21st century…it’s very subversive, and it’s canon.

        1. LifelongLib

          Well, apparently they’ve got an economy where everything’s so abundant that it’s all free. They don’t have to make decisions about who does what and who gets what. Nice position to be in but it’s hard to imagine how it would work in real life.

      2. Kouros

        Remember that we got there only after an atomic war has devastated the world…Why do we need that purifying fire?

  3. Mikerw0

    Re: property insurance in FL

    It always strikes me as funny that those that argue most vociferously for free markets get the most upset if the price of something is one they don’t like. The reality is FL is a CAT exposed state; both frequency and severity. Insurers already charge too little for bearing this risk, hence they are leaving the market. And, Floridians now want to socialize the risk expense to FEMA. Hmm.

    1. spud

      the free traders will bail out the for profit private insurance companies telling the american cattle that insurance is vital, even though the private sector insurance companies did not even know enough about markets to charge enough to cover losses of insuring policies in the south and west, area’s that in reality, cannot sustain massive populations.

      but if there is a shortfall in the social security non profit insurance market, social security will not be allowed to charge what it takes to cover their policies that social security knows they are under funded, and are trying to rectify it, because everyone knows the superiority of private for profit insurance companies.

  4. timbers

    The most terrifying case of all is about to be heard by the US supreme court Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

    The feared Supreme Court ruling “would put the United States squarely in the same category as authoritarian countries with illiberal leaders like Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Russia. Each of the leaders of those countries ostensibly “won” elections that were structurally rigged to virtually guarantee they could not lose.”

    On the bright side, it might spare elites of the incongruity of using trickier more asymmetrical election stealing like Out-Of-Nowhere, unheard of Pete Buttigieg (Pete who?) “winning” Iowa vs Bernie Sanders, thanks to a reported vote counting “app” created and controlled by Pete’s wealthy supporter and the Establishment Democrat elites.

    1. Questa Nota

      Get familiar with Konnech to see some more, er, incongruities.
      Still early days in what used to be a legitimate news cycle but there are glimmers on the horizon.

  5. Old Sovietologist

    “Ukraine SitRep – Recent Incidents Of Concern For All Sides Moon of Alabama (Kevin W). Moon is fast out of the box and argues Starlink is a much bigger deal than Kerch….but that’s militarily. Politically, Russia will have to Do Something”.

    It looks like the damage to the bridge isn’t as bad a first feared and the fact that the Ukrainians have had to use a AQ/ISIS style Syria car bomb attack is a sign of weakness on their part.

    However, Russia has to show its own population and indeed other countries around the world and I don’t mean NATO, that there are red lines that if crossed will be punished and punished harshly.

    Symbolically a bridge for a bridge seems the likely position the Russians take. Personally I hope they take much sterner measures against Ukrainian infrastructure.

    1. timbers

      “However, Russia has to show its own population and indeed other countries around the world and I don’t mean NATO, that there are red lines that if crossed will be punished and punished harshly.”

      Agree. But as Paris Hilton might say in a South Park episode, that’s so 10 minutes ago (well 6 months ago).

      If the Russians are the great strategic planners some say they are, this is crystal clear evidence they must that all the Black Sea coast from Ukraine. NATO will still have Romania/Bulgaria, but Russia can surgically strike an “duel use” sea port or military base NATO sets on there.

    2. OIFVet

      The bridge for a bridge strategy is inviting more of the same escalation. If someone slaps me, I punch him. If he punches me, I take him out, permanently. Doing anything else gives them the chance to eventually get a lucky shot in where it really hurts.

      The attack on the Kerch Strait bridge was terrorist in nature, which makes Kiev a terrorist state. Regime decapitation and complete destruction of the infrastructure which enables its ability to wage war and terrorism is the only answer. That means taking out its electrical and communications grids permanently, destroying all bridges over the Dnepr, incapacitating the rail transport network, and taking out the Zelensky regime, including the civilian and military leadership.

      Not waging a gloves-off war from Day 1 was a major mistake, especially since Russia already knew that the West is agreement-incaple. Instead, Russia allowed slow escalation by the West through its Ukraine puppets. That only made the situation harder for both Russia and Europe, with only the US benefitting from what has happened. Instead of destroying the Azov, it is now glorified in the clueless West. Instead of destroying NATO’s ability to threaten it, NATO now carries out attacks on Russian territory and extraterritorial infrastructure through its puppets. Instead of waking up Europe, Europe is now even more completely under the American boot.

      Whatever this SMO was, it ain’t chess and it was not smart. The US and its puppets will always mistake restrain for weakness and will always opt to give a full-fledged conflict a chance. If anyone thinks that what comes after Putin in Russia is as restrained as he is is sorely mistaken. What awaits in the wings there is as warmongering and unpleasant as what we have in DC and in Brussels. By betting on restraint, Putin may have inadvertently made WW3 possible.

      1. Objective Ace

        I’m not so sure this benefits the US. China and the rest of the world are watching. The dollar’s “world currency” status is being threatened.

        It may turn out that Russia should have been more aggressive earlier, or they could have played this perfectly

        1. timbers

          But the West IS concerned! Why just now seeing headlines that Mr. Manners Macron says everything would OK if the West would just please start using nice words when talking to Russia.

        2. NotThisAgain

          The dollar’s “world currency” status is being threatened.

          Once again, no, it is not. It cannot be threatened until another country is willing and able to run large persistent deficits and accept the destruction to its local economy as a consequence.

          People are welcome to believe whatever they like, but I find it astonishing that despite over two decades of daily, breathless claims that the dollar’s days are numbered, it still hasn’t happened, and yet people seem incapable of wondering whether perhaps their mental models are incorrect.

          1. JEHR

            So the US always carries a deficit and any country that sells to or buys from the US creates for itself a surplus in US dollars. Thus the US can maintain a forever-deficit because other countries that buy goods from the US use their savings (surplus) to do so. The US can live forever with deficits as other countries’ savings take care of the US deficit. Nice work!

          2. Kouros

            I really don’t understand how this works. Why does the US has to have a deficit. Dollars are bought on financial markets, no?

            1. NotThisAgain

              Take a simplistic and extreme case: Assume that the US always runs massive trade surpluses. In that case, the US exporters will want to get paid in US dollars, which get sent back to the US. But if this happens for a long time, then all of the dollars that are outside of the US will eventually reside in the US.

              But if all (or even most) of the dollars reside in the US, then no foreign country can hold the USD as a reserve currency.

              Although this explanation would get you an “F” in an economics course–the much better approach is to use accounting identities–does the “proof by counterexample” approach at least make intuitive sense?

              1. Kouros

                But it seems that most of the countries have deficits, worse from year to year.

                I understand that accounting would be good to use, but I haven’t seen any proper accounting done to explain it all. Plus, as many have said, more than one currency could be used in international trade. Russians are more than happy to sell their oil and gas for rubles for instance…

                  1. Kouros

                    Budget. But nevertheless, there are a lot of countries with trade deficits. Also, when I hear about all these pools of liquid dollars, I do wonder how much money is sunk in all these CDS and all other bets that have no relation with the real economy and probably we would all be better of without them.

            2. NotThisAgain


              Here is an old but relevant article by Michael Pettis that I think explains the point better than I have ever seen up until now and that (I think) forms a very decent basis for discussion. Let me know if you disagree/don’t understand something in it and let’s go from there (presuming that you want to continue this discussion/debate)

              Because its trade partners are accumulating dollars, the United States must run the corresponding current-account deficit, which means that total demand must exceed total production. In this case, it is a tautology that Americans are consuming beyond their means.

              But being able to take on debt is not a privilege. When foreigners actively buy dollar assets they force down the value of their currency against the dollar. U.S. manufacturers are thus penalized by the overvalued dollar and so must reduce production and fire American workers. The only way to prevent unemployment from rising then is for the United States to increase domestic demand — and with it domestic employment — by running up public or private debt. But, of course, an increase in debt is the same as a reduction in savings. If a rise in foreign savings is passed on to the United States by foreign accumulation of dollar assets, in other words, U.S. savings must decline. There is no other possibility.

              Yves: Michael even mentions Keynes and Bancor:)

              1. Kouros

                Sorry, but I still don’t understand. you are talking that there is a fixed, limited amount of dollars in the world. I have the feeling that it is not working that way. Just the fact that Pettis says it might not make it quite so. At least with respect to the Americans. Never mind the profits US corporations make outside US. Does US really has a trade deficit?

                1. hk

                  Corporations have no nationality: if GM has factories in SK, employees SK workers, sells cars in SK, and keeps the profits from SK operation in SK, does it matter if GM’s top management in in US? It is (GM’s SK operations) a SK company for all practical purposes.

          3. digi_owl

            Time to stomp into a wasps nest i guess.

            Because best i can tell, the cause and effect there is the reverse.

            USA can run a persistent deficit, with all the effects it has on industry etc, thanks to being a reserve currency.

            1. NotThisAgain

              The contrary is true–the US must run a persistent deficit so long as other countries wish to run persistent surpluses.

              Anytime a country wishes to increase their (exports-imports) position, all it needs to do is buy US dollars because the capital and trade accounts must (mathematically) balance.

              But as another way of looking at it, why would country X choose to buy US Dollars instead of something else (say, Yen or Euros)? Similarly (and I think this is actually the strongest argument, even if it is not rigorous in a theoretical sense), practically speaking, why do so many countries intervene in order to weaken their currency and only rarely intervene to strengthen it? Sure, the Bank of England bought Pound when it tanked a couple of weeks ago, but I think that’s the exception and not the rule.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Mercantilist policies are popular all over the world. That is because trade surpluses = importing jobs. US demand is creating jobs outside the US. Keynes designed the bancor with features to discourage running surpluses for that reason.

              2. digi_owl

                I know it is bad form to compare world economics to households, but now you got me thinking of an argument Steve Keen makes about running a government deficit.

                If i remember correctly, it was that it was the alternative to ever growing private debt in order to allow everyone to run a profit.

                So to be a bit crass, the alternative may well be that everyone would be running up a national debt with the IMF etc.

          4. John k

            Somebody has to be willing to hold reserves to accommodate unbalanced trade.
            Imo, This need declines for those countries with balanced trade.
            There may be a desire for savers not trusting their own currency to hold something they do trust, but imo those situations happen more often in countries that import more than they export. A move to balanced trade may be forced on those deemed not trustworthy.
            It is desirable for a reserve currency to have deep financial markets without restrictions on fund withdrawals, but it seems to me that confiscating reserves of those you don’t like dulls that advantage.
            For now, eu/gb look in decline, Swiss small and no longer neutral…
            The dollar is strong in these uncertain times, but China/Saudi have been allowing their dollar reserves to decline in spite of large merch trade surpluses, enormous wrt China. Others are, for now, picking up the slack as China invests in belt/road projects. Investable projects are not unlimited. China shifting to balanced trade would allow higher standard of living as locals consume what they produce.

      2. Tet Vet

        I think too many people give too much purchase to the idea that Putin is solely in charge. I have no doubt that military advisers made all of the points that those who favored going in with overwhelming force. But I also believe that there is a countervailing force coming from powerful interests who see themselves as European and like a lot of what the West has, and have no wish to isolate Russia like what is now occurring. No doubt there are those that want no part of the ultra left progressives and their nonsense. But that makes them more like many of us than not. Despite Putin’s talk of wanting to break from the West almost from the beginning, I think he was forced politically to take the slow measured approach so as to not burn the bridges which would completely divorce Russia from the West. Right now I suspect that there is a lot of “I told you so…” going on because one side of Putin knows that his Generals were right from the beginning – imitating the Americans and trying to wage “War” while calling it something else and pretending (“Police Action” is my favorite as my pen name might suggest) ends up like America’s wars. One last point – It is incredible that the mainstream can constantly scream out that the current battle field setbacks suffered by Russia are a clear demonstration of incompetence in light of our record beginning in Viet Nam and ending recently in Afghanistan. Seems to me that if this logic follows America is the undisputed leader in military incompetence.

        1. Mikel

          “I think too many people give too much purchase to the idea that Putin is solely in charge…”

          Yes, he’s still a politician and they are always getting their strings pulled.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            It’s not just that. Even dictators, which Putin is not despite Western claims to the contrary, are subject to the influence of powerful groups (if nothing else, the military).

            1. dermotmoconnor

              Even in the glory days of the USSR, there was often a Troika, and even then, factions at one another’s throat. Shows how infantile the MSM coverage is, the portrayal of P as an absolute tyrant.

        2. digi_owl

          Because it is oh so useful for the powers that be to portray him as another Hussein, Assad or Gaddafi.

      3. anon in so cal

        >Ukraine does not act without US approval. Therefore, the US attacked the bridge.

        >Alexander Mercouris discussed the disquiet, angst, impatience–with Putin and the MoD–throughout Russia. Russians are understandably following the war very closely and are increasingly worried and distraught. Mercouris noted Putin’s failure to provide any comprehensive SITREP and noted that this could potentially lead to political instability. IMHO, Putin needs to strike back massively and decisively. Gilbert Doctorow called for taking out decision making centers weeks ago.

        >I have said all along that Biden’s insane rhetoric (wherein Biden accuses Russia of being on the verge of using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine) is laying the groundwork for A) a US false flag involving tactical nukes inside Ukraine. B) Immediately followed (within hours) by a US nuclear first strike against Russia. Neocons in the State Dept are apparently convinced by documents arguing that he who strikes first can survive a targeted nation’s massively degraded (by the first strike) retaliatory strike. Just as Russia is in an existential war against the US and the Collective West, the US sees this as an existential battle to retain global hegemony. The difference is that the US is governed by psychopaths and there is no domestic contestation because every stratum of US society is massively brainwashed or coopted or complicit.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I don’t think this is just Putin. The MoD does not believe in explaining. Scott Ritter said a boss told him early on that if you are explaining, you are losing. I suspect a lot of people in militaries are indoctrinated that way.

      4. NotThisAgain

        The attack on the Kerch Strait bridge was terrorist in nature, which makes Kiev a terrorist state.

        Honestly, I do not imagine that the US is too happy about this. The US has been disavowing a lot from the Ukrainians lately–from mooting NATO membership to being very clear that they had nothing to do with Dugina’s assassination. If the US wishes to escalate, there are much better ways to do so than a half-assed attack on a bridge with few long term consequences (just like there were better assassination targets than Dugina).

        It looks more to me that the Ukrainians are increasingly acting on their own and not according to script. The timing of this–only a couple of days after the US bent over backwards to disavow anything to do with Dugina–suggests both desperation and an increasing split between Kyiv and Washington.

        In that case, so long as Russia doesn’t do anything too drastic, I think that Kyiv is pretty thoroughly screwed and will need to fold in a thoroughly humiliating manner pretty soon. Europe can then beg Russia for its energy (even European bureaucrats cannot be so stupid as to fail to recognize what will happen to them this winter if they lack natural gas and then lack food the following year!) The US and Europe can then spend the next decade or so explaining to their citizens why the black market has access to a whole pile of weapons that are targeting civilians across the west. That’ll be fun.

          1. notthisagain

            Hmm–I normally don’t use Twitter, so thanks for the link.

            BTW, your moniker describes one of my favorite dishes :)

          2. Kouros

            Yeah, there was this videoclip from 2019 with Zelensky in Donbas trying to convince the soldiers to give up their arms and obey the de-escalation policies there. The young officer there was having none of it and was talking with his CoC as with a nobody…

            1. LifelongLib

              There’s a story about LBJ being told by a U.S. Army officer “Your helicopter’s over there, Mr. President” and him replying “They’re all my helicopters, son”. That’s true in the U.S. but I don’t know what the setup is in Ukraine. And obviously if Zelensky has to “convince” soldiers of anything he’s not the guy calling the shots (npi).

        1. OIFVet

          It’s a bit late in the game to disavow its proxy after enabling its behavior, don’t you think? Every time the US had the opportunity to deescalate it chose escalation instead. It chose to enable Ukraine to disregard Minsk II, it chose not to talk with Russia about NATO expansion and new European security structure, it chose to arm and train Ukraine, it chose to keep sending weapons and to attack Russia through sanctions. It has been bellicose, belligerent, and completely unwilling to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security concerns. It chose to demonize the country and to try to cancel its culture, which frankly by producing Tchaikovsky alone has done more for the world cultural heritage than the US has done since its inception. And notice how I haven’t even mentioned the color revolution of 2004 and the Euromaidan and subsequent coup of 2013-2014 and the use of extremist parties and organizations to make that happen, as well as unleashing Vicky “F*ck the EU!” Nuland in Ukraine and in Europe. The glorification of Azov and inviting them inside the US Congress. And what about all the talk about regime change in Russia and breaking up Russia in several parts? Oops, I guess I just did mention many things and as long as the list is it is by no means nearly complete enough.

          So let me repeat the question: it’s a bit late in the game to disavow the actions of the proxy it has cultivated, enabled, and used, don’t you think? Perhaps there is a bit of a dawning of the realization in DC that they have gone way too far but the only way to be sure is if the US and its Euro poodles back off completely and unconditionally right now. Russia ain’t playing around, however ill-advised its slow and limited SMO was. It is existential for them and by extension – for all of us earthlings. Simply disavowing Zelenski and Ukraine’s nutjobs without cutting them off ain’t gonna cut it.

          1. NotThisAgain

            I wrote a very long post and then cancelled it. Let me summarize it instead:

            1) Ukraine will fold–whether it wants to or not. It has no useful air force or navy, and it will likely lose its only ports and become a landlocked country if this war continues for a few more months. No country is stupid enough to risk such a scenario when its odds of winning are miniscule.

            2) Europe will negotiate (i.e. capitulate using threatening and self-righteous language). All the current idiotic (and amateurish) posturing and arguments against strawmen (e.g, “Putin threatens to nuke the world”) are, I think, a way to set up some negotiations of whatever sort to mask the fact. Europe’s population will not freeze to death and remain unemployed over some highly corrupt buffer country to its north, and most politicians outside of the UK know this. The West played its hand poorly, and it lost, and even an orangutan can figure out that its position will only get worse over the next few months. Thus even an orangutan will try to settle as quickly as it can.

            If my position is correct (and I am very open to being proven wrong), then no, there is absolutely no advantage to blowing up bridges at this moment unless you are Ukrainian and finally realize that you are about to be fed to the wolves and want to provoke some type of escalation in the faint, unrealistic hope that such an escalation will prompt the West to change its mind.

            As an aside, a large number of people on this site seem to be “rooting” for Russia to win because of disgust with the West’s past and present antics. I don’t know what are the long-term ramifications to the US and EU folding, but I am guessing that the practical implications are going to be difficult—not for the elites who may have benefited from the risk, but rather for the masses. This may well turn out to be one of those “be careful what you wish for” moments.

            1. digi_owl

              Orwell naming UK Air Strip One was very accurate indeed. Because if Gotland is a permanent Baltic aircraft carrier, then what is UK vis a vis Europe and the Atlantic?

            2. OIFVet

              I think that you are missing the point: the US and the West enabled Ukraine’s behavior. That means they are responsible for the proxy’s actions, approved or not. Sorry but actions have consequences and decades of US meddling and cultivating Ukie craziness cannot be washed off with “we disavow Ukraine.”

              And no, I am not cheering for Russia. I am simply acknowledging that it has been pushed and provoked every which way by the US since the mid-1990s and it was finally pushed to respond by US actions in Ukraine, which also date back to the break-up of the Soviet Union. If we count harboring Ukie Nazi collaborators and using them to foment unrest in Western Ukraine, US meddling and coddling of Nazi collaborators dates back to the end of WW2.

              But yeah, we disavow the bombing of Dugina and the bridge. Whatever.

            3. Adam

              Rooting for?

              I would call it acknowledging reality versus a belief in mainstream propaganda. Also if you have been reading this site for any period of time, it’s very clear that the west intentionally instigated this disaster.

              Regardless, pretty much all of us, including you and I, are going to be the big losers.

              1. NotThisAgain

                Adam: No arguments re:the reality of the situation–it’s hard to wrap my head around the discrepency between (what I and many NC posters consider to be) the reality of the situation and the general views I hear when I go to my local cafe or pub.

                But I am very worried about the eventual long term ramifications. If NATO manages to hold together as a credible alliance after this, I think the Europeans would consider that as a win at this point. If I am correct, this is a huge step backwards compared to what they were hoping for in February.

                OIFVet: I agree that Russia feels that it was pushed into a corner. The difference between supplying Ukraine with weaponry for a “battlefield” and Ukraine hitting very tangential civililans, though, is that the West very likely does not want Russia to consider its civilians and infrastructure to be fair game for retaliation. That is why it would not be condoned. My guess is that we will find that it will not even be tolerated by either the Russians or the Europeans, but I could, of course, turn out to be wrong

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Since NATO itself is an Anglo-EUropean conspiracy against America, the EUropeans and the British would be right to consider the ongoing existence of NATO to be their victory in their ongoing conspiracy against America.

                  As shown by once again drafting America into one of their filthy little recreational wars in Europe.

                  With the active collaboration of America’s own anti-American pro-BritoEUropean Occupation Regime Establishment.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    This is an utterly false remark. NATO is the vehicle by which the US stations its troops in European countries, as in continues to be an occupying force. Many argue NATO is the big reason why European countries like Germany are acting against their own interest with respect to the war in Ukraine. NATO approved the invitation to Georgia and Ukraine in 2008 at US insistence and over French and German objections. The countries that pretend to meet their 2% contribution to NATO do so via budget fakery, not hard currency.

                    You just broke the rules by making personal attacks, revealing you had stalked a commentor across websites, and just had these comments removed. You are now abjectly Making Shit Up. You have made multiple violations when you are already in moderation. I should have banned you by now. Anything less than an apology and a commitment to do better and you will be banned.

            4. The Rev Kev

              ‘As an aside, a large number of people on this site seem to be “rooting” for Russia to win because of disgust with the West’s past and present antics.’

              For me it is a matter of vital necessity. If Russia goes down, China is next. After that, you would have the total triumph of neoliberalism throughout the world and that is truly a frightening prospect. The same system which has turned into a financial predatory system that will devour its own while destroying the planet through climate change. If you think what has been done to America internally the past forty years has been pretty bad, what do you think America would look like in the next forty years? And for the rest of the world it would be like the 19th century redux. The word dystopian does not even come close to describing such a world.

            5. anon in so cal

              “‘As an aside, a large number of people on this site seem to be “rooting” for Russia to win because of disgust with the West’s past and present antics.’”

              I have no qualms about stating that I am absolutely rooting for Russia. That is the only honorable, justifiable, rational position. Russia is single-handedly standing up to the predatory, belligerent, rampaging US nat sec state that has, decade after decade, wreaked havoc, death, and destruction around the globe. Look at US-caused devastation in Iraq, Syria, Honduras, Somalia, Afghanistan, in just the past two decades. US neocons’ warmongering comes at the expense of the US populace. How much has gone to Ukraine since Biden took office? $70 Billion? The nat sec state and the MIC need to be dismantled and demolished. This war in Ukraine reflects the US’ reprehensible stated goal of weakening, destabilizing, and dominating Russia; of breaking Russia into a million pieces, so that the US can asset-strip Russia and have unlimited access to its oil, gas, minerals, land.

              I also admire and respect Russia’s President Putin. He will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest statesmen. Imagine if the US had such a leader. Wise, patient, measured, intelligent, principled.

              1. judy2shoes

                Thank you for this comment. It’s exactly how I see it. It’s heartening to me to see Vladimir Putin and Russia stand up to the world’s bully, and it’s about damned time somebody did it. I was beginning to believe I would be dead long before something like this happened.

                1. Norm de plume

                  Well said.
                  I am ‘rooting for Russia’. The prospects for all of us if ‘our side’ wins are without hope let alone expectation. The establishment of global multipolarity with the neocons harmlessly bleating from history’s dustbin gives at least the first of these.
                  As for Putin, at least part of the irrational hatred of the man among our elites is the unspoken recognition of his primacy as a statesman in these times. If those warlike Martians were heading our way, which current global leader would you vote for to lead our defence?

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            ” which frankly by producing Tchaikovsky alone has done more for the world cultural heritage than the US has done since its inception.”

            Oh . . . I don’t know . . .

            I think jazz is more important to world cultural heritage than Tchaikovsky is.
            And also blues.
            And also spirituals.
            And also country music.

            1. OIFVet

              Fine, I will take jazz, blues, and soul but hard pass on country. However, these genres (and barbecue, since I have some hankering for ribs right now) arose as result of America’s original sin: slavery. Seems that all America knows how to do well is exploitation, coercion, Tom Cruise flicks, and wasting money on the military.

              As far as these genres being more important than Tchaikovsky, I guess that depends on one’s taste in music.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                This all reminds me of something I once read in an essay by Kurt Vonnegut.
                Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer. He wrote things like Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse Five, Sirens of Titan, and other things. He also wrote at least two books of nonfiction essays that I know of. They were called Wampeters, Granfaloons and Foma and Palm Sunday.

                In one of those books, I can’t remember which, I read an essay ranging among many subjects. I can’t remember the title of the essay. But somewhere in it he noted that a famous French critic or something said that America had not produced a single writer up there with (famous French author named ). And Kurt Vonnegut wrote within the essay as a reply . .
                ” Well, I am so sorry, Mon Sewer, that we Americans couldn’t produce such a famous author. All we poor Americans produced was a literature.”

                And slavery was brought to America by you Europeans.

                1. OIFVet

                  Upon declaring independence, the US promptly abolished European-imposed slavery, right? I don’t recall the Declaration of Independence also proclaiming the abolition of slavery and the Emancipation of slaves, though the language about all men being created equal
                  and being endowed with certain inalienable rights is certainly very flowery and inspiring. I guess we should add hypocrisy to the list of founding sins as well.

                  I have more then a passing familiarity with Vonnegut. And with his close friend Joseph Heller. Hemingway and Mark Twain round out my favorite American writers. What do the first three of them have in common? Their literature was influenced by their wartime experiences and what are considered to be their best works are anti-war masterpieces. It’s ironic twist of fate that America doesn’t read its own literature.

                  I also happen to know obscure facts about US history. Like who was that sole friend of the the US during the Civil War that moved Oliver Wendell Holmes to write “Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember Who was our friend when the world was our foe.” How many Americans have even been taught about Russia sending its navies to San Francisco and to New York to support the Union and to ensure no meddling by the UK and France, having rejected their overtures to form an anti-Union alliance?

                2. katiebird

                  I just finished ripping out a series of nasty comments. We are not ever going to allow commenters to make direct attacks on each other.

                  Please stop it now.

                3. Yves Smith Post author

                  To reiterate Katiebird’s comments; personal attacks are not on. The entire thread she ripped out showed behavior that is totally out of line. I will ban any of the participants in this row if you pull this shit again. And if you try to jailbreak, I will expunge all the comments you ever made.

                  Keep your immaturity and lack of impulse control to yourselves.

              2. Soredemos

                Category error. Nations don’t have sins, just as they don’t have souls. Every nation has ugly things in its past, raising them means exactly nothing. They’re moralizing non sequitors. It’s not a meaningful historical analysis.

                And abstract notions like ‘culture’ don’t matter. People do. But if we are going to play this stupid game, pick a medium and I can probably name a dozen exceptional American contributions to it off the top of my head. This is a silly line of argument that only reveals the ignorance of the person making it.

                1. OIFVet

                  Moralizing my Aunt Fanny. It is an accepted and widely used turn of phrase in journalism, in literature, in sociology. Biden recently used it as well. You may not like it but it is well-established and it’s here to stay. And given how many of the problems that America faces today are the legacy of slavery, it is quite apparent that bringing it up is far from mere “moralizing.” Rather, it goes to the heart of America’s founding and the inherent contradictions between the stated principles in the Declaration of Independence and the real world policies and actions of the US both at home and abroad. One can also argue that American Exceptionalism stems from these very same contradictions and as such it is causing quite a bit of misery worldwide, with the US utterly refusing to take any responsibility for its actions.

                  Also, there is nothing abstract about culture. It manifests itself in many real ways: music, theater, books, manners, etc. Lack of culture is also culture. Call me ignorant all you want, the fact is that what America exports in the form of culture is crappy fast food (obesity and diabetes), Hollywood, and violence. USA! USA!

                  1. skippy

                    People have a bad habit of not historically contextualizing the Declaration of Independence and what it meant back then, just whisk in into the here and now and give it a complete different interpretation.

                    Then some are confused why Obama did what he did post GFC …

                    1. OIFVet

                      Yes, context. It was progressive for its times for stating certain principles. Yet “men” meant mostly landed white men such as themselves. I am arguing, however, that what modern US calls “the rules-based world order” is based on the same contradictions as the Declaration of Independence. Rules for thee but not for me , I have rights you do not have, I have interests while you have none. Do tell me if I am taking the rules-based world order out of context in some way, but what I see it as is the modern day Declaration of Independence applied on planetary scale. IOW, the more the times have changed, the more US principles have stayed the same as far as who is entitled to all the freedoms and who has none.

                    2. skippy

                      I’ve always seen it as or in scale … so one persons freedoms and liberties are not the same as others due to the rights of property/assets et al codified in law.

                      Then some ponder the effect of rolling things back under neoliberalism to a more OT interpretation and why the U.S. has so many billionaires whilst the rest of the country is going backwards.

                    3. Soredemos

                      I would turn around and say people don’t historically contextualize crimes either. Instead it’s easier to just cast moral judgement and declare everything evil and metaphysically defective.

                      And you can go further and portray the evil as a mystical transhistorical quality, at which point you’ve completely given up on even the pretense of doing any real analysis.

        2. anon in so cal

          Does anyone think the US would admit complicity in Dugina’s assassination?

          Another way to interpret US disavowals is to view them as cynical, nefarious, preemptive disclaimers in preparation for the US plans outlined above.

              1. ArvidMartensen

                Macgregor is very interesting.
                One thing that stood out to me is that it could very well be that the US has decided in finality that Germany is now no longer useful to its interests, and has withdrawn the welcome mat.
                And that is now passed to Poland by the US as the new and reliable strong man of Europe if and when Ukraine falls.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  If that is so, it indicates very poor judgement and very poor choices on the part of the people who rule over America.

                2. dermotmoconnor

                  Re: Poland the new strongman, words to that extent were said by NeoCons in W’s admin around the time of GW2, around 2003. ‘New Europe’ vs. ‘Old Europe’.

                  Nice of them to say the quiet part out loud. Shame on Germany for not listening. Take these bastards at their word, at least when their mask slips.

        3. John k

          Otoh ns1/2, though maybe that was not an attack on Russia so much as an attack on Germany/eu.
          And otoh Biden can’t stop talking of nukes. Everything seems to be escalating

      5. begob

        It remains to be seen if Europe is agreement-capable. If the US did take out 3/4 of Nordstream, that suggests it suspects as much.

        1. digi_owl

          It is a question of desperation.

          If the winter gets cold enough, and the bills become big enough, there would be impossible to ignore pressure on European politicians to agree to Russian terms of purchase.

          With the Nordstream pipelines down, such pressure is no longer an option. In particular as the remaining overland pipelines go through Poland (oh joy) and Ukraine (good luck).

      6. Chester K

        “The attack on the Kerch Strait bridge was terrorist in nature, which makes Kiev a terrorist state”

        You say that like it’s true, but it’s not. “Terrorist in nature”? Perhaps you haven’t noticed there’s a war on between Ukraine and Russia.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You know, when you look at the military inventories of different countries, I cannot recall ever seeing one that includes the sub-category Truck Bombs. ISIS maybe but they are not a State actor. And even at the beginning of this war, I could have found about 14,000 people who would have argued that the Ukraine acts as a terrorist state.

        2. skippy

          Blow back from past framing by the West when weaker nations resort to suicide bombs to get the job done aka non military uniform wearing civilian dressed people in civilian vehicles go out with a bang.

          Back to Japan and then Vietnam with moralistic pleas about fighting dirty which paints them as uncivilized savages, which in turn is used to justify indiscriminate carpet bombing or agent orange tactics.

        3. OIFVet

          Apparently they hired an innocent truck driver to transport a load of “fertilizer” and blew him up on the bridge. Perhaps they even used Timothy McVeigh’s cookbook, we will know soon enough. That’s murder in cold blood, straight up terrorism. It was loudly celebrated in the Western press, the same one that denounces such tactics when carried out by brown people. So when Muslims and brown people do it, it’s terrorism. When plucky and noble Ukraine does it, it’s them taking the fight to the barbarian Russian asiatics. It’s wonderfully clarifying and fully supports Russia’s contention that they are fighting a war for their very existence.

      7. Old Sovietologist

        “By betting on restraint, Putin may have inadvertently made WW3 possible”.

        I can’t disagree with anything in your post. It’s kind of ironic that Putin who has tried to avoid a total war in Europe could end up causing it. Putin’s caution, an admirable quality given the potential consequences of said war, has been seen by NATO as Russian weakness and they will keep pushing.

        God forbid if Ukrainian nationalists ever got hold of a nuclear device as they would undoubtedly use it.

        Russia should have gone for mobilisation after the collapse of the Istanbul peace talks failed in April. Now its a case of catch up. The Russian offensive could happen in a month or three months. Putin will I suspect continue to be cautious and wait until everything is in place which means we could be looking at three months.

        Once the Russian offensive does get underway, I think it we’ll see a new front opened up in combination with Belarus and of course that could bring Poland and Baltic States openly into the conflict. The real war has yet to start. When it does we can only hope that Russia ends it as swiftly as possible.

        Putin is now betting that NATO won’t be able to Maidan in him before he gets all his pieces in place. Its going to be a tense few months.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Kerch Bridge’

    Other footage has emerged of that truck going blooey while crossing that bridge-

    So here is the thing. There has been talk about a suicide bomber but there is another possibility. What if the driver had no idea that the truck was rigged to explode but was just doing what was for him a normal delivery run? I can think of several possibilities of how that truck could have been set off by outside parties. On the news tonight it was almost funny to listen to the news reader reporting this. This was just as much a terrorist attack as the strikes were on that nuclear power plant. But that news reader refused to use the term truck-bomb as everybody knows that it is only terrorists that use them. So she had to twist herself into a pretzel and describe it instead as ‘a truck that exploded.’

    Of course the way that the panel under it collapsed into the water does make me wonder if those charges had been shaped somehow. Somebody on MoA in comments was saying that that bridge had been built in modules so perhaps that section can be fairly quickly repaired. One thing is for certain. The Ukrainians would never have launched such an attack – assuming it was a pure Uke operation – unless that had a green light from Washington first. This being the case, the next time the Russians catch wind of a future terrorist attack in the US, you think that they will give the FBI a heads-up like they tried to do with the Boston Bombers?

    1. digi_owl

      It is starting to seem like DC is green lighting just about anything to get a rise out of Moscow.

      1. Tom Stone

        Joe Biden is a sadist, and he has very poor impulse control.
        He’s also suffering from Cognitive decline as a few minutes perusal of Youtube clips will show.
        Two recent examples of Biden’s cruelty would be the checks that were $600 short.
        Sending the full amount would have been a wash politically, It wouldn’t bring or cost votes.
        Cheating the helpless and desperate out of $600 cost votes.
        Student loan debt is the biggest impediment to household formation, which the Real Estate industry depends upon to provide new home buyers.
        Declaring that all student loans have been converted to grants and that there will in future only be grants would have bought a LOT of votes.
        Instead we got a pettifogging chiseler who can’t always remember where he’s supposed to sit doing his chickenshit best to make life miserable for as many people as he can.

        1. Mikel

          “Student loan debt is the biggest impediment to household formation, which the Real Estate industry depends upon to provide new home buyers.”

          Credit card debt: “Hey, move over student loans and make some room for me”

          “…Revolving credit outstanding, which includes credit cards, rose $17.2 billion. That marked the third-largest monthly advance on record. Non-revolving credit, which includes auto and school loans, increased $15.1 billion….”

          “….Since most credit cards have a variable annual percentage rate, there’s a direct connection to the Fed’s benchmark.

          APRs are currently just over 16%, on average, but may be well over 18% by the end of the year — which would be an all-time record, according to Rossman.

          To date, the record is 17.87%, set in April 2019….”
          “With rampant inflation and rising interest rates, things are going to get worse before they get better,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree….”

          “…According to the study, more students worry about credit card debt (52.7%) than student loan debt (43.6%)….”

            1. Mikel

              Delaware: just under a million in population with roughly 700,000 – 720,000 registered voters and over one million registered corporations.

    2. SocalJimObjects

      Maybe one of the European countries did it. This way they get to force Russia to wipe the floor with the Ukrainians faster. Once it’s clear that the Ukies can’t win, the European countries will have a sudden come to Jesus moment and voila, gas is flowing again.

      1. digi_owl

        If so it was either one the Baltics, Poland, or UK. None of the rest are that gung ho about the whole war beyond the political and media “elite”.

        1. Skip Intro

          I’ve got Poland as the top suspect for the German communication cable sabotage too. I don’t think they were happy with the treatment their request for WW2 reparations got, or with Germany’s commitment to war with Russia. Presumably the press releases blaming the Russians are ready to go.

          1. digi_owl

            Poland is all over the place in that regard, and i have the impression that the sudden demand for WW2 reparations is more related to the EU spat than the Ukraine war.

            As for the railroad “sabotage”. Sadly it is not unknow that some enterprising individuals will steal these wires as they are usually made of straight copper. Making them highly valuable if one can find a scrap merchant that don’t bother asking questions. I have read about railroads that have swapped to aluminium wires for that reason.

            Ages ago there even an incident were some eastern European nation got their main international fiber trunk cut thanks to an old lady digging for copper wires to sell.

            1. Skip Intro

              Here I am expecting sabotage, when it could be USA-style scavenger capitalism a work. Perhaps I underestimate the German entrepreneur spirit, or that of their ‘guest workers’. Kaum gestohlen, schon im Polen

        2. NotThisAgain

          1) Why would Poland do this, given the possible repercussions from both Germany and the US? This is not something on par of a gas pipeline explosion that fundamentally alters Germany options–cutting the cable disrupted service for all of three hours on a Saturday.

          Which leads to another obvious question:

          2) Why do this at the beginning of a weekend instead of a weekday?

          This is likely just petty vandalism blown out of proportion because everybody is on edge.

          1. NotThisAgain

            Sorry–meant to post a reply to the German rail incident, not the Kerch Bridge one.

            I would’ve removed the above comment if I realized in time.

          2. OIFVet

            There is no rhyme and reason behind crazy, which the current Polish regime certainly is. Not to mention that its actions actually further US and UK interest in keeping the EU down and dependent. EU industrial potential (and therefore independence potential) is almost entirely tied to German, French, and Italian industrial might, and that has been thoroughly reduced by the energy crisis. Poland also benefits since it gets to play a bit of an energy middleman and lord it over Germany in retaliation for old grievances. It is not unlike Poland to saw off the very branch on which it has made its perch.

            The West accuses Russia of seeking to reestablish its empire. What it conveniently forgets or chooses to overlook is that Poland also used to be an empire, at one point more powerful than Russia, which stretched as far south as the Balkans and as far East as present day Ukraine and Belarus. So throw Polish revanchism to the reasons for its behavior as far as I am concerned.

            1. Kouros

              Poland Rule never reached the Balkans. It reached maybe the northern coast of the Black Sea, east of Budjak. It is quite a way to the Balkans from there…

              1. fjallstrom

                Władysław III ruled Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Croatia. Croatia is usually counted as Balkan country.

                If this should be counted as a Polish realm is a good question. At the time of Władysław III it wasn’t, but then again these things are usually projected from the present and back to the past. So Poland-Hungary is seen as a temporary union because after Władysław III it was ruled by different persons, but Poland-Lithuania is generally treated as one state because that union persisted. In an alternate timeline where Poland and Hungary persisted in a union, Poland-Hungary under Władysław III would be seen as the start of a united state.

                Not that actual history matters if we are talking about the political consequences of national myths.

            2. NotThisAgain

              So throw Polish revanchism to the reasons for its behavior as far as I am concerned.

              If we are talking about pipelines, then sure. But two communications components for a railway that are easily repairable? That seems a little nuts/self defeating

      2. Tom Stone

        There are a whole lot of legal and political impediments that make starting the flow in NS2 difficult.
        “We stole that fair and square and we are NOT giving it back” is just one, but we are talking about a LOT of money.
        A lot of powerful people benefitted from the thefts of Russian money and assets, then there are the little nasty legal questions like the ones that surfaced about the Siemens turbines.
        And the big one.
        The USA and Western Europe are not agreement capable.
        Why do business with a liar and a thief if you have an alternative?
        Russia does.

    3. ArvidMartensen

      Could it be that the truck was remote controlled?
      We have trucks in mining areas that are fully automated,, no human being necessary.

    4. skippy

      Concrete has moisture in it which goes nuts under high heat for a prolonged period of time, additionally the rebar in it goes soft. So there really is no need for fancy explosives.

  7. fresno dan

    Mainstream liberals are so fuc*ing stupid that they think the only possible choices with regard to Russia are either (A) handing Putin the entire world on a silver platter or (B) just continually charging toward direct confrontation as though Russia doesn’t have nukes. They don’t know what detente is. At all. They don’t even know it’s a thing, let alone an option here. Like if you ask them they don’t know about the existence of the word or the concept. I’ve been complaining about this since long before the invasion.

    Detente used to be a household word. Mainstream politicians campaigned on and debated about it. Now hardly anyone knows it’s even a thing, let alone a real option in dealing with the horrifying escalations between NATO and Russia. This is because the political/media class never tells them.

    It’s supposed to be the news media’s job to create an informed populace, but because their real job is propaganda they actually do the opposite. News media never mentioning detente is like a preschool teacher never mentioning sharing or cooperation and just telling kids to fight.

    This is the only reason anyone who advocates de-escalation and detente gets met with “SO YOU’RE SAYING WE SHOULD JUST GIVE PUTIN WHATEVER HE WANTS???” instead of a sane adult response. It’s because people haven’t been told that de-escalation and detente are historically viable and successful
    Probably the number one bit of propaganda is that the media is liberal, instead of the fact that it is a mouthpiece for imperilism. I used to wonder why the dems would not counter all the claims about how “liberal” they were, when in fact they were not (e.g., See Obama and the Patriot Act). It is just all part of the gaslighting – white is black, up is down, nuclear war is survivable, etc.

    1. Milton

      I think liberals only follow one option with regard to Russia/Ukraine. Here’s an example of a straight-ahead liberal. [From a weather blog of all places] It’s posts like these–and my perception that this is representative of a large majority in this country–is why I’ve lost almost all hope for this country.

      Neapolitan – an hour ago

      Pro-Putin Americans–of which there are, sadly, far too many–think that Ukraine should simply roll over and let Russia have its way with them. “Ooh, you can’t fight back, ” they cry. “Why, Putin might get his feelings hurt, and do something to retaliate! Let’s give the doddering old tyrant Ukraine, and whatever else he wants!”

      These are the same weak people (who like to see themselves as thrust-jawed patriots but are anything but) who would have backed Britain and King George in the Revolutionary War; they would have spent their time running around chastising America’s Founding Fathers for instigating and escalating instead of simply kneeling before the Redcoats and proclaiming eternal fealty to the Crown.

      –Russia invaded a sovereign, independent nation.
      –Russia has committed mass atrocities and war crimes in Ukraine.
      –Russia wants to take back by force now-free nations that were once a part of the Empire.

      Now, Putin can have his loyal pro-dictator followers in the GOP and in various media here (Zero Hedge, Fox, OAN, etc.) endlessly chide Americans for siding with the freedom-loving Ukrainian people, but nothing they say is going to change those three facts.

      Wow! I guess you can’t argue with facts when they’re incontrovertible as these…
      Note- many up votes and supporting comments. Only one commenter had the temerity to respond with a mostly sane counter and was completely put down and painted as a right-wing loon.

      1. fresno dan

        It really is amazing. You know, you could take the arguments from the “liberal” in your example and you could have applied them to Vietnam back in ’68. Of course, people back in ’68 understood those arguments were complete and total BULL$hit. Just replace Putin with communism.
        I think the anti war zeitgeist that occured during the Vietnam war was an anomaly – it seems people’s real inclination is to willingly follow the most preposterous claims about Russia and go to war, even if it escalates to nuclear…

          1. wol

            My draft # was 283. I was unlikely to be called up yet I became a Democratic Precinct Captain in 1972 to stop the war. In a red state. I got pushed, spit on and threatened. There were others like me.

            1. juno mas

              The draft lottery was instituted in 1970. So the random draft of young men into the military had ended. Your lucky lottery # did, indeed, assure you some protection. As I recall, any number above ~170 was considered a “pass”.

          2. Anthony G Stegman

            I agree with you. Some of the biggest war hawks these days are those who “protested” the Vietnam war. Many went on to law school and became wealthy.

          3. doug

            Knowing one could be cannon fodder is wonderfully clarifying
            And so ‘they’ did away with the draft.
            Knowing that some other (probably poor) person will be fodder doesn’t focus the mind.

            Plenty of protesters were females who were not in the draft. Plenty of protesters were beyond draft age. Plenty were discharged or 4F’s as well. So there were many protesters from different categories.

            1. digi_owl

              For the first two it could be related to having a loved one getting drafted, or even killed while serving.

          4. jp

            Well it’s one two three what are we fightin for. I don’t give a damn we’re all goin to Vietnam. It’s four five six open up the pearly gates. It’s no use to wonder why, woopi we’re all gonna die.

            1. .human

              Saw Country Joe a few times. Missed him at Woodstock though where the Fish cheer went viral. Couldn’t afford the $21 three day pass. Who knew!

        1. Donald

          Modern day mainstream liberals are McCarthyites. It started in 2016 with Russiagate, though arguably it started in foreign policy circles a bit earlier with Syria when it became an article of faith that their civil war was pure good vs pure evil, rather than a typical civil war with brutality on both sides.

          Much of the outrage about Trump came from people desperate for a new Cold War who didn’t think Trump could be trusted to be corrupt and warmongering in the right way.

        2. Kouros

          the silent majority, the 80% in any population that doesn’t want to stick their necks out, waiting to see how the situation unfolds…

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Brian Berletic regularly makes the point, which is likely what got him on the Ukraine kill list, that Ukraine is not sovereign. 2014 coup, not implementing Minsk 1 and 2 at US behest even though it signed it, Zelensky elected with 73% majority on platform that prominently featured normalizing relations with Russia then doing the reverse, Ukraine well on its way to negotiating a peace deal in Istanbul in March and the UK and US telling Ukraine to repudiate its concessions.

    2. digi_owl

      > They don’t know what detente is. At all. They don’t even know it’s a thing, let alone an option here.

      no surprise there, if one has observed their antics for the least decade or so.

      They are basically born again puritan absolutists, stripped of the religious symbology but the same fervor for their cause.

      1. semper loquitur

        semper loquitur’s Simplistic Social Theory of the Day:

        “They are basically born again puritan absolutists, stripped of the religious symbology but the same fervor for their cause.”

        I think this is correct and at the same time, liberals are idolaters. Of themselves, that is. Take your average conservative, there is a good chance they have some sort of religious orientation as a moral anchor. The libertarian and the leftist have their thinkers and their seminal texts. For better or for worse, these groups have an external check on their ideas.

        But what does the liberal have? Who amongst them has read Locke or Mill and actually uses them as a guide to their thinking? The liberal has only itself to look to, that and their “thought-leaders” at the NYT etc. The self-referential !diocies of a Kendi or a DiAngelo. Like navel-gazing Russian dolls…

        This is how they can deny biological realities, economic realities, and political realities with nary a twinge of uncertainty. All questions devolve into moral riddles of which they themselves are the answers. So when faced with a claim of nuclear Armageddon, they feel satisfied with responding with things like “Well we cannot let Putin run amok!” as if that somehow negates all of those brutal realities. It’s how they happily acquiesce to the sexualization and maiming of children, their own and others. It’s how they hold one ethnic group up as victims to be protected while handily dismissing the suffering of others as unworthy of a second thought.

        Liberals are puritans. They are simultaneously the basest of idol-worshipers. They believe they are justified because, literally, they believe they are justified.

        1. Joe Renter

          Maya and propaganda runs deep these days. Until the population gets wiser, not just somewhat knowledgeable, things will fundamentally stay the same.

        2. JBird4049

          I would change liberals for neoliberals. The current bunch of “liberals” are not the classical liberals who believed in reason, equality, free speech and debate, and universal rights for everyone. Heck, just look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and even the Bill of Rights. They all come out of the Enlightenment and its child Classical Liberalism.

    3. britzklieg

      Would that this article from The Hill had a 2022 date instead of 2018, and that Ro Khanna could choose to remember his previous insights: Congress bans arms to Ukraine militia linked to neo-Nazis

      ““White supremacy and neo-Nazism are unacceptable and have no place in our world,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), an outspoken critic of providing lethal aid to Ukraine, said in a statement to The Hill on Tuesday. “I am very pleased that the recently passed omnibus prevents the U.S. from providing arms and training assistance to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion fighting in Ukraine.”

    4. Donald

      It depends on your definition of “ liberal”. I think it is liberal, but in the way that mainstream liberals are in reality and not how they see themselves.

      Mainstream liberals ( the ordinary citizens) tend to be self contradictory. They often want the right things— peace, health care for everyone, etc…— but in practice they enthusiastically support politicians who don’t want these things. In some cases it is just hypocritical virtue signaling, but other times it seems to be a cognitive disconnect. They really want all the things a nakedcapitalism reader would want and they really think the Democratic Party wants those things too.

    5. Janie

      Fresno Dan at 08.02. The typo in your last paragraph – media as the mouthpiece of imperilism. Brilliant!

  8. Ignacio

    Biden’s Fearmongers About A Russian Nuclear Threat That No One Has Made Moon of Alabama. Yours truly is not happy about this, not that my vote matters, since this looks intended to paint Putin as an existential threat to justify a US/NATO extreme action. Shorter: WMD in Iraq 2.0.

    The conclusions they reach in the article are the same I wondered a few days ago when heard with some astonishment in one of those very conventional music formula radio stations as the ONLY news merit to be advanced that “Russian nuclear submarines where being deployed (without specifications). A single false flag operation in any NATO country but most probably in the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland…) virtually anything is now possible to pretext an all out military engagement in Ukraine or any escalation (hybrid warfare) directly against anywhere in Russia.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Biden may keep on banging the drum about nuclear weapons but perhaps it is a double ploy. What I mean is that him trying to make out that Russia is about to launch a few nukes, it will force countries to line up behind the US as they will be ‘protected’ by the US nuclear weapons. People in those countries will look to the US to save them from Putin’s nukes and shut up about those pipelines.

      And second, perhaps the hope is that all this nuclear war mongering will make the Russians nervous enough to replace Putin with somebody else i.e. regime-change. I keep on hearing from different actors the need to replace Putin. So I imagine the plan is this-

      Step 1 – Replace Putin with literally anyone else.

      Step 2 –

      Step 3 – All Russians resources go to the west for free and bails out the western financial system.

      1. timbers

        IMO there is no doubt USA/NATO/Ukraine could do a nuclear false flag and given time, most probably will. This and the Crimea bridge and other factors like giving Ukraine truly long range missiles, is why the Russian’s are better off moving at a greater speed than they have thus far.

        They’ve already taken out Nord Stream and now Crimea bridge has been attacked. These are US/NATO/Ukraine terrorist attacks. How much clearer does it need to get? An attack on the Kremlin?

        1. Ignacio

          A false flag mustn’t involve nukes necessarily. Just an apparent attack on any NATO country.

          1. digi_owl

            A boom dirty enough to register on the equipment conveniently brought to “prove” the point.

            I’m getting deeply cynical about it all, in particular thanks to the almost gleeful goose stepping of European media to the US drum beat.

            1. Old Sovietologist

              A city in Ukraine or even Western Europe could be targeted by a nuclear device or a dirty bomb and this can easily be blamed on Russia and western populations would believe them.

              Why? Well the perception is Russia is now losing in Ukraine and Putin is a madman.

              1. Ignacio

                As a matter of fact this incessant talk on nukes in the West resembles very much the continuous warnings on Russia attacking Ukraine last year that ended with the real attack in February. The West might be planting suspicions in Russia that they will deliver nukes to Ukraine and do as if they are making a nuclear silo somewhere in Ukraine that Russia would be tempted to destroy with missiles and at this moment they make it explode a small tactical nuke and say: You see? Russians are using nukes! I told you so! All over again! Now let’s destroy Russia. We are being prepared to believe that.

                1. Acacia

                  Indeed. Similarly, the CIA ‘warned’ Berlin about the pipeline attack months ago, and then when it actually happened people say “Russia didit” as if on cue.

              2. Jason Boxman

                This is sort of reminiscent of The Watchmen, in terms of a false flag attack, although with less noble intentions.

              3. David

                Let’s not get too excited. Even “tactical” nuclear weapons are large and heavy (hundreds of kilos) like the latest version of the US B-61, and such things are moved only very occasionally, under enormous security and in special aircraft and special convoys. All current models are air-launched gravity bombs, which is a bit hard to do surreptitiously.
                A “dirty bomb” is just a pile of radioactive waste dispersed by a conventional explosive. The main effect is a slight increase in background radiation, which means that the area needs decontamination, usually with high-pressure water jets. The weapon is very ineffective because the waste can’t be dispersed very far.

                1. Ignacio

                  I seriously think the US or the NATO have this possibility in mind and that is why we have all the nuclear noises made nearly every day lately. They might have decided which circumstances might trigger the events and we can just hope this circumstances never come true. I would be happier if someone offers better explanation on why this nuke fear mongering.

                  1. David

                    Well, you still need a submarine and an intercontinental missile, and it’s a bit hard to conceal them. The yield isn’t directly related to the size of the weapon, anyway. These days yields can be “dialled” up or down. I think what we’re seeing is a group of people with only the vaguest grasp of what nuclear weapons are, and for that matter even what massive destruction is. They are throwing words like “nuclear” around in an attempt to frighten people, and to make them think that it’s even more important to “stop Putin.” There may also be a folk memory of Iraq in 2002/3 and th use of the apparent threat of nuclear weapons (eg by the British government) to justify the war. These are people with only the most tenuous grip on reality, for whom image and media reaction are almost everything.

                    1. Ignacio

                      But, aren’t people already awash with Putin is evil? Why somebody feels this escalation or up-dialling in rhetoric is necessary? Because the midterm elections? At some point PR becomes very very dangerous if overplayed. You are adding a new argument here I think it is important. Some are willing to justify war as in Iraq: more direct intervention as they see sanctions are hurting more outside Russia than inside.

                    2. Paradan

                      There is a linear relation between the the theoretical maximum yield of a bomb and that bombs minimum weight.

                      Some 100kt bombs are lighter then others, but they’re all lighter then a 10Mt bomb.

                2. Scylla

                  I don’t have a source to copy in for this, so take it with a grain of salt, but it is still worth mentioning. I have seen various tidbits on telegram and youtube.
                  Uranium is a tightly controlled commodity, but I have seen claims that, during the drawdown in Afghanistan, a great deal of Uranium was removed from Helmand province in Afghanistan, then moved to Pakistan (possibly enriched there) and then shipped to Ukraine. There are lots of claims that the Ukraine has had a covert nuclear program that has been running for some time. The gist is that Uranium from this source is being used because of the the plausible deniability when any dirty bomb/nuclear weapon detonation is traced back to the source due to trace elements. Again, I have just seen tidbits of this over the last several months and none of the sources are concrete, but they are in the same vein as the tidbits regarding the Ukrainian biolabs that I had been reading for years leading up to the invasion. Might turn out to be BS, but it’s enough to make me worry.

                  1. Acacia

                    Given the previous and very long collaboration between the Ukraine and Soviets (then Russia) on weapons, including nuclear designs, I would think any such activity in the Ukraine would be known to the Russians.

              4. Anthony G Stegman

                It would be difficult for the West to blame Russia for a nuclear attack if in fact a Russian weapon was not detonated. Nuclear detonations have fingerprints. Scientists with proper detection equipment can identify a Russian warhead vs an American or British warhead. Even the lunatics in Washington and London would very likely not detonate a nuclear device with the plan to blame Russia. Instead, they would prefer to goad Russia into overreacting and detonate a warhead so that they can then respond in kind.

    2. flora

      an aside: the US is just 5 weeks away from a national election for Congressional seats, House and Senate. The Dems numbers are looking wobbly. Pols with wobbly numbers love “October surprises”, as they’re called in the US — something big happening or threatening to happen in October to shake up the electorate’s focus and opinions. Not that I’m saying B is pushing this narrative for domestic political gain. / ;)

      In the meantime:

      Ukraine hints that it sabotaged a crucial bridge linking Russia and Crimea to spite Putin on his 70th birthday

      1. Ignacio

        That is another thing to think about but long ago I reached the conclusion that regarding the war against Russia democracy doesn’t matter any more. With all that fear mongering we have been primed to accept any decision taken about that without public approval or consult needed.

        1. Carolinian

          Twenty years of the “war on terror” have numbed the public while young people–normally the source of protest–are buried in their smartphones and video games. We have the “circuses” but bread may soon be getting scarce.

          And with our loose lipped president we now get to worry about hanging around long enough to experience a new depression.

            1. Carolinian

              You are correct that I should have said “war protests.” While America has its problems I’d say even our poor people are highly privileged next to the third worlders being bombed by….America. My contention is that our activist youth, such as they are, now seem to regard foreign interventionism as an abstract notion being carried out by MAGA types or fully justified if involving the un-woke Putin. There was a time here when the civil rights and war protestors were one and the same.

              How about Australia? Any peaceniks down there other than Caitlin Johnstone?

        2. Tom Stone

          Ignacio, Event the pretense of representative Government has been pretty well abandoned in the USA.
          And that’s all it ever was.
          Those kinds of pretense are important because they help establish norms of behavior that are not entirely psychopathic.
          As it is…

          What a time to be alive!

        3. flora

          I don’t disagree. I’ll point out that which party controls the House and Senate committees’ and chairmanship determines which party and politician get the largest amount of lobbying cash, er, campaign donations for the next 2-4 years. It may not be democracy in action, it’s more like a “dash for cash” contest, imo. So it’s really important for the 2 establishment parties. / ;)

          “We have the best government money can buy.”
          -Mark Twain

      2. The Rev Kev

        Those midterms are scheduled for Tuesday, 8th November 2022. Suppose that the Russians will wait to launch their counter offensives the day after. If they do it beforehand, that might give Biden & the Democrats a boost in the polls and turn it into a “khaki election”. But attacking afterwards, the ground should be hard enough by then and those mobilized troops gone through their refresher training. So maybe attacking the Kersh bridge is a way of – hopefully – prematurely launching those attacks but in a way that will aid the democrats politically.

        1. Ignacio

          Anyway I don’t think Putin gives a damn on what happens in the midterm elections. They will focus on the military stuff: The state of soil as you say, securing supplies and stocks in place, prepare the troops and possibly do something more about satellite aid to help them move quietly.

        2. OIFVet

          If Russia considers US midterms in the making of its war plans, then they are well and truly incompetent. The fact is that it does not matter one bit to US’ Russia policy which party wins the midterms and the hope is that Russia knows it. Therefore the only considerations are how long it takes for the units to come online, logistics, and weather.

        3. Old Sovietologist

          I don’t think there will be a Russian counter offensive or the opening up another front until after G20 meeting.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I think that you are correct there. Putin will probably spend some time on the sidelines with countries like China and India giving them a general heads-up on his plans without going into too much detail for operational reasons. Him doing so the past several months has paid enormous dividends for Russia by keeping them onside.

            1. Polar Socialist

              I doubt Russia can take the Ukrainian pounding – be it a village here, a town there or bridge somewhere – 5 more weeks and prevent Novorossians, Russians and friendly powers getting seriously nervous.

              The sideline meetings would probably be more about the future arrangements if the front line was already rolling towards west and facts were being set on the ground for that future.

              1. Michael Ismoe

                If Putin waits 5 more weeks to retaliate, then he ought to be replaced – for sheer incompetence. His decision to make this an SMO is stupid enough. NATO doesn’t do nuance.

                1. timbers

                  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be on Russia’s side when Russia is not even on Russia’s side. Adding: I see no way Putin can fulfill his promises to demilitarize and de-N word Ukraine without seriously destroying Ukraine’s infrastructure. As for the next 10 years destroyed.

                2. Anthony G Stegman

                  At this point it is clear to me that Putin was delusional when early on he talked about the longstanding friendship between Ukraine and Russia. While many Ukrainians speak Russian most Ukrainians want nothing to do with Russia. It is obvious to most observers that Russia and Ukraine will never be on friendly terms. This is now a war to the death, so to speak. Either Russia pulls out all the stops and reduces Kyiv and other population centers to rubble (if it is able to do so), or it withdraws entirely from Ukraine including from Crimea. There is no middle ground. No sweet spot. It’s all or nothing for Russia. It remains to be seen if Russia is prepared for this.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              He did give them a head’s up at the SCO. Unless there’s been a big change, he doesn’t need to. Russia presumably had its general idea worked out before the partial mobilization.

              And some retaliatory strikes in response to the bridge are a matter of a phone call right after, not a briefing.

              And the G20 is gonna be mighty testy. Putin is better off playing cool and letting the Western representatives act like petty jerks. I don’t think it will be a great setting for side chats with big dogs, save rolling of eyes.

      3. digi_owl

        Everything seems to revolve around them blasted US “elections”.

        Some walking corpses are hell bent on starting WW3 if can secure them 2 more years in a congressional chair.

      4. Polar Socialist

        What I’m reading at the moment is that the unharmed portion of the bridge has already been opened for traffic, and that the railroad portion will resume operation even today.
        Also the previous ferry traffic has been reactivated, so people and stuff are getting to and from Crimea.

        Meanwhile, today all “allied” troops in Ukraine/Novorossia were put under central command of General Surovikin, who allegedly has already replaced some commanders. Now all troops in the Special Military Operation are under a unified command.

        Ukrainians are reporting that Starlink is down all over the front line.

        Reportedly a big portion of the partially mobilized troops are in Special Military Operation area already. The number of videos of Russian troops transport trains seems to be going down (it’s a poor proxy, but a proxy nonetheless).

        Indonesian president recently announced that both Zelensky and Putin will be at Bali in G20 meeting on 15 November (a tad over 5 weeks from now). Both would probably like to have a clear upper hand there.

        All this may mean there could be an “October surprise” coming pretty soon for the Ukrainians and the Western MSM.

          1. OIFVet

            I am taking over/under on when he will run out of OD shirts. Probably right around the time he is replaced by another puppet.

          2. The Rev Kev

            If I were Putin, I would refuse to shake his hand. Just in case some spook agency tries to poison him with an agent spread on that hand. And Putin should have a coupla fighter escorts as well as previously Russian officials in their aircraft have been hassled by NATO flights.

            1. OIFVet

              I doubt Zelensky would be eager to shake hands. More likely he would be eager to project some koka-fueled machismo toward Putin. Wouldn’t be the first time a clown has tried that, your former PM Abbot tried to shirtfront Putin at the 2014 G20, as I recall.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Abbott may have been fine with threatening women and gays in his uni days with a bunch of mates behind him but going head to head with a ex-KGB guy like Putin was a bridge too far for him so it never happened when they met.

          3. hk

            He’ll probably show up in person. The question is if he’ll head back to Kiew or Warsaw or wherever he’s at nowadays afterwards.

            1. digi_owl

              Kiev seems to be where he is, unless the whole of Europe’s political elite is in on the pretense.

          1. NotThisAgain

            Why is Russia invited at the same time that the West feels it necessary to bar even Russian athletes from playing tennis?

            Obviously this is intended as an excuse to talk. I have no idea how these negotiations would work while both sides are backed into a corner (or is that coroner?), but whatever…

            1. zagonostra

              There are so many things about this war/conflict that have me puzzled. I read that imports of Russian made goods into the U.S. are at record highs. Meanwhile Russia continues to keep the lights on in Ukraine and continues to make overtures that it is willing to give Europe all the fuel it needs. Why would you do business with someone who is trying to kill yo?

              I read an article by Paul Craig Roberts this morning that makes the argument that Putin F-$ked up big time in not going in early and strong, finishing the job quickly. On the other hand Col. McGregor gives a different point of view and Scott Ritter is narrating unfolding events, as just that, unfolding, suggesting the West was surprised Russian didn’t role over Ukraine in the first weeks. And that, they are leveraging the protraction to further weaken Russia by training troops, sending in mercenaries, weapons’, and propping up the Ukrainian economy to the extent of paying salaries.

              I don’t know who is right with respect to military maneuvers. I do know who is wrong, the U.S. and the U.K. and the weak and spineless Europeans for knowing where pushing up against the border of Russia would lead to. And for that, they diserve the world’s obloquy.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                To your first paragraph, because the war will end. The US does a lot of business with former Axis countries. Wars are conducted by leaders. As I believe Goebbels once said, no ordinary guy wants to be in a war.

                1. fresno dan

                  It was Goering. Even more than reading NC (which really made me change my opinion on a whole slew of things), the interview with Goering made me realize how naive my view of history and politics had been. I have never read something that has had such a big impact on my thinking.

                  We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

                  “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

                  There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

                  “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

                2. digi_owl

                  Quite a few US industrialists were quite happy to trade with the Axis during the war years as well. This done via “neutral” Spain.

                  Never mind suing the US government for damage done to factories owned by European subsidiaries, while they where being used to supply vehicles for the Axis.

                  Frankly if not for the Poland issue, quite a few would have been happy to see Hitler and co curb stomp Stalin. To them, fascism was the less evil to communism.

                3. Anthony G Stegman

                  Another thing to consider is there is war, and there is WAR. Wars that aren’t intended to destroy the planet do end, and profit seeking and profit making continue along unabated. World War 2 was horrific, but until the United States detonated atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki the war wasn’t going to destroy the planet. So IBM, General Electric, and others did business with all sides in the conflict because corporations are agnostic. Today we are told that China is Enemy #1. Yet, the United States continues to import vast quantities of consumer goods from China. Cold wars are good for business. Some hot wars are as well, as long as there aren’t mushroom clouds all over the place. War is a racket. And to paraphrase Goering, wars are conducted by leaders who are at their core racketeers.

            2. timbers

              Well maybe I’m paranoid but if I were Putin I wouldn’t go because the West might kill me. I’m serious. I wouldn’t go if I were him. If Biden pulled that off just before elections the MSM would crown him the 2nd coming and help do a Demo landslide. Think about it…wouldn’t YOU approve of killing someone who is going to use nukes? Wouldn’t you expect accolades for doing so? Am I wrong? Honestly don’t know.

                1. Anthony G Stegman

                  Assassinating a head of state is an act of war. Committing such a blatant act of war against a nuclear power is beyond the pale. I doubt that Putin will be targeted for assassination at the G20 meeting. Victoria Nuland specializes in color revolutions, not assassinations.

                  1. ArvidMartensen

                    Not yet.
                    Sane thinking does not apply in this situation because the US is involved. They could look for a way to bump him off that has “plausible deniability”. Like you know, a local did it and nothing to do with the US.
                    I also worry about what will happen.

    3. danpaco

      Even todays Counterpoint link is in on the Putin going nuclear fear mongering as well.
      The opening sentence, “Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing a dangerous game by making threats to use ‘small’ so-called theater nuclear weapons “.
      Thats quite an accusation, has Putin actually made that specific threat? I think not.

      1. Donald

        Many antiwar types these days usually begin their pieces by accepting the notion that Russia is on the verge of collapse. They accept the Western narrative and then argue from there.

        I honestly can’t tell who is right regarding the purely military question of who is on top, but find the argument that Russia is just holding back to be more plausible.

        1. digi_owl

          Likely because western media is loath to report that NATO is running out of ammo to pass on to Ukraine.

          Only thanks to NC have i learned that stocks are depleted down to stuff dating back to the 60s, and unless there is a massive MIC capacity expansion it will take a decade or more to restock.

    4. Eureka Springs

      The only thing the U.S./NATO could do to surprise me is stop this merde. Every act and word of theirs since well before 2013 Maidan has been a continuous escalation of false flags. And still, people are going to vote, continue to legitimize either of the two insane parties here in the U.S. Back in mid to late Bush Cheney years the left-o-sphere used to wonder how the German people allowed fascism and its trappings to happen. We are experiencing the answer to that each and every day.

  9. OIFVet

    Given the latest escalation represented by the attack on the Kerch Strait bridge and the long-established Russian belief that the West is agreement-incaple, I think it is very reasonable to ask why did Russia expect that conducting a military operation with kid gloves would bring the West to its senses? I know the arguments for the ‘kid glove’ tactics: saving infrastructure, hearts and minds, etc. However, by not planning and executing a decisive and overwhelming military operation, to include blockading Kiev permanently, dropping bridges over the Dnepr, and taking out the electrical and communications grid of Ukraine, Russia appeared weak and encouraged the West (well, the US but the Euros are certainly not blameless) to use the ‘frog slowly boiled’ strategy of gradual escalation of the conflict, which has now resulted in the attacks on NS1 and NS2, and on the Kerch Bridge. Not to mention the billions in weapons and training for Ukraine, as well as the glorification of Azov in the West. Frankly, it was stupid to expect agreement-incaple and frankly deranged by its Russophobia West to come to its senses and now the war will be bloodied and drag on longer in the best-case scenario. Worst case, the West escalates yet again and again and we get the very Armageddon that Senile Joe mentioned, albeit with complete lack of self-awareness and sense of responsibility.

    1. Skip Intro

      My guess is that a factor you are missing is that Russia’s concern to provide legal and rational justification for its actions, and for doing minimal destruction to lands they want as neighbors, is a performance or demonstration to the rest of the world — a marked contrast to the behavior of the US empire. By behaving in a civilised manor those sneaky barbarians are making western atrocities look bad, and civilised countries look barbarous!
      Putin’s recent address outlining Russia’s vision for a post-polar world is part of a big sales pitch to victims of western colonial imperialism (i.e. most of the world). The insanity of the west, now with nuclear saber rattling may make that pitch appealing, especially if combined with, say, repudiation of odious IMF debt, reclamation of seized/privatized national resources, and various less-rapacious financing deals. Once the first dagger was in, I expect a lot more Romans were eager to stab Caesar.

      1. OIFVet

        Punching the proxy used as a staging area for the US and NATO on Russia’s borders is appealing enough for all those countries who have been victimized by Western neocolonialism and military aggression. The Third World is oppressed, not stupid. Everyone outside the West knew or at least could have guessed what this is all about: self-defense as result of US encroachment and belligerence.

        Dunno, mayhaps you are correct. If so, it points to a rather deeply ingrained character flow in Russian character: unhealthy amount of excess altruism. To wit, of you are correct, then Putin has in fact sacrificed more Russian lives and resources to enable multipolarity and break the mental chains holding others docile. Well, those could have been easily broken by ruthlessly taking out the bully’s dimwitted sidekick and kicking the bully out of Russia’s doorstep. JMHO.

        1. Skip Intro

          I would say ‘he’ sacrificed soldiers to build a winning alliance for the hybrid world war, and chalk it up to long-term vision rather than altruism. But that may just mean I’ve fallen for the sales pitch.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I said from the outset Russia could win the war but lose the peace. Putin does not want to alienate ordinary Ukrainians any more than necessary. When a country is comprehensively defeated, resentment can turn on the old leadership for dragging the war on for selfish ends, hope of some extraordinarily lucky break, at the cost of many young men’s lives.

      1. OIFVet

        Well, this is Eastern Europe and the blood feuds are millenia old. The SMO was never going to win hearts and minds in Western Ukiereichland, nor in the Baltics and Poland. Might as well save the trouble and be ruthless in stamping out danger. Power and its ruthless exercise is something Eastern Europe understands and respects, even if it doesn’t make them friends.

        Dunno, perhaps I am cranky and tired after a long week dealing with Bulgarian mentality. But I am also thoroughly fed-up with the US, the EU, and particularly with the Baltic and Eastern European tail that wags the Western dog. I am saying this as native Eastern European who chose to return there after spending the majority of my life in the US: Eastern Europe contains very little logic and state intelligence (perhaps Czech and Hungary excluded) and the West has allowed itself to become hostage to its irrationality and millennial hatreds by simply trying to use them as instruments against Russia. Instead, the West is now Eastern Europe’s instrument against Russia, much to the detriment to all involved.

        All of Eastern Europe has a variation of the following saying: “It’s not important that things are well for me, what’s important is that things aren’t well for my neighbor.” The implicit assumption behind that saying is that we actively try to sabotage our neighbors even when we also pay a high price for these actions. We are seeing that playing out right now.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Russia has not invaded the Baltics. This is about the population of what will be the non-liberated Ukraine.

          And even though my contact with the Baltics is limited, on a one day visit to Tallinn around 2012, even as a casual visitor I got the impression that Estonians hated Russia with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I doubt that dial can go higher.

      2. Sibiryak

        Yves: Putin does not want to alienate ordinary Ukrainians…

        Cf. Putin ( meeting with teachers, Oct. 5);

        We have always felt and, despite the current tragedy, still feel great respect for the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian culture, language, literature and so on, and we have never done what is being done in Ukraine to Russian culture and the Russian language.

        For our part, we will go our own way and will respect everything that is Ukrainian.

    3. Donald

      The hearts and minds argument is of very limited validity. Israel thinks it is a wonderful humanitarian country because they haven’t flattened every building in Gaza and the US thinks the same thing about all of its wars after Korea ( where America really did bomb most of North Korea into rubble, but since we didn’t use nukes it was fine.) To people being bombed, they will generally not give credit to the people bombing them for not bombing them harder. Those Ukranians who were pro Russian to start with might appreciate it, but even then it will likely depend on which side hurts their own family more.

      This of course cuts both ways. People shelled by the Ukranians probably don’t appreciate that either.

      1. hunkerdown

        Actually, it’s quite broadly valid during times of global reorganization. People and states not being bombed have interests and positions, too, on such matters as “Will Russia credibly protect us against the cancer of late-colonial liberalism? Will China?”

        Egotistic neoliberal PMCs can perform their demonstrative protest me-me-me number about their personal capital value all day long, but nobody in the “global South” is required to give even one familyblog or even refrain from heckling as they see fit.

  10. Mikel

    “New York City declares emergency over migrant crisis”

    “New Yorkers are angry,” said Mayor Adams. “I am angry too. We have not asked for this. There was never any agreement to take on the job of supporting thousands of asylum seekers.”

    They act like the border states don’t have a right to be angry.
    No state is prepared to support this.

    And it’s not lost on me that so many just happen to be making their way to the border while the Fed is trying to increase unemployment.

    Their shit economic system just falls apart when they can’t get more people to work for scraps and pennies.

    1. marym

      09/26/2022 Asylum seekers awaiting hearings at immigration courts

      Estimated numbers of asylum seekers from WaPo reporter’s tweet, with WaPo link and screenshots. State population numbers from US 2020 census

      125K in Calif. – pop. 39.5 M
      110K in NY – pop. 20.2M
      98K in Florida – pop. 21.5M
      75K in Texas – pop. – 29.1M

      I don’t live in a border area, but I wouldn’t argue that there may be more for residents to be angry about when there’s an influx of poor, unemployed migrants than in other places where there are also a lot of immigrant arrivals, but maybe a different set of circumstances sometimes making the problems less visible or acute.

      However, neither Abbott/DeSantis shipping people around like furniture nor the NYC mayor ranting about it reflect any particular plan to address any issues related to immigration. It’s just political posturing at other people’s expense.

      1. Laughingsong

        I just wanted to point out that all coastal states are also border states. The immigrants can’t just walk over those borders but they are still coming in there.

        California and Texas have both types of borders.

        1. hk

          New York also borders Canada and surprising number of people from countries other than Canada have been entering US illegally via Canada for many decades.

    2. semper loquitur

      New York isn’t ready for some migrants? But we “got this” in case of a nuclear war, according to that PSA that came out a few months back. What gives?

  11. .Tom

    > The most terrifying case of all is about to be heard by the US supreme court Guardian

    Can Steven Donziger not get published in the USA?

    1. KD

      It is easy to overestimate the power of the Courts. If state legislatures started dictating who got to be President despite the preferences of the voters, it would have zero legitimacy. At worst, another Dred Scott, at best Worcester v. Georgia.

      1. HotFlash

        Dred Scott 1857, Emancipation Proclamation, 1862. That’s just one pres term, but what pres is going to overide?

        1. KD

          This is the fastest way to eliminate the Electoral College once and for all. We’d probably just amend the Constitution.

  12. John

    Caitlin Johnstone has it right and expresses herself at an appropriate decibel level. You have to be insane … or demented … to keep pumping up the nuclear balloon. I’m an old man, but do not screw around with the lives of my grandchildren. Continuing to act as if all is permitted to you, but not to any other is extreme narcissism and mortally dangerous. Get over yourselves, you loons.

  13. michael Hudson

    Well, of course Yves is correct regarding the difficulty in investing in yuan under present circumstances. I was looking ahead: IF there is to be a viable liquid alternative to the dollar, China will have some institutional work to do to create it. So my answer to Pepe was looking forward.
    I wonder how long it will take …

    1. digi_owl

      I’m a layman in all of this, but i recently ran into something about China pushing for Special Drawing Rights (XDR) to be made a formal reserve currency.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Off topic, Dr. Hudson, but I hope you will let us know via a comment here when your new book on the collapse of antiquity is available for purchase. Thank you for all you’ve done and still do.

    3. smashsc

      Guess we’ll find out whether the fictional The Mandibles where the Rest of the World adopts the “Bancor” based on a basket of commodities in the late 2020s will become reality…

  14. Mikel

    “Fears of a Housing Crash Threaten Life Savings of Tens of Millions in the US” Truthout.

    I don’t think lower income people or anyone who doesn’t have a home are “missing out”.

    The geopolitcal uncertainty will spread.
    These may not be the best times to tie oneself down to illiquid assets that have high overhead and high maintenance.
    Nothing is ever mentioned about all the fees and insurance, maybe taxes will be touched on. Alot more makes these rotten deals – in the mjaority of places – than the interest rates and fantasy finance prices.

    1. Earthling

      The alternative is being on a leash that is being jerked by increasingly greedy and increasingly large landlords. Who will raise rents at will, to cover all their increasing costs plus increasing greed.

      1. Mikel

        Too many people are getting jerked around on variable interest rate loans on six figure or more homes…with jobs they won’t be having for 30 years.

        Bankers are pretty big landlords.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Nevermind that two years of 20% asset inflation are not “savings”. The Fed allowed assets to come out of thin air because of ZIRP, the Fed can take it away.

      1. HotFlash

        And banks, which have no or negligible reserve requirements, can also create money for loans/mortgages out of thin air, so a house or other real estate is ‘worth’ whatever a bank will lend a buyer for it. The sky is the limit!

        I have a house. It is not an ‘investment’, it is where I live. Until I cannot afford the inflated property taxes. Shakespeare advised killing all the lawyers, I kinda think it should be the bankers.

  15. Dave in Austin

    Both the Ukrainian attacks on the west bank of the Dnipro River aiming at Kherson and the Russian attacks around Bakhmut are using local logistical superiority against a somewhat exposed enemy position. Neither will decide the outcome of the war.

    But the apparent Ukrainian attack on the Kerch bridge may trigger a serious escalation of the conflict. There are still questions about the attack. It was either a suicide mission and the driver blew himself up or it required an escape route for the driver. Also it is not clear if this was a Ukrainian government operation or an “Oklahoma City- Murrah Building” lone wolf bomber acting on his own. If it is a Ukrainian government operation, all I can say is “Katy bar the door.”

    The bridge is a soft target. My prediction is that if it is determined to be a Ukrainian operation, Putin will be pushed by Russian domestic opinion and the likely Russian response will be attacks against Ukrainian soft targets like the electrical substations that power the Ukrainian electrified rail system or an attack that shuts down the Ukrainian urban district heating plants. In the Ukraine and many other parts of Europe, urban heating is provided by a central plant using underground tunnels to distribute steam and hot water. Targeting either would be a major escalation- or counter escalation, depending on how you view it.

    Recent comments seem to indicate that the Ukrainian believe they have the military advantage and that time is on their side. If that is the view of Zelinskyy and his advisors, and the Bridge attack stems from that view, then we are in for an escalatory cycle and the US will be faced with a serious problem, probably before the 2022 election. Do we provide longer range missiles to allow the Ukrainians to attack corresponding infrastructure inside Russia or not?

    This is all very bad news.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ukraine believes its own PR. That’s dangerous.

      And I don’t know what you mean by ‘logistical superiority”. Russians logistics have been very impressive, delivering a shit ton of ammo pretty consistently. By contrast, even sympathetic Western press accounts have had Ukraine soldiers talking about scarcity of ammo, how Russia keeps pounding them as if the shells were just coming out of a factory.

  16. Lex

    Just two days ago the kremlin said it saw no reason to change the status of the SMO. Many Russian commentators were arguing for expanding Ukraine into a counter terrorism operation (CTO) which is what both the second Chechen war and Syria were/are designated. A good conspiracy theory would be that Russia false flagged the truck bomb, but the SBU claiming credit via standard news outlets close to Kiev and the “we did it!” social media responses from official Ukrainian positions undermines that. Not that the kremlin needed this for moving to CTO status, but that status change seems obvious now.

    It is dual use infrastructure, but Russia has been careful to limit damage to Ukrainian dual use infrastructure and playing by unwritten rules. As usual, we await Russia’s response and as usual, Putin seems unconcerned with giving us his response on our demanded timelines of <2 news cycles.

    What’s Russia waiting for? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the Chinese communist party meeting. Russia has a bad habit of getting pulled into conflicts timed in a way that overshadows big deals for China. And who knows what sort of policy directions might come out of this meeting. Maybe that’s the October surprise for the multipolar world?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m skeptical of called up troops. My gut is the newly mobilized forces are being prepared to act as small units for monitoring the border, and rotated regular forces will go on an offensive.

      1. Lex

        That’s my take on mobilization too. They’ll be rear guard and then rotate into the conflict rather than be the offensive force itself (or they may be used to defend portions of the front which are not part of an offensive).

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Russia has over 400,000 soldiers, I think 450,000.

          The theory I have heard is the reservists will mainly replace them in Russia but some (like the ones being trained in Kherson) might be for logistical support.

          Russia has territorial forces that could do the sort of policing you mention and some were in Kharviv when Ukraine made its much ballyhooed advance.

          And in a military, you have 1 front line soldier for 8 others. You seem to be way overestimated expected needs.

          1. Polar Socialist

            My understanding is (and I’m willing to be corrected here) that Russian mobilization system is quite like the Soviet system was, but with contract soldiers and more senior NCOs*.

            The principle is that mobilized men are not used to create new units, but to expand existing. Say, a peace-time regiment has two battalions with tree companies each. During a mobilization, the companies are re-arranged to three battalions with two companies each, and mobilized men form two new companies in each battalion.

            Thus the regiment has doubled in size, but each battalion still has at least half of the men from the professional, experienced cadre. The idea being that even with the influx of large amount of new troops, the battalions retain their fighting capability from the get go.

            * not going here into the discussion of distinction between NCOs and junior officers, or British vs. Prussian military systems. All needed roles are filled in both systems, lets leave it at that.

  17. Stephen V

    Just saying here regarding CA’s Orwellian disinformation law.
    I have followed the machinations these past 2 years against a doc who had the temerity to issue vx exemptions to parents, legal under CA reg’s.
    As of the end of last year, She has relocated to MA. It appears to me, this law simply codifies what they’ve been doing for quite some time.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Electric vehicles are exploding from water damage after Hurricane Ian, Florida official warns”

    After any flood, people try to sell off cars if they had been flooded. It’s human nature. But how much is an electric car worth that has been flooded? Are they worth anything anymore? Would you risk leaving one in your garage if you have been flooded? Wouldn’t you tow it out as it would be too risky to start up or even just leave there? And I know that those firefighters are expected to put out car fires but perhaps with an EV they should just let it burn. Seriously, just let them burn and save the water.

  19. ArvidMartensen

    As regards the bridge being blown up in Crimea, let me be the very first anonymous source out of the gate to say Russia did it!
    In fact I commented to the local MSM the other day that given that Russia is so busy bombing and destroying its own infrastructure and troops, the Ukrainians should just quietly go back to Kiev and wait until Russia has made itself a wasteland. And for some reason that I cannot fathom, my input was deleted as not funny and not meeting their community guidelines.
    But on a more serious note, maybe the Russians are waiting until the US and NATO hoists themselves on their own petards of rogue state terrorists. And then the whole sane world would support something being done about the new terrorist axis of evil, and would be all in supporting Russia.

  20. Godfree Roberts

    “to slip free of the dollar hegemony, setting up the needed institutions and infrastructure will take much longer than this discussion contemplates. For instance, I have to differ with Hudson on the idea that there is demand for yuan”.

    China doesn’t want the yuan to replace the dollar, for the very reasons Keynes gave at Bretton Woods: it’s a Faustian bargain.

    Nope, China, Russia, and the EAEU began creating a new reserve currency in 2009, at the behest of the PBOC. It’s ready to roll just as soon as Beijing announces an embargo on exports of Taiwanese chips to unfriendly countries.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, this is still a handwave. You need new coding. It took 11 years of planning and three years of implementation to launch the Euro, and banks had vastly smaller codebases back then. The fact that Russia and China are doing bilateral deals in their own currencies says this scheme is not ready for prime time.

      1. Tom Pfotzer

        I keep wondering why we seem to fixate on replacing the dollar as a trading currency.

        I ask knowledgeable readers to explain why my simplistic assessment, spelled out below, is inadequate to support commerce between willing companies or governments in the SCO trading block.

        I’m using the SCO as proxy for any contestant that doesn’t want their trade transactions interfered with by the U.S.

        Two of the SCO’s main economic objectives are to:

        a. expand trade flows among SCO members, and
        b. insure that no third party can obstruct the trade flows by freezing reserves, or locking trade partners out of the SWIFT payments-clearing mechanism

        I’m not sure “de-dollarizing” is a core objective of the SCO. If it actually is, then the “de-dollarizing” can be accomplished via the trading partners (buyer and seller of the goods being exchanged) setting an exchange rate for their respective currencies at the point the sales transaction takes place, and having their respective central banks set up a bi-lateral mechanism for the payments clearing between the two countries.

        SWIFT is convenient because almost every bank and country has access to it, but it isn’t necessary. Trade happened fairly well before SWIFT was implemented.

        De-dollarizing, while emotionally quite satisfying for many countries, isn’t all that necessary to achieve SCO’s core objectives.

        Countries can eliminate the U.S.’ “exorbitant privilege” by not buying any _new_ USG debt. That’s what confers upon the U.S. the privilege of getting others’ goods in exchange for new paper.

        The existing debt – in the form of USG securities already in circulation – is convenient to use as exchange media or collateral to support the sales transactions.

        In those instances where collateral is needed to provide performance-of-contract security, pledging USG securities or commodities will suffice.

        The objective is to expand trade flows, and to eliminate potential payments-clearing road blocks. Bilateral deals and regular old banking – done since the days of the Medicis – can get that done.

        What key component of trade finance am I glossing over?

        What about currency stability? Do I need an international organization to do that, or can I rely on my own central bank for that job, like Russia does?

        Do I truly need reserves held elsewhere to achieve credibility, if I can pledge USG securities or physical commodities on a transaction-by-transaction basis? Reserves have lately become a big risk for those countries running afoul of the U.S.

        What am I missing?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Bank have huge intra-day exposures to each other during the day. That is the only way large scale modern commerce can happen No bank would dare allow such risk unless a central bank guaranteed the settlement of the exposures at the of the trading day. Thus it is essential for the Fed to backstop dollar trading and banks must either have US licenses or be correspondents with US banks (which is very costly and cumbersome and puts the bank at a competitive disadvantage compared to ones that are licensed in the US).

          Who is going to stand behind these cross currency trades? It’s an enormous commercial risk.

    2. Lou Anton

      Hard to believe totalitarian governments would allow their currencies to freely float (which is a must if you seek to be a reserve currency). I suppose you could say a new currency like this doesn’t have to float, just has to be an alternative for participating countries, but again, what happens when interests no longer align (PS: we’ll find out pretty soon in the EU).

  21. fresno dan

    Former national security adviser John Bolton thinks President Biden “overstated the gravity of the situation we’re in right now” when he suggested that the “prospect of Armageddon” is the highest it’s been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bolton offered his observation in an interview Friday with CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge.

    Mr. Biden made the comments at a private fundraiser in New York Thursday night, referring to the prospect of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of tactical nuclear weapons in his war against Ukraine. Russia has been suffering significant setbacks in its war against Ukraine. In a new gambit, Putin this week formalized his illegal annexation of four Ukrainian territories, warning he could resort to the use of nuclear weapons to defend them.

    “I think any time we contemplate the potential use of nuclear weapons, we’ve got to take it seriously,” Bolton told CBS News. “But I also think we’ve got to be very clear-eyed about it. And I think the president’s comment overstated the gravity of the situation we’re in right now. I was particularly disturbed when he said, ‘you know, I can’t imagine the use of a tactical nuclear weapon that doesn’t lead to Armageddon.’ And it’s that chain of causality from one demonstration use of a tactical nuclear weapon that Vladimir Putin is currently threatening all the way up to an exchange of nuclear salvos between Russia and the United States.”
    Bolton more reasoned and serious than POTUS????? Whoa Wow….OK, I am gonna have to have a whiskey….in fact, a bottle just to get my head straight…maybe two

    1. Skip Intro

      It’s the Demented Cop – Crazy Cop game, both dishonestly projecting their threats of nuclear first use onto Putin. The walrus is arguing for making the use of tactical nukes acceptable.

    2. NotThisAgain

      Whoa Wow….OK, I am gonna have to have a whiskey….in fact, a bottle just to get my head straight…maybe two

      Because of Bolton’s comments, or because there are, in fact, a sufficient number imbeciles who would pay to attend a Bolton fundraiser to make it possible for him to speak at one?

    3. Paradan

      I think your misreading this. Bolton says “I was particularly disturbed when he said, ‘you know, I can’t imagine the use of a tactical nuclear weapon that doesn’t lead to Armageddon.'” The reason why Bolton was disturbed is because he wants to use tactical nukes.

  22. KD

    Yours truly is not happy about this, not that my vote matters, since this looks intended to paint Putin as an existential threat to justify a US/NATO extreme action.

    Perhaps, but its about time DC started being honest about the stakes involved in their little proxy war and not acting like this is another Afghanistan. Supposedly the remarks were made at private gathering at Rupert Murdoch’s son’s house, which supposedly connects to a certain news network with a prominent critic who supports “appeasement” of Russia:

    Experience demonstrates Americans prefer wars that they can watch on TV and that create no real consequences to their existence, especially when the wars serve no national interest but feature blowing up Arabs or Slavs. Maybe it is beginning to dawn on people at the top that this war could have real stakes. Plus they must know that at this point, the war has only made Putin’s grip on Russia stronger, and they probably know what the condition of the Ukrainian army is in terms of troops and materials after all these offensives. In 6 months, it might make sense to pivot to pretending to be “peace-maker statesman.” Plus, Biden must realize that a wave of unrest is about to start collapsing governments in Europe, and with the food/fertilizer situation, we are on a path to worldwide political unrest.

    Its hard to see how the American’s manufacture a diplomatic pivot unless they start being honest about the stakes, and its hard to see how they talk about the stakes without blaming Putin, because they aren’t going to talk about NATO’s style of “un-provoking” others. Its hard to see this war–if it starts creating real domestic costs in the US and not just Europe–is ever going to be popular. Most Americans can’t find Ukraine on the map, and most Americans want a diplomatic end of the war, even if most Americans understand that Putler is bad and hates us because we are free. The latter is just what the fans have been taught to cheer, but they want to go home and watch reruns after the rally, not mobilize for total war.

    I don’t think DC wants a nuclear war (which is where this will go if the escalation spiral is unchecked) because that would nullify all the reasons for the existence of a place like DC. To the extent anyone survived, the DC creatures would either be dead or slaves of the local warlord in a post-nuclear order.

  23. Carolinian

    Larry Johnson today recommends this newish substack. It is indeed interesting.

    What has happened in the months since February 24 is rather remarkable. The existential war for the Russian nation has been incarnated and made real for Russian citizens. Sanctions and anti-Russian propaganda – demonizing the entire nation as “orcs” – has rallied even initially skeptical Russians behind the war, and Putin’s approval rating has soared. A core western assumption, that Russians would turn on the government, has reversed. Videos showing the torture of Russian POWs by frothing Ukrainians, of Ukrainian soldiers calling Russian mothers to mockingly tell them their sons are dead, of Russian children killed by shelling in Donetsk, have served to validate Putin’s implicit claim that Ukraine is a demon possessed state that must be exorcised with high explosives. Amidst all of this – helpfully, from the perspective of Alexander Dugin and his neophytes – American pseudo-intellectual “Blue Checks” have publicly drooled over the prospect of “decolonizing and demilitarizing” Russia, which plainly entails the dismemberment of the Russian state and the partitioning of its territory. The government of Ukraine (in now deleted tweets) publicly claimed that Russians are prone to barbarism because they are a mongrel race with Asiatic blood mixing.

    It goes on to discuss further big picture concerns such as the history of mobilization going back to Rome no less. But perhaps the overall point is that if “war is politics” Putin has a plan and Biden and Zelensky have tantrums (and now, it seems, war on terror style sabotage). To some of us it’s obvious who we should really be worried about.

  24. Exiled_in_Boston

    ‘ It would have been more strategically effective to have been done three weeks ago. Russia has already fortified Kherson and moved many of the partially mobilized men into Southern Ukraine for training…’
    Perhaps this was well timed? Get lots of troops in southern Ukraine and then cause what Ukraine certainly hopes is a serious disruption to their supplies.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Russian MoD told (Russian) reporters they’re not using the Crimean bridge for SMO logistics, the “land bridge” is 200 miles shorter and has way more capacity.

      The biggest logistical problem seems to be that the season’s last holiday visitors may have to overstay a few days, but the Crimean leadership has asked the hotels to be lenient and promised the Russian government will pay for the extra days.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Russia in the Middle East would lay new track very quickly for military use. You need accommodating terrain but the steppe area may be that.

        2. Polar Socialist

          Most of the way these land routes are over 50 miles behind lines, so HIMARS maybe, but no artillery.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Yeah. My wife pointed out to me two headlines side by side on a news site she frequents: “Expert: Russia won’t survive the bridge strike” and “Traffic restored on Crimea bridge”.
          She wondered if “experts” can feel any shame…

          1. The Rev Kev

            The only place that an “expert” would know about the word shame would be in a dictionary – right between s*** and syphilis.

  25. bassmule

    Josh Brown on why the PMC and billionare classes need to keep the poors down:

    “Never mind that the lower income people are actually the biggest beneficiaries of the current labor shortage. Never mind the fact that, when it comes to inflation, the lowest income Americans are most affected by gas prices, which a) have already fallen and b) are completely outside of the control of the central bank anyway. So they’ll distract us with a never ending parade of bull—t lest we consider the truths unleashed in our economy last year. Look over there, Kanye West is doing something insane! And look at that! Marjorie Taylor Greene is using the N-word again! Joe Biden’s adult son just packed his own spleen into a crack pipe and smoked it! Look at Kim’s ass! Yes, you’ve seen it before, but still! And look over there, abortion rights in Alabama under siege! Trump stole the nuclear codes! New Lord of the Rings content on Amazon Prime. Game of Thrones is back. The NFL returns!

    Look here, look there, look anywhere else. Just don’t look at the almost-liberated wage slaves being put back into their places. How dare you ask for more, how dare you expect more? Stock trading time is over, get back to loading these cardboard boxes.”

    You Weren’t Supposed To See That (The Reformed Broker)

    1. Charger01

      Josh Brown has a utube show about several market-related topics, fairly entertaining and usually insightful.

  26. Milton

    Your kitty antidote recalls a Flemish painting with the intricate brush work recreating the rug and robe (in the case of the kitty; blanket and couch cushions).

  27. Patrick Donnelly

    Is everyone blind?

    What happened at Beirut?

    What was the speed of propagation? Where are the wise men who studied the 9/11 explosions? They were incredibly slow compared to Beirut.

    1. vao

      Can you be more explicit? What are you trying to tell with those references to the Beirut and New York explosions?

    2. Ignacio

      Someone was doing hard welding to plug a bore in an environment filled with explosive gases. Highly explosive nitrates I gather. Isn’t your comment some kind of making shit up?

  28. Alice X

    Unemployment rate falls to 3.5% in September, payrolls rise by 263,000 as job market stays strong

    So the UE rate falls due at least in part to the fall in the participation rate. Well, my understanding is pretty basic, but isn’t that simple arithmetic? Hmmmm…

    September’s jobs report shows the Fed needs to do more, says Jim Cramer

    I can hardly believe that guy is still around:

    Jim Cramer: “Bear Stearns is Fine!” Tues, 3/11/08

  29. JAC

    I have such a profound dislike for Twitter and this banniong of Peter McCollough is just another continuing example.

    It turns voices into monopolies and the idea you can just block someone is the worst aspect of the whole system. It turns people into authoritarians.

    I came up with this formula as well:

    The news sells fear.
    Twitter sells the news.
    Twitter is fear.

    It is no good for society. It only breads anger, fear, and division. My life is so much better after leaving it.

  30. Roger Blakely

    RE: COVID cases rising in Europe point to a coming U.S. surge NPR (David L)

    You are on your own. The government can’t be bothered to warn you.

    The delusion that we can vaccinate our way out of COVID-19 continues. The vaccine worked. It kept people from dying and it kept them out of the hospital. The vaccine didn’t work. It did not keep people from getting sick or transmitting the virus. Who needs a booster with BA.5? Not ordinary people. The vast majority of people living normal lives have already been hit with BA.5. The only people who will be helped by booster with BA.5 are elderly shut-ins.

    Everyone is inhaling BA.5. Half of the people are not bothered at all by COVID-19. The other half are devastated by COVID-19 regardless of vaccination and previous infection. For those of us who are devastated by COVID-19, it’s all about respirators and social distancing. The pandemic is not over. December is going to be as bad as ever.

    1. Anthony G Stegman

      I think you are overstating things. Half the population has not been “devastated” by COVID. Ten percent may be a high number. People continue to die from COVID. In the US for certain groups of people life is cheap and unimportant. Most middle class people have not been negatively impacted by COVID, aside from catching it and recovering within a couple of weeks. It is the poor who are overwhelmingly impacted by COVID. Their lives are cheap, and so additional mitigation measures to protect them aren’t worth the required expenditures. What else can you expect in a capitalist society where everything and everyone has a price.

    1. John Steinbach

      Marcetic starts with blaming Russian atrocities for collapse of Turkish sponsored peace talks in March & the talks about Russia’s aggression & supporting Ukraine’s “right”to reclaim Crimea & Donboss. Somehow ignores the non-stop propaganda & demonization of Russia as factors in absence of a Peace movement. It’s Peace Movement “leaders” like this that account for lack of anti nuclear protests.

  31. Mikel

    “Boston Dynamics and five other tech firms pledge not to weaponize their robots” NPR
    Boston Dynamics Atlas vs Tesla Bot! The Ultimate Comparison!

    The part that is really a WTF moment is where the video says one of harmless and helpful ways the Boston Dynamics robot could be useful is for the care of infants.

    That’s how little they understand (or care about) human development.

    Only someone who already has trouble with emotional development thinks this could be a good idea.

    1. Louis Fyne

      just google (or search youtube): surrogate mother monkey experiment.

      for a hint of child-rearing without the primate touch…..those of course the argument will be “you just need the right programming.

      that said i wouldnt have minded a robo-stroller, lol

      1. Mikel

        Motorized stroller…no problem.
        Helping with a child is one thing and thinking a robot can “care” is another.

      2. c_heale

        I watched this video during my teaching degree. I will never forget it. I hope the ‘scientist’ responsible is rotting in hell.

        All this puffery about robots and AI tells me that they aren’t very useful. They won’t sell it to the military sounds like the military took a look at at it and told them it was useless. Silicon valley etc. have sold everything else to the military without blinking an eye.

  32. NotThisAgain

    Biden’s Fearmongers About A Russian Nuclear Threat That No One Has Made Moon of Alabama. Yours truly is not happy about this, not that my vote matters, since this looks intended to paint Putin as an existential threat to justify a US/NATO extreme action. Shorter: WMD in Iraq 2.0.

    Here is an alternative that I have been pondering but do not yet feel strongly about: There is no downside to the fearmongering now, especially if (as appears to be the case) the US and Russia appear to be tamping down the actual likelihood of nukes.

    All this talking up of the dangers of nukes may be a way to abandon Ukraine and establish the groundwork for renewed arms limitation and inspection agreements (e.g. START). Those talks would have been very difficult to resume even a year ago because of Congressional opposition.

    Again, I could be wrong, and I honestly have no real basis for this thought–it’s just an alternative viewpoint

    1. Laughingsong

      That would be the sane way but it wouldn’t be The Cowboy Way, to paraphrase Riders In The Sky.

      It certainly would be way too sane for the neoconservative shower that’s running this war, I fear. One can hope but it just seems too out of character.

      And of course I am on the cynical side anyway, after watching these people over the decades. When I hear Bolton saying that the “Armageddon” talk is overblown, I assume he says that to make sure that no one starts getting cold feet, so keep the war on full-steam-ahead.

  33. amur

    Interesting Washington Journal C-SPAN open forum segment this morning. Callers were asked if they are living paycheck to paycheck. Phones lines setup by income levels. Most said they were getting by “okay” and implied life was paycheck to paycheck. Mimi Geerges did a good job at asking follow up questions.

    These stories do not bode well for this nation.

    Of course, after this segment some PMC-er from a University of Michigan Poverty Solutions group says child poverty is down in 2021. That’s okay the first caller tells the guy he is full of it.

    1. JBird4049

      I went to check C-Span’s Book TV as I hadn’t in several years. It all garbage. There was always a neoliberal slant, but there was some good interviews and speeches by authors on a variety of books. Chris Hedges had some good speeches, but now they would probably only put him on for a live auto-da-fé. They have turned a decent outlet into a propaganda machine. Poisoned mental baby food.

  34. Jason Boxman

    “We have a lot more immunity in the population than we did last winter,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, who runs the Pandemic Center at the Brown University School of Public Health.

    “Not only have people gotten vaccinated, but a lot of people have now gotten this virus. In fact, some people have gotten it multiple times. And that does build up [immunity] in the population and reduce overall our risk of severe illness,” Nuzzo says.

    Was it established that re-infections are good for temporary immunity? And that it reduces risk for severe disease (for those that survive)?

    I’m not so sure.

    1. curlydan

      I am pretty certain re-infections are worse–and once this paper gets peer reviewed and published, I’ll be even more certain.

      The table below from the paper shows that hospitalization is 4.24 times as likely in twice infected COVID patients versus once infected.

      Supplemental Table 11
      “Risk and 6-month burden of hospitalization, at least one sequela, and sequelae by organ system in those with two SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to those with first SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
      Outcome HR [Hazard Ratio] (95% CI)
      Hospitalization 4.24 (4.09, 4.39)
      At least one sequela 1.57 (1.53, 1.60)
      Cardiovascular 2.10 (2.01, 2.21)
      Coagulation and Hematologic 1.91 (1.79, 2.04)
      Diabetes 1.49 (1.40, 1.60)
      Fatigue 2.22 (2.10, 2.36)
      Gastrointestinal 1.59 (1.50, 1.68)
      Kidney 2.53 (2.37, 2.69)
      Mental Health 1.75 (1.70, 1.80)
      Musculoskeletal 1.30 (1.23, 1.38)
      Neurologic 1.36 (1.31, 1.42)
      Pulmonary 2.10 (2.00, 2.20)

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I am not very easily convinced by the many studies collecting data from some collection of samples ‘Y’ to assert conclusion ‘X’. I want to see studies that explain WHY and HOW conclusion ‘X’ results, ignoring the samples, statistics, and other accoutrements accompanying assertions like those that Mark Twain excoriated.

      Alas, what has become of Science in Corona scientific publications.

    3. Anthony G Stegman

      So this woman’s boss was/is Ashish Ja? That’s all one needs to know about her statement.

    4. will rodgers horse

      “Reinfections had 90% lower odds of resulting in hospitalization or death than primary infections. Four reinfections were severe enough to lead to acute care hospitalization. None led to hospitalization in an ICU, and none ended in death. Reinfections were rare and were generally mild, perhaps because of the primed immune system after primary infection.”

  35. Polly

    “Newsom calls special session of Legislature to consider windfall tax on oil companies over high California gas prices”

    It’s just political theater. This happens after the midterms, so there’s less chance of it ever passing.

    Note it’s not a supply side tax on oil coming out of the ground in California, which would hurt Newsom’s main backers, the Getty Oil Company heirs.

    There is no oil extraction tax in California.
    What a huge coincidence, no?

  36. Expat2Uruguay

    Are we bit of humor finishes out the moon of Alabama article:

    “These four provinces are Russian, but they were assigned ‘Ukrainian’ at birth. Recently the have come out as trans. They are border-fluid regions and their sovereignty is non-binary. They are Russians trapped in a ‘Ukrainian’ body, and have made their decision to transition. Their pronouns are now DPR/LPR. We Indians as allies support this transition and condemn the transphobic attitudes of westerners.”

  37. ewmayer

    All the Ukraine-related sanctions on Russian gas and oil, and more recently the sabotage of NordStream 2, piqued my interest with respect to the economics of substituting US LNG for Russian pipeline gas to Europe. The number I’ve heard most often is that US LNG costs roughly 3x as much per-molecule than Russian pipeline gas, due to the added expense of chilling to -162C (by way of comparison, N2 liquefies at -196C at standard atmospheric pressure), transporting across the Atlantic in an LNG tanker, and regasifying at the other end.

    That got me wondering – we often hear about the greenhouse-warming potential of methane sequestered in deep ocean sediments in the form of H20+CH4 ice clathrates. The problem from a production and transport perspective is that such clathrates contain roughly 13% CH4 by mass, the rest being the water-molecule lattice. Nonetheless, the relatively modest temperatures needed to produce clathrates and the relative ease of transporting the resulting solid product struck me as perhaps still being viable economically. A little more online searching turned up this:

    A significant portion of the volume of hydrate comprises the methane molecules. As a result, 1 L of hydrate has approximately 169 L of methane. Some consideration has been given to using methane hydrates as a mode of gas transportation, an alternative to liquefied natural gas (LNG). British Gas and Aker Engineering, among others, investigated the idea, but no commercial system exists. Aker published a complete design of a system and demonstrated that hydrate transport was feasible up to 3500 nautical miles at ordinary freezer temperatures for a capital cost 25% below that of LNG.[8]

    And there would likely be further efficiencies to be found from commercial-scaling of the needed technologies. If the chemists could find some way of packing even more CH4 into the crystal lattice that would of course be another win.

    (None of which is to suggest that the sanctions are anything other than hugely self-harming for the EU, mind you – but with NS1 and 2 mostly blown and no other pipeline-distance gas providers able to cover more than a small fraction of the shortfall, LNG will be a huge part of Europe’s energy future, stupid or not.)

  38. Jason Boxman

    So here’s the money shot, quite literally, from the NY Times article on a circular economy for building materials:

    These views might have remained at the fringes of environmentalism if not for the efforts of a British yachtswoman named Ellen MacArthur. In the late aughts, Ms. MacArthur, who broke the record for a solo circumnavigation of the globe by sailboat, started a foundation to promote the lessons she had derived on her trip, including the need to plan for resource reuse. In 2012, she presented a study, conducted with McKinsey & Company, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, arguing that circular design could save E.U. manufacturers $630 billion per year. Directed to company executives, the report concluded that reusing materials could be profitably incorporated into a capitalistic economic system. Companies, the report suggested, were missing out on a big opportunity to develop new kinds of products. But the world won’t be saved by bamboo straws alone, and the foundation has also argued for creating new business models that lead to better design. What if, for example, manufacturers could make more money by leasing, rather than selling, their products?

    Thomas Rau, an architect in Amsterdam, is a leading proponent of this idea. In 2015, he appeared in a Dutch documentary called “The End of Ownership,” in which he didn’t argue for abolishing ownership so much as for shifting it from individuals to manufacturers. If manufacturers retain ownership of their products, he argued, they will want to make products that last longer and need fewer repairs. Just as significant, they will want to design stuff that can be easily taken apart and used again. Theoretically, this could help consumers, too. No one wants to own a computer or television or washing machine, Mr. Rau claimed; they just want the services those products offer: computing ability, visual entertainment, textile cleaning. If you see your car or your iPhone as a mark of your taste or part of your identity, this might sound like a terrible idea. But think about the speed with which subscription music-streaming services replaced ownership of CDs. In a sharing economy era, it’s an idea that has an intuitive, minimalist appeal; after all, I didn’t want the umbrella I bought in Amsterdam. I just wanted to stay dry in the rain.

    (bold mine)

    So in short, a rentier system rather than ownership. Why, of course! Who wouldn’t want that? The company store can own everything, and you just rent it!

    Grifters gotta grift I guess.

    1. bwilli123

      …”they will want to make products that last longer and need fewer repairs…”

      No, they will want customers to update to the latest and greatest (as always) There will be no changes to the planned obsolescence model except to sync it more closely to product cycles.
      But leasing will be made increasingly attractive (compared to outright ownership) by a subsidized low entry price (first month free etc) in order to get consumers on board. The money will be made in the back end.

  39. Kouros

    This link: “US to strengthen penalties for joining Arab League’s Israel boycott” sends me to a black screen

  40. Pat

    Two observations of the day.

    There is a delusional leftie peacenik in NYC. Seen on a construction material border barrier was “Putin isn’t out to destroy us, he is out to save us from the banksters”
    He might be trying to save Russia from them, but I am pretty sure we’re on our own.

    Saw my first Schumer commercial. You’ll be happy to know he is fighting for us…on so many fronts. But he has been and will continue to be on the frontlines for women and Roe v. Wade. I did find myself wondering how long has he been in the Senate and wasn’t he even the majority leader who dithered as the Supremes were overturning it despite being told they were going to do so. He might make the Jets defense look good, forget offense entirely.

  41. GW

    Brian Berletic did another very interesting video today. I am impressed especially because he provided data answering a question I raised on this board a couple days ago.

    Basically, I asked how Berletic could know, for a fact, that his claims of minimal Russian casualties and equipment losses during these recent retreats is true.

    Today, Berletic displayed an October 4th tweet from the ghoulish, notorious German “journalist” Julian Röpcke. In this message, Röpcke first froths at the mouth while exclaiming joy over Ukraine’s latest advances at Kherson. But then, interestingly, Röpcke cautions his audience against being excessively confident of the value of these advances because – according to Röpcke himself – the Russians are conserving their troops, and limiting their own casualties and equipment losses.

    Not that there’s any connection between my question and Berletic’s information update. But I like that he underscored his point with the Röpcke data. Röpcke, a Bild “journalist” who’s virtually in bed with the Ukrainian General Staff, is definitely in a position to know.

    1. Stephen

      I saw that video too and Brian Berletic’s work is always excellent: well researched and analytical.

      The other reason I tend to believe that Russia has not lost much in these “retreats” is the absence of many images that show lost equipment and wounded men left behind: the classic indications of a defeated army. There have been some pictures but really not much and Ukraine / the west tends to talk up every possible data point that it can. I do also count disingenuous explanations that say that Ukraine is keeping all this as a secret! They haven’t done that with any other evidence of “success”.

      As ever, what is not shown or discussed often gives the answer.

      1. GW

        “As ever, what is not shown or discussed often gives the answer.”

        I agree with this statement.

        From the very beginning, I noticed that the biggest taboo in the West’s reporting of this war (by media and state players) is Ukrainian casualties. We’ve heard ad nauseum about Russia’s losses, but only rarely of Ukraine’s.

        Whenever there’s an elephant in the room, there’s usually a reason why. A big reason.

  42. Code Name D

    I have no problem working for another. I do take issue with surrendering my freedoms doing so.

  43. Wukchumni

    There’s a young stand up on a Kiev screen
    Who comes into my house every night
    And he takes all the red, yellow, orange and green
    And he turns them into black and white

    But you tease, and you flirt with a NATO berth
    And you always wear your green shirt
    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it

    Better cut off all identifying labels
    Before they put you on the torture table

    ‘Cause somewhere in the Quisling Capitalistic Clinic
    There’s a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes
    He’s pushing the Slava Ukraini line
    He’s picking out names
    I hope none of them are mine

    But you tease, and you flirt with a NATO berth
    And you always wear your green shirt
    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it

    Never said he was a stool pigeon
    I never said he was a diplomat
    Everybody is under suspicion
    But you don’t want to hear about that

    ‘Cause you tease, and you flirt with a NATO berth
    And you always wear your green shirt
    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it

    Better send a begging letter to the MIC investment station
    Who put these fingerprints on his imagination?

    You tease, and you flirt with a NATO berth
    And you always wear your green shirt
    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it

    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it
    You can please yourself but somebody’s gonna get it

    Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Green Shirt

  44. Jason Boxman

    By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud.

    Rick Scott, is this you?

    ‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions

    More adventures in the US deathcare system!

    Medicare Advantage, a private-sector alternative to traditional Medicare, was designed by Congress two decades ago to encourage health insurers to find innovative ways to provide better care at lower cost. If trends hold, by next year, more than half of Medicare recipients will be in a private plan.

    An ascribed motive that didn’t exist! This was about privatizing Medicare for profit, pure and simple.

    But a New York Times review of dozens of fraud lawsuits, inspector general audits and investigations by watchdogs shows how major health insurers exploited the program to inflate their profits by billions of dollars.

    And it’s working!

  45. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here is something from the ” interestingasfuck”(sic) subreddit titled ” Some of the military forces join in the revolution in Iran!” As I look at the video I can’t quite tell if it is really some Iranian military people joining in a march or not.

    I would say that these events bear watching to see where they will go. But not assisting or interfering with no matter what happens and not even if some forces in Iran ask for outside help. Outside helpers have been too discredited and unhelpful to provide any genuine help.

    Anyway, here is the link.

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