Links 10/9/2022

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.

* * *

Laughter is vital Aeon

This miracle plant was eaten into extinction 2,000 years ago—or was it? National Geographic

R** And The Funniest Thing You’ll Read All Week Heisenberg Report

Too Many Satellites: Astronomers Voice Concern Over Second-Gen Starlink PC Magazine

What Einstein and Bohr’s debate over quantum entanglement taught us about reality Big Think


Insects will struggle to keep pace with global temperature rise – which could be bad news for humans The Conversation

The TINY Cheap Electric Car You Actually Want! YouTube

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

What to do about climate change (3): Andreas Malm on blowing up pipelines and other forms of property destruction Crooked Timber

Chile’s Easter Island ‘Moai’ statues face irreparable damage after wildfire Reuters


UK ‘blind’ to new immune-evasive Covid variants creating ‘perfect storm’ for devastating wave Independent. If the UK really is a month ahead of the US, this is not good news for this country:

Not that we’ll notice, given the state of our data.

* * *

The marked contrast in pandemic outcomes between Japan and the United States Eric Topol, Ground Truths.

Comparing Japan, the country that has fared the best, with the United States, one of the worst pandemic outcome results, leaves us with a sense that Prof Ian MacKay’s “Swiss cheese model” is the best explanation. It’s not just one thing. Masks, consistent evidence-based communication (3C’s) with attention to ventilation and air quality, and the outstanding uptake of vaccines and boosters all contributed to Japan’s success.

Topol then goes on to push vax/ boosters and Paxlovid exclusively [bangs head on desk]. What is wrong with these people? It really is Military Misfortunes all over again: failure to anticipate + failure to learn + failure to adapt = catastrophic failure. But not in Japan. Or China, or that matter. In the United States, “the most powerful country in the world.” ‘Tis a puzzlement!

Everyone’s Health Is in Your Hands: Biden Admin Blames You Peste. “Public health leaders who haven’t invested in a layered approach — of masks and testing and ventilation and vaccines — blame your behavior, not theirs, for the continuing pandemic.” Well worth a read. Another Five-Eyes country heard from:


* * *

How Many Times Will You Get COVID? The New Yorker (Re Silc).

Strokes, heart attacks, sudden deaths: Does America understand the long-term risks of catching COVID? Fortune

Protective Effect of Previous SARS-CoV-2 Infection against Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants (correspondence) NEJM. “Protection from a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection against BA.4 or BA.5 reinfection was modest when the previous infection had been caused by a pre-omicron variant but strong when it had been caused by a post-omicron subvariant (including BA.1 or BA.2). Protection of a previous infection against reinfection with a BA.4 or BA.5 subvariant was lower than that against reinfection with a BA.1 or BA.2 subvariant3-5 because of more waning of immune protection over time and a greater capacity for immune-system evasion with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.”

* * *

Florida man releases study:

DeSantis v. Wachter is like Godzilla v. Mothra, but no doubt at some point a detailed takedown will be done. (Wachter is a winner of NC’s coveted “Sociopath of the Day” award.


Can Xi Jinping Reopen China? Foreign Affairs. The deck: “Ending the Havoc of Zero COVID—Without Causing a Crisis.” Remarkable that “havoc” is whatever gets in the way of Western profits. The deaths of a million or so elders would not be “havoc.” I mean, it wouldn’t be in the United States. Meanwhile:

Well, I was young and stupid too. But I don’t recall being held up as an exemplar for public health policy.

China on high alert as Covid cases rise ahead of Communist party congress FT

What would be the advantage of a US weapons depot on Taiwan? South China Morning Post

China ‘began stockpiling PPE months before Covid outbreak’ Telegraph

European Disunion

People in Poland Are Burning Trash to Stay Warm This Winter Bloomberg

Dear Old Blighty

Inside the Thatcher Larp London Review of Books. “Until Liz Truss, no one had ever thought to try Larping as a system of government.”

Julian Assange’s Judge and Her Husband’s Links to the British Military Establishment Exposed by Wikileaks Declassified UK

New Not-So-Cold War

Crimean bridge explosion leaves Russian supply lines exposed FT. The deck is more realistic: “Ukrainians celebrate symbolic blow to cornerstone of Moscow’s control of annexed territories.” More symbol manipulation. This video seems well-attested:

So, if the trains are running, Russian supply lines weren’t exposed for that long, were they? Still, massive triers, the Ukrainians. They might give it another go. (I’ve also seen well-attested videos of cars going over the bridge on the undamaged roadway, but that’s of little importance, strategically.)

Russian governors warn of ‘desire to seek revenge’ and threaten missile attacks on Ukraine’s ‘big cities’ as top Putin propagandist calls for total war and return to brutal Stalinist-era operations in response to Crimea bridge explosion Daily Mail. Well, since the whole tempest-in-the-sea-of-Azov turned out to be another Ukrainian stunt, no doubt Russia can meditate a more measured response. As for revenge, if the United States were in the same position, The Blob would be yammering about “the need to preserve American credibility,” which is nothing like revenge, not at all.

Russian dash cams are a genre unto themselves:

Brass ones, for sure.

If snark had export value, Ukraine would be the richest country in Europe:

Wrong part of the bridge, wrong number of explosions. But funny!

The other side of snark:

I wonder about the driver of the truck. The explosion took place in the right, ocean-side lane, not in the left lane, which would have damaged the other side of the bridge more, and the railroad bridge, too. This implies that the driver was not a suicide bomber, since a suicide bomber would have sought to maximize damage. That implies our friends the Ukrainians planted explosives in some poor random schlub’s truck (or our spooks did, who knows).

* * *

Sweden Finds Evidence of “Gross Sabotage” at Nord Stream Sites Maritime Executive

US Media’s Intellectual No-Fly-Zone on US Culpability in Nord Stream Attack FAIR

* * *

Germany Blames Sabotage for Train Outage WSJ. Hmm.

Are You The General Of Carl von Clausewitz’s Dreams? Take This Quiz To Find Out! Defector

The Caribbean

Venezuela Wants Cash in Reboot of Caribbean Oil-for-Beans Pact Bloomberg. Commentary;

Biden Administration

US purchases $290 million of drug for use in radiological and nuclear emergencies The Hill. Sending a message?

#SmithfieldTrial: The Most Absurd Miscarriage of Justice You’ve Never Heard Of Hadar Aviram


‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions NYT (Re Silc).

Police State Watch

Alabama Said Prison Strike Was ‘Under Control.’ Footage Shows System in Deadly Disarray. The Marshall Project

EXCLUSIVE: Rookie San Antonio cop, 25, fired for shooting and injuring boy, 17, eating cheeseburger is married ex-soldier who was once commended for his FIREARMS skills Daily Mail

Our Famously Free Press

The News is Just Guesswork Now Matt Taibbi, TK News. A media critique of this Times piece: “U.S. Believes Ukrainians Were Behind an Assassination in Russia“:

Along with the strings of phrases about how that the U.S. wasn’t happy about “Ukraine’s aggressive covert operations” (“took no part,” “would have opposed… had they been consulted,” “admonished,” etc) came a passage promising that despite this, there have been no “known changes” in the “provision of intelligence, military and diplomatic support to Mr. Zelensky’s government.” Taken altogether, you can read this as a thinly veiled hint, as in: “Hey, stop whacking people outside Ukraine, or we’ll cut off all the Javelins.”

That makes some sense, but then you’re right back to the first and most glaring fact of the article. You can threaten Zelensky with the yanking of weapons shipments all you want, in private. Why do so publicly, while also announcing to the world that Ukraine engaged in cross-border assassination?

“‘Food riots any day now, corruption like there was no tomorrow, no one can live on his salary, fortunes being made, and the place bleeding to death…. [T]he embassy is a nuthouse, more spooks than straight guys and all pretending they’ve got a secret.’ ‘How long do you give it?’ ‘A week. Ten years.'” –John LeCarré, The Honourable Schoolboy, of Phnom Penh during the Vietnam war. Or?


There Is No Such Thing as A.I. Art Common Sense

DALL·E 2 vs $10 Fiverr Commissions Simon Berens

How John Deere plans to build a world of fully autonomous farming by 2030 CNBC

The Bezzle

Even After $100 Billion, Self-Driving Cars Are Going Nowhere Bloomberg. No capital allocation problems in Silicon Valley, no sirree.

Millions in Cryptocurrency Vanished as Agents Watched Helplessly Bloomberg

Realignment and Legitimacy

How Hitler’s Enablers Undid Democracy In Germany The Atlantic. Somehow the role of German industrialists and the Social Democrats in enabling the rise of Hitler always gets overlooked in think pieces like this.

Imperial Collapse Watch

National Guard struggles as troops leave at faster pace AP

F-35 jet deliveries can resume following waiver for Chinese-origin alloy, Pentagon says Reuters

Class Warfare

The 40-Year Robbing of Rural America In These Times

Where Is All The Book Data? Public Books

More than a piece of furniture: it is sometimes as if these old pianos have souls The Conversation

Antidote du jour (via):

I am here for geckos. Bonus antidote:

More a meta-gecko, I grant. All the gecko action takes place off-stage.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Big Iron On His Hip by Marty Robbins)

    In the town of Desalojo some militia men appeared
    Packing semi-auto rifles, camo gear, and bushy beards
    But you couldn’t help but notice they had not missed any meals
    For the men who stood before us were a squad of Gravy Seals
    A squad of Gravy Seals

    Their leader took a microphone, reviling Democrats
    But he looked about as dangerous as Minnesota Fats
    He made a rousing speech about militia membership
    But he really should have wiped some of the ketchup off his lip
    Ketchup off his lip

    Another fella stood to talk about the working man
    But we was all distracted even as his speech began
    He wore camouoflage suspenders and a belt that barely fits
    He’d long since drowned his dignity in gravy and more grits
    Gravy and more grits

    Another guy spoke up, a man of much midwaist expanse
    A man of mighty appetite, we saw that at first glance
    He said wages are too low and we pay far too much in rents
    But all that we remember is the man’s circumference
    The man’s circumference

    Then a pudgy guy began to tell us all about state’s rights
    Keeping women in the kitchen and replacing modern whites
    But we could only wonder as he shook his swollen fist
    About his love of carbs and all the salads he had missed
    Salads he had missed

    Their political positions seem extremely muscle-bound
    But muscles in these buffalos are things that can’t be found
    It is all that gobbled fast food that has caused your triple chin
    This crew can only march because they brought their insulin
    Brought their insulin

    It would surely help their cause if they were more salubrious
    There’s so much all about them that is pure superfluous
    When they all sat down at Applebee’s that’s felony abuse
    Till the kitchen staff surrendered and they waved a flag of truce
    Waved a flag of truce

    It got warm, and they got sweaty, so they climbed back in their trucks
    They hit McDonald’s, Chik-Fil-A, then donuts at Starbucks
    They were blowing coal like choo-choos as they headed out of town
    They made such a mess of Denny’s that we had to burn it down
    Had to burn it down

    Gravy Seals, Gravy Seals
    They made such a mess of Denny’s that we had to burn it down
    Had to burn it down

    1. Eclair

      Jaysus, Antifa, I laughed so hard I was hiccuping! “Gravy Seals!” OMG!

      Wicked satire can be sooooo much more destructive than blowing stuff up. Well, it blows stuff up in one’s mind.

    2. britzklieg

      always gob smacked at your contributions, I usually don’t comment, but…

      damn. you’re fucking brilliant.

  2. Sibiryak

    Passenger and freight train traffic across the Crimean Bridge proceeds on schedule–TASS

    “Currently, the railway traffic of long-distance passenger and freight trains across the Crimean Bridge proceeds under the statutory schedule,” the statement says.

    Suburban train traffic across the Crimean Bridge will be restored at 7 p.m. on Sunday, the ministry said.

    […] car traffic has been partially restored.

    There’s no reason now for massive Russian retaliatory strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure. Skip Intro explains here. Russian forces should continue striking targets according to military logic, not revenge-logic, although perhaps some limited retaliation may be required to alleviate popular discontent.

    1. Michae Ismoe

      I’m not so sure that the Russian populace agrees with your conclusion. If Putin does, he can expect another punch in the face shortly. He is fighting psychopaths who think an exploding bridge is just as goos as a cover story in Vogue. I hope he realizes it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        FWIW, I think Putin needs to respond. Perhaps the best option would be something that makes Big Z appear to be the charlatan he in fact is. (Maybe send a Macy’s Day Parade-sized Big Z balloon across the border into Ukraine and…. deflate it.)

        Putin not being known for his humor, he should hire somebody who’s terrific at snark and humor. Say, a Ukrainian (for the right price).

        1. zagonostra

          Before war entered the kinetic phase and speculation that Russia was going to attack Ukraine was seen by many commentators, at least the ones I was listening to, saying that it would not happen. They also added that if Russia did attack, they would go through Ukraine like a “hot knife through butter.” That was the exact phrase that Garland Nixon was using. He was basing this on the informed opinion coming from very smart people like Scott Ritter. They got it wrong and have since admitted so.

          Regarding your contention that “Putin needs to respond,” I’m not so sure. Russia has always been portrayed as the stronger party, as it continues to be viewed today. When someone who is weaker antagonizes the stronger, and the stronger refrains from acting out of concern (whether misplaced we can argue) for the weaker, the norms of most civilized people view the stronger as acting ethically.

          Characterization of Russia as a bear is apt. When, and I don’t think “if” is in question any more, most everybody down to the most unrefined will see that Ukraine and it’s Western controllers stepped over the line. Coups, assassination, blowing up infrastructure, lies, misdirection, threats, all are building up to that decisive moment when many innocents will be killed. When that happens, Russia’s forbearance, I think, will lead to the majority of nations, if not condoning, at least discounting the bloodshed. Of course that is when the Western MSM step in and attempt to reframe history and dissemble facts.

    2. Marvel

      Jesus, it took California something like five years and billions of dollars to rebuild the tiny section of the Bay Bridge that fell in the 1989 earthquake, and no, Attorney General Kamala never did squat about the fraud.

    3. anon in so cal

      One in six chance of global nuclear war, according to this MIT professor:

      “Here’s why I think there’s now a one-in-six chance of an imminent global #NuclearWar, and why I appreciate
      @elonmusk and others urging de-escalation, which is IMHO in the national security interest of all nations:

  3. digi_owl

    > The TINY Cheap Electric Car You Actually Want! YouTube

    I dunno. These things have cropped up in various forms since WW2, yet never have any staying power. Likely because they fall into gaps between laws and practicality, where they need the full license of a car but are barely any more practical than a cargo bike.

    > People in Poland Are Burning Trash to Stay Warm This Winter Bloomberg

    While individual households doing it is unusual, it is not incommon to have towns heated via a central garbage incinerator. A few years back Sweden burned so much trash that way they started importing from the rest of the nordics.

    > How Hitler’s Enablers Undid Democracy In Germany The Atlantic. Somehow the role of German industrialists and the Social Democrats in enabling the rise of Hitler always gets overlooked in think pieces like this.

    Yep, they feared the communists more than the fascists. Likely because the communists would take away their wealth.

    > F-35 jet deliveries can resume following waiver for Chinese-origin alloy, Pentagon says Reuters


    1. Louis Fyne

      in a crash of a small car versus a Canyonero or a Tesla (5000+lbs/2222+ kg…Teslas are very heavy cars due to the batteries), small car driver is in for a bad day.

      No way, I’d let my wife or kids drive such a car on a UK A-road or US suburbia.

    2. flora

      I remember when the Atlantic was a good magazine. (I say that about a lot of magazines these days.) sigh….

      1. digi_owl

        Journalism the world over is suffering. Perhaps because they are worried about getting their personal brand tarnished by social media mobs.

    3. Rolf

      While individual households doing it is unusual, it is not incommon to have towns heated via a central garbage incinerator. A few years back Sweden burned so much trash that way they started importing from the rest of the nordics.

      Yes. Fernwärme (distance heating) is used in Germany districts to generate heat from waste (when available).

    4. chris

      The thing about EVs in the US that keeps getting hand waved away is the infrastructure to support them. Charging stations. Receptacles that can safely energize them when they’re parked at home. How to make it safe for them to be connected if they’re parked on the street in a city.

      If the only way to have one and operate it is if you have a garage in a temperate location no one in the US who would benefit from cheaper options will buy one.

  4. Stephen

    Crimean Bridge.

    One of the more egregious issues is that the people who died on the bridge are people who presumably Ukraine sees as its own citizens that if wants “back”. Yet it thinks that killing them is ok. Even something to celebrate. As we also see every day with the shelling in Donetsk.

    Of course, western corporate media and the bought geniuses in the think tanks in their great wisdom never see fit to point out this seeming paradox. Part of the answer seems to be that Ukraine wants the territory but deeply dislikes the “Russians” who live there. Another point that nobody in the western media ever chooses to explore because it is counter narrative.

    The western orthodoxy, frankly, then does not care about the human life involved at all so is actually comfortable with deaths from both “sides”. No body bags flowing back home. Which probably also in part explains the lack of significant anti war movements in prime perpetrator countries such as the US and UK.

    Why Ukrainians themselves seemingly do not ponder on this point that the west really does not care a jot about them (despite von der Leyen’s eye catching outfits) is even more perplexing. Amazing what propaganda and directed hatred can “achieve”. That really is not a word that feels appropriate either but can think of no other with the right meaning.

    We are living through one of the most overtly hypocritical episodes of power politics in history.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Meanwhile the Ukrainians are still shelling the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and they have now lost the last source of external power. What that means is that that plant is relying on diesel generators to stop those reactors running out of control. On the news it was suggested that if they sent power to the Ukraine again, then perhaps the shelling may stop.

        IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi was saying ‘The resumption of shelling, hitting the plant’s sole source of external power, is tremendously irresponsible’ but refused to say who is doing that shelling. But he did say that it was an ‘urgent imperative’ to establish a safety zone around that plant. I guess that he is doing this to have the IAEA nominated for a Nobel prize or something-

      2. chris

        The other thing that needs to be considered is the difference between gas systems and electric systems. When you interrupt gas flow, you have to do a lot of work. That’s tedious and time consuming when you’re talking about residential systems, e.g., checking pilots, proving gas lines are still tight, verifying that dirt and debris from restarting flow hasn’t clogged orifices, etc. It’s essential and difficult with larger systems and distribution networks. Verifying safety valves still work. Verifying supply pressure is still at its intended levels. Verifying odorant is still being added as necessary.

        It is a lot easier to handle an electric interruption of services than a gas supply interruption. If you don’t care of all those things I mentioned you get fires, explosions, and damaged equipment. Which makes things even worse in these war torn areas.

      3. c_heale

        London ain’t going to be doing that well in the next few years imo. Think they’ll go to Canada or somewhere else.

    1. digi_owl

      > One of the more egregious issues is that the people who died on the bridge are people who presumably Ukraine sees as its own citizens that if wants “back”.

      Only those of “Ukrainian” blood, the rest they want to toss into the Black Sea.

    2. Carolinian

      How about Ukraine has only been around as a country since 1991 and is a failed state–with lots of outside help–and suffers from more than a little self hate. All that viciousness needs a shrink.

      Meanwhile the West lives in a world of made up narrative and when confronted with reality says “what’s all this crazy talk about Nazis?”

      Perhaps Ukraine with its Azov boys–some of whom actually wear Confederate flag patches–falls into the long ago description of my South Carolina: “too big to be an insane asylum.”

      1. digi_owl

        We really should find some island and set it aside for them to LARP Rambo on, complete with live ammo.

    3. John Steinbach

      I think “directed hatred” (a great term) is the main reason for the absence of any visible Ukrainian opposition. The Neo-nazis are highly organized and omnipresent. To speak out in any way against the government is to risk death.

    4. Kouros

      They are collaborators and as such no true Ukrainians. And if they speak Russian also not true Ukrainians so they have tree choices: become Ukrainians, die, leave for Russia. And that is since 1991 and formally since 2014.

    5. jsn

      It’s in the nature of being a Nazi to view a portion of the population base as chattel rather than citizens and that chattel exists as a psychosocial representation to manage a political economy of maximizing explanation.

      If the fascist mindset loses its chattel, it will go to any lengths up to and often preferring destruction to validate the maximizing of exploitation.

      Russian speaking Ukraine is where what value there was lived in the Ukrainian economy. Separating that property from the chattel that commandeered it is the core mission of the UkoNazis, and just convenient to taunt the bear from the POV of their NATO handlers.

    6. vao

      Why Ukrainians themselves seemingly do not ponder on this point that the west really does not care a jot about them

      During WWII, many Ukrainians (esp. the Banderists) enthusiastically collaborated with the Nazis as minions carrying out the dirty work: killing communists, hunting down Jews, manning extermination camps, and policing the countryside. This despite the fact that the Nazi ideology was explicit in viewing them as Untermenschen because they were Slavs, and hence destined to become slaves or to be exterminated.

      Nowadays, sheer hatred for Russians blinds them to the real intents of the West, just like in the past sheer hatred for Jews, Poles and communists made them oblivious to the ultimate objective of the Germans.

      1. Lena

        Don’t forget the current Ukrainian hatred toward their disabled children and adults. They treat them as subhumans. Pure Nazism.

        1. IsabelPS

          That’s strange. One of my friends has an Ukrainian lady working for her, in Portugal, for the past 20 years. She has the Portuguese nationality, her husband and daughters too. Only the parents remain in Portugal in spite of the fact that the eldest daughter is married to a Portuguese guy. They live in Lviv and they have a little girl with asperger or something similar. A while ago my friend was telling me that the reason that they remain in Ukraine is that the grand-daughter is followed there and has therapies that it would be difficult to access in Portugal in the city where they would live.

          1. Lena

            Look at the BBC’s investigations into Ukraine’s treatment of the disabled, especially the documentary “Locked Away: Ukraine’s Stolen Lives”. It’s very painful to watch.

    7. Jessica

      people who presumably Ukraine sees as its own citizens that if wants “back”.

      If Ukraine retakes the _land_ it claims, it will at a minimum drive out ethnic Russian _people_, just as ethnic Poles were forced out from around Lvov/Lwow/Lviv, which had been southeastern Poland before WW2 and is now western Ukraine (Galicia). There is also a real possibility of killing on a massive scale. Particularly in Crimea because the Crimeans had been trying to transfer Crimea back from Ukraine to Russia from 1991.

    8. Jason Boxman

      I don’t watch war porn, but the NY Times had the destruction on auto-play or whatever (a feature I despise with the fire of a thousand suns, thanks web 2.0) but it was disturbing to see people were using the bridge at the time of the explosion.

  5. square coats

    re: what to do about climate change

    I’d gladly be wrong on this, but I wonder if, at least in the current u.s. political climate, environmentally-motivated property destruction might actually harm an overall movement because, rather than allowing other elements within the movement to characterize themselves as presenting a more moderate/agreeable approach, it might force/maneuver them into having to more or less completely disavow the movement to avoid being branded “radical” or some such..

    1. flora

      an aside: I’ll just add this to the mix of “interests”. From 2019:

      Don’t Take Movements at Face Value: Reading Cory Morningstar’s Research into Environmental Activist Greta Thunberg

      “…During a discussion with a guy who was involved in the financial end of foundation work on climate change and ecosystems, he termed the natural processes occurring in ecosystems as “ecosystem services” that need to be quantified monetarily. “That’s weird”, I thought, so I probed and he enthusiastically explained how financializing the functioning of ecosystems would help the foundation he worked for create “deals” to structure the ways in which they would agree to use their resources to help preserve or restore ecosystems in various parts of the world.”

  6. Ignacio

    RE: Laughter is vital Aeon

    Mr. Strether just made me laugh more than once today about all those serious events with some of the accompanying comments. Even with a single word like “confidence” in one case.

    Vital? Yes.

    1. Ignacio

      Then this: R** And The Funniest Thing You’ll Read All Week. Heisenberg Report

      Another good and funny read and critique on the speculations of Golden Financial Monks at NY Fed.

      1. Mikel

        Every: “The objective of the bank is to make money and exit without going to jail.”


    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Laughter is vital

      ESTRAGON: I can’t go on like this.

      VLADIMIR: That’s what you think.

      Waiting for Godot is, I think, best read and played as a slapstick comedy.

      1. Mildred Montana

        Yeah, Beckett is great, and much misunderstood in my opinion. That’s because readers tend to take him too seriously, forgetting that a large part of him was the Irish jokester.

        One hostile critic actually called him “a prophet of negation and sterility”. That critic obviously had no sense of humor.

      2. Art_DogCT

        I had the great good fortune to see this production during previews, in the Far Ago and Long Away of 1988:

        DIRECTED BY Mike Nichols
        Newhouse Theater

        Our revival of Beckett’s classic and simple story. Vladimir (Steve Martin) and Estragon (Robin Williams) wait on a deserted country road to meet a person named Godot. In each act, they encounter a man called Pozzo (F. Murray Abraham) and his slave, Lucky (Bill Irwin.) And, in each act, a young boy (Lukas Haas) appears to say that Mr. Godot cannot come today but will meet them tomorrow.

        It was, to say the very least, amazing.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’ve always relied on humor-preferably of the blackened kind, but admit it isn’t for everybody, as there’s nothing worse than a puzzled look on a countenance of somebody that doesn’t get it, and I might have to go to the explanation card-a no go which basically admits defeat, with clever not being the cleaver it could be,

  7. The Rev Kev

    “National Guard struggles as troops leave at faster pace”

    National Guard retention rates were on track up until the point where those Guardsmen found themselves required to study Basic Russian Language modules.

  8. OIFVet

    Re: Venezuela Wants Cash in Reboot of Caribbean Oil-for-Beans Pact, Bloomberg

    It warms the heart to see the imperial press doing its level best to win the hearts and minds of the Caribbean/Latin world. It gives one hope that the multipolar world is even closer to becoming a reality. Coincidentally, I’ve been recommending legumes to my Euro friends who are scared about the coming winter without cheap Russian gas. Daily consumption of beans should somewhat ease the gas crisis and provide plenty of tasty and affordable nutrition.

  9. Lex

    I wonder if the WaPo running that Dugina assassination story is a bad sign for Zelensky. There’s no reason for it at this time; the west has completely forgotten about the event. But it is the sort of prep work the national security state and its press organs like to lay for dumping a proxy. Not that it will happen tomorrow. The counter narrative to override the initial narrative needs to be built so when Biden dumps Ukraine Americans can comfort themselves about being duped by a corrupt and evil man who used the well-intentioned US. Until then we’ll continue to support actual terrorism in defense of “democracy”.

    1. timbers

      Agree with your take on Zelensky. He is the West’s man….until he isn’t. USA will drop him like a hot potato when he’s of no further use. Do you think Zelensky understands that?

      At times I wonder why is Zelensky still around. Gilbert Doctorow has called for taking out decision centers in Ukraine a while ago along with infrastructure, and he in the past may have at times expressed an overly optimistic hope for peace negotiations. He mentioned his wife is Russian.

      While there is angst among many including Russian people about Moscow’s seeming to turn it’s cheek to recent brazen Western terrorist attacks, what’s probably happening which the Kremlin is being tight lipped about, is preparations for much stronger final attack on Ukraine or a knock out blow, and they are sticking to their schedule period. It will no doubt be decisive, but given Putin’s history of undue restraint it may or may not be quite a far as it should be in terms of disabling Ukraine for the next 10 years or whatever it is supposed to be. IMO, at this point, Russian should be so brutal with infrastructure destruction as to drive most of Ukraine’s populace into Europe. If only to preclude the West from re-arming Ukriane. And if it is not far enough, Russia will pay a price in the form of Western re-arming flowing right back into Ukraine…a very impoverished Ukraine, but Western MIC could care less about that.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There are two problems with taking out Zelensky. The Western worship of Zelensky was something else, and this is a battle for the Third World too where the US has a recent history of regime change.

        Despite the grift, there are bound of be officers who can’t bug out or won’t leave worried about being stuck. Poroshenko seems to still be around. Economically the place is a wreck and won’t recover if Russia goes to Odessa or the state of war continues It’s neighbors are Poland, a country demanding WW2 reparations and Russia. I imagine EU countries will be looking to return recent emigres sooner than later.

        I imagine the Russian treaty demand will be quite clear about demilitarization. Anakara is proposing a four to one diplomatic meeting including the US. There won’t be any silent guarantees or the war condition continues. Anyone with limited knowledge of the US political system knows a treaty won’t make it through the Senate, but Moscow is concerned with Cairo and Kuala Lumpur and so forth.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Another reason to keep Zelensky around is because sooner or later, you will need somebody to sign a peace treaty and Zelensky has been hyped up as this magnificent leader so is the man. Of course at that point I would expect Zelensky to be killed by the west and blame put on the Russians for this martyr’s assassination. The little gremlin probably imagines that he has a mansion waiting for him in Florida after the British get him out. Won’t he ever be surprised.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I almost feel Zelensky knows. Would Biden really want Zelensky denouncing Biden for betrayal in Miami next year with HRC ready to run?

            1. The Rev Kev

              Actually it could get worse – for the west. So imagine this scenario. The Ukraine loses this war. Yes, I know that this is completely unimaginable but play along here. A big chunk of their country has joined Russia and taking along with it the regions that produced 80-90% of their pre-war GDP. They no longer even have a coastline anymore. So of course they are going to blame the Russians for not letting them win but guess who else they will blame? That’s right. The west – for not supporting them enough. And using all those weapons and explosives laying around, maybe more than a few of them might seek to share their pain with those western countries. So if the Ponte Vecchio or Tower Bridge get blown up, you know who to blame.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                This is my pet theory for the reasoning behind the mobilization. Russia need bodies to secure borders from terrorist cells when the Kiev army breaks. Belarus’ military alert too. Terrorism is after all war fought by the poor. They will need soldiers, not police, to go out in the wilderness. I don’t think Russia will strike deep, so they won’t need men to hold much in territory. With rumors of 800 planes being moved, I imagine the air war is going to go crazy with reported success of Starlink being knocked out.

                Even with Odessa, Ukraine is going to have plenty of problems, creating similar troubles.

              2. vao

                This was already alluded to earlier.

                The end of the war will shape the Ukrainian mentality in two ways:

                1) The extremists (Aidar/Azov/Sich/Pravy-Sektor/etc types) will fall back on a “Dolchstosslegende” to explain the eventual failure to repulse the Russians, condemn all the Ukrainian and foreign “traitors”, and launch whatever reprisals against them to avenge the defeat. Basically, the spirit that took hold of a large part of Germany after its defeat in 1918.

                2) The rest of the population will evolve an irredentist mentality, forever seething at the loss of national territory and longing for the “revanche” that will enable Ukraine to overcome the humiliation and recover the lost oblasts. In a sense, the spirit that took hold of France for decades after the 1871 defeat.

                I therefore expect that the first thing Ukrainian governments will attempt after the war is to rearm — in a surreptitious and concealed way.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  The second scenario won’t happen. 19th century France was a great power even after defeat on the cutting edge of every technology and development. Ukraine is nothing. The population has had significant shrinkage. International business isn’t going there. It was the worst of the former bloc states. The areas of industry are largely now part of Russia.

                  The current state is dependent on largesse. We aren’t talking lend lease levels of support, but paying salaries on a grand scale. Besides Moscow won’t tolerate that change. It’s why they launched the SMO in the first place.

                  International commerce won’t go there except to pillage as Ukraine will be desperate for any pats on the head. The corporatists will do more damage than Russian bombs.

                  Israel was established with the support of great powers in their own protectorates. They stole quite a bit at the founding too. Israel sits near important real estate. The US is just worried people will stop buying the F35.

                2. Polar Socialist

                  The same forces have fought over Ukrainian hearts and minds twice already: 1919-22 and 1945-47, and both time the extremists and “irredentists” lost. Violence and imprisonment was involved, but the main factor in both cases was that neither mindset can offer peace, normalcy or prosperity for Ukrainian population.
                  And after enough suffering, majority of any population will go after peace and prosperity. Even more so if the “others” still allow you to keep your Ukrainian identity, whatever it means for you specifically.

          2. Tom Stone

            Ms Zelenska appears to know how things work, I’d be very surprised if she hasn’t given a good deal of thought to surviving the end of hubby’s career.

            1. The Rev Kev

              The whole family has been given British citizenship along with Big Z’s inner circle so if things go south, they have their escape routes planned.

              1. MarkT

                Disgusting. I lost a friendship by pointing out that Zelensky played the role of president on television. Admittedly also took a step too far by mentioning Reagan :)

        2. Lex

          I don’t mean killing Zelensky. I mean abandoning Ukraine in some way, either through making a deal with Russia or just leaving Zelensky and his regime to the Russians (ending support). I don’t think the US will eliminate him at this point. Would be somewhat hard to blame it on Russia. They might if they have someone better to take his place, but there doesn’t seem to be a likely candidate (Zaluzhny is not made for TV). And there’s no political opposition at all, much less US friendly.

          But it’s difficult to do that after all the money, effort and marketing. About the only politically acceptable way is to decide that the Kiev regime is one of terrorists and Nazis that we can’t in good conscience support. Obviously that’s still tough since we do, but the American population is dumb so they’ll forget in two weeks.

      2. hk

        In some sense, Zelensky’s awareness of his own increasingly marginal status might be why he’s acting more deranged. The bigger the crisis gets and the less feasible some sort of “settlement” between the West and Russia is, the safer Zelensky is, or so he thinks anyways, I suspect.

    2. Stephen

      If I understood the news correctly, he also did not win personally the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe the empire’s “influencers” failed here or perhaps it is part of the same theme. There was quite a lot of gossip saying he would emulate Obama by winning it. Obviously, fighting wars does not preclude one from that award.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      I’ve been sowing seeds of doubt with a neighbor regarding Ukraine but I think my best nudge was when I told him to watch Zelensky more carefully to see if Z reminded my neighbor of anyone he ever knew who’d gotten hooked on meth.

      Zelensky apparently failed that test and the neighbor is now not paying attention to Ukraine for totally different reasons than before : )

      No one in this rural area is talking about the war and if I bring it up they’ll change the subject because in an insane world following world events will drive you crazy and then they point to me as proof.

  10. Mikel

    “R** And The Funniest Thing You’ll Read All Week” Heisenberg Report

    On the recent research paper from the New York Fed — ‘The Financial (In)Stability Real Interest Rate’ —

    Mike Every: “Let’s just say that the authors and I do not agree on how the world works. In fact, I am not sure anyone but a quant-heavy economist would recognize any of what is described as reality.

    Allow me to dig in…”

    Good points made, but the BS detector went off for me from the concept:

    “The Financial (In)Stability Real Interest Rate’ — which argues the US natural real interest rate for the real economy is not the same as the natural real interest rate for the financial economy, or the “financial stability real interest rate…”

    If it wasn’t so destructive to lives, the real laugh riot is a bunch of fools running around believing there is anything “natural” about interest rates. Too much thinking rooted in “invisible hand” (quasi-religious) non-sense and I don’t care how much math they use to try to make it look scientific.
    And, yes, come to think of it there is enough of that “will the Fed break things” narrative to make me notice the similarities to political campaigns, pharma marketing campaigns, and PR damage control. Probably the usual suspects.

    But we should really remember: The Fed has been “breaking things” since 1913.

    1. jsn

      We haven’t yet had the Copernican Revolution in economics where the “loanable funds” centered cosmology shifts to a socially created money cosmology.

      Money doesn’t exist in nature, but when you’ve made it your god, that’s hard to admit.

      Always more epicycles to preserve the faith.

        1. jsn

          That which is granted absolute value will always drive out “debased” value.

          Capitalism grants money absolute value, and with the resulting climate change has become a death cult debasing life itself.

          It won’t continue too much longer as our misplaced fait in money will kill us.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ‘Perrottet on the hollowness of his government’s approach to COVID. It’s about giving people a false sense of security for the economy’s sake.’

    For those not familiar with who this goose is, he is Dominic Perrottet – Premier of New South Wales – and who took over from Gladys Berejiklian. You know, the women that helped lead the charge to open up Australia to the Pandemic for the good of the economy. Yes, she had to eventually had to step down due to systematic corruption but by then the damage was done. So this guy was perfect to follow her. And now we are losing about a 1,000 dead a month here in Oz but one day perhaps the economy will finally come good – maybe.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      21st century Nathan Hale:

      I regret that I have but one life to give for The Economy. (makes sign of The Dollar over heart)

    2. Robert Hahl

      I don’t see it as being for the economy. It is for the politicians, since if there are no objective standards of performance, we have no basis to criticize the system.

  12. Alice X

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

    I am glad you posted this. I read it yesterday with dismay. But the headline should use the word swindled rather than exploited, which is too tame.

    I get incessant mail and email promos for MA. I have traditional Medicare and even they are in on it.

    Here are the last words of the piece (emphasis mine), the crooks know they are in charge:

    But few analysts expect major legislative or regulatory changes to the program.

    “Medicare Advantage overpayments are a political third rail,” said Dr. Richard Gilfillan, a former hospital and insurance executive and a former top regulator at Medicare, in an email. “The big health care plans know it’s wrong, and they know how to fix it, but they’re making too much money to stop. Their C.E.O.s should come to the table with Medicare as they did for the Affordable Care Act, end the coding frenzy, and let providers focus on better care, not more dollars for plans.”

    1. hunkerdown

      Why, to leave moral space for the middle class to exploit the working class? Sounds like PMC symbol manipulation to me.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      The MA program is rife with corruption and law-breaking. Film at 11.

      The health system Kaiser Permanente called doctors in during lunch and after work and urged them to add additional illnesses to the medical records of patients they hadn’t seen in weeks. Doctors who found enough new diagnoses could earn bottles of Champagne or a bonus in their paycheck.

      Anthem, a large insurer now called Elevance Health, paid more to doctors who said their patients were sicker. And executives at UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest insurer, told their workers to mine old medical records for more illnesses — and when they couldn’t find enough, sent them back to try again.

      I’d imagine the outcome coulda been much different if “providers” had not sold their professional “integrity” so cheaply and willingly. The same people who get professors fired for making organic chemistry “too hard” to get into medical school, evolve into “doctors” who sell their souls for a free bottle of champagne. (See “healthcare” outcomes in america for results.)

      And then there’s this:

      Several experts, including Medicare’s advisory commission, have recommended reducing all the plans’ payments. Congress has ordered several rounds of cuts and gave CMS the power to make additional reductions if the plans continued to overbill. The agency has not exercised that power.

      The agency does periodically audit insurers by looking at a few hundred of their customers’ cases. But insurers are fined for billing mistakes found only in those specific patients. A rule proposed during the Trump administration to extrapolate the fines to the rest of the plan’s customers has not been finalized.

      The CMS “administrator,” a person called Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, a biden appointee, declined to comment. I’ll just bet she did.

      Medicare “open enrollment” begins Oct. 15. Cue the usual vilifications of MA, a program that most senior enrollees are satisfied with, but we’re all supposed to feel lousy about participating in because the overseers refuse to do their jobs and make it work.

      PS. Read the article here.

      1. Felix_47

        If Jim Clyburn wanted it any other way the administration would do it. Democrat voting base is the poor and covered by Medicaid often in generous plans like the article covers, the PMC, government employees and retirees all of whom have relatively good government health coverage. The health plans that have the huge copays or deductables are from private coverage. Uncle sugar provides for the rest. So right now team Blue is happy with the situation and taking care of its voting base quite well. And Team Red has no consistent ideology or organization so there is no opposition to the current health care disaster. Expect no change in the foreseeable future. As Biden pointed out “I will veto any M4A bill that crosses my desk.” And consider that South Carolina is where Bernie’s dream of a better medical system went to die.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Worse, after reading that whole thing last night, I notice there’s not a single mention of Jail. No one’s going to Jail. Why are there no prosecutions? This is fraud. It is criminal. Where’s the Jail? Or nothing changes.

  13. Mikel

    Noticing Twitter is wanting people to sign in to their app before reading threads.
    Trying to increase that human to bot ratio.

    Nah…I’m good…

    1. Late Introvert

      Hint: they can’t do that without running javascript in your browser, and cookies as well

      you can actually control most, if not all, of that, but it does require some hassle, and many broken websites

      good ol’ HTML and plain text

  14. ArkansasAngie

    What to do about climate change (3): Andreas Malm on blowing up pipelines and other forms of property destruction Crooked Timber

    Wow. violence is OK so long as your cause is “right” Well … I do agree “climate change” is going to kill people.

    Personally … ends do not justify the means. No one died and left you god.

    1. Eclair

      Some would argue that if someone (person or corporation or institution or government) is mortally injuring you, or your children or your loved ones (of any species), then defending yourself is justified. Some people will reach that tipping point sooner than others. Depending on one’s socio-economic status, geographic location, age, etc. And, the means of defense will undoubted vary, from passive resistance, playing dumb, withdrawal, slowdown, boycott, strike, to low-level ‘monkey-wrenching,’ to high-level violence, of the government-sponsored type.

      Some would argue that the ‘violence’ has already started, in an uncoordinated and reactive manner. It may not be labelled ‘doing this because of climate change.’ So-called ‘climate change’ is only one symptom of the disruptions happening on a Planet that is over-populated with certain humans who are voracious consumers and extractors of finite resources: fossil fuels, water, arable land, forests, fish. These voracious users are making life difficult for the rest of us.

      1. jsn

        What’s recently been referred to as “social murder”, systemic effects that result in predictable, accelerated death, are subject to endless plausible deniability.

        The more you witness and anticipate the resulting mortality, the less sure you become of nonviolent protest.

        At a certain point non-violence is an inadequate response. Where you see that will depend on your personal experiences.

    2. hunkerdown

      Yes, that’s called a state. Why do you think ruthless impetuosity is an acceptable stance toward society and when will you be growing out of your national adolescence?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I really blame that Gandhi movie for major misinformation about the role of violence or more importantly the threat of violence in change. Nehru had 6 million men under arms. Without him, Gandhi would be a footnote in a travelogue about British India. I remember the lecture class with Julian Bond where he pointed out a subtle message in every MLK message: MLK’s way is the easy way. King and the NAACP were operating along with and after Garveyism. It could come back.

        JFK noted if you make peaceful change impossible, violent change is inevitable. The peace, dope, garbage is and always has been meant to protect the haves and keep them from being uncomfortable. The famed sit-ins of the 60’s weren’t at establishments run by a member of the local klan. The sit-ins were directed against places blacks went. Are you really going to use force against customers? There is a message there.

        1. Yves Smith

          Agreed. As Frederick Douglass said in his 1857 speech, “West India Emancipation”:

          The general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just. For a man who does not value freedom for himself will never value it for others, or put himself to any inconvenience to gain it for others. Such a man, the world says, may lie down until he has sense enough to stand up. It is useless and cruel to put a man on his legs, if the next moment his head is to be brought against a curbstone….

          Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow….

          Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

          This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

    3. Eric F

      But thankfully, the nice folks at Crooked Timber are deeply mired in academia, and no threat to anyone.

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Miracle Plant, Silphium/silphion;

    From the article, “He’d received a grant to collect specimens of Ferula, a genus of flowering plants in a family (Apiaceae) that includes carrots, fennel, and parsley, and has a reputation for yielding many novel disease-fighting compounds.”

    Fennel: Wild fennel is one of the first edible weeds to appear each spring in the Mediterranean world. It was associated with rebirth. I recall a few years back being at a temple of Uni (the Etruscan Juno) in northern Lazio. The ruins were surrounded by wild fennel sprouting and producing its characteristic feathered shoots. It was a sign that the goddess was indeed still inside the temple, even if not much of the temple was left.

    Prometheus stole fire from the gods and brought fire to humankind inside a giant fennel.

    The Greek word for fennel is marathon, as in the famous town and the famous run back to Athens, now mainly a race run as a contest.

    A strange omission: Silphium was considered an effective contraceptive in the ancient world. The article ignores contraception and goes into the culinary aspects in much detail. Is this National Geo self-censoring again?

    Another, yet typical, oddity: The article goes on about the remarkable scent, yet the writer isn’t capable of describing it. This “ignorance of the nose” is quite common. We are reduced to the description that silphion is piney.

    The photos are lovely: Take a look just for a glimpse of a very handsome plant that shows its Ferula heritage quite obviously.

    1. Ignacio

      Minute amounts of fennel seed are great to cook sea brass or sea bream. The strong aroma sticks and complements the fish perfectly. A couple of flavonoids responsible for it. I never tried fennel tea. Sorry for focusing on the culinary aspects DJG!

      1. Robert Hahl

        I haven’t had that dish but I concur on using small amounts. I used too much fennel seed one time and everyone said that it was the worst thing I ever cooked.

    2. Eclair

      “The article ignores contraception …” NG doesn’t want to be banned in Idaho. Or worse, be charged with a felony.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Years ago I read an article in Archaeology magazine discussing abortion in the ancient Mediterranean world. They mentioned that the practice was well known and widespread, with many plants being used as abortificants, with one widely mentioned in antiquity now being extinct due to overuse by the ancients, and that it was a relative of Queen Anne’s Lace. Unfortunately I can’t find the article using a general web search or searching the magazine’s own website, and I’m too lazy to dig the magazine out of my attic.

      That mention in today’s article about silphium’s use as a contraceptive made me wonder if it was the same plant discussed in that older Archaeology piece.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        So, yes, the article is about the potential rediscovery of the plant behind the famed inspiration of the heart shape. The wiki indicates the classical Era plant may have been a non-rugged subspecies or a hybrid versus one of the relatives.

    4. semper loquitur

      The thyrsus, the staff of Dionysus and his followers, was composed of a stalk of giant fennel topped with a pinecone or artichoke and bedecked with grape leaves or ivy.

    5. Matthew G. Saroff

      The accuracy of Silphium’s use as a method of birth control is a matter of some dispute, though its spice cousin, asafoetida, (Called Parthian Laser in Apicius, while Silphium is referred to as Laser) is contraindicated for pregnant and nursing mothers, indicating that it might potentially have an abortifacient effect.

  16. Mikel

    “Topol then goes on to push vax/ boosters and Paxlovid exclusively…”

    It’s worse than that…hr’s pushing one kind of biotech exclusively.
    He’s not talking about the non-mRNA shots or treatments.

    The refusal by the mainstream to want acknowledge any other options is a main reason I’m doing everything I can to stay away from the tech they are promoting.

    1. Pavel

      Topol deals with the 800kg gorilla in the room — the extreme rate of obesity in the USA vs that in Japan with one throwaway line:

      Sure there are differences in co-morbidities like obesity and diabetes, but there is also the tradeoff of a much higher population density in Japan.

      Not to mention a much healthier diet in terms of boosting the immune system (e.g. fermented soybeans (natto) and nutrients found in seaweed and mushrooms (maitake especially).

      But this might interfere with BigPharma profits. God forbid encouraging healthy eating and weight loss!

      1. Mikel

        Yeah, like people are going to kick a weight problem or diabetes overnight.
        And good thing everybody can afford and find all of those nutrient rich foods and stock up on them right away.

        The other 800kg gorilla in the room. The disease is now and what you describe is processes that have to happen over time with systemic changes to food distribution and sources to have maximum effect.

      2. chris

        I mean, just in terms of overall health there’s a huge difference. Japanese people walk A LOT more than people in the US do. Japanese people also face social pressure to have trim waists. You can’t really compare the co-morbidities and other factors between Japan and the US. They are fundamentally different on too many levels.

      3. Bugs

        I love nattõ and lots of other Japanese food that most Americans would probably have a hard time with, even if they could find them. I think the problem over there is just eating too damn much pre-prepared and packaged stuff. In my experience, I don’t know any Americans who cook entirely from scratch. There’s always something poured into the recipe that’s purely industrial food. Moreover, most of the middle and upper middle class I know over there only cook for entertainment. Otherwise it’s those supermarket deli packs, pre-prepared frozen diet meals or something delivered. It’s insidious and part of the culture.

        1. Acacia

          This is what I’ve noticed too: the prevalence of industrial food in USian diet. It affects a person’s taste, and this is especially clear when many USians travel abroad and try to eat cuisines that are based around more raw materials. Even the usual approach to cooking beef in, say, France (“blue” or “bloody”) is just a bridge too far for many people, not to mention steak tartar, snails, a tranche of blue cheese, etc. Ditto for East Asia, especially Japan, where people routinely eat all kinds of things that are just too “weird” if your taste has been industrialized.

          I don’t really see the connection Topol is trying to draw between obesity and population density in Japan. Not all of Japan is Tokyo. There are many places with lower density, and people aren’t heavier there. There’s a kind of general rule in Japan that you should never eat until you feel full. Something around 70% is the goal. Does such a thing exist in the Angle-Saxon countries? I haven’t heard of it.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Here in New Orleans, I know a ton of great cooks who cook from scratch. My mother being one of those!

    2. will rodgers horse

      No mention of national health insurance of course. Thanks Eric. You do you really well

    1. Alice X

      In the ’90s I had a Honda CRX HF, it was a two seat 60 HP model which got 59 mpg; city, highway, anyway. I drove it most days to work in Detroit, 60 miles round trip, one gallon. It was great but as the decade went on I became increasingly alarmed by the size of the vehicles around me on the X-way. I felt like a minnow in a sea of whales. My vista today is mainly to get to the food co-op and back, five miles round trip. A little too far to walk, and not that pleasant a walk anyway.

      We definitely need personal transport vehicles, but those SUVs are still in the way.

      That Peel P50 is cute. The tiny Microlino linked above starts at $15k. When my 24 year old Civic bites the dust, as it will, I will have to do something, but $15k won’t be it.

      1. Eclair

        We drove in a car (Subaru Impreza, 35 mpg) to Middlefield, Ohio, last month, with an Amish friend. Middlefield is the 3rd or 4th largest Amish community in the USA. There were the usual Amish horse-drawn buggies and wagons, plus a few sporty cabriolets. The pre-teens buzzed around on neat push bike/scooter affairs and a few women were driving pony carts. I could see myself in a pony cart.

        1. Alice X

          I could also see myself in a pony cart, but then I would have to take care of the pony, and that would be a problem. I love animals but am cash strapped.

          We have Amish communities hereabouts and one reads about them mostly when some dufus and car runs into a family in their horse drawn carriage, with dire consequences.

          I always seek them out at the several farmer’s markets I frequent.

    2. Lexx

      Nooo! I went to the store yesterday and came back out with a vague recollection of where I left my Prius. I could see three red Priuses in the lot and I walked to the nearest one, but it was the wrong car. Then I realized I could see the cars amongst the bigger vehicles and when had that last happened? Recently, in fact. There seems to be some sort of slow reversal in vehicle size afoot.

      But imagine if I’d just walked out and all I saw was a lot of tiny clown cars and I’m racking my brain trying to remember where I left it? Like a luggage carousel where all the suitcases look the same and I’ve had to tie something to it (there will be no antennas), or I’m repeatedly pressing a button to get my car to beep back, homing in by sound on which one is mine. They’ll just look so much alike, all tiny, claustrophobic, and vulnerable, like we’re jousting in three-wheelers. Oh, the uniformity… the uniformity.


      1. c_heale

        People will immediately find ways to distinguish their cars, and manufacturers will too, however big or small they are.

        Modern car design is pretty uniform anyway.

    1. Parker Dooley

      Friend in high school had one. It was a “hatch-front”. Other friends had a Messerschmidt, a Crosley and a Wartburg. All tiny cars.

  17. upstater

    NYT does trains today… (paywalled)

    How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails
    America’s first experiment with high-speed rail has become a multi-billion-dollar nightmare. Political compromises created a project so expensive that almost no one knows how it can be built as originally envisioned


    Mismanagement and ‘Monster Trains’ Have Wrecked American Rail

    Regarding California’s HSR, the article says virtually nothing about about the role of contractors and consultants or the “dumbing down” of professional and managerial expertise in government. As the article points out political horse trading plays a role, but that surely plays a role where HSR trains go even in France or China. The essence of the problem is too many pigs feeding at the trough. Only in America can we build the most expensive HSR or subways in the world; breathtaking, isn’t it.

    The second article is an opinion piece… it accurately describes how PSR changed industry practices, leaving out the drastic 30% reduction in employment in the few years before Covid. The draconian management led to a great resignation of operating employees. More importantly, nothing is said about the Carter era deregulation of the industry. It made freight rates and contracts secret and allowed the industry to price indiviual carload freight out of existence (similar to a few truckloads each going to many customers, opposed to solid commodity or container trains going to far fewer destinations). Deregulation allowed the industry to abandon their common carrier status and avoid accountability.

    Let it suffice to say that railroading in the US is just one more example of the rot of late stage capitalism. In both of these articles, nothing is offered as a solution only hopeless despondency is conveyed. Meanwhile the executives, hedgies and contractors party on, facilitated by their retinue of paid political hacks.

    Meanwhile the population suffers from lack of alternatives for both passenger and freight. Electrified conventional freight and passenger railroads, which could improve the climate and environment don’t exist.

    1. Tom Stone

      Cal-Pers is typical of Corruption in Sacramento, DOT is at least as bad and the Department of Corrections is a nightmare.
      You do not mess with the CCPOA ( California Correctional Police Officers Association) without consequences.
      Cal-Dot has form
      Take a look at the problems the Eastern span of the Bay Bridge has, a wonderful grift from the Brown Brothers (Willie and the Gov).
      Rob Bonta is Attorney General and he’s a good deal less attentive to his duties than Becerra or Harris were…
      It’s California.

      1. JBird4049

        Corruption, corruption, corruption. I read, somewhere, a comparison between American and French public construction practices. The commie French had much smaller organizations that built public transportation much more quickly and cheaply than the Americans. IIRC, the French interviewed were quite surprised at the costs and time of the American projects.

        1. rowlf

          The French practice was to also have a few people stay along to maintain the project after completion. The French approach was a good product for 20-30 years instead of finish and walk away.

          In the aviation field I prefer working with European suppliers who understand their product versus US companies who seem to move everyone around so no one knows the managers are imbeciles and so contacting the US company begins with explaining the history of their product to them.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “People in Poland Are Burning Trash to Stay Warm This Winter”

    The real fun will begin in places like Germany when the Greens will demand that people stop burning fires and actually try to make it illegal as there is now too much pollution in the air hanging over Europe. And at the same time they will insist that all the nuke plants in Germany shut down and that sole surviving gas line from Russia remains unused. These are definitely not the same Greens I often met in Germany in the 80s.

      1. Earl Erland

        Modern day Nazis might indeed burn “trash” to generate steam/electricity.
        Any idea that protects markets must be considered in the War for Unipolarism.

        Also, how much methane does a decomposing mammal generate?

        /too ugly 2B snark

    1. Wukchumni

      I took a walk with friends to beautiful White Chief Canyon in Mineral King yesterday, with a bouquet of buoyant clouds interspersed above giving beautiful contrast, quite a day.

      Couldn’t help but notice the decimation of the forest for the trees from 7,000 to 9,000 feet, as the bark beetles are back on tour with their greatest hits on the newlydeads, easily 1 out of 10 baums were of the ‘red tree’ variety which is actually more ocher in hue, as the needles shrivel up and close in towards the trunk.

      In a year after the winter sheds the needles, they will be called ‘grey trees’ and not nearly as noticeable, but still quite dead.

      Below my cabin on Sequoia NP land there are 9 red trees all dying from the top down as thats the way it works, the beetles compromise the tree’s vascular ability to push water up to the top and the pines are goners, see ya.

      130 million pine trees in the Sierra Nevada died in the 2012-16 drought from around 4,500 to 7,000 feet with trees higher up not really affected, but that was that drought and this is now. I’d guess we’re looking at another 50 million dead pines from this epoch, sadly.

      The forest itself is so very clogged with dead wood on the floor, its ridiculous. I burned off enough this morning from ample sources only a few hundred feet from the cabin to keep a Polish family warm for a few days, although my burn pile only lasted 30 minutes or so.

      I could do hundreds if not thousands of these sort of burn piles in the immediate surroundings, i’d just have to range further with my trusty wheelbarrow, but i’m only capable of so much.

      Obviously we have a mismatch here, and I suggest allowing Polish wood gatherers to have at and take as much burnables as possible back to Łódź et al on a 787, a win-win for all concerned.

  19. dougie

    Re: No Such Thing As AI Art

    A friend sent me a link to one of my favorite songs yesterday. All the lyrics had AI generated art associated with them. I found it utterly fascinating! I am glad I got to read the article, and re-watch the video after. I found it no less fascinating, but with a totally different perspective. Here ya go, Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”, replete with AI art.

    1. Mildred Montana

      My opinion of AI art (I read the articles) is that it reminds me of the surreal blacklight posters I used to collect in the ’70s. They were fascinating at the time; I doubt that any of them survive as “art” today. (Timelessness and durability are the hallmarks of true art.)

      I writer I greatly admire once opined that art was the combination of craftsmanship and genius. In order to qualify as art a work needed both.

      Craftsmanship by itself cleverly and impressively duplicates the work of others which, as far as I can tell, is what AI does. But craftsmanship alone cannot be art. It requires the injection of that mysterious ingredient called “human genius” to rise to that level and transcend all that has come before.

      1. semper loquitur

        Agreed. I think the danger of AI “art” is that it, like so much else in the technosphere, seeks to remove the human from the equation. Just as we face the grim prospects of robo-nannies, tele-“health”, ersatz food, the automation of everything from surgery to legal advice to education, and so on, now the most human of endeavors, art, the creation of beauty for it’s own sake, is vulnerable to the dictates of the handful of people who are pulling the levers and switches behind the curtain.

        What’s even sadder is that for the generations coming, this will be the norm. As the knowledge sphere shrinks, as access to knowledge becomes more and more constricted into the grasp of the tech elites, so too will the definitions of what art, and anything else, is will shrink. The ultimate goal is to redefine what it means to be a human being by the insertion of the yoke of centrally controlled technology into that matrix. With a goal towards domination and profit, of course.

      2. LifelongLib

        Maybe art is just decoration or entertainment that lasts. And maybe there are intermediate forms if it. “The Three Stooges” have been making people laugh for 80+ years, but will they still be funny in 300? Is their type of humor so simple (on the surface at least) that it becomes timeless and durable?

        1. Acacia

          Yeah, important question about whether this stuff will remain interesting in the future, or even the next decade. There is a long tradition of art that really makes people think, a simple example being the Mona Lisa (i.e., is she smiling? why? etc.), and these works tend to be the ones that endure and get preserved.

          Many critics would argue that such works are really “art” ergo are most worthy of our consideration, which kind of implies that a lot of other works are rather less deserving, to the point of some being more like “decoration”. There’s nothing wrong with decoration or ornament per se, or course, but it doesn’t really invite us to think in the same way.

          Perhaps that will be the fate of “AI” art. Since AI has no consciousness (and never will), it’s hard to see where the dimension of creativity will ever enter. Needless to say, creativity is a crucial dimension of art. Given these constraints, it may always be like the proverbial 500 monkeys banging on typewriters with their keepers somehow hoping they will produce Macbeth.

  20. RookieEMT

    It’s not a mask off moment for so many of these ‘liberals’ and the Democratic party. The mask off moment was screwing Bernie twice, no FDR allowed.

    It’s now ripping their face off to show their skulls and let the blood flow. Their desire is one of death.

    I went from being annoyed and at times angered to being afraid of them.

    1. Earl Erland

      Modern day Nazis might indeed burn “trash” to generate steam/electricity.
      Any idea that protects markets must be considered in the War for Unipolarism.

      Also, how much methane does a decomposing mammal generate?

      /too ugly 2B snark

  21. Eureka Springs

    “The TINY Cheap Electric Car You Actually Want!”

    Until the first time you open the door in pouring rain. I liked bits of simplicity, such as manual windows and mirror adjustments. Less is so much more. Funny to think it’s about 10 to 12 times the price of ’70 VW Beatle.

    1. Jeff W

      Well, a Beetle Deluxe Sedan went for $1839 in 1970. That would be, adjusted for inflation, $14,037.59 today, which is surprisingly close to the Microlino’s price of $14,500.

  22. Mikerw0

    Several years back you linked to an article about the Supermangerial Class in Germany and the role the played in Hitlers rise, or at least I think that’s where it came from. It discussed how governmental bodies had ceased functioning and effectively turned over running the country to a small group of execs at major corporations. Combine this with Matt Stoller’s recent piece on what is a similar pattern of large companies here acting as de facto regulators and we have the ingredients where an democracy as we think we knew it is endangered, which is a greater challenge as the well funded libertarians want this to occur.

  23. C. Rogersen Hart

    Glad to read the piano article. I have a 1970’s vintage Kimball spinet that has terrible tone, the worst key response my tuner has ever encountered, and it sits in consonance with itself at a good step and a half below A=440; since I tend to snap strings when it’s tuned higher. The soul of the piano is healthy though, and my history with it going back to childhood, so despite the modern phenomena of free excellent quality pianos proliferating on craigslist, she’s my main squeeze. Until I can convince my wife that two pianos in one house isn’t crazy anyway.

    1. britzklieg

      Heh… the 2 piano house. I have a 1929 Steinway “B” (7′ grand) that used to belong to my teacher, the noted Greek contralto, Elena Nikolaidi. Considered one of the finest piano’s ever made, It’s had some work and is still in fine playable condition with a lovely tone, but the soul comes from “Nikki” and all the lucky singers who studied with her. It’s still worth something on the market and now, after a close call with Ian along with my intent to move, it might be time to say goodbye. Really tough one to contemplate, that.

      My other piano is a 1956 (year of my birth) Baldwin Acrosonic, often referred to as the Acrobatic because of it’s flexible self-tuning ability to never really be in tune while never really being out of tune either. I bought it in 1986 for 1000$ as my first in NYC and to fit in my 5 story walk-up studio. It’s black lacquer with a deco design, still looks very cool and is where I learned just about every piece of music I ever sang for 30 years. Still plays well too although about a 1/4 tone flat. It’s the biggest thing I brought with me south when I moved in 2011 (I only got my Steinway 10 years ago, as an inheritance). Depending on where I move and the space available I’d consider keeping it as I look to downsize from my large family manse (to where I moved from Manhattan). It has zero retail value and I’d have trouble just giving it away.

      The soul of a piano, or two… I’ll drink to that (even though I don’t drink!).

    2. Wukchumni

      My buddy is quite the musician and loves to play the piano and was frankly in his element in the many piano bars in Black Rock City @ Burning Man, most of which were out of tune as piano tuners are as rare of a breed as people who actually want a piano, combined with the idea that transporting a piano generally gets them out of tune, and then you add in 100 degree temps and dust everywhere, its hell on a piano!

      He’s a piano tuner as well, and decided that next year @ Burning Man he will provide piano tuning for the dozen or so establishments that we frequented…

    3. Alice X

      I have a Kawai 52″ upright I bought new in 1981. It is a good instrument and I play most every day though the guitar and violin come first. A humidity control system is a must in SE Michigan, along with a room humidifier. It has held its tune for almost seven years now.

  24. Samuel Conner

    re: partying in Shanghai and “young and stupid”,

    As I have grown older and less foolish, reflecting on my narrow glimpse of the arc of human history and the way each generation seems to repeat the mistakes of its predecessors, the thought has occurred to me that “by the time one has grown old and wise enough to be able to parent well, one is no longer fertile.”

    In the age of COVID, I am revising that to “by the time one has become wise enough to know what measures one should pursue to stay alive, one is likely to already be so sick that one won’t stay alive for long.”

    1. digi_owl

      Because biology do not care about parenting, only spawning.

      And Shanghai has always been “special”. After all the term “shanghaiing” exist…

    2. juno mas

      That’s what grandparents are for in multi-generational families. Transcend the foolishness of the young with some wisdom.

  25. Appleseed

    re: #SmithfieldTrial:
    In a subsequent post, Aviram reports the verdict is in: Not Guilty.

    Interesting legal arguments. Since the necessity defense was not permitted, it all hung on the “value” of the two piglets. Apparently the jury agreed that the pigs no longer had economic value for Smithfield. So it wasn’t burglary, it was mongo.

    1. Joe Well

      Thank you for that update! That’s wonderful news!

      It amazes me that so many people want to boycott Amazon but won’t go vegan.

      Look at what you’re paying people to do on your behalf.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Ah, the planet Mongo and its ruler, Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton) …

      Back in the 1950s when TV — analog and black-and-white — was still a new thing in Honolulu, one TV station (KGMB?) ran the 1936+ Flash Gordon movie serial episodes (starring Olympic swimming champion Buster Crabbe) in its afternoon kids-home-from-school slot.

  26. spud


    free traders, always on the side of tyranny, always: FBI agents swarm all over americans as they expose free trade for what it really is

    just more NAFTA types protecting those foreign investment:)

  27. flora

    re: The 40-Year Robbing of Rural America – In These Times

    We in the US are back to where we were when the rise of the Populist Party started. Some editorial cartoons from back then when it was railroads and Wall St banks and Wall St commodity speculators strip mining wealth from rural America.:


    and the real election results of 1896.

    1. JBird4049

      It may be different in that the state’s ability at repression is increasing while its ability at administration is decreasing; the ability to create and maintain the water supply needed for agricultural, and later for drinking and sewage, is probably one of the main reasons for the creation of the administrative state.

      The Fertile Crescent, aka Western Civilization, as well as Chinese Civilization, are partially creations of the need for administration of the water supply and possibly food storage, which was a major reason for the local temples insisting on their tithe.

      Forget about invasions. Think starvation as the real reason for the collapse of kingdoms and empires for the past seven thousand years as the hungry citizens either revolt, or become so weak or apathetic that that disease and invaders can topple the ruling elites. It is all there in the over five, maybe seven, thousand years of history.

      So, unlike the elites of a century ago who maintained the ability to plan, create, and govern, we have wealth crazed weasels stripping the nation of the means of life while stripping the state with the means to administrate the water supplies, but increasing its ability to kill the people. Because obviously it is more profitable to burn it all down and squat among the ruins as lords, than it is to create prosperity for everyone. Our current elites are either poorly educated or too dumb to live, or possibly both.

      Of course, in dumbing themselves down to chaotic and suicidal imbecility, they have imposed some of it on everyone else. That is the big difference between then and now.

  28. Mikel

    Re: FL man releases study

    Not the only study coming to similar conclusions. Found this in the thread:

    The risk of myocarditis from COVID-19 vaccination was higher in males and increased with the number of vaccinations and boosters that people received, according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine that was led by researchers at Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.

    There have been worldwide reports of cases of myocarditis/pericarditis after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), especially among younger male persons zero to seven days after they received dose two. Data is just starting to be gathered about the incidence of myocarditis/pericarditis after booster doses…”

    So it’s concerning enough all over the world that more data is being gathered and more studies are being done.

  29. flora

    From the “In These Times” article:

    ” What’s really going on is that the government can’t manage capitalism anymore. It has been captured by forces that don’t want it to manage capitalism.”

    Don’t want govt to manage or regulate capitalism is call laissez faire capitalism. That was the belief system of the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Goulds, and Carnegies of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Neoliberalism is laissez faire with a twist: Businesses instead of being separate from govt concerns should instead capture govt power for its own uses and ends.
    As Foucault described:
    Skip to content

    About ES/PE community
    Oleg Komlik
    What is Economic Sociology?
    אולג קומליק

    January 29, 2018 Oleg Komlik
    Foucault: Neoliberalism is not laissez-faire, but permanent vigilance, activity, and intervention .

    (on the part of business)

    1. flora

      typos, the last bit after “As Foucault described” should simply read :

      Foucault: Neoliberalism is not laissez-faire, but permanent vigilance, activity, and intervention

  30. Mikel

    “EXCLUSIVE: Rookie San Antonio cop, 25, fired for shooting and injuring boy, 17, eating cheeseburger is married ex-soldier who was once commended for his FIREARMS skills” Daily Mail

    “When the officer arrived at the scene, he apparently mistook the teens’ car for a vehicle that evaded him the previous night…”

    That was what I thought looking at the video and from earlier reports: the cop intended to kill someone else and made a mistake.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Same here. The guy was out for revenge and did not properly check that it was the same car. And when he called out ‘Shots fired’ he forgot to mention that it was only him doing the shooting. Without bodycam, who would people have believed? In the past, they would have checked that driver’s background to see if he had a record or something. It’s only luck that that girl wasn’t shot either.

  31. hazelbrew

    I was walking with an old friend today, walking and talking. the conversation turned to Ukraine.
    much good debate had, and he is someone that takes the point about propaganda, is willing to question his assumptions and ideas, and willing to debate without emotion. a rare set of qualities to be cherished.

    We started talking about what else we would like to know right now, and my thoughts turned to China and India.

    I get exposed to a lot of good ideas and perspectives on this site and the comments, but feel I have a blind spot when it comes to China’s perspective on the NATO proxy war with Russia. and given a lot of the good articles are around moving from a unipolar world to a multipolar one… that seems exploring more.

    Is there anyone that has knowledge that can fill in the gaps? Is it deliberately ambiguous from China?
    I realize trying to do some research on this now that I don’t actually have any idea what sources might be trustworthy.

    My most basic impression is that China is on the sidelines, neither condemning or supporting the actions of Russia. (I say basic impression as… calling it understanding or knowledge would be totally wrong! ).

    A search on “chinese foreign policy ukraine russia war” reveals headlines as diverse as: strategy links, why china sympathizes with russia, why china is struggling to deal with it,

    what do I find?
    from Kings college london – why china is likely to support russia.:
    including China’s initial statement:
    “Beijing suggested that the US had been “pouring oil” on the flames of the conflict and “hyping up” the prospect of war. China, it said, had instead been urging the parties to adhere to the Minsk Agreements and requesting de-escalation.”
    that is from early this year.

    This is from the European council on foreign relations
    Russias war on ukraine viewed from China
    Lots of interesting ideas and perspective in here. I don’t know how to filter the source, what bias is there etc.
    From the article:
    “Westerners regard Russia’s war as an attack on the rules-based order, but Chinese scholars see it as another harbinger of the denouement of US hegemony. While Americans and Europeans can argue with this position, it would be a mistake not to take it seriously.”

    thought provoking read.
    “the fact that Chinese observers frame things so differently than we do should give us pause. At a minimum, we in the West should think harder about how the rest of the world perceives us. ”

    the point about framing is so important. I keep seeing at work how important it is to frame things properly. How we do so either constrains our solutions , or unlocks something creative we might have otherwise missed.

    What do the Chinese themselves think? compared to government foreign policy?
    from the diplomat and old. Why Do Many Chinese Sympathize With Russia in the Ukraine Conflict?

    Ok it is an old article, but the numbers show a mix of support for ukraine, support for Russia and the largest component neutral.

    if anyone has knowledge of the sources or good sources please help. e.g. if one of them is funded by a biased actor

    I would love to hear more about
    – what do we see/think is Chinese government position on the war?
    – what do the Chinese population think of the war?
    – are the two positions similar or vastly different ?

    1. tegnost

      I think it was something along the lines of he who ties the bell to the tigers tail must be the one to take it off…

    2. Grebo

      An important clue is the Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development February 4, 2022 which was 20 days before the SMO started.

      China and Russia agree that the US empire must end, for the good of all. Allowing the US to take down Russia through Ukraine would be a setback.

      I don’t know that Chinese people pay much more mind to foreign policy than American people. Both will mostly believe what they are told by their government and its mouthpieces.

  32. Dave in Austin

    On “Uncertainty” an article mentioned above says:

    “Uncertainty Principle. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that there are certain combinations of variables that are intertwined. For example, the position and momentum of a particle are connected. The more carefully you measure the particle’s position, the less you know its momentum, and vice versa. This is something built into quantum physics and doesn’t depend on the quality of your instrumentation.”

    This is not quite true. There is an ongoing debate in the physics world on the “indeterminate versus experimental error” issue. See: (I make no claim to understanding this in detail).

    The “Bob and Alice” action-at-a-distance problem is much easier for a layman to understand and for that reason more disturbing. Entangled particles must start at one place. They can then move apart- very long distances apart. So the “Measure the spin of particle A and you instantly know particle B has the opposite spin” introduces a problem. If the particles are very far apart then “information” is being transmitted between the two physically separated particles at speeds that are definitely much faster than the speed of light. That has been empirically confirmed and that violates a basic principle that nothing can move faster than the speed of light because the mass grows toward infinity. So all we can say for sure is that “the information” has no mass.

    We have no explanation. There is something very basic going on that violates our model of time and space. As Einstein said, this is “Spooky”.

    1. semper loquitur

      Thanks for the link. I tried to follow the essay but the best thing I could come away with is the notion that some physicists thinks that quantum uncertainty will go away with better instrumentation. Do you think this is on the right track?

      The “Big Think” article starts off with a fundamental error, for that matter:

      “Physics is not just a quest to predict how things work. It’s an attempt to understand the true nature of reality.”

      No, it’s not. Physics is an attempt to model reality and that’s it. To claim that models are a true picture of reality is a category error. This error is so commonplace that, like a stain that’s been worked into a rug so widely and deeply that it appears to be the actual rug, no one seems to notice.

      No system of human thought will ever, let me be clear, ever definitively understand the true nature of reality. Science doesn’t try, philosophy can only ever attempt to do so. In order to see reality as it is, any system of human thought would have to transcend human thought. Any brain capable of “holding” a mind that could comprehend the true nature of reality would be as big as reality itself and it would still be limited by the parameters of that complex.

      The danger of the position taken by the author of this piece, related to the danger of the notion of AI “art”, is that reality will be defined as such by those who hold such notions. A group of people quickly shrinking in number and with greater and greater control over what is acceptable knowledge and who gets to see it. More or less, it’s why people can say with all honesty that McDonalds has a great burger. They don’t, in fact, what they offer is an object that used to be food but has been processed beyond comprehension and then “prettified” in various ways to make it palatable but for many, it’s the best and only burger. One can conceive of a future where similarly processed “knowledge” comes solely from a handful of online sources, “art” comes from solely from algorithms, and “burgers” come solely from squeeze-tubes.

      1. Mikel

        From your analysis, it sounds like the “Big Think” article has a lot in common with the New York Fed’s recent paper, “The Financial (In)Stability Real Interest Rate, R**.”

        1. semper loquitur

          If by this you mean that some group has devised a model and then transposed it over reality by claiming to have revealed the Ultimate Economic Truth, then it is exactly what I am saying.

      2. Korual

        Physics is not just attempted modelling. The vast majority of physics is inductive rather than deductive.

        1. semper loquitur

          All knowledge systems of the physical world are modeling systems, as any conception of them will always contain assumptions, short-cuts, best guesses, etc. No conception of the natural world is complete, no matter what logical form it takes, it will always be a simulacrum. And for that matter, there are both deductive and inductive models:

          “Deductive, inductive, or floating: A deductive model is a logical structure based on a theory. An inductive model arises from empirical findings and generalization from them. The floating model rests on neither theory nor observation, but is merely the invocation of expected structure.”

          Empirical findings and generalizations from them? Models.

          1. Korual

            Interpretations. Inferences. Not axioms. Even mathematics allows logical inference in the absence of axioms or models.

        2. Tom Bradford


          I can buy a kit of parts I can glue together into a small representation – a model – of a Spitfire, say. Done well enough, painted carefully and with the decals applied it would – apart from its scale – look identical to the real thing in a museum.

          But it could never fly. I could deduce from its parts – its wing surfaces and their profile – how it ‘could’ fly. Study its ailerons and flaps and other control surfaces how that flight could be controlled, deduce from the propeller-shape what would maintain that flight, and from all the former speculate on the unseen engine behind the propeller, the hidden cables connecting all the bits, but that model would still never fly – can never fly – because I have not and cannot model the mind that makes it fly. The mind in the cockpit.

          Deus ex machina? The Ghost in the Machine? No, or at least not necessarily. Only that the model is not the thing, and if you can’t get the model to do what the thing itself does, you’re still missing something.

    2. Korual

      As the article states, Bohr was right and Einstein wrong, but Bohr still maintained the anthropocentric position on observation. But trees in the middle of woods really do fall down and electrons are always making quantum leaps. Barad has recently built on Bohr to describe the intra-action of quanta. It’s as if the universe is self-observing on a fundamental level, as panpsychism suggests.

      Since we cannot observe the universe without changing it, maybe change cannot occur without observation?

      1. semper loquitur

        How do you know trees fall down and electrons leap until you have observed that they have done so? Just because you happen upon a fallen tree doesn’t mean that prior to you observing it it wasn’t all in a super-positional state. It’s literally impossible to know, to take the observer out of the equation with certainty. And while we cannot know whether or not change cannot take place without an observer, we don’t have to succumb to the fantasy of panpsychism. The quanta who hold themselves in such high regard. We have a perfectly fine observer in ourselves.

        1. Korual

          The falling of a tree is less fantastic than a universe that changes only for the minds of physicists.

      2. KD

        Aristotle was the one who created the derided dichotomy between potency and act. But wave function = potency, collapse of the wave function/observation = act.

    3. Skip Intro

      Entanglement doesn’t actually transmit information, so there’s no paradox from faster-than-light hijinx. The entangled particles are created to have certain related quantum properties, so observing one lets you infer the state of the other instantaneously… or at the speed of thought at least. If you get 2 paper bags put on a blindfold, and grab a pair of socks from a huge bin of randomly colored pairs, then put one sock from the pair in each bag, seal the bags, and take off the blind fold. You can now take one bag on a bus from Trenton, NJ to Wells, NV, for example, and by opening the bag in Wells instantly know the color of the sock in the bag in Trenton. Spooky.

  33. Wukchumni

    Goooooooooood Moooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The Unit was on R & R in Bangkok, resting on it’s laurels as the world’s reserve currency and frankly living it up while temporarily ensconced in wallets of those in the platoon, living la vida hegemon.

    It was inconceivable that it would ever lose it’s status, er the money not the grunts, because of something that happened 78 years ago, was the general feeling.

  34. fresno dan
    Aretha Franklin was tracked by the FBI for 40 years as the agency repeatedly sought — but ultimately failed — to tie the Queen of Soul to “extremists” and “radicals,” newly declassified documents reveal.
    The FBI’s suspicion of the late star was laid bare in the cache of documents, which included a slew of phrases, such as “black extremists,” “pro-communist,” “hate America,” “radical,” “racial violence” and “militant black power.”
    so, maybe now that repubs have been tagged as radicals there will be substantive and meaningful reform of the FBI…Ouch! I hurt myself laughing

    1. Mikel

      NC had a post about that a couple of weeks or so ago.
      I mentioned that the person who filed for the documents should have also asked for files on her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin.

      1. JBird4049

        IIRC, the FBI did its best to destroy Billie Holiday because of her singing Strange Fruit as well as for being an uppity Black woman. I have no problem believing that they also went after Aretha Franklin. Unless you were White, straight, middle class or higher, and had absolutely orthodox beliefs, you were the enemy.

  35. Kent

    The 40-Year Robbing of Rural America In These Times

    An otherwise excellent economic history laden with the steaming sociological turds of Redlining, that ended what, four generations ago?, Racism, White nationalism, whatever the fuck that is, and climate change, nice ineffable mega-cause which ignores that 71% of global carbon emissions emanate from 100 companies worldwide.

    Those companies want people to breastbeat about redlining and all the other shibboleths with watered down and camouflaged real economic analysis with the favorite divisions and distractions that allow yet more economic rape. Have to keep people’s attention on shiny objects and continue to spew race grievances.

    1. JBird4049

      Racism is a real problem, has been for centuries, and it made Blacks much more vulnerable to neoliberalism especially from the five decades of President Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs, the CIA importing cocaine into the inner cities, and the deliberate destruction of black communities under “urban renewal” from the 40s into 70s, among other things.

      What is happening right now some people are blaming this on the entire White population in a kind of twisted racial sin as if it is an inherent, perpetual stain in the blood of white Americans; a mirror of the White supremacy and eugenics. Put all the blame and responsibility on the population that is most able to overthrow the current system and its elites, which is causing alienation among groups of Americans, denies or distracts from the Black Misleadership Class guilt in, and responsibility for, the current mess, and it is a fabulous grifting opportunity. It is also another distraction from the damage done by the destruction of the American economy.

      Restated, racism can be a thing, of which too many Americans deny its awful, ongoing existence, and its existence is used to justify and enable propaganda, censorship, and oppression. All at the same time.

  36. Party on

    The following quote is from Doug Noland’s latest weekly commentary (Oct. 7):

    “We cannot overstate the significance of the so-called “Fed put” during the previous cycle. This liquidity backstop – that morphed over time into “whatever it takes”, zero rates and endless Trillions of QE – created the perception of safety and liquidity – of “moneyness” – throughout the financial markets. Stocks became a can’t lose, corporate debt the same, and even the crazy cryptocurrencies. Can’t lose included derivatives and Wall Street structured finance – private equity, venture capital, hedge funds and leveraged speculation. With central bank backing, perceptions crystallized that the entire new financial structure was a can’t lose.”

  37. Revenant

    Yes, that was silphium you remembered.

    (This was in response to the comment about an abortifaecient that was driven to extinction. But the comment gremlins moved it!

  38. Jason Boxman

    On “What Einstein and Bohr’s debate over quantum entanglement taught us about reality” I recommend the book: Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality.

  39. Lex

    Putin has publicly called the bridge attack terrorism by Ukraine and with assistance from foreign powers. I guess we’ll see the SMO upgraded to CTO/ATO in the security council meeting tomorrow. Duma members calling for declarations of war. I find that unlikely because of Putin’s opinion of international law and the bind such a declaration would create for Russia’s allies.

    1. Old Sovietologist

      Lex you’re right about Putin not declaring war. I would be amazed if he did. However, I hope that he will announce that the “terrorist” decision making centres are now targets for the Russian Federation and call on civilians to leaves those centres and the areas around them.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’m wondering if attacks like this can give Belarus the excuse to participate as the other part of “Union State”. There’s something in that agreement about “act of aggression against the Union State” that would allow/force Belarus to deploy troops under Russian command (for which they have trained since 1999).
        All that economic and political support ain’t free in this world.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Then it will be declassified 50 years hence and greeted with a collective shrug “boy we sure did some kooky terrible stuff back then!”, presumably followed by some blinking.

  40. Jason Boxman

    We’re still learning how pervasive this all is. An analysis of more than 150,000 COVID-19 survivors published in Nature Medicine found that people with coronavirus are at increased risk of developing neurologic sequelae–including strokes, cognition and memory problems, seizures, movement disorders, and many other issues–in the first year after infection. The risks of developing these long-term complications were apparent even in people who did not require hospitalization during their initial infection.

    Of course we are! Because Biden and western governments are letting everyone get f**ked again and again. It is a grand, worldwide experiment! And in 20 years whoever is left, probably the Chinese, can do a retrospective study on societal collapse and perhaps determine to what extent COVID played a role in that outcome for the entire west. Hooray!

    Clearly, we are still in the clutches of the virus, and some of the outcomes are frightening.

    wtf does that even mean? You mean Biden and liberal Democrats are actively engaged in a eugenics program? This can all end at any time, through defense in depth adoption, a real 30 day lockdown, and distribution of material benefits for that duration.

    1. Basil Pesto

      The Fortune piece is certainly worth sharing with fluther friends, family and colleagues. I have made the point that the information vacuum about the true nature of Covid as a disease from government institutions is leading these (“predictable and predicted”, as GM likes to say) covid-induced sudden deaths to be blamed on, of course, the vaccines.

      But you’re also exactly right about the piece’s shortcomings. Always thinking of a market solution (moar research, moar treatments). Ctrl + F ‘China’, of course, and you will find nothing. You’ll find propagandising against them in other pieces, without stating the obvious point that China is avoiding subjecting itself to these outcomes. But they do look a bit batty in their full PPE, those pandemic frontline workers.

  41. Pat

    Re: US purchasing drugs for nuclear and radiological emergencies:

    While we cannot dismiss the idea that this is to either further foster terror and/or send a subtle or not so subtle signal about US preparedness both to citizens and other countries, I’d like to suggest a different motive. Reassurance. Oh, not to us plebes, but to the important folk who aren’t necessarily rich enough on their own to outfit a fully equipped bolt hole. Think about it, when was the last time the medications were stocked in the various armoured basements that this group would escape into. And there is nothing to say that one or two people have recently taken stock of what supplies are available. I know if I worked in Washington at that level, I would sure as hell want to be sure that I would have any necessary medications. I don’t think any of them are so far gone they don’t recognize that it only takes one missile to get off and get through, even if we do think we could take out Russia and/or China in one fell swoop.

  42. flora

    I don’t normally (as in almost never) post a Karl Denninger article here because he’s very caustic in his commentary. However, given the recent PayPal contretemps, I’m thinking of switching to “check payments” only to various sites I support. PayPal can’t grab those on a whim.

    Here’s Denninger. (language, outlook, nsfw, and etc.)

  43. will rodgers horse

    As fo DeSantis vs Wachter, no mention of the fact that Norway and other European states have already acted as like Florida

  44. juno mas

    RE: More than a piece of Furniture

    Here’s what is done with old pianos in my town:

    Old acoustic/upright piano’s differ in their sound and key response. As noted in the article, playing them takes an element of discovery. I love to play the old Pianos on State Street as a creative process of discovery. Some need to rumble, others are best with softer sounds by playing the “pretty notes” only.

  45. Pelham

    A modest proposal re Putin and Ukraine, since we’re engaged in a proxy war with Russia: Why not — just once — give Putin mainstream access to all the US networks to make his case, with (importantly) an interpreter selected by Russia? This would be a one-time thing.

    Give Putin just one hour to make his case, uninterrupted. The broadcast would be clearly labeled for what it is, and follow-on discussions by pundits and assorted ex-spooks could stomp all over it, as they wish. But at least for one hour the public could have unfiltered access to justifications — however valid or weak — on the other side of this conflict, all the more important since every other avenue of Russian access to US media has been slammed shut.

  46. ThirtyOne

    Apologies if this was talked about earlier.

    Explosives laid in rolls with film: details of the Ukrainian terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge revealed

    The head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, reported to Vladimir Putin that there is no doubt that the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge was staged by the Ukrainian special services. Moreover, citizens of Russia and foreign countries participated in it at different stages of preparation.

    – We have already established the route of the truck where the explosion occurred. These are Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, North Ossetia, Krasnodar… Carriers are installed. With the help of operational officers of the FSB, it was possible to identify suspects from among those who could have prepared a terrorist attack, ” Bastrykin stressed.

    According to the KP website.EN, two heavy trucks were involved in this operation. The delivery scheme was as follows. The cargo – 22 pallets of film with 9 rolls on each (one pallet weighs about a ton) – arrived by sea in the Georgian port of Poti from Bulgaria. The customer was a citizen of Ukraine. Then he was loaded onto a truck with foreign license plates, the driver communicated with the customer via Vatsap. From Poti, the truck went to Armenia, where the cargo was cleared according to the Customs Union rules-they say this is a typical, non-suspicious route for truckers traveling to Russia-then the car entered the territory of the Russian Federation through the Upper Lars checkpoint. The same one through which some Russians are fleeing to Georgia from mobilization. The final destination was the city of Armavir, where the pallets were transferred to another truck, which went in the direction of the Crimea.

    Apparently, the explosives were somehow placed in rolls of film. And so that on the X-ray it was not visible.

    And this was done in Bulgaria. This means that in addition to Ukraine, foreign special services could also participate in the organization of this terrorist attack.

    The driver of the first truck is already giving evidence. Most likely, like the driver of the second truck, he was used blindly and did not know what he was driving.

    Читайте на http://WWW.KP.RU:

    1. Paradan

      So if its rolled up in film, then the driver state that he cant be scanned or it’ll ruin his cargo. So they pop it open and examine it? Anyway, who the fug is using 22 tons of film? And for what?

  47. Jason Boxman

    I’ve dreaded this for almost three years. I have jury duty in November. I’d rather not get long COVID or die as a result of required public service. I don’t quality for any of the valid excuses available. Fortunately, this is a very small county, so this might very well be a non-event and simply going and wearing my elastomeric mask is enough. But you can’t hear me in it, so how’s that going to fly if I’m seated on a jury and asked questions during selection? Or perhaps I’ll be forced to remove it? Ending up in jail almost assures I get COVID.

    How are people handling jury duty during the pandemic now that Joe Biden has declared it “over”?


    1. katiebird

      Maybe bring a notepad and write your answers as well as speaking them? I like the idea of the elastomeric mask in court.

    2. ambrit

      Wear the mask to the “cattle call” of the Jury selection. Protecting yourself from infection, or, better yet, protecting others from you maybe having “something” should be valid enough to keep it on your face. I did a year of Grand Jury meetings, one a month, wearing a mask and it worked out quite well. (I didn’t fall over into a quivering mass of foaming jelly, so, there is that.)
      The odds are that you will not be chosen. If it’s a common jury, the lawyers might not like the “look” of you. Independent minded jurors are not usually valued by professional manipulators.
      Good luck either way.

    3. semper loquitur

      I was called upon for jury duty years ago. I guess I made it to the second round of selection or whatever as I was personally interviewed by the attorneys. They asked me about myself.

      I explained that I was studying philosophy at the graduate level and that I loved to argue. I told them I was skilled at examining all sides of an argument. I also told them that I was a news junkie and frequented forums to argue current events.

      That was that. They smiled and thanked me for my time. Case closed.

  48. MarkT

    Nobel Peace Prize. The local newspaper carried a small item at the bottom of page 19 this morning. The headline was “Peace Prize winner has words of caution”. Turns out it was referring to the “head of the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties” who, upon receiving the prize jointly with people from Belarus and Russia, spake thus: “We don’t see – and shouldn’t see – this prize as a Soviet narrative about brotherhood nations. This is a story about fighting against a common enemy.”

    Oh goodie! So much for it being a “peace prize” …

    I’ve no information about her or her activities, but I found the quote really jarring.

  49. Tom Bradford

    I have been/still am hoping to read some intelligent and informed comment in NT re the serious/crippling problems the Ukrainian military is having due to its reliance on Starlink on the battlefield, referred to by The Duran and others recently.

    Alex Christoforou of The Duran suggested that either the Russians had broken the codes/algorithms of the Starlink system and were jamming it, or that Elon Musk had turned it off either in a fit of pique at Ukraine’s rather rude rejection of his offer to settle their spat with the Russians via a referendum on Twitter, or because the Ukraine hadn’t been paying its bills!*

    To my mind this is a far more significant story than the Kerch Bridge bombing, which is probably why the Western Press isn’t running with it, particularly if it really is a case of a private individual/commercial enterprise intervening and even perhaps affecting the outcome of a major, bitter war for purely personal or commercial reasons. Though the other explanation – the Russians learned how to jam it – should scare NATO, I’d’a thought.



    1. c_heale

      I think the scary thing is that this network is being used for military purposes. Maybe that was the reason for putting the satellites up in the first place.

  50. bwilli123

    Simon Springer, a Professor of Human Geography from the University of Newcastle (NSW, Australia) has written a paper published in ACME: An International Journal of Critical Geographies for critical analyses of the social, the spatial, the ecological, and the political, grounded in critical geographic scholarship.

    Abstract “Yep, fuck it. Neoliberalism sucks. We don’t need it.”
    Keywords: fuck neoliberalism, fuck it to hell

    Sample paragraph
    “…There is nothing about neoliberalism that is deserving of our respect, and so in concert with a prefigurative politics of creation, mymessage is quite simply ‘fuck it’. Fuck the hold that it has on our political imaginations. Fuck the violence it engenders. Fuck the inequality it extols as a virtue. Fuck the way it has ravaged the environment. Fuck the endless cycle of accumulation and the cult of growth. Fuck the Mont Pelerin society and all the think tanks that continue to prop it up and promote it. Fuck Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman for saddling us with their ideas. Fuck the Thatchers, the Reagans, and all the cowardly, self-interested politicians who seek only to scratch the back of avarice….”

    Paper is at

  51. Wukchumni

    Marmot Cong Movements in Ho Chi Mihneral King:

    There weren’t any vehicles disabled this summer and none are expected as the Marmot Cong is doing the Big Sleep until April, when they then emerge from elaborate tunnel systems in search of radiator hoses to do hit & waddle attacks on cagers.

    The most interesting development was the MC making feints in the guise of sending scouts down to lower altitudes, some 200 feet lower than usually seen, in search of Suburus.

  52. MarkT

    South Africa in the 1980s. Gay conscripts who were found out were sent to a psychiatric unit at a military hospital. I was starting high school at this time. We were all crapping ourselves about having to fight in a war in Namibia or Angola when we left school. Some people didn’t come back. And some were never the same again. I was able to dodge the draft through luck of timing.

  53. Matthew G. Saroff

    The potential rediscovery of the spice Silphium is exciting to folks like me do historical recipes.

    According to Apicius, there is a 2nd best alternative, Parthian Laser (Silphium is also called Laser), which is better known as Asafoetida. (The French call it “Devil’s Dung”)

    It’s commonly used in Asian cooking, and I call it the world’s scariest spice, because it smells like **familyblog**. It mellows out when cooked to something resembling garlic and onion.

  54. nothing but the truth

    “They might give it another go. ”

    Russia needs to employ dogs to spot the explosives, especially as it seems the truck driver was not aware of his deadly cargo.

  55. Lambert Strether Post author

    > Since the whole tempest-in-the-sea-of-Azov turned out to be another Ukrainian stunt, no doubt Russia can meditate a more measured response.

    This is the second time I’ve badly underestimated a Russian (re)action, the first being the invasion itself. I think it’s my priors. Negatively (if there is such a thing as a negative prior) I have no understanding at all of domestic pressures on Putin’s government. More importantly, however: I’m a citizen of a hegemonic power. For me, the issue of existential threat, at least to the nation (modulo nuclear and climate) does not arise. The hegemon can afford a more “measured” response*. Russia is not a hegemon, and therefore existential threats, and proportionate responses, are closer to home (metaphorically and literally) for them. So my reflexes are biased in the wrong direction. (Also, I grew up in the Cold War, so I tend to think of Russia as a peer, instead of a smaller, albeit more focused, competitor. Of course this ignores the hollowing out via financialization and corruption of “our own” military, a separate topic.)

    NOTE * At least if one is a realist. The loons running our foreign policy have no such concept.

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