2:00PM Water Cooler 12/19/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am pounding through a review of Lance deHaven-Smith’s terrific Conspiracy Theory in America, so this is an open thread. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From Angie Neer:

Angie Neer writes: “Another example of hardy plants staking their territory on a rocky slope at 7000 feet elevation.”

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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. David

      As good as I remembered. David Munrow pretty much originated performance of Early Music in the Anglo-Saxon world in the early 1970s and, if I remember rightly, he wasn’t even a professional musician. His suicide in 1976 was a terrible loss, but he did blaze a trail.

  1. Roger Blakely

    A visit to the grocer store on Saturday still had me coping with nuisance symptoms of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. And I was wearing a respirator. There is so much SARS-CoV-2 in indoor public spaces (Southern California) that I am going to have to start wearing goggles in the grocery store (in addition to the respirator) just to keep SARS-CoV-2 off of my eyeballs. Maybe half of the people in the grocery store wear a face covering of any kind. Maybe five percent of people wear some sort of N95 respirator.

    1. curlydan

      I wish more than half the people would mask up. I’m usually in the 5% or less at the grocery store masked up in Kansas City. My 8th grader just tested positive this morning for the first time with a RAT and extra swab of the cheek. I’m hoping the rest of us don’t get it. I’ve got 3 HEPA filter UV fans churning 24/7. I’m starting to eye my dog suspiciously since he hangs out with my 8th grader.

    2. Jason Boxman

      Zero masks in Walmart in western rural NC last night. Lots of the usual sickly looking people, obese, disheveled, elderly, mobility carts, and so forth. Same at the local Publix, although people there look much healthier. One person with a poorly fitting cloth mask.


    1. Michaelmas

      Eh. Try this —

      Elton John – London (2002) – The Royal Opera House, for a fund-raising concert for the Royal Academy of Music where he got a scholarship when he was eleven.


      Still at the height of his powers and with the same pro band he’d had for thirty-plus years. But with much better sound quality and what looks like a 70-piece orchestra playing orchestrations by Paul Buckmaster — probably the most original orchestrator who ever passed through rock/pop, so that even Miles Davis tried using him — of the classic songs, plus a 20-30 voice choir of young folks from the Royal Academy to fill it all out.

      Also, probably the most convincing gospel shout chorus on piano at the end of ‘Burn Down the Mission’ that I ever heard from a Brit.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I saw Elton at three distinct points: a small concert hall for his first American tour in ’71 when “Your Song” was on top 40 radio; a stadium concert after “Yellow Brick Road;” and a large arena when we were both getting older.

      The first tour was very different from the rest. Elton was dressed in jeans and a sweater, played a lot while standing or lying on the piano or piano bench, and was extraordinarily full of energy. It was all about the music and the piano skills. The later concerts were all about production values and glam.

      “Yellow Brick Road” is still a favorite album, but I preferred the “unplugged” Elton live.

  2. Samuel Conner

    Inflation sighting re: gardening supplies.

    Early in the first year of the pandemic, before supply chain issues had begun to seriously bite, my cost for a 107 liter bale of peat-moss-based growing medium was about $27.

    This year, it was about $37 at the time of the last bale I purchased.

    I don’t know what next year holds, but a comparison price quote I recently received from a local greenhouse supplier was … $50. That is starting to get really painful. Growing medium has consistently been the costliest component on a “per plant” basis, and it’s getting worse.

    I’m currently digging out piles of slowly decomposing old medium and am sterilizing it, in ~6qt batches, in an 8qt Instant Pot. The electricity cost is less than $0.20, compared to ~ $2.50 cost of replacing the equivalent volume of medium with a new purchase. I suspect that this is also better in terms of carbon dioxide flows.

    Perhaps this price spike in “fossil growing medium” is a good thing, if it forces development of alternatives. I feel slightly guilty using dug-up Canadian peat bogs for my backyard growing, and if readers have ideas for how to make one’s own growing medium out of on-site produced or found materials, I would appreciate the wisdom.

    I’m contemplating DIY micro-scale biochar production (I have cubic meters of invasive grass and bamboo stolons to dispose of) using a TLUD stove, and I have about 100 kg of compost worm castings on hand (I am much better and feeding the worms than I am at cleaning out their toilets), so I potentially have a number of useful inputs.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we’re building one like this, to start:

      intend to heat the big, 3000 sq ft greenhouse(along with a hot tub(wood fired) a water wall of water filled barrels, and some chickens(the little tiny banties…i think its 8 btu per kg of bird)…and a 20×20 raised compost pile)
      the other excuse to go to all this trouble is for the charcoal as soil amendment(tierra prieta)…both in general, as well as to mitigate the by now disasterous effects of the dern persistent herbicides.

      a hot compost will sterilise your “used soil”…use it as part of the “Brown Component”.
      if you’re in town, rabbits are quieter than chickens, and produce excellent manure.

      here, in the northwest texas hill country, we’re expecting 10 degrees friday morning, with a -20 windchill.(no precip, at least…so small mercies)
      ive got tomatoes and peppers and such in my little greenhouse.
      we’ll see how well the woodstove out there does.

    2. Art_DogCT

      I recommend using coir “dust” as a replacement for peat moss in any mix.

      For anyone unfamiliar with it, it’s a byproduct of coconut husk processing for coir fiber for matting and other uses. Before someone hit on the idea of using coir dust (aka ‘cocopeat’) in horticulture, it was typically left on beaches and riversides to be washed away. Coir has many qualities superior to peat moss. It is an annual product of the harvesting of coconuts, as opposed to centuries of formation for a short-lived product resulting from, in essence, strip mining. Peat moss breaks down in a potting medium within three years. Coir has a high lignin content, so it resists decomposition for many years more. Peat moss is notorious for being hard to wet, and you can think you’re watering dried-out potted plants, when most of the water is just flowing over the mass of medium and down the sides. Old peat moss tends to lose pore space over time, leading to soggy conditions. Coir wets easily, dries easily, and doesn’t cause the medium to shrink away from the sides of containers when dry. Ph neutral compared to peat.

      Back when I was using lots of potting medium, I’d make it up as I needed. A 1″ x 5″ diameter disk would expand to loose coir sufficient for a 10″ pot, a brick of coir about the dimensions of a standard building brick, which made up to something more than a cubic foot of loose coir ready for mixing. I bought amendments in bulk – coarse sand, perlite, vermiculite – and use my own compost for additional organic matter. For my succulent mix I used a 50/50 +/- mix of coir and amendments, with 9 parts mix to one part compost (I grow succulents *very* lean). Medium appropriate to non-succulents was easy and convenient to make up as necessary from my base mix.

  3. bassmule

    Saturday evening, Dec 17, the quaint New England town of Hatfield, MA holds its own festival of lights, called “Luminarium.” The streets are lined with candles, and there are fireworks. Everyone puts out their own lights; some in glass bottles, some in paper bags, some in plastic milk bottles. A marvelous example of collective action, right?

    Marred by trucks and tractors towing flatbed trailers filled with drunken revelers who yelled “God bless America” and played The Ballad of the Green Berets, Born In the USA (obviously, not aware of any lyrics other than the chorus), and other martial favorites. “They died for our freedom” was a big theme. What the hell?

  4. johnherbiehancock

    Anyone else noticed the USPS seems much worse than last year, and particularly chaotic this holiday season?

    I’ve been in three separate branches in the last week, and have experienced the following:

    – Badly missed a guaranteed delivery, which I pleaded with them needed to get through ASAP (had to ship fiancee’s cell to her, which she forgot before flying to see family for a week)

    – Multiple self-serve kiosks not working

    – Weekend hours reduced (at one branch, they just scratched off the end date for Saturday hours, so it read “9 AM to ___”

    – Same branch (the worst of the three) deciding not to provide their normal holiday drop bins, where you can just drop off outgoing packages with postage attached, INSTEAD forcing you to wait in line to hand each package to an employee waiting behind a door… the employee is apparently not always there… so people would buzz the door, and wait several minutes just to drop off a package…

    – Normally decent employees all missing (COVID? Laid off? quit?); the screamers and rude customer service types were the only ones there

    I recall an article on NC a few months back, that DeJoy was still there, and following through with all the cuts to service he wanted to make under Trump.

    If they wanted to kill the USPS, they couldn’t be doing a better job ruining service if they intended to…

    1. Wukchumni

      We’re up to 2x xmas cards received, usually get a total of around 25 and typically delivered early in the holidays.

      Is it because USPS is horrible and/or sending xmas cards is something old people do, but stopped doing?

      1. Jen

        Friend of mine owns a restaurant in town. Usually they have Christmas cards from friends festooning the bar. Only a handful this year. She thinks it’s people cutting back on whatever they don’t need to spend.

        I would also note I have no complaints about my local PO or anything I’ve had shipped by USPS recently.

    2. LaRuse

      My experience has been really good this year; all packages delivered on schedule. But my local branch has not had any stamps except some Mariachi themed stamps in over a week. I had to get a roll of stamps elsewhere.
      They are working hard – a package turned up on my front step yesterday (Sunday) morning. They can only outwork the undermining so much, though.

    3. curlydan

      They do want to kill (aka privatize) the USPS. I get mail once every 3 days at best, and it comes about 8pm to 9pm from a guy with a headlamp and with a portable speaker booming–luckily his musical taste is decent.

      All this happens while our “most pro-union” President does nothing to prevent this from happening.

      Even though this was written in 2011 about the Netherlands of all countries, it’s the future of the USPS. Every year, we get a bit closer to it.


    4. agent ranger smith

      Well, perhaps they intend to ruin service in order to reduce use over the next few years enough to justify abolishing the Postal Service and privatising/ selling off the profitable parts of the wreckage. Perhaps that was the DeJoy plan all along.

      Are there still steps the Congress and/or the President can take to abolish DeJoy or at least reduce him from a powerful saboteur to a symbolic placeholder? If there are, and the Congress and President are not taking them, that would mean that the Congress and the President also support abolishing the Postal Service.

    5. Louis Fyne

      from my POV….it’s highly dependent on your post office and your regional sorting center—the place that sorts the mail for the first 3 digits of your ZIP code.

      I’m happy from with my post office—then again I’ve had the same mailman for years and from our talks, it seems the local post office/sorting center has below average turnover.

      IMO, when comparing USPS and UPS-Fedex, it’s 6 of one; half-dozen of the other.

      1. cnchal

        My experience is that USPS was handling packages with kid gloves compared to the box smashers at UPS.

        I haven’t used USPS in years, since the implementation of dimensional weight which quadrupled my shipping prices in an instant, all that business, or what was left of it, went to UPS and they are truly horrible. Some boxes are so wrecked that if a person were caught between my package and what was smashing them they could be killed from the impact, and UPS always blames the packaging itself and absolves themselves of any duty to care.

        Put bluntly, the workers are pushed so hard by management, with a digital noose and leash around their necks being whipped to chase ever faster metrics. It must be hell working in the distribution centers with a sadistic dock boss yelling faster faster faster.

        It’s a crapshoot on whether my packages get through undamaged these days and quickly becoming not a viable way to get my stuff to my customer.

        By the way, the year after USPS went to dim weight, UPS had record profits. Investing in lobbyists pays dividends.

    6. Nikkikat

      Yes, they all want to kill off the USPS. I used to watch CSPAN 3 had committee meetings. When it came to the post office. The only one and I mean only was Bernie. It was I believe the homeland security committee. All the most corporate Dems and nuts like Rand Paul. It was clear to me that they wanted to privatize it maybe 10:years ago. Every President since Clinton has done something egregious toward the USPS. I think initially they wanted to destroy the Union. Now it is privatization. Like UPS or FedEx type business. Leaving DeJoy there was intentional. The local post office is horrible. They have cut staffing to the bone. I noticed that they are charging now to forward your mail when you move. Now anything past 6 months is 19.99 and increases with each ask. DeJoy will finish the job that Democrats and Republicans started.

    7. johnherbiehancock

      Well it’s good to know my awful experience isn’t uniform across the country.

      I looked up DeJoy’s personal history after I posted that. Egads… the guy is a goon. Maybe not that out of place in Trump’s administration, or any GOP administration that would’ve put someone like Betsy DeVos in charge of Education, but how could Biden have possibly kept this guy?

      He was a long time GOP bundler, who’s regional shipping companies benefitted from political spoils… looks like George W. Bush’s USPS just handed DeJoy’s company money for dubious contracts in the early 2000’s. His wife was also an Ambassador under Bush Jr.

      The fact that Biden kept DeJoy, rather than finding a nominally Democratic goon (even if said goon was as pro-corporate post as DeJoy) to replace him made me wonder if this signaled a more intense campaign to finally kill off the USPS. my experiences of the last week – to which I’ll add I’ve also noticed my mail getting delivered a lot later in the day than it did a year ago – made me wonder if this was another… well… state crime against democracy (to the extent a public postal service is synomymous with democracy)

    8. Amfortas the hippie

      more opportunity for hypocrisy, methinks:

      i mean, the PO is actually in the hallowed Constitution…John Jay, Ben Franklin, etc
      all my life i’ve heard the bellowing about the Founding Fathers and assorted hagiography…but when there’s money to be made,lol.

      similar to Texas Repubs for decades yammering about Home Rule and Local Control…until some city had a referendum about a living wage or limiting fracking in city limits.
      suddenly, Texgoptea was all about centralised authority…..only the big bad state gooberment in austin can do such things.

      i was still an adept at curmudgeonhood at the time…so i duly called my critters and yelled at them.
      but it seems shamelessness is an important criteria for holding office…

      1. Janeway

        I can tell you the Democrats here in NY have done the exact same thing:

        suddenly, NYdempros were all about centralized authority…..only the big bad state gooberment in albany can do such things.

    9. Bosko

      Postal services in my area are terrible lately, but I can’t fault the USPS, as there are desperate USPS Help Wanted signs all over the place.

      I’m hardly the first person to say this, but jobs with the USPS are quite the mystery. They pay pretty well, ads say they’re ‘flexible,’ and how bad is it really, walking around and delivering mail all day? And yet most people who work there seem to absolutely hate it, and take other jobs at the first opportunity. It’s supposed to be a terrible place to work.

      With respect to your first item above, I’m not sure what “pleading” with USPS personnel is going to get you in terms of better service. The term “guaranteed delivery” can be tough to pin down when it comes to the USPS.

      This may seem crazy to NC readers frustrated with the USPS, but I tip the mail carriers this time of year with a gift card. I never see our current carrier, but I ran into her the other day and she seemed genuinely happy about the gift card. (Cash tips verboten, I have been told.)

  5. Herbæ Malæ

    After dodging COVID many times (even when my roommate caught it) and not lowering my guard much throughout the pandemic, it seems my luck finally ran out (tested positive today). Despite the good advice I’ve found here, there’s only so much you can do individually.

    Pretty depressed about it. Oh well. Once in three years is better than twice a year I guess.

    1. FlyoverBoy

      I’m sorry, Herbæ Malæ. Mine ran out earlier this year despite utter carefulness when my wife could no longer put off her trip to the dentist, and she got it from the X-ray technician. The one place she couldn’t stay masked. I then got it from her.

      1. Herbæ Malæ

        I’m sorry to hear that. It’s ironic getting a disease when you go to receive care. I’m doing what I can not to pass it off to my significant other, sleeping in another room with an air filter and both masking. Hopefully we can pull it off.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Oh well. Once in three years is better than twice a year I guess.

      It is. I also don’t see a good reason not to postpone it, on the chance that treatments are better (not that the virus is less virulent; that’s mere teleology).

  6. Hepativore

    I just got a new pair of headphones after my old pair broke and were not fixable. Unfortunately, they are black instead of the cool neon, pinkish-orange color like my previous pair was.

    I do not know why the makers of small, portable devices do not make things in bright, neon colors so often. They should take a page from hardware and construction tool makers and have things like cellular phones, headphones, cameras, etc. in high visibility colors like blaze orange, hot pink, chartreuse, and so on, to make them less apt to get lost.

    If you dropped your black cellular device or headphones in the snow or even the grass, you would never be able to find them.

  7. LaRuse

    Anecdata from the Richmond Metro area of VA. My husband, who just recently declared that he was “embarrassed” by The Science Non-Believers who still wear masks (e.g. me) got sick early last week. As of this morning, he has moved towards bronchitis and decided to go to his general practitioner’s urgent care clinic but when he got there, there was only a sign on the door that said “Due to overwhelming illness in the region, we are unable to accept any patients at this time.” He was totally shocked by this. Said he had never heard of being turned away and wasn’t sure it was legal. I wanted to say “This is HAPPENING EVERYWHERE and if you weren’t so busy being smug over being unmasked because of The Science, you might have noticed!”
    He more or less lives on the Book of the Face and I don’t even have an account, but I am pretty sure all our deep Blue liberal friends share the same feelings of embarrassment when hanging around Maskers like me. I wish I knew how to reach through the propaganda to convince him that masks make sense the same way a seatbelt makes sense.
    As for the illness, I got it from him on Friday. Being much healthier and 8 years younger than him, I am bouncing back better than he is; fever and body aches were legit on Friday. Now I am just congested, very sore throat, and the worst laryngitis I have ever had. No voice at all, so that will at least prevent me from being a Smug Know It All when he gets home. It isn’t going to change his mind anyway. It’s definitely not COVID – negative test aside, my brain is still working unlike when I had COVID. I don’t think it’s the flu. Whatever it is, it isn’t serious enough to sit in a waiting room with a bunch of unmasked sick Richmonders who are convinced that masks are for “non-believers” or the “skeered”

    1. John Beech

      Good luck to you. Wife and I, along with adult daughter and two grandsons who moved in two years ago, are hiding out uninfected thus far in central Florida. Masked EVERY time we leave, and religiously (without exception) performing a pre-hork and post-hork of nasal cavities (nasal lavage squeeze bottle with 300-500cc of povidone-iodine saline solution). Hoping like all get out to avoid getting this altogether.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I wish I knew how to reach through the propaganda to convince him that masks make sense the same way a seatbelt makes sense.

      I try to keep posting examples. I hope one “clicks.”

  8. lyman alpha blob

    I have a question regarding the whole Russiagate/social media spook infestation. flora posted this link earlier regarding spooks currently employed at Facebook – https://twitter.com/NameRedacted247/status/1604641866342756352 – and it reminded me of how this narrative started several years ago, but my memory may be fuzzy.

    My recollection was that the government/Clinton decided they were going to go with the “Russia stole the election for Trump” story despite having no evidence for it. I believe this was documented in the book Shattered. I think it was around this same time that Zuckerberg was doing his listening tour which al lot of people assumed was him putting out feelers for a presidential run at some point. I may be mistaken about the timing there. Anyway, the government then went to Facebook and asked for any evidence of Russian tampering on the website, and Zuckerberg’s initial response was that there wasn’t any. At that point, somebody sent a Senator, my recollection is that it was Mark Warner or one of those white bread types, to tell Zuckerberg to look harder, which seemed like a thinly veiled threat to someone the establishment might have thought was getting a little too uppity, and then lo and behold that’s when we were regaled with the Rainbow Bernie Facebook ads and told that without that nefarious propaganda which barely anyone saw, Clinton would have won.

    The problem is I can’t find and links talking about Zuckerberg’s initial refusal or sending a Senator out to help him get his mind right. That part of the story that I remember has been completely left out of any subsequent discussion in recent years, so its either down the memory hole, or maybe my memory is full of holes. Does anyone else remember this?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Your memory is correct. I remember Zuck initially saying that he had nothing that they could find about Russian election interference and then they lent on him and he came up with I think about $17,000 (?) of ads posted from Russia, half of which was not published until the election was over. There was nothing really there but it was amplified by Washington & the media until people believe that Putin made Trump the President and therefore Trump was some sort of Manchurian candidate.

        1. tegnost

          What I recall is 125,000 total, 40% of which were pre election so 50,000 bucks beat hillary’s kajillion, along with googles ada… and the ads? muscle bernie and let me help you with that jesus masturbation thing.
          Today I walked by a tv, it said fbi knew of possible plan to overthrow the .gov 2 months in advance.
          Had the seattle police been told 2 months in advance that some renegades were going to hit nordstroms, the renegades would never gotten close to nordstroms.
          The globalists (omg am I anti semitic? I did wish some people happy hannukah today….honest!) really want that domestic terror bill, apparently the patriot act wasn’t enough… I suppose it should be noted that according to the tpp the interests of nordstroms supersede those of nation states so there’s that…
          Axing the tpp, now that’s a real reason for a globalist to hate trump.

    2. NN Cassandra

      Not sure about the Warner subplot, but overall your recollection is correct, IMO. However, it will be impossible to tease link about this from Google search. If you want one, I would suggest to pick one reporter (e.g. Glenn Greenwald) and run through his articles about this topic from the relevant time span (e.g. from late 2016 to early 2017, he was writing for The Intercept at the time). It will be mentioned somewhere with appropriate citations.

  9. herman_sampson

    Masks in hoosierland: attended a Celebration of Life saturday for a coworker who just missed 70 (he had cancer that apparently he didn’t know he had until early November, then it was 4th stage). Held in a church community room, next county over, guessing about 20 by 50 feet and maybe 60 people – I think I was the only one with a mask. Only thing said to me was about being hard to recognize with a mask, but no other comments or even looks.
    Wife and I have both eluded covid: have Pfizer vaccine and boosters, she wears a surgical and I now wear a kn95 mask. We live in Indianapolis, minority of shoppers wear masks, usually only white and African Americans, Latins rarely do.

  10. Karl

    Thinking about Ukraine’s eventual surrender–the terms Russia will impose.

    As I see it, the only thing left to “negotiate” are the specific terms of surrender.

    What follows is some speculation on my part assuming Gonzalo Lira is right–that Russia decides to assume control of all of Ukraine as a necessary prelude to “negotiations”. I’m not a lawyer or expert in this field, but on a review of the Potsdam Agreement of August 1, 1945, which was the basis for the surrender of Japan, it would seem that the following terms are within the scope of an unconditional surrender document. This would be a surrender document rather than a cease fire, as I see it, i.e. one side is relinquishing all arms to the other.

    What follows assumes this agreement is signed by the top military commanders of both sides.

    What follows also assumes: Russian military occupies the entirety of Ukraine as well as: key communications and infrastructure facilities; central bank, etc. Surrender terms anticipate, and lay the ground work for, longer term negotiations on the permanent future of Ukraine’s governance, international guarantees, etc..

    Preamble: Ukraine agrees to unconditional surrender; Ukraine hereby rescinds its application to join NATO and the EU; Ukraine agrees to the following additional implementation provisions (subject to future modification):

    1. Delivery to the Russian Occupation Authority (ROA) all munitions, arms, equipment, etc.. including all equipment from US (Stingers, Javelins, HIMARS, Patriots etc.) and other NATO States in any condition.
    2. Closure of borders with EU States, flights into and out of Ukraine, etc.; and conditions for re-opening.
    3. Refugees. E.g., control of flow of refugees seeking to leave Ukraine and return.
    4. Money and banking–e.g. control of the central bank and currency, etc.
    5. Internal security, e.g. Ukrainian police assistance to ROA for maintaining order.
    6. Prisoner exchange.
    7. De-Nazification.
    8. Management of infrastructure facilities and associated personnel (energy, cell phone, radio, TV, internet etc.).
    9. Emergency repair of critical war-damaged facilities and distribution, by Russia, of emergency food, medical care, natural gas and electricity to the Ukrainian people.
    10. Temporary buffer (DMZ) between Ukraine and Russia zones of authority, and status of population within the DMZ.
    11. Repatriation of Ukrainian ships, aircraft etc. to Ukraine.
    12. Scope of authorities of the national government of Kiev north of the DMZ. Continuation of existing contracts (e.g. transit of natural gas, etc.).
    13. Structure of negotiations on the future status of Ukraine, its borders, sovereignty, and its governance.
    14. Movement of foreign (i.e. non-Ukrainian, non-EEU) citizens–governmental, NGOs, contractors, etc.
    15. Detaining and Deporting of specific members of the former government of Ukraine; specific personnel of certain embassies.
    16. Rights of inspection of any and all facilities, military or civilian.

    Have I forgotten anything?

    1. Yves Smith

      I think that list is good but I completely disagree with Lira’s premise. Russia has nowhere near enough men mobilized to conquer and control Western Ukraine. Putin has declared the current mobilization to be sufficient and has also said that Russia will go only where it is wanted, ie, there is a substantial ethnic Russia population. A general mobilization to muster say 3 million men would be deeply unpopular.

      As I indicated before, quoting Dune, He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing. Russia can turn the lights off completely in Western Ukraine if it thinks it has to, rendering it uninhabitable to all but the hardiest survivalists.

    1. fresno dan

      I’m not gonna say I told ya so….but those ‘Mericans and Europeans sure like to war
      fresno dan
      December 18, 2022 at 11:24 am
      The first world war was a kind of cultural suicide that destroyed Europe’s eminence. Europe’s leaders sleepwalked – in the phrase of historian Christopher Clark – into a conflict which none of them would have entered had they foreseen the world at war’s end in 1918. In the previous decades, they had expressed their rivalries by creating two sets of alliances whose strategies had become linked by their respective schedules for mobilisation. As a result, in 1914, the murder of the Austrian Crown Prince in Sarajevo, Bosnia by a Serb nationalist was allowed to escalate into a general war that began when Germany executed its all-purpose plan to defeat France by attacking neutral Belgium at the other end of Europe.
      I don’t know what it is about Europe (and America joining in) that makes it so good at getting into world wars. You would think after two of ’em that they would have learned. But it looks like extinction will be the only process that can stop the recalcitrant unwillingness to learn.
      And even in this piece, Kissinger seems to believe that Russia is losing. It is quite amazing how so many influential people cannot see reality…

  11. tegnost

    ambrit mentioned aristocrats in the theory thread and it matched a zeitgeist thing I’d been thinking re the aristocrats…
    I was thinking today that the upper crust is doing the 7 generations thing of the iroquois, but by making certain that they have enough dough to support their next 7 generations…of course I’m currently walking around a “village” that has a ferrari/maserati dealership, as well as a bentley place 2 blocks away…colors my thinking no doubt. The new version of the skater punks are doing wheelies down the big hill (recorded on the go pro, of course) and on the main drag on their electric bikes…one thing changes (it’s bikes now) another doesn’t… I ponder my brothers friends…some dead, some drug addicts, a pedophile, some mba’s, some corporate lawyers…I think it’s best they have fun while they can so I just chuckle and stay out of the way……

    1. ambrit

      I agree with your observation about the geographic concentration of “aristos.” However, I have noticed that, when it comes to desired items, said “aristos” will come after them. So, a struggle for possession and or control of the “objects of desire” ensues. “Staying out of the way” often includes ‘kinetic’ defensive postures, simply as a means of basic survival.
      On a related note, there exists in the prepper cohorts a group known as ‘Wolf Preppers.’ Said people publically state that they will collect and save nothing. Instead they intend to use force to steal supplies from those that do save and collect. This accords with the theme of Aristocracy. Armed warlords set themselves up at the top of the social pyramid and live off of those below. Sounds a lot like every other social construct that I have ever encountered.
      Stay safe.

  12. Jason Boxman

    Big news from “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA”. XBB1.5 and XBB1 now account for 15%(!!) of samples.

    Stay safe out there!

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