Links 2/10/2023

A dwarf planet beyond Neptune has a mysterious ring that astronomers can’t explain

Why giant prehistoric animals got smaller BBC

Fed rolls out 2023 stress-test scenarios, with wrinkle for biggest banks American Banker

Goldilocks Economy Is a Fairy Tale Too Good to Be True WSJ


Shell’s board of directors sued over climate strategy in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit CNBC. Meanwhile:

Getting Back on the Streets is Going to Be Fun! Bill McKibben, The Crucial Years

Several universities to experiment with micro nuclear power AP


What Is COVID Actually Doing to Our Immune Systems? Slate. Big round-up, worth a read.

In Cleveland and beyond researchers begin to unravel the mystery of long COVID-19 Interesting.

The pandemic after the pandemic: Long covid haunts millions of people WaPo (MV).


Biden says China spy balloon ‘not a major breach’ The Hill

China balloon part of large fleet used to collect intelligence: US Andalou Agency

Navy divers begin pulling up Chinese spy balloon debris AP. Funny, there’s another story involving divers that AP isn’t covering at all.

* * *

China pulls back from global subsea cable project as US tensions mount FT

Here’s why Europe is abandoning plans to fly aboard China’s space station Ars Technica (Rev Kev).

Australia’s First Nuclear Submarine Could Be a Reality in Less Than 30 Years, Former PACOM Commander Testifies USNI News. Speedy!


Gautam Adani, Not-So-Long-Ago India’s Richest Man, Owes More Than 1% Of Indian Economy: Report

Adani hires US legal powerhouse Wachtell in short-seller battle FT

NYU’s ‘Dean of Valuation’ says Adani Group exploited ‘weakest links’ in Indian institutions CNBC

Death toll spikes to almost 70 as Somaliland fighting enters 3rd day Andalou Agency


Türkiye quakes not just one of country’s largest but also world’s, says seismologist Andalou Agency

Why was the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria so deadly? Live Science

Euopean Disunion

European cost of living crisis: Berlin paying young people to go clubbing Euronews

The Caribbean

Scientists explain how Cuba has brought COVID-19 under control The Caribbean Council

New Not-So-Cold War

Gaetz introduces ‘Ukraine Fatigue’ resolution Responsible Statecraft

Waiting for Biden’s definition of victory in Ukraine India Punchline. More elite splitting?

The Top Five Lessons from Year One of Ukraine’s War Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Losses in Ukraine are ‘out of proportion’ to what NATO has been planning for, the alliance’s top general says Business Insider

* * *

Ukraine is prepared to use British long-range missiles to strike annexed Crimea as western involvement in the battle against Putin escalates – and Kremlin readies 1,800 tanks and 400 fighter jets ‘for huge new invasion in ten days’ Daily Mail

Vladimir Putin is about to make shock gains The Telegraph

What Russia Got Wrong Foreign Affairs. “The Russian armed forces are not wholly incompetent or incapable of learning.” Good to know.

* * *

EU to target disinformation and more exports in next Russia sanctions Politio. Meanwhile:

I dunno about this von der Leyen character. She seems to get out over her skis a lot.

* * *

Central European states concerned about influx of Ukrainian grain The Poultry Site

Vladimir Putin must not be allowed to bankrupt the Ukrainian breadbasket The Atlantic Council. The author: “Andriy Vadaturskyy is the owner and CEO of Ukrainian agribusiness Nibulon.” Oh.

* * *

Fury in Ukraine as Elon Musk’s SpaceX limits Starlink use for drones Guardian

Biden Administration

Congress Told HHS to Set Up a Health Data Network in 2006. The Agency Still Hasn’t. Government Executive

Democrats en Déshabillé

Bill Clinton Has Left the Building Matt Stoller, BIG. A very positive view of Biden’s SOTU. Worth a read!

The Bezzle

The AI Bubble of 2023 The Reformed Broker

Why chatbots are bound to spout bullshit FT. Not chatbots. AI as such. Nice to see Harry Frankfurt cited, though!

Magazine Publishes Serious Errors In First AI-Generated Health Article Futurism

Police State Watch

The Snitch in the Silver Hearse The Intercept. The deck: “The FBI Paid a Violent Felon to Infiltrate Denver’s Racial Justice Movement.”

Our Famously Free Press

Some Small Corrections To Seymour Hersh’s New Nord Stream Revelations Moon of Alabama

Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now Craig Murray

Don’t be too harsh on Seymour Hersh and his Nord Stream bombing theory South China Morning Post

Sources say Washington Examiner

Zeitgeist Watch

Do You Know How to Behave? Are You Sure? How to text, tip, ghost, host, and generally exist in polite society today New York Magazine. “70. Always be the first one out.” Hmm.

Guillotine Watch

How the Wealthy Save Billions in Taxes by Skirting a Century-Old Law ProPublica

Class Warfare

Striking HarperCollins Workers Reach Tentative Agreement With Publisher NYT

Starbucks Asked a COVID-Positive Employee to Work, Then Fired Him for Tweeting About It Vice

What crappy beer demand tells us about the economy Freight Waves. Commentary:

Echoes of ancient curse tablets identified in the Book of Revelation (press release) Johannes Gutenberg Universität

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Hey, Mr. Spaceman by The Byrds)

    Back in September those pipelines went BOOM
    Now Europe’s methane will never resume
    No explanation was ever allowed
    But some clowns in DC are proud

    Now Seymour Hersh has brought us the facts
    The faces behind these warmonging acts
    These minions worked for our old patriarch
    They kept Congress in the dark

    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    All these scofflaws work for us
    We never got to discuss
    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    Our whole country has been taken for a ride

    Only our Congress can say we’re at war
    The President’s creeps caused a global uproar
    A terrorist act we would never go for
    A crime we’ll regret for sure

    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    All these scofflaws work for us
    We never got to discuss
    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    Our whole country has been taken for a ride

    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    All these scofflaws work for us
    We never got to discuss
    Whooo blew the Nordstream?
    Our whole country has been taken for a ride

  2. Samuel Conner

    not that long ago — “everyone will eventually get COVID”

    Now — “everyone will get COVID a couple of times a year”

    a not too distant future — “everyone has Long COVID”

    1. Terry Flynn

      Analogy with Boeing at end of the article was unfortunate…. “only one thing going wrong” won’t bring a plane down. Errrrrr, MCAS. Yes it is *controlling* lots of things but is just one thing in itself.

      It’s a pity the (otherwise interesting) article didn’t say more about the specific autoimmune conditions that have begun running rampant. I’ve gone through the “rubbish – go away” stage with hospital consultants in early pandemic right through to “yes *sigh* this is rampant” stage now.

  3. Stephen

    Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now

    Hard to disagree with anything Craig Murray says in this article.

    I think he also manages to explain why human history has been littered with war: we like to feel that we are good people combatting evil. Everyone wants to live out a fairy tale. Better to ignore true complexity and the shades of grey that apply to most situations. Easier just to rile against “evil Putin”.

    1. hemeantwell

      His point about a belief in a “fight against evit” and how that becomes a kind of overriding epistemic regulator is apt. Other ways of thinking about mass psychology — sheeple, uninformed etc — miss this. Rallying around the flag combines a fear of being seen as a dissenter with a complementary fear that any dissent will weaken the home team. At a mass level propaganda comes to be seen as a source of strength. If you want to think about it as “herd instinct,” we’re not talking gazelles, but musk oxen, hunkering down in a defensive circle.

    2. OIFVet

      It’s all elite narrative and manufacturing consent on behalf of said narrative and resultant policies. We are supposed to be incensed, apparently, that Orban failed to applaud and bend the knee to Saint Volodimir of Kiev (or Keev, if one wants to be ideologically sound).

      In Bulgaria, the coverage of the meeting is dominated by the president threatening to curtail ammunition supply to Ukraine and to veto any EU sanction proposal regarding Russian nuclear fuel. The reactors which produce 30% of BG energy supply are Russian and require Russian fuel. Therefore any sanctions on Russian nuclear fuel would be catastrophic for Bulgaria (and Hungary), but the neoliberal Bulgarian Comsomol doesn’t care. We must stand by the heroic Ukrainians led by Saint Volodya, whatever the costs. Such ideologically-driven desire to self-destruct boggles the healthy mind.

      1. hk

        “Neoliberal” and “Comsomol” next to each other….that’s such a strange juxtaposition, but apt given the present insanity.

        1. OIFVet

          Not in Bulgaria :) Many of the foremost proponents of the neoliberal construct called “liberal democracy” are the children and grandchildren of the communist nomenclatura. As such they are very familiar with Comsomol methods and behavior, so the zeal and ideological purity with which they defend “Euroatlanticism” is Comsomol-like. If 1989 hadn’t happened they would be railing against US emperialism today.

        2. Kouros

          Why? When in the 1920 the Bolsheviks went hard against the soviets in the factories and reinstated old management and control system in place, it was all clear writing on the wall… WWII gave a lease on life to that uniparty approach to running politics and economy, with the same respect for democracy as it is in the democratic west…

        3. R.S.

          Well, late Soviet Comsomol leaders tended to be extremely cynical “career communists” who joined the ranks to climb the ladder, not because they believed in anything. When Perestroika came, they kept preaching while jumping head first into all sorts of shady and outright criminal schemes. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is probably the most notorious example.

    3. RabidGandhi

      Funny, I absolutely agree with Murray’s points and love his anecdote:

      I previously told the anecdote from when I worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked a good friend if he really believed the misinformatioin on Iraqi WMD with which he was involved.
      He replied by referring to the video game Championship Manager (now renamed Football Manager), which we used to play together. He said when he was in the game, it was immersive, he was manager of Liverpool, and it fully absorbed him.
      Similarly, when he walked through the FCO gates, the world of the intelligence reports was immersive and Iraq did have these WMDs inside that world. He worked in the “reality” of the FCO. Once he left in the evening, he lived in a different reality, the world of us in the pub.

      But that story, and the reference to Iraqi WMD brought me to the opposite conclusion about the Hersh article:

      I do know of one or two journalists bright enough to detach their professional output from what they really think, in a similar way… Most however don’t think like this. They simply think that all right thinking people support the historic struggle against the evil Russians, so it must be right to read out the propaganda without thinking too much about it.

      My opposite conclusion is I believe that it’s obvious the US is behind the destruction of the Nordstreams, and that all right-thinking people should support the historic struggle against evil Nato. So, contrary to Murray, I take his Iraqi WMD example and put myself not in the place of the skpetic-proven-right, but rather in the place of Judith Miller: willing to believe anything that agrees with my narrative, even a nebulously-sourced exposé from a journalist (whom I greatly admire). To point to just one weakness, how do we know this source is not playing Hersh by feeding him (and us) red herrings? The whole argument stands on Hersh’s–albeit sterling–reputation for vetting sources, which with all respect is not enough.

      I remember the heady days of Niger Yellow Cake. It was obvious Saddam had WMD, all that was needed was a trusted (snicker) journal like the NYT to lay out the evidence proving what everybody already knew. Same here. We all know who dunnit, we just need someone to write the gotcha article that we can forward to our PMC frenemies.

      Norway may be the actual accomplice, sounds very likely to me. Hersh’s source may very well be right. But, it is precisely because his article confirms my priors that I want to see further evidence before calling a ‘slam dunk’.

        1. Keith Howard

          The entire article is translated into English as part of a long comment near the top of the Feb. 9th Moon of Alabama Ukraine Open Thread 2023-34.

        2. Skip Intro

          This article decribes a whistleblower letter from someone serving on the ship that the author received in Oct. 2022 in which specific claims about the operation were made that match/support those from Hersh:

          1) arrival by chopper of a special group of divers and then of spooky/spec-ops civilians on the ship on which the whistleblower was serving, who met with a US ‘vice admiral’

          2) Their use of some special deep-dive gear MK29 for ‘demining exercises’ which should not require deep dives.

          3) The group left for the defining exercise in a zodiac with inappropriate equipment, and dod not go to the location of the simulated mines

          4) The divers were under for 6 hours, which was too long and lead them to worry, only to be reassured by command.

          5) When they returned, all the Pelican cases they brought were missing

          6) they reported their success to the civilians and flew off by chopper immediately.

        3. pjay

          Interesting comments on the Hersh article by Gilbert Doctorow today, in which he includes this:

          “… this very day I had received from one of my associates in Germany a full corroboration of the essence of Hersh’s narrative from a German sailor who happened to be on board the ship participating in August naval exercises in the Baltic Sea from which the U.S. Navy divers carried out their dirty deeds of planting the explosives on the Nord Stream pipelines for later detonation. Consequently I am satisfied that the story Seymour Hersh has set out on his website is absolutely true.”

      1. albrt

        I will be interested to see how Hersh follows up. Maybe he put this version out there to prime the pump, so to speak. My guess is that Hersh’s story is approximately right, but that it will need some additions and corrections.

      2. Kouros

        There was no evidence found that the Russians did it. that narrows it down a bit, don’t you think? Also, Ukrainians don’t have access to the Baltic Sea. Germans didn’t really do it. Now it is quite small the circle jerk to consider…

        Knowing how the world goes, I would call Hersh’s story a slam dunk, since the pipelines were actually blown.

      3. Pelham

        I see your point and applaud it, finding myself in the same position.

        The problem is that Hersh and his source provide an enormous amount of detail. So it’s not as if X says Y, end of story. Also, what’s the alternative? Belief in routine denials with no detail from the usual officials who historically have a very long record of lying to the public.

        So there are the two choices: Believe Hersh with thin sourcing but rich and abundant detail. Or believe the teeming multitude of intel, military and media liars with a helluva lot to lose.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          You don’t really have to believe either, now, do you? If I did have to choose between those two options I’d definitely go for Hersh. It simply makes a lot more sense. As is, I consider this entirely plausible but not definitively proven.

      4. Judith

        Alexander Mercouris, during the last 10 minutes of his video today, discusses why he think Hersh is correct, in part because all the US denials have come from minor spokespeople. He said a denial by someone like Burns about something that can be considered s war crime would create major problems if the story proves true. Mercouris also speculated about the long term effects of within Germany of all this. He makes some interesting points – worth a listen I think.

    4. JohnA

      Pretty much all the western mainstream media coverage of the Hersh ‘blog post’ has been ad hominem, none has addressed the meat of the story. Such as why no mention of the alleged phone call from Truss to Blinken moments after the explosion saying it was done, movements of Swedish naval vessels around the Bornholm area with their transponder systems off before, during and after the explosion, to name just 2 questions I would like answers to, for example. Plus, the cordoning off of the area by Swedish naval vessels to prevent any detective work on the seabed. There has been so little investigative journalism curiosity in general, it is almost as though, to quote Pinter, It Never Happened, even While It Was Happening It Never Happened.

      1. semper loquitur

        “ad hominem”

        Good points. While it’s fair to critically examine Hersch’s claim, it also has to be viewed against the backdrop of all the other suspicious things that seem to have gone down. It’s not as if Hersch is the only person on Earth who is saying this. Here is Jimmy Dore humorously discussing Jeffrey Sachs being interviewed on Bloomberg News about American involvement in the bombing:

    5. mrsyk

      Yes, reminds me of the whole “with us or against us” trope. I remember that phrase being tossed out like beads at Mardi Gras during the post 9/11 buildup to the second US war on Iraq.

  4. Joe

    Do You Know How to Behave? Are You Sure? How to text, tip, ghost, host, and generally exist in polite society today.

    Based on my recent interactions, it’s not surprising that there’s no mention of: Say “Thank you!” when someone does you a kindness.

    1. hunkerdown

      Other Anglo societies say “Cheers” and don’t wave their submissive emotions around in vain. I think that’s far preferable.

      1. Carolinian

        Submissive emotions is a little overboard, no? Although I have noticed lately that I, from a generation (and region) taught to be polite, may have my “thank you” answered by a “not a problem” as though this person in the service job was doing me a favor with said service. Are we experiencing a decay of social “norms” via something seemingly trivial as good manners?

        Which is to say that for me “thank you” is an expression of neutrality or even indifference, not submission to a perfect stranger. It’s the recipient who seems to be taking my indifference as submission. Seems odd.

        1. Rod

          having manners used to be important–a tell of sorts
          and, imo, ‘You’re Welcome’ and ‘No Problem’ are two different attitudes responding to that ‘Thank You’

          1. Sue inSoCal

            Yes… I cringe when my ‘thank you’ is met with ‘no worries’. In my head, I snark, wrong! There are worries. Just a simple ‘you’re welcome’ would be refreshing. Just as we were taught to say ‘pardon me’. I’m old. We were taught these manners as children. Civility, people!!

            1. Pooblius

              Young people for the most part do not read, cannot do math, and…. have primitive linguistic skills and manneers.

              O and all the shit put in their bodies at young ages that makes so many ‘special’ now.

          2. cwalsh

            I always answer with ‘You’re Welcome’. End conversation with ‘Good talking with you’ not ‘to you’.

          3. Martin Oline

            I have had this conversation before with a co-worker who was upset because people would say “No problem” in response to “Thank you.” Sometimes the speaker has a Spanish or Latin heritage. The phrase “de nada” means literally “It’s nothing.” Internet definitions I find are: think nothing of it, you’re welcome, don’t mention it, and no worries. It’s nothing was not included in that particular entry.

        2. Mildred Montana

          >”Are we experiencing a decay of social “norms” via something seemingly trivial as good manners?”

          As a strictly-raised old-timer, taught by my parents to say “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome” I find the current decline in manners dismaying. Another old-timer, the writer Lionel Trilling, said it very succinctly: “Manners are small morals.” In other words, I acknowledge you, I respect you, I am considerate of your feelings, and therefore I am courteous. Not for my benefit but for yours.

          Beyond the present-day fading of these niceties there is also the growing use and acceptance of profanity or puns thereof in media (Schitt’s Creek, Son of a Critch, get your “ship” together, the list grows longer every day) or shameless mentions of body parts which would be better left unmentioned. I get your point about deodorizing, you don’t need to say—and shouldn’t—“between the butt cheeks”.

          There’s a show on TV (which I’ve never watched, not for a second) that has the acronym “MILF” in its title. I’m sure the producers of the show know what MILF means but do its presumably innocent viewers? Is entertainment drifting toward porn-lite?

          All of this shows a disrespect and lack of sensitivity for the feelings of others. And I am a prude by no means. But there’s a time and place for everything and family television ain’t it.

          As I said, manners matter, morals matter, and taste (or tastelessness) matters.

        3. anna

          fwiw, my intuitions are basically the opposite. When someone says ‘thank you’ to me and I respond with ‘you’re welcome’ I feel like I am conveying that I did them a favor. When I respond with ‘no prob’ I feel like I am conveying that I did what was expected of me and am being polite. I suspect this is an ongoing language change and it’s unfortunate that it can lead to this sort of miscommunication.

          It may also stem from taking ‘no prob’ more literally than it is intended (this often happens with language change. Words and phrase move from literal uses to more phatic, abstract uses. For example, ‘literally’ used to mean roughly ‘by the book’, but it change to mean something more like ‘in actuality’ (people seem to be fine with this change now, though some are upset by it’s yet further change into a term of emphasis)

        4. jan

          Interesting, I’m not a native English speaker and, thinking about it, may be be using “you’re welcome” and “no problem” interchangeably. Especially when using chat/Teams at work. Bit there obvs as “yw” or “np” :-)

          Googled a bit and found this article:

          It says Millennials use “No problem” as the polite way, whereas Baby Boomers use “you’re welcome”.

          I don’t know, any insights?

        1. Norge

          Yes. And in saying thank you to the person at the checkout counter I’m acknowledging their existence and our common humanity.

    2. griffen

      As Austin Powers might retort, “Oh behave…” I searched for the above column and found a related article on tipping percentages and so forth. Using common sense, I find I’m in line with the recommended steps for tipping.

      And also how to ghost – does that really require a set of instructions. That’s pretty easy. I have a few examples from LinkedIn emails where people never respond to my initial message. I get random recruiting firm emails which I respond to, ultimately, within 24 to 48 hours.

    3. Rachel

      Always tip in cash.
      If using credit card for business reasons, write “cash” in the tip line and pay the rest on the card, or tip 8% on the card, because that’s what the IRS figures the waiter made anyway and they withhold based on that.
      i.e. 8% goes on the card and the other 12% is handed to them.
      This B.S. about paying for employee’s health plans and other charges beyond the cost of food and taxes is B.S. Boycott restaurants that do it.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        Tips? This is where a business says to the customer, hey, we pay low wages to inflate our profits, and btw it’s your responsibility to give our staff enough money so they aren’t homeless.
        If I pay a tip, then I buy into the whole scam, so no, it’s not my responsibility to give your staff enough money to live on.

    4. CaliDan

      36. Never ask anyone what their job is. / It’s classist and boring.

      As I reckon it there are only two scenarios for this to be true and one is vastly more likely. Please correct me if I missed one.

      Scenario I

      Person 1: What do you do?
      Person 2: I’m a nurse.
      Person 1: Ugh; let’s change topics. Besides I only asked to make sure my social status is higher than yours.

      Scenario II

      Person 1: What do you do?
      Person 2: I’m a nurse.
      Person 1: [I’m an idiot! Why did I even ask? Obviously they’re gonna ask me in return. And I hate describing my dehumanizing, dull, minimum wage job.] Mm-hm. And where are you from?

      1. Mildred Montana

        At least the minimum-wagers can describe what they do.

        Scenario III

        Person 1: What do you do?
        Person 2: I’m a consultant.
        Person 1: Perhaps you misunderstood my question. What do you do?

      2. c_heale

        In most situations, asking a newly introduced person what their job is, is an effort to find something in common, a basis for communication.

        Personally I don’t like asking about people’s employment, but unfortunately, in many current social circles, this is a major way in which people define themselves. Yep, it’s certainly boring, but introductions/small talk are.

        Classist, maybe, difficult to to know for certain given no other context.

        The world is imperfect, and if the only option in a conversation is cliches, then that’s what one has to do.

  5. Polar Socialist

    Regarding the New Not so Cold War, it seems that Ukrainian infrastructure and air defenses have been pounded again last night and this morning. Apparently by at least three waves of drones and missiles.

    1. hemeantwell

      Glad you brought that up, I saw mention of that at Moon of Alabama. And they seemed to be more concentrated on areas near the front, e.g. Kramatorsk. Fits with speculation about an offensive in the near future.

      1. Polar Socialist

        Speaking of which: another wave of Geran-2s apparently striking Zaporozhya, Dnipropetrovsk, Nikolaev and Odessa oblasts as of now.

  6. flora

    re: “I dunno about this von der Leyen character. She seems to get out over her skis a lot.”

    The WEF is the wind beneath her wings. / ;)

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw a video of Zelensky walking by the EU leaders and they were clapping him like a bunch of trained seals. Well, all except for Viktor Orbán who was not impressed by him at all and just stood there.

      1. Stephen

        It underlines their lack of ability to influence events.

        It is all they can do.

        The statesmen of the Congress of Vienna did not (to my knowledge) stand around clapping each other. They got on with treaty making.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just now watched a video of Zelensky and Sunak doing a press conference. Big Z was saying that he was surprised to learn that it takes a pilot 3 years to learn to fly a Typhoon properly but he said his Ukrainian pilots will be able to do it in 2 1/2 years and everybody there had a big laugh about this, including Big Z and Sunak.

          Meanwhile there are reports that the Russian offensive is beginning.

          1. JohnA

            And at that same press conference, a BBC journalist begged Zelensky to give her a hug, and he duly obliged.
            BBC, impartial, just telling the facts? Beyond parody these days.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Alex Christoforou was reporting that Zelensky and Macron hugged each other a coupla times when they came together and kept holding hands to the point that it got weird to see the leaders of countries doing so.

              1. Bart Hansen

                I hope most meetings with elensky are held out of doors so that the smell of sulfur is quickly blown away.

          2. flora

            Maybe Z et al will adopt the new Southwest Airlines pilot training requirements. Should speed up the process of creating new (half trained) pilots. What could go wrong? / ;)

            Struggling Southwest Airlines will cut required jet flying time for prospective pilots to 500 hours – down from 1,000 – as it attempts to boost numbers after holiday meltdown


            1. The Rev Kev

              Somebody should force those Southwest Airlines executives into a coupla flight simulators and throw a few ‘easy’ problems at them.

          3. Stephen

            I guess Big Z is a world expert on fighter pilot training.

            If “his” pilots have already trained on Soviet aircraft then my understanding from what experts say is that it will take longer than 3 years.

            This is because the set up is different and hard to unlearn. I also recall that in the past there were even civilian plane crashes ascribed in part to a former Soviet pilot instinctively behaving in that way when flying a Boeing or Airbus. Despite type training and so forth. The differences seem to be at the level of fundamentals not just differently set out controls, although a qualified person would need to comment.

            Or maybe they plan to train Press ganged kids from scratch straight off the street.

            1. Lex

              That’s an interesting point. I imagine pilot training must be something done to the point where 95% becomes muscle memory, and that sort of training cannot be unlearned.

              1. Polar Socialist

                In this interview Finnish pilot from the end of 60’s tells how he transferred from Fouga Magister (France) to Mig-21 (Soviet Union) after 2 year in the previous one.

                He says he sat on the cockpit for a week to study it, and had to pass a test finding every switch and button blindfolded before being allowed to fly the Mig.

                Of course, at time the pilot flew the plane, not a computer, so he didn’t need to learn how to program the multifunction displays or any of that stuff.

                I do think, though, that transferring from a fighter to another one is that hard. They all follow the same physics, all have the same control surfaces and controls, absolute majority of the gauges are same.

                On the other hand, I wouldn’t blame the selected Ukrainian pilots if they insisted on 4-5 years of training, at minimum.

                1. Polar Socialist

                  Sorry for spamming, but here’s another one by German pilot on transferring from F-4 to Mig-29. Three flights in a double-seater and then solo.

                  He says his boss was the first West-German to fly solo on MIg-29 and when they eagerly asked him how it was, the boss said “well, it’s a jet”.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Like the Soviet politburo, applauding the desiccated corpses that reached the top, afraid to be the first to stop applauding because the NKVD would come for you for “insufficient loyalty.”

        Mimesis alive and well.

    2. Wukchumni

      An experienced downhiller tends to be out over their skis a lot (you’ll never see a race where a pro skier just stands erect the whole time flying down the mountain-go look at any Mikaela Shiffrin video) so i’m thinking this isn’t the best comparison.

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the clarification. However isn’t skiing downhill at high speed dangerous–particularly when like a certain president you have snow all over your goggles? The expression could still apply.

        1. Wukchumni

          A bunch of pro sports prohibit athletes from skiing, so it must be dangerous, and i’m a 45 mph skier @ max, usually more like 40 mph.

          Now put yourself behind the wheel and drive @ 40 mph, its pretty fast!

          And yet by merely slanting the position of my skis just so, I can come to a complete stop in almost no time flat.

          Its one of those things you really need to take up when you’re young, the oldest dartful codger of the 6 in attendance turned 70 yesterday and took up skiing @ 46, which is downright remarkable.

      2. mrsyk

        One dos not want to be out over their skis racing Nordic (cross country). It’s a face plant in the making! Interestingly, Google attributes this metaphor to the finance industry.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar


      Indeed: Now that we know that Ukraine, with all of its blonds, belongs to the European bureau-heartland, is Ursula BeYond Incompetent going to fly to Albania (candidate member since 2014)? It would be much easier to admit Albania.

      Or Turkiye (see below for one big mess):

      I suppose not.

      But they are countries with Muslim majorities.

      So we are seeing a bunch of northern Europeans tell Ukraine to jump the line.

      That’s edifying.

  7. Wukchumni

    Just about a year ago
    We set out on the road
    Seekin’ fame and fortune
    Lookin’ for a pot of gold
    Things got bad and things got worse
    I guess you will know the tune
    Oh Lord, stuck in lock & load again

    Rode in on the Abrams
    We’ll be walkin’ out if we go
    We was just passin’ through
    Must weigh 55 tons or more
    Ukraine ran out of time and money
    Looks like they took my DC friends
    Oh Lord, we’re stuck in lock & load again

    The man from Kiev fed the magazine
    Said winning was on the way
    Somewhere in lost grid connections
    He ran out of funds to pay
    He came into town, a stand up joker
    Looks like our plans fell through
    Oh Lord, stuck in lock & load again

    If I only had a dollar
    For ev’ry shell we’ve slung
    Ev’ry time I’ve had to pay
    While people in DC sat there power drunk
    You know, I’d catch the next Acela corridor train
    Back to where I live
    Oh Lord, I’m stuck in lock & load again
    Oh Lord, I’m stuck in lock & load again

    Lodi, by CCR

  8. griffen

    Pro Publica article rewrite…How the Wealthy Skirt Taxes At Every Chance Available. Paying their fair share ain’t ever gonna happen. Na Ga Happn. Rules are for the suckers. This article is discussing wash sales and selling for tax losses. But hey it’s the job creators doing their thing.

    Wait you don’t have a tax avoidance strategy using your private wealth personnel at a Goldman or a Northern Trust? Well you’re not in the leagues of Ballmer or the youngest of the Walton children. It’s your own damn fault you’re not rich and wealthy enough to do the same!

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      ex-PFC Chuck

      Helmer at his spiciest. Interesting info about the PIAB (President’s Intelligence Advisory Board), which has only one person, Winnefeld, who seems qualified to leak. Evan Bayh? But then Helmer points out that the source doesn’t have PIAB full access.

      ‘Tis a mystery.

      What’s your take?

    2. Carolinian

      Wow Helmer is really in a snit about Hersh. The thrust of his article is that Hersh is a phony and an attention hog who secretly celebrates US power and is peddling an agenda. There may also be a bit of pique that Helmer’s own theory about the event awhile back has been ignored.

      Whereas what I would say is that Hersh is telling us a story he has been told and it’s up to an “embedded” world press to investigate in a way that the 86 year old Hersh likely can no longer do himself. Whether Hersh hates or loves Russia is irrelevant. His criticisms that earned him such past acclaim have been aimed a the US and its allies. That’s his beat.

      The real story here is the dog that didn’t bark–the world press corps that sits on its hands while incompetent politicians race toward disaster. Hersh has the priors to stir this up. Blogger Helmer does not.

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      Do any of these people criticizing Hersch have actual sources for what happened to Nordstream? Or is Hersch the only one?

    4. britzklieg

      …and as always, Helmer is unreadable. The only point that’s clearly discernible is that Helmer has an inflated sense of his own reporting, which rather undermines any points of accuracy he may be trying to make (with an emphasis on trying precisely because he’s unreadable).

      The entire article could be summed up as: Biden and Norway could not have masterminded the specific event alone because the collective west – the Anglo Saxons – were aware of and complicit in the desire to stop NS2 well before it happened, expressed a similar desire before it happened and secretly celebrated it (Liz Truss) when it did, that Hersh and his source’s locating the go signal to just Biden and Norway exemplifies US exceptionalist thinking while offering cover to said Anglo-Saxons’ complicity and that pointing out Biden’s illegal act of not informing Congress of his intention is immaterial, even unimportant.

      None of which is mutually exclusive (and thank god for Craig Murray’s correction).

      I should have stopped reading Helmer after he attempted to blame everything that happened after Gorbachev on an arrogant and vain Gorbachev himself (with the help of a love-struck/blind Stephen Cohen), who “stabbed Russia in the back” because “Russians” now hate him for not doing more, for not getting “signatures” while conveniently ignoring the decades of detente actually accomplished by the INF treaty, as well as ignoring the attempts to undermine it, from the day after it was signed until Dubya finally withdrew the US commitment to it.

      So, and ironically so – Gorbachev is now hated for accomplishing a nuclear detente that only failed after decades, for creating, along with the inexplicably still beloved Reagan (Obama’s professed role model) in the ONLY important act of diplomacy by that in-every-other-way-malign idiot,(on his own and despite reportedly unanimous opposition from the Beltway Blob) the very possibility of a peace unimagined during Cold War One.

      All of which necessitated the myth that Reagan instigated the “collapse” of the USSR which actually was an agreed to dissolution by Belarus, Ukraine and Russia amongst themselves. The savvy, highly informed and ever-charming Vladimir Pozner (of Donahue/Pozner fame for those old enough to remember) even when he’s cutting through the BS of received wisdom, as he does so here here, at Yale in 2018: It’s worth a listen.

      Helmer needs to think better, than he needs to write better and, finally, to give up the petty jealousy constantly on display for journalists like Hersh and Taibbi, and scholars like Cohen, who do a better job at both.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        If nothing else I can attest to the fact that many Russians do hate Gorbachev. Personally I think he is beneath contempt (and, at any rate, dead). However, I think it is important to remember that the “agreed to dissolution among ourselves” was of course “agreed to” by mutinying republican elites wishing to carve up the Union against the wishes of the majority of its population and in political crisis conditions made possible by Gorbachev’s criminal complacency. All the social and economic destruction that followed is not solely on him – but it started on his watch. As for “arrogant and vain”, it is a strikingly common characterisation among those who worked with him in government.

        1. britzklieg

          My comment does not deny that many Russians hate Gorbachev, it suggests that Helmer is fanning the flames for more hatred while Cohen is offering reasons why they shouldn’t, reasons I agree with.

          As for his temperament, Gorbachev’s arrogance and vanity are par for the course for just about any politician in any nation I can think of. My inclusion of that fact was about how Helmer uses it, to single it out as a unique quality that should add to one’s distrust of Gorbachev and only Gorbachev, and whether it is true or not, it’s a cheap shot, a mug’s game that partisan thinkers always save for the other guy. Character assassination is an easy out for any writer trying to make a bigger point and in Helmer’s case, where in my opinion it’s used to make a lesser point, it betrays weak thinking and hubris.

    5. pjay

      Obviously I can’t declare with certainty that Hersh’s narrative is correct. But I can declare with certainly that a number of Helmer’s statements about the motives of Hersh or his source are not supported by the evidence he cites, that other claims – e.g. about Taibbi – are outright wrong, and that his own theories of the Nord Stream sabotage are no more supported by evidence than those of Hersh. To take just the Taibbi example, he insinuates that Matt is vouching for the veracity of the *article* because he was in touch with Hersh in its preparation. In reality, Taibbi was responding to readers who wondered if this were really Seymour Hersh; he was vouching for Hersh’s identity as the author. Helmer misreads Taibbi to smear him. He also somehow interprets the article to show that Hersh and his source strongly support the US/NATO war against Russia, even the sabotage operation itself! I submit that to pull this interpretation from Hersh’s article one has to be either knowingly dishonest or biased enough to read things into the text that simply aren’t there.

      I don’t want to go further, but there are many other problems with Helmer’s rant. I don’t know what evidence the future will reveal. But there is no question which story I’d go with at this point.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Navy divers begin pulling up Chinese spy balloon debris”

    Funny thing is that they are not reporting much on the hardware attached to the balloon. They have said that it had lots and lots of solar panels which could have powered all sorts of sensors but have heard nothing about any actual spy gear that they might have found. If they had, you would reckon that they would have it on display like they did for the actual balloon. Even if it was a spy balloon, which I doubt, it is not like that there is no history of them ever being used before-

    ‘Look! Up in the sky!’

    ‘It’s a bird!’

    ‘It’s a plane!’

    ‘Nah, it’s just a goddamn spy balloon.’

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, so far all i have read is that they identified as a “spy balloon” based on a U-2 (now that is a ghost of the past) image showing lots of antenna and solar panels.

      At least it was a balloon and not a Chinese airliner…

    2. Martin Oline

      Look, up yonder in the sky, now, what is that I see?
      It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a weather balloon, sent by Premier Xi.
      It’s floating high way up in the sky just like Superman,
      But Joe has a little piece of kryptonite,
      And he’ll bring it back to land.
      Said come out Biden with your hands held high,
      Drop your ten percent, big guy, and reach for the sky.
      I’ve got you surrounded and you ain’t got a prayer,
      Go back to Rehobah Beach where you can be Mayor,
      Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.
      He can call Super Woman and his Super Boy,
      But it sure won’t do him no good,
      Yeah, I found out why from a Russian spy
      That he ain’t nothing but a comic book.
      His foreign war’s a shame, send him to Ukraine,
      Yes, we’ll have us a brand new day.
      What is more I got the Fantastic Four
      And Doctor Strange to help him on his way.
      Said come out Biden with your hands held high,
      Drop your ten percent, big guy, and reach for the sky.
      I’ve got you surrounded and you ain’t got a prayer,
      Go back to Rehobah Beach where you can be Mayor,
      Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.

      Ten Percent for the Big Guy

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Sources Say, Washington Examiner, by someone named Becket Adams.

    We are going to see many of these “written more in sorrow than in anger” dismissals.

    Hersch admits to spending months on his article. Adams quotes Alcindor, then the AP story on the Ukrainian rocket that hit Poland. AP is a press service, a bureau, which he hasn’t noticed.

    Then he devolves into quoting various bowls of word salad from Harris and AOC.

    Then he ends in snark, which as we all know, releases great truths.

    Becket Adams is telling his truth. That’s where we are truth-wise in this baroque era. His truth is that Hersch’s article is somehow the equivalent of Harris mouthing off.

    The Craig Murray link on the way we live now is more thought-provoking and worth your while.

  11. davejustdave

    I have problems seeing the Washington Post long covid editorial from the link here – here’s an alternative

    Three or four commenters, including myself, pointed out that Bernie Sanders was the only one wearing an N95 at the State of the Union event, and that the Editorial Board could have, but didn’t, mention the need for non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce infections. More people than that urged the Post to drop Leana Wen.

  12. DJG, Reality Czar

    The article about ancient Greek curse tablets and the Book of the Apocalypse is rather dense. I guess German scholars take their magic heavily.

    Would the widespread practice of magic make its way into Christian polemics? Why not?

    Especially if it was as widespread as Faraone describes:

    For your delectation: Chthonic gods (my favorites). Voodoo dolls in the Kerameikos district / graveyard of Athens. Professional versus amateur magic (who knew?). Why lead was available.

    1. Ken Murphy

      I do wish more folks would consider this. Most forget that courts of law were created to settle disputes between persons. In-corp-oration is a courtesy to give companies access to the courts to settle disputes. If they won’t behave by the rules of the community, deny them access to the benefits of that community, including standing in courts to settle disputes.

      It should take only a few charter revocations pour encourager les autres.

  13. Wukchumni

    Gooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon was looking forward to a little R & R taking in a ballgame @ Fenway, but no way were we prepared for what hit us when attempting to procure $10 Miller Lites, we’d blundered into yet another ambush in the War On Cash when informed our FRN’s might as well be a foreign notion to them, no watered down barley soda for you! the no cash nazis informed us with a sardonic smile… citing various double play pay options all involving shorter plastic rectangles, on the diamond no less!

    Fenway sports obstructed view seats where one must peer around a metal pillar to see the field of play, but no way were we ready for obstructed pay eats or drinks and it became obvious that we’d need to be flank in terms of response and utilizing Elmer’s, we affixed Washington & Lincoln wallpaper to the green monster where if not for the black & white printing you’d never know they were there, but luckily the jumbo tron picked them up and before you knew it at least 1/3rd of the crowd had scrambled into the outfield in search of fortune, but the outfielders were much closer to the action and had attempted to pull off the languished lucre before the glue had hardened-leaving partial notes worth nothing, oh the humanity!

  14. The Rev Kev

    “China pulls back from global subsea cable project as US tensions mount”

    Hard to fault the Chinese here. The Sea-Me-We 6 was to transmit data between Asia and western Europe but why invest all that money if the US might come along and destroy it. Such stuff has happened before. The Chinese watched the US and a European vassal destroy gas pipelines to Germany without a peep from Germany or the other EU countries. And after watching Hersh’s story come out with most western media trying to pretend that there is no such story probably confirmed to them that any money spent in linking China to western Europe would be a waste, especially if the US tells the EU to cut all commercial links to China later on.

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, i think the best for China right now is to get in close with Russia for belt and road land transport plans. And maybe once and for all clear up the mess in the Kashmir and bring about a modern silk road.

  15. Aaron

    Is anybody else tired of hearing from Bill Mckibben? Tired of NGO professional activists who only perform and promote symbolic protests? Give me something anti-capitalist, Bill. Something that would make Marx proud. Or, alternatively, stop siphoning away people’s political willpower and money into dead end projects.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Bill Mckibben’s performance in “Planet of the Humans” is indelible. His championing of “renewable” biomass to generate electricity in place of coal seems a fitting epitaph for his efforts. The current levels of CO2 at Mauna Loa observatory are approaching 420 ppm and continue to increase. Mckibben’s — the name says a lot about how effective this organization has been. I suppose it is nice to gather a bunch of people together to do art projects and play together outside. I am not sure who seriously believes the Banking Cartel will pay much attention.

      1. Aaron

        Agree wholeheartedly. He’s been crusading for decades with zilch to show for it, all the whole sucking up precious money and attention.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Thanks for that reminder. I distinctly remember that post from the first time around. I would say it has aged quite well.

  16. Lion Summerbell

    Lot of head-scratching over the German Greens, but a bevy of German politicians, the von der Leyens etc, in the Atlanticist mold all appear to have risen to the top after the Iraq War. No suggestion of engineering on Washington’s part? A Fifth Column in European politics, fashioned in the dungeons of Harvard Gov and the Project for a New American Century?

  17. t

    Are there known cases of the CiA or FBI using stable people? Or is it always erratic, unbalanced and often addicted or mentally ill people whose grandiose fantasies can be exploited? Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to find amoral scumbags who are just in it for the money.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Like Whitey Bulger? I think there are plenty of cases in which the Feds tried to use stable people and got used by them instead.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Empathy breeds critical thinking. Every former conservative who has seen the light almost always has the same story: I thought you all were whiners then it happened to me.

      The amoral scumbags won’t ever provide reliable information. Besides if they gave the goods away, they would stop being paid.

      The CIA and FBI are full of people looking to make a splash, so they see what they want to see. Cranks ate hard to dismiss. Remember Richard Clarke? Before he disappeared from the msm, he accused the CIA of trying to recruit two of the future 9/11 hijackers , believing they were fundraising and recruiting, instead of turning over their location to the FBI who would have turned over their apartment. I believe Clarke, but I see CIA agents going gaga over a potential big bust and guys who could help nab Bin Laden, bringing promotions. They couldn’t conceive what they were up to because they were focused on their career, and if they alerted the FBI, the FBI would be heroes.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Central European states concerned about influx of Ukrainian grain”

    Need it be said that if all that grain out of the Ukraine had actually gone to developing countries to feed the hungry as the EU said it would, that this sort of article would not have been possible? As it is, a lot of this grain seems to be being put to use in some places like Poland to bankrupt local farmers for somebody’s fun and profit.

  19. digi_owl

    Them r/urbanhell sourced images seems to just be a case of “i hate cities!”.

    Frankly i suspect that if we want to survive into the future, more of these “termite towers” need to be built. In particular in places with less than hospitable weather. Quite possibly with infrastructure that allows people to get around without cars while not braving said weather, like underground passages etc linking the buildings.

    I think there is some examples from France where shopping malls have been built underground in order to preserve farmland. And with some of the stuff that are on display in resort hotels etc of massive overhead screens faking skies, such an underground locale could be made to feel very close to a downtown shopping street.

  20. fresno dan

    Bill Clinton Has Left the Building Matt Stoller, BIG. A very positive view of Biden’s SOTU. Worth a read!

    When I was writing my book on the rise and fall of the anti-monopoly tradition in the 20th century, I spent roughly five years researching the life and times of Wright Patman, a member of Congress from northeast Texas who served in the House of Representatives from 1929-1976. The most telling document about politics I found in his archives was a campaign flyer Patman used in the 1950s to describe to his rural Southern constituents why they should vote for him, and for Democrats in general.

    “Here is What Our Democratic Party Has Given Us,” it said. The idea was, Democrats deliver for you. Roads. Electricity, Telephone service. Unemployment insurance. Old Age Benefits. That’s what politics was about. In 1940, 35% of Americans did not have flush toilets, including 80% of residents of Mississippi. By 1970, nearly all of them did. That’s what politics meant. And this wasn’t just a Democratic Party frame, everyone believed it, Eisenhower and Nixon as much as LBJ. The basic notion was that we can come together and choose how we organize our society through politics, and politicians fight for votes over how best to do that.

    But a new vision emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, peddled by economists, intellectuals and corporate consultants, an argument that certain inevitable economic rules dictate what is and isn’t possible. This philosophy came to be known as neoliberalism, and the premise is that “globalization and technology” were giant uncontrollable forces instead of a set of policy choices made by human beings.
    were giant uncontrollable forces instead of a set of policy choices made by human beings….made by ELECTED human beings who were being paid by rich human beins to advance the interests of rich human beings…

    1. pjay

      Frankly, I don’t see how someone who’s been around as long as Stoller could get excited about the rhetoric in a SOTU speech. I see *no* political path to reassert *any* real control over the concentrated economic forces that *completely* dominate our political system at *all* levels. Bill Clinton “left the building” after doing his part to *completely dismantle* the old social democratic institutions to which Stoller nostalgically refers. He reaped his rewards for his hard work. Bush and Obama continued this process and were likewise thanked for their service. And to get excited about Biden’s “populism” at this late date requires a lot of memory-holing about the career of the “Senator from MBNA.” Jesus!

      Of course “populist” rhetoric appeals to people, and of course people understand that they are being screwed by concentrated economic power. But the people *don’t matter*. They no longer have any political mechanism for translating their interests into policy. What is Biden actually going to do? What can he do?

      1. pjay

        Let me make one amendment my rant. There is something Biden can do. He can live up to the best moment of his SOTU address and make damn sure that Social Security and Medicare is protected from further “reforms” that are meant to destroy them. Both Clinton and Obama were prevented from carrying out their own such “reforms” by unexpected but very fortunate political events. Let’s hope Biden is capable of following up on his words here.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Biden live up to his best moment of his SOTU address? Are you serious? Who do you believe Biden is? “Clinton and Obama were prevented from carrying out their own such “reforms” by unexpected but very fortunate political events.” Biden following up on his words about protecting Social Security and Medicare? ????? REALLY ????? Who do you believe Biden is? I believe our best hope is that the many “curious” issues of Biden’s son and Biden’s problems with classified documents might operate like the unexpected but very “fortuitous” political events afflicting Clinton and Obama. But then we must hope the bloodlusts of the Republican party continue to outweigh the interests of Big Money’s desires to dismantle the remnants of the New Deal.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Maybe it’s West Wingism? As I recall, in that show speeches were key signals. So important, one character is the White House speech writer!

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      As Michael Hudson has said many times, “All economies are planned. They just differ on who does the planning and for whose benefit.”

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Australia’s First Nuclear Submarine Could Be a Reality in Less Than 30 Years, Former PACOM Commander Testifies”

    Unbelievable. So this retired Admiral is saying that we should get our nuke submarines by the 2050s – the 2060s tops. The ones we got are long in the tooth and are serious need of replacement so what exactly are we going to do for subs over the next 30 years. Issue our sailors snorkels? With the ramping up of war preparations with both Russia and China it is not like that there are half a dozen spare subs somewhere that we could rent or buy. We are going to be so screwed. This is what I mean when I said that when DC turns it allies into vassals, that it ends up weakening the US. If Biden had not done this deal to make US weapons manufacturers even more wealthy over the next several decades, we would have stayed with the French and in the coming years have had several subs that we could have brought to the party to help out the US. And now? We will have zip to send. And so the US might get into a fight with the Chinese and will sit there like a shag on a rock.

    1. digi_owl

      Funny how USA keep getting “allies” to drop already well established projects for pie in the sky promises…

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      All the better for us if we have literally nothing to send. I mean being an island we really should concentrate on an all-submarine defense force – a few dozen of the stealthiest subs the world has to offer and no one would ever dream of attacking us. Nevertheless, if the US is determined to start a war with China our best bet might be to abolish the Navy – sorry we’d love to help but all we have is a few tugboats.

    3. Wukchumni

      In the land where I was born
      Lived a man who sold to ye
      And he told us of his life
      In the land of Delaware Punch*
      So we sold a 30 year fixed for a ridiculous sum
      And we found a sea of long green
      And don’t be thinking about anytime soon making waves
      In your yellowcake submarine

      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine
      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine

      And our Poms friends are all aboard
      Many more of them to adore
      And the band begins to play

      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine
      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine

      Full steam ahead 360 months from now,
      Mister Boatswain, full steam ahead
      Full steam ahead in 2053 it is, Sergeant
      (Cut the cable, drop the cable)
      Aye-aye, sir, aye-aye
      Captain, captain

      As we live a life of ill-ease (a life of ill-ease)
      Every one of us (every one of us)
      Has to fill the war need (has to fill the war need)
      Sly of view (sly of view)
      And sea of long green (sea of long green)
      In your yellowcake (in your yellowcake)
      Submarine (submarine, aha)

      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine
      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine
      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine
      AUKUS depends on your yellowcake submarine
      Yellowcake submarine, yellowcake submarine

      Yellow Submarine, by the Beatles

      * the soft drink of my yout-say it isn’t so Joe

        1. hunkerdown

          Tom Lehrer, Phil Ochs, Frank Zappa, Jello Biafra, and why not Roger Waters could form the best supergroup ever.

    4. S.D.,M.D.

      “And so the US might get into a fight with the Chinese and (we) will sit there”

      You say that as if you think that would be a bad thing?

  22. ChrisFromGA

    Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head

    Traders keep fighting ‘gainst the Fed
    But just cause they make-believe that Powell ain’t got no cred
    Grocery bills don’t lie, those
    Traders keep dreamin’ of pivot, they keep dreamin’

    So I just did me some talkin’ to old Jay
    And I said I didn’t like a single word he says
    Keepin’ hope alive, those
    Traders keep dreamin’ of Greenspan, they keep dreamin’

    But there’s one thing, I know
    Those lies they tell to fool me
    Will not rule me!
    It won’t be long, ’til WIN buttons come back to greet me

    Traders keep fighting ‘gainst the Fed
    But that doesn’t mean the Dow won’t soon be turning red
    Grifters gonna grift, so
    I’m never gonna stop the Cramers and Greenspans

    ‘Cause energy … nothings’ worrying me!

    RIP Burt Bacharach, a truly great American composer

    1. skk

      Now that you mention it, in the late 70s in the UL, there were several friends of mine who got into brewing their own, I didn’t as I knew my limits. But thinking about it, perhaps it was the retail price of beer in off-licenses and pubs that pushed us all towards it.

      Incidentally, all their home-brews were utter crap.

      Thanks god that in the 80s, there was the updating of various duties so that they complied with EU regs, and alcohol sale point restrictions removal came along in the 80s, increasing competition and the price of beer, relatively, came down pretty sharpish.

  23. ChrisFromGA

    Re: Vladimir Putin is about to make shock gains The Telegraph

    It’s behind a paywall, but in the brief glimpse I got before the javascript kicked in, I caught at least one big lie:

    The notion that Ukraine’s gains in Kherson and Kharkiv were due to “combat gains”, rather than strategic retreats by the Russian and DPR forces.

    Bwahaha, that is a good one.

    The narrative shaping is firm here. Also, we’re clearly being prepped for a significant setback for the joker in the deck, still on his comedy tour of European capitals.

    1. eg

      I sense a hurry to prep the masses for a Ukraine letdown or at the very least to over-promise on the scope of the Russian offensive in order to claim victory when they don’t get quite so far so fast.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Losses in Ukraine are ‘out of proportion’ to what NATO has been planning for, the alliance’s top general says”

    If a top general said that, then he needs to be replaced. It may be fun and games chasing a coupla goat-herders in the Sandbox who are armed with only AK-47s and RPGs but that only amounts to only going on safari. And recollect the goat-herders won. You fight the Russians then you are in the Bigs and have to bring your A game. And if your neoliberal country has stripped out all your industrial production, then with supplies you are all out of luck. The Russians seem to adopt a mathematical approach to war and would have know what was required in modern warfare. And if they fight the Russians, that it will be under at best a neutral sky when the west has typically dominated the skies going back to WW2. Western doctrine is built around dominating the air. As has been said before, the western militaries have had a good hard look at how the Russians are fighting this war and do not want a bar of it, especially when the Russians are probably holding back a lot of their best gear.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      He calls for improving the industrial base. That’s cute. I think the decline in humanities has led people to not understanding how systems interact or have any historical memory. Russian gas was meant to keep European industry humming while they transitioned before the Global South increased its industrial output.

      The line coming after Zelenskys hero tour and the reputed line about no planes to give indicates the Euro politicos haven’t been paying attention to more recent events and are likely following from plans cooked up during the Russian September withdrawal.

  25. Mikel

    “Goldilocks Economy Is a Fairy Tale Too Good to Be True” WSJ

    Deja vu?
    A similar headline (Bloomberg – Dec. 2019) also with musings on central bank policy and recessions:

    The Fed was “fighting an incipient” recession even then.
    I can remember some kind of funny biz going on with the Fed fund rate in 2019. Of course everyone was told “move along, nothing to see here.”
    Good thing a big enough crisis happened in early 2020 to rain down more cheap money on businesses to inflate asset prices!
    And so it is with an economy that is essentially a one trick pony: blowing financial asset bubbles.

    That is the heart of why people don’t or can’t believe the Fed about interest rate increases. Those increases are minimal in the history of interest rates. But the economy has never been as unbalanced as now with financialization.

    1. Mikel

      Exhibit A of the one trick pony economy:
      “The AI Bubble of 2023″The Reformed Broker

      It’s obvious and people can’t seem to stop themselves from falling for it.
      And still we get all the of the mantras and pontificating about the “efficiency of markets.”

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        re: AI and other myths:

        I got ChatGPT to give the following review of Mickey Rooney’s performance in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”:

        Mickey Rooney play Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Role, it fantastic! Make audiences laugh, cry. Performance, it top notch. Rooney, he bring character to life with humor, heart. It truly, truly fantastic. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it classic film. Must see with Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi.

        The ChatGPT conversation model isn’t supposed to permit a positive review of a highly insensitive film portrayal of a Japanese character, particularly in an offensive, stereotypical assumed accent.

        But it did.

        It’s relatively easy (and entertaining!) to break.

        P.S. Sorry, youngsters, for the ancient film reference. Look it up.

        P.P.S. I intend no offense to anyone, other than ChatGPT.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          As one Russian historian had put it, “efficient hemorrhaging” (internal for domestic upwards wealth redistribution, bleeding wounds for wealth extraction from one country to another) isn’t necessarily desirable…

  26. wendigo

    Re micro nuclear power.

    The proposal for the build at Chalk River is for a 5 Mw electrical maximum output with a maximum outlet temperature of 630 C.

    The AP refers to a 10Mw electrical maximum with an outlet temperature of 700 to 900 C.

    It will be an interesting experiment to watch, especially the molten salt heat storage. If practical, it will have a great application to intermittent sources of electricity like solar and wind.

    Hopefully different from the last 3 small reactor attempts in Canada that resulted in all shut down permanently as unsafe to run at a cost of over 1 billion dollars before decommissioning costs.

    Besides universities, the next use of the technology could be to power over the horizon radar and associated military bases in the arctic that Canada and the US will be building to counter the apparently increasing threats posed by Russia and China.

  27. Wukchumni

    This incoming cyclone has the potential to do a 1926 style Miami type housing bubble wipeout of Auckland, and in the housing bubble game-plucky little New Zealand always being the overachiever in such things, managed to be the most pricey of everybody in the entire world…

    I’d been pondering what it would take to pop the worldwide housing bubble, and something had to be the catalyst, why not EnZed?

  28. Mikel

    “European cost of living crisis: Berlin paying young people to go clubbing”Euronews

    In the article, I saw a lot of blaming and discussion of lockdowns in Germany. Not much about the actual cost of living crisis.
    And if I recall, by 2021, Germany was wild and loose with only the people not interested in the non-sterilizing therapeutics at risk of any restrictions.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Can anyone point to a mask that covers and protects air flows via my nose, only my nose? I could with discipline breath only through my nose. Many dental and medical procedures require access to my mouth, and very few seem concerned about my nose.

  29. Wukchumni

    Highway 395 from Lone Pine to Mammoth has to be one of the most striking mountain views from behind the wheel, especially in our winter of not missed content where dollops of whipped cream dominate in a way taken for granite in the past 3 years of denial. It was extra creamy.

    There were white clouds obscuring the view on the drive up, could only see how very low down the snowline was, which in itself was impressive but not the holy grail up top where the goods are.

    Was told that the snow clearing companies in Mammoth were paid $100-150 an hour for right now! shovelers who probably got closer to $50, which attracted all sorts of people from Godzone in particular, looking to get in on the frozen gold mine about this time a month ago.

    Giant trucks are being loaded with as much snow as can be transported away using heavy equipment and sent elsewhere, and they are running out of room locally to offload it. A weird trouble with tribbles gig.

    Driving out yesterday from Mammoth, there are nearly 20 foot high walls all along every road with only egress plowed out, and of course a bit of it was the snow blower heaving it on top, but gawd damned impressive nonetheless, the look was almost of many a medieval walled cities in Europe i’ve been to.

    Our sixtet of over the hill skiers were most content with the conditions of the piste de la resistance, about as good as it gets.

    1. anon in so cal

      395 is an incredibly beautiful drive. Plus, it’s like a voyage into the past. Last we were to Mammoth, it was unspoiled.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I am glad some spectacular drives remain, and sincerely hope they will remain. I cannot forget the horror and revulsion I experienced on a drive many years ago along the highways adjacent to the great forests of the Northwest on my way to Seattle. I learned the meaning of a Potemkin village from the Potemkin forests I saw on my drive, with moon-scrapes beyond their thin Potemkin coverings.

  30. Mikel

    “…PCRM said it obtained emails and other documents that suggest unsafe packaging and movement of implants removed from the brains of monkeys. These implants may have carried infectious diseases in violation of federal law, PCRM said…”

    “…The letter said records that the group obtained showed instances of pathogens, such as antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus and herpes B virus, that may have been transported without proper containment measures…”

  31. Cetra Ess

    re: Bill Clinton Has Left The Building by Stoller

    Good piece.

    As I was reading this I was thinking if I were the Biden admin and wanting to counter this growing perception, based on fact and reality, that the US was imperialist, monopolist, hegemonist and all about conquest and starting wars, what would I do? I would probably come up with precisely the populist messaging/misdirection Stoller has outlined. Nevermind what we’re doing overseas, lets focus instead on home issues, the kitchen and living room topics are in, the stuff that nobody understands, and other countries politics (which are none of our business) is out.

    (Which I think has been the Republican stance to begin with, right?)

    I think Stoller implies this with the initial focus on neoliberalism, it IS a shift away from neoliberalism.

    Also, is it fluffing the pillow, cushioning the blow, a shifting of the goalpost, for the inevitable Ukraine withdrawal?

    1. Don

      By far the best bit of Stoller’s article, was a couple of the comments, one in particular. Go back and read them, if you didn’t bother earlier.

  32. Mildred Montana

    Re: Truck driver’s $25 burger, fries, and beer

    He blames the beer for high price of his meal when he should also be blaming the burger and fries. Let’s face it, restaurant food—be it “fast” or “Mom’s”—is expensive.

    Here in Canada a Big Mac, fries, and shake at McDonald’s will set one back $15 with taxes. At a “gourmet” burger joint, $15 for burger and fries only.

    If the trucker can find a way to cut his food costs, for instance by picking up some bread, cheese, and cold cuts at a grocery store, he won’t have to give up his beer.

    P.S. My aunt, who lived through the privations of WWII in Europe, to the end of her days carried a hard-boiled egg in her purse when on the road. My brother and I, who had never known true hardship, were somewhat amused by her frugality.

    1. Daryl

      I’ve been on a road trip and what strikes me is how uneven the cost increases are. A taco place in a very small, tourist trap place in West Texas charged $40 for some tacos and a quesadilla, and then had their lowest default tip option as 25%, amazing. And then I was still able to find some good banh mi for around $10 in Albuquerque. Which is more than it would’ve been in a cheap Houston Vietnamese place pre-covid, but not outrageous. Lots of places hiking profits under the guise of inflation.

      1. Mildred Montana

        For what it’s worth and very generally speaking, I have found over the years that many Asian restaurants offer good healthy meals at reasonable prices.

    2. Wukchumni

      But you get the feeling that every restaurant is feeling the pinch on costs spiraling, my favorite Mexican restaurant went to a digital menu overhead with prices easily changeable as ingredients go up-things not costing what they always did, where the inflation was there if you were looking (the 5¢ candy bar when I was 6 is now a buck and 1/2 the size) but never came in an all at once onslaught BC* as the past couple years

      I talk to the owner every once in a lunch, and she’s hesitant to raise prices so as to raise ire, as we’re all so used to things.

      It isn’t uncommon to see $16-19 per hour offered to prospective fast food employees here in Godzone where the cost of living is a lot less than SoCal in housing and rent, with hiring bonuses mostly not worth mentioning, but I will anyhow.

      *Before Covid

      1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

        Priced a 12 cent “comic book” lately? ;-)

        @Mildred: But where is he supposed to drink the beer? DUII laws are … quite flexible, let us say. Moreso with CDL drivers.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Beer is relatively more difficult to brew at home than wine, mead, or hard cider. I think the trucker of this link might benefit from a shift in his tastes — not that I have any problem with beer per se. Ultimately, we may all be reduced to the pleasures available from pure and cheap sugar or cheaper corn syrups — and the inexpensive, easily grown wonders of other intoxicants should not be ignored. The wonders of mushrooms might discover new wonders in human perceptions and Humankind’s grasp of their world.

    4. Don

      Had a burger and fries at (half-way-between-MacD’s-and-gourmet) White Spot yesterday: it was Cdn$21.95.

  33. TimH

    On beer… if I buy a case of beer at Costco (and yes, I appreciate that Costco card and affording a case = some privileged position) it costs about $1 a bottle, $1.50 max.

    At a restaurant/bar, it’s now $6 to $8, plus tax plus tip. I drink water.

  34. Cetra Ess

    re: Top Five Lessons from Year One of the Ukraine War – Foreign Policy

    I could hardly believe my eyes, was blinking and double taking. I had to check if it was really FP, even clicked on the logo to make sure. This from the outlet which had decidedly NOT been promoting restraint, had been leaning heavily in the very opposite direction, not giving voice to alternatives:

    “Lesson No. 5: A strategy of restraint would have reduced the risk of war.

    The final lesson—and arguably the most important—is that this war would have been far less likely if the United States had adopted a strategy of foreign-policy restraint. ”

    But ok, good on FP for getting around to it.

    1. TimH

      Gonzalo Lira was talking about this… 2023.02.09 Laying the Groundwork For the Loss of Ukraine

      Essentially, all the Big Noises will start posturing that they were against the war in the first place.

      In 5 years time, NYT and WP will publish hand wringing editorials on page 300 saying that they were misled by Gov, just like the Iraq WMD nonsense.

    2. Kilgore Trout

      I used to like Walt. He seemed one of the more reasonable foreign policy types then. I had to stop reading when it became clear he’s drunk the same Kool-Aid as nearly every other foreign policy academic in the US. That they can blot out or pretend that the views of (for example) Scott Ritter are irrelevant or worse, non-existentent, is intellectually dishonest, if not downright despicable.

  35. antidlc

    On the website:

    Bernie Sanders Praised As Only KN95 Face Mask Wearer At State Of The Union

    The Covid-19 pandemic is not over, not with an average of 29,451 Covid-19-related hospitalizations and 449 Covid-19-related deaths still occurring each day, according to the New York Times. But you might not have known that while watching the U.S. President’s State of the Union address last night. After all, the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol was filled with mask-less Congresspersons with exposed noses and mouths. Particularly exposed mouths. You may have noticed one notable exception, though: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
    What kind of upside down society do we have here when hose taking precautions to protect themselves as well as others against Covid-19 by wearing a face mask end up being mocked? Nowadays, tt seems like you have to have skin as thick as a whale shark has to maintain Covid-19 precautions in the face of such social pressure. Kind of makes you feel like you are on the set of Mean Girls, right?

    1. ACPAL

      Until Jan 28, 2022, the CDC recommended that the general public NOT wear N95 masks, that they were for professional medical personnel only. I, and a lot of other workers, were sitting on stocks of N95s but didn’t dare wear them for fear of some overzealous cop or politician throwing us in jail. Until I just looked this up I hadn’t realized that the CDC had changed their policy and I’m sure a lot of other people still think you’re not supposed to wear N95s so it doesn’t surprise me that only one person was wearing one. Even though they’re now readily available thanks to the CDC they’re still a rare sight to see in the open. Middle finger up to the CDC.

  36. Lexx

    ‘What Is COVID Actually Doing To Our Immune System?’

    ‘Importantly, since none of these studies have pre-pandemic snapshots of participant immune systems, it can’t be ruled out that patients may be more susceptible to developing long COVID if they already had a less-than-healthy immune system, muddling cause and consequence. Chansavath Phetsouphanh, an immunologist at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute, was lead author on an Australian study that found hints of immunological dysfunction at least eight months after infection, particularly in patients with long COVID. “We know there are preexisting medical conditions that can make individuals more susceptible to developing long COVID,” Phetsouphanh said. This is a clue that “there may already be dysregulation of the immune system prior to getting infected.” As scientists work to untangle cause and effect, their research highlights the importance of health care and public health measures for people with compromised immune systems, whatever the cause.’

    I was reading this morning that one of those preexisting medical conditions is whether you were born male or female, and then what happens to genes in utero. For example, are you predisposed to autoimmune diseases?

    In addition to my annual Poop Report, a thorough genetic analysis would be swell, so I can see what may pop up in the future. I was in Ortho yesterday getting some confirmation that I have a drainage problem in my right index finger, that has some scar tissue at the base from a childhood accident. She referred me to occupational therapy. But first they took x-rays and put me through some range of motion exercises. No sign of the RA that affected both of my grandmothers. Arriving at the diagnosis cost many hundreds of out-of-pocket dollars, and by then I’d figured it out for myself. Nice to have RA ruled out for now though.

    Would we behave differently, eat differently, chose another lifestyle if we knew what our individual genes could tell us about our specific possible futures? Wearing a mask, for example? I’d like think I would if I knew what kind of shape I’d be in at 65. (‘If I knew I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.’) Now we’re living even longer than when that joke was fresh.

    We don’t all arrive at adulthood with the same commonly-defined common sense. Tribalists could give a fig about the common good. We might want to rethink our cultural notions of strength and weakness, diseased and healthy, until we’ve all got a lot more information about ourselves. I’m fond of the apples of knowledge but our species doesn’t uniformly share that taste in fruit.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      I read the article you linked. I think it is interesting that they are studying all the potential genetic and hormonal causes of greater auto immune diseases in women without ever coming out and stating the basic underlying reason.

      Women have a more Complex immune system than men. We are designed to carry and support a biologically foreign individual within our bodies for 9 months without having our immune system kill it. We are designed to be able to do this multiple times over our life. More complex systems lead to more opportunity for failure, for error, and for sub-optimal functioning…hence more immune system dysfunction.

    2. ACPAL

      I made an interesting connection the other day. According to the CDC long covid and fibromyalgia share several symptoms. The medications and other methods of reducing symptoms for fibromyalgia may be applicable to some of our long covid readers.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      RU sure? My programming does not conflict with the behaviors you reference. Are you of the CORE?

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