Links 2/19/2023

Japan’s new H3 rocket aborts 1st-ever launch attempt

39th President Jimmy Carter enters hospice care, Carter Center announces WRBL


How Climate Change Is Making Tampons (and Lots of Other Stuff) More Expensive New York Times

Securitizing the Transition Phenomenal World

The stumbling block in ‘the race of our lives’: transition-critical materials, financial risks and the NGFS climate scenarios The London School of Economics and Political Science

Norfolk Southern’s Toxic Bomb Train

Norfolk Southern eliminated key maintenance role in derailment region, union says FreightWaves. Important.

Cincinnati closing Ohio River water intakes to prevent contamination from East Palestine derailment WCPO

‘How long is this going to last?’: East Palestine residents fear for their health — and answers are hard to find Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Federal workers not entitled to COVID hazard pay -U.S. appeals court Reuters


Israeli strike hits central Damascus: State TV Middle East Eye

Old Blighty

183 US Troops in Secret Locations Across Britain Consortium News

EDF Says Price Tag of UK Nuclear Power Plant Soars on Inflation Bloomberg


Soros Says Adani Crisis to Spark Democracy Revival in India Bloomberg

India to raise seven new battalions for China border Dawn

As cash runs out, Pakistan introduces bill to unlock IMF funds Al Jazeera

Is China and Pakistan’s ‘iron brotherhood’ crumbling? The Times of India


China’s Inventory Of J-20 Stealth Fighters Likely To Surpass US Air Force’s F-22 Raptors This Year — New Report The EurAsian Times

NATO eyes joint summit statement with Japan and South Korea Nikkei Asia

Asia is none of NATO’s business Nikkei Asia

China to Scrutinize Ford-CATL EV Battery Deal to Ensure Core Technology Isn’t Shared Bloomberg

Mao’s Great Leap: More Successful than We Thought Here Comes China

European Disunion

Germany: Strikes stop almost all flights at 7 airports Deutsch Welle

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Ukraine is not going to militarily retake Crimea,’ top Democrat says Politico. Nuland says Crimea should be demilitarized.

The view from Russia:

US congressman believes Ukraine will not try to retake Crimea militarily — newspaper TASS. Nuland says Ukrainian army has a legal right to strike in Crimea.

Hold Out, Bleed Dry, Hope for the Best Empire, Communication and NATO Wars

NATO doubles down: Highlights from the Munich Security Conference RT

U.S. officials believe China may be providing Russia nonlethal military assistance in Ukraine war. No evidence provided by these anonymous officials. NBC News

Chinese envoy urges NATO to stop ‘being a troublemaker’ China Daily

More evidence the West’s negotiations were never in good faith (guurst):

And around and around we go:

Washington embraces the Azov Brigade Unherd


Pistorius: Cheetah Ammunition for Ukraine Is Now Being Produced in Germany

Latvian drunk drivers’ seized cars could be given to Ukraine Latvian Public Broadcasting


Understanding Germany’s Gas Price Brake: Balancing Fast Relief and Complex Politics Center on Global Energy at Columbia

Exports rise 19.9%, imports soar 36.5% in 2022 – ISTAT Ansa. “The imports boom is explained above all by higher purchases of energy products.”


Unimportant Flying Objects

Top China diplomat mocks US response to China balloon as ‘hysterical’ The Hill

US military ends search for balloons shot down over Alaska and Lake Huron Guardian


Haley 2024: ‘New’ Leadership, Bankrupt Ideas Eunomia


Imperial Collapse Watch

VP Harris returns from Germany in C-17 support plane after Air Force Two experiences mechanical issues Fox


Steak Dinners, Sales Reps and Risky Procedures: Inside the Big Business of Clogged Arteries ProPublica

Judge hands providers another win by striking down surprise billing arbitration process Fierce Healthcare

After Staying Away During Pandemic, Doctors Return to Lobby Congress Kaiser Health News

Pentagon to allow up to 3 weeks of leave to service members for abortion travel The Hill

Police State Watch

‘Until we can’t no more.’ Immigrants on hunger strike at two Central Valley facilities Fresno Bee

Groves of Academe

Internal review found ‘falsified data’ in Stanford President’s Alzheimer’s research, colleagues allege Stanford Daily (drglenn)

The Death of Critical Thinking in America Consortium News

Class Warfare

How About a Victory for the Left Occasionally? Trying to Understand the World. With a shoutout to Naked Capitalism.

Department of Justice files in support of farmers in lawsuit against Deere’s repair restrictions PIRG

Stricter ‘Right to Farm’ proposal called a ‘solution searching for a problem’ Nebraska Examiner



Silicon Valley goes to war TechCrunch

Israeli high tech’s ‘political awakening’ evades a violent truth +972 Magazine

Eric Schmidt Is Building the Perfect AI War-Fighting Machine Wired

Google and Amazon want more defense contracts, despite worker protests Ars Technica

Tech Layoffs Threaten Unions’ Plan to Draw White-Collar Workers Bloomberg Law

New Social History ‘Palo Alto’ Tells a Story of Laborers and Exploiters KQED

The Bezzle

Retail investors are pouring a record $1.5 billion per day into the stock market Yahoo Finance

Bertolt Brecht (and me) The Left Berlin

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour

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  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘ “If Putin doesn’t change by 360 degrees, no”
    German foreign minister Baerbock on the question if Ukraine will be save if Putin stays President
    360 degrees…🤣’

    I used to think that Baerbock was just a malevolent sort of person. Now I see that she is just another Kamala Harris.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Never thought about it before but Maria Zakharova comes from a family of diplomats. And now she is a diplomat after a lot of hard work. And here is where it gets interesting. In a lot of countries you have ‘nepo babies’ who use the success of their parents to vault over others to secure good jobs and careers for themselves, even if they are incompetent and to be frank idiotic at times. Maria Zakharova is nobody’s fool and solid at her job. And you wonder what would happen if she went into a debate with people like John Kirby or Ned Price. I’d buy a ticket to see that one.

        1. Polar Socialist

          I might be more fair to say she comes from a family of sinologist, considering her father has been a lecturer at the School of Oriental Studies and her mother’s thesis was about traditional Chinese folk toys. Also her own thesis was about symbolism in Chinese New Year customs. After all, she spent her childhood in Peking and speaks Chinese.

          Even though she’s often depicted as “spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry”, she’s actually the director of information and press department of the Russian foreign ministry.

        2. John Wright

          There is a certain honesty to Kirby’s self assessment.

          As he is quoted; “I barely got a history degree from the University of South Florida”

          A Kirby-Zakharova debate would truly be interesting, but will not happen, even in entertainment dominated USA.

      2. Michael Hudson

        C’mon guys. You’re missing the hilarious point: 360 degrees is RIGHT BACK TO WHERE HE IS NOW. It’s a FULL circle, not a 180 degree reversal.

        1. Wukchumni

          Skateboarding is kinda like scapeboarding, and here’s the trick she should’ve gone with, just stick in Putin in lieu of sex change, and presto!

          What is a kickflip sex change?

          A kickflip sex change is when you do a regular kickflip and a frontside 180 body varial at the same time. It’s a pretty basic trick and is among the first kickflip variations people learn.

          1. Samuel Conner

            IIRC from quantum physics, spin half particles, such as electrons, behave differently — you have to rotate them 720 degrees to get them back to their original spin orientation. 360 degrees would convert an electron from “spin-up” to “spin-down”.

            Angela Merkel is, IIRC, a PhD physicist — perhaps she persuaded Baerbock that VVP is more like an electron than like a normal object in Euclidean geometry.

            1. Raymond Sim

              This is one of my favorite hidden truths that emerge from abstract mathematics: There is a nontrivial sense in which a 360 degree rotation of a sphere or ball about one axis does not return it to its original state, but a 720 degree rotation does.

              It requires some fairly fancy math to notice, but it’s true in regular old 3-d Euclidean space.

              If you’re right though, perhaps Baerbock’s hinting things could be okay if Russia would just spin differently, using quantum lingo like a Hanoi Hilton p.o.w. blinking dots and dashes?

        2. Ignacio

          This is it. Fortunately some clever mind came to clear minds. Normally a 180 degree turn would be total reverse. Wouldn’t it? In between those who know maths and those who don’t know Baerbock belongs to the third group.

        3. El Slobbo

          Maybe she’s hoping Putin will spin 360°, which will make him dizzy and disoriented, and then she can whack him.

        4. ChrisPacific

          “Putin claims to have changed by 360 degrees, but he’s clearly in exactly the same position as before. This is yet more evidence of his duplicity!”

          (This is satire and not a real quote, by the way – I feel the need to add that disclaimer as it’s becoming increasingly hard to tell)

    1. griffen

      Idiocy, catch the fever. I like to trot out a basketball player quote from the high times of the ACC conference in the middle ’80s, akin to a classic Yogi Berra line. On occasion I used to putt really short attempts left handed using a flat blade putter on the green, and would also use the quote.

      “I’m amphibious, I can shoot free throws with either hand.” (For those not up to speed, college and professional basketball has a Free Throw line where a player attempts 2, or perhaps 3, uncontested attempts at one point per attempt). A right handed player shoots all attempts with the right hand and so on.

      1. Unqualified to Comment

        “I’m amphibious, I can shoot free throws with either hand.”

        Shouldn’t that be “I’m amphibious, I can shoot free throws with either flipper.”

    2. Stephen


      There do seem to be protests in Munich against this particular conference and the war mongering it represents.

      To state the obvious. The arrogance of western leaders and the kind of questioning represented at the conference by the Twitter is immense. It is not for the EU to pontificate on who should lead Russia. I have never heard Putin say that Biden, Von der Leyen or Baerbock should go. Nor even (I believe) has he said that of Zelensky. If he did, just wait for the hysterical western reaction!

      Similarly, there were comments being made that Putin is so scared of terrorists that he travels everywhere in an armoured train. I have no idea how true that is, I suspect it is not. But people then do not reflect that no US President these days travels anywhere without a posse of circa 1,000 people, multiple planes (including a decoy), armoured limousines and so forth.

      The inability or unwillingness to self reflect is stratospheric. Possibly unprecedented in history.

      1. Questa Nota

        Awaiting the pitch to Putin about getting frequent railer miles kilometers. Imagine the perks. Now, queue up that trip to Vladivostok. But does anyone code-share behind the Curtain? /s

      2. lyman alpha blob

        The arrogance and stupidity really is breathtaking. The headline of the Politico piece ‘Ukraine is not going to militarily retake Crimea,’ top Democrat says, shows a small grasp of reality on the part of one Western leader, but four paragraphs in that goes right out the window and we’re back to white hot stoopid again –

        Smith said that at some point there will be a negotiated end to the war. “Best case scenario is some sort of ’one Ukraine’ arrangement,” he added. “The real question is, can we get security guarantees for Ukraine” that would allow the U.S. and partner nations to “continue to train and arm Ukraine so that Russia doesn’t just do this again, once they’ve caught their breath and a couple of years.”

        And the answer to Smith’s question is nyet, nyet, nyet. What he will get is a Russian missile right up the [familly blog] if the West keeps putting weaponry to threaten Russia right on its border.

        Does this midwit really not see what caused this war? Does he not understand which side was catching their breath for the last few years while rearming, as they have publicly admitted? Hint – it wasn’t Russia. Has he even looked at a map recently?

      3. digi_owl

        I still recall hearing that for the duration of his stay in Oslo, Obama’s retinue basically took over control of the streets he would be travelling along. This to the point of welding shut manhole covers and having the secret service’s own sniper teams on the roofs.

        Yet each time a president has been successfully targeted, it has been on US soil. And more often than not by some loner with a handgun.

      4. LawnDart

        I believe that Lambert gave this some coverage, and I hope that it does gain traction:

        We Need a Huge Rage against the War Machine

        The ruling elite is content when the mass of working people are divided and fighting over racial, cultural and social issues. What threatens the ruling elite is the possibility of a mass movement demanding a change in US foreign policy of aggression, sanctions and wars.

        1. flora

          There’s a Rage Against the War Machine happening in DC right now. Started at 12:30 eastern time. Sister rally’s are being held today in
          Oak Park, Ill., Feb. 19;
          Milwaukee, Wisc., Feb. 19,
          Bath, Maine, Feb. 19;
          San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 19;
          Santa Cruz, Calif., Feb. 19;
          Denver, Colo., Feb. 19;
          Fresno, Calif., Feb. 19;
          Tacoma, Wash., Feb. 19;
          Montpelier, Vt., Feb. 19;
          Minneapolis, Minn., Feb. 19;
          Seattle, Wash., Feb. 19;
          Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 19.

          1. fresno dan

            Wow something in fresno. I missed it, but I am now signed up at the website, so I won’t miss the next one

      5. tevhatch

        I was impressed with this twitter comment, “…… Annalena’s trampoline was in a basement room with low ceiling height .” I’d have added where she nightly performed “punk dancing” together with Anal Blinkin, Viktor Nudelman, and Robber Kagan-ite, but I’m always over baking the cake.

        Why would Putin want to see the removal from power idiots like Bidet, Von der Lugen and Bainbock? There is a risk, however small, that the replacements will be more competent evil, but there is no way they will be less agreement incapable(the later requires replacement of the whole rotten edifice and even the subsoil). It seems improbable that their replacements could be more incompetent.

        1. Ignacio

          You forgot there Josep Borrón y Cuenta Nueva (sorry for the Spanish – interpret this as sorry for my French) and I prefer Ursula von Disaster, eManuel Maroon, Olaf Sprzchodltz and the unforgettable Boris Clownson possibly coming back with a vengeance. Joe Bidet was just great.

    3. begob

      Yesterday BBC radio carried a statement from Harris. I paid no attention to the content, but noticed it was delivered in bites of three syllables, which chopped up the clauses.

    4. OIFVet

      They don’t teach geometry at the WEF Young Leader seminars, only how to be good vassals.

      Still, makes living in the EU and being ruled by clowns like Baerbock, Scholtz, Macron, Borrell and frau[d] von der Leyen that much more depressing

        1. OIFVet

          You may be on to something here, y’know. It was Dubya who famously said, “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” One can argue that Baerbock and the rest of her Europoodle ilk have done immeasurable harm to their people.

    5. Louis Fyne

      and Baerbock didn’t mere say “360 degrees” once, she used that metaphor twice.

      You did it ladies, 1st and 2nd wave feminists would be proud….women can be as stupid and chickenhawkish as any man!

      1. digi_owl

        Worse i’d say, as until recently they had zero risk of skin in the game.

        Women and children first, as the old rules say. And it is interesting how fast they fall back to them old ideas of chivalry when they get pushback from a man.

        1. tevhatch

          Her skin may be in another game. Perhaps a dose of the meat grinder will leave feminist vote in a majority position.

      2. Mildred Montana

        >”…women can be as stupid and chickenhawkish as any man!”

        For some reason, I’ve been pondering this mystery lately. Women have slowly gained positions of power over the past fifty years starting with, say, Golda Meir, then Margaret Thatcher, and through to the many we have today.

        And yet the question I keep asking myself is, Has the world become a better place because of the growing influence of the “gentle sex”? It is hard to see that it has, and this seems to run counter to evolutionary theory. According to it, women as child-bearers and nurturers are above all concerned with securing a safe future for their offspring and their offspring’s offspring.

        So what’s wrong with today’s women politicians? One would think that they’d be vehemently and consistently anti-war but they’re not. Is it the feminism you mention? Surely not all are dogmatic feminists and even if they were I don’t think that adequately explains their seeming disregard for posterity. To support war, imo, flies in the face of their female biology.

        Something else is going on I think. Perhaps the answer is as simple as power attracting only sociopaths who, as we know, care for no one but themselves. I’ll keep pondering however.

        1. Louis Fyne

          the answer to your question equally applies to men……

          if one is smart, ethical, empathetic, moral one has no long-term career in DC past a short-ish stint as a policy analyst.

          Power attracts the craven, and the ones with a conscience are (rightly) unwilling to make a career in that muck

          1. OIFVet

            I agree with both of you re the type of personality that succeeds in politics (and for that matter, in corporations, the military and NGOs). Having two X chromosomes means nothing when one pursues attaining power and exercising it.

          2. cosmiccretin


            The key phrase in your diagnosis is “in DC”.

            Maria Zakharova (who appears to have all of the qualities you list – and then some!) doesn’t seem to have been in the least disadvantaged in her political career by having them. But then she works in Moscow not DC.

            Sheer chance? I don’t think so.

        2. barefoot charley

          In first-wave days, it was somewhat recognized that successful women approaching power had to ape men at their worst. Indira Gandhi and Golda Mier were even tougher than Maggie Thatcher. So the gentler sex had to knock that crap off to show themselves trustworthy, which those exemplars did. It took backward America awhile to catch up, with Hilary, Madeline Albright, Jeanne Kirkpatrick etc, but we got there.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ll go with first wave women leaders for a thousand, Alex!

            This woman was the first one ever on a Dollar, er Riksdaler that is.

            Who is Queen Kristina of Sweden?


            The Swedish queen is remembered as one of the most learned women of the 17th century. She was fond of books, manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures. With her interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics, and alchemy, she attracted many scientists to Stockholm, wanting the city to become the “Athens of the North”. The Peace of Westphalia allowed her to establish an academy or university when and wherever she wanted.


            1. digi_owl

              I think it was Burke, in one episode of Connections, that made the claim that she effectively killed Descartes. This by insisting he tutor her early in the morning, daily, even in the harshest of Swedish winter weather. This then resulting in him developing pneumonia.

            2. Polar Socialist

              She also gave so much land to her favorites (already the richest of the country) that even part of the highest nobility turned against her. Mostly because the lower nobility actually joined forces with peasants to oppose queen’s anti-robinhoodian tendency of redistributing wealth.

              And like her father and grandfather, she harassed and executed her catholic subjects because they might have been secret supporters of the Polish king’s demand on Swedish crown – her grandfather had taken the crown from Sigismund in a civil war.

        3. Objective Ace

          I dont think its that power attract sociopaths, its that the current system actively selects for them and weeds out anyone else. Is Tulsie Gabbert a sociopath? Too me at least, it looks like she genuinely cares about the country and her brethren. From all appearences–that was held against her by DC lobbyists and ultimately the DNC. Instead, they got behind Kamela as their woman of choice. I imagine her ensuring innocent people remained in jail showed she could be counted on to do “what was necessary” and not be bothered with ethics

        4. hunkerdown

          There is. They’re performing Protestant capitalism with a “better” style than men would. The capitalist order is reproduced, the notion of gender as property is reproduced, labor remains estranged from its conditions. All necessary boxes ticked, job done.

        5. digi_owl

          That is a rose colored view of evolution, never mind history, i’d say.

          But then i suspect i risk getting crucified as some sort of -ist.

        6. ArvidMartensen

          Perhaps women as the gentler, caring sex was just another narrative, spread by men who wanted to keep the field clear for themselves ?

        1. Jeff V

          Thank you, that made me laugh, which doesn’t happen very often given the current state of the world.

    6. jefemt

      I did go to a land grant school in the Rockies, so forgive me, but turning a 360 seemed to me to just get one right back to where we started, same bearing?

      Now a 180, or a 90, I see differently. NB, I LOVE my german- engineered car…

  2. whitlockite

    Regarding “Silicon Valley goes to war”, Steve Schmidt’s new military AI startup is called “Istari”. The Istari were the group of 5 wizards sent to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Third Age to fight Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. What is it with these silicon valley billionaires adopting names from Tolkien’s writing for their companies? You have Peter Thiel’s Palantir Technologies, and Lembas Capital (SF-based investment firm). I also noticed that the reporter called the company “Ishtari” at least once, which brings to mind the ill-fated 1987 Warren Beatty/Dustin Hofmann film vehicle whose success I think this company has a better chance emulating.

    1. bwilli123

      Tech companies with names from the world of Lord of the Rings

      Palantir: “stones that could be used in communication with one another, and also to see many things across the face of the world”

      Anduril: “the name for the sword Narsil after its reforging in Third Age 3018 for Aragorn, the heir of Elendil”

      Varda: “a Valië, one of the Aratar, the wife of Manwë and Queen of the Valar”

      Vilya: “one of the three Rings of Power of the Elves”

      Mithril: “ a precious metal highly prized for its strength, light weight, and malleability”

      Narya: “the Ring of Fire or Red Ring, was one of the Rings of Power”

      Rohan: “a Mannish kingdom on the northern borders of Gondor”

      Castar: “the chief currency used within Gondor”

      Istari: “wizards were commonly known as the Istari”

      Valar: “the Powers of Arda who shaped and rule the world”

      Telcontar: “the Royal House of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor in the Fourth Age”

      Vaire: “a Valië and the wife of Mandos”

        1. Carolinian

          The web has been laughing at Microsoft’s Bing AI which seems to get its dialog from HAL in 2001. So far no mention of “the mission” and its importance.

    2. Mikel

      “Silicon Valley Goes To War”

      Returns to its roots may be more apt.

      Just spitballin’, but…Are the battle cries big enough that some security clearance issues growing in a way that could contribute to some of the tech layoffs?

    3. Pookah Harvey

      Hopefully Silicon Valley never seriously goes to war. The scenario presented 5 years ago by a Berkley professor and one of the early researchers in AI in the short movie “Slaughterbots” (8 min) is terrifying.
      All the technology that is described 5 years ago is now becoming increasingly available.

    4. Acacia

      What is it with these silicon valley billionaires adopting names from Tolkien’s writing for their companies?

      They think it sounds elevated and cool, and it’s the only literature they know.

  3. griffen

    Cropland value by state, interesting graphic and details in the thread. Riddle me this on Sunday morning, is Florida truly a rural state? Okay yes, much of the state when you are outside of heavy metro populations is pretty rural. I’ve seen articles linked here discussing the impacts of state and local government interested in developing every last piece of dirt (residential and commercial).

    Otherwise…nearly 1/4 million bucks in USD for an undergrad degree? What the heck.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “VP Harris returns from Germany in C-17 support plane after Air Force Two experiences mechanical issues”

    Sometimes an innocuous headline like this will make me think of possibilities. I can see it how-

    ‘Madame Vice President. Did you know that the back door of a C-17 Globemaster goes down? Everybody loves the view out the back and you can use your mobile to get some great footage that nobody else in DC will have. You can even sit on that ramp. That’s right, just stand next to the back and I will lower the ramp for you. Make sure to hold your mobile with both hands to keep it steady….’


    ‘Told you that she should have had a safety harness on her.’ Glances back at US Secret Service detail who are either studying the ceiling of the plane or are intently studying the decking. (1:00 min)

    1. mrsyk

      “Sometimes an innocuous headline like this will make me think of possibilities.”
      Me too. I’m thinking Western state leaders are probably pretty nervous flying these days, particularly if you might be worth more as a martyr than alive. Mechanical difficulties my sweet aunt Fannie.

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps the takeaway is that our useless VP has a huge C-17 following her around in her other plane. How much carbon does the White House spew out?

      There’s an outdoor airplane museum near Tuscon where you can see Eisenhower’s DC-7 and go inside. Seems tiny. Could be we act like an empire because we treat our elected leaders like emperors.

  5. griffen

    The next race for US President is heating up. Nikki Haley officially launched her campaign last week. Stale old men with addled brains and bad ideas, or younger generation of leaders with addled brains and bad ideas. Place your bets, America ! I keep 2028 on my personal bingo card for the Apocalypse / the Jackpot, others mileage may vary.

    Elsewhere, I saw news that Tim Scott (junior senator, South Carolina) is to launch a speaking tour and possibly gauge responses before officially jumping into the infested waters.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Haley is only running cuz SC is at the top of the calendar and the neocons want one of theirs in the GOP field.

      Haley will get crushed by Trump and/or DeSantis.

    2. Kengferno

      What does a Jackpot look like in the wild? No electricity for a month? No mail? Food riots? I’d say it’s going to be a slow motion train wreck. We might not know we’re in the Jackpot until it’s too late.

      1. Wukchumni

        What does a Jackpot look like in the wild?

        On St. Matthew Island it went like this…

        In 1944, 29 reindeer were introduced to the island by the United States Coast Guard to provide an emergency food source. The Coast Guard abandoned the island a few years later, leaving the reindeer. Subsequently, the reindeer population rose to about 6,000 by 1963 and then died off in the next two years to 42 animals. A scientific study attributed the population crash to the limited food supply in interaction with climatic factors (the winter of 1963–64 was exceptionally severe in the region). By the 1980s, the reindeer population had completely died out. (Wiki)

      2. griffen

        I dunno, something from Lord of the Flies? Or more recent fictional examples, like The Road or the Book of Eli. When it’s been covered here before, the Road is notable for the depressing take on civilization (which is more apocalypse to be sure).

        When I’ve brought it up before though, something more tangible and easy to quantify would be the price for either a gallon of regular gasoline or a dozen eggs going through the roof.

        1. Wukchumni

          Historically 95% of the populace has been farmers since circa Fertile Crescent, so in hard times they were self sufficient for nourishment, or hopefully had reserves for a bad year, but there was potential there.

          95% of us have no idea how to grow food, not a clue.

          A lot of corn syrup fed bipeds out on the range though…

          ‘Donner Part-y, we are now ready to serve you’.

        2. JBird4049

          The Lord of the Flies scenario is relatively rare as most people most of the time respond really well to disasters. It makes good reading, especially for the news media, but it is almost always baloney. Of course, that is most of the time. The elites are often the ones panicking or overreacting with violence when there is no need.

          I also find it interesting that it is (a few) people with guns, the police, and political leaders that panic and get violent on the darkly complexed people. The violence New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was mostly police and white home owners shooting black refugees with the news media making stuff up.

          1. ambrit

            I also heard stories from refugees from the New Orleans French Quarter area that some of the big hotels had private mercenary forces bought in to supply security to the “upper classes” in those establishments. These stories, from more than one source, were ‘spun’ in the week after the disaster. Whether true or not, these stories were a sign of the times concerning the “average person’s” view of elite corruption and sense of entitlement.
            The police force in New Orleans after Katrina was still about half black in composition. Thus, an indirect example of “class, not race.”
            One of the most prominent news personalities of the pre-Katrina New Orleans area, one Garland Robinette, was prominent after the storm in going on the radio programs, (there was no television for some time,) and arguing that the real ‘issue’ involved in the treatment of the survivors in New Orleans was class and not race. I personally listened to several of his broadcasts. The radio stations recovered very quickly after the storm. So called talk radio was a primary form of mass communication for a time after the hurricane.
            Something else on the subject:
            One reason for the black white disparity in outcomes was that most of the New Orleans area flooding happened in the heavily black and mixed race sections of the City of New Orleans proper. The white flight suburbs, such as Metairie, etc. mainly situated in Jefferson Parish, adjacent to Orleans Parish, did not flood very much. One reason for this is that during the storm, the Jefferson Parish government supported the drainage water pumping stations and kept them manned and working throughout the storm. The Orleans Parish storm water pumping stations were essentially abandoned to their fate and shut down just when they were need most.
            Another item that contributed to the break down in civil society in Orleans Parish after Katrina was that many of the police officers from there ‘bugged out’ at the first sign of serious trouble. The ‘poster child’ for this is the fact that a group of New Orleans police officers stole autos from off of the lots of several local auto dealerships and used them to drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway before it was closed down to points North, and safety.
            Generally see:
            Hurricane Katrina was in many respects a dress rehearsal for the coming age of societal stress and decay. Public infrastructure degrades quickly, public workers bug out for personal survival, “law and order” do not so much break down as are broken by overreactions by the ‘official’ power groups, and civic organization devolves to the strictly local level. There were many stories of single blocks of neighbours cooperating to get through the disaster while larger organizational units that were directly involved in the disaster failed to cohere and function properly.
            Terran human nature, so close to Earth, so far from the gods.

      3. bojang bugami

        Slow-rolling drop in life expectancy and rise in deaths from various diseases, all happening over several decades just slowly enough to avoid looking obviously designed and engineered.

        I believe the fictional equivalent in Gibson’s novel was only referred to as the “jackpot” after the several decades of population removal had been successfully achieved and the survivors were looking back at that time and deciding what to call it.

        So we might say that we are in the early years of a several-decades-long jackpot process currently under way.

  6. Mark Gisleson

    ‘How About a Victory for the Left Occasionally’ makes some good points but their premise doesn’t properly take into account actual politics. Yes, they talk about the rough and tumble but in an abstract and philosophical way. Nothing about day to day or year to year politics is abstract or philosophical.

    The Democrat party fails to achieve its objectives because it doesn’t want to achieve its objectives. The party may be tagged as left, but its leadership is wholly owned by [the Blob, Deepstate, Dipstate, Whatever] and cleverly sabotages legislation that is important to their base. To say there is an ideological failure is to ignore the real problem: corrupt Congressional leadership.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the Democratic bottom 90% are a bunch of battered spouses.

      1992, Change is coming because a young boomer is the top of the ticket (remember 1992 was a “hope and change” campaign-election).
      2008, Change is coming because a black/biracial man is the top of the ticket.
      2012, Change is coming because a black man is the top of the ticket and it’s his 2nd term.
      2016, Change is coming because a woman is the top of the ticket.
      2020, Change is coming because a black/biracial woman is the top of the ticket.

      W Bush, changed the tax code (which Obama made permanent)
      Trump, changed the tax code (which Biden doesn’t care about)

    2. Questa Nota

      The environmental movement could be a case study. There was much support for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and that could’ve led to some great programs and a better world.

      Instead, there was a type of marketing failure due to the items noted in the article like moral superiority and narcissistic obsession with correctness and purity.

      Many people tuned out, turned off and dropped out of that process rather than be hectored. Similar processes are in play today with similar results. :/

      1. digi_owl

        Not the first time that blew up.

        Upton Sinclair tried to document the working conditions of the meat packing industry, and instead got the pure food and drug act.

        NIMBY may well have originated with back in the 60s, as a way to keep the dirt out of sight (and thus out of mind).

      2. Lexx

        Every four years when I read yet another article about the infighting within the Green Party leadership (not!), I want to tear my hair out. They need to get over themselves to get anything done. Aurelien couldn’t have described the problems there any better. And as long they’re firmly planted up their own butt cheeks, the Dems and the Repubs can rest easy in their hold on power with little challenge from a third party, even while having broad support on climate issues, which they’re pissing away.

        Personally I harbor more mafioso fantasies for dealing with individual politicians and their donors. Aurelien didn’t take it far or fast enough, but I’d give ‘incremental’ a shot just to be able to say later, ‘Tried that, did that, it failed. Let’s try something more… persuasive.’ We don’t have time to dither with ‘modesty’.

        (Who said modesty was a virtue?

        “No doubt, when modesty was made a virtue, it was a very advantageous thing for the fools; for everybody is expected to speak of himself as if he were one.”

        ― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life)

    3. digi_owl

      At least from an European viewpoint, US politics is divided between right and insanely right.

      Dems have not been “left” in any proper sense since at least Clinton, if not Truman.

      1. JBird4049

        There was a strong, albeit declining, left wing in the Democratic Party until the Clintons’ DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) got them all removed. A similar pattern happened in the Republican Party when the declining, but still existing, moderate conservative wing was also ejected after being labeled as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). This left us with the conservative Democrats and the insane Republicans. This also eliminated the political overlap both parties had until the 1980s as well as the more liberal or moderates factions both parties had.

      2. Keith Newman

        @digi_owl, 10:26.
        I found Aurelien’s post on the “Left” very disappointing. Usually I find them thought-provoking at the very least. This one was at best ill-informed. First where is there a “left” today? To even suggest that the US democrats are “left” or have been remotely “left” even as he defines it at any time in the last 30 years removes most credibility from the post.
        Mainly though, some of the tactics he mentions as not being done by “the left” are ones I have been involved in personally over the last 25 years. Not only that but they are standard stuff, well understood by all those involved. For example targeting individual politicians for defeat. Been there, done that, and successfully to boot 20 years ago against a Canadian federal government minister. This tactic definitely has its place as does targeting members of parliament who won their seat in a close election. All standard stuff.
        It’s true tame demonstrations do not work. This was understood by the leadership of the student strike in Quebec a dozen years ago who created chaos in the streets through impromptu demonstrations. Their actions led to the defeat of the provincial government, student fee increases that were very small, with Quebec remaining the province with the lowest student fees in Canada as a result.
        Then there is the case of street actions in Argentina 30 (?) years ago that brought down one government after another when 100,000 people would repeatedly occupy the highways around Buenos Aires causing chaos in the city.
        Other examples come to mind as well.

  7. GramSci

    Re: the Stumbling Block (transition-critical minerals)

    I didn’t read the whole 61 page screed, but search didn’t find any mention of “local” or “conserv”. Howver I did find 89 occurrences of “global”.

    So I presume the two climate scenarios modelled by the “Network for Greening the Financial System” are principally modelled to get more dollars.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Cincinnati closing Ohio River water intakes to prevent contamination from East Palestine derailment”

    ‘CINCINNATI — Greater Cincinnati Water Works will close Cincinnati’s water intake in the Ohio River ahead of anticipated contaminated water from the East Palestine train derailment, the agency announced Friday morning. Closing the intakes is “out of an abundance of caution,” GCWW said.’

    Yeah, I bet they are. I’ll make a little bet. I bet that if people go to take their own samples of the water to be sent to scientific laboratories for analysis, that those people will be arrested by the local police, thrown down on the ground and cuffed and those samples destroyed. In addition, the FBI will get involved and there will be mutterings of putting these people on a ‘domestic terrorists’ list. After that reporter was arrested for doing his job, I would put nothing past the authorities in order to cover for Norfolk Southern. They may even put out a statement saying that it will be impossible for the people of that town to get cancer as like Covid, cancer is not spread by aerosols.

    1. Wukchumni

      Riding through the City of East Palestine
      Norfolk Southern, derailed morning rail
      150 cars and 20 of them hazardous
      A lack of safety conductors and 38 cars that failed
      All along the eastbound odyssey
      The train catches fire in Salem you see
      Rolls along past houses, farms and fields
      Passin’ towns that have no game
      Flyover full of out of work men
      And the graveyards of the rust belt auto machine

      Good morning America, how are you?
      Say, don’t you know me? I’m your warning sign
      I’m the train they call the Norfolk Southern
      I’ll have spread danger when the day is done

      Dealin’ haz mats with the old cars in the middle
      Do what you want, ain’t no one keepin’ score
      Pass up upkeep that holds back the profits
      Feel the wheels rumblin’ ‘neath the floor
      And the sons of cub reporters
      And the sons of engineers
      Ride their great grandfather’s magic carpets made of steel
      CEO’s with their minds asleep
      Were thinking more of a market beat
      And the rhythm of the stock market is all they feel

      Good morning America, how are you?
      Say, don’t you know me? I’m your warning sign
      I’m the train they call the Norfolk Southern
      I’ll have spread danger when the day is done

      Nighttime in the City of East Palestine
      Burning cars, a vinyl chloride apogee
      Half way home, media says it’ll be safe by morning
      Through the Ohio darkness
      Rolling out lies, you see
      But all the towns and people seem
      To fade into a bad dream
      And the steel rail still ain’t heard the news
      The CEO sings his songs again
      The stock investors will please refrain from selling
      This story has got the disappearing railroad blues

      Good night America, how are you?
      Say, don’t you know me? I’m your warning sign
      I’m the train they call the Norfolk Southern
      I’ll have spread danger when the day is done

      City of New Orleans, performed by Willie Nelson

      1. Rob

        Well done! Really like this song and your lyrics were terrific. Would like to hear John Hiatt or Bruce Cockburn record this!

      2. Not Again

        Not sure what all this hub-bub is about a couple dozen train cars spewing toxic materials into the air on a regular basis. When I lived on the East Coast, we called it New Jersey.

        1. Wukchumni

          Neighbors in our cabin community road their bicycles from Salinas to San Diego and then across to Florida en route to Princeton where their son was graduating, and they were enthralled with New Jersey’s forests, so it isn’t all bad, but your Jersey may vary.

          They flew back out west, and of course I had to chide them for not riding back, slackers.

    2. wendigo

      In regards to the NOAA distribution map there is this gem from Environment Climate Change Canada.

      I especially like the line “Typically the chemical released to the air in the controlled release, vinyl chloride, only lasts in the atmosphere 24 hours.”

      Lucky for us burning is only evaporation, not a chemical reaction, as well as the new location for southern Ontario.

    3. Jason Boxman

      It’s worth reflecting that while this might called an industrial accident, this is certainly not that. It’s malicious. Precision scheduling isn’t an accident, nor are its consequences. There’s intent, and an awareness that there will be no one held accountable for the devastation. If an outcome is easily foreseeable, it’s no accident. It should and must be treated as a crime.

  9. LS

    Been wondering if there isn’t something fishy about the depleted ammunition meme. Why are the Times, FT, Post etc, usually so averse to any admissions against blob interest, allowed to pump this one in particular? Could this be a way to keep Ukraine on a short leash while cashing in on decrepitude panic?

    1. Louis Fyne

      the blob isn’t a monolith—-more like a hydra.

      And there are enough reality-based blobs who understand that you can’t fight a proxy war against Russia without millions of humble artillery shells, thousands of drones, and a mobilized industrial base.

      They just sit at a desk all day and don’t make policy though.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The math doesn’t lie at the end of day. Ammunition stores and such aren’t super secret. Force readiness and disposition the mystery, but these things come out of factories. The warnings/complaints about the inability of the US to simply reopen factories due to a shortage of machinists and tool makers and whatnot apply to the defense industry.

      Even if we went on a war footing, conversion may not be so simple. Then the people with faded Ukrainian flags would have real issues as there would be shortages.

      US combined arms strategy is meant to have air dominance within two weeks. NATO isn’t prepped for what happens next.

    3. digi_owl

      Because they want to ramp production way way up before going hot with China.

      This whole Ukraine thing may well be more a way to deplete Russia enough that it will be reluctant to step in to aide China, but turned into more of a quagmire for NATO than expected.

      1. tevhatch

        There is no interest in going full on Hot with China. There is no strategy, a blob is incapable of sufficient group think to hold one for more than a second. It is just the same tactic as they used with Russia, to provoke China into a reaction, then expect the world to rally around the USA bully.

        addition: (just like a blog is agreement incapable)

        It will work even less well on China than it will on Russia, the rest of the world isn’t interested in complete economic shutdown.

    4. Lex

      I’ve contemplated this too. I think there certainly is potential for it to be info war type stuff. But, western politicians are very used to achieving their goals via the media. And as Louis points out, there are factions. The Ukrainian proxy war is clearly a project of “state departments”, intelligence agencies and political appointees more than standing militaries. European militaries have been periodically mentioning the danger of munition and equipment stockpiles for 6+ months. And reviews of military purchases over the last two decades supports the thesis that maintaining large stocks of ammunition has not been a priority.

      There’s a very good chance that it’s overstated but I have to conclude that it’s quite real. Especially considering news coming directly from Ukrainian front lines about shell starvation and Borrell’s speech today calling for all of Europe to empty its stockpiles for Ukraine. The reported numbers supplied to Ukraine have been dwindling too.

      1. LS

        It’s hard to disagree with, yeah; I certainly don’t know enough about U.S. munitions manufacturing to do so. But still–there’s that little, nagging voice: “Yes, but what does it REALLY mean?” And the blob mob does love a bluff–poker what’s left for intrigue in the culture’s depleted metaphorical reserves–forgetting, of course, that it only works if the other guy is too.

        1. tegnost

          Follow the money…
          They’re getting usians used to the idea that we’re going to be subsidising more weapon production for peace to have any chance /
          I checked raytheon, lockheed, northrup and boeing 5 year share values, raytheon seems a little left behind and has an ammunition focus, seems like cramer would be all over this one…boeing looks like a very sick patient next to the other three.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      An ammunition shortage in the u.s. may be deliberate — what are guns without bullets? –and complicated as a consequence of hoarding by the local police forces.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I see repetitive ‘Ammo for Azov’ signs on Hwy 99 in light blue and yellow hue, requesting the citizenry to give up their ammunition stores of small weapons caliber rounds for the brave freedom fighters back east, er really back east, that’ll be the day.

    6. chris

      The recent theory I’ve heard from the MD/DC chatter at cocktail parties is that the State Department and financial interests are very excited about escalation in the Ukraine conflict. But the Pentagon and military types are not. These stories, and the details from the Hersh scoop are their way of pushing back. They are also a way to gain support for more robust industrial support for the war machine, which is more interested in China and the Arctic than Ukraine.

      Again, this cocktail party chatter among lawyers and similar social climbers. I have no idea if it is accurate. But it seems reasonable to me.

  10. jefemt

    Race for Our Lives–Transition, NGFS (Network for Greening the Financial System).

    Reminds me of the punch-line to the old joke of the physicist, the chemist, and the economist stranded on the desert isle… how to open the can of food… thermodynamics (heat/fire) , chemical reaction (rust), the economist… Assume you have a can-opener!

    The whole premise, dither, and lack of promise in all of the electrification–no one dare arge for LESS being more, conservation/ reduction, streamlining, cutting by 25-50%.
    We assume we cannot use less, we must substitute present levels of consumption and activity, and factor in for MOAR growth.

    I was scratching my head on what NGFS stood for, and then that damned light bulb popped on,
    “Ahhhh, its all about the financial system, making bucks, and how to game human activity to inure in our pocket! ”

    I say, and maybe Covid and Mother Earth say, au contaire, Pierre, we can change directions , demand less, recycle more.

    Lemming Conga Line heading for the brink— why oh why can we not take a hard left and simply avoid the brink?


  11. Questa Nota

    Critical thinking demise: benign neglect or planned obsolescence?

    That could be a seminar title although attendance would be heavily age-skewed. For a glimpse at American K-12 trends, look at results in Chicago and Baltimore. Proficiency in various subjects appears to be no longer a priority, yet growth is made in administrative overhead. Three R’s replaced by Hurr-Durr.

    1. semper loquitur

      A friend teaches in the NYC system, he relays that many students are simply pushed through, failing or not, for “cultural” reasons. “Cultural” being a euphemism for “bad numbers”. Lower the standards so no one falls behind! I see articles from “researchers” who explain how honors classes are racist, how proper English usage is racist, how everything and anything that presents a standard is racist. Never any talk of expanding or improving the education system. This, of course, is the real racism.

      1. hunkerdown

        Look at education as an initiatory process that teaches above all an appreciation for initiatory processes and the idea of the self as a developable property (“human capital” if you will). That aspect of the institution is content-free.

  12. Not Again

    If any of you are considering going to the anti-war demonstration today. There is a “public servic” website out there that explains that every one of the speakers today “is or has been a on Putin’s payroll since the start of the war.

    I had no idea that peace was a crime against humanity until I looked it up. You may as well check it out it’s slanderous claims and unhinged perspective. After all, it’s your tax dollars at work.

    1. ambrit

      That is some truly reality distorting invective there. This is seriously funny, if one has an open mind. Alas, having an open mind as such was always the minority option.
      False flag on Sunday? The RATW marchers “storm the Capitol Building?” (Led by persons dressed all in black who suspiciously all wear military grade boots.)

    2. ThirtyOne
      Registrant Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC

      From Wiki:
      Domains by Proxy (DBP) is an Internet company owned by the founder of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons. Domains by Proxy offers domain privacy services through partner domain registrars such as GoDaddy and Wild West Domains.[1]

      Subscribers list Domains by Proxy as their administrative and technical contacts in the Internet’s WHOIS database, thereby delegating responsibility for managing unsolicited contacts from third parties and keeping the domains owners’ personal information secret.[2][3] However, the company will release a registrant’s personal information in some cases, such as by court order[4][5] or for other reasons as deemed appropriate by the company per its Domain Name Proxy Agreement.[5]

      As of 2014, over 9,850,000 domain names use the Domains by Proxy service.[6]
      Political usage

      In the run-up to the 2012 United States presidential primaries, numerous domain names with derogatory expressions have been registered through Domains by Proxy by both Republicans and Democrats.[7]

      Domains by Proxy have allegedly been a target of the Internet organization Anonymous due to perceived malicious business activities including inducements to join their service, claims of privacy that are not fulfilled and the lowering of Google PageRank of the sites they link to.[citation needed][8]

    3. chris

      That is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

      Truly amazing to see the people who were excluded from MSM opportunities being labeled as Russian apologists for going on the channels that would have them. Truly amazing to see that we’ve lost the ability to discern between peace and isolation in world affairs.

    4. Jeff V

      On BBC Radio 4 yesterday they mentioned “concerns” that China might propose a peace plan in order to damage or split Western support for the war.

      No need for “War is Peace” if you can sell the public on “War is good”,

  13. griffen

    Retail investors pouring billions into the US equity market. Because they are always accurate on the timing? Or instead (and more likely than not) There is No Alternate available option for long term plans and investments into 401k and similar tax-advantaged options (like a SEP).

    Makes little sense for a single name like TSLA to be up this much, this quickly since the calendar turned into 2023. Instead of the popular market acronym like FAANG, should we coin a new user-friendly acronym? Riding with the Market Cap Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Ride to riches or ride to ruin. I’m kinda stuck in Riding or Dying with whatever happens, long term equity market returns over the past 100 years are no indication of future performance.

    1. Mikel

      “…long term equity market returns over the past 100 years are no indication of future performance.”

      But more recent equity market history may be on people’s mind.
      Whether a recession is on the way, here already, or winding down, 2008 & 2020 are remembered.

      Basically, people see that no matter how bad the real economy gets, there is always an asset bubble to be blown or protected.

    1. Irrational

      There are some useful parts in the article. Such as the last pars in “Liabilities” and the second para in “Room to run”, which are spot on. In general, the assets of most development banks indeed do not produce the remuneration expected by private investors, hence the need to create an over-collateralized structure and/or provide additional guarantees. Whether that will lead to a trend to lending to more private sector type transactions or less use of securitization is a good question. But the article could usefully discuss in more detail whether there are exceptions to this rule. For example, in case of infrastructure projects, the construction phase is riskier than the operating phase and it could be more legit if the development bank keeps the asset on the books during the construction period and then sells it off to investors, who at this point are happy with the risk-return deal.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Daniel Larison on Haley–this is an accurate assessment that one could expand by saying that Haley is a prototypical product of SC’s transactional business Republicanism. Which is to say they see their role as serving Big Money first–through development deals and “public/private partnerships”–while being ideologically as liberal as they need to be in service of Job One. And so we have gay rights parades and a cultural embrace of civil rights but unions, never. Gestures like taking down the Confederate flag are easily explained because they are better for business. Hard core right wing ideologues–the few remaining Lost Cause fanatics or the religious right–are not a concern because where else are they going to go?

    It is in other words a mirror image of the business Democrats like Biden with ultimately, as Larison says, the same goals. This is why Haley thinks she has a shot. She ticks all the right boxes with the plutocrats.

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    Embrace of Azov–

    Just Michael McFaul vying for spot of top warmonger.

    I think all those inclined to war need not only Azov types but ISIS types or any fanatical, ideological groups. The typical contract soldier didn’t really sign up for house-to-house fighting where the other side shoots back. Mercenaries get harder to recruit when the going is tough. You need crazy mad dogs for the worst of the fighting, and there are only so many of them in the world. You can’t be too picky.

    1. digi_owl

      I get the impression that even a number of the ISIS and Azov people have shown their true colors when they find the opponent is not some graying security guards.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Obama’s in a contest with Cheney for which elevated the most execrable people in government. Cheney set records that everyone thought untouchable, but Obama’s on a charge.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. officials believe China may be providing Russia nonlethal military assistance in Ukraine war ”

    Something tells me that as Project Ukraine comes to an end and Project Taiwan begins, that one of the justifications for getting aggressive with China will be the made up charge that the west could have won in the Ukraine but that it was all that ‘military assistance’ that China gave Russia which tipped the scales.

    1. tegnost

      So now we’re in for 18 months of faux populism from the organs of the state.
      there’s about as much chance of trump enacting m4a as there is of the craven narcissists making any concrete material benefits as even a sop to the working class. The dims are so far gone that it seems to me they’ve hopscotched the repubs in some areas, and our current polity is an identity crisis over which one is the better republican party.
      How do you get to the lesser of just evil?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Hold Out, Bleed Dry, Hope for the Best’

    ‘An interesting article by “Simplicius The Thinker” on Substack argues that in the modern battlefield it is not possible to undertke complex manouver warefare because there are so many eyes in the sky, with the result that complex manouvers can be detected immediately and a confrontational response organized.’

    Here is the link to that article referenced and it is an interesting if long one-

    1. fresno dan

      Yup, it is long – but Tremendously interesting link. Must read for anyone really interested in how war is evolving and the tactics.

      The truth is, the West’s militaries are not artillery forces. Ukraine has been praised as combining the best of the West’s capabilities, including their most modern, advanced, and capable systems (PhZ2000’s, Krabs, Archers, Danas, Caesars, M109’s, M777’s, Zuzana’s, etc.) and smart-munitions, with the superior Soviet artillery doctrines to create an alchemized force of unprecedented combat potential. And by ‘unprecedented’, I mean literally better than the American military.
      So, what’s the point? That this unrivaled capability in the hands of a Ukrainian force that not only has the single greatest, most modern artillery howitzers, the most accurate, and best-ranged munitions, but also the most powerful combined force of all NATO/Five-Eyes’ ISR and satellite recon—THIS historical force of nature, is getting its clock cleaned by Russian artillery forces. Sure, the AFU masterfully get in their punches too here and there. But as a totality, Russian artillery forces, utilizing Russia’s own revolutionary Reconnaissance-Fire-Complex capabilities are roundly wiping the floor with the Ukrainians in the artillery war.
      The point being that, with the extended range superiority, it allows Russian systems to be further back behind the contact line, which means the critical supply arteries feeding these systems can likewise be placed even further back and still retain the regularity of resupply. If your 2S7M Malka, for instance, can fire over 50km, that means it can be 50km behind the frontline. And its primary ammo dump can be another 20-30km behind it. That means the ammo is now 70-80km from the frontline. A HIMARs has a max reach of 90km, however it can’t fire from right on the contact line, it has to be at least 10-20km behind the line to be safe from various shorter range frontline systems, like loitering drones. So, moving back 10-20km, the HIMARs is now upwards of 90-100km from that critical ammo supply feeding the Malka, which is now out of reach.

      This is just one example of how having that qualitative range superiority can nullify ISR. NATO’s satellites will spot and transmit the coordinates of that ammo dump, but the AFU can’t do anything about it because its systems can’t reach it. Meanwhile Ukraine’s critical frontline/battalion ammo dumps might have to be only 50-60km from the contact line, and Russia’s systems can hit them. If the AFU moves them much farther back, then suddenly the gap between their operating frontline units and the essential munitions feeding them becomes too large and inefficient, critically slowing their resupply and eroding their combat effectiveness.

    2. Rory

      I too found the long article remarkably well presented and informative (at least so much of it as I read). I very much recommend it.

      1. Yves Smith

        The problem I have is that it overstates the power of IFR. Remember that 40 KM or miles of Russian tanks early in the war that went unmolested? Everyone was flipped out about what Russia might do with them. They turned out to be a big fat decoy.

        It has also been said that the IFR goodies cannot detect Russian movements and stockpiles in the massive fortifications they just built in Zaporzhizhia, or what either side is up to in dense forests.

        I have not heard Martyanov make claims even remotely this strong for the impact of IFR and this is his beat. He regularly talks about net-centric warfare.

        1. Polar Socialist

          An argument could be made that while modern intelligence gathering methods do make concealment more difficult, they also make it much more easier for the other parts of maskirovka: imitation, simulation, disinformation, demonstrative manoeuvres.

          The purpose is never to fool one’s opponent completely, but to keep him guessing wrong constantly. It’s a process with the purpose of making opponents OODA* observe–orient–decide–act) loop to always be behind or based on wrong observations so as to not to be able to actively control what happens on the battlefield.

          * excuse my use of US parlance, I doubt Russians use such a term.

  18. Wukchumni

    Day on bald mountain, or how I learned to lug my snowshoes.

    NPS had only opened the Generals Highway in Sequoia NP last weekend for those seeking the pleasure and our trio was ready to try out our frankly rusty snowshoes, the lengthy drought not allowing for much use in our winters of missed content.

    Its about 3 miles walk to Crescent Meadow which John Muir called ‘the gem of the Sierra’ and off we went snowshoes attached to the back of our daypacks where they stayed until we got back to the car.

    I think this strange weather is on account of the Tongan volcano blowing up real good and everything globally is topsy turvy, the east coast is warmish and its colder than a witch’s tit on the west coast, we’re forecast to have a 4 day skein of below freezing temps here in tiny town with snow on the down low, which leads me back to why we didn’t need no stinkin’ snowshoes as the snow was so frickin’ frozen that the most I ever sank was a few inches occasionally on a 5 hour tour-a 5 hour tour.

    Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow road is usually driven in the summer, but you gotta be ambulatory in the winter, and its full of Giant Sequoias here and there with a good many of them easy to miss if you were in the confines of a wheeled cage, my favorite is a diminished goliath I call ‘The Survivor’, which only has about 1/3rd of the original trunk still existent-the rest burned off in a wildfire some hundreds of years ago perhaps, and its by its lonesome so i’d suspect a lightning bolt to have been the assailant.

    Anyhow, one side of the tree has greenery so its still very much alive. Take that John Cameron Swayze.

    1. Lexx

      The red-shouldered blackbirds came through yesterday, mobbed the feeders for about twenty minutes and then took off. Probably toward the wetlands where we’ll see and hear them all summer, perched atop the cattails. Repeat of last year’s performance. We watched from the window as they worked the feeders down the block.

      I was standing outside with the dog and noticed a new nest in our otherwise bare maple tree, that appears to belong to a pair of chickadees, meantime…

      …the forecast for Wednesday is a 90% chance of snow, high of 18 on Thursday with a low of -7. It’s about to get mighty chilly for three straight days. For us it’s still winter; the birds have their own calendar.

  19. Maxwell Johnston

    “Hold out, bleed dry, hope for the best”–

    An excellent summary of current events, but I disagree with his conclusion that “…the US will seek to cut a deal as it did in Vietnam and Afghanistan…”

    The USA did not really cut any deals with either the NVA or the Taliban. Instead, both the NVA (in 1975) and the Taliban (in 2021) established facts on the ground and proceeded accordingly, and the USA fled. Similarly, RU will establish facts on the ground in UKR (much as the Red Army established facts on the ground in eastern Europe in 1945) and proceed accordingly. In any case, after the Nord Stream debacle and the admissions by Hollande and Merkel that they played Putin for a shmuck, I cannot imagine that RU would negotiate anything with the USA or the EU at this point.

    Unfortunately, this means that the UKR conflict might drag on for quite some time.

    1. flora

      From NYTimes 2 days ago.

      Norfolk Southern’s Profits and Accident Rates Rose in Recent Years
      Safety experts say a focus on financial returns may be partly to blame for derailments and accidents like the one in Ohio.

      The rate of accidents on Norfolk Southern’s railway increased in each of the last four years, according to a recent company presentation. The record has worsened as executives at Norfolk Southern and other railroads have been telling investors on Wall Street that they can bolster their profit margins by keeping a lid on costs. At the same time, railway companies have lobbied against new rules aimed at making trains safer.
      Norfolk Southern, which earned more than $3 billion last year, invested close to $2 billion in its railways and operations, up a third from 2021. But over the past five years, it paid shareholders nearly $18 billion through stock buybacks and dividends — twice as much as the amount it invested in its railways and operations. Other large railways have paid out billions to their shareholders, too, and their shares have done better than the wider stock market over the last decade.

      Lots of deferred maintenance out there.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “Safety experts say a focus on financial returns may be partly to blame for derailments and accidents like the one in Ohio.”

        There’s a whole sh-tload of other stuff that “a focus on financial returns may be partly [sic] to blame for.”

    2. CarlH

      From the @LordBebo tweet just below that one:

      “I can’t believe it’s already train derailment season. I still have my spy balloon decorations up.”

  20. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War:

    Looks likely the big push may be coming. Some key points in the linked article below:

    1). In a change of tactics, Russian air force may play a big part with RAF taking deep flights into middle Ukraine to deliver strikes from the rear of UAF positions. They may fly at much higher altitudes to avoid fire and lessen detection. Other points made regarding a possible new and different not previously used air attack strategy.

    2). The moves may come in layers to encourage Ukraine reserves to move in one direction, only to see another another front opened at a different point, to throw allocation of UAF off balance.

    3). Interesting discussion of pros/cons of Russian destroying US satellites. The US said it will take out Russian satellites in response, but what does get us to?…it gets us to China being the undisputed Numero Uno satellite/space power which could be a very big US setback, might even push Taiwan off significantly into the future. Further discussion if Russia benefits or not with both sides satellite blind.

    4). Lots of info comes from sources on the ground in for example Crimea and elsewhere, sources that have eyes on sight info such as working to supply Russian military.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      from the comments below that art:
      “Biden visit is awkward as he will come with lots of mil support/protection = US/RU clash risk. If POTUS hints at talks/ceasefire then all RU plans will have to be put on hold, as RU is rational (USA has ‘de-escalation dominance’ I call it)? Or, with the heightened tension having POTUS there, a false-flag decapitation strike on B&Z would be manipulated into WW3 – what western country would have the mettle to say ‘hang on let’s investigate this’. How should RU counter such a scenario….?”

      scary times.
      was just showing my Youngest the FEMA Map of likely targets and fallout patterns in event of nukewar(he noticed me looking at war news and asked a bunch of questions…we’re in a pretty good place, sans all out Armageddon)
      told him to stay in-county this week.

      1. Wukchumni

        Now would just be the worst time for a nuclear war with a manmade pineapple express melting off the considerable largess up top with 6 more feet of snow coming this week on top of say 20 feet-the flooding would be epic, and to give you an idea of the worry, they’ve largely purged our reservoir Lake Kaweah of water in anticipation of something liquid this way comes, banking their gotten gains elsewhere.

        That said i’m Fresno-adjacent, who would waste a spendy nuke on us?

        1. ambrit

          “That said i’m Fresno-adjacent, who would waste a spendy nuke on us?”
          My money is on the Chilean Raisin Co-operative Atomic Forces targeting Fresno. As Clausewitz said: “Atomic War is a mere continuation of economic policy by other means.”
          This is known as “putting teeth” into one’s economic sanctions. (See the Ukraine Apocalypse for one example.)
          Stay safe up there in the “Defensible Position.”

          1. Wukchumni

            You’d definitely need a raisin d’être to want to occupy Fresno as a cacophony of funky farm smells awaits on the inskirts of the Ag empire, but have it your way.

        2. fresno dan

          I think it is a universally acknowledged aphorism, better to be disintegrated in a nuclear detonation, than live in Fresno….
          why would they be merciful

          1. The Rev Kev

            I got bad news for you FD. Before Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuked, the US Army Air Corps wanted a proper test first. Alamogordo did not count as that was in the middle of a desert. So they nuked Fresno but fortunately nobody noticed.

  21. chris

    Heartland, the company our school system uses to process payments and maintain school lunch accounts is sending us ads for a related debit card product called Greenlight. The ad suggests that parents use the debit card to automate the allowance process via chore lists and that families will benefit by tracking spending too.

    This seems not only unnecessary, but evil. I’m going to ask if our schools get any kickbacks from this product. I don’t even have to ask if there are unfortunate fees associated with it. The fees levied on the kids school lunch accounts are already disproportionate. I hope most see this as the awful thing it is. One more attempt by soulless financial firms to profitably rape our families and children.

    1. semper loquitur

      But…but the convenience! Instead of taking a few minutes with the kids to track their spending, do a little math, and instill some notions of responsibility, everything will be available on your phone! See the article about critical thinking to see where this leads…

      1. Wukchumni

        We’ve willfully given away the drudgery of rote memory skills to alien intelligence workers who do all the remembering for us, and seeing as this is the first time this has ever happened in the 70,000 years of existence of us here humans, we’re left with an awful lot of young adults who know nothing, nothing, but a few taps on the keypad later, they know everything.

        1. semper loquitur

          “we’re left with an awful lot of young adults who know nothing, nothing, but a few taps on the keypad later, they know everything.”

          Well said. Everything you are needed to know is just a few clicks away. How long before the tech-lords are altering your personal notes and writing, i.e. “I need to buy eggs.” mysteriously becomes “I need to buy (brand X) eggs and they are on special for 25$ a dozen at (brand X) Mart.”? Altering it brings a fine for intellectual property infringement. iPhone already told me once that unless I downloaded an update, my photos were being held hostage. Everywhere, it creeps…

        2. ambrit

          Look at the graduation photographs of any American High School class and try to spot the Mentats, if you can find any at all.

            1. ambrit

              Ooooh! I cannot wait for the coffee table book of Women Tats!
              As Tweety Bird says: “I taut I taw a puddy tat! I did! I did! I did taw a puddy tat!”
              Don’t tell Phyl. She’ll come up with some truly sinister psychological warfare response to such evidence of my ‘perverse personality traits.’ Sometimes, “Look but don’t touch,” becomes just “Don’t!” I would partially disrobe and display the whip marks on my back, but that would be, immodest.

              1. Wukchumni

                Do said psychological cat o’ 9 tails marks cover up a little ink inclination on the small of your back, perhaps something in a floral pattern?

                1. ambrit

                  Sorry to disabuse you, which is still not a crime, thank the Gods, but I hew to the principle that tats are undisguisable identifying marks for the Organs of State Security. On the theory that remaining bland and unobtrusive is the best, and most survivable strategy, [see Grey Man Theory,] I have never entertained the idea of having one installed upon my corpus.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Oh, I was into ink in a big way once upon a time when paper was king, and errors discouraged when scrawling digital doggerel, the pen being mightier than the QWERTY.

                    1. ambrit

                      Oh, ‘floating’ and ‘curries’ must refer to the old Bene Greshamesseret Maxim: The specie must flow.
                      Like that other invaluable Bene mantra, ‘The Litany Against Fiat.’ Well, it sort of fits. The Bene, after all, are big proponents of Eugenics.

              2. hunkerdown

                I have an inkling there are several. It’s a popular subject in the fine art photography community. For a trip back to the source, V. Vale and Andrea Juno of RE/Search Publications did some field anthropology in the freak community and published the infamous book on body adornment, Modern Primitives in 1989.

                1. ambrit

                  If I can find it for under a grand, it’ll go up on my “Restricted Shelf,” next to “The Story of ‘O'” my annotated copies of “The Pearl Magazine” and other tales. If only the ‘original’ version of “A Thousand Nights and a Night’ translation by R F Burton had survived. Victorian wives have a lot to answer for.
                  Also, truly monstrous pun good sir! If it were not too close to the name of a certain group of like minded Dons at University of the mid twentieth century, I would suspect you of being a bit tatty. Not to impugn the character of the French comic actor of the same period.
                  Oh my, this is beginning to sound a bit like one of those ‘Tales’ that Messr. Clarke transcribed from the conversations in his favourite local back in that self same period of time.

                  1. hunkerdown

                    ambrit, $50 new from the publisher. RE/Search Publications appear to have reprinted quite a few of their scintillating and inquisitive zines and books for the naughty modern ethnographic shelf, including the aforementioned, several interviews with William S. Burroughs and J.G. Ballard, and this prescient transhumanist publication by one Alex Zhavoronkoff, Ph.D., from 2012 but suddenly on the cusp of all too germane, Dating A.I.

                    As for me, I am inkless for much the same reasons as yourself. My body is not a whiteboard, but a holey temple (and also a dance hall and bowling alley).

        3. The Rev Kev

          ‘a few taps on the keypad later, they know everything.’

          Unfortunately, not having a deep education, they will not know whether the information they retrieve is true or just patent rubbish.

          1. Wukchumni

            Therein lies the Rubicon of the 3 ‘R’s of which only 1 of them starts with an ‘R’, but I relent.

      1. chris

        Probably not too far off! I’m sure some of our peer parents will use the service. I’m sure we’ll get suggestions from the PTA to use it as part of a school fundraiser. And we’re already not allowed to use cash or checks to pay for things like school lunches or tickets to games and events. Not sure how much of a leap it would be to have these families switch to CBDC :(

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s an interesting way to indoctrinate managerial culture early, that’s for sure. They really do want kids just following whatever floating commands appear in their field of vision.

      1. semper loquitur

        Some family members have young kids. Their classrooms are all iPad based. Penmanship is it’s own class but not, according to them, particularly emphasized. I’m sure the iPads were donated or low cost, due to Apple’s profound concern for children’s education.

        1. OIFVet

          As a teacher I see the ability to write by hand is absolutely atrocious, as is the ability to construct longer, logical and abstract thoughts. I think the two declines are related.

          1. Wukchumni

            In the tyranny of what must be a 200 page tome, how are students supposed to remember events earlier in the book as they progress and coalesce a story out of the contents?

        2. hunkerdown

          Are they gaining any sort of capacity and recognition of material productivity, or is it all just magic now, so that the PMC cavils in the correct tone and things happen just to avoid having to hear them? Any word on the class composition of that class?

          I have certainly seen on reddit hobby groups that the quality of mental activity is poor, the art of troubleshooting seemingly having been lost. The worst logic reliably comes from the users whose screen names reference gaming or streaming. They seem to think that sentiment is a substitute for domain knowledge, not unlike their counterparts from the sensitive new age PMC side of the tracks.

  22. John Beech

    It would be funny if people didn’t fall for it over and over. The president is under fire for the documents, the news is no longer about Trump, but instead focus has swiveled.

    And just like that, first we get the shinny object of a research balloon and this takes the heat off. And I saw exactly one more article about Biden’s documents and bang, the next shiny object appears and all the news is atwitter about the East Palestine, OH.

    Thing is, there’s a worse derailment in WI right now. Nobody is talking about it.

    Mission accomplished says, Team Biden! And we the people? Screwed as usual due to an inability to focus on more than one thing at a time and the memory of a mosquito.

    1. ambrit

      Can you supply a link? Google has absolutely nothing in search results here in the North American Deep South. As I have heard stated more than once, the Government would not alert the public if some foreign power were to do a full launch of their ICBMs towards America, to avoid panic.
      We here in the Half Horse Town “in the know” watch the volume of air traffic into and outbound from the local State/Federal military training facility as an early warning item. We generally only get one, perhaps two flights a day to the airstrip at Camp Shelby. This is no dirt strip. It is set up for the larger cargo airframes used, like C-5s. [I do not know about a C-17’s chances at successfully landing there, much less taking off again.]

      1. LawnDart

        C-17s are the successors to the C5. The C5s were originally intended to have the capability to utilize dirt or unprepared fields, but a critical design-flaw became apparent and prevented this (brake lines poorly positioned and subject to damage).
        I believe that this was corrected for the C-17.

        I split my time between C5s and C-130s– both were a ton of fun in their own ways. Sleep was easier on the C5 as you had bunks, a usually smooth-ride and a constant hum of the jets, although once I got used to it, the sound and vibration from the motors and props on the 130 would knock me out.

        One of the neatest experienced (or terrifying) is called a “standing TRT,” often used for short-field takeoffs or a heavily-loaded aircraft: the pilots engage the brakes and bring the engines up towards full-power, and at maximum thrust then release the brakes. We did this with an unloaded and lightly fueled C5 once– I’ll swear that we didn’t use 1000′ of runway, it was “BOOM!” thrown back in our seats and climbing vertically into the sky.

        As an early-indicator of trouble, look for the change in activity: there may be a lot, or it may be quiet as a ghost-town.

        1. ambrit

          We are evidently at the northern range of the training loop for the Air Guard base in Gulfport, MS and Keesler Air Force Base on the Gulf Coast. Those C-5s will often do “touch and goes” at Camp Shelby airfield. We also have a decent small commercial airfield between town and Camp Shelby. The WW-2 aircraft restoration groups will have the occasional ‘look see’ display there.
          Curiously, I have never seen a C-130 flying over our fair town. I know they fly them out of Keesler AFB.
          Looking deeper I see that the C-130s flying out of Keesler are all used in the ‘Hurricane Hunter Squadron.’ So, I’ll take a guess and say that their training routes are offshore.

        2. scott s.

          As a SpaceA PAX you learn PAXing on a C5 the mission rarely goes as scheduled due to maintenance issues. That and while there are 60 airline-style seats it has to be the coldest ride there is. A little warmer towards the back (front of aircraft as the seats face rear). Yes, very smooth you don’t know you landed until the doors are opened.

          I prefer C-17 to the old C-141. While the 141 had airline-style seats, they were removable and typically there were only 10 available for SpaceA so your chance of getting on was small. The web seats down the sides of the 17 aren’t nearly as comfortable, but if they take PAX at all they usually have all 50 or so available.

          KC-10 was the best ride.

          1. LawnDart

            As a SpaceA PAX you learn PAXing on a C5 the mission rarely goes as scheduled due to maintenance issues.

            Yes, if scheduled for three days you’d pack for a week. One of my favorites was an embassy-run to Bermuda– fly-in, drop off the bags and leave; we were not scheduled to stay (this was on a usually-reliable 130).

            I got to know the island quite well during our stay. Made friends with the valet and he seriousy hooked us up: got us scooters for the price of gas, directed us to the restaurants where the white people don’t eat, got to hike and swim in a freshwater cave– to get to it you had to slither on your belly like a reptile along a creekbed. Awesome trip– extended twice because they first sent the wrong oart, and then FexEx sent the correct part elsewhere.

            On the C5, we had one fall-apart on us midway over the Atlantic: a lot of stuff went very wrong in quick-succession. The copilot gave the mayday call when we were four hours out. We went over ditching procedures even though that wasn’t an option (midwinter gale). On three engines flying through the storm, we had a lot of time to think about things… every so often the C5 was good for that too.

      2. scott s.

        The airstrip at Camp Shelby was built so the MSANG 172d Airlift Wing in Jackson had a place to practice short-field operations with the C-17. Don’t think a C-5 could get in there (maybe empty?).

        1. ambrit

          Ah, thanks for that information. Here I was looking south when I should have been looking north. I do remember watching the C-5s or maybe they were C-17s landing at Keesler Air Base. That jet engine whine was pretty distinctive. Then we see with some regularity C-5s and or c-17s flying into and out of Camp shelby airfield. So, I put two and two together and got five.
          Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for ambrit.

    2. griffen

      We still get bread and circuses, just absent any feeding of Christians and non Christians alike to the hungry lions (as far as we know). The resurgent launch, again, of the “X F L” will see that we still get weekly professional football as entertainment ( an aside, gambling too ). Alternately, according to television trailers there is another entry into the Marvel / MCU movie and film series this weekend so take the kids to see whatever this Ant Man film is selling.

      I can’t do the imitation of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson a proper service so typing the above league name will have to suffice. Apologies to Dwayne I will not be watching any XFL teams.

  23. Maxwell Johnston

    For those interested, here is a brief report from my visit to Moscow last week.

    Little has changed since early December: heavy traffic, shop shelves full, prices a tad higher (and the ruble continues to drift lower vs the EUR/USD, now solidly in the 70s nearing 80). At the supermarket, EU products with long shelf lives are steadily disappearing (I’m guessing that the old warehouse stocks are run down) and being replaced with local equivalents. The selection of imported wines remains solid (even at our non-elite local supermarket), and my benchmark bottle of Malbec is holding steady at just around 1200 rubles. Some more foreign brands have left, while some have ‘kinda left’: e.g., Mothercare is now “Motherbear” (same store locations, same products, just the name change).

    The airport (Vnukovo, since I flew on Turkish this time) was surprisingly busy even though my flight times were oh-dark-hundred and February isn’t peak tourist season. Lots of families traveling internationally with children, and lots of Russians at Istanbul airport. Many flights from Vnukovo to Phuket and Sharm-el-Sheikh, as well as the usual Antalya and Dubai.

    I see more and more Chinese cars on the city streets. Great Wall and Chery started appearing (in Moscow, anyway) in 2015 after the ruble’s post-Crimea crash in late 2014. On this trip I noticed some brands I’d never seen before (Geely and Haval, to name two). Of course there are still far more cars from EU/Japan/Korea, but the trend is noteworthy.

    Security has tightened up. At Vnukovo when I departed, they were being very thorough at both checkpoints (the first one to enter the terminal, and the second one between passport control and the boarding gates), as opposed to just the usual security theater. On the subway (metro), I was carrying a large bag with ice skates (we went skating on the big open-air rink on Red Square); a female security guard stopped me before the turnstiles and stuck a long electronic probe into my bag, then politely waved me on. (BTW the metro continues to replace the old wagons with new ones; this time I travelled on a new model with a/c, cushioned seats, and USB chargers).

    I didn’t manage to see any of the AA missiles (Pantsir and S-400) supposedly deployed around Moscow, even at Vnukovo (which is used by government delegations and by the oligarch private jet set) and even though I drove several times past the big MOD building (‘the pentagon’ as it’s called locally) on the city outskirts. Presumably they have them hidden away from easy public view.

    More foreign websites are being blocked; on this trip I needed a VPN to access BBC, Moscow Times, and Quora (yeah, I know, hardly great journalism, but I like to be aware of other viewpoints). Anyway, RU’s firewall is porous and easily circumvented by free VPNs.

    There were banners honoring military heroes (name, rank, photo in uniform), but not as many as during my last visit. I saw one (1) car with a faded ‘Z’ on its rear window. I didn’t hear any discussion of a possible second mobilization, quite different from when I visited in early September and the rumors were flying around. The SMO (don’t mention the war!) is something in the background for most people, who are for the most part just getting on with their lives.

    Overall, the sense of normalcy was overwhelming. Next visit probably in early May.

    1. semper loquitur

      Thanks for these snapshots. During my frequent trips to UToob, I’ve come across a series of videos of apparent Russian origin that are trumpeting the superiority of Russian society versus the West, specifically the US. Images of sturdy Russian men compared to rainbow haired invertebrates, etc.

      One video really jumped out at me. It was entitled something like “Moscow under Putin”. It featured scenes of pretty garden parks, clean playgrounds, public pools, beautiful subway stations, and such around the city. Mingled with those images were scenes from American cities: the crumbling and filthy NYC subway system, grim homeless encampments, and decrepit public parks. Quite a montage.

    2. Wukchumni

      Thanks for being so observant in your travels once again, its the little things that matter which seldom get talked about.

    3. tevhatch

      “I didn’t manage to see any of the AA missiles (Pantsir and S-400) supposedly deployed around Moscow, even at Vnukovo…. Presumably they have them hidden away from easy public view.”

      Probably requires access to a high-rise building near-by to view them, give more difficulty to any agent whom might attempt to interfere with them in coordination with an attack. I wonder if access to same nearby buildings is being tightly monitored.

      Ditto on the above thanks for the information. It might be interested to know if any of the EU products being replaced, are being replaced with China, Türkiye, or Iranian products, or other hints about how ruble from oil exports is being recirculated. (just a suggestion, not a request).

    4. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that report Maxwell as I have been watching for it. I guess the main message is that life goes on even in the middle of a war. But they are wary of the west repeating the Chechen terror campaign in Russia again. To add to semper loquitur’s point, I once saw a very short video on Twitter. The video was showing the Victims of Communism Museum in Washington DC but then scanned to the right showing a mini-tent city in the park opposite.

        1. The Rev Kev

          @ tevhatch

          Never thought about it before but when I reflect on how much the US has helped all those religious nutjobs in that part of the world including with weapons, there may have been blowback here. Remember the Boston Marathon bombers back in 2013? Both brothers went back to that part of the world to get themselves more radicalized before returning to Boston to launch their terror attack. The Russian security services gave the US a warning about these brothers but the FBI just gave them a quick interview and cleared them.

  24. LawnDart

    Re; Eric Schmidt Is Building the Perfect AI War-Fighting Machine

    I’ll offer an article as somewhat of a counterpoint, especially as we’re having a lot of fun with the antics of Bing’s AI and ChatGPT:

    “When I hear things like blackbox AI, that’s this trope, this misconception that there’s this technology that nobody understands, which incidentally is also why it’s not certifiable, and this scary thing that what if it decides to kill us all. That’s a very Hollywood primitive type of thinking about what it is,” van Dijk said.

    I’m part of a group that’s engaged in an ongoing conversation regarding pilotless aircraft for general aviation (it’s already almost a thing, commercially). In our little corner of the world, we see that ultimately there is always a human somewhere in the loop, from programming to setting parameters, or issuing the command to begin a process: the vast majority of modern aircraft are fly-by-wire, so how much real control of an aircraft does a flesh-and-blood pilot have anyway? And when we take into account that 80% of aviation accidents are caused by human error, does it not make sense to attempt to reduce that margin?

    AI and ML (Machine Learning) should not be confused with autonomy.

  25. Wukchumni

    Cincinnati closing Ohio River water intakes to prevent contamination from East Palestine derailment WCPO

    Liberty does not exist where rights are on one side and power on the other. To be liberty, rights must be armed with vital powers. A people cannot be free who do not participate in the control of the government which operates upon them.~ Cincinnatus

  26. Henry Moon Pie

    So just a snapshot of life on the East Side of Cleveland:

    This morning about 8:30, three police vehicles came down our short, residential street with sirens blaring. These cops weren’t Cleveland cops but came instead from a suburb to Cleveland’s south near the airport. The cops bolted out of their cars with guns drawn, peering around the edges of the houses across the street. In the midst of the cops’ vehicles (small SUVs) was a white sedan parked in the middle of the street with the driver’s side left open. So the guess is that these Berea cops were chasing the white car down the interstate until it exited and wound up on our street.

    What was striking was the way the Berea cops behaved. They were hyper cautious. The one parked nearest my bedroom window went back and traded in his handgun for an assault rifle. Pretty scary look, this guy walking up and down our street with an assault rifle. I thought it imprudent to go out and ask him WTF he was doing.

    The Cleveland cops showed up after fifteen minutes later and immediately walked all around the houses without acting like Sonny Crockett. After a while, a state highway patrol showed up. Eventually, they all drifted away after the car was towed. The guy probably hopped a back fence and is long gone.

    Scarred, heavily armed cops. Angry, heavily armed citizens. Worsening conditions across the board. Saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal.

    1. Wukchumni

      What a stark contrast to observations in Moscow a foot or two up this thread, its as if I was reading an account of a functioning society and the other of a police state somewhere in the Communist bloc party.

  27. Eclair

    A story:
    Nebraska farmland costs an average of $6,000 per acre. Not the most expensive state: California’s farmland tops the list at $15,410 per acre.

    The five biggest land owners in Nebraska are: The Federal Government (549,345 acres), Ted Turner (445,000), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (228,000 acres), Bill Gates (20,558 acres) and The Nebraska Land Trust (11,000 acres).

    Nebraska lies west of the 100th meridian, good ole John Wesley Powell’s rule of thumb marker for the area of the continental US that probably shouldn’t be settled or farmed. Because rain. Or lack of it. 23.6 inches per year average. Not as dry as Nevada, with a scant 9.5 inches per year. To grow most crops without irrigation, an average of 40 inches per year is probably ideal.

    Back to Nebraska. Thanks to the Homestead Act, my spouse’s great grand uncle, a Swedish immigrant, post-Civil war, bought his 160 acres in Hamilton County, Nebraska, for about $4, plus a promise to build a dwelling and some chicken coops and farm it. His sister and brother-in-law farmed the adjoining 160 acres. We have family photos of his uncle in a buckboard, against a backdrop of rolling hills and a few unpainted animal shelters and small house. A few years ago, armed with the plat maps and coordinates, we attempted to find remains of the tiny Swedish settlement. Nothing remained. And all the surrounding land is now owned by one family.

    The uncle remained a Swedish bachelor farmer and, and at his death, the probate documents (easily available at the county courthouse) listed every single one of his few possessions, from the 15 hens and 5 cows and the farm wagon, to the set of long underwear, comb, 2 kitchen chairs and table. With the price they received at the farm auction.

    So many lessons here: you can’t farm 160 acres, by yourself, using horses and manual labor. The ‘failures’ will be hovered up by the ‘successes,’ resulting in consolidation of ‘ownership,’ under more and more powerful landlords and the pricing of farm land out of the reach of most of us. We have arranged the system (or it has been arranged for us) so it is a zero sum game; there’s the winners and there’s the losers.

      1. Eclair

        And even better is the Carl Moberg trilogy on which the films are based. The peasant class Swedes lived a miserable life and can’t be blamed for being dazzled by the prospect of acres of almost free land. The Omaha, Arapaho, Pawnee, Lakota and other nations had lived lightly on this land for centuries but were done in by microbes, better weapons, and the dazzling concept of land ownership. Each county in Nebraska has an imposing, rock solid courthouse so land ownership records can kept safe. We have been enclosing our commons for over 200 years.

  28. Ana B.

    Looks like the feds are gonna respond to the East Palestine train derailment the same way they responded to the PEPCON explosion: by lying through their teeth, gaslighting the survivors, and refusing to take action on even the smallest of issues. I was born 6 months after PEPCON with a birth defect so rare it occurs in only 1 out of 40,000 births and a lifetime of chronic health issues. It took until I was 6 years old to have it treated because there was not a single doctor in the state of Nevada with any experience with that kind of defect. My parents lost their business. My aunt and my mom’s best friend were both caught in the explosion and suffered permanent tissue damage. Lots of cancer, of course. Collectively, my family received less than $10,000 from FEMA. Long term epidemiology studies don’t seem to have ever even been done in Southern Nevada following the explosion. I mourn for the people of East Palestine cause the reality is that help probably isn’t coming.

  29. Jason Boxman

    Pandemic? What Pandemic? Anyway, I’m seeing BQ1.1.32 popping up, at 1.19%, and CH1.1 around 1.32% at SARSCoV2 Variant Dashboard – USA | 15-DAY TRENDS | NYITCOMResearch Report. So far, CH1.1 doesn’t seem to have much lift. I guess we’ll see. XBB1.5 is at about 59%.

    1.1.32 is overwhelming in CA (90% of samples) over the past 15 days of samples. It’s based off of BA5.3.*

  30. Willow

    Becoming clearer that purpose of Hersh article was US DS signalling to DS of European countries that Biden Administration has gone rogue. Which explains why it was written in a odd manner seeded with particularities. Its intended audience was never the general public.

  31. Onward to Dystopia

    I caught a bit of the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally earlier, of course I had to question the wisdom of that decision, subjecting myself to something so controversial — a “Red-Brown Alliance!!!” (Beware!) according to certain “leftists” on certain “leftist websites” and podcasts I will not name. I don’t agree with all of the speakers, especially in regards to COVID, having come down with it recently for the first time, getting incredibly sick and still not feeling 100%.

    I think of the Bush years, when I became politically aware — the Left of those days is long gone. They’re too busy burning heretics while the libs have been watching MIC ghouls and intel spooks on MSNBC for decades and they love war now and the deep state and the rest of it.

    When Langley reflects on the state of the Left in America they must laugh themselves silly — I know I would. Where people fall on Ukraine has been very clarifying, as I continue to whittle away at the number of commentators I take seriously.

    1. Alex Cox

      A right-left alliance, especially one opposed to war, is dreaded by all the three letter acronyms. I watched the rally and thought it very promising.

  32. Wukchumni

    Was hoisting barley sodas with friends who work for NPS and apparently they are going to pull apart the Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp later this summer, a most excellent little glamping spot where you had to walk about a dozen miles to earn your stripes in a place that only had room for a dozen guests, and was established in 1934, and despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016, a few things did it in.

    The heavy snowpack of the winter of 2018-19 crushed 3 out of the 6 wood platforms that each has a cabin which sleeps 2, and then Covid hit along with the state of California being incredibly stringent on private water systems, and the water for Bearpaw Meadow comes from a spring about 100 yards away.

    Add in the idea that the backcountry hotel needed to be supplied by mule train a few times a week in season during the summer, and packers are incredibly difficult to find on the western slopes of the Sierra, so it was a fade accompli, I suppose.

    Covid really killed it, I wonder how many other going concerns went out of business like this, due to just not doing it anymore and entropy set in, and then the end game.

    I must have been there 50 times over many decades sharing a meal with the staff on the back porch, off to the Great Western Divide to climb peaks the next day.

    What you missed…

    In Your Backyard – Bearpaw High Sierra Camp

  33. britzklieg

    The saga of little Sammy continues: Bankman-Fried $250M Bond Is a ‘Joke,’ Claims Securities Lawyer

    “I cannot explain it, based on my 30 years of doing this. I’ve never seen anything this lenient in a situation where someone has millions of victims,” Murphy said. “I don’t know why they [federal prosecutors] continue to be lenient, as he’s kind of pushing the envelope in terms of what he can do.”

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