Links 2/21/2023

New York alligator captured in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park BBC

RSV Vaccine Succeeds in Phase III Trial of Older Adults Medpage (Lawrence R)

A Novelist’s Reflections on Useful Fictions Hedgehog Review (Anthony L)

HOPE IN THE DARK: History and Ghost Stories Perspectives on History (Anthony L)


Japan postmortems of COVID-infected patients finds virus stays in half Mainichi Times (guurst)


The World’s Plastic Use Is Getting Worse. ‘It’s a Recipe for Disaster.’ Barrons (resilc)

UK Science Museum agreed to a “gag clause” with fossil fuel giant ZME Science (Dr. Kevin)

New and recent books about climate and environmental justice Yale Climate Connections


Exclusive: US military uses balloons, disguises recon aircraft as civilian planes to spy on China: report Global Times

Taiwan is bolstering military exchanges with U.S., President Tsai says Reuters

China Offering Cutting Edge Type 052D Destroyers For Export: Are Algeria and Russia its Most lIkely Clients? Military Watch

Top Chinese Scientists Sketch Out Plans To Thwart US Chip Curbs Bloomberg

Why So Many States Want to Ban China From Owning Farmland FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “Because state legislators paid off by private equity and REITs?”

Myanmar’s overlooked but not-yet-forgotten war Asia Times (resilc)

European Disunion

Wolfgang Streeck – Virtuous Germany Defend Democracy Defend Democracy

The clans that rule Sweden Andreas Cervenk. Micael T: “I am not sure though that NATO would be good for SAAB. Isn’t the whole point of NATO nowadays to kill national defense industry to force F-35 on the vassals?”

Old Blighty

What stage are Brexit negotiations at between Rishi Sunak and the EU? Guardian (Kevin W)

The battle for Britain’s post-Brexit polity Chris Grey

New Not-So-Cold War

President Biden & Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky Meet in Kyiv C-SPAN

Recognizing The War Is Lost The ‘West’ Seeks An Exit Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Das Märchen vom spendablen Deutschland Die Welt. Translation: The fairy tale of generous Germany

Biden in Kyiv and Warsaw is a reminder of who really leads Europe Washington Post (Kevin W)

Netherlands warns of Russian attempts to sabotage its energy infrastructure Financial Times

Goldman: Russia May Have Received More For Its Crude Than Quoted Prices Suggest City A.M.

Rage Against the War Aftermath

This is the text of a talk I gave in Washington, D.C. on Sunday at the Rage Against The War Machine rally. Chris Hedges (Randy K)


US says it will continue to extend its ‘full support’ after 2 more quakes hit Türkiye Anadolu Agency


You Can’t Save Democracy in a Jewish State New York Times (resilc)

The Perils of Marching in ‘Lockstep’ with Clients Daniel Larison

Imperial Collapse Watch

Patrick Lawrence: Munich as Propaganda Fest ScheerPost. Important.

SitRep 2/20 – Terminal Approach Simplicius the Thinker. ZOMG. Be sure to read the bit on the F-22


There’s No Question: It’s Still Donald Trump’s Republican Party New Republic (resilc)

Republican 2024 rivals go shopping for big donors Politico

Northern Suffolk Chemical Bomb

The East Palestine, Ohio, derailment: How bad is it? Vox. Resilc: “I ride Amtrak from Pittsfield, MA to Bristol, in to work at a friend’s sculpture studio each summer. The number of tank cars on the way that we pass is uncountable.”

This Too Shall Last American Conservative

Greed Like An Illness Angie Alt (Permanent Skeptic)

Ohio train derailment reveals need for urgent reform, workers say Guardian (resilc)

Pete Buttigieg Is Pretending He’s Powerless to Change Railroad Safety Procedures Jacobin (resilc)


Florida couple unable to get abortion will see baby die after delivery Guardian. Bad way to go. Pets are euthanized for less


TSA raises alarm amid increase in guns at US airports BBC

Resilc: “40 days until back to Vermont and I become a one man Wagner Group vs deer.”

Housekeeper’s husband is arrested in slaying of L.A. Bishop David G. O’Connell Los Angeles Times


Microsoft “lobotomized” AI-powered Bing Chat, and its fans aren’t happy ars technica (BC)

How will AI change mathematics? Rise of chatbots highlights discussion Nature (furzy)

The Bezzle

James O’Keefe REMOVED As CEO Of Project Veritas, FULL SPEECH From James At Veritas HQ YouTube. Note Project Veritas often engaged in video fakery.

How the Big Business of Clogged Arteries Puts Patients at Risk ProPublica (resilc)

Nearly 30 percent of work remains remote as workers dig in The Hill

Do Declining Imports Signal an Imminent Recession? Menzie Chinn

Office Landlord Defaults Escalate as Lenders Brace for More Distress Wall Street Journal

US stocks are in the ‘death zone’ and could crash 26% within months, Morgan Stanley’s top strategist says Business Insider

Guillotine Watch

Super Bowling for cash with the NFL’s club of billionaires New York Post (resilc)

Class Warfare

Gerontocracy: the exceptionally old political class that governs the US Guardian (resilc)

Capitalism as Mental Illness, by Eric Anderson Ian Welsh

Oxford university stuck with Sacklers as opioid deaths led others to cut ties Financial Times

wtf happened in 1971? Paul R rates as interesting if uneven. Yours truly can answer the question: The Powell Memo. August 23, 1971. Codified and gave direction to existing extreme right efforts to hijack prevailing values, particularly with respect to the “rights” of enterprise.

Antidote du jour (Robert H):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here. 

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    1. Louis Fyne

      The city proper is in a topographical bowl surrounded by modestly higher ground.

      It is conceivable that the plan is to occupy the high ground and let the defenders surrender or crushed by long-range strikes.

      It would take a long time to clear out every single basement, sewer, or factory.

  1. JohnA

    Re the clans that rule Sweden.
    One of the reasons, the Wallenbergs are able to maintain control is via the use of different share classes, whereby their own shares have much more voting rights than shares commonly traded on exchanges.

    It is no surprise, companies have taken over government in Sweden too. As all parties slide ever rightwards, even the Left Party, formerly called the Communist Left Party, now aims to pitch itself as the new Social Democrats, even going as far as to deny being keen on socialism or opposing capitalism. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, crime is rampant, healthcare and education falling apart, manufacturing industry all outsourced eastwards, but naturally mostly it is immigration that is blamed, hence the inexorable rise of the Sweden Democrats and reverse mirrored demise of the former ‘natural party of government, the Social Democrats.

    Apropos Jas Gripen vs F35, SAAB has had problems with weapons that contain American components, that the US vetoes if potential foreign sales are pitched against American weapons. Both Finland and Norway chose the F35 over Gripen and if Sweden and Finland do join Nato, I expect pressure will be put on Sweden to buy them as well. Of course, loyal US lackey Denmark chose the F35.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Lived 6 months in Sweden as full professor. Boss (Head of dept) was former Lutheran minister. Had good intentions for “changing the system” (like promoting on ability rather than old system of longevity in the department with no regard for intelligence etc). Great boss and felt sorry for him when I finally quit academia after another despicable attempt to oust me by someone (which he saw through instantly and did all the right stuff to ease my exit).

      He, IMO, realised that he wasn’t going to get “his” reforms enacted (which were reasonable) and that “systemic/societal” reforms were one step ahead and had long since jettisoned what many of us thought of us as “good Scandinavian model” – it was gone already when I moved there. There were some really good people in academia/public sector in Sweden but I fear for their futures.

    2. digi_owl

      The benefit of the cold war was that there was a credible threat to the monied that they needed to make their system be better for the masses than the communist one, or else.

      Now there is no such threat, so Thatcher’s TINA is in full effect.

      1. Altandmain

        A case could be made that China’s system of state capitalism might very well be a far more formidable challenge than the USSR was.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          It is a more effective competitor, but it is not so strong as a supposed ideological alternative/boogeyman. (Indeed, arguably the two are related – it is more effective in part because it doesn’t provide as many easy horror stories about itself that could genuinely frighten the elites.)

    3. tevhatch

      Indeed, the SAAB Vigen has been such a weak performer that the more profitable line of business would be to do the maintenance contracting for the F35, and boy is that maintenance expensive.

  2. Terry Flynn


    In order to get good at proving theorems, computers will have to judge what is interesting and worth proving,”

    So, make value judgments which the current hooha shows they are awful at since they’re using training data that is rooted in current paradigms, for instance “the conventional homo economicus” model rather than, say, the mathematical psychology model (which has a 60 year pedigree showing and proving via correct predictions how human inconsistency and errors are better adjustments to the model but which I’m fairly sure won’t be a major input in training data). A math psych based ChatGPT would accept the human is making consistent errors or basically biased “onto the wrong path” and show understanding, not act like a petulant teenager going “lalala” with fingers in ears.

    This won’t end well. They must incorporate a better model of human error before we move any further forward.

    1. Louis Fyne

      The current state of “AI” only works well when used in an environment where the questions-answers are within a limited universe (customer service) or when the “AI” can use well-established, generally accepted tropes to generate content (1980’s sitcom scripts).

      Ironically by conflating the ability of ChatGPT-bots, the media is overlooking the fact that even in its crude form, ChatGPT-bots will be a neutron bomb on many lower/mid-level white collar jobs.

  3. zagonostra

    >This is the text of a talk I gave in Washington, D.C. on Sunday at the Rage Against The War Machine rally. Chris Hedges (Randy K)

    There were no rational objectives in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Somalia. There are none in Ukraine. Permanent war and industrial slaughter are their own justification…The ruling oligarchy has us locked in its death grip. It cannot be reformed. It obscures and falsifies the truth. It is on a maniacal quest to increase its obscene wealth and unchecked power

    I’ve been reading Chris Hedges articles and books for many years. He has a certain style, often reaching for literary allusions and creative phrases that stick in your mind, like “vomiting up,” or characterizing think tanks as “some mutant strain of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria, they cannot be vanquished. ” His words resonate, but alas something is lacking, and that something is names. Names of individuals. These are individuals, families, bloodlines, they are not abstractions and rather than not having “rational objectives” they are deadly rational. Those “justifications” he alludes to are grounded in an inevitable iron-like rationality. Are they false? Can you have a poison that is real, rational and non-terminal from one point of view (that of the oligarch/ruling elite) and false, irrational and terminal from another (the mass/majority)?

    [Supertramp lyrics, Crime of the Century]

    Now they’re planning the crime of the century
    Well what would it be?
    Read all about their schemes and adventuring
    Yes it’s well worth the fee
    So roll up and see
    As they rape the universe
    How they’ve gone from bad to worse

    Who are these men of lust, greed and glory?
    Rip off the masks and let’s see
    But that’s not right – oh no, what’s the story?
    Look! There’s you and there’s me
    (That can’t be right…)

    1. BeliTsari

      The objectives in Ukraine are:

      -Cut CHEAP, plentiful (& far less AGW) gas
      -Save our party’s fracking & bitumen pyramid
      -Distribute old NATO weapons for MICIMATT
      -DISTRACT from 2nd million excess US deaths
      -re-invigorate US fracking/ cracking
      -Install somebody WORSE than Putin
      -Create a White Israel next to Russia
      -Destroy Chinese/ German AGW- mitigation
      -Cheaper caviar for avacado toast & latkas
      -Ukranians will eventually shoot a LNG tanker with a shoulder launched missile (or set-off a meltdown?)

    2. GramSci

      Names come and go. Hollywood West and Hollywood East have a surfeit of actors to fill the roles. Hedges trained as a theologian, so he focused this speech, like almost every other, on the idols men worship and their institutional churches, which he does name (the Atlantic Council, Project for the New American Century, …). I think his is a valid and useful perspective.

    3. Kouros

      I am watching season 2 of “The Mosquito Coast” and I am at the episode where a developer pitches to a big crowd of oligarchs the planned resort in the jungle, on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Some environmentalists sabotage the meeting by hijacking the presentation and replacing it with a menacing message and pictures of the families of all those present.

      The move East I think figured such a group.

      And from the US gov modus operandi with sanctions, attacking individuals from the impudent country, such has the left do here as well, but not with threats, but public shaming, repeated public shaming, with dedicated songs and videoclips, testimonials from their lowly underlings, etc.

    4. Sadie the Cat

      OK, so Chris said “no rational objective”, meaning the usual reasons countries go to war. Then he supplied the underlying objective we’re all aware of: weapon sales, money. We know the names…Raytheon, Boeing, etc., the banks, and our craven politicians. You just wanted to get a poem in.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Patrick Lawrence, Munich as Propaganda. Yes, important, in particular as a long view of the Atlanticists’ fantasia.

    Worth reading for the assessments of the situation by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Czech President Petr Pavel.

    Antony “Banality of Evil” Blinken makes an appearance as the intellectual and moral lightweight that he is (which still means that he is a war criminal, Eichmann not having had much intellectual depth either). He has all of the insight of one of those singing fish on the wall, flapping his jaws in a remarkable simulation of a serious person.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky never even put in an appearance to this years Munich Security Conference but had a video feed instead. By next year’s Munich Security Conference, you will see Zelensky there still. But he will be sitting out the front on a mat, still wearing a tattered green t-shirt, and he will be calling out ‘Arms for the poor.’

        1. The Rev Kev

          Definitely arms. And he will still be using the same beggar’s bowl that he has been using for the past year. But even he has noticed that the latest ‘donations’ have been getting more and more sparse. Nobody really likes the guy and the constant hectoring he gives is wearing a little thin.

      1. Kouros

        I honestly think he is entitled to ask even for the Moon. He was promised that and more. I personally like to see him harassing western leadership, like a a very rude urchin clinging to the pockets of foreign travelers

    2. Stephen

      I read it earlier.

      He is spot on. When you look at the read out of Wang Yi’s speech (which seems to have been by video link, although some reports suggested he was in Munich) then it seems highly diplomatic and statesmanlike.

      Nothing uttered by any western leader (except Petr Pavel) seems to pass such a test.

      I wonder if Viktor Orban was in Munich. It seems not and he seems to be saying sensible things too. Albeit, western commentators do their best to rubbish what he says.

      1. Sibiryak

        Stephen, the Wang Yi video link Munich speech cited by Lawrence is from 2022. In 2023, Wang Yi attended the conference in person.

        This statement could hardly have been made in 2023!

        On the Ukrainian issue, China believes that it is imperative to return to the Minsk II agreement, the starting point of this matter, as quickly as possible. The agreement is a binding instrument negotiated by the parties concerned and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, and provides the only viable way out. State Councilor Wang noted that to his knowledge, Russia and the E.U. both support Minsk II, and in his recent telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the U.S. side also expressed its support. In this context, shouldn’t the relevant parties sit down together for a thorough discussion to work out a roadmap and timetable for the implementation of the agreement?

        1. Stephen


          Ah, yes, it says 2022. Did not see that. That also explains the comment about the video link. Wang Yi was clearly there in person in 2023!

          My screw up on the substance too. Must admit I felt that Minsk ll was doing a lot of work as a starting point in that read out but you are right, it is 100% dead now and not something he would refer to.

          1. Sibiryak

            Patrick Lawrence screwed up, which led him to some rather strained explanations of those Blinken/Minsk II comments. It’s a pretty big error that needs correction.

    3. NN Cassandra

      IMO his assessment of the Czech president wasn’t exactly high end of this piece. Petr Pavel is NATO apparatchik (rose to the second-in-line general of NATO, curiously beginning his career in the old communist army in some special/intelligence unit, so nobody should be surprised the candidate of all the anti-communist, anti-Russia, pro-Western, pro-EU, democratic, etc. parties & factions is literal communist army agent) and that sometimes you can get quote from him that isn’t totally delusional (yeah, attempt to take on Crimea would cost Ukraine mountains of dead bodies, who would have thought?) doesn’t really mean much. Just the other day he claimed West should send Ukraine all weapons it has (minus nukes, at least for now) or made call to Taiwan to remind China who is the real boss in South China sea.

    4. Sibiryak

      Patrick Lawrence writes:

      I mention Putin’s speech, which is easily located on the internet and remains worth reading, because Wang Yi’s formal remarks in Munich on Saturday were roughly analogous.

      * * *

      […]You will read as much about Wang’s speech as you did about Putin’s 16 years ago—not much. Here, then, are extracts from the Foreign Ministry’s readout.

      However, the extracts he cites are from the Feb. 19, 2022 readout of the 58th Munich Security Conference, not the most recent event.

    5. Susan the other

      The Rodney Dangerfield of diplomacy indeed. Does he actually think he can pretend to be a ditzy blond with Lavrov? Blinkie cannot possibly be so stupid as to believe he is backing a war against an imperialist invader. NATO was chartered to be a defense against communist ideas – even the communists were playing defense at the time. In 1964 George Kennan wrote a little booklet for the CFR entitled On Dealing With the Communist World in which he invoked patience, saying we might induce certain Warsaw Pact nations to join NATO instead. But the excuse for both pacts collapsed with the USSR. NATO is actually pointless because it is being the aggressor and is no longer peaceful. Yet NATO, like Anthony Blinkie, pretends that Russia is the aggressor simply to have a war. And, caught in their own trap, the State Department and Biden now are looking for language that allows them to get out of this mess without losing face. They are apparently so stupid that they still think they have a face. It is grotesque.

    6. The Rev Kev

      It should be said that the Russians were not unrepresented there in Munich. You had people like exiled oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, chess champion Gary Kasparov, and Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny so I am sure that they spoke up for Russia.

  5. griffen

    Joe Biden in Kyiv. I think that Biden really believes he is on the level of an FDR. War time, and a country in upheaval. And opposing a world leader that threatens “freedom” and “democracy”.

    Asking for a friend, whose children can’t play outside or drink the water in East Palestine Ohio. Or a different friend who can’t drink the water in Jackson, MS. FFS.

    1. Not Again

      I think that Biden really believes he is on the level of an FDR. War time, and a country in upheaval. And opposing a world leader that threatens “freedom” and “democracy”.

      I think that Putin does too.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t agree. Putin’s tropes are different. In his long interview with Oliver Stone, Stone basically challenged Putin on Russia not being as democratic as the US. Putin didn’t disagree. Russia does have a very powerful President structurally. Putin did more or less say that countries develop at their own pace, the USSR had not had democratic structures, and Russia was still evolving. He did point to a couple of areas under his tenure where Russia had adopted more “democratic” features.

        Putin is big on national sovereignity and countries therefore having self-determination (which is really not attainable for small fry…). Although I don’t think I’ve heard him put it as a matter of policy, he also clearly prizes having bureaucracies be efficient and responsive. Not that that is easily attained, mind you, but he seems to dog a lot of pesky details that get in the way of that for the leader of a superpower. I think he sees his legitimacy as at least somewhat dependent on that. It seems he has learned the cardinal rule of customer service: it’s not how often you screw up that determines customer perception of service quality, it’s how you handle screw-ups.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Just a side note, but the Russian presidential powers are a legacy from the time when Yeltsin needed them to ram trough the very unpopular market reforms and looting of the national wealth.

          They were modeled after USA and France. Right after Yeltsin had dissolved the parliament with tanks.

        2. Not Again

          This war is as existential to Putin as WW2 was for Stalin. If Russia loses, it becomes a colony. Ain’t gonna happen.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            I’m not sure a defeat of this magnitude is possible, barring an economic collapse and/or a complete loss of nerve. Both of which are outside of Ukraine’s or its allies’ power to produce. In other words I am not sure that this is an existential war. It was in Stalin’s case because he was fighting an all-out conventional war with an enemy willing to invade the heartland. No matter what happens in Ukraine I don’t really see American or Ukrainian tanks pushing on to Moscow (whatever some Ukrainian officials might say). Nor do I believe a local defeat would be enough to endanger the government – its 90s iteration survived worse catastrophes and extreme unpopularity, as for that matter has the post-2014 Ukrainian establishment.

            1. NN Cassandra

              If it ever got to the point where Russia starts losing militarily for real, I’m sure the crazies would went into overdrive and demand West marches to the Urals at minimum. And I’m not so sure there would be anyone who would stand up to them and tried to cut military aid to Ukraine.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                The crazies haven’t even managed to invade Iran yet. They might want all kinds of things, wanting is not enough.

                I do believe they’ll keep trying to prop up the Ukrainian state for as long as there is one that is friendly to them, though. However, that is not existential for Russia.

                1. NN Cassandra

                  The crazies aren’t in Iran yet because deep down even them know it would be disaster. It’s not existential for Russia now, because it has enough conventional power to resist any such thing, but if we assume Russia is losing on the battlefield against Ukraine and retreating, then the crazies would be massively emboldened. I.e. imagine if Iraq turned into compliant vassal state, mission accomplished and all, where would Iran be then.

            2. Don

              I don’t see NATO troops marching on Moscow in the near term to be the requisite marker of an existential threat to Russia. The decades-long, constant, unrelenting, inevitability of that occurring at a time of America’s choosing — if America’s wings aren’t clipped — is in itself an existential threat. If your home has long been surrounded by a growing gang of armed, menacing thugs threatening to wipe out your family, it’s not prudent to take no action until it gets dark and they open fire.

        3. Kouros

          The democratic element was very strong at the beginning of USSR, via the soviets (local councils). It took a while until the bureaucratic party machine set up by Stalin took over. But it is there, in the collective memory and fiber on how peasant communities were organized.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            I’d beg to differ. The soviets were largely purged of independent elements even before Stalin came to power. There isn’t much collective memory of peasant communities or the soviets in modern Russia – insofar as people know of such things, they know them from books. The destruction of peasant traditions under the Union, including what limited self-government existed, was very thorough. That is not to say that there were no democratic strains in Russia pre-revolution, or that there were no genuine attempts at developing new ones when the regime started to unravel in Gorbachev’s time. Yeltsin crushed them pretty decisively though, and Putin cleaned up afterwards.

            1. Polar Socialist

              I think there was an element of “people’s revolution” in what went on between 1917-1919. Very few of the people who came to power had any experience on running a state, not much of a plan how to run it and plenty of “romantic” notions of how things would proceed on their own once the yoke was lifted from the proletariat.

              Turned out that while you can get rid of the old system, say judiciary, with an ukaz and a platoon of sailors, nobody actually had an idea what to replace it with. Or if they had an idea, they did not know how to implement it.

              Nor did they have much time to experiment, there was a civil war to be won and a world war to be lost and an empire to dismantle. I think it’s a some kind of wonder Soviet Union survived long enough for Stalin to raise to power and leave his stamp on it.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                Yes – but that was an outgrowth of the existing revolutionary and democratic traditions that collapsed completely by the end of that period. Neither the Reds nor the Whites had much interest in that once things got going (even though the Whites initially organised as an army under a socialist rump government and were called the People’s Army in their first incarnation, while the Reds were allied with left-wing SRs). By the time the dust settled, the councils were no longer independent political actors and the tradition they represented was all but dead.

            2. Lex

              The pre-revolutionary argument in Russia of whether the peasants could be a base for revolutionary socialism is one of history’s greatest what ifs. Of course the intelligentsia and orthodox Marxism won the debate but it’s not hard to see how the Russian peasant commune could have been a way forward for Russian socialism. The reality of needing a strong industrial base for the great patriotic war could be problematic on this imagined timeline though.

              The exile revolutionaries probably held too much sway, including their fetish for orthodox Marxism which was always going to be extremely difficult to apply to Russia in the early 20th century. I think the internal argument that maybe Russia would need to first let bourgeoise capitalism become ascendant and only then could socialist revolution take place because that’s what Marx said and he spoke the iron law of scientific history exemplifies it.

              1. Daniil Adamov

                The big problem is that while the peasants were overwhelmingly in favour of the Socialist Revolutionary party (really more of a big tent radical leftist populist group), they were not interested in socialism as such. The peasant communes were not popular among the peasants – they were better-liked by intellectuals and officials of all sorts, and imposed on them by the state against their wishes. What peasants wanted, overwhelmingly, was private property of their own – which is why they fought so hard against the Reds, why they welcomed the NEP, and why Stalin ultimately decided to break them instead.

                1. Sibiryak

                  Ultimately, the big problem was Russia needed to industrialize at breakneck speed–or face being overrun by the monstrous new German war machine in the works. That was the fear, based on reality.

                  Rapid industrialization required a rapid increase and expropriation of agricultural surpluses. Stalin, before he had total dictatorial control, wielded that argument to neutralize Bukharin et al. and gain support for a horrendously violent collectivization.

                  Stephen F. Cohen wrote:

                  Even before Stalin’s ruthless measures of 1929 through 1933 had left perhaps 10 million peasants dead or enslaved in a vastly swollen Gulag of forced labor camps, Bukharin presciently understood their “monstrously one-sided” intent-and their consequences.

                  Evoking “Lenin’s Last Testament,” a series of short articles in defense of NEP written by the dying leader in 1922 and 1923, Bukharin protested that socialism could not and must not be achieved through “military-feudal exploitation” of the country’s peasant majority. Stalin’s policy is leading to civil war. He will have to drown the revolts in blood.” The outcome, he warned, “will be a police state.”

                  (Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War )

                  Could another path have been taken given the social, economic, political, military and ideological force vectors in play at that time?

                  Could any form of humanistic socialism have been built in the wake of a horrendously brutal and soul-hardening civil war and in the lurching shadow of genocidal Nazi expansionism?

                  Perhaps. But if such path is proposed in hindsight, it certainly needs to take into account that looming threat of mass enslavement and annihilation that was coming from the West.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Michael Tracey
    There was a time when the US at least pretended to insist that it was not waging war against Russia by proxy, and any suggestions to that effect were just “disinformation.” As of today they’ve officially given up the pretension: the commander-in-chief has entered the war zone’

    It’s always about the optics with the present generation of leaders. So you had Zelensky and Biden taking a stroll through central Kiev without a care in the world. Meanwhile you could hear air raid sirens blaring in the near distance. Of course Biden would have had to have asked permission from the Russians to go to Kiev so why the air raid sirens? Simple. It was all an act. Consider. If it was a real air raid, you would have had a bunch of SS guys mob him to shield him, the Presidential car – “The beast”- would have roared up beside them, and Biden would have been bundled into it like a sack of potatoes before that car roared off to safety. But of course none of that happened.

    Did notice one thing. Biden announced that he was bringing $800 million to give to the Ukrainians. That seemed like an odd figure that and you would have reckoned that they would have rounded it up to an even billion dollars. But then I realized. The Big Guy’s rate has now gone up from 10% to a 20% cut as Project Ukraine is about to end. So yes, it was originally a billion dollar donation. No word on how much Zelensky’s cut is.

    1. griffen

      I noticed a headline yesterday morning, the number was $500 million. I tell you what, that Zelenskyy can really influence the big money donations like no other. Whether it’s $500 million, $800 million or rounded ever higher it’s just money among friends.

      I shall still patiently wait on that $600 we Americans are owed. But, I’m a fool. “What a fool believes…”

    2. Questa Nota

      How much of Biden’s cut goes to pay his minders, handlers, facilitators, attorneys and other useless eaters?
      He seems to be a deadweight loss for humanity, what with that dysfunctional brain and family.
      Expecting that historians will come up with some Late-Stage Biden Era Collapse*, accompanied by an expanded DSM VI, or lucky number VII to show all the resultant fallout among, you know, people.

      *Or as a footnote referencing the Obama Decline.

    3. Pat

      I was actually thinking that there has to be some editor(s) out there dubbing video of Biden with Zelensky. It could start with a nod to the air raid show and how gullible the suckers are buying them walking around since if they were real they’d be in a bunker. But soon it would get to the gist that The Big Guy is here for his cut since Hunter can’t come anymore. Followed by some haggling over which of how much each of them gets from this and how much Joe is owed from previous monies sent. And ends with them planning to meet next year in Munich to settle up again.

      I will be gobsmacked if versions like that don’t pop up and keep reappearing as soon as the previous one gets taken down.

    4. Eclair

      Re: Biden ” …. bringing $800 million to give to the Ukrainians.”

      A small point, but apparently we’re not ‘giving’ money to Ukraine; the US has set up a lend-lease program, like similar WW2 programs with Britain and Russia. The countries benefitting from the loans have to pay them back. Or else. We have people …..

      Hat/tip to our Michael and Radhika, in one of their Geopolitical Economy series talks. I believe Michael mentioned this, almost as an aside.

      I may be confused and this lend-lease applies only to things like planes, guns, tanks, etc., and not to cash. But, the point is: Ukraine is on the hook to pay back a lot of money. We can arrange for US corporations to ‘rebuild’ the destroyed infrastructure or we can take payment in kind: agricultural land, mineral rights, ports, railroads, etc.

      And a lot of this has to do with keeping nations entrapped (is that too strong a word?) in the dollar system.

      Please feel free to correct my take on this subject. I am just learning my way around.

  7. Terry Flynn

    The “capitalism as mental illness” piece does make good points but will be easily shot down. Why? Because it concentrates on Smith’s ideas from “The Wealth of Nations” (truly tedious book BTW).

    Smith himself thought his “Theory of Moral Sentiments” was better because it tried to balance the “self interest” idea (which can lead to lack of job satisfaction and hence mental illness etc) with empathy (which he discussed in this book).

    If you’re gonna champion Smith, do it because he despised economic rent and the landowner class.

    1. hunkerdown

      I thought the entire piece was spurious and historically problematic (at best). Half of it was a fatuous cultish Fall narrative, while the other half is a pompous Puritan performance of emotivist ritual.

      It is much more explanatory and predictive, within this society and across others, to consider that social orders do not have a prior or inherent existence and must continuously act to produce themselves in order to remain salient. They do so by creating and shaping people into roles according to their own schema, often justifying any violence toward that end under a rubric of care. Designated classes in these orders act to ensure the performance and fidelity of that shaping process, despite the will of their subjects.

      A value system based on alienation, set in an economy based on the separation of labor from its conditions, will unsurprisingly decant a continuous stream of myths that affirm and (fictively) resolve that alienation through the total submission of one’s labor to someone else’s idea. If this Eric Anderson is the management prof from NWU, the piece falls neatly into context as another PMC moral harangue that justifies the abolition of the class identity and its reproductive apparatus.

    2. GramSci

      I had a somewhat similar problem with that piece: its vilification of “corporate greed” and “corporate profit”. While I understand that some people use these terms as shorthand, they obscure Hudson’s important distinction between industrial capitalism and financial capitalism, even as they subtly reinforce the notion that corporations are people.

      It’s easy to increase corporate taxes, but these are too easily passed along in prices. Inequality will be corrected only when the concept of a maximum wage gains majority acceptance, as it did under FDR.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. Something that is relevant (and perhaps doubly so to hunkerdown’s comment) is that I toned down my criticism somewhat. I was trying to give some benefit of the doubt to the piece and get people reading the stuff Smith HIMSELF rated and which actually these days is (ironically) typically part of the agenda put forward by some progressives but which (for SOME reason *ahem*) NEVER seems to be a major policy of groups like, say, the ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE!

        Go figure.

        1. jefemt

          Wasn’t Adam Smith the one that referred to The Invisible Hand of Capitalism,
          the one that is busy stacking the deck?

          1. tevhatch

            It’s invisible to each of us most of the time because it’s holding the dagger firmly in our back as we slowly bleed out. We only get to see it’s mirror image when we look at our fellow man, and then cognitive dissonance makes us feel lucky we dogged one.

            With training, I now can see it everywhere an act of violence takes place, whether building a wall or tearing one down, etc. I just can’t get the dexterity to pull it out of my back and bandage the wound.

            1. Terry Flynn

              To be fair, I was trying to show that although I dislike Smith, he DID voluntarily declare that the Wealth of Nations was flawed and his Theory of Moral Sentiments was better.

      2. spud

        if a corporation can always pass along all of their costs, then none would ever go out of business, and they would be making pure profits.

        so corporations cannot pass along all of their costs including taxes and tariffs.

    3. Eric Anderson

      Thank you for the constructive criticism. What doesn’t kill aspiring bloggers makes us stronger :)

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thx….. I read Wealth of Nations…. Though I admit I read only sections of the Theory of Moral Sentiments…. Though enough to (I believe) enable me to understand where Smith “ended up”

    4. Anonymous 2

      Iain McGilchrist is interesting on the thesis that modern Western society is suffering from mental illness. His ‘The Master and his Emissary’ is well worth a read. As a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists he has some serious professional chops to bring to the question. All the more so as the man is clearly extremely bright, having taught English as a don at Oxford before retraining as a doctor. Also a Fellow of All Souls (for those unfamiliar with British academic life, for many academics this is the very pinnacle of UK intellectual life as the Fellows are the only academics in Oxbridge IIRC who are not required to teach but can devote themselves entirely to research).

      I have not quite finished reading the book but it is very clear the conclusion the argument is heading towards: modern Western society is suffering from serious mental problems. McGilchrist characterises this as a result of an excessive influence of the left hemisphere of the brain (some simplification going on here IMO to make the basic thesis clearer) which concerns itself with pure logic inter alia, dominating the right side of the brain (which is the part which should connect us to reality). I think McGilchrist (who discusses many thinkers but not Smith) would have regarded Smith (and his inspiration, Hume) as having let the left side of their brain run away with them.

      1. Eric Anderson

        It would seem to me McGilchrist writing about a deficit of right brained thinking, yet writing about it from a left brained stance, is either the pinnacle of myopathy, or irony. I well understand my little blog post is far from logically airtight. It was never intended to be. That’s not my voice. My voice is polemic and sermon. Pathos, ennui and rage. I’m not an “expert” in anything, I’m a jack of all trades attempting to assemble life’s puzzle pieces to create a picture that people can feel — not understand. We all understand the problems we face in this world. What seems missing to me is the emotional fire to do something about it. My greatest hope is not to be logically understood, but to light motivating fires in readers.

        Thanks for your comment. It helped some puzzle pieces fall together and lit a little fire in me.
        I’ve not read, McGilchrist. Or any of the sources linked here today, actually. But I was a psych undergrad long years ago now. And I’m an avid eclectic consumer of knowledge. Pieces just fall together right sometimes and I write about them over at Ian’s. He’s become a friend of sorts over the years, though we’ve never met in person. And he’s taught me a lot over the years about finding the right voice. I feel like I’ve found it finally and have a list of pieces I’m itching to write. Next on the list, a post titled: Clubs.

      2. ThirstySoul

        This left brain domination sounds similar to Marshall Mcluhan’s analysis of civilisation being ‘shaped’ by this domination. His analysis is from a completely different perspective and I am very new to his ideas so anyone familiar to his work is welcomed to contribute.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘A disaster response team led by the Israeli military smuggled 200-year-old Book of Esther scrolls out of earthquake-stricken Turkey last Thursday. The scrolls were returned on Friday after the Turkish public learned about the incident and complained on social media.’

    And with that Israel lost any good will that they got from sending in a rescue team after the earthquake. That team could have notified the Turkish President’s Office on what to do with those scrolls but instead took those scrolls back to Israel with them. It didn’t help that that was an Israeli Army team. And as it happens ‘Under Turkish law it is forbidden for antiquities or artefacts of important historical value more than a century old to be taken abroad.’

    Some people may remember when an Israeli rescue team went into New Zealand after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake but it came out that their main mission was to grab the survivors from a Mossad spy team that got caught up in the quakes.

    1. Realist

      You can see why they wanted it. A Jewish artifact older than 125 years in the middle east is a unicorn level rarity.

  9. griffen

    Republican rivals begin to jostle for attention and more importantly, big donors. So there are a few events in the offing for Trump and DeSantis (separately of course). And the slate picks up with none other than super GOP adviser (or snake?) Karl Rove playing the host for a meeting in Austin, Texas. It’s the song and dance for the people who really control the puppet strings.

    Trump vs DeSantis vs the also rans ( sorry but they will, most likely, be that in short order, the also rans ). There is no word quite yet which candidate that the leader of Hades is set to support. \sarc

    1. mrsyk

      Trump is headed to East Palestine Wednesday, once again illustrating his potent political instincts and his ability to play his “outsider” status to his benefit (Which other candidate can make a stink about rail safety without getting called to the principal’s office?).

      1. nippersdad

        IIRC, the railroad regulations that would have prevented the East Palestine debacle from happening were watered down during his administration. If the people there are on top of their game, his visit may not make for the sound bites he is looking for.

        1. Kim

          “I was wrong and that shouldn’t have happened”
          would get him a lot of creedence.
          People living there should demand full financial accountability from the railroad, like blanket purchases of their property and written guarantees of lifetime medical care.

          Barring that, maybe the railroad should relocate their tracks to go fifty miles around the town. Also, demonstrations on the tracks stopping trains with lots of press coverage would make it economically worthwhile for Norfolk Southern to do just that.

          1. orlbucfan

            Screw tRump. Once DeSanctis is forced out of his protective POX FL Media bubble and into the national media glare of a POTUS campaign, he’ll be popped like a balloon. The rest of the country isn’t Floridumb.

        1. The Rev Kev

          No. Obama drinks water that was actually from Air Force One that he flew in on. Even then, you can see that he never actually drank any of that water. In another clip where he was “drinking” water in front of a crowd, you can see that he was actually mocking them. A very cruel man.

    2. nathe

      i’m sure the kochs and the other big di santis backers will attempt to do to trump what the democrats did to sanders, that is, get all the other hopefuls to back off. but trump isn’t sanders and i’d be very surprised if they can intimidate or work around him. it’s going to be interesting.

    1. Michael Hudson

      I had a two-year contract with PKU. It’s very hard to get a visa to China — over 50 hours of paperwork, and an enormous outlay of cash to pay professional visa companies. And they didn’t even give me a 10-year visa, but only for a few months. That’s a deal breaker. I explained that to the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS), and we met outside of China for our last get-together.
      The advantage of Global University is that apart from some early lectures ini person in Hong Kong, there is no visa requirement for Hong Kong, and my lectures are on zoom from New York City.
      I’m avoiding Covid like the plague (literally), and haven’t taken any international flights (or domestic ones) since my last visit to Hong Kong in 2019. I hesitate even to go into Manhattan, except to see my dentist.

      1. Bsn

        Yo Michael, Love You Babe. We’ve learned a lot from you and more recently with Radhika Desai. Muchas gacias!

      2. tevhatch

        Next time you go to Hong Kong, then let us know here. I’d love to hear your lecture. The China visa office there is much less of a hassle and cheap. Better yet there is an agent next door to the visa office. Their in the China Resources Building in Wanchai, who will do all the paperwork for a 10 year multi-entry visa. Last time I did it the cost was about USD220 equivalent, which considering I didn’t have to line up for anything I thought was worth it. The one year and three year are cheaper yet, and probably long enough.

  10. Lexx

    Chris Hedges

    ‘The ruling oligarchy has us locked in its death grip. It cannot be reformed. It obscures and falsifies the truth. It is on a maniacal quest to increase its obscene wealth and unchecked power. It forces us to kneel before its false gods. And so, to quote the Queen of Hearts, metaphorically, of course, I say, “Off with their heads!” ‘

    I share the Queen’s sentiment and a little more. Hunt down everyone of them through three generations and execute them. Wipe the planet clean of oligarchy. Force them to safeguard anyone who survives the purge by sealing them in those bunkers they bought till they become their lifelong prisons then tombs, never to see the light of day again. Cut off all communication with the outside world. Bury them alive. If they manage to dig out… whack a mole! As a species, those above ground will be better off without them. All aspirants to take their places can join them underground.

    Beside me are two little books titled ‘Plant, Forage, Make’. The older I get, the more in love with this little blue planet, and the rage grows at the pathology of those who see it and everything living on it as the resources toward greater and greater wealth.

    All gods must die, and if they won’t go willingly, it’s in our interests to help them along.

      1. Skip Intro

        And don’t forget Dune:

        “Here lies a toppled god,
        his fall was not a small one.
        We did but build the pedestal,
        A narrow and a tall one.”

    1. Realist

      The kind of folks with the nads and the wherewithal to overthrow the western oligarchy would have to be eye wateringly savage and genocidal to actually achieve it. The oligarchic “entourage” of defenders and dependants is well armed and must be many, many tens of millions of bodies deep in the US alone.

      Do you have confidence that those usurpers would make our lives better if they won?

      1. hunkerdown

        It doesn’t matter. Lenin didn’t last very long, nor did he need to. Human experience isn’t an “optimization” problem; it is the most problematic class which has provided that framing and proposed their “leadership” as a means of “reforming” it. Their game doesn’t have to exist. I don’t propose to detail further here as many of the enemy read this fine, popular family blog.

    2. JP

      You say you want a revolution. We all want to save the world.

      Violent revolution has always been the road to despotism. Weak people always promote a strong leader.

      The strong leader maintains his position by rewarding the loyal and punishing the rest.
      The strong leader didn’t come from the aristocracy. He was one of your own

      New boss same as the old boss.

      1. JBird4049

        True, but at some point, people just say bleep it as they really have nothing to lose; I do not see our current rulers getting a clue no matter how large the club being used to hit them over the head is, which is normal in history

        The question then becomes just when do people of a given place and time reach the bleep it point? We could get lucky again and have the American Revolution, which was bad enough, or we more likely we could a variety of the French, Russian, Spanish, or Chinese revolutions. There is also the reality that the worse things get before the revolution kicks off, the more likely it will be the latter.

        Personally, I hope to have reform without a revolution, but as I increasingly see that as unlikely especially with climate change, I hope to have successful change before it gets really, really, truly awfully bad. Something before a Marius, Sulla, Robespierre, or Mao or even just the the Red Scare during the 1910s with the Creel Committee and the Palmer Raids, which were worse then McCarthyism and HUAC. But again, I am afraid that is also increasingly unlikely.

        If I had to guess, I would say that whatever version of COINTELPRO is being ramped up with the current Operation Mockingbird already fully active. Just look at the publishing industry.

        I just hope that they do not plan to increase the false arrests of activists as happened after Occupy that they are already doing or to increase the political assassinations beyond what local police very occasionally do. However, if they can’t get the next Bernie Sanders to stand down, they probably will help him to retire using the Paul Wellstone or RFK method.

        The thing is that this will just drive the most determined, best disciplined, and extremely ruthless reformers underground; unlike the 1960s and 70s, there is no good economy, nor hope of a better future to prevent the growth of an increasingly radicalized, violent and revolutionary movement aside from going all murdery on it, Pinochet style. Likely that will drive the survivors underground and leave them still with a lot of support. But if people have nothing left and they have guns (and this is America, heavily armed since before there was an America) and are very angry…If the Feds get “lucky” they will splinter the nascent movement into several factions. Each large enough to not be easily destroyed, but not large enough to win.

        Even ultra Blue California has the guns for the dealing with the police, but not the military.

        We’re screwed aren’t we?

        I keep doing this to myself. Projecting the probable future from the past and present, making myself unhappy.

        1. JP

          Sortition is not violent revolution. But the question then becomes, do we want to be governed by the competent, the corrupt or the ignorant. Are they going to govern by decree? Can they pick a staff. Will they appoint their relatives?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The fairy tale of generous Germany”

    This is just the lying German press trying to force Scholz to send more tanks to the Ukraine. Not going to work I think. Scholz is furious that the other NATO countries were forcing the issue by promising to send their own Leopards. Well as soon as Germans agreed, nearly every other country suddenly said that they could not do so and will be keeping their own Leopards. I think that only Portugal has said that they will be sending a few tanks. And I believe that Finland was pushing the ‘Free the Leopards’ campaign but have now backed out altogether from sending any of their own. And the UK with their Challenger tanks? Well now they are sending only two for the moment and maybe four soon later on. Scholz is absolutely p***** about being made a fool of and is not willingly going to be pressed into handing over any more Leopard 2 tanks. Leopard 1 Tanks maybe but not the newer ones.

    1. Skip Intro

      Next up on the reading list:
      The Rise and Fall of the Fourth Reich,
      How I Spent My Year in Government

      by Annalena Baerbock

    2. Stephen

      The U.K. sending (possibly, maybe) as much two troops of tanks is not exactly on the scale of 1944 when we fielded multiple armoured divisions. To any objective observer these promises of support are just laughable. I think the purpose now is purely performative: the US making sure that it locks its puppets into the wartime anti Russia coalition through demonstrated acts of fealty.

      1. David

        I think western states are engaged in a kind of tasteless virtue signalling contest, such that, after the inevitable defeat, each will be able to claim that it did as much as possible (and more than country X or Y, given its resources) and that the defeat is thus not “our fault.” It reminds me of the Comparative Defence Effort competitions of the Cold War, where each NATO state would trot out one or more statistics to do with its defence budget, size of the military, defence spending per capita etc., to make itself look good. The West as a whole is in damage limitation mode now.

    3. Polar Socialist

      Scholz has already been made a fool so many times that he’s either an idiot or has a really thick skin.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Unknown whether she was speaking specifically about mr. scholz, but Maria Zakharova made these remarks, reported by TASS and linked this morning at The Automatic Earth (emphasis mine):

        Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called to mind “the fate of American projects” in comments on US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev and his meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “Looking at today’s footage of Biden with his ward Zelensky from Kiev, do not forget the fate of all previous American projects,” the diplomat wrote on her Telegram channel on Monday. In this context, Zakharova mentioned former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, pointing out that the politician “is paying a steep price to be remembered in the West.” “The fate of Saakashvili, the fate of [Venezuelan oppositionist Juan] Guaido – this is what awaits all those who have sold their souls to the Americans: damned by their own people, needed by no one, forced to spend lavishly the money earned in America from betraying their countries on American lawyers,” she added.

        PS. I’d pay good money to see a debate between Zakharova and “our” second in line to the presidency, who has risen to great, new political heights as the queen of american “intersectionality” and the “mentorship” of willie brown and barak hussein obama. It’d be quite the hoot.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        He’s definitely an idiot, but he’s holding on now. He’s in too deep. The tank fiasco alone makes him look like Warsaw’s (not polite word), and politicians don’t do well when they look weak.

        I’ve never really understood the plan except the Green Party is likely CIA because all I see is “get off cheap Russian natural gas to buy expensive US fracked gas that faces all kinds of local environmental actions”.

        While the propaganda is strong, he might see an end of the road, but the long term plan seemed like to use a relatively down Russia to supply German industry while they reinvented the economy before the Global South came online (they didn’t properly decolonize that long ago). Then they just kind of fell under the spell of Biden of all people.

    4. fresno dan

      looking at the numbers, 1 tank here, 2 tanks there, couldn’t say 2 or 4 counties each send half a tank?

    5. digi_owl

      Norway may well end up sending theirs, but then they were going to be retired and replaced (the chief of defense wanted helicopters and anti-air rather than new tanks though) anyways.

      Or maybe the arrangement will be similar to the MLRS, where Norway ship theirs off to say Germany as replacement for the ones Germany ship off to Ukraine.

    6. tevhatch

      “Scholz is furious that the other NATO countries were forcing the issue by promising to send their own Leopards. ”

      Maybe its: “Scholz is pretending to be furious that the other NATO countries didn’t give him more political cover by sending their own Leopards.” I could be wrong, but here is why I think this is more accurate.

      The man’s home turf is Kiel, he and the Greens are both recipients of MIC-IMATT money funneled through labour unions at Kraus Maffei and other Kiel contractors for the Leopards. The assembly line to build V2 was disassembled (in 2018 if memory serves me) in part to stop orders for new V2 (only refurbishment possible), and to force the government to pony up funding to develop/build V3. The man isn’t very smart, he’s just venal enough to get the oligarchy to see him as a tool without making them queasy.

  12. russell1200

    Why So Many States Want to Ban China From Owning Farmland FiveThirtyEight – “Because state legislators paid off by private equity and REITs?”

    Yes! and Conagra and other Big Agra ilk

    I got so annoyed with the piece I actually emailed the author of it. That she would waste her time talking about the plight of the small farmer (who everyone is more than happy to screw) and not even bring up the share-cropping style of business that has been reported on a lot recently is ridiculous.

    I also noted to her that agriculture is a great way to export water. Thus the Saudi interest in alfalfa in AZ.

  13. Dazd'n'confuzed

    I have a silly question that’s been frustrating me lately and was hoping that someone could help:

    There are a lot of reports claiming that Ukraine is basically kidnapping people off the streets and pressing them into service because they are running out of cannon fodder, and that they are also trying to grab anyone from ages 16-60:

    1) Are they pressing random people, or Russian-speaking people (i.e., those who would be more sympathetic to the Russian side)?

    2) Ukraine’s pre-war population was said to be 45M. Let’s assume that this was overstated by 5M and that ~50% of the population left the country over the last 12 months. That brings us to 20M people remaining. For simplicity, let’s assume that the remaining population is evenly divided between males and females and that only the men are being coerced into military service. That provides a pool of 10M people. Further assume for simplicity that the population is evenly distributed between the ages of 1-100, so each age group has 100k people. Then assuming that the “ideal” military age is, say, between 18-29, there should be 1.2M people to select from.

    Let’s assume that 50% are completely unfit for duty for whatever reason. Then you still have 600k available, which is bigger than Ukraine’s current army (alternatively, assume that 300k of the 600k are already enlisted, and that there is another 300k pool available to draw from).

    If this is the case, what benefit is there to forcing **middle age and elderly** people off the street? Am I missing something, or is this just pure propaganda?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lots of minorities are being grabbed and Hungary has bitterly complained at the number of Hungarian-Ukrainians being drafted and sent to the front from Transcarpathia. They are also grabbing people like gypsies as well. But I saw one video where a pair of recruiters were being beaten the hell out of by a bunch of gypsies for their efforts so good on them. Being brutal about it, the Zelensky regime is sending these minorities to the front as they are not pure Ukrainians and so are using what gamers call trash units i.e. low value troops readily expendable to save their better units.

      I can say for sure now that in fact the Ukrainians are actually grabbing very young teenagers for service at the front. How do I know this. Because intrepid reporter Chris Cuomo did a report on them and actually interviewed two of these kids who could speak English. He makes out that these kids are brave volunteers but videos have emerged where they are being grabbed off the streets and even their homes. (3:41 mins)

      And excuse the language but Chris Cuomo remains the same ******** that he always was and is.

      1. Dazd'n'Confused

        Thanks for this.

        Can I conclude, then, that Ukraine is currently running out of equipment, but not Ukrainian soldiers? (or at least the Ukrainians that the country itself finds desirable)? Is this why the Ukrainian population does not seem in a particular hurry to end fighting in what is clearly a lost cause?

        1. Skip Intro

          The Ukrainian population voted for peace with Russia, by choosing an ‘outsider’ comedian who made jokes about their nazis. The US also voted against ‘madman Trump with his finger on the button’. US got a different madman itching for WWIII, Zelensky found himself hostage to embedded nazis. I don’t think the will of the population, or voting, changes policy.

          1. Oh

            Why is this madman in the US always wearing shades? I there something wrong with his eyesight? What is that that China has done to become the enemy of the US?

        2. digi_owl

          Ukraine is a patchwork nation.

          I fully expect that most of the Ukrainians we see online on the English language sites are well educated and well-heeled ones living in or around Lviv with little fear of being press ganged into front line service.

      2. digi_owl

        Ethnic cleansing by front line service?

        Was that not one of the complaints levied against USSR after the war?

        Funny how all talk about ethnic tensions in Ukraine stopped once the Russian army crossed the border.

    2. britzklieg

      seems to me you’ve answered your own question, which seems to set up the last one as an attempt to vanquish, somehow, the fact of racist, anti-Russian, western “pure” propaganda – the likes of which I’ve never seen before and would never have imagined possible. So yes, you’re missing something. Keep digging…

    3. ambrit

      I have read reports that a big majority of the “refugees” that fled the Ukraine were exactly those “prime age males.” Several pieces mentioned the primarily female, young, and or elderly composition of the “homefront” population in the Ukraine today. Several persons have posted copies of their ‘Draft Notices’ sent to them overseas. I have also heard of female support groupings being formed and staffed with conscripted Ukrainian women. (The Allies in WW-2 for instance used female pilots as aircrew in the Air Forces to transfer airframes to and around the fronts. Also a lot of women filled non-combatant roles.)
      The English WAAF:'s%20Auxiliary%20Air%20Force,2%2C000%20women%20enlisting%20per%20week.
      The American WASP:
      So, there is precedent for the Ukraine to conscript women.
      One of my grandmothers was conscripted to work in a munitions factory during WW-2. She had a critical skill for that enterprise, and spent most of the duration of the war away from her children. Her husband, my granddad spent the war at sea as a First Mate on minesweepers. He was conscripted into the Royal Navy from out of the Merchant Marine. Both of these people were conscripted. Dad said that he saw neither of them for years at a time and was taken care of by his older brother and some relatives.
      The above brings me to the consideration of just how badly will this generation of Ukrainians be scarred psychologically going forward. Not to think of the Ex-Donbass citizens. No wonder Vlad Vladimirovitch made a point of stressing services for veterans in the future. This will have to include the remaining civilian populations of the newly acquired Oblasts as well. They have been living through war time conditions since at least 2014.
      What a world. Who could have imagined a time when Boris and Natasha would be the “Good Guys” in the story? And Moose and Squirrel? I see that Biden does a very good imitation of Bullwinkle J Moose. So, who’s Rocky?

      1. Dazd'n'Confuzed

        “The above brings me to the consideration of just how badly will this generation of Ukrainians be scarred psychologically going forward.”

        If there still is a Ukraine left, I wonder who will be populating it…I can’t imagine anybody under 40 wanting to remain there…

      2. Carolinian

        Blinken? Oh wait he’s just as goofy as Biden.

        Russia had women combatants in WW2. Perhaps Mrs Z could join up.

        1. .human

          My mother-in-law was a Women Marine. She ferried airframes around Long Island and New England during WWII for maintenance, repair, and placement.

    4. Polar Socialist

      According to Zelensky and Zalushnyi the current Ukrainian army is about 700k, of which “only” a bit over 200k are fighting force, rest are logistics and providing “moral support”.

      One reason the recruiting patrols are looking for fresh meat to press to service is that many Ukrainian men fail to show up when told to mobilize.

      I think there has been so far at least 8 waves of mobilization in Ukraine.

    5. hunkerdown

      Someone has to run the Twitter accounts after their main boiler room experienced a special delivery a few months ago.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “China Offering Cutting Edge Type 052D Destroyers For Export: Are Algeria and Russia its Most likely Clients?”

    This has got to be a win for the Chinese in bringing productions costs down via overseas exports while those nations buying them get a proven design that is only less than a decade old. But as the US re-orientates away from the Ukraine so that they can take on China, how long will it be before the US threatens countries buying those ships by saying that that will break US laws? The US already threatens countries that try to buy Russian weapons with sanctions so I would expect them to also start including Chinese military gear as well.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Ironically, it was down to Ukraine that China can export any military ships. They struggled for a long time with engine technology, being reliant on GE and Russian engines for a long time (they still are with their submarines). So everyone else has been able to block their sales for political or commercial reasons. But it seems most likely that they caught up thanks to their association (and near purchase) of Motor Sich of Ukraine.

      The Algerians seem particularly promiscuous in their navy purchases – they already have two classes of Chinese vessels (a frigate and corvette) as well as Russian submarines and frigates, and a seemingly random selection of German, Italian, Spanish and British made ships, large and small. It must be a nightmare for their maintenance and logistics. Presumably, the motivation for this is political.

      Its hard to see though why they’d want the Type 052D – its more of a blue water vessel than one suitable for the Mediterranean.

      I doubt Russia would be interested either – it has its own reasonably good quality vessels of that class and the cost of integrating them to Russian systems would be significant. They only big issue the Russians have is capacity in their shipyards and the sometimes variable quality of the products. Mind you, the biggest and best Soviet ships were built in Nikolaev, so maybe Russia will be on the verge of instantly increasing its capacity over the next few months.

      Its also worth pointing out that while Russia and China may be friends of necessity, they are bitter rivals in military exports. The Russians have complained long and loudly about how the Chinese have been reverse engineering Russian tech both for their own use and in undermining Russian sales, especially in aircraft and SAM systems. The Russians have already lost S-300 and S-400 orders to the unauthorized Chinese copy, the HQ-18, and Sukhoi are particularly annoyed at the J-11, a possibly superior redesign of reverse engineered Su-35’s.

      1. Realist

        It’s strange that such “bitter rivals” worked together for over a decade on projects like the JL-10 supersonic fighter trainer and the new CR929 airliner.

        That must have been awkward!

        1. tevhatch

          Agree, and I’d have thought Vietnam, Thailand, etc, would be more natural “customers”, (along with possible some nations in South America) particularly as the USA is working itself into a lather on Thailand. Vietnam and China recently had a set of agreements, and having inter-operable equipment would help Vietnam deal with it’s own issues in S.E. Asian Seas with Philippines/USN.

          1. tevhatch

            Forehead slap, Maybe Turkey, who is in spat over Aegis bases of USA and Greece. It would be another interesting way to explode some beltway heads.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The CR929 is a paper aircraft, all indications are that it will not go ahead. They recently announced a complete redesign just a year after telling everyone that a prototype was under advanced construction. The JL-10 is an entirely Chinese private sector project – the Yakovlev design bureau were paid consultants, hence the resemblance to the YAK-130.

            And Vietnam would never, ever purchase Chinese equipment for the simple reason that the Vietnamese see China as their biggest regional threat. China has been highly aggressive in contesting rights over oil and fishing claims in places Vietnam considers to be their territorial waters.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Thanks. The YouTube channels I watch re aerospace have expressed extreme scepticism over such planes being used for international flights….. They’re gonna be domestic for a while yet

  15. IM Doc

    About the report of the RSV vaccine above.

    I would really want to make sure we are not all going down the same Covid vaccine rabbit hole again.

    Rule #1 in vaccinology 101. With our current vaccine technology and paradigms, a vaccine simply cannot do more than what the innate immunological system would do on its own in native infection. What this means is that if a viral infection, say measles, gives life long enduring immunity, than the same will be true of vaccination for measles. If the viral infection, say Covid, does not result in lifelong durable immunity, then neither will vaccination for Covid.

    I had thought this was well known and considered settled before the Covid vaccines. I was wrong. The fact that after the last two years, this type of article is published about RSV, another viral infection that does NOT produce life long immunity, is very discouraging. We never learn. The “80% protection” discussed in this article is assuredly going to be just as ethereal as the “95% protection” was for Covid. The 80% reduction is also yet again a relative risk reduction with all the caveats that entails. And as with all of these highly mutable RNA viruses, has the potential to create all kinds of variants.

    RSV is no fun. It is especially awful for kids. Hospitals were full of it this past winter. I would love to have a vaccine that would work as reliably as the polio or measles vaccine does. This does not appear to be it. And this vaccine, curiously, is for adults who may get ill but not hospitalized the vast majority of the time. IMO, we should focus any efforts for RSV on kids who are likely to get very ill and in the hospital and even die.

    There will come a time when we must realize that our current vaccine abilities are just not going to be able to meet this challenge. We have spent over the decades more than a trillion dollars on an HIV vaccine, another mutable RNA virus, and have absolutely nothing to show for it. HIV can however be mitigated very well with antivirals. This should be our focus with all of these viruses right now. Focusing on antivirals and not vaccines for these RNA virus families will likely be much more fruitful, as HIV has shown us. This includes COVID, RSV, Zika, and many other cold syndrome viruses.

    1. zagonostra

      We have spent over the decades more than a trillion dollars on an HIV vaccine, another mutable RNA virus, and have absolutely nothing to show for it

      I recall below which would suggest otherwise but do not have the expertise to render judgement.

      The Covid vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

  16. Carolinian

    That’s a good and tough NYT op-ed on Israel.

    This lack of democratic rights helps explain why Palestinians are less motivated than Israeli Jews to defend Israel’s Supreme Court. As the Israeli law professors David Kretzmer and Yael Ronen note in their book, “The Occupation of Justice,” “in almost all of its judgments relating to the Occupied Territories, especially those dealing with questions of principle, the Court has decided in favor of the authorities.” Enfeebling the court would undermine legal protections that Israeli Jews take for granted but most Palestinians did not enjoy in the first place.

    Which is to say that Israel is a democracy in the same way that the Jim Crow South was a democracy. Of course the Israel defenders will say that things have to stay the way they are because of he security threat but then that was also the argument of the antebellum South and its Jim Crow follow on. If the slaves were freed they’d all turn around and kill their masters.

    Current establishment thinking seems to be obsessed with the latter and the claim of “white supremacy” while totally oblivious to the former. If your morality is situational then is it even morality at all?

    It’s a good thing that the NYT was willing to print this op-ed. Now if they would just move it to opposite page and make it an editorial.

  17. The Rev Kev

    ‘Excess mortality rose to 19% in December 2022

    Excess mortality varied across the EU. Lowest rates in 🇷🇴Romania and 🇧🇬Bulgaria (both -6%). Highest rates in 🇩🇪Germany (+37%) and 🇦🇹Austria (+27%).

    What about your country❓’

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to do a similar map for those counties on vaccine coverage, types of vaccines used, second and third shots received, etc. and see if there is any correlation there at all.

  18. digi_owl

    Whenever USA goes on a panic over some foreign enemy doing something, expect USA to have been doing the very same thing to said enemy for a decade already.

    Been the pattern since the start of the Cuban crisis…

  19. Carolinian

    Re Microsoft lobotimizes Bing AI–But did it sing Daisy as a floating Bill Gates in a space suit slowly pulled out its circuit boards?

    1. ambrit

      I’m trying to work something out here. But all CHATbot wants to do is sing the “We Are The World” Davos Version theme song.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Per Walgreens, the positivity rate in NY had a trough of about 33% at the end of December, and it’s been oscillating ever since. It’s at 42% this week, about the highest ever. We see a similar pattern in some other states, but it isn’t universal. Perhaps because the prevalence of different variants.

    It is hard to foresee how this can be sustainable, if it cannot be sustained, but yet here we are. ’tis a puzzle. Meanwhile “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA” shows CH1.1 at barely 1%, backtracking yet again. Perhaps good news? XBB1.5 is at 61%.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Republican 2024 rivals go shopping for big donors

    It is expected to draw a slate of mega-donors, with beer distribution executive John Nau, Omni Hotels owner Robert Rowling and real estate developer Harlan Crow are among those listed on the event invitation as co-hosts.

    Omni has a hotel right in downtown Boston, and they purchased the Groove Park Inn in Asheville some years ago. The latter immediate went to garbage. They did a cultural event, a Christmas showcase from local artists every year, and it went down hill after that. Perhaps Rowling will have a similar effect upon Republican candidates as well?

  22. Ed Miller

    F-22 Photoshop: How many keyboards were lost here due to the caption? I couldn’t resist saying this.


  23. Gulag

    Near the end of his essay Eric Anderson stated “This isn’t a portrait of a mentally healthy society.”

    Strangely enough Marx felt the same way about French society in 1843-1844, where he wrote his “Economic and Philosophic Manuscript” focusing on the concept of alienation. In fact it could be argued that the initial concept of alienation articulated by Marx bears a striking resemblance to symptoms of schizophrenia (and its spectrum disorders).

    There is the alienation of man from from his product, the denial of authorship, alienation of man from fellow man and from his social status and self-alienation a sense of social isolation and maladjustment.

    Thus it may not be such a stretch to maintain that that the discussion of alienation in the 1844 manuscripts was partially an attempt to deal with the phenomenon of mental alienation (and neurosis). Maybe at the root of Marx was not simply an attempt to put Hegel onto his feet but also a realization about the potential independent reality of madness. (For more on this issue see Liah Greenfeld, “Mind, Modernity and Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience.”

    1. Eric Anderson

      Doh! Fascinating stuff. One of the reasons I love this website so much. The readers often provide information I’d never trip across an my own.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Enjoyed your piece, Eric.

        You might be interested in my comment on Iain McGilchrist above. Perhaps you are familiar with his work already?

        1. Eric Anderson

          Just did, I hope. Kinda been a big day, heading to sleep, and I may not have submitted it properly. Will check back in the morning after some shut eye and see. Suffice to say, I think my voice comes from my right brain, not my left.

  24. JBird4049

    >>>wtf happened in 1971?

    The postwar boom was from 1947/48 to 1971/72, which is maybe 25 years, and it ended 51 years ago. 51 years of consuming the previous 185 years of building everything from schools to roads, canals, bridges, trains, and most industries under the American System.

  25. jhallc

    “Pete Buttigieg Is Pretending He’s Powerless to Change Railroad Safety Procedures” Jacobin –

    Never let a good crisis go to waste so they say! Pete’s just fiddling while East Palestine burns. This would be the opportune time to do something but, you just know he doesn’t want to tick off any corporate overlords.

  26. bojang bugami

    About ” giving the Myanmar rebels a fraction of the aid and support we give Ukraine” : any aid the West gives the rebels will be way outdone by Russia and China supporting the Tatmadaw Coup regime in return.
    For Russia, a Tatmadaw victory is a “must win”. For China, the West must lose here, as elsewhere, which would turn a Tatmadaw victory into a default ” must win” for China as well.

    And if the West, especially the US, were seen and acknowledged to be giving aid to the Myanmar rebels, the Left will immediately accuse the Myanmar uprising of having been a Western-sponsored color revolution all along, and the Left will support the Tatmadaw coup regime as hard as it can. ( Hopefully Naked Capitalism would refuse to go along with the rest of the Left in such a scenario).

    So while the Myanmar rebels and the NUG leaders and cadres might not believe it, they really are better off without recieving any kiss-of-death Western aid or advice. They will be forced to survive, or fail to survive, all the Darwin filters they will be shoved through over the next several years.

      1. tevhatch

        That’s difficult, as they were/are a NED creature for color revolution/regime change. Brian Berletic / New Atlas has two videos as well as some written blog posts where the funding trail is well laid out.

  27. Karl

    RE: Wolfgang Streeck interview

    I see WS as providing an informed German perspective. He basically said that Germany’s submissiveness despite so many affronts from the U.S. (including Nordstream II) means it will, from now on, “do what it’s told [from the U.S.]”. Sounds like vassalage to me. As for Ukraine’s prospects, his views seem to reveal the highly filtered pro-US reporting on the situation within Germany, stating that a drawn-out war of attrition weakens Russia:

    More likely, however, the United States will prefer a drawn-out phony war, with occasional battles at roughly the present front line, both parties basically dug into their present position. This would provide for a lasting weakening of Russia and a stable restoration of American hegemony over Western Europe, both of which are in the interest of the United States as they prepare for the real war, economic and military: the war with China. For this, a year-long dragged-out freezing of the conflict lines in Ukraine is all that is needed.

  28. Karl

    FWIW, this is somewhat old news (7 months) about Russia deploying its 2S4 Tylupan, the largest mortar/cannon in the world (introduced in 1974, with a new variant introduced in 2017). Youtube video here. Considering the grim possibilities of further escalation, Wikipedia has this interesting tidbit:

    One of the more unique aspects of the 2S4 is their nuclear capability. Development of tactical nuclear munitions … resulted in the 3BW4 round using a 3B4 nuclear projectile with a yield of approx. 2 kt.

    The 130 kg laser guided projectile can reach ~9km distant targets; 18km with the rocket-assisted version. I wouldn’t want to be in any fortification (or anywhere else) with this thing in the vicinity.

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