Links 2/22/2023

A Wiser Sympathy Lapham’s Quarterly. Anthony L: “Plant intelligence.”

Stop Eating Poppy Seeds or You Might Fail a Drug Test, Pentagon Warns News you can use!

Anaximander and the Nature of Science by Carlo Rovelli review – the ancient master of the universe Guardian. Anthony L: “Not quite right. To get science you also need Calabrian medicine, but still OK.”

The New Irrationalism Monthly Review (Chuck L)



So-called ‘safe’ pesticides have surprisingly ill effects University of British Columbia

Trashion: The stealth export of waste plastic clothing to Kenya Changing Markets (Kevin W)


The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

China’s Newest Weapon To Nab Western Technology – Its Courts Wall Street Journal

China, Japan square off at first security talks in four years Reuters

‘China is an exception’: India says it has good ties with all big powers – besides one South China Morning Post

European Disunion

EU Gas Demand Fell More Than Target OilPrice. Could be a sign of more severe demand destruction than widely acknowledged, as well as mild winter.

New investigation shows: This is how much the gaps have increased in 20 years Evening Paper (Sweden, Michael T)

Old Blighty

Rationing risk as tomato shortage hits UK supermarkets Sky News

Rishi Sunak weighs 5% public-sector pay offer to end waves of strikes Financial Times

The Lords are fighting back against fascism Richard Murphy

New Not-So-Cold War

* * *

Where is Russia’s Winter Offensive + President Biden Empty-Handed in Kiev Brian Berletic

Ukrainians Dig Into Their Own Pockets to Fund Everything From Drones to Mortars Bloomberg

We just don’t have the money to send jets to Ukraine Telegraph. Surprising to see at this venue.

The Roundtable #47: Larry Johnson, Michael Vlahos Gonzalo Lira, YouTube. Starts off with the Putin speech. Note YouTube did not produce this as a result even when I searched for “Gonzalo Lira” and filtered for the last week. YouTube is increasingly suppressing material from off narrative sources.

* * *

A year on, Russia’s war on Ukraine threatens to redraw the map of world politics – and 2023 will be crucial The Converstion (Kevin W)

China’s top diplomat says relations with Russia ‘rock solid’ DW. So much for the Blinken, Borrell, and Stoltenberg trying to pressure Wang Yi.

* * *

Russia summons US ambassador over ‘aggressive course’ in Ukraine Press TV. Important.

US diplomat on what it’s like negotiating with Putin BBC. Curious revisionism. Before the war, the religiously-intoned claim from the US was that Russia refused to negotiate. Now the claim is that Russia had negotiated but was unreasonable. An obvious omission in this account is that Russia presented written proposals and wanted written counterproposals. This is bog standard, see Brexit. And for good reason. Using written texts is desirable because in the end any agreement will need to be reduced to text. Verbal discussions have a way of being heard in an overly favorable manner. That’s why things of any complexity are done with contracts. Russia learned with the US “Not one inch further east” of the danger of relying on handshakes. The very fact that the US is stooping to discuss this history looks defensive, as if they feel the need to prove the Collective West was not out to have this war.


By caving to Israel, Biden opens the door to war Responsible Statecraft

Sanders calls for cutting U.S. ‘billions’ to Israel over ‘racist’ moves Mondoweiss

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Spy Balloons Are the Slow and Silent Future of Surveillance Bloomberg (furzy)

The Insecurity of Photo Cropping Bruce Schneier

Imperial Collapse Watch

Assessing the Economic Value of Military Materiel Philip Pilkington, American Affairs (guurst). Important. Also paging Andrei Martyanov.

US no longer attracts world’s rich – study RT. That’s a bad thing?

Russia And China Draw ‘Red Lines’ On Their Borders; US Draws Them On The Other Side Of The Planet Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)


Biden to replace Trump migration policy with Trump-esque asylum policy Politico

GOP Clown Car

Nikki Haley: Bernie Sanders is ‘exactly the reason’ mental competency tests are needed The Hill. Amateurish and gutless. She picks independent Sanders as opposed to the obviously cognitively challenged but powerful Dems Feinstein and Pelosi. And Sanders was and likely still is popular with young people.

DeSantis and Haley highlight 2024 chasm on Ukraine Washington Post


The Supreme Court could throw the internet into chaos Washington Post (Kevin W)

Supremely confused! SCOTUS justices bamboozled in landmark suit to scrap sweeping legal protections for tech giants – as they admit they ‘are not the nine greatest experts on the internet’ Daily Mail

US Supreme Court will not hear challenge to Arkansas anti-BDS law Middle East Online

Texas Is Planning To Make a Huge Public Investment In Space ars technica. Will they start conducting their own foreign policy too?

California, There We Went City Journal (Kevin W). On public education.

Norfolk Southern Chemical Bomb

Explosion at Ohio metal factory 70 miles from East Palestine injures at least 14 people, showering surrounding area with molten debris Business Insider (Kevin W)

Investigation shows rail giant donated to Ohio GOP governor a month before toxic crash Salon

Police State Watch

Malcolm X’s family plan to sue FBI, CIA, NYPD for his death BBC (furzy). Unless the plaintiffs have a documentary smoking gun in hand, this will be a very difficult case to win. In general, delay favors the defense because memories fade, so witnesses are easily impugned.

Woke Watch

Shakespeare flagged as ‘far right’ literature in UK – media RT (Anthony L)


Vanderbilt apologizes for using ChatGPT to write MSU email to students Daily Mail (BC)

The Bezzle

I bet the whales aren’t getting royalties (Chuck L):

SEC’s Shadow Crypto Rule Taking Shape as Enforcement Cases Mount CoinDesk

How a depression test devised by a Zoloft marketer became a crutch for a failing mental health system STAT

Is This Painting a Raphael or Not? A Fortune Rides on the Answer Wall Street Journal (Anthony L)

Mortgage Rates Near 7% for Spring Selling Season: Prices of Existing Homes Fall 13% from Peak, on Lowest Sales since 2010 Wolf Richter. Not in my tiny market, which wasn’t bubbly in the good time and has a school district not only that is best in the state but in the top 1% in the US. We have a chronic shortage of inventory. Goes from terrible to moderately bad.

How Have Swings in Demand Affected Global Supply Chain Pressures? Liberty Street Economics

Class Warfare

2,100 rail workers to get paid leave in new deal with Union Pacific The Hill (Kevin W)

McKinsey will reportedly cut about 2,000 jobs amid restructuring MarketWatch

The average American tenant is rent-burdened. Here’s what that means for the economy. The Hill

Amazon employees express dismay, anger about sudden return-to-office policy CNBC

Four-day working week ‘more productive’: UK study PhysOrg

Wage theft report uncovers over $80 million in stolen wages National Tertiary Education Union (Australia, via Paul R)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (Dr. Kevin):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here. 

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Stop Eating Poppy Seeds or You Might Fail a Drug Test, Pentagon Warns”

    US Marines, however, have been assured by the Pentagon that crayons are still safe to use.

    1. ambrit

      C’mon now. we knew this way back in the day. Burger King had, perhaps still does, mucho poppy seeds on their hamburger buns. An old trick to defend against a positive test for THC was to keep an old BK bag and empty Whopper wrapper on the passenger side floorboard of the car.
      “Sorry your honour. I had a Whopper before taking that drive to Spliffsville.”
      “The receipt? Sorry again. I was too distracted by something warm and fuzzy to pay attention to that.”
      “A likely story? Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
      “Huh? Felony possession of poppy seeds? That’s a crime now?”
      “Yes, I agree Judge. I do need a lawyer.”
      “What was that your honour? If I cannot afford a lawyer, a clown will be provided to me by the state?”
      “They didn’t teach us this in Civics class.”

      1. Wukchumni

        I grew up eating oh so many poppy seed kolaches and thought everybody ate them, and yet i’ve never seen one in a restaurant in the estados unidos

          1. Nikkikat

            Poppy seeds bagels have caused several thoroughbred race horses to come up positive on drug test. Horses absolutely love them and donuts. The poppy seeds had trainers pulling their hair out after some groom let a horse eat a poppy seed bagel and then the horse tested positive for opiates. They now try to make sure no one brings those kind of bagels to the backside.

        1. bojang bugami

          Just go to the right kinds of restaurants.

          Here is the menu page for Amadeus Restaurant in Ann Arbor.

          Here is a copypaste from that menu describing a poppy seed delight you can get at this restaurant. ( I bet something like this could be found in the big cities of California.)
          ” Polish Poppyseed Cake $8
          A very thick layer of ground poppyseed mixed with honey, nuts, fruits, and a touch of apple mousse “

  2. griffen

    Although I’m no fan of Sanders, he was not “exactly the reason” for Haley suggesting a competency test. Haley is already shooting herself in the foot, but it’s early days yet. Plenty of speeches to give, hands for shaking, and baby foreheads for kissing.

    I always like this line about politicians. “Dr Ryan, I’m a politician. Which means when I’m not kissing babies I’m stealing their lollipops.” Hunt for Red October.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Haley is a nasty piece of work who chose her target well. Between the two political parties there is a neoliberal/neocon consensus which means that no matter who is elected and who is in power, such policies remain the same. Some have called it the ‘uniparty.’ But Sanders has been the outlier here for a very long time so attacking him gets Nikki brownie points with the uniparty which she probably hopes clear the path for her by showing her neoliberal/neocon credentials.

      1. Eclair

        Rev, lately, the “neoliberal/neocon consensus” has taken shape in my imagination as “the Blob,” beloved of Lambert and others here; an enormous, slug-like creature, that engulfs all resistors, exuding behind it a slimy, slippery trail of goo. Elections: simply a mechanism to attach a temporary papermache head, hollow of course, labelled DEM or GOP, to the quivering corpus.

      2. Synoia

        Meat for her constituents. Is there a election on the Horizon?

        How can such people walk upright with such a large load they carry on their right? /s

        I suppose they lean on donations to prop then up.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Well, add this one to your “not a fan” file. Bernie’s going to be speaking at the Tucson Festival of Books. Link:

      Is Arizona Slim planning to attend? [Family blog] no!!!

      Bernie had a golden opportunity to build a movement that could have achieved all sorts of good things, like Medicare for All, automatic voter registration at age 18, and free college, but no. Instead, he turned into a shill for the Democrat Party’s chosen candidates.

      Was Slim persuaded to vote for Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020? Nope. I voted third party in both elections.

      I’ve also gotten into the habit of leaving vast swaths of my ballot blank. If I don’t see a candidate who’s worthy of my vote, I don’t vote for anyone.

      1. Carla

        I’m with you, Slim. My last vote for a major party presidential candidate was for Obama in 2008. He managed to destroy my tentative and cautious hopes in just a few months. And watching Sanders shill for Biden was depressing as hell.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          We should start a club. I did a write-in vote in 2012 and then discovered no one tabulates write-in votes anymore.

          2016 I left the top line blank.

          2020 I stayed home, the first election I’ve boycotted and probably not the last.

          1. Eric F

            In the not-large college town where I live now, I have been assured by my state senator that write-in votes will not be counted unless the majors get so few votes that there is a possibility that the winner might be written-in.

            But in 2000, when I lived an hour south of here in a county seat town of 3,000 people, after the election they had a vote tabulation book on a desk at the courthouse. I found my single vote for Ralph Nader.
            ‘None of the above’ got 4 votes.

            Everybody knew Bush was going to win the county, so they really didn’t need to bother…

      2. wol

        I’m with you both, Slim and Carla. I’ll register and vote if someone catches my eye. Not holding my breath.

        1. Not Again

          And Sanders was and likely still is popular with young people.

          Apparently not. Based on the latest polls, his 47-46 favorability rating is right up there with Kamala Harris’ 42-47 favorability rating.

          I’d vote for Trump before I’d ever vote for Bernie. (And I was a volunteer and substantial contributor to his 2016 campaign.)

          1. Mark Gisleson

            : )

            Five minutes into the first 2024 Democratic primary debate Harris’ numbers will melt and Sanders will start inching back up.

            Virtual KHive v grassroots is no contest. Only way to stop Bernie is with a better fake populist (I think that was supposed to be Fetterman). Bernie’s numbers are low because the party and media drag him constantly while excusifying for Harris and deleting social media rude enough to share video clips of her. Plus…how did they get these numbers? Who answers their phone anymore?

            1. Not Again

              “Five minutes into the first 2024 Democratic primary debate … and Sanders will start inching back up.”

              Apparently MLK wasn’t the only person “with a dream”

            2. Big River Bandido

              I’m pretty sure some of Sanders’ low polling numbers comes from erstwhile supporters like me, who take a dim view of politicians that take contributions and then just quit the field without leaving it all on the road. Self-styled revolutionaries in the Senate who do things like turn their back on railroad workers…don’t inspire much admiration either.

              Bernie Sanders has been completely defenestrated. He’s just another warmongering, ID politicking establishment Democrat now. I really couldn’t care less what happens to him.

              We both live in Iowa (I moved back to Davenport just before the 2020 election, which I boycotted as well), and I’ll bet you hear a lot of the same feelings from former Sanders supporters in your neck of the woods.

              1. Mark Gisleson

                Not showing affection for Bernie here, just saying that the current poll numbers are:

                1. absurdly unreliable (HOW do they contact people?)
                2. all KHive numbers are soft
                3. exposure to the other candidates is cumulatively abhorent
                4. countless things can go wrong this year changing people’s minds

                Let’s be honest. Most of the Bernie supporters here compromised their values both times we supported him. He is still “the best we got.”

                Mind still open on Gabbard but I’m going to need to see a lot of transparency at some point.

            3. bojang bugami

              I don’t think Sanders has the toughness and meanness to run for nomination. Or President either.

              He would have to be a leftwing Gingrich. And he won’t ever be that.

              If Sanders were running in the DemPrimaries and a combination of Kucinich and Gabbard were running in a few select states ( just enough to destroy the election for the two parties), I would support the Kucinich-Gabbard combination.

          1. ambrit

            From our point of view, he aimed a good bit lower than her ring.
            He should have fought it out. Once the “fix was in,” he would have known how the rest of the play was going to go. He’s been a politico long enough to have learned how things work in Washington, D of C. Working in the Senate might be somewhat collegial, but the top job is fought for with a passion and ruthlessness seldom matched in the animal kingdom.
            I keep flashing on a quote that mentions “fire in the belly,” and or lack thereof.

              1. ambrit

                At least you have “agency” in this. Poor Bernie, I doubt that he has yet figured it out that what he needs is ‘I’ bleach. I may not be giving the man enough credit for self awareness. He might just be settling for what he thinks he can get accomplished with the political class we have available.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Please stop this nonsense. Sanders agreed to endorse the winning candidate if he lost as a condition of running as a Dem.

            And before you say he could have run as an independent, that’s a pet fantasy with current ballot access rules and the advantage the legacy parties have in media coverage (= free TV time). Michael Bloomberg looked at an independent bid and concluded it was untenable.

            1. ambrit

              Not to be too contrarian here, but your phrase, “…running as a Dem.” says it all. I think that a lot of us here, whether realistically or not, had hoped that Bernie would have managed to have broken free of the Duopoly Box. That ‘I’ after his name on the rollcall list of US Senators had a lot of us fooled.
              When Obama abandoned Dean’s Fifty State Strategy after winning the Presidency, somewhat on the coattails of that strategy, many of us understood that Obama was just another “Establishment Politico.” We had higher hopes for Sanders. Just as in the case of Obama, we were disappointed, even, betrayed. When “Creepy” Joe Biden, who is arguably, Obama 2.0, said the basic part out loud, “Fundamentally, nothing is going to change.” we knew that the “fix was in.”
              In the ultimate case, we can give Sanders the benefit of the doubt and ascribe his less than stellar campaign accomplishments to his simply getting old.
              The raft of candidates presented to the American public now is a fell mixture of Gerontocrats and young Boot Lickers.
              No revolutionary movement is needed now. This system will collapse from within. The rot is too pervasive and complete to be reversed. Time now for the “Left,” or what passes for one today, to plan for what to do when the inevitable occurs.
              As Joe Hill said before he was hung: “Don’t waste time mourning, organize!”
              Joe Hill:
              An excellent source for “Alternative History” is the Zinn Education Project.
              Find it at:
              Thanks for your indulgence.
              Stay safe, wherever you are.

          1. Chromex

            To me his biggest problem was his total foreign policy capitulation. None of the stuff he wants will ever be possible so long as our imperialistic foreign policy remains in place. And instead of working on that he hires the odious russiaphobe neocon Matt Duss as his staffer. IF he ever had my vote, that day has since long passed.
            I certainly think he is cognitively sharper than the aforementioned Feinstein, Pelosi and the feeble ( and odious) Biden but I also think he is too old to run again. For that matter so are Biden and Trump. Trump appears to have mental problems that go well beyond dementia, though

            1. Sibiryak

              [Sanders’] total foreign policy capitulation

              Indeed! Absolutely infuriating and dispiriting. (But of course, not really surprising.)

        1. Arizona Slim

          That’s why he’s coming to the Tucson Festival of Books. Guy’s got a book to sell.

          And, in all honesty, so do I. It’s being printed this week and should be an actual thing with pages and covers in about a month.

          Suffice it to say that Slim is very excited on this rainy Wednesday in Tucson!

          1. griffen

            Best of luck on the book and the sales. My late mother self published, typically simple books and she sometimes involved her adult children in the type setting (almost for free). I learned a good deal 20+ years ago about being detailed and tedious!

        2. Charger01

          Ouch. How far he has fallen compared to his Senate floor barnburner back on December 10th, 2010 for 8.5 hours with help from a couple of Dems. “The Speech” was quite a spectacular feat, covered by The Daily Show and others. Its a true now as it was then, as he specifically called out the faults and failures of the tax deal that Biden and McConnell ironed out to give away significant business incentives and carveouts.

        3. pjay

          A telling clip. Before Bernie was allowed to talk about his book, the main moderator used the “breaking news” about Biden’s trip to Kiev to force Bernie to comment on Ukraine. Which he did, enthusiastically. It’s *really* OK to be mad at Putin! I admit that made the rest of the discussion pretty irrelevant for me. But regardless, it seemed to be three young “interviewers” humoring an old man – the lead moderator pretty condescendingly – who held on to some nice utopian dreams from the 60s. The two lessor interviewers did make relevant points about our broken political system making it pretty much impossible to do anything about capitalism. But hey, it’s OK to be angry!

      3. bojang bugami

        Bernie was afraid of the fascist outcome as-he-saw-it of a Trump victory, so he supported the Democrats to keep that from happening. Was he wrong? Maybe.

        Was he a shill? You have to be “paid” to be a “shill”. Was Bernie “paid” anything to support the Democrats? What was he “paid”?

  3. Toshiro_Mifune

    The Insecurity of Photo Cropping
    Reversing an image crop in these cases is only possible if the original full image has been added to a Google or MSFT doc and then cropped using that document’s image tools. Because the original full image is there and you’re just masking it in Word or whatever.
    It’s not possible to un-crop or unmask an image that was edited in Lightroom/Photoshop/etc exported as a jpg and then added to a doc. Same for Snipping Tool, you can’t uncrop an image if I cut out a small piece with Snipping Tool and paste it into something.
    IDK – not surprising.

    1. Bugs

      Pretty impossible to remove that metadata unless you keep an old retail version of Photoshop working on a virtual machine. Not many folks doing that. And good luck getting through all the file conversions.

  4. Terry Flynn

    Re supreme Court Internet. Legal Eagle (on YouTube though I pay miniscule amount to watch his and other channels un-YT-censored on Nebula) covered this last week. Do “algorithms” constitute (in legal terms) news “decision making” thus making google et al no longer able to use the “telephone defence”?

    He IIRC reckons yes (though dislikes outlawing algorithms reckoning they’re essential to the modern internet)….. Interesting view…. It’s now on YT

    1. flora

      The biggest scam aspect of computer tech titans is the idea that if something is done on a new platform, why then the old rules don’t apply. Because it’s tech! Call that argument the tech razzle dazzle scam.

      Sort of like saying that if I print something on paper then 1st Amendment rules apply, but if I type it on an internet platform in a digital format then the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply. (Slightly exaggerating for effect here.) Which is like saying only things written on paper with quill pens have 1st Amendment protections, things written on typewriters do not because (mechanical) tech! I’ve seen arguments that are this silly. / my 2 cents

      1. Terry Flynn

        Totally agree. But ironically this is the exception that proved the rule – tech giants used the “old transmission telephony rule” to escape rules on content. Now they have to do it again – and in theory it’ll be more difficult because they patently are NOT “just” funneling content. They are actively controlling content via algorithms so in theory should be subject to same laws as major broadcasters.

        But they won’t. Because they own the Democrats.

  5. zagonostra

    >The New Irrationalism Monthly Review (Chuck L)

    Indeed, today we see a further destruction of reason, the product of a confused antihumanism mixed with nationalist fervor. This is evident in Žižek’s insistence that NATO should continue to support the war in Ukraine and walk away from peace talks, despite the growing dangers of a global thermonuclear exchange that would almost certainly annihilate all of humanity, simply in order to “save face.” Others like Noam Chomsky, who have raised the issue of the relation of the growing global exterminist threat, are wrongly dismissed by Žižek as supporters of Putin’s Russia. Instead, he calls for a stronger, global NATO able to fight both Russia and China. We are told that the same “logic” as that governing Russia’s insistence that Ukraine not be brought into NATO and that nuclear weapons not be stationed on Ukraine’s soil, which would present an “existential crisis to the Russian state…dictates that Ukraine, too, should have arms [supplied in its case by the West]—and even nuclear weapons—to achieve military parity” with Russia.

    I have never have been impressed with Zizek as a philosopher, this article makes me even more dismissive of him as such. I’m more sympathetic with the article on Anaximander and the Nature of Science where the author, Rovelli, suggests that Anaximander’s message for us is that:

    Each time that we – as a nation, a group, a continent or a religion – look inward in celebration of our specific identity we do nothing but lionise our own limits and sing of our stupidity.”

    1. pjay

      Reading this took me back – way back – to my grad student days. I remember the debates on Lukacs’ The Destruction of Reason to which Foster refers. There was near universal condemnation of the later Lukacs as a Stalinist apologist by most varieties of “Western Marxists,” many of whom would soon be contributing to various “post-Marxist” or “post-structuralist” or “post-modernist” perspectives. The increasing dominance of these more sexy and fashionable “critical theories” were built on the precursors Lukacs criticized, and had precisely the effects he recognized. They made “social theory” largely impotent and irrelevant to any class-based struggles for progressive social change – though they were appealing to a lot of alienated and angst-ridden grad students.

      It’s hard for me to even get into the mindset to follow a discussion like this today. But I do recommend Jonathan Cook’s less esoteric critique of Zizek, “A Lemming Leading the Lemmings,” that was in Foster’s footnotes:

      1. zagonostra

        Thanks for the for the Mintpressnews link, it is a comprehensive deconstruction of Zizek’s muddled thinking.

        Zizek’s warmongering dressed up as European enlightenment and humanitarianism is a particularly wretched example of the current climate of intellectual and moral vacuity. What we need from public thinkers like Zizek is a clear-sighted roadmap for how we move back from the precipice we are rushing, lemming-like, towards. Instead he is urging us on. A lemming leading the lemmings.

      2. korual

        Zizek calls himself a Hegelian, so pre-Marxist. Maybe that’s where he gets his pro-NATO, European garden prejudice from? He doesn’t deserve a category as his books are all over the place. Sloppy thinking doesn’t mean you are being postmodern, though he has succeeded in being fashionable.

    2. Carolinian

      A bit knotty for morning reading but that’s a good Links article. I think some of us who are older grew up in a country where rationality was still highly valued and our Age of Reason founders given credit for their thinking rather than uncompromising rejection for their acceptance of slavery.

      And from this perspective Cancel Culture is purely nihilistic and irrational and ultimately the seed bed of the fascism that the cancelers are always going on about. They have learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb–as long as it’s used against Putin of course. After all he’s unreliable on LBGT.

      Reason will return just as Hitler couldn’t last because rejection of thought throws away the one true species advantage that we, the apes with big brains, possess. The real question is how much mayhem the neo imperialists have to inflict before that happens.

      1. fresno dan

        1st comment in moderation land, but this second snippet I think really drives home an even better point
        Russia of being incapable of proper supply/logistics operations, yet in the same breath bemoan that it expends more shells per day than the entire Western military bloc is able to produce in a month. Do you know what level of sheer organizational prowess lies behind the ability to efficiently resupply 60,000+ shells per day, day in and day out? The operation is incalculably massive; and since we still hear the daily screechings from the West about Russia’s shell overmatch, it can only mean they’re competently fulfilling all logistical demands, with or without the fancy Heavy-High-Mobility-Advanced-Mine-Resistant-Palletized-Auto-Crane-2000 Lockheed money-sink boondoggle robotic jib arm.

        In fact, few are aware that Russian, for instance, has launched more cruise missiles in the first year of the Ukraine conflict than U.S. has launched of its famed ‘Tomahawks’ in the entirety of the Tomahawk’s four decades’ lifespan.
        The article, which I again say, is fantastic. The article shows that the point of the US military appears to be more about providing profit to its suppliers than weapons that can win a war. We fight for neoliberalism, but neoliberalism will be why we will lose….

  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Rovelli’s book on Anixamander

    Not sure why the Grauniad is claiming this book is now published in English for the first time since I read it in English several years ago. Grauniad errors aside, if you’re a fan a popular science, Rovelli is a great read in general and I would highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys the history of science. The Order of Time from a few years ago is also very good.

    Getting back to Grauniad errors, NC readers might know that I am not a fan of Socrates, and I just can’t abide this –

    “…Anaximander was not only the first human to argue that rain was caused by the observable movements of air and the heat of the sun rather than the intervention of gods – the kind of “natural wisdom” that was heretical enough to lead to the trial and death of Socrates 200 years later…”

    No Socrates didn’t die because he was too smart for the rest of the Greeks. He died because he was an insufferable bore who was anti-democratic in a state struggling to be a democracy and supported the oligarchs of his day including the traitorous self serving Alcibiades. And he only died because he refused to take a walk to say Thebes or some other city state to go into exile and get out of the Athenians’ hair – he was given choices.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      lyman alpha blob: I come not to praise Socrates but to bury his insufferable student, Plato.

      With all of those tablenesses and chairnesses and caves of reflected images and such. Platonic thinking has ruined Western philosophy for thousands of years.

      Diogenes the Dog knew how to deal with Plato. Make fun of Plato’s rugs.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I take back half of the bad things I said about Grauniad errors. Looking into it further, it looks like this might be Rovelli’s second book centered round Anixamander. Bet not many people can say that.

        Also just noticed he had another come out in English a couple years ago on quantum mechanics called Helgoland – one more to add to the pile!

  7. Jack

    On ” Investigation shows rail giant donated…”, A great read on Ohio lobbying is from the late Neil S. Clark, “What Do I Know? I’m Just A Lobbyist”.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    Amb Lynn Tracy summoned(!) to Lavrov’s Lair.
    I thought i remembered the name…look at where she’s been posted over the last 20+ years…but first put on yer “remember world events for 2 decades” hat:

    Georgia is the one that was top of mind when i saw her name…i remember an interview on NPR more than a year ago, while i was waiting on Wife’s chemo, and hanging around in San Antone….
    even then, the narrative of the Georgian conflict was a whole lot different from what i remembered.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “China’s Newest Weapon To Nab Western Technology – Its Courts”

    Yet another case of the dastardly Chinese reverse engineering western techniques. In this case lawfare. If the US courts can be used to find that Iran was responsible for 9/11 and should pay billions of dollars in compensation to the survivors, then the Chinese can tell any corporation that comes to China that hey, it is our legal bat and ball that you have to play with. I do wonder about something. When Russia was embargoed a year ago, the Russians said to the west to hell with it, we aren’t going to worry about your patents anymore and just use your technology. From what I can see of this story, the Chinese are using their courts to extinguish patents. Could it be that the Chinese recognize that the day is coming soon that they too will get the Russia treatment and are laying the groundwork to use western technologies without worrying about patents?

    1. digi_owl

      Every upcoming industrial nation has at some point given the patent hegemon the finger.

      Samuel Slater of US textile fame is a glorious example from history.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Open source software fixes this.

      Software and patents are not compatible, patents thwart innovation and improvement.

      As a species we have to evolve beyond the fetishistic concept of everything having to be owned by someone.

      1. IMOR

        Ya know, just as with copyright, it need not be a binary choice of “Cheer with enthusiasm while letting the termites hollow the house out and sell it to a naive new buyer” vs. “Burn the house down, it needed a bigger kitchen anyway.”

  10. Dave

    Composing post-shooting thoughts-and-prayers emails is the perfect use of ChatGPT. These Deans only erred in neglecting to remove the giveaway tag at the bottom.

    1. Louis Fyne

      a perfect allegory for the future use of chat “AI”…..

      dummies will be able to pass off their work as their own (as long as the work product involves a well-established trope) , but then get hoisted by their own dummy petards.

      mid-level managememt (eg, deans) are going to be neutron bombed by chatGPT-like programs.

    2. Dave

      I actually think this error is a Freudian slip, an unconscious rebellion against the pro forma emotional labor the system demands of us, when clearly it intends to go on doing nothing about gunz.

    3. Bsn

      Naw, they didn’t err, they thought it was “cool”. It amazes me when people use tech without thinking and being cautious. The fools that sent the letter don’t realize that soon, the even higher up admin will realize that Chat GPT can (and will) replace these mid level wanna bees who thought Chat GPT was cool. “Lookie what I did with my new toy, students”. Soon, they’ll be in the unemployment line, looking at their phones. Eschew convenience!

  11. Koldmilk

    “Assessing the Economic Value of Military Materiel”, Philip Pilkington, American Affairs:
    Very good, but it omits the elephant in the room with US spending: corruption.

    The Russians—probably due to being a poorer country with lower wage costs—seem to get more bang for their military buck.

    In the US those “wage costs” have been loaded with pork.

    The other omission is efficiency. Arms manufacture in the West is more along the line of bespoke rather than industrial production.

    1. paddy

      for profit arsenals are ruinous..

      gao went through the effects of $40B a year invested in us tactical aviation.

      aging fleet of 1960’s designed airframe that cannot retire because the f-35 cannot get to tests, needs a new engine, needs to retrofit every deliver aircraft and needs a new brain.

      so the us fleet ages, declines in relevance and lockheed bills orders for aircraft that do not meet specification.

      tac air is just one example!.

      us army set out to develop new tanks in 2003….., program failed better than f-35 they just stopped!

      don’t study ford class carriers or attack submarines!

  12. Stephen

    Assessing the Economic Value of Military Materiel, Philip Pilkington.

    I follow him on Twitter and originally came across this article there. His commentary on economic issues tends always to be very insightful.

    The equations are very interesting. Would be even more interesting to see them used as a way to negotiate prices with defence contractors! My understanding is that pretty much all of that process boils ultimately down to a cost type discussion, albeit with some nuance around target efficiencies or “should cost” benchmarks. How many programs would survive a test of value though? Albeit it would have to be very forward looking many years in advance with respect to the counter weapons.

    Which I guess brings up an issue that PPP does not capture but these equations are designed to help address: that is whether we are spending money on a sensible mix of military equipment and personnel, irrespective of the micro program cost discrepancies.

    Of course, the desire of the MIC to manipulate any quantitative test of value would be immense. ‘’We must have aircraft carriers, Russia and China will not dare destroy them, that would be tantamount to nuclear war…..” For anyone that cares to look, the vulnerability of such weapons systems is already very clear. Decision makers just prefer not to look.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Pilkington is an extremely smart guy and always worth reading, but he does sometimes (a common feature of economists) step way outside his area of expertise and Dunning Kruger himself. Assessing military equipment on the basis of cost has some value, but shares the same fundamental epistemological problem of economic analyses – there are built in assumptions of commensurability into these studies. The reality is that you can’t remove the choice of weapons from the overall tactical and strategic objectives of a nation and the fundamental resource based limitations. As an example, many historians wondered why Nazi German spent so much money on V2’s when they urgently needed interceptor aircraft and artillery instead. The answer is rooted in the capacity issues of Germany at the time. They didn’t have the pilots for the aircraft (nor crew for tanks for that matter), and limitations on materials like tungsten limited armour production so they did with what was available. Comparing the cost in RM of a V2 to a FW 190 or a Panther is pointless in this context.

      It also ignores iterative and indirect impacts. Many weapons are essentially modern versions of the old strategy of ‘Ship in Port’. i.e. having a weapon the sole purpose of which is to keep your enemy guessing and diverting resources. The Turpitz is the ideal example. The German Navy never intended to sent it to sea. It was far more useful sitting in a Norwegian fjord forcing the British to keep a fleet up there ‘just in case’. The V1’s and British balloon bombs were never intended to cause much damage – they were designed to tie up opponents resources and keep them guessing.

      So making some sort of broad brush assessment of how many hypothetical hypersonic missiles it will take to sink an aircraft carrier is pointless unless you look at the overall strategy and expenditure. For one thing, it doesn’t matter how many hypersonic missiles you have if your enemy has crippled your satellite tracking system, or the ships/aircraft carrying those have been crippled by B2 bomber raids (or whatever).

      And as for this, a mini-rant about hypersonic missiles (and the Kinzhal is not considered a true hypersonic, (it is an adopted conventional ballistic missile). The missiles Pilkington refers to are not proven and its not even certain they are intended for anti-ship use. A key weakness of hypersonics is that they can’t be independently guided (no IR or radar), so they can only strike targets using GPS or through ‘live’ directions. Its not at all clear that this is sufficient to hit an aircraft carrier. Modern torpedoes and conventional ASM’s are almost certainly a far bigger threat for now and the foreseeable future.

      This isn’t to defend the US (or Nato’s) military approach. Its clear they’ve been out-thought and out-engineered by the Russians and Chinese so far, but up and coming powers always have this advantage that they can assess their future opponent and adopt your investment to expose perceived weaknesses. Its absolutely inevitable and part of the self licking ice cream that is the industrial military complex that any competent rival will devote resources to counter and expose the existing power. This doesn’t mean that the big power will lose, its just part of the iterative process that keeps strategists busy and arms manufacturers rich.

      1. digi_owl

        The whole hypersonics woho reminds me a bit of the bomber/missile gap of old.

        In particular when it is already known that enough conventional anti-ship missiles will overwhelm the carrier groups defenses. And some of the newer ones can be quite clever. Basically going right above the waves, not flying in a straight line, and more than fast enough to give the defenses maybe seconds to react.

        Norway/NATO’s latest, the NSM, do not even need a target lock at launch. Instead it is loaded with known profiles of targets and can then be fired into an area where it will hunt on its own.

      2. paddy

        ukraine is a molded tar baby, brer biden and the blob got russia to grab and get stuck on the tar baby.

        russia got the brer biden to throw it stuck to the tar baby into the briar patch of long war.

        brer biden was dumb enough to jump into the briar patch with russia.

        in its own back yard on russia’s terms!

        us’ catalog of wunderwaffen, over designed and under delivered……

        all you need to know about us’ pentagon investment program was written by ike and bastiat!

        1. fresno dan

          thanks for that – great article.
          From the article
          For instance, take this official Fort Benning army report, where they found that in their studied engagements between the BGM-71 TOW, FGM-148 Javelin, and AT-4, the effective percentage of engagement was a whopping 19%.
          And this was after the admission that other operator errors occurred but weren’t counted if the operator outright failed to fire the missile—so the real percentage is even lower. And if you’re wondering, if the Javelin perhaps performed better and was dragged down in the averages, they state directly that: “Although the data may appear to show that, as a raw percentage, Javelin engagements are more effective than TOW engagements, there is not enough data to demonstrate a statistically significant difference in effectiveness among the three systems.”

          Translation: all three systems are roughly 19% effective. And these are engagements done in perfect training conditions, with (purportedly) better-trained U.S. army servicemen. Can you imagine the percentages under the stress of real combat conditions, being shot at, adrenaline dumping, hands shaking, sights occluded, etc?
          Last year, during critical NATO exercises the premiere German Puma IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) failed spectacularly. Literally, every single one of the 18 Pumas had major malfunctions and critical systems failures. Every single one.
          After reading that, If we really want to help the Ukrainians, we should buy Russian weapons for them. Shipping would be cheaper and faster…

          1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

            Can confirm on TOW missiles, having run a TOW range at several points in life. Unless the target vehicles maintained precise speed and direction the TOW gunners could not hit them.

            Small sample size, but saw two TOW missiles live-fired on a range against static targets. One still missed.

            The Simplicius article is worth the read. The tl;dr version is that the West likes expensive wonder weapons that come with all sorts of promises, because they’re ordered by those who don’t actually have to try and use them and without thought as to whether they’re suitable for the mission. Russians build lots of simple stuff that Just Plain Works.

            The Simplicius take on why that is because difference in war-fighting plans and experiences is worth the price of admission by itself.

      3. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. Can’t help thinking virtually all these fancy weapons of NATO would fall out of the sky with a few simple EMPs.

        Though maybe I am being unduly influenced by my current rewatch of the Ron Moore reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

      4. Stephen

        Like all economics there can be a desire to over quantify!

        I think his equations are helpful but not the full story.

        My comment on aircraft carriers is slightly tongue in cheek. If the real national defence priority is to provide air cover across the whole world against poorly armed adversaries then the counter weapons argument does not invalidate having them. And, as you say, the counter weapons themselves may not work as intended and the threat of treating aircraft carriers as sovereign territory if they are hit may be enough to deter an attack on them. Lots of additional complexity to think about.

        But at some point you do run up against cost and resource issues so making decisions in the light of understanding the full trade offs is probably the key requirement. I agree that you cannot just make decisions by plugging some cost trade offs into a model!

        But the basic premise that the U.K. spends the same amount of money as Russia on defence to get very little is simply mind boggling and in a sane environment would create a serious challenge for the MIC. However, they will manage to sidestep it. I do understand PPP but the counter argument ought to be that surely a richer economy ought to be more efficient too…..

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, UK expenditure is mind boggling when you see how little they get for it, although I wonder if there are other issues at work (like pension costs). Its really difficult to meaningfully compare these things, especially when you factor in the costs of importing weapons – Russia has the huge advantage of not needing foreign currency for all but minor elements of their expenditure, not to mention a gigantic export market.

          1. Stephen

            The most helpful analysis would be a waterfall chart or table decomposing total UK spend versus total Russian spend element by element over the past decade. PPP seems to explain a delta of 2 at program level – eg UK buys 50 tanks for the same $ that gives Russia 100.

            But something else is also going on. It might be the huge spend on aircraft carriers, as noted below, the F35, or a combination of such things. Or as you say, non comparatives that might be accounted for differently such as pensions.

            As a UK tax payer it is shocking though and clowns such as Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, are too busy name calling Putin to spend any energy getting to the bottom of it.

            The MoD has zero incentive to recognise this issue, of course.

            1. Terry Flynn

              I don’t have the link but remember seeing a video about the 2 UK carriers. Of course (like all “defence” projects) they had cost over-runs but it claimed these weren’t as bad as feared and it was the PLANES (F35s) that constituted the worst cost over-run.

              Interestingly the US navy couldn’t fulfil its own diktat in having enough carriers at sea to fight in two theatres recently. It “borrowed” the QE2 but because of delays supplying the UK with the planes a bunch of US navy ones were put on it.

              The Murdoch papers totally lied and said “a British carrier can’t work cos it doesn’t have enough planes”. Typical. Reality was the USA didn’t have enough OPERATIONAL CARRIERS and had to put its boondoggle planes on a friendly nation’s carrier. I have a vague recollection NC reported on this….

      5. Boomheist

        I think it is quite likely that surface warships will be rendered immediately obsolete if and when a real shooting war erupts because low-flying missiles, whether hypersonic or not, will overwhelm their defenses. It is certainly easier to manufacture anti-ship missiles than new ships.

        What is emerging in the Ukraine situation is a forceful reminder that land wars, unless prosecuted against vastly overmatched powers (viz. US vs Iraq, Grenada, Panama), become long slogs of attrition and supply, and the winner becomes that nation or entity that can outlast their opponent. In this context, the back-home ability to make guns, ammo, uniforms, vehicles, tanks, artillery, planes and the the ability to get those materials to the fighting will define the winner. Russia was able to win in World War 2 against Germany because Russia was able to suffer and also because the U.S. shipped enormous material through Murmansk. The US was able to do this because basically the government took over U S industry and ran it to produce war materiel. Back then the US had the industrial plant to do this. These days the US may not have that plant. This isn’t to say that the US could not, facing and accepting the need to rapidly create a war economy, build and bring to production the system for production, but this would require, again, the government taking over industry, and that is socialism! On the other hand, the uniparty in the US is all in on pro-military and pro-war policy, so it is rather easy to see the Tucker Carlsons and Rand Pauls suddenly falling in line, just as the Republican lawmakers visiting Ukraine to inspect weapons deliveries this week changed their spots to becoming supportive.

        Russia is fighting on its own border, feeding its army directly from its own territory. Everything going to Ukraine from the US needs to cross an ocean. Everything. Russia has in place the industrial capacity to produce guns and ammo, and the raw materials as well. The US, it is becoming clear, does not. Instead the US has an industrial base built to construct huge expensive complex weapons systems, carrier task forces and such, which may not easily lend themselves to now producing simpler items like artillery shells.

        What is rather terrifying about all this is that, lacking the industrial base to feed supplies to Ukraine in amounts sufficient to turn the tide, it is easy to see the Best and Brightest in Washington and Neocon-land deciding that the only solution is tactical nukes……

        1. Synoia

          Back then the US had the industrial plant to do this. These days the US may not have that plant. T

          It does not. That’s why the us is so pissy abbot Taiwan. Modern weapons needs modern semiconductors.

        2. tevhatch

          “long slogs of attrition and supply,” (edit) and will-power…

          How many Americans are willing to degrade even further their lifestyles or give up their lives to maintain Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents past and present in their lives of relative luxury, much less the creatures in the Hamptons? The war will quickly end when the USA runs out of proxies.

          1. boomheist

            When I say the Russians are willing to suffer I mean they have direct memory still of grandparents who died in ww2 and the chaos of the 90s. Not to mention genetic memory of invasions from the west all the way back to Napoleon. They will surely be able to suffer this current war out and more than that are uses to personal privation. Not so the West and surely not here in the US. Everyone who was an adult in the 1930s is dead now and direct memory of our last suffering time is gone. So will the nation choose as it did in 1941 to go on a full war footing under government control? Hard to imagine unless Putin bombs Norfolk or takes out a carrier group in the Med. He is not a stupid man. He is patient. And he and Russia can last.

            1. eg

              The invasions from the west predate Napoleon by over 100 years — the Swedes were at it in the Great Northern War in 1700

              1. Procopius

                The Mongol Empire invaded and conquered Kievan Rus’ in the mid-13th century, destroying numerous cities including the largest such as Kiev (50,000 inhabitants) and Chernigov (30,000 inhabitants), with the only major cities escaping destruction being Novgorod and Pskov, located in the north.

                I’m no expert on Russia, but I believe they still remember and resent this episode. It’s one reason they are so prickly with the Chinese (until recently).

        3. playon

          What US president wants to go on record as the person who deployed nukes… this isn’t WWII and even there the rationale was suspect.

      6. russell1200

        The hypersonic missiles can’t turn sufficiently in flight to hit moving targets. You can certainly use them against airfields and the like, but its not clear why you wouldn’t use something less expensive.

        The article also does the weird thing of comparing the UK and Russia and ignoring that the UK is a naval/air power. Comparing the Germans to the Russians would be embarrassing, but that gets into touchy waters about why the Germans are so cheap on defense spending. And then he goes on to give equivalence in submarines between a serious naval power (the US) and the Russians. Given the training levels involved, you could probably have the two switch submarines and the US Navy is going to win.

        Which brings up the issue that the US spends an enormous amount on training. Something very few militaries do at such a level. This is very effective spending (along with munitions stockpiling), but doesn’t show up in the weapons platform comparisons.

      7. Yves Smith Post author

        You need to spend more time with Martyanov. Your statements about what Russians consider to be hypersonics are false (Russians weirdly don’t consider missiles traveling at >Mach 5 to be hypersonic, they need also to able to change their flight path en route. I have read but do not have time to track down that they use GPS and visual targeting as in loaded into the missile, not done remotely).

        The United States is trying to come up with something like both Avangard (long-range) and Kinzhal (medium range) which are either ballistic or quasi-ballistic weapons which do fly either inside the atmosphere or bounce from its edge, such as those gliders akin to Avangard. Eventually, the United States will be able to come up with something like that and the US desperately wants something like Kinzhal (in effect an advanced airborne version of Iskander). These are weapons which have only a boost phase, after which they fly and maneuver without propulsion. Look also up project Kholod.

        Now, 3M22 Zircon is a whole other animal altogether because it has a propulsion which works till the very end and thus provides this missile with the atmospheric speed of M=10 and the range of 1000 kilometers, coming modification of GZUR and Zircon will have the range of 1500 km and speed in excess of M=12-13. These weapons can attack both moving targets (like ships) and, obviously, stationary objects. These are the real game changers in a real war. If strategic weapons such as Avangard are what the United States wants, those, like any other deterrent exists to… deter merely by the threat of their use in case shit hits the fan. Kinzhal with Zircon, however, are the weapons of battlefield, because their main task is to sink enemy’s ships and blow up military facilities using non-nuclear ordnance, albeit these weapons too can carry nuclear warhead and can destroy a good size city. If Avangard was created to be uninterceptable by dedicated weapons of (strategic) Anti-Missile Defense, both Kinzhal and Zircon cannot be intercepted by existing air-defense and anti-missile systems such as THAAD or SM3/SM6 variety integrated with the AEGIS.

        While Avangard, and Sarmat (especially Sarmat) render any anti-missile defense useless, Kinzhal and Zircon are the most impactful, because they change modern warfare radically and already made modern surface fleets obsolete even within non-nuclear paradigm. As I repeat ad nauseam about repeating this ad nauseam–this is a strategic catastrophe for NATO (and US) because everything what NATO’s “fighting doctrine” was built around in the last 40-50 years has become simply useless. I will give some ASW math on that later, but a single Yasen-class (pr. 885) with 15-20 Zircons “parked” somewhere in the Atlantic in 1000 kilometer range from D.C. is not only extremely hard to detect and will require enormous forces dedicated to this kind of ASW, but controls the movement of any US naval asset from Norfolk or any other base on the East Coast which in case of (God forbids) real war will not be able to deploy. Granted, of course, that Russia builds 10 of such subs, modernizes couple of pr. 949A to AMs (that is 72 cruise missiles, including God knows how many Zircons) and there you go. So, in other words, it is not going to be a single sub.

        Martyanov would also be very unhappy re Pilkington assumption re 250 missiles to take out an aircraft carrier. I am highly confident that that’s at least an order of magnitude too high.

        Russian military schools put students through probability computation for logistics analysis, as in how many uses of X weapon will it take to eliminate or impair Y target. He’s had many videos on this topic. This is apparently foundational in their armed services.

        1. Polar Socialist

          One missile can take an aircraft carrier out of action, while hundred may not sunk it.

          Though Japanese carrier Agagi was sunk by one 450kg bomb that exploded on it’s hangar among the battle ready bombers. And HMS Coventry (ok, not a carrier) was sunk by an unexploded bomb that penetrated it’s hull at the junction of two big watertight compartments. Coventry had been hit twice already, but not “critically” even if it was pretty much out of action already.

          Using probabilities to define tactics and doctrine is done in most big navies, not just Soviet or Russian. One of the seminal books on the issue (Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat) is written by Wayne P. Hughes.

          I think he’s one of people Martyanov bows to.

        2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          Yves wrote: “…Kinzhal and Zircon are the most impactful…

          I see what you did there.

          I would agree that 250 is too high, but not sure about “order of magnitude.” Presumably some of them getting shot down (maybe?) is a consideration.

      8. Polar Socialist

        Hypersonic missiles don’t really have issues with plasma formation. Spacecrafts do, but they are basically huge airbrakes entering the atmosphere at mach 25.

        Hypersonic missiles like 3M22 Zircon (and yes, Kinzhal is hypervelocity missile, I think), are designed the cut trough the air with the least possible resistance and can achieve mach 7 or 8 (says Russian MoD of Zircon).

        Electromagnetic attenuation doesn’t become a problem until the missile reaches mach 16 or so. And even then the attenuation happens mostly on frequencies under 8 GHz while missile seekers usually work above that frequency in the 8-12 GHz range (since it’s optimal for missiles allowing for small but accurate antennas).

        As you pointed out, the problem for any weapon system in the high seas is designating the target, not so much hitting it. And even then the modern naval warfare is still more or less the same as it ever was – it’s not just being able to see the enemy first but also being able to concentrate your firepower first and be the last man standing.

        1. Kouros

          My first exposure to decision trees was using examples of ship shape recognition… I guess this is how the statistical technique got of the ground via a grant to some academic joint in California.

    1. Terry Flynn

      On one hand I’ve seen plenty of articles detailing shortages in EU countries (implicating the covid related supply chain shortages that haven’t been completely resolved).

      On other hand there are shortages DEFINITELY related to Brexit….. Agreements that pre-date the “Common Market” have been reactivated to get certain foods on shelves….. My mum is loving seeing foods from her youth in Co Dublin suddenly be available in Sainsburys….. Suddenly we have loads of Tayto crisps (chips) on our kitchen table! Expensive? Yes. Probably full of fat? Yes. Yummy? Yeah!

  13. Sibiryak

    YouTube did not produce this as a result even when I searched for “Gonzalo Lira”

    It produced it for me, top of the list, when I searched for Gonzalo Lira without quotation marks.
    With quotation marks it took me to Roundtable–Gonzalo Lira , fourth on the list; clicking on that took me to all the Roundtables.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Lira first for me on Yandex and Google. Yves, have you tried doing search with a private browser or, better yet, using a different ISP location and device?

      Given all the algos in play on social media, I do often wonder if higher profile individuals like our host get “special” search results (mostly key omissions plus maybe a little stovepiping on the side).

      Back in the day when I had a real PageRank, I used to do googlebombs all the time. If a user can manipulate search results, I’m pretty sure the search engine owners can do whatever they like.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        What would be the point of high-profile individuals specifically being kept away from Dangerous Content? Just petty harrassment?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I am not high profile. But I often find it takes undue effort to find vids on YT that others have described. This got much worse about a month-six weeks ago. I suspect an algo change.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. Saying ‘The study said that masks did nothing because people didn’t wear them properly or consistently’ is like saying ‘The study said that swimming lessons did nothing because people didn’t learn them properly or consistently.’ Back in early 2020 a decision could have been made to ramp up any and all manufacture of N95 masks to deliver them to the general population after meeting the needs of people like medical personnel. Hell, some countries sent their citizens Covid packs that had all sort of supplies in them along with an information campaign. Instead in some countries there was a deliberate campaign to denigrate masks by the political and medical leadership.

      1. Sibiryak

        the analysis does not prove that proper masks, properly worn, had no benefit at an individual level. People may have good personal reasons to wear masks, and they may have the discipline to wear them consistently. Their choices are their own.

        But when it comes to the population-level benefits of masking, the verdict is in: Mask mandates were a bust.

        I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were true. From what I saw, mask mandates absolutely did not get most people wearing proper masks properly.

        1. Realist

          The best part of universal masking is that the people who are symptomatically ill will have a mask on if you walk past them.

          Would you rather they contain most of the product of their coughing and sneezing in a mask, or meet them “bareback” to deliver a full load in your face?

          Seems like a no brainer.

        2. Terry Flynn

          South Park (as usual) did it best.

          “chin diapers”

          PS the Sussexes have wisely decided not to sue.

        3. tegnost

          “Mask mandates were a bust.”

          Mask mandates were busted.
          Rather than take a stand on science, the public health community chose to say that “people won’t wear masks…” when they should have said “masks work” and not worried about how they would be viewed by whatever group.
          And then there’s “if you’re vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask” from the public health official in chief

          1. bojang bugami

            Combine that with the MAGAtrump view that ” real men don’t wear masks” and you have a perfect storm of anti-maskness.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Easy to say for someone that had real access to the best medical treatments on the planet at the time.

  14. griffen

    Texas is planning to initiate a space commission. I’m shocked one wasn’t already established.

    Also reported, the state fortunes are trending up due to a massive budget surplus projection. Houston, we have a money problem (!) (Okay, I do know Austin is the state capital).

    1. The Rev Kev

      Don’t suppose they could have chucked a coupla million to improve the Texas electrical grid or perhaps emergency response. That would be a good investment from what I can see. It’s usually cheaper to spend money on maintenance than repair after all.

      1. griffen

        All depends, is there anyone in the grid business with their hands out for a government subsidy / donation? Asking for a friend, of course!

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    The Wall Street Journal gets artsy and hopes for a Raphael. Hmm.

    I couldn’t get through the barriers, so I offer a close take from another source:

    If you look through this article, on Perugino, you’ll notice many stylistic similarities. For good reason, Perugino was Raffaello’s teacher. >>

    But you can’t auction off a Perugino for sixty gajillion dollars.

    If you go to the Artnet article, you can look at the painting. There is something about the interlinked hands in the foreground that most definitely is not Raffaello, who was quite elegant. Also, I submit that the eyes don’t show the care that he used. So: Student work?

    For comparison–note the elegant composition and luminous figures: >>

      1. flora

        No. Elizabeth was an “old” woman, and old women were presented this way at that time; you know, lined and wrinkled and shrivelled with age and toothless. It was an accepted characterization back then. Michelangelo and DaVinci (Raffaello’s seniors) made drawings describing older women so. This characterization of Elizabeth as an old woman would have been wholly understood back in the day.

    1. flora

      Thank you. There is also something about the sky and clouds that is not Raffaello. The clouds are flat bands of greys and whites. The spacing is crowded instead of open. So yes, could be from the school of, or in the style of.

    1. BillS

      I scrolled down to the comments on this article and, by all accounts, they are just as looney as flagging Shakespeare and other literature as (potentially exploitable by the) far-right. Heaven help us all!

    2. bassmule

      Fun and games with Zuck: I tried to post this on fb, and got a stern warning that the source was–OMG– Russian, and therefore Evil! So I found the same story on FOX and posted that. No problem.

    3. Louis Fyne

      — even the BBC’s ‘Great British Railway Journeys,’ —

      Even the most innocuous TV show showcasing trains, esoteric Britons with quirky hobbies, and old buildings is far-right-wing-adjacent.

      I hate this timeline.

      And don’t know if there is a UK equivalent to a “Rockefeller Republican” but Portillo is pretty much it. By American standards Portillo would be a straight-up moderate DC Democrat.

  16. Stephen

    “McKinsey will reportedly cut about 2,000 jobs amid restructuring”

    I realise this is support roles so it may reflect genuine restructuring following large growth. Sad for the people involved, and support staff are never the ones making mega bucks in any consulting firm.

    Always tricky to work out what is happening in the consulting industry though. McKinsey has had plenty of problems of its own recently but I have heard rumours of recruiting bans at other peer firms. That is alongside all the normal bullish growth projections that you always hear and in most cases record 2022 results! Partners have to believe the message.

    However, client facing staff numbers can (within reason) be tweaked through more systematic (or ruthless, according to taste) use of up or out. So you do not always see layoffs as such. They also have a habit of still going through the recruiting process on campuses too but then just not hiring so many people as before. These things mask what is really going on unless one has true inside knowledge of specific firms.

    My instinct and the rumours I hear do suggest that with the likely slow down in PE through a higher cost of money and lay offs in the corporate sector then consulting will suffer. As it did in 2001 and 2008. Both of which followed record years too. The industry is starting from an exponentially higher employment base today too (something that has largely escaped public attention) with commensurately more potential pain to accrue and very limited memory in most firms of recession in the industry.

    Does anybody have a sense of how professional services / consulting firms are faring right now?

    1. wendigo

      I would guess at some point they will use AI to reduce head count. The products they produce for clients follow the same biases, you would just need a human to check the product to ensure an outlier does not slip through.

    2. tevhatch

      I understand that the Asian versions of Bob and Bob are having an up-tick,

      Physical asset management consulting engineers are doing pretty well too. The later may have to do with assessing impact of running process equipment outside of design parameters, i.e.: off-specification fuels, raw materials, and on/off cycling at higher frequency. Anyone with expertise in siting and regulation of nuclear power is also in demand.

      1. Questa Nota

        Bob and Bob will have supplemental tools like pulse monitors, pupil dilation lenses on AR devices and similar to plumb the depths of employee souls, or what is left of them.

    3. Craig H.

      Who does McKinsey hire when they need an outside consultant to give them the bad news they have to have a layoff?

    1. begob

      I tried to get ChatGPT to snitch:

      tell me who bombed the nordstream pipelines

      The pipelines were not bombed. However, they have been subject to multiple disruption attempts, including hacking attempts, sabotage and attempted theft of materials.

      Even in the Beltway that wouldn’t fly. I’ll go back to demanding shouting matches between the Virgin Mary and every conceivable anti-Christ in history – she always wins.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “US no longer attracts world’s rich – study”

    I don’t suppose that it has anything to do with the fact that rich people are no longer confident that their money is safe in the US anymore. They could find themselves one sanction away from having all their money in the US seized by the government and given to who knows who. Look at those Russian billionaires whose yachts and properties were seized on the basis of where they were born. In fact, you have lot of billionaires who are seeking overseas passports too as they may not feel safe having their money tied up in the US. Peter Thiel for example already has a New Zealand passport and is now looking to buy a Maltese one. Gonzalo Lira did a video on this subject recently which is well worth listening to and ties it in to confiscation laws in the US itslef- (18:27 mins)

    1. Realist

      Not surprising.

      Outside of a few very expensive enclaves and national parks, it’s mostly endless and feature free fields, plains, swamps and deserts, which are interspersed with architecturally hideous suburbs, strip malls, drive through food establishments and gas stations.

      A cultural desert.

      Hardly any of the big cities are appealing to visitors, and the ones that used to be are acquiring a reputation for urban blight and dangerous street crime.

      Let’s not forget the universities, which rightly or wrongly, are now known as overpriced hotbeds for woke indoctrination.

      The weather is pretty bad almost everywhere too!

  18. GramSci

    Re: 2,100 rail workers to get paid leave in new deal with Union Pacific

    Four days! Take that Trump in East Palestine! Go Brandon!

  19. narge

    so haley and her advisors were sitting around looking for some issue or non-issue, anything really, that she could use to start off her campaign, get publicity, and they came up with this one. it could have just been ignored by everyone, as both trump and biden ignored it, and they would have looked for another, but then dan lemon, because it was so out of left field that he and his bosses didn’t yet have a “position,” on it, bit and wound up insulting women, and suddenly, boom! perfecto! and then bernie was asked and said, basically, that it’s nonsense, but because he answered at all she could build it into a fight. and this, in a world of war and illness and facing destruction, nuclear and environmental, this is our politics in 2023.

  20. Rob

    Good Morning,

    The twitter link to …. Covid testing in UK ( I think)

    But look at the last four months.
    Testing has been mostly flat.
    Something is making covid infections more dangerous here.

    Weird chart, on x axis first 3 or 4 days show 2022 then the next 2-3 show 2023 like they spliced data from 2 different years and ended up with a beautiful curve. Weird. Not sure what I am looking at there.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Clinician and other staff use of PPE in my local UK hospitals are dreadful. Thus when requested to renew my credentials and go back I said no. Family blog you. Especially since windows now are shut and ventilation back to….. I believe the technical term is “crap”.

      I’ve twice endured abuse for wearing a mask when out and about. I’d be quite happy to see lots of locals “not be here anymore”. It’s horrible and dispiriting.

  21. antidlc

    Parliamentary inquiry hears of impacts of long Covid

    A parliamentary inquiry has been dealt some sobering news by experts concerning Covid-19 for the remainder of the year

    Medical experts have called for a national body which would be allowed to set minimum standards for indoor air quality, as a parliamentary inquiry faced warnings Australia will battle cyclical waves of Covid-19 which will cause severe health issues for the population.

    Addressing the inquiry on Monday, Professor Brendan Crabb of the Burnet Institute said there was “every chance” Australia would see similar case numbers in 2023 to those observed last year and described long Covid as a “very serious issue now”.
    Professor Crabb said it would be a “very high risk strategy” to allow millions of Australians to become infected every few months and said long Covid was causing serious organ damage which was proving difficult to detect.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Spy Balloons Are the Slow and Silent Future of Surveillance’

    Sounds like Bloomberg is trying to retroactively justify Biden having all sorts of balloons to be shot down recently by high-tech F-22s and Sidewinders. So it might be true that it was not spy balloons this time but the US has to be ready to invest heavily in their own spy balloons to fill the Balloon Gap. I’m sure that Raytheon or Boeing would be ready to step up to the plate. Meanwhile Blinken made no friends with the Chinese when this week he demanded that the Chinese apologize to the US over those balloons.

    1. Nikkikat

      I don’t understand why everyone is still not laughing, laughing hysterically at Biden spending millions to shoot freaking balloons out of the sky. And that ridiculously stupid Blinkin actually getting in China’s face about a weather balloon. The other two didn’t even belong to China.

  23. antidlc

    Well this day is starting off just wonderfully.

    I got an email this morning from my PCP (the one that dropped mask mandates).

    The PCP joined an ACO.

    We’re screwed.

    1. Realist

      Just stop going to the doctor. I haven’t darkened the door of my local prescription peddlar for over 40 years.

    2. antidlc


      This is what I am referring to:

      One way or another, the federal government is still bent on pushing Medicare into private hands

      By the end of this decade, the government aims to put the last group of seniors, some 35 million of them still in traditional Medicare, into some version of managed care. That means in eight years, 64 million Americans age 65 and older will get their care from either an “accountable care organization” or a Medicare Advantage plan that will be responsible for managing their health needs, deciding what services they will get, which ones they’ll pay for, and most important for Medicare, attempt to reduce the overall cost of health services for seniors — and presumably saving the government gobs of money. (Accountable care organizations are tasked with caring for groups of patients, with financial incentives to hit quality benchmarks and penalties when costs balloon.)

      The shift would also complete the privatization of what has been a popular and successful social insurance program since 1965. Whether that underlying goal will be realized remains to be seen, but at the very least, millions of seniors still in the traditional fee-for-service program and presumably happy with their care need to know what’s in store for them. Seniors, who will be automatically “aligned” as Medicare calls it, in these plans beginning next year, can opt out. One catch is that they will lose their primary care doctor and must find a new one who is not participating in this five-year demonstration project. If it is successful, it may be scaled up so all primary care doctors could eventually be in this new arrangement.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “China’s top diplomat meets Putin in Moscow”

    I’m sure that Putin and the Chinese will have a lot to talk about but Gonzalo Lira in his latest video highlighted an extremely important document that the Chinese have just released. He was saying how the US has stated that they want a war with China in 2025 and that this document may serve as the Chinese case for going to war with the US. The document is called “US Hegemony and Its Perils” and lays out the case to the international community for future Chinese actions. It is not long but the Chinese are not holding back here. Damn-

    1. timbers

      Headline – “China Says Ready To “Join Forces With Russia” To “Defend National Interests” As Putin Confirms Xi Visit”

      Someone is looking a tad isolated. Time to get and install a “reverse gear” before Establishment fall down and go boom.

    2. Karl

      Thanks for that link. This concluding statement seems eminently sensible to me:

      Countries need to respect each other and treat each other as equals. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and take the lead in pursuing a new model of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue and partnership, not confrontation or alliance. China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and rejects interference in other countries’ internal affairs. The United States must conduct serious soul-searching. It must critically examine what it has done, let go of its arrogance and prejudice, and quit its hegemonic, domineering and bullying practices.

      If the soul-searching after Vietnam is any guide, what we learned was all quickly forgotten after Reagan’s “morning in America”. We did little soul searching after Iraq and Afghanistan. None over Syria and other ops.

      But this time may be different. Maybe after Russia’s spring offensive?

      But then, will we forget again???

  25. mrsyk

    Regarding the East Palestine environmental disaster, the most pressing line of inquiry for me is how was and who made the decision to “control burn” (torch) the spill. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that laws/regulations were broken. The MSM lockstep minimization of this event has been disgusting. The carefully used language (“concerns”, “potential toxins”), the unquestioning reporting of “authorities” claiming the air and water safe, the touting of a health clinic being established for “residents that might have health concerns”, and the straight faced announcement that Norfolk Southern had set aside One Million Dollars (applause light goes on) for cleanup. FFS. I’m feeling pretty bad for anyone that lives near there.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      And fwiw, every passing day insures that nearby Pennsylvania votes Republican in the future, especially with Donny showing up.

      The Ds depend on high turnout in an around Pittsburgh to carry the state; that seems justifiably imperiled.

    2. Screwball

      Related; I just saw a Tweet of Trump heading to East Palestine. I also read one from Kamala Harris which I will paste below;

      Our Administration is working closely with state and local officials to support the health and safety of the East Palestine, Ohio community.

      We will continue to monitor air and water quality and ensure affected residents have the resources they need.


      As we help the community recover, we’re also calling for accountability. @EPA has ordered the train company to pay for cleanup, @USDOT has made clear that the industry’s opposition to safety regulations must change, and we have urged Congress to take action.

      Really? Best I can tell the administrations was a few days late and a few (millions) dollars short. And the best the creature known and Pete, our Transportation Secretary could say is there are 1000s of other train wrecks.

      I’ll go out on a limb and say if Trump would not announced he was going there, there wouldn’t even be a serious conversation from this administration, and I have my doubts there really is now.

      WARNING; The comments to the Tweet are truly puke worthy. Maybe it’s KHive people, but one would think she is saving the world (one actually said that). I honestly don’t know what makes some people tick.

      In other news, it was talked about here a little bit, but on the Peace Rally in DC Monday. There is a video floating around of Rachael Maddow trashing the speakers, calling them nut jobs and worse. And of course she highlighted the Russian flags, yada, yada. She went on to say one speaker,Tulsi Gabbard, who sits in for Tucker… A complete hit piece and hit job of the highest (lowest) order. What a cringe worthy puppet she is. She really should be on a shelf at a Home Depot in the tool department.

      Also interesting today; watching Matt Taibbi get trashed for being on Russia’s payroll, or Elon Musk’s. The haters can’t see to keep up, but there sure are plenty of them – especially if you don’t tow the company line. The Twitter files (up to 16 now) are all BS don’t you know. Complete fabrication and conspiracy theory – even the people who didn’t read them even know this…. /s

      What a world we live in.

      1. Bsn

        I love this quote: “We will continue to monitor air and water quality”
        It implies that “they” HAVE been monitoring air and water. The rail company has, not the EPA or any feds. Lovely, just lovely. More truthful if she would have said “We will soon monitor the air and water quality”.

        1. Screwball

          I read Mayo Pete is going tomorrow. He might not get any better reception than Biden would. The Mayor is not happy, and he reiterated that today.

          I don’t know what kind of reception Trump will get but 71% of the people there voted for him. I’m sure they have read about the brake thing that was under his watch, and probably how the democrats dropped the ball too on rail safety. If they feel like victims, they should.

          All in all it is a very sad thing, and given all the other derailments also a very serious thing – but I don’t expect anything to be done, especially anytime soon.

          But meanwhile, we still have tribal politics as I just read this is all Trumps fault because brakes. Of course.

          Like mrsyk said above; what was the conversation about burning up the chemicals and who made it? I’m not sure what the bigger tragedy is, the train or the response.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Assessing the Economic Value of Military Materiel”

    ‘The results are shocking. Even though Russia and the United Kingdom spend approximately the same on their military in dollar terms, Russia has a military that is comparable to—if not substantially larger than—that of the United States. The United Kingdom is not even in the same league as Russia.’

    More so than this article would let on. If it came to a war, the British would probably be only able to put together a brigade or so to go to war with if it came down to heavy combat. And there wouldn’t be much ammo for them in any case. I’m not even sure what transport that they have to move them all with. Just the status of their heavy equipment may be up for debate considering the difficulty that they have for standing up a squadron of Challenger tanks to send to the Ukraine. The fault lies with British governments who have starved the British Army of funds in order to build Royal Navy two carriers with. And the only real reason to build them was so that the British would be useful to the US in any expeditions to other countries like Iran. Unfortunately for the British government, the days of going ‘on safari’ with one’s armed forces are coming to an end leaving them high and dry.

    1. Glen

      What is not being discussed is how Russia is so “cost effective” compared to the west, and the short answer is the “financialization” of the west has destroyed it.

    1. marym

      We should probably wait a bit to see some evidence that releasing footage exclusively to Tucker Carlson is a path to transparency.

    2. Screwball

      I’m not sure what will come of this. My PMC friends will discount all of it due to coming from Fox News (some already have). Peter Schiff is already calling it a joke and having a little hissy fit. Good, family blog that little creep.

      Too bad McCarthy is a grade A creep too, and huckster as well. He could have given access to some independent journalists (what few are left) but that might allow the truth to escape. We can’t have that – we need tribal warfare to keeps the serfs clueless and divided.

    1. Ghost in the Machine

      In an unusual opportunity, our family ended up staying at a swanky hotel in Pasadena over the Christmas break to see the Tournament of Roses, The Langham Pasadena. One morning after the parade, I was up fairly early with my kids eating at breakfast at the hotel restaurant to avoid crowds. It was pretty empty, but a couple of tables over were 2 men and 2 women in business attire. I overheard them talking about the WHO. My ears perked up and a woman associated with the WHO (somehow, couldn’t tell exactly) started talking about the WHO organizing global pandemic responses with power to overrule individual country governments. She said the WHO was going to have a ‘secret’ meeting in February. Guess it happened. She commented that there might be Constitutional issues in the US (you think!?), but thought legislation more likely under a Democrat government. She was talking pretty loudly and I guess did not care about being overheard. As we were leaving, I was tempted to lean over and say ‘good luck with that pandemic meeting. not gonna happen.” But, my kids were there and I chickened out. These people are delusional and power hungry.

      1. Bsn

        Should have tied her shoelaces together and chased her down the stairs. Our only options are a aggressive strikes and/or revolution – per Chris Hedges, not me. I’m passive and obedient (take that you web comments scraper-bot).

      2. Nikkikat

        So are the going to put Bill Gates in charge? After all he is so interested in global health and paying off The Who to let him push his killer vaccines.

      3. Ghost in the Machine

        It doesn’t matter what document Biden or any world leaders sign. When the @#$! hits the fan, the various governments are going to what what they think will save their asses and their interests. WHO and what army are going to enforce any dictate from the WHO?

  27. timbers

    Supremely confused! SCOTUS justices bamboozled in landmark suit to scrap sweeping legal protections for tech giants – as they admit they ‘are not the nine greatest experts on the internet’ Daily Mail………………………………………………..
    I’m confused that The Supremes are confused. They know and have always known what to do: 1). Ask themselves who’s the richest party? 2). Are any of the parties corporations? 3). Rule in favor and/or legislate from the bench such that benefits the richest, the most corporate (the only true REAL people with actual constitutional rights), most monopolistic, and can transfer wealth from people (who are not actually people and have no rights) to corporations and the rich.

  28. Sibiryak

    US will defend ‘literally every inch of Nato’, says Biden

    Bold talk, considering not an inch of Nato territory is under attack.

    1. Martin Oline

      Let me put on my Carnac the Magnificent microwave popcorn hat and predict the answer is ‘False Flag’, A deep state operation, with help from Ukraine from the east, between Romania and Moldova/Transnistria soon to appear on your nightly knews. We need to help Romania establish its historical size = (Walachia + Moldavia) X 1859.

      1. Kouros

        Why you went back to 1859? You condone the multinational rule by only two Habsburg Empire, or the Czarist Empire that even the Russians hated?

        And would you accept maybe even going back a bit further, to prior to 1812 when Moldova also included Bessarabia, the present R of Moldova.

        Or you are one of those crying every year when the anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon comes up?

        1. Martin Oline

          I went back to 1859 because I am Walachia-centric. That is where my favorite aunt’s ancestors came from. I enjoy looking backwards but it doesn’t cause me any sorrow, just illumination. As for the future, well I ate all that popcorn from the hat, so my prescience has gone away.

          1. Kouros

            The joke is always “A Wallachian, a Moldavian, and a Transylvanian…”

            Also in Mioritza ( we have:

            On one long meadow
            On a piece of heaven,
            Here they come,
            They go down the valley,
            Three flocks of lambs,
            With three shepherds.
            One is Moldovan,
            One is Transylvanian
            And one is from Vrancea (which is between Moldova and Wallachia).

            I mean, there is no centrality there…

            1. Martin Oline

              Thank you for the link to the story. One further link to the poem was not active but it was an interesting reference about the Dacians.

      2. Martin Oline

        Dima posted an unusual video this morning at 7 AM his time dealing with an immanent invasion of Transnistria within two days. The link is here.

  29. IMOR

    “A year on, Russia’s war…” The Conversation
    I made myself press on past “unprovoked” but had to bail out at “…the West’s reolve” vs. “bullies” nonsense.
    I wrote a paper 39 years ago decrying how badly misreading and misuse of the ‘Munich’ analogy had warped and juvenalized American foreign policy dialogue and prescription. I was fairly harsh, calling for us to jettison the WWII generation and their immediate policy progeny then and there. I had no idea how thoroughly they would poison two more generations of those who set their sights on setting what I once called “our” policies and actions abroad.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Sussex contends that Russia’s position on NATO enlargement is myth, and links to a Chatham House list of “Russian Myths.” It’s a myth because Russia didn’t get non-enlargement in writing and because things changed! Shock Therapy didn’t work because it didn’t go on long enough. Russian and Western policies are not of equivalent moral value because…well, it is a matter of judgement, and a limited knowledge of American history helps. I love reading boilerplate from state catspaw NGOs, they are like a good whetstone!

  30. CaliDan

    California, There We Went –City Journal

    If you entertain the notion that a comments section can sometimes illuminate for which population a publication or article most resonates, then I shall leave you with one I find fairly representational.

    “Private schools are more Marxist than public schools.”

  31. petal

    Was walking downtown this morning and 2 girls were standing on the main corner of the green each holding a big sign. One had “Russia is a terrorist state” painted in scary dripping style blood red letters. The other said “364 days of war” in black letters. There was a flyer up at the diner entrance for a Ukraine vigil this week to mark 1 year, and the college is really pushing the Ukraine stuff even down to literature(the lit thing is almost weekly it seems).

      1. Synoia

        I’m more concerned about the current crop of mentally challenged of all ages who appear to nest in the DC area, than their future replacements.

    1. C.O.

      Yesterday while out on my afternoon cardio constitutional, I walked by a truck with lots of “I heart Ukraine” bling, which there is a lot of on vehicles and houses in that area of town.

      But this is the first time I have seen a local vehicle openly showing an Azov battalion logo.

  32. Anthony K Wikrent

    The really important message in “Anaximander and the Nature of Science by Carlo Rovelli review – the ancient master of the universe” is not the creation of science, but that every human being has the potential to contribute, hence the need to educate everyone, and give everyone a voice in the polis.
    “Each time that we – as a nation, a group, a continent or a religion – look inward in celebration of our specific identity we do nothing but lionise our own limits and sing of our stupidity.”

    “The Court [is supposed to] protect the republican state — that is, the citizens politically engaged — from lapsing into a politics of self-denial. It challenges “the people’s” self-enclosing tendency to assume their own moral completion as they now are and thus to deny to themselves the plurality on which their capacity for transformative self-renewal depends.”

    — Frank Michelman
    “Law’s Republic”
    The Yale Law Journal
    Volume 97, Number 8, July 1988
    Online at

  33. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How a depression test devised by a Zoloft marketer became a crutch for a failing mental health system STAT

    Paywalled, so could only read the first few paragraphs. The article begins this way:

    A bedrock of the U.S. mental health system — a nine-item questionnaire used to spot depression — began not with a doctor, but with a marketing man.

    It seems that pfizer was not selling enough SSRI depression drug Zoloft, so the marketing guy created a “diagnostic tool”–a questionnaire–to make GPs more comfortable pushing more Zoloft. Apparently the “scientific community” jumped in with both feet:

    What came next, though, was beyond what he imagined. The resulting tool — called the PHQ-9 — took on a life of its own. It has become omnipresent, cited in more than 11,000 scientific papers and routinely handed to patients during primary care checkups and OB-GYN visits, regardless of whether they voice mental health concerns.

    This sounds suspiciously like the marketing campaign purdue pharma ginned up to push oxycontin. Pain as the “fifth vital sign” and the now ubiquitous scale of 0 – 10 “pain rating.”

    It would seem that wall-to-wall tv/media commercials are no longer enough. Big pharma drug pushers are now being let into the “healthcare” provider facilities to directly frame and “diagnose” conditions that they’ve invented a drug to “treat.” And if you don’t know you’re “suffering” from what they’ve got a new drug for, your “healthcare provider” will be happy to let you know.

  34. thump

    re: “California, There We Went”

    “City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank.”

  35. Mildred Montana

    >Vanderbilt apologizes for using ChatGPT to write MSU email to students Daily Mail (BC)

    “Vanderbilt University has apologized for using artificial intelligence to write a 297-word email to students after the Michigan State University mass shooting, causing two deans to temporarily step down. The Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion [had] sent students an email on February 16 reminding them to ‘take care of each other’ after the MSU shooting.”

    The two deans of the POEDI (why two? Because academe?), both women and one clearly “racialized”, were so busy with “woke” issues they had to resort to ChatGPT to write a 297-word email. I understand. Equity, diversity, and inclusion at universities are serious, persistent, and time-consuming problems. Leaving the deans, of course, with no time to send out a “long” and “personal” email. /sarc

    P.S. This comment is approximately 60 words long. I typed it in ten minutes. Multiply by five. I am not being paid $200,000 per year.

  36. juno mas

    The issue of pre-K through high school education has become fratricidal in California.

    All parents want the best education for ‘their’ children. How to procure that takes whatever it takes: buying an expensive home in a ‘good’ school district, promoting a local Charter school that meets the perceived needs of your child, paying tuition for a Catholic school, haranguing the school board, and for some volunteering personal time at the school.

    Unfortunately, the broad sweep of student needs can rarely be met efficiently and competently. So, instead of unified monetary support for rigorous education, we get the current free-for-all.

  37. Tom Stone

    I haven’t been posting much because I cancelled my internet service after recieving my last PG&E bill and realizing I would have more expenses due to the low speed auto accident I was involved in during mid December.
    Prior to the accident my C4 disc showed disk dessication with moderate to severe loss of disc space height., central disc T2 hyperintensity and surrounding Modic type 1 re3active endplate marrow signal changes. Spondyliosis and uncovertable joint degenerative changes with severe bilateral foraminal stenosis and mild central stenosis.
    C5 isn’t much better.
    I was already scheduled to see a neurosurgeon in May and have asked them to let me know if they have any cancellations, in the meantime it’s going to be a pain in the neck.
    The good news is I finally ( After 3 years) have a confirmed diagnosis of my particular cancer, Waldstrom’s disease.
    On a final note the swath of 3,000 Daffodils I planted 5 years ago is now twice that many and blooming.

    1. Eclair

      Tom, can we plan on a photo of the 6,000 daffodils on Water Cooler? Please. We need this!

      And, sorry to hear about your back and other health problems.

    2. Martin Oline

      I am sorry to hear of your health. Please keep us posted of your condition. I have also had some T 11 problems (compression fracture) and fear eventually more severe problems. I try to stay off of ladders now.

    3. Janie

      Missed you! I’m sorry to hear of your health problems. A close relative had Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (spelling?) and had it controlled for many years; hope yours is equally manageable.

  38. Nikkikat

    Sorry to hear of your health situation, I wish you well. I use CBD for my back issues. It helps me quite a bit. God bless.

  39. Willow

    ‘DeSantis and Haley highlight 2024 chasm on Ukraine’

    DeSantis will win any contest with Haley. Which is why Putin can take his time in Ukraine & wait for elections to change US’s position. Putin also gains by waiting for NATO to do something stupid which will strengthen GOP/Trump/DeSantis support in US. (Europe is going to end up being so very screwed).

    1. flora

      Or maybe nowadays it would be “Peace, Jean Redpath.” Whatever. I know that when I asked mom if we could watch the something-or-other PBS anniversary of a Prairie Home Companion on TV (many years ago) she said yes, ok, thinking to give me her visiting child a courtesy. Little did she know when she tucked herself up up on the sofa to read her history book this song would come on. Nor did I. When this song did come on she suddenly came to attention to the TV, and then she started to laugh and laugh hard in a way I’d seldom seen her laugh, she a child of the Great Depression in farming country. Ah well, that’s all long ago.

  40. LawnDart

    Oh my: first Russia, now China…

    China calls for objective probe on Nord Stream blasts, suggests UN to play active role

    China on Wednesday called for an objective and fair investigation into the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage and to speed up the investigation, suggesting that the UN – the most authoritative and representative international organization – could play an active and constructive role on the matter.

    However, some observers warned that it will be difficult for UN Security Council or UN Secretariat to conduct the investigation as they need to show a collective decision-making process, which may yield to the US-led Western pressure.

    Rule of law vs. the rules… I think that we’ll see some Olympic-level semantic performances out of Washington over this one.

  41. Rui

    Can anyone point me to the blog of the Canadian Diplomat that used to write about Russia but was asked to stop or loose his pension? This story was run in the Links one of these days but I have failed to find it again.

Comments are closed.