Links 3/20/2023

The worst frog disease in recorded history risks wiping them from the face of the Earth ZME Science

Facing Extinction, but Available for Selfies in Japan’s Animal Cafes New York Times

The mice with two dads: scientists create eggs from male cells Nature


A government program hopes to find critical minerals right beneath our feet Grist 

The EV mining rush could come to Montana’s mountains High Country News


As drought persists in the west, justices to consider Navajo Nation’s rights to Colorado River SCOTUSblog



Italy pushing IMF to help Tunisia and avoid instability, minister says Reuters

S&P Global: Russia’s ghost fleet estimated at 434 vessels Offshore Energy. “Russian diesel appears to be finding a new home in North Africa with multiple cargo deliveries to Tunisia in 2023. For the first two months of 2023, Russian refined product cargoes delivered to Tunisia have already exceeded volumes in 2022.”

Biden administration budget would slash Tunisia’s economic aid Al-Monitor

Old Blighty

Dozens of Tory MPs risk losing seats over sewage dumping ‘crime’, warns Davey The Irish News


Hindenburg fallout: Adani Group suspends work on Rs 34,900 crore petchem project Indian Express

The Koreas

South Koreans skeptical as Yoon offers olive branch to Japan The Japan Times

Samsung establishes R&D center in Japan to strengthen semiconductor supply chain DigiTimes Asia

How improving South Korea-Japan ties could further weaken a China-centric supply chain SCMP

North Korea claims almost 800,000 have signed up to fight against U.S. Reuters

US blasts China for attempt to ‘shield’ North Korea at UN meeting Al Jazeera


Japan, Germany Coordinate on Economic Security Ahead of G7 Summit The Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan-Germany cooperation ‘unable to realize decoupling’ from China The Global Times

New Not-So-Cold War

Germans to the Front Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review

Black Sea drone downing highlights rising risk of ‘accidental’ war Asia Times


Joe Biden Offered Vladimir Putin 20 Percent of Ukraine to End War: Report Newsweek

China as Peacemaker in the Ukraine War? The U.S. and Europe Are Skeptical The New York Times

US paranoid about Russia-China summit Indian Punchline

China Retains Position As Ukraine’s Top Trade & Potential Investment Partner China Briefing


War in Ukraine Has Supercharged This German Weapons Maker WSJ

Ukraine’s ‘Most Dangerous’ Weapon Hitting Russian Military With Deadly Accuracy Can Now Be Intercepted: Expert The EurAsian Times

Reviving the Arsenal of Democracy: Steps for Surging Defense Industrial Capacity Center for Strategic and International Studies

CNN Let Slip That The ICC’s Arrest Warrant Is Revenge For The West’s Failure To Isolate Russia Andrew Korybko’s Newsletter

Biden administration quietly resumes deportations to Russia The Guardian

The Fate of Mankind Is Again Closely Intertwined with the Fate of Russia Russia in Global Affairs (MT)

After Türkiye’s step the Nordic expansion of the NATO could depend on Hungary Daily News Hungary

Georgian leaders come after “liberal fascists” following foreign agent bill’s defeat Eurasianet

Serbia, Kosovo reach pact on implementing peace plan, EU’s Borrell says Politico EU

South of the Border

These Republicans Want Drone Strikes on Mexico Daily Beast


If Trump is arrested, protests should be peaceful, GOP contenders say Politico


US government bailout of Silicon Valley and banks is $300B gift to rich oligarchs Geopolitical Economy

For ethical lessons from Silicon Valley Bank, turn to spies The Hill

Rotten Banks

UBS buys Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion as regulators look to shore up the global banking system CNBC

Coordinated central bank action to enhance the provision of U.S. dollar liquidity Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Sunday press release.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Is the United States Creating a ‘Legion of Doom’? Politico

Class Warfare

UAW Challenger Fain Purges Top Allies in Favor of Brooklyn Consultants  Payday Report

Shrinking savings and rising debt leave consumers on shaky financial footing NBC News

Arkansas just made child labor easier, and that’s a good thing Washington Examiner

Child Labor is Back…with a Vengeance! Counterpunch

New South Dakota law makes it harder to file a complaint or lawsuit against ag operations Nebraska Examiner

PUTTING RURAL COMMUNITIES ON THE (BROADBAND) MAP The Law and Political Economy Project. “What the past and present of the FCC’s mapping efforts demonstrate is an obfuscation of responsibility and a subsumption of what should be a public mapping process to the market. Shifting such crucial responsibility from the regulator to industry serves the political economic interests of both CostQuest and private providers, the latter of which will be the beneficiary of billions of dollars of public investment.”

The Bezzle

Venezuela’s Crypto Regulator, Targeted with $5M Bounty, Removed and Arrested Decrypt


The 10 Most Bizarre Moments From a Real Wedding in a Taco Bell-Branded Metaverse Gizmodo

Springtime is in the air and so is poetry in translation Dayton Daily News

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Pancho and Lefty by Townes Van Zandt)

    I knew a world you’ll never see
    It died when I was twenty-three
    A world with many trillion trees
    And summer perfume on the breeze
    The fields were filled with endless food
    Every year renewed
    That was how we all survived
    Before the ice arrived

    We had two hundred countries then
    The world was run by businessmen
    The streets were filled with restless crowds
    Before we saw the mushroom clouds
    Before the years of endless fires
    We all had lights that ran off wires
    Folks grew fat and life was soft
    Before the bombs went off

    How it happened no one knows
    The bodies stacked like dominoes
    Then all the lakes and rivers froze
    Now nothing ever grows

    That world was filled with living things
    With fins and feathers, fur and wings
    Before the sunshine went away
    It wasn’t silent like today
    We got to see the stars at night
    The midday sun was dazzling bright
    We’d plant some seeds most any spot
    And food is what we got

    How it happened no one knows
    The bodies stacked like dominoes
    Then all the lakes and rivers froze
    Now nothing ever grows

    (musical interlude)

    These wistful stories I recite
    Sitting ’round the firelight
    About a world that died and burned
    About the lessons never learned
    None of you will see that place
    You children of a dying race
    I only seek to entertain
    And struggle to stay sane

    How it happened no one knows
    The bodies stacked like dominoes
    Then all the lakes and rivers froze
    Now nothing ever grows

    How it happened no one knows
    The bodies stacked like dominoes
    Then all the lakes and rivers froze
    Now nothing ever grows

    1. Wukchumni

      How about the flipside to your blasterpiece?

      A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
      Two American bombs thought up in the heartland
      Little Boy’s gonna be a uranium scar
      Fat Man debuts from backseat of Bockscar

      Suckin’ on fire-seared cogs that used to be human beings
      Fat Man’s sittin’ on Japan’s lap
      He’s got his hands between Nagasaki’s knees
      Little Boy say, hey Fat Man lets run off
      Behind Hiroshima and see
      Dribble off those babbling brooks
      Let me do what I please
      And Little Boy say a

      Oh yeah life goes on
      Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
      Oh yeah life goes on
      Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone they wok on

      Little Boy sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
      Scratches his head and does his best clean sweep
      Well you know Fat Man we oughta blow up the city
      Fat Man says, baby you ain’t missing no-thing
      Little Boy say a

      Oh yeah life goes on
      Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
      Oh yeah life goes on
      Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone

      Gonna let it rock
      Let it roll
      Let the A Bomb come down
      And save my soul
      Hold on to U 235 as long as you can
      Changes comin’ round real soon
      Make us half-life women and men

      A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
      Two American bombs that went off according to plan

      Jack & Dianne, by John Mellencamp

  2. Jeff Stantz

    About “”Damage to T cell response after infection found in Cell “The apparent damage of CD8 T cell response by viral infection is cause for concern””

    Just a nobody talking here but…

    I saw that this might be found in Influenza as well. Is it just that we have so much focus on SARS2 that we are discovering things we already know? I am in no way saying SARS2 is influenza or nothing to be concerned with.

    A reduction in the number of peripheral CD28+CD8+T cells in the acute phase of influenza

    These results indicated that the predominant reduction of peripheral CD8+ T cells in the acute phase of influenza was from naive-type lymphocytes, suggesting that these quantitative and qualitative changes of CD8+ T cells in influenza are important for understanding the immunological pathogenesis.

    1. Cassandra

      Flu is a serious illness, no question, and it can wipe you out for weeks to months with possible long-term sequelae. It can kill. Long-term viral damage certainly deserves more research. I am also hopeful that the prevalence of Long COVID may result in more research into dysautonomia.

      The problem with COVID is that it is much more transmissible than the usual flu viruses and churns out variants at a ferocious rate. Unlike flu, which a person might get once or twice in a decade, people are getting COVID multiple times per year, with no end in sight (other than death).

      1. Jeff Stantz

        Unlike flu, which a person might get once or twice in a decade, people are getting COVID multiple times per year, with no end in sight (other than death).

        I don’t know. I know people who get the flu every year for sure. I have not had the flu for 20 years or more. And all of my friends only had COVID once so far and we do not mask often. I do not at all.

        I am no minimizing, but not maximizing either. I guess it depends more on the person than the virus.

        1. cfraenkel

          What are you meaning to suggest? Someone always wins the lottery, that doesn’t make buying a lottery ticket a good investment.

          You might be lucky, or naturally less susceptible; if so good for you, but that means tough luck for the rest of us that aren’t lucky? Or the 100’s of thousands that will die each year? (See Lambert’s water cooler “Living with” update)

          1. Jeff Stantz

            or naturally less susceptible;

            I guess that’s what I want to focus on. You know everyone’s focusing on the people who get sick but no one‘s focusing on the people that don’t get sick. As I said, I’m not minimizing it at all, I don’t want people to die, but for some reason I’m not getting Covid. That’s just as important as the people who do get Covid.

            You know our whole capitalist system is based on “I got mine, Good luck to you.” So unless you’re advocating for anarchism, I don’t need to be lectured about who I care about.

            1. ChiGal

              the thing is, unless you are testing regularly, because the spread is asymptomatic you and your friends cannot know whether or not you are possibly carrying and spreading the virus. that basic fact is what bit us collectively in the butt to begin with and now we’re doing it all over again.

              but of course even if not you and your friends, there may be others (who do test) who despite exposure never test positive, and your point that studying such people would be smart is well taken. we might learn something that would help others!

            2. kareninca

              How do you know that you haven’t had covid? The tests don’t work very well at this point. And a negative antibody test could just mean you had it but the antibodies have faded. Do you mean that you’ve never had a symptomatic case that you’ve bothered to test for? That isn’t really the same as never having had it.

              I’m not vaccinated, and I’m careful, and I think I haven’t had it. But I don’t have your certainty and I wonder why you are certain; what would count as proof?

              1. Jeff Stantz

                How do you know that you haven’t had covid?

                I have not felt sick since the pandemic started. I mean, how do we know we are infected with anything but for the symptoms?

                I do not care if I catch SARS-CoV-2, I only care if I get sick. I feel fine, just like before the pandemic. Why do I care if I am asymptomatic with anything? I mean how do they even find out asymptomatic spread if people do not feel sick enough to get tested?

                1. Yves Smith

                  You could have had an asymptomatic case. An antibody test would show that.

                  You should care. Even asymptomatic cases regularly produce brain and organ impairment. With the brain impairment, it shows up on brain scans and some tests but the patient does not recognize it.

                  1. Jeff Stantz

                    ” Even asymptomatic cases regularly produce brain and organ impairment. ”

                    Regularly? In who?

                    This is such an outlandish statement I am no longer going to comment on COVID here and will just bypass all the articles on it.

                    “With the brain impairment, it shows up on brain scans and some tests but the patient does not recognize it.”

                    Asymptomatic brain impairment? How is the brain impaired if there are no symptoms of brain impairment?

                    And for all the people saying I should care if I am asymptomatic because I might get others sick, well you should care about driving your car because we know for a fact that makes people sick.

                    Anyway, that’s the end of my COVID thoughts here.

                    1. Yves Smith

                      This is not outlandish. I suggest you use a search engine. Many studies since 2020. A sampling:


                      43% of cases typically asymptomatic. On the Diamond Princess, 73% were asymptomatic (higher level likely due to more comprehensive testing) and of those, 54% had ground glass lung abnormalities, aka injuries.


                      “In May, cardiac MRI scans of 1,600 college athletes who had tested positive for COVID-19 revealed evidence of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, in 37 people—28 of whom hadn’t had any symptoms…”

                      So get that, the injuries were MORE common in the asymptomatic cases.

                      As for cognitive impairment, I take it you don’t know people with dementia. They routinely don’t recognize that they have short term memory loss, as in ask the same question they asked a few minutes ago.

                      Plenty of people with asymptomatic cases get long Covid and that in turn regularly feature cognitive impairment:

                      PCS developed among 30–60% of patients with asymptomatic or mild forms of COVID-19 on average.
                      The most common symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, anosmia, and ageusia. Headaches, brain fog, and other symptoms of central nervous system damage were also reported.
                      Most common PCS occurs among women (on average 60%).


                      There’s a lot more like that if you bothered getting out of your denial bubble.

                2. eg

                  You might care because despite being asymptomatic you might transmit it to others for whom the outcome could be serious.

                  Of course that would require something other than your apparent solipsism.

                3. kareninca

                  ” I mean how do they even find out asymptomatic spread if people do not feel sick enough to get tested?”

                  Because I am not vaccinated, I am required to take a covid test once a week for my volunteer position here in CA, whether or not I have any symptoms. So if I had an asymptomatic case, the idea is that the test would pick it up. This info is reported to the county. As a matter of reality, the tests are especially lousy at detecting asymptomatic cases, but that is the idea anyway.

                  I just rechecked HIV. About 80 percent of people who contract it, have a short flu-like illness 2-6 weeks after infection. Then years may pass with no symptoms, and then, well, things get very bad. I’m not saying that covid is HIV, but it is definitely the case that you can be infected by something, not notice, and have really unpleasant results much later due to (e.g.) viral reservoirs. We just don’t yet know how much this will happen with covid.

  3. Stephen V

    Joe Biden Offered Vladimir Putin 20 Percent of his Ukraine Grift to End War: Report Newsweek: Fixed it for ya !

    1. digi_owl

      On that note, supposedly the Polish ambassador to France has warned that Poland may enter the war. That said, the source of that claim is And it is doing its level best these days to live up to its soviet era counterpart.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It was just after that report came out that Russia launched those six Kinzhal missiles into the Ukraine. Perhaps that was a message to the Poles – and NATO – that if they enter into the war, that absolutely nothing can protect them from Russian missiles. They’re not even in the game.

        1. Louis Fyne

          If Poland really was stupid enough to enter the war (independent of, but nudged along by, NATO), a bulk of Polish men under 30 will move to the UK or Germany.

          Will make moving to Canada in 1970 look like nothing

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Warsaw is also yammering about reparations from Germany. I think they believe they can blackmail Germany into paying them. Of course, their politicos don’t seem to grasp concepts like combined arms and that armies march on their stomach (emptying out stores). Though (there is no other alternative), Poland having a Somalia on its Western border is likely terrifying.

          2. OnceWereVirologist

            The question is whether Polish government can get away with doing what Ukraine did : banning the exit of all military age males ?

      2. Old Sovietologist

        The Embassy of Poland in France has now refuted the statement about Poland’s readiness to enter the war with the Russian Federation, saying it was “interpreted by some of the media out of the context in which it was made.”

        The ambassador’s statement was always going to be disavowed. Looking at the Polish media it has caused plenty of controversy in Poland with Maciej Gdula from the Left Party saying the ambassador should be dismissed from his post.

        The ambassador flew a NATO kite to see how high it would fly. It doesn’t seem it went to far.

        That said If I was Belarus and Russia I would be planning for a NATO direct entry into the conflict.

        1. Maxwell Johnston

          The ambassador is not a professional diplomat. He’s a career finance/insurance specialist. It seems his qualifications are that he’s rich, well-connected, possibly (as I’m not familiar with Polish politics) a generous campaign contributor, and speaks French. Methinks he was caught off-guard by a leading interview question, and he ran his mouth off. I wouldn’t read too deeply into this; it’s certainly not a statement of NATO policy or even intentions. I hope.

      3. NN Cassandra

        He said that in TV interview. The official denial is of out-of-context-citation variety.

        Here is another source.

      4. JTMcPhee

        And some stink tanker “experts on international law” in DC have just “Determined” that the US can “legally” put US and other NATO troops into the war in Ukraine without having to involve NATO and hence the Rooskies can’t object because the US will set up a new “coalition of the ignorant, greedy, suicidal under some acronym or other and that will be all nice and legal and not give the Rooskies any reason to Kindjhal national capitals and geometric shaped-huge buildings where generals swarm around piles of money like flies on sh!t and places like Rammstein and that place in downtown Kiev where the Warfighters of the West hang out and devise strategy and mark targets (like Obama’s Tuesday Kill List meetings, only 24/7) and send the press-ganged Polacks and Ukies out to get blasted

  4. digi_owl

    What a way to start the week.

    And that Baltic tweet is particularly wild. From a Twitter account belonging to a sub-reddit no less. A nice reminder that national and regional sub-reddits are gamed to heck and back by neoliberal and fascist interests. e/europe for example is very EU jingoistic.

  5. griffen

    Credit Suisse investment bankers to start a hire me please campaign since it is 2023. Help us, we will lose our high falutin’ jobs because we were shocked when our wretched investment bank and global institution went finally, at long last, belly up. We love this high life and can’t give it up under any circumstance ! And an added comment, individuals losing their jobs in vast droves is not funny but I can and will poke fun. Try spending more than 12 months without and see how your life changes ! 2009 to 2010 was not a good time to do that.

    Or to quote Blazing Saddles, we must protect our phoney baloney jobs. Harumph Harumph !!

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Well, I hear that Wendy’s is paying $15/hour. Not sure if they have franchises in Europe.

      1. griffen

        I’m certain that would be a failure, expecting bankers to serve others in a customer centered environment where practically anyone can enter the establishment. Even those who lack multiple 000s in their personal net worth !

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Black Sea drone downing highlights rising risk of ‘accidental’ war”

    Not really. The US pushed it too far by flying that drone too near near Crimea and turned its transponder off and so the Russians splashed it for their troubles. Normally they keep their distance, even when feeding intel to the Ukrainians but not that day. But it has been going both ways lately and you have the Russians starting to poke the eagle. Russian aircraft have been overflying the illegal bases in Syria causing outrage and protestations of “unprofessional” and “unsafe” behaviour. The US is not used to having overseas bases be located under unfriendly skies which they do not control-

  7. zagonostra

    >US paranoid about Russia-China summit Indian Punchline

    The mud-throwing at Putin is yet another display of President Biden’s visceral hatred towards the Russian leader that goes back to a joust in Moscow well over a decade

    Why is the Indian Punchline framing this as a personal spat? Why are they, MSM, incapable of giving an historic context to this and other military conflicts? Why do they frame reality in such a puerile fashion. Are readers so incapable of learning that this conflict goes back to 1917, and that that in 1918 the U.S. sent 13K troops to fight along other 250K troops from other countries against Russia? Do they think we would be uninterested that in 1975 unclassified documents going back to 1945 revealed that the US planned a coordinated unprovoked nuclear attack with 204 atomic bombs to destroy 66 major urban areas in the Soviet Union.

    Seems Indian papers aren’t that much better than those in the U.S. Or, maybe I’m just assuming there is a “public” that has the capacity for critical/historical thinking.

    1. Yves Smith

      That is all true, but for Biden, it really is personal. His inner sadist comes out at the prospect of regime change. See his stomping on Scott Ritter in Foreign Relations Committee hearings as the next best to stomping on Saddam.

      1. Simple John

        My nickname for Joe is “The Punisher”. “The Sadist” feels closer to the truth. Thank you.

    2. Louis Fyne

      “Seems Indian papers aren’t that much better than those in the U.S.”

      In my opinion, the default sympathy of most non-US journalists is to be sympathetic to the US narrative—due to education, “elite mirroring.” knowing expat Americans, etc.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      You can’t ignore Biden’s emotional makeup or his intelligence. Obama for all of his faults understood escalation and where these conflicts were being fought after initial euphoria, coming off his SMRT war in Libya. “America is back” is driving Biden. He’s so afraid of admitting mistakes, he won’t even do things like fire Pete Buttigieg.

      The examples you cite are about who runs Berlin. This has been settled. This is a conflict to keep Russia and Chinese from offering a better deal to US colonies outside of the second tier vassals. The share of world trade is what is going on. Biden lost this fight and is doubling down on colonial attitudes because he doesn’t want to look weak. Thuggery is his natural instinct, so he will continue to push a conflict as long as he isn’t taking a risk, like having to address business concerns if there was a major national guard call up.

      Again, this isn’t a war for Europe, having China dethrone the US as an indispensable nation is an attack on Biden’s “America is back” brand.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Don’t underestimate the effects of advanced cognitive decline, either.

        It is well known that this can result in anger, including lashing out at loved ones. Some call it “sundowners syndrome.”

        Biden should probably be sedated and kept away from any sharp objects (or red buttons) after 5PM.

        Just google “Sundowners syndrome.”

        1. Merf56

          I’d love to blame it on sundowning but all you have to look at the cruel and viciously nasty way he treated Anita Hill when he was middle aged.

      2. zagonostra

        ” Biden lost this fight and is doubling down on colonial attitudes…”

        I don’t think “Biden” is much more than the public face of other forces at work. When focused on him, the real men/women behind making these decisions is obscured.

        I listen to the Duran almost daily and I can’t tell you how many times they refer to “they.” Who is this “they”, the “Collective West?” That doesn’t help much more than saying “Biden.” I think Lambert’s class analysis of PMC being composed of competing groups is helpful, but until toto pulls back the curtain it feels like much of the commentary I read is just chasing shadows.

        The lyrics of Supertramp’s Crime of the Century keeps ringing in my head.

        Who are these men of lust, greed and glory?
        Rip off the masks and let’s see
        But that’s not right, oh, no, what’s the story?
        But there’s you and there’s me

        1. zagonostra

          Just listened to a new Douglas MacGregor interview with Stephen Gardner. Around 25min he calls Biden a “Cardboard Cut-out” who will be used to pin the blame on when everything falls apart in Ukraine. He refers to “unelected” persons who are responsible for the U.S.’s disastrous policy not only in Ukraine but in the hollowing out of America’s industrial capacity.

          If those puppeteers are not called out and held to account, it will simply be rinse, spit out, and repeat with a new Cardboard Character who may be a women, Asian, gay, or another white well connected and compromised candidate.

          1. spud

            those cardboard cut outs are the direct link to the people behind the curtain. they must not be left off of the hook.

        2. amans021

          The Duran’s “they” (as the Duran frequently identifes “them” by name) are: Nuland, Blinken, Sullivan and their neocon supporters accompanied by the US deep state handlers and vassal EU leaders (also identified by names).

    4. Bosko

      For what it’s worth, I agree with you: the personalizing of every political maneuver or outcome has gotten ridiculous, at least in US media, and this has contributed to the de-politicization of many Americans. While there may be a personal element in certain political situations, it’s easy to head in that direction, and then miss the larger structural problems (in the case of the Ukraine proxy war, I think many would say that’s the rise of a bipartisan, hegemonic, primarily neocon foreign policy establishment, whose actions go unquestioned and who has easy access to capital).

  8. Stephen

    “US paranoid about Russia-China summit”

    This article by Mr Bhadrakumar is a gem. Not sure it adds too much to the analysis that informed people have already carried out (although many of his articles do add extra insight) but it is a really great summary. Pulls zero punches.

    His phraseology is also brilliant:

    “Biden is acting like a cat on the hot tin roof. He can neither let go Zelensky nor can he afford to be locked into a forever war in Ukraine while Taiwan Straits is beckoning him to a greater destiny.”

    “The Brits bullied the ICC judges who are highly vulnerable to blackmail, as they draw fat salaries and would sup with the devil if it helped secure extended terms for them at the Hague. This becomes yet another case study of the piecemeal destruction of the UN system by the Anglo-Saxon clique in the recent years.”

    With respect to the ICC I did email my MP Dominic Raab who happens to be the U.K. Justice Minister. After he described it as a “historic” moment over the weekend I thought it necessary to point out the incongruity of the war crime of invading Iraq not having been treated the same way. Fascinatingly, he has actually replied (personally it seems). It is not an exciting reply but he at least read my note.

    As a British person I have no emotion other than disgust for the way the U.K. is behaving in international affairs. It is a disaster.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Stephen: Your posting of excerpts sent me into Bhadrakumar’s latest Punchline. He’s turning phrases deftly there.

      Noting: The number of times the adjective Anglo-Saxon comes up, none of his uses being complimentary.

      And this, which I’ll repeat from your comment: “Biden is acting like a cat on the hot tin roof. He can neither let go Zelensky nor can he afford to be locked into a forever war in Ukraine while Taiwan Straits is beckoning him to a greater destiny.”

      Why, Bhadrakumar is positively oracular today. I suspect that Joe “Fake Stutter” Biden’s destiny isn’t what Joe thinks it ought to be.

      Well worth a read, just for Bhadrakumar being extra-spicy in this set of observations.

      Don’t miss the last sentence.

    2. c_heale

      The way the Brits behave in international affairs has been a disaster for a long time imo. And much moreso since the idea of Brexit occured.

      I’m a Brit too.

  9. Wukchumni

    20 years ago today, we were on a backpack trip to Willett hot springs, so news of the war starting was delayed by 3 days and we knew nothing of what really was the start of our long slide, combined with housing bubble numero uno perking innocently enough.

    We’re a heck of an adversary when pitted against the other guy’s military dressed in fatigues, but once the Iraqi armed forces were defeated, we were fatigued.

    At our xmas get together one of the guests was a Major who’d been in Iraq for 5 years and he related that for I.E.D.’s, we would come up with counter-measures, only to have the insurgents defeat said tactics by doing something differently than before. He told me what a losing battle it was, traditional military versus subterfuge.

    1. juno mas

      Just to empasize your point, 55 years ago this month I hiked into Willett hot spring in the Sespe back-country. The US was in the middle of a war in Vietnam. Some things never change.

  10. Old Sovietologist

    Comrade Xi has arrived in Moscow.

    Putin has focused on the thousand year history of both Russia & China. While Xi has publicly put two fingers up to the worthless decision of the ICC.

    I wouldn’t be expecting any high profile public declarations on strategic matters Mostly in areas like transport, tourism and culture. That said Putin is the master of the unexpected move.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Xi is supposed to be there for three days and has a very large contingent with him. You can bet that there will be a helluva lot of deals made and a lot of contingency planning made. Maybe Xi recognizes too that there is nothing stopping the ICC from putting out an arrest warrant for him because of the Uyghurs. I am sure that that possibility will be dealt with too.

      1. Old Sovietologist

        Biden’s opened Pandora’s box.

        Xi’s visit will be looked back as historic. Two states committed to a world order in which transparent international law prevails, and not the arbitrariness and hypocrisy of the West.

        China’s position is now clear. Maybe its not a struggle for the liberation of mankind, but it is definitely against its guaranteed destruction.

      2. Stephen

        I think that is right.

        I would add to it too. The ICC warrant will do down badly right across the leaderships of the Global South. It sends a clear message that if the collective west is not happy then it will ultimately seek to arrest you. On whatever pretext it can dream up.

        That is not new, of course. Milosevic was a precedent. But in 1999 the collective west had more power and was able to try him. Wielding power and intimidating people works if you can pull it off. The west today is seeking to show it is all powerful but is failing. The arrest warrant on Putin is meaningless and just brings the ICC plus the west generally into even more disrepute. Like an old Mafia Don who is being usurped by younger rivals but still thinks he can snap his fingers and everyone will jump to attention. In a way it is even sad.

          1. pjay

            Well, they did both (or probably did; his death was pretty Epsteinian). Conveniently, he died before they reached a verdict, but they eventually did so – *not* guilty. Needless to say, there wasn’t much coverage of *that* outcome in the Western media. Mission accomplished.

        1. .human

          Wielding power and intimidating people works if you can pull it off.

          Elliot Spitzer comes mind.

          1. Rod

            I am still so puzzled as to what they had that put him (ES) back on the shelf so fast and so permanently.
            Surely he could have an encore of unbelievable impact in today’s sloppy construct of reality.

            1. Mildred Montana

              From Wiki: “From 1999 to 2006, he was the Attorney General of New York, earning a reputation as the “Sheriff of Wall Street” for his efforts to curb corruption in the financial services industry. Spitzer was elected Governor of New York in 2006 by the largest margin of any candidate, but his tenure lasted less than two years after it was uncovered he patronized a prostitution ring.”

              In the inverted moral environment of today’s America, it is okay to steal billions of dollars but not to spend a few hundred thousand on hookers (which is what Spitzer allegedly did).

        2. vao

          In Africa, the ICC was so far widely known as the “International Colonial Court” for its propensity to indict Africans committing crimes in Africa, and nobody else (at least till the war in Ukraine).

    2. Stephen

      BBC reporters do not seem to have got the memo yet to prepare people for Ukraine’s defeat. I guess that is a downside of just being a province of the empire rather than at the centre.

      This comment by the Beijing correspondent is awesome: “ Many analysts have pondered what China might do if it looks like Russia is facing a clear, humiliating defeat on the battlefield.”

      He clearly thinks that the current approved narrative is still to focus on looming Russian defeat.

      1. Futility

        Same here in Germany. Just saw a reporter on ‘tagesthemen’ claim that Putin has his back against the wall. How this does comport with the statement that Putin is willing to negotiate provided the West accepts the new borders of Ukraine is mystifying. One does not demand something like this from a position of weakness.
        In the same show they also state that Russia fires considerably more shells per day than Ukraine and the amount of available ammunition is dangerously low at the Ukrainian side. Which is why the EU promised to deliver 1 million rounds in the coming year.

    3. Don

      Three days, and a very large delegation.

      This is no ordinary, largely performative state visit. This summit defines what is important for years to come… Taiwan, chip production, the Ukraine endgame, global trade, geopolitical military alignment…

      The American Empires inability to foresee consequences is beyond belief. Putin is widely expected to attend a BRICS summit (BRICS+?) in South Africa in August. South Africa is signed on to the ICC. Has anyone in the State Department thought about how that might play out? Say Putin attends (with or without a sizeable security detail; with or without a concurrent South Africa/Russian naval exercise), South Africa declines to meet its obligation to the ICC and refuses to arrest Putin: The US does what? Sanctions S.A.? Sanctions BRICS? Briefly chides all parties?

      At the very least, the ICC loses what little legitimacy it retains. At the very least, the process of America’s global isolation becomes irreversible.

  11. Koldmilk

    South Africa (the S of BRICS) recently withdraw a proposed bill that would lead to it leaving the Rome Statute. This was just days before the ICC announced its arrest warrant for Putin. Coincidence? If not, the timing makes things quite awkward for the South African government as it will be hosting a BRICS summit in August. Putin was not confirmed to attend, but the thesis that the ICC warrant is an attempt to undermine Russian diplomacy is quite credible.

    I would not be surprised if this warrant prompts South Africa to resume its withdrawal plans.

    1. digi_owl

      Speaking of South Africa, it seems to have some troubles going on there of late.

      This involving a group, EFF, that on paper claims to be old school marxist, but that are being accused to being fascist in practice.

      1. Koldmilk

        The EFF are obsessed with fighting a race war, when they should be fighting a class war. Their rhetoric is full of complaints of white supremacy causing all of South Africa’s problems, but ignoring the oligarchy and neoliberalism.

        A recent book, The ANC Billionaires by Pieter du Toit, details how the ANC was bought off by South African capital, which is the core of the EFF’s complaint. But it’s too narrow an analysis: that was the carrot. The stick was what would happen if the new South Africa didn’t adopt neoliberalism, which at the time was seen to be the only option after the demise of communism. Back then there wasn’t the rising power China to ally with, nor a resurgent Russia.

  12. griffen

    Article on the bailout of SVB and Silicon Valley wealthy oligarchs is pretty interesting, much of which has previously been covered. But it seems a still worthwhile discussion to have. To summarize it best, the closing paragraph puts a nice bow on this steaming turd of a “present” to the average American.

    “…politicians in Washington…made sure the system will continue on as before with two separate set of rules: one for wealthy capitalists in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, who get bailed out when in trouble….and one for everyone else, who always get told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps…”

    Rules are for the suckers.

  13. Wukchumni

    The War Prayer, by Mark Twain

    It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism … on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun … nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. …

    Sunday morning came — next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams — visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! … The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said …

    Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work….

    An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. … he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there waiting. …

    The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside — which the startled minister did — and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

    “I come from the Throne — bearing a message from Almighty God!” …

    1. fresno dan

      When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory–must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

      “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

    2. nathe

      thanks for this. i clicked on the link. over and over again twain says things so outrageously true that the rhetorical skill combined with the deep understanding of human nature comes fresh and shocking every time.

      on a lighter note i read one of his cat quotes (he has many) recently: he who lifts a cat by the tail learns a lesson he can learn in no other way.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Arkansas just made child labor easier, and that’s a good thing”

    I know where the Washington Examiner can go and what it can do when it gets there but regardless – I invite readers to look at the faces of the kids in the photo of the Arkansas governor signing that bill into law. Does anybody notice a trend?

    I can’t wait to hear about the stories of 11 year-old girls in the workplace being taken advantage of with the politicians shocked, shocked that such a thing could happen.

    1. t

      But “every dollar that a 14-year-old contributes to a Roth IRA today….”

      And there’s no cite for the most successful adults worked as teens BS, which seems to be supporting the idea that those lazy poors just sat around in public housing even as kids.

      Also noteworthy that long-hauk trucking is in the mix. Guess everyone over 21 is onto the be your own boss owner-driver scams.

      1. Charger01

        Ironically, I was that kid back in the day. First job was working at the neighbors tree nursery for $8+ per hour, took my meager saving and dumped it into a mutual fund inside my IRA. Should have started a Roth instead. I didn’t get to buy that car in high school, but I’ll be in better shape when I hit 60.

      2. Questa Nota

        Gotta get ’em started early on that ole debt treadmill.
        Get ’em hooked and they’ll be loyal, pliable subjects.
        And about those credit scores, never too early to consider spiffing up. Just click that box to encourage your legislator to lower the reporting age.
        Wish I were kidding about that, but expect someone to do it.
        Now, how can some sleazebag firms monetize and capitalize and financialize those lives? :/

      3. Don

        Take this where you will, but I was a “professional truck driver” when I was 16; driving long-haul tractor-trailers from 19. Quit driving (except for part-time to pay for my education) at ±21 to go back to school. Since graduation at ±25, I have only worked for businesses that I owned.

    2. Carolinian

      The article says the new law doesn’t apply to 11 year olds. So it will be 14 year olds being taken advantage of. It also says similar laws have long existed in other states including partially liberal Colorado.

      Meanwhile the Counterpunch article on the same subject suggests child laborers are frequently migrants working in situations where, we can assume, the legality of the adults’ employment is also suspect.

      Getting back to Arkansas, one does perhaps need to make a distinction between situations where teenagers want to work and those where they are exploited. Some of us are so old we can remember when fast food places were staffed with lower middle class young people. Now it’s mostly poor people. When we were growing up my brother mowed lawns for pocket money. Now middle aged men trundle around in Ford 150s doing this.

      The point being that here in America the laboring classes have taken a general hit. It’s not just kids. It doesn’t sound like the Arkansas law will change much, one way or the other.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Last year I was reading up on the fight in England in the 19th century to get kids into school and not be labourers working for a pittance to bring home to their families. One job was to have a few kids hang around a field and chase after any birds trying to land on any of those crops. Yes, that was an actual job. And of course you have those images of young girls working in cotton mills in the eastern US until education was finally made mandatory. So it looks like they want to wind the clock back to the 19th century where kids had to go out and do some sort of menial work because their families need the money. With these laws they are actually going after the kids. Unbelievable.

        I sometimes think that being in such an economy is like being in the back of a ’66 Thunderbird – with Thelma & Louise at the wheel.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I was in high school, I was one of the few sans an atypical job @ a fast food place, pushing shoes @ Thom McAn, or some other store in the mall.

          I don’t know what the situation is now, but in LA virtually every fast food place had pretty much exclusively Hispanic immigrants working there nearly 20 years ago, and what’s a mall-a young near adult might ask?

        2. Carolinian

          On the other hand why exploit children when these days the minimum wage is so low and the available labor force so large?

          Here in the South we barely have those cotton mills any more. The former employees live in mill village shacks with few prospects. Although the mills have been gone so long those former employees who are left are likely on SS.

          I’m not in favor of bringing back the 19th century. On the other hand let’s not let a minor law distract from the real problem. If the exploiters need child labor they know where to find it:Asia. They help make IPhones among other things.

    3. Kyle

      Today’s teenagers spend too much time on social media and too little growing up. Anything reasonable that a state can do to make it easier for them to work is welcome. The labor shortage makes this a great time for teenagers to enter the world of work.

      Everything is for the children these days, even exploitive labor!

    4. griffen

      I have a niece that teaches locally in South Carolina. She has shared several horror stories of teaching in a classroom of generally middle school students. Frankly, I don’t see how she or anyone else can be encouraged to teach when the children aren’t all interested in learning much.

      I did see the law being passed raises the starting salary of Arkansas teachers, which I would call a net positive. North Carolina has set a tone, in the recent past I wish to recall, under Republican-controlled legislatures, that teachers were greedy and out to make a living wage in their profession. It may be that even a boneheaded Republican in a state might realize that’s a poor look.

  15. Stephen

    “Today, we Latvians, remember our soldiers in WW2 who fought in nazi uniforms. Although they were part of the Waffen SS, they were not nazis and rather fought for their families and land.”

    To be fair, there might even be some grain of truth in this. I am not an expert on Latvia’s war history but I am aware that many people across continental Europe were put in positions where they had to make choices between varying bad courses of action. Hitler’s army in the east contained far more than just Germans and even ended up including Soviet POWs who preferred to fight rather than die in a prison camp. Albeit most of them ended up dying one way or another eventually; either in combat or at the hands of the NKVD.

    I can believe that many Latvians found themselves needing to make difficult choices too. There are some claims that men were forced either to join the Waffen SS or Wehrmacht or else be sent to slave labour camps. Getting to the total truth is difficult though, given the whitewashing that has been applied over the years.

    However, to make such a commemoration without at the same time recognising the sacrifice of the people who fought the Nazis and made different choices is going way too far in the wrong direction. When that is also combined with removing monuments to the Red Army then the Latvian state is seemingly rewriting history.
    Commemorating those who fell on all sides as an anti war statement feels reasonable but this is not that. It is glorification of those who fought with the Nazis. It also ignores the fact that no doubt some who did so embraced the ideology eagerly and were not just forced to participate. Latvian auxiliary police units, for example, were eager perpetrators of the Holocaust and members ended up in the Waffen SS, it seems.

    My father’s WW2 generation if they were still alive would be shocked that all of this is happening in modern day Europe. Think Latvia is a country to avoid.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was reading that piece on the Latvians and had the news on the TV running in the background. They were talking about an incident her in Oz over the weekend where you had thirty neo-Nazis going to a demonstration to stir people up and were walking around giving the Nazi salute. Well that cause people to lose it with claims that it was disgusting and vile (it was) and how they were going to change the laws to make the Nazi salute illegal as they had already make the Swastika illegal-

      Can’t wait till Oz receives a delegation of Azov guys and gals to do a tour here. That will be fun that. As for the Latvians and their SS contingent being only “freedom fighters”, let us just say that when I see images of them in their SS uniforms, I think of that saying about if it walks like a duck…

      1. Stephen

        Back in the early 80s when I was at school in Essex a fellow fifteen year old doodled a swastika on his exercise book. He was not a Nazi but still….

        Anyway, he made the mistake of letting our physics teacher see it in class. The teacher was nearly sixty and had served as air crew in the RAF in WW2. He did not get angry but simply said very gravely: “I lost a lot of my friends fighting that. Please never show that here again.” He knew what it signified. You could have heard a pin drop in that class. Everyone went pale, no smirks even from fifteen year olds and said image was never seen again.

        Worked far more effectively than the law or other punishments could ever have done.

        1. Joe Renter

          The teacher could have also explained the origins of the symbol and taught how it was corrupted and literally tuned around by said nazi’s.

          1. Stephen

            I am aware of the benign earlier historical uses of the symbol.

            The teacher could have done what you say I guess. But given that RAF bomber crew (his friends and of whom he was one) suffered a nearly 50% mortality rate (as in percentage of all air crew mobilised who died) fighting the people who used that symbol in its corrupted form he was likely not in the mood to be philosophical. I would not have been.

            I do not support laws to ban such symbols, by the way. They are usually counter productive.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          When I was teaching at a 100% recent-immigrant high school in Queens, NY, boys would occasionally scrawl a swastika on a bathroom wall or elsewhere. In virtually every instance, they had no idea what it meant; they only knew that it reliably upset the adults in the building. In those cases where the miscreants were found, responses like the one you describe worked best

      2. tevhatch

        Australia already has a problem with a number of military personnel having been found to have fought in various right sector groups such as Svoboda, and pre-Feb 2022 there was some concerns expressed but I suspect it’s gone quiet now that anti-violent expressions of Russian/Belarusian/Chinese sentiment is considered legit by the courts/government. “On The Beach” is not going to happen now.

    2. upstater

      Prior to WW1 all the Baltics were ethnically diverse parts of the Russian empire. Substantial Baltic German populations lived in coastal areas. Jews were 10% of the population and there were large populations of Russians, Poles and Belarussians.

      After WW1 there was no shortage of Bolsheviks or Bundists in the Baltics. This was dealt with by German Freikorps with bloody brigands, facilitated by the UK. I am unfamiliar with Latvian or Estonian interwar governments, but Lithuania quickly became a dictatorship (or authoritarian, if one prefers). There were plenty of political prisoners. Relations with Germany were a key component of policy, much like the EU and NATO today.

      After Molotov-Ribbentrop, USSR took military control, then incorporated the Baltics in summer 1940. Plenty of displaced Baltic politicians decamped to Berlin to ostensibly lead the independence movement. Baltic Germans mostly emigrated to Germany but many returned after Barbarossa. There were fifth column welcoming committees of the armies and paramilitaries. In Lithuania, the locals were already murdering Jews before Germans arrived and assisted Einsatzgruppen to wipe out Jews, communists, disabled and elderly in care homes within 6 months.

      Latvia and Estonia mobilized SS divisions, Lithuania did not, but there were plenty of volunteers. In 1944 local militias were formed with tens of thousands to fight the Red Army. These became eventually anti Soviet partisans and operated into the late 1940s. Throughout the war there were communist partisans.

      I have a detailed emigree history called Lithuanian 700 Years, published in the 80s. The holocaust is covered in a single paragraph and a smattering of sentences elsewhere. Supposedly there were few, if any communists, ever. There are hundreds of pages about Russian oppression with Lithuanian communists simply taking orders. Collaboration with Nazis is soft peddled and collaborators were mostly patriots working under cover. I’d imagine contemporary histories of the Baltics are even more whitewashed. Denial is very current and powerful. How else to explain current events?

      1. Stephen

        I think you are right. New states have a habit of whitewashing history. Feels as though the Baltic States are defining their nationhood as anti Russia writ large and denying any commonality in a similar way that the post Maidan Ukrainian state has done. I wonder to what extent western NGOs have contributed to this.

      2. Polar Socialist

        Yes, the very irony regarding Baltics is that to counter the very heavy German influence in all the three Baltic countries, Russian Empire did much to encourage the birth and growth of nationalism in these countries around mid 19th century.

        My hypothesis is that the current iterations of the Baltic countries are so desperate to belong to The West, that they just can’t deal with their recent history (German speaking elite dominating strong class societies turned into interwar dictatorships) honestly because it makes them way more eastern European than they like.

        And they blame Russia for everything, just in case – even if (as you point out) there has always been willing and active local collaborators going to the extremes.

      1. mary jensen

        “There’s no justification in putting on a nazi uniform.”

        Someone should have reminded Prince Harry about that.

    3. schmoe

      My apologies for putting in a book recommendation, but this is an account from an Estonian who joined the German side. He is the doctor who “delivered” me, and I was given a free copy of this book given my interest in WW II. I subsequently checked some of the information such as unit references against Wikipedia and his memory was quite sharp as this was written 50 years after the actual event. Many people told him that he should write a history of his life, and when he retired he finally got around to it.

      This will be very hard to find a copy of, but if you get a copy, it is worth a read:

      1. upstater

        My mom wrote a 50 page bio about childhood in Lithuania and leaving during the war. It is quite a story and good to have it written. Her mother was a Lithuanian with some Prussian roots and emigrated with 3 kids to Berlin in January 1941 as Volksdeutsche. They lived through bombings, then went to Hamburg ahead of the Red Army. Then spent 5 years in a DP camp. Like Russia, Lithuania went from 80% peasants before the war to industrialized in a generation (rapid deindustrialization followed in the 90s).

        It was never said outright, but grandma and uncle would dribble our German sympathies. They all vehemently hated Russians. Grandma’s sister went the other way, settling in Yaroslavl, but there was never any contact. Most relatives stayed in Lithuania and avoided trouble. Former professionals became basket weavers and house cleaners in the 90s.

        1. hk

          Many if not most Lithuanian Americans I’ve met have been virulently anti-Russian, not just Soviets, but also old Russian Empire (and its modern form), along with Russian Orthodoxy and all that.

          On the other hand, I’d found more complex sentiments among the Lithuanians, especially those who came of age during the Soviet era. (Used to date one). In many ways, they are far more favorable towards Russians and the Soviet experience. By 1970s, after all, Lithuanian SSR was not too different from any other part of USSR–the nationalist movement was mostly wiped out and the life was not too bad, if rather limited for obvious reasons. Not that they were happy about being under Soviet rule, but certainly a lot more complex than the stark caricature that was the case with Lithuanian Americans.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            Part of it is probably selection in play – the kind of people who moved to America or Canada would not have been very well-inclined towards Russia to begin with. That would be exactly what they ran away from.

          2. R.S.

            By 1970s, after all, Lithuanian SSR was not too different from any other part of USSR…

            I’d argue that by the late 60s the USSR evolved in a run-of-the-mill authoritarian state. One with a weird ideology and economic system, but that’s all. And the Baltics were, of all things, among the most developed parts of it. Subsidized economies (the consumption-to-production ration in the 80s was somewhere 1.5..2 to 1), privileges like certain types of self-employment and private practices legally allowed, gov’t-funded industries of “national cultures” and so on.

            The Soviet policy wrt “nationalities” was, frankly, a bit of a split-mind one. And it was definitely not “an Empire for the Russians”.

    4. tevhatch

      they were not nazis …

      That’s easily possible, anti-Semitism alone does not define the ideology of the NSDAP. It’s like labeling the NSDAP Fascist, when they are two different nationalist systems. It seems that in general the Baltics, (as as nearly always, the Latvian the most extreme), were even more odious given their alacrity, even glee, at butchering not only Jews, but the Roma, Slavs, and other “undesirables. They and the Ukrainians both shocked the sensibilities of many in the SS who liked some order to their genocide.

      To be fair though, they remind me of Americans when it came to the native population of the Mainland, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Southern Philippines. One of the events that major media overlooked/under-reported about the occupation at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge(2015/2016) was the destruction of housing, of graves, and holy sites as preparation for opening these lands up to colonial use.

    5. Kouros

      Hitler has masterfully created conditions for a lot of countries to want to join Germany against the Soviet Union.

      However, no nationalist, Latvian or otherwise (I am Romanian btw) can claim purity of national ideals, when joining a battle in which the main partner had to pursue something like Generalplan Ost…

      The gold prize goes to Finland, who helped the Germans in starving the population of Leningrad for about 3 years, with almost 1 million dead.

      1. hk

        And the Spanish, who sent a division of “volunteers” to the Leningrad front without being “directly involved” in the war, and the French (yes, it was Vichy, but they were still French) who contributed another (admittedly understrength) volunteer division, whose remnants fought Russians to the bitter end–they were among the last defenders of the Reich chancellory.

      2. Daniil Adamov

        Finland, IIRC, tried to keep their cooperation with Germany to a minimum, although of course that minimum still ended up being a weight contribution to human suffering. I’d say they had better reason than most – after all, they had been fighting just a year earlier, and probably figured they will not have a better opportunity to reclaim lost territories. Understandable.

        As for Latvians, I imagine a lot of them wanted revenge. Can’t find the source now, sadly, but I recall there were even some Jews who celebrated when the Germans arrived in Riga. They knew what would happen to them, more or less, but it seemed like a small price to pay for the same thing happening to those damned Communists. The Soviets were very efficient at making themselves hated in newly-joined territories. Again, understandable, though very foolish.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “S&P Global: Russia’s ghost fleet estimated at 434 vessels’

    The boys at The Duran were saying in one of their latest videos that it is more like about 800 ships carrying Russian oil and they were joking that as this number was increasing all the time, that the ghost fleet may end up being larger than the official merchant fleet. And I was reading the other day that the US was actually encouraging this oil trade as even they recognized that if it came to a halt, that the economy of the world would slip several cogs.

  17. Lexx

    ‘The EV mining rush could come to Montana’s high mountains’

    I was reading this with my fingers crossed and thinking ‘please, not anywhere near Hamilton’. Gah! Yes, of course… Darby is just south of Hamilton (and Hamilton is just south of Missoula). So beautiful, the Bitteroot Mountains. We sat on the porch of a log cabin B&B one evening, drinking wine and watching the sunset over those peaks. It was 25 years ago and so memorable.

    The proposed mining area is seven miles now but course it will expand. It’s all ‘Appalachia’ to those mining companies. Hamilton is both incredibly poor and gobsmacking rich without a lot in the middle. The town of Darby claims a population of 828. Hamilton is around 4900.

    1. jefemt

      The article from GRIST, regarding the USGS seeking the ‘e-everything’ rare earths and ‘new need’ minerals was also interesting…

      One thing not mentioned: minerals are superior/ dominant to surface user’s interest here in ‘Murica.

      While it is true that if it wasn’t grown, it was mined, there is a certain perversion, or at least stark reminder, of where America’s pragmatic priorities truly reside.

      1. Lee

        It’s my understanding that severed mineral rights are the norm in Montana.

        From an MSU publication:

        “Many landowners do not own minerals under their surface property. When a landowner only owns the surface rights, development of minerals may adversely affect the surface owner. Surface land with severed minerals is sometimes called a split estate. Split estate surface owners have certain rights if and when minerals underneath their land are developed. A split estate surface owner cannot prevent development of the underlying minerals.”

    2. Craig H.

      Hard rock mining is a dicey business. It might be informative to see their analog. What are the most successful operations in N. America after 1945? I cannot think of a single one offhand. When I was young all the old mining geologists I ever met said to not even think about it as an option. N= 7 or 8.

      They were emphatic about it. Like don’t drink and drive.

    3. Lee

      Within roughly the same timeframe you mention, my son and I spent some time fishing the Big Hole and backpacking in the Bitteroot Mountains a bit south of your spot. It was a grand time even counting the frightening night when a big wind took down a good number standing dead trees around our campsite. In the morning it looked like we were surrounded by piles of giant pickup sticks, and counted ourselves lucky to be around to tell the tale.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Japan, Germany Coordinate on Economic Security Ahead of G7 Summit”

    Considering the fact that it is the US that is pushing those two countries into a sort of shotgun marriage, perhaps Washington should formalize it by joining Japan and Germany into a formal group. I even have a name for such a union. They could call it the Second Tripartite Pact-

    What could possibly go wrong?

  19. hemeantwell

    Re the firings within the insurgent UAW camp, that Payday Report piece seemed to tilt to DEI complaints. This article on the WSWS last week goes into other issues. The UAW faces contract struggles later this year, so we’ll soon see if the WSWS’ usual, and often justified, complaint about inadequate militancy is justified.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      I don’t know anything about Brooks or the nuances of UAW internal politics, but I do know that the BLM national leadership are crooks, that Melk has been far too deferential to a hashtag posing as a movement, and that the uprisings of 2020 were pandemic-induced spasms, not politically-conscious events that would lead to anything meaningful. In NYC. they led to the election of Eric Adams.

  20. rusell1200

    Italy has a deal with Tunisia for an underwater powerline to connect Italy to renewable energy produced in North Africa. I don’t know if the deal is still going, but it’s not a bad idea. Italy also has gas pipeline deals with Algeria and Libya. So they definitely want to help stabilize the region.

    All this while the WSJ reported (front page hard copy) that even the fracking industry is admitting that fracking is all of that 100 years of supply that was being touted by some.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “These Republicans Want Drone Strikes on Mexico”

    Sigh! I am of the firm opinion that people should not be allowed to run for office unless their IQ is higher than their shoe size. If the US sent their military into Mexico then I can guarantee that you would see the Mexican Army fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Drug Cartels for the first time ever.

  22. Will

    Last Monday(?), Lambert posted in the Water Cooler a link to this study on propylene glycol (PG) as a possible protective against airborne transmission of respiratory viruses.

    In the comments, there was some discussion of PG’s use in vape pens. I don’t vape, but someone mentioned vaping without the nicotine. Which got me wondering about making my own nasal spray. Lambert noted that Enovid/VirX doesn’t contain PG.

    Thankfully, along with the above study, Lambert also linked to a tweet about inactive ingredients being effective virus killers. Replies to that tweet linked to this about PG nasal sprays. Seems it’s a common treatment for dry nasal passages.

    The above mentions a common brand name in Canada for such sprays, and woohoo! Seems to be readily available.

    I searched for the same brand name on the Walgreens website but no luck. But lots of nasal sprays and propylene was shown in the ingredient list for a child’s saline mist. Don’t know if that would be the same but in any event, a search for an over the counter nasal spray for dryness that contains PG may be worth your time.

    Also, would a PG nasal spray be a replacement for something like Enovid/RivX?

    1. Carla

      Thanks for the info. Not sure about the yuck factor of spraying sesame oil up my nostrils, but I’m thinkin’ on it.

    2. Lee

      Just checked and found that the main ingredient in the Systane eye drops I use daily is polyethylene glycol. If it’s safe for my eyes, I’m assuming it’s safe for my nose.

      1. Steve H.

        : Active Ingredients Purpose
        Polyethylene Glycol 400 0.4% Lubricant
        Propylene Glycol 0.3% Lubricant

  23. semper loquitur

    Poetry Nook:

    The Golgotha Parade

    Sour milk brass band squirting

    Curdled streamers of home and hearth.

    Waxy residue sliding down the empty faces

    Of the hollow, hungry mobs

    Feasting on whipped sugar shit foam


    And servile rage.

    Pressing in, grasping at nothing.

    Skeletal beasts prancing

    Flowers and finger bones

    Dragging wailing corpse wagons

    Down fly-blown streets

    Trailing barbed wire ribbons

    Wrapped with shameful smiles.

    Teeth cracking and popping

    Under rough shod hooves.

    Above, iron clouds

    Booming drums of gray,

    Lightning screams

    Down the stairs headfirst

    To frame the dire vision

    Of the Machine.

    Stacks spewing oily black processed love.

    Gears screaming, choked with cries

    And sooty grease from the Oven.

    Brain flecked red wheels roll baby roll!

    Engorged on white phosphorus

    And the DU blues.

    Laughing voids

    Leering and winking

    Riding high!

    Gnawing and snapping

    Insatiably satisfied

    Beaming down with high pride

    Upon the shattered eggshell skull fragments

    Shat from the ass

    Of the Golgotha Parade.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Reviving the Arsenal of Democracy: Steps for Surging Defense Industrial Capacity”

    If they were really serious about this, it would require two initial steps. One, have a US industrial policy and two, nationalize some defence corporations such as artillery rounds manufacturers. Unless those two things happen, you can forget it. This is one of those things where throwing money at it will not solve that problems due to hard physical limits.

    1. hk

      WRT step number 2, technically, several US munitions plants are still gov’t owned–US Army still technically owns the Lima Tank Factory, for example–there’s a Lt. Col who is the commandant of the place, although the place is operated by General Dynamics. Apparently, US gov’t still owns ammunition factories, too, although, again, they are run by contractors. I am curious how exactly these places are actually administered and how (if) the operations can be changed, assuming gov’t actually wants to do something different, though….

    2. Polar Socialist

      For what it’s worth, Russian Plastmass factory in Chelyabinsk is supposed to open a new, completely automatized ammunition production line this year. It’s supposed to increase factory’s output by 50% (no idea about the absolute number, though). Construction time two years and price $3M.

      The parent corporation, Rostec, says it has invested about $24M in similar automatization projects. The assumption could be that Russia is currently spinning out 8 or so brand new ammunition production lines.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe elements of the MIC are very serious about ‘reviving the arsenal of democracy’. I doubt there is any serious intention to nationalize any defense corporations or initiate a u.s. industrial policy. The DoD funding lines for certain kinds of procurements should see a nice little bump up. However, this may lead to an increase in u.s. provocations of China to the extent that elements of the MIC affiliated with Navy procurements feel impacts from expenditures for ‘reviving the arsenal of democracy’. I am not sure how elements of the MIC affiliated with the air force might respond. I believe it has been decades since DoD expenditures had much to do with national defense or the procurement of operational weapons systems. An increase in DoD procurements is a nice return from the Billions shipped to the Ukraine.

  25. LawnDart

    Re; #COVID-19/Old Blighty

    Happy Panniversary.

    Much has been said of the British government’s failure to take this public health emergency seriously in its early stages. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with characteristically foolhardy optimism, had ignored medical advice and travelled around the country unmasked and shaking hands. He’d kept the borders open and had resisted the imposition of lockdown restrictions until the virus had spread widely across the population.

  26. pjay

    – ‘Germans to the Front’ – Wolfgang Streeck, New Left Review

    I always look forward to Streeck’s articles. But for several reasons this one was a little more disturbing than usual. His depiction of US policy, and that of its sycophants in Germany, rang true as it generally does. But I was depressed at the degree to which the general German population has swallowed the anti-Russian narrative according to Streeck, with almost no support for those favoring a more rational policy. Also, Streeck himself seems to have swallowed Western propaganda in his depiction of Russia’s current military situation. To hear him tell it, aside from its nuclear capabilities the Russian military is rickety, clueless, and going broke, and because of this the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons is a real danger. This, of course, helps reinforce important elements of the warmonger narrative, even if that is not his intention. Perhaps that’s why he seems so dismissive of Sahra Wagenkneckht and other anti-war voices.

    1. DanB

      A colleague of mine is, like Streeck, a German sociologist quite well-known in his area of expertise. When I mentioned that I thought Wagenknecht was essentially correct in her analysis of the geopolitical situation in Germany, especially re the Ukraine war, he told me she was an insignificant voice from an insignificant party (Die Linke). He referred to Putin as a fascist and then told me he did not want to have any further discussions of German foreign policy, presumably because an an American I do not have a moral warrant or intellectual subtlety and nuance to discuss Germany and its future. I’ve had other German friends simply not reply to my questions about their nation’s situation and future.

      1. pjay

        Yes, very depressing indeed. Of course highly educated academics can be just as closed-minded here. I’m thankful to be retired now; there are a few of my former “progressive” colleagues with whom daily interaction now would be unbearable. But when I recall the significant opposition by German academics, political elites, and the general population to the invasion of Iraq, I have to ask, WTF? I do understand that Germany and Russia have a history, but a rational “realist” orientation was still prominent, if not dominant, not that many years ago. At least in the US partisan politics still creates a few cracks though which some light can occasionally leak through. But in Europe, the Mighty Wulitzer seems all-powerful now.

      2. Lee

        As a tax paying citizen of a global hegemon you have every right to comment on our imperial projects and machinations in just about any country you care to name.

    2. communistmole

      For German leftists, Putin is considered the Godfather of the extreme right in Europe, in Germany namely the AFD. The fact that the AFD is the only party that unanimously opposes the war confirms their analysis for them.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Ha, so it is the same as in the US? i.e. foreign policy preferences driven by domestic party-political conflicts?

    1. hk

      Marx was wrong, apparently. The first time (Original version of The Producers) was a farce. The second time (whatever happens now to rehabilitate the unmentionables.) will be a “tragedy.”

      1. Wukchumni

        Producers 1968: Sell 25,000% of a play, hope it bombs

        Producers 2023: Sell 25,000 of a bomb, hope it plays.

  27. Wukchumni

    As drought persists in the west, justices to consider Navajo Nation’s rights to Colorado River SCOTUSblog
    The maddening thing for the southwest is despite Cali largely erasing it’s devastating drought in a series of fell swoops, the Colorado River system isn’t having that kind of winter.

    They’ve done ok, but it sadly doesn’t matter as the river has been so woefully over allocated, which really isn’t an issue here.

    1. Carolinian

      That article was all legal chat and didn’t get into what they need the water for. The Little Colorado area east of the Grand Canyon is stunningly beautiful but all that high desert is not exactly prime agricultural land. If they are planning to pipe the water down to Phoenix condos then I’d say the other pact members have an objection. And even if it is for agriculture isn’t there too much Colorado water being used for that already?

      Apparently the res took an economic hit when they had to close the Navajo Power Station that was pouring coal smoke over the national park. If poverty is the issue then it might be better policy to just give them financial support.

      1. Lee

        If the principle of “first in time, first in right” is determinative, then the Navajo have got all other claimants beat by about a millennium.

        1. Carolinian

          And giant agribusiness operations in CA (after the earlier natives were conveniently wiped out). The first in time rule is not just in an era of water scarcity. But it’s not written in stone should the Federal government choose to make different laws. So IMO it does matter what they intend to do with the water.

  28. zagonostra

    >Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Attacked and Beaten in Athens

    The former Finance Minister of the SYRIZA government, economist Yanis Varoufakis, who is now the leader of his own political party -known as MERA 25 or DIEM 25- was brutally attacked and beaten by a group of five individuals in face coverings while dining at a restaurant in the district of Exarcheia, central Athens, on Friday night.

  29. Mikel
    Inside SVB’s bankruptcy: startup company losses have threatened the financial system for years

    “…Amazon became profitable in its 10th year, when it had $3 billion in cumulative losses. At least 18 publicly traded American “unicorns” — companies valued at $1 billion or greater — have more than $3 billion in cumulative losses, of which three have more than $10 billion.

    Moreover, most are far older than 10 years. The average age of America’s 144 publicly traded unicorns is 14 years. While Amazon’s $3 billion in cumulative losses were about equal to its revenues in year 10, almost 60% of publicly traded American unicorns have cumulative losses greater than their 2021 revenues, meaning that even if they become profitable — a big if — it will be difficult for them to overcome their cumulative losses…”

  30. dot connecting

    Re: Ben Norton’s US government bailout of Silicon Valley and banks is $300B gift to rich oligarchs

    Great piece. Love that he compared the bail out of Oligarchs to the inhuman US affordable housing tragedy and Homelessness, particularly since Silicon Valley has a minimum of 11,000 homeless people, mostly unsheltered; San Francisco, just under 10,000 minimum. It’s been high time for outrage about this issue for decades now.

    Re this though, regarding David O. Sacks, whom he discusses at length:

    Sacks is also a significant campaign contributor to so-called “populist” GOP politicians, like J.D. Vance and Blake Masters – both of whom worked for Thiel.

    I would add this: by Jarod Facundo, March 16, 2023 Silicon Valley Congressman Fundraising With Whiny Venture Capitalist-Rep. Ro Khanna, who stumped aggressively for a depositor bailout at Silicon Valley Bank, now will solicit funds with David Sacks, one of the loudest supporters of that policy.

    Khanna likes to tout his independence from outside influences. He takes no money from political action committees and lobbyists. So it’s strange that as the tech industry has suffered blunder after blunder, he still sees it as wise to rub shoulders with the groups most opposed to government intervention. And when questioned about his motivations, he responds savvily about how his actions actually move forward progressive legislative goals.

    Further, Peter Thiel was one of Khanna’s first major funders, along with quite a few other Silicon Valley Oligarchs. Quite the chameleon Khanna has always been, also one of the wealthiest House members.

    1. Carolinian

      Homeless could get work as Blood Boys* for the tech elite. When the Mad Max future finally arrives they can strap them to the front of their dune buggies.**

      *ht HBO Silicon Valley.

      ** Mad Max: Fury Road

  31. Susan the other

    Wolfgang Streeck. New Left Review. Germans to the Front. Very clear analysis of the relationship between Germany and the US. Sounding tragic for Germany – the US is planning the Europeanization of the Ukraine stalemate with Germany as the big stooge. And Scholz as the sausage? Or will we finally be the sausage? Germany clearly wants trade with China imo, and China clearly wants a Eurasian economy imo, so this whole scheme by Biden et al could maybe break bad.

  32. Kouros

    Is CNN aware that by US law(s), Putin could still visit the US without fear of ICC? That is if the US were a nation of laws…

      1. Daniil Adamov

        I always did like Bolton since I found out about him. There is something to be said for being so open and consistent in one’s contempt for the “international community”, as opposed to hypocritically using it as a cover. He’s a fool in many other respects, but I think he’s on to something with regards to certain international institutions.

  33. some guy

    About . . . ” What he actually said was that people in the US use opiates because they’re hurt, lonely, and isolated, not because fentanyl is foisted on them by Mexican cartels” . . .

    I don’t know what headline was being referred to, but about this thing he said which I am quoting . . .
    Yes, indeed, some of the people in the US use opiates because they’re hurt, lonely, and isolated. Other people use them because they were very carefully addicted to them by deliberate addictogenic regimens cleverly crafted by Purdue-Sackler ( McKinsey) and other big suppliers going through strategically placed pill-millers. And when the legal opiates were then withdrawn from addictogenic mass availability, the carefully addicted customers were left to find their way to the illegal drug markets.

    On the other hand, the use of fentanyl was strictly and exactly foisted upon all the illegal opiate users by the Mexican drug cartels and their Chinese ( and maybe Indian?) precursor suppliers. I am not aware of a single opiate addict who requested their suppliers to “please put some fentanyl in my heroin or oxycontin or whatever you sell”.

    Now, what we should do about that is another matter. Assassinating cartel leaders won’t work because they have deep benches. There are always thousands of cartel workers ready to step up and take the place of any assassinated leader or major henchman. And the cartelers probably have enough links and feelers into the US that they could carry out countervailing assassination campaigns here in response.

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