Links 3/31/2023

World’s Largest Organism Is Slowly Being Eaten, Scientist Says Science Alert

Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative Cell (!!).

Why Investment Complexity Is Not Your Friend Morningstar


The Incredible Disappearing Doomsday Harpers (AL).

Glimmering in the sunlight, bobbing like an otter The Narwhale. Kelp (see NC here).

Heat pump sales up 11% worldwide in 2022, record 40% in Europe, driven by energy crisis Andalu Agency


As hydropower dams quell the Mekong’s life force, what are the costs Mongabay

Landslides in Mekong Delta increasingly serious Saigon News

Projected seasonal changes in future rainfall erosivity over the Lancang-Mekong River Basin under the CMIP6 scenarios Journal of Hydrology


COVID-19 Exposed Weaknesses in China’s Rural Healthcare The Diplomat. Making Xi’s decision to kowtow to the Five Eyes and “Let ‘er rip” — because TINA, presumably — all the more creepy and disturbing.

‘Dare to fight’: Xi Jinping unveils China’s new world order FT

The politics of Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou referencing ‘yan huang descendants’ South China Morning Post


40% jump in cases in a day: Will a fresh wave of Covid-19 hit India? Business Standard. Commentary:

South Africa Mulls Options After ICC’s Putin Arrest Order Voice of America

European Disunion

The French Uprising New Left Review (AL).

Dear Old Blighty

Yousaf accused of ‘insulting’ Scots with creation of independence minister role Holyrood

Britain secures agreement to join Indo-Pacific trade bloc Politico

New Not-So-Cold War

Why Force Fails Foreign Affairs

Russia Asks UN To Hand Full List Of Bucha Victims; Presses For Int’l Investigation Republic World

* * *

Cheerleading versus shivers down your spine: what will the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive bring? Gilbert Doctorow

Hosting Russian Nuclear Weapons Will Have Far-Reaching Consequences for Belarus Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

START treaty: Russia stops sending nuclear arms info to US Al Jazeera

Can the dogs of Chernobyl teach us new tricks on survival? AP

* * *

Turkey’s parliament ratifies Finland’s application to join NATO France24

Belarus brands deployment of NATO troops near border ‘irresponsible escalation’ Andalu Agency

* * *

Terrifying impact 130 meters underground from a Russian super-sonic Kinzhal missile at the NATO command center in Ukraine! (Google translation) Big if true.

* * *

‘Russia alone can already confront the entire West…’ India Punchline (Rev Kev).

‘It’s not a pretty picture’: Russia’s support is growing in the developing world CNBC

It’s morally repugnant, but isolationism on Ukraine makes some sense FT

You Will Hardly Find This In The News… Andrei Martyanov, Reminiscence of the Future (Chuck L). Dedollarization.

China, Brazil strike deal to ditch dollar for trade Straits Times (notabanker). More dedollarization. But:

The Caribbean

Shadowy brokers walk off with billions in Venezuelan oil AP

Biden Administration

Biden skirts bank bailout backlash Politico


Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to business fraud CNN. 30! “The indictment has been filed under seal.” So everything right now is meta—

Trump’s statement:

Donald Trump Has Been Indicted. Don’t Get Your Hopes Up. Elie Mystal, The Nation. After the liberalgasm, a cigarette.

Why charges against Trump don’t prevent him from running for president The Hill. Re: separation of powers: “The good Thufir* is a Mentat and has anticipated this moment.” –Frank Herbert, Dune NOTE * That is, James Madison.

Donald Trump indictment thrusts a divided nation into new chapter of chaos FT

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Either G20 cooperates or banking crisis deepens, says Jeffery Sachs Business Standard

Volcker slayed inflation. Bernanke saved the Banks. Can Powell do both? Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century Jacob Siegel, The Tablet. Read together with–

Tablet’s Grand Opus on the Anti-Disinformation Complex Matt Taibbi, The Racket:

[Siegel] concludes with an escalating string of anxiety-provoking propositions. One is that our first windows into this new censorship system, like Stanford’s Election Integrity Partnership, might also be our last, as AI and machine learning appear ready to step in to do the job at scale. The National Science Foundation just announced it was ‘building a set of use cases’ to enable ChatGPT to ‘further automate’ the propaganda mechanism, as Siegel puts it. The messy process people like me got to see, just barely, in the outlines of Twitter emails made public by a one-in-a-million lucky strike, may not appear in recorded human conversations going forward. ‘Future battles fought through AI technologies,’ says Siegel, ‘will be harder to see.'”

* * *

Covering (Up) Antiwar Protest in US Media FAIR

Where Are They Now?: The Pundits Who Got Iraq Wrong The Present Age. They are doing very well for themselves. Exactly as the pundits who got Covid wrong are doing and will do. Now, however, there’s AI….

Sports Desk

Does the soil on a baseball field influence the players? Soils Matter, Get the Scoop

Meet the American who is the ‘true father of baseball,’ New York City physician Daniel ‘Doc’ Adams FOX

Freight Train Derailment Sparks Intense Fire in Minnesota Jalopnik

Class Warfare

The Puzzle of Financialization Harry Magdoff, Paul M. Sweezy Monthly Review

LOADED: Corporate Interests Dominate the Official U.S. Government Trade Advisory System Rethink Trade

I used AI to bet on horse-racing. Here’s what happened FT. Repellent clickbait headline, must-read article. What happens when everything turns into playing the ponies?’ Why is there no over/under on Covid deaths, for example? Or maybe there is!

Vatican rejects ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ that justified historial taking of Indigenous lands Andalu Agency

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Sardonia

    Trump indicted! Song time:

    “BANANA Hymn of the Republic”

    Mine eyes have seen the gory,
    Petty, stupid politics.
    Lawyers toying with indictments
    Made of twine and fragile sticks.
    They’re the toast of New York City
    Season tickets to the Knicks!
    The Stupid Marches On!

    Glory, glory Hallelujah!
    The fruit of Soros’ massive moolah
    Trump’s head, we’ll serve it right up to ya.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    We have slain the nasty Orange Man.
    We’ll be fixtures on TeeVee!
    We’ll be heroes to the masses
    Hooked on MSNBC.
    We are sure that Trump will shrink from
    Any new publicity.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    Glory, glory Hallelujah!
    The fruit of Soros’ massive moolah.
    Trump’s head, we’ll serve it right up to ya.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    We have saved our noble nation
    From the Scourge of Donald Trump.
    This will keep him off the stages.
    This will keep him off the stump.
    Biden’s polling will be certain
    To amass a massive bump!
    The Stupid Marches On!

    Glory, glory Hallelujah!
    The fruit of Soros’ massive moolah.
    Trump’s head, we’ll serve it right up to ya.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    He’ll be shackled at his ankles
    For his Presidential runs.
    What comes next, we can’t be sure;
    Your guess is good as anyone’s.
    Half the country’s celebrating,
    Half are loading up their guns.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    Glory, glory Hallelujah!
    The fruit of Soros’ massive moolah.
    Trump’s head, we’ll serve it right up to ya.
    The Stupid Marches On!

    1. Antifa

      (melody borrowed from Battle Hymn of the Republic)

      A republic is BANANA when you can’t get what you need
      When your medicine and shelter are in no way guaranteed
      When your wages after taxes come about to chicken feed
      Our nation stumbles on!

      That’s the story, whatzit toooo ya
      The suits in DC like to screw ya
      All they care about is moolah
      Our nation stumbles on!

      A million of our citizens have nowhere to call home
      A million more in vehicles, or on the streets they roam
      They don’t live the family lifestyle you record on Kodachrome
      Our nation stumbles on!

      That’s the story, whatzit toooo ya
      The suits on Wall Street aim to screw ya
      All they care about is moolah
      Our nation stumbles on!

      When we conduct elections — no one says that they have lost
      They say the other guy’s a cheat and want the whole thing tossed
      They raise funds for crazed attorneys then they sue at any cost
      Our nation stumbles on!

      That’s the story, whatzit toooo ya
      The suits in DC like to screw ya
      All they care about is moolah
      Our nation stumbles on!

      The people we elect obey the moneyed oligarchs
      To them we are not citizens, we’re rubes and hicks and marks
      There’s no way to make some sense of things until you read Karl Marx
      Our nation stumbles on!

      That’s the story, whatzit toooo ya
      The suits on Wall Street aim to screw ya
      All they care about is moolah
      Our nation stumbles on!

      Ohh, that’s the story, whatzit toooo ya
      The suits in DC like to screw ya
      All they care about is moolah
      Our nation stumbles on!

      1. John

        I rather like it titled better as . . . Hymn of the Banana Republic

        Regardless, Antifa should be reported for wrong speaking truth.

        My soul bleeds for what my country I love has become.

  2. Pat

    Small warning: if you want that adorable photo of otters to remain an antidote do not click on the “via” link.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “START treaty: Russia stops sending nuclear arms info to US”

    That’s true and it is not. It is not a wonder that the Russians cut themselves off this treaty. Under it, the US would be able to send their people to places like Russian airbases that house bombers that carry nukes. Like the one that was attacked by the Ukrainians with a drone that had technical assistance from the US. If the US visited there again, they would be able to give the Ukrainians much more accurate targeting information and where exactly to hit after inspecting the insides of the hangers. On the other hand, Russia has said that they will notify the US of any missile tests so that they don’t get freaked out-

  4. hunkerdown

    Anadolu. Think Anatolia, not Andalusia.

    re: the disinfo beat, it occurred to me while half-asleep that the Secretary of Commerce is involved in the $1 million forbidden website deal because, Warner having form as an IP maximalist, there is a copyright element hidden in this bill. RESTRICT is an anti-piracy bill wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. Sci-Hub is the target, not so much RT.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    I am seeing an awful lot of crowing from my liberal friendses on Fcbk about the Trump indictment.

    Let me assure you of a great lesson: What goes around comes around.

    After the performance of the Democrats and their shabby treatment of Taibbi and Shellenberger, as Plaskett and Debbie $$$ Schultz devolved into fully fledged McCarthyism, one should be a tad concerned about the Bill of Rights in the U S of A.

    Betting pool? Is Hunter Biden next? Or will it be Bill Clinton?

    To sum up, at Rock n Roll High School USA, you don’t matter, your needs don’t matter, and all that matters is the circus and the looting.

    1. Sardonia

      “Betting pool? Is Hunter Biden next? Or will it be Bill Clinton?”

      That’s the kind of thinking that your liberal friendses on Fcbk might engage in. But it’s clarifying to recall what someone remarked after the Timothy McVeigh bombing in Oklahoma City – that the folks who support Hillary and Biden studied Humanities in school – while the folks who support Trump were in Shop Class and Industrial Arts.

      Don’t expect this to play out in any kind of civilized manner….

      1. Carla

        That is an insult to Humanities majors like me, who never, ever supported Biden or Hillary. Just like some Industrial Arts majors, some Humanities majors learned how to think. And most in both categories have not.

      2. Chris Smith

        I took honors academics classes and various industrial arts courses in high school, and can’t really stand Biden or Trump. The lesson? Give everybody a Humanities and a Trades education for the civic good!

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        This [“betting pool”] is the kind of trivialization of important constitutional issues that TPTB count on, and the befuddled, relentlessly propagandized “electorate” never fails to deliver. Ditto for the announcement being made on baseball’s opening day, when much of that same electorate was otherwise occupied.

        “A republic, if you can keep it,” or at least pay a modicum of attention when it’s being eroded away.

        As far as the legal justifications for this “indictment,” I think this, from the Taibbi interview of Jacob Siegel link, is relevant, even if it’s not directly on point:

        I wasn’t an immediate Russiagate skeptic. I didn’t see it and immediately think, “This is bullshit.” I saw it and thought to myself, “This is exaggerated… Adam Schiff is exaggerating, but he can’t be just lying like that (laughs) in public.” Really on a very fundamental level, in terms of my unquestioned premises, I was not capable of believing that an American national elected official could lie that brazenly, or that the intelligence agencies, which I knew to be corrupt and inefficient in a billion different ways, could be involved in a grand sort of conspiracy. It seemed too farfetched.

        Adam Schiff is a weird guy to be responsible for lifting the veil, because he’s such a schmuck. But realizing that he just kept lying over and over, something clicked for me. Probably the next big turning point was the Russian bounty story. I wrote a piece on that for Tablet at the time, and there was no going back from that.

    2. griffen

      They got him, they finally got him this time!! I was having a sinister thought, however, why didn’t Trump just charter a small Cessna to fly his former side thing, Stormy Daniels, and have her flown into the side of a mountain or have a perilous tragedy of some similar sort. Nope, not sarcasm.

      It’s politics, there are parallels of this type of occurrence. One more thought. We still can’t see who is on the secret Epstein client list.

      1. JohnnyGL

        It seems pretty clear that this whole ruckus has little to do with stormy daniels and much more to do with the manhattan DA and the blue-anon base that continues to fetishize seeing trump in handcuffs.

        They may well be opening a pandora’s box with this law-fare type of political warfare.

        1. Oh

          The Democrat President was “elected” last time because of “Trump, Trump, Trump” cries. They want to use the same ploy to try and do a repeat. Might happen because there are so may American who only watch MSM and don’t want to figure out things for themselves.

          1. jsn

            Trump’s the only object large and eerily luminous enough to obscure their serial failures.

            That is, unless they “win” Ukraine by provoking nuclear annihilation.

            One worries that would seem like “success” to these idiots.

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            There is good evidence that disputes the idea that the crime rate is rising. There is also good evidence that pretrial detention is expensive and does nothing to make us safer. I’d suggest reading Scott Hechinger.

            “Violent crime skyrocketing!” Nope. Murder, shootings, rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, & transit arrests in NYC down between 2% & 19% compared w last year. And look at decrease from the 90s.


            He’ll show you the actual numbers from the NYPD

            I would love to see a deep discussion here on cash bail/incarceration/jail reform. The cost of local jails is skyrocketing. In the reading I’ve done this year and from the people I’ve met (former felons) we can have a different system with better results for lots of people.

        2. flora

          From Jonathan Turley:

          The Trump Indictment: Making History in the Worst Possible Way

          Why do I think the Dem DA will wait until 2024 to start the case? Like another impeachment hearing during the year T will be running for office.

          No matter what I think of T, this bs is worse. Is this the action of a confident dem party or a dem party that fears it will lose unless it kneecaps T before the election? Voters be damned.

          1. Alice X

            Thanx for the link. Trump certainly committed some serious offenses and should be held to account But we don’t know what the actual charges are and if it is over Stormy Daniels, that isn’t one of them.

            With the Donziger decision, the twitter files, Hamilton 68, Jeff Siegle’s report, the Demrats McCarthy-ite (as in Joe) posture, on & on, I have a feeling that the rate we are going down the drain is speeding up.

            1. Procopius

              As Obama said of the banksters, “A lot of what they did wasn’t illegal,” because Clinton removed the laws and regulations. I haven’t seen any serious offenses that Trump has been proven to have committed, but I’ve seen a lot of blather. I’ll wait to see if he gets convicted of any of these many counts, but the whole country has been insane since 2016.

              1. Alice X

                The assassination of Suleimani was a major crime, probably done at the bidding of Bibi. That’s just one.

        1. griffen

          That was priceless, and a great mental break for a Friday, in between reviewing the TPS reports. Back to my filing and collating.

    3. Pat

      My first thought was that this will be a great victory for the Orange Man is the baddest thing that ever happened crowd until it falls apart.

      Not only will Trump fund raise on it, but the burden of proof is still on this year’s Saint Alvin Bragg who will face more scrutiny on a prosecution than he has ever had before.

      Yes Trump will evade conviction until he doesn’t but I don’t think a case which multiple old hands refused to take on is going to be the streak changer.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wouldn’t it be funny if he was jailed but was also elected as President. How would that work out? Would he be flown each day to the White House to work and return each night? Or would they have to clear out a federal prison to make room for all the White House staff and workers?

        1. wendigo

          Assuming the Republican DA’s get their game on and tit for tat gets into overdrive, it would be simpler to make the Capital Hill a penal colony for the convicted and indicted being held without bail.

          1. Posaunist

            I’m sure that CoreCivic or one of their competitors would love the no bid White House / Capitol Complex correctional facility contract.

        2. Pat

          That could be fun.
          I also think the revelations that could happen in a fully televised prosecution* might top that. Starting with the Upper East and West Side losing their minds at the realization that they are surrounded by people who will not convict Donald Trump just for being Donald Trump during the voirdire. And that occurs whether or not there is a change of venue.**

          *Bragg and prosecutors would be smart to fight what will be sure to be massive media pressure to have a repeat of the OJ trial. The media will see this as a great way to get their Trump ratings bonus without actually supposedly contributing to his popularity. Because let’s face it Biden may play slightly better than HRC, but he is possibly the worst campaigner in the Democratic Party. Unlike Trump the more you see Joe the less votes he has and the less people tune in.

          **Outside of Manhattan Trump’s odds increase exponentially, and I believe they are okay in Manhattan.

        3. Lex

          I’d actually vote for trump if he was in jail simply for the bumper sticker “my president is on work release”.

    4. Martin Oline

      I think the best betting pool would be on the amount of cash the Trump 2024 campaign rakes in during the week (between last night March 30 and April 5). Will it be in excess of $500,000? Lower or higher? I have no idea but the total will probably be well publicized.

      1. Martin Oline

        The Trump campaign has raised an average of $201,600 a day up until the end of January. Seven days would be $1,411,200 if there is no change in the rate. I think it will be $50 million.

        1. Not Again

          It’s 2016 all over again. Trump ought to put Bragg on the campaign payroll. The only thing that stops Trump from winning the nomination now is an MI. And that means he’s one of only two people who could win the White House in 2024. If your dream was to choose between ywo calcified, demented old men, you got your wish.

          “Say anything you want about me, just spell my name right,” applies to show biz and politics.

          1. semper loquitur

            If they fail to lock his a$$ up in a cell, they are going to need a Hulk-class containment facility to hold him. His powers will be unimaginable. Pass the popcorn and a flak vest…

            1. The Rev Kev

              Isn’t there a saying that if you are going to try to get the king, that you had better not miss?

    5. Glen

      The elites are not good at gaming this stuff out.

      Who do you vote for if the war goes south, or the economy goes south, or both:

      The guy that is President and got us into the war and is bailing out the billionaires when the banks go bad, and ignoring train wrecks that contaminate a whole town after forcing the rail workers back to work.

      Or the guy sitting in a jail saying he can end the war in a week, that the billionaires should not get bailed out, and he is an example of how Americans are unfairly prosecuted.

      I think the decision tree on how to vote may even start to obliterate party lines.

      In fact, I’m beginning to think that the Democrats have actually created one of the only scenarios that could get a guy sitting in jail elected.

      Crazy times…

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Terrifying impact 130 meters underground from a Russian super-sonic Kinzhal missile at the NATO command center in Ukraine!”

    This is extra bad news for NATO. They spent over $1.23 billion on a brand new building for themselves in Brussels and this confirms that all the underground bunkers that they built under it will give them zero protection from a Kinzhal. And there is no defence against one either. In case of an attack you would be safer in the NATO HQ parking lot.

    Were there NATO personnel in that bunker? Probably. That is why they were so deep. But as they are there to help fight Russia, then they are fair game for the Russians. Play stupid games and win stupid prizes as they say. This might be Russia’s answer to the west sending depleted uranium ammo to the Ukraine with probably a promise of even more such attacks. Something like this supposedly happened during the Syrian war and if so, then NATO had fair warning of the risks.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Unfortunately this is part and parcel of military training. Accidents I mean. Back in ’96, two Black Hawk helicopters collided here in Oz which killed 18 guys – 15 from the Special Air Service Regiment and three from the 5th Aviation Regiment. As those two choppers burned, survivors had to go in to rescue the others while ammo was going off-

        As for those poor guys in Kentucky, what can you can say but RIP. They died doing their duty.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “doing their duty,” getting ready to “project Imperial power” in some sh!thole country “over there.” That is not “protecting the nation.” Found that out as an Army enlisted man in Vietnam.

          While training at Ft. Rucker, waiting for a slot as a warrant officer helicopter pilot, I got to take part in a cleanup detail. Seems one of the outsourced non-Army technicians (a drunk, as it turned out) was given the job of replacing rotor blades on a UH-1B “Huey” used in flight training. The rotor system attached to the helicopter via a hub structure retained to the rotor mast by a “cap,” a large nut about 5 inches in diameter. This has to be torqued down to about 1300 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench about 8 feet long with a couple of beefy mechs pushing on it. It then is locked in place with a serrated keeper that mates with gear teeth around the periphery of the cap. Which in turn is secured and “safetiied” with a 1/4” high-strength bold, itself safety-wired to resist basking out.

          It seems this highly paid Textron technician neglected to torque the cap down and to properly install the toothed lock after replacing the rotor system on the mast. And the Army tech inspector saw what looked like a proper job, and signed off on the repair. This aircraft passed a check flight. The next flight was a familiarization with a 5-person crew. At 2,500 feet, the rotor system “departed from the aircraft,” and the rest of it made an 8-foot crater in the Alabama dirt. I got to be on the “recovery crew” that took the body bags to collect the squishy bits for burial, and the bits of the aircraft for “analysis.”

          A brand new UH-1D was delivered to our unit in Vietnam. As it hovered over our basketball court, an improperly torqued 1/4” bolt installed by Textron at the factory caused one of the control horns on the swash plate to break, and the chopper rolled instantly to the right and crashed onto its right side from about 50 feet. Killed the crew chief and aircraft commander, the pilot and gunner survived.

          That cap nut is known as the “Jesus nut,” since if it fails, the crew has just about enough time to say “Jesus” before it hits the ground. A helicopter is thousands of parts flying in loose formation, all of those parts vibrating and shaking and trying to break free. So lots of sh!t happens, for lots of Murphy’s Law reasons and lots of random stupidity by pilots and troops.

          1. Heretic

            ‘ That cap nut is known as the “Jesus nut,” since if it fails, the crew has just about enough time to say “Jesus” before it hits the ground.’…. 😄…. sorry, I do find this funny, although the consequences are far from funny.

            Shows, that in complex critical systems, every part of the system is important.

          2. skippy

            Meh … maiming and death happens all the time in training, been there and done that, risk increasing with the level of training hazards. It was hard not to smirk during PT in Ranger Bat if the walking wounded chalk was in eye view. Yes you still fell out in the dark and if all you could do is extend your pinky finger that is what you did the whole time whilst everyone else did PT.

            Not much info as yet save flying at night with night vision gear, no mention of NAP flying or anything else. At least they were not flying with full combat loads of soldiers, those fancy G-seats sure did not last long, fit way more guys in lmmao … centrifugal force makes for a great seat belt cost saver too – !!!!! – oh and all the guys with full kit dog piling in and out at speed makes for epic comedy …

            Hope you were not one of those sadist pilots back in Rgr school that would spill a hand full of jelly beans on the floor, during flight, so you could watch the starving Rgr students fight for a few measly calories – good times …

            1. JBird4049

              >>>Hope you were not one of those sadist pilots back in Rgr school that would spill a hand full of jelly beans on the floor, during flight, so you could watch the starving Rgr students fight for a few measly calories – good times …

              How is this not describing modern retail or warehouse work?

              1. skippy

                Really – ????? – Musk and Bezos would tell you its voluntary[tm] ….

                Oh and they have amenities like aircon, toilets, and can do what they want after a shift, yet …. they are slaves to their master tablet just as a Rgr student is to their RI [Ranger instructor] … might even be possible that a few RI’s provided the psychological aspect of its coding …. /S …

                No you have done it …. envisioning cold mornings where the staff have to break the ice on the worm pit so they can low crawl 50m from the parking lot into the fulfillment center and start the glorious day of serving the share holders …

          3. Neckmann

            I was a helicopter mechanic in the army 84-87. worked on Cobras (Jesus nut torqued to 650 pound-feet). We had an extra Jesus nut on hand. When rookie pilots did their first solo runup, we would throw the nut in front of the helo to see what they did. Each one immediately shut down. Then went to the latrine…

        2. digi_owl

          Yep, it didn’t take long for the annual Joint Viking to report a collision between a car and a military vehicle.

          Luckily i think this year there were no fatalities, unlike other years where vehicles have gone through ice and buildings have collapsed on soldiers do to excessive snow.

          Never mind that V-22 Osprey that was sitting several months in a nature reserve last year.

      2. ChrisFromGA


        I was thinking a bunch of “training accidents” over in Germany and Poland, as well.

      3. OnceWereVirologist

        Surprise, surprise – the soldiers killed are from the 101st Airborne – a large number of which deployed to Romania in June last year.

      4. hk

        That was the first thing I thought. The only surprise was that the reported number is a bit on the lower side than I would have figured.

    1. DG

      Given the fact that this comes from a Greek site and dated 3/12/23 I would take this with a grain of salt.

      1. Martin Oline

        Reports about this strike were coming out in eastern media the day after the strike. This is the first report in western media. The original report hinged the success of the strike based on a large delegation of Ukraine officials visiting western embassies. This was thought to be the delivery of the fatality list. Due to electronic warfare it had to be done in person. No more repeats of Victoria Nuland’s famous phone call. Hey, has anyone seen Vicky lately? Is the government in Kiev a Vichy Government?

        1. Divadab

          Hmmmmm… this makes the story more plausible but I still have my doubts. And everyone involved has an interest in keeping this secret, including the Russians. So we may never have the straight dope.

        2. hemeantwell

          Just after the Kinzhal strike Mercouris gave the report a “maybe, maybe not” and speculatively linked it to an unusually threatening flight the following day by a B-52 in the direction of St. Petersburg. He hasn’t referred to it since that I’m aware of. I don’t believe Martyanov, who is quite a fan of Russian missile tech, has made much of it either.

          For me, in the background are the questions of Russian intelligence capacities and what they choose to leak. Trying to make sense of it quickly gets you into a muddle over whether they would prefer to not appear to rub NATO’s face in a significant blow to its personnel.

          1. Kouros

            Mercouris, in a later report, said that he has information that makes him believe that such an attack did not in fact occur.

    2. Paradan

      So I was doubtful about the 130 meters part, but after a little research it seems like a legit number. The GBU-57A/B MOP is a gravity bomb and it’ll go through 60 meters of reinforced concrete, of course it weighs close to 30,000 lbs. A Kinzhal going mach 6 should make up for the weight difference.

      1. Skip Intro

        And the Kinzhal supposedly comes in at a near vertical trajectory, so all the momentum, and weight of rubble goes down. Even if the basement of the lowest floor survives intact, it will be tricky to get to.

    3. Divadab

      I have doubts about this story. An almost identical story surfaced in Syria when the Russians were very active rooting out jihadis. A missile that can penetrate 400 feet of rock and concrete? Seems a stretch….

      1. ambrit

        Not so much the missile itself as the shock wave resulting from the massive transfer of energy that the sudden stopping of an object travelling Mach 12, or 9200 miles per hour, creates. Just like extra Terrestrial objects striking the Earth from space. The damage comes from the combination of the speed of the object times the mass of the object.
        The shock wave effect would do such unpleasant things like rupture lungs, scramble brains, and other deleterious effects. The same happens to people in the water. A hand grenade dropped in a body of water will incapacitate persons in the water within a distance from the point of detonation. The shock wave does the damage.
        Addition to Political Survival Rules, such as Rule #7, “Do not fly in small aircraft.”
        Rule #13: “Stay out of the water.”
        New! Rule #13-B: “Do not take the junket to the Ukraine.” [Brought to you by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense.]
        Stay safe! Keep your Pink Bunny Slippers handy.

        1. Divadab

          Thx! I guess then that the Turkish suspicions that the recent earthquake was caused by just such a missile might have legs?

          1. ambrit

            I don’t know about that. The region where the earthquake occurred in Turkey is notorious for having big earthquakes, regularly. It is in a crustal boundary zone where plates are moving past each other. However, considering the work ongoing about the geomagnetic influences upon the Earth’s movements, I wouldn’t count the ‘theory’ out completely. DARPA is funding all sorts of “out there” theories and associated experiments. For example, try Googling “HAARP.”

        2. digi_owl

          Speaking of grenade in water, a redneck classic is fishing with dynamite. Toss a lit stick overboard, bang, collect all the shocked fish floating on the surface.

          And i do believe concrete bombs (basically a block of concrete shaped like a typical gravity bomb) have been used for good effect against buildings when collateral damage was considered an issue (not much of that in recent years tough, as drone carried hellfire missiles has become the weapon of choice).

          There is even fanciful talk about launching satellites with a cargo of tungsten “crowbars”. That can then later be dropped on targets from orbit.

          1. Glen

            In my neck of the woods, fishing with dynamite is called using “DuPont spinners”, and things like this can still happen when many people lose jobs and families get very hungry.

          2. The Rev Kev

            The Dam Busters of WW2 used a similar principle with shock waves. The bomb would hit the dam wall and would then descend. When it went off, the weight of the water made most of the explosion go towards the concrete wall.

  7. Old Sovietologist

    “Belarus brands deployment of NATO troops near border ‘irresponsible escalation”

    Poland seems itching to attack Belarus but needs the consent of NATO. An invasion of Belarus is likley being prepared with the object of a coup against Lukashenko

    The deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus makes a NATO move against Belarus a very dangerous one.

    Mind you the NATO goal is to force the Russian to use a tactical nuclear weapon,

    On a separate point it looks like the much vaunted alleged Ukrainian Spring counter offensive south could begin next week. At least it will hide the fall of Bakhmut and in the western propaganda war that’s the most important thing.

    1. upstater

      re. Hosting Russian Nuclear Weapons Will Have Far-Reaching Consequences for Belarus

      The fate of Belarus as a state is becoming increasingly tied to the outcome of a future peace settlement. It will be hard for any subsequent government in Minsk to distance itself from Russia economically and politically of its own accord. But once Belarus starts hosting Russian nuclear weapons, it will be downright impossible.

      Ordinary Belarusians are expected to be against the move: about 80 percent of the country’s urban population oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons in their country, according to Chatham House polls carried out last year.

      Does anybody remember the massive anti-nuclear demonstrations of 40 years ago? Has Chatham House ever polled the Golden billion what they think about US nukes on their territory?

      What does this say about NATO, AUKUS, Japan, South Korea or the dozens of countries hosting the US military? To be an enemy of the US is dangerous, to be a friend is fatal.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        The train carrying the rapprochement of Belarus and Russia left the station three years ago with the failed color revolution attempt in Minsk.

    2. tevhatch

      The import of this decision is that it makes another colour revolution attempt impossible, at least one executed by the USA/EU/Soros organization. Any successful revolution requires either coopting the military to join it or coopting both military/security organs to stand down. Stationing nuclear weapons means full integration of the Russian Military Command and Belarus Military Command, and this is probably the real reason behind the outrage in the west, all that money and time flushed down the drain.

  8. Steve H.

    > The Incredible Disappearing Doomsday Harpers (AL).

    >> Global emissions have plateaued at a level that will likely produce 1.5 degrees of warming, meaning that billions of people will suffer.

    >> Global emissions may peak in a few years, but the subsequent decline will probably be too gradual to limit warming to even 2.5 degrees Celsius—the level that the United Nations projects the world’s net-zero pledges currently put it on track to reach.

    The word which comes to mind, about the article and its subjects, is INCONSISTENCY.

    Note that 2.5 is based on ‘the world’s net-zero pledges’. Woof. Lotta volatile organics coming off of this one.

    1. square coats

      Here I’ve been these last few years thinking that 2.5 would be very very very bad and 3 would basically be unbearable. I found my eyes popping a bit at the upper numbers in the article.

      In any case, it seems like the whole framing in the article is wrong. There’s only so much most individuals can do to. It’s the government’s and companies that need to be making the big changes and here in the u.s. I don’t think my vote can change anything when there aren’t any candidates who actually want to make this happen.

      I know there’s plenty more to do than voting, I’m just being sour. But I do think that journos trying to figure out how to write in a correctly persuasive way designed to cause all us small fish to become more responsible consumers is tangential.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s true that 1.5 degrees C of warming is now out of the picture. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing the TV heads talking 3 degrees. Three degrees! Now we’re seeing articles telling us how that’s not so bad. Maybe not if you’re in an air-conditioned office or house in the Global North. Try that out without air conditioning in the Global South.

      This article is the same tune as those telling us how great it is that Covid has become endemic. Coming soon: articles about how we can all get used to mile-wide tornadoes and Category 6 hurricanes. “They’re great for the economy!” “Go into the clean-up and demo business to profit from climate catastrophes! There’s profit galore in disaster!”

      Our best hope is that civilization crumbles before being baked is baked in. And in the U. S., it’s making a solid effort in that direction.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>It’s true that 1.5 degrees C of warming is now out of the picture. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing the TV heads talking 3 degrees. Three degrees! Now we’re seeing articles telling us how that’s not so bad. Maybe not if you’re in an air-conditioned office or house in the Global North. Try that out without air conditioning in the Global South.

        Oh, goody. Between the rivers of water hitting California and the increasing heat, I should expect to be broiled before I die of whatever will be the current “natural causes.” Hey, is Death Valley (or Barstow for that matter) expected to open for the restaurant business anytime soon? No need to actually cook, just leave the food out on the nearest blacktop for Mother Earth to do it for you!

        Heck, what with the changing weather patterns, if the air rivers become a new normal, could Manley Lake reappear? Aside from Tulare Lake in the Central Valley that is?

        We all expect the West, including California to dry up, turn to dust, and blow away, but what if the recent rains become the new normal? We moderns do tend to wrong about much after all.

    3. ACPAL

      I wasn’t around in the 1920’s but I remember movies with people holding signs like “The End is Near.” I do remember seeing them in some form since the 1950’s. If God isn’t going to strike us down then the economy is going to collapse or the commie’s are going to nuke us, etc., etc., etc.

      If someone’s idea of the end of the world is they’re going to have to sell their house in Miami and move to North Carolina for the same comfort level then yes, global warming is going to bring about the end of the world. Or maybe having to buy a bigger, more efficient air conditioner, what a tragedy. With more and bigger tornadoes we’ll have to evacuate the entire US. Get a grip.

      Humans have lived through amazing weather conditions like Ice Ages, the Little Ice Age, the Dust Bowl era, and a lot more. Things might get tough for a lot of people but this talk of the end of the world is pure BS. We’ll adapt.

      1. witters

        No, many, even most, will be dead, and some may survive (though there being many less, they may not survive further shock/stresses). Extinctions are the rule of the day, and most today – it’s going on all around you – are driven by human causality that is equally impacting its agent(s).

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        Some humans might survive, but civilization, including agriculture, has never existed in temperatures beyond an additional 1.5 degrees C of warming. Growing crops in these conditions, with highly hybridized, fragile varieties, will not be a reliable, resilient process.

        It’s basically a question of what technology will survive this climate and general environmental catastrophe. The longer we hold onto the idea of the middle class lifestyle for the wealthy Global North, the further we will fall. Kunstler predicts a fall back to the horse-powered 1800s. Others are more pessimistic.

        We need to crash land the plane now or there won’t be anything left from which to rebuild.

  9. timbers

    Cheerleading versus shivers down your spine: what will the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive bring? Gilbert Doctorow

    While he makes many good points, Gilbert Doctorow is also fairly consistent in making this one mistake: Believing that a ceasefire and/or agreement with the West is desirable. As an example, see his peace proposal some months ago which IMO was totally unrealistic. He is unrealistic and gets this wrong because the West is not agreement capable, and will use any peace not to further peace but to double down and re-arm for bigger longer war. No reverse gear. Doctorow also gets wrong, that Russia was wise and noble by keeping her gloves on. She should have hit harder and sooner, and is paying the price for not doing so.

    1. lambert strether

      It has occurred to me that, the West lacking the industrial capacity to produce weapons and ammo for the third Ukrainian army to be chewed up, tactical nukes are the logical next step. Assuming, of course, that the principals of the national security establishment of the United States are all as crazy as bedbugs, which is not unreasonable.

      1. timbers

        Two words in response to Doctorow’s ceasefire proposal:

        Minsk, Minsk2.

        Angela Merkel can elaborate.

        Been there, done that.

      2. ambrit

        The other missile post above suggests that Kinzhals could take the place of tactical nukes for the Russians. [I enjoy that some Russian somewhere read “Dune” and remembered the ‘kindjal’ as both knife and fighter aircraft.]
        My worry is that a Polish “incursion” into either the Ukraine or Belarus would drag the rest of NATO into the fray. Seeing, as you pointed out, how NATO now shows signs of running out of ‘conventional’ weapons, what is left? Nukes.
        I fear that the “National Security Establishment” in Washington has already demonstrated “Magical Thinking.” The past twenty years of failed adventures, and the doubling down behaviour now being engaged in Washington suggests that, as someone elsewhere mentions, for the Neocons in Washington, there is no reverse gear.
        My fear is that, once a single tactical nuke goes off near the border of Russia, the immediate response will be a full on intercontinental strike.
        What is fascinating to contemplate is the possibility that the Armed Forces of America might carry out a coup, against the Neocons. {We can dream….}
        Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

        1. hk

          Kinzhal was a “Russian” (actually, it is originally from some languages in Caucasus, I think) word before Frank Herbert used it.

      3. David

        Well, tactical nuclear weapons are just that: tactical, they are intended to be used against very large concentrations of forces on the battlefield, or against geographically very large areas such as airfields. In the Cold War they might have been used, for example, against Operational Manoeuvre Groups that had breached NATO lines. But if you’ve already lost the battle, then their use would be pointless. According to public sources NATO has about 100 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. These are gravity bombs dropped from aircraft (though there is a programme to fit them with guidance systems in the future). This means that aircraft would have to fly over Russian positions and physically release them. Good luck with that. In any event, the result would be lots of Ukrainian civilians dead, towns destroyed and land polluted. Somehow, I can’t see that.

        1. c_heale

          I think if tactical nukes are used, intercontinental nuclear weapons will be used in retaliation or very shortly afterwards.

          NATO, the US, the EU (all the same thing at the top level) need to start talking to Russia now.

          1. Procopius

            NATO, the US, the EU (all the same thing at the top level) need to start talking to Russia now.

            They’re not going to. Nuland, Blinken, and Sullivan have made up their minds, and they’re still in charge. Russia delenda est. It does not matter that Russia is dominant, they say it has suffered overwhelming casualties and is out of ammunition. They are saying if we furnish the ammunition and equipment (which we are not able to do) the Ukrainian heroes will expel the vile Russians from all the original territory of Ukrain, regain Crimea and Russia will fall into civil war which will produce more than thirty tiny countries.

      4. Glen

        Even back in the day, when NATO ran out of everything else, tactical nukes was the plan. Calmer heads prevailed. I think to a large degree because both the military leadership and the civilian leadership was composed of WW2 veterans, and they knew from first hand experience the horrors of world war and nuclear weapons.

        I’m reminded of how people state that we ended up in the GFC because the banking regulators and political leaders that had lived through the Great Depression were finally gone, and we undid all the laws preventing the GFC. Let’s hope we don’t do this with war, but frankly, having been there, done that for the last part of the first Cold War, the current state of affairs scares the $hit out of me.

    2. Old Sovietologist

      The West has a problem. Do they try to make peace and quietly curl up in a corner. I think they’re too deeply embedded to fold up the tent and leave the field. They simply have no way out well until after the US Presidential elections

      1. MT_Wild

        I generally agree but am not sure western Ukraine and NATO can last another 19 months under the current conditions.

        I think (and hope) it will be over before then.

      2. OwlishSprite

        I am curious to know who you define as “they”. “Who” is too deeply embedded, and in what? “They” stand to lose–what do the rest of us have to gain by their losing? The elephant in the room is that “they” are not sane enough to think about anything but “winning.” By whatever means. They have delusions of immortality and omnipotence.

        1. Alan Roxdale

          “They” are career politicians 6000 miles from any front who have never had to face a consequence in their lives. They may as well be playing a Risk game for all the seriousness they are putting into managing their Statecraft.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Agree with everything that you say here and Doctorow seems to suffer from not looking at all factors in this war. So when he say ‘Because no one really knows what the situation on the ground will be when the Ukrainians launch their counter offensive next month.’ he forgets the fact that western military stocks are all tapped out now, there is not the ammo to sustain a Ukrainian offensive, there is not the depth of manpower to keep on going unless they are going to send girls into battle. Logistics rule. Doctorow talks about cheer-leading the Russians for a ‘much needed realignment of the World Order that takes America down from its pedestal’ but forgets that this is not the full story.

      I have not made secret the fact that I support the Russians in this war in my comments but it is not about realigning the world order but something else. So suppose that the Collective West wins. Russia is defeated, there is regime change and Navalny becomes President and after that the Russian Federation is broken up into three dozen countries. With no more food or energy from Russia, China soon implodes and the west goes in to “reform” their economy which incidentally throws three hundred million Chinese back into poverty. What then? No more opponents worth a damn, no more opposition. Next comes what I call it Hyper-Neoliberalism.

      Think for example of what neoliberalism has done to America the past fifty years in terms of industry, opportunities, insecurity, unhappiness and dissatisfaction of the population. Now add steroids to that. Think back that it was only when the US became a unipolar power that made possible NAFTA, the consolidation of the media and defense industries, etc. If there were no opposition in the world anymore and it became once more a unipolar world, the pasty fifty years would be seen as a paradise when compared to what would happen in the next fifty. We would bring back peasantry and low lifespans again. It would be an age of horror for everybody except the top 1%. That Rules Based Order that you hear about would apply within each country as regards laws and the like. It would be a sheer dystopia for all.

      1. fresno dan

        very well said, I agree completely.
        I had a comment about A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century Jacob Siegel, The Tablet, (lost in the ether) about how the state/corporate totalitarism of Brave New World is coming to pass. We no longer have any real debate in this country under the regime of neoliberalism – for evidence, there is exactly one significant politician that the vaunted American “democracy” produces, and that is Trump, which is astounding. The issue of war, and nuclear implications, and NO debate??? Think about it – Trump is the only American politician who can see the Ukraine situation realistically??? What does that say about what America has evolved into???
        For the sake of humanity, we don’t need the American way taking over the world

          1. fresno dan

            I’m all for Dennis Kucinich, but how much air time does he get, and what is his chance of being elected president, or even senator, or even congressmen now a days?
            I think there is a silent majority against war, but if the system never, ever puts such candidates on the ballet, and no one knows that they exist, it doesn’t do much to diminish the military industrial complex.

            1. OwlishSprite

              Dennis Kucinich is by no means a stranger. It just takes hatchet jobs by people like Bill Moyers (when Dennis was running for Pres). He got air time on 2004 and 2008, but was not a ‘company man’ (you could interpret that as ‘not a ‘The Company’ man,’ i.e. CIA). I myself lived in the D.C. area for 25 years and even being a nothing nobody got the full treatment, because you could not turn around without bumping into a govt or former govt employee out to make a buck. Dennis is not a player, and I could not stomach the life–it ends up the same.

      2. Kengferno

        Lots of parallels to what the US is doing as it became the major international power to what companies do when they get to be a monopoly. And just how companies react to the threat of anti-trust reform, the US is doing to the potential rise of foreign powers.

      3. rudi from butte

        My guess is the Russians have put together a rather IMPRESSIVE presentation of their military accomplishments and capabilities since the start of the operation and much of the world has seen it. Seems like it convinced the Saudis.

        I think it was Aaron Mate who interviewed Andrew Cockburn not too long ago and Cockburn pointed out
        that everyone knows that the F-35 is a complete piece of junk but they are forced to buy it. It’s nuts.

        Biggest concern is probably Israel. Think Sy Hersh….Samson Option.


      4. Kouros

        Yup. Almost like in the Elysium movie with Matt Damon. This was my logic as well when full heartedly started supporting Russia on their action (all the while having an ax to grind for their interference in blocking Moldova and Romania reunification).

      5. Michaelmas

        Rev Kev: We would bring back… low lifespans again.

        We would, huh? Don’t worry, we already have. Or at least over there in the Land of the Free they have. Even the FT has noticed —

        Why are Americans dying so young?
        US life expectancy is in freefall as the young and the poor bear the brunt of struggles for shared prosperity

        …American life expectancy compares extremely unfavourably with the UK. The English seaside town of Blackpool has been synonymous with deep-rooted social decline for much of the past decade. It has England’s lowest life expectancy, highest rates of relationship breakdown and some of the highest rates of antidepressant prescribing. But as of 2019, that health-adjusted life expectancy of 65 (the number of years someone can be expected to live without a disability) was the same as the average for the entire US ….

        …What is causing these gaps? Shockingly, America’s mortality problem is driven primarily by deaths among the young. One statistic in particular stood out: one in 25 American five-year-olds today will not make it to their 40th birthday. No parent should ever have to bury their child, but in the US one set of parents from every kindergarten class most likely will….

        And so on. (And not that the UK is anything to write home about.)

        1. Michaelmas

          And more —

          ‘Live free and die?’ The sad state of U.S. life expectancy: Life expectancy continues to decline in the U.S. as it rebounds in other countries

          Just before Christmas, federal health officials confirmed life expectancy in America had dropped for a nearly unprecedented second year in a row – down to 76 years. While countries all over the world saw life expectancy rebound during the second year of the pandemic after the arrival of vaccines, the U.S. did not.

          Then, last week, more bad news: Maternal mortality in the U.S. reached a high in 2021. Also, a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association found rising mortality rates among U.S. children and adolescents …

          Taking stock of the many ways in which Americans are sicker and die younger can be overwhelming …. “It’s such a long list, that might partly be why the issue doesn’t grab people,” he says. “They just go, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s depressing, what’s on the other channel?’….

          The researchers catalog … the “U.S. health disadvantage” – the fact that living in America is worse for your health and makes you more likely to die younger than if you lived in another rich country like the U.K., Switzerland or Japan.

          “…there is data that actually shows that even the top proportion of the U.S. population does worse than the top proportion of other populations,” she explains.

          1. JBird4049

            You do understand that the they will somehow make it all the dead’s fault, yes? Free Market Capitalism™️ cannot fail, it can only be failed.

            Expect The Culling to continue.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Believe me I was thinking of that when I wrote my comment. Just as Neoliberalism has cut off years from the average American’s lifespan, Hyper-Neoliberalism would actually cut off decades.

    4. pjay

      Remember Russell Bentley? Here’s his very sobering assessment of the current situation, which compliments Doctorow’s pessimistic piece. I have no means of evaluating these very divergent assessments, but I do fear that the cheerleading might be a little premature. Granted the secrecy and possible disinformation on both sides, it would seem possible to determine whether NATO forces were (1) almost depleted, or (2) gathering for a massive offensive with thousands of fresh troops and equipment. It is frustrating that as far as I can tell either could be true.

      Here’s Bentley’s analysis. Contradictory evidence or arguments are welcomed.

      1. Paleobotanist

        Interesting. Who is Russell Bentley? He seems a long way from home. Anyone know more about him?


        1. pjay

          Bentley is an American (ex-American?) who lives in Donetsk, I believe, and fought for the DPR before the Russian invasion. Early on in the war he was fairly prominent as a pro-Russian youtube contributor, before he was banned, whose military background and location gave him some cache. This isn’t a bad profile, considering it is a Western source:

          Re the wikipedia entry cited above by dave: typical smear job, which gives you an idea that he might be worth listening to.

          1. Yves Smith

            I was listening to Bentley occasionally early on in the war. He was very open about his pro-Russia sympathies and made a point of being colorful. Having said that, my sense was he was pretty accurate about what he was presenting, and spin was along the lines of omission, not commission.

      2. Divadab

        We shall see. So far the war has largely been fought by militias, on both sides but more so on the Russian side- Donetsk and Luhansk militias, Wagner, chechens, even mongols (tuvans, I think) – supported by Russian regular artillery. Lots of maskirova about, as the article states, so difficult to get a handle on reality. The Times and Foreign Affairs for example, claim the Russians are suffering 7 times the losses of the Ukrainians, while the Russians claim exactly the inverse. I tend to put more credibility to the Russians, as the Times shamefully shot it’s reputation with WMD’s .

        No doubt both Ukrainians and Russians are highly skilled, and highly motivated. NATO little green men, not so much. So the Russians have much more support from their people and industry, while Ukraine relies on fair weather friends for weapons. So a long war is to the Russians’ advantage, it seems to me.

        Whoever has the artillery advantage will prevail, I think. I also think it’s much more likely for a desperate nato side to use tactical nukes if their Ukrainian pals are being routed.

        My money is on the Russians to prevail, probably 2 or 3 to 1 odds.

      3. Kouros

        One would need to know the disposition of Russian troops and fortifications. Not just on the frontline, but all those 300,000 + conscripts and volunteers that are presumably training since October last year.

      4. Phenix

        I am not a military genius, but I have read Sun Tsu, Von Clauswitz, Patton, Rommel, and Che Guevara. I have studied history. And I have played a lot of chess, and I have learned from all of the above. I am, as Scott Ritter recently pointed out, not an “intelligence officer”, but unlike Ritter, I am intelligent. As a combat veteran, I have learned that the most important skill a soldier can have is to clearly see and analyze reality, and from this understanding, be able to predict what the enemy will do next, by putting myself in my enemy’s position and asking myself what I would do if I were him.”

        I really hope he makes it out of this war in one piece. He is an excellent source of information.

      5. anon in so cal

        Bookmarked for later, thanks. Skimmed it and it is worrisome. The reality is no one truly knows the state of Ukraine troop concentrations or supplies. Many pro-Russia sources echo GD’s belief that the U.S. and NATO may very be “(2) gathering for a massive offensive with thousands of fresh troops and equipment.” I think everyone here wants Russia to prevail, and decisively, (for Russia’s and the world’s sake). I would not trust any statements about weapons stocks, manpower depth, or anything war-related from any Western source.

        Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US State Department will transfer more than a million rounds of ammunition and thousands of grenades for grenade launchers to Ukraine, from intercepted Iranian contraband for the Houthis.

    5. hk

      I think Doctorow does a fair job in laying down why an agreement, IN PRINCIPLE, is desirable.

      The dangers of overextension and overescalation are everywhere. Russian resources are not inexhaustible. Russian goals are, even at this point, not that extensive. Russia does not need to wholly remake the world and establish a new world order, or even displace (the form of) US unipolarity to achieve them, and Russia and China have been giving enough signals to these effects–i.e. they want to keep “United Nations” as the keystone of the global order, for example (without any mention of needing to extensively redesign it.)

      It is doubtlessly true that Western responses to the events in Ukraine (on top of many previous developments) have changed the situation a great deal. Even fairly modest goals will require a good deal of preconditions (e.g. regime changes in France and Germany, it seems, is essential, regardless whether Russia “wins” (whatever that means) in Ukraine or otherwise), but, even there, the requirements of their de facto capitulation are still modest–there will be no Russian bases on the Atlantic, say, or a formal pact binding them to Russia. Rather, what will be required would be the reestablishment of friendly relations generally and mutually beneficial economic relationship, although, now, large scale marginalization of US activities in continental Europe will be essential (Germany, France, Italy, among others, will have to force out US forces from their soil, abrogate certain forms of cooperation, and restrict possibility of covert opts in their territories, for example.) The down side is that this will require much longer and costly operation (i.e. no agreement any time soon), but not beyond Russia’s capabilities, I think.

    6. tevhatch

      So Russia’s economy did not need access to China, India, and many other markets? That’s the probably cost to using all out war vs. SMO.
      Is it your opinion the Russian Government did not need to persuade it’s people that Ukraine is an existential threat worthy of the cost in lives and treasure? On what basis?

        1. tevhatch

          So Russia’s economy did not need access to China, India, and many other markets? That’s the probably cost to using war vs. SMO.
          Is it your opinion the Russian Government did not need to persuade it’s people that Ukraine is an existential threat worthy of the cost in lives and treasure? On what basis?

          1. timbers

            Why would Russia not have access to China, India, and many other markets?

            How is SMO not war?

            Yes, It is my opinion that the Russian People were and are way ahead of the Russian Govt on the need to use military solutions – and that the Kremlin was very much behind the curve on what her people would support. The Kremlin’s 2nd Great Blunder of avoiding a higher and more forceful war by allowing expired reserves to go unreplaced, for fear of angering The People, until The Russian People were so outraged at Putin/Kremlin failure on the battlefield, caused the Kremlin to see a military mobilization had much more support than the Kremlin miscalculated.

            1. tevhatch

              If you think the SMO is war, then I can’t say much to you, as you don’t care about the underlying definitions and reality.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Hosting Russian Nuclear Weapons Will Have Far-Reaching Consequences for Belarus”

    Much ado about nothing – another comedy. Lots of NATO countries are upset about this announcement, especially some officials in Germany. But maybe those same countries forgot about the 150 nuclear weapons that the US stores in countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Türkiye and Germany-

    If some guy starts handing out shotguns to your neighbours, that does not mean that they can get upset when you give a shotgun to your next door neighbour. The article also said that ‘The fate of Belarus as a state is becoming increasingly tied to the outcome of a future peace settlement’ but as the Collective West is already punishing Belarus with sanctions, what have they got to lose? Their fate has already been tied to Russia.

    1. britzklieg

      The Belarusian “missile crisis”

      We’ve seen this before, and yet most USians don’t remember that Kruschev put nukes in Cuba after the west put nukes in Turkey (and Italy too, I believe).

      1. digi_owl

        Greece as well. Supposedly during one spat between them and Turkey, both tried to convince USA to hand over the codes. The excuse being that NATO could then more rapidly respond in case USSR went mad. This was around the same time as the generals had ordered all codes to be just zeros, because they were worried the president could chicken out.

        Seriously, the soviets come out looking like the sane men of the cold war…

        1. pretzelattack

          and let us not forget that part of the agreement that eventually resolved the crisis was the mutual withdrawal of missiles, and part of that agreement was that the US withdrawing its missiles not be publicly revealed, thereby allowing the US to look like the victor in the court of public opinion.

  11. zagonostra

    >The French Uprising New Left Review (AL).

    A much better article than the one posted yesterday from Jacobin.

    I am unable to understand how the police can brutalize their own citizens who are simply protesting pension reform. How do they rationalize it? Is it as banal as “we’re just following orders.?” Wasn’t that argument condemned during the Nuremburg trials?

    There is, finally, a resource of another order: hatred of the police – insofar as it is a driving force. When power lets loose its henchmen, two radically different results can follow: intimidation, or the tenfold multiplication of rage. Upheavals occur when the first mutates into the second. There are many reasons to believe we’ve reached this stage. Antipathy towards the police promises to attain hitherto unknown breadths and depths. Yet Macron sticks with them; ipso facto, hatred of the them is converted into hatred of him.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      All of the protesters could wear national flags. It’s been very effective in Israel against Netanyahu

    2. Martin Oline

      A friend of mine who was from France once told me that most of the French uniformly hate the police. He claimed it was because the police mostly come from small rural areas (probably not the administrators). They are seen as uncultured and stupid rubes. You can imagine the conflicts if the police in New York were from red states instead of New York.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Interesting. Possibly stupid question: does Macron’s pension ‘reform’ also apply to police?

        1. Ignacio

          The so called ‘reform’ is a flat pension reduction for everybody to my knowledge by elongation of retirement age. But didn’t read it and cannot rule out there is an exemption for policemen. That would be gross. (Though I saw a video with policemen joining a demonstration so I guess not).

          1. nycTerrierist

            Thanks, I. I also saw a video w/police joining the demonstrators – along with some skeptical comments that it might be old or somehow misleading.
            Exciting if true, tho!

            1. britzklieg

              I saw those images – police w/the protesters – explained as the police subtly escorting demonstrators to the metro in some sort of faux raprochement sleight of hand maneuver to quell the crowd. (I can’t vouch for that opinion)

    3. Old Sovietologist

      The imperialists are growing ever closer to fulfilling the scenario that Stalin foretold in “The Foundations of Leninism”.

      The growing tension between the war machine’s interests and the people’s interests, are factors that can bring a breakthrough in class struggle.

      The French ruling elites are faced with an unravelling in social stability that they will struggle to reverse. Hopefully we’ll see a population radicalized towards an anti-imperialist stance which would be even more threatening towards global capitalism than France’s anti-austerity movement is.

      1. OwlishSprite

        How do you reckon with the U.S. um, people, who will try to burn everything down with nukes and live in their bunkers they’ve been preparing rather than let people they have been parasitising have a life?

  12. zagonostra

    >Russia Asks UN To Hand Full List Of Bucha Victims; Presses For Int’l Investigation

    The article made me think of this dialogue from “One Year of Living Dangerously” starring a young Mel Gibson and Linda Hunt playing the brilliant character Billy Kwan

    Billy Kwan : What then must we do? We must give with love to whoever God has placed in our path.

    Billy Kwan : -Don’t think about the major issues. You do what you can about the misery in front of you. You add your light to the sum of all light.

    Billy Kwan : If it’s in focus, it’s pornography, if it’s out of focus, it’s art.

    Billy Kwan : I would have given up the world for her. You wouldn’t even give up one story.

    Billy Kwan : Krishna says to him, “All is clouded by desire, Arjuna, as a fire by smoke, as a mirror by dust. From these, it blinds the soul.”

    Kumar : At least they will give us discipline.

    Billy Kwan : Stalin had good Discipline. He wiped out 10 million.

    Billy Kwan : We’ll make a great team, old man. You for the words, me for the pictures. I can be your eyes.

    Billy Kwan : [Despairing over a shift in Guy Hamilton’s values] Why can’t you give yourself? Why can’t you learn to love?

    Billy Kwan : I believed in you. I thought you were a man of light. That’s why I gave you those stories you think are so important. I made you see things. I made you feel something about is right. I gave you my trust. So did Jill. I created you.

    Billy Kwan : [as Billy and Guy enter a very poor area] “And the people asked Him, saying, ‘What shall we do then?”‘

    Guy Hamilton : What’s that?

    Billy Kwan : It’s from Luke. Chapter 3, verse 10. “What then must we do?” Tolstoy asked the same question. He wrote a book with that title. He got so upset about the poverty in Moscow that he went one night into the poorest section and just gave away all his money. You could do that now. Five American dollars would be a fortune to one of these people.

    Guy Hamilton : Wouldn’t do any good. Just be a drop in the ocean.

    Billy Kwan : Ah. That’s the same conclusion Tolstoy came to. I disagree.

    Guy Hamilton : What’s your solution?

    Billy Kwan : Well, I support the view that you just don’t think about the major issues. You do whatever you can about the misery that’s in front of you. Add your light to the sum of light. You think that’s naïve?

    Guy Hamilton : Yup.

    Billy Kwan : It’s all right. Most journalists do.

    Guy Hamilton : We can’t afford to get involved.

    Billy Kwan : Typical journo’s answer.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thanks for mentioning this film. Linda Hunt is brilliant as Billy Kwan. It’s on my weekend playlist.

  13. griffen

    Doc Adams, the true father of baseball. Reads more like a consortium of founders than one single person with that vision, aka, Dr. Naismith and his peach basket game and prolific sport invention. Interesting history as it pertains to baseball, specifically the length of time since the first professional team was founded in 1869. Fast forward to 2023, and (checking the list) the NY Mets, NY Yankees, and SD Padres head the listing of most expensive opening day payrolls. Not bad money, in all honesty, for 162 days of team play where you can spit and scratch to your little heart’s content.

    As for fellows named or perhaps best as a nickname Doc, my all time favorite has to be Doc Holliday. Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone stepped over your grave.

  14. Ignacio

    RE:Cheerleading versus shivers down your spine: what will the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive bring? Gilbert Doctorow

    Though I agree with part of Doctorow’s analyses (there are indeed lot of uncertainties on the war and we have seen only part of the weaponry deployed on both sides) i disagree very much with his asymmetrical fears on Russia starting with tactical nukes one day if things so south for the Russians. There is indeed a risk but i place similar risks in both sides (so far higher on the Western side of things) in the escalating escalator. He could be only right if the West goes against, let’s say Moscow, with ballistic attacks in amounts that are superior to the defending capabilities Russians have installed. Otherwise, Russia is the least interested of both parts going nukes as they know they would loose much of the international support they have gained outside the West. But you see attacking Moscow with West made (even launched) ballistic stuff marks WWIII. Then whatever.
    But what if it is Sebastopol instead of Moscow? In that case Russia might, well before nukes, risk some of its vast ballistic and aerial arsenal that so far has been barely used.

    1. Carolinian

      Apparently Biden has said explicitly that he’s not going to start WW3 so there’s that. And any use of nukes by the NATO side would have to involve Biden. Other pundits have–correctly I think–suggested that Biden’s main motive is to run for and win re-election and therefore he’s more likely to back off than double down.

      As for the Russian side, this assertion that Putin might use nukes because he is losing is a staple of Western media propaganda. Doctorow seems to get a lot of his ideas from Russian TV talk but has said in the past he’s no more plugged into Putin’s thinking than anyone else.

      Bottom line re his ceasefire suggestion: living in Europe he just doesn’t want to get blown up. Nor do we all.

  15. ArkansasAngie

    A modest proposal. All AI must be accompanied by a disclosure of what AI wrote it and who is the “owner” of the AI that wrote it.

    This would of course apply to any and all government AI communications.

    1. Dandeliom

      I wonder what the effects will be on the mental health of the citizenry — or rather, the consumery — as we more and more cannot tell what is actual and what is not. Cognitive dissonance is maddening. What happens when a significant portion of the population is maddened?

    1. c_heale

      Maybe there will be Brexit 2 when Britain finds out it can’t get it’s own way. I think any UK influence will be minor on this organisation, but could be wrong.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “‘It’s not a pretty picture’: Russia’s support is growing in the developing world’

    Most of the developing world want nothing to do with this war and are getting resentful when western countries demand that they support the Ukraine, even if it damages their economies. But things are starting to change and not just in the developing world either. Zelensky gave a speech via video to the Austrian Parliament and a big block of them put signs about peace and neutrality on their desks before getting up and walking out on his speech- (49 secs)

    So maybe Zelensky will become the Venezuelan Greedo of 2024.

    1. johnnyme

      Auntie Beeb is making hay out of the protest by the members of the Freedom Party but buried in the piece is the following nugget:

      There are 30 FPÖ politicians in Austria’s lower chamber and they were the only party to oppose Mr Zelensky’s address. However, a number of MPs from the centre-left Social Democrats were also missing from the chamber.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Russia Asks UN To Hand Full List Of Bucha Victims; Presses For Int’l Investigation”

    This won’t go anywhere. The west stopped any UN investigations of biological warfare labs in the Ukraine and the bombing of the NS2 pipelines so the murders at Bucha will go nowhere too. Would you believe that they had a story about Bucha on the TV news here in Oz a few hours ago talking about their recovery but saying Russiadidit? What Russia appears to be doing is showing the rest of the world that they are asking the hard questions but the west keep on covering up and stonewalling any investigations at all. And in the long run, this counts. I have no doubt that the Russians have put together a list of who lived in Bucha back then, who were the ones that were murdered as well as their political beliefs. And that they will be quietly telling the developing world nations about their findings and who will be drawing their own conclusions.

    1. Divadab

      Yes. I wonder if regular Ukrainians will figure out how badly they have been lied to and propagandized to hate Russians? Really strange and terrible how nato has taken on the hitler project in Ukraine. Wtf now we’re the Nazis?!?

    1. fresno dan

      Bragg could have something more than the anemic bootstrapping theory — and it would be more defensible. Conversely, if Bragg moves primarily on that theory, the Democrats are inviting a race to the bottom in political prosecutions. That is something that we have been able to largely avoid in this country.
      To paraphrase what Michael Kinsley said, the problem is not laws being broken, its what is legal. I doubt that NOT prosecuting politicians in this country has made the country better. Should Hillary Clinton and Biden’s son (and probably Biden), and Nixon and Bush, and who knows how many others have been prosecuted? I don’t know, but I wish that at least the US could get off its high horse and dispense with the exceptional nation, and shining city on a hill bullsh*t, and the nonsense of a nation of laws and not men (i.e., humans). Maybe it would expose the international rules based order is a total fiction. Maybe it would lead to a little bit more realism, although I doubt it. And as I said, not prosecuting politicians doesn’t improve anything…
      I would certainly give up Trump for a committment of future dem politician prosecutions and convictions. (yes, I know committments mean nothing, but I do believe in tit for tat). The fact that Trump is our only defacto peace candidate bothers me, but maybe Trump stands a better chance of winning from a jail cell.

  18. tegnost

    showed that 51 percent of Americans thought the Biden administration was handling U.S. banking issues well.
    51% is hardly “strong support”

  19. Alice X

    >Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative

    Wow, just wow! Another piece in the grand puzzle of life on earth. A piece I did not quite imagine. And the sounds can potentially be heard by other organisms, but not by us without special equipment. I have heard it said of indigenous Amazon tribes that they say the forest speaks to them. How we of the civilization vector have lost such as that.

    The NYT has a short on the Cell report:

    1. Judith

      Curiously, some of the authors applied for a patent for:

      A system for monitoring plants, the system comprising: one or more sound collectors configured to receive and generate signals based on sounds that plants make; and a computer system configured to receive and process the signals to provide a profile of a plant producing the sounds.

      Once upon a time, science was about the exchange of ideas. (Maybe I am just imagining this)

      1. Alice X

        I’m not versed on general practice.The patent is for a system with largely off the shelf components so the patent might not be granted. If it were, we don’t know what would be done with it.
        Perhaps the concern was that someone might patent the system and shut down other research.

        On a technical note, the sound frequencies described are well beyond any but highly specialized gear. We won’t be doing this at home (darn!).

        1. hunkerdown

          KSR v. Teleflex held that “ordinary innovation” (the everyday stuff of engineering) is not patentable. But the calculations and relationships in the ever-present microcontroller may practice the patent while the device is in operation.

          Limited experimental use of any patent is permitted according to the patent bargain. It’s also common for students at some institutions (especially the expensive ones) to take their patented inventions with them, then try to monetize them by practice or licensing. I say it’s cashing in.

          (Just a Groklaw regular, not a lawyer)

        2. hunkerdown

          Also, at a 96kHz ceiling, prosumer audio production gear could be adequate. Mics, however, especially calibrated ones, do tend to the expensive side. (waiting for a link to KSR v. Teleflex stuck in skyn*t)

          1. Alice X

            The report says plants emit sounds in the 20-100khz range.

            A/D converters need two samples to capture a sound frequency: a sample rate of 44khz yields a 22khz sound maximum, or CD quality.

            From the Avisoft Bioacoustics website:

            Their UltraSoundGate 1216H converter had a sampling rate of 500khz or 250khz sound, so they’re ok there. Price 17,600 Euros.

            Their CM16 ultrasound microphone specs at 2khz-200khz. Price 850 Euros, they used 6.

            My high end converters can do 192khz or 96khz sound. So they could capture something there.

            But my (expensive) high end Neumann and AKG microphones are designed for the human audio range and drop off quite substantially above 20khz. There is little reason to be up there. Even if there was a sound in their range you’d be running into the self noise floor very quickly. So that’s a problem.

            I’m a musician, did I mention I’m into recording quite expensive acoustic instruments, but recording plants, well, that’s a whole new vista. Maybe I’ll try it. :-)

            1. hunkerdown

              You didn’t. Cool! :) I used to write audio synthesis software as a kid — extremely niche stuff nobody has heard of — and dabble in composition on far too infrequent occasions. You certainly have much more practical experience with the gear than I do. But I do know 96kHz signals require >192ksps to capture, and 192ksps-capable audio codecs have been working their way onto motherboards for years, so there is a chance, heavily caveated, that any given PC’s analog audio front end might be (or might be made) suitable to baby-monitor some plant types.

              Anyway, spurred into a bit of research by the sticker shock on that research-grade gear, I discovered that bat watching is a thing, and that rodent detection and identification is a well-served niche market. The cheapest of that lot appears to be an (uncalibrated) ultrasonic microphone with built-in (16-bit) USB interface for about €1/ksps, 192-384ksps. According to the paper, Figure 1(‍c), the plant signals of interest are strong, 62-67 dB SPL, approximately conversational level, so resolution and sensitivity might be less critical here. They’re not exactly cheap, but far cheaper than the Avisoft equivalent, and may be cheap compared to whatever plants one might be monitoring.

              I hope the researchers’ next step is to determine whether plants hear the cries other plants make and change their own activity in response.

              (Now that you’ve mentioned it, ever been tempted by the songbook?)

              1. Alice X

                >tempted by the songbook?

                As in trying my hand? No, I’ll leave it to those who are doing quite well with it!

  20. DJG, Reality Czar

    Frédéric Lordon, The French Uprising, offers this insight: “Hence a paradox (of which there are many) within late capitalism: the incompetence of the bourgeoise has itself become a historical force, one which a minimal amendment to Schumpeter allows us to identify: destructive destruction. Or, to give it its proper name: McKinsey.”

    That explains many things (as well as Pete Buttigieg and his appeal to a certain segment of U.S. society).

    I realize, because of discussions here at Naked Capitalism, that it may read like a long article about toothpaste now out of the tube, but I think that Guide to the Hoax of the Century by Jacob Siegel at Tablet is of major importance. Give it a look.

    I think that both articles are good about not trying to engage in some elaborate pseudo-Linnean system of classifying propaganda. Propaganda is propaganda is propaganda. Now, the question is how to stop it, how to get rid of those who thrive on it, and how to safeguard civil liberties. To paraphrase the Egregious Rank Member Stacy Paskett, “causing harm to our democracy.”

    1. Ignacio

      Following your advice I read it, Siegel’s piece. Depressing stuff in a depressing day (for other reasons). I think I need to disconnect for a while.

    2. Carolinian

      Americans spend their entire lives immersed in the form of propaganda known as advertising. This is the inconvenient truth that the show Mad Men–with it’s look back at Mad Avenue as cool and sexy–went out of its way to avoid. Earlier writers like Sinclair Lewis thought this should be talked about but now we frogs are thoroughly boiled and ready for serving.

      Some of us in our dotage have taken to avoiding the mass media altogether. It may be the only way. So long live NC.

  21. paul

    RE:Yousaf accused of ‘insulting’ Scots with creation of independence minister role.

    The odious douglas ross has a point.
    Independence is a party issue, not an excuse to pad out a bloated cabinet and give a pal an unhealthy pay rise.
    Hepburn’s call for people to get out knocking on doors to persuade them is a little disingenuous as they would have no answers to the question of how and when it could be acheived, and no one in cabinet or party hierarchy has the least interest in it.

  22. Jason Boxman

    Speaking of surveillance technology:

    Police Relied on Hidden Technology and Put the Wrong Person in Jail

    On the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving, Randal Quran Reid was driving his white Jeep to his mother’s home outside Atlanta when he was pulled over on a busy highway. A police officer approached his vehicle and asked for his driver’s license. Mr. Reid had left it at home, but he volunteered his name. After asking Mr. Reid if he had any weapons, the officer told him to step out of the Jeep and handcuffed him with the help of two other officers who had arrived.

    “What did I do?” Mr. Reid asked. The officer said he had two theft warrants out of Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, a district on the outskirts of New Orleans. Mr. Reid was confused; he said he had never been to Louisiana.

    Well, sir, the computer says you have. You’re busted!

    His parents made phone calls, hired lawyers and spent thousands of dollars to figure out why the police thought he was responsible for the crime, eventually discovering it was because Mr. Reid bore a resemblance to a suspect who had been recorded by a surveillance camera. The case eventually fell apart and the warrants were recalled, but only after Mr. Reid spent six days in jail and missed a week of work.

    (bold mine)

    And who bears that cost? Needless to say, I doubt much the state will ever reimburse them for the state’s mistake.

  23. fresno dan
    I know that my views have radically changed on the FBI and CIA over the years, and I never ever liked Homeland Security. Even the name is creepy.

    My views on the CIA haven’t changed simply because their focus has changed; it’s that the more you know how they incited and continued to incite extremism, entrapment, and political shenanigans the less you can trust them. Even their vaunted crime lab is a corrupt mess. The CIA is filled with politically connected liars and incompetents, and the NSA turns its spying activities on US citizens illegally.
    The FBI lies to courts, influences elections, spies on reporters, and is filled with bureaucrats who only want to be political players.
    How naive I was. A sweet summer child, as it were.
    It used to be said that a conservative was a liberal who had been mugged.
    Now a days, a civil libertarian is a former US president who has been indicted… so much for believing in the police, prosecutors, and the vaunted US legal system.
    It is ironic how people who used to be skeptical and even cynical about the CIA and FBI now think they are better then sliced bread – whose ox is being gored…
    Debate thesis: Donald Trump is more of a civil libertarian than constitutional scholar Barrack Obama

    1. Carolinian

      Trump is a civil contrarian who sees opposition to the current elites as being a big enough gap to drive a truck through. He didn’t show much concern for civil liberties while sponsoring a coup bid in Venezuela or assassinating Soleimani of boosting the Israeli efforts to dominate the Palestinians. Some of us would argue that Trump’s contrarian status is his one and only qualification to be president but then it may be enough if the alternative is Biden.

      1. pjay

        Yes. I think it is important not to have any illusions about Trump. He says what he thinks people want to hear, and what he believes will serve his interests at a particular moment. He’s good at this, like all talented demagogues. But that said, at this moment he also symbolizes, dare I say it, *resistance* for a lot of people, to a system of power and privilege which they see and feel, even if they can’t fully “analyze” it. Trump blurts out truth bombs about this system and provides catharsis for those who want to give it a big F-U. And the powers that have been arrayed against him over the last seven years are truly scary. These should be resisted by all means necessary.

        I have no illusions myself about Trump being able to do anything. For starters, who will advise him? Who are the decent people who could serve in a Trump administration? Does he know what “draining the swamp” means *this* time? Nevertheless, given the current state of our political world, a protest vote for Trump is not as inconceivable as it once was.

        1. fresno dan

          good points from both you and Carolinian.
          I remember Trump in particular appointing Bolton.
          Yesterday’s water cooler had a comment from Trump criticising DeSantis about Ukraine, and dare I say it, it seemed actually restrained (for Trump, no insults and actual points about the subject at hand) and thought out.
          And the powers that have been arrayed against him over the last seven years are truly scary. These should be resisted by all means necessary.
          Just as the US strove for a unipolar world, we now have a defact uniparty – the same continuous war, protect the rich and hinder the non rich. It is something that Trump may be the only restrain against the corporate state leviathan.

        2. John k

          I don think I have illusions about trump. But I find ‘let’s get out of Ukraine’ quite irresistible. And maybe I can trust him, he reminds me ‘I never started a war’. Now that’s a pretty high bar not many us presidents have cleared.
          What a sweetener it would be if he picked tulsi, another ant-war warrior, granted doesn’t seem likely. Otoh, would deep like her better? Maybe she could sell it as insurance…. Remember jfk._

  24. Jason Boxman

    From I used AI to bet on horse-racing. Here’s what happened

    The CAWs’ machines bundle an attractive pile of bets together, sometimes thousands at a time, and ship them into the pool. “There are people that write the programs and babysit the computer systems, but it’s really automated wagering,” Larmey said. CAW players are also infamous for placing their bets at the last possible second, just before the horses dash out of the gate, to learn as much information as they can about the opinions of the general public and, therefore, the price of their bets. The technical ability to do this at speed and scale is what a group like Elite Turf Club offers its members. As a result, the public often swallows large, last-second odds changes as the big money comes flooding in.

    Another opportunity to rob people. Sort of like HFT front running trades. So many ways to steal legally if you have the resources to execute. If normal bettors knew the game was rigged, why bother?

  25. Tom Stone

    I enjoyed Flora’s back and forth with Wuk yesterday, Firstly it illuminated the magical thinking about Gunz by right thinking liberals.
    Specifically that Gunz are “Malum” in Se and possessed of agency, thus “Gun Violence”.
    Second was the evident fear of the rabble, Bougies, especially in times of unrest ALWAYS call for the unworthy poor to be disarmed and kept in their place no matter what it takes.
    It’s class warfare in the guise of protecting our wimmens and chilluns from the depredations of “Those people” who in the USA are always the blacks too because race and class are inextricably entangled here.
    At least in the early 20th Century America was more honest about the racist basis for “Sensible Gun Laws” these days it’s all virtue signalling, hand waving and studiously ignoring more than a century of data.

  26. OwlishSprite

    LOL. Is this a new variation of the Nuremburg Defense? “Everybody told me to go after the American Dream.” (sob)

    ‘This moniker of billionaire, let’s just get at that,’ Schultz responded. ‘I grew up in federally subsidized housing. My parents never owned a home. I came from nothing. I thought my entire life was based on the achievement of the American dream.

    The Canarsie buildings were locally derided as ‘the country club of projects,’ with one neighbor asking Schultz to ‘please stop referring to us as poor or destitute, because it’s insulting and we didn’t feel that way at all.’

    Even those who were proud that Schultz had made it as far as he did were frustrated by his description of the projects.

    ‘Howard Schultz makes it sound like a slum, but you couldn’t be poor to live there,’ one former neighbor told the Washington Post. ‘Don’t let Howard fool you: It was brand new, a beautiful new place with new kitchens, new plumbing. We’re excited that he’s running (for the presidency), but I yell at the TV when he says this stuff.’

    1. hunkerdown

      The point of all taboo is the non-reciprocity, the “Do as I say, not as I do” hidden within them.

      And yes, the Calvinist Dream is the West’s official state utopia and all are called to honor it.

  27. irrational

    The Anadolu (!) article on heat pumps totally omits the implications for investment into generation, transmission and distribution to be able to actually power this thing. This has been well-covered in articles linked to here on NC. What is less prominently featured is that heat pumps need servicing and you need more people to do this, the more heat pumps are installed, and it takes time to train these people. For instance, our supplier has delegated the regular check-up to a company, which I deem absolutely clueless. When we had an issue a couple of months ago they said “we have no clue, we’d need to call the supplier”, while the company that installed the heating knew exactly what the problem was and told the supplier what they needed to come and fix. Other side effect: there was a 6 week wait time both to book the regular check-up and to get the repair and it was not due to parts, but availability of the guys.

  28. Tom Stone

    The arrest of Trump is in line with the reckless and provocative behavior of the Biden Administration at home and abroad.
    Brandon and his buddies have wanted a “Domestic Terrorism” bill for decades and they seem intent on inciting the public in order to justify further repression.
    It’s insanity.
    If Brandon does succeed in passing such a bill an attempt to confiscate firearms, especially “Assault Type Weapons” seems highly likely.
    Which is a recipe for chaos, we have at least 50,000,000 American Gun owners many of whom are ex military who take their oath to “Defend the Constitution against all enemies Foreign and Domestic” very seriously.

  29. Kouros

    Can somebody help me understand the chart on a twitter post about the contribution of various currencies in international trade?

    Why do they ad up to +140%?

  30. Tom Stone

    This morning I looked up the term “Assault Rifle” in my 1970 edition of R.A. Steindler’s Firearms dictionary.
    Zilch, it wasn’t a commonly used term at that time.
    So , just for Flora I’ll give my definition.
    An “Assault Rifle” is a shoulder filed select fire weapon using a cartridge that is intermediate in power between a full sized rifle cartridge such as the 8MM Mauser and common pistol calibers such as the 9MM Parabellum.
    The M16 uses the 5.56 NATO cartridge which was derived from the original .223 Remington.
    And the .223 Remington was originally designed for hunting animals up to the size of a coyote, it is not legal for deer in California.
    And as far as the truly evil ( Because it’s RUSSIAN!!) 7.62X39, it’s a little less powerful than a 30-30.

    1. skippy

      Fun fact ….. Steel core 7.62×39 can’t be imported from any country or produced domestically because it’s considered armor piercing handgun ammo. Good enough to penetrate 1/4 inch mild steel up to around 200m.

      I occasioned this stuff once on a firing range next to the DMZ where the targets down range were manually operated from within concrete bunkers. Had one pop in my small bunker from the side slit for the steel tube which targets were affixed. Did a lap around me hitting all four walls before plonking in the foot of water in the bottom of it, me and the frogs that took up residence in there were duly entertained.

      A nice history going back to the late 1800s.×39+M43.html

      This should assist in any discussion about nomenclature and the legal frameworks for them …

      1. ambrit

        Did I read you right? 7.62X39 is considered “handgun” ammo? {A typo? I’d agree with you about the “armour piercing” aspects of the case.}
        Stay safe.

        1. skippy

          Yes if you read my link it talks about it and why.

          Its not really armor piercing in the military way technically, although I know a few people that were hit with in it Nam and the steel core did a pin ball dance inside them.

    2. marku52

      Part of the key problem that you do not address “Includes a large capacity (>10 rounds) detachable magazine”. Take away that feature and you take away a lot of its hazard in use for mass shootings.

      Remove the detachable magazine and you do no harm to its utility in plinking, hunting, or even home defense.

      1. skippy

        The core problem is the mentality around ownership of some fire arms, including the advertising they are marketed with. This then does a full lap around society through popular culture, ideological hand waving, and just like back in the days that a car et al could imbue one with special powers to offset the fear instilled in consumers too make profit for a few – social consequences be damned.

        For someone like me with my youth back in the old days [heaps of WWII vets], military knowledge/experience, all these cosplay owners of weapons designed just to kill other humans is just a recipe for death/s. This is just simple human psychology and no amount of deductive reasoning underpinned by environmental biases or ideological preferences can refute it.

        Case in point – here in Australia I knew a bloke that had a mate that needed some extra cash, so old mate bought his bolt action rifle. Put it up on the top of tall wall case and forgot about it. Then one night he woke up and heard a bunch of noise in the back yard around 2 pm. Laid there for a bit and was getting a bit worried about it all. Then decided he had to have a peek and remembered the rifle, grabbed it and without turning any lights on went into the back yard quite like. Anyway he had some hedge against the fence where the noise was coming from and it was moving. Now he was really scared and basically shouted who goes there …. moments went by … then his next door neighbor rolled out of the hedge totally pissed off his mind. Some how in his drunken state he fell over the fence and was failing about because he had no idea of what had happened.

        The bloke with the rifle got rid of it the next day because he was that close to shooting him, really messed with him that he might have killed his drunken neighbor and have to live the rest of his life knowing that … even if he did not get charged for it.

        Society creates the mentality that leads too all these mass shootings, generations of grooming, yet one has to start somewhere and the idea of ownership of these arms will make everyone safe is the first thing to get sorted out …

        1. Carla

          skippy, I know of an acquaintance of a friend who experienced something similar, but being an ugly American living in a gated community of rich Americans in Costa Rica, he heard a noise in the night, grabbed his gun and shot it, killing his own son who had come into the house unexpectedly.

          I don’t know how such a man survives something like that, or even if he did. My friend who told me the story is now long gone. Just typing this out made me feel physically ill.

          1. skippy

            Ugh Carla …

            I did CR in the 90s and it was a bit wild west, but if you were an experienced sort it was quite nice. Lots of yanks loved it that way IMO and various sorts could seek their personal pleasures if they aided by the painted lines. Heaps of the population on the West Coast was in total poverty and dependent on date palm extraction or other and one could not throw a rock without hitting a AA sign, piss was cheap. Not to mention it was a very top down society regardless of the so called democratic advertising.

            So now days its even more absurd where the past labours are facilitating the dreams and wants of other nationals – in their own country – and still call it democratic because of eco stuff and some liberal notions about politics. Reminds me of the boulder next to Boulder creek in Boulder Co … the plack reads the thoughts of the last native tribe Chief saying the white man will kill this bounty for the love of it …

            Per your story … yeah … protecting his property and it cost him a child …

  31. spud

    and the french uprising author is going to do all of this, whilst remaining in the E.U. HA! i can see pro free trade mercenaries and ukraine nazi volunteers flooding france to ensure disciple and obedience.

  32. spud

    the indian puchline article is correct. russia is no jr. partner. and what bill clinton did to yugoslavia set off alarm bells all over the world.

  33. RobertC


    It’s complicated but I don’t think Musk is asking to visit Chinese Premier Li Qiang to reminisce their Tesla days together Exclusive: Elon Musk plans China visit, seeks meeting with premier

    Even though Musk has restricted certain StarLink capabilities available to Ukraine, it is still quite effective against Russian operations. And Musk has a military version StarShield in the works.

    China will begin populating its 13,000 satellite alternative Guowang later this year China to begin constructing its own megaconstellation later this year

    And as Russia tires of StarLink’s interference with its operation perhaps China will help it thin its competition China Develops New ‘Starlink Killer’ Anti-Satellite Microwave Weapon That Can Cut Taiwan From US During War

    It’s complicated…

  34. deplorado

    Please stop quoting the Anadolu Agency as “Andalu”. It is ANADOLU.

    “Anadolu” means “of Anatolia” in Turkish – close enough that one clearly can identify the name as Turkish (even it is of Greek origin, meaning East or “rise” as in sun-“rise”) — I hope that helps to make it easier to remember the spelling.

  35. RobertC


    In keeping with my belief that the US-China conflict will be primarily seaborne forces, I read gCaptain daily. A few days ago gCaptain reported Pirates Board Danish-Owned Ship in Gulf of Guinea Normally the ship would have been protected except

    Denmark, which has big commercial shipping interests, deployed a frigate to the gulf in 2021 to protect shipping, but the frigate was pulled back last year after the outbreak of the Ukraine war.

    Which once again raises the question of commercial shipping self-protection. And the skills of the crew and the scale of weaponry supporting that self-protection.

    And qCaptain addressed this with China Has Militarized Seafarers Says US Navy Report where

    regular crews of civilian ships are inducted as militiamen and required to attend military training under the direction of the China’s National Transportation War Preparedness Office.

    gCaptain reported last week that the dangers of militarized commercial ships have grown considerably in scope in the wake of the Ukraine war, which has proved the effectiveness of man-operated weapons and reconnaissance equipment. If those PLAN-trained seafarers are armed with drones, javelins, and other small missile systems weapons, they will be a formidable force. If those weapon systems are centrally coordinated and share data, as this report suggests, a weaponized merchant marine could be a force multiplier for China.

    As described in China Security Report 2023: China’s Quest for Control of the Cognitive Domain and Gray Zone Situations and depicted in Figure 3.1, that central coordination and data sharing is already in place.

    Leaving what weapons will China place onboard its militia-manned commercial ships. And how much is too much? The rules-based order has an answer but not a response. Every passing day the seas within the First Island Chain become more dangerous.

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