Links 6/18/2023

Nature’s 10 Best Animal Dads Treehugger

Deep-Sea Footage of a ‘Smiling’ Snailfish Laughing Squid (Re Silc). From 2023, still germane.

Gretchen Morgenson: From Wall Street to Journalism (podcast) Barry Rithjholz, Masters in Business. ”


A beginner’s guide to Juneteenth: How can all Americans celebrate? AP

Incidence of Labor Relations (1962)

How city BLM art and changing politics intertwine Axios

Dwight’s Glasses Richard Reeves, Brookings Institution


This Is Why Nobody Will Do Anything Until It’s Too Late Charles Hugh Smith. Commentary:


A Slow-Moving Disaster — The Jackson Water Crisis and the Health Effects of Racism New England Journal of Medicine

This year California’s snowpack reached record-high levels — 40 million acre-feet at its peak in April. LA Times

Feds announce start of public process to reshape key Colorado River water-use rules by 2027 The Colorado Sun


Documents Link Potential Covid Patient Zero to U.S.-Funded Research in Wuhan Ryan Grim, The Intercept. Good to see “U.S-funded” in the headline, because it’s true.

* * *

Persistent Brainstem Dysfunction in Long-COVID: A Hypothesis ACS Chemical Neuroscience. From the Abstract: “While the possible causes of long-COVID include long-term tissue damage, viral persistence, and chronic inflammation, the review proposes, perhaps for the first time, that persistent brainstem dysfunction may also be involved. This hypothesis can be split into two parts. The first is the brainstem tropism and damage in COVID-19. As the brainstem has a relatively high expression of ACE2 receptor compared with other brain regions, SARS-CoV-2 may exhibit tropism therein. … The second part concerns functions of the brainstem that overlap with symptoms of long-COVID.” Handy chart:

The Risks of Even Mild COVID-19: 1 in 4 Showing Cognitive Deficits After Mild Case, Brazilian Study Finds Brain Facts. N = 130. “Researchers found 1 in 4 showed significant cognitive impairment in visuoconstruction skills — the visual ability to spatially reproduce designs or patterns — matching the increased levels of inflammation they were seeing on blood panels as well as in neuroimaging.”

Markers of limbic system damage following SARS-CoV-2 infection (accepted manuscript) Brain Communications. N = 105. “These results highlight the long-term consequences of SARS-Cov-2 infection on the limbic system at both the behavioural and neuroimaging levels.” Handy chart:

(The recognition of emotions in others, not one’s self.)


Antony Blinken visits Beijing on a mission to mend fractured US-China ties FT

Amid US-China rivalry, a landmark science deal faces new scrutiny Channel News Asia

Investors sour on Beijing’s bid to boost state-owned enterprises FT. Commentary:

Interesting thread for any readers who play the ponies in Chinese bank stocks (!!).

US Military Gets ‘Unimpeded Access’ in Papua New Guinea Under New Deal


More violence in Manipur: Mobs try to torch houses of BJP leaders, dispersed by security forces The Indian Express

Parched and Forgotten: The Everyday Struggle for Water in the Villages of the Kashmir Valley The Wire

The Happy Country

‘We were not prepared, we are not prepared’ – What we learned from week 1 of COVID Inquiry Sky News

Alert not alarmed: Australians less concerned about COVID despite rising cases Sydney Morning Herald


Iran, Saudi Arabia pleased with reestablishment of diplomatic ties Anadolu Agency

Dear Old Blighty

Tories gotta Tory:

New Not-So-Cold War

‘Mines Everywhere’: Ukraine’s Offensive Is Proving a Hard Slog WSJ. “In the southern Zaporizhzhia and eastern Donetsk regions, Ukrainian troops are still working their way through Russia’s first lines of defense, and haven’t yet reached the main line of Russian fortifications.” And after the first defensive echelon, there are two more.

Ukrainian defenders strike 16 clusters of Russian military manpower – General Staff report Ukrainska Pravda. See any dragon’s teeth in the aerial photos? No? That means Ukraine hasn’t reached the second echelon of Russian defenses. There is a third.

Dreizin brain candy explosion (& BIGGEST VIDEO DUMP IN HISTORY) The Dreizin Report. Forgive me, I need to take a shower after reading this site [showers]. Be that as it may, search the page for “(70+ new videos of Ukrainian shyt blasted, wasted, torn up, etc.)” and you’ll find some interesting material.

* * *

Mystery over the condition of Kyiv’s ‘incredibly ruthless’ spy chief who vowed ‘to kill Russians all over the world’ as he remains unseen weeks after Russian claimed to have injured him in missile strike Daily Mail. Rumors from not especiallly reliable sources that he got whacked in a Russian missile strike. (Then again, Budanov sent Azov-wannabes over the border into Belgorod with Western weapons, which was a stupid, reckless stunt. It would be irresponsible not to speculate that our spooks whacked him pour encourager les autres not to slip the leash. Who knows….)

* * *

An Inside Job NYT. “A dam in Ukraine was designed to withstand almost any attack imaginable — from the outside. The evidence suggests Russia blew it up from within.” But could they really get a yacht that close? Did any Russian passports float to the surface?

Ukraine Situation Report: Waning Flood Waters Could Provide Opportunity For Kyiv’s Forces The Drive. Dubious, although it does raise the question cui bono, conspicuously not addressed by the NYT.

* * *

Partners in Doomsday Seymour Hersh, Sheerpost. Full version.

Sergei Karaganov’s latest controversial article in ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ Gilbert Doctorow. Hersh “rambling.”

* * *

Gonzalo Lira’s Father Pleads With US Government To Save His Son From The SBU (video) Kim Iverson, YouTube

The Ukraine Lobby’s Latest Targets The American Conservative

Kremlin: there appears to be ‘no chance’ of extending Black Sea grain deal Reuters

One glorious day in Sevastopol 12 years ago, I saw what was coming. That’s why I won’t join this carnival of hypocrisy Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail. From 2022, still germane.


“Can You Give Me The Odds?”: The Betting on Trump is Based on the Wrong Question Jonathan Turley

Spook Country

How Israeli Spyware Endangers Activists Across the Globe In These Times

Digital Watch

Crypto collapse? Get in loser, we’re pivoting to AI Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain. “‘Current AI feels like something out of a Philip K Dick story because it answers a question very few people were asking: ‘What if a computer was stupid?'”?

Stump the Medical Experts Eric Topol, Ground Truths

The 420

Losing hope of finding kids in plane crash, Indigenous searchers turned to a ritual: Ayahuasca AP

How a dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist BBC

Groves of Academe

Why more and more colleges are closing down across the U.S. CNBC (Re Silc). “About 95% of U.S. colleges rely on tuition, according to Franek, meaning they rely on money from students to operate. Dwindling enrollment numbers mean less money, fewer student offerings and eventually a shuttered institution.” Start by firing as many administrators as possible?

Zeitgeist Watch

The Secret History And Strange Future Of Charisma NOĒMA

Shiny Happy People is a great reminder of why cult documentaries should exist Vox

Realignment and Legitimacy

Has the West already suffered a coup d’etat? Have the central bankers already seized power? Funding the Future

Imperial Collapse Watch

America Still Leads the World, But Its Allies Are Uneasy Niall Ferguson, Bloomberg. Hmm:

I tried these ideas out in Paris in conversations that included two of President Emmanuel Macron’s advisers. Supposing there was a war between the US and China over Taiwan, I asked, on whom could Washington rely? “Japan, the UK, Australia. Maybe Canada. That’s it,” was one of the replies.

I was even more startled by the pessimism about Ukraine. “If Trump wins in November next year,” I ventured, “then Zelenskiy is screwed.” “He is screwed whatever happens,” another of my interlocutors replied. “Ukraine cannot get back the Black Sea coast that it has lost” — the so-called land bridge to Crimea. “So the war is effectively over and Putin has won.”

I think we’d better double down. There’s no alternative!

What the price of an ancient Roman nail tells us about value FT

Class Warfare

Teamsters Vote to Authorize UPS Strike as Contract Talks Continue WSJ

Subsuming Finance New Left Review

You might want to ditch your desk job to become an electrician Fast Company. “Mr. Orr is expert with tangibles.” –Ursula LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven. Good strategy!

Kierkegaard on the Value of Despair The Marginalian. “The self is a relation which relates to itself.” –Kierkegaard. Interesting data structure.

Eating 400 calories a day from these foods could raise your dementia risk by over 20% MarketWatch. These are not “foods.” They are “food-like products.”

Antidote du jour (via):

And a bonus:

And a double bonus:

What good kitties!

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. flora

    Hmmm… What has happened to Sam Bankman-Fried? You know, the guy who defrauded millions from investors with the FTX scam. Also the guy who’s the second largest donor to the Dem party. What’s happened to him?

    From ABC news:

    US offers to drop some charges for now against Sam Bankman-Fried

    The offer to sever five of the 13 charges followed a ruling earlier this week in the Bahamas that allows Bankman-Fried to challenge the additional charges.

    A prosecutor said during a hearing Thursday it was uncertain when the Bahamas would decide whether to consent to the new charges, which included bank fraud and an allegation Bankman-Fried bribed the Chinese.


    1. Craig H.

      I read that attack of the 50 ft block chain piece a couple of weeks ago and it is pretty good. The weird thing about the Elizabeth Holmes case (not Sam Bankman but a decent analog) was her defense of getting on the stand and acting like she never did one illegal or immoral or wrong act. I cannot recall another example of a criminal defendant pleading “No idea what all this fuss is about”.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Speaking of missing persons, Hillary Clinton took an ambulance ride last week and to date of all the US news media, only the NY Post seems to have taken note of this. (OK, I have zero clue what b’cast media have said but their reports are usually mirrored in the print media.)

      How is HRC in hospital not national news? Not even a host mentioning it if only to wish Her well?

      In my tire factory days, the tire curing lines used steam to ‘mold’ tires into a tire like shape (until they hit the cure room, tires look like open-ended rubber barrels). Occasionally a mold blows. It is always unexpected and if a worker is near the mold when it blows, supervisors gave them the rest of the shift off (something to do with others not wanting to work next to someone who’d just soiled themselves).

      When this country tips into the abyss, it will be just that sudden. Everything will be just “fine,” and then it won’t be, and Biden’s Jenga presidency will topple taking Western civilization along with it.

      1. ambrit

        In addition to the tyre mold effect, there is also the “outsourcing” of functions effect. Our neighbour has a sinecure of sorts. His Dad was middle management at a tyre manufacturing company “somewhere in America.’ The company was bought out by a foreign firm. Many of the previously in house functions relating to tyre manufacturing were “outsourced,” not all overseas.
        Our neighbour now rebuilds “wear tools” used in making tyres. Many of such are pretty complicated items. Fine machining is involved, also CNC machines. Neighbour wrangled one of the rebuilding functions for tyre machinery as a “small business” sole proprietorship. He described the sticker shock he encountered in trying to purchase a new Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machine. “I faced the prospect of being a debt slave to my job. Very frightening considering the student debt load we (he and his long term live in girlfriend,) already have. I wanted to curl up and disappear.” However, the CNC machinery was vital to the project. Eventually he found a used CNC machine he could fix up and bought it. Things went well after that.
        Suddenly, that neighbour is looking tired and worn. I hesitate to ask him about it for fear of providing a convenient target for his pent up frustration and anger. Yes, he looks exactly like that. No longer says hello in passing, always looking at his feet as he walks, and looks plain old tired. He and his lady have both been vaccinated against Covid, but perhaps, being charitable here, Long Covid is involved.
        Moral of the story: the long anticipated “unravelling of America” is well on it’s way to being a ‘fait accompli.’
        Allow me to be the first here to publically wish for a non-recovery for the Empress Eternally In-Wait.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I tried to find a picture of an uncured tire and discovered that search engines can no longer be tricked into showing you how tires are made, just how to change them on your car.

          Curious about the ‘wear tools.’ Due to mgt-union fractiousness, machine operators were not allowed to use tools on our machines, not even hammers. As a result every bead machine had a “peter stick,” a six inch length of steel rod about as big around as a . . . well, you can guess. You were allowed to use this ‘stick’ to adjust your machine without making the mechanics, electricians or pipefitters angry (separate unions within the factory).

          Other than that, mill room workers had mill knives (very short curved blade for working with rubber). In the bead room we had ‘hot knives’ which were just cheap wooden handled knives stuck into a sheath next to a heating coil to make it easier to cut rubber with). But automation has jettisoned most of these tools.

          I suspect your neighbor is making tools for a dying industry (old style tire mfg). All the video I see of new plants is of heavily automated equipment with machines doing almost all the work. I know nothing about the new generation of equipment but the safety aspects strongly suggest that workers do not participate in the process so much as observe.

          1. ambrit

            Greetings, it may give too much away, but the “wear tools” in question are the high pressure hydraulic machines used in the rubber extruding process. The pistons wear out fairly quickly and must be retooled to return to ‘original’ tolerances. This process involves relining of pistons with high strength and temperature metal sleeves and the remilling of the pistons themselves. Various other valves and connectors are involved.
            Thus, these machines are the heart of the tyre making process. From there, the proto-tyres go on to the trimmers etc.
            Since he is competing with overseas concerns, our neighbour is not getting rich. Indeed, a large part of his gross income is recycled into machinery.
            Some CNC prices for used units:
            Read ’em and weep. It’s tough being a small shop owner today.

    3. Carla

      So the U.S justice system depends on what happens in the Bahamas now?

      “oh,” indeed. And thanks for the tire mold blowing analogy, M.G.

      1. tegnost

        So I went to the bahamas and I said “if you don’t fire that prosecutor by the time I leave here…”

        1. ambrit

          And the “fixer” you met at The Pink Elephant bar on Bay Street then told you that Hunter’s people had already used that old trick and that you should think of another one.
          As the old adage says: “Money talks and then you walk.”
          Nassau has always been acknowledged as the inspiration for Mos Eisley. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”
          A Jedi perspective:

          1. tegnost

            Well looky there…one could say harmon has indeed become like lukes dark father…Oh, and
            Happy Fathers Day!

            1. ambrit

              Oh! Oh! That’s a monster!
              Speaking of harmon; I had not thought it through. Nassau really is an example of a Globalist’s Wildlife Refuge. Las Vegas can self promote all it wants. Nassau is made to an older, more time tested template. Their motto is: “What happens in Nassau stays buried in Nassau.” Just ask the heirs and assigns of Sir Harry Oakes.

          2. Bugs

            Wow, this is true. I was in Nassau just on chance for no particular reason because my SO of the time took me there. I was blown away by what a wide open town it is. Fun, but caution and prudence are necessary.

            1. ambrit

              My family lived in Nassau for two years back when the Bahamas were still a Crown Colony. “The Bay Street Boys” was the local term for the fixers, pimps, lawyers of various fell designs, and other slimy operatives at work in the Islands. I was five or six and remember it as a fun place to be. You could go to the beach, less than a mile from where we lived, 365 days a year. Don’t fall in the harbour, like I did. There be sharks there, real ones, not those Land Sharks cruising Bay Street.
              Today, parts of the Bahamas are almost independent states, maintained by bribery and the profits of the very widespread and lucrative drugs trade. All those small islands can have snug harbours and fairly sophisticated runways for small aircraft. There is a very good reason why Epstein located his Porn Palace in the US Virgin Islands. That region, no matter who the “occupying” power be, is heir to a long and storied history of piracy. What else was Epstein then but a modern day pirate, buying and selling flesh and the “services” attendant thereof?
              If anyone ever finds a true copy of Epstein’s “Little Black Book,” I propose that everyone in it be shot out of hand. Think of it as a “Directed Jackpot.”

    4. some guy

      Did he give money to the Dem party only? Or did he give money to the Rep party too? If so, how do the amounts compare?

  2. The Rev Kev

    Working link for “Ukraine Situation Report: Waning Flood Waters Could Provide Opportunity For Kyiv’s Forces” article at-

    So doesn’t this article actually prove who blew that dam then? The main problem for the Ukrainians is that all that mud that was on the bottom of that lake is in no way capable of supporting heavy vehicles – and is likely to stay that way for the rest of the year.

    1. OnceWere

      Re : An Inside Job (NYT). One day you’re publishing accusations that a Ukrainian special operations team carried out the North Stream demolition – something requiring the surreptitious placement of hundreds of kilos of explosive at multiple locations 80 m under the North Sea – and then the next day you’re publishing an article that doesn’t even think to mention the possibility that that same Ukrainian special ops team would find a dam demolition child’s play in comparison.

      1. jsn

        Right, and that Russians have such poor impulse control they can’t stop destroying the things they already control.

        Shut off or open the NorthStream valve; open or close the floodgates on the dam; control is power.

        Nope, them Rooskies caint help therselves, just gotta blow up the things they got. Crimea’s surrounded with water, what’s it need a reservoir for? Why’d you wanna sell gas to Germans? (Well, last question does have some history…)

    2. Louis Fyne

      One cannot even walk across a mud flat like that with zero gear.

      it is literal quicksand. unwitting tourists get stuck/drown in the same type of conditions in tidal flats at low tide as the tide returns

      long time before that reservoir bottom dries out.

      Surely someone included wet mud in the calculus?!?

      1. juno mas

        Yes, mud/silt has accumulated over decades. Who knows to what depth? While the mud/silt may dry out at the surface due to sun/wind exposure the mud/silt is fully saturated with water below the surface.

        There is a bird refuge pond (~40 acres) in my tourist town that appears dry during the summer. Tourists attempting to walk across it get stuck knee deep. Fire Dept. usually arrives with ladders to perform rescue. Don’t expect Ruskie’s to be so accommodating.

  3. KLG

    From Charles Hugh Smith: What’s the best way to irritate a Tesla driver, and I know many of them? Mention this:

    Then there’s the source of the fuel. An electric vehicle manufactured by burning coal and charged with electricity generated by burning coal is in fact a coal-burning vehicle. Calling it “electric” fits the happy story, but it’s not actually factual: a coal-burning vehicle is an environmental disaster, regardless of labels, our opinions or the happy-ending PR.”

    Around these parts, the electricity comes from a very large coal-burning plant that up until recently was also the second largest emitter of mercury in the US.

    I would also add that Mr. Smith is channeling Herman Daly, who was on the “high-throughput” case more than 50 years ago.

    1. Peter Whyte

      Refreshing to read a well composed article stating what most of us who read NC already know. I was afraid that Smith was going to break down and end with “but I’m an optimist”, ‘there’s hope’, ‘we still have time”.

    2. LawnDart

      Mr. Smith’s assertation is patently false.

      The use of coal for the generation of electricity is two-thirds less than it was twenty years ago, however, it is still the second leading source, behind natural gas.

      But I would agree that our auto-centric lifestyle is a major problem, and that suburban Tesla drivers as a whole (minus Uber, Lyft, taxi drivers, etc.) are contributing to the mess by virtue of their major lifestyle choices– driving a Tesla is hardly a help to the environment.

      I suspect Smith is shilling for oil and gas. I wonder where he stands on renewables (which we know is an industry polluted by greenwash and lax-standards).

        1. skylark

          I agree with jsn. I’ve been reading his blog, Of Two Minds, for years now and he is definitely not shilling for oil and gas. You might enjoy his take on many things.

        2. chris

          Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing! I do wonder what form localism could take in the current US society? We’re still a place where 100 miles isn’t that far away for most communities. We spent 1995 – 2015 creating exurbs so that people could drive until they qualified. There might have been a moment post lockdown when employers were forced to consider remote work a permanent feature but now it looks like they’re actively pushing back against all of that and demanding a return to the office on at least a hybrid basis. Local stores seem to be collapsing too. And if you’re in a city where Target, Walmart, and others have fled due to crime the kind of local options you do have left may be unsatisfactory. So what does local mean now? I know the concept of the 15 minute city but that’s impractical or impossible for most of the country. So what are the options?

          1. some guy

            If political and legal obstacles and cultural obstacles could be overcome, some big and biggish cities and biggest towns with a “nearby” reaching a hundred miles away . . . could be the centers of their own hub-and-spokes type passenger rail networks.

            But only so long as there is enough industrial civilization remnants left to build such “lily pad” rail network circles.

      1. Lexx

        Enjoyed the article so much I ordered his book. I particularly liked the words “the skim”. I’ve thought of corporatacracy as ‘the other mob’ for years. You could almost feel some empathy for the actual mafia given the press they get, while their imitators (?) coat themselves in virtue and hide behind the efforts of PR firms to clean up their images. The mafia seem almost courtly. Pretty sure it’s some of the appeal behind ‘Tulsa King’… a gangster with a heart of gold.

        I’m watching Season Two of ‘Gangs of London’. Is it me or do the Brits seem to have a more accurate view of the utter ruthlessness of international gangster relations?

        1. some guy

          The Legit Mob. . . . the White Shoe Mob . . .the Oak Paneled Boardroom Mob . . . the Wall Street Mob . . . the Davos Mob . . . does anyone else have other ideas as to what to call the Corporate Mobs and Mafias?

          1. jsn

            The spreadsheet mob.

            They do all the thing gangsters do by hand with spreadsheets.

            All the savagery without any of the reality. All about the money.

            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              So is the spreadsheet the modern equivalent of the fountain pen? Well, Woody’s gone, so let’s ask Melanie.

    3. cnchal

      In the real world, the least destructive choice of vehicle is a small, light, old ICE vehicle that is well-maintained to conserve fuel and driven only rarely.

      My sentiments exactly.

      The sentiment of ‘car guru’ Jeremy Clarkson too. From 2014 but conditions have deteriorated since, with ever moar digital crapola inserted into every nook and cranny. The first time something breaks, and if it breaks expensive enough on a depreciated and out of warranty vehicle, is the next trip to the scrapyard? These newish cars are unownable.


      We shall start with the Daily Mail. Because it runs a campaign about the idiocy of plastic bags, but on a Sunday its supplements are delivered in . .  . a plastic bag. Which I have to throw away.

      Then we shall move on to the makers of anything that is billed as disposable. Why would you want to throw away a camera, for crying out loud? Or cutlery? Or anything at all?

      >This nonsense is even spreading these days to the world of cars. You may have noticed recently that Fiat is advertising what it calls the spring/summer collection of 500s. And I know exactly what is going on. It wants people to think of their car as a skirt, something that should be discarded after six months because white is so last year.
      – – – – –
      Top Gear is often criticised — by people with terrible shoes, usually — for concentrating too vigorously on expensive cars that no one can afford. This, of course, is rubbish. Elton John could easily afford anything and everything we feature. It’s also not true. We put far more effort, money and time into featuring old crocks.

      You see, we have a message. When you think a car is done for and washed up, we will demonstrate that, actually, it can still get across Botswana, or India, or Bolivia, or the Middle East. Deep down Top Gear is the most environmentally sound programme on earth. Or it would be if only more people had got the message. And since they haven’t, I’ve decided this morning to tell you a little bit more about the BMW I recently drove on a 1,000-mile odyssey through Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
      – – – – –
      For nearly two weeks it had been driven on washboard gravel, through mud and, some of the time, on no kind of track at all. And yet I could quite happily have driven it back to England afterwards. And, despite all the hardships and all the torture, it would have made it.

      So bear that in mind if you are looking at your own car now. You may think it’s on its last legs, but I’d like to take a bet that it isn’t.

      Jonathon Porritt, George Monbiot, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth will tell you that to save the planet you must dispose of your old car and use the bus or a bicycle instead.

      But I’ve got a better idea. If you really want to save the planet, and a fortune too, do not buy a new car. Follow the teachings of Top Gear and simply carry on using the one you’ve got now.

      Peak BMW.

      For those that have to have the latest, watch out, you are buying a digital wiildebeast.

      If the way the plug-in hybrid system works disinterests Clarkson, the way the doors function is far worse, he argues. Rather than fitting handles, Lexus has opted for buttons on the outside and inside that are used to unlatch the doors electrically, which is a problem in inclement weather.

      “Push [the button] and nothing happens. So you push it again. Nothing happens again. Then a bus goes through a puddle and splashes you — I was in Manchester, so it was raining — and then a cyclist shouts at you for being in the road. And eventually you push it again. And nothing happens again.”
      – – – – –
      If getting in was frustrating at times, so too was getting out, Clarkson wrote.

      “You push what looks like a handle but it isn’t a handle. It’s a switch. And it’s supposed to open the door. But if sensors detect an approaching cyclist, the door stays shut. And as there’s always an approaching cyclist these days, you have to assume that once you arrive at your destination, you will be stuck in the car until 4am.”
      – – – – –
      All that aside, Clarkson did have some kind words for the NX, calling it “a pretty decent long distance companion. Quiet, smooth and extraordinarily economical. If my maths are correct, and they usually aren’t, we achieved 65mpg.”

      But he questioned whether such a thing is really necessary, because those seeking cheap or clean transport can “get a bicycle or a train.”
      – – – – –
      The future will involve other drivers in cars like the Lexus NX “sitting there trying to work out how to shut down [their] infernal lane control” while he comes up behind in an old Triumph Dolomite Sprint, “its little single-cam engine buzzing away and its 16 valves chattering like a flock of geese at a drinks party …

      “I’ll switch off my overdrive and tear past wearing a smile so bright you could use it to illuminate a medium-sized city.”

  4. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re: “Can You Give Me The Odds?”: The Betting on Trump is Based on the Wrong Question Jonathan Turley
    From the link:

    Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has pledged to pardon Trump and challenged other candidates to do likewise.


    President Joe Biden could make an unexpected legal move, too, however. He could pledge not to pardon Trump but to commute any sentence handed down if Trump is convicted, declaring that — in the best interests of the country — he would spare his rival and a former president from being sent to prison. It would blunt any criticism of a more lenient outcome in Biden’s own classified-documents scandal.

    RFK2 should consider promising to pardon, or at least commute the sentence in case of a guilty verdict, of both Trump and Biden in the interest of putting this all behind us.

    1. ambrit

      The problem with that idea is that the Democrat Party has shown itself to be obsessed with destroying Trump. It can come as no surprise when the Trump loyalists adopt a similar attitude in response.
      The truly “Populist” policy here would to be to promise to adopt the death penalty for Official Corruption. Then, a candidate can get in front of the guillotine building mobs and claim to be leading the parade, and thus survive longer than his or her rivals for power.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”…the Democrat Party has shown itself to be obsessed with destroying Trump.”

        I don’t know how much more of CNN (the Democrats’ channel of choice) I can stand. I watch it every Saturday and Sunday morning hoping to get some insightful political analysis. Instead this morning I got garbage like this (paraphrased):

        1. Amy Cook of the widely-read (sarc) Cook Report: “At some point something is going to happen that will collapse his [Trump’s] support.”
        2. “Trump has got to start looking to the future and laying out his policies and platform instead of focusing on his grievances. For as long as I’ve been following him, this is all he’s done.” This gem of wisdom from a young woman who by appearances couldn’t have been older than twenty-five. Which means she started following Trump when she was in Grade Twelve!

        Really, after all this nonsense, I almost pine for Fox. If only I could get it in Canada (I can’t). But the fact that I would watch it if I could says a lot about how MSM is losing its credibility.

        1. jonhooops

          The mirror image of garbage is just garbage. So you won’t do any better with Fox. Consider yourself lucky that you don’t have it available in Canada. Although I’m sure it is available on a streaming box like Apple TV or Roku if you really want to see it.

      2. Mikel

        No endorsements from me for any of the political candidates or parties.

        But they were obsessed before, but now they can’t let up. If he gets elected, he’s going to send asses to jail. He’ll somehow get payback.

      3. JBird4049

        I almost believe that in a couple of election cycles we will have Roman style proscriptions. The proscriptions remind me of capitalism and modern policing as the person who killed the proscribed got to keep some, if not all, of the decedent’s property, money, even family for themselves. It got to where people would bribe the writers of the list of the proscribed to have people listed. Self financed assassinations and both the optimates (conservatives/the senate) and the populares (populists/public assembly).

        Modern capitalism is all about wealth extraction at any cost with no attention to morality or even common sense. Modern American politics is becoming this as well. Then add the courts that twist and distort the laws to get any results that the increasingly politicized courts want. Left and right are both the same.

        Politically the extremely rough analogy to today would be the pre-neoliberal liberal Democrats and the representatives against the pre-neoliberal conservatives and the senate. I forget who started the proscriptions, either Sulla or Marius, but once it started it devolved into murder for profit and revenge with any of the ideologies that help start them forgotten.

        I just do not understand why people do not understand or see that any tactic, strategy, or
        law that they create for use on their perceived opponents will eventually be used on them by the other side side because the wheel will turn and the other side will be in charge. If nothing else, look at the presidents. No matter how much rigging of the elections, a president who you do not want will be in office with all the tools that you created for your side.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Interesting thought about Roman style proscription. But when people are “cancelled”, isn’t that a modern equivalent? They can have not only their career derailed but also their livelihood.

          1. ambrit

            The “cancelling” happens in the main to people who still work for their living. Proper proscriptions would target the truly wealthy, such as Trust Fund Babies, millionaire VC Vultures, Wall Street manipulators, etc. That would be a major stressor to the Status Quo.
            Pair this with the suggestion above for “Hub and Spoke” transport networks and we end up with modern City States. Something like Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong from ‘Snow Crash.’
            It could happen. Stranger have been implemented before. Think of John Calvin’s Geneva. Heck, think of Jerusalem today. A de-facto Theocracy in the guise of a participatory democracy.

    2. marym

      Turley should also suggest that Trump (or any other potential Republican nominee) “pledge…to commute any sentence handed down if Biden is convicted, declaring that — in the best interests of the country — he would spare his rival and a former president from being sent to prison.”

    3. some guy

      Cornel West might make some waves if he made a promise like this, and even broadened it out.

      “If I am elected President, I will consider commuting the sentence of any ex-President who gets convicted of something.”

      If ” consider commuting” is not strong enough, headline grabbing enough, clickbaity enough, then he might have to go all the way and promise ” to commute the sentence of” . . . etc.

  5. Stephen

    “America still leads the world, but its allies are uneasy”

    “But Li — who is still under US sanctions imposed in 2018 — was not interested. His Shangri-La speech was shockingly combative in its criticism of the US (“some country”) for having “willfully interfered in other countries’ internal affairs and matters … and frequently resorted to unilateral sanctions.”

    Niall Ferguson’s comment on Li refusing to meet Blinken is instructive. He seems to see the US as the perfect empire and criticises Li for refusing to meet. But fails to point out the bellicosity of US behaviour. He even notes that Li is under sanctions and fails too to deduce that perhaps sanctioning people for doing the right thing for their countries might not be the best way to encourage them to meet you. He also fails to draw any inference that perhaps it would be better not to upset other countries by interfering in their internal affairs.

    Niall Ferguson is a smart man so he must see the other side of the story. As a historian , it is usually a requirement although most of his history does seem quite ideological. Perhaps, if you are to earn dollars from Bloomberg then intellectual honesty is best avoided.

    Interested in other reader’s thoughts on Ferguson. I personally think he is overrated as a historian. AJP Taylor still strikes me as a far better product of the British intellectual tradition, and easier to read too.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe the article should have been called “America still leads the Western world, but its allies are uneasy” as it would be more accurate. Obviously Niall Ferguson never heard of what happened when Blinken met the Chinese in a third rate hotel in Alaska not that long ago but like you said, he is ideological in his writings. Right now Blinken is in China and I wonder if he will be more subdued in his dealings with the Chinese or whether he will go back to finger wagging, warnings and rants about human rights. I’m kinda hoping that he tries to patch things up between the US and China but the Chinese have publicly stated how the Biden regime constantly says one thing to them but will then go on to do the opposite. With the 2024 Presidential elections looming, I would guess that Biden will do non-stop China bashing to try to get voters to line up with him, no matter what the cost to China-US relations.

      1. tegnost

        Blinken to chinese under under secretary of janitorial affairs, on his arrival in china…
        “I refuse to stay in a motel 六 (that’s 6 six in chinese, I looked it up on the goggle!)! ”
        The chinese under under secretary of janitorial affairs replies (This one is from charlie chan, I think…) “So sorry, So sorry!” which means he’s actually not sorry but I have no citation to support this contention…
        Then to the under under under secretary of janitorial affairs
        “Make sure the room is well populated with 臭虫”
        That’s bedbugs, yup, goggle again. Training AI, That’s what I do, it’s a thankless job and the pay sucks…

        1. ambrit

          “…it’s a thankless job and the pay sucks…”
          So do the bedbugs. However, bedbugs are tolerated because they are functionally similar to Vampire Squids. (I wonder what sub-species of Wall Street Trader is the analog to bedbugs?)
          Blinken should be ‘comfortable’ with bedbugs. All the ‘comforts’ of home!

      2. Synoia

        Niall Ferguson is a smart man so he must see the other side of the story…One suspects the Niall Ferguson only sees the side of the story that brings him money, praise or both.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          Yeah, I don’t know. I’d agree that he is at least somewhat clever. On the other hand clever people have a strong capacity for self-delusion, and he does not seem an exception.

      3. Lex

        Well they barely met him at the airport. Not quite the VDL treatment of “fly home commercial” but hardly the diplomatic standard for a SoS visit. At least when he did meet with foreign ministry officials of high rank they let him have the US flag for the photo op. The Saudis didn’t even give him that respect.

    2. Hastalavictoria

      Several years ago Ferguson in one of his pieces in the Sunday Times stated, in an anti-chinese article, that 17th century England was one of the greatest periods of individual liberty.I pointed out in a letter that 6 year olds were working down mines in my area the Forest of Dean ,slavery was still in vogue in the USA and we were exporting our cons to Australia!The man is a shill

      1. Daniil Adamov

        That is the Ferguson I recognise. Greatest individual liberty for some, perhaps. But surely Poland was even better…

    3. Daniil Adamov

      I read Ferguson once upon a time (Empire, The Pity of War, some others too I think). Agreed about him and AJP Taylor. I will say that both were perhaps too fond of clashing with certain widespread viewpoints and pushing somewhat tendentious revisionist interpretations. But Taylor clashed with actual establishment views and pushed contrarian theories that were at any rate entertaining and sometimes nearer to truth than what was commonly accepted. One example off the top of my head: that France reconciled with Germany pretty quickly after the Franco-Prussian War, turning revanchism into a marginal tendency until WWI suddenly brought it to the fore.

      Meanwhile Ferguson is an eloquent but somewhat typical Western right-winger at war primarily with the left wing of the intellectual establishment (if you can call it that). He cannot help but make gratuitous and questionable sallies against perceived enemies of the West. Still interesting enough to read, but mainly because of his use of relatively obscure facts and sources to defend his pseudo-maverick views – those things are often interesting in their own right, regardless of the ends he tries to turn them to. Paul Johnson is quite similar, IMHO.

      I do think Ferguson towers over many other Western pundits of similar tendency, in that he is at least occasionally capable of somewhat original and critical thought. Others might not notice the unease or not think that those treacherous French advisors are worth noting.

      1. c_heale

        I have only seen him on a couple of discussion shows. He seemed like the typical British Empire was a good thing, establishment view, old fart.

    4. eg

      Ferguson is a lick-spittle apologist for empire and utterly brainwashed by the neoclassical orthodoxy where economics is concerned.

  6. Louis Fyne

    —through Russia’s first lines of defense, and haven’t yet reached the main line of Russian fortifications.”—

    A little nitpick. even pro-Ukraine social media accounts say that the Russians have 3 permanent lines of defenses.

    The Ukrainian army (led at the platoon level by 20-something, zero-combat-experience graduates of NATO training) is stuck at a temporary line of defenses north of the first line of permanent defenses.

    1. Yves Smith

      No, with all due respect, this is still not right. Ukraine forces are 15-20 km from the first line of defense. Russia has three of them, as you do point out, sometimes called echelons, in Southern Ukraine. Those terms are used to make clear the difference between that v. territory with built-up defenses, like trenches, tank traps, and dragon’s teeth.

      They are fighting in what Simplicius the Thinker has called a crumple zone, Russian-held but unfortified and not valuable terrain, mainly open fields, that the Russians would normally concede if seriously challenged to fall back to fortified lines, or to use to suck the enemy in and then pummel him. The fact that Ukraine hasn’t even gotten to a fortified line after 2 weeks of fighting says it is spent.

      1. ilsm

        I recall a novel from the late ‘70’s…..

        ukraine mechanized columns entered areas infiltrated with light infantry armed with registered fire zones backed up by attack helicopters.

        in 19th century terms the skirmish line held and the attack reeled back with significant loss….

        the light infantry may have had atgm on hand, and used the mine fields as well as call in remote mine laying shells.

        this tactical set had been written about in the 1970’s as dreams of how nato might hold the funds gap…..

        and sell the vaunted air land battle.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “What the price of an ancient Roman nail tells us about value”

    Quite an interesting article. Nails are something that you do not think about much but we have been using them for thousands of years. The Wikipedia goes into it a lot more and is sounds like the author of this article swiped some stuff from Wikipedia. And that part about people in Virginia burning down their homes to recover sees to be true as they had to pass a law against it. But the basic design of a nails is still the same as it was from pre-history days-

    1. Louis Fyne

      you can see the collapse of Roman Britain via nail usage via nail finds at dig sites.

      normal times: coffins sealed with nails. then coffins sealed without nails. then when times got more tough, no coffins. then when times got even tougher, no coffins/no pottery.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And when times go really bad such as during plagues, then you get mass burials in pits. They keep on finding more and more of these pits in London alone so it happened more than you would want it to.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Maybe not. To encourage the wool industry the British government early in its history mandated that people had to be buried in a wool shroud so such a fact points to individual burials being the norm.

      2. Kouros

        Jared Diamond talked about the use of nails in the two vanished Norse settlements in Greenland in his “Collapse” book. With similar observation.

    2. Lex

      Modern wire nails generally suck in comparison to cut or wrought nails. Although the common problem of a nail splitting wood (especially beat the end of a board) is much more pronounced with cut and wrought nails. It’s because the cut and wrought types are actually wedge shaped rather than round. So the user needs to align the wedge along the grain of a board rather than against it. The upside of the old style nails is that the holding power is much greater than a wire nail and they don’t bend like wire nails.

      In the fine woodworking world there’s a vibrant community that still uses cut and even wrought nails. In Roman times, nails would necessarily be very valuable given that they were all wrought and it takes a lot of nails to build a structure, even if you’re mostly using wooden joints. Using pegs like in western timber framing is a solution but that requires a log of boring through large pieces of wood with pre-modern drill technology.

      The Japanese solved both problems through the application of amazingly complex wooden joinery. That uses no nails and very few pegs. Spending some time on YouTube watching Japanese carpenters (especially temple carpenters) is a fascinating thing to do. Many of the joints aren’t as hard to cut as they look. A search for nails on the Lost Art Press website will also give some results on using cut and wrought nails in the modern context.

      1. Bsn

        When young, I would pull nails from old constructions for my dad. Many were wedge shaped and he prized those. I would often sit and hammer them straight again. He grew up in the ‘teens of last century and nails were not cheap. Talk about conserving and re-using.

      2. digi_owl

        I suspect the main benefit japan has is that is basically stopped the clock by isolating itself until the 1800s, as that meant things got preserved for longer than it did in say Europe.

        Because some quick video watching i find myself reminded of some almost forgotten Nordic building techniques, though more elaborate as they are meant for temples rather than barns.

        1. Lex

          Yes. Large construction without nails was common in Scandinavia and Russia long after it went out of fashion in Europe.

          Isolation was almost certainly a large part of the Japanese technique. The flip side of that is the steel work they did for tool making is second to none. But to your point, Japanese chisels are made of two steel types with only the very hard steel for the edge right up at the edge.

      3. GF

        We watched the second to last episode for the season of This Old House yesterday (it was delayed a few weeks for pledge month). They are renovating a house in MA built in 1720. The owners want to reuse everything they can from the demolition activities in the new renovation. Cut nails were used in the original house and some were salvaged for reuse but new ones were also utilized as they are still manufactured.
        The nail part is at about 4:45.

      4. Lee

        I worked for a time for a Japanese trained temple builder, Paul Discoe, a remarkable craftsman who founded Joinery Structures in Oakland, CA.

    3. hunkerdown

      Ehrenreich’s PMC theory holds that capital has formed a separate class “whose major function in the social division of labor may be described broadly as the reproduction of capitalist culture and capitalist class relations.” Harford’s condescending mythologizing is a clear example of the performance of that function.

    4. JP

      I have straightened many a nail in my youth but these days I wouldn’t trade three drywall screws for a whole bag of nails. The battery powered driver and the drywall type screw are a back bone of modern construction.

  8. DJG, Reality Czar

    Peter Hitchens, Saw what was coming. Won’t join this carnival of hypocrisy.

    Worth your while. Even though the commenters here discuss in great detail the situation in Ukraine, the bloody-minded U.S. elites, the daughters of war of Madeline Albright (she of Iraq babies), and the general atmosphere of McCarthyism and delusion, Hitchens gets all of these concerns in one place.

    And, yes, the word hypocrisy is the best description.

    Near the end, he quotes William Tecumseh Sherman: “American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman who said: ‘I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.'”

    I may, with your indulgence, paste this quote here every day to remind us of the needless suffering being perpetrated willfully by hypocritical criminals on other human beings.

    1. Wukchumni

      War is indeed Hell…

      My neighbor landed in Saigon a week before the Tet Offensive, a newly minted USMC Patton tank machine gunner bound for harm’s Huế just in time for the festivities.

      His tank commander wore a garland of human 17 ears and was a grizzled veteran in that this was his second tour of duty, and early on my neighbor related there were a group of 6 villagers and a like amount of water buffalo 100 yards away from the Patton, and the commander said ‘waste em’!’ and he hesitated, asking if that was right mowing down unarmed civilians, and the garlanded one asked sternly, who’s the tank commander, you or me?, I said waste em’!

      So he cut them all down, just following orders.

      They were somewhere near the Laotian border later in his tour and the tank was behind bamboo and the commander had his head out of the turret just enough to receive a bullet between the eyes and seeing as he was perched on my neighbor’s shoulders, the former tank commander then slumped onto him, and to add insult to injury, the commander had the only helmet with radio communication, so he had to scoop out the grey matter and then put the helmet on so as to communicate.

      When the Ken Burns series on the Vietnam War came on, I asked his wife if he was watching it, and she told me ‘Tom doesn’t do war, no movies, no documentaries, nothing.’.

      1. c_heale

        According to Nick Turse’s, Kill Anything that moves, the My Lai massacre was the norm for Vietnam.

    2. Stephen

      As I am sure you know DJG, Reality Czar but other readers might not: Peter Hitchens is approximately the only mainstream British journalist who has consistently pushed back on “The Narrative”. He is a very brave man given the public atmosphere in this country. Roger Waters is the only other major British public figure who comes to mind. The rest are just gung ho to go to war it seems. As long as other people do the dying, that is.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Speaking of needless suffering, the US would like moar. From the Antiwar article on Papua New Guinea –

      It’s no secret that any US military base in Papua New Guinea would become a potential target for China in a future war. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, recently told Nikkei Asia that the purpose of expanding in the region was to give China more areas it would need to target.

      “Obviously we would like to disperse in as many places as we can to make the targeting problem for the Chinese as difficult as possible,” he said. “A lot of those runways where we would operate from are in the Pacific Island nations.”

      I don’t ever want to hear a bunch of unnamed sources talking about unintended consequences of US policy or collateral damage. These people know exactly what they’re doing, promoting war and deliberately putting more brown people in the bullseye.

      1. The Rev Kev

        With the nuclear bases being set up here in Oz, not just brown people. Same for the Ukrainians too I guess.

    4. hunkerdown

      Property is a much better word that cuts to the actual source of the problem, rather than the one that the moralizing class would prefer to preserve in order to give themselves meaning.

    5. digi_owl

      Gets me thinking about the story about how people would bring picnic baskets to spectate the early civil war engagement outside DC, only to be shocked by the brutality.

      Similarly Wild Bill hickok used to play himself in stage shows in New York, and once shocked the audience by loading his guns with proper bullets and shooting one of the stage lights.

      1. JBird4049

        The First Battle of Bull Run.

        Yes, I remember thinking that they were crazy, clueless, or something for picnicking at a battle when I first read about it. Their Sunday best, picnic baskets, fine carriages, and, if they had them, servants were all driven back the same road as the rest of the Union army in a single ginormous, jumbled traffic jam. I don’t remember reading of any of spectators being hurt except after the battle from the panicked accidents.

        History really is crazier than what anyone would accept from fiction.

  9. Mikel

    “….Dash observes (over on Bluesky, where we can’t link it yet) that venture capital’s playbook for AI is the same one it tried with crypto and Web3 and first used for Uber and Airbnb: break the laws as hard as possible, then build new laws around their exploitation.

    The VCs’ actual use case for AI is treating workers badly.

    The Writer’s Guild of America, a labor union representing writers for TV and film in the US, is on strike for better pay and conditions. One of the reasons is that studio executives are using the threat of AI against them. Writers think the plan is to get a chatbot to generate a low-quality script, which the writers are then paid less in worse conditions to fix. [Guardian]

    Executives at the National Eating Disorders Association replaced hotline workers with a chatbot four days after the workers unionized. “This is about union busting, plain and simple,”
    “break the laws as hard as possible, then build new laws around their exploitation…”
    That VC and Wall St. plabook at least goes back the deregulation that led to the 2008 GFC.

    And remember the pension victims of toxic packaged MBS trash. The dump of all that garbage that banks like GS knowingly sold to pension funds, while the bankers placed bets the crap would fail. Largely targeted attack on unionized workers

    1. John

      What is the best way to increase profits,dad? The best? Why that would be hold down wages son. How do you do that, dad? It’s no secret. Don’t let a union form. If one does, break it by any means that comes to hand. Study your history son. That’s what we have always done. It helps to have a ready supply of poor desperate people willing to work for any wage. Yup. Desperate people and no unions. That’s the way.

    2. digi_owl

      That may well be as old as capitalism itself. Only that initially it was about finding some product or activity that was not regulated by law, rather than overtly breaking the law.

    3. montanamaven

      I wish the Writer’s strike would get more attention. Nobody running for President seems to care about labor issues. In fact, most are probably hostile. (Not putting on their walking shoes.) Surprise! Surprise! Hollywood has always had to turn to various financing schemes to keep afloat during hard times. Periodically, corporations like GE and Gulf and Western and Sony have owned some studios. But most did not set out to actually wreck show business. Now, venture capitalists have jogged down Hollywood Boulevard in their Lululemons and are killing the golden goose.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    Seymour Hirsch, Partners in Doomsday.

    Is HIrsch truly unable to understand Sergei Karaganov’s descriptions of causes, of the current situation, and of effects? Hirsch keeps dancing around Karaganov’s assertions, in a kind of tough-guys-don’t-vent way typical of U.S. cool. Hirsch is so detached he can’t follow an analysis and argument.

    The ending matters, too: “This could be the clarion of a movement in Russia,” one longtime Kremlin watcher told me, “for a dangerous shift of policy or it could or the off-the-wall ramblings of a concerned but deeply Russian academic.” He added that any serious Nato political strategist should read and evaluate the essay.

    More light-weight bullshit analysis. Karaganov is proposing changes in nuclear doctrine that he sees as defensive. Whether one agrees or not, they aren’t a clarion. Then there’s the “but deeply Russian” dismissal. Yep, Karaganov is the Frito Bandito of Novgorod.

    Who mentioned the racially tinged side of this necropolitical extravaganza?

    1. pjay

      – ‘Sergei Karaganov’s latest controversial article in ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ – Gilbert Doctorow. Hersh “rambling.”

      A useful antidote, as Lambert implies in his comment.

  11. Wukchumni

    This year California’s snowpack reached record-high levels — 40 million acre-feet at its peak in April. LA Times
    The one thing in our favor in the winter of record for the past 125+ years in the southern Sierra has been the quite orderly meltoff, no runs on the snowbanks and temps have been on the cool side considering, gonna be around 80 degrees in the foothills this week which is downright pleasant compared to the 100 days of 100 degrees, some of the temps feeling more akin to a hundred and hell.

    That said, there is still a veritable shitlode of snow still to melt, with a couple of key backcountry bridges on the PCT/JMT in Kings Canyon that were wiped out on the San Joaquin River and another heavily damaged @ Woods Creek. I was having lunch with the park superintendent yesterday and he related that the only helicopter capable of the heavy lode the bridge will bear is an Antonov, of which there is only 1 in North America, and unavailable for use, so he’s thinking of plan B’s, such as helicoptering in a crane to assemble a mostly finished bridge.

    There’s lots of wrecked sections of this that and whatever in Cali, and everybody is scrambling for the same resources and knowhow, bit of a sellers market.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You think that all those article will end up being deep-sixed like all the stories about Nazis in the Ukraine from 2014 to 2022 have been?

    2. Mikel


      How much effect did the Flu Pandemic that started in 1918 affected the minds of people in the years between WWI and WWII?
      There could have been studies or people trying to talk more about effects back then. But there was a concerted effort to make that major, deadly event a footnote in history.
      How much did the handling of the global pandemic back then really play into the unrest of the interwar years? What kind of resentments built up between those that could take more measures to proctect themselves and those pressured to sacrifice health for money?

      Pandemics scare capitalism more than protests, strikes, and riots in the street. All things that generate economic activity.

      1. spud

        remember woodrew wilson was a free trader, and viewed working people as deplorables and made jokes about them as they died like flies from the last major free trade pandemic

        “Wilson’s lack of leadership on the flu did not necessarily come from any ignorance of how serious the disease was. There were reports of illness striking young, healthy soldiers in military barracks and on troop transport ships where overcrowding and poor sanitation was rampant. While Wilson never issued a public statement about the illness, Barry believes the President had many conversations about the high numbers of ill and incapacitated troops at the front. ”

        “Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office, ranks Wilson as the #1 worst president in a disaster: “The federal response to the influenza outbreak in 1918 can best be described as neglectful. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died without President Wilson saying anything or mobilizing nonmilitary components of the U.S. government to help the civilian population.” He also faulted Wilson for contributing to the massive spread of the disease by continuing troop mobilizations “even as World War I was winding to a close.”

        “According to Alfred W. Crosby’s America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918, Wilson asked Army Chief of Staff General Peyton March in October 1918 if he had heard of the popular jump rope rhyme parodying the virus, and recited part of it. (I had a little bird, / Its name was Enza / I opened the window / And in-flu-enza.)”

        “That dynamic would change dramatically in the next two decades, thanks especially to New Deal shifts that were spearheaded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt—a survivor, no thanks to Woodrow Wilson, of the 1918 flu.”

  12. Lex

    Not being there I can’t know but I seriously doubt the draining of the Kahkovska reservoir makes it any easier to cross than an amphibious landing. Aside from everything about that drying silt layer it is now a wide open plain. 500 kg planing bombs and TOS strikes would make it hell on earth.

    I strongly suspect that brigade strength on the Ukrainian side is low and with the dam gone units in the area and all the way up to Nikolaev could be moved to the main offensive axis because they were needed. That’s how Ukraine would truly benefit: not having to worry about any Russian attack across the Dnieper on Kherson. (Russia would kind of get that benefit too, but the likelihood of Ukraine launching a serious amphibious assault is pretty low as opposed to Russia being able to build a pontoon crossing at the dam.)

    1. LawnDart

      Next winter it will harden if not freeze enough for the 4th or 5th NATO-trained and supplied army to cross, and it’ll help too that most of those kids should be potty-trained by then.

      1. ambrit

        And then we’ll have a Second Battle on the Ice, with a similar outcome. Teutonic knights too!
        This Ukraine War has the earmarks of a Latter Day Crusade. These Crusaders however, wear a crooked cross on their surplices.

  13. Lex

    Putin publicly showing the draft negotiated settlement and doing so during the meeting with the African group was the diplomatic equivalent of a sledgehammer. First, his choice of venue elevates the African position relative to euromerica. Second, it makes his case to the RoW that all of this is not his choice.

    From what we’ve been able to see, the draft was very favorable to Ukraine. So favorable (if adopted close to the draft form) that he would have paid a political price for it. It would have achieved Russia’s primary geostrategic goals, which is why the US/UK couldn’t let it be adopted.

    But showing it publicly is atypical Putin. He’s deeply committed to international diplomatic norms of things like private staying private. Between this and his “screw them” and preparing the little documentary to screen at SPIEF, we can probably conclude that his personal opinion on the conflict has hardened significantly. I suspect that surrender is the only acceptable option now.

      1. The Rev Kev

        What makes it worse is how Neocons don’t understand what they don’t want to know. So if a General tries to explain the limitations of logistics to them and how the US is running out of weapons to send to the Ukraine or an industrialist tries to explain that you just cannot start up a weapons facility out of nothing but it takes years to do, well, their eyes tend to glaze over. They don’t think about real world limitations and how just thinking something doesn’t mean that it will just happen. It’s almost like they believe in “magical thinking” and cannot accept the concept of the word No. That they think that they can conjure their own reality.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Crypto Gnostics. “Create their own reality.” If they believe it, it’s real.

          I saw Applebaum with Zakaria this morning. She explained they’re breaking down the Russians psychologically. Territory doesn’t matter so much. Her bottom line: when the Russians believe that we’re (i.e. USA) never going to give up, they’ll go home. As fanciful as that sounds, she may believe it. Therefore, reality will be shaped by her belief, and she’ll get a free car from Oprah.

          1. digi_owl

            They are in essence borne again goldbugs. Note how their language even talk about all that number crunching busywork as “mining”. As if someone was going down a hole somewhere, and coming up with nuggets of valuable hashes. Keynes once joked about burying pound notes in disused coal mines. I do wonder if we could do the same with bitcoin hashes.

        2. jsn

          They all got where they are by displacing their peers whose opinions were constrained by outside realities.

          Firmly embubbled, they’re ensorcelled* by their commitment to their own fantasies.

          For a generation now those fantasies have been a shibboleth keeping watch on the door to the “cult whose budget always grows”.

          *thanks s-l, great word!

        3. digi_owl

          Neocons seem to come from the McNamara school of warmaking.

          MBAs and lawyers, the lot of them.

          Who needs logistics, just run the army like Amazon Prime.

          1. Tom Stone

            Robert “Strange” McNamara had an appropriate middle name, a Man who was educated to the point of idiocy.

        4. Laughingsong

          The neocons exemplify that Daniel Ellsberg quote to Henry Kissinger from the “Secrets” book, that led off yesterday’s links. They’re convinced that their “superior” deep-state-y knowledge means that there’s nothing to be learned from those lumpen people outside that special little bubble.

          1. cnchal

            The Ellsberg quote to Kissinger makes a mockery of the charges against Trump, in that Trump must have seen some of the secrets of the “secret” libraries available to the top echelon, even though we are le(i)d to believe he ignored breifings.

            The “Top Secret” label is a lie and every time someone bloviates about the top secrets of the government sitting beside the crapper or in a closet, we know they know less than nothing.

            Trump is a trophy collector besides being the world’s most famous narcissist, a word that is never mentioned openly in the media, and the secrets in the boxes is stuff like how the military pops corn.

        5. Not Qualified to Comment

          No, they believe in American exceptionalism. Despite all the evidence to the contrary they are certain that if required the US can do what no other nation/peoples on earth could do because – well, they’re American.

          This fantasy also spews from Donald Trump’s mouth every time he opens it which is why he has such a fanatical following of Americans who want to believe it’s true.

          Such a delusion brought disaster on the world, and particularly its adherents, in the form of ‘Deutschland uber alles’ as promulgated nearly a century ago

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Shiny happy people

    “Many were taught, for instance, that “rock music” — any music, even Christian songs, that had an emphasis on the second and fourth beats, rather than the first and third — was actually a secret way that demons got into your soul, perfected by “African witch doctors,” and that prolonged exposure to it killed houseplants.”

    These crazy Xtians really need to get out more. Everybody knows that it’s the Power of the One that makes you come undone, ain’t that right Bootsy?

  15. Roger Blakely

    Dwight’s Glasses Richard Reeves, Brookings Institution

    Thank you, Lambert, for the soft pitch for Father’s Day.

    Richard Reeves is treading lightly through the minefield of black intersexual dynamics. Allow me to point out the hot spots.

    Reeves’s job is to advocate for men within the establishment, mostly academic establishment. He does so in a soft and respectful way. We in the Manosphere on YouTube keep it raw. Reeves is on the record as saying that people in the academic establishment are only willing to talk about the disadvantages faced by men and boys as long as there is an agreement up front that women and girls always come out on top.

    Reeves cites Tommy Curry, chair of Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Why is Tommy Curry, an African-American, in Scotland? He is in Scotland because black feminists ran him out of the US.

    Reeves writes this about intersexual dynamics:

    “In his sociological classic The Truly Disadvantaged, published in 1990, William Julius Wilson argued that dire economic conditions create a smaller pool of “marriageable men,” so fewer couples tie the knot. I have always been uncomfortable with this argument, because male “marriageability” is based on stereotypical assumptions. To be marriageable, a man has to be a breadwinner. How outdated and sexist! The trouble is that most people, including most Black people, agree with Wilson. Breadwinning potential is highly prized in a potential mate: 84% of Black Americans say that in order to be a good husband or partner, it is “very important” for a man to be “able to provide for their family financially,” compared to 67% of white respondents.”

    Allow me to translate that for you. Feminism was illegitimate from day one. Hypergamy, the female preference for men of higher socioeconomic status, is female nature. Hypergamy is biology. Reeves is suggesting that hypergamy is outdated and sexist because he is not allowed to say that feminism was illegitimate from day one.

    Reeves mentions the Moynihan Report. He went there? Is he crazy? This is not a nice essay for Father’s Day. Reeves is ready for the all-out assault that is about to come his way. The Moynihan Report was a letter to President Johnson that said that the efforts of the welfare state would not help black families unless patriarchy was facilitated. Black men would need to brought into a situation where they were the breadwinners and heads of household. That did not happen. The results are evident.

    1. Roger Blakely

      Take a look at today’s Google Doodle. It looks like some Easter theme with a penguin. Today’s Google Doodle’s theme is Father’s Day. Nothing about the doodle indicates Father’s Day. There is nothing to indicate that the penguin, the only creature in the doodle, is male. I guess that Google played it safe this year.

  16. Dalepues

    Antidote. I have been around cats all my life and I have never known a
    trainable cat. Where does one even begin? Food is an enticer, but
    it must be tuna, and as soon as it’s eaten, cat disappears for a nap. So
    my hat’s off anyone who can convince a cat to jump, or walk, through a hoop.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      I disagree. You can train them if it is something they like. :-). I have a 95+% success rate at having them come to me when I call “who wants brush, brush?” or “where are my hungry kitties?”

      The success rate goes down rapidly for other things. :-)

      1. LawnDart

        I had one who liked to play fetch, and did so even better than most dogs. But then he grew up, “gifts” began to appear in the doorway, and he soon lost interest in the game.

    2. Nikkikat

      I also thought about how one might be able to train a cat. Mine are untrainable. If I try to get them to do what I want them to do, they strive for the opposite. And I agree Tuna is the only thing they might accept from me for completing a task. I have a cat that used to get a couple of spoons of tuna from a neighbor when he gave his own cats an evening treat. After the first time he had shown up every evening about 7:00PM to get that tuna. One night the neighbor was at our house visiting and so at 7:15 my cat showed up at the glass door to the living room. He walked past me, climbed up into his lap and started meowing. My neighbor said oh oh, I’m over due for his tuna. He then proceeded to leave and return home. My cat following behind.
      He was home by 7:30 looking quite pleased with himself and immediately took a nap.

    3. Yves Smith

      They need to be Abyssinians or Bengals, which are halfway to dogs. Mine would sit up for food, wear a leash, not walk on my keyboard, and walk not terribly for cats given cities are loud and kinda scary. We had a deal that walking was directional and they did not go into the street, little fenced areas around trees, or down stairs. But they went forward at their own pace.

      Richard Smith did even better with his Bengals. He used a clicker, so you click as soon as they have done the trick correctly, then get a treat. His cats would start hounding him at around 10:30 AM to do their tricks. They would beg, shake hands, sit, fetch, jump up on a surface, and the more agile one would walk on a rope.

  17. Tom Stone

    I wish the Biden Administration would start deep frying their Twinkies in Lithium grease rather than some kind of cheap nut oil.

  18. playon

    Best animal dads – I’m surprised that bald eagles weren’t mentioned. The male and female take turns sitting on the eggs and later keeping the hatchlings warm so that they can alternate hunting for food for themselves and the chicks.

    1. juno mas

      If you noticed, there was a link on that website to an article on Bald Eagles. I think their tendency to steal food from others puts the bald eagle outside the Top 10 of fathers.

      The male bald eagle does, as you say, share considerable work with the female. Though, when push comes to shove, the female is the boss of their formidable nest. (Which they build together.)

  19. Ghost in the Machine

    Looking over the patient zero and long Covid articles, you just have to shake your head that we likely did this to ourselves. A lab leak and huge societal damage is the subject of so many story plots it is almost cliché and we still did it. Humans just aren’t wise enough to wield the power fossil fuels and technology gave us.

    One piece of evidence for the leak that I find strong, but is rarely discussed is the lack of genetic variability of Covid in the early cases. Most spillover outbreaks have a significant amount of genetic variability due to the evolutionary struggle the virus undergoes when adapting to the intermediate host and then onto humans. But, there was no genetic evidence of this struggle. Covid just arrived, genetically uniform and adapted to humans. And, tellingly, not good at infecting bats. So not a direct jump either. So, are we going to talk about restricting this research again like during the Obama administration? I think Daszak still has funding. Or maybe now that we have a demonstration about how ‘effective’ a weaponized virus is the psychopaths ruling us will double down on this research.

    1. Tom Stone

      EcoHealth Alliance is mentioned, but Rosemont Seneca Tech is not.
      I wonder why that is?

    2. MaryLand

      Gain of function research by our scientists in other countries is done outside of the US for a reason. Someone said the only purpose of gain of function research is for military use. Sorry, I can’t remember who said that, but it was a scientist I think.

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        Wow. I hadn’t seen that. Viral fallen angels? That should definitely end up in the character assessments in the eventual histories of this event.

  20. Mikel

    “…With the U.S. performing worse in the latest assessment, roughly half the global markets Elevate ranks are now considered “high” risk, the report said. And while countries like the U.K., Germany and Portugal continued to be ranked “medium” for overall ESG supply chain risks, they were also deemed “high” risk in categories such as child labor and wage-related violations, the study found.¡

    But ESG ratings/rankings have no power to stop child labor and wage-related violations?
    If no power to stop anything, then it’s a type of BS regulation that is actually keeping such problems going strong.

  21. flora

    Taibbi and Kirn’s America This Week is worth listening to. No free public excerpt this week, unfortunately.

    The literary discussion at the end of the show talks about Kurt Vonnegut’s (very) short story: Harrison Bergeron..

    The opening paragraph:

    THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law.
    They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking
    than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the
    211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the
    United States Handicapper General.

    Here’s the short story Harrison Bergeron in full, pdf (5 pages).

    Kirn sees the story as about induced stupifaction in the US and the tragedy of being an artist in the US Midwest.

    Taibbi sees it as a pushback against the MSM and others’ drive toward mass conformism in 1950’s US society.

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks. They may be switching the back part of the show for the first part as their offering to freeloaders. And I think these literary discussions–which obviously involve some preparation and aren’t just ad libs–are better even if I don’t always agree with their enthusiasms. This part hits home re Trump.

      Matt Taibbi: George W. Bush, who was really a rich coke-snorting libertine, he’s now repackaged as a Christian who likes to clear brush with a chainsaw like an everyman.

      This is the lie that we’ve always sold to the middle of the country, that the president is just, “He’s just an ordinary person like you and me, with the same ordinary taste.”

      One of the things that I think was really successful with him is that he said, “Screw that. I’m not going to present myself as being pretending to be humble,” and pretending to be an ordinary square person like all these other idiots like Jeb Bush and John Kasich and all these other bores that he was on stage with.

      He exploded the idiocy, and really the cruelty of that myth. It’s really a cruel myth that these people lay on the public, this idea that, “We’re going to pretend to be ordinary like you, when actually we want awesome power and limitless wealth, and we’re pretty close to getting it.”

      I think that illusion has never been a good one. Trump was different in that respect, and he represents a failure to pretend, which I guess, is frowned upon.

      Walter Kirn: Instead of the Doral Country Club, he went to a Waffle House. He shook hands and hugged the workers and shot the breeze with the supposed customers or whoever the Secret Service allowed into that Waffle House and had the common touch as it were. To me, that is the even greater mythological sin of Donald Trump before the media, which is that besides being outlandish in this P.T. Barnum larger-than-life salesman, he goes around and he makes them turn their cameras on the people they assiduously avoid. The only time CNN will ever show footage of the people who work in a Waffle House is if Donald Trump goes to it. He has forced them through their fascination and loathing of him to show his voters in a way that they avoid at every other turn, except maybe at points during the Iowa primaries when they go to diners.

      The class war may prove to be the most vicious yet.

  22. chuck roast

    Has the West already suffered a coup d’etat? Have the central bankers already seized power?

    “Did democracy meet its maker at Jackson Hole (the location of central banker’s annual meeting) in that case? It seems plausible.” I think that Richard is way, way behind the curve on this one. On second thought, what the hell democracy is it that he is talking about anyway? Economists typically ask the wrong questions so they can settle on one their pat, pre-conceived conclusions. Maybe he should keep on driving…an epiphany could be just around the corner.

  23. Neutrino

    Father’s Day, observed by many.
    Here is a topic of significant interest to current and prospective fathers, with documentation.
    It concerns the health of their children.
    Not just interesting to fathers but to families, teachers and many NC readers.

  24. Tom Stone

    I find it odd that so many Americans think HRC is in favor of Abortion rights, “A Woman’s right to choose” when ( To paraphrase ) “A belief in the Sanctity of all Human life lies at the core of my Christian Faith”.
    This, of course, excludes Sub Humans like the people of Libya, Haiti and the 75 Million deplorables who voted for that horrible orange Man.

    1. digi_owl

      It is odd how much USA venerate religion, to the point of politicians emphasizing their, often Christian, faith. Elsewhere that would be a reason for concern, as it would suggest the politician would be some zealot pushing for religion over secular law.

      1. Lois

        And they are all really crappy, fake Christians. I mean look at how much they punish and hate the poor!

  25. Rolf

    I began reading Karaganov’s piece in the midst of Hirsch’s critique, and never returned to Hirsch. I am no historian, but K’s analysis resonates pretty strongly with my sense of events:

    The underlying, and even fundamental cause of the conflict in Ukraine and many other tensions in the world, as well as of the overall growth of the threat of war is the accelerating failure of the modern ruling Western elites―mainly comprador ones in Europe (Portuguese colonialists used the word ‘comprador’ to refer to local traders who catered to their needs)―who were generated by the globalization course of recent decades. This failure is accompanied by rapid changes, unprecedented in history, in the global balance of power in favor of the Global Majority, with China and partly India acting as its economic drivers, and Russia chosen by history to be its military-strategic pillar. This weakening infuriates not only the imperial-cosmopolitan elites (Biden and Co.), but also the imperial-national ones (Trump). Their countries are losing their five-century-long ability to syphon wealth around the world, imposing, primarily by brute force, political and economic orders, and cultural dominance. So there will be no quick end to the unfolding Western defensive but aggressive confrontation. This collapse of moral, political, and economic positions has been brewing since the mid-1960s; it was interrupted by the Soviet Union’s breakup but resumed with renewed vigor in the 2000s. (The defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the beginning of the Western economic model crisis in 2008 were major milestones.)

    K’s forecast is grim. Together with an earlier piece of his (whose link I can’t immediately locate), he argues that the US must be forced to remember with what deadly seriousness it regarded the threat of (then Soviet) nuclear annihilation, a view no longer entertained by DC foreign policy neocons, and focus instead on restoring its own garden.

    I don’t think this can happen as long as the current crew or its GOP alternative are driving the bus. Their hubris, grandiosity, and reality-disconnect are just too great. So, where does that leave us? We need to forestall nuclear annihilation and economic collapse, the latter tied to pending environmental disaster and climate degradation, all of which depend on serious and constructive collaboration internationally, and realistic assessments of our own resource limits. To me, radical conservation and local self-sufficiency seem the only hope.

    1. Yves Smith

      I immediately wrote Mercouris and told him I thought Hersh’s article (except for the bit about the potential elevation of Nuland) was clearly off base, dependent on US sources who knew nothing about the power structure in Russia. Putin gives all sorts of people a polite audience, like left-leaning economists, and ignores what they say. Karaganov is one of them. Not surprisingly, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zarakhova quickly said no way no how did the Russian government support his views.

      Gilbert Doctorow explained long-form that Karaganov is a poseur in terms of his claims to influence and even in the piece took a stance that marked him as anti-Putin, as in would never be listened to.

      Russia has the best armaments in the world in many categories, particularly hypersonic missiles. No need to resort to nukes unless they really do face an imminent threat to the country’s existence.

    2. c_heale

      I think the Ukraine/Taiwan (basically the latter is a cold war in all by name at the moment) war will end with the following situation

      Winners: (in no particular order)

      Russia – has new alliances and has boosted its position as a military power
      China – has survived and is unassailable in its own territory
      India – is a new axis of the world (this is a major victory) – if Modi or his successor doesn’t keep on trying to make India a Hindu state.

      The USA – will have to move back to reindustrializing (Jake Sullivan’s recent speech was a turning point) and working on hearts and minds. A major victory would be reform of the Pentagon, the secret services and the Military, and redistribution of a major part of the defense budget to civil purposes. The USA and Russia are next to each other (at the Northern end) and have a lot of mutual interests.

      Some African countries – the states that don’t have a current conflict internal conflict are likely to be able to play off the large powers to their benefit.

      South America/South East Asia – as the African countries above.

      The Middle East (including Iraq/not including Israel) – a major winner. If oil runs low they may settle into being a backwater.

      Israel – a loser, but if it solves its internal conflicts – I am not certain this is possible – it will still be a powerful player, but in a part of the world that will become less important as time goes on.

      Japan/Korea/Taiwan – as the African countries above unless the USA/China cold war turns hot.

      Poland/Eastern European countries – much more influence and importance than before the war.
      The post USSR states – less conflict can continue supplying major resources.

      Not Losers or Winners- Australia, NZ, Canada, Central America, North Africa (the last may be a winner)


      The UK – the biggest loser – caused partially by Brexit and partly by the Ukraine war but more significantly by completely incompetent government at nearly all levels, alienation of friendly countries, lack of any consistent economic, energy, and industrial policy etc…

      Western Europe – the EU will probably break into 3 or for parts (although it may still appear whole to save face), the Nordic regions, France and the PIGS, Germany and its neighbors.

      Germany and its neighbors – will be in a much weaker position than pre war, with a lot of their industry and economy damaged.

      France and the PIGS – will come out better after some readjustment, due to facing less restrictions from a weakened or ineffective EU.

      The Nordic Regions – will have some problems adapting to this new multipolar world – especially if they are not double dealing with the US and the EU.

      This is only a brief summary of my ideas – feel free to criticize.

      1. digi_owl

        Another day, another green party proving themselves to be mostly right leaning in action.

  26. Jason Boxman


    The American Heart Association also released a new scientific statement last year focusing on overall healthy eating habits to protect your ticker, which included choosing minimally processed foods (such as a bag of salad or roasted, unsalted nuts) rather than ultraprocessed foods (such as sugary cereal, potato chips or smoked sausage) as much as possible. The dietary guidelines also recommended limiting the consumption of food and beverages with added sugars. And it suggested choosing or preparing foods with little or no salt.

    That strikes me as absurd; Some salting is necessary to bring out the most flavor. The best chicken breast is salted 24 hours in advance, for example, to tenderize it. Try it. Your grilled chicken will be restaurant quality.

    1. Mildred Montana

      There are several varieties of dementia. One of them (which I think the article is referring to) is cerebral vascular insufficiency (CVI). Since vascular disease is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in developed nations, it only makes sense to try to reduce one’s consumption of fats. sugars, and salts (sodium), all of which have a deleterious effect on the vascular system. See: obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, CVI, etc.

      What did Michael Pollan say? Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

      1. Jason Boxman

        We also know salt is necessary. There was a study where the group that avoided all salt had excess mortality. Packaged garbage has much more salt than you can credibly salt a chicken breast with, 1.5lbs worth, for 3-4 servings worth.

        So the evidence that excessive salt is dangerous is credible. But avoiding all salt is dangerous, and I submit some as part of home cooking is essential.

      2. Yves Smith

        This is blanket advice. I have a friend who had chronic fatigue syndrome and high salt consumption alleviated her symptoms. She was thin as a rail and I doubt had blood pressure issues. I’ve always had low blood pressure and by virtue of getting old and eating a lot of salt now have normal blood pressure.

    2. jrkrideau

      Re salt, I think the idea may be that a lot of highly processed foods are laced with salt. A quick look at the labels of a box of Triscuits and two different bottles of soy sauce, one Canadian, one Chinese, and a can of tomato sauce all show what looks like a lot of salt. One smoked sausage looks like it has 54% of the daily recommended salt consumption!

      I tend to like salt on my food but I tried an experiment and found when cooking at home I used ~7 gm of salt per day over a three day period –repeated twice over an 8-12 month interval. That one sausage is probably over my three day usage.

      Here is an interesting new book on the topic. Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind the Food That Isn’t Food Chris van Tulleken ISBN 978-1-324-03672-2

      Van Tulleken is an MD and Ph.D so he may not be coming from out of left field.

      Amazon Blurb

      A manifesto to change how you eat and how you think about the human body.It’s not you, it’s the food.We have entered a new age of eating. For the first time in human history, most of our calories come from an entirely novel set of substances called Ultra-Processed Food. There’s a long, formal scientific definition, but it can be boiled down to this: if it’s wrapped in plastic and has at least one ingredient that you wouldn’t find in your kitchen, it’s UPF.These products are specifically engineered to behave as addictive substances, driving excess consumption. They are now linked to the leading cause of early death globally and the number one cause of environmental destruction. Yet almost all our staple foods are ultra-processed. UPF is our food culture and for many people it is the only available and affordable food.In this book, Chris van Tulleken, father, scientist, doctor, and award-winning BBC broadcaster, marshals the latest evidence to show how governments, scientists, and doctors have allowed transnational food companies to create a pandemic of diet-related disease. The solutions don’t lie in willpower, personal responsibility, or exercise. You’ll find no diet plan in this book―but join Chris as he undertakes a powerful self-experiment that made headlines around the world: under the supervision of colleagues at University College London he spent a month eating a diet of 80 percent UPF, typical for many children and adults in the United States. While his body became the subject of scientific scrutiny, he spoke to the world’s leading experts from academia, agriculture, and―most important―the food industry itself. But more than teaching him about the experience of the food, the diet switched off Chris’s own addiction to UPF. In a fast-paced and eye-opening narrative he explores the origins, science, and economics of UPF to reveal its catastrophic impact on our bodies and the planet. And he proposes real solutions for doctors, for policy makers, and for all of us who have to eat. A book that won’t only upend the way you shop and eat, Ultra-Processed People will open your eyes to the need for action on a global scale.

      1. digi_owl

        Or it could be the mechanization of the whole food chain that is involved.

        Thing about say sugar and salt is that they rarely appear in raw form in nature to the amount modern industry can produce. Thus us mammals likely has not evolved to regulate our intake of such directly.

        Also, salt is a preservative. And one once so priced that they would transport it by camel across the Sahara.

        And we need some amount of salt, otherwise our nerves stop working.

        To come back ground to my original point, it may simply be that mechanized food production has made abundant what in nature is scarce. And that in itself trips up our old mammalian instincts.

        As in we no longer have our stomachs filling up with indigestible fiber from eating plants directly or whole grain flour. And then salt gets added in on top because it simply allows a product to survive freezing or sit longer on a shelf, and is now so abundant that the cost is a non-issue.

        Because things like type 2 diabetes is documented far back in history. But back then it was a rich old man’s disease. Because they were likely the only ones to have the income to eat white bread all day while being largely sedentary.

        All in all the industrial revolution flipped the world in its head. It used to be time abundant but energy scarce. Then it became energy abundant but time scarce.

    3. playon

      Salt a steak about 3 hours before you cook it, if you have a decent cut it will be the best you ever tasted, and it hardly needs anything else added other than a little pepper.

    1. Daryl

      My company is giving us the day off, and I am celebrating the day off by hiking into the woods to see a waterfall. I don’t know if that’s what you’re supposed to do on Juneteenth, but it seems like a fine way to spend a day to me.

  27. MaryLand

    The charisma article at Noema is long but interesting. I have first hand experience with someone who has charisma. I have seen him immediately charm groups of 7-18 people to the point that they all look for him and ask for him in anticipation of a great time. This is beyond being the life of the party type. They seem to want him around very strongly as though it will be a sad/boring time without him. I have also seen him afterwards totally worn out by the social time. He is able to read people quickly and then be who they want him to be, but it takes a huge toll on his energy. Probably politicians with charisma are similar but able to not have such an energy deficit from the effort.

    1. tevhatch

      That’s an interesting way to look at it. Up till now I’d thought of Charisma as something more powerful than diplomacy; that it was the ability to tell people to go to hell, and have them enthusiastically volunteer to make trip even when they know the prospects are grim.

    2. playon

      By all accounts Bill Clinton was a person like that. People who met him said that he could make you feel like you were the only person in the room. He certainly did a lot of damage though, charisma or not.

      1. eg

        I have a friend who met Clinton once and he made a similar observation about the man’s personal charm and magnetism. Like all sources of power in human hands it is capable either of tremendous good or evil.

  28. Glen

    Really starting to like James Li’s analysis. Here’s the latest:

    EXPOSING Corporate Media’s Inflation Propaganda | Breaking Points w/James Li

    The supply chain where I live has certainly been impacted, but seems to be chugging along and dealing with the impacts. Prices do seem high for some goods without good reason (greedflation?). However, the supply chain where I work is has become a [family blogging] nightmare. It’s a mess.

  29. Jason Boxman

    Tried to contact Treasury Direct to change primary bank, but no dice:

    Thank you for your interest in Treasury securities. Due to heavy volume, we are temporarily limiting our communication by e-mail. For us to respond to your e-mail, it must concern a pending case and it must state your case number in the subject line of your e-mail. You may also call us at 844-284-2676. Representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Note: Call volumes are unusually heavy at this time.

    I mention this because, in a functional country, we’d have an employer of last resort program that scales up to handle this kind of demand. There must be plenty of people that would be willing to work at home and handle requests, at least those not dealing with secure financial information, so that people on-site can handle calls that are more sensitive, or whatever makes sense.

    Instead, like with Social Security (!!) we get huge call delays. It’s almost like the most basic functions of our institutions are collapsing, without anyone steering the ship.

    America is a shared suicide pact.

    1. some guy

      The ruling class has already decided to treat America as a “burn-down”. They plan to let it burn down, grab the insurance money, and run to some other country. They are planning to “Rapture themselves” , financially speaking, when the “time comes”.

      We who remain behind will have to figure out how to live in the ashes and burned warped twisted metal remains.

  30. Alan Roxdale

    Developing story of some interest.

    The Irish President has given an interview criticising Ireland’s drift towards Nato, and the risk of “burying ourselves in other people’s agendas”. There is an upcoming Government Consultative Forum on International Security Policy, i.e. should we give up on Neutralness and row in with the Zapp Brannigans, and this interview appears to be a shot across that bow.

    The interview has already provoked a reaction from the government, with ministers breaking protocol to critcise the President (not unprecedented if you examine the case of President Ó Dálaigh). This was to be expected as the Irish establishment (especially the Irish Times readers), have been pining to rejoin a “weekenders Empire” for some time.

    This is not Higgins’ first time to this rodeo. Last year, his wife published a letter calling for peace in Ukraine, which attracted a swift reaction from the outrage brigades. Things have been quiet since. But Higgins likely knows he represents a large constituency of “flyover Ireland”, as several polls over the last year and half consistently show that the majority of the public are tepid on the prospect of giving up Neutrality. Contrasting with most of the establishment, political, administrative, and media who have been all but giddy at the prospect of signing up Irish Defense Forces to a coalition of the willing for some time.

    Higgins has been around the block a few times in national and international circles. This might get interesting.

  31. some guy

    Relative to the Manipur article . . . I found a map of Manipur. It wasn’t hard to do. Here it is.

    It shows that Manipur is part of the cultural-ethnic SouthEast Asia Zone ( if such a thing can be defined.). It borders Myanmar as well as some of India’s other farthest-easternmost ” Southeast Asian”-type regions. One wonders if part of the violence is ultimately driven by South Asian India ( and even more so under the current Hindutvazi Regime) treating it as an internal colonial possession and possible target of demographic-profile changing by South Asian settlers from South Asian Core India ( and maybe Bangladesh too?). ( That’s just a speculation on my part).

  32. some guy

    ” These foods may help cause dementia” . . . since the article-site tells me that I am approaching my free-article-viewing limit, I thought I would bring the study itself linked-to to this thread, in case anyone else is reaching such a limit and wants to be able to find that study in the future. Here is the link.

    One wonders how eating these phood-produkt materials may intersectionalize with getting covid to force-multiply eachothers’ effects towards causing cognitive disfunction and decline.

  33. Late Introvert

    re: The Ukraine Lobby’s Latest Targets

    OK, Ted Galen Carpenter, the Ukraine lobby has captured DC. Now do Israel.

    1. Revenant

      It’s no joke. Mass consumption of ecstasy was largely responsible for the end of British football hooliganism. There are a lot of anecdotes about it in the literature of the sociology of dance music.

      Just tried to find some links but cannot! I am pretty sure this book covers the ground:

      Also some academic writing:

      And there are some youtube confessions

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