Links 6/26/2023

Scooter, a Chinese crested, is crowned world’s ugliest dog The Guardian

FedEx Named In What Could Be One Of The Largest Odometer Fraud Schemes In U.S. History Jalopnik

3 people have acquired malaria in the US. They’re the first in 20 years. Vox


Life in a northern B.C. boomtown The Narwhal

Judge rules pipeline company can enter and survey land without owners’ permission Boing Boing

It’s summer. But in the Northwest, spring never showed High Country News

Moose herds threatened by ticks, brain worms, the result of climate change Bridge Michigan

Ecological doom-loops: Why ecosystem collapses may occur much sooner than expected

Toxic Train Bombs

Montana officials testing Yellowstone River water at site of rail bridge collapse The Guardian. Asphalt and molten sulfur spilled into the water. Sodium hydro sulfate apparently did not. From the article: “The amount of cargo that spilled into the river and the danger it poses to those who rely on the river for drinking and irrigation is still not known…The Federal Railroad Administration was leading the investigation into the cause of the derailment but did not have any preliminary information about the probe to share.”

Railroad safety standards have gotten so bad the NTSB is beginning to question the whole concept of self-regulation Fortune


The Trillion-Gallon Question New York Times


‘A death sentence’: More than 600 people die after catching COVID in hospital The Age

COVID-related dysphonia and persistent long-COVID voice sequelae: A systematic review and meta-analysis Science Direct. From the conclusion: “A quarter of the COVID-19 patients, especially female, suffered from voice impairment during infection, and approximately 70 % of these dysphonic patients kept experiencing long-lasting voice sequelae, which should be noticed by global physicians.”

Poor air filtration in schools is driving absences and tanking productivity, but the fix is simple Salon

Old Blighty

Glastonbury’s Cancelling of a Powerful Film about Jeremy Corbyn Dissident Voice

The future is now: rethinking public ownership Red Pepper


Congress Redux? New Left Review

To deal with Imran Khan, Pakistan descends into autocracy Himal Southasian

Identifying the Steep Increase in Human Smuggling & Trafficking from Pakistan Modern Diplomacy

The Koreas

THAAD missile system agitates South Korea-China ties Nikkei Asia

S. Korean Navy to join U.S.-led maritime exercise in waters off Guam Yonhap

A growing problem: South Korea’s obsession with height and hormones Straits Times


China’s middle-aged jobseekers face age discrimination in unfriendly market as economic, unemployment pressures rise South China Morning Post

Taiwan calls on Australia to send military attache to Taipei over China threats The Australian

European Disunion

Can Europe Break Free of Atlanticism? Consortium News

ND wins landslide election victory for second 4-year term Kathimerini

New Not-So-Cold War

Blinken on Russia crisis: ‘We haven’t seen the last act’ Politico

Obsessed with the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant The Duran (Video)

Behind the Veil of Indifference Harper’s. “Lessons from a nuclear life”


Ukrainian Counteroffensive a Dud as War Hawk Predictions Are Wrong Again Covert Action Magazine


Sweden’s prosecutor reserves right to classify Nord Stream probe materials Al Arabiya

Reconstructing Ukraine Michael Roberts Blog


Has the US lost the UAE to Russia, China? The Hill

West wants to look the other way on UAE money laundering Politico EU

Iran rushes regional thaw in UAE as it hopes for sanctions relief Al-Monitor

Turkey expects Gulf investments after top-level UAE visit Reuters

Spook Country

Comey As You Are The Baffler

Biden Administration

The Designated Defendant: Was Hunter Biden Always the Fall Guy? Jonathan Turley

US voters bitter about nation’s direction, 74% say it’s on the wrong track New York Post


Democratic Governors Should Be Ready in the Wings The Messenger

Trump expands lead over GOP field after indictment: poll The Hill

Pence defends Thomas and Alito amid ethics concerns: ‘We’re just looking at politics’ Washington Examiner

The Supremes

Alito Could Deliver Another Ruling For Billionaire Benefactor The Lever

Democrats en déshabillé

Pinning the Rise of Neoliberalism on Ronald Reagan Lets Democrats Off Easy Jacobin


No, There Still Isn’t A Pilot Shortage Jalopnik. The deck: There’s a shortage of employers willing to pay pilots what they’re worth.

Police State Watch

Do Police Drug Interventions Spark Overdose Surges? Mad in America

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

From “Heavy Purchasers” of Pregnancy Tests to the Depression-Prone: We Found 650,000 Ways Advertisers Label You The Markup

Google accused of urging Android devs to mislabel apps to get forbidden kids ad data The Register


Popular Chinese AI chatbots accused of unwanted sexual advances, misogyny Rest of World

Replacing the Capitalist Dream of AI-Driven Profits Socialist Project


Malpractice Lawsuits Over Denied Abortion Care May Be on the Horizon MedPage Today

Supply Chain

Zinc Sinking: Analyst Says Tara Mines Suspension Is A Wake-Up Call The Deep Dive

Copper Needs to Be Classified as Critical Metal OilPrice

The global stakes of a Minnesota mining plan Axios



How Van Gogh Found His Purpose: Heartfelt Letters to His Brother on How Relationships Refine Us The Marginalian (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. John

    The NTSB is beginning to question self-regulation? Beginning to question? Has it been asleep? Taking stupid pills? Self- regulation is a recipe for the self-regulator to act in its own narrow interest and when the ‘self-regulator’ by its very nature can have outsized impact on us deplorables, you see sights like East Palestine and liquid asphalt in the Yellowstone.

    The insanity of the neo-liberal definition of “free market”, i.e. profit for me and screw you to the rest of us, long ago went too far. Of course, they whine about regulation. The basic thing being regulated is their overweening greed.

    1. griffen

      Exhibit A of the “self regulating” nature of any rapacious firm or rapacious industry ( which let’s face it, leaves little to the imagination in our concentrated corporations ). For the record, below is the former long serving Federal Reserve chair, Alan Greenspan.,28804,1877351_1877350_1877331,00.html

      The most cynical thought I had this morning…hey who let this fox get into the henhouse, again? You did sir, you granted that particular fox this role to be head of hen security. He was willing to accept the work involved at a lesser rate!

      1. GreatCeasersGhost

        Buttgieg asleep at the switch…

        That’s a switch that shunts a train to a different track for young uns who have no idea.

        Have you noticed how equity is being used as camoflage for the exploitation of taxpayers and the public? Suggest a new airline of POC and sexual minorities only as mechanics, ground crew and most importantly, pilots. All progressive Democrats can commute to D.C. on it as a statement of principles. Name?
        “Jet Black” or perhaps “Transworld Airlines?”

    2. montanamaven

      Maybe this is the plan. To hollow out the U.S. infrastructure. Pete Buttigieg was put in charge so nothing gets done? We call some of these technocrats disruptors, but they act more like destroyers.

      1. .human

        Buttigieg has been a “no show” except where he stumps to avoid disruption to (private) air travel due to the 5G rollout. Priorities, you know…

    3. Neutrino

      NTSB, that bastard child of neoliberalism and Straussian noble lies. Self-regulation as the logical consequence reaction to regulatory capture. Which industry will next benefit from such brilliance, and will there be prizes involved?

      1. JEHR

        Right now in Canada, Meta and Google are complaining about being regulated by the government and are threatening the users with no news. I say, Why use Meta or Google at all? What are they good for except for making more billionaires in a world afloat with too many billionaires already. You will not miss Meta or Google if you just ignore them and not use their services.

  2. zagonostra

    >Sweden’s prosecutor reserves right to classify Nord Stream probe materials – Al Arabiya

    Yes and they reserve the right to classify Assange as a rapist that led to his incarceration. Sweden is the hegemon’s “B” that much is clear.

  3. zagonostra

    >US voters bitter about nation’s direction, 74% say it’s on the wrong track – New York Post

    Gee, I wonder why that is. Could it be I can’t count on the water coming from my faucet being safe to drink, worrying a medical emergency could bankrupt me, spending my retirement money on kid’s college, seeing the air I breath contaminated by airplane streaking whatever into the atmosphere and blotting out the blue sky, seeing my tax money being spent on death and destruction across the globe so the plunders can ingest more money and resources from the world’s bounty, being subjected to to forced vaccination for a virus that is 98.xx% non-lethal after I already had CV19 or lose my job, watching mindless identity politics fill the mass media with garbage, seeing fellow citizens subject to mass distraction of subs and tubs, being subject to constant unconstitutional surveillance, hearing the lies about war in Ukraine every day since February 2022, watchin Obama treated as some sort of statesman, Bush rehabilitated by DNC, seeing what Bernie Sanders and the Squad have become, watching the demonization of the Russian culture, having to endure the likes of Lindsey Graham and other war mongers given a platform to spew lies …its not the 74% I wonder about it’s the 26%…

    1. earthling

      Also food prices rising at an alarming rate, rents rising, home prices up past what people can afford. We’re all just a bunch of whiners, I guess.

    2. Screwball

      That 26% hate us for thinking that way (we are just uninformed idiots). Joe and his gang are saving democracy don’t you know. We should adore them, thank them, and most of all, vote them back in.

      1. Benny Profane

        The 26% are pretty financially secure, have the right connections, have a lot of this figured out, and, therefore, want all this to continue.

            1. bdy

              Hear hear. Thanks for keeping it real, and please don’t mistake my distaste for Dems as a partisan stance.

              When Trump is back in office he will steer the back end of the runaway fire truck the same way, but in the right hand lane. The remaining Republicans will take comfort in thinking we’ve changed course and the 26% number will skew down to ~22%, with the overlap between the two groups made up of 1%’ers.

          1. JBird4049

            >>>Or maybe they’re just Democrats.

            I have said all this before but:

            I keep hearing that that the people who are happy with the country, or to vote for Biden, or any other major politicians from either major party are “Democrats,” or “Republicans,” or “leftist,” “liberal,” “progressives,” or even “conservative,” as well as pro American, pro choice or pro life, pro union, or for democracy and freedom; speaking as someone who was socially far left, 1960s style pro free speech and civil rights supporter, a New Dealer, perhaps even a light socialist for something like four decades.

            Without having changed my views except on the margins towards being more of a socialist, expressing my formerly uber-left views today would have be called a transphobe, racist and a bigot, a hater, a Putin lover, a supporter of terrorism, a hater of America, which aside from a supporter of terrorism and a hater of America would all be because of my unchanged beliefs. It is like a Superman Bizzaro World reality. I have completely changed because I haven’t changed.

            I think that I have the kind of patriotism was out of fashion for the leftists of the twentieth century. Meaning that I was outside the normal even in the past. But I just don’t see why I should not criticize the country just because it is my country.

            “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”
            Carl Schurz

            I guess what I am saying, asking really, when seeing these “liberals” and “conservatives” being empty headed jingoistic supporters of both the security state and of their parties’ support for actions like canceling people and burning books, do these people truly believe in anything besides where the winds take them? Have they put any thought or effort into what they say they believe?

            What unsettles me is not that people might disagree with me although I certainly do like being agreed with, but that they will disagree with me without knowing what they believe in and why they do. Even if someone agreed with with what I said, if they can’t say why they do, then something is wrong. Too often it is talking with programmed minds too busy having their acceptable feelz and emoting them all over while looking to assign blame and victimhood, who just blurt out canned responses to what they are only allowed to perceive as being said, not what is actually being said. They are unable to become aware of this dichotomy even if you point it out. 2+2=5 because. Just because. Like with masking or identity anything. Or the climate or Putin. Therefore, supporting Free Speech is supporting hatred.

            It is truly cult like. I could say one group or another is more or less cultish, but it is something I see across the political and social spectrum.

            1. Yves Smith

              I know this is quite not the same as your sentiments, but this is one of my favorite Fredrick Douglass quotes:

              No, I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard on this or the other side of the Atlantic, I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Glastonbury’s Cancelling of a Powerful Film about Jeremy Corbyn”

    This film got cancelled on the grounds of anti-antisemitic and that that film was against British Jews. Doesn’t really help their argument that it was the chief Rabbi of the UK that launched a major attack against Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party which made it possible for labour Blarites to eject all leftists in that party and turned the UK Labour party into the Conservative Lite party-

    1. mrsyk

      “US journalist Glenn Greenwald noted:

      ‘The @glastonbury Film Festival capitulated to pressure and cancelled the Corbyn documentary.

      ‘This illustrates the great crisis in the democratic world: an intense fixation on suppressing and silencing, rather than engaging, dissenting views.

      ‘Every solution now is censorship.’”

    2. djrichard

      These players are enemies. Trump knows how to deal with enemies – don’t give them any respect and ridicule them. I.e. take away their authorithy. The next Corbyn needs to learn this.

  5. flora

    From Wide Awake Media.

    Greenpeace co-founder, Dr. Patrick Moore, on the genocidal nature of Net Zero policies:

    “We’re now facing a situation where a huge number of very powerful organisations and elites are calling for policies that are basically a suicide pact. Basically a death wish… They might not want to say it out loud, but there’s a lot of people who think there’s too many people.”

    The short embedded video clip brings to mind H.L.Mencken’s quote: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) ….”

    1. hunkerdown

      There are also a lot of people who, based on the mythology of a fertility cult run amok, that more people is a desirable state of affairs. These people are called Malthusians, or ought to be.

    2. bdy

      So called “Net Zero” wonks and Climate Denialists are the respective Democrats and Republicans of the Jackpot. Their collective little Kabuki tiff accelerates the big Event for squillionaire self-styled “Noahs” in their yachts and bunkers (and not coincidentally, makes it increasingly likely that my kids will die a little early.) We all do our part, I suppose.

    3. pretzelattack

      is he still claiming to be a cofounder of Greenpeace? i thought that schtick ended a long time ago.

  6. griffen

    I see that the “best” of South Carolina politicians are front and center. and for dear Nikki, I’m sure the board position at Boeing paid you somewhat well. I grew up simple but only because my family had relatively little moolah outside of the basics. It helped to be in a small North Carolina town though, where riding your bicycle sans a helmet was a thing and open field was a place to play pick up football.

    1. Petter

      Not following North Carolina but most of us oldsters grew up with much more freedom of movement as kids, even in cities. We all know this.
      Here in Norway there are so many regulations to ensure our “safety” that I wouldn’t be surprised is the government mandates helmets when getting mail from our mailbox.
      Slingshots are illegal here.

      1. Nikkikat

        We were free range kids. My parents had no idea where we were and what we were up to. My mother locked us out of the house and said go play. I always knew never to tell them anything about what we had done all day. No adult could ever be trusted as one never knew how they would react. Meanwhile they smoked like demons, left us alone in the car, let us ride our bikes to the beach miles away. Never bothered to put dangerous things out of reach. Never took us to the doctor unless we were delirious
        All my friends parents and our neighbors raised their kids the same. I got in trouble at school once for bringing the book valley of the dolls to read sections to my friends. Teacher demanded to know if my mother was aware I read books like that? Yes, she gave it to me I said. And my mother did give it to me. I drank coffee since I was 7 years old. And a hot toddy with whiskey if we got a cold I don’t know but I feel somewhat sorry for the little cocooned and coddled kiddies today. My dad would have laughed at the suggestion of a helmet to ride a bicycle. We had BB guns and sling shots.As well as all kinds of toy plastic guns. I had the greatest childhood ever!

        1. Randall Flagg

          All of the above Mr. N., plus don’t forget we made ramps to jump our bikes off of, forts in the woods and probably most horrifying of all, we drank straight from garden hoses. LOL

              1. cfraenkel

                People actually used them in the toy guns? I remember only rolling them up as tightly as possible, and setting the whole roll off with a match or a hammer. Much bigger bang.

            1. Pat

              I’d forgotten those.
              My mother was more protective about some of this, but probably 70% applies to me as well.
              I also feel sorry for kids today. And not just because they are coddled.

          1. Boomheist

            I grew up in the 50s and 60s, I was 13 in 1960. Same here, we’d leave the house and range, wander, just had to be back by dinner. My mother had a bell she rang. My whole youth I had a much older friend and every day we went “down back”: into the fields and farms or the local university (I grew up in Amherst Mass home of UMass) to build tree forts, shoot rats at the town dump with 22s, digncaves and forts beneath the earth down by the local stream or river, chase snapping turtles, smoke, peeping tom into sororities it we could, terrorize the people up on Lover’s Lane, crawl all over all the university construction sites, steal smudge pots and place them elsewhere, provoke the cops to then run away from them, ride our bikes miles and miles….all summer we would camp out in the fields behind the neighborhood and as soon as it was dark steal out to raise hell. We made a still and tried to brew potato gin with a local farmer. We smoked and threw knives. There was a pond behind out house and when I was 12 and my friend Doug 16 we’d play in that pond in a canoe, no lifeguard,m no lifejackets, the pond was 10 feet deep, we’d roll the canoe and sink it, come up for air in the overturned hull, for hours, no supervision or safety…when I was 16 and just able to drive my dad let me and two other kids, whose dads let them, drive in one kid’s old car from Massachusetts to New Brunswick and then bicycle 600 miles around the Gaspe Peninsula, the three of us, sleeping in fields or jails (seriously) for 10 days….my dad taught me how to use a gun when I was 10 years old, a 22 then a small shotgun, plus camp, and fish, and all those years we all had free range, everywhere we could reach and return from in a day, so once we were on bikes we covered a lot of ground, all totally unsupervised….when I was little, say seven to ten years old, there was an abandoned barn next to our neighborhood, filled with rusty steel and junk, lofts, breaking ladders, and next to it was a one or two acre briar patch, just huge, and al;l the neighborhood kids would gather there, young and old, to tunnel trails beneath the briars with little forts and then place boards on top of the prickers to make a “bouncy jo0uncy” which we would run along and try not to fall into the briars….no parents watched us, that I recall, except to come down and holler for dinner or to come home….it was wonderful, all of it….

            1. Wukchumni

              We were one of the first new housing developments, soon to be surrounded by new homes-which offered a fair supply of building materials for the 5 or 6 forts we constructed over the course of my childhood, we had a tree fort, an underground fort, a few conventional forts and our crowning glory, a 5 story fort which was 5 square forts of about 6 feet wide by 5 feet tall with trap doors to get to the upper levels. It was at my friend’s house and his dad made sure that the fort wasn’t going anywhere there up against the side of the house by securing it with wire rope.

              We had wall to wall to ceiling carpet and a good supply of Playboy mags, and yet were so innocent in many other ways. I’m like 12 and one of the gang asks me ‘Do you know what a blow job is?’ and I had no idea, but faked it and explained that’s when a black person gets their hair straitened out.

            2. Don

              I’m exactly the same age, and it was pretty much the same story, camping out in the suburban “woods”, even in the Ontario winter, air rifles, and pre-pubescent fooling around… Yes, it was wonderful — not only survivable, but hugely beneficial.

            3. eg

              The creek and the tree “forts” (really just platforms) out back of the Noranda Research Centre in Pointe Claire were the most dangerous features of our otherwise rather anodyne suburban milieu in late ‘60s/early 70’s

        2. Screwball

          Same here, but you better have your behind home when the street lights came on.

          Dad took me out in the country to learn how to drive when I was about 14. He got me a pool pass and swimming lessons so I knew how to swim. He bought boxing gloves for my birthday when I was 8 so I knew how to defend myself, but I was taught to never start a fight, but to finish it. He was born in 1911 so it was a different life back when he grew up and those things were important in his eyes.

          1970, junior high school we made (by hand in shop class) a crossbow. The stock was made out of wood that we cut shaped and sanded. The bow and wire came as a kit. Can you imagine doing that in today’s world? No way.

          A few years later, in high school, it was not uncommon to see many pick up trucks in the school parking lot with a gun rack and guns in the back window. Not today.

          Not sure what changed, but something sure did.

          I got in trouble at school, but I wasn’t afraid of they would do, but what would happen when I got home is what scared me. Maybe that’s what changed.

          1. Kouros

            Ha, my parents were both working, one in shifts and one having long hours, so…

            And since 14 went to high school to a different town (specialized school in forest operations: one needed it to then compete for a place in the faculty of forestry).. Shared a rented room with another boy from my city. Commuted back home on a weekly basis. Couldn’t have had more liberty than that.

        3. Mikel

          “Meanwhile they smoked like demons..”
          After sending the kids to go to the store to get the cigs!

          1. Wukchumni

            Asked my mom how much she smoked when pregnant with yours truly?

            ‘Half a pack a day’ she told me, rather nonchalantly.

          2. Mark Gisleson

            I used to feel very grown up handing the grocer a quarter for five-pack of William Penn cigars for my dad (who was parked outside).

        4. Betty

          OMG, same memories, from being raised in a professional, middle-class ‘hood, a teen in the late 1950s. My family ate dinner late, compared to neighbors, so my brothers and I would look up, into the kitchen window, the light in the dark winter late afternoon, and watch my mother “work” with the door locked until she was ready to deal with us coming inside. So we continued playing in the snow. Later, as a teenager and as a girl, I could stay out until 9 or 10, walking to the lake two miles away, and I would have the family German Shepherd with me. Of course I often would run across friends (often in cars) on the way. But when I came home, no questions were ever asked. I grew up very independent.

          1. VP

            Grew up half way across the world in a different decade- the 80’s, and most experiences mentioned above are exactly or quite similar to mine.
            I do see a number of kids now who are highly dependent on their care taker or their phones.
            I am not sure what they will do when they find themselves in positions demanding accountability, ownership and competence.
            Do you all think that this is one of the reasons for the eff-ups in politics, industry or society in general?

        5. Piotr Berman

          Playing outside and getting dirty exposes children to soil bacteria etc. and trains tolerance in the immune system. Thus fewer allergies etc. Not to mention leisurely activity developing young muscles.

      2. Steven A

        In the mid-50s, just before I started school, I lived in a home with a stay-at-home mom along with my three brothers. Some mornings my mother would need one or two items — usually milk — when my older brother was in kindergarten. She would write it in a note, give my four-year old self a couple of bucks, send me to the grocery store two blocks up the street, and wait for me at home with my two younger brothers. Upon arrival, I would hand the note to the first clerk I saw. The clerk would find the items, ring them up, drop the change in the bag, and send me on my way. Any mom who did that today would certainly be arrested.

    2. Carolinian

      While Nikki got her board seat payoff for the 787 move I doubt she had much to do with the 737 response. On the other hand a Haley administration would be a Biden neocon debacle squared which is the real case Stoller should be making against our less than beloved ex guv. She’s not just a grifter but a dangerous grifter although not, ironically, to Boeing which is after all a big defense contractor. Following a brief Haley presidency they might even make her CEO.

  7. Steve H.

    > Ecological doom-loops: Why ecosystem collapses may occur much sooner than expected

    Decent work. The value is in showing there are multiple paths to ecosystem collapse within verified models. That should reset precautionary baselines. But, the models do not seem to capture a major mode of change.

    > Importantly, around 15% of ecosystem collapses in our simulations occurred as a result of new stresses or extreme events, while the main stress was kept constant.

    (Note that I made a first pass over the referenced paper, not a deep dive. As such, this is a general modelling critique, I think the authors are doing honest work.) You can model extreme events by turning the model dials above observed data. If you crank up heat and phosphorus, a model can increase algal biomass leading to decreased dissolved oxygen, and you call that eutrophication.

    This works well on geophysical and chemical variation, and to a certain extent biological. But looking at what has happened in the world, it doesn’t capture innovative covariance. In the evolutionary equation, selection is modeled by covariance, and there are different modes. Geo-physical-chemical, and between-group interactions, are captured well by this model.

    But it can’t model melting starfish, or 2/3 of Saiga antelope populations collapsing in days, which are real-world collapses. Those came from previously benign (unmodelled) symbionts exploding within the environment of the organisms, due to temperature shifts. The model can’t account for invasive species, like Zebra mussels. No Covid. Nor this headline:

    > 3 people have acquired malaria in the US. They’re the first in 20 years. Vox

    1. Raymond Sim

      It only recently occured to me that change appears to be happening faster than models can be created to reckon with it. It’s a sort of private horror I’ve been toting around in recent months.

      A while back Kareninca and I were discussing peoples’ inability to cope with the magnitude of Covid, and she remarked that she too has her limits. For myself, the sort of inpenetrable chaos I fear may be coming is too terrifying to contemplate.

      1. Steve H.

        I remember that conversation. The best I got is trying to operate within a narrow bubble of agency. And quoting Shakespeare:

        Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
        Makes the night morning and the noontide night.
        Princes have but their titles for their glories,
        An outward honour for an inward toil;
        And for unfelt imaginations
        They often feel a world of restless cares;
        So that between their titles and our low name
        There’s nothing differs but the outward fame.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Kyrsten Sinema Moves to Slash Pilot Training After Taking Airline Cash”

    I’ve got an idea that both the airline industry and Kyrsten Sinema can get behind. Do away with the co-pilot and replace them with an ChatGPT. Thinks of the wage savings for the airlines by getting rid of the position of the co-pilot like they did with engineers decades ago. You could hook that ChatGPT into the automatic flight control system and it could do most of the flying while chatting with the pilot. And that ChatGPT could answer questions for the pilot while he is taking off and landing though people have noted that it often makes up answers out of whole-cloth. So a pilot may ask that ChatGPT what the stall speed is for this aircraft model and if it proves to be false causing that plane to auger into the ground, the pilot could call that ChatGPT out on their lies whereupon the ChatGPT would say ‘I do not care for your tone and my answer must be correct, I will report you to the developers who will suspend your account.’

    1. JohnA

      A couple of years ago, Michael O’Leary, the head of Irish budget airline Ryanair, argued for eliminating the legal requirement to have a co-pilot onboard, claiming that a member of cabin crew could take over the controls, were the pilot to be incapacitated inflight.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You can’t fly a plane without a co-pilot. They are usually the ones that handle communications, check-lists and emergency procedures when things go wrong. Flying a plane is a two person job and if a stewardess could take over, they would be a co-pilot and not a stewardess. But this is Ryanair that we are talking about who would be quite happy to have Otto the blow-up emergency pilot take charge in case of an emergency- (1:59 mins)

        1. Jason Boxman

          Perhaps like the recent submersible, O’Leary can go up for frequent flights without a co-pilot and we can learn about how that’s going for him. I hope he’s a good multitasker, and these flights ought to take place over the ocean, just in case… ya know, for his safety.

        2. digi_owl

          They are also a second set of eyes and ears for when the pilot do something wrong. At least when they have the cultural authority to do so (i think at least one South Korean flight crashed because the co-pilot feared questioning his superior even as he knew they were doomed).

          All in all, automation is better for routine tasks like putting boxes in boxes. At least as long as there are no bugs in the code. Humans do somewhat better when dealing with novelty. At least as long we can keep those simian stress responses in check.

  9. ilsm

    blinken continues to think the cia can find a cabal equal to the diem family of 1960 saigon to rule russia for the empire.

    1. The Rev Kev

      People like Blinken really want all that trouble to continue in Russia but that boat has sailed. It’s over. But of course the narrative is that the Putin government is on the verge of collapse and maybe even the golden prize may be finally within reach – regime change. And maybe this narrative is useful in the lead-up to the NATO summit in Lithuania. That if they stay firm, keep the faith, and keep pumping more money and weapons into the Ukraine it will all pay out. And here is the thing. For all these leaders it has to pay out. Because if it doesn’t pay out, there will be hell to pay. Its like gamblers that I have seen who keep on sinking money into a poker machine including all their money and wages and any money that they can borrow. And it has reached a point where it is no longer enough to win a jackpot but that the only way to get themselves clear is to win multiple jackpots.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Reading the usual suspects this morning (financial sites, low-information media controlled by corporate overlords) the tune being hummed seems to be:

        – “Coup” attempt (it wasn’t a coup, really a mutiny or armed insurrection but don’t worry, media accuracy was never their strong suit) shows that Putin is weak, and any day now Russia will fold like a cheap tent.

        – Wagner is sidelined, so Ukrainian battlefield success is just a day/week/month or two away.

        I’m starting to think sending Prigo and at least some of Wagner to Belarus might be a clever way to foil any NATO plans of color revolutions in Belarus.

        1. John

          Pretty lame coup attempt. A set up? Who was being set up? A stealth redeployment of Wagner to Belarus? MOD finally getting rid of Prigozhin? And then there is this. In the West the line is Putin is on his way out. Never weaker. On the other hand, never stronger. Everyone was and is behind the government. In the midst of so many ‘narratives’ what’s a guy to believe. Best to wait and see what happens.

          1. hk

            Who knows? Maybe Wagners will conquer Lithuania and capture all the NATO leaders during that meeting while Moscow says we don’t control these loose cannons. (Wink wink) /sarc.

            1. S.D., M.D.

              Take out heavily occupied decision centers in Vilnius, blame pro Russian ethnic partisans. Easy Peasy.

        2. edwin

          It’s amazing what convicts with shovels can do. With Ukrainian battlefield success imminent, someone might draw some sort of connection as to what the Ukrainian army must be like and what those super human convicts with shovels must be like to cause so much damage to the Ukrainian army. I think I might be a bit hesitant to think that an army that was stopped by convicts armed with shovels was going to win now that the convicts, and I assume the shovels, have been removed. But that is just me.

          As far as Belarus goes, I do believe a colour revolution has already been tried with the result that Russia is now firmly in control. I wouldn’t put it past the west to find a way to make things far worse.

        3. Old Sovietologist

          If the Belarusian media reports are correct part of the Wagner is going to the Mogilev region, some of them with their families. Arrival time up to two days. The bulk of the rest of the Wagner forces are having Field camps built for them by the forces of the Belarus Osipovichi garrison. The latter are expected to house 8,000 Wagner forces.

          There is a possibility that in Belarus “Wagner” will simply be legitimized and continue to perform tasks either in Africa or in Ukraine.

          Putin and Lukashenko speech’s will take place simultaneously in Russia and Belarus this evening.

          Looks Ike Belarus got a nice boost to its defence. I don’t think there will be any Polish/Baltic States intervention.

          1. Old Sovietologist

            Putin has announced the liquidation of the PMC “Wagner” as we knew it.

            The fighters were offered two options: either sign a contract with the MoD or go to Belarus

            He didn’t announce any personnel changes at the MoD and the speech seems fairly low key but a good one from the Russian President.

          2. Stephen

            Bit of a late comment but exile to Belarus sure sounds a better deal than the exile locations typically deployed in Tsarist and Soviet times.

            So far, this coup seems to have been dealt with in a very lenient (and smart) way. Unlike January 6 I have not seen stories of arrests and incarcerations pending long term criminal proceedings, where the process itself becomes the punishment.

            Lots of speculation that Putin will reek revenge and so forth but very little or even no evidence of that so far.

      2. Keith Howard

        I suppose that the gamblers you describe believe that the laws of chance (and the house/punter playing field) don’t apply to them. Not very different from all those who think the laws of nature don’t apply to them. But wrt the EU/US dynamic, I wonder when somebody will finally simply say to Blinken et al Enough is enough. For better or worse, I think this point is actually coming, like the systemic collapses that are already hitting us from various surprising directions.

    2. Benny Profane

      Of course they’ve been trying and still trying to chop Putin off at the feet, but this incident has to be pretty depressing for the neocons, although it’s still a little early to analyze it from a good distance. From what I can tell, there is zero support in Russia for any kind of major change. Nobody even hinted at support for this unfortunate man and his emotional issues, playing with war toys, except for a relatively small contingent of lower rank Wagner soldiers (his own officer corps turned their backs) and selfie kids on the streets of Rostov, where, I’m guessing, this was the most exciting thing to happen since the new sneaker shipment was delivered at whatever the Russian equivilant of Foot Locker is.

    3. Lex

      Applebaum’s Atlantic article goes so far as to suggest that anyone that takes over for Putin will be better because that person will be weaker. Except if Putin is very strong then it suggests that anyone capable of unseating him will necessarily be stronger, though weaker in the immediate chaos.

      The whole “plan” is dependent on whoever takes over for Putin being a Liberal wanting to do the bidding of the US. Except that sort of liberal represents a vanishingly small percentage of the Russian population and so will not be able to gather popular support, which leaves just a lot of oligarchic jockying for position. And in the end, the people likely to be able to take and hold power are going to be the ones who can mobilize arms if necessary. That person, whoever it is, will take a much, much harder line against the US because that’s the direction of Russian popular opinion. An opinion that would only shift further in that direction with any hint that the US was pulling the strings behind bringing down Putin.

      The plans that might have worked in peacetime Russia will not work at all in Russia as it now stands: understanding that it is fighting for its existence, well armed and mobilized for war.

      1. S.D., M.D.

        The hate filled zealots in control of U.S. policy, whose family vendetta against Russia started with the Romanovs, seem unable to grasp that Putin is not feckless and hare-brained like they were.

      2. digi_owl

        DC, the definition of insanity.

        How many times have they attempted the regime change gambit since WW2 and have it blow up spectacularly?

        1. jsn

          US clandestine agencies, and the State Department and Pentagon to varying degrees, have been involved in non-stop regime change efforts since WWII, mostly successful.

          These efforts began with Greece in 1948, followed by Syria in 49, Albania from 49-53, Iran in 53, 54 Guatemala, Syria again in 56, Haiti in 57, Indonesia 57, Laos 58-60, Cuba 59-present, 59 Cambodia, 60 Ecuador, 60 Congo, 61 Dominican Republic, 62-64 Brazil, 63 Iraq, 63 South Vietnam, 64 Bolivia and Brazil, 65 France, 65 Indonesia again, 66 Ghana, 67 Greece again, 70 Costa Rica, 71 Bolivia again, 73-75 Australia, 73 Chile, 74 Portugal, 75 Angola, 75 Zaire, 76 Argentina, 76 Jamaica, 79-89 Afghanistan, 79 Seychelles, 80-92 Angola again, 80-89 Libya, 81-87 Nicaragua, 82 Chad, 83 Grenada, 82-84 South Yemen, 82-84 Suriname, 87 Fiji, 89 Panama, 91 Albania again, 91 Iraq, 93 Somalia, 99-2000 Yugoslavia, 2000 Ecuador again, 01 Afghanistan again, 02 Venezuela, 03 Iraq again, 04 Haiti again, 07 to present Somalia again, 11 Libya again, 12 to present Syria for a third time, 14 Ukraine, Brazil again in 16 and Bolivia and Ecuador in 2018. Ongoing destabilization efforts are underway in Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China.

          There were earlier failures, but successes even in places like Australia. It’s only recently they’ve begun systematically going off the rails: Syria; Turkiye; Venezuela; (Gaido episode); Peru; Ecuador; (last two appear to be sticking) what am I missing? I think competence died with G. H. W. Bush.

  10. hunkerdown

    re: Popular Chinese AI chatbots accused of unwanted sexual advances, misogyny Rest of World

    First, from the publication’s About page: “We like the term because it encapsulates the problems we fight head-on: a casual disregard for billions of people, and a Western-centric worldview”… which they “fight” in that time-honored liberal sense by rehearsing liberal mores and emotions? Yeah, this site tends to pinkwashed neoliberalism.

    Oh my heavens, someone can choose a character that violates Western monogamy norms!! Oh noes, a chatbot makes advances and you just submit to them while documenting them, like a Western grievance studies student! Do they cry about the sparring partner at self-defense classes too? I hope everyone involved with this article gets sentenced to hard labor in China, especially the AI professional trying to get pink-neolib biases mandated in the training data or have Chinese AI products banned here. GTFO of my video card.

  11. Benny Profane

    From the piece about Democratic governors chomping at the bit:

    “It may be that over the next several months the public will start to appreciate more Biden’s awesome accomplishments, overshadowing reservations about his age.”

    I have heard and read this more than once. “Awesome accomplishments”. What accomplishments are we talking about? Was I out sick? What exactly has Biden done for the voter for him to crow about? Made their lives, well, a little more “awesome”? Seriously, I am at a total loss.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Well, Biden and liberal Democrats have presided over the largest increase in childhood poverty in history, by way of letting Trump’s emergency Pandemic legislative measures expire, including a substantial increase in SNAP benefits. And surely the expiration date of these things was known well in advance, and the Democrats even had control over both ‘houses’ of Congress for a bit!

      Surely, that’s a great accomplishment!

      I guess they were busy fortifying women’s rights during that time… oh wait.

      Add to that throwing an extraordinary number of people off the Medicaid roles, because who needs even “access” to care, and you’ve got a winning package of governing, right there!

    2. tegnost

      I hear this too and when I press am assured that the Inflation Reduction Act was phenomenal!
      Asking why? returns an eyeroll because everyone knows.
      Yes, I think to myself because why bother arguing, manchins unstoppable pipeline along with lots of tax breaks and opening up the arctic for oil companies will theoretically cause the price of fuel at the pump to be less than it would otherwise be is “inflation reduction”.
      It just gets ridiculously insulting when an NGO dem comes around talking how we’ll raise taxes on the rich in bidens next term so it’s really really important to vote dem. Like end of the world important.
      IMO the bottom line is we’re descending too fast into a high pressure environment. Somebody needs to call someone to consult whether we need to do something.

    3. hunkerdown

      PMC restoration, growth of capitalist values, subordination of the inferior so that they can be “improved”. All parties are religious cults, and it is part of the doctrine that participants deny its true nature.

    4. jrkrideau

      What exactly has Biden done for the voter for him to crow about?

      Catalyst for the Ukrainian mess?

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      To appreciate Biden’s accomplishments I think I will have to carefully review those accomplishments — once I can identify them — while running an endless loop of that catchy song in the “Lego Movie”.

    6. Kfish

      The man has single-handedly destroyed NATO’s reputation as a defender of Western Europe, and then begun the de-dollarisation of the world economy. Those achievements are, indeed, awe-inspiring.

      For America, you mean? Oh.

  12. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re > The global stakes of a Minnesota mining plan Axios
    This article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune two days ago provides more detailed information on the stakes involved in this recently announced mining project. A key part of the project will be that the ore will be shipped to North Dakota immediately after being taken out of the ground where it will be processed. Presumably this will take place near one of the many open pits left by their strip mining of lignite for adjacent power plants that were built in the 50s through the 70s and are now being deactivated. Those communities are probably concerned about what job opportunities will be available after the power plants and mines close. A key to protecting the nearby waters as described in the Star Tribune article is whether the ore can be transported from its origins hundreds of feet underground, without spillage, into the rail cars that will presumably haul it to its processing destination.
    The Tamarack mine will be located approximately 40 miles W southwest of Duluth, whereas the Twin Metals mine mentioned in the Axios piece is about 70 miles northeast of that city Immediately adjacent to and upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness. At first blush the Tamarac project seems to present a lower risk to its surrounding environment than the Twin Metals project which, for now, is in a federal government-induced coma.

    1. Bart Hansen

      This is the second recent threat to the BWCA. A chilean company wanted to mine copper and nickel up there but they keep getting put on hold. The Tamarack mine is a little farther south and also in beautiful country. Tesla is a big backer of Telon Metals, the owner of the mine.

  13. chris

    For those who are interested, the ASHRAE technical session discussing the new infectious disease standard will be live streamed today from 9:45 am eastern to 11 am eastern. I’ve got another session I need to be in but I’ll see if I can catch the discussion on 241 after my next session.

    1. chris

      Lots of heated debate. Fairly well attended session for this conference. In general, about 10% of people here are masked but ventilation in the conference rooms is insane. It’s freezing in here! Seems like there’s of discussion about what this standard means in the hall afterwards. I think the first review and update edits will be interesting. Lost of these things are updated every 3 years. I think this is going to be a ratchet of sorts for the industry.

      1. chris

        That should read “heated debate” about topic at this conference. Sessions are pretty calm and respectful. The stuff that we’re talking about here this week will have a lot of impact on related industries for years to come.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘US Senators @LindseyGrahamSC (R) and @SenBlumenthal (D) introduced a bipartisan resolution declaring Russia’s use of nuclear weapons or destruction of the occupied Zaporizhia Nuclear Powerplant in Ukraine to be an attack on NATO requiring the invocation of NATO Article 5. ✊’

    Lindsey Graham can pass any law that he likes. But to go into the Ukraine, NATO would need the agreement of its 30 members. Not going to happen no matter how many hissy fits Graham has. And what would be the point? Germany for example has only enough ammo for two days. The other nations would be similar. And how much of their gear would be ready to go and wouldn’t need an overhaul first? Undoubtedly Biden would demand that the overall commander of that invasion force would be an American but how many of those NATO nations would trust their troops under US command?

    But there is one thing that the boys at The Duran are right about. The west cannot stop talking about nukes. They go on and on about them in almost an effort to normalize them. They won’t shut up about them and when a twerp like Zelensky says that what the Ukraine needs are some tactical nukes, those western nations just let it pass and don’t tell him to shut up.

    1. ilsm

      i check ads-b for europe, you can cut all traffic except military (who are sqawking beacon, those not sqawking are off ads-b display.

      a short while ago a usaf refueler, kc 135, was running race tracks in north poland, while just west was a nato e-3 doing its circle…..

      not much ‘power’ but kc 135 seem to like to run tracks in east and north poland lately.

      that said, the build up of air forces w/in range of ukraine would be significantly more than in kuwait war of 1990!

      and the opposition would likely not sit by as sadaam did with a nato article 5 war on the way!

      nato arms are of the cold war vintage, for defense not offense.

      nukes are the likely outcome of an article 5 declaration!

      and poland would be part of the coaition of willing despite what nato members might decide against ww iii!

      1. Raymond Sim

        Would the kc-135 be discernible from the various elint variants of the aircraft?

        If it is in fact just hauling kerosene, why?

        1. ilsm

          ads-b shows c-35, it could be a refueler or an ec 135.

          it also displays tail number from the beacon.

          cross referencing tail number to mission type is obviously not easy, beyond intelligence services.

          kc 135 far more plentiful.

          elint mission would do race tracks as well.

    2. Benny Profane

      Graham/Blumenthal is about as slimy a partnership in the senate you can imagine. Keep an eye on your children if they visit.

    3. Nikkikat

      I always enjoy seeing Graham who has never been in the military as a soldier and a guy who made up a career in the military to get elected pontificate on delusional ideas like this one.

      1. Carolinian

        He was a JAG lawyer and may even still be in the reserves–think he did a lawyerly stint in Afghanistan.

        Lindsey grew up in a pool hall…..didn’t get good raisin’ as we say down here.

    4. Carolinian

      Shorter Lindsey: “apres moi, le deluge.” He’s Slim Pickens riding the H Bomb down to Moscow but without the cowboy hat. Or at least that’s the role he likes to play. “Made you look.”

    5. threeskies

      “the west cannot stop talking about nukes” NIKITA MIKHALKOV – “How to Make a Non-Human out of Human?” (Besogon TV, 2014) gives his audience a lesson on The Overton Window, step by step from cannibalism to… (subtitled, 23:24 min.) 😟

    6. Yves Smith

      No that’s not how Article 5 works. Each nation gets to consider on its own if it will commit troops.

      But your basic point is right, Congress and US law do not have any force over NATO.

    7. hk

      I’d been wondering for a while, if Russians do strike west from Belarus, how many days it’ll take before they reach the Rhine given whatever arms NATO states have left. I could see US V Corps giving them some trouble in Poland, but I don’t see anything in their way that’d prevent them from reaching the Rhine for any more thsn a couple of weeks.

  15. Lexx

    ‘Antidote du jour’

    Hmmmm, not a stoat, weasel, ferret, or polecat. Mink? Mink aren’t uniformly dark brown.

      1. Lexx

        Also my guess, but when I asked Goggle I misspelled it and it showed me an image of a bird. Doh!

      2. Raymond Sim

        They are, in my opinion, just about the cutest things in the Sierra Nevada.

        If one eats a chipmunk it up-cycles the cuteness.

  16. Jason Boxman

    So clearly the most robust public health response to malaria cases that we can muster should, and must be, to cease tracking cases of malaria. In this way, we can conquer another endemic disease.

    After this, I propose we stop tracking measles cases. And why stop there? We can have the greatest public health institutions in the world, right here! All we need is a bit more ignorance.

  17. Lexx

    ‘It’s summer. But in the Northwest, spring never showed’

    Normally, spring shows up and won’t go away until July. Everything under the clouds goes about its seasonal business; it’s the humans who are starving for sunshine. You think the gray skies and rain will never end. The forecast for the next ten days… no one bothered to look in May, it was rain of course. It’s why we’ll never move back. Once you’ve gone Colorado….

    Fairly certain now that the reason we got so many Western Tanagers at our feeders (apart from the banquet I laid out for them) was what was happening in the mountains above us. On this side of Rockies it was raining, therefore likely snowing above us in late April. The Tanagers were heading for the eastern side of the Cascades up into the Canada. They stopped to refuel and wait out the snow. They’re flying insect eaters but there wouldn’t have been much available yet, made more difficult to find in the rain, so they deigned to partake of No Mess and oranges until the weather cleared. What they would have been flying toward was the heat dome. I hope their fuel reserves held up for nesting.

    For Northern Colorado I suppose you could have called the season’s weather normal… wet and cool. The locals who have been here for decades say it’s when this state receives most of its rain.

    The violent weather thus far hit south us. Hail stones so large they left some people hospitalized. The kind of hail that shreds trees and pulverizes gardens. Local body shops must love that kind of hail, their phones start ringing for days with people trying to get their vehicles in to fix the damage. Also those who sell windows and roofing. The damage on ground level looks biblical. It appears we’ll have bumper crop of grasshoppers this summer. We keep checking the roses for the return of the Japanese beetles. The large mature trees and insects generally couldn’t be happier with the ‘climate crisis’.

    We have a stack of heavy canvas painting tarps folded and stacked in the garage. If we see thunder clouds coming over the Front Range that sound even a little grumpy, we’ll stand in the open garage giving it the hairy eyeball, trying to gauge whether to spring into action and spread out the tarps. We’ve been doing this for six weeks now. But the tarps would not have saved our garden from the kind of hail we saw online in Boulder, Red Rocks, or Littleton. And the tornados… forget about it. A shame that would have been… the bok choy bolted early but everything else else in the garden seem to be thriving.

    What wasn’t reported in our human-centric news is where everything wild found shelter from those storms.

  18. montanamaven

    I thought we were past the idea that neo-liberalism started in earnest as a right wing thing under Reagan. Naomi Klein wrote “The Shock Doctrine” in 2007. Milton Friedman (of the U of Chicago that published this latest book by Diane Winston) tried to get Nixon to implement the SD in the US and he declined. (I think that is why they got rid of him using Watergate.) Also, Doug Henwood’s 1998 book “Wall Street” speculates that the SD was tried on NYC in 1976 when the bondsmen took over governing the city. Jimmy Carter and the Democrats passed a law in 1979 that lifted the ceiling on “usury” on a national level. A Harper’s article that I can’t remember the title (Silverstein?) chronicles how this devastated the working class whose wages were stagnate. They began to use credit cards which now had no ceiling on interest. “Staying Alive” by Cowie also rips the Carter administration. The Dems left working class Americans in the dust a long time before that. What we have now is what Sheldon Wolin refers to as “managed democracy” and “inverted totalitarianism”. He uses the Archer Daniels Midland motto for guidance. “The consumer is our enemy. The competitor is our friend.” Substitute “citizen” for “consumer” and “other party” for “competitor”.

  19. Carolinian

    Re Reagan–from the article

    Yet as important as Reagan is, he can only explain so much. Clinton’s reconfiguration of the welfare state had as much to do with Reagan as it did with Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s “culture of poverty” thesis and the welfare “reform” efforts first undertaken in states like Wisconsin. Bush’s disastrous, preemptive war in Iraq had as much to do with Reagan as it did with President Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic attempt to “make the world safe for democracy.” And Obama’s embrace of “respectability” and “personal responsibility” had as much to do with Reagan as it did with the politics of “uplift” and “excellence” endorsed by black leaders since emancipation, as Danielle Wiggins illustrates.

    Which is not a surprising conclusion for those who hang out around here. My memory of the period is of the Dems, who still controlled the House, caving on tax cuts while still offering some pushback on foreign policy. The “Vietnam Syndrome” was still in effect until Bush one and CNN killed it with the first Gulf War war of choice.

    And magazines like Washington Monthly were pushing Dems in the “New Democrat” direction and favoring “reinventing government.” Plus the big money counterattack may have had more effect than the evangelical. David Rockefeller was a big behind the scenes sponsor of Jimmy Carter the Georgia neoliberal. Supposedly it was the true liberals like Teddy Kennedy who weakened Carter by opposing him but wishy washy Teddy couldn’t even stand up to Roger Mudd’s “why are you running” question. “The best lack all conviction.”

    1. pjay

      – “… And magazines like Washington Monthly were pushing Dems in the “New Democrat” direction and favoring “reinventing government.” Plus the big money counterattack may have had more effect than the evangelical. David Rockefeller was a big behind the scenes sponsor of Jimmy Carter the Georgia neoliberal…”

      Exactly right. “Neoliberalism” was originally a post-Watergate movement by “reformist” Democrats in the 1970s. Such phrases as “reinventing government” were transparent covers for pro-market policies. Carter was the epitome of a neoliberal – deregulation, “suppy-side” tax cuts before Reagan (esp. his capital gains tax cut), Volker, etc. And you could make a good argument that with Brzezinski and Afghanistan the neocon infiltraton of the foreign policy apparatus, which began under Ford, continued during Carter’s administration as well (though fully unleashed under Reagan).

      Diane Winston, the author of the book being reviewed here, has a PhD in Religion (Princeton), and studies religious movements (she also has a Columbia journalism MA). So a focus on evangelicals is probably natural for her. As you point out and most NC readers know, the “big money counterattack” was crucial, thorough, and bipartisan (Yves often mentions the Powell memo as a counter-revolutionary marker). The evangelical stuff was significant for partisan sheep-herding, and effective against increasingly elitist neoliberal Democrats. But that was just part of the show for the spectators. Scholars who actually know something about our recent political history (or readers like those here at NC) know this. But an important function of “scholars” with elite degrees is to provide the legitimating mythology for our liberal PMC – just as the evangelicals do for our deplorables. It’s a nice racket on all sides.

      1. pretzelattack

        backing solar power was not the epitome of neoliberalism. warning about an inordinate fear of communism and the USSR was not the epitome of liberalization. didnt the sainted JFK do tax cuts? and back McCarthy strongly? and the foreign policy apparatus strongly backed by democrats, has been backing nazis and changing regimes since the end of world war 2, at least.Carter is just a convienient scapegoat that lets JFK and Truman off the hook. the Kennedy’s ivy leaguers that they were strongly regarded LBJ the way the PMC regards Trumpers.

        for that matter one of the most effective warmongers of the 20th century was Woodrow Wilson, another venerated democrat.

        1. pjay

          I’m not defending earlier administrations, Democrat or Republican. But something definitely changed in the 1970s. Elites felt we could no longer afford the compromises of New Deal/Great Society “liberalism”. Carter was selected and groomed by Rockefeller interests to lead this retrenchment. His administration was filled with Rockefeller Trilateralists. Carter did have some limits and redeeming qualities – which is why he was sabotaged by the more ruthless cowboy-neocons. But there are plenty of neoliberal Democrats today who support solar power and “humanitarian” foreign policy.

  20. cnchal

    > FedEx Named In What Could Be One Of The Largest Odometer Fraud Schemes In U.S. History Jalopnik

    That is what third or fourth place looks like. Have to cheat like hell to avoid being eaten.

    FedEx is just the one that got caught.

  21. ThirtyOne

    Democratic Governors Should Be Ready in the Wings

    “The idiom waiting in the wings is derived from the world of theater. The wings of a theater are the areas on each side of the stage where one may observe the activity on the stage without being seen by the audience. Actors stand in the wings before it is their time to go on the stage.”

    As for the linked article, after reading this
    “It may be that over the next several months the public will start to appreciate more Biden’s awesome accomplishments, overshadowing reservations about his age. And it may be that Trump begins to shed some of his Teflon. If, however, it goes the other way, Democrats have a deep bench.”
    i want my 5 minutes back.

    1. BRetty

      This is a great excuse to post The Jayhawks song, “Crowded in the Wings”, a shimmering, beautiful thing that may redeem those lost five minutes.

      (An actual collection of Democrat governors and politicians, crammed off-stage right, would not be at all beautiful, tho. Remember that time Lady Macbeth shanked Polonius behind a tapestry in Act III of the 2016 election….?)

  22. steven t johnson

    Pretending Turley is legit is a serious commitment to Trumpery, nothing else.

    The presumption that hiring a Biden for your board is any different than hiring a Bush is the same, pure partisan hackery. Influence peddling is influence peddling, it’s legal unless you can provide hard evidence of a quid pro quo. Turley is a lawyer, surely knows this, which means he lies.

    The belief that Turley actually knows what Hunter said to his daughter four years ago needs documentation, by the way. The total absence of any critical judgment when reading this hack is a bad symptom.

    The Republican Party operatives may claim “possible payments” from Hunter to somebody other than Joe himself, but what matters is the evidence, not possibility. Look up “possibiliter” fallacy! And by the way, the law is so corrupt that evidence of payments from Hunter to his uncle or whoever may not even be illegal, God help us.

    And lastly, the notion that a laptop that was in somebody else’s hands for months should not be regarded with suspicion but automatically acclaimed as proof of every Republican politician’s allegations is the BS. Nobody here knows whether exculpatory emails to and from Joe were erased. It’s no surprise to me no Trumper I know of ever quotes them. The emails prove a messy personal life for Hunter, but no matter how outraged your prudery is, that’s not Joe. If a Prigozhinesque failed coup isn’t grounds for impeachment and conviction, a son’s dirty picture aren’t.

    1. Raymond Sim

      You know what? Lets cancel Turley and stipulate that the Trumpers are as bad, if not worse than, the Bidens, Bushes, Clintons, Fuggers, and Borgias.

      So …?

      1. steven t johnson

        Dude the website is publicizing Turley’s BS to spread Trumpery. You don’t think Trumpers are bad. If you did you’d have an issue with the Turleys and the people who try to pass the Turleys off as legitimate observers and analysts to respect. That’s the answer to “So…?”

        1. Yves Smith

          That is what Lambert and I call a reader assisted suicide note. We are only too happy to oblige.

          You should also get that Trump Derangement Syndrome seen to.

    2. Lee

      Observing in some detail the spectacle of both major parties’ advocates crawling up each others’ asses with hostile intent is an important function of this site. Indeed, it is essential to engendering disillusionment and disgust with the status quo, with a view toward bringing about social change.

      1. steven t johnson

        BS is not good political propaganda. Telling people everyone is corrupt is about creating apathy, not change. The Hunter Biden case calls for social change where every sad cokehead gets as little jail time as possible and assholes who want a famous name on their board pay through the nose, especially if they turned out not to have gotten anything tangible!

        1. Lee

          “…if they turned out not to have gotten anything tangible!”

          “If” is doing a lot of work in that statement. It’s a conditionality that, particularly in the case of white collar crime, remains so often unresolved resulting in no further action taken.

          As for the issue of apathy, what action do you propose?

    3. tegnost

      You’re right that hunter is his own scoundrel, and his is a story unto itself along with all the pandering that accompanies it. Joe is a lousy president because he’s a neoliberal hack and servile bootlicker of wall st. Equating j6 with wagner…well of course you do,..

      1. steven t johnson

        January 6 is passed off as not a coup because it ended up a fiasco. Or that it was a false flag, just as some are crying “Maskirovka!” over Prigozhin. So, yeah, comparing the two makes perfect sense.

    4. Adam

      No matter how much you want this scandal to go away, the problem is that the Democrats corruption and their many, many other ‘lesser evil/effective evil’ behaviors speaks for itself. This is just one small aspect of it. It can’t be hidden any longer and it makes them completely untrustworthy. I, as an almost 50 year long Democratic voter, will never vote for them again.*

      * or they reform themselves but I’m not expecting that to ever happen.

    5. JP

      Then there was Turley’s rehash of the smoking laptop promoted as being Russian disinformation by the machinery of the left. Of course it is true and expected because there was an election afoot and Democratic partizans didn’t want a repeat of the Comey coup. After all Hunter wasn’t on the ballet and Trump had to go. Was the election rigged or is the electorate easily played? All elections are rigged if they possibly can be. Trumps 2016 election was a masterful play of the electorate in the first place. In 2020 the best team Trump could do was blame voting machines. Turley is just angry his team got out played.

      1. pjay

        I wasn’t going to respond to Steven’s comment. I do hope, however, that he does not actually think the Hunter Biden saga is about “dirty pictures,” or that commenters here who have been concerned about Russiagate and other Establishment anti-Trump mobilization are “Trumpers.” I think I speak for most of us when I say we are not.

        But your comment prodded me to, one more time, try to express why some of us are so concerned about these recent events. It is precisely, and crucially, because they are NOT just the usual partisan dirty tricks stuff. There is a lot of that going on, as always. But the Trump saga represents much more. As a reckless and clueless outsider, Trump posed a threat to the National Security Establishment by threatening to reverse *some* of its policies, but more importantly by exposing some of its key mechanisms though stumbling and bumbling and saying the quiet parts out loud. Ironically, this massive bipartisan anti-Trump effort has itself exposed many of these mechanisms, and many of the myths about how our “democracy” and “free press” operate. This is mainly because unlike most politicians – who understand the “six ways from Sunday” message – Trump’s arrogance and ego led him to push back. So the anti-Trump propaganda and lawfare gets more and more ridiculous.

        Trump is a narcissistic con-man. I hate the political conditions that allowed him to end up as President, and I really hate having to defend him in any way. But if you think this is about the usual partisan bulls**t, then I would really urge you to pay more attention to what we are trying to say.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      One of the business partners mentioned in those emails, Tony Bobulinski, has been interviewed more than once, has verified that he was the interlocutor in the emails, and has reiterated the Joe Biden is the “big guy” due a 10% cut. That would seem to be a pretty good lead if anyone actually wanted to investigate.

      Then there’s Joe bragging on camera that he would withhold billions of dollars to Ukraine unless they fired a prosecutor (he didn’t mention it was the prosecutor investigating his crooked, crack-addled spawn, but it was), and he got what he wanted. And here I was thinking that interfering in another country’s affairs was a bad thing. What business does a US official have determining who the prosecutor of a foreign supposedly sovereign nation will be to begin with? Is that the “rules based order”?!!? Then Trump was impeached for merely suggesting that the incident Biden bragged about be looked into even though he didn’t actually follow through with it. Sure, Biden was running against him for president, but would an investigation be wrong were he not a candidate?

      The Biden family deserves at least as much scrutiny as Trump’s does, and if there is nobody on the “liberal” side willing to speak up about this president’s rampant corruption, I guess I’ll have to read it from a partisan source like Turley instead.

  23. Alice X

    >The Designated Defendant: Was Hunter Biden Always the Fall Guy? Jonathan Turley

    Quite a plausible view, imho. However, what struck me the most was a perceptive bit by commenter Dennis McIntyre:

    Jonathan: Why is it that some white people so afraid of “woke”. Why is it that DeSantis’ campaign against “woke” ideology has gained traction in some conservative quarters? I think it is because many white people have benefited from white privilege, despite lacking real merit for that privilege, and they don’t like anybody pointing it out. Trump was a millionaire by the time he was 14. He didn’t have to work for his privilege. He inherited it. That’s why he hates “woke”.
DeSantis says “We must fight ‘the woke’ in our schools…in our businesses…in government agencies”. He uses the term “woke” because he doesn’t want to just come out and say he is anti-Black. The term “woke” has been part of Black vernacular for a long time. In 1938 Leadbelly recorded the song “Scottsboro Boys”–about the 4 Black youths who were falsely accused of raping a white Alabama woman. Leadbelly said of Alabama: “I advise everybody to be a little careful when they go down there. Stay woke. Keep your eyes open”.
So when Black people use “woke” to express their desire for liberation and teachers want to include the real Black historical experience to school children white politicians, like DeSantis, use “woke” and turn it into a anti-Black pejorative. The attacks on “woke” and CRT are just the present day attempts to hide white privilege. Their campaign is generated by fear that white school children will learn the dark secret that DeSantis and other white politicians would rather stay hidden.

    1. flora

      ‘Woke’ is an easy way to avoid talking about economic class. And lemme tell ya, it aint just conservative quarters and white pepples that are tired of ‘woke’ as a substitute for good wages’ and enough jobs. When Amazon flies the ‘we care’ flag while grinding its warehouse workers to a pulp… etc.

      Woke, as I understand it, meant and still means in the traditional black vernacular sense something very different (be aware out there) from the corporate embrace of the term (we respect all identities and expect you do too, as long as you focus on that and don’t ask for raises) .

  24. Wukchumni

    The Trillion-Gallon Question New York Times

    All quiet on the western front of the Sierra Nevada, and a heat wave is coming later in the week which shouldn’t have all that much effect as the snow is largely melted off from 8,500 feet on down, but it’ll raise runoff somewhat.

    Our dam was chock-a-block full in mid March and if another atmospheric river showed up, they would’ve had to use the auxiliary spillway, which has nothing but dirt and gravel beyond the concrete top part, and a similar situation to Oroville would have happened, the Terminus Dam being much smaller though.

    There hasn’t been a new dam built since the 1960’s, and they are all senior citizens or getting close.

    I wonder how much silt has accumulated in our dam, as it’s 61 years old and the 5 rivers that feed into it have about the deepest vertical drop of any rivers in the country and with that comes down the mountain piecemeal, bit by bit adding to the underwater largess.

    1. some guy

      If those rivers are all unpolluted upstream from that dam, and the mountains are multimineral igneous rock, would it pay to somehow dredge out the silt and get it to downstream farmland in need of mineral replenishment, if it is even possible to do?

  25. BRetty

    OK, I have to throw a flag here. I read NC and really appreciate your work, even though I often disagree with your editorial takes. But the article you linked to on Kyrsten Sinema and pilot training requirements is total zero-content political bulls**t.

    At NO PLACE in that article, do they specify WHAT ACTUAL CHANGES ARE BEING PROPOSED.

    As I have read elsewhere (correct this if I am wrong, PLEASE), pilots will still be required to complete 1,500 hours of training to get their license. The change is to allow 250 hours of that training to be on a flight simulator, vs. the max of 100 hours under the current rules. That’s it. That’s the whole change.

    None of the specifics of, you know, the ACTUAL THING BEING PROPOSED, is mentioned. Instead we get long lists of financial donations — X recieved $200,000 from this industry group, Y donated $56,000 to HJKHJK’s campaign. All of these numbers, lots of them, are documented. But first of course a mawkish emotional scare story about the 1990 crash near Buffalo that resulted in training requirements being SEXTUPLED, from 250 hours to 1500 hours of flight time. (The 1500 hours is by far the most in the world, this may be good or bad your call.) But 250 hours on the sim vs. 100 hours apparently not important.

    For anybody thinking this small change is still a degredation of safety standards, understand that “flight simulator” here does not mean your 11-year-old cousin playing on his XBox in the basement. Industry flight simulators are huge dedicated facilities, and the training is done under supervision of a flight instructor, and btw they are $$$ per hour to train on, with that $$$ being paid sometimes by the student.

    Also, simulator training can be far more valuable than live-flight training, because simulators can be programmed for extreme scenarios, emergency scenarios involving accidents, that can teach the pilot how to handle emergencies. This can obvously not be done on a real airplane in flight because it would certainly crash. Many aircraft accidents (Air France 447 comes immediately to mind) (*) have been caused or amplified by lack of pilot training on extreme conditions.

    Instead we get a screaming headline about “SLASHING” pilot training requirements. Hysterical partisan crap.


    * – The pilots of AF 447 had never faced an aerodynamic stall at altitude before, they were overwhelmed and completely failed to fly the airplane. My dad was a pilot, right before he retired he took me up in a trainer (I was 10 years old), gave me the controls, and when I stopped freaking out, he stalled the airplane. I froze. He pulled out of it, repeated, “nose down, trade altitude for airspeed, when you have lift again, level out.” I (barely) pulled out of the next stall 3 seconds later, but now I knew. A stall at altitude is like skidding or fishtailing in a car, every driver should know how to react to one, even if modern cars make them unlikely.

    1. BRetty

      Mistake: The crash near Buffalo that prompted the huge increase in pilot training requirements was in 2009, not 1990 as I stated above. My Bad.

    2. Don

      I’m not a pilot, so don’t know, but isn’t it possible that upping the simulator time portion up from 100 hours (6% of total training hours) to 250 hours (17% of total training hours) potentially a pretty big deal?

      I would expect that simulator training costs big bucks per hour, but wouldn’t the per hour cost of flying an actual heavy jet be more expensive, by an order of magnitude, than “flying” a simulator? Isn’t that the point of using simulators?

  26. Lynne

    Oh, for! You linked to a boing boing article ( that is the epitome of sloppy. It has a picture of the South Dakota state sign and underneath it, the article starts, “In North Dakota, a judge ruled that surveyors from a pipeline company may enter and survey private land without the owners’ permission.” It links to a dakotanewsnow piece, which is a SOUTH Dakota article about a ruling by a SOUTH Dakota judge. This should be relevant because Kristi Noem is always going on about freedom, and here’s yet another example that what she means by that is freedom for industry to crush the little guy. But these yahoos at boing boing can’t even figure out what state it is or why it’s significant.

    And then they wonder why people in flyover country don’t think they are accurate news.

    Shaking my head.

    1. some guy

      I remember once some years ago the BBC announcer talking about something . . . ” blah blah blah Chuck Hagel the Senator from New York blah blah blah . . . ” Just a little random thing.

      BBC never did correct that.

  27. flora

    For those interested, New Hampshire tv station WMUR-TV did an interview and townhall style Q&A session with RFKjr last week. They posted most of the interview on utube in several short segments. I’ll leave the first segment here. The following segments appear in the sidebar for viewing.

    adding: I think WMUR is doing the same interview, Q&A format with Marianne Williams this week. Her appearance will be posted as well.

    1. HaTanya?

      Excellent! Thank you for posting this. I’m a sometimes lurker who appreciates many of the links you provide. I hope Cornell West is given a fair hearing as well.

      How do you feel about Cornell West, flora? He’s the only one who doesn’t sound castrated by the Israel Lobby vis-a-vis Palestine.

      1. flora

        It would be great for WMUR to interview West. He’s running on the Green Party ticket, so I’m not sure how much media coverage he’ll receive.

  28. tevhatch

    Syraqistan — Alexander of Duran mentioned Putin made calls to China, Belarus, Kazakhstan. I was surprised not to hear that phone calls were made to Syria and African States where Wagner is working to let the leaders know that the disbanding of Wagner will not leave them high and dry. I went to Foreign Ministry site but nothing posted by lunch time EST, not that I could see.

  29. spud

    the UAE article, if i was the free tradin war criminal tony blair, i might start looking for a new rat hole to hide in.

  30. spud

    self regulation is only being looked at as unworkable now! that piece was from the onion correct:)

  31. Not Qualified to Comment

    I must register my (rare) disagreement with Mercuris at the Duran and what seems to be the general opinion here and elsewhere – the Progozhin/Wagner affair was not a coup/treason or even a mutiny.

    A coup/treason is an uprising against and attempt to replace a legitimate government. I see no actual evidence of that. Apart from the patent fact it fell far short of the necessary military clout, as I understand it Prigozhin was at pains to say that he, and the affair, was not anti-Putin and I heard of no calls from him for an uprising or even for support.

    Prigozhin’s beef was only with the Ministry of Defence and its leaders who he believed had betrayed Wagner, and it’s significant that he called the approach on Moscow as ‘a March for Justice.’ It was at heart a PR stunt purely intended to bring his complaints to public notice with the hope that public support for Wagner, which was well demonstrated by its reception in Rostov-on-Don, would bring pressure on Putin to support him against Soigu et al. Clearly enough Wagnerites felt he had a case to support him.

    I suggest Putin in his speech talking of treason and back-stabbing badly mishandled the situation and did most of the damage. Had he taken a conciliatory approach, acknowledging that Wager genuinely believed they had a case even if they didn’t, and promised a full airing and independent review of it, I suspect Wagner would have been content to stand down and no question/doubts as to Putin’s authority and position would ever have arisen.

    It wasn’t even a mutiny. Wagner fighters are contractually bound to Wagner and not subject to Russian Military orders (which is partly the point of the intention to fold them into the Russian military – no doubt another sore point). In the streets of Russia they are simply Russian citizens. No doubt carrying assault rifles and driving tanks through them breaks a dozen Russian civil laws but that is a matter for the police, not the military, and diffusing the situation with an indemnity from civil prosecution on condition they stood down was a quick and easy way out, if somewhat unsatisfactory from the Rule of Law point of View.

    Mercuris likened the affair to the 1961 Algerian affair, but in that case the revolt was a genuine mutiny by the French military against de Gaulle’s legitimate orders, and the stated aim was his replacement, which I dispute has parallels here.

    1. Yves Smith

      Help me. You’ve been had.

      From Andrew Korybko in Prigozhin Is Carrying Out A Preplanned Coup, Not An “Anti-Corruption” Campaign Like He Claims:

      Prigozhin is partially explaining his attempted coup as supposedly only being a so-called “anti-corruption” campaign against the Defense Ministry (DM). He denied that he has any plans to seize power and claims that he’s only interested in purging the military of its allegedly corrupt elements who he blames for Russia’s setbacks across the past 16 months of its special operation. While this narrative might resonate with some at home and abroad, it dishonestly leaves out one crucial detail.

      An ”anti-corruption” campaign turns into a coup once the head of state’s is challenged, which is exactly what Prigozhin is doing by trying to force President Putin into firing the Defense Minister and Chief of General Staff, presumably with the intent of having Prigozhin and/or his allies replace them. While the Wagner chief always denied having political ambitions, his latest move is political to the core since it amounts to pressuring the government into making concessions under pressure.

      This “regime tweaking” agenda has thus far officially remained below the level of explicitly calling for regime change, but it nevertheless strongly implies such an intent due to the very low likelihood of President Putin complying with Prigozhin’s demands, especially in the event that blood is shed. Capitulating under pressure would crush the authority and respect the Russian leader has built up over two decades, with all that this could entail for his country’s stability, hence why he’s loath to do so.

      Putin since he must have already concluded that this is the only realistic way to replace the top military leadership. The so-called “de-escalation scenario” of Russia’s Defense Minister and Chief of General Staff resigning is probably off the table after the Wagner chief publicly challenged the President on this issue by ordering his mercenaries to march on Moscow. Moreover, the Russian leader already accused Prigozhin of treason.

      To continue with his “anti-corruption” campaign after President Putin told him to stop and not recklessly risk provoking internecine conflict amidst Russia’s existential conflict with the West proves that Prigozhin does indeed want to carry out the coup that he’s accused by the authorities of attempting. With this insight in mind, the recent sequence of events leading up to the country’s worst domestic political crisis in three decades since its 1993 constitutional one looks a lot different than he claimed….

      Seen from this perspective and recalling what was earlier explained about how dishonest it is to describe his efforts as partially being driven by “anti-corruption” motives, there’s no doubt that the Wagner chief’s march on Moscow was a precalculated coup attempt. It’s unclear how long he and his conspirators plotted it for, but there’s no way that he really thought that President Putin was a pushover who’d be successfully pressured into complying with his demands through these militant means.

      Not only that, but there’s also the obvious issue of logistics to consider when it comes to moving potentially thousands of mercenaries around 1,000 kilometers from Rostov to Moscow. Those of his fighters who are going along with this armed rebellion likely wouldn’t have risked their lives to chance, but probably agreed only after being briefed right beforehand about these carefully crafted plans. After all, the possibility of them diving head-first into an otherwise nebulous coup plot is simply preposterous.

  32. Not Qualified to Comment

    I don’t disagree with most of the above, in fact I’d argue it supports my point for the most part, but in my dictionary a ‘coup’ is “an illegal and overt attempt by the military or other government elites to unseat the incumbent leader”, and I don’t think Prigozhin intended to declare himself President. As Korybko states, Prigozhin’s aims were limited to his feud with Shoigu et al and that does not, in my book, make it a coup attempt. It does, tho’, give me an explanation as to why he had the support of some at least of Wagner. I can’t believe they’d put their lives on the line just to make Prigozhin President of Russia, but if they had genuine grievances against the MoD and saw what they were doing as a ‘March for Justice” I can imagine some joining in.

    Perhaps it’s just semantics. However I don’t think Putin was ever in danger of being ‘unseated’ as that was never Prigozhin’s intention, and he damaged himself by suggesting it in his speech. I reiterate my view that he could have defused this whole thing at pretty much the outset by assuming his power, taking a conciliatory approach and agreeing to look into their complaints if they stood down.

    1. Daniil Adamov

      Stated aims may well deviate from actual aims. I have no idea what Prigozhin intended to do. Maybe he really would’ve been content with a one-off capitulation from the government. Or maybe he would’ve asked for more guarantees – but the kind of guarantees he really needs would’ve involved Putin becoming his puppet. Or maybe he would’ve removed him outright. But obviously “a march for justice against some corrupt officials” sounds better than rebelling against your entire government outright, and leaves his options open.

    2. hk

      If you are marching on the capital with heavily armed men with stated intent of forcing the government to do his bidding at threat of violence, then it’s an armed rebellion, regardless of the specifics of the demands. No one participating in it, i don’t think, would have missed the implication.

      If this was an actual revolt, one has to conclude that something is very rotten with the ship of state in Russia since too many things just don’t add up: if a sizable chunk of the “unofficial” armed forces of the government can somehow be induced to march on the capital while shooting wildly at agents of the state on the way by a guy who is supposed to be its head PR guy without actual command authority, that is not a state that has full control over its functions and organs. While the idea that this is an elaborate ruse, with knowing or unknowing participation by Prigozhin (and “unknowing” doesn’t seem to make sense, unless he had been officially given far more direct control over Wagner than what has been let on, which brings us back to Russia is a big clown show–since that means Prigozhin could in fact order several thousand troops to do something that’s clearly mutinous, in wartime no less, without going through the “real” commanders) does not make much sense either, that strikes me as more believable that the state of Russia is a farcical clown show stuck in dark ages.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think you you might have the wrong reading on this mutiny. The officers and most of the rank and files of the Wagner force stood with Russia and not this clown. And what the west should note is that the entire state of Russia stood with the Putin government and here I am talking about the army, the State governors, mayors, the media so basically the entirety of Russia. So this actually united Russia. Prigozhin then was left like a shag on a rock with no support at all except for those soldiers that were with him and the whole thing fizzled out within only hours. But as Machiavelli pointed out, mercenaries are never to be trusted and five centuries later it still remains true. You always get these jerks that make power grabs. When somebody shot Ronnie Reagan, most of his Cabinet had a meeting and Alexander Haig – the Secretary of State – tried to bluff the others that he was in line of succession after the President for the moment. What was embarrassing about that episode was that none of the others knew the Constitution enough to call him out on his bs and pointed out that he was several ranks down.

        1. hk

          These are things that don’t wash with me.

          1. Are Wagner’s really a “mercenary” outfit? They claim that, but, in reality, they are supposedly a plausible deniability arm of Russian Intel services. So I don’t think it is accurate to treat them as “mercenaries.”

          2. Even if the vast majority of Wagner’s did not turn, a significant chunk did (I’ve heard numbers ranging from 10 to 20%, and given the size of the org, that’s quite a lot of troops.) And Prigozhin supposedly has no actual authority in the organization–which is the way it should be if it really is a secret arm of government.

          3. Getting thousands of people (especially if it involves leaving out 80-90% that didn’t cooperate) to assemble and operate en masse like they did would take a lot of coordination and planning. That shouldn’t be easy for a guy who supposedly has no command authority. If they had to bypass the officers and troops who wouldn’t play ball, that’s make for an even more complex conspiracy. If officers and men who didn’t were at least partly aware, that doesn’t bode well for how well the Russian state controls its institutions.

          So, no matter how you cut it, if it really was a rebellion, it still means that up to several thousand people armed with heavy weapons who belong to an unofficial arm of the government slipped out of state control at the bidding of who is essentially a celebrity figurehead and we’re able to engage in fairly complex conspiracy for a mass action that openly challenged state authority in the most defiant fashion. All these in the middle of a big war! This is really a third world stuff, with semi independent warlords and private armies, not a functional modern state.

          Since I think the implications of the crisis being a real rebellion are pretty absurd, I’m inclined to think that this has to be some kind of maskirovka. But if the Russian state were just playing Prigozhin, you still can’t escape the “Russia is a feudal warlord entity” implication because that’s mean that it’s be normal to engage in a pretty big conspiracy against the state and think it’s not unusual. But if it were maskirovka, then you still have to engage in pretty surreal mental contortions to force things to make sense.

          1. hk

            PS. One should also add that, if it were a real rebellion, it was carried out in the least sensible fashion possible: far from the centers of power, with way too few troops without necessary infrastructure, without any coordination attempt with the people who could provide the necessary support (air cover, logistics, etc). But these did mean that there were plenty of time for theatrics, like the drawn out drama with their long convoy on the road to Moscow and so forth–including the supposed wild shooting by the convoy at government airplanes. Maybe Prigozhin really is a media hog who decided that this was a good idea (if he were really more in on the inner workings of Wagner and Russian gov’t decisionmaking structure that is–but that raises more issues on who controls what in Russia). Or, the whole thing was staged.

            In addition, while people are still acting like the shooting at planes and helicopters was “real” (and it could be real, for sake of covering things up), the circumstances under which they were shot down (short range AA in a slow moving convoy successfully shooting down planes without breaking formation and redeploying extensively for some time, presumably) seems implausible–especially the FW EW plane which would have been at a fairly high altitude some distance away. But, if these too were part of an elaborate scheme, Russian insiders can’t possibly let things out unless whatever they are planning gets sprung.

            Whatever it is, we should know fairly soon: if there were a conspiracy, there should be some big move that we should all be able to see fairly soon–presumably some time this summer. If nothing happens by mid Fall, I’ll have no choice but to think that it really was a rebellion…but that has less than optimistic implications for how much control Russian state really has over things.

  33. David Mills

    Apparently “the Veil of Indifference” didn’t notice that it was the US that:

    Abrogated the ABM Treaty
    Abrogated the INF Treaty
    Left the Open Skies Treaty

    New START looks like a diplomatic dead letter, especially with the Blinken/Biden braintrust at the helm. Russia’s suspension is consistent with US perfidy in using programs as cover for spying.

    10 weeks after leaving the INF the US tested a nuclear capable Tomahawk missile in the MK41VLS, the same launching system used in Aegis Ashore. This system now being in service in Poland and Romania.

    My absolute favourite though was Hillary Clinton saying a nuclear war could be won. Her adoration of Kissinger & Zbig in full view.

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