Links 9/15/2023

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Wolf vs Coyote Field and Stream

How Is Our Current State Different from What We Would See in a Successful Inflation Soft Landing? Brad DeLong Grasping Reality

Explosion at world’s largest railyard in Nebraska prompts evacuations because of heavy toxic smoke AP. Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte,


Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries Nature

Feds spread $1 billion for tree plantings among US cities to reduce extreme heat and benefit health AP. We don’t need trees so much as we need forests.

How Plate Tectonics Shook Life into Existence JSTOR Daily

Inside Exxon’s Strategy to Downplay Climate Change WSJ. And yet, somehow, this is not disinformation.


Long COVID in a highly vaccinated population infected during a SARS-CoV-2 Omicron wave – Australia, 2022 (preprint) medRxiv. N = 22,744. Survey. From the Abstract: “In a highly vaccinated population (94% with >=3 vaccine doses), almost 20% of persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant reported symptoms consistent with Long COVID 90 days post diagnosis.”

California healthcare industry had highest COVID-19 death rate of all occupations early in pandemic Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy


Chinese economic activity data signals optimism after stimulus measures FT

How China’s Belt and Road Took Over the World The Diplomat

China’s Defense Minister Being Removed From Post, U.S. Officials Say WSJ

Surging Rice Prices Raise Specter of Asian Food Scare, HSBC Say Bloomberg

The Koreas

South Korea’s Large New F-35 Purchases Are Vital For America’s Pacific Strategy: But Are the Fighters Reliable? Miltary Watch


Veganism Isn’t the Answer to India’s Violent, Brahminical Dairy Industry Politics The Wire


Nigerian power grid in ‘total system collapse’ Reuters (Furzy Mouse).


The End of America’s Middle East Foreign Policy. The deck: “The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.”

Arabian Dreams Dror Poleg

New Not-So-Cold War

The hard lessons from Ukraine’s summer offensive FT. The deck: “The country’s military is enjoying some success but it will be slow-going and requires allies to increase ammunition supplies.” Those are “hard lessons”?

It is still far too early to write off Ukraine’s counteroffensive The Atlantic Council

The realists were right The New Statesman

A lighter, curved plate: first body armour for women showcased in Kyiv Ukrainska Pravda

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Russia Is Winning The Industrial Warfare Race Moon of Alabama

Vlahos: Ukraine Shares Same Fate as the South in the American Civil War Agon. Well worth reading in full.

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Normalizing fascism:

Find someone who looks at you the way liberal Democrats look at a fascist goon in uniform:

Zelenskyy is expected to visit Washington as Congress is debating $24 billion in aid for Ukraine AP

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New Lessons U.S. Is Learning From The Air War Over Ukraine The Drive

History Turns Upside Down in a War Where the Koreas Are Suppliers NYT


Biden’s Praetorian Media Guard Matt Taibbi, Racket News

Trump: ‘I never got … the credit that I deserved on COVID’ The Hill

Mayor Karen Bass “fearful that any day” migrants may be flown to L.A. Axios. And from June: Los Angeles City Council votes to make LA a sanctuary city CBS.

U.S. v. Google

United States & Co-Plaintiff States v. Google LLC: Plaintiffs’ Opening Statement (PowerPoint; PDF) United States Department of Justice. Redacted public version.

So what exactly is Google accused of? The Harvard Gazette

Googlers Told to Avoid Words Like ‘Share’ and ‘Bundle,’ US Says Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

Western Pravdas New Left Review

Bloomberg Hits BRICS as US Power Challenged FAIR

Brain ‘taken over by bits and pieces’ of short videos: The dangers of video clips on social media Anadolu Agency

The Final Frontier

Questions arise over authenticity of ‘alien’ corpses unveiled in Mexican Congress Anadolu Agency

NASA report finds no evidence UFOs have alien origins The Hill. Not sure whether to react with “Well, they wouldn’t, would they?” or “Thanks heavens the WEF and the Illuminati would need to put together a commmittee to negotiate on behalf this world. Anyhow, we run this link occasionally.

Digital Watch

‘America’s Got Talent’ judge Howie Mandel explains why he’s ’embracing AI’ FOX

The Bezzle

Fed economists sound alarm on hedge funds gaming US Treasuries Reuters


Escaped Pennsylvania killer shot at by homeowner while stealing rifle from garage, police say NBC

Realignment and Legitimacy

As 2024 Looms, Neo-Nazis Are Returning to the Streets Vice (Furzy Mouse).

Class Warfare

Workers are on strike at all 3 Detroit auto makers for the first time in their union’s history AP. Commentary:

Auto Workers Strike Plants at All Three of the Big 3 Labor Notes

Rising Rates Make Big Companies Even Richer WSJ

The art of making good mistakes FT

Get a rabbit London Review of Books

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Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Double bonus antidote, Feral Hog Watch Edition:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. furnace

        Doesn’t look like Nigeria is in the best spot to start some reckless adventurism over the border. On the matter of hackers, I don’t think the Nigerien even need to make any effort, Nigeria is falling apart on its own. This RAND piece points out the dire security situation in the country:

        Another concern for Nigerians will be the unstable security situation within the country. In nearly all the six geopolitical zones, Nigeria is grappling with security issues. In the North East, there are remnants of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the West African Province still causing havoc. In the North West, there is banditry, while in the North Central region, there are regular farmer-herdsmen clashes. In the South East, Indigenous People of Biafra separatists threaten the peace, while in the South South, there are occasional reports of piracy and oil bunkering. The South West appears to be the most secure region in Nigeria, but it has also suffered from incidents ranging from religious terrorism to kidnapping and cult clashes. The horrific June 2022 Owo massacre, that left scores of people dead and many more injured, took place in Nigeria’s South West region.

      2. Synoia

        There is Nigeria and Nigerians and Niger with Nigerien. This post appears to confuse one from the other.

        Nigeria was a British colony and has its own independent currency.

        Niger is still a french colony thanks to French control of the the CFA frank,

        1. Wukchumni

          “I am MR.XXXXXXXX, An Auditor in AMALGERMATED BANK OF UKRAINE (ABU). There is an account opened in this bank in 2011 and since the war started nobody has operated on this account again. After going through some old files in the records, I discovered that if I do not remit this money out urgently it would be forfeited for nothing-as in Hunter gets bupkis. No other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that his company does not know anything about this account and the amount involved is (USD$ 10M) Ten million United States Dollars. I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved to a local bank here, but can only be approved to any foreign account because the money is in U.S. dollars and the former owner of the account is Mr. XXXXXXXX is a foreigner too. I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we don’t know ourselves before. Send also your private telephone and fax number including the full details of the account to be used for the deposit. I want us to meet face to face or sign a binding agreement to bind us together so that you can receive this money into a foreign account or any account of your choice where the fund will be safe. And I will fly to your country for withdrawal and sharing and other investments. At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 25% of the total amount, 70% will be for me, and while 5% will be for expenses both parties might have incurred during the process of transferring.”

    1. mrsyk

      Took me to an article on nazis on Vice. Vice nazis. Nazi vice? “What are your vices?” “Well, I like to wear red and black and march around, shouting stuff.” Ugh, more coffee please.

    1. bassmule

      This is so great!

      “Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?”

      “Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again.”

      “They always come around.”

      “And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone.”

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      that open letter to Swift is great.
      hope it finds its way to her.

      i dont care for her music much…the acoustic stuff is alright….but she can come play out her cottage core thing out here, any time.
      and she seems sincere, which is almost weird, these days.
      and that kind of money could certainly be transformed into real power…although i would advise to lock any MBA’s in her train into a box, somewhere.

      whats happened to the music ‘industry’ in my lifetime is horrible,,,and mostly unnoticed by most folks.
      from Big Music’s first foray into taking over, Disco…all the way down to the disney clones and boy bands and even many of the hairbands of the 80’s…corporate formulae replaced actual creativity wherever they could manage it.
      i suspect that behind these efforts was a desire to never let the 60’s happen again.
      music drove that, and wanton creativity….chewed through the restraints.
      cant have that,lol

        1. Benny Profane

          Yeah, but, on the other hand, I always wonder how Jimi would have embraced technology that was just emerging at the time of his death. All he had was an upside down Strat and a stack of Marshall’s, and just started to fool with a lot of tracks in the studio.

        2. Jabura Basaidai

          very difficult to listen to the whole bit but i did – Beato bores me – he is an excellent musician but that piece was just blah blah blah about this musician or that musician and who he knows, he only showed his immense ignorance – NYC has an awesome music scene – here in SE Michigan and in Chicago, which i’m very familiar with, there is a vibrant music scene; Buddy Guy’s joint, Andy’s, Green Door, Kingston Mines to name a few – we just had the Montreux-Detroit Jazz festival – Greta Van Fleet just did a big show in Detroit, and those boys are from Frakenmouth MI – Chicago has the Blues Fetival, Lalapalooza, bandshell music just about every night in the park and a lot more – Beato made no point imho and that guy Jeff who made that ridiculous statement about Jimi should be cursed to listen to elevator music for the rest of his life locked in a room with Simon Cowell – most of what we hear these days on mainstream radio is derivative drivel, but if you make the effort you can find music that is not drivel – Jimi was just beginning to broaden his musical horizon when he aspirated his vomit – if there is any truth to that statement it is because who is in control of the music industry, not lack of talent – i am biased – first time i saw Jimi was at a small club in Ann Arbor called the Fifth Dimension, he was on his way to Monterey – saw Jimi 5 more times – at the Fillmore East at the last appearance of the Electric Flag Mike Bloomfield started off their set by sayin he had a surprise that would blow our minds – after the last song everyone walked off stage except Buddy Miles, Harvey Brooks and Barry Goldberg – they jammed until 2AM – stunning – last time i saw Jimi was Woodstock – Jimi would still amaze people today – Beato and Jeff whoever can go pound sand –
          Killing Floor – Electric Flag

          Driving South – Jimi –

          Manic Depression – Jimi

      1. jo pac

        There are no mba on her team it’s all family. Dad was on wall street and is one sharp dude. There interviews with the 2 trucking companies that haul the stuff from site to site. No complaints other long hours but well paid and that’s a good in that they own their trucks. If they have problem when they come to the stadiums one phone to the family member that handles the problems, it goes away fast. Time is not their side in setting up the stage.

        Yes, let’s hope that she and family can make some good changes in the music world.

      2. John Beech

        Oh come on Amfortas, that’s not new! I know you remember the Monkeys were entirely an invention of Hollywood.

      3. playon

        The real kiss of death was digital media – from CDs that are easily copied to mp3s to streaming. I can’t get a handle on why BMI, ASCAP and the other copyright enforcers are allowing the pittance in royalties paid by streaming platforms. Pharrell Williams had 17 million streams on spotify of his song “Happy” and got a check for $1500. WTF.

        It’s mysterious to me why they haven’t negotiated better rates – in the 1940s when jukeboxes began to be the thing, the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) went on strike until they received royalties, recording no new material from 1942-1944. FDR tried to intervene but the union prez held firm. The big labels such as RCA, Columbia Decca etc eventually caved but it took two years.

    2. Wukchumni

      Isn’t winner take all music ala-Swift boding, kind of appropriate for these times?

      It feels weird to have gone from the people making the most money of everybody and living vis a vis their wretched excess (for the record, I never trashed a hotel room-but probably pinched an ashtray) to the people making the most money of everybody now, who offer nothing in the way of recompense to soothe my ears.

      My brother in law played base on the Beach Boys for about a dozen years and steady income isn’t all that easy to come by in the music biz. He told me that he was in every song except for Rock & Roll Music, which was his only break in a typical set they played.

      Because the Beach Boys are more or less a ghost band (Mike Love is the only original member) Randell told me he would get out of his Hawaiian shirt and lose the hat and he could go play blackjack at the casino where they had just played, and nobody knew who he was at the blackjack table. He liked that.

  1. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War

    By taking a step back over the past few months, History Legends has an interesting take on the evolution of the US-NATO drone war on Crimea and the Russian Navy in the Black Sea and it’s doesn’t look good for Russia. US-NATO are learning quickly and refining their technique, and on that subject Military Summary noted if US-NATO can up the number of drones to about 100 in an attack on a Russian vessel, it’s easy to see them taking out any ship in the Russian navy for example those protecting TurkStream. US-NATO drones have taken out several S300/400’s and important Russian vessels and Russia can not been able to adequately protect either of 2 major Naval ports in Crimea not to mention all the other successful targets in the news regarding Crimea.

    Re-striking already hit targets near Odessa isn’t going to solve this problem for the Russians in the Black Sea and Crimea. Better to save her missiles for more effective use. The Russians need a new approach to these attacks.

    By not responding effectively to US-NATO attacks on Crimea and the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, one might say Russia is on some level admitting that Crimea is not Russian territory.

    1. Random

      It’s a war. Everything that can be hit will be hit. The only “effective” way Russia can respond is by directly attacking NATO assets. And they’re not willing to do that.
      So they’ll keep absorbing the losses and improving defenses. Just how it goes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Of course for the Russians, this is improving their defenses in case they get into a shooting war with NATO itself. Learning where they are weak and where there are holes in their defenses. And they are still holding their best equipment back. But NATO keeps on pushing them and right now they are holding military exercises in the Black Sea called Sea Breeze off the Romanian coastline because tensions are not high enough. Still, if I were the Turks, I would be sending a few of my Navy ships to keep an eye on the Turkstream pipeline in case “something” happens to it.

      2. LN

        I don’t see these attacks on Crimea as part of the war. NATO is trying out various combinations against the Russian defence. Ukraine is just the delivery system. Both sides are trying to learn as much as possible while giving away as little as possible in the process.

        1. hk

          I think those attacks are a modern day enactments of John Wilkes Booth moments, since there is no Ford’s Theater where really high value targets are vulnerable. At best, they’ll serve Ukraine as much as Booth did the Confederacy, and, in all probability, they won’t even come close.

          1. LN

            I considered this (John Wilkes Booth) alternative, but it just isn’t worth the effort. If NATO ever wants to join the fight itself, it must be able to achieve local air supremacy. It needs to devise and test methods to disable the Russian air defences. This operation seeks to do that, in my opinion.

            1. hk

              You are probably right, but it does beg the question whether they can deploy the assets necessary for local air supremacy quietly enough, without a good cover, and an “overt” deployment of NATO air assets means that “local” air supremacy won’t save NATO’s critical assets from being blasted to smithrens elsewhere.

              The closest scenario I can imagine is the deployment of F-16s (as has been frequently announced), allegedly transferred to Ukraine, but in fact operated by NATO, as a sort of “F-16 Alley,” except, obviously, in an offensive role (which will make it far more overt act of aggression unlike the original MiG Alley which was strictly in defense of North Korean airspace. Certainly, testing Russian air defenses could easily be a preparatory step for this. Maybe it’ll work for a narrow area, for a small time window. I don’t see Russians taking it quietly, though, without taking out air bases in Poland, Romania, Germany, or elsewhere where they might be operating from. (Then, I suppose, there’ll be talk of “unprovoked aggression,”: like how Americans attacked peaceful peaceful Japanese warplanes carrying totally harmless ordinance over Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941…)

              1. Yves Smith

                Scott Ritter has said, with supporting detail, that if a well trained US F-16 pilot approached Russian forces, the odds of him coming back alive on a single sortie are 20%. The F-16 is no match for Russian air defenses. Ritter thought it would be used for air defense.

                1. hk

                  I don’t see how F-16s would be any good in air defense role, barring major upgrade in capabilities (which will add a lot to testing/maintenance requirements, in addition to likely NATO reluctance in sharing too much of the latest technology) The main role for the air defense would have to be anti-missile interception. None of the NATO aircraft stands too much of a chance in the role generally and none of them would be able to stop/hamper Russian missiles with any appreciable success.

              2. LN

                If NATO do attack Crimea, they certainly won’t be using F-16s. I doubt they will attack it. Kaliningrad would make much more sense. I hope they won’t.

    2. ilsm

      I am constantly reminded of how good the Afghan army was just prior to the evacuations….

      And Saddam’ s WMDs

    3. Benny Profane

      This is not a naval war, never will be. And this is more proof that naval wars may be extinct, which started with the Exocet taking out large British ships in the Falklands.

      And Russia has responded in kind to every attack upon Crimea, sometimes with ten times the damage, but, you don’t hear much about that through the fog.

    4. JTMcPhee

      I’d be careful about leaning on “HistoryLegends” as authority for anything. Here’s the web site:

      So on that authority and your take on it, Russia should just give up and accept that NATO/US owns the Black Sea and Crimea? Don’t see that the West is showing dominance in hardly any part of the “full spectrum.” And who learns and responds faster in the military-industrial public-private partnership game? My money is on the Russians.

      1. Yves Smith

        I have watched him only a bit. I have found some of his shows to be very informative. But I saw this Black Sea one and thought he’d lost it. Maybe he channels Dima (of Military Summary) sometimes, of blowing too hot and too cold.

    5. Polar Socialist

      They hit one landing ship that was ferrying civilian traffic over the Kerch straits and now managed to hit two vessels already on a dry-dock. For the expense of over a dozen of cruise missiles and drones, Ukraine (or NATO) has managed to diminish the Black Sea firepower and operational capacity for about not at all.

      The next missile salvo from the Black Sea Fleet will be as powerful as the previous one was. As will be the next after that. Longer term, the BSF is about to receive 4-5 new ships within a year, so the firepower will only grow from here. After 19 months of Ukrainian effort, that’s not a lot to show, especially on a front that doesn’t matter much to either side.

      1. OnceWere

        Thought of as the result of 19 months of effort it’s certainly not very impressive. Less than 2 tons of high explosive dropped on a dry dock in Crimea is a far cry from the thousands, even millions of tons that US adversaries like North Vietnam and North Korea had to weather back in the day.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      As opposed to Whitney Webb’s research that shows original Nazis helping to set up and run the 3-letter agencies.

      Fascism never dies, it just changes its name to whatever is most popular.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “As 2024 Looms, Neo-Nazis Are Returning to the Streets”

    But not all NeoNazis are the same. The ones to look out for are typically young, very slim & athletic, all have identical uniforms, they take care to be totally masked but more to the point have a very heavy police escort to protect them. And the police will even clear out an entire subway station so that they can go there and disperse to all points of the compass. Oh, and they will never be kettled, harassed or arrested by those police. I saw a video of a bunch of old boy, American-flag carrying, MAGA type protestors who weren’t having any of it and chased a group of them away while pulling off their ski masks. And yes, the police were trying to protect these NeoNazis as well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Exactly. Look at the sort of people that turned up on January 6th. Lots of beer bellies and gray beards around. A few were so out of condition and medically impaired that they died of natural causes that day. None of those guys in that video fit that description.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          There’s plenty of video of the fat guys being pushed into the Capitol by all the really fit guys in the mob.

      2. digi_owl

        Gets me thinking about the unofficial “spot the fed” game at Defcon.

        Many will think about looking for fat necks and similar signs of big muscles, but most federal agents, at least among those attending Defcon, have the lean physique of a runner.

    1. antidlc


      A couple of days ago she had this WAPO opinion piece that called for treatment for long COVID.
      Covid is here to stay. That means long covid is, too.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 6 percent of American adults have lingering symptoms from coronavirus infection. But despite the condition’s prevalence, much about long covid remains a mystery. Most distressing is the fact that there is no cure for it.
      This needs to change. Key to living with the virus is reckoning with its consequences, which includes having a plan to treat those afflicted with post-covid conditions.

  3. upstater

    Union Pacific: Is the container blowing up any surprise? Or how 80 tons of explosives leaked (or was stolen) from a car?

    The Federal Railroad Administration conducted an audit of UP’s equipment and safety practices this summer. From Trains Magazine, September 10:

    FRA Administrator Amit Bose said the agency conducted a focused inspection of UP’s mechanical operations and rolling stock in July and August, which found that the defect ratio of freight cars and locomotives was twice the national average.

    “The compliance of the rolling stock … on the UP network is poor and UP was unwilling or unable to take steps to improve the condition of their equipment,” Bose wrote to UP CEO Jim Vena, President Beth Whited, and Eric Gehringer, executive vice president of operations.

    UP’s East Departure Yard at North Platte, Neb. — part of the largest freight classification yard in North America — was the subject of a focused inspection involving multiple FRA inspectors, who reported a car defect ratio of 22%.

    The FRA said it found defects on nearly 73% of the UP locomotives it inspected.

    The number of mechanical shop employees on UP fell 42.6% between September 2018 — the month before UP adopted a PSR operating model — and July 2023, according to the latest Surface Transportation Board data. CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern have made similar reductions in their shop workforces, the STB data show.

    UP’s response is lawfare. Union Pacific CEO Jim Vena asks FRA for rolling stock inspection data . Railroad executives are criminals.

  4. zagonostra

    >Feds spread $1 billion for tree plantings among US cities to reduce extreme heat and benefit health AP

    Interesting since my favorite evil villian is also looking to save the planet with trees, but cutting them down, although the AP does point out some of the finer nuances.

    CLAIM: Bill Gates is backing efforts to cut down 70 million acres of trees in order to fight global warming.

    AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There is no plan to cut down 70 million acres of trees. The U.S. Forest Service has a ten-year plan to reduce the risk of wildfires across millions of acres of forests in the American West through a combination of controlled burns, selective tree culls and other forest management strategies. Gates, separately, is among the investors in a company proposing to help thin out California’s densely packed forests and bury tree remains in Nevada

    1. The Rev Kev

      If Bill Gates wanted to make himself useful for once and cut down trees in California, then maybe he could do so with Eucalyptus trees. It would be a good start.

      1. Wukchumni

        After Burning Man 7 of us went on a roadtrip to see the sights along Hwy 395 in a couple of vehicles, and drove to the Minaret Overlook above Mammoth, and filled the bed of my truck in a jiffy with all the firewood we’d need for 3 days at a remote car camping spot near Obsidian Dome, and could’ve filled my bed dozens of times in no time flat.

        There was a family collecting firewood by chainsawing existing downed logs into rounds, and we saw a few other intrepid wood collectors along the way, but the amount of ready to burns on the ground is simply overwhelming.

        To the credit of the Forest Service, they have done a good job clearing everything about 50 feet on either side of the mountain roads, with burn piles ready to go when conditions permit. The lessons of what went down in Paradise when traffic ran into an inferno.

        Its all that stuff beyond 50 feet that’s ready to burn though, there’s no money to remedy that situation.

        When I was in Yosemite Valley in June, they were clearing out everything in the same fashion, about 50 feet from the road, with oh so many million $ per heavy hydraulic equipment doing a lot of the work, there must’ve been $50 million out there. The timing was right with everything being so wet, that they lit em’ up repeatedly while we were there.

        A lightning strike fire started in mid August near the Redwood Meadow grove of Sequoias, and the decision was to treat it like a prescribed burn and it went from nothing much to around 700 acres presently. The skies in Tiny Town are a bit compromised with smoke and in theory a gaggle of friends are going to walk the Congress trail in Giant Forest tomorrow, but if the smoke is a bit much, maybe not.

        More than likely they’ll let the fire burn until the first storm does Mother Nature’s heavy down lifting, as its a perfect year to take advantage of the conditions where everything is pretty wet from repeated summer showers after the winter of record. Its no coincidence that there have been essentially no wildfires to speak of this year in the Sierra.

      1. digi_owl

        And and contractors to service them. Or at least that is the case with ones Norway is flying right now. Side effect of disparaging vocational schools for decades.

    1. ambrit

      $80M is selling it at cost or maybe a bit below cost. The ‘real money’ is in the maintenance contracts.

        1. Wukchumni

          It kinda reeks of record club offerings back in the day of platters, they’d give you 6 records up front on the house if you agreed to buy 20 more, and to be frank, most of the records were better than the F-35, except for maybe the DeFranco Family.

          When we were out for a week on a backpack last month in Sequoia NP, there was a fairly constant stream of F-35 sorties overhead out of NAS Lemoore, so they can still get it up.

          My longtime backpacking partner had never heard just how loud they are, and related my lament back to me, as in ‘if I can hear them minutes before they are overhead, doesn’t that kind of negate the whole stealth thing?’

          1. digi_owl

            Now that i think about it, the whole think reeks of IMF cash crop plans.

            Because alongside the purchase contracts, USA will offer to buy parts and such off the nations buying the planes.

            Question is how easily USA can weasel their way out of those parts contracts if they become politically inconvenient.

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            I found out by accident that if you changed your address to Alaska, my Record Club went ‘Feh’. Never heard from them again.

            80s Alaska legal weed was not something that would ever turn you on to weed.

            On visits a few years later, when offered a toke, I’d say “I’m from Florida”. They’d say “Oh, yeah.” I’d commiserate.

      1. ilsm

        The US military trend for 30 odd years has been for contractor logistics support, 65% of the ‘ownership cost’ from design to retirement is logistics support.

        Lockheed installed a revolutionary ‘on line diagnostic system’ which can take days to ‘read’ and often gives ‘fault groups’ rather than a repair item.

        Chances are the flight line will need a direct line to the engineers???

        All cost plus!

        1. The Rev Kev

          The mind boggles as to how this could play out. So a war breaks out between the US and China and an airfield is under Chinese attack. In an underground bunker an air crew chief calls out to the mechanics gathered around a squadron of F-35 that refuses to boot up and shouts ‘The Lockheed Martin Service Center says to try turning them off and back on again!’

          1. ilsm

            “Remote crew chief assistant”…..

            The other end of the satphone can look at the drawings, but not the crew chief, the drawing is proprietary….

            While the Lockheed guys can bug out.

        2. digi_owl

          So basically they have taken a page from the car industry and their CAN bus “diagnostics”, where a flooded tail light can result in the AC and radio going flaky…

          1. OnceWere

            That story sounds familiar. Perhaps we saw the same video. $4500 repair bill caused by a little bit of water intrusion into a rear tail light ? Madness !

        1. ilsm

          Lockheed et Al will not sign up to that. That implies performance, they can’t depend on their break rates and the quality, time and cost of servicing F-35, or any complex system sold to pentagon.

          Cost plus no metrics….

    2. ilsm

      South Korea is replacing F-5 and F-16’s with F-35, presume the F-35A standard runway version.

      US and NATO have same or worse mission capability problems.

      GAO has documented US problems, recently 23-106047, 22-105995.

      Somewhere GAO reported that between 35 and 40 US F-35’s were without engines, as the pipeline for spare engines is depleted (sometime they go to the production line?).

      Also the DoD DOT&E (director of operational test and evaluation) identified multiple problems in sustainability “metrics”, performance that suggests the aircraft is neither affordable nor sustainable in any reasonable budget. Same problem with older aircraft, the budgets do not sustain the aircraft.

      Finally, new or upgraded systems (delays, 20 year design cycle, things go obsolete and new things come up) are entered into F-35, they draw more electric power and require more cooling which strains the already troublesome engine, therefore a new engine is required!

      Allies may not go for the upgrades and keep the original hard to keep running engines.

      GAO and DOT&E have inferred the F-35 is trouble, but it is all ‘we’ got?

      Cannot keep old dogs running…..

      Old saying in designers’ circles “if you want it bad, you get it bad”

    1. mrsyk

      From the Field and Stream article, “Now, eastern coyotes, which predominate in states along the East Coast, spanning from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Ohio and West Virginia, have genomes that are, on average, 62 percent western coyote, 27 percent wolf, and 11 percent domestic dog. So, they are naturally larger and more wolf-like than their western kin.”
      Hence the coy-wolf hybrid. We hear them most evenings and see them here from time to time. They are beautiful, and quite large.

      1. jsn

        We’ve seen them here in the Berkshires, at the Mass/CT border. They are indeed beautiful animals!

        And the keep the deer out of the neighborhood: even with a very wet year, no deer ticks!

  5. Wukchumni

    Gooooooooood Mooooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The platoon was on R & R and unbeknownst to us, we’d blundered into yet another skirmish in the War On Cash, this time @ the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

    If Custer had cash on him, he could’ve called in a helicopter for hire to extract the 7th Cavalry, but Custer’s Last Stand only took credit cards and electricity was in its infancy, not to mention modems were far in the future, its pretty obvious why they were slaughtered.

    We surrounded the visitors center and fashioned crude arrowheads out of lowly Lincolns affixed to popsicle sticks, but lacking bows it didn’t have the desired effect by merely hurling them, and on numerous occasions NPS employees were seen laughing inside the dwelling, which only infuriated us more. A fleet footed corporal was sent out to get a crisp brand new bundle of 100 Washingtons, and once he returned with the knife-like edged notes, things gradually turned in our favor, with the interp ranger suffering a mean paper cut to his upper torso, not dissimilar to one of Custer’s wounds, he related while in some agony.

    Credit card terminals were terminated, and a free refresher course on various denominations of cash was mandatory for the 4 employees there, some day this war will end, we all told ourselves.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “A lighter, curved plate: first body armour for women showcased in Kyiv”

    That girl does not look very mobile in that set of armour but they will need them when they launch the girl battalions against the Russian lines. Bonus points for that armour is that it would be about the right size for 14-16 year old kids as well.

        1. ambrit

          Q: What do you call “Small Unit Field Armour Perambulator Units” under fire?
          A: Freedom Fries.
          Just as tanks became bigger and heavier, eventually losing most field mobility abilities, so does personal body armour effect the trooper.
          In the Battle of Agincourt, 1415, after the knight’s charge bogged down in the mud, the lighter, more mobile auxiliary troops on the English side pulled the French chivalry off of their horses and swarmed them, to death.
          Armour is a trade off between mobility and protection. As the philosophers will tell you, “Balance is all.”

    1. Benny Profane

      Well, since I just learned that a full 50% of the remaining Ukranian population is “retirees” in the Valhos link, I’m guessing what’s needed is well armed and armored and fast wheelchairs and walkers.

      1. R.S.

        Vlahos’ figure may be a bit exaggerated, but it definitely conveys the general idea. Though they haven’t had a proper census since like forever (2001 or something).

        For instance, here is the 2019 “electronic census” data (whatever that was), link in mixed Russian/Ukrainian. The total population was 37.3 mln. Two gaps in the younger ages are clearly visible, one from the final years and the collapse of the Soviet Union, another one from the 2014 onward.

    1. Phenix

      The border patrol caught him. Thermal imaging narrowed the search radius and a malinios caught him. The dog put to punctures in his head. Malinios are scary animals. I’d rather get bit by them than a larger bread but they are unpredictable and dangerous. (My cousin trains dogs for the military/police).

      I’ve been bit by dalmatian, pitbull and great pyr.. I was lucky that the pyr was older and his teeth were worn down. My bones ached week or twoafter the bite.

    1. Wukchumni

      For what its worth, there really hasn’t been any hardcore incidents of hyperinflation once everything more or less went digital, it somehow did away with it, to be replaced by what exactly?

      Hyperinflation was always a country bleeding out financially, albeit over time-to allow the citizenry to adjust to the new normal, i’d suggest the emperors new close happens rather suddenly with no grace period. That ain’t no good.

    2. pjay

      Carlson interviews presidential candidate and “anarcho-capitalist” Javier Milei, who says things like this:

      “[Trump] should continue his fight against socialism. Because he is one of the few who truly understood that we are fighting socialism, that we are fighting the statists. He understood perfectly that the generation of wealth comes from the private sector. The State does not create wealth, the State destroys it. The State can give you nothing, because it produces nothing. And when it attempts it, it does so poorly.” “So I’d say, if I could humbly offer advice, all I could say would be to double down on his efforts in the same direction: defending the ideals of freedom and refusing to give an inch to the socialists.”

      It’s the socialists, stupid!

      This is mixed in with some comments about idpol “social justice” types with which many NC readers like myself might be inclined to agree. But that’s just “culture war” cover for the usual class agenda.

      I still insist that having Tucker Carlson throw truth-bombs about Ukraine and censorship is much better than having *no one* with any major media platform do it. But of course there is a downside to making him some kind of media savior. This is an example.

      It just struck me that comparing this comment to the one I made just below, that we’re pretty screwed.

      1. flora

        Why is hearing a speaker you disagree with a downside. If anything, I think it revs up the critical thinking part of the ol’ brain. That’s a good thing. Hear the speaker out, decide you disagree and why you disagree, and make better arguments to rebut the speaker’s analysis. But first you have to hear the speaker. / ;)

        1. OnceWere

          “Fair and balanced, everyone’s opinion no matter how fringe should get a hearing in the public sphere because it’s through rational debate we’ll find the truth” is a philosophy that seems to me to have already been tested to destruction by the West. The results do not seem encouraging.

        2. pjay

          The downside to presenting him as some kind of “truth-teller” is that he is just as capable of spouting ideological propaganda as anyone else – so be vigilant. I don’t mind hearing arguments I disagree with – though *these* arguments are (1) very old – I’ve heard them all my life; (2) ubiquitous – unlike alternative views on Ukraine, such views are *everywhere* – we don’t really need Tucker here; (3) distorted – is it really “socialism” that has messed up Argentina? Let’s describe the real problems in concrete historical context rather than use “boogeyman” terms that completely mystify the role of national and international capitalism; and (4) disgusting in historical context – this is *Argentina* we’re talking about.

          That said, I’m certainly not calling for censorship; I’d be pretty hypocritical to do so. I strongly support open and honest debate on issues like these. But I do advocate transparency about the ideological filters in which any such discussion is framed. Rather than reject those I disagree with, I’m saying that we should be cautious and question those we *do* agree with on *some* issues.

          1. flora

            ” – so be vigilant.” Of course. Always. And some part of me wonders if his backers are the neoliberal ideological descendants of the Mont Pelerin Society who have caused so much economic destruction in the US for the middle class and the working class. Still, I’m interested in what he has to say. There can be good points mixed with nonsense. / ;)

            1. flora

              adding: I did listen to his Carlson interview. He made some good points about the state of his country’s economy. He also mentioned positively in passing Milton Friedman and even Friedrich Hayek (!). So his solutions to the problems are Chicago School economics. Neoliberal economics. Well, now I know. I got it straight from the “horse’s mouth”, as they say, and not 2nd or 3rd-hand. Glad I listened.

              1. flora

                adding: neoliberal economics, Chicago School economics is best represented by Reagan economics and Thatcher economics.

        1. flora

          Thanks for the link. I think his column is a good reflection of his side of the argument. So there’s that.

  7. pjay

    – ‘Western Pravdas’ – New Left Review

    This is an article criticizing the new McCarthyism in the West that demonizes Putin and all things Russian, published in one of the best-known “left” journals. Here is the second paragraph:

    “To be clear: Vladimir Putin is a true reactionary, with his nostalgia for the Tsars, his Orthodox Christian fervour and ironclad alliance with one of the world’s most objectionable religious hierarchies, his vision of a feudal state-capitalism, the rampant corruption he has enabled and encouraged, his butchery in Chechnya, his repression of dissent. And of course, his suicidal invasion of Ukraine, an anachronistic return to trench warfare in Europe that risks an atomic holocaust over territory – the Donbass – that a decade ago hardly anyone knew existed. To measure the extent of Putin’s folly beyond the horrors he has unleashed, one need only recall that in 2013, 80 per cent of Ukrainians had a positive opinion of Russia.”

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

    This is the only paragraph that is important. The rest of the article, even though true, has been turned to bulls**t to make its “leftist” readers feel superior. Its truth has been rendered impotent. That’s how this process works. There’s a whole discussion of the term “useful idiots” in this piece. Just sayin’.

    1. John Steinbach

      Pjay beat me to it. The rest of the rather long article isn’t news to any reader of Naked Capitalism. Much of New Left Review writing has been “both sides” pseudo analysis for many years. For a much more clear headed actual left analysis, especially about imperialism & AGW try The Monthly Review.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Zelenskyy is expected to visit Washington as Congress is debating $24 billion in aid for Ukraine”

    Biden wants to send the Ukraine another $24 billion because what else is he going to spend it on? But this time could be different. A number of dissident Republicans are saying that enough is enough. Whether they recognize that the Ukraine is losing or they figure that this would be a great issue to nail Biden’s hide to the wall does not matter. It is the fact that support for all that money is not a given which is why Zelensky is coming to town. He really does want that money and maybe while he is in DC, he will buy up a few good homes as well. Certainly Trump will stick his oar in but maybe there will not be so many signs of fealty to the Ukraine as last time. Last time was just embarrassing with that Bakhmut signed Ukrainian flag but I still expect to see a lot of Democrats wearing blue and yellow with their clothes.

    1. Amateur Socialist

      And voila an immediate example of performativity as described in another post today.

      I keep wondering where the performativity around the UAW strike will end up.

  9. Mildred Montana

    Re: Trump

    Heads-up to non-MSM watchers: He will be interviewed Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. The show will be Kristen Welker’s first, as she replaces the forgettable—and already forgotten—Chuck Todd. (I barely knew who he was; I don’t know who she is at all.)

    From the link, a possible censorship/editing alert: “The interview will be pre-taped, without an audience… the pre-recording will give NBC the chance to fact-check Trump’s lies before the show airs and place them in context…NBC will also post its fact-checking on its website after the interview.” (contains clips of the interview, couldn’t get them to load, but then I live in Canada where the CRTC does some censoring of its own)

    1. Enter Laughing

      I’d say I hope they do the same fact-check every time Biden opens his mouth, but I doubt they have the budget and manpower for it.

    2. ambrit

      Oh my. Fact checking. The big ‘tell’ that “standards will be maintained.”
      If I were Trump, (what a strange statement to be making,) I would have my own videographers present to make a “fact checker’s fact check” capability.

  10. Samuel Conner

    re: the Vlahos interview on the UAF collapse that he anticipates; I question his interpretation of US self-deception as being a fundamentally “religious” thing, that thing being a self-conception of a divinely authorized mission to bring freedom to the world. That narrative may be useful to the elites for keeping the masses quiet in the context of serial foreign policy and military failures and the ensh!ittification of the domestic economy, but I suspect that the thing that drives the policies is not a messianic national self-conception so much as the perceived money/power interests of the elites.

    1. Benny Profane

      We are still a Christian founded and predominately Christian run country. Never forget that Pompeo kept an open bible on his desk. Presidents always have to go through the charade of going to church on some Sundays and get on their feeble knees to God to retain political power. Very much the root of our collective hate of Russia, and the Satanic Marxists, although most are quite ignorant that that is in the past, and somewhat the opposite these days.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Dare one mention the influence of the pre-Christians on our government, God’s Chosen People by their own Zionist assertions, on the policy and direction of the US imperial machinery? The Xtians with their Bibles open on their desks and bedside tables are reading almost exclusively from the Jewish traditions in the “Old Testament:”

        “The Old Testament (OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew and occasionally Aramaic writings by the Israelites.[1] The second division of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, written in the Koine Greek language.”

        The Israelites were not a nice bunch. Their self-history is full of conquest, slaughter, deceit and apostasy in favor of ‘heathen” gods., all wrapped up in claims of hegemony give to them as a birthright by YHWH himself. The Xtian Rapturists in the imperial policy establishment are, as lambert puts it, working to bring about Armageddon, as to them the “Rapture is a GOOD thing.”

        Give credit where it’s due. These “Judeo-Christian”folks have done a heck of a job since the crafting of the nation’s foundational documents and the embarkation on the imperial Manifest Destiny project of keeping the fires of war and destruction going at a pretty good clip.

        I’m hoping against hope that the current motions toward a “multipolar world” might put paid to the imperial project and WEF globalism before the few humans with their ability to summon the nuclear and biological fires of destruction get “pulled up into Heaven before the End Times” they so rapturously seek. Before these monsters see their hegemony slipping away and decide to exercise the “Samson option.”

        Realism says that is not likely,

        1. Yves Smith

          This is unfair. The problem is the God of the Old Testament, who is not a nice fellow. Most if not all Christian sects would reject the idea that they were directly influenced by Judiaism, but that they both rely heavily on the overlapping foundational texts. In fact, the intense questioning of the Torah was anathema to Christianity though at least Martin Luther. Services in Latin forced reliance on priests as interpreters of the Holy Word.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          “The Israelites were not a nice bunch. Their self-history is full of conquest, slaughter, deceit and apostasy in favor of ‘heathen” gods.”

          The Israelites had that one great playoff game against the Egyptians (a completely made-up tale as far as anyone can tell), but even then, it was the referee who made the big call that ended it for Pharaoh’s team.

          After that, it was lose all the way. The Israelites split themselves in two after Solomon’s death. There was Judah in the south with Jerusalem, and Samaria in the north. In 722 BCE, the Assyrians conquered Samaria. No one has yet figured out how those Assyrians took those Samaritans all the way to North America where Joseph Smith rediscovered them. In 609 BCE, one of the few kings considered good in the Hebrew bible’s narrative, decided to play tough guy when the Egyptians wanted to cross Judah’s territory on their way to getting smashed by the Neo-Babylonians. The Egyptians killed Josiah at Megiddo, and Judah became a vassal state. In 586 BCE, the Neo-Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the walls and YHWH’s house.

          The Israelites were among the biggest losers in the Ancient Near East. The Hebrew Bible’s histories are mainly an attempt to lay the blame for that on the kings of the northern and southern kingdoms rather than YHWH. And that same narrative makes the Israelites betrayers of the Mosaic and Davidic covenants and therefore the Israelites are without a claim even under the terms of the Hebrew bible.

        3. Carolinian

          I think you dare mention it although watch out for the ADL. But Patrick Lawrence in my link below runs it back to a nation started by Puritans. Perhaps those old testament ideas have simply found a welcome home in current Neocon/Neoliberalism.

          Americans love money and came here to make it if the streets were not, in fact, paved with gold. Michael Hudson says our foreign meddling is all about money. Probably true.

    2. artemis

      I took it to mean fact-free faith in the narrative of American exceptionalism, rather than religiosity. We can see their fervor pursuing the heretics.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      Samuel Conner: Michael Vlahos makes the correct diagnosis in answer to the question that keeps coming up lately: Why are the elites so disconnected? Yes, it’s the religion. It’s Calvinism deep in the bones of U.S. culture–convert the Indians whether they like it or not and then organize missionary societies to convert “pagans” and other Christians (see: Philippines) whether the like it or not then send Victoria Nuland with cookies to install a divinely inspired regime in the eminently loot-a-ble Ukraine.

      It’s the same answer to the question that comes up a lot these days: Why are the woke so crazy?

      It’s the religion. The U S of A is in the umpteenth Great Awakening, fueled by mammon and MBAs and weaponry. And we see plenty of martyrs–in other countries, natch.

      1. Carolinian

        More thoughts here.

        There’s also the notion that Americans are obsessed with self improvement and perhaps by extension see no reason why they shouldn’t apply the same attitude to everyone else. Recall Gatsby’s references to Ben Franklin in Fitzgerald’s attempt to turn out the great American novel.

        Before all those overseas bases we tried to convince the native Americans of the virtues of the American way so it’s not a new thing.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “It is still far too early to write off Ukraine’s counteroffensive”

    Always interesting to read what the official narrative is for the Neocons but with this war they were always going to lose. How so? By what Sun Tzu once said-

    ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.’

    So here the Neocons did not know themselves and by that I mean the military power of the west. They just figured it was the best in the world and Neocons have a notoriously short attention span when you start talking about things like logistics and industrial production. They had no idea that there were physical limits and that you could not solve it by throwing money at it.

    Nor did they know the enemy – Russia here for the moment. They thought that it was the same Russian army of the 90s with poor moral and that one push would cause it all to collapse. That their equipment was inferior to western weapons. That Putin could easily be toppled and somebody like Navalny could be taken out of prison and made President. They believed only their prejudices rather than the facts.

    So for the Neocons they knew neither themselves nor their enemy and everything is blowing up in their faces right now. Sun Tzu would be rolling his eyes right now.

  12. digi_owl

    That Ford graph, hu boy.

    do wonder how much of that stock buyback funnel back ot the CEO via board authorized stock options…

    1. jsn

      A couple of Fords are still major shareholders, so it’s not just the CEO who’s cashing in.

      At least they’re not shooting their workers like Henry did.

      1. digi_owl

        Old Henry was a shrewd bastard.

        Not only did he break up unions forcefully, but he also let workers take fresh cars of the lot and pay it down by garnishing their wage.

        This then rapidly put his product on display in the streets.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Re Poroshenko and his Black Sun emblem-

    ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time’ – Maya Angelou

    This was taken only last week when he went to visit the 10th ‘Edelweiss’ Mountain Assault Brigade – not to be confused with the 1st Mountain Division of the Wehrmacht which also used the Edelweiss as their emblem. Then again, this was the guy that was boasting when he was President that Ukrainian kids would be going to school while kids in the Donbass would be hiding in underground shelters-

    If I were him, I would watch my back if Zelensky and crew got more paranoid. Look at what happened to former power baron Kolomoyskyi.

    1. Feral Finster

      Zelenskii tried to arrest Poroshenko before the war started on grounds of “high treason”. The Canadians secured Poroshenko’s release.

      IIRC, Zelenskii tried again a second time.

      Incidentally, Poroshenko originally ran in 2014 on a peace platform, then morphed into a foaming at the mouth nationalist immediately after taking office. For that matter, the story of Zelenskii’s transformation is also well-known.

      1. Bruce Travis

        Sorry, you are right – this rant was delivered in November 2014, six months after the presidential election in Ukraine, and it shows Poroshenko taking the gloves off.

    2. hk

      Just to nitpick, edelweiss is a popular emblem for mountain troops in Central Europe–German mountaineers had it as emblem long before the Nazis, as I understand it. It is still the emblem of German, Austrian, and Polish mountain troopers. The Black Sun emblem is, of course, something else.

  14. Henry Moon Pie

    Western Pravdas–

    Good piece. It’s funny how the author must go through a pro forma “othering” of Putin in order to avoid being “othered” himself. I thought there was the hint of irony in which he went through the same kind of list of sins that he had just completed of Nixon (those I cheered, though).

    This made me think of something:

    In order to value, one must devalue other values – defeat them and subordinate them, thereby exercising tyrannical power. If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, values are more like the first resort of tyrannical powers: it is no coincidence that fascism championed ‘the ethical state’.

    The author is saying that “values wars” or even worse than personal wars against Hitler or Saddam. They’re the wars that are a degree more mad than wars not focused on “values” but on territory or personalities.

    This is the point in the Tao te Ching about the danger of playing the game of attaching values to things. It’s no accident that it appears in the second chapter:

    Everybody on earth knowing
    that beauty is beautiful
    makes ugliness.

    Everybody knowing
    that good is goodness
    makes wickedness.

    For being and nonbeing
    arise together…

    Tao te Ching #2 (Le Guin rendition)

    I have as much tendency as anybody to label things as “good” or “evil.” Some things cause a reaction in us that makes it hard not to call a thing or person “evil.” But that labeling obscures a truth similar to what Jung claimed: that what we hate is in us too, perhaps we especially hate that which we seek hardest to repress in ourselves.

    I look at these people whose phone calls get answered in any White House. Their influence knows hardly any bounds. The politicians are too busy stirring up the hatreds that the New Left Review article describes as fearful, because fearful they are. And those VIPs fund and, to some extent direct, the fanning of our society’s hatreds of itself and each other. But to call them “evil” may indicate more than anything else the way that dog-eat-dog, YOYO, Social Darwinist infection that has plagued our culture perhaps as long as it has existed has infected us too.

    The game of attaching values to things leads nowhere good.

    (I can hear DJG thinking, “There goes HMP testifyin’.”)

    1. digi_owl

      Seems similar to the McCarthy hearings, where the accused was allowed to walk if they ratted out someone else.

    2. anahuna

      I always enjoy reading your testifying screeds. Thinking of the motivation behind the need to condemn Evil, I was reminded of something I copied from the long post on Liberalism the other day. In speaking about the education he received from a Hungarian Pierian priest, it quotes an author as saying:

      “Fear, shame, and guilt were, and still are, motives in the larger Liberal, Protestant culture, and were part and parcel of the Protestant “need to make the world simpler than it really was…(but) we should try not (italics in original) to allow ourselves to be motivated by any one of these three powerful human impulses. They were all completely natural and also extremely strong, but we needed to learn to act in ways that were as independent of them as possible. Obeying God’s command because of the fear of punishment was the sign of a low-grade personality” and the same applies to fear and shame.”

      Taking this much further, and leaving aside the question of how natural fear, shame, and guilt really are, perhaps we could see them as leading to an attempt to distance ourselves from Evil and to situate it somewhere —anywhere— else. A vast but handy over-simplification.

      Your Taoist quote is another reminder, dissolving treasured concepts to open up the truly radical, returning to a blessed, unconditioned state.

      1. anahuna

        And — maybe it’s another tangent, I do feel gabby today — this, from Jacques Vallee’s journal, (can’t seem to get the accent to sit right):

        “Abbe Mugnier (1859-1944)…a man of remarkable style, insight, and kindness… stated that Hell did exist ‘but there isn’t anyone in it.’”

      2. digi_owl

        Fear, shame and guilt are interlinked.

        First one learn shame, and then, usually, come guilt and fear from that. Guilt from having done something shameful, and fear of getting caught.

        And shame is learned primarily through ostracization, either adhoc among the local group or more organized as excommunication and like.

        The appeal of a “strongman” may come from him displaying his power by being brazenly and flagrantly shameless.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      Henry Moon Pie: The piece, Western Pravda, by Marco D’Eramo is indeed well argued and effective. Now, some woke / partisans would say that he’s engaged in so-called whataboutism. After all, the U.S.-sponsored coup on the Maidan in 2014 was all about freedom and self-determination, and let’s not get all whatabouty and mention the still-festering wound of Chile and Allende and the still-festering wound of Iran and Mossadegh.

      We must set aside those still-festering evils because we now see the good, and the good is spelled Kyiv.

      Yet one must have standards (measures, limits, bounds, self-possession–maybe not “values”). That is the essence of justice, and in foreign policy, we should look for just solutions rather than moral aspirins for our great moral distress over evil in the world. Further, “good” and “evil” are not the same as justice, as we see in cases like Brown v. Board of Education, Larry Flint’s legal fandangos of yesteryear, and Roe v. Wade (and the legal troubles that have followed).

      And I like the saying, Let justice be done, even if the heavens should fall.

      Fīat iūstitia ruat cælum

      Too bad about the Godhead in that case, rendered homeless.

      When Hannah Arendt wrote about the banality of evil in Eichmann in Jerusalem, she got into considerable trouble with the morally upright, much like the McCarthyism that D’Eramo describes in the first paragraphs.

      Was Eichmann intrinsically / innately evil? Probably not. He was a bureaucratic climber, suckup, and clown like Jake Sullivan.

      Was justice served with the sentence he received? Most likely.

      And D’Eramo ends by going full Diogenes:

      Cluster bombs render Western values all the more convincing.

      Indeed. Pure Diogenes, who earned his living washing lettuce in the market in Athens and annoyed Plato (who was much vexed by good and evil and other reifications) by tracking his dirty toes across Plato’s expensive carpets.

    4. cosmiccretin

      Henry Moon Pie

      “Western Pravdas– Good piece”.

      Yes, if judged by the standards of the curate’s egg – ie as being “good in parts”.

      In other parts it’s rancid: the charitable reader is, supposedly, to set those aside while savouring the good bits.

      Impossible of course with an egg and also (for me anyway) this article.

      IMO D’Eramo just wants to have it both ways. Pretty typical of today’s left?


  15. Daniela

    Cavalcade escape lessons for those who think that the Second Amendment is meaningless versus “a well armed government.”

    Here’s a foreigner who doesn’t know the lay of the land he’s been plopped down into, speaks Portuguese, has no weapons, is unfed, and it takes well over 500 skilled and unskilled law enforcement, vehicles and aircraft almost a week to catch him?

    A Good Ol Boy with a local knowledge, well armed, a support group, law enforecement connection, military experience and totally familiar with his home territory is going to a ferocious opponent for central authority. I vote for the GOBs.

  16. Wukchumni

    A day in the life of My Kevin (since ’07)

    ‘I wake up in full dread of what Matt has said about me, what did I ever do to him to deserve his contempt, maybe like My Donald its as simple as sorting out Starbursts by color, he must have a favorite color?’

  17. Laura in So Cal

    Comments on a couple of articles

    Re: Federal Tree Planting Money (from the Inflation Reduction Act) article: This isn’t a BAD way to spend the money as Trees in a city would theoretically reduce heat (ac energy use) and improve residents quality of life as well as consuming carbon dioxide, BUT I have my doubts about the effectiveness. In my part of the country, trees need ongoing care for many years to survive and become well established. Unless there is a committed local organization, the money will be wasted.

    Re: Foreign Policy article on “American Middle East”
    I had to stop reading before finishing this article because I got the giggles at the tone with which it was written. It was so “how dare these countries do what is in their own national interests and ignore what we want them do”. Sigh….

    1. ambrit

      From my observations of trees in the local semi-urban landscape, the location of the planted trees is important. The go to example are some oak trees planted in a row along a street in front of a local clinic several years ago. This past spring the ten foot tall trees were cut down and the roots ground up. The trees were causing major problems for the electric company by growing into the street side electric lines and causing power supply short circuits in wind storms.
      Serious planning is in order for this idea to grow properly.

    2. Late Introvert

      Letting trees get naturally established all by themselves, and taking the time to notice that kind of thing, and encourage it, while discouraging less helpfull growth. That is the future. Everything else is folly.

      I say this having considered planting a seedling Silver Maple that took root in an empty pot this summer and grew impressively to 2 feet high in one season. The problem is where to plant it? Our yard has no room, but we have a creek nearby. Maybe it will help with flooding?

      No, it turns out this tree falls down easily in its early years. And transplanting it seems silly after all. Better to let nature do its thing.

    3. thousand points of green

      I have read articles in the past about how urban trees reduce ambient temperatures in their immediate area by evapo-transpirating more water into vapor soaking up heat into ” latent heat orf vaporization” rather than allowing that heat to raise the temperature of low-specific-heat concrete/brick/asphalt/etc. I haven’t read those claims having been debunked anywhere.

      What is the success-rate of trees in towns and cities in most of America outside the Southern California region? If it has been good up to now, then why would this new wave of newly planted trees do any less well? And if this tree planting is to be focused on the under-treed parts of towns and cities, where the usually-disregarded poor people live, so that they get the material benefits of tree-mediated evapotranspirative cooling, should we consider that a bad or irrelevant thing merely because an Administration/President whom people wish to credit with nothing might get some credit for it?

      But for those who fear there is a hard choice between trees OR forests, is there a way they can have their cake both ways and eat it too? I think maybe there is.

      A week ago I read in the Ran Prieur blog an article about “Miyawaki Forests”. Nowhere else have I heard of such a thing. It is a technique invented by a Japanese botanist/forester/arborist/etc. named Akira Miyawaki to prepare the soil in relatively small land areas for the denser-than-normal planting of more-than-normal seedlings of native-to-the-area species of trees, shrubs, bushes, etc. They are then cared for for the first three years of growth after which they have grown enough to become a self-maintaining and self-defending little micro-forest ecosystem. The article is called Tiny Forests With Big Benefits. Unfortunately this public library computer will not let me offer the non-paywalled archive link without running a hamster-wheel gauntlet of never-ending capchas. The article can be found at Ran Prieur’s blog. a little way down from the top.

      But there are other articles findable about Miyawaki Forests. Like this one . . .
      And search engining will find yet others.

      Here is a whole bunch of Miyawaki Forest images for endless url-diving fun.;_ylt=AwrFRucldgdlw9Uw.y1XNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=miyawaki+forest+image&fr=sfp

      Here is a you tube video about what a Miyawaki Forest is and how to start one in briefest general.

      And believe it or not, the emerging field of micro-forestry is well enough developed to have different schools of thought and different approaches. Here is a video of one such approach titled: A Less Expensive Alternative to the Miyawaki Method of Tree Planting. It is by an Indian micro-forester who has been doing this for a while, named Peepal Baba. He speaks in English, and the video has English subtitles and also subtitles in an Indian alphabet which I do not know. Here is the link.

      So there it is. For those who dismiss trees as not good enough, here are forests. Micro forests tiny enough to be created and applied in an urban/town/village context.

      1. thousand points of green

        And I find this whole concept very inspirational towards related tangents of hope and thinking.
        For example, bamboo already photosynthesises 30% more and faster than normal non-bamboo plants. What if one prepared a Miyawaki-type soil bed for planting bamboo in? How much even more faster photosynthesis would such a ” Miyawaki bamboo grove” perform than the average bamboo grove of today?

        If one changes any part of the Miyawaki method, I suppose the purity is lost and we can no longer call it a Miyawaki Forest. In which case, we could call it a Semiyawaki Forest. A Semiyawaki Food Forest, a Semiyawaki Coppice-wood forest, A Semiyawaki “foam rubber” forest composed of ultra-fast-growing not-necessarily-native trees, like willow, aspen, alder, pawlonia, etc.

        How about running miles of very narrow Semiyawaki hedges and windbreaks and shelterbelts?
        The possibilities seem well worth considering.

  18. Mikel

    “How Is Our Current State Different from What We Would See in a Successful Inflation Soft Landing?” Brad DeLong Grasping Reality

    Grasping reality is understanding the rate cuts aren’t coming until more worker bargaining power is reduced.

    “Rising Rates Make Big Companies Even Richer” WSJ
    The big boys and PMC power players being well taken care of as the squeeze persists.

  19. furnace

    Just learned about this and had to share it. Dunno if it’s already well known, but the Library of Congress has these study guides full of resources and references about tons of subjects. It can facilitate a lot of research! It can be found at I sure have found it useful.

  20. Bsn

    Regarding: Feds spread $1 billion for tree plantings among US cities to reduce extreme heat and benefit health AP. We don’t need trees so much as we need forests……………actually what we need is less of something.

  21. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries”
    I did not read all 12 pages of this research report. After trying to make sense of the introduction and reading some of the discussion section I gave up on it. I sincerely hope the methods used in this paper do not represent the future direction of Climate/’Earth-wellness’ publications. The table on page 5 of the report reviews each of the nine planetary Earth system processes, provides a brief description of each with a quantity representing the boundary value, the current value of the control variable that characterizes the process measure preceded by a base value and “upper end of increasing risk”.

    “Currently, anthropogenic perturbations of the global environment are primarily addressed as if they were separate issues, e.g., climate change, biodiversity loss, or pollution. This approach, however, ignores these perturbations’ nonlinear interactions and resulting aggregate effects on the overall state of Earth system.”
    I think this excerpt from the “Introduction” section offers a nice sample of the kind of abstraction characteristic of this report. While I agree that there is a tendency to regard the many threats to the Earth systems in isolation even though those threats operate together to present a combined threat — multi-spectrum in MIC speak — complexity is no friend to public advocacy. When climate change is tossed in with eight other more abstract threats like those in the table on page 5, I believe it does little to clarify matters. In my opinion, though Big Oil offers disinformation — too many of our scientists offer obfuscation and abstraction.

    1. dave -- just dave

      My impression is that the audience to whom this paper is addressed are fellow earth systems modelers, not policymakers or the public. It needs someone like Al Gore, or the people who explain things to Al Gore, to translate it into the language of the lay person.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe the framework of research too often serves as the scaffolding of popularizations for the public. Consider the famous Charney report and the “carbon budget” fashioned from it. Your suggestion of someone like Al Gore as a popularizer suggests that either you have a wicked sense of humor or missed his performance in the film “Planet of the Humans”.

  22. Willow

    > Vlahos: Ukraine Shares Same Fate as the South in the American Civil War
    Keep in mid that this analogy also potentially applies to US vs China. The real risk in any confrontation with China that is not over quickly in favour of US will eventually favour China. (Cue Dr Strangelove)

    1. R.S.

      …Gentlemen, may I say a word?

      Has any one of you gentlemen ever thought that there’s not a cannon factory south of the Mason-Dixon Line? Or how few iron foundries there are in the South? Or woolen mills or cotton factories or tanneries? Have you thought that we would not have a single warship and that the Yankee fleet could bottle up our harbors in a week, so that we could not sell our cotton abroad? But – of course – you gentlemen have thought of these things…

      1. JBird4049

        The South was always able to steal, buy, or make enough weapons, but it was everything else including food, that choked the economy. However, the Southern coastline is vast, and at the start of the war, the American navy was tiny, being incapable of blockading of most of it. The plantation owners thought to block exports of their own cotton to scare the British into recognizing their new nation, which failed. This meant that when the ports were wide open, they did not take the opportunity to import all the supplies that they needed. Two years later when they needed to get those supplies, the blockade was in effect due to the extremely rapid growth of the navy.

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