Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2022

Open Thread 2022-68 (Not Ukraine)

News & views NOT related to the Ukraine conflict ...

Posted by b on May 19, 2022 at 13:12 UTC | Permalink

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@ Steve Harris

Since the current conflict makes little sense on its face, perhaps China was the original strategic target all along.

Actually this makes much less sense if China was the original target all along. If you're gearing up to suppress China then you make peace with Russia and bring it into your alliance. The worst case scenario is to push Russia and China together. (Russia doesn't want to be with some kind of Eurasian alliance, it wants to be with the rest of Europe.) You don't get yourself into a situation that might tie up attention and military resources in Europe. Much less provoke a situation that could easily be interpreted by China as "See! They didn't have the balls to set a single soldiers into Ukraine, if we invade Taiwan they won't do anything" despite how much the US MSM pundits are pretending the response would deter China in any way except to make them cautious of putting the US into a corner (Something the US has absolutely no issue with putting Russia into) and provoke them into doing something crazy in response if both situations are going on at the same time.

This all started and Washington became more actively hostile to Russia post 2014. (Before Trump made it impossible for them to pretend they hadn't screwed up with China and created America's new real peer competitor) But even then I'd say Russia's intervention into Syria is what made the neocons flip the table. The neocons who now control the State Department ultimately only care about US political and military hegemony in so far as it can be used to serve Israel. Iraq makes no sense except this. Syria makes no sense except this. Libya makes no sense except this. It's Iran policy makes no sense except this. And the Russia policy makes no sense except this. (And perhaps a degree of deep ethnic hatred of Russians and Ukrainians.)

Russiagate was borne out of Trump's disinterest in expanding US involvement in Syria and being explicitly critical of arming ISIS. That's where the 'Putin's puppet' memes came from, the neocons claiming Trump's Syria statements amounted to him following Russian policy.

But Russia is where these policies have become unstuck. In their short-term desire to punish Russia for it's intervention into Syria, an intervention that was very limited and unlikely to become a habit of Moscow they've deeply undermined US hegemony long term by making the US seem crazy and reckless to the non-Western world, that knows Russiagate was madness. And they've begun to push Russia and China together. China doesn't want to start a fight with the US yet. It knows time is on it's side, every day it grows stronger and every day the US grows weaker and the legitimacy of the CCP depends so much on the economy. (Unlike the 'Democratic' US where the political elite have just dealt the economy a body blow for all this)

The bullish on US hegemony view is that this has enhanced it long term with even Finland and Sweden now joining NATO, the whole Western middle and upper classes whipped up into a frenzy about Russia and NATO. But Russia is not a real strategic threat (Outside making asymmetric weapons like hypersonic missiles and selling them on) and, indeed, it's resources were a major component of European prosperity. So all this convincing of young women and the upper middle classes to love NATO and presumably increase it's influence and resources is of marginal value to true US hegemony. On the other side you've made the rest of the world wake up to crazy US aggression, now China believes as Russia was after all the Russiagate hysteria, that the US turning on it is only a matter of time and they've been given a lot of notice. You've woken up your enemies and rivals too and unlike Russia, China is a real potential threat for becoming a new hyperpower and given it lots of time to prepare. Foolish.

Posted by: Altai | May 20 2022 9:16 utc | 101

Since it's become open season for thinly-veiled racialist bullshit, a random musing just dawned upon me.

Is it me, or the term "caucasian" has been quietly phased out in favor of using "white" and "european" again ?

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 10:57 utc | 102

@64 Karlof: Thanks for posting the dialog between Mr. Putin and Rosatom CEO A.Likhachev. As I read this exchange - a broad, sweeping and in parts deeply technical discussion, I note that Mr. Putin can run stride-for-stride with Likhachev. Putin understands the strategic role of all the work Likhachev's team is doing.

I can't think of any U.S. president, from Eisenhower forward, that could have conducted this conversation.

I invite any Chinese readers to post similar dialog, if it exists, between Xi and his tech-leads (e.g. the Chinese analogs to Likhachev). I know that Xi was a chemical engineer before becoming fully engaged in politics, and I would like to see if he can do as well as Putin.

Putin is a phenomenon.

I would like the U.S. to identify, cultivate, and elevate to power such phenomenons.

======== separately

Aleph_Null: You are doing a very good job of managing your end of the environmental-impact denialists game. Keep up the good work.

I also endorse your engagement with the natural world. Most people, given the chance / need can learn to operate a bulldozer and a chain-saw. Even I can do that. But I haven't yet met anyone that can manufacture a blade of grass, let alone a forest.

And just to be clear: I do not oppose lumber harvesting. I oppose lumber harvesting that degrades the forest. I am growing trees now that I expect (the next generation) to harvest.

What remains to be done is to figure out how to deliver a decent std of living to the many while we fix what we've done to the environment. Fix the planet as we make our living.

Like you, I occasionally despair of the selfish, emotionally stunted response of most humans to the destruction we're causing. In the last few years I've started to seek out and collaborate with the many people that are exiting the phase of playing "defense" - e.g. pleading, convincing, wasting time arguing with the not-convinceable, etc. I've decided it's not the best use of time and energy.

People don't wreck the natural world because they despise it. They wreck it because they don't know how to create an alternative.

I ask you to consider - if you haven't already - whether a more fruitful use of your considerable talents might be in the realm of developing viable economic alternatives so that people who already share your sensibilities and motivation can actually implement their ethos, .vs. living in a state of excruciating cognitive dissonance.

Crack that nut, and we're in a different place altogether. Figure out a way to get the lumberjacks what they need (a decent living, outdoors, in a magnificent forest setting), and there's a pretty good chance they'll be willing to help you get what you want - a viable forest. You both need a good forest.

One interesting thing I read about a while back (anthology of Pacific NW foresters, fishermen, back-to-the-lander people in the 80s who told their stories) was about a guy that had a 50 acre mountainside plot, and who periodically harvested a few of his trees, did the mill-work on site, and sold "board feet" for a living. Metrics of performance included:

a. Middle class dude captured the benefits of his own productivity. In addition to income from lumber, he made his own house, a little greenhouse, sauna (great after hard day @ the mill)
b. No commute; had a truck, but used it once a week for supplies and drop off milled lumber to customers
c. short supply lines. He traded lumber for local food (veg, wild boar, line-caught salmon, weed / beer, swing-labor when something big needed to get done
d. Fix the planet as he made a living. He knew how to regenerate what he harvested. Left slash in place, no erosion. That sort of stuff.

The guy had a hell of a cool life. I was envious.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 20 2022 12:13 utc | 103

Posted by Kkarlof1 @ 70

Thanks for posting this important link:

The Syrian government, for all its faults, is entitled to all its territorial integrity and thanks to Russian support it has so far prevailed.

Those who express opinions need to know at least some modern Middle East history, thanks.

Not much knowledge can be found in contemporary Five Eyes governing circles, as a convenient means of denial.

Their rude awakening is coming to bite them. They have a very limited political gene pool.

Posted by: Paul | May 20 2022 12:25 utc | 104

It is being said/reported that the Azov brigades in Avostal were to hold on until Ukraine won the Eurovision Song contest.

As long as you are winning.....

Posted by: Stonebird | May 20 2022 12:34 utc | 105

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 20 2022 3:07 utc | 98

Thanks for your comments (not just that one).

Yeah, it looks like that might get interesting.

Al-Hassan has been a feature of pro-Syrian sites for some time now, but I have heard little of what he has done. Russian influence I suppose. The Syrian front has been quiet for some time, so I would agree an obvious place to have a distraction. Things might heat up for Uncle Sugar there now. And might be what the other fellow was anticipating.

Posted by: Bemildred | May 20 2022 12:35 utc | 106

Saturday's Australian elections:

From the AFR, Scomo's last act of never before seen desperation:

"Morrison signals he’s open to minority government as leaders make final pitches"

"The leaders made their final pitches as they criss-crossed the country in a last day of campaigning that was full of photo-ops and sound bites and absent any last-minute game-changers. Morrison met Western Australia’s spud king. Albanese was endorsed by Julia Gillard. No economic figures were botched; no children were accidentally bowled over. Morrison did indicate, however, that he would be prepared to lead a minority government."

As my old anarchist mate, Bill Dwyer, said, 'it doesn't matter who you vote for a politician always gets in.'

Posted by: Paul | May 20 2022 13:07 utc | 107

@82 Sideshow Bob: I'm with you. let's get with the incrementalism.

I'd like to see some of that incrementalism be done, for good wages, by middle-class people.

Better yet, I'd like to see small, distributed energy production, ag production, materials cycling and manufacturing facilities that are owned and operated by middle class people.

My beef with the nuke biz is it's so freakin' capital-intensive that only big guys can play, and it's a bit complex, and the cost of mistakes can be pretty hefty. And the operations are influenced by bean-counter think. The kind of thinking that got us 737Max, for ex.

If I had a nuke plant the size of a bread-box, that couldn't F&%xK up, and could be mfg'd at the local machine shop....I'd have two of 'em.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 20 2022 13:13 utc | 108

My final advice to Australian barflies [to complicated for those who don't understand the Australian preferential voting system] please always vote bellow the line in the half senate election. Fill out every box carefully with your own pen.

Remember scrutineers have been known to superglue graphite pencil shafts under their fingernails for blanc or spoiled ballots.

Put the candidates you most dislike like last, then work your way backwards to the candidates you can almost tolerate.

The same in the reps. Vote one who you like most despite their chances of victory.

Posted by: Paul | May 20 2022 13:30 utc | 109

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 19 2022 17:00 utc | 31

Aleph-Null, thank you for your comments on the changing forests and potential for greater fires.

Piñion pines(Pinus Edulis) is dying in our area. Near Ojo Caliente, NM, there are large swathes of land where they have all died. In the Monzano Mts., south of Albuquerque all are stressed and dying. First water stress then beetles. It may be argued that even the life spans of these trees is too brief a snapshot in time to form an estimation about rates of change. But I don’t, won’t, argue the point. I’ve seen and understood enough. Honey Mesquite (prosopis glandulosa) is growing further north and higher is elevation than I’ve ever seen it. I’ve sprouted and planted Velvet Mesquite up in the mountains where I live. They shouldn’t survive, but I think they will. Siberian Elm(Ulmus Pumila) is replacing the native Cottonwoods.

Cerro Pelado Fire just burned 46,000 acres about 7 miles from us. The winds saved us this time. Calf Canyon, Hermits peak burned over 200,000 acres and I think it’s still burning, so my numbers may be off. Much of this is Ponderosa forest. They may not come back.

Point is, in a relatively short time, we will not recognize our own landscapes. An honest application of the precautionary principle, an acknowledgment of what can and will be lost will never occurs to most people. There’ll be no mitigation now, only adaptation. Adaptation is a shitty, but unavoidable plan B.

Posted by: Andaréapié | May 20 2022 13:39 utc | 110

@107 Altai: Good analysis, esp. the part about NeoCons.

There's a bit more to the NeoCons motivation than Israel, tho, in my view. The NeoCons are a convenient spear-point, but they sure aren't the whole spear. Yes, the NeoCons surely have Israel's interests near and dear, but they're part of and helpful to another component of the political spectrum: the people that make a lot of money extracting resources (rent-streams) from other (weaker) countries.

Think of all those castles in merry old England. Here in the U.S. there's a public-TV crescendo of fawning over British nobility, former nobility, opulent table settings, how wonderful it would be if only we (the U.S.) had a queen mother...gah! If I didn't know better (and I don't) I'd wonder if there wasn't some sort of pipe-laying afoot for when "the current style of gov't clearly isn't working for us".

That foregoing paragraph is humor, pay it no mind.

But all those castle-people got those castles by appropriating the natural resources of others, and extracting the hell out of them. And the castle-people still exist, and still think the same way they always did. That's why our (U.S., U.K., Israeli) foreign policy stays the same no matter who is elected. *

And it's also why Russia is a target. It's the mother-lode of not-yet-spoken-for resources. The beef with China is that the West was hoping to control the profits of China's mercantilist rise. We moved our factories over there (to China) so we could lay claim (control) those revenue streams.

And then those crafty Chinese....they required tech transfer as quid-pro-quo of China market access. They copied, stole, distributed and otherwise fully assimilated all they were given (and it was, mostly, given to them). And then, after they'd absorbed all that, they started to restrict, reduce, obstruct the rent-seeking. That's what all the bitching about "protecting Intellectual Property" is about: the rent-streams are being gradually phased out.

And that, of course, is intolerable, and that's why the Trade War. Trade War failed because there's still a heck of a lot of rent-streams still being sent back to the West, so the West's stomach for a full embargo just wasn't there.

So, NeoCons are spear-point, but not the whole spear by any means. Most of the shaft of the spear is out of sight (these folk know what they're doing, I think we can all assure ourselves of that!). "Know them by what they do".

Wars are about "who gets the rent-streams" mainly. The little people worry about patriotism, and culture, and honor, and that sort of thing. The people that plan, start, and benefit from wars are focused on the rent streams.

* And Yes, I did link the U.S., U.K. and Israel, and that linkage has existed since, what, before Disraeli's time? That Balfour declaration didn't happen all by its lonesome.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 20 2022 13:46 utc | 111

Posted by: Obamavirus | May 20 2022 12:52 utc | 113

It's not become "boring", you're simply out of your f****ng depth.

What you're implementing here is a strategy of creating a misdirectional lexicon that tries to pin racial bogeymen of american right-wingers onto marxism.

It also attempts to pass as universal a particularly north-american, particularly right-winger perspective.

A specifically north-american perspective is not particularly relevant in defining or characterizing Marxism, given that the traction gained in North America by Marxism and its subsequent development have been minimal.

So no, Marxism is not whatever you want to call with that name, regardless of adjectives.

What you're talking about is not marxism.

The culprits you point at don't espouse Marxism.

You have been given the relevant information to correct your wrong judgement.

You're either ignorant, malicious, or both.

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 13:48 utc | 112

@117 Andaréapié

Thanks for your testimony. It takes effort, and it's necessary.

There are ways to mitigate the additional damage, and we're going to need more public engagement to do so.

I believe we urgently need new / additional ways to make a living as we fix the planet.

People would use those ways if they existed.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 20 2022 13:54 utc | 113

Posted by: Oriental Voice | May 19 2022 18:32 utc | 48

Regardless of the reasons, the current droughts in CA are being treated as permanent by the feds. For years, I've provided temporary supplemental cooling to fish hatcheries in CA. Depending on the species, the roe and "fry" (small fish), need quite cold water to grow. This was never a problem in past years, as the level of water behind the dams was so high that the water at the bottom was frigid. This is no longer the case and many hatcheries are installing large, (3,000 refrigerant-tons in one case), permanent supplemental cooling systems. This is because they forecast the lakes will not come back.

I'm also peripherally involved with providing temporary power when PG&E, the power monopoly in Northern CA has to shut off power to various regions. They've spent between $100 million and $200 million annually on temporary power for these safety shutdowns. They do this in 10 and 20 megawatt chunks. I believe it's partly PR, but also partly the new normal of a dry California.

And @Aleph_Null, I think you're right. Sacramento is typically not this hot, this early. I serve agricultural producers as well and their harvests have been coming earlier year over year. IMHO, CA is getting hotter and dryer by every measure I can see, and as I said, my business is cooling.

What I've written above isn't conclusive evidence of anything, just a few more data points and one guy's take on things.

Posted by: Boomhauer | May 20 2022 13:55 utc | 114

To paraphrase William Butler Yeats -- to kill a tree I here declare a capital offense.

After more than 40 years of killing trees and burning their wood for heat, I quit. We need to protect trees because they produce the oxygen we breathe. I'm switching to propane for heat because it is derived from oil and oil doesn't produce oxygen. Also, I think it wise to begin using plastic wherever possible instead of wood because plastic is derived from oil. I thought I was helping the environment by burning wood because it is renewable, but I've changed my mind. Killing trees should be outlawed. To hell with the forest products industry in Oregon. And those "biomass" mills that burn wood chips to boil water to make steam to generate electricity should all be shut down. The wood chips are made from three branches that used to be left in the woods to rot and nurture the soil to grow more trees.

Posted by: Chas | May 20 2022 13:55 utc | 115

There is no class warfare in society today, sorry to inform you.

Posted by: Obamavirus | May 20 2022 12:52 utc | 113

Yup, we won [the lords of Starbucks offering a pay raise "almost" covering inflation to those workers who did not unionize, and many other winners]

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 20 2022 14:00 utc | 116

re: killing trees
The global paper products market reached a value of nearly $837.46 billion in 2020, having increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3% since 2015. The market is expected to grow from $837.46 billion in 2020 to $1,080.64 billion in 2025 at a rate of 5.23%. The growth is mainly due to the increasing demand for paper products due to an increase in e-commerce, thus driving a demand for packaging. The global paper products market is expected to grow from $1,080.64 billion in 2025 to $1,335.65 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 4.33%. Rapid advances in wireless technology and miniaturization (which refers to designing smaller components for equipment) is expected to drive innovation in paper products manufacturing, thus driving the market during the forecast period.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 20 2022 14:13 utc | 117

Patrice Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter made point of saying that she and her cohorts were “ trained Marxists”.
It's worth noting that virtually every politician in Eastern Europe -- not exactly a hotbed of socialist thought these days, is a "trained Marxist."

As for Cullors, when you look up the term "grifter capitalist" in your Merriam-Webster's, you'll see a nice photo of her. For those requiring a lengthy explanation thereof, there's a lovely article about her in today's online wsws dot org.

Posted by: malenkov | May 20 2022 14:18 utc | 118

Posted by: Obamavirus | May 20 2022 14:06 utc | 124

I cannot give a s**t about your preferred terminology, because it is wrong.

A specifically american perspective does not go over and above the worldwide history of Marxism.

I told you before: You can call gasoline "car water"; it doesn't make gasoline do what water does, it doesn't mean that gasoline comes from where water comes, it doesn't change the substance of gasoline into the substance of water.

You can call identity politics "cultural marxism"; it doesn't make identity politics do what marxism does, it doesn't mean that identity politics comes from where Marxism comes, it doesn't change the substance of identity politics into the substance of Marxism.

I could call Christianism "Proto-Islam" or "Post-Judaism" if I wanted to rile up Christians (and possibly Muslims and Jews all along).

But I don't, and I don't.

Calling Christianism "Proto-Islam" or "Post-Judaism" wouldn't help elucidate the nature of Christianism, Islam or Judaism.

It would only help to muddy the waters and rub Christians, Muslims and Jews the wrong way.

Which is a parallel for what you're doing here.

You don't know what Marxism is.

You don't know what the characteristics of Marxism are, and actively refuse to learn them.

What you're talking about, is not Marxism.

You can keep regurgitating americanist right-winger bulls**t, and I can keep calling you out every time I catch you spewing such bulls**t

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 14:34 utc | 119

Posted by: malenkov | May 20 2022 14:18 utc | 126

Somebody trained in Marxist method is not necessarily a "trained marxist".

You can be trained in plumbing and not be a plumber, you can even not have an interest in plumbing.

And judging by the 80s vintage, I don't even trust the training, but that's a personal prejudice, not a solid assertion.

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 14:41 utc | 120

Posted by: Cadence Calls | May 19 2022 16:02 utc | 24

My question is whether this scientific management by timber companies is directed toward maximizing production over the longer term--and at least that's something as opposed to short term--or whether the land is "managed" for the welfare of the Earth. Replacing felled trees with monocrops of lumber-yielding trees turns the land into a disease- and drought-prone landscape with a greatly reduced vitality and resilience from a diverse forest shaped by the forces of natural selection and ecological interdependence.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 20 2022 14:42 utc | 121

Somebody trained in Marxist method is not necessarily a "trained marxist".

You can be trained in plumbing and not be a plumber, you can even not have an interest in plumbing.

And judging by the 80s vintage, I don't even trust the training, but that's a personal prejudice, not a solid assertion.

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 14:41 utc | 128

Well, indeed. I was trained as a generative grammarian (to the point that my Doktormutter wanted to whisk me off to Berlin when she got a gig there) but never practiced it professionally; after a while I found the approach much too limiting and went into something else altogether different.

Anyway, I'm enjoying your comments. About the only thing you-know-who gets right is the claim that (s)he didn't invent the term "cultural Marxist." That seems to have been a product of the Lyndon LaRouche folks and based on a, shall we say, highly imaginative reading of stray bits of Marcuse.

Posted by: malenkov | May 20 2022 14:53 utc | 122

Because common black folk can’t shoot straight.
When a non-black goes into a market, or otherwise unprotected environ,
Bodies hit the floor at a more efficient rate of death.

Posted by: Cadence Calls | May 19 2022 22:21 utc | 75

LOL. My Cleveland neighborhood has plenty of AAs killing AAs in bunches. Gang warfare plus some macho honor killings. And it's true that there are a lot of woundings, especially of the feet and legs. My theory is that the gangs are arming 14 year-olds because of the way our criminal system works, and these kids have a hard time handling the automatic and large caliber weapons they're given.

Your explanation reminds me of a Boston-bred roommate of mine who claimed that black people weren't good at hockey because they have weak ankles. Oh my.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 20 2022 14:54 utc | 123

@Tom_Q_Collins #15
Bro, you apparently can't read.
What I posted extended into 2014 - and again it was only a random selection as I specifically noted.
But then again, your ideology clearly obstructs your ability to reason - how's that DeFi investment going?

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 14:56 utc | 124

@Aleph_Null #22
No, sorry, the previous drought was worse than this one, at least so far. Maybe in another 3 or 4 years of drought would this one be worse.

California has droughts once or twice every decade.

So no, can't say your supposed insight has any basis in reality.

It is also clear you didn't even look at your own link. The mere 20 years shown has 3 different droughts of the same maximum extent as right now.

Fail yet again.

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 14:59 utc | 125

@Cadence calls #37
What is well documented is that the numbers of people living "in the forests" has increased dramatically.
It is also well documented that "fire fuel" levels - i.e. accumulated flammable biomass - has also built up to enormous levels due to anti-fire policies.
Is it only one or the other? I doubt it. Nor is PG & E the only culprit although they were clearly underinvesting in power line clearance.

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 15:04 utc | 126

@Oriental Voice #48
You have put your finger on the real problem: too many people in California's desert areas.
As I noted before: the urban areas of the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles, plus the farming areas like the Central Valley, are all natural arid or outright desert.
California had very few people prior to the irrigation projects bringing in water from other states as well as from Northern California.
I don't worry about it - it is a problem that fixes itself over time...

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 15:07 utc | 127

a new one by Michael Hudson over at naked capitalism.

two parts to the world, and, baring a nuclear exchange, Russia and China and their Eurasian pals will be able to make the Global South better offers than the US-centralized Empire can

".....Peter Scott: You did indeed write that Europe has ceased to be an independent state. You’ve almost mentioned that the United States wanted to sever EU trade ties with Russia and China. How exactly did you get to that conclusion and do you think that this alleged US plan is succeeding?

MH: Well, I simply read the speeches of President Biden and his team. They’ve said that China is America’s number one enemy. If you’re going to call a country your number one existential enemy, you’re not going to be increasing your trade and mutual dependency with it. And it’s already insisted that its allies sanction - meaning boycott- Russian (exports) not only of oil and agriculture but of titanium, helium and all of the other exports that Russia has been making. Europe is been following US directions not to have contact with Russia and without contact with Russia it’s not going to have contact with China because China sees that Europe is going to do to it exactly what it’s been doing to Russia.....

......The current war is dividing the world into two parts. There’s going to be a US dollar area of the US, Europe and its satellites. And there’ll be a multipolarity; there’ll be a group of Russia, China together and basically they will be making their proposal of a different way of organising the world economic affairs to Africa, Latin America and other Asian countries. And other Asian countries, Latin America and the global south will see that it can get a better deal with Russia and China than it can get with the United States...."

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 20 2022 15:11 utc | 128

@NemesisCalling #56
Please define what you mean by "economic collapse".

I find that having a shared base understanding is more helpful in discussing anything.

To me: economic collapse is Mad Max - either lite or cinematic.

Mad Max lite would be a Soviet Union 1990s style collapse: a decade of vastly decreased life expectancy, economic stagnation and general societal malaise.

Mad Max cinematic would be America becoming Somalia.

I don't see either of these happening.

Rather, my view is Brazilianization.

Brazilianization is not the conversion of the United States into Brazil of today - it is the stagnation of the nation and people such that, in 40 or 100 years, people will think of the US then as they think of Brazil today.

Brazil in the first half of the 20th century was on par with the US and Europe in terms of standards of living. Even now, the middle class/wealthy in Brazil enjoy greater than US standards of living due to cheap labor - but the nation is seriously f'd up by any other measure.

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 15:13 utc | 129

@Boomhauer #121
PG & E's publicly stated reason for the brownouts in 2021 was to reduce fire hazard, not due to supply issues.
However, for this year they are warning of potential supply issues due to the decreasing availability of electricity imports from Oregon and Washington state. Nor is California the only entity doing so - a wide swathe of the US is under similar warnings.

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 15:19 utc | 130

A refreshing message from the Right:

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 20 2022 15:43 utc | 131

Thanks for the replies!! Here we are provided with the results of the BRICS FM meeting held yesterday prior to Biden's invasion of Asia trip. Here's part of the report:

The United States does not speak for the majority of the world, but BRICS speaks for the large group of developing countries and emerging economies, and none of them has imposed sanctions on Russia, said Wang "The US cannot rely on the threat of sanctions to force other countries to help it achieve its goals."

The US wants to isolate Russia and spark a cold warlike confrontation. At the same time, Washington reorganizes its alliance system in Asia by visiting Japan and South Korea, excluding China and BRICS countries from the high-tech industrial chain, pushing the world to deviate from the process of globalization.

China put forward global security initiatives in April this year. "BRICS is not only a platform for advocating, but also for implementing. It is quite possible that BRICS countries will jointly provide some security-related public goods in the future," Wang said.

"The BRICS mechanism is bearing more comprehensive functions and assuming more responsibilities, and injects more stability and certainty to counter the US-led turbulence," a Beijing-based international affairs expert told the Global Times on the condition of anonymity.

The BRICS foreign ministers' meeting was held against the backdrop of Biden's Asia roadshow which aims to divide the region. "Biden's visit is in contrast to BRICS, an epochal mechanism for promoting sustainable world development, with the US' plan for geopolitical confrontation, thus giving the world, especially developing countries, a clearer understanding," the expert said.

Yesterday, I linked to this interview between Global Times and Indonesia's Ambassador to China and opined that BRICS might be adding an I. And here's the BRICS Joint Statement: “Strengthen BRICS Solidarity and Cooperation, Respond to New Features and Challenges in International Situation” published in English by Russia's MFA. Of the 25 points, here's #3 that further proves the theme I've been highlighting:

"3. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to multilateralism through upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as its indispensable cornerstone, and to the central role of the United Nations in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promoting cooperation based on the spirit of mutual respect, justice and equality."

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2022 15:56 utc | 132

Posted by: Andaréapié | May 20 2022 13:39 utc | 117

Thanks for your description. My spouse and I built an adobe back in the 80s in the valley that runs from More to Guadalupita. We sold the house in the 90s to a young couple but still feel attached to it since we built it with our own hands. The fire stayed on the west side of the highway and burned up Trumpbell and Christmas Tree canyons as it burned its way north to Guadalupita.

Even when we were there, the beetles were killing the Ponderosas. The pinon is such an amazing tree. It's sad to hear they're dying too.

Barfly Tom would have enjoyed the culture there. A lot of the wood we used in that house came from a local sawmill, and residents also raised a few cattle, a few sheep and goats, and cut some Christmas trees for cash. It's hard to see how that little culture, with its Penitentes and brujas, will survive this fire, at least in Mora County.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 20 2022 16:11 utc | 133

Posted by: malenkov | May 20 2022 14:53 utc | 130

That's an academic background that's really similar to an old friend of mine's. He ended up studying great apes.

I know I easily become fastidious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.

I appreciate your commentary too.

Posted by: Arganthonios | May 20 2022 16:12 utc | 134

Europe has ceased to be an independent state
posted by: michaelj72 | May 20 2022 15:11 utc | 136

NEWS FLASH: Kissinger was correct.
EUROPE has never been an independent (sovereign) nation, ethno-state, democracy, or theocracy; and the EUROPEAN UNION is not an independent (sovereign) nation; it represents a collection of non-binding treaties agreed by several heads of state to form a confederacy of capital controls ('single market' or cartel) that excludes "free trade" by member states with "third-countries".

Posted by: sln2002 | May 20 2022 16:31 utc | 135

Relevant to some discussions held earlier about the relationship between human agriculture and human civilization, here's an article about Karahan Tepe and nearby Gobekli Tepe, two monumental and apparently cultic structures built before 10,000 BCE. The theory these excavations have given birth to:

These places, the Tas Tepeler, were not isolated temples where hunter gatherers came, a few times a year, to worship at their standing stones, before returning to the plains for the life of the chase. The builders lived here. They ate their roasted game here. They slept here. And they used, it seems, a primitive but poetic form of pottery, shaped from polished stone. They possibly did elaborate manhood rituals in the Karahan Tepe penis chamber, which was probably half flooded with liquids. And maybe they celebrated afterwards with boozy feasts. Yet still we have no sign at all of contemporary agriculture; they were, it still appears, hunter gatherers, but of unnerving sophistication.

We humans are still discovering who we are and how we came to be. As Graeber and Weingrow point out in The Dawn of Everything, in many ways we can choose who we want to be and how we want to live together as long as we keep in mind that we're two-legged animals that eat and shit, drink and pee, fuck, give birth and die just like our mammal cousins.

Posted by: Henry Moon Pie | May 20 2022 16:52 utc | 136

@ george | May 19 2022 23:49 utc | 81

Thanks for remembering the incineration of Paradise, Butte County in 2018. That was the first municipal incineration I can recall. Now they're commonplace. That persisent marine heatwave ("the blob") in the northern Pacific supercharges northerly winds which visit in unprecedented strength, dropping relative humidity into the single digits. This is happening today (Friday): which is consequently quite a hazardous day for Northern California.

The problem with getting too historical about what we should have done or not done with the forests, and how the Indians knew better, and so forth: Such discussion, while relevant, often dominates analysis of fire hazards. Meanwhile, woulda coulda shoulda has nothing to do with that marine heatwave which is primarily implicated in barbecuing California for four years.

It's hard to believe how quickly a fire can sweep through, propelled by fierce winds. That's why 88 died in Paradise. Two years later, another blaze took nearby Berry Creek, my brother's home for many decades. To lose not just your house, but your lifelong community, demolished in the wink of an eye -- that's the kind of starting-over situation people like my brother are faced with. He landed north, in Oregon, where all the ingredients of megafires are just as onerous.

The problems with trees are all around me, here in the Bay Area. I visited my wild pet, a bayside California Buckeye, this morning. It's like a full-spectrum assault. The chronic drought weakens many species such that weird blights consume the foliage, like opportunistic infections. There used to be a venerable manzanita grove in a nearby park, apparently failing to sudden oak death, which takes years to infiltrate a tree's circulatory system before the "sudden" failure of whole groves.

Of course: it's not just trees. Some folks around here notice a scarcity of birds this Spring. Anyone who measures notices the ongoing insect apocalypse. No "pause key" has been hit to arrest the exponential trajectory of such trends, for the duration of this war.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 20 2022 18:06 utc | 137

Cerro Pelado Fire just burned 46,000 acres about 7 miles from us. The winds saved us this time.
Posted by: Andaréapié | May 20 2022 13:39 utc | 117

Warm thanks for your update from New Mexico. This gives me a chance to link my longtime favorite source on firefighting, a real pro named William Gabbert, of WildfireToday.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 20 2022 18:29 utc | 138

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2022 15:13 utc | 137

I think you've nailed it. I commented on the academic article called "The Brazilianization of The United States" a month or so ago. It lays out how Brazil is some oases of wealth surrounded by abject poverty and that this is a feature, not a side effect of the national policy of Brazil. The elites of the US show us daily they ascribe to this ethos. Taking money from social programs to fill the coffers of the MIC. Congress rubber stamping any war funding while not being able to fund domestic programs.

And I believe that the US elite intend to continue and accelerate the process.

Posted by: Boomhauer | May 20 2022 18:39 utc | 139

Posted by: Andaréapié | May 20 2022 13:39 utc | 117

I've read that the drought situation is even more dire in southern New Mexico. I don't know about an increased fire danger, there, outside of places like Ruidoso and Cloudcroft--the land around Carlsbad seems too arid, too devoid of plant life.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 20 2022 18:55 utc | 140

a friend in Colorado sent me the local condition update in his area

red flag warning in the day, 19" of snow overnight.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 20 2022 18:57 utc | 141

and now I'm reading that fires do indeed spread in at least some deserts, because invasive grasses have changed the landscape.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 20 2022 19:06 utc | 142

When we see people, who don't understand Marxism, call everything else which they don't understand some kind of Marxism, we generally call them ignorant.
Posted by: Otter | May 19 2022 15:31 utc | 17

The problem isn't a specific type of government - it is government itself.

They all eventually end up with the same result.

Posted by: Drapetomaniac | May 20 2022 19:25 utc | 143

This bear will be extremely fierce (Cute, no?)

“Now that the S&P is down over 20% it is officially in a bear market,” economist Peter Schiff said. “But the bear market didn't start today. It started on January 4, when the S&P hit its high. We’ve been in a bear market ever since. It’s just that investors have been in denial. This bear will be extremely fierce.”

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 20 2022 20:44 utc | 144

Posted by: Paul | May 20 2022 13:30 utc | 116
Remember scrutineers have been known to superglue graphite pencil shafts under their fingernails for blanc or spoiled ballots.

Do you have a source for this? Scrutineers are not meant to touch ballot papers, only to watch closely as the votes are counted.

Posted by: Hope | May 20 2022 21:08 utc | 145

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 19 2022 20:19 utc | 63

I'm sorry to hear your fire descriptions of an area I first came to in the mid'50's, (entered under the Golden Gate midsummer's day.) I left my heart... Your earliest posts on being at 'ground zero' had me reflecting that everywhere I've lived since then felt like living in ground zero, plants and climate-wise, but it hurts most to lose trees as they are the companions of a lifetime.

I lost a neighbor's wallside cottonwood tree a few years back - those are my favorites here, so that was hard. When our fires began so early in NM this season, I was able to keep my small garden well watered for a time in case of sparks, and lo, a tiny forest of cottonwoods! I figure that oldie had its roots running straight through my garden, and those little 'uns have just been waiting for a 'rainy season' to pop up.

They are right in the middle of my path. Okay, I'll take another route to my kumi kumi squash, guys. Thanks for being!

Posted by: juliania | May 20 2022 21:37 utc | 146

Posted by: c1ue | May 18 2022 20:25 utc | 159

From document linked to your endoresement.

Shell Oil Company has successfully conducted a small-scale field test based on slow underground heating using electric power.

Shell Oil promises to unlock this energy cornucopia by electrically heating the geologic structure of the reservoir? Where do they plug in the extension cords? What is the EROEI of this energy supply?

Oil shale production may also lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil operations.

Good luck with that.

. . . all resources lie in the Colorado River drainage basin, water quality is an important issue. At present, not enough is known about how to prevent water contamination from surface and in-situ operations.

Lake Mead is almost bone dry. So let's contaminate the remaining water. Given the choice between driving and water we know most Los Angelenos prefer driving to showers, washing clothes, flush toilets, and survival. I have gone years without driving a car. After two days without water the human kidney begins to shut down. Death follows.

Water consumption in producing oil shale is about 3 barrels per barrel of oil. Earlier analyses of water availability for oil shale need to be updated based on current and expected demands for water from the Colorado River Basin.

You think?

Only 3 bbls water per bbl of resource!!! Only three! Where does this water come from? Hetchy Hetchy? The Columbia? Rain? B raised the issue of dim wits. This is a prime example of what happens when you give a man a word-processor without first determining if he is capable of rational thought.

The resource consists of solid kerogen bound in source rock. You need to retort it to extract the kerogen and you will likely need an upgrader to increase the energy density through the addition of hydrocarbons from NG.

So to get any usable energy out of this non reservoir you need 3 bbls of water per bbl of product, a few megawatts of electrical power, and an unknown number of cubic metres of NG. You will also have significant transport costs (water and NG in. Rock transport on site, waste rock out to somewhere else)

You would be better off reviving the Dutch tulip mania of 1634. More manic energy in that scam then will ever be recovered from this one.

Posted by: Sushi | May 20 2022 23:31 utc | 147

The stock price of "Zenz Industries" is about to collapse. Now the USA is attacking Bachelet.

Couple that with China adopting/enforcing ILO standards on forced labor.


Posted by: daffyDuct | May 20 2022 23:43 utc | 148


Posted by: denk | May 21 2022 1:58 utc | 149

Evidence of anthropogenic impacts on global drought frequency, duration, and intensity (2021)

On the whole, previous studies have shown that the influence of anthropogenic forcing on drought events is complicated, due to the variety of ways that drought can be characterized. [...] By using SPEI [standardized precipitation-evapotranspiration index], we could examine the additional impact of anthropogenic forcing on the evaporative demand of the atmosphere, which is expected to increase as global temperatures continue to rise. Overall, understanding the contribution of anthropogenic climate change to drought characteristics is important in our interpretation of historically observed drought trends. [...] From a globally aggregated perspective, we show that SPI-based drought frequency, duration, and intensity distributions have significantly shifted due to anthropogenic forcing. We specifically show that the presence of anthropogenic forcing has increased the frequency, duration, and intensity of SPI-based droughts, specifically in the Americas, the Mediterranean, western and southern Africa, and eastern Asia.

Long and short of it, folks: There's plenty of evidence drought is impacted by AGW forcings, worldwide. The forcings in question rise exponentially -- every year the rate of increase in GHG's outstrips the previous year. Under this global condition, one would be hard-pressed to cherry-pick data from anywhere, showing a decrease in drought frequency, duration, or intensity.

Some commenters here strike me as too geophysically naive to take seriously. Matters geophysical are hard to understand -- so you certainly won't get it if you don't want to, which most people don't. But the broad view is not difficult for a willing child to understand:

1) AGW forcings are demonstrably linked to global drought features.
2) AGW forcings continue to increase exponentially.
3) Therefore -- what should reasonable people expect, regarding drought trends in California, or anywhere else?

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 2:07 utc | 150

@ juliania | May 20 2022 21:37 utc | 154

When we moved to Richmond long ago, we planted a purple-foliage laceleaf Japanese maple. Very slow growing and contemplative, it was a symbol in life's path for us, alongside waxing and waning relationships. We weren't wealthy in those days, so the couple hundred bucks we paid the nursery for it was real money. All the sudden one year, it completely failed to put out any new leaves. I never imagined it could croak so quickly, but there you go.

This is on my bucket-list, as I approach an age where I'm privileged to learn about whatever I like, just because: arboreal physiology -- how trees work! Our walls are already lined with books, and nuclear war might cut short our study praxis, but what the heck, hopefully someday soon...

Meanwhile, footloose as I be, I see many other specimens of the same species (laceleaf Japanese maple) in my neighborhood. It's supposed to be a long-lived dwarf, looking perfect at the corner of a raked meditation garden. When I see them fail, they go quickly, as with my little tree.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 3:54 utc | 151

This goes in the not Ukulele thread, even though practically everything winds up somewhere in that Ukulele-case. Opportunistic disinformation specialists have floated the wild hypothesis that Russiagate was just, you know, cooked up -- to aim this benighted USA straignt at the bulls-something we've landed in.

Former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told a federal court in Washington, DC on Friday that, in 2016, Hillary Clinton approved leaking to the media a story claiming that the Trump Organization had been in contact with Russia’s Alfa Bank. The story originated with one of Clinton’s lawyers, and is false.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 4:16 utc | 152

China and the Middle East. - a long time relationship.

From vanessa beeley utoob channel with Mat Ehret.

"One of the most consequential landmarks in Chinese-Arab relations is the 'Arab Policy Paper' released by China in 2016. The paper emphasised historic cooperation, peaceful relations and the openness of each civilisation towards the other. [..] noticeably it encouraged China and the Arabs to work together on 'building a new type of international relations' that would safeguard state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity."

Excerpt from a paper produced by Wathiqat Wattan Foundation in Syria.

In this conversation Matt Ehret clarifies the relevance of China's Ancient Silk Road to the modern day geopolitical power games that are playing out globally. Western propaganda designed to criminalise China is dissected and while not all questions are answered as the world hegemonic schisms are being revealed to us, this conversation should bring insight and transparency to many legitimate concerns about our future.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 21 2022 9:11 utc | 153

A hodgepodge of Canada, Australia, Russia and La Francophonie news—

The Prince of Wales has gone, Canada’s banned Huawei from its 5G networks (the big dogs seem to be running on that one), 10 cases of confirmed severe hepatitis in children, a couple monkey pox with more suspected (in Montreal, of course it would be Montreal) and a new dangerous opioid nitazenes are appearing in the already dangerous fentanyl supply.

Russian embassy in Canberra thanks the locals for the show of support

First Gabon, now Mali -
Lavrov: “The Malian delegation backed all our initiatives. We agreed to enhance coordination in the UN.”

Speaking of coordination, La Presse is in Australia to highlight some, with respect to detained refugees from Myanmar, Iran, Afghanistan and other such non-Ukraine countries.

Maybe a response to this dire warning from the Economic Times a couple weeks ago: Canada could soon face stiff competition for refugees

Global battle for migrants — well that’s an interesting way of putting it.

US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan stage walkout at APEC meeting in protest against Russia’s war on Ukraine

That’s a direct quote, stage walkout, another interesting way of expressing it. Leaked by an anonymous Japanese official and anonymous US official. …. It wouldn’t be one with political ties to Chicago would it? Just putting it out there.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 21 2022 12:01 utc | 154

@Sushi #147
You can believe what you desire, but the reality is that the Malthusians have been 100% wrong for at least 100 years so far.

As I noted before: Ehrlich made a bet with Julian Simon in 1980 that the prices of 5 metals would increase over the next 10 years.

Simon won handily: the prices of these metals dropped 50% from 1980 to 1990 even as world population grew by 800 million.

So while I agree there will be a limit hit sometime - it is not the least bit clear that it is now.

Nor have you presented any actual evidence that such a limit is approaching; the people I talk to who actually work in offshore and shale oil industries do not see any such issues for the medium term foreseeable future (i.e. 10-15 years) - and nobody in those sectors is fool enough to try to predict beyond that.

EROEI is outright Malthusian propaganda slapped out by copywriters; it isn't based on any form of reality.

Among the more significant problems: gasoline prices have only recently exceeded the price of milk.

Which would the removal of, hurt modern society more: milk or gasoline?

I vote gasoline. And I believe the vast majority of people would vote the same. This means people are willing to/must pay more for gasoline if it was necessary. Is this double? triple? 10x? Probably somewhere in the middle.

So long as people are willing to pay more for gasoline, the next multiple decades will continue to see more oil drilled for/fracked/whatever.

That's another thing "Peak" oil people don't seem to get.

It isn't "Peak" as in there's no more oil; it is really "Peak cheap" oil: oil obtainable for $X low price. If price exceeds $X by a significant degree, there are layers and layers of previously uneconomic oil that become economic to exploit.

Again, I'm not saying this will continue forever - but I am saying it will continue for at least the next 2,3 decades and could very possibly continue longer than that.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 14:50 utc | 155

NERC - US Grid Monitor - wanrs of US blackouts -

The central and upper Midwest, Texas and Southern California face an increased risk of power outages this summer from extreme heat, wildfires and extended drought, the nation’s grid monitor warned yesterday.

In a dire new assessment, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) described regions of the country pushed closer than ever toward energy emergencies by a combination of climate change impacts and a transition from traditional fossil fuel generators to carbon-free renewable power.

I looked at wind electricity curtailments in Europe last night. Interestingly, Denmark actually produces significantly less wind than Germany or the UK; it turns out that Denmark can do so because they basically act as a source for imports into Germany and France and are so small and expensive.

Denmark says it has no curtailments because they've changed their entire generation infrastructure to focus on wind: they literally turn off base load natural gas generation when wind generation gets above forecast.

But the same cannot be said for Germany and the UK: the latest data I could find shows that Germany curtailed (curtail = thrown away except at a cost) 3.06 million megawatt-hours of wind electricity in the first 3 quarters of 2015; the UK curtailed 1.277 million megawatt-hours in 2015 and China curtailed 15.04 million megawatt-hours of electricity from 2010 to 2016. These are pretty damn significant amounts, and I am 99% sure the numbers have increased since then due to the ongoing buildup of solar PV and wind turbine generated electricity.

Posted by: c1ue | May 21 2022 15:08 utc | 156

Shakespearean reservoirs of pox variants "epidemiology"
Characterization of Two Historic Smallpox Specimens from a Czech Museum , V1588

Although smallpox has been known for centuries, the oldest available variola virus
strains were isolated in the early 1940s. At that time, large regions of the world were already smallpox-free. [FALSE]. ... This sequence likely represents a new [FALSE] endemic European variant of variola virus circulating in the midst of the 19th century in Europe.
But let's call this variant "monkey pox" anyway, because origin story®; also, "stealth omicon" is occupied.
2019: | Monkeypox [sic] case confirmed in England
This news article was withdrawn on 13 May 2022
Updates on monkeypox in England are now available from the UK Health Security Agency
The Royal Society (UK)
we sequenced a VARV genome from a well-described eighteenth-century case from England (specimen P328). In our phylogenetic analysis, the new genome falls between the modern strains and another historic strain from Lithuania [V1588], supporting previous claims of larger diversity in early modern Europe compared to the twentieth century. ... The variola virus is thought to have emerged fairly recently [BWAH!], around 3000–4000 years ago. Historically, possible accounts of smallpox-like diseases have been recorded in 1122 BCE China and 1500 BCE India and rashes consistent with a smallpox infection have been observed in ancient Egyptian mummies dating to 1580–1100 BCE. The earliest unmistakable descriptions of smallpox, however, can first be found in the fourth century AD China... Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fragments isolated from seventeenth to eighteenth century CE Siberian mummies suggest a VARV origin approximately 2000 years ago...
skip pre-BLACK Justinian plague, cue Mongol Horde ...
JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health | Monkeypox [sic] Factsheet, updated 20 May 2022
The first case of human monkeypox was detected in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[FALSE] ...
Monkeypox is considered a zoonotic disease with transmission primarily occurring from animals,
such as rodents and primates [and chickens and cows, possibly ethno-nationalist bats], to humans. However, the full scope of animals that may carry or transmit monkeypox virus is not well understood.

Grauniad | Person diagnosed with monkeypox [sic] in England after visiting NIGERIA!
There were three cases of monkeypox in the UK in September last year. The first was a resident of Nigeria who was staying at a naval base in Cornwall. There was no link to the second case, it was said at the time, even though that person had also spent time in Nigeria. The third was a healthcare worker involved in the care of one of the patients at Blackpool Victoria hospital before the infection was identified.

Rare [!] monkeypox [sic] outbreak [!] in U.K., Europe and U.S.: What is it and should we worry about "herd immunity"?
Typically, people catch monkeypox [sic] from animals in West Africa or central Africa and import the virus to other countries. Person-to-person transmission isn't common, as it requires close contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva from coughing [DROPLETS!!] or pus from the lesions. So the risk to the general population is low, the U.K. health agency notes. But in England, 7 of the 8 cases don't involve recent travel to Africa, suggesting the patients involved in those cases caught the virus in England.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 21 2022 15:38 utc | 157

Funny stuff. Countries that wished to abandon Russian gas - shots from the wonderful Soviet comedy "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession" were used for a parody.

Posted by: alaff | May 21 2022 19:15 utc | 158

Another scholarly reference, just published yesterday, on the severity of our drought:

As a climate scientist, I’ve watched how climate change is making drought conditions increasingly worse – particularly in the western and central U.S. The last two years have been more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 Celsius) warmer than normal in these regions. Large swaths of the Southwest have been even hotter, with temperatures more than 3 F (1.7 C) higher. Studies suggest the Southwest’s ongoing 20-year drought is the most severe in at least 1,200 years, based on how dry the soils are.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 20:40 utc | 159

@159 Aleph_Null | May 21 2022 20:40 utc

Thank you for that article. The author, a research climate scientist at CU, focuses on evaporation as a key aspect of the stress in the southwestern USA.

I recommend the article to anyone who wants a sketch of trends and likelihoods with regard to drought and water availability in the USA - it's very readable and packed with reference sources.

One of the many links in the article was for today's "thirstier atmosphere", which I followed because I've been curious to know how the evaporation aspect of today's warmer air works in practice.

That link led to a summary from NOAA's climate site, thence to an article at NOAA's drought site describing and linking to a recent study, in which researchers measured current evapotranspiration (ETo), compared with a reference base of the last forty years.

Of those various links, I think the article at NOAA's drought site is the most immediately useful to readers:

Evaporative Demand Increase Across Lower 48 Means Less Water Supplies, Drier Vegetation, and Higher Fire Risk

Overall, this study showed that evaporative demand has already increased across much of the U.S. over the past 40 years and is emerging outside the range of what was experienced just 20–40 years ago in some places. The study concludes, “These higher evaporative demands mean that, for every drop of precipitation that falls, less water is likely to drain into streams, wetlands, and aquifers across the region. Soils and vegetation spend more time in drier conditions, increasing potential for forest fire, tree mortality, and tree regeneration failure.” The authors further conclude that increased evaporative demand constitutes a persistent new forcing on western landscapes and water supplies that will be an essential consideration for land and water management planning going forward.


The situation has always seemed to me as a double whammy coming from the atmosphere's developing a greater capacity to hold moisture.

The warmer air increases the atmosphere's ability to hold storms for a longer time and carry them and all their energy over greater distances - as we've seen Atlantic storms, for example, reach farther into the continent before losing strength. So the warmer air affects not just its ability to take up moisture from the ground, but also its ability to dump it back down again - typically somewhere else, of course.

Anyway, thanks again for a very useful article for those trying to plan for the future, or at least to survive it. And thank you for all your contributions here on this matter.

Posted by: Grieved | May 22 2022 2:30 utc | 160


The Green Cold War Transatlantic parliamentary alliance launched against China - with substantial involvement of a German Green politician. 10 JUN 2020 BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Politicians from the German Green Party are playing a leading role in a new transatlantic anti-China alliance of legislators. Anti-Chinese hardliners, Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez, are considered the driving forces in the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), launched last Friday, currently involving members of twelve parliaments. Officially, the organization seeks to forge a common western policy toward China. A concrete aim appears to be the implementation also in Europe of the US sanctions policy against Beijing. IPAC is mobilizing legislators, there where national governments are still rejecting the sanctions. In the wings of the Munich Security Conference, last February, Reinhard Bütikofer, a Green Party member of the EU parliament had already proposed the creation of such a legislator pressure group. He is now acting as IPAC co-chairman. The alliance, which is calling for the development of "security strategies" against China, has an Ex-CIA specialist on its advisory board.

Posted by: denk | May 22 2022 4:26 utc | 161

Posted by: Hope | May 20 2022 21:08 utc | 145

"Remember scrutineers have been known to superglue graphite pencil shafts under their fingernails for blanc or spoiled ballots".


"Do you have a source for this?"

Hope, thanks for your reply.


i was a sruitneer in two elections , just for real freedom minor parties, no chance of a electoral victory. We had fun.

Every so often the actual voting ballots were examined by the other party 'scruiteeners' by hand, and on and on they called out "CHALLENGE."

then they were examined by hand.

Posted by: Paul | May 23 2022 13:52 utc | 162

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