Links 2/27/2021

Texas sea turtles released back into sea after cold front eases BBC

Did teenage ‘tyrants’ outcompete other dinosaurs? ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists Guardian

Tom Stevenson · Where are the space arks? Space Forces London Review of Books (Anthony L)

Mr Potato Head and the cult of gender neutrality The Spectator (furzy)

AI Teaches Itself Diplomacy IEEE (David L)

Falling sperm counts ‘threaten human survival’, expert warns Guardian (resilc)


Pfizer Bullying Governments Gravitas (furzy). Today’s must watch

Brazil’s capital goes into lockdown to quell COVID-19 surge Reuters


The Coronavirus Is Plotting a Comeback. Here’s Our Chance to Stop It for Good. New York Times

I have construction goggles for the airplane:


F.D.A.’s expert panel voted in favor of the Johnson & Johnson shot New York Times (Kevin C)

COVID-19 at the Gym: Every Single Participant in This Maskless Cycling Class Got Coronavirus (Kevin W). Taking an in-person group aerobics class, particularly with everyone unmasked, is in Darwin Award terrain.

‘Stop this child abuse now!’: Washington high school band practice in anti-Covid TENTS gets ridiculed RT (Kevin W). Covid fault lines. Some upscale gyms require exercising in a pod, but that’s coo.


House Democrats pass sweeping $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill The Hill

The wave of covid bankruptcies has begun Washington Post (resilc)

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley Proposes Legislation Requiring $15 Minimum Wage For Billion-Dollar Companies Forbes (resilc). I like the idea but what about companies like Taco Bell and McDonalds where many of the “stores” are operated by franchisees? Legally, these franchisors are not billion dollar companies.


Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State New Yorker (furzy)

How Democratic is China? Here Comes China!(Anthony L)

Why the US will want war but not China South China Morning Post (resilc)

Japan adopts strike-first policy to counter Chinese aggression WION (furzy)

Big Tech in hot seat at political gala amid Beijing crackdown and tech war South China Morning Post

Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s Big Idea: Review US-China sister city partnerships to protect against malign influence Fox News (resilc)

Gruesome find made at same spot as Caddick’s school excursions Sydney Morning Herald (Anthony L). A likely final chapter in a major fraud.

SNP in Disarray

Salmond v Sturgeon is not just a battle of personalities Guardian

New Cold War


Visions of “A New Political Nationalism” David Lavnski (Mark A)


Accountability for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Department of State (Kevin C)

Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi’s Killing, Fearing Relations Breach New York Times. Resilc: “The American way, you are responsible without an adverse action in response. Everybody gets a trophy. Time to give him a Medal of Freedom during joint session.”

US Bombs Syria And Ridiculously Claims Self Defense Caitlin Johnstone (David L)

“The Money Is Too Good to Pass Up”: Wall Street Isn’t Letting Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing Get in the Way of Saudi Business Vanity Fair

Erdoğans Bad Bank on Trial: Shedding Light on an Alleged Plot to Evade Iran Sanctions Der Spiegel (resilc)

Why the US won’t be leaving Afghanistan Asia Times (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Exclusive: US counterterrorism operations touched 85 countries in the last 3 years alone USA Today (Kevin C)

Capitol Seizure

QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley says Trump ‘groomed’ him and other rioters Independent. Kevin W: “‘groomed’? Chansley knows which words to use to make himself valuable and free from prosecution. Either that or it was ‘suggested’ to him.”

Trump Transition

In Final Days, Trump Gave Up on Forcing Release of Russiagate Files, Nunes Prober Says Aaron Mate (Chuck L)

Golden Trump idol paraded through CPAC as maskless devotees gawk and chant BoingBoing. Why do I think the End of Days types would cite Revelations 9:20:

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.


Arrests of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children at Southern Border Surge Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden’s US Foreign Policy: Return to the Old Normal? CounterPunch

Biden admin to charge White House reporters $170 per Covid test amid concerns smaller outlets will be squeezed out – reports RT (Kevin W)

House Democrats ask Biden to give up sole power to launch nuclear bomb New York Post. Kevin W: “Trump they were OK having the nuke codes with but here they are asking for old Joe’s car keys.” Moi The rumor is Biden is so out of it he has to be briefed before landing as to where he is going.


Who should pay to fix the electric grid? Quartz (resilc)

Republican Senators send letter to Jeff Bezos demanding to know why Amazon pulled a book ‘that challenged the transgender movement’ Daily Mail

US removes stumbling block to global deal on digital tax Financial Times

American Cynicism Has Reached a Breaking Point The Atlantic (resilc). Americans need to be more earnest? Kill me know. What the officialdom really wants is the old gullibility back.

Apple forced to add iPhone and MacBook repairability scores to comply with French law The Verge

Influencer Cancellation Insurance Filaxis. Paul R: “Is that a joke? Please tell me it’s a joke.”: Moi: I think it’s a scam.

The Erroneous Foundations of Law and Economics Institute for New Economic Thinking

Coinbase Says Entire Crypto Market Could Destabilize if Bitcoin’s Creator is Ever Revealed or Sells Their $30 Billion Stake Business Insider

Just Don’t Expect “Pent-up Demand” from Consumers. Here’s Why Wolf Richter

SEC Suspends Trading in 15 Stocks That Got Hyped on Social Media Bloomberg (furzy)

Class Warfare

Student Loan Horror: When You Think You Qualify For Debt Relief, Check Again. And Again Matt Taibbi

More than 25m drink from the worst US water systems, with Latinos most exposed Guardian. Resilc: “But we have a space force.”

The Great Reset: Is Bill Gates TOO Powerful? Russell Brand

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. zagonostra

    I’m no stallion but if I were that antidote du jour would have my pretty worked up…scrolling through links I had to laugh this morning. I don’t know if Norman Spinrad is still alive but he could write a novel just by stitching together some NC headline links.

    Coronavirus is Plotting a Comeback, Qanon Shaman, Falling spirm counts threaten human survival, Mr. Potato Head, Big Tech in hot seat at political gala, Boys from Brazil goes into lockdown, Money is too good to pass up, AI Teaches itself — I have to stop at — American Cynicism has reached a Breaking Point

    Murder of journalist Kassogi caught on tape is rewarded, slow murder of Assange is punished. American cynicism? I think all I can handle reading today is link “The Erroneous Foundations of Law and Economics” maybe that will help me make sense of all this – though I’m pessimistic from the onset.

  2. Petter

    Regarding the QAnon guy being “groomed.” Too bad he only eats organic, or he could have added the “The Twinkie Defense” too.

    1. Pelham

      I like the observation that he might’ve been coached to use the term “groomed.” The audio on the little video of this guy invading the Capitol suggests the vocabulary of a surfer dude. I suspect that “groom” in that sense — or possibly any sense — lies well outside those verbal boundaries.

      In fact, though I immodestly rank my verbal mastery at least one notch above surfer dude, I recently had to be enlightened by my wife about this application of the term. A TV series about a high-school boy having an affair with a teacher carried a pre-view warning that viewers might be disturbed by scenes of “grooming.” Only my wife’s amused intervention prevented images of Brylcreem flashing through my primitive mind.

      1. Transiberia

        Q shaman claims he worked with at risk kids in his life before becoming a q devotee. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that he knows a term relating to abuse.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        This guy defending himself with the woke verbiage is hilarious. If it was suggested to him, it may have come from an agent rather than a defense lawyer. Someone’s going to cash in on this – it is the American way after all.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I just keep thinking about how it was ten years ago that the Wisconsin capitol was occupied for 17 days. Of course the national Democratic party disapproved of that occupation as well.

      1. pasha

        as i recall, the madison protesters were nonviolent and unarmed and did not interfere with the legislature conducting business. no police were injured or killed. nor was state property damaged.

        the two events are neither similar nor analogous

      2. JBird4049

        In fairness, if I am thinking of the right occupation, it was more of a peaceful protest and not a lynch mob. So yes, both occupations and illegal, but slightly different in their goals and tactics.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            At least one speaker’s podium was hoisted by someone as I recall. Admittedly he didn’t seem to use a rope to do it, so it wasn’t strictly lynched.

            For the purpose of defending and validating the idea that these 2 protests aren’t at all different, why don’t you show us the Instagram recordings those Wisconsin protestors posted. You know. The ones where they busted through glass door panels in order to break into recently evacuated legislative chambers. Or the ones where they scaled the walls of the state capitol in order to evade police blockades. All while decked out in paramilitary camo and bullet proof vests.

            I really need to see much more self-admiring chest thumping from that Wisconsin event before I can be sure it matches the recent Capitol riot in tone, vigor and………. dignity-free jackassisimo.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Without taking a side here, your comment did remind me of one thing and that was you had the protestors in the Wisconsin State capital building carrying automatic rifles but I can’t say I ever saw one in Washington’s Capital building at all. Check out the photo near the bottom of this article-


              Strange that that has never really been talked much about in the media.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Fluffy above is referring to the liberals against Walker in the Wisconsin capitol building. They were not armed.

                The link you bring, which is to the recent display of violence potential in the Michigan capitol, and which was armed on display, was a pack of Trumpanons and maganons.

              2. Procopius

                The Michigan coronavirus protests were not the Wisconsin state capitol occupation. I never heard of weapons carried there. Do you have a link? You are right that no weapons were shown during the riot at the National Capitol, at least inside the building.

  3. fresno dan

    Golden Trump idol paraded through CPAC as maskless devotees gawk and chant BoingBoing. Why do I think the End of Days types would cite Revelations 9:20

    I can’t make out the footwear. So Trump statue is wearing American flag shorts, but is he wearing flip flops?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Wouldn’t it be neat if the Golden Trump had been made and displayed by social performance-art-satirists who successfully infiltrated the CPAC meeting to see how the Conservanons would respond to it? A sort of “Borat strike”?

  4. fresno dan

    QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley says Trump ‘groomed’ him and other rioters Independent. Kevin W: “‘groomed’? Chansley knows which words to use to make himself valuable and free from prosecution. Either that or it was ‘suggested’ to him.”

    I predict Chansley becomes a CNN/MSNBC anti Trump commentator along the lines of Scaramucci.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Me too. But only if he wears the face-body paint and the headdress while commentating on TV.
        Otherwise, not.

  5. Wukchumni

    Switch: Great, the digital pimp at work.
    Tank: How? …
    Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Numismatrix is.

    Coinbase Says Entire Crypto Market Could Destabilize if Bitcoin’s Creator is Ever Revealed or Sells Their $30 Billion Stake Business Insider

    1. ambrit

      It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of punters.
      I read elsewhere someone comment that today ‘feels’ much like the pre-1929 Crash days of getting tips on stocks from “shoeshine boys.”
      Over the years, NC has had a few semi-professional financial types comment about losing money as a result of acting on the “negative vibes” the site has had concerning the financial economy in general. I, personally, though not a stock market punter any more took a lesson to heart from reading and processing all that. Rule #X of Finance: Never Underestimate ‘Stupid.’ I think Greenspan famously remarked about “Irrational Exuberance” back in the 1990s. If it was true then, there now must be a real Kittywampus of a crash ‘waiting in the wings.’ This being finance, timing is everything.
      “Irrational Exuberance”:
      Stay safe.

      1. Wukchumni

        If you have no vested interest in their assorted rigged games of chants its more exciting to watch the machinations unfold, but not worry about the score so much, it having the same bearing as a soccer game consisting of 7 year olds all running to the ball.

        Cyberinflation vis a vis Bitcoin et al has been breathtaking in scope, imagine it the other way around, and $48,000 of your 2010 savings was now worth $10?

          1. ambrit

            I’m tempted to work up a pseudo-scientific theorem from this, such as, the concentration of ‘wealth’ creates a reality distortion field around it. Various mathematical formulae can be worked out to quantify the degrees of ‘distortion of reality’ applicable at various removes from the wealth source.

            1. tegnost

              the concentration of ‘wealth’ creates a reality distortion field around it
              the justifications for nft I’ve heard make me think you’ve cracked the code

        1. ambrit

          I’ve read that true hyperinflation is the direct result of policy by the issuer of a currency. For example, Weimar German hyperinflation was the result of the central government’s problems with paying war reparations debts. (How much was denominated in what currencies, I know not. It is a not trivial objection to my thesis.)
          To shamelessly steal a ‘bit’ from Firesign Theatre; welcome to the Last Chant Saloon and Casino. “Madamoiselle from Poictesme, parlez vous?”
          [For Tolkien fans, Count Dom Manuel (lord of Poictesme,) had a prancing pony as his coat of arms.]

        2. ArvidMartensen

          I think everything points to the founder of bitcoin either being a corporation with govt approval or a government.

          1. Because if anyone as an ordinary individual, started printing/mining anonymous money that could be used for criminal activities they would be found and hauled in by the US govt
          2. Because if anyone as an ordinary individual started printing/mining anonymous money that could upset the applecart for the US dollar in particular, they would be found and hauled in by the US govt
          3. Because printing your own money is illegal where I am, dammit
          4. Because even Snowden couldn’t hide forever. So a private individual would have been outed long ago if they authorities went to look

          So bitcoin is serving a purpose, but I don’t know what that purpose is.

      2. Phillip Cross

        As multi-billionaire investor Charlie Munger put it:

        “Bitcoin reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said about fox hunting. He said it was the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.”

        Have fun being poor Charlie! /s

  6. Expat2Uruguay

    regarding today’s must watch video about Pfizer bullying companies in Latin America during purchase negotiations , here is a more detailed article.

    I believe that the unnamed Latin American country referred to in the article is Uruguay. We did have a mysterious three months delay in the negotiations with Pfizer, and we did eventually arrive at a deal, however, we are still awaiting delivery of the Pfizer vaccine because of That delay. In the end, the Uruguayan government opted to buy enough Pfizer vaccine to cover health care workers and the elderly. The rest of the people here will be covered by the Sinovac vaccine.

      1. Xpatpilot

        I will be relocating to Uruguay once borders are reopened; is there a method by which we can connect? Thank you!

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Gruesome find made at same spot as Caddick’s school excursions”

    The police footage of the raid happened to pick up the shoes that she was wearing at the time which were apparently very expensive and not that common. So when that she was found, the police were pretty confident of whose it was. Tide models showed that it likely that her remains would turn up along the south coast and much of her was eaten or disintegrated since her disappearance. More remains have washed up including a piece of the torso with the belly button which, though gruesome, will eventually bring closure to her family and they will have something to bury. It is sort of an ending to a story but in a way that nobody really wanted.

    1. petal

      Rev Kev, I didn’t think they’d ever find her. Was very surprised yesterday to read about the foot washing up. I’m glad her family will be able to have some closure.

  8. Robert Hahl

    Goggles for the airplane:

    Early in the pandemic, NC linked to a story about a doctor who had survived ebola and then got COVID-19, he thought, through the eyes, on a long airplane flight. That anecdote helped me convince my children that a crisis was coming and reduced our disagreements about taking this seriously.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      IIRC, a doctor in China, Wuhan if memory serves, wrote that the eyes were a vulnerable transmission point, how he caught it, and he died some weeks later. Feb/2020? I think his warning was mostly ignored.

      1. lordkoos

        I don’t think it’s been ignored by health care workers — around here, doctors, nurses, assistants, dental hygenists etc all wear protective goggles, glass or sheilds.

  9. The Rev Kev

    The News with Shepard Smith
    Almost 2/3 of Covid hospitalizations in the U.S. have been tied to these 4 underlying health conditions, according to a new study:
    -Heart failure

    Lets reword that a little and see what we get-

    Over 2/3 of fast food restaurants in the U.S. have been tied to causing these 4 underlying health conditions, according to a new study:
    -Heart failure

    1. Robert Hahl

      Well, it seems more likely that USians just don’t know how to eat. My blood sugar indicates pre-diabetes, which always prompts my doctor to suggest taking some drug, which I always refuse, on grounds that a simple change in diet should do it. She disagrees on grounds that nobody in her experience ever succeeded at that. And I haven’t either, yet I think my diet is really good.

      I see two possible explanations: few of us know how to eat, and/or the whole “pre-diabetes” sugar-level patter is a scam.

      1. roxan

        I’m doing a low carb diet for the same reason. We’ll see what the next lab shows. I am surprised I felt better right away and the arthritis improved.

        1. IdahoSpud

          The best bloodwork test I ever had was on a low-carb diet. Triglycerides low. Cholesterol normal, although the good/bad ratio was not great. Doc recommended adding some nuts into my diet daily.

          What they were *shocked* about is that an average middle-aged guy wasn’t on any long-term medications. I guess by this point in our life, we are all supposed to be tithing to pharma.

      2. rl

        it seems more likely that USians just don’t know how to eat

        Agreed. At my recent physical, my own doctor remarked with surprise at my apparently excellent vitals, blood panels, etc.

        As a teenager, I seem to have unknowingly adopted something similar to a “paleo” diet while in the phase of recovery from anorexia dubbed “refeeding.” The extreme simplicity of this way of eating became genuinely enjoyable as I returned to health both physically and mentally, and it’s stayed with me ever since. (Minimal preparation, mostly raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and oats in abundance for fat and protein — no dairy, breads only in the rarest instances, and no meat as I had adopted vegetarianism upon discovering the concept as a very young child, and I suspect my body today would not appreciate a return to eating meat even if I wanted to.).

        But compare this diet to the food pyramid that I remember learning in school, or even to the distribution and marketing of goods on grocery store shelves, and I think its supposed asceticism would be the least formidable barrier to making it (or something comparably beneficent) both credible and practical to most Americans.

        We are what we eat, culturally as well as individually, and in our culture we mostly eat highly processed foods manufactured for brief, addictive bursts of sensory pleasure but greatly diminished nutritional value. As a kid I was always warned/threatened that I would stunt my own growth, but today I consistently find myself looking far downward to meet others’ eyes.

        1. Laughingsong

          I too do low-carb, the weight loss is not as good as when I first started (if there is any way to adjust to a diet to not lose weight, my body will find it), but arthritis, skin, energy all improve. I keep it under 30 or so grams of net carbs a day.

        2. rl

          I still avoid counting and measuring so as not to tempt myself back into old habits. But I would guess that my net average is very low, as all or nearly all of the carbohydrates I end up eating come from or with fiber-rich foods. This would seem to be the key, along with proportionate physical activity throughout the day.

          If your goal is to feel and be energized and capable in body, sharp in mind, stable in mood, and so on, I have been more than satisfied with this approach. And I feel that I have a happier “relationship with food” and with my body than do many of my friends and colleagues, whose efforts often strike me as utilitarian and suffocating. Maybe that is helpful sometimes, but in my opinion it is no way to live all the years of one’s life.

          If you are looking to bulk up or sustain vigorous athletics—well, there are plenty of vegan (don’t know about “paleo”) athletes and even bodybuilders out there, but those I have known tend to be leaner/less hulkish than others might be aiming for.

          1. Robert Dudek

            These are all complicated issues. If you are not overweight and are athletic, there isn’t a great need to worry too much about blood sugar.

            But if you are overweight or not athletic, then it is likely that you are eating too many carbs. Sometimes people think that as long as they are eating high-fibre carbs then that’s all good.

            Depending on genetics people are either sensitive or insensitive to cards to a greater or lesser extent. Chronically high blood sugar is a sign that you are consuming too many cards for your tolerance level.

            I don’t think anyone should tell you what to eat. But you should be aware of the effects of what you eat on your present and future health.

            1. rl

              Oh, I am aware. For better or worse one can never un-memorize the encyclopedic database of “nutrition facts”that an anorexic inevitably accumulates. I just avoid consciously keeping a count of what I am doing. I will probably always be governed in some degree or other by the unconscious impulse to identify exactly how much I need to survive and eat some amount less than that; I have to be careful about this. Refer to my comment above for what may be a clearer explanation. (Apologies; I was not wearing my glasses when I replied to your comment and mistook it for a response to my own, rather than to Robert Hahl’s.)

      3. lordkoos

        I’m getting tempted to try a low-carb regimen, as I’m pushing 70 I seem to have less tolerance for them.

      4. pasha

        i was pre-diabetic. i was fortunate that my doc caught it early and forced me to monitor the situation. diet and exercise dropped me below the 5.3 mark. YMMV

      5. Richard Needleman

        You may have the right instincts. There are many articles suggesting that it is a scam–perhaps similar to the increasingly lowered systolic/diastolic standards for hypertension. This is but one article from Science (AAAS) that discusses the question: There are many more articles along the same lines which are easily accessed by Google from trustworthy sources.

        Basically most people with prediabetes diagnosis never go on to diabetes, so it is unclear what the ‘pre’-prefix means. Perhaps ask your PCP why you must medicate for a condition that you don’t yet have. As a retired medical school Professor, I have seen too many ‘opinions’ like this one from physicians that have no basis in fact, but rather repeat conventional wisdom that can be found in the tabloids (which of course includes NYT)….

        1. kareninca

          Thank you very, very much for that Science link. It is a must-read for anyone who is told s/he has pre-diabetes.

      6. Irrational

        I think you are on to something.
        Years ago, we had my husband’s parents over to Europe for Christmas. We did not skimp on cream, butter and the like in sauces etc.
        His blood sugar dropped so much that he was worried despite feeling great.
        According to his nurse they frequently heard similar stories.
        This has now made them cook many more things from scratch and the diabetes is under control.
        So I don’t know what you are putting in your food that we don’t, I only know that when I come to the US I find most things painfully sweet (who puts sugar in wholewheat bagels for heaven’s sake) and when we use US recipes we halve the sugar. And I am not even touching the subject of eating out…

      7. grateful dude

        50 yr vegetarian at 75. No pharmaceutical medications. I use herbs and other natural substances. They work for me. I find that chemical analysis of food as nutrition is not useful – is carbohydrate a food? Fiber? Protein? Digycerides?!?!. WTF is that?
        I eat Gaian: whole natural foods as they were created and nurtured by humanity across centuries. Yeah, millenia. And I don’t participate in the slaughter of sensate creatures personally or financially if I can avoid it and I do. No flesh except for a little at holiday rituals and some fish now and then if I know where it comes from. Fruit and fish diet on a tropical beach. Ohhhhh.

    2. ambrit

      Adding to your comment; how much of the cited percentages of population affected by various ‘factors’ overlap? The math in the article is lazy.

      1. Carla

        Many drugs that lower blood pressure also raise blood sugar, so there’s that.

        I’ve lost weight by going low-carb, the advantage being that I’m never hungry on that diet, but still, it IS a bore.

          1. grateful dude

            Tastes are acquired: learn to like what’s good for you. Problem solved. Your taste buds are your first like of defense. If you reduce your sugar input e.g., your taste buds will complain when there’s too much. How else will you know? Test tubes?

  10. verifyfirst

    Just thought you should know we are incubating the new strain for you (you are welcome!):

    “Michigan prison system’s coronavirus variant cases more than triple”

    Oh, and about grocery stores being safe……

    “23 employees test positive for COVID-19 at Whole Foods store in Midtown Detroit”

  11. cocomaan

    Read the Atlantic, Megan Garber, on Cynicism:

    The dynamics of all this are pretty straightforward; American pop culture is reacting to American news culture.

    The author spends a lot of time on Trump, Tucker Carlson, lies in politics. Then jumps into TV shows that are about lies and lying.

    What I hate about culture writers is how easy they have it: at no point does Garber talk to any real person. Every person she criticizes, from Carlson to Trump to QAnon, is a media character and caricature.

    Pop culture and politics is not how most people run their lives. They just don’t. Tucker Carlson has, at most, 4.5 million viewers. If you figure that those are people who might tune in once a week, let’s say he has 20 million viewers. The show she brings up, The Masked Dancer, has a viewership of 7 million.

    This is a nation of over 300 million.

    Commentary like Garber’s and generally the other weak stuff from The Atlantic is boxing at shadows. It’s all shadows on the cave wall. When it comes to American cynicism, start confronting movements that influence many more people instead of this schlock of reading twitter and watching cable TV shows.

  12. Mikel

    Good point.
    But how about this:
    What’s all this obsession with “American” collapse? Seems to me like global power elites are all trying to stave off some kind of collapse.

    If antagonists or other countries wanted to “manage American collapse” , they would do a lot better by uniting. They can’t…they’re dancing on their on own types of precipices.

  13. Roger the cabin boy

    Pfizer Bullying Governments Gravitas- This one is huge if true. I don’t understand how you could indemnify them for fraud though. I think if this seems to check out I wouldn’t take the Pfizer vaccine. If they think need to be safe knowingly giving people poison labeled vaccine, then maybe they know their vaccine is poison.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Unbelievable those demands. Military bases? Embassy buildings? Sovereign funds? Why haven’t those countries just told them to go to hell and get in one of the three Russian vaccines or even one of the Chinese ones? Beginning to wonder what deals my own country made with them and at what cost.

      1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        Remember that time Chile told ITT Corp to go to hell? Or that time Guatemala told UF co to go to hell? Or even Cuba told US sugar companies to go to hell?

    2. Geof

      It’s straight out of Bacigalupi’s (excellent) science fiction novel, The Windup Girl. I didn’t expect its future to arrive so fast.

      In the novel, a rust infects food supplies and makes them deadly. The rust keeps mutating – the only defense is to continuously engineer new resistant variants of seeds for food plants. The patents for these resistant varieties are held by U.S. biotech companies. They release seeds with terminator genes (i.e., they can grow, but they can’t reproduce). Any country that fails to enforce their patent rights (e.g. by cirmumventing the terminator gene and producing seed) is embargoed, leaving its population to starve. Thailand is the sole exception – its heritage seed banks allow it political independence. The story, in part, is about a corporate hit man sent in to crush Thai independence.

      We have all this wailing and gnashing of teeth about imperialism and colonialism, but blindness to the modern version that goes on right under our noses (and right into our stock portfolios).

      My view is that we need to eliminate pharma patents and nationalize research funding. private business is not the right way to do this. They lack the risk tolerance, the incentives are all wrong (penis pills make more money than saving lives), they have thoroughly corrupted scholarship, and life-saving medicines should not be an area for monopoly profits. Whether it’s public research or government bounties, there are better ways.

    3. lordkoos

      I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday and had nothing but a sore arm from it both times. Their vaccine is getting high marks as to its efficacy. But the bullying of sovereign states by these jerks is inexcusable. This behavior seems pretty typical of the pharmaceutical industry unfortunately.

  14. Wukchumni

    Best little oar house in Texas Dept:

    Had a half a dozen things I needed from HD in Visalia, and sauntered over to the pipe aisle which was adequate, but skimpy. there was about 1/3rd of what fully stocked would look like. I wonder if some of the lack of went back east to fix garage mahals in Fort Worth & Dime Box.

    …and while on Tulare County I am wary as we have the 2nd highest Covid rate in the state @ 41 per 100k, with nearly a dozen sneakeasy eateries where you can dine inside for rebels without a cause to be worried, as the Sheriff leans so far right he has the leaning tower of Pisa beat, and wants open boarders

    Saw my eye doc yesterday and he’d told me initially when I first allowed him into my orbit a few months ago in diagnosing the wound on the dark side of my moon in the retina region, that i’d need cataract surgery.

    He told me yesterday that I was getting a little cloudier and am going to need to get it done in the next little while before it gets really overcast, and its a nothingburger recovery time wise compared to what i’ve been through rounding myself into a baked russet couch potato in the aftermath of laser surgery for a torn retina.

    Trying to squeeze a backpack trip in with friends to Willett hot springs*, one of my favorite backpack to hot springs @ around 11 miles in, below the multi colored cliff faces of the Topa Topa mountains.

    The source is high up in a canyon, and for the longest time it had been piped into a metal tub which would only last so long in water with mineral content from Hades bowels in the underworld. We first backpacked there in 2002, and by then there was a clever set up with 9 foot wide 4 foot high hard black rubber tub that could accommodate 6-8 soakers that was ferried in by Ojai Sheriff Dept helicopter, with hot water piped into the tub from the bottom, and any overflow & algae scum going over the side. There was a landslide many years ago and it did a number on the pipe which had been laid below rocks, with newer piping feeding the tub from above which makes it not as hot and harder to clean, so we’ll be doing a fix it mission with shovel, pickaxe & hopefully enough pipe fixins’ to get it back to the way it was.

    * i’ve hung my hammock in a lot of interesting places in about 501 nights of slumber, but nowhere near as cool as @ Willett hot springs before the Day Fire in 2006 did a number on anything living in the canyon. I’d found this pair of trees that had a slanted granite slab with an inch of 104 degree water running on top in between them, and positioned my hammock so my behind would sag about a foot above the hot water coursing under me on a chilly night in the low 40’s.

    1. G F Handel

      What you say is interesting but how does it relate to today’s postings? Home Depot, Visalia, Cataracts etc. Am I missing something?

      1. Wukchumni

        It started off as a report on scant pipe inventory in my Home Depot and a lack of any in Texas and kind of wandered from there when I got carried away by that UFO seen over NM, who confirmed the worst of my fears in that they had evidence the Russians interfered with the 2016 election when watching us on galaxy cam.

        I’ll try and stay more on message.

        1. Jason

          Indeed. amfortas will be running an NC training session on the importance of avoiding personal anecdotes here on the site. We encourage you to sign up.*

          *At signup you will be asked to enter your credit card information, upon which a small charge will then be added to your account. Rest assured this is for your own protection.

      2. tegnost

        wuk had some serious eye problems not too long ago so an update is welcome. To HD I can only say as a denizen of remote living that trips to HD have an anthropological aspect so it’s kind of research…

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ya know, G, Ive been thinking the same thing for years!!!

        jk, Wuk ;-)

        Believe it or not but i go hiking almost every weekend out here on the Oregon Coast thanks to his anecdotes about Sequoia national park. Hiking really is quite enjoyable.

      4. The Rev Kev

        Frankly I always enjoy his reports from the field and kinda look forward to them, especially when he talks about those trips away to remind everyone that our world is not the only one that there is. And like tegnost mentioned, Wuk had some serious eye problems recently which could have gone south but fast. Looks like there is more eye work to be done yet. Bugger.

      5. Captain Obious

        Some think California is a very interesting place, and find Wuk to be a very interesting Californian. And he writes real good…

  15. a different chris

    So Obesity is the problem!!! Over 30% of the hospitalizations are fat people!!!! Well that will teach them to “push away from the table” says the scolding-intensive US Health Industry.

    Oh wait a second… didn’t I read somewhere… yeah this is it:,by%2026%20percent%20since%202008.

    Forty percent of Americans are obese. Yet only 30% of the patients are part of both that and the hospitalized cohort. Oh well, don’t want to get the facts in the way of a time-worn excuse for the MICs shortcomings.

    PS: this is no defense of obesity, except in a minor “stop shaming fat people for the results of being fed the worst food in human history”

    1. Socal Rhino

      Taleb had periodic comments about egregious misuses of statistics and the morons (his words) that do it. Good palate cleansers.

      1. chris

        There has to be some kind of middle ground here. It’s not healthy to be obese, but obesity isn’t the huge social and medical shame that it’s been made out to be. Especially if you rely on the BMI definition.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Japan adopts strike-first policy to counter Chinese aggression”

    Pearl Harbour veterans seen to frown and shake their heads.

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Even with Japan’s “no nukes” policy, I could see them build hundreds of nuclear bombs in 60 days once they place their keiretsu’s under the government’s thumb.

      1. Synoia

        The Japanese Government has a mother lode of radioactive material they can recycle from Fukushima for their Atomic progrm.

        The site is pre polluted, so avoiding more future cleanup costs. /s

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I worked for Sumitomo Bank, the lead member of the Sumitomo keiretsu, and was the first Westerner hired into the Japanese hierarchy.

          This piece is so bad that calling it unhinged is kind.

  17. timbers

    US Bombs Syria And Ridiculously Claims Self Defense Caitlin Johnstone (David L)

    To paraphrase from a Jason Bourne movie…the only way this has a happy ending is if lots and lots of Americans die.

    Russia will continue to make sane, rational, mostly non violent decisions in response to US aggression. As frustrating as that can be against the human impulse to respond violently to violence to extract justice, she and China know time is on their side and US is doing a bang up job of destroying herself all on her onw. But what if more radical elements choice something different?

    1. km

      This is also the real reason that the United States wants war and China does not.

      Both sides know that time is on the side of China.

      This is much like the runup to WWI. French and British military planners were watching German demographics and industrial growth and they were getting the creeps..

      Germany and Austria-Hungary were watching Russia industrialize rapidly and feared that soon she would be unstoppable. Austria-Hungary was also nervous that Serbia would soon be a regional power, as well as a competitor for the loyalties of Slavic subjects.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And before you know it, there won’t be anyone to buy weapon systems like the F-35 which is the main problem. If Russia is supplying gas or Europe is sensible and goes green, how will T Boone Pickens make enough money to pay off the NCAA?

      2. Carolinian

        Well it’s not that much like WW1. Nationalism these days is at low flame except among the loony security elites. When the Kaiser’s troops marched off to war the populace cheered.

        Perhaps it will be a robot war.

        1. km

          Sociopathy is the root cause. Nationalism was the means that the sociopaths used.

          Anyway, Goering said something instructive about getting a populace to go to war in accordance with their ruler”s wishes, even though it benefits the populace nothing.

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            This is worth quoting: “…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Goering in 1946.

            1. LifelongLib

              WW 2 was different. A reporter in a crowd of Germans when war was announced said the only people who showed any enthusiasm were those too young to remember WW 1. Everyone else stood silent. And I’ve heard that in England (can’t recall the source) people were screaming and cursing when they received news that war had been declared.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m trying to imagine what a shooting war with China would look like, assuming, of course, that tim cook, hollywood and the nba would permit one.

        I can’t because they won’t.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Do you really think the I-junkies wouldn’t do more than break a few windows and steal a podium or two if the secretary of defense sent the Enola Gay to nuke a Foxconn plant?

      4. Swamp Yankee

        And I think, as pretty ably shown by German historian Fritz Fischer, this applies even doubly so to Wilhelmine Germany, this sense of the need to go to war sooner rather than later, only with regard to Russia.

        Fischer, if I remember correctly, points to a 1912 conference in which the Kaiser and the General Staff and other leadership figures in the Kaiserreich are explicit about their fear of greater Russian numbers after the Russians finished their railway network — predicted to be about mid-decade. It was therefore imperative to go to war before then (since the Schlieffen Plan relied on slow Russian mobilization to smash France in the west before turning to meet Russia in the East).

        1. JBird4049

          Each of the major prewar empires finding someone to fear and prepare for and with two major power blocks locked into mutual defense treaties and agreements, which guaranteed that war would come regardless if there was actually anyone to fear.

          All that planning from all that fear and all it got was the conditions needed for another war.

        2. Michaelmas

          The difference between WWI and now, of course, is that kicking off a major nation-state war brings nuclear retaliation. If that won’t stop any incompetent psychopaths in the DC Blob who imagine a nuclear war with China is winnable, three other factors:

          [1] The U.S. military’s supply chains and manufacturing have to a great degree been outsourced to China (oops);

          [2] Game theory says that the U.S. is at an inherent, inescapable nuclear disadvantage. In game theory terms, we no longer have a two-player game (U.S. vs. U.S.S.R) but an n-player game, with nine nation states in the world possessing nuclear weapons. The first thing game theory says about such an n-player game is that as the number of nuclear weapons and players grows arithmetically, the risk of nuclear war multiplies exponentially.

          Specifically, a truel – a Mexican standoff – is a three-way duel. Who has the advantage in a confrontation between three mutually hostile participants? With three hostile actors, the first to shoot (A) has an inherent disadvantage. Because while opponent A shoots opponent B, opponent C can shoot A and win the overall conflict. Here in 2021, the U.S. would be A, the initiating nuclear actor, against China as B, with Russia as C.

          [3] More practically, if a war between China and the U.S. does kick off (over, say, Taiwan), the hurdle that has to be gone through on the way to nuclear war is the fact that the first thing that’ll happen is one side trying to knock down the other side’s satellites, because both sides’ militaries absolutely depend on those satellites for communications (including of drones and missiles control and telemetry systems) and battlespace awareness. That’s a barrier to be got through on the way to nuclear war, and once it’s traversed, neither side can win in any meaningful sense.

          Against stupidity, of course, the gods themselves contend in vain.


      5. Jeremy Grimm

        War with China would not go well for the U.S. The ‘pointy-end’ of military force minimizes the importance of logistics support. In the world Big Money has built logistics will decide the outcome of an action, and not in favor of the U.S.:
        “Our ability to fight a war with China in some ways hinges on whether Chinese companies are willing to keep selling us ammunition.”
        [“National Champs or National Chumps: US Big Business vs China”

          1. Michaelmas

            In the world Big Money has built logistics will decide the outcome of an action, and not in favor of the U.S.
            Yes, indeed. I posted before you put this up. There are other problems (see my post) which place the U.S. at an insuperable disadvantage to China if it undertakes a major nation-state conflict.

            1. Tom Stone

              I don’t think that continuing to believe that the US Military is under control of the “Commander in Chief” is warranted, and the call to take the football away from Joe Biden is simply a public acknowledgement of that fact.
              Trump ordered US troops out of Syria, after the election pentagon officials boasted that they had both lied to Trump about the number of American soldiers in Syria ( (900 claimed, 3 times that number in actuality) and mercenaries in Syria, they had “Played a shell game” with Trump
              The US Military disobeyed a lawful order from their
              “Commander in Chief” in order to continue an illegal war.
              Not a happy precedent.

      6. drumlin woodchuckles

        Till China pollutes itself and water-famines itself and global warmings itself into un-inhabitability. Then time won’t be on China’s side anymore, either.

  18. Parker Dooley

    “Japan adopts strike-first policy to counter Chinese aggression”

    Well, that worked out great for them last time.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Just Don’t Expect “Pent-up Demand” from Consumers. Here’s Why”

    If I had to predict where any “spare” money would be going for “pent up demand”, I would say that it would be going on food, rent, gasoline, bills, and if anything is left, to pay down credit cards and eliminate as much debt as possible. Nobody knows what the shape of the economy will be like before the end of the year so a wise strategy would be to still batten down the hatches and try to set aside as many reserves as possible. The economy of 2019 is gone and will not be returning any time soon – if ever.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      This is my situation. I got a tax bill coming and a few other bills that have been paused or reduced during the pandemic. Any “extra” I have will be going that way. I know I am not a lone by any stretch of the imagination.

    2. Ella

      The main stream media is clearly pushing the right narrative to continue to push the sheeple along their merry spending ways.

      I’m doing ok financially but every cent of my money is going to necessities (food, taxes, electric, etc). And everyone I know is doing the same. Corporate america is laying off big time (not hitting the news cycle). The uncertainty is scary.

  20. timbers

    COVID 19

    In Massachusetts, the rulers are annoyed the pheasants aren’t herding back to public transportation like cattle, and floating as a fix to that is a proposed free T Ridership to be funded by an increase in the gasoline sales tax, so the pheasants don’t clog up the roads again.

    I got a better idea:

    Tax Jeff Bezos and Amazon Massachusetts. Jeff’s deliveries are clogging Massachusetts roads (am constantly having to slow down and negotiate against oncoming traffic passing an Amazon truck parked IN the road making a delivery).

    Why should multi billionaires like Jeff feed off free public roads we pheasants have paid for, use and abuse it with impunity so he can become a multi billionaire he could not have without free use of our public roads, and we get stuck with the bill?

    1. shinola

      Tax Bezos??? Are you some sort of pinko commie or somethin’? This is Amerika! The Good Ol’ USA has the best damn gummint money can buy.

      If billionaires had to pay taxes, they might have to reduce or eliminate their bribes, er, I mean campaign contributions. (The horror! The horror!)

  21. Michael Ismoe

    Republican Sen. Josh Hawley Proposes Legislation Requiring $15 Minimum Wage For Billion-Dollar Companies

    Why not two-step the process? Make billion dollar corporations raise the minimum wage to $15 immediately and let smaller employers pay less for the first year and then move to $15? The immediate raise will make the smaller companies a less popular place to work, so in order to find employees, they have to move closer to $15 anyway.

    1. Wukchumni

      In a pickle
      Need living wage lettuce?
      Legislation doesn’t represent us
      All we ask is that you do it for less pay

    2. Howard Beale IV

      That will work if the business doesn’t do any franchising – franchisees will be royally screwed under the $15/hr plan, even though their businesses are effective subsidiaries of Fortune 500 behemoths.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        …..franchisees will be royally screwed under the $15/hr plan….

        So, this is certainly the refrain that’s endlessly repeated, but is it actually “true?” How “true?”

        As “true” as this “royal screwing” from back when obamacare was going to be the “universal healthcare plan” that destroyed small business and imperiled the mighty american economic system?

        According to “Papa” John Schnatter, the cost of providing health insurance for all of his pizza chain’s uninsured, full-time employees comes out to about 14 cents on a large pizza. That’s less than adding an extra topping and a third the price of an extra pepperoncini. If you want that piping hot pie delivered, the $2 delivery fee will cost you 14 times as much as that health insurance price hike.
        The pizza place’s Facebook page was soon littered with outraged pizza lovers proclaiming they would be “happy” to pay an extra 11 to 14 cents so Papa John’s employees could have health insurance.

        Enough with the hyperbole already. Are we really talking about about a $5.14 foot-long instead of a $5.00 one, with the biggest problem really being that the jingle is harder to write?

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh, you have this backwards.

        The franchisees would not be captured in the billion $ total unless the law was carefully drafted.

        And why should corporate-owned McDonald’s be covered and franchisees not?

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Watching the reaction to Amnesty’s decision has been instructive. In general, the sorts who like Navalny also like Amnesty. So I find it amusing to watch the (ahem) manure-storm that has followed his cancellation. I’m ready to bet that a similar process of intra-tribal civil war will ensue shortly in the USA, once “Democrats” (a broad label if ever there was one) start to realize that Uncle Joe ain’t quite what they thought they voted for.

      1. km

        “I’m ready to bet that a similar process of intra-tribal civil war will ensue shortly in the USA, once “Democrats” (a broad label if ever there was one) start to realize that Uncle Joe ain’t quite what they thought they voted for.”

        We can only hope. I suspect, however, that Team D tribalists will do what they did when Obama governed in a manner very much at odds with his campaign rhetoric: make excuses for the man and double down.

        1. Jen

          Yeah, but Obama was the first Black president. Historic presidency and all that.

          Joe’s just another old white guy.

            1. Pat

              Which could be why they seem determined their majorities. They need full fledged investigations for poor Joe to appear to be under attack.
              Short that they need Joe to retire for health reasons for the first minority President protection to kick in for Kamala.

              Let’s face it they merely need to be enough of a factor that they still can fund raise, aka extort protection, from all the major both sides corporate interests that need to own our elected government. They really want enough power to be able to become a wrench in the cogs of government which might block the oligarchs goals, but not enough to clearly have the power to enact the desires of “their voters”. The Presidency is their chosen route.

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Mr Potato Head and the cult of gender neutrality

    So no more Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, just Potato Head, to teach that male or female characteristics can go with any body, or something. Because nobody ever mixed and matched the Mr and Mrs Potato Head accessories before except for every kid who ever played with one.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      lyman alpha blob: Indeed every kid who ever played with Mr Potato Head did so. And believe it or not, some of the features went in upside down.

      Of course, I’m so old that I grew up pre-plastic-potato. In the olden days, we had to prevail on a parent to give a potato. There were no molded holes for features. Mayhem ensued!

      1. chuck roast

        I’m very concerned about the de-sexualizing of Mr. and Mrs. The future is not bright. All of the women I have known prefer a strong, upstanding man from a solid background and would be aroused by this development. Flaccid namby-pambies need not apply. They want their men erect, standing tall and ready for the long-haul. Any righteous woman would have a bone to pick with the lameo toy, and would put up a stiff resistance to playing with this neuvo Mr. Potatohead. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I suppose that the man that is needed is based on a sliding scale from cave to condo.

  23. flora


    This Russell Brand utube ~15 minute video explains farmers’ plight in India. The second half of the video is the most informative, imo. Sounds like US big ag is aiming to create a ‘share cropper’ setup with ‘store credit’ on tech “mobile (digital) money systems ” in India. The billionaires pious claims about environmentalism sound hollow.
    “Carving out new colonies.”

    Bill Gates & Farming – What’s going on?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


      Like Taxis and Hotels, a terrible idea!

      I find Big Techs lack of creativity disturbing and boring.

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: US Bombs Syria And Ridiculously Claims Self Defense

    Nobody seems curious at all why Iraqi Hezbollah is in control of a Syrian-Iraqi border crossing. They’re present in that area collecting their unofficial customs duties. It’s one of their rackets. It’s not the first time the US has bombed them either. But, if you live by the sword you die by the sword.

    The Prime Minister of Iraq was forced to issue a warning to Iraqi Hezbollah to cease shelling the Green Zone awhile ago. Before that their gunmen used live ammunition on protesters in Baghdad and other cities. As well as numerous instances where they were accused of ethnic cleansing particularly in the Belt areas. Protesting the airstrike seems like a bad joke from people addicted to internet outrage.

    “It’s illegitimate for the US to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria “

    You can’t reasonably denounce American imperialism on one hand and excuse the Iranians at the same time. Especially when you’re talking about Iraqi Hezbollah. They are in effect an extension of the Quds force in Iraq and Syria. It’s founder was allegedly behind the American and French embassy bombings in Kuwait in 1983. The bombing campaign also targeted Kuwaiti government buildings which served as a warning to cease it’s support for Iraq in the war with Iran.

    1. km

      Iran is in Syria and Iraq at the request of the governments there. Same with Hezbollah in Syria.

      The United States, not so much.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The PMU forces are only nominally under the command of the government in Baghdad. Furthermore, you’re speaking as if the Iraqis, whether that’s the people on the street, or the central government in Baghdad has a choice in the matter. If it was either their decision alone they’d probably want both the American/Iranian forces present in their country to be gone. In any case the vote in the Iraqi Parliament was purely symbolic and along sectarian lines.

        As for Syria, it’s a political power play whichever angle you look at it.

        1. km

          We don’t know what the average frustrated Syrian or Iraqi thinks, but it’s not as if they held a referendum before the United States attacked a country that has never harmed them in any way.

          1. Andrew Watts

            That isn’t necessarily true. The mass protests in Iraq where Iraqi Hezbollah shot dozens, if not hundreds, of protesters were anti-Iranian in nature. The protests were particularly intense in the southern cities of the country. Not every Iraqi Shia is fond of the Islamic Republic of Iran. There was a war between the countries and the economic situation in Basra is pretty bad. Most of the residents seem to blame Iran for it’s water issues.

            As for Syria, after the SDF liberated Manbij from Islamic State RT sent a crew to interview the residents and they asked about the American presence, The worst thing that was said was along the lines of how the Americans should keep a low profile. A few kilometers away a convoy of Army Rangers was patrolling with big American flags flying high.

            When Trump pulled his half-baked withdrawal there were Syrians rioting and throwing rocks at Americans for abandoning them to the mercy of Turkey and it’s Islamist militants. Probably the only time that’s going to happen to American troops leaving a foreign country.

            1. Offtrail

              The US has no right whatsoever to be in Syria.

              In an article in yesterday’s WaPo, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is quoted as saying:

              It’s been alleged that (the US) decided never to leave Syria, up to the point of the country’s breakup,

              It seems to me that this is likely true.

        2. occasional anonymous

          The Iraqi parliament in fact told the the US, and all foreign troops, to leave over a year ago. We have completely ignored them. Claiming it was ‘symbolic’ and ‘along sectarian lines’ is a pathetic cope on your part, an excuse to ignore following the law.

          As for the PMU, they are in fact part of the Iraqi military, however much you may scoff at that idea. They are also made up of Iraqis; they are not foreign troops.

          1. Andrew Watts

            Legally, sure. The assertion that they’re under the control of the Iraqi government is plainly ridiculous unless you’re going to make the argument that the Prime Minister ordered the shelling of the Green Zone.

            I deliberately omitted what happened when the government ordered the legal arrest of a baker’s dozen of members of Iraqi Hezbollah. Needless to say they didn’t remain in custody for long and many threats were issued aimed at the central government.

    2. Donald

      I don’t have to support the groups we bomb to oppose our bombing. Your post might apply to some lefties who, for instance, might think we have to support Assad or Iran or some militia group if we oppose the American policy of sanctioning Syria, bombing Syria, and arming Syrian rebels. But what generally happens is that anyone who opposes US imperialism is automatically accused of supporting someone else’s imperialism or their terrorism or whatever.

      In some future world when the US stops bombing and sanctioning people and where we stop arming groups that kill civilians it would be interesting to discuss what sorts of mechanisms could be used ( by the world, not the US acting alone) to restrain bad actors. But right now we are one of the bad actors.

      1. Andrew Watts

        My intention was to ridicule the idea that there are victims in this specific instance of drama. If I really wanted to accuse them of supporting the other side I’d just mock them over their heartfelt support of Shia jihadism. It doesn’t really matter if you, or I, support or condone the airstrikes. We have as much chance of influencing Washington as we do Tehran. Congress might hold some hearings, but there will inevitably be another round of proxy conflict between Iran and the US in Iraq until cooler heads prevail.

          1. Andrew Watts

            It isn’t entirely a smear if that’s what you think. The various groups seeded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps throughout the Middle East were the Al Qaeda of the 90s in the 1980s. The name of the military wing of Lebanese Hezbollah is the Supreme Council of Jihad or something along those lines. They took different paths that led to 9/11 for the Sunni Jihad and the Shia continued acting as an extension with plausible deniability of the IRGC. Bin Laden’s movement wasn’t inherently sectarian by the way. His mother was Shia after all.

            Religion and history is still an animating force in Southwest Asia. I’m not competent to talk about the history of the Quds. But their goal is right there in the name too and I don’t think they’d take it as an insult to be referred to as jihadis. Although I don’t buy the “Iran-backed forces” narrative. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps probably has the same historical relationship to it’s sponsor government that the Kwantung Army did to Tokyo. Which is to say they maintain the own power centers that are independent of the Iranian nation-state where the government wields little influence over them.

            1. The Rev Kev

              ‘The various groups seeded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps throughout the Middle East were the Al Qaeda of the 90s in the 1980s.’

              I have no idea where you are getting your info from. As I linked previously, Hillary Clinton came out and said that Al Qaeda were an American creation, not Iranian. If we wanted to go after the terrorists, we should be slamming the Sunni Countries and not the Shia ones. And if you want to know why Hezbollah exists, it is to stop Israel seizing southern Lebanon for itself again-

     (1:23 mins)

              1. Andrew Watts

                These cells acted like Al Qaeda did in the 90s when they bombed embassies throughout the 1980s. I’m sure I made this point perfectly clear. Furthermore, saying that Al Qaeda wasn’t sectarian, outside of it’s Iraqi affiliate that evolved into Islamic State, isn’t saying that the IRGC created or sponsored Al Qaeda.

                Once again, I am making an important distinction between Iran and the IRGC. The leaked documents posted by the Intercept about the internal views of the Iranian Intelligence seemed to underwrite this point. They didn’t necessarily approve of the IRGC activity in Iraq or it’s sponsorship of certain groups.

                Beyond that I think you’re arguing in bad faith at this point.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  These cells I would describe as a ‘defense in depth’ for Iran from their viewpoint. The map at the top of the page below may explain why they are doing so. Bismark was reputedly saying once that if you want to know what a country’s foreign policy was, to show him a map of that country. What would Bismarck have made of this map?


                  As for the IRGC, I think that the Iranians see them as the “guardians” of their country. Sort of like Spain’s Guardia Civil once were but with a heavy military element. But if we are going to be historically accurate, if the west had not destroyed Iran’s government back in ’53 and installed the tyrannical Shah which led to the violent Iranian revolution back in ’79, we would never have had a IRGC in the first place.

                  Come to think of it, if Israel had never invaded Lebanon several times, there would never have been a Hezbollah as well. All these groups do have a history which bears keeping in mind. And in a case of whataboutism, the US has been know to bomb an embassy or two itself by the way. Just ask the Chinese.

                2. Procopius

                  Errr… There wasn’t an Iraqi affiliate of Al Qaeda (which was a creation of the State Department and the CIA) until a couple of years after the American invasion. From Brittanica, “Al-Qaeda in Iraq first appeared in 2004 when Abū Muṣʿab al-Zarqāwī, a Jordanian-born militant already leading insurgent attacks in Iraq, formed an alliance with al-Qaeda, pledging his group’s allegiance to Osama bin Laden in return for bin Laden’s endorsement as the leader of al-Qaeda’s franchise in Iraq.”

                  It was noted at the time that they were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, not by Iran, and viciously attacked Shi’ite holy places, villages, and neighborhoods. They followed a hard Wahhabi Sunni Salafist line, the doctrine of taqfir, and later became a large portion of ISIS. In a related matter, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is often used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

        1. km

          “Shia jihadism”?

          Let me guess? 9/11? Nope, Sunni fanatics, sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulfie tyrannies.

          Al Qaeda? Nope, Sunni fanatics, sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulfie tyrannies.

          ISIS? Nope, Sunni fanatics, sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulfie tyrannies.

          But go on, tell us how bad Iran is.

          1. Andrew Watts

            If you’re looking for the good guys in this situation you’re going to be spending some time looking for’em while engaging in manichaeism, I’m not interested in doing either of those things.

            1. Massinissa

              No seriously though, all jihadis are sunnis. If there are similar Shia’s, they’re probably called something that aren’t jihadis.

    3. Kouros

      You cannot with a straight face accuse Quds of terrorism in the Kuwaiti bombings when at the same time you say that Kuwait and of course US have encouraged and supported the Iraqi attack on Iran. In effect they were engage in war against Iran. US even sank some Iranian ships and a passenger plane.

      1. Andrew Watts

        It isn’t illegal for a country to support another in a war. I believe that Kuwait’s assistance was primarily through the Arab League. I don’t think they directly gave any other help beyond the diplomatic and monetary support provided by the Arab League.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘It isn’t illegal for a country to support another in a war.’

          But there is an international law that says that you cannot support terrorists but that is exactly what the west has been doing and not just the United States. In fact, the US has bombed countries for doing this precisely that. We have been recruiting, training, equipping, transporting and financing tens of thousands of Jihadists in places like Iraq and Syria but fortunately with no blowback. Well, except for that incident in New York city about 20 years ago that is,

          And how do you think that such ragged groups find themselves awash with top of the line weapons like ATGMs and even manpads? Rumor has it that special forces from countries like the US, the UK and France actively fight with the Jihadists too. There comes a point in your life when you have to ask yourself a basic question so I would ask you to watch the following video. It is a short comedy skit but it does ask a profound question we should ask ourselves-

 (2:48 mins)

          1. Andrew Watts

            Whataboutism. We’re talking about a nation-state in the form of Kuwait providing indirect support to the Iraqis through the multilateral Arab League during the war with Iran.

    4. occasional anonymous

      You can’t reasonably denounce American imperialism on one hand and excuse the Iranians at the same time.

      Actually I can do exactly that quite easily. Iran has much more justification for getting involved in the affairs of its immediate neighbors than the US has for being in a region 10,000 miles from its borders. On top of that, as an American I can’t do anything about the actions of the Iranian government. But I theoretically do have some say in the actions of the government in DC. They certainly claim to be acting in my name.

      1. Andrew Watts

        So, the sovereignty and dignity of the Iraqi people/government doesn’t really matter as long as the federal government in DC can be blamed for violating it? That’s quite the embarrassing argument to make for the anti-imperialist.stance. When you meddle in another country’s affairs to the extent that both the IRGC and Tehran has in Iraq that’s imperialist behavior.

    5. The Rev Kev

      You do realize that those forces that were bombed are the same ones that are fighting ISIS, don’t you? And that they are on the border to try to stop jihadists coming across from US-occupied Syria don’t you? And that right now there is a campaign in that part of Syria to wipe out some of those Jihadists in conjunction with the Russians, right?

      Bombing a place in Syria for something that happened in Iraq is like me traveling to a neighbourhood on the other side of the city to lob a brick through the window of a guy because I think that he is acquainted with another guy that I don’t like that lives in another part of the city altogether.

      Without Iran, Baghdad would have likely fallen to ISIS in their campaign and that is the long and the short of it. And if you really want to get closer to the truth, it is the US and the west that have supported and equipped ISIS all along. They have been doing this for groups like this for decades and if you do not believe me, then perhaps you would like the hard dope from Hillary Clinton-

      1. Andrew Watts

        Yes, I’m aware of all that. If you’ll recall I commented about how the US should cooperate with Iran and the PMU to fight Islamic State back in 2015. I genuinely believe that opportunity existed as well as having a more cooperative relationship with Russia in Syria. Although I’d much rather focus on Iraqi Hezbollah’s rap sheet from the last eighteen months or so to give people an idea who the US is bombing. The most likely reason the US hit them on the Syrian side of the border was due to the fact the Biden administration didn’t want to cause Baghdad any more problems then it already has.

        I’m honestly astounded by the level of outrage I’m seeing over this incident. It’s not like this is the first time the US conducted airstrikes against that particular group. It seems to have gone unnoticed that the leader of Iraqi Hezbollah was assassinated alongside Soleimani. Nobody seemed to care then when it escalated to that drastic level. Or the fact it might’ve had Iraqi intelligence support. This isn’t a new development at any rate. Israel has been repeatedly bombing IRGC logistical hubs and supply stores in Syria for some time now.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s only ‘astounding’ when it is not your country being bombed and people are outraged as a consequence. Were you astounded when Iran launched strikes against US military bases in Iraq after Soleimani was murdered and many countries did not criticize them? If the Iranian have not given the US a heads up, scores would have been killed. Bombing a country is one matter. But doing so under bogus charges like oh-yeah-dude-like-they-were-like-totally-using-chemical-warfare is another, especially when people die.

  25. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: House Democrats ask Biden to give up sole power to launch nuclear bomb New York Post….The rumor is Biden is so out of it he has to be briefed before landing as to where he is going.

    In a letter sent Tuesday but publicized Wednesday, 31 lawmakers led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) urge the commander in chief to “consider modifying the decision-making process the United States uses in its command and control of nuclear forces.”
    In terms of alternatives, the two California Democrats suggested a number of options.

    One would be to require that the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives concur with the president’s decision to strike.

    The image of these two harpies attempting to have themselves declared arbiters of significant presidential responsibility is beyond disturbing. The conclusion that they and their allies behind the curtain foisted a debilitated, incompetent biden on the country so that they could assume presidential power without the bother of occupying the office is inescapable.

    For people who were so hysterically obsessed with preserving “norms” during the Trump years, democrats sure don’t seem to to have a problem blowing some pretty consequential ones up now that they “benefit.”

    And people are starting to notice.

    I listened to the Trillbillies podcast for the first time the other day. The woman in the group asked the others how long they thought “they” could keep people thinking that a dead president was actually still alive. Hmmmm….

    And James Howard Kunstler “wonders” in his latest post called “Shadowland”:

    How long will it be before the public realizes that Mr. Biden is being strictly concealed from view by his managers? And how long can they keep it up? A few more weeks, maybe, I’d guess. What did they think they were doing when they engineered the election of this empty suit, this blank cartridge, this political mannequin, this man-who-isn’t-there? Of all the hundred-million-odd adults over 35-years-of-age in this country, they picked this empty vessel to lead in a year of obvious crisis?

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thanks for the Kunstler – he’d been getting a little stale and I hadn’t checked him for a while. He’s still got some zingers though –

      Of course, the cruelest scene in this scenario will be the big manufactured hoo-hah celebrating Kamala Harris as the first female president — which in itself may be difficult to pull off, since so many Democrats have declared there’s no such thing as two sexes.

      Something is definitely up though – they made this polite request days ago and I hadn’t seen it mentioned at all until today. I think I might prefer that Sleepy Joe keep the football himself though – if the Blob needs to gin up a war, he might just forget where it he left it last whereas Kamala the Kop and Nancy Creamsicle might prove to be a little trigger happy.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Harris polled at 1% in her home state. When Biden ran without the celebrity status of being the former VP, he had 0.9% of the Iowa caucus goers coming in behind Bill Richardson’s 2.1%.

      We had Beta and Mayo Pete. They became jokes. Patronage aside, Pete will always be a rat. Without attachment to the “glorious past”, the candidates get reviewed. Biden was the best person to keep people like Neera employed.

      1. JBird4049

        Funny that. As far as I can tell Harris is not liked here in California. Well, the party apparatchiks seem to approve, and her campaign for the presidential nomination went nowhere, but somehow she has become the Vice President of the United States. After those news stories on her odious behavior, I would have bet real money on her political career going away. She just goes from victory to to victory.

        I would have preferred Gavin Newsom because as much as I don’t like him, his shallowness, and his parasitical opportunism, he does not seem to to the heartless monster that Harris is.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Unless something has changed since Daniel Ellsberg was still working for Rand in the early 1970s — Biden and many other individuals have the power to launch a nuclear attack. Ellsberg commented to Paul Jay in an interview, when Paul Jay still worked at RT New, “Dr. Strangelove” was closer to a documentary drama than a comedy.

    4. R-swabthekids

      well sure but does Kunstler think that former presidents in the last 40 years were ” calling the shots”?

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      The plan was to smuggle Kamala into the White House at some opportune opportunity. Biden was the delivery vehicle. Kamalabama is the time-delayed payload.

  26. NotTimothyGeithner

    Moi The rumor is Biden is so out of it he has to be briefed before landing as to where he is going.

    Age? Or is it the job isn’t the same as being the front man for credit card companies? I thought he looked godawful when he was running a long shot campaign back in 2007 when he didn’t have the protection of being the nominee or a vice president.

    One of the stories about Biden’s law school days was he was excellent at cramming, but the problem with relying on cramming is when you get overwhelmed. I’ve always seen his laziness means he has to learn everything new whenever he is supposed to be ready. Unlike Obama he can’t simply deflect or enjoy the sheen of newness. The President doesn’t need to be an expert which is why they have staff, but they do need to be vaguely aware of the world around them. With Biden, he simply isn’t, preferring garbage about “the nation’s soul” and “unity” in lieu of virtually anything else.

    1. petal

      He was exhibiting multiple symptoms when I saw him back in 8/2019. At the time I thought it was pretty obvious, but have been surprised it hasn’t really been talked about more. Felt like an episode of the emperor that had no clothes. Maybe they are beginning to make the moves to install KH and really get the party started.

      1. Judith

        In the same way that Russiagate was deliberate, this is clearly deliberate. If the attempts to censor anyone who questions authority continue, then there will be few in a position to reveal what has been happening. Where is Seymour Hersh?

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Sanders really let everyone and everything down when he declined to destroy Biden in that debate.
        He didn’t have to use any bad words or make any bad observations.

        All he would have had to have done would have been to ask Biden a very complexly worded question using several compound multi-claused sentences, indicating a very deep, broad and granular knowledge of the subject of the question . . . . and then ask Biden . . . ” so, how would you answer that?” And then stand back, await Biden’s answer, and let the buffalo chips fall where they may.

        But he didn’t do it.

        1. RMO

          He wouldn’t have won, no matter what he did in the debate(s), or no matter what he did anywhere else. The party made that clear four years ago. He wouldn’t have been allowed to be the nominee regardless of how the primaries went. My guess is that with what he knew he figured caving believably was the best choice.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When Joe was a young kid at Syracuse University College of Law, he did something that he has continuously has done for the past fifty years of his life – he plagiarized a paper. It is who he is and he really can’t be bothered doing the hard yards. That is why he ranked 76th in his class of 85 at that uni. He is at heart a lazy man like you said and who succeeds only through his connections which exactly explains how even with dementia, he became the President of the United States. It would have been better for tens of millions of lives if Syracuse uni had thrown him out for plagiarizing making Joe doing what his dad did – becoming a used-car salesman. At least it would have been honest work.

  27. Carolinian

    Re LRB and space warfare–many probably don’t realize that those space objects floating around at the beginning of the Blue Danube sequence of 2001 are supposed to be nuclear bombs. Kubrick’s movie came out at the height of the Mutually Assured Destruction era and in some ways might be interpreted as a continuation of a famous 1950s scifi film, The Day the Earth Stood Still. In the earlier movie an outer space man comes to Earth to warn that the aliens may have to take over if Earthlings can’t learn to curb their aggression. And in 2001 that slab may have been just waiting for us to reach a stage of threatened self annihilation in order to slit scan humans to a different consciousness.

    Meanwhile recent airline passengers out West are seeing strange flying tubes. Klaatu Barada Nicto?

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel



      Nic*COUGH COUGH*…

      Did thou sayest the words?

      Ash: “Yeah…Basically…”

  28. Kris

    Japan Adopts Strike-first Policy to Counter Chinese Aggression- “Here is why it was necessary. China is deploying vessels with lethal firepower around Japan. Hundreds of Chinese vessels entered the waters around the Senkaku islands last year.”

    No mention of how many Japanese vessels entered the waters around the disputed islands, i.e., Japanese “aggression”. Article also doesn’t mention that the U.S. has been working on getting Japan to abandon its constitutional declaration of pacifism for decades.

    1. The Rev Kev

      No mention too of how those are really Chinese islands historically but the Japanese annexed them in 1895. The US took over control of them after WW2 and when in the 70s it was realized that there were potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of those islands, the US handed them back to Japan instead of China as Japan was an ally by then-

  29. Wukchumni

    Had a very Hollywood Squares family Zoom jam with enough of us to outfit a tic-tac-toe board including cousins in Calgary chiming in on goings in the western steppes of the Gulag Hockeypelago, where they’re complaining of lack of vaccine, an 83 year old aunt in Ontario living independently hadn’t got a shot yet (but all in nursing homes have-having priority) and my 65 year old cousin in Calgary said she is looking to getting a shot in the late summer.

    The Covid rules of engagement are stricter and looser in Alberta, they mentioned everything is pretty much open from a business standpoint, but severely restricted as to how many can be in a store or restaurant, so sometimes there’s lines of people politely waiting outside in the cold for their chance to be an insider. Movie theaters, anything or event where people congregate not allowed. They are allowed to be with 2 other people at one time, but no more than that.

    In contrast, the giant WinCo supermarket I went to earlier in the day was as usual busy as pre pandemic. The first few months of mask wearing the store deployed a mask bouncer @ the entrance and it was quite effective in that there has been few non-maskers seen inside the store since.


    1. RMO

      The vaccine is slow in coming here in Canada that’s for sure. The federal and provincial governments got some things right (some things really right actually) but on the vaccine the federal government blew it. In hindsight the best bet would have been to deal with Russia when they were developing the Sputnik vaccine but given the makeup of the current government (which I voted for last election I admit) there was no chance of that happening, or for that matter trying to buy that vaccine now. I have no doubt they feel it’s better to let people get sick and die rather than do anything which would get in the way of the demonizing.

    2. marieann

      Where I live in Ontario they are registering the over 80’s folk…they have 7000 signed up so far. I believe they will start making appointments for next week.

      We are still in semi lockdown limited people in the stores, some stores not open yet, 5 people together inside or 10 outside. Our case counts are over 30 daily and they have to be under 25 to move the the next level.

  30. JustAnotherVolunteer

    Thanks for the link to the Filaxis influencer insurance site. In a former life I was an Internet privacy and security expert and I always read the terms of service on any new website.

    These are a treat:

    “The spiders are here and you must let them in. We reserve the right to let the spiders in.”

    1. flora

      o.m.g, that entire terms of service list is hilarious! (intentionally hilarious, I assume.) I’ve bookmarked it to send to friends who will get the joke. Thanks.

  31. Mikel

    RE: “Just Don’t Expect “Pent-up Demand” from Consumers. Here’s Why” Wolf Richter

    I’ve read before that in a lot of “third world/developing” countries that food eats up a lot of the budget for spending.

  32. Susan the other

    The New Yorker on the Uighurs in Xinjiang and the Kazakhs and the Hui. Setting up a lucrative prison labor system? But something tells me there is far more to the story than sweat shops making fast clothing for export. I have no evidence but I’d be inclined to think that what is actually being force-manufactured in Xinjiang is military stuff. For China. Interesting story however.

  33. hamstak

    This forthcoming report to be aired on 60 Minutes has me — I won’t call it concerned — let’s just say curious:

    Survivors describe Iranian missile attack on Al Asad Airbase

    Superficially, this seems to me to be an attempt to encourage sympathy for the injured servicemembers and outrage towards Iran in order to justify a return to “surging” in the region. Furthermore, there is a JCPOA angle on this as the US wants to renegotiate the agreement and fold limitations on Iran’s missile program into the negotiations.

    If we start to see this story, or this specific take on the story appear more broadly in the MSM, then it might be time to start paying special attention.

    1. Procopius

      I shouldn’t burden the moderators, but I have to object to your statement,

      … there is a JCPOA angle on this as the US wants to renegotiate the agreement and fold limitations on Iran’s missile program into the negotiations.

      Assumes facts not in evidence. Blinken’s demand that Iran return to full compliance before talks can start is, to my mind, solid evidence that they have no intention whatsoever of returning to the agreement. If nothing else, the refusal failure to rescind Trump’s added sanctions is clear evidence of bad faith.

  34. Cuibono

    “warns that the impending fertility crisis poses a global threat comparable to that of the climate crisis.”

    Fixed that for you:
    “warns that the impending fertility crisis poses a global threat that could solve the climate crisis”

    1. Massinissa

      Wouldn’t actually happen fast enough to stop it. Multiple things are going to get screwed by 2050. The idea that depopulation will solve all our problems don’t understand that the climate crisis will progress much faster than even just two generations. I get that it’s mostly a joke, but we don’t have that kind of time.

      Still, the original version makes even less sense. It’s not as if there’s much chance of fertility hitting zero and dooming human civilization. The climate crisis is much more of a threat than that.

  35. fresno dan

    I got my covid vaccine this morning – about 5 hours ago. I got the Pfizer 1st dose. My second dose is scheduled for March 20. So huge line this morning, but it is moving right along – took about half an hour to get the shot, and 15 minutes of sitting after the shot to wait to see if any adverse reactions (none). Right now, no after effects at all except some muscular pain if I move my arm just right (don’t move your arm!)
    By the time I left there was zero line – next time I will be late instead of early like everybody else, who probably will be late instead of early….
    I did the vaccine at the Big Fresno Fair site – I had tried to register at the Kaiser site, but even though they said you did not have to be a Kaiser health plan member to get the shot at the Kaiser site, the registration site wouldn’t let me register without a Kaiser plan ID. So I did the Fresno fairgrounds site. I would say the vast majority of participants were Hispanic. It was for the over 65 and health care workers, so there appeared to be a few under 65 as well.
    Other than the fact that it was windy (it’s never windy in Fresno) and 44 degrees this morning, making it rather chilly this morning, the whole process was no fuss no muss and went very well. Maybe in a couple of weeks we can drive the infection rate out of the purple zone and into the yellow zone.

  36. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Just talked to my grandmother who lives in a swanky retirement community in Nola, and she said that everyone has been vaccinated including residents and staff. 100%. Im breathing a huge sigh of relief!

  37. Sue inSoCal

    Whichever you’d like. It’s not unexpected, at least not to me. (But it’s the Democratic Party, imho, nonetheless.) Harris’s following a parliamentarian is reprehensible, yet not surprising. Is anyone seriously looking for a progressive cell in her body? Call to mind the insanity of Jan 6. I do not think that Harris will be allowed to be president if/when it comes to that and unless something is done about the crazies in Congress, I’ve no idea what that will look like. (Just random thoughts, but I’m thinking specifically of CPAC nutters.)

    I agree with several of the comments about failing upward. Ms Harris had one of the worst campaigns ever. But I guess that worked for her. All I can say is good luck, USA. So much of this country has utterly lost its grasp on reality.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those Americans who feel they personally still have a grasp on reality should find eachother and try setting up their own Reality Grasper Buddy Systems. Maybe they can do more and make their localities into Separate Standalone Reality Based Survival Communities. If they can take over some entire states, they could turn those states into Reality Based Separate Survival States.

      Of course, given what global warming/ water famine/overpopulation/ etc. is going to do to Southern California, is it reality-grasping to stay in Southern California?

      1. ambrit

        That should be Buddy of Reality Grasper System, ie. BoRGS.
        As for South California, as separate from the Bear Republic of North California, the prognosis is for a mass die off over the next thirty years. Unless commercial scale desalinization plants can be worked out. A passive, solar powered system would be best. The power for the pumps would be the main energy cost. Why, even that could be done through solar heat powered steam driven electric generators. The waste water could be used for crop irrigation.
        All it takes is the political will. Now, where have we seen any of that lately?

  38. drumlin woodchuckles

    Who should pay to fix the electric grid? The ratepayers. All of them.

    The more they have to pay, the less electricity they can afford to waste. The way to encourage conservation is to punish waste. And the way to punish waste is with punitive pricing.

    So make the ratepayers pay to fix the grid.

    1. The Rev Kev

      How about nationalizing those companies and using all those profits to upgrade the networks instead of enriching shareholders and executive bonuses? Then, when the day arrives that the network is fully upgraded, maybe sell it back into the market with the proviso that certain upgrading & maintenance still has to be done – or else. A snapback provision so to say.

      1. ambrit

        Electricity is the backbone of ‘moderne’ Terran human civilization. It is too important to be left in the hands of any private organizations.
        Heavy industry really is the province of a Command Economy. (Fighting over who gives the commands is the fun part.)

  39. lobelia

    Re: Katniss Everdeen February 27, 2021 at 10:38 am

    RE: House Democrats ask Biden to give up sole power to launch nuclear bomb New York Post….The rumor is Biden is so out of it he has to be briefed before landing as to where he is going.

    In a letter sent Tuesday but publicized Wednesday, 31 lawmakers led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) urge the commander in chief to “consider modifying the decision-making process the United States uses in its command and control of nuclear forces.”
    In terms of alternatives, the two California Democrats suggested a number of options.

    One would be to require that the vice president and speaker of the House of Representatives concur with the president’s decision to strike.

    The image of these two harpies attempting to have themselves declared arbiters of significant presidential responsibility is beyond disturbing. The conclusion that they and their allies behind the curtain foisted a debilitated, incompetent biden on the country so that they could assume presidential power without the bother of occupying the office is inescapable.

    Yep, and would love to know who those other signatories were (of course the letter’s paywalled at its original Politico source), and how many more were from California: Nancy; Schiff; etc. (if there’s a shadow government™, you can bet it’s always been the Empire Republic of California); where Kamala has made sure to make oodles of corrupt pay to player fwends in the: Federal and California Legislative Branches; Sacramento; San Francisco; Silicon Valley; Hollowwood; and US Law Enforcement™.

    As to those bets about who would be Unelected Kamala’s VP choice, my money’s on Sleazebag California Governor Gavin Newsom, who endorsed her in the primaries, and is being defended by BiMala ( 02/23/21 believe me, it’s not just about those lockdowns, those who never vote Republican despise Newsom, because he’s a duplicitous, power striver scumbag); but first he’ll probably run against her in the Primaries™, with the same frigid, backstabbing, toothpaste smirk grin, and the same humungous crew of Physical Appearance Stylists.

    America has never been ready to elect a woman, or black person (sans: nannies; a wealthy/powerful spouse, or parent; or State Department cherry picked immigrant parents), who actually was born and raised here – and, lived the typical female, and/or black citizen experience in the US, as President. Also, I doubt even that the US would elect two women who appear to be steeped in the brutal Brahmin caste system which the US, and Silicon Valley in Particular, adores because of Identity Politics loopholes which can’t be attacked like the Horrid Faux Christian White™ Caste System can – perhaps one, but not two; so that leaves Gavin [Getty] Newsom as VP choice.

    (Wasn’t even going to comment, but this comment was provoked by a totally LOUD, totally unexpected and unsolicited text from [Berkeley, California Husband/Wife Technocrat Millionaires Based] Move On™ though I’m unable to text and never do, (how did they get my phone number???); regarding how (short excerpt):

    Stacy Abrams reminds us … …. Now we must join together… … fight back against GOP attacks on Joe & Kamala.
    Reply HARRIS & we’ll share periodic texts….& send you a free “Madame
    Vice President” sticker!

    (Shove it, all of you Liars. Nothing about those checks they lied about, homeless dying of hypothermia, the minimum wage increase, or the bombing and death they’ve quickly engaged in.)

    The sound of that unexpected text horrified me, as I’ve been on a potential death watch for someone I deeply love for months now who was criminally ill treated in one of California’s countless and utterly despicable, For Profit Care Facilities™, this one in a 100% Blue™ run community with a multitude of impoverished minorities.)

    Who are these monsters who have no regard for life outside of their own, despite having their personal: epicurean tastes; housing; health; and economic needs; way more than fully met?

    gotta run

    1. JBird409

      Please, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel!

      But yeah, the state has become increasingly like a third world national with the classic pyramidal social and class system of a tiny wealthy, multi generation, ruling oligarchy comprised of a few families, a small middle class of servants, and then everyone else. A broad class of the poor. An increasingly corrupt and incompetent government that mainly serves the oligarchy including the family businesses.

      1. Phillip Cross

        AKA a return to the historically normal state of affairs in large human social groups.

        I have a suspicion that “They” allowed things to seem more equitable for a while in order to defeat communism. Now they don’t have to pretend any more.

  40. The Rev Kev

    on the US announcing no sanctions for the Saudi Crown Prince over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder’

    Jake Tapper does NOT sound happy about this development. I guess Nancy Pelosi will have to tell him to ‘calm down’ again.

    1. ambrit

      If you saw the miniature swords attached to the foot spurs of those chickens, you would understand how it happened.
      Cock fighting really is a blood sport. It’s still done in the more rural areas here Down South. My father-in-law knew a big time breeder of fighting cocks. I couldn’t stomach the fights. I felt sorry for the birds suffering in the ‘ring.’ That a fighting cock killed a handler is poetic justice of the most sublime sort.

  41. KFritz

    Re: Guardian Polluted Americn Drinking Water article

    Here in the Southern Central Valley of California our jurisdiction’s tap water originates @ 2300 ft below the surface. It’s chockablock full of natural and man-made dangerous chemicals, including heavy metals. No one, but no one, drinks or cooks with tap water. Not the poorest campesino. Here at the moment, our lousy tap water affects almost no one’s health, but it does impose a kind of taxation on everyone, in the form of bottled water purchases. My most trusted health care professional advised me not to use a tap purifier or to buy purified water at the numerous local machines and outlets. I spend $25 per month on water after redeeming the bottles for the deposit. Others spend more for the convenience of smaller bottles. During last year’s panic buying, in this place, bottled water was rationed very carefully.

  42. Alex

    After reading Matt Taibbi student loan story I feel much more sympathetic to people calling for deregulation. If what he writes is true the level of gatekeeping is ridiculous.

    Many teachers in the schools I was in didn’t have teaching certificates and I’d say that on average they were better than the ones who had them.

Comments are closed.