Links 3/4/2021

Cuttlefish show self-control, pass ‘marshmallow test’ Live Science. Le Bourgeois Céphalopode.

Astonishing moment ‘Britain’s hardest cat’ sees off a much bigger FOX after tense standoff over food Daily Mail

The man who saves forgotten cats in Fukushima’s nuclear zone Reuters

Fukushima timeline from the perspective of workers in the control room; amazing stuff:

The Inflation Regime Change Is Already Upon Us John Authers


COVID-19: Police arrest 84 people as thousands of fake coronavirus vaccines seized in China and South Africa Sky News

* * *

New mask wars threaten Biden’s pandemic response at critical moment Politico

Biden criticizes Texas and Mississippi for lifting restrictions: ‘Neanderthal thinking’ CNN. Liberal Democrats discover new way to call their opponents stupid, film at 11.

These Texas chains will still require masks once the state’s mandate is lifted CNN

Collective punishment:

* * *

Should Your School Be Fully Open? Here’s What the C.D.C. Says NYT. “Only 4 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren live in counties where coronavirus transmission is low enough for full-time in-person learning without additional restrictions, according to the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an analysis of the agency’s latest figures.” Oh. Lots of maps.

Clusters of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Elementary School Educators and Students in One School District — Georgia, December 2020–January 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC suppresses ventilation measures again:

Multifaceted mitigation measures in schools, including promotion of COVID-19 precautions outside of school, minimizing in-person adult interactions at school, and ensuring universal and correct mask use and physical distancing among educators and students when in-person interaction is unavoidable, are important in preventing in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Although not required for reopening schools, COVID-19 vaccination should be considered as an additional mitigation measure to be added when available.

FAQs: Portable Air Cleaners (PDF) San Francisco Department of Public Health

* * *

Fast-spreading UK variant of coronavirus detected in wastewater samples throughout Missouri St Louis Today. From February, still germane.

COVID vaccination studies: plan now to pool data, or be bogged down in confusion Nature

The key ingredient that could hold back vaccine manufacturing Recode

The Vaccine Revolution Is Coming Inside Tiny Bubbles of Fat Bloomberg

A universal coronavirus vaccine could stop the next pandemic Wired


US sets out security agenda ‘to prevail in strategic competition with China’, other nations South China Morning Post. For the agenda — which is short, labeled “interim,” and looks like an unserious effort for domestic consumption, to me — see the Biden Administration section.

US vs China: Biden bets on alliances to push back against Beijing FT

China Is Not Ten Feet Tall Foreign Affairs

China Is Losing Influence—and That Makes It Dangerous Foreign Policy

Factbox: China’s controversial anal tests for coronavirus upset visitors Reuters. Soft power, eh?

Beijing public health workers the least willing in China to get Covid-19 vaccine, survey finds South China Morning Post

Back-to-Back Defaults in China Shrugged Off in Credit Market Bloomberg

How Factory Workers Turn the Tables on China’s Big Online Lenders Sixth Tone

Hong Kong removed from economic freedom ranking it once dominated Channel News Asia

A rather unpalatable legal process Boase Cohen & Collins


Myanmar army tells U.N. it is ready to weather sanctions, isolation, envoy says Reuters

Couchfish: “Oh sh*t this is real—there is a coup” Couchfish

How the CDM can win Frontier Myanmar

The Koreas

Migrant workers face dire conditions at South Korean farms Channel News Asia


Saudi sovereign wealth fund planes transported Khashoggi kill team Responsible Statecraft

The road to nowhere: Israel tarmacs over peace with the Palestinians Prospect UK

All futurism is Afrofuturism Noah Smith, Noahpinion


Covid-19, trust, and Wellcome: how charity’s pharma investments overlap with its research efforts British Medical Journal

5 takeaways from Nicola Sturgeon’s evidence in Salmond probe Politico

Tensions between EU and UK inflamed over Northern Ireland FT

Doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Pile Up in Europe Amid Government Restrictions WSJ

It’s Time to Checkmate Nord Stream II Heritage Foundation

Head of French church child abuse probe says there may be 10,000 victims France24

Biden Administration

Team Biden surprises with positive vaccine news The Hill. This is good news.

Renewing America’s Advantages: Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (PDF) The White House. See the China section for China’s reaction.

Biden’s Bare-Minimum Response to Russia’s Attempted Navalny Assassination The New Yorker

Moderate Democrats Strip Stimulus Checks From 12 Million Voters for No Reason Eric Levitz, New York Magazine. 2020 margin was 7 million…..

Minimum Wage Increase Is One Priority That Democrats Need to Try to Pass Teen Vogue. Commentary:

Hostage-taking on this issue is, politically, much cleaner than on #MedicareForAll.

Biden’s strategic failure Politico. In the 11th dimension, however, Biden is not failing.

Column: Biden’s $1.9-trillion big spend is a big bet on modern economic theory Los Angeles Times

Intelligence Community

A Glimpse of Bill Burns’ CIA Cipher Brief

Capitol Seizure

House cancels Thursday session after police warn of ‘possible plot to breach the Capitol‘ The Hill

Lawmakers grill officials on Jan. 6 timeline for deploying National Guard to Capitol ABC

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Verizon’s NFL Covid-19 Screening Cameras Are Based on Bad Science and Questionable Chinese Hardware The Intercept

Our Famously Free Press

Daily Mail owner buys New Scientist magazine in £70m deal Guardian. Weirdly, the Daily Mail’s science coverage has always been respectable.

Michael Tubbs on disinformation, racism, and news deserts CJR

Health Care

Rural Hospitals Risk Closure Due to Covid-19-Related Drop in Revenue in 2021 Daily Yonder

Guillotine Watch

Wealthy Keys enclave received COVID vaccines in January before much of the state Miami Herald

Class Warfare

Young vs Old in Amazon’s Divide vs. Conquer Strategy – Dem Machine Revved Up to Fight Back – Terri Sewell & Doug Jones Speaks Out Payday Report

Amazon Worker Who Suddenly Died After Working in COVID Testing Area Complained About Unsafe Conditions Status Coup. “According to her sister and other sources who worked with her in the DDC3 warehouse in Virginia, Brown had been administering COVID-19 nasal swab tests on co-workers for months before her death. While doing so, she wasn’t provided the proper N-95 mask, surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, or other protective measures nurses and doctors are supposed to wear while conducting COVID-19 testing.”

25 Days of the British Gas Strike Tribune

125 people got $500 per month free for 2 years. Here’s what happened. WFAA

US policymakers lose faith in official unemployment rate FT

Transparent wood is coming, and it could make an energy-efficient alternative to glass The Conversation

Climate Change and Infrastructure Collapse Are Our Future If We Don’t Act Teen Vogue

Antidote du jour:

Good kitty (1).

Bonus antidote:

Good kitty (2).

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. jr

    Re: incredible old book find

    *paging Geo*

    I was walking to the store yesterday when I happened upon this in a bag set out on a stoop:

    It’s the Encyclopedia of Masonry, 1924, in two volumes. I’m not a Mason but there is a lot of cool stuff in them.

      1. jr

        Thanks, JB! To clarify, they were free! Now I have to do a little research on caring for them. They crackle like Fall leaves when I open them. Utoob has some videos.

  2. cnchal

    > Young vs Old in Amazon’s Divide vs. Conquer Strategy – Dem Machine Revved Up to Fight Back – Terri Sewell & Doug Jones Speaks Out Payday Report

    Now that President Biden has stepped into the ring and has started fighting on behalf of workers, Congressional Democrats have more momentum to become involved in Alabama.

    I will believe that when Biden punches Bezos in the mouth.

    Amazon shopper = whip cracking sadist

    1. Carla

      I will believe it when Biden’s Justice dept. brings an antitrust case against Amazon and racketeering charges against Bezos.

    2. Josef K

      It seems to me Bezos is a deeply disturbed* person who could only be where he is, doing what he’s doing, in a similarly deeply disturbed system.
      He is a suppurating symptom of our pathological political economy.
      Waiting on the karma of retribution but not holding my breath.

      *Even the greed alone, at levels magnitudes of order below his, should be considered a mental disorder.

  3. zagonostra

    >1/6 – Pentagon prevented immediate response to mob, says Guard chief – The Hill

    I did not see this in yesterday or today’s links, apologies if posted already.

    The D.C. National Guard chief on Wednesday told lawmakers he would have “immediately” activated his forces to assist U.S. Capitol Police on Jan. 6 if his authority had not been restricted by the Pentagon.

    Walker on Wednesday told lawmakers about a Jan. 5 letter from acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller that restricted his ability to deploy the Quick Reaction Force and seek approval from higher ups before moving his National Guard forces. Walker called the letter unusual.

      1. SufferinSuccotash

        If I were Chris Miller I would be currently residing in a country which has no extradition treaty with the US.

    1. The Historian

      Sad to say that stories like this one just reinforce my belief that there was actually a plot to take over the government – no, not by the majority of people who stormed the Capitol – they were just caught up in the emotion of the moment – but by some of the extreme militias working with some ‘true believers’ in the military. But those ‘true believers’ should have taken a moment to recall history – like in 1812, you can’t count on militias to do your dirty work.

      I wonder if Congress actually has the guts to subpoena Miller and ask him the hard questions.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Especially within the context of the Pence endangerment. In an emergency, I suspect he would be looked to like when Cheney was running things on 9/11 during Shrub’s nap.

    2. Carolinian

      I’m so old I can remember this story. Oh wait it was only last summer.

      Former Secretary Mattis, a retired Marine general, lambasted both Trump and Esper in an essay in The Atlantic on Wednesday for their consideration of using the active-duty military in law enforcement – and for the use of the National Guard in clearing out a largely peaceful protest near the White House on Monday evening.

      “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate,’” Mattis wrote, referencing quotes by Esper and Trump respectively. “Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict – a false conflict – between the military and civilian society.”

      The NYT even fired their editorial page editor for allowing an op-ed advocating the use of troops against the BLM protests that often became riots. Perhaps on 1/6 Muriel Bowser, Miller and the others were concerned about “optics” and getting on the wrong side of the Times.

      Of course it’s all battlespace now. Will that wall around the capitol ever come down?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        That was also mentioned in the hearings yesterday. The Pentagon was not a fan of the optics when the National Guard is called in to subdue protestors.

        The problem arises when you point out that last summer the protests were mostly against the executive while the Jan 6th protests were mostly for the executive.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        The word ‘often’ in conjunction with ‘riot’ creates a inaccurate depiction of the majority of BLM protests. A fair number of them devolved into vandalism on the fringes of the protests, primarily – as in my city – well after the actual marches were over. However much of the vandalism and theft associated with BLM protests was unclear in origin and occurred under cover of darkness, away from the actual protest action. (I.e. the massive storefront vandalism and theft in Manhattan did not occur during an organized protest march, and some of it appeared to have been organized by criminals using the BLM movement for cover). I do not know if anywhere near a majority of the BLM protests suffered any related lawlessness. I suspect not, simply because most public gatherings do not in fact ever generate the kind of sexy-bad happenings our media always wants to find and “cover”.

        The lawlessness that occurred along side BLM protests was rarely comparable in scale to the mass push against Capitol police that occurred at the head of the January 6th Trump protest. That was a full bore riot that erupted during the main protest event. Those rioters stopped Congress during joint session, forced their way into the chambers, and held up the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

        It is propagandistic to portray such a significant, clearly political riot as less damaging or contemptible than spates of opportunistic theft and vandalism in cities far from the seat of the federal government.

        1. Carolinian

          Just a few bad eggs eh? Tell that to Atlanta, NYC, Seattle, Chicago, St. Paul, etc

          Of course the defenders of 1/6 would say it was also a few bad eggs.

          Neither of the above claims is relevant to my point which is that intellectual consistency is not a thing among our media elites.

          1. m

            Don’t forget Portland, Oregon. Sure in the past it was full of homeless, but now the city is in ruins. Glad I didn’t go there for school.

      3. Josef K

        I think you’re trying to compare two things while glossing over crucial differences. It seems to be a pattern in your commentary since 1/6–of course you’re welcome to your opinion, but I find it poorly argued. For one, the force already defendin the Capitol building in both case was so different it would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Did you forget about that?

        Never mind the composition of the protesters–how many militiad-up BLM protesters carrying flex cuffs (that they found lying around in open lockers dontcha know), tasers, never mind an M4 or two in the van? How many of them got into the Capitol professing to want the heads of lawmakers on a pike?

        Last, the suggestion that Trump or anyone in that administration would respond to concerns at the NYT is, to my mind, risible.

        1. Carolinian

          According to some Repubs it was Muriel Bowser, DC mayor and Democrat, who called off the pre deployment of the Guard due to the “optics.” Also perhaps–and of course i’m inferring–perhaps due to disapproval by the millenials who seem to run the NYT these days.

          And at the time I most definitely said those events were Trump’s fault in that he should have simply conceded. Guess you missed that while following my comments. That doesn’t make it a planned “insurrection.” Indeed despite our crack news media I’m not sure even now we know what really happened that day in all its details.

          1. Josef K

            The point re Bowser could be true even if some Republicans said so, but it’s a detail, however important, in a much larger narrative, within which many arrows point at the Trump administration delaying any counterforce to the demonstrators/rioters.

            I have been following the commentary here regarding 1/6, and any frequent commenters, or those commenting repetitiously, would naturally register with me; that doesn’t mean I was following their comments, or them, specifically.

        2. Anthony Noel

          Well I can turn that around and say how many 1/6 protestors took over a 6 block zone of a major U.S city, drove out the police, formed armed “security” patrols, assualted and drove out reporters, and setup up armed barricaded check points to control access to said zone.

          The Seattle CHAZ was far more of an armed insurrection and violent overthrow of an existing government then anything a bunch of confused, angry people milling about in the capitol building, taking selfies, stealing furniture to sell on e-bay and then leaving of their own accord after a couple of hours, accomplished or attempted.

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      We need to know more about what was behind this order. I saw a retweet a few weeks ago of someone I’d never heard of who claimed there was such a restrictive order for the purpose of setting a trap for Trump that he dutifully fell into, thus triggering the desired PR disaster for the lame duck president. I doubt the order came out of the backside of the SecDef, especially considering Miller was a place-holder who’d only been in the office less than two months. Who “strongly suggested” he do it?

    4. David

      There’s no democracy I can think of where a decision to send armed troops to confront potentially armed demonstrators in a parliament building would (or should) be taken by a military officer of any rank, let alone a junior local commander. In most countries this is a decision which would have to be approved by the Head of State of Government, or, in their absence, the Minister of the Interior. If there’s a criticism here, it is that some kind of emergency control centre ought to have been set up with a high-ranking politician in charge, able to take decisions quickly.

      1. jsn

        That the former was done without the latter does support the view that the outcome achieved was the outcome desired at the level these decision.

        Standing down enforcment and not alerting authority has a highly predictable outcome, not in the details, but in general.

    5. chuck roast

      Have we forgotten so soon? I used to like the ashcan of history, but the virtues of the memory hole always eluded me. During December of 2020 there was increasing anxiety amongst the ruling elite that Trump would either incite a coup or call out the military to suppress a bogus coup in order to remain in power. High up past and present war criminals were writing letters and instructing the military to as they would say in the third world, remain in barracks. So, now Walker, who apparently did the right thing, has now done the wrong thing

    6. kirk seidenbecker

      Here’s the video that caused Google to ban from advertising on YouTube – the banned video starts @7:20 in –

      In the piece, Paul Jay provides “tip of the iceberg” evidence of a Jan.6th coup attempt.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Just because Google is wrong doesn’t make Jay right. If mollycoddled, gaslit, and self-important liberal Democrats want to understand what a real coup looks like, I suggest they begin to follow recent events in Myanmar. After all, the Myanmar government has a lot of techniques that might prove useful in amping of the powers of our own organs of state security,

  4. Darthbobber

    Sirota only mentions that 6 house democrats could counter Manchin. But not that 1 Senate democrat could do the same. Seems a bit selective.

    1. Keith

      I think it is about taking a script from the Freedom Caucus. They were happy to tank legislation, depose Speakers and shut down the govt. For all their antics, they ultimately won. The hard left has leverage in the House, if they so choose to exert it. Tanking major legislation and/or shutting down the govt has the potential of getting various Senators to back down for common ground in order to “get the government back to work.” It is also much more of a productive tactic than whining on Twitter, unless their goals are to fund raise off the issue in perpetuity.

      1. Darthbobber

        And what is the reason for suggesting that the heavy lifting should be done by 6 people in the house (which has already passed it’s version), and not by-say- one Senator Sanders who, if inclined, has the same leverage as those six representatives?

        1. Keith

          Reality and tradition. Sanders may be full of bluster, but he will back down and toe the party line, ditto for Warren and the other Senators. The flamerthrowers and party movers come from the House and their ability to upend legislation in a tight caucus.

          Team Dem does not have any Cruz’s or Paul’s in the Senate, so any antics will have to be launched from the house. Further, the Freedom Caucus, IIRC, is what helped launched the harder right pols into the Senate. The old guard is comfortable where they are, so looking to them in the 1000th term to “this time” push your pursued legislation is folly.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Or what about one of the supposedly moderate republicans like Collins? She likes to pretend she’s the swing vote on anything important, so force her to publicly explain why she’s against legislation that has such a high public approval. If Joe is really such a bipartisan fellow, why can’t he reach across the aisle to put some pressure on?

          Of course we all know the answer to that.

        3. Big River Bandido

          Sanders’ leverage — to influence the Senate version of the bill — is played out. He will likely have little or no leverage in choosing the Senate conferees to the conference committee. But a small, organized group of House members has the power to stall and even block passage of legislation. If such a group can demonstrate such leverage, the Senate conferees might be given relaxed instructions from “leadership”, for the sake of passing relief that Senators cannot be seen to block.

          It’s good politics for those “reform Democrats” to use elbows now. All the optics are clearly in their favor.

    2. Jen

      Let’s not let Manchin hog all the credit. The New York Magazine article also name checks the lamentable Senator Jeanne Shaheen from NH. As one of her constituents, I am disgusted, but not at all surprised.

      This segment on Rising also calls her out.

      I gave her office a call this morning to register my outrage and disgust.

      1. Darthbobber

        I’m reasonably sure, given their history, that there are at least a half dozen democratic Senators who would bloc with Manchin if push came to shove. Since he suffices as a public stumbling block and is willing to be vocal, they presently are happy to hide in his shadow.

        1. Jen

          Shaheen has a propensity to make a few progressive noises when she feels the winds shifting. She made a great show of palling around with Warren and Sherrod Brown in 2014. Co-sponsored Bernie’s Medicare for all bill in 2017.

          I’m not sure how she would bloc on this one if she’s called out into the open on it.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “US sets out security agenda ‘to prevail in strategic competition with China’, other nations”

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken was a bit more forthcoming about all this in a speech he made this week when he said: “China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system — all the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to, because it ultimately serves the interests and reflects the values of the American people.”

    Saying the quiet bits out loud. I thought that only Trump did that.

  6. RandomSci

    I believe the reason for Fukushima hitting the radar again this week is because the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) just released a report,

    “Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident, Ten Years On: Progress, Lessons and Challenges”

    “This report presents the current situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and the responses by Japanese authorities and the international community since the accident. It will assist both policymakers and the general public to understand the multi-dimensional issues stemming from the accident. These include disaster recovery, compensation for damages, nuclear safety, nuclear regulation, radiation protection, plant decommissioning, radioactive waste management, psycho-social issues in the community and societal resilience.
    Building on two previous reports released by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency in 2013 and 2016, the report examines the plant’s future, that of the affected region and population, as well as outlining areas for further improvement and how the international community can help.”

    I think it’s worth mentioning as well that different countries have very different reactor designs, local geology, regulation etc. Fukushima became the latest ‘poster boy’ for anti-nuclear, but nuclear is an important part of the power grid for many countries and the specific benefits/ challenges can be quite regional.

    1. Keith

      It is also an important part of the goal for green power and carbon reduction, hence all the research and hub bub about nuclear and especially mini-reactors, in the US, at least.

        1. occasional anonymous

          Literally a non-issue. Dump it in the ocean. That amount (and what a dishonest article. Since when do we measure liquids in tons? Seriously looks like they just wanted a big, scary looking number) is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the amount of water in the Pacific.

          They’ll probably never do this because the PR would be bad, because most people are nuclear troglodytes who think fallout is some sort of magical juju poison that instantly makes anything in its vicinity lethal. It isn’t. It’s a finite number of decaying isotopes that will be diluted in the vast amount of water of an entire freaking ocean.

          Dump it in the ocean and put a generous no-fishing zone around the dumpsite. Problem gone.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its in the news because the 10th anniversary of the tsunami and meltdown is next week.

  7. The Rev Kev

    Michael Moore: ‘Texas – we hear you. You didn’t want to be part of our electrical grid. And now you’ve removed your mask mandate & are allowing large crowds to gather. We hear you! COVID is a hoax! So u don’t need our precious vaccine. We’ll send it to ppl who are saving lives by wearing masks.’

    I regret to say that Michael Moore’s best years are truly behind him now. Does he seriously want to punish all 29 million people in Texas as a result of the actions of a few? I think that TDS pushed him over the edge in that after criticizing people for supporting Hillary Clinton, he became a full supporter. And this led him to not only support Biden & Kamala but at one time he smeared Tulsi Gabbard as well. I guess that he signed up for the whole lessor of two evils line of thought but after all the good work that he has done, you think that he would know better.

    1. jr

      Dore roasted his plump hocks a few months back for his TDS:

      Moore’s unmoored. And like King, his calls for collective punishment are immoral. What we need is more Moore morality.

      Someone stop me, please.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I have significant problems with TDS-era Moore, but Biden’s characterization of anti-masker politicians is mostly a “shoe fits” instance. Maybe ‘Neanderthal’ is even being too kind.

        Stopped clock or not, I thought this video of Moore predicting and explaining why Trump would win the 2016 race vs. Clinton was the best and most succinct take on the election I saw in the run up to it.

        1. jr

          Thanks, KS, I totally agree. Moore was right on point AFAIK up until I heard that Dore show.

    2. someone

      Isn’t that what the US and allies is good a doing, punishing millions for the bad actions of a few? see N Korea, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, Cuba….

      Don’t get me wrong, I have no love for the leaders of these countries, but its been a longs standing US policy is to punish the ENTIRE country for its leader’s malevolence.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Love the unquestioning acceptance of the Narrative that the leaders of the countries you name are doing “bad actions.” One could write pages on the relative goodness or badness of the leaders of Venezuela, Iraq, Iran and especially Cuba toward the populace in each, maybe modulo N. Korea. Far as I can see, the only common thread there is that said leaders did not toe the Imperial line.

        And, of course, the US actively supports leaders in places like Ukraine and Saudi Arabia and Guatemala and Brazil that demonstrably DO real bad things to the people they rule, with help from the US and its vassals and allies (like Israel.)

        And let’s all remember that the US Imperial rulers collectively punish Mope Americans every stinking day under a regime of looting and upward wealth transfer that is truly Exceptional…

        Re Moore’s remarks on Texas, might I suggest that Moore, as a proponent of hyperbolic satire, was hardly chargeable, from that single tweet, with damning Texans. Just pointing out the “policies” of elected, ELECTED, leaders there, who along with the wealthy few have powered the waves of propaganda that plain old Texans have had to surf on over generations of successful power politics. I wonder what Molly Ivins would have had to say about this kerfuffle.

        Amazing how “canceling” has become so seductive and so easy to apply.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Your last sentence captures the spirit of these times. It seems unsafe to have or express any opinion except the ‘Right’ opinion expressed in the ‘Right’ words. I may need to come up with a questionnaire for prospective persons I might attempt to converse with so I can gauge what ‘Right’ is when conversing with them.

      2. Milton

        What exactly are the aforementioned countries’ leaders doing that is any worse than our (US) leaders?
        I’ll tell you what they are not doing–killing millions of innocents abroad.

        1. wilroncanada

          To be more pugnacious, I was going to ask the above writer of the original post if he could give us the names of the malefactious leaders of all those countries which are on our bad-boy list to which he refers. Could he name more than one “leader” in each of those countries, or could he also name a couple of capable opposition leaders of any of those wicked countries.

      3. Tim W

        Seems off. Disobedience, intransigence, stubborness….
        But all reflective of the imperial arrogance that believes it is our right to tell others how to live. We hold the moral high ground nowhere.

      4. Temporarily Sane

        What do you actually know about the leaders, and political systems, of all of those countries?

        By saying “I have no love for the leaders of these countries but its been a longs standing US policy is to punish the ENTIRE country for its leader’s malevolence” you are implying that it’s okay for the US to judge and “punish” those leaders.

        That makes you part of the problem and no different from politicians who say “our beef is not with the people of Iran (or wherever) it’s only the leadership that we don’t like and need to get rid of.”

        It’s called imperialism.

    3. pebird

      FWIW as a reminder, Texas sent about 200 firefighters to California during the wildfires.

    4. km

      Tribalism is only intensifying, both Team D and Team R. Not only are both Teams ever more eager to actively punish the other Team and its supporters, they seek to inflict harm on entire states that don’t vote the way that they want.

      Start liking it. As politics turns into an ever more zero-sum game (and as the actual policy differences between the Teams continue to narrow), this will only intensify.

      1. Keith

        I would say wait until the food inflation starts to really hit here, like Arab spring style. People can stay beaten down for a while, but once they cannot feed their families, they start to get a bit uppity. Add in the bifurcation of the economy intensifying, you will have the seeds to destruction (perhaps a bit of hyperbole). But it will be just in time for the wonderful weather of spring and summer as states open them selves up. Could be an interesting summer.

        1. km

          Assuming that happens, don’t be surprised if Team D cultists blame Team R, and Team R cultists blame Team D, and both Teams’ respective cultists also blame anyone who doesn’t identify with one Team or the other.

          Anything, not to finally admit that they been played.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        To paraphrase a quote attributed, perhaps incorrectly, to Woodrow Wilson*: The fights between the two legacy parties are so bitter because the differences are so small.
        * “Academic politics are so bitter because the stakes are so small.”

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s not Nader’s fault, but would it be a good time to remind everyone of Moore’s 2000 support for Nader? Without Moore, Texas’s favorite adopted idiot might not have made it into the White House.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        I was amazed to find out that Michael Moore was in charge of vaccine distribution. Maybe he can also fill in that blank spot over at OMB if he cleans up his Twitter account first.

      2. Alex Cox

        Why is Nader always blamed by liberals for the election of Bush, and not the Libertarian or Republican voters, or Gore, an inept candidate who failed to carry his home state?

        The Greens owe the Democrats exactly nothing.

        1. Jason

          Nader ran because, in his words, “there was nothing left to work with” in the Democratic Party. Clinton entirely gutted it, essentially completing Al From’s project from hell.

          Nader was very prescient. Others, not so much.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Good question and good point. I have seen analyses which note that had Gore gotten any other particular chunk of “lost votes” in Florida, he would have won Florida beyond the “zone of doubt” even without the votes for Nader. Which might not have gone for Gore anyway, even if Nader had not run.

          But motive matters also. Nader was motivated by spite and hate, and his intention was to get Bush elected by getting Gore defeated, even if he was not the one to actually achieve that.

          One thing I remember the Greens for was running the Republican McGaw against the Democrat Wellstone in the Minnesota Senate election, precisely to get Wellstone defeated.
          I think we owe the loathsome and disgusting Greens our hatred and despisement.

          1. Randy G

            Woodchuckles indeed… Wow, so it’s the “loathsome and disgusting Greens” who must be hated and despised for our current Neoliberal Hellscape! Not the two corrupt corporate parties that actually control and run everything.

            Who would have guessed it!? But it makes total and complete sense: took an opinion piece straight out of The Onion to get me to realize that I’ve been blaming the wrong politicians!

            1. Jason

              But motive matters also. Nader was motivated by spite and hate, and his intention was to get Bush elected by getting Gore defeated, even if he was not the one to actually achieve that.

              Everyone ought to know Nader was operating entirely out of spite and hate. If everyone didn’t, drumlin made it clear for us. We should take his word for it.

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              ” Blaming the Greens for our neo-liberal hellscape” is taking things too far. I would limit the blame and the hate to , for example, running the Republican ex-marine McGaw against Wellstone, who was no neoliberal, in order to get him defeated.

              In fact, what they did was get him killed by forcing him into campaigning overtime, including taking that fatal airplane flight with his family. I can just imagine the vile and filthy Greens-for-McGaw dancing on his grave in delight.

              The first Greens I ever met in person were in the 1980s. Those two were miserable little slimy sub-human creatures and I have seen no sign of any behavioral improvement from any Greens since that time.

              But blaming them for neo-liberalism? That is a bridge too far for me.

          2. occasional anonymous

            Yes, let’s blame Nader, who got less than 100,000 votes in Florida, and not Gore, who somehow managed to lose 300,000 registered Florida Dems to Bush. it’s always someone elses’s fault. The Democratic Party can never fail, it can only be failed, right?

            And if you look at Ralph Nader and think ‘motivated by hate’, well, then you’re a very silly person. When I think spite and hate, I sure think of the seat belt guy, totally.

      3. occasional anonymous

        Gore won that election. Bush was appointed President because, as always, the Dems refused to stand and fight.

    6. lyman alpha blob

      Spoke with my sister who lives in North Carolina yesterday. She is a fundamentalist Xtian culture warrior type. I joked with her about living the dream working from the kitchen table and she reminded me that she had been back in her office since last May, which I somehow had missed. I asked if people wore masks and she said it was recommended but nobody does, and that if she hadn’t gotten the rona yet she likely wasn’t going to, since most of the people in her office had gotten it already but the multiple tests she’s taken all came back negative. Well before the rona started, she sold Herbalife on the side and has been taking her zinc and vitamin C and D regularly. None of the people she works with who did contract the rona had any major issues from it.

      Her experience has been very different than mine. I have not been tested, only know of a couple acquaintances who have contracted the rona, and have been stuck working from home for a [family blog]ing year. She has gone about life more or less as normal with some testing thrown in, and while it may be the luck of the draw, neither she or anybody in her circle has been the worse for it. I found myself more than a little jealous after speaking with her.

      I don’t know what the answer to all this is, but I do know that calling people like my sister stupid for having a different belief system and not following the prescriptions of liberal goodthinkers is definitely not it.

      1. IMOR

        Lyman thanks for this. Neither of my age 50+ buddies working daily in supermarkets have caught it across this past year, though some at each of their stores have tested positive requiring multiday shutdowns. At 60 I take D with zinc and a C supplement, have been on the road three months across five western states, and keep testing negative. Vaccines are crucial, caution remains necessary, but I hope soon sufficient attention will focus on why- apart from complete isolation- many are NOT getting infected. And pkease knock wood I didn’t just jinx angone!

      2. kareninca

        I still don’t know anyone in my area of Silicon Valley who has had it. In my zip code of 15,000 people, in Santa Clara county, there have been a total 139 cases since the pandemic began. I take it all very seriously but my experience has not been what I keep reading about. There are certainly a lot of shuttered storefronts and empty businesses.

        I could picture the variants changing all of this.

        1. RMO

          I personally know four people who have had it. The oldest in their 40s. Two of them still run out of energy and breath in the afternoon regularly. One of those people was a pretty active cyclist before this happened who did multiple 100Km plus rides per year. One ended up on a ventilator. He recovered fortunately, which is fairly rare if it gets to that stage. He’s also a fit and active person with no previous underlying health problems. This is all in BC where the spread has been relatively limited too. My household has been very careful – my over 80 mum lives with my wife and myself so we have someone in the high risk category here. She has just found out that she can start trying to schedule an appointment for the first vaccine shot on March 22, so the first vaccination in our household probably won’t happen until well into April.

      3. posaunist

        I’m tired of anecdotal evidence downplaying the virus, so here’s mine: over 10 acquaintances have contracted COVID-19, some severe cases (one my 86 year old mother), three dead. I really don’t have time for those who downplay the risks. Mask up, stay away from other people, get vaccinated, don’t be stupid and rude.

      4. occasional anonymous

        Personal anecdote isn’t evidence. The apparently widespread obliviousness to facts like what covid does to the lungs of many people even when it doesn’t kill them, over a year into this pandemic, is immensely frustrating, to say the least. Stupidity is an activity, and a whole lot of people are currently engaged in it.

    7. Anthony G Stegman

      I think you are over-reacting to Moore’s comments. I seriously doubt that he supports withholding vaccines from Texas. He was merely making a point that Texas likes to go its own way, but will immediately seek and accept help from “outside” when things become desperate.

  8. bwilli123

    Interesting article on how US foreign policy found its way to where it is: “Twilight of the American empire”
    …”following the fall of France in 1940, American foreign policy elites feared that a Nazi victory would see the United States hemmed into the Western Hemisphere. But the British victory in the Battle of Britain opened up a new prospect, hitherto undreamed of by American politicians: first of an Anglo-American imperial condominium, dividing up the post-war world between them; and then, as Britain’s relative decline became apparent, a vision of total global hegemony…”

    1. Bruno

      That was the US strategy since, at the very latest, the Versailles Conference. At that stage Trotsky described it as “the US putting Europe on rations.” The plan for global hegemony was described, with typical American euphemistry, as “isolationism.”

      1. chuck roast

        Who knew that Wilson was playing three-dimensional chess at Versailles. Reading Chap. 3 of The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes describes Wilson thusly: “…he was not only insensitive to his surroundings…he was not sensitive to his environment at all.” Describing “the poor president” as “playing blind man’s buff in that party.” A “predestined victim.” “The (president’s) temperament [was] essentially theological not tempermental with all the strength and the weakness of that manner of thought, feeling and expression.” Further, “But in fact the President had thought out nothing; when it came to practice his ideas were nebulous and incomplete. He had no plan, no scheme, no constructive ideas…” And, “Not only was he ill-informed, but his mind was slow and unadaptable.”

        Lest you think that he was an unwitting tool, Keynes goes on about his aides: “He had gathered around him for the economic chapters of the Treaty a very able group of businessmen, but they were inexperienced…and were only called upon irregularly…” And the coup-de-gras for his coterie, “His fellow plenipotentiaries were dummies…” Ouch! Wicked strong words from JMK. Keynes was at least as brilliant as Trotsky, and he was there. I’m taking his word for it. Simply a case where stupido American naval-gazing led to European disaster and American benefit.

        1. David

          I think modern historians would nuance that a bit. Keynes didn’t exactly have a reputation for intellectual modesty, after all. But it remains true that Wilson, by far the most powerful actor at the Conference, had no idea how to use that power creatively, and neither he nor his team really understood what they were doing or how to get things done. He wasn’t even capable of pursuing his national self-interest effectively. Power without responsibility is a bad thing, but power without ability is arguably worse.

          1. Bruno

            “He had gathered around him for the economic chapters of the Treaty a very able group of businessmen…” “Wilson, by far the most powerful actor…”
            In America, as in any capitalist state, the “head” of the state is never “the most powerful actor.” A fairly prominent actor, to be sure, but compared to any very able group of businessmen–just a bit player whether the name is Victoria, Roosevelt, Pompidou, Putin…or Biden.

            1. David

              He was by far the most powerful actor of the three victorious leaders at Versailles. He used that dominance incompetently .

  9. jr

    Re: Yo! Where’d go Slo-Mo Joe!?

    Apparently one of The World’s Most Medicated Man’s freeze-dried and packaged Q&A sessions got cut a little short, without explanation. He has yet to give an open press conference. It’s going to be hilarious watching that Animatronic Winter Queen press secretary trying to maintain the illusion of his mental competence. Hopefully, if Vice-Psychopath Harris assumes power, the Galactic Federation will step in. I’d vote for an Insectalien for president over a human any day:

    1. Yves Smith

      Biden looked so tired in his 2 min 20 second labor rights speech, which actually was a good little speech.

      They didn’t make up or light him at all well, which is very peculiar for such an important talk. His paper thin skin, which to me screams health problems (only other person I saw with that is my father when he had a terminal autoimmune disease, although I am told regular use of steroids, which is not a hot idea, can produce the same results) could have been way better hidden with better lighting and makeup….unless his skin is so fragile that they can’t put on the sort of makeup (either theatrical paste or high def base) that would cover it well.

      1. Keith

        Perhaps I am wearing my tinfoil hat a little tight today, but maybe they are letting things like that slide in order to ease the public into the idea of removing him for health issues. Skin issues here, utterances there, then perhaps a failed press conference to build the case.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          It’s not a bad theory. Can you imagine the colossal train wreck that would occur if Biden were to attempt to hold a 60-minute press conference with no pre-screened questions?

      2. petal

        Yves, the paper thin, almost transparent, skin-it was like that back in 8/2019. It was one of the first things I noticed when he walked out to do his town hall. He looked so fragile and ill. I was 6-10′ away from him for 45min-1hour, and he brushed my leg at one point walking by, so got to see it really up close.

      3. jr

        I didn’t know that steroids are useful for elder health, here’s a bit about it for the list:

        They can help preserve muscle mass among other benefits. But the lack of makeup is waaaay suspect. It makes me a little tin-foily like Keith below. Foaming the hearse route…

    2. Darthbobber

      Psaki is dreadful. Leaving substance out of it, she has none of the desirable traits of a press flack. She’d be lucky to get a draw in a geniality and affability contest with Darth Vader. She doesn’t think well, if at all, on her feet. She’s incapable of obfuscating with surface plausibility, going with direct and easily provable lies that require no digging or analysis to uncover.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Would “Looking at thee, Huckabee” be more to your liking?

            WT has enlightened me on more than one occasion over the years, pretty bright fellow from what I’ve gathered.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        I can see it now on an unemployed flack’s resume: “Can obfuscate with surface plausibility, going with direct and easily provable lies that require no digging or analysis to uncover.” Ha ha!

      2. jr

        A reporter asked her the other day why the Dems fight so hard for Neera “Let ‘em freeze in the dark” Tanden but not the 15$ minimum wage. Her school marm retort, in addition to some blather about what Joe is supposedly doing, was that the question was “irresponsible”. It’s going to be a long four years for the press corp…

      3. Pelham

        I dunno. I find Psaki frustrating but I’d give her credit for skillful, pointless yammering, which is probably harder than we think. I’ve tried putting myself in her place and trying to imagine how to respond to a question without providing anything that could remotely be construed an answer. Typically I can’t come up with more than a dribble of nonsense syllables. So she’s good in this way, no doubt in my mind.

        Meanwhile, I try to imagine how I would handle that job if I were completely honest and also concerned to maintain my self respect. First of all, I would make clear to the press corps this scalding departure from the norm and then I would proceed to flatly refuse to answer most of their questions, either on the grounds that I don’t know good answers or that I do have answers but choose not to reveal them. I wonder how this would go over.

        1. Cuibono

          yes but wouldn’t it be refreshing if for once someone in her position spoke the truth:
          ” why are you asking me that? you know i cant possibly answer you honestly without losing my job. I get paid to blather on endlessly, dissimulate, lie, and mislead.”

  10. Terry Flynn

    Some west coast trains stop at Dudley. Pussycat was probably going to help out a friend. Though I suspect the fox population of Dudley had already fallen to zero!

    1. mary jensen

      Plenty of urban foxes round my way (CH). They get all the table scraps during the cold months. My cat pays them no mind at all. I’m no expert but they (foxes) are the most timid urban creatures I’ve ever witnessed, the slightest noise or movement and they bolt. Hedgehogs stand their ground and some even continue on eating when I step out onto the terrace at night. Here’s a terrific image:

  11. Judith

    I just saw this via Ryan Grim’s twitter:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has compiled a short list of successors in his home state of Kentucky, preparing for the possibility that he does not serve out his full term, Kentucky Republicans tell the Intercept.

    The list is topped by his protégé, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and also includes former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft, whose billionaire coal magnate husband is a major McConnell donor, as well as Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a former McConnell Scholar.

    Under current law, the power to appoint McConnell’s replacement falls to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. But new legislation McConnell is pushing in the Kentucky General Assembly would strip the governor of that power and put it into the hands of the state GOP.

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Mrs McConnell has created some fun for her olde windbag as an oig report on her forgetting that silly ethix thingee part of a federal job she took on…Mitch might grasp his chest and do his best redd fox and burp out… it’s the big one…and take an early retirement as obviously he knew Trump killed the investigation…funny how he paid back the orangeahmytan potus by telling everyone orangeman bad since #45 did not personally climb past his SS guards and stop the unarmed mob from entering the inner sanctum of the wholee of holeleez

        1. Keith

          Got reelected, then resigned and joined a lobbying group, essentially pulling a bait and switch on the MS voters.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “House cancels Thursday session after police warn of ‘possible plot to breach the Capitol'”

    This is so embarrassing to read this. The Capitol building is surrounded by a solid mesh fence. There are five thousand National Guardsmen manning the lines to keep order. The DC Metropolitan Police would be on a hair-trigger alert for any trouble to converge on those buildings. The full strength of the Capitol Police are available to be mustered as well. National Guardsmen from surrounding areas are probably on standby to scramble to head in with immediate authorization if needed. Hell, maybe they have the 82nd Airborne Division ready to parachute in if there was any serious trouble. So what do these politicians do?

    They hear about ‘a possible security threat at the Capitol on March 4th’ by ‘an identified militia group’ but it is mostly to do with rumours and stories. And of course FBI Director Chris Wray is pushing this story. The Roman Senate would have defied such stories and gone ahead in defiance of any such threats. But the present House? They do a quick vote and bail as in getting out of Washington DC as fast as their transport can take them ‘to avoid putting lawmakers at risk on Thursday’. Sorry guys but when I read this, my immediate thought was of the South Park Ghost Busters- (1:52 mins)

    1. tegnost

      Embarrassing yes.
      Weak and performative precursor to laws to criminalize dissent.
      Pathetic also works, I mean aren’t americans supposed to be exceptionally brave and free?

      1. Keith

        Past generations. We are now all about feelings and social media. We have become a nation of snowflakes and influencers.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Don’t be sorry. QAnon just shut down Congress based upon their March 4th prophecy.

      Totally normal country you guys.

  13. semiconscious

    re: Should Your School Be Fully Open? Here’s What the C.D.C. Says NYT. “Only 4 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren live in counties where coronavirus transmission is low enough for full-time in-person learning without additional restrictions, according to the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an analysis of the agency’s latest figures.” Oh. Lots of maps.

    & here’s what one imaginative student says:

    1. The Rev Kev

      A very poignant film that. They must feel that their best years and their best times are just passing them by leaving them only school work.

      1. semiconscious

        they continue to suffer on our behalf:

        While the available evidence indicates the direct impact of COVID-19 on child and adolescent mortality to be very limited, the indirect effects stemming from strained health systems, household income loss, and disruptions to care-seeking and preventative interventions like vaccination may be substantial and widespread.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      In-person instruction has been ordered statewide in Arkansas, Florida, Iowa and Texas, according to a tracker maintained by Education Week, though a number of counties in those states — including nearly all in Florida — fall into the C.D.C. recommendations for hybrid learning at elementary schools and remote learning for middle and high schools.

      Reporting from here on the ground in Florida, I can tell you that horror stories of death and destruction due to refusal to follow the ever morphing dictates of the cdc are nonexistent. And you gotta know that if there were any, the nation would have heard them–over and over and over again.

      That new york “media” can’t find even one thing to misstate, exaggerate or flat out lie about in this regard beyond “those very bad, Trump supporting states are not following the rules” should tell you all you need to know about what a bogus issue the idiot biden “administration” insists on perpetuating.

      1. semiconscious

        the more i see of desantis (at least in regards to ‘the pandemic’), the more impressed i am. i concur with his judgment, & i respect his willingness to take a stand for what he believes in the face of a very powerful opposition…

        so, temperature in the seventies? sounds nice. enjoy the sunshine, & the freedom…

      2. Aumua

        31,000 corpses not enough to put a dent in your optimism, eh? I’m sure they would have died anyways, so f*ck em, right? I mean Florida’s consistently been in the top 5 states for infection and death rate, in the #1 nation for those as well. Suck down those freedoms, patriots! mmm yum.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Jeez, what’s with you?

          At least we don’t have a bunch of teenage suicide victims that were “saved” from the covid curse that doesn’t even threaten them.

          1. Aumua

            I’m not trying to pick on you in particular Katniss, it’s just that your posts tend to trip my “right wing BS” alarms lately. And no one else seems to be standing up to it so… sorry if I’m coming off a little aggressive.

        2. m

          You realize that many that died when this madness first started came from long term care facilities. The cheap, short staffed ones probably owned by hedge funds. We would get admit after admit from the same ones and these elderly folks would crash and there was nothing that could be done. Death rates are great, but who died, what was their age & what were their comorbidities.
          I think DeSantis did a good job as well. My mother was working up north in a long term care, she left when all this started. Good thing cause these places treat their staff & residents pretty awful, don’t have PPE and were accepting CV+ patients from hospitals to isolate them spreading the virus.

  14. fred

    > Le Bourgeois Céphalopode.

    Ok, that was a CoffeeSpittingMoment. Back at you: who was the narrator in “Gravity’s Rainbow”?

  15. Coffee Time

    Wealthy Keys enclave received COVID vaccines in January before much of the state Miami Herald

    We have a similar story here in “Little Rhody” (Rhode Island), where the two largest, most powerful health care corporations in the state; Lifespan and Care New England, provided vaccinations to unqualified board members who wished to receive it. The names of those on the boards read like a who’s who of the state’s rich and powerful. Details to date are sketchy and we’re told that an unknown number of unqualified friends of boards and unqualified hospital staff also hitched rides on this gravy train. Not long after the story broke Care New England took down their web page listing board members. No surprises there.

    The legislature should change the state’s nickname to “Little Corrupty.” Better yet, the “I Know a Guy” state, because in truth that’s what’s taking place here.

    This could easily be the most egregious “jump the line” situation in the nation.

    1. Rod

      Don’t we (‘Mericans) hate line jumpers that aren’t us?
      That’s what I heard.

      This could easily be the most egregious “jump the line” situation in the nation.

      But i heard we are pretty competitive too, so others may be be upping their game–Florida had a nice early jump.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Did they also get special ‘Covid vaccine’ license plates starting at 1?

      (For the uninitiated, you can judge how well-connected Rhode Islanders are by looking at their license plate. If the number has 3 digits or fewer, they probably know a lot of guys).

  16. The Rev Kev

    “It’s Time to Checkmate Nord Stream II”

    The author must be under the impression that all the world’s foreign policies are made in Washington. And the whole article reeks of the arrogance of someone who wants to be a player there. So out of curiosity, I went to the author’s bio page at the Heritage Foundation page at to see that ‘Daniel Kochis is a senior policy analyst in European Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.’ Uh-huh. But on the bright side there is a big blue button to request an interview as well as a link to download a nice head shot of the author.

    And that Pallas’s cat in the Antidote du jour is something. But it is not your typical cat-

    1. Lee

      From the linked article:

      “A captive male Pallas’s cat housed under natural lighting conditions showed increased aggressive and territorial behaviour at the onset of the breeding season lasting from September to December. Its blood contained three times more testosterone than in the non-breeding season, and its ejaculate was more concentrated with more normal sperm forms and a higher motility of sperms.”

      A case of toxic masculinity, perhaps?

    2. RMO

      “Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom” That’s a real thing? My god, it sounds like a made up institute from a bitterly sarcastic Alexi Sayle show sketch from the late 80s!

  17. Andrew Watts

    RE: China Is Not Ten Feet Tall

    The United States enjoys energy and food security, comparatively healthy demographics, the world’s finest higher education system, and possession of the world’s reserve currency. It benefits from peaceful borders and favorable geography. It boasts an economy that allocates capital efficiently and traditionally serves as a sponge for the brightest thinkers and the best ideas in the world. It has a transparent and predictable legal system and a political system that is designed to spur self-correction. China has none of these attributes.

    We just witnessed the electrical grid of Texas almost fail and breadlines form en masse during the pandemic. The healthy demographics the author lauds is increasingly plagued by the pathologies of self-harm. Our legal system is extremely predatory to people without money. Meanwhile our Supreme Court is stacked with the Bush legal team from the infamy of Bush v. Gore. The only response I have to people who talk about the efficient allocation of capital through market transactions is “GAMESTONKS!”.The GameStop mania is going to be the gift that keeps on giving to attack the orthodoxy of market efficiency.

    1. Lee

      I think it was Lambert who attributed America’s appeal to immigrants to “brand fumes.” What leCarre wrote about the USSR in Russia House, is equally applicable to the US:

      “The Soviet Knight is dying inside his armour. He is a secondary power like you British. He can start a war but cannot continue one and cannot win one. Believe me.”

      Biden is an apt embodiment of our nation’s sclerotic, moribund condition.

    2. a different chris

      >comparatively healthy demographics

      I finally got curious about this and looked it up. China’s median age, after the one-child policy our breeders got so in angst about, is slightly less than the US. China’s average age is slightly more. Both well within a year, both late-30s which is hardly ancient (look at Germany and Japan).

      Basically a wash. My point is these BS’ers aren’t trying very hard.

      Oh and:

      >and traditionally serves as a sponge for the brightest thinkers

      “Traditionally” is doing a lot of work there…

    3. Bazarov

      I’d add one thing: the canard that the US has “peaceful borders.” Last I checked the state bordering to our south is half ruled by drug cartels, who’s corrupting influence extends well into our heartland.

      1. wilroncanada

        And I would think the corrupting influence goes equally the other direction, well into their heartland. Reciprocity in corruption. Planting the seeds and harvesting the fruit.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Thank you, Canada , for your help in driving the NAFTA corruption forward. We haven’t all forgotten how Mulroney was an equal co-conspirator in NAFTA right along with Reagan-Bush-Clinton and Salinas de Gortari.

  18. ForeignNational(ist)

    “China Is Not Ten Feet Tall”
    I do agree that alarmism is counterproductive and found the quick assessment of China’s troubles is refreshing (funny how in playing up the China threat, we parrot CCP and state media talking points about how awesome China supposedly is).

    Separately, this line about the US caught my eye:

    It boasts an economy that allocates capital efficiently and traditionally serves as a sponge for the brightest thinkers and the best ideas in the world.

    I can agree with the second part about brainpower, but does the US economy really allocate capital efficiently? I feel like the only thing efficient about our financialized economy is how fast it squeezes gobsmacking amounts of money into the coffers of the plutocrats while degrading the quality of real things (like products and peoples’ livelihood).

    1. Bruno

      Remembering the fate of Growltiger, I’d be very nervous to hear that the Siamese Navy, with their sampans and their junks, was coming to “rescue” me.

  19. fresno dan
    As mayor, Tubbs spearheaded the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, a pilot program that gave 125 residents debit cards loaded with $500 each month. The program launched in February 2019 and ended in January.

    Its critics argued that cash stipends would reduce the incentive for people to find jobs. But the SEED program met its goal of improving the quality of life of 125 residents struggling to make ends meet. To qualify for the pilot, residents had to live in a neighborhood where the median household income was the same as or lower than the city’s overall, about $46,000.
    Tubbs said it was likely that the $500 monthly payments helped in other ways during the pandemic, such as tiding people over until their stimulus checks arrived or allowing them to take days off work if they got COVID-19.

    “We know anecdotally that the $500 allowed some members of the program to stay at home and not go to work because they don’t have paid time off,” Tubbs said. “They were able to listen to the doctor because they knew that the two weeks off work wouldn’t be catastrophic.”
    Unemployment among basic-income recipients dropped to 8% in February 2020 from 12% in February 2019. In the experiment’s control group — those who didn’t receive monthly stipends — unemployment rose to 15% from 14%.
    Money fuels EVERYTHING in this country. It takes money to make money – whether its bus or subway fare, or gasoline/tires for your car. For the wealthy who won’t do a damn thing without plenty of incentives, its amazing how money loses its ability to accomplish things when it goes to the poor…
    (and spare me how the poor aren’t doing anything for the money – what are the rich doing for those capital gain tax reductions? really- corporations are capital restrained???)

    1. neo-realist

      Beat me to it. There’s a piece in the guardian highlighting the program as well. Would like to see a similar experiment for the poorest with the most unstable circumstances, e.g., the homeless in LA.

    1. pjay

      Wait a minute. I thought Putin’s poisoning of the Skripals was established fact, just like his poisoning of Navalny. Masha Gessen says so in her New Yorker opinion piece above, in which she criticizes Biden for being too soft on the Evil One:

      “The Trump Administration imposed sanctions on Russia, in 2018, in response to the poisoning of the double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with Novichok, the same nerve agent that the F.S.B. used to try to kill Navalny. Citing the available evidence, the Biden Administration could have interpreted the attempt on Navalny’s life as perpetuating the same violation as the Skripal poisoning, and introduced harsher sanctions. Instead, it decided to treat the assassination attempt as a new offense.”

      She cites Bellingcat a couple of times, so she must know what she is talking about when she mentions “available evidence”.

      In all seriousness, I questioned myself for wasting five minutes reading Gessen’s article. Thanks for giving me a reason: to compare her propaganda with someone capable of critical thought. We need a lot more Rob Slanes.

    2. RMO

      I read until I got to: “this astonishment has since been surpassed by an order of magnitude by some of the things millions of people have been willing to believe over the past year, including the myth that healthy people can transmit an illness, the myth that wearing a mask prevents virus spread”

      When the painfully stupid comes in so strong, so early I seldom find it’s worth my time going on a and reading more. It’s almost as it the writer is trying to discredit anyone who questions the Novchik propaganda by association with dumb ideas.

      1. jrkrideau

        Unfortunately he really seems to believe that crap. His earlier blog posts were a meticulous step-by-step analysis of the Skripal case. He seems to have gone down the anti-covid rabbit hole.

        1. chuck roast

          I’m waiting for the ‘authorities’ to announce that Sergei and Yulia have passed away…victims of Covid 19. Poor Sergei…victimized by the Steele Dossier. Just goes to show you, never get drunk in a bar and make $hit up with a professional liar who is taking notes.

      2. pjay

        Too bad. The rest was good. Much more worth your time than reading Gessen was worth mine — yet I read the whole damn thing.

        I almost deleted my comment because I knew the reaction that passage would elicit here. Yet I decided to post it anyway because Slane is *not* “painfully stupid.” He was one of the best regular commenters on the Skripal saga, which is mostly what I know about him. I believe he considers himself conservative (in the traditional sense), but he is not a wingnut or ideologue. Nor is he some kind of radical anti-vaxer or COVID denier. He does question a lot of the dominant narrative, however. And the questions he asks are some of the important ones — the kind those attempting to exercise “critical thought” need to ask. I don’t think this passage is a fair representation of his reasoning ability. I don’t personally agree with it. But I also don’t think all the questions about transmission, or even masks, let alone issues around lockdowns and vaccines, have been answered fully either.

        I do agree Slane’s language in this passage is unfortunate. Calling people’s strong beliefs “myths” can be insulting. Sort of like calling someone who doesn’t share our beliefs “painfully stupid” without reading him.

  20. flora

    About cancelling some Dr. Seuss books including the Sneetches book:

    In the Sneetches story a ‘star on a belly’ of a Sneetch indicated superiority and wealth, at least at the start of the story. Anyone without a star was deemed inferior. ( I thought that story was Dr. Seuss – Ted Geisel – turning on its head the WWII Nzies practice of making some Dutch and German citizens wear yellow cloth stars sewn to their clothing to “distinguish” them from the good volk. He turned that practice on its head; in the story the ‘good volk’ Sneetches have stars.) The Sneetches is a strong anti-rcist story. It’s explicitly anti-rcist. Tucker gets it right, imo:

    1. marym

      The Sneetches isn’t one of the 6 books that Seuss Enterprises decided to stop publishing. From the (very little) I’ve been following the story, Geisel regretted and apologized for some of his racist depictions and went on to do work like The Sneetches that promoted tolerance.

    2. Phillip Cross

      “The Sneetches and Other Stories” was not even one of the 6 books the estate decided to discontinue, was it?

        1. Phillip Cross

          I think the point is that the current rights holder can choose which of their properties they want to have in print at any time, for any reason.

          They had no problem with the Sneeches book, and so it remains in print.

          There were six books that clearly had outdated racial stereotypes illustrated in them, so the rights holder decided they wouldn’t print those anymore. That is their prerogative. If you disagree, make them an offer for the rights, and if you can get them. reprint the books.

          Like countless other out of print books, you can still own them, buy and sell used copies, and you can even read them online for free.

          What am I missing? (Apart from every episode of Tucker obviously. I dont know how you can stomach it!)

          1. flora

            Oh, Tucker is certainly putting a ‘right’ rhetorical spin on all this. I think NC readers will see through the spin. Strip away the rhetorical spin, however, and he’s still got a point. imo.

          2. Temporarily Sane

            You are coming very close to apologizing for censorship here. Okay, the rights holders can choose to stop printing books under their control anytime they want, that’s their prerogative, but when publishers, libraries and bookstores are “urged” under media pressure to remove certain titles from their collections, that’s effectively censorship.

            Where does it end? There are a lot of books, movies, music, theatrical productions etc. from earlier eras that contain outdated stereotypes. Should they all be removed from the public realm?

            I’m also not sure what the end goal is supposed to be. Is a moral panic over old Dr. Seuss books going to make racists less racist? How popular were these books before they were “banned.” See also Streisand Effect.

            I very much doubt that these type of events will contribute to American society becoming less racist or more tolerant. Will anyone even remember what this is about in two months when the next OMG the sky is falling media fueled panic comes down the pike?

            What happens in a decade or two down the road when the right wing has more power in the media, academia and cultural institutions
            and decides to pull their own version of this?

            There is no thought behind any of this. It’s knee jerk panic that opens the door to widespread censorship and provides fuel for a hard right backlash. Preventing a handful of people from reading a few dubious Dr. Seuss books isn’t going to solve America’s long-standing racial problems.

            Attempting to effect positive societal change by banning books and rewriting history is not going to work. Fixing the economic inequality problem won’t fix everything that’s broken in this country, but if it’s not fixed, good luck trying to encourage empathy and understanding among the masses.

            Trying to end, or significantly reduce the prevalence of racist and prejudicial attitudes in a highly unequal society that forces people into a competitive social Darwinist, zero-sum game of survival is a fool’s errand. In such a society “otherizing” people comes almost naturally.

          3. Randy G

            “Like countless other out of print books, you can still own them, buy and sell used copies, and you can even read them online for free.”

            Actually, you are missing the part that EBay has now banned the sale of the ‘forbidden’ Seuss books. Barnes and Noble will no longer allow you to buy them either. Evidently the corporate effort to suppress the ‘forbidden’ Dr. Seuss materials is a little more comprehensive than your ‘nothing-but-smooth-sailing-ahead’ argument would suggest.


            And please post the link where I can read the forbidden Seuss books for free online. Looking forward to checking them out and seeing what triggered all this moral panic.

          1. flora

            If you impeach an author on any morals grounds then what of his works can be seen as “good” or as “acceptable “?

            Once an author is impeached on moral grounds doesn’t all of his work become suspect?

            1. Aumua

              Sure, but just to be clear, ‘The Sneetches’ was not part of the 6 books that the Geisel estate decided to discontinue publishing, contrary to your claim above?

  21. a different chris

    Your second link is about a cat chasing off a fox. The text implies this is surprising, but cats punch so far above their weight between the ridiculous fast-twitch muscle apportionment and the sharp points everywhere that the fox smartly knew he had no chance.

    However, that isn’t what I am posting about – doesn’t the first link actually comprise a “Good Kitty” link? I mean the food wasn’t put out for the fox so it arguably was, which means your Good Kitty markers would thus be off by one.

    Hey it’s important to get the details right! – says an old coder that forever has to deal with the first index of something being zero. Oh oh, but maybe GoodKitty[1], rather than (1) would be correct rather than GoodKitty(2) as I am proposing? Wow, hold on gotta think about this…

    And this is how software never gets done. :D

  22. chuck roast

    The Inflation Regime Change is Already Upon Us

    Authers is always a good read. His technical discussions are interesting and often persuasive. I dunno about his investment recommendations. Here he also cites a bit of recent history. He does, however, have a bit of a blind spot. But that is a part of the job description when scribbling for Bloomberg. Here he discusses standard inflation as if he would looking at the consumer price index. Then he opines that all of this money (it goes without saying that most of it is in the hands of the very wealthy) is leading to serious speculation and an asset bubble. OK. In describing the role of the Federal Reserve he indicates that their use of the interest rate hammer can seriously puncture this asset bubble, cool inflation and deflate the economy. OK.

    Authers might have spilled a bit more ink on the rusty and unused tools that the Fed could wield to moderate this speculative bubble and associated inflation. But then Authers’ masters prefer to see the Fed as some sort of lumbering ogre…it can sleep, eat or smash the markets. It would be beyond the pale for the creature to display the nuance of market regulation. The Fed could increase margin requirements to sooth rampant speculation…oh, the fainting couch! It could meet in joint session with other federal financial permitting (that would be regulatory in a more prefect world) agencies such as the SEC, OCC and FDIC. Nah! For market worshipers like Authers and Bloomberg it’s some sort of genius intellectual game to outsmart the other smarties. Social wreckage is an incidental insofar as it masses with their get rich game.

    1. Susan the other

      Authers caught my eye too, or at least the word “inflation.” I’ve never read him but this link was interesting talking about “regime change.” Always between inflation and deflation. And nobody sees it coming. I beg to differ on willful blindness – I think everyone sees it coming and usually they over-react. He implies that the Fed is predictable and always makes the mistake of finding comfort in low, stable inflation and happy to keep interest rates low when it is, in fact, dangerous to become complacent because speculation is always working on whatever opportunity is there. So I revert to always wondering why there aren’t price controls as well as interest rate controls. If the reaction to low interest rates and low inflation is speculation, then where is the medicine? Especially now when all the easy profits have been made. Which leads me to believe that the only reason we have crypto, as he seems to also imply, is as a release valve or spillway for speculation. One that does not impact the sovereign currency. But how will crypto protect against over-consumption and depletion of resources? I think this is the confusion we get from thinking value resides in money.

  23. Aaron

    “Back-to-Back Defaults in China Shrugged Off in Credit Market”
    The Wall Street denizens throwing piles of dollars at China is so baffling. Economically and Financially, China is so opaque with their data that even their own VP refused to believe official stats. For the last few months news has been trickling about debt defaults by Chinese companies, public and private both (It is hard to tell if the distinction matters when it come to China). But these investors have been pouring all the Fed money into them like rats following Pied Piper. Trump made one sensible order, asking Chinese companies listed in US exchanges to submit their books for scrutiny. Even that was shrugged off by the exchanges. Have these people learned nothing from Worldcom, Enron, Lehman etc?

    This is going to end so badly, and we ordinary joes are going to be forced to pick the bill again.

    1. Andrew Watts

      American capitalism has been enamored with the mythical Chinese market for over a century. While the Chinese have cultivated Wall Street as one of it’s primary constituents among the American ruling class. The result of the Fed’s low interest rate and QE policies is the dollar carry trade searching for any yield across the entire planet. Somebody please tell me I’m wrong about this, because the endgame looks like a Minsky moment waiting to happen followed by a debt deflationary spiral a la the Great Depression.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      A primary driver for money into China now is the belief that the Chinese currency will appreciate relative to the Dollar/Euro/Yen – so there will be a ‘free’ bonus. Certainly, anyone sensible is not putting the money into the Chinese stock market (which makes Wall Street look a model of honesty and sound decisionmaking), but there are plenty of big institutions of China which are probably no better or worse than any other companies to invest in.

      The big problem, as Michael Pettis has been pointing out repeatedly, is that the more foreign capital comes into China, the more the hands of the Chinese authorities are tied when it comes to directly managing bank and private sector debt. The impact might therefore be pro-cyclical, which is bad news for China as much as everyone else.

      1. Michaelmas

        the more foreign capital comes into China, the more the hands of the Chinese authorities are tied when it comes to directly managing bank and private sector debt.

        Except all the signs from Xi and the Party are that they will not permit that under any circumstances.

  24. Lorenzo

    a very good and timely post from John Michael Greer, on collective delusions and climate change, out yesterday

    Three data points, all having to do with climate change, may help provide some kind of orientation in the landscape in which the near future is taking form.

    The first is a fiction contest launched last month by Grist Magazine (…) The editors are soliciting short stories in the genre of cli-fi—that is, climate fiction

    They’re explicitly not interested in stories about people adapting, or failing to adapt, to the harsh limits of a deindustrial world, in which the absurd affluence and inflated expectations of the present have had to be discarded. “Our mission,” they say, “is to make the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now.” The things they expect in stories submitted to their contest are as follows, and I quote: “hope; intersectionality; resilience; a society that is radically different from the one we live in today, and how we got there;” and all the way down at the very bottom of the list, “a focus on climate, with creative and clearly articulated solutions that put people and planet first.”

    1. Aumua

      Well no one’s saying they can’t keep the books on the shelves, although they will probably get stolen. The ‘Cancellation’ is mostly a decision by the private Geisel estate not to publish the 6 books any more. God knows that we need to spend more days and/or weeks picking over this, though.

      Personally I think they should just redo the offensive images, which are offensive as hell btw, in case you haven’t seen them.

      1. jr

        I agree, I had forgotten them until the kerfuffle. Big difference 40 years makes. I’m not condemning Dr. Suess and I don’t claim to know the best path forward but those images made me wince when I saw them again.

        1. Aumua

          It was never about condemning Dr. Suess as a racist. That is a right wing narrative and distortion of the truth.

          1. jr

            I didn’t think you were condemning him, to be clear, I just wanted to clarify my personal position.

  25. Darthbobber

    Read the Noahpinion piece on Africa’s bright future. Just so much wrong there.
    Minor things: The chart he links to to show the enormous improvement in freedom/democracy levels is full of howlers. Libya, for instance, moves 2 full steps towards freedomness (from autocracy to “open anocracy”) by 2015. Though there are no elections and a civil war continues to rage between 2 main government’s, one of which (which we prefer) derives it’s entire claim to legitimacy from outside the country. Zimbabwe and Algeria are moved up a notch on the freedom scale, with no substantive change to account for that. Egypt is apparently less autocratic than the Mubarrak version.

    He seems to accept GDP growth as a measure of popular well-being, ignoring the amazing efficiency with which many of these government’s, even by our standards, are quite efficient in confining the gains to a handful of cronies.

    He opines, on nothing better than a link to a data-free piece at Brookings, that those nations not industrializing abandoned an “inefficient state model” of industrialization” and didn’t replace it with a more shiny private model. But states like Nigeria were pursuing state supported models in the first place because private capital was inadequate locally and unavailable on non-extortionate terms from outside.

    Major thing: Even if you handwave aside (as he does) the numerous real-world problems in the way of an IMF/World Bank style of industrial development (which I read him as signing on to uncritically), there remains that small problem of how you get a world economy that ABSORBS all this hypothetical new African production.

    Unless you’re a Say’s Law literalist it’s hard to see how that happens. And it’s even more difficult to see how the planet, as a finite physical thing, sustains such a solution. The most likely result of significantly expanded production in Africa is just a further expansion of labor and environmental arbitrage and further downward pressure on the living standards of workers globally.

    I get the impression that he’s done no particular study either of Africa or of development issues generally, and makes a pretty bad selection of which sources to rely on to form the basis of his quick take.

    1. David

      You remind me why I never read his site any more. I wonder if he’s ever actually been to Africa or whether he’s just read about it on the Internet.
      I’d add a couple of other random points. Population growth in Africa is strongest in the poorest, most conservative and most unstable countries, especially in the Sahel. Yes, that’s the place where all the fighting is going on and where young people, especially males, are trying to reach Europe from.
      He seems to assume that this “industrialisation” thing is new. It’s not – the future of Africa has been supposed to lie in industrialisation since the 1960s. The World Bank and the IMF had this great idea that Africa should move from feeding itself, which it had historically done, to producing cash crops and mining raw materials for export, and using the proceeds to industrialise. That worked out great, especially when raw material prices were liberalised in the 1980s, and the bottom fell out of their economies. I’m all against Afro-pessimism, but this is just Afro-silliness.

      1. skippy

        Used to wrangle with him back in the day and at the end of it all his antics about micro and banning anyone that did not burnish his perch is a huge tell ….

        Krugman 2.o in the wings …..

  26. buermann

    “the Daily Mail’s science coverage has always been respectable”

    You gotta be kidding? The daily denial? They were still quoting the habitually wrong Richard Lindzen as an authority on climate change two years ago, years after Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy filing showing that he was on their payroll, like virtually every other credentialed skeptic, and was lying about it.

  27. JTMcPhee

    “Capitalism” on fire: I have lost the link, but maybe 20 years ago there was a segment on “20-20” or “60 Minutes” (back when those shows did some actual investigative journalism, not just peddling the Narrative for profit) that shook a lot of peoples’ faith in prescription medications, mine included.

    It was a sting. The setup was a bunch of supposed buyers of counterfeit prescription drugs from the US, Canada and a couple of European countries, gathered in Canada, maybe Vancouver.

    The seller was a very attractive Chinese woman. She put on a nice pitch — “We have very good product. Packaging exactly like manufacturers, we even do holographic labels. Pills are exactly like originals, same color, shape, markings, cannot be told from real thing. Ingredients will not have any effect on patients! We can provide any amount. We provide any amount you want, even carloads! Excellent product, you will be very satisfied!”

    Police officers popped out at that point, as I recall, and cuffed the lady. Maybe they should have waited for some actual deliveries, to roll up the whole organization.

    I also recall remarks by the TV personality that this was just one of the many suppliers of counterfeit medications bringing this stuff into circulation. The Fake Drug Industry Is Exploding, and We Can’t Do Anything About It

    Just one kind of disaster capitalism…

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe higher authorities instructed the police to arrest her right then precisely in order to spare the organization as a whole, deliberately and on purpose.

  28. herm

    “Liberal Democrats discover new way to call their opponents stupid, film at 11.”

    I hate to go against the grain, but I really don’t see the issue with this one. So Biden went off script as he does. A liberal democrat insults conservative republicans. What’s the issue here? I know I get insulted for my political positions nine ways from Sunday any time I trouble myself to interact with a conservative republican. This is clearly a two-way street, what’s the big deal? I’m hesitant to say, but it sounds awfully close to the dreaded “tone policing” to make it out like it is some sort of pathology when the liberals do it.

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