Links 4/18/2021

Stop Trying to Make Us Worship the Royals Jacobin

The Low-Key Carter-Era Pleasures of “The Muppet Show” New Yorker

Hale’s Crime Is Not Leaking Information, but Exposing Government Lies About the Drone Program’ FAIR

The FBI might have gone ahead and fixed your Microsoft email server NBC

Minnesota Deploys National Guard Ahead Of Next Week’s Police Shooting The Onion

Andrew Yang leads new NYC mayoral poll — despite string of gaffes NY Post

US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration AP

Space Junk Is Our New Tragedy of the Commons Bloomberg

The US’ lost, ancient megacity BBC

FedEx to ‘reevaluate’ its policy requiring employees to lock up phones during shifts following Thursday’s shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis Business Insider

Lahore and Amritsar: Two cities joined at birth are dying together Scroll

The Aliens Are Not Coming Caitlin Johnstone

Line of Duty: why there are so many Northern Irish coppers in British crime dramas The Conversation


As Covid Death Toll Passes 3 Million, a Weary World Takes Stock NYT

The Grief Crisis Is Coming NYT

Why is it so hard to review the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Data. MIT Technology Review

Johnson & Johnson asked other drugmakers to help it study blood-clot risks, and Moderna and Pfizer declined, report says Business Insider

Five global concerns for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause The Hill

‘There’s some smoke there’: Michigan’s worst-ever COVID-19 surge may be linked to Ontario, expert says National Post

The superspreader events that governments let happen Maclean’s

The Broken Front Line ProPublica

As mask mandates end, Oregon bucks trend with permanent rule AP

Varanasi: Cremation, Burial Grounds Show About 50% of COVID-19 Deaths Aren’t Officially Recorded The Wire

Coronavirus: Maharashtra reports 67,123 new cases in another record high Scroll

India is running out of oxygen, Covid-19 patients are dying – because the government wasted time Scroll

How govt’s sunny Covid posturing, with some number jugglery, set stage for second wave The Print

The Novel Coronavirus Variants and India’s Uncertain Future Science Wire

Vaccine diplomacy that needs specific clarifications The Hindu

SARS-CoV-2 variant found in Brazil: More infectious, may limit immunity Ars Technica

The Failure of Germany’s Coronavirus Strategy Der Spiegel

CDC: Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose The Hill

Expat Americans Fly Home for Covid-19 Vaccination Shots WSJ

America hits the vaccine wall: Thousands of appointments go unfilled as states across the nation warn that ‘hesitancy’ to get the shots threatens to derail rollout Daily Mail

President Biden, Support a People’s Vaccine Project Syndicate

Who Owns Vaccines? The Baffler

Sports Desk

Barcelona scored four goals in 12 minutes – including a brilliant strike from Lionel Messi – to thrash Athletic Bilbao and win the Copa del Rey. BBC

Modric agrees new deal with Real Madrid AS too bad Luka had to agree a salary cut – he’s having a great year.

Class Warfare

Is Los Angeles’ Sweep of a Homeless Encampment the Wave of the Future? Capital & Main

Two blocks from the Federal Reserve, a growing encampment of the homeless grips the economy’s most powerful person SF Gate

She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired ProPublica

Police State Watch

Police in Minnesota round up journalists covering protest, force them on the ground and take pictures of their faces USA Today

Biden Administration

After criticism, Biden says he will raise U.S. cap on refugee admissions Reuters

Waste Watch

New York City’s waste future could be shaped by the closure of an island jail Waste Dive

The Problem With Paper’s Climate Impact Treehugger

Old Blighty

The David Cameron scandal: just how sleazy is British politics? FT

When it comes to corruption, Britain is catching up fast with the Middle East Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Act now on sleaze crisis or lose red wall votes, Boris Johnson warned Guardian


Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain The Grayzone

Contrary to What Biden Said, U.S. Warfare in Afghanistan is Set to Continue Counterpunch

The US Exit: The View From Afghanistan The Diplomat

Leaving Afghanistan, and the Lessons of America’s Longest War New Yorker. Steve Coll.

Iran nuclear talks to continue amid signs of ‘progress’ Al Jazeera

Hawks Who Want War with Iran Work Overtime Consortium News


EU Parliamentary Committee Expresses Concern Over Human Rights Situation in India The Wire

Not Hindutva, not cut money: Biggest reason for BJP’s rise in Bengal might be rigged panchayat polls Scroll

Minority report: Polarisation in the Bengal polls could have repercussions for the state’s politics The Indian Express


US and China pledge to work together on climate change after John Kerry visit South China Morning Post

A tale of two carmakers: GM and Toyota take different electric roads in China Reuters


Myanmar junta chief to attend ASEAN summit on first foreign trip since coup CNA

Australia’s Government Is Refusing to Support Myanmar’s Anti-Coup Movement Jacobin

Britain Must Learn from Burma Bloodbath Consortium News

The American Legion Calls For Ending The Forever War American Conservative

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    Stop Trying to Make Us Worship the Royals Jacobin
    The link isn’t working for me.
    I have to say, the obvious bathos of one picture after another displayed on CNN/MSNBC of the Queen alone in the chapel is enough to make me throw my fruit loops right through the TVee. I mean, what force of nature or scientific law MAKES the Queen sit alone? Now, I am sympathetic to a couple married for 70 years, when one dies. But c’mon man, we’re all being played here…

      1. marcyincny

        I found the photos of Helen McCrory helped put it in proper perspective…along with having reached over 3 millions deaths from Covid…

    1. Pat

      I think the lingering on that was not the fault of the Royal Family but of media milking the situation for ratings. Not sure it worked although millions watched. Sometimes choosing what they think is the big story is a fail. (My example is our early local news that had a report on Scott Rudin every half hour. Broadway is an important financial driver for NYC, but most people outside of the business could care less about the inner workings, no matter how awful he is.)

      I actually appreciated the attempt at Covid role modeling, in following the lockdown guidelines. I say attempt, because there were some very clear drops of the protocols and some logical lapses if you thought about it. And their lapses were far less egregious or obvious than at the appearances of most of our leaders. Choosing to be alone was the Queen’s decision.If she wanted to have the Lady in Waiting who accompanied her in the car to be there, all that would have needed to happen would be to drop someone else from the 30. (For instance, the newest grandson-in-law might have been left behind.) I’m willing to give her a break, and think it wasn’t entirely manipulative on her part. Mostly because personally I would rather be sitting alone at such a time, and can imagine someone who has to be stoic and present a strong face at such an event would find it easier without the supposed help.

      At least those protocols meant we were spared the first foreign state event appearance of Kamala.

    2. DorothyT

      Queen in St. George Chapel: social distancing.
      But why let a perfectly good PR moment go to waste!

  2. .human

    In Nevada, the agency that supplies water to most of the state has constructed “straws” to draw water from further down in Lake Mead as its levels fall. It also has created a credit system where it can bank recycled water back into the reservoir without having it count toward its allocation.

    Where are any editors? This explanation is confused and completely opposite of the intended effect of the banking.

    1. Phacops

      I am tired of not only paying my own water bills, but subsidizing through taxes the dry-state greedheads. Let them dry up and blow away.

  3. allan

    Re: The Broken Front Line ProPublica

    Thank you for this. An essential read, but which can be summarized by

    As one of the most senior employees in the area, Diaz’s hourly wage is $17.89, while Sanchez, after four years at AMR, earns $15.88 an hour. No one got into EMS for the money, as the saying around the station went. Then again, the industry appeared lucrative for those higher up the food chain than Diaz: AMR is a subsidiary of the $4 billion Global Medical Response, which in turn is controlled by KKR, a $252 billion private equity behemoth.

    Here is the board of Global Medical Response. They look well fed.

  4. timbers

    Minnesota Police round up “journalists”

    “Journalists covering a protest in a Minneapolis suburb Friday night were forced on their stomachs by law enforcement, rounded up and were only released after having their face and press credentials photographed.

    The incident occurred hours after a judge issued a temporary order barring the Minnesota State Patrol from using physical force or chemical agents against journalists…”

    It was only a temporary order? Did they consider shipping them off to those immigrant refugee centers? That might have allowed for a more thorough ID check. After all they could be Russian instigators trying to foment discord to destroy America, like they did to Hillary to deny her Presidency to her.

    And, have we reached the point of having Puppet Courts with figure head judges with no power and who’s rulings are ignored by The A-THOR-I-TIES as so desired?

    We could always redeploy our troops in Afghanistan to Minnesota. Might save some tax dollars, too, Minnesota being a bit closer to home and all, and that way we can save Afghanistan for the private contracted mercenaries so they can protect woman and transgender rights over there. I bet if you counted all the transgender toilets in Afghanistan it comes up short vs USA.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I’m reading a lot of criticism of Gov. Walz for calling out the National Guard but I’m glad he has. I have yet to see any news about the Guard arresting and photographing journalists, beating or gassing protesters.

      I believe (in this one state at this time) the Guard is being used to inhibit police violence.

      However I only know what I see in the news or reported on social media so I could be wrong about this. But using the Guard in this manner would be consistent with Walz’s brand of socially moderate politics (former high school teacher, gay-friendly athletic coach and the highest ranking noncom in the MN Guard).

      He’s an interesting guy, by which I mean he’s not personally interesting at all. A Blue Dog in Congress but not a neoliberal. His one consistent motivator seems to be a desire to do what’s best for average people. He gets flak from Republicans on big issues, but the biggest tell is that his harshest criticism seems to come from neoliberals posing as Leftists. Objectively I think he’s been moving MN’s Overton Window to the left.

      1. enoughisenough

        Disagree. I live in MPLS, and seeing the nat guard everyone is offensive and inflammatory.

        They are guarding the McDonald’s and other chain stores in Uptown, which honestly should make us question how much useless money this is costing us to pay for security guards for private businesses.

        Meanwhile, it treats the entire population like we’re all pre-criminals. It’s a police state, and entirely dystopian.

        People protesting police and state violence being met by an actual army, well….isn’t the logical conclusion that they need to protest more and longer?

        it’s an escalation. And offensive and oppressive. I”m having anxiety attacks daily with those storm troopers here. Any of them could have itchy trigger fingers, they’re all heavily armed, I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood, we’re being occupied.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          This is MinnPost’s excerpt of recent Star Tribune coverage:

          “Journalists covering protests in Brooklyn Center last week following the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright say they have been assaulted, pepper-sprayed and detained by law enforcement officers despite showing their credentials and a Friday court order barring officers from arresting or using force against members of the media. In an interview Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said these incidents are ‘unacceptable in every circumstance.’ He said law enforcement leaders will communicate to officers guarding the Brooklyn Center police headquarters that they must follow the court order and let journalists do their jobs.”

          I just read that after the police stirred stuff up again Friday night, after Walz’s comments there were no arrests last night and the crowd gathered at the Brooklyn Center police station dissipated of their own volition.

          Twin Cities cops are a HUGE problem. I moved in 2013 but I did live there 25 years and however triggered you are by the Guard presence, Walz and the MN Guard do not appear to be escalating anything. Left to their own devices, Twin Cities police will always escalate, always make things worse. I appreciate that I don’t live there anymore and you do, but sometimes it takes a jackboot to stomp out the fuse burning its way towards a powderkeg.

          1. Aomoa

            Yeah it’s pretty much of a lose-lose situation. I expect to see a lot more of those in the coming years.

          2. Watt4Bob

            My .02

            I drove through South Minneapolis yesterday and noticed the Guard at a couple corners including 46th and Nicollet if IIRC, they were standing in a clump, no helmets and in a relaxed mood.

            Across the street, sitting on a curb was a man with a sign the read;

            “Nation Guard does not equal Safety”

            While I understand the idea, I got the sense that the Guard was there to protect what might be considered the boundry of the middle-class neighborhood.

            So they bother some folks and they probably make some others feel a bit safer.

            I’ve lived in the Twin Cities since 1974, for 19 years in Minneapolis and the last 27 in a first ring suburb.

            I’m with you, the Minneapolis cops have always been abusive, I’d much rather take my chances with the NG.

            1. enoughisenough

              This Nat Guard vs Mpls cops is a FALSE CHOICE. Either way we’re being over-policed.
              And since when was it ok for the military to occupy the streets when nothing has happened?
              And since when did everyone treat military thugs like they aren’t just as volatile as cops?
              And get it straight: they aren’t protecting neighborhoods. They are protecting chain stores. What do you think is on 46th and Nicollet, and what do you think is on Hennepin and Lake.

              I’ll tell you what is NOT there. *anyone doing anything. *any residences. And no one even did any protests or anything whatsoever on Nicollet and 46th last year. The more I think about it, the more I think this is a boondoggle. How expensive is this??? Why is the Nat Guard acting like mall cops?

              This is not normal. Don’t normalize it.

              It’s fascism.

              This is fascism. Not protection.

        2. Tom Stone

          It’s traditional!
          Read a bit about how Generals Pope and Fremont handled the Kansas/Missouri frontier in ’61 and ’62 , it seems to rhyme.

      2. Phacops

        I’l believe the National guard is there to help once I see their weapons trained on the police.

        1. enoughisenough

          Seriously, the longer they’re here, stationed day and night, looking at us all like we’re the enemy, the more likely they are to pop off.

          I’m scared.

          1. workingclasshero

            i hope yo and the folk of minneapolis are happy when your city is unliveable.o well, at least the “oppressed” will have racial justice at last.

            1. enoughisenough

              Free speech doesn’t make a place “unliveable”, it makes it a FREE SOCIETY.

              What makes a place literally “unliveable” is the police MURDERING PEOPLE.

              That would be the definition of “un-life”

                1. enoughisenough

                  Listen to this interview for what is going on, and what heroes these activists are. Sounds like they are trying to make things more liveable for all of us.

                  “We heard from civil rights attorney and activist, Nekima Levy Armstrong, last night in front of the headquarters of Operation Safety Net (OSN). She spoke about her interpretations of “the occupying force” of Operation Safety Net. She also spoke about a protest outside of the home of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput earlier in the day that was seeking harsher charges on Kim Potter, the ex-officer who was charged with second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11.”


                1. Aomoa

                  Yeah that’s right. We do need to step up and confront a police force that has no accountability, that is acting above the law and that is performing extrajudicial killings of especially young black men. Minneapolis is just one particularly notorious example.

                  Whether Rep. Waters is personally being somewhat hypocritical here is tangential to that point.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps it is a two-pronged psycho-pincer attack co-ordinated from above. As the police are instructed ( through secret back-channels) to get more and more Naziform, the National Guard will be turned to more and more often as a savior by a desperate and fearful populace.

        Of course if a desperate and fearful populace begins using Iraqi Insurgent methods to protect itself from the more and more Naziform police, that two-pronged attack ( if that is what it is) may be said to have backfired.

  5. Terry Flynn

    I’m afraid the Line of Duty “Northern Ireland” issue is primarily a case of “follow the money”. Huge investment in run up to, during and following the Good Friday Agreement in studios (just look at their webpages and funding) was a major driver of these shows. Even Titanic was filmed here! LoD isn’t even SET in Northern Ireland. It is set in a fictional “Central” Constabulary in the English Midlands – I haven’t watched S1 in a while but thought it implied Nottingham (and real East Midlands Constabularies are referenced) but more recent seasons, when showing postcodes on police PC screens have all have implied it is in the West Midlands (Birmingham is regional capital).

    They totally moved production after S1 from England and have had to maintain the fiction it’s still somewhere near Birmingham (having lots of non-speaking extras to help this) ever since. Ted’s character is indeed a big draw and some of his history is indeed important in some seasons. It might be intrinsic to S6 but you only have to peruse Reddit and Twitter fan communities to know what the leading theories on the “big reveal” is (no spoilers here).

    If an academic is going to dissect political aspects of the show the obvious one is Jed Mecurio’s shoe-horning in of certain other issues pertinent at the moment. Indeed, though I love the show, they’ve been way too on the nose in S6. Most viewers, beyond the gaps in Ted’s background, really aren’t watching LoD for great insights in NI policing in a wider sense. For once, it makes no sense to the over-arching plot, as established regarding the main location as mentioned above!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yup, its all about the money. NI has become a major centre for TV filming. Its become a little like Toronto for filming US set TV shows. It probably helps that for some reason Ireland churns out lots of charismatic male actors, even if some of them aren’t too good at even Irish accents. The accent probably helps a little in creating a bit of a ‘somewhere in England’ vibe, without being too specific.

        1. neo-realist

          Maybe you haven’t seen Bridget & Eamon on Amazon Prime: Hilarious satire of 1980’s Irish patriarchal family life, with authentic Irish accents.

        2. Terry Flynn

          Please tell me you’re being sarcastic if you’re referring to “Why Don’t you (Turn off your TV and do something Less Boring Instead)?” program, as the first UK “made for kids by kids programme” with 4 or 5 regional variations including a NI variation.

          There is only ONE good thing about that utter POC. I did what it suggested and did stuff like sledding down our steep road on a baking tray (hitting a lamp-post and getting concussion), falling off my bike, breaking a finger, and generally avoiding TV enough so that my mum didn’t go insane during school holidays.

      1. bob

        Has that British woman been constipated for 5 years? She has the same pained expression playing an FBI agent in Sicario (2015)

    2. skk

      Indeed the drive to “deLondonize” and regionalize TV production is noticeable. And that’s a good thing IMO. I’ve seen ( from the USA via VPN ) a lot of Brit TV – based no longer just in London but in Wales ( Hinterland, Hidden and of course Dr. Who and the space-time rift in Cardiff) in Scotland ( One of Us, Traces ) and N.I. too.

      As regards Line of Duty and Series 6, IMO Kelly MacDonald, compared to Keely Hawes, Thandiwe Newton,Lennie James, has been underwhelming, so far anyway. Maybe she comes alive in the remaining episodes.

      btw, Jeri-Lynn, today’s curated links are particularly relevant to me – thanks.

      1. savedbyirony

        “Happy Valley” set in Calderdale, West Yorkshire is another good Brit series you might like if you have not seen it. I also think “Vera” has some gorgeous locations but am not sure where it is filmed.

        Steely Keely as DCI Lindsay Denton so far is my favorite suspect in the LOD series, but she also had the best scripts.

        1. skk

          Thanks about “Happy Valley” – I checked, its not on Iplayer – but I’ll keep a lookout for it now.

          Of course “Vera” – I think I’ve seen just about every episode on ITVPlayer – a couple more than once. Indeed, who knew Northumberland was so beautiful ! All I knew of it was Lindisfarne due to the folk group and of course the roles of the Earls there, seeing as they controlled a border area, played throughout Early Modern English history.

          Steely Keely is a remarkably versatile actress.

          When I try and decide who my most favorite ‘bent copper’ was, I give the nod to Lennie James of S1, but only just.

        2. Susan the other

          Agree Happy Valley was really good; as good as the old Law and Order here, and a few others – i think it is because they successfully build their characters into believable creatures.

          1. savedbyirony

            With Happy Valley 3 (the writer says there will be 1 more series) it is so much about the characters indeed. What really makes me want to return to those characters is what will come of the conflicted Catherine/Ryan dynamic.

          2. savedbyirony

            If you have not seen it, the first series of Last Tango in Halifax, by the same writer but not a cop show, is also a wonderful character driven piece with a fantastic cast top to bottom.

            1. newcatty

              Fan of Last Tango in Halifax. Agree, the character development is wonderful. Just when one thinks it’s gonna be slipping into a stereotype of the character’s persona…it doesn’t. As an American, I enjoy the setting and slice of British life. It bridges the generation’s lives as they either willingly, or out of necessity, live in the same place. Even when I really don’t like a character, the empathy for him or her shines through the writing.
              BTW, my spouse is hearing impaired, so I enjoy the Closed Captioning(CC). Now, I have my brain conditioned to read and listen in synch. It’s like in a lecture…read ( taking notes) and listening to speaker at same time. Interesting to see how , for example foreign films have also made CC cool…it’s not “sub titles “.

      2. Lee

        I too am a fan of regional productions going back even unto one of the Prime Suspect seasons set in Manchester (1996). And of course there is the very, very dark Red Riding (2009). However, I must in most of these instances turn on the closed caption feature as, to my American ear, many of the characters may as well be speaking a foreign tongue, which to a degree, I suppose one could say that they are, as the language goes through the process of spreading geographically and cross-culturally and at the same time differentiating.

      3. Terry Flynn

        To answer this and the two answers to your comment in one go: Happy Valley is on my list of things to watch. Prime Suspect was brilliant and way ahead of its time. DCI Lindsay Denton was massively underused in LoD. BTW Kelly McDonald was MUCH better in the Black Mirror episode “Hated in the Nation” (ironically, also playing a cop). I think the big surprises coming tonight and next 3 weeks concern her. She may show her under-utilised acting chops yet.

        re “regionalising UK TV”: When I was growing up in the 70s/80s/90s the “flow” of English was one way: We in UK learnt North American words and expressions and British English, if not received pronunciation, required subtitles to (in my experience) most Americans – it was dying. I recall having great difficulties being understood on holidays in the USA in the south/south-west/west in 1994 and 1996 unless I spoke slowly (across about 13 states going from Arkansas to Washington). We even were getting Australian English phrases going from nothing to common usage (“no worries”) thanks to the soap opera Neighbours. Seriously, 1 in 3 Brits watched it in its heyday.

        Now we have what I call the “Netflixation” of TV. The flow of “versions of English” is FAR more two-way. On social media channels, it is clear that familiarity with UK regional accents among those living in North America is FAR higher these days, thanks to Netflix (and now other streamers) spreading non-US shows. Granted, some of our accents still require subtitles (cc) and indeed I even use them in lots of UK shows when I’m multi-tasking….but YouTubers seem (on average) far better at deciphering our weird accents.

        1. savedbyirony

          Prime Suspect series 1-6 were brilliant, but series 7 imo was terrible. Lynda La Plante, the series creator and early writer hated what they did to Jane Tennison. I think they completely lost the “truth” of the character in 7.

          Yes, they should have kept the Denton character. She was smarter and more crafty than the three leads combined. For anyone who has not seen the Line of Duty series and would like to, the first five series are available on Hoopla (probably for free if you have a public library card).

          1. Terry Flynn

            Agreed. Plus in the light of comments I’ve seen in “various places”, I thought I’d give some predictions that aren’t plot spoilers but which might show up who “gets it” and who “doesn’t or might be making comments with other aims in mind”.

            1. Seven episodes rather than the usual 6 for season 6. This is very non-standard and because (IMHO) the BBC has already cancelled it. Why? Fans who are up to date (i.e. primarily UK ones) know full well. Jed Mecurio has been treated badly by the BBC by having series cancelled before he “told his full story”. He’s known to be angry. He has obviously written the “story” to finish in S6 with an optional extra “finale” to really go out with a bang. He has issues with the BBC. Those who are up to date will already know he put words into key characters’ mouths showing S6 has launched barely concealed attacks on the BBC during the season to show why he now despises them. He doesn’t care about biting the hand that feeds him. Look at viewing figures. He can bite the bloody arm off of those who feed him. If the BBC dump him Netflix will pick him up. (He has Bodyguard S2 in the bag though I think that’s a mistake.)

            2. The BBC is terrified. Last week’s episode, Mercurio practically put into Hasting’s mouth a monologue about everything that is wrong at the moment (with implications for the BBC’s conduct). He has decided to go out with a bang and if he makes the BBC look bad too, result! Those non-Brits who have praised the show, without being up to date, I’d strongly advise you to wait til BritBox or whatever shows you S6. Rightwingers who like the police will do a 180, I guarantee, and realise Jed thught a load of them were scumbags from the get-go. If you haven’t seen this already from season 1-5, I really don’t think you’re watching very carefully and certainly not engaging in the detailed analysis of plots that even “non-experts” have been shown to be doing on programs like the UK programme “Gogglebox”. There are grandmas who have had the multiple bad apples in the police identified yonks ago! Kinda thinking this is a big test by Mercurio to show up the stupid people who have defended police malpractice……

            1. savedbyirony

              Hmm, this is interesting. Not being a Brit I am sure i miss quite a bit so i have always enjoyed reading Sarah Hughes (may she rest in peace) entertaining recaps with readers’ comments. When i read through the comments to the Guardian “recap” of episode 4, they often mentioned Hasting’s monologue but they bring up Boris Johnson as the between the lines target.

              1. Terry Flynn

                Boris is simply mentioned by Sarah and followers as “proxy” for senior figures (as I believe Jed intends). The underlying theme is police coverups generally – though there may be links brought up with the accusations made against real life public figures without naming them. I know who Jed intends but couldn’t say so being uk citizen.

    3. shtove

      Perhaps more to it than that. I believe if you noodle around the IMDb credits of recent spooks related UK productions, such as Strike Back and The Salisbury Poisonings, you’ll find multiple links to previous work in NI crime and terror documentaries. If it is a thing, it could just be down locals taking advantage of the flourishing of the industry there, but in such tight circles I would expect there to be “mentoring”.

      1. Terry Flynn

        I can well believe that “getting crime right” involves talking to people who did it. NI would be fertile territory. I just reject the Conversation author’s thesis that “we all want our crime dramas to be related to NI etc”. I published for the Conversation and know how the editorial process works. It made me sick. Liberal Arts editors who insisted on editing even when it made the article wrong.

        The author used a series that ISN’T EVEN SET IN NI to act as a hook for the article. In my experience the Conversation is simply a tabloid for people too posh to buy a tabloid.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Iran nuclear talks to continue amid signs of ‘progress’’

    I suspect that the word ‘progress’ may be attaining a new definition in its use here but whatever. Still, Iran now has the backing of both China and Russia and they are not retreating which perhaps the US/EU combo are beginning to understand. I saw an example today of how Iran is benefiting with this new relationship with China and Russia which made me do a double take. So Iranians ships going to Syria have been attacked by Israel and in turn, the Iranians have attacked Israeli ships. Not enough to sink each other mind but more as a warning.

    I just read today that Russian Navy warship will now be escorting Iranian cargo ships in convoys from the Suez Canal to Syria and back again. This is not only a message to Israel but it will break the Saudi-style starvation blockade that the US/EU are doing to Syria. And that is something that I definitely did not have on my bingo card for this year-

  7. John Beech

    Article regarding Line of Duty in The Conversation was great for this buff of British procedural dramas. A double thank you, both for the link to the article whereby I learned of dramas I knew nothing of, and for leading me to the website, well done. As a fan of the genre (including the generally darker Nordics, as well) this has been a boon for us.

    1. Lee

      One of my favorite comments on Nordic Noir by critic Euan Ferguson:

      What did Scandinavian film-makers think they were ever doing, 80 years of existential angst and Death playing nihilist chess, before remembering: we have crime. Coal. Snow. Blood. Fire. Cheekbones. Let’s do that.” Cited in Wikipedia article on series Wisting.

  8. crittermom

    >”The FBI might have gone ahead and fixed your Microsoft email server NBC”

    Bad link.

    (Love todays antidote! Thought it was a Cardinal with snow falling at first glance)

  9. John Beech

    I tuned in for some of Prince Phillip’s funeral, yesterday. This, despite holding a generally republican outlook vice the monarchy. Honestly, I prefer the Dutch approach where the King, Willem-Alexander, worked part time as a KLM-pilot. This, as well as being a qualified military pilot. I honestly find it curious how Brits are so attached to a pricey group of parasites. Especially in this day and age of democracy and representative government. Not that they’re totally useless because they’re referred to as working-royals for a reason, they definitely work (e.g. ribbon cutting and ceremonies is honest work). Still . . .


      They made you look. That’s the point.

      It’s just a bit of novelty to enhance the story and appeal of the place. They have to do do something to make up for the weather!

    2. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

      All aristocrats deserve the guillotine regardless of how much they “work.”

    3. Count Zero

      Who says “the Brits” are so attached to the monarchy? Has anybody asked the whole population?

      I suspect most people are just not very interested in them but any incipient republican thoughts immediately confront a question. Who would you have as head of state instead? A President? Er, let’s stick with what we’ve got…

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: the Muppets

    Mark Hamill asked Frank Oz what he thought set the Muppets apart, and Oz said they didn’t make puppet jokes, hand up their a $$ jokes, or give indications they were puppets. He reminded Hamill when Oz and Henson had brought Kermit and Miss Piggy to the filming of Empire they never broke character and that Hamill had a genuine reaction to being confronted with the Muppets instead of Yoda, not Oz and Jim Henson making puppet jokes.

    1. Alfred

      I loved how all the musical stars related to the Muppets, and by then I was way out of the age group. Fraggle Rock came along at a time when I needed it. I miss that show.

    2. fresno dan

      April 18, 2021 at 9:28 am
      I think I can say, without any fear of contradiction, that there has NEVER been a better straight frog than Kermit…or at least a greener one

    3. Phacops

      That show helped keep me sane at a bad time of my life, spending Friday nights alone except for the company of the Muppets. This Aspie appreciated their humor.

    4. Terry Flynn

      Mah-na mah-na song came from a p*rno. It just made me love the Muppet Show even more.

      1. Acacia

        “Mah Nà Mah Nà” was composed by the brilliant Piero Umiliani for the mondo film Sweden: Heaven and Hell (1968), which is not pr0n, but is certainly an exploitation film. If memory serves, “Mah Nà” was the cue for a scene in which a bunch of women are running to a sauna in the snow.

        Svezia, inferno e paradiso is, shall we say, thoroughly unethical, though my favorite part is probably the “introduction” to a vast WW III survival bunker, set to this suitably kitsch-apocalyptic cue:

        Seeing the original also increased my appreciation for the Muppet Show. ;)

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Stop Trying to Make Us Worship the Royals”

    It is insidious this royalty worship. When I was a kid growing up in Oz, they used to play God Save the Queen at the cinema and you were expected to stand up for it. In addition, the last thing TV stations played late at night before closing down was the same theme with the same clip of Queen Elizabeth. This kinda looks like it- (21 secs)

    But there are so many nuggets to turn over in that article. Unmentioned in it was that Prince Phillip had four older sisters, all of whom married nobility in Germany. So during WW2 not only did Phillip have brothers-in-law in the Wehrmacht but also one in the SS. That must have made British spooks nervous that. The article said Phillip grumbled that his kids would not adopt his family name of Mountbatten but that is just a made up name. His family name was Battenberg so as ‘berg’ is German for mountain, they chopped it up, reversed it to come up with Mountbatten. Even Windsor is just a made up name as the Royal family had a German double-barreled name which had to go in WW1 so they named themselves after their main castle at Windsor. So much for tradition.

    When Prince Charles was made Prince of Wales in 1969, a commentator mentioned that he was the most English royal in generations at only 33% and the other commentator grumbled that ‘you can prove anything with statistics.’ You would be surprised/shocked what you will find in the history of this family. And I don’t care if she is the Queen of Australia, I remain a Republican. And why are we supposed to swear loyalty to them? If I have the story right a long time ago in a country far, far away a room full of people swore and oath of loyalty to the new English king but not only him personally but all their descendants as well to the end of time. Saywhatnow?

    1. Anonymous 2

      Triple-barreled if I recall correctly – the royal surname pre WW1 – Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Or was it Saxe-Coburg und Gotha?

      Double-barreled surnames are for the hoi poloi.

    2. VK

      like capital, dynasties have no ‘fatherland’. the concept of nation only makes sense in respect to the ruled, not the rulers.

    3. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      April 18, 2021 at 9:32 am
      The whole edifice is like Disneyland for adults with a castile and jewelry fixation or a Hallmark network for Anglophiles (but not the ones in the US congress…). I guess you could try and justify it by saying its equivalent to the money a theme park brings in. But just like most economic analyses of sports stadiums shows that they are net money losing propositions, I imagine the same is true of the royals.
      But I don’t believe much in the other big R (religion) either – some folks just like pomp and circumstance

    4. David

      Back in the 60s and 70s, the Royals went through a rough patch, because they seemed somehow to have got lost behind in the modern, technologically-driven, egalitarian and classless society into which Britain was starting to turn. Deference to traditional figures of authority was on the way out. Aggressive republicanism was quite rare, but there was a general feeling that Royalty would, in the end, just fade away or move to to a Scandinavian model.

      Then Thatcher happened. Whilst the lady herself was a hopeless, almost pathetic, social climber, the forces she unwittingly unleashed were liberal revolutionaries who were only interested in the past and in tradition insofar as they could be turned into business opportunities. Liberalism has always sought to destroy the past, and to produce the New Human Being, devoid of any history, identity, culture, community, society, even gender, an undifferentiated, androgynous consumer, through whom the Liberal dream can at last be realised of an entire population motivated only by the search for maximum marginal utility and individual personal advantage. Socialism had to go, of course, because it explicitly assumed a bond of common interest between people. So did trades unions, in favour of an economy where workers have to compete with each other. But the identification of the forces unleashed by Thatcher as being of the “Right” misses the point: they were economic and social radicals, at least as committed to destroying the past and existing structures as any Marxist revolutionary. So families, communities, voluntary organisations, public services; everything that didn’t have an immediate cash value had to be undermined and eventually disposed of.

      The Royals, for all their historical conservatism and distance, had no part in this (the Queen is reputed to have loathed Thatcher). However imperfectly (and heaven knows they are a dysfunctional lot) the Royals have inadvertently functioned as the last remaining living image of a type of non-tradable social relationship that has now almost been destroyed. Philip, like the rest of his generation of royals, was extremely rich but never saw his position, so far as I know, as one to commercialise. He seems to have spent most of his life doing boring things, out of a sense of duty. One reason for the poor image of Harry&Megan plc is precisely that they clearly view their royal status simply as a business opportunity.

      Like a surprising number of people who worked in government, I was (and am) a republican. But I confess to having little idea what a better Republican system of government would look like today. (As a colleague remarked to me at the time of the Falklands “just thank God Thatcher isn’t President”). Moreover the egalitarianism that had begun to appear in the 60s has completely vanished, and deference is back: except it’s deference to money, not deference to royalty, and money (as Marx almost said) has no country, no society, no morals and no sense of obligation.

      George Orwell famously said that a truly socialist government would abolish the House of Lords but keep the Crown. Somewhat against my inclinations, I am starting to suspect he might have been right. I’m sure he would have been repelled, in any event, by so much of the media coverage, like the Jacobin story, which amounts to little more than pulling faces and uttering rude words to shock the grown-ups.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        An elected president isn’t so bad. Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins is 80 today and is almost universally popular – he was for many years an intellectual and left wing activist and is still quite active writing on colonialism and imperialism. Mind you, it was a close run thing, he nearly lost out to a dodgy businessman.

        1. David

          Oh sure, it all depends on the system, and in England the idea of an elected executive president is too awful to contemplate. Prime Ministers with delusions of grandeur are bad enough. In France, we’ve had a teenage CEO of a startup (Macron) a colourless bureaucrat (Hollande) and a cheap crook (Sarkozy) over the last fifteen years. Mind you, given the current state of the French political class, any other system would probably be just as bad.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I should have clarified that Irelands president has largely ceremonial functions, as a post it was quite deliberately designed to replicate the role of the King in the constitution. The only real power the Irish president has is to refuse to sign a law into enactment if he/she thinks its unconstitutional, and has some powers to bust heads together if a government can’t be formed post election.

      2. newcatty

        and deference is back: except it’s deference to money, not deference to royalty, and money has no country, no society, no morals and no sense of obligation.

        Money can be defined as the means to dominate and control the population of the country. Deference to money is deference to the political and class systems that exists in every nation. Deference is shown by deferring to the paths that are open to every single person in that government’s power. The salient phrase in the quote is: ” Money has no country, no society no morals nd no obligation.” If money as controlled and manipulated by those who wield that power, then it’s not crucial that there is any noble obligation carried out by any rulers of privilege and money, but that the monied powered elite have no ” morality”. Without it, we have what stands for “governance” in the country. Look at UK and America. Rest my case.

    5. km

      Captain Darling : I’m as British as Queen Victoria!

      Captain Blackadder : So your father’s German, you’re half German, you have a German surname and you married a German! …

  12. crittermom

    >”Is Los Angeles’ Sweep of a Homeless Encampment the Wave of the Future?”

    So homeless people are forced to leave with nowhere to go, yet they have the audacity to call this (from the article, my emphasis), “the single largest housing event in the history of the city.” and “a successful housing operation unprecedented in scale.”

    What the hell?
    I’m, I’m… speechless.

      1. crittermom

        Egads! I’d forgotten much of that movie, including that part.

        Never thought I’d see the day.
        Now fear I might.

      2. Alfred

        Some of the rhetoric coming out of Texas reminded me we might be near ‘Death Race 2000’ territory.

  13. petal

    I have had to work this weekend at our regional hospital. Came in yesterday through the front entrance that they shunt everyone through on weekends and there was a vaccine clinic happening. Tons of volunteers and staff standing around aimlessly, hardly any people. Just one or two filtering in from the parking lot from time to time. Huge difference from the two weekends ago when it was packed and hard to walk through.

    1. ambrit

      So, now the ‘private’ entities are enforcing “Community Service?”
      I’m not surprised at your observation about the lack of ‘crowds’ queueing up to get vaccinated. I’m seeing a lot more people out in public not wearing masks. I’m wondering if the Vaccine Triumphalism hasn’t psychologically primed the ‘masses’ for an “organic” herd immunity strategy. (Said strategy could be construed, by the terminally cynical of course, as one step in the implementation of The Jackpot.)

      1. Geo

        Met a bunch of Core volunteers who were helping do Covid tests in LA. Their unanimous reasons for being there were because they felt helpless and wanted to help. It was actually very beautiful and inspiring. So many people giving their time to do something important. Just because the “public” institutions have failed on so many levels, it’s no reason to knock the private ones taking up the slack. I’m sure a lot of it at the top levels is grift, a lot is opportunism, or, in the case of Core, a lot of people can’t stand Sean Penn and despise anything he does, but the volunteers were amazing people living their ideals and not using their volunteer efforts to push an agenda (I.e missionaries). Honestly, it would be wonderful to see more of that in our society.

        1. ambrit

          I can’t really argue with your reasoning. However, whenever I see a “charity” or “public service” group headed by a “Personality,” I’m reminded of how Scientology operates.
          Colour me Cyan Cynical, but there are a few rays of light breaking through.

      2. petal

        Interesting observation about mask wearing. I haven’t noticed a decrease around here for that. The state’s mandate is ending but towns can still have theirs.

        Yeah it was clinical staff members, plus volunteers in their red shirts that were there to point people where to go and help fill in forms, etc. It looked like on a tv show where someone plans a huge party, everything’s set up and laid out, and then nobody shows up. I had to work in my lab, so I walked through at two different times. There was no difference in amount of people. It was pretty dead. I don’t think it was due to scheduling slots. Wondering if we hit the vaccination ceiling. It was a really weird vibe, tbh.

        Please give my best to Phyl.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        A slow-rolling Jackpot drawn out over a hundred years or so . . . . so as to escape mass attention.

    2. Geo

      Got my first jab last week and the place was empty. Not sure what I was expecting but thought there’d be some kind of line or others waiting. On the plus side, was in and out in minutes.

      Have a few friends who are suspicious of the vax. On one hand, I don’t blame them. Pharma ain’t known for being honest and lots of info on the web that can lead to skepticism. For those without regular healthcare experience (having no health insurance) we have no metric to judge health services for quality. It always feels impersonal and frightening. And personally, I did feel a little like a sheep getting my jab. On the other hand, it’s kinda silly. The same people drink alcohol, live in cities (where the air is practically a carcinogen), and ingest plenty of other questionable substances regularly. What’s one more ingestion which may or may not have long term harmful effects? It’s not like any of us are saving for retirement anyway.

      Hopefully peer pressure will have some impact. But, who knows if it will, or if it will in a fast enough timeframe to matter? Either way, it seems humanity is intent on inadvertent population control through mutual destruction one way or another. Caitlyn Johnston’s piece about UFO’s not wanting to deal with an immature species seems apt for the times.

    3. Alfred

      Since it was triaged by age and health issues, could it be partly that younger people just are not thinking it’s necessary? We are down to 30 and up here, and it’s gone way down.

      1. petal

        The younger people around here are all about getting their shot. On Monday, NH is down to 16 years old and open to folks from anywhere.

        ambrit, I think our hospital was a location because we’re rural and it’s a central location. Everyone knows where it is, plenty of parking, and there’s staff to help, etc.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I took my dad to both his shots in case of side effects, but the people in line were young, all millenials, by and large. Dad was fairly late because he doesn’t check his phone despite his eligibility. Then I feel like the younger people who want a shot are lined up and eager to discuss it.

          1. petal

            “Then I feel like the younger people who want a shot are lined up and eager to discuss it.” Yes, this. It’s like getting the new hot style of clothes or tech gadget. Have noticed older folks(40 and up) are quiet about it but the younger people are very vocal about it and think the new vaccine tech is cool, and pharma is to be trusted 100%. The 20 somethings would have been first in line if given the chance. They’re(pharma) on our side, you know. There’s been a very clear cutoff on that pov and it’s been interesting to observe.

            1. fumo

              Those kids and their publicly wanting vaccines during a global pandemic that’s killed millions. What on Earth could they be thinking?

              1. flora

                erm…speaking as an older person… per Bertrand Russell in another context:

                “What is wanting is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

                  1. Basil Pesto

                    is there any similarity in the case of Vioxx and the new vaccines other than they’re both therapies made by pharmaceutical companies?

                    1. BlakeFelix

                      And I don’t super trust the pharma industry, but I trust them more than I do COVID-19. And preliminary reports about the vaccines are mostly fine, but signs of long term COVID damage are spooky.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      JJ scare aside, I suspect vaccine hesitancy is higher than polls indicate. Do you want to be a dumb dumb and not take a vaccine to save your life? Do you want to disrupt your work schedule for three even four days right as everything is opening and take an emergency use vaccine developed by Herr Trump, Obama who drank the Flint water (wink, wink) was vaccinated so you know its safe?

      When it comes to the question of, do you plan to get vaccinated?, the perception of safe matters. I had Moderna, but a few days after my first shot my MD governor of Virginia had the J&J shot. So much for setting an example.

      I suspect having neighbors not celebrities talk about being vaccinated and addressing hesitancy would be better than the Hamilton guy, a play most people wont see.

      1. petal

        There’s been peer pressure, also pressure from my boss and employer, etc. You can’t say out loud you are hesitant (no matter what the reasons) otherwise you’ll be labeled in a bad way. Your reasons don’t matter and are brushed off and they start to think you’re a right-wing kook and anti-science and all that. You just keep your mouth shut , lay low, and play along.

        1. ambrit

          If “long covid” really is a killer, and the vaccines do not affect it’s progress, you need only wait for the “goodthinkers” to die off.
          Stay safe, stay unobtrusive!

          1. Duke of Prunes

            I have a friend with “long covid”, and he thinks the shot has helped reduce his symptoms.

            Me, I think it exacerbated my irregular heart rhythms, but that seems to be reducing as time goes on. Took a week off from exercise because it didn’t feel right. 1st shot Pfizer.

        2. campbeln

          One in our immediate family is on the “can’t have it” list thanks to Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

          When asked, I state that since there has been no studies about vaccine receiptients ability to shed the virus, I’m not willing to bring it into the house. This is also compounded by the fact that thanks to immunity to lawsuits, should they or I get sick, we have zero recourse, so I’m continuing with the approach of the last year and waiting for more data.

          I get a look of “geeze, those are some good points” and 9 times out of 10 the subject is changed.

          I don’t feel like we’re being pieogin-holed, more of a “that sucks for your family” pity.

          For the record, the GBS was brought on by a flu shot or MMR (per the neurologist) and despite this the kids are fully vaccinated. I do, however, have issue taking an emergency use authorization vaccine who’s only guaranteed immunity is to lawsuits for the companies producing it. One of which was recently caught knowingly ignoring asbestos in their baby powder.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired”

    The lawsuit for Alice Stubbins has just recently started to go through the court system so we will see how good Californian courts are though the CPUC agency labelled it as a “frivolous lawsuit.” Frankly I think that Stubbins has a good case to make and just who does the CPUP think they are with they way that they behaved? CalPERS or something?

    1. tegnost

      “Azevedo estimated that the Lifeline program, which provides phone service for low-income Californians, could be short $61 million. The Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, which provides devices to people with disabilities, could be missing $6.3 million. The California Teleconnect Fund, which provides low-cost service to schools, libraries, community colleges, hospitals, health clinics and other community organizations, had not received some $10 million owed by utilities.”

      kicking the poor…well you do need to keep them in their place…

      1. bob

        Utility regulators are there to represent the utilities. That money belongs to the utilities. She’s confused.

        1. tegnost

          It’s got to be the tip of the iceberg.
          “Stebbins and Azevedo say that they are confident that they had discovered a real problem. But their investigation was cut short when they were both fired. Stebbins said, “I think there’s millions and millions of dollars more out there that have not been reported.””

          “Poor Marybel is really struggling with this,” Rechtschaffen wrote to Randolph,”
          she should get together with marcy to commiserate.
          Hmmm….what kind of connections might a casino executive have from her former life…
          …and Uber/Lyft would *never* lie on self reported responsibilities.

    2. Jean

      Just part of the regulatory, financial and political capture of California politics by the corporations. The casino exec was hustled in to fire her or any other troublemakers.

      Another glaring pro-development example:

      Can Newsom survive the upcoming recall?

      In addition to the PUC scandal, there’s
      CALPERS beautifully covered by Naked Capitalism,

      In addition, the state is now forcing communities to allow developer profits against community wishes
      “When California lawmakers tried earlier this year to force local governments to allow four or more (market priced) homes on land zoned for single-family residences, fierce pushback from suburban communities…

      Gavin to the rescue; “the governor ended single-family zoning by signing Assembly Bill 68, which creates a right to build two new units of market rate rental housing on any single-family lot in California, for a total of three units of housing where only one may have been allowed by the local government in the past. AB68 prohibits cities from prohibiting it.

      Gridlocked traffic,a major long term drought and the hit and run with profits taken developers are licking their chops.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain

    Somebody’s gotta be the rearguard to cover the retreat, or the withdrawal, or whatever. “It’s unequivocal, all troops out,” the senior US official told CNN, asked specifically about special operations forces.

    Why do so many Americans refuse to understand what’s happening? I suspect it’s because even the anti-war crowd doesn’t want to concede defeat. The bottom line is, we lost, and now we’re leaving.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is amazing that story. I am not sure but I think that the Taliban gets a vote too somehow. But why they would tolerate nearly 20,000 foreigners constantly still droning them, undercutting them, raiding and kidnapping them, spying on them, etc. and not just go after them? They have not been hitting US troops for a while now but that is only for the sake of negotiations. What they have been doing is hitting the Afghanistan Army constantly so that afterwards they will not be a threat. If most of those 20,000 people are mostly mercs, well, the rules of war do not apply to them so I would expect it to be open season on them. And special forces troops don’t get a get-out-of-jail card either as either they are actual US troops – who should not be there – or just plain mercs so lawful targets.

    2. David

      Whatever US capacity remains in Afghanistan after September won’t be able to affect the course of the war very much, nor prevent a Taliban takeover (or at least a takeover by the numerous groups now trading under that name). What’s happening now, I suspect, is that the US has identified groups that it hopes will be influential and control terrain, and has decided to provide them with assistance and training (I debt they need any more weapons). This is the classic outsider’s trick for influencing the outcome of civil wars, and I imagine that the Chinese, the Russians, the Pakistanis and the Indians (at least) are all doing a version of the same thing, all hoping to identify and sponsor groups that they believe will work to their interests.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It did occur to me that whatever the truth or not of the US’s use of the Uighur’s in China, this is the perfect opportunity for China to pay the US back by supporting one or other group. I wonder, however, whether China has the contacts and experience for this type of operation, although them seem to have very good contacts with the Pakistani’s, who are pretty good at stirring the pot in Afghanistan.

        I was browsing again recently a travel book by Devla Murphy, an account of her time in Afghanistan in the early 1960’s just when the Soviets and the US had started to exert influence. People often don’t realise about how relatively prosperous (in a low key manner) peaceful and tolerant a country it was (for the most part anyway) until the various powers started using it as a playground.

        1. David

          When I were young, the hippie trail led that far, and people I knew came back with real Afghan coats, as in from Afghanistan. Somewhere on Youtube there are videos of colour films taken in Kabul in the early 70s. It breaks your heart. And yes, I think the Chinese will be there, probably working with Pakistan as usual. It’s their backyard after all.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, PakISIstan would keep supporting the Taliban. Would China join PakISIstan in supporting the Jihadi-friendly Taliban? Would such Chinese support for the Taliban deter
            Russia from supporting the groups which would try to form a Northern Alliance 2.0?

            Or would China merely and strictly support the concept of peacefulness and safety in the areas where China would like to mine minerals?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      So I guess there are some people who actually believe biden when he reads from the teleprompter.

      Must be the same people who think 2000 is the same as 1400, and “immediate” means in three months.

      Bless their poor, pitiful, delusional little hearts.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Biden has been consistent in his views on the war in Afghanistan. He opposed the military build-up that took place during the Obama administration. After that failed negotiations with the Taliban started loaded down with conditions like a peace treaty and/or a cease fire which they never accepted.

        What is Churchill purported to say about Americans? They eventually do the right thing after all the alternatives have been exhausted.

    4. Fireship

      “Why do so many Americans refuse to understand what’s happening?”

      Because they are Americans. Disneyland, Hollywood, The American Dream, Manifesto Destiny. Americans are not equipped to deal with reality. Check out Morris Berman’s Why America Failed trilogy for more details.

    5. Duke of Prunes

      Again CNN quoting unnamed “military officials”. Just like the Russian bounties, and 100s of other lies pushed over the last few years. Or do we believe our unnamed sources when we agree with them?

      1. Andrew Watts

        Of course not, but they don’t have a reason to lie about it. The situation is quite hopeless in the absence of any major reinforcements or counter-offensive, The CIA isn’t going to stick around without that military support. They’re neither brave or that stupid which is why they’re whining about all their connections going into the dumpster. The contractors are a question mark due to the fact that the government in Kabul is reliant on them to maintain their aircraft and other vehicles.

  16. RockHard

    “Andrew Yang leads new NYC mayoral poll — despite string of gaffes”

    This headline kills me. It’s like the media (or at least the people who write headlines) didn’t even notice that Trump became the most powerful man in the world despite a string of gaffes. It’s like the media think that the keys to power come only to people who carefully manage to not screw up in front of a hot mike.

    As far as the royals, I’ve never understood the fascination with them in the USA. To be very blunt, I could not possibly care less about them, yet the way a large part of the US acts, you’d think that they were regretting all the events of 1775-1783.

    1. Geo

      The royals: We love fairy tales and still idol worship. Thus, the obsession with celebrity culture, our modern day Lords and Ladies. Of worship of CEO’s as deities who can wrangle the market forces bestowing prosperity or enacting their wrath upon us. Even our cultural obsession with Superheroes who are IdPol friendly Ubermenschen that would make Ayn Rand swoon.

      Maybe it’s some kind of Freudian daddy/mommy issue? Maybe it’s a submissive kink in our culture? Maybe it’s a subconscious acknowledgment of our own systemic impotence and a fairy tale of benevolent rulers is more fun to focus on than our menagerie of misfit scoundrels and thieves that hold elected office. That’s why Diana/Meagan are such idols: they are “commoners” rescued from peasantry by princes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney owns the Royal Family too.

      As comedienne Maria Bamford once said, “when I speak with young boys and girls I always tell them to reach for the stars. They’re the only people who can help you.”

      1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        It’s a mystique which was dliberately created. And as this audience all knows, a moment’s examination dispels like dew at mid day

    2. Aomoa

      I’m proud to say the only exposure I get to the royal family news is through the comments here. I’m sure they tell me all I need to know.

  17. Pat

    Regarding water in the West, this is certainly not the first event and the current one is the result of decades of not being sensible about water needed for people and industry versus the water available.

    My New Mexican grandparents were dependent on well water. They turned off taps for tooth brushing and dish washing long before movie stars touted it. Baths were once a week. And I remember a few years when it was drier than usual that the small lawn areas of their garden were allowed to go brown and dry, because the food garden and trees were more important and how carefully they watered those. Meanwhile large sections of the state were being marketed as retirement areas for people from other far more water rich areas of the country.

    Whenever water used to come up, I used to make jokes about the last section of Michener’s Centennial. The novel was first published in 1974 and the mini series wasn’t much later than that. Which means it is almost fifty years old. To give you an idea there is a large report on water usage in the book, one obvious based on studies from that time that makes clear that there was already too much demand for the water. Michener fictionalized real history and real events in his books. This was one of those times. As people finally notice the rivers don’t have enough water and the underground aquifers are almost empty, we will yet again be told that no one could have imagined.

    1. Alfred

      My former inlaws in Santa Fe were using a greywater tank for their raised bed veg gardens in the 70s. I don’t hear about that so much any more.

      1. barefoot charley

        Greywater is slowly legalizing, against the grain of the sanitation and building police. What if someone washes dirty diapers in your kitchen sink, huh? Huh? What if the poisoned chicken you’re eating washes into a bush? I gave up talking with them about what sensible people do.

      2. Michael Mck

        Many people and organizations around me when I was a kid were on the right track by the late 70’s in response to the oil embargo, a big drought I remember in 76 and memories of Vietnam. Reagan, cocaine (both in the death squads it finances and the vapid self-entitled users it creates) and the gogo 80’s blew that all away. These days there is probably a cloud based greywater system with 14 chips, 12 actuators, 20 sensors and a subscription fee payable in NFTs.
        All the technical and social solutions we need if we are to salvage a soft landing out of our financialized industrial tech culture existed 45 years ago. Live simply so others can simply live and fight the machine all the normal ways as well as in a few individual ways.

    2. Wukchumni

      If say we were 2 years into a 240 year drought in Cali*, how long would it take before people started clearing out, i’d give us a decade before SD/OC/Trona/LA/SF are living ghost towns, the few hangers on dependent on expensive trucked in water, picked up from the port of LA via a source in Alaska making an H20 run~

      Things will get weird when the Big Smokes want Big Ag’s water and the 2 sides are 180 degrees away from one another politically already with the CVBB being solid Trumpathizers…

      ‘i’m sorry farmer Johnson we need your water, maybe in lieu of growing 4,400 almond trees you could learn to code?’

      isn’t going to fly, but the bullets will…

      Whadya do with 40 million Californian aquagees though?

      * the longest one historically, a thousand years ago we would’ve been in the thick of it.

      1. a fax machine

        As soon as the Growers feel pain there will suddenly be unlimited amounts of money put into water storage and (eventually) desalination. It’s a free market – if water prices go up, so do customers’ desire to have the state government build something that can lower them. A century ago it was the Aqueducts, today I suspect it’ll be desalination. A shame then, as most of California’s water desalination plants were closed as our nuclear power plants were gradually shut down.

        That’s the solution, and as soon as water has to be brought in (as is done in Mexico) people will shut down all the current FUD about nuclear power and build enough to get prices down.

        The same for electrical energy, although this crisis is already upon us and has been a recurring problem for the past twenty years. Personally, I feel it will impact this year’s recall election.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I bet that a lot of Californians are descended from climate change refugees from the 30s fleeing west who were known as “Oakies” at the time. It would be ironic if their great grandchildren also became climate change refugees but fleeing east instead. Would they then be known as “Calies”?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      There is a quite-a-few-years-now business in New Mexico called Soil Secrets. Their claim is that they have studied which mycorrhizae link up to what kind of New Mexico-area plants to assist these plants in wrenching more water out of the soil they are growing in. As a byproduct of those mycorrhyzae’s plant-root-support activity, the mycorrhizae themselves are supposed to produce a metabolic by-product which has been called “glomalin” and which is supposed to be very water-holdy and soil-particular stick-togethery; both things acting together to increase a soil’s ability to hold onto whatever skywater falls on it.

      I saw this person speak at an Acres USA conference one year.

      Here is the link.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “US West prepares for possible 1st water shortage declaration”

    Was just thinking of how you will know when negotiations are really serious and just thought of one way. It will be serious when they decide that no water can go to crops in those Western States that are to be grown for overseas export. Water for crops will only go to grow food for American use only. And that is directly and indirectly.

    That last bit is important. Otherwise you might have an alfalfa grower in California that sells it to another State but ships it on to say Saudi Arabia. Or actually sells it to a State that grows it but who then sells theirs on to Saudi Arabia. And you know that they will try to come up with a “credit” scheme.

    Just now had a thought. Bill Gates and others have been buying up large tracts in the US, right? I wonder if anybody has checked to see which rivers, streams, water catchments, etc. are located on those tracts? Maybe they have been buying not so much the land as actually the water resources on it.

    1. Geo

      I just wrote a screenplay about that exact idea. A sci-fi dystopia sorta story where owners of aquafers are kings/warlords and others work for/serve them for the privilege of being allowed access. Obviously has Mad Max similarities but takes a different approach to the social dynamics.

      I wonder if I’ll be able to make the movie before it becomes old news? Seriously, writing dystopian sci-fi is getting harder by the day. Write it one day and the next day NC has a headline about it already happening.

      1. Mikel

        And any original dystopian scenario that you do come up with will be used as a playbook for “progress.”

        1. Geo

          I love that one. So far ahead of it’s time with such a cynical sense of humor it didn’t get the respect it deserved when it came out. But, in retrospect, it’s a brilliant comedy. That one, some of Verhoeven’s films, and Dr. Strangelove are films that inspire me creatively to this day. Sadly, I’m not smart or witty enough to write that kind of biting satire. The few times I’ve attempted comedy, most think it is more terrifying than funny. I guess not everyone shares my laugh or you’ll cry outlook. Or, I’m just not funny.

          1. ambrit

            Tank Girl was originally a comic strip production.
            Could you be more visually oriented in your working methods? Perhaps a series of ‘story boards’ would do the trick? (I’m thinking of how Kurosawa ‘designed’ his films visually, often doing his own storyboards.)
            Somehow, I’m thinking that you would do a bang up Film Noir.
            Anyway, I’ll shut up now.

          2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

            That flick was so fun but nobody understood it. Like They Live, which people began to grok ten years’ on.

      2. urblintz

        Annexing the Aquifers: Israel and the Water Crisis in Occupied Palestine

        Israel is controlling the two main Palestinian water resources in the West Bank (the Jordan River basin in the east and the western mountain aquifer) which supply Israel with about 900 million cubic meters of water annually.

        Through the annexation of the West Bank areas expected this summer, Israel aims to keep the West Bank aquifers behind the new Israeli borders by retaining control of the settlement blocks adjacent to the basins, in particular, the Jordan Valley and the Salfit area where my hometown of Qira is located.

        That annexation will perpetuate the high Israeli water-consumption levels while denying basic Palestinian needs and force Palestinians to depend on Israel for water, thus preserving the status quo of a dramatic unjust division of water resources, dimming any hope for a viable Palestinian state and peace in the region.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, the Israelis have also been stealing all the water they can to fill their swimming pools with so that now, about 95% of the water that the Palestinians have left to use is non-potable.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Have you or anyone else thought of writing a screenplay about people successfully subsisting on
        captured and retained skywater . . . . in the No Man’s Lands between the Aquifer Warlords? It wouldn’t be a Utopia, but it might be a Semitopia.

        What if such a screenplay had both the Skywater Subsistence Semitopians and the Aquifer Serfs and Warlords interacting in the same screenplay?

  19. PlutoniumKun

    A tale of two carmakers: GM and Toyota take different electric roads in China Reuters

    Its not often you get to point to GM as a leader in anything, but they seem to have a better grasp of what EV’s mean than many other companies. In focusing on cheap, accessible urban transport using very simplified platforms, they have far more chance of making EV’s dominant than in making overpriced, over engineered Teslas (or Hyundais or VW’s or Toyotas). I think the problem is that most of the main car companies fear that EV’s can be commodified like mobile phones, so they all want to be Apple, not Xiaomi. The problem is, there is only going to be room for a handful of Apples if the future of cars is cheap ‘n cheerful.

    1. Alfred

      Jascha Heifetz was proudly driving an electric vehicle–in 1967, he converted his Renault passenger car into an electric vehicle. There were early EVs in CA that were popular (I don’t know the correct history) but they were discontinued.

  20. Mikel

    RE: “Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain” The Grayzone

    Raise your hand like me if you already knew this when the “ending the war” claim hit the headlines.

  21. PlutoniumKun

    Barcelona scored four goals in 12 minutes – including a brilliant strike from Lionel Messi – to thrash Athletic Bilbao and win the Copa del Rey. BBC

    I only saw the highlights, but it was mighty impressive by Barca. They are in deep financial trouble, but if they can get their act together I think rumours of their demise might be very premature. So much depends on the summer transfer window, I don’t think anyone really knows what most clubs finances look like, so there may be a lot of surprises (the only non-surprise will be that the Gulf funded clubs will be spending huge as usual).

  22. PlutoniumKun

    The David Cameron scandal: just how sleazy is British politics? FT

    When it comes to corruption, Britain is catching up fast with the Middle East Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

    Act now on sleaze crisis or lose red wall votes, Boris Johnson warned Guardian

    There has always been sleaze and corruption in the UK, but its always been of a somewhat subtle, gentlemanly type. By international measures, its wasn’t all that corrupt. But I do think there has been a slow slippage over the years – arguably starting during Blairs period when he dismantled a lot of internal checks and balances. Cameron is the type who would probably not knowingly take cash, but is so arrogant and careless that he would allow widespread corruption go on around him as, to put it mildly, he was not a details man. Johnson is so much worse as he is both stupid and careless like Cameron, but also probably personally greedy and unafraid to stick his snout in the trough.

    The danger for the UK is that there is always something of a tipping point between corruption being ‘an option’ for doing business and that point where it is so all embracing that you are an idiot not to be corrupt. Honest dealers will just not get involved in government contracts because there is no point if you know that no matter how good your bid is, someone else will find an alternative method to win. I suspect that this tipping point has already been reached in substantial areas of the UK public and private sector, and may well be accelerated in the lacunae of rules left by leaving the EU (for all its faults, the EU does have a strong judicial system when it comes to commercial and public contracts). It doesn’t bode well for the future.

  23. PlutoniumKun

    Lahore and Amritsar: Two cities joined at birth are dying together Scroll

    A lovely essay, and thanks, Jerri-Lynn, for posting this type of article, the sort its really easy to overlook.

    The partition of India remains an ongoing tragedy, one that will certainly never be reversed, but will have repercussions for generations to come. I’ve never visited Lahore or Amaritsar, but I’m told they are fascinating places, and like many cities which have for political reasons lost their hinterlands, they can remain as time capsules. Maybe as climate change makes the plains of the subcontinent less and less liveable, these cities will once again become refuges, and maybe people will realise that borders are useful, but only up to a very limited point.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the essay. I’ve visited both Lahore and Amritsar and they are indeed fascinating places.

  24. Maxwell Johnston

    “Hale’s crime is not leaking information”

    I had never heard of Hale. Thanks for posting. Very disturbing article. The USA has set a bad precedent by over-using drones….. well, for the same reason that the dog licks its balls. As other countries acquire and perfect drone technology, and possibly build better drones than the USA, they will inevitably start using drones willy-nilly and then point to the USA’s prior use as a legal precedent. “If the Yanks can do it, why can’t we?” This will not end well.

  25. Rod

    archaeologists found at Cahokia revealed biomarkers for a species of holly, known as yaupon, that’s the only caffeinated plant native to North America.

    Yaupon Holly–Ilex vomitoria Aiton

    The leaves and twigs contain caffeine, and American Indians used them to prepare a tea, which they drank in large quantities ceremonially and then vomited back up, lending the plant its species name, vomitoria. The vomiting was self-induced or because of other ingredients added; it doesn’t actually cause vomiting.

    One of the few Hollies w/out a spiked leaf margin, and a bird magnet for the fruit but Dioecious.

    And to the east hundreds of miles:

    Numerous mounds were made by the ancient Native American cultures that flourished along the fertile valleys of the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri Rivers a thousand years ago, though many were destroyed as farms spread across this region during the modern era.

    Lots to see and ponder from sea to shining sea.

  26. zagonostra

    >Stop Trying to Make Us Worship the Royals Jacobin

    England is no family; rather, it is a class-riven society, driven as much by the flows of global trade as the old aristocratic paternalism [Kind of like the U.S, it’s class driven and the ‘riven’ is apparent in each daily headline]. The royal family itself does much to sustain this image, the cuddly and lovable patriarchs at the head of the table [Like likeable Uncle Joe, the ‘everyman’] with us lowly plebs watching on from somewhere near the bottom. Changing the members of the family who are in charge will, in itself, not be enough [Just like changing to a Dem from a Rebup President]. We cannot merely replace the old aristocracy with a new one based on talent [what would an aristocracy that is also a meritocracy get you if its interest is still that of perpetuating the aristocracy?’]. What we need to do is to get rid of the image of the nation as family itself [why get rid of the baby with the bath water, metaphors like ‘family’ are necessary]. And it is the royal family that does much to sustain the tawdry carnival of privilege that is Britain in the twenty-first century [and oligarchy in the U.S.]. To get rid of such national myths, a necessary first step will be the abolition of the family at the top [never will happen anymore than abolition of the myth of the founding of this nation and American Exceptionalism]

    Curious that Jacobin article did not mention the most invidious comment made by Philip and used over and over by alt-right media: In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.

  27. Pelham

    Re the US-China climate accord: I’m guessing it will play out something like this: The Chinese leadership will do nothing to honor the agreement because they are unaccountable. The US may make some weak gestures to comply but will tout the agreement and China’s participation nonetheless, aided by compliant media eager to burnish Biden’s image. Net result: basically zero.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      he US may make some weak gestures to comply

      Biden went to Paris and negotiated the Paris Accord targets down and to make its a voluntary treaty. I’m not sure the US would even make gestures.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        International Co-operation is where hopes and dreams go to die.

        The only hope for America doing somethng for-real to down-fossilize its economy for real is if a National Greenism Party-Movement could take over commanding and overwhelming power within the American Politicultural System on a concept of National Greenism in One Country.

        The concept would be to surround America with a Beautiful Green Wall of Eco-Protection, behind which America could develop and down-fossilize a semi-autarkich economy. The Beautiful Green Wall of Eco-Protection would allow us to ban the import of anything from our Carbon-Dumping trading enemies. Like China and probably others.

  28. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    How corrupt is Britain? “Jim’ll fix it for ya” – that sufficient answer? You probably don’t want me to elaborate here.

  29. skk

    Thanks for the link : “Lahore and Amritsar: Two cities joined at birth are dying together Scroll” . I wouldn’t say those cities are dying, let alone together, but there’s sub-editing for you !

    Even he agrees it seems as in:

    “Lahore today is still an important city, perhaps more important than it has ever been, but it is not the Lahore of the past.”

    and Amritsar is one of the fastest growing cities of Punjab, a pretty prosperous state, relatively, as per the wiki.

    Its an intriguing essay, really worth reading IMO.

  30. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Report: Financial Division.
    Or: “OMG! We’re [family blogged]!”
    As I mentioned yesterday, I made the mistake of looking at our Bank’s updated Customer Agreement.
    Some highlights, with the best first.
    Near the end of the twenty something pages is a section bolded in the original.
    Another big reveal was on Page 3: Alternative Dispute Resolution
    A) Customer agrees to first attend in person a ‘Settlement conference.’
    B) Customer agrees to next move on to a ‘Non-binding mediation,’ in person again. Either party has 45 days to trigger this provision. (The old waiting game.) Also, the mediator is to be paid half and half by either party to the dispute. (Financial barrier to attaining justice.)
    C) Customer next agrees to Binding Arbitration. (Ruled by the Federal Arbitration Act.) This first limits the customer’s ability to litigate and specifically precludes the right to a Trial by Jury. Secondly, it precludes the customer from becoming a party to a class action suit. Thirdly, it limits discovery.
    D) Winner gets attorney’s fees and ‘expenses.’
    A final kick in the [family blogs] to the customer by the Bank.
    “If more than one item or order is presented for payment against the Account on the same day and the available balance of the Account is insufficient to pay them all, the Bank may pay any of them in any order the Bank choses, even if the order the Bank choses results in greater insufficient funds fees then if the Bank had chosen to pay them in some other order or had chosen not to pay them.”
    Now I understand one of the first clauses in the Agreement: “No fiduciary, quasi-fiduciary or any other special relationship exists between you and us.”
    God save the Tsar!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Translation: ‘All your money belong to us!’

      Maybe time so see if there are any other banking options in your region like community banks if you can.

    2. flora

      As Rev Kev suggests above.
      I need to check my bank’s current customer service rules.

  31. Pelham

    Re Biden’s refugee decision and the Ontario-Michigan Covid link: Sounds like another case of fatally mixed messaging on Covid. Here we have these variants in the UK, Brazil and India that are more problematic than Covid-original but we haven’t sealed the borders to the extent that we can. And now we want more refugees.

    Relatedly, I wonder whether a shutdown of flights for a couple of weeks on the scale of what we did on and after 9/11 would help get a handle on the pandemic. I don’t recall any great harm from the 9/11 shutdown. In fact, living in Chicago at the time (and even nowhere near the airports), I found the relief from the low but constant background roar of jets to be quite pleasant. I remember those days fondly.

  32. lobelia

    Re: Is Los Angeles’ Sweep of a Homeless Encampment the Wave of the Future?

    Huh, the Future?????

    It’s actually been ongoing, particularly in some of the Bluest, most Billionaire infested areas of California, for over a decade, since at least the fallout of Obama/Bidens’ Great[™] Recession™.

    A particularly nasty sweep was done in Silicon Valley San Jose’s Jungle™ encampment in 2014, just a few days after Thanksgiving, during driving rains which left the homeless in knee deep mud in places, struggling to save some belongings. 12/02/14 By AP Reporter Clearing out Silicon Valley’s forgotten people: Authorities tell homeless camp to get out or face arrest:

    Shouting and banging on doors, city officials in Silicon Valley stapled and taped notices on hand built structures, tents and tree trunks warning more than 200 residents of what is likely the nation’s largest homeless encampment that the bulldozers are coming.

    People living in the camp, known as The Jungle, must be out by Thursday or face arrest for trespassing.

    I’m positively convinced that a large part of the California problem – which has never been admitted – has been a Bipartisan love of uncapped Visas (of all sorts). Additionally, quite a few such visa holders seem to have a particular fondness for becoming slumlords, or for setting up for profit elder and disabled facilities known for abuse. Contrary to years of mythology, many citizens had once decent paying jobs, highly skilled vocations, degrees, and professions before being forced onto the streets. Most homeless citizens in California, did not come from other states, they once had apartments, even homes, and jobs. From 12/31/19 by Matt Levin and Jackie Botts California’s homelessness crisis — and possible solutions — explained:

    One of the more enduring myths about California’s homeless population is that the vast majority have traveled here from other states, seeking generous government assistance and weather more hospitable to living outdoors. It’s a baseless claim perpetuated by both sides of the aisle — Gov. Newsom has made it repeatedly.

    While comprehensive statewide data is lacking, local surveys indicate people living on the streets are typically from the surrounding neighborhood. Example: 70% of San Francisco’s homeless people were housed somewhere in the city when they lost housing; only 8% came from out of state. Three quarters of Los Angeles County’s homeless population lived in the region before becoming homeless.

    There’s little evidence to suggest undocumented immigrants constitute a large share of California’s homeless population. ….

    (haven’t read all of that article, so I don’t necessarily agree to any solutions discussed there; I am also bewildered that they neglected to note Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley is, and has been for a quite while, one of the largest unsheltered homeless hotspots in the US.)

    The only war that the US should be fighting (and should have been fighting for well over a century) is the war on US: homelessness; poverty; disease; and the historic inequalities – which have created the first two, and well increased the third, of those three explosions.

    gotta run

    1. Wukchumni

      Intensities in tent cities in ten cities dept:

      Echo Park/Lake looked to be most excellent digs for those on the down and out re-education camping in a Coleman, too nice though-as it turns out.

      Real estate is all about location-location-location, even with squatters where it isn’t a matter of monetary worth, but other factors that make an extended stay favorable.

      I’d guess the best all the way down to not so great spots have been filled up by current occupants on long term least lease, with new arrivals due soon once forebearance stops, the newly demoteds living rough and trying to fit into their new social strata that they knew was coming, but could do nothing about.


      1. JBird4049

        “faveLA.” Dude, that hits too close to home. I’d laugh, but it would hurt too much.

  33. lobelia

    Apologies, screwed up an end blockuote, right before the paragraph where I noted that I’m positively convinced … in my comment above.

    gotta run

  34. Susan the other

    Caitlin Johnstone on our imagined saviors – the UFOs. Always good to the last drop. I wish somebody would tackle the UFO propaganda head on. It’s getting very annoying. On the one hand it is perfectly reasonable to assume life exists everywhere in the universe. Even in hidden dimensions. But it is entirely something else to push bad video productions or even good animation as “visitors” from unknown places. They keep showing footage of pilots tracking “that thing” which happens to look just like a condor navigating the jet stream. Even big eagles have been known to get that high. And the pilot says, “Look at that thing go!” Well, if “that thing” had been a UFO the pilot would not be exclaiming his amazement at all.

  35. dcblogger

    Biden isn’t ending the Afghanistan War, he’s privatizing it: Special Forces, Pentagon contractors, intelligence operatives will remain

    Powertown is so naive about Eric Prince. I remember watching that mob attack the Capitol on January 6 and thinking that in 4 years Eric Prince would just surround the US Capitol, the White House, Supreme Court and a few other places (Mint, Federal Reserve) with his goons and just walk in and take power. No doubt he has participated in such actions in other countries, just a question of chickens coming home to roost.

    1. tegnost

      policing and debt collection are probably the only powers the corporate masters plan on leaving with the government

  36. ChrisPacific

    Today marks the opening of the ‘travel bubble’ for quarantine-free travel between Australia and NZ. I’m not sure if this is the first instance of quarantine-free travel between elimination countries, but it’s the first one I’ve heard of. It will be interesting to see how it goes (NZers have tended to regard Australians as risky, but statistically they are actually at more risk from NZers, as Australia does a slightly better job of MIQ containment).

    It appears to have been a relatively complex piece of business to handle all the what-if scenarios and intersecting policy and health requirements, needing a relatively high degree of trust. Everyone knows the border can shut again with little or no warning, and travelers need to be prepared for the possibility of being stranded and/or having to pay for MIQ on their return. So it’s likely mostly for the wealthy and business travelers at present, along with people who are willing to take on the risk/cost, like family separation scenarios.

  37. kareninca

    As I drove through my Silicon Valley neighborhood today I was reminded of something; I couldn’t think at first of what. The trees and bushes didn’t look like they usually do. Everything here is irrigated; it is typically all green, and it “feels” green. Then I realized that it presently “feels” like rural Connecticut in August, when things are very warm and very dry. It all was so nice until I pinned that down. In CT you’d then get a rainfall within a few days. Here, we are at the end of the rainy season and we have only had 40 percent of our usual rain. There will be no more rain worth measuring. The upcoming fire season will be something else.

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