Links 4/3/2021

The minds of plants aeon (Douw)

Video captures deer flying through a school bus windshield BBC. Looks like the deer was OK.

Seal Alliance asks walkers to give the animals space as lockdown eases BBC

In an anti-tick effort, officials call for more moose-hunting permits in NEK VTDigger (resilc)

Where billions of cicadas will emerge this spring (and over the next decade), in one map Vox (resilc)

Drones Flying Over Arlington to Measure Deer Population Newsroom (resilc)

Overuse of antibiotics threatens China’s fish farms, scientists warn South China Morning Post

Meet Boston Dynamics’ next commercial robot, Stretch ars technica (resilc). So much nicer: Walking machine test YouTube

Not so vanilla: The mission to spice up our favourite flavour New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

A town’s water is contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’ – how did it get this bad? Guardian

The Trouble with Brain Scans Nautilus (Anthony L)

#COVID-19

Science/Medicine

What the heck happened to John Ioannidis? Science-Based Medicine (Paul R)

Antibody responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 Nature (furzy)

This is the OMG part (guurst):

VA Study: How Long Does COVID-19 Vaccine Immunity Last? Angry Bear. Better than Pfizer implied yesterday, but (so far) not great.

Almost third of UK Covid hospital patients readmitted within four months Guardian

Post-Covid outcomes after release from hospital BBC (resilc)

Now Holland stops giving AstraZeneca vaccine to under-60s and family of French woman, 38, who died after jab sue – despite scientists insisting there’s NO evidence of link to blood clots Daily Mail

UK/Europe

Covid-19: Italy returns to strict lockdown for Easter BBC

US

More than 11,000 cases of a troubling variant reported in the US. These states have the highest numbers CNN

Travel Guidance Eased as CDC Says Vaccinated People at Low Risk Bloomberg

Florida Governor Issues Executive Order Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Passports WXTL

Fauci says U.S. may not need AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Reuters fk: “The noble liar strikes again.”

Finance/Economy

Congress Extends Covid-19 Bankruptcy Relief for Consumers, Small Businesses Wall Street Journal

China?

Japan weighs Senkaku options as Chinese coast guard gets new power Nikkei

Antitrust scrutiny is a growing concern for China’s Big Tech Axios. UserFriendly: “Makes you wonder if the CCP only tolerated the size as a counterweight to our monopolists.”

China-Iran pact paves way for alternative to Suez Asia Times. Kevin W: “In spite of his enthusiasm, I think that it is still cheaper to ship mass goods by ship rather then train.”

Portugal Envoy Urges US to Bid on Key Seaport as PRC Influence Grows Voice of America. Resilc: “We have no game.”

The Origins of a Distinguished Diplomatic Career and the U.S.-China Fight for Primacy BPR (Kevin W)

Old Blighty

London needed a win. Instead it got its worst IPO in history CNN (Kevin W)

British lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and his fake Magnitsky story Lucy Komisar

New Cold War

Biden to hold first call with Ukrainian president amid Russian buildup Politico

Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!) Saker (Heresy101)

Who needs a war in Ukraine? Defend Democracy

Cuba erects giant concrete flag in front of US embassy France 24

Syraqistan

Hundreds of new witnesses to testify at Netanyahu’s trial Jerusalem Post (resilc)

Military force would hasten, not prevent, an Iranian nuclear weapon Responsible Statecraft (resilc)

Is a choked up Suez Canal just a taste of the future? Fortune

Should UN Intervention in Myanmar Be Off the Table? The Diplomat (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Marine Corps Is About to Reinvent Itself—Drastically Popular Mechanics

Biden

Migrant Arrests at U.S. Southern Border Reach 15-Year High Wall Street Journal

America Needs a Manufacturing Strategy IndustryWeek (resilc)

Senator Smith calls for Biden appointees to finish mining study and consider 20-year prohibition Quetico Superior Wilderness News (Chuck L)

1 officer dead, 1 injured after car rams Capitol barrier; suspect fatally shot The Hill

Vulnerable Dems fret after getting a shock: AOC’s campaign cash Politico (Kevin W)

Is Traditional Liberalism Vanishing? Matt Taibbi

Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

North Carolina Cop Who Choked, Bodyslammed K-9 Resigns Ahead of Termination Sputnik (Kevin W)

New York’s Legal Weed Law Could Still Screw Over Black People Vice

MLB moving All-Star Game, draft out of Georgia following outcry over voting law Reuters

Talk about odd bedfellows:

Dish blasts T-Mobile for plans to shut down CDMA network Axios (UserFriendly)

The joke is on Volkswagen after April Fool’s name change debacle Al Jazeera (Kevin W)

Head of Google’s self-driving car project steps down Financial Times

‘Full Bull Run’ Heisenberger Report (resilc)

Class Warfare

Rahm Emanuel Headlines Event For Group Fighting $15 Minimum Wage David Sirota

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus (guurst):

And another bonus:

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184 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    “America Needs a Manufacturing Strategy”

    But, but, wouldn’t that mean that the US would have to have an industrial policy which it has not had in a very long time? Now where have I heard this before?

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I noticed an odd sentence in that article. It said ‘But to achieve his goals, he will have to find ways to reduce the trade deficit by stopping currency manipulation and decreasing the value of the dollar.’ Isn’t deliberately decreasing the value of the dollar “currency manipulation”?

        Reply
            1. skippy

              I know it is and hence why I dropped it, dealing with it since before the GFC. Watched many heads splode* when confronted with information that did not support it and act like you just ran over their cat. People that identified with FDR like agendas would just loose the plot when showed it was just loanable funds theory with a side of Says law.

              Ugh even some so called Keynesians [wink wink] had irretrievable stakes in the ground, pointing out this crude model does not come close the nuance or complexity that Keynes was banging on about was akin to burning down some sacred totem of worship.

              Best yet all such devices [econometrics] were completely taken out of context by the intent of the original meaning or use to become de facto Econned* law.

              So per the comment above were right back to failure to conceptualize setting the price of labour [JG] and letting the currency sort itself out from an internal to external account … sigh …

              Reply
    1. timbers

      “Those jobs are never coming back.”

      My response:

      “Only because people like you say so.”

      I believe that is a paraphrasing of what some responded when Hillary siad her infamous “We will never ever have single payer healthcare in this country.”

      Reply
      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m stealing your response, timbers.

        Another handy response to such rhetoric? It’s simple:

        Citation, please.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Agree here. First thing to do is to penalize American corporations that manufacture overseas instead of America itself instead of them being rewarded to do so. When they start to whine, tell them that they have a choice. Either they do this or else the top income tax rate goes back to what it was during the Eisenhower administration – at 91%. But of course they will never do that.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          expect a lot of hyperventilation regarding Capital Flight..and even a Capital Strike(it’s OK when they go on strike).
          these immortal fictions would likely become Citizens of the World, but i see no reason not to say “don’t let the screen door hit ya in the ass”.
          Capital Controls would be a neat thing, too(something i first heard about from lunatic LaRoucheites on streetcorners in the Montrose in Houston)…”Efficiency” is also used as an excuse to offshore, as well as get way too big…
          but all of this follows from the initial assumption that Markets and money and all the rest are Natural Phenomena, like a thunderstorm or the movement of the tides.
          Let them go, but close that screen door and hook it after they go.
          Then, behave like the Third World country we actually are(save for the algal mat that floats on top, sucking up the oxygen and nutrients), and build toilet paper manufactories and bottle/jar plants far and wide, distribute manufacturing like we should distribute agriculture….like the original idea for the internet, robustness and resilience through widely distributed means of production….something Adam Smith and Karl Marx were in accord on.
          never gonna happen, of course(so we’re left with withholding our consent, in the form of withholding our dollars, and not buying their crap)

          Reply
        2. Fireship

          You must be new to this blog. I will let Jackie Cogan explain America for you:

          My friend, Jefferson’s an American saint because he wrote the words, “All men are created equal.” Words he clearly didn’t believe, since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He was a rich wine snob who was sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So yeah, he wrote some lovely words and aroused the rabble, and they went out and died for those words, while he sat back and drank his wine and fcked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community. Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fcking pay me.

          I hope that makes it clear. It’s over. The 400 year hustling experiment is done.

          Reply
          1. Nestor "the Insanian Ukrainian" Mahkno

            All men might be created equal by god, but man created market forces, so it’s clear which takes precedence.

            Reply
              1. djrichard

                Coincidentally came across this quote from Jefferson today, “the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god.” Which is a great sentiment.

                Of course, the way around that is to earn that right, by the grace of authority of who wins in the marketplace. To your point, just a different God.

                Reply
              2. djrichard

                Separate note, I end up watching a lot of nature shows and one thing that pops out is how animals are preoccupied with their territory. It’s their safe harbor. But there’s a thing about animals; there’s a limit. They don’t hoard territory; they simply can’t scale. Even when it comes to males hoarding females; they can only scale so far.

                Capitalism is what happens when we allow the animals to scale. And that means needing to allow the booted and spurred to ride the mass of mankind with saddles on their back.

                Reply
      3. Wellstone's Ghost

        Barack Obama said the same thing to a local news anchor some years back when he was shilling for the TPP.
        The Dem’s have a problem that is beyond help.

        Reply
    2. Toshiro_Mifune

      If ever there was a time for the US to have an industrial policy, and a clear one, it is right now.

      Reply
    3. Martin Oline

      I spent my life in manufacturing, being a production line worker, then a die maker and a mold maker. The last positions I held in industry also included designing unique assembly mechanisms and making prototypes for engineers. After retirement I worked for a short time as an adjunct instructor at a community college. I passed right over the hand-wringing story you mentioned but your comment made go back to read it.
      My take is “It ain’t coming back.” Industries that had apprenticeship programs in the past have eliminated them to save money. Community colleges now hire deans based on their ability to check the diversity needs of the college and not on any ability to work with human beings. The instructors that survive are generally ones who have no real experience in industry and will gladly kiss the ring of whatever authority figure they see. They are terrified of the thought of actually working for a living. While many teachers have little experience, I know of one instructor who went directly from being a graduate of a two year program to teaching the students the next year. This is the blind leading the blind. These teachers give their students false information that can take years to correct as the poor graduate has no ability to discern good information from bad. A computer programmer would say “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” It is no wonder American manufacturing finds itself in a ditch.
      I know of one graduate, a highly talented person, who went to work at Honeywell in the K.C. area for around $35 an hour plus benefits. He left because he was not learning anything and initiative was frowned upon by those with seniority. The students I knew who showed the greatest improvement in skills were the ones who were lucky enough to work with older individuals who took an interest in them and showed them ‘how.’
      The war planes we build fall out of the sky and our new ships can’t do anything but float and drift. The attitudes about the strategic necessity of the manufacturing base here will only be believed by the egotistical politicians in Washington after a few carrier groups are sunk by drones. To believe that a commission’s study or a stated policy goal will change anything is delusional.

      Reply
      1. km

        To paraphrase Y.Smith, not only do we not know how to make things in America anymore, we have forgotten how to make the machines that make the things.

        Tool and die makers, steamfitters, machinists, fabricators, industrial electricians, etc., generations of skills that cannot be easily learned, left to rot.

        Reply
        1. Martin Oline

          Most people do not understand the term Toolmaker. It is easier to say they make hands for machines. It is easy to buy a piece of equipment that produces cold, heat, motion, pressure or force to effect a change in some material. You cannot buy a machine that will make your custom invention off-the-shelf. Inventions are unique and wonderful ideas, unless my mother was wrong. For that you need a tool maker or a mold maker to make it real if it has to be mass produced. Rapid prototyping machines do not count unless you want to make Gumbies.

          Reply
      2. Jessica

        This can be fixed, but it will require a cultural sea change. The current elites are utterly incapable of leading this. At a minimum, it would mean shifting resources and rewards away from symbol manipulation and the diverse forms of what amounts of propaganda and into blue collar concerns. In other words, we would need to eliminate Wall Street and most of our current administrative apparatus.
        Has any deindustrialized nation ever managed to reindustrialize?

        Reply
      3. Screwball

        I agree. I too, have been in manufacturing for the last 30+ years. We used to pass the skills to the new workers. We took them under our wings and taught them the trade. Many of us moved up the corporate food chain as our career bloomed, and our trainees took our place as the next mentor.

        This doesn’t happen anymore. I lived though NAFTA being passed and watched all the blue collar jobs get shipped overseas or to Mexico. Training new employees (especially in the trades) were no longer needed as any and everything was sent elsewhere. Then it was the white collar jobs. I saw entire IT departments (sub-contracted to IBM) shipped to China/India while our people were laid off.

        Then they came after us old people. Oh, your 59, high end of your pay scale, end of life insurance costs going to be high – sorry – see ya. You are too old and costly. Here’s a severance, get out, and by the way, you can’t sue us for age discrimination or you lose the severance.

        The jobs aren’t coming back. Too much, for too many years, have been invested in off shoring our jobs and anything else that can be labor and environmentally arbitraged.

        Sorry, America, the gig is up. All that is left is printing money, bull$hitting people into thinking things will get better, and wondering when the entire $hithouse will blow up in our greedy face.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          Maybe we can export our current crop of PMC MBAs to other countries. They are very good at WRECKING industry, not so good at CREATING industry.

          Reply
          1. jrkrideau

            Maybe we can export our current crop of PMC MBAs to other countries.

            That would be regarded as a very hostile act.

            Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Bringing industry and jobs back to the US is pure campaign and propaganda sloganeering. Those who rule the US and its Empire have no interest in the project. It would not profit them or grow their power. I believe the long run outcome of our present trajectory will diminish profits and power in the future, but that future is visible to those who rule the US now. They are blinded by a dream vision. The ‘5-Year Plan’ this link proposes reads like a typical management-by-the-numbers exercise with a list of “measurable objectives” crafted from a less-than-insightful, less-than-honest brief comparison between the US and China. I believe those who rule are far more interested in continuing their looting of the wealth remaining in the hands of the US Populace, in accomplishing their Great Reset, and building their world enveloping 4th Industrial Revolution — and in the small print it is a world they plan to control.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        ‘Click to Edit’ did not come up for the comment above. I spotted two errors in sentence two I would have corrected:
        visible should be invisible
        diminish [add ‘their’] profits and power

        Reply
    5. Procopius

      The problem he ignores is that the USD is the world’s reserve currency. Other countries must have dollars. They need to have a current surplus. The only way to let the dollar weaken is to make some other currency the world’s reserve. I’m not actually clear if the situation is a hangover from the Bretton Woods days. I think it’s from the ’60s when a Soviet bank invented Eurodollars, but as long as this is the situation, no remedy will work.

      Reply
  2. Kasia

    MLB has decided to follow the NBA and the NFL over the go woke-go broke cliff. MLB was the one sport that conservatives were still open to due to, among other things, its racial demographics which to some extend reflect those of the larger nation. The NFL and NBA have evolved into demographic freak shows which look nothing like American but do in a way match the extremely limited (albeit totally different) tribal pool that spawns much of their ownership group. On the right there is an ever increasing use of the prerogative “sportball”.

    This follows the Georgia GOP stripping tax cuts from Delta Airways in light of the airlines virtue signaling over the voter ID law. It seems to me that forcing people to wait in line six hours to vote is actual existing voter suppression while asking them to flash a driver’s license is not so much. Not only that but many conservatives are grumbling about the US military’s transgender wokeness. This with Russia on the verge of launching a Reconquista of the Ukraine. There is much open rooting for Putin nowadays on the right.

    All these institutions are turning their backs on their traditional base and embracing woke-ism. It kind of reminds me in a strange way of way back in the day when Classical Roman institutions suicidally embraced Christianity.

    During the Trump Administration, most observers would have commented that Trump got totally owned by the Ryan/McConnell GOP corporate clowns. Trump achieved almost none of his agenda but got plenty of Ryan/McConnell priorities through.

    In 2016, Trump did present the aspiration of transitioning the GOP into identifying as a worker’s party. The first step in this overhaul is for the GOP to stop playing the sub to corporate America’s dom. It’s way too early to tell but these may be the first steps in that direction. I normally hauntedly throw nothing but disdain on cultural politics but in these cases collateral damage from the kulturkampf is finding its way into the economic arena.

    Reply
      1. Stephen Gardner

        From the tone and content of the comment I’m going to venture that “demographic freak show” is a code word to avoid saying “insufficiently white and heterosexual”. Correct me if I am wrong but I find the expression mean spirited and divisive.

        Reply
      2. Bill Smith

        One is filled with people who weigh much more than the average person and the other is filled with people who are much taller than the average person?

        Though at the point they are playing, both are filled with people who are in much better physical shape than the average person.

        Reply
      3. Kasia

        Yes, maybe that wasn’t clearly stated. What I mean is that a group that makes up 13% of the population make up 85% of the players. That means this group is 6.5 times overrepresented. Another group that makes up 65% of the population is underrepresented by more than a factor of 4. Asians are also super underrepresented. It is these demographic maldistribution that is freakish, not the actual players. Particularly so within the context of a woke culture that hammers any demographic maldistributions that they do not approve of.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This is not on. Sport or entertainment is pretty much the only way for blacks who are not in the thin slice of children of professionals/upper middle class to get ahead. How many blacks do you see in sports that take money to participate in, like skiing or equestrian sports or skating events or gymnastics? They are underrepresented v. their participation is track and field, when the basic athletic requirements are not different. Baseball, basketball and football are the few areas where high school aged black kids can get tracked into college even from not otherwise very good high schools.

          Reply
          1. Roger

            The same reason you don’t see many upper-class Brazilians in their national football (soccer to North Americans) team, and wealth distribution is extremely racialized in Brazil.

            Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The NFL and NBA have evolved into demographic freak shows which look nothing like American but do in a way match the extremely limited (albeit totally different) tribal pool that spawns much of their ownership group.

      I’m not a sports person so you’ll have to explain. Aren’t professional sports team owners mostly fat cat white guys?

      As for the MLB screwing over Georgia, they already did that by forcing a new stadium out in conservative Cobb county. Could be all this virtue signaling is a way of compensating for a complete lack of virtue on the part of the owners. As Putin said, in effect, as response to Biden’s “killer” accusation: they call that projection.

      Reply
      1. Kasia

        More than half the NBA owners come from a specific identity group that only makes up 2% of the population. Which means this group is at least 25 times overrepresented in the owners box. But there are huge taboos about calling out this group’s overrepresentation so let’s just say NBA owners have a serious problem in that they most certainly don’t look like America. I completely agree on your projection call.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Your “ethnic” is doing way too much work there and probably not very accurately either. In my limited experience Jewish people–often residents of the big cities where pro teams live–tend to be huge sports and especially baseball fans–probably more so than we lapsed country Baptists. Is that decoded enough for you?

          I’m a movie fan and the film industry these days and especially in the old days was very much a Jewish ownership affair. Waspy, often rural America didn’t seem to care very much. To me the bigger problem with modern professional sports is that they have become the plaything of the rich with the rest of us subsidizing them. I don’t think “ethnic” has much to do with it.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes and sports centers are real estate adjacent. They are huge gimmies to the real estate development industry. Jews have been big in real estate because historically ownership was often denied them and it’s banking adjacent, when Jews became important in banking again because other professions were denied them. So their position now is significantly the result of the effects of historical discrimination.

            And government officials love or have to act like they love their local sports team, so invites to the box are a great way to curry favor. So this strikes me as significantly about business.

            There used to be much more vibrant minor leagues (see Sanders) but they’ve fallen on hard times as TV rights have become important to industry economics.

            Reply
            1. Bill Smith

              Yes, minor league baseball. I’ve had some fun times at the games.

              Once a player who had been touted as particularly promising had a bad streak. A number of fans where heckling him. One fan took another approach and yelled out if you get a hit I’l buy you a beer. The guy got on base, and the next hitter drove him home. He touched home plate and ran right up into the stands to collect on his beer.

              Reply
        2. jrh

          There it is.

          NC boasts a wonderfully diverse range of worldviews and perspectives among it’s readership. Pretty sure, though, that outright racism and antisemitism are not considered welcome or respected.

          What “serious problem” do you think would be solved by having fewer Jewish owners in the NBA? Do you also think that half of them should be women? Do you think *all* professions should perfectly reflect American demographics? Do you want quotas? Would you like some system to enforce those quotas in an attempt to create better representation? You would surely be in favor of such a program, right?

          Reply
        3. Yves Smith Post author

          This is not acceptable.

          You are blacklisted. I haven’t even seen this bile from right wing sites outside the really most toxic ones. I should rip out the thread but too many people replied and you need to be dressed down.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            If I may try and wring some more value from this thread, I’m currently reading Gregor von Rezzori’s ‘Memoirs of an Anti-Semite’. More fun that it sounds! 110 pages in but I’d recommend it so far. Kasia’s posts reminded me of it :~)

            Reply
        4. none

          I bet 100% of NBA owners are in the top 0.1% income bracket so that’s even less representative. Same for MLB though.

          Reply
      2. Otis B Driftwood

        For no particular reason, figured I would mention that Donald Trump was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the now long defunct USFL.

        That’s why Hershel Walker was a Trumper. At least, that’s my theory.

        Reply
    2. Carla

      Supporting voting rights for all American citizens does not equate to going “over the go woke-go broke cliff,” nor is it “collateral damage from the kulturkampf.”

      Reply
      1. stefan

        Currently, Republican legislators in 43 states are presenting a total of 361 voter suppression bills across the country.

        Reply
      2. workingclasshero

        A state i.d or drivers license is to ask for a u.s. citizen to produce at a county electipn site?i’m sorry but conservatives have a point there.

        Reply
        1. marym

          The bills being passed/proposed this year in GA and across the country go beyond voter IDs for in-person voting. In addition to numerous provisions that make it more difficult to register and to vote in-person or absentee, these bills include provisions that allow state legislators to override decisions by local election administrators, and reduce protections against voter intimidation.

          Republicans themselves have started to promote voting restrictions not as a matter of preventing (unsubstantiated) fraud, but because making it easier to vote puts Republicans at a “competitive disadvantage.”

          https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-march-2021
          https://www.huffpost.com/entry/republicans-voting-restrictions_n_604a76dcc5b6cf72d094e37e

          Reply
          1. Felix_47

            Thanks for the link
            For discussion purposes I copy it here. In California where I don’t know if they require ID but they ask for it when I vote. I never thought about it being a bad thing. I guess if I refused they would have to let me vote? The absentee ballot process does make you jump through some hoops but this election they contacted me by email to let me know my ballot arrived and was counted which I thought was nice and it probably required a lot of work. I wonder what about the Georgia system is so oppressive. It can’t be the ID requirement…….really? And I don’t know that I believe the primary results in South Carolina, an adjacent state. Maybe Sanders was crushed that badly but something never smelled right. And as soon as we have a guaranteed annual income we need to require people to pay taxes to vote. Why? So thev first of all vote and second of all think about what policies they are voting for. M4A, Iraq, Afghanistan, more war budget, Ukraine, no increase in personal income taxes, currency depreciation all are issues people need to vote on. Surveys show most Americans don’t want us in Afghanistan and want M4A. Sure looks like they did not vote that way. so the election process seems a little undemocratic?

            GA SB 202 (omnibus): Gov. Brian Kemp signed SB 202 into law on March 25. The omnibus elections bill incorporates elements of at least 16 other bills that Georgia legislators had previously introduced. footnote5_9g2eaql5 SB 202 limits absentee voting by requiring voters to provide a state identification number or photocopy of an identifying document with their absentee ballot application, barring election officials from affirmatively sending out ballot applications, giving voters less time to apply for an absentee ballot, and sharply restricting the availability and hours of drop boxes. It also effectively reduces early voting in many counties by standardizing early voting days and hours. The bill affirmatively sanctions “mass challenges” to voter eligibility, meaning that one person can come to a county clerk’s office and seek to have an unlimited number of voters removed from the voter rolls for being ineligible (though such efforts can violate the National Voter Registration Act). In one particularly cruel provision, SB 202 criminalizes the act of giving snacks or water to voters waiting in line at polling places. footnote6_rwschr16

            Reply
    3. No use for a username

      Most NBA players are black and their players have collectively bargained for 50% of revenue. The stance of the NBA reflects better labor practices than other professional sports. It’s business and has nothing to do with being pro-Democrat. It’s more cynical than that.

      The NFL being woke is hilarious. Really? I don’t know a lot of woke people flocking to football for their uber SJW stance.

      Reply
        1. Nordberg

          Heard a funny saying about Kaperrnick and Harris. Nobody heard of either one until they got on their knees.

          Reply
          1. Wellstone's Ghost

            Colin Kaepernick took the 49ers to the Superbowl in 2013.
            He was a well known and excellent athlete long before the knee protest.
            Kamala Harris wishes she had half the integrity and class of Colin Kaepernick.

            Reply
    4. Chromex

      How about the fact that Georgia “voter integrity law ” is an abomination? Or is that “woke ” too. If you do the bidding of a monster ( these “laws” come directly from Trump’s bat cave) I know you lackeys expect to be rewarded ( although all you get is taken for a ride) but you should be less cowardly in expecting a response from others.
      There is as much evidence of a need for anti-democratic laws to correct a nonproblem as there was for Sidney Powell’s unsupported, fact-free allegations- allegations that have since gotten her into trouble. While I am no Biden fan, what Georgia did can only be looked upon as an attempt to take us all back to those glory days of “poll taxes” and literacy tests with only one thing in mind.. prevent minority voting,.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        Indeed. The GA “voter integrity law” is straight up proud, overt racism codified, and the “voter fraud crisis” it putatively addresses has all the factual basis of the latest QAnon garbage.

        Reply
    5. CitizenSissy

      “Demographic freak show” is one of the more mean-spirited comments I’ve seen in a long time. Sorry, but the blowback to the better-marketed voter suppression laws is completely justified. Remind me how updating election traditions accommodating an eighteenth-century agrarian society (November Tuesday was scheduled between the Sabbath and market day after the harvest) is “woke.” Taking that argument to its logical conclusion would restrict the franchise to property-owning white men, but I suspect Kemp and his cohorts would be okay with that.

      Reply
      1. voteforno6

        Taking that argument to its logical conclusion would restrict the franchise to property-owning white men…

        We probably shouldn’t mention what they considered to be property.

        Reply
    6. Darthbobber

      Pretty sure the owners are capable of running the numbers themselves.
      As to “turning their backs on their traditional base”, I get the impression that the traditional base you reference is actually the long-deceased base.

      And how in God’s name anybody in good faith drags demographic freakshows (whatever that means) and military transgender policy into a discussion of a Georgia voting law that has f-all to do with any of that is beyond me.

      Reply
    7. skk

      I guess to a fat, unfit, lazy untalented person these talented individuals who worked their butt off, with associated costs too, to become the superbly athletic and fit individuals they are would be ‘freaks’ ( a pejorative word ) rather than individuals to learn from in one’s own area of talent.

      Reply
    8. CitizenSissy

      Au contraire – TPTB at MLB concluded that concurrence, whether implied or overt, with Jim Crow Lite voting laws is really, really bad business. Corporate America in general also seems to be getting that message.

      Reply
    9. chris

      I’m not sure what to make of your argument such as it is. I expect that once things have opened up people will be cramming into ball parks again. Perhaps it will help you to know that these people are also statistically abnormal when it comes to the injuries they suffer too. Likely to become even worse when the NFL extends it’s sxhedule to 17 games? That’s a pricey ticket to the show.

      Also, in terms of rewards and what really happens in all the sports leagues, I think Chris Rock said it best: “Shaq is rich, he makes a lot of money…but the man who writes the check for Shaq? That dude is wealthy!”

      So, we have a racket where very wealthy people pay individuals from the underclasses mainly to suffer for the entertainment of the masses. If there’s a demographic oddity in the backgrounds of people who choose to take that deal maybe it’s because it’s a bad deal and those who have different options choose to pursue those instead?

      Reply
    10. Nestor "the Insanian Ukrainian" Mahkno

      > It seems to me that forcing people to wait in line six hours to vote is actual existing voter suppression while asking them to flash a driver’s license is not so much.

      So being made to wait in one line is actual existing voter suppression, but being made to wait in another line, that’s just fine.

      Reply
  3. A.

    Any insight on what’s going on Brazil’s COVID-19 deaths that doesn’t submit to the tired, soft tropes of “tragedy”, “populism”, “authoritarianism” etc. would be appreciated. Because from where I’m sitting, that deaths graph over at Worldometers is screaming “game-changer!” to me in all the worst ways. There are variants of concern, and there’s also P.1, it looks like — or whatever new fangled variant resulted in deaths going honest-to-god exponential in March, for what seems to be the first time in any country.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Eric Feigl-Ding has a chilling twitter thread on it.

      It seems to be a combination of the new P1 variant and that the hospital system is overwhelmed. The worrying thing about the new variant is that it seems to be particularly dangerous for the young. There has already been a major outbreak among 20 somethings in British Colombia (ski resort). And its going out of control in Mexico and Paraquay. After B117, this could be the cause of yet another wave.

      Bolsonaro is now a mass murderer. He really is the most appalling leader in the world today.

      Reply
  4. Ignacio

    RE: VA Study: How Long Does COVID-19 Vaccine Immunity Last? Angry Bear. Better than Pfizer implied yesterday, but (so far) not great.

    Immunity, when talking about a respiratory virus is a disputable concept and true immunity lasts for short time no matter if talking about flu, coronavirus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, etc. The important question that needs an answer is for how long and how efficiently the acute respiratory syndrome is prevented. I hope they address that in the paper when published. Any other discussion on spread, PCR positivity, antibody levels (etc) is, compared with that, secondary and unimportant.

    Reply
    1. Cuibono

      THIS can not be overemphasized. But sadly all of the trials done so far and planned are NOT powered to look at this last I checked.
      One more thing that ties into this: Ab levels are one part of the immune system and likely NOT the most important.

      Reply
  5. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Hmmm – reminds me of my late Cavi’s Jack & Dougal who were named after two characters in the series Father Ted, with the sadly also deceased dog of ours named Ted.

    I would treat the former now & again with some fresh grass & occasionally put a blade down between the 2 of them & then watch, as they combined tugging & chewing until they had grudgingly moved together to a grumpy state of snout to snout.

    Miss em all.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      To tell you the truth, the sight of those little munchkins slurping up those blades of grass filled me with horror. Imagine what would happen if they got loose in those spaghetti trees that Lambert featured in Water Cooler the other day? The horror!

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        Apparently, long ago some parts of Italy had to switch to alternative crops because of such creatures. That is why macaroni was developed.

        Reply
  6. Miami Mitch

    “Vulnerable Dems fret after getting a shock: AOC’s campaign cash”

    Unity? Ha! We will never get Medicare for All or a $15 minimum wage, not only because AOC cannot play hardball, but because most in congress do not want it.

    Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        playing devil’s advocate, here…and also I do genuinely still like her:
        that’s she’s giving $ to these cia toads shows she knows what language they speak…and that they hmmm and haw and say well, the rethugs will call us socialists(i bet they end up taking the cash)…well, the former is a shot across the bow of the versailles dems contingent, the latter is proof that they’re versailles dems, and should prolly go to the gop(the gop is lonesome for it’s liberal wing!)
        she is playing hardball, imo….and by including these blue dogs, they can’t say that she’s playing faves…sent $ to all the “vulnerable seats”…not just the “socialists”.
        this article is shot through with scary talk about how the GOP will respond(like that’s a mystery, and as if we should care)…an acknowledgement that these gopdems just barely won on their milk toast tactics…and not a word about how well the “socialists” fared in that same election.(these last 2 points are often overlooked and forgotten)
        i want intraparty conflict…if anything, this is too subtle…bribe manchin with earmarks and pork…and primary the rest of the would be traitors….like that horrible woman in arizona(the pose striker…an image that comes to mind, these days, whenever i think about blue dogs)
        AOC is right to challenge the DCCC directly, and without apology.
        maybe she’s erecting a parallel structure, here.
        going around that worthless, status quo, institution.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          Agreed. AOC seems smarter and more aware of the DC power games than most. She is, I think, playing the long game which often looks dubious from a narrowly short-term perspective.

          I’d like those criticizing her to name five congresspeople they think are better than her right now, and if they can’t convincingly, I’d write off their criticisms as probably naïve and unserious.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            She is, I think, playing the long game which often looks dubious from a narrowly short-term perspective.

            It’s impossible to know, at this stage, and therefore impossible for me to care. Cynicism and pessimism aren’t proof of anything. Wake me up in 5 years when we have a clearer idea. Her political position isn’t so important or
            powerful that it’s more urgent than that to mobilise against her, unless you enjoy being agitated by the tedious ‘AOC is shit actually’ foofaraw and keenly await vindication on the matter with borderline erotic indecency.

            Reply
            1. rl

              “and keenly await vindication on the matter with borderline erotic indecency”

              Our political culture in a nutshell.

              Reply
            2. Nestor "the Insanian Ukrainian" Mahkno

              “Wake me up in five years” my dude my dude she got elected in 2018, are you really content to wait almost a decade to boggle out whether she’s a charlatan or not?

              Reply
              1. Basil Pesto

                yeah? I explain why in the following sentence? Especially considering that, from what I can tell, she seems to do good work for her constituents (although she clearly has political ambition beyond the congressional level). All the rest strikes me as vapid spectator sportery, the frisson of righteous delight that comes from calling her a charlatan (don’t get me wrong; I love calling out charlatans – and as I say, you may yet be proven right!).

                Reply
          2. Dr. John Carpenter

            I heard some of these same arguments when Obama got elected. Call it playing the long game or playing eleventh dimensional chess, we don’t have time for it anymore.

            Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              To be fair, Obama was always a vacuous windbag. Other than platitudes, his basic message was really a variation of the prosperity gospel. Bad things were the result of a lack of “hope”.

              Reply
        2. curlydan

          Or maybe she’s playing LBJ’s early strategy and saw how he doled out money early in his career to the needy Congresscritters and slowly gained power.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            LBJ is exactly what i was thinking of.
            he’s a folks hero around here, even in these righty crazy times(Stonewall is an hour south, and he did a lot for this area, back in the day, to bring us into modernity), so even his early history is sort of in the water.

            Reply
      2. dcblogger

        she is so unpopular she just raised $5 million to help Texans hit by recent power failure. I wish I was that unpopular.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Should UN Intervention in Myanmar Be Off the Table?”

    They must be desperate if they are talking about using the UN. Usually they make up a temporary ‘Coalition’ or ‘Group’ to do the dirty work. Supposing, just supposing that China & Russia OK it in the UN Security Council – then what? Which neighbouring country will host such a military force? Thailand? China? Bangladesh? Laos? India? Because they are the only choices and will be need protecting from any counter strikes. Who will command such an invasion force? Which countries will contribute troops and equipment to it? Who pays for it all? If the government in Myanmar gets toppled, who replaces them? How long will that county need to be occupied for? Will Myanmar’s gold reserves be grabbed to pay for it all like happened in the Ukraine and Libya? Will it be divided up into zones that will be friendly with one government or another? What if the government set up by the UN is not recognized by most of the country like happened to Libya? So many questions so yeah, not going to happen.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There are 54 million people in Myanmar. That’s bigger than Iraq, Somalia, and Serbia combined. I’m genuinely astonished how anyone could even come up with such a frightening concept.

      I forget the general’s name, but he was one of the retired generals who opposed the Iraq War. Anyway, the general had written a plan for the sudden death of a pre-invasion Saddam Hussein. His plan wasn’t to take over but provide humanitarian corridors and to keep fighting from spilling over. He estimated 600000 troops would be needed. That was for an Iraq we could already manage.

      Even if the practical considerations could be established, China would have to be involved and given the current state of relations, why would the Chinese replace one crummy government with a crummy and pro-US government?

      Reply
    2. David

      The article is a bit confused.
      If the Security Council wants the UN to intervene in Myanmar it can simply say so. There are no constraints on its decisions; they don’t have to be justified or explained to anyone and are not justiciable. And they are binding on all UN members. In effect, the UNSC can do whatever it likes. It can also legitimate (or not) any intervention by anybody else.
      But that’s actually the easy bit. It’s not simply that generating and inserting a force would be a nightmare, and would take forever, it’s that there’s no credible objective for a force anyway, and no possibility of a political consensus on what it might be.
      Thirty years of botched and disastrous interventions may be having their effect at last.

      Reply
  8. timbers

    Crucial interview of Foreign Minister Lavrov (MUST READ!) Saker (Heresy101)

    Don’t you wish we had journalists in the US who asked questions and exchanged ideas like in this artilcle?

    To be blunt, the West have been treating Russia like that term we can’t use that refers to
    African slaves: Nig***s. In fact, maybe worse if Hollywood movies are to be believed. Hope very much Russia is prepared for a military confrontation. This part is interesting and I agree much more with Nikonov than I do with Lavrov. But of course, Lavrov is not unaware in the least:

    Lavrov making the point US can come to it’s senses: “…there are still some left in the United States – can see not just futility but also the absurdity of this policy. As far as I know, the other day 27 political organisations in the United States publicly urged the Biden administration to change the rhetoric and the essence of the US approach to relations with Russia.

    Nikonov disagrees: “This is unlikely to happen. I believe that your example with “tough guys” on every street is too mild. The United States has gone beyond the pale, let alone the street ethics, which have always been respected. We can see this happening in Ukraine. President Biden is one of those who created modern Ukraine, the Ukrainian policy and the war in Donbass. As I see it, he takes the situation very personally, and he will try to keep it in its current tense state. How dangerous is the situation in Ukraine in light of the ongoing US arms deliveries, the decisions adopted in the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday, and the statements made by the Ukrainian military, who are openly speaking about a war?”

    In a related note. I was surprised at the Counterpunch article that says reading the tea leaves indicates the US realizes and is resigned to Germany ensuring Nordstream II is completed. Good news for sure regarding my heating bill and peace on Earth, but I am skeptical and usually always prepare for the worse. Good news, if true.

    Reply
    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Quite the interview. I like Lavrov, but I’m with Nikonov on this one. Relations will get worse before they get better. Much worse, unfortunately. Fasten seat belts.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suspect Lavrov knows this and is being diplomatic. I tend to suspect US relations will improve simply because Russia isn’t the USSR, and the US has a host of more pressing concerns which Biden (day 72) is content to ignore until July which is the date for the House to have an infrastructure bill. The best case scenario is the new moneys don’t hit until next year for much of the country. It might help with revenue short falls.

        Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Manageable or on the borders is one thing. Afghanistan had something of a purpose, and Iraq was possible because it could be done easily. Libya too. The US jumped out of Georgia because it would be hard in 2008. Even with everything, the US propaganda machine has really memory holed that because it showed limits of NATO soldiers and logistical problems when dealing with a real foreign fight. The first Persian Gulf War was done after six months of build up and the pre-existing Cold War assets and included the support of China and the USSR. Venezuela is the kind of place the bozos might try because they can at least imagine setting up a TGI Friday’s for the troops.

            Reply
            1. km

              Well, the parallels between the Georgian assault on Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the impending Ukrainian assault on Donetsk and Lugansk are striking.

              Except the neocons have gotten even more reckless, this time. Suffice it to say that they have learned the wrong lessons from the Georgian fiasco.

              Reply
        1. ChrisPacific

          Lavrov is doing his job. For him to say there is no hope of a sensible resolution would be like a football coach saying his team can’t win and they might as well hit the showers early.

          It doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but it does mean we should interpret it as a goal rather than a statement of facts on the ground.

          Reply
    2. Rod

      Refreshingly serious discussion by serious people who are also sensitive to what they are saying and how they are saying it.
      Refreshingly serious.

      The Pandemic gave the worlds Polity a chance to change through mutual cooperation with Science to a mutual threat. Opportunities, imo, like this do not appear so often, and those missed are often real heart breakers.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        Interesting that Dimitri Simes shows up. Here he is Mr. Eminence Gris in the flesh almost crying, “Hold your horses!” Post-Glasnost he made a living for decades declaring that the Russians could never, never be trusted. We must be ever alert and oppose any of their initiatives because they were lyin’ dog-faced pony soldiers (and he could say that in Russian). They would always set him up opposite Steven F. Cohen in a debate and he was dopey enough to take the bait and appear to surface like some dark golem. And here he is displaying (almost) the voice of reason. Either this guy has had something approximating an epiphany or we are about one-step away from a war that no person with a whiff of sanity wants.

        Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Portugal Envoy Urges US to Bid on Key Seaport as PRC Influence Grows”

    In one aspect, the decision who buys that seaport is not that big a deal. Back in the late 1980s when Japan was at the top of their game, they went to purchase Columbia Pictures. There was a lot of wailing by politicians how the Japanese were being up American cultural institutions and in the end the Japanese buyer said that if they did not want Japan to buy it, then don’t sell it in the first place. Such might be the case here.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Is it just me, or does this VOA piece seem written for a US political audience? Now that they’re allowed to propagandise here there’s more and more of this.

      Reply
    2. Cat Burglar

      The late Chalmers Johnson once wrote about US Japan policy that military and economic policy were never analyzed together, because if they were, then they would be understood.

      That seems relevant to the alarmist article about the prospect of China buying a share of the port in Portugal, because the US already has a world-spanning network of strategic port investments: US naval bases. You can’t get more direct than that kind of foreign investment! Shouldn’t we be happy that the second biggest power in the world is just making peaceful, productive investments?

      But it seems that the idea that anyone should be able to buy anything, anywhere, anytime only looks good when you have more money than anyone else. The interview with former US diplomat Chas Freeman is valuable on this: “I think the rudimentary driver of the United States’ confrontation with China is psychology, not strategy….we’re afraid of not being number one and we’ve decided we will hamstring the rise of China. No one on the American side has described where this confrontation is supposed to take us — it’s just an end in itself.”

      The US oligarchy seems poorly equipped for collective action against the oligarchies in China and Russia at this point. Prestowitz, in this article and a longer one linked to earlier in the week, is calling for state-guided capitalism as the best tool to advance US hegemony, but US capital holders have always insisted on their own control first. The interest groups that have arisen in the post-WW2 US are powerful enough to veto any policy not in their short-term interest, and seem insensible to any notion of enlightened self-interest. I hope we don’t fry with them as they head in to a confrontation without a clue.

      Reply
      1. rowlf

        I tend to like Chas Freeman as he seems to be the best we have on the US side. How do you compare him to Sergey Lavrov?

        Reply
        1. Cat Burglar

          Both of them seem like hard-headed exponents of their nations, that express themselves according to idioms acceptable to their publics — Lavrov with subtlety, Freeman with plainspokeness.

          But being being too plainspoken about national interest will get you taken down, which is exactly why AIPAC marshaled a campaign to stop Freeman’s promotion, because he said politically incorrect things about Israel.

          Reply
          1. rowlf

            Thanks for your reply. I always thought that Chas Freeman could have put the US in a better position in the world, if allowed.

            Reply
  10. ajc

    I could unload a truck about 10X as fast as the stretch robot, filled with boxes as many different sizes and weights, back in the day. I see Stretch’s market being small companies with ‘forward thinking’ management that want to drop a couple $100K to get into the automation game while limiting employee raises to 2%. I don’t see a company like Amazon buying any at all, because it is obvious from the demo video, Stretch can only handle the ideal conditions of weightless boxes being all the same size (per job).

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      Automation is at this point probably more useful as a scary threat to hang over labor than as a means to actually accomplish tasks. Almost all the low-hanging fruit of automation was picked long ago.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Dean Baker at CEPR points out from time to time that the threat of automation is vastly overblown. As is well known, productivity has been in the dumps since at least 2000. If a lot of jobs were being automated away, productivity would be soaring — fewer workers, large increases in output, or at least as much output, remaining workers are more productive.

        Reply
    2. rowlf

      When my sons were in kindergarten I gave them a multimeter (Fluke 12) to play with. They had a good time checking batteries. 12 years later one of them now fixes all his friends vehicles with the wiring diagrams I get for him and will spend the summer maintaining farm equipment.

      Bring on the robots.

      Reply
  11. Bill Smith

    “Wonderful. Ukraine says the US will go to war against Russia to protect Ukraine.”

    There is a big difference between the above the statement and the readout that is cited in the tweet.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      Yes indeed. Looks rather like nebulous “support” intended to be reassuring. A lot of interesting maneuvering involving Ukraine. Early March the various Novorussian sites started mentioning Ukrainian troop movements eastward and increasing Ukrainian intrusions into the neutral zone of the borders with the breakaway republics. Followed by Russian warnings in early through mid-March. Followed by the “upgrading” of Russian maneuvers that the west now complains about.

      NATO’s loudness is interesting, given that Banderastan is not a NATO member (or a formal military ally of the US for that matter). The Poles seem to be taking a hand in provocation, with a couple of their “fishing” vessels allegedly trying to ram Russian pipeline construction ships.

      Reply
      1. Bill Smith

        Ram seems an exaggeration from the article linked in the comments. “Dangerously close” could be inside the 1.5 mile exclusion zone but still a mile away.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          Possibly. Certainly close enough that our navy would call it dangerous if directed at them. Certainly a harassment campaign, but one they probably won’t push farther than this.

          Reply
    1. Rod

      thanks for your link, which is a highlight to to Lavrov interview(he alludes to this but does not mention the dollar loss)

      Besides the US, another country keen to stop the project is Ukraine, which stands to lose up to $3 billion a year in gas transportation fees if the pipeline is complete.

      it’s a lot of money for any country to forego, and the driver of Policy there, I believe.

      Reply
  12. Watt4Bob

    From the Lavrov interview;

    When you deal with crusaders, trying to reckon with them or appealing to their logic and conscience is probably useless.

    Read the whole thing, yes it’s a must read, but I think this is the money quote.

    The situation, vis a vis the West, as led by the USA, versus Russia is looking more and more like one of those Monty Python skits, coconuts and all.

    Strikingly funny, while being incredibly dangerous.

    Reply
    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Watt4Bob: To me, this was a noteworthy insight (although my own thinking has been moving along these lines lately, so I may be prejudiced):

      Sergey Lavrov: “No, I agree with you, absolutely. This is a missionary style – lecturing others while projecting superiority. It is important to see this tendency, as it has repeatedly brought Europe to trouble.”

      In U.S. discourse, I am seeing too much establishment of religion, in the sense that so much U.S. writing and discussion (and Twitter feeds) now comes off as a combination of Baptist testifying (to one’s own truth!) and Methodist sermonizing (to the virtue of virtues like Prohibition!). It leaves me cold. One can imagine how little effect and respect are generated among Russians or Chinese.

      On the other hand, Simes, who reputedly is an expert on American Things, sure does come across as a crabby neoconservative. Their concern with “traditional families” is telling: Really, the Russian Federation is being threatened by gayfolk?

      Lavrov makes the odd assertion that all human rights were recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That simply isn’t how rights exist–rights and liberties evolve. Consider where black Americans were in 1948. And some European countries were only then giving women the right vote. The whole question of preserving the environment had hardly come up in 1948 (which is tied to rights of indigenous people). The word “genocide” had just been coined.

      So some of the discussion is a cover for the authoritarianism the three of them try to explain away.

      Yet what is alarming about the interview is geopolitics. The U S of A is overstretched, stumbling along toward its single bellicose solution to all challenges, and creating a vicious cycle of using war to solve problems that it shouldn’t have even entered into. The three of them are right about Iraq and Libya.

      Liberating Crimea? Ask the British Empire or the Ottoman Empire all about liberating Crimea.

      What the U S of A could use right now is a whole lot less psychobabble and self-regard of the Redeemed and a whole lot more study of map-reading skills.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        He’s being quite disingenuous; the UDHR is but one component of human rights jurisprudence (it’s important to talk about HR in the post-WW2 era not as a slogan or feel-good abstraction, but as a body of law). Russia joined the Council of Europe with eyes wide open and, even with the significant margin of appreciation afforded by the ECHR, their respect of that convention (which codifies much of the UDHR for CoE members) leaves much to be desired, irrespective of American hypocrisy.

        Reply
      2. occasional anonymous

        >Their concern with “traditional families” is telling: Really, the Russian Federation is being threatened by gayfolk?

        This is characteristic of a strain of Eastern Orthodox conservationism that is very prevalent in Russian circles. It’s a strain that is almost comically socially retrograde, and that I struggle to describe as anything other than ‘thuggish’. I’ve become quite familiar with it in the last few years, as I’ve frequented Russian (and Russian-adjacent, I guess) sites and blogs to get a better grasp of what’s going on in places like Ukraine and Syria. Whatever their merits on other issues, anytime something LGBT related comes up the cavemen come out in force.

        And of course the whole time they’re being cruel thugs they’re throwing shade at every other Christian sect for not being proper Jesus followers and embracing the value and virtue of love, unlike themselves.

        Vineyard of the Saker is by far the worst in this respect. Over the years he’s had multiple posts where he laments the ‘gay lifestyle’, which is a ‘personality disorder’, and an ‘acute case of psychological, moral and spiritual “AIDS”: an acquired deficiency in its ability to distinguish between what is wholesome, healthy, natural and contributing to the growth of the individual’. He insists ‘gays’ should be called ‘sads’, and basically he’ll tolerate them just so long as they don’t dare to remind him that they exist. Marriage is definitely out, pride parades are ‘western propaganda’, and any mention of them or education that some people are gay and that this is okay, are big no-no’s. They can exist, but only if they stay firmly in the closet.

        Reply
        1. chuck roast

          The Eastern Orthodox…If Stalin couldn’t kill it then it will probably devour us all. Last week I read Krushchev’s secret 1956 speech to the 20th Party Congress on Koba’s murders and his cult of personality. You and I would say mass murders, but Kruschev used the term ‘personal annihilation’. This is the same term that Vassily Grossman used in his epic Life and Fate in describing old Bolsheviks and non-Bolshys that went away permanently. Can you still find that you-tube of Browder jumping out of the car onto a slushy Manhattan street and bolting away from a guy serving him a court summons? It’s just that kind of day.

          Reply
      3. Darthbobber

        Rights and liberties also can be stillborn, which is obvious on reading through the UDHR and noting how many of those rights never did come to be established at the level of anything except rhetoric. We in particular were never all that big on the economic items.

        Reply
      4. Cat Burglar

        Lavrov’s mention of the UDHR seems like a means of provoking a discussion: The US insists on a “rules-based” order. So what rules do they mean? The UDHR? The UN Charter? Can the US insist China adhere to the UN Law of the Sea treaty while it refuses to join the treaty itself? Who makes the rules? At the Anchorage meeting with the US, China contended that the US was claiming the right to make the rules.

        Russian performance under international law, like other powerful states, does leave a lot to be desired. I read Lavrov’s mention of the Declaration as an invitation to bargain about the rules, with a caution that Russia will not just take dictation.

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mark Ames
    Wonderful. Ukraine says the US will go to war against Russia to protect Ukraine.
    Just a few weeks ago Ukraine’s president announced a new national security policy to retake Crimea. He’s also banned opposition media & charged opposit’n pols with treason.’

    Did old Joe just give the Ukraine a blank check for the use of American forces? It sure sounded like it. Does he seriously think that the Russians will let their compatriots in the Donbass Republics be turned over to the tender mercies of the NeoNasties in the Ukraine? That is one big, thick, red line for the Russians that and Moscow has already warned of ‘measures’ against any Western troop deployment in Ukraine. It has happened before. I read accounts of American troops killed in the Ukraine because they accompanied Ukrainian troops right into battle to ‘advise’ them and at least one time when the Novorussians had the Ukrainian army boxed up in a fire trap, an agreement was apparently made to let western soldiers go free back to the main lines.

    But this is different. The Russians appear to be saying that if western forces are with Ukrainian invaders, then they are fair game which by the rules they are. But I think that there is more going on here though it is only speculation. By western forces they are referring to NATO which has already taken part in the actions against the Donbass, both directly and indirectly. But Turkey is also part of NATO and Turkey and the Ukraine have been getting very friendly lately. In the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Turkey supplied the Azerbaijans with a fleet of highly advanced drones so I would not be surprised to see Turkish drones being used against the Donbass. This idea is reinforced by the news that over 50 Russian battalion tactical groups have been training to fight enemy drones in southern Russian drills. In short, the Russians are telling the Turks that if they try this in the Ukraine like they have in Syria, Libya & Armenia, that those crews will be targeted and killed this time. And it wouldn’t be the first time that Turkish troops tried to kill Russian troops either.

    Reply
    1. occasional anonymous

      If the Pentagon/Langley think a Ukrainian offensive has any chance of succeeding, they’re beyond delusional. The Ukrainian military is mostly conscripts, and any volunteers are Nazi cosplayers with more fanatical enthusiasm than actual skill. Just giving them lots of fancy gear and training won’t make up for a lack of drive, as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc etc, have shown.

      The people in the Donbass are literally defending their homes. They’ll probably be able to blunt any Ukrainian assault just like they’ve done before, and if needed the Russian military will openly intervene to assist them, something Ukraine has no ability to compete with. There also won’t be any repeat of what’s happened since 2014, where after a decline in infantry fighting the Donbass is subjected to endless daily bombardment. The Russian air force will simply erase any artillery positions from the landscape. They’ve had plenty of practice in Syria, after all.

      The future of the Ukrainian military depends entirely on Russian restraint. And I guess we’ll see how much restraint they’ll be willing to show. Are they just bluffing, or will they knowingly kill NATO troops? And how will NATO, as a whole, respond? Is Europe willing to start WW3 over a civil war in Ukraine?

      Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      There have been NATO troops in the Ukraine for years. Both for training and once in a while joint military maneuvers.

      I think, but am not sure, that the trainers are there as I write this. Last month, NATO naval forces where in Odessa. There are maneuvers (currently) planned for this summer. Ukrainian-U.S exercises Rapid Trident 2021 and Sea Breeze 2021, the Ukrainian-British drills Cossack Mace 2021 and Warrior Watcher 2021, the Ukrainian-Romanian exercises Riverine 2021, and the Ukrainian-Polish drills Three Swords 2021 and Silver Sabre 2021.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Cuba erects giant concrete flag in front of US embassy”

    Of course if old Joe seeks to follow Trump’s anti-Cuban policies, then the Cubans will erect a large middle finger atop that concrete structure.

    Reply
    1. John A

      Maybe it is to shield US embassy staff against the mating sounds of crickets, that apparently causes them mental health problems!

      Reply
      1. Phillip Cross

        Those mental health problems are probably rooted in the PTSD caused by growing up in America, with American parents.

        Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Marine Corps Is About to Reinvent Itself—Drastically”

    The US Marines may be on their way out the door of history before long. Ex-Marines are calling the new force the “Missile Marines” and indicate that under lousy leadership, that the Marines have been a force in search of a mission for the past twenty years. They are specializing themselves out of a job and apparently the US Army are now doing the sort of stuff that the US Marines use to do. The Marines bet the farm on the new F-35s and we know how that worked out. They are only doing the Pacific now and only to really set up missile bases against China to support the Navy and have gotten rid of all their tanks, some of their artillery and other components as well. Of course having these forces scattered among different islands and other locations sounds like trouble and if there was a war, they would probably be annihilated. In short, they are specializing themselves out of a job and history as one day, Congress will just have them amalgamate with the other branches as being too costly to stand by themselves. Maybe then they should amalgamate with the US Space Force. Because Space Marines!

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “to support the navy”

      The mistake was letting the Marines be more than the Navy’s troops. The US Army has to do everything the Marines do anyway bexcuse it’s the Army. A modern 18th century navy does need dedicated troops, but everything else the marines do was done by the Army or Airforce (likely another waste) who do it better than the Marines. The organization needs its profile reduced and to stop being treated as a fifth branch of the armed forces (sixth branch with Space Force). Yep, Space Branch makes more sense than a second, smaller, and whinier army.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        I don’t remember where I read it, but in World War II the Army did more amphibious landings than the Marines. Not surprising, really, since the Army is so much larger. The current situation seems strange to me, though. The U.S. Navy (SEALS) are active in Afghanistan, a landlocked country. We have ongoing operations, but no strategic objectives. Weird.

        Reply
    2. coboarts

      I think that the Marine Corps is returning to it’s greatest legacy, island hopping through the Pacific. They proved themselves an amazing fighting force in that mission, and that mission may become again a linchpin. Moving rapidly throughout island and coastal operational and strategic hot spots, bringing lightweight, highly lethal tools with advanced military capabilities, cannot IMHO be discounted as the right way forward. It does in fact, not, replicate the capabilities of the other branches of service. Like the sign along Hwy 5 in San Diego County, “No Beach Out Of Reach.”

      Reply
      1. Eric

        Ironically, it’s not the Marines who are making the “no beach is out of reach” claim. Even though it’s at Marine Corps Pendleton base, that specific sign refers to the US Navy LCAC station.

        Reply
    3. Maritimer

      Lots of beaches in the Hamptons—invade now and save America.

      See War Is A Racket by USMC Major General Smedley Darlington Butler.

      Semper Fi.

      Reply
      1. coboarts

        Yes, I know that. The thing is, even with all the wrong that we can state by fact about the US of A, and even with the huge problems and predicaments we face, this old veteran won’t run away, and will be continuing the genuine efforts since the sixties to make this a better place for us all. I almost left California in the late 80’s, spent a couple weeks in Houston thrashing it out, and made my decision to stay in CA, my birthplace, and see it all through. From my point of view, the whole world had come to join me here. We all need the same things: clean air, clean water, healthy food, good educations, gainful employment. If we can’t all get this together, right here in bad old Cali, then the world ain’t got a chance. Dark cynicism is my light humor, but I have faith.

        Reply
    4. run75441

      Rev:

      Not sure who or what you are or where you were in the past. At 300 yards, I could launch 20 rounds of 7,62 mm full metal jacketed rounds into your head using metal sights and rapid fire of unguided manually launched bullets. In 2-1/2 years I was a sergeant. My nephew was a sergeant in 6 years.

      The USMC has always been going out the door because the doggies were jealous. We did more with less.

      Missile launches of 155 rounds are not the way to go. You can screw with guidance systems. With mechanical guided, once shot, you can not stop where it is going no matter what the enemy does to the round. To that you are correct on missiles.

      The Corp will figure it out and adapt to something else.

      That Yves allows you to run wild with an off topic comment is BS. You do not deserve any greater latitude beyond the topic of my post on the VA and Covid. In other words . NON SEQUITUR Rev.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Actually I am admirer of the USMC in the same way that I am admire of the Roman Legions. Doesn’t mean to say that if I see them heading in a wrong direction, that I cannot say so and ex-Marines like at the SNAFU blog make my comment look vanilla bland by comparison. Semper Fi, mate.

        Reply
  16. dcblogger

    Vulnerable Dems fret after getting a shock: AOC’s campaign cash Politico

    translation, the donor community has let it be known that they will target anyone who takes $ from AOC. The Powers That Be hate and fear her and are determined to gaslight and isolate her. I don’t think that they can.

    Reply
    1. occasional anonymous

      Nah. They’re subsuming her into the party. Increasingly she’s the one who gaslights.

      Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      that is an enraging thread, right there.
      i’ve been homeless, a couple of times, and never by choice:5 year Wild Years in the van throughout Dixie were due to abusive and/or aloof folks plus crusading cops(because i helped that girl…)…austin was due to paycheck bouncing, which got me evicted(renter protection?rules?– scoff!) and eventually in jail for the one $19 bounced check i wrote on that paycheck that i missed, because i couldn’t get mail, and thought i had closed out the acct.—still can’t serve on a jury because of that last bit…officially, i’m a “Thief”.
      all that was 30 years ago…and it sucked, then…i’m certain it sucks more, today.
      my Wild Years were at least accompanied by endless partying and “seeing the country”, and encountering strange tribes and a lot of the proverbial Freedom of the Road that one hears about, sometimes.
      the latter time was a grind, enduring a whole winter in a car, and right at the time Austin was having one of it’s periodic hate on homeless people episodes.
      even after i moved way out here, i kept a go-bag packed and ready for years and years, because i didn’t trust stability(or my mom).
      “…that our society can have 30 times more vacant homes than homeless people….” is infuriating, to say the least…and lights on fire all the high minded rhetoric about freedom and opportunity.
      during those 2 periods in my life…5+ and 2+ years, respectively… i met all manner of people in similar situations…only so many places to camp, and there was a sense of solidarity among that rather diverse cohort…all of which was very enlightening, and has informed my mindset and opinions about my country ever since.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        I think it’s really, really difficult for people who’ve never been poor, like scared s***less poor, to understand a whole lot of common, everyday things.

        Reply
      2. pasha

        “all of which was very enlightening, and has informed my mindset and opinions about my country ever since”

        i concur. my few years of hand-to-mouth living, thirty-odd years ago, have changed the way i think and act. we forget that, before 1980, homelessness was uncommon, and highly seasonal. that it has been allowed to become a permanent part of our culture is disgusting. i was glad to see that a decent portion of the proposed infrastructure act is to address the problem of affordable housing.

        Reply
  17. Jeremy Grimm

    “Antitrust scrutiny is a growing concern for China’s Big Tech”
    I got the impression from this link that China’s CCP is less concerned about antitrust than about having their power challenged by some increasingly powerful domestic oligarchs. The fines handed out do not even qualify to be called slaps on the wrist. I believe serious antitrust actions dismantle monopolies. Serious oligarch control would involve some serious re-education for characters like Jack Ma. Based on the evidence provided by this link, I think the intent of the CCP’s messages are known only to principals involved.

    UserFriendly’s speculation that perhaps the CCP only tolerated the size [of the growing Chinese monopolies] as a counterweight to our monopolists. I recall that as a rationale from the days of Reagan when encroachments of Japan’s zaibatsu into US markets were the chosen concern of the moment. I cannot think of any US monopolists encroaching on Chinese domestic or foreign markets. I have an intuition that the US Cartels with any foothold in China, are rapidly ‘going native’.

    Reply
  18. Jason Boxman

    As Lambert mentioned yesterday, here’s the headline for another article in the “Most popular” links bar for the Fortune article on the Suez canal:

    “It’s official: Vaccinated people don’t transmit COVID-19”

    Well done, CDC!

    Reply
  19. David

    I’m glad somebody gave Geoffrey Robertson a good kicking, even if on a specific and rather arcane issue. Robertson (a QC no less) has been a world class bullshitter and human rights entrepreneur for the last generation or so. One of his more recent helpful suggestions was that the Catholic Church should be declared a criminal organisation (by analogy, he said, with the SS) and closed down.

    Robertson was an enthusiastic backer of the Kosovo war, and of the whole “humanitarian intervention” scam. When Milosevic was taken to the Hague, Robertson was everywhere, telling people that Milosevic might “get off” and escape judgement for “the crimes he had committed.” When it was pointed out that the presumption of innocence was a basic human right, Robertson suggested that people he disliked didn’t have these rights. When the BBC staged a mock trail of Milosevic, Robertson played the prosecutor, completing the transition of human rights from a worthy, if limited, idea to a tool of retribution and persecution.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      The more I read about the UK the more it appears that being a bullshitter is an absolute minimum qualification for a QC. Or, as we would say in the old neighborhood, ‘lyin’ sack of shit.’

      Reply
  20. Jeremy Grimm

    “Full Bull Run”
    The second comment to this link includes a cute GIF showing total tax rate vs income group year-by-year beginning 1951. https://twitter.com/markmobility/status/1377606317846757379

    After the Government’s CARES Act, I am very skeptical of Biden’s infrastructure and economic revival plans. My immediate feeling is that they are plans for piping Government money to DNC’s Big Money ‘friends’ and any resulting improvements to the life of the US Populace will be incidental and greatly magnified and glorified in US media. If the stock market craziness is a “new” bull market, I have no concept of what fundamentals might be driving it.

    Reply
  21. skk

    Thanks huge for the link “What the heck happened to John Ioannidis? Science-Based Medicine (Paul R)”. Being a math/stats grad and with employment for decades in those fields, I too appreciated his stats paper from 2006 “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”. As the covid pandemic evolved, as the data came together I too wondered what the heck happened to him in that he was sticking to his guns on his low fatality estimates. I still don’t know what happened to him.
    Once again, a cautionary tale about being sceptical about heroes and that they are only as good as their last work.

    Reply
  22. rowlf

    Georgia Public Broadcasting has had some articles about the new State of Georgia voting legislation that appear to me to be neutral in coverage and possible examples of dangerously undirected journalism:

    What’s Similar (And Different) About Georgia’s Two Omnibus Voting Bills

    What Does Georgia’s New Voting Law SB 202 Do?

    Georgia Governor Signs Election Overhaul, Including Changes To Absentee Voting

    Here Are All The Lawsuits Challenging Georgia’s New Voting Law

    Reply
  23. bob

    I read this-

    A town’s water is contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’ – how did it get this bad? Guardian

    Which lead to this-

    We sampled tap water across the US – and found arsenic, lead and toxic chemicals

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/31/americas-tap-water-samples-forever-chemicals

    They don’t give results for the water that was sampled.They do blanket statements about the results, but don’t show the results of the samples. Good thing everyone can know how bad their water might be. False adverting from Consumer Reports and The Guardian

    Reply
  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: New York’s Legal Weed Law Could Still Screw Over Black People

    This jumped out –

    Will there be five dispensaries in Brooklyn, or fifty? (The market might support many more than zoning officials or skittish NIMBY-minded community boards will allow. San Francisco, with less than one-third the population of Brooklyn, has nearly 50.) Will a license cost $10,000, or $100,000?

    News you can use! – I’ve already passed it along to my favorite city councilor. Because in my city of ~25,000 people, recreational sales began last October and the city had given out over 30 licenses before anyone in the city government realized that maybe they should have capped the number allowed. There’s also a full service head shop that opened up directly across from the middle school to make things convenient for the kiddies, also opened due to a lack of any zoning against it. On the bright side though, that head shop location used to be a massage parlor of the ‘happy ending’ kind, so things are looking up! It was in operation for about 6 months before city officials realized something illegal might be happening inside, although for most other people, the boarded up windows that showed up on its first day of operation was a pretty strong tip off.

    I’m 100% in favor of legalized recreational cannabis, but it might be nice to have storefronts available to sell other commodities too.

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’m not seeing having too many rec cannabis shops as an actual real-world problem. Not here where we have lots, and not anywhere else that has legalized. We do have zoning laws keeping them away from schools and child-care facilities though, as does everyone else I’m aware of. Cannabis shops are about as benign as small businesses can be.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        Fifty shops in Brooklyn or SF doesn’t seem at all unreasonable, but while I agree they are benign, having so many in such a small city as my own, when the surrounding cities and towns also have them, is probably a little much. Also, some are part of large chains from what I can tell, not small local businesses. One of the reasons for the four year delay between the vote for legalization and the first legal sales was that the state referendum to legalize tried to make sure local in-state companies would have first dibs, but big money out-of-state interests wanted their slice once it passed. I’m not exactly sure how that battle turned out though.

        Just saying that having so many weed shops (or so many donut shops or bike repair shops or any other type of business) in a small city is only going to result in the majority of them going out of business relatively quickly which is rather stupid and wasteful, but then so are most things in our current capitalist economic system.

        Reply
      2. RMO

        The BC city I live in – Surrey – has half a million people and no licensed cannabis shops at all. 20,000 person White Rock to the south has all of one. When my wife wanted to try CBD oil for hip pain that’s where I had to go to buy it. A really nice little store though. It still seems strange to me to be able to go into a shop and legally browse through a wide selection of marijuana, ready made joints, beverages and edibles and purchase them if you want.

        Reply
  25. kgw

    “Under ordinary conditions, ships take about 30-33 days to travel from ports in East Asia to northern Europe using the Suez Canal, which accounts for as much as 12% of all globally shipped goods. If ships are forced to travel around Africa, as has happened due to the grounding in the Suez of the massive Ever Green vessel, that shipping time grows by weeks.

    By comparison, major Russian companies such as Fesco Transport Group offer deliveries from China, Japan or Korea to terminals in the European Union in as little as 19 days.”

    Reply
  26. lobelia

    still waiting for the half mast for the exponentially exploding homeless and deaths of despair, joe of multinational incorporation delaware, et al, though I did receive a very odd text message about the 988 suicide hotline from my scandalous cellphone company – though same company neglected to acknowledge my bill had been payed that same day, scaring the shit out of me because I’m the direct contact for a relative in dire condition. I wondered, when I received that bizarre 988 hotline text if the STATE I live in (California) and/or the White House™ hadn’t contacted cell phone providers for cheap ass phones (versus 1,000 dollar androids and iPhones) asking them to provide it because they know fully well that their policies and lack of them are literally destroying millions of lives in their own backyards.

    p.s. I’m so very sorry petal, to read you might end up homeless, it is horrifying that so many can hear one might be homeless and respond as if the person had said they had a slight temperature.

    gotta run

    Reply

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