2:00PM Water Cooler 2/28/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I am in the midst of making a stir fry of CDC’s latest guidance, which is taking much longer than I thought it would, so I must leave you without even any bird songs or charts, and ask you to talk amongst yourselves! –lambert P.S. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JN):

JN writes: “First frost at CT/MA border. It was supposed to snow, instead it rained and froze. The ice on the trees with the full moon was amazing, but my camera wasn’t up to it.” Or maybe not?

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Darnell

    CDC’s latest guidance? I have an Ouji Board that is more informative and has a better track record.

    Say, what happened to Biden’s promise to “End Covid?”

    Now that the new and potentially bigger money taker is at hand to distract from the disasters of the last year, Covid is like so over.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Unless of course the CDC lies every time, in which case believing the opposite of what the CDC advises should result in a higher good-advice record than the mere random musings of an Ouji Board.

      Of course if the CDC realizes everyone is doing the opposite of what the CDC says to do, then the CDC will start advising the opposite of what it really wants people to do in order to reverse-psychology trick everyone into doing the spread-disease things the CDC actually wants people to do.

      The CDC was good before it went bad. One wonders if even-in-theory a New-Deal government could purge, burn and decontaminate all the current filthy liar cadres from the CDC and re-staff it with the honest type people it used to have till a couple of decades ago.

      1. HotFlash

        Televised public hearings, a commission like Ferdinand Pecora’s on the Great Crash, leading to criminal trials (yes!), and punishment (yes! yes!), by which I mean significant prison time, not the current fines, wrist-slaps, and revolving door. That sort of thing might encourage honest politicians, CEO’s, and civil servants to go back into public service. I am assembling my fantasy commission. I want IM Doc and GM on for sure.

  2. cgregory

    Here’s a filler for your consideration:

    Vendor-Based Oversight of Campaign Finance

    Vendor-Based Oversight (VBO) is based on a successful system which leveled the playing field in a public health matter in the 1970’s.

    At that time, smoking or chewing tobacco were finally known to be lethal habits, but the industry was the only party to have money to protect its exercise of free speech on TV. Opponents, however, didn’t have the money to buy ads, even though their message was a matter of life and death. They were shut out of the market.

    But they developed a strategy— they won the right to equal advertising time based on the fact that the airwaves, as public property, owed the public both sides of an issue.  The industry realized that it was too risky to their bottom line to have the public be informed.*  Under the Fairness Docterine, every time the tobacco companies spent money, it resulted in their opponents’ effective exercise of free speech to counter their claims.

VBO uses the Fairness Doctrine in this way:  What a vendor (a seller of goods and services) or donor (a giver of a good or service) provides to a candidate shall be provided to all qualified candidates.  Candidates can no longer count on volumes of money to smother others’ messages. VBO protects and enhances all parties’ freedom of speech.

    Vendor-Based Oversight overcomes not only the features which corrupt the relationship between the candidate and the contributors; it also removes the obstacles which prevent all other proposals for campaign finance reform from being legislated.
    It involves no government funding; the state does not have to worry about budgeting millions of dollars for campaigns.
    Legislators can vote on it without conflict of interest: there is only one elected official in my state’s legislature who would be affected by its implementation.  It applies only to statewide and national offices, not to state senator and state representative races.
    It simplifies regulation and enforcement of campaign financing:  It is the only proposed system which focuses on the chokepoint of the campaign financing cycle. This ensures quick and easy detection of violations.  
    It greatly reduces the pressure on candidates to raise funds, since they will know that vendors or donors serving their opponents will have to provide them with the same goods and services at no cost, just as their purchases will provide the same to those opponents.  When the law is broken, it is the vendor, not the candidate, who faces consequences.
    Detection, investigation, prosecution and adjudication is based upon free market principles, with citizens monitoring, reporting and litigating in a “fast-track” court during and immediately following the campaign season.  It is those citizens who are awarded the settlement penalties.
    It destroys the myth driving campaign finance: that an overabundance of money will ensure victory.  As a result, it breaks the traditional obligation of the winner to his or her major contributors.  (NB:  It does nothing to affect the “incumbent advantage.”)
    It has the corollary advantage of discouraging opportunists from switching parties for monetary rather than philosophical or political considerations.

    —Protects and enhances free speech for all qualified candidates
    —Eliminates the need to repeal Citizens United
    —Removes the obligation and compulsion to raise money.
    —Ends the unspoken debt of the candidate to the major contributors
    —Ends the need for incumbents in Congress to spend 30% of their time raising money
    —Ends the need for “pay to play” in the House of Representatives, where members desiring a choice committee or Party assignment have to pay from $80,000 to $25,000,000, depending on the position
    —Focuses on the chokepoint of the campaign funding cycle, not on a welter of funding sources and limits
    —Provides near-instantaneous detection of violations
    —Provides fast-track adjudication
    —Rewards citizens for paying attention to political campaigns
    —Involves virtually no government funding
    — Can be instituted race by race
    It is based on a Fairness Doctrine:  “What is provided by a vendor or donor to one candidate shall be provided to all qualified candidates.”

  3. Mark Gisleson

    Just skimmed it (lots of good stuff!) and much as I love my daily Water Cooler, that’s an important and well-researched post.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    I posted this on today’s Michael Hudson post but that comment is still in moderation and I thought it was worth mentioning again. Here’s a link from the Nation which discusses the extent of neo-nazis in Ukraine. The Nation is published by Katrina vanden Heuvel who was married to Stephen Cohen. Cohen was one of the foremost scholars on Russian politics and a frequent debunker of those beating the war drums against Russia. The article is from three years ago so it has a more sober analysis than those being published during the mass hysteria of the current conflict, and it names names. Well worth reading in full, but here is an excerpt –

    “Speaker of Parliament Andriy Parubiy cofounded and led two neo-Nazi organizations: the Social-National Party of Ukraine (later renamed Svoboda), and Patriot of Ukraine, whose members would eventually form the core of Azov.

    Although Parubiy left the far right in the early 2000’s, he hasn’t rejected his past. When asked about it in a 2016 interview, Parubiy replied that his “values” haven’t changed. Parubiy, whose autobiography shows him marching with the neo-Nazi wolfsangel symbol used by Aryan Nations, regularly meets with Washington think tanks and politicians; his neo-Nazi background is ignored or outright denied.

    Even more disturbing is the far right’s penetration of law enforcement. Shortly after Maidan, the US equipped and trained the newly founded National Police, in what was intended to be a hallmark program buttressing Ukrainian democracy.

    The deputy minister of the Interior—which controls the National Police—is Vadim Troyan, a veteran of Azov and Patriot of Ukraine. In 2014, when Troyan was being considered for police chief of Kiev, Ukrainian Jewish leaders were appalled by his neo-Nazi background. Today, he’s deputy of the department running US-trained law enforcement in the entire nation. ”

    So yeah, there are nazis, and they have risen to prominence in the Ukrainian government.

    Also, listening to Krystal and Saager and they seem to have done a complete 180 since the invasion started and are now more or less toeing the US line. Still can’t figure out whether they’re out of their depth, or someone has a hand up their rear ends now too. Disappointing.

    1. Guild Navigator

      Them brainworms this season’ll turn your white matter to mush! It is very disconcerting.

  5. Arizona Slim

    All right, let’s get right to the important stuff. What are the rules for tomorrow evening’s State of the Union drinking game? And are we to gather here for an open thread?

      1. Arizona Slim

        I just bottled a batch, and, OMG, it was one of my best ever. Local wildflower honey and Lalvin EC-1118 yeast for the win!

        Oh, I haven’t consumed all of it. I set a liter aside for aging, and I’m going to open it for Easter.

        My next batch, which I’m planning to start this week, will feature local mesquite honey and good old EC-1118.

        1. lambert strether

          The yeast is extremely important, because honey in and of itself is not nutritious for yeast. –lambert, former mead maker

          You don’t boil it, I trust?

    1. PHLDenizen

      Are we banning vodka entirely? Or just the Russian brands?

      Stateside is distilled in Philly, but my loyalty is split. On one hand, I support local business. On the other hand, I’m annoyed with the country for Cold War 2.0.

      Europe isn’t helping, which means Grey Goose is no good.

      So I guess sake? Fitting since Japan’s the only place a nuke was dropped in combat and the last thing we need is a sequel to John Hersey’s Hiroshima, as penned by Obama.

      Is Joe doing his SOTU from a bunker given Russia’s nuke saber-rattling? I’m more interested in hearing the “rebuttal”.

      On another note, anyone else seeing these anti-Dr Oz political ads calling him out as a RINO? They’re bizarre.

    2. griffen

      Drinking required for the following.

      My friends
      My Republican friends
      I knew Ronald Reagan
      I knew George H.W. Bush
      My friend John McCain (insert appropriate substitute as required)
      Access to healthcare
      Best ______ in the world; designated wildcard!
      Because Markets
      Our democracy
      Great economy
      Intel making chips great again

      *The wildcard category may just be too broad

      1. chris

        Double shot everytime he disparages Sanders after praising “republican colleagues” and/or Mitchell McConnell.

        5 push-ups followed by a shot of tequila everytime the term “sacrifice” is used.

        Puke in a bucket whenever a first responder who is placed in the audience is praised.

        Bang your head into a wall and then drink an Irish Car-bomb everytime he mentions Build Back Better.

      2. Pat

        Defend should be on the list. I am betting we will be defending our democracy, our values and our allies.

  6. Wukchumni

    A modest proposal regarding SWIFT:

    People are the riches of a nation, but Russians need to eat their losses-in for a Penny per Rouble-in for a pounding on the double, and please pass the pepper.

    Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing them by denying them of using neither clothes, nor household furniture, except what is of their own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury, unless they have foreign currency in which to acquire such goods, and then its all good.

    1. chris

      Any chance one of the reasons that Putin is doing this is to force a hard break for his country and fracture the connections now so that SWIFT is no longer an issue for them?

  7. DJG, Reality Czar

    That darned Lambert Strether.

    Okay. I have spent too much of the day catching up on the news from Russia as Evil Empire and Ukraine Nulandia. Let alone Americans caterwauling about freedom and defense of civil rights. (Although not for Iraqis, Libyans, or Yemenis–and probably not for Bolivians or Brazilians.)

    I have been working on graphic novels and manga for a project.

    Some recommendations:
    –The Italian genius (but a neurotic genius) Zerocalare
    –Ozgu Samanci’s Dare to Disappoint
    –V for Vendetta, the classic.

    Some manga that I am sampling and enjoying:
    –Kemono Jihan, with the fox detective and the half-demon youth as assistant.
    –Romae Thermae, with its sendup of ancient Rome and modern Japan, together (that darn Yamazaki, culturally appropriating Rome).
    –Touch Me, by Yoshimi Touda–high-school boys in love, although I am still trying to figure out the cultural valences.

    Is it okay that I didn’t care for the master’s (Hayao Miyazaki) first volume of Nausicaa in the Valley of the Winds?

    1. square coats

      Re: Nausicaa

      What did you not care for about it?

      (I have many thoughts about all four volumes and absolutely love them but am curious to know your thoughts first because otherwise I’ll probably pointlessly ramble)

    2. chris

      Some people really don’t like the manga that inspired the movie. If you get the art books for things like Totoro or Spirited Away you’ll see the story changed quite a bit between what the initial concepts were and the final product. Nausicaa was Miyazaki’s love letter to environmentalism and weird flying things in a way that he didn’t approach again until “Castle in the Sky”. I think the animated feature is great. The manga is kind of meh IMO. I prefer drifting dragons. But maybe that’s unfair because the mystical workaday scenes in Drifting Dragons were clearly influenced by Spirited Away.

  8. jo6pac

    Will joe b. speech talk all the success he has had with BBB, Child Tax Credits, and will he now send us $600.00. Then how that Post Office regime change coming? I’m sure there be other questions we’ll have but we won’t get to ask joe b. His answer would just STFU.

    1. Synoia

      His speech will focus on being a War president, and how the US will destroy Russia with Sanctions.

      Without mentioning the US’ recent History in Kosovo through Afghanistan to Libya.

      1. PHLDenizen

        “The president will call on Congress to send him a bill that lowers costs and lowers the deficit without delay,” the White House said in a preview of the speech. “American families need relief from higher costs, and they need it now.”

        “Lowers costs” is vague to the point of making a penny less in outlays per year technically correct. Apparently Manchin still has his hand up Biden’s ass like a puppet. I refuse to believe Joe has enough executive function left to make his own decisions.

        More deficit bullshit. JFC.

        1. tegnost

          I expect the worst.
          They made promises to wall st that must be kept, but it took this long to strip out all the benefits to us mopes. CARES Act/ACA/Patriot Act/Foam the Runway redux.
          Without the mask rules I won’t be following any CDC recommendations and sticking with the precautions that have gotten me this far.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            At what point do the Covid Cautious need to carry bear/pepper/etc. spray to protect themselves against Typhoid MAGA germspreaders trying to physically tear the mask off their face?

            And if bear/pepper/etc. spray is not enough, what would the next step be?

            ( Because much as the Typhoid MAGAs don’t believe it, masking is part of a self-and-other protection grid against the Government Conspiracy to Give Everyone Covid).

            1. tegnost

              I’ve been using Dr. Bronners peppermint hand sanitizer to good effect, especially when I yell “It’s Organic!” while I’m spraying

            2. jr

              I have a story prepared for vocal anti-mask science adverse types types: the vaccines compromised my immune system. I’ve done some test runs and it works on the Blue Believers around here who looked concerned, confused, and self-concious. I tell them my white blood cell count dipped precipitously after each shot. Never fully topped off. It might get some traction with other demographics, might make me an ally in fact, when I confirm their vaccine fears.

              In an unrelated note, I’m still pricing semi-automatic crossbows.

  9. dcblogger

    live stream from Healthcare Now:
    Right now we’re witnessing the largest war in Europe since WWII, as Russia invades Ukraine. At the moment, U.S. troops are not directly involved in the conflict, but it has got us thinking about the healthcare that military personnel receive, particularly after they’re discharged and rejoin civilian life. There is no one better to talk with about veterans’ healthcare than Suzanne Gordon, who joins us for the program!

    1. AnArchitect

      Are we ‘what-about-ism”ing Ukraine now? To what end? Invasion is not a great response to perceived neo-nazi activities in your neighborhood. Say your suspicions are true and Ukraine is run by a Neo-nazi cabal, what would an undermanned and poorly-planned invasion do to thwart that threat? As the world has seen time and time again, invasions to root out terrorists, dictators, trouble-makers, or whatever always end with even deeper local reservoirs of the very sentiment deemed so dangerous by the invaders.

      The article linked above takes a snapshot and draws a much more sinister conclusion. You could do that with any government, and sadly, find similar conclusions.

      This whole war is a travesty.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        “We” are not “whatabouting” anything. It’s called context since the US propaganda is trying to deny this faction even exists. Obviously Putin is engaging in propaganda in mentioning the Ukrainian nazis, but clearly his aim is to rid Ukraine of the hundreds of millions in arms supplied by the West annually that are pointed at Russia.

        1. KD

          Yes you are. It is never okay to invade a sovereign country because you are scared of its military capacity unless you are the US and the country is located in the Middle East, half way around the globe.

          As Biden has offered, as a gesture of good will, that Russia can base combat troops, armor, and nuclear war heads in Mexico across the border from Texas, so Russia is just being paranoid about having the opposite situation in their backyard.

          America = good, Russia = bad, anyone who disagrees is a traitor.

          1. Acacia

            Can’t tell if you’re being ironic, but the Russians have made a legal argument that their actions are justified as collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN charter.

            As for Mexico, they signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017, and they were actually the fourth to deposit an instrument of ratification.

            Meanwhile, the NATO alliance has been opposed the TPNW from the beginning, refusing to join negotiations or participate.

            So, I guess you are proposing that Mexico should back out of the treaty and invite Russian nukes onto their soil, because Biden somehow gets to decide whether Mexico should have nukes or not — is that it?

      2. The Rev Kev

        I think that Russia’s real worry is America planning to put tactile nuclear missiles on Russia’s border which is why America under Bush and then Trump left all those arms limitation treaties. A coupla years ago they accused Russia of having missiles which Russia not only denied but displayed one of those missiles in public. America left that treaty anyway and a week or so later tested a missile that would have been against that treaty. Now because of these antics, Belarus has announced that they will let Russia station nuclear missiles inside their country which will cause Brussels to spit chips.

      3. Donald

        I agree completely that the invasion can’t be justified. The US has used the same justification to inflict countless atrocities . It is wrong when we do it and wrong when Putin does it. It is a crime.

        But I do want to know to what extent there are neoNazis in the Ukraine and to what extent our press is lying about it. That goes for all the other statements about the war and its background.

        And I absolutely despise the term “ whataboutism”. It usually means “ shut up and don’t talk about the hypocrisy of the side I support”. It’s not necessary to do this. I think the US support for the war in Yemen is complicity in genocide but I have zero objection to honest reports of Houthi war crimes. Their crimes don’t justify ours but if you are going to learn about a war you should want to know about both.

        1. AnArchitect

          Fair enough. Let’s start launching cruise missiles into the headquarters of any extreme organization. That will most certainly solve the underlying problems of the world. America has a proven track record of success in this capacity…

    2. jimmy cc

      One mans neo nazi is another man’s freedom fighter.

      A good way to turn a nazi into a freedom fighter is to invade his country.

      Anyway, an article from 2019 says Neo Nazis in Ukraine are on the rise, and then later in the year a Jew is elected President of Ukraine with over 70% of the vote.

      1. Yves Smith

        The NRA here is similarly small yet wields outsized influence. And neo-Nazi in that part of the world is more rabid about Russians than Jews.

        As I have said many times before, in 2014, hen they represented only 1% of the pop, the neo-Nazis attained 15% of government (as in executive branch) positions, and held key domestic security posts.

      2. Harold

        The neoNazis are somewhat analogous to the Confederates of the United States, who were until very recently glorified in the South as martyred freedom fighters and their flags and symbols (Johnny Reb), seen all over the place. The Ukrainian Nationalists who fought on the Nazi side in WW2 were described in a 1956 CIA report as “amoral” and murderous. Yet in Ukraine numerous streets are named after them and statues erected to them (one in Liv’v is 60′ high IIRC) and their paraphernalia is seen everywhere.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a Jew is elected President of Ukraine

        I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens to him when Ukraine’s right gains more power than it already has. Even the New York Times:

        e Ukrainian political activist and militia member sat before his party’s flag leaving little doubt about his readiness for action. The flag depicted two axes crossed against a field of red.

        Yes, Yuri Hudymenko said, he is ready to take up arms, but not necessarily against Russia. As the leader of Democratic Ax — one of dozens of right-wing or nationalist groups that represent a potent political force in Ukraine and are fiercely opposed to any compromise with Moscow — his anger will be directed at Ukraine’s government if it grants too many concessions in exchange for peace.

        “We’ll deal with Russia one way or another later,” Mr. Hudymenko said. With a flair for the dramatic, he added: “If anybody from the Ukrainian government tries to sign such a document, a million people will take to the streets and that government will cease being the government.”

        My guess is that Zelensky’s foreign holdings include Miami or New York real estate because he’s not dumb, but what do I know?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think one point to bear in mind about Ukrainian neo-nazis is that they are less anti-semite than very anti Russian and anti-communist. This is their core identity. I’ve no idea what their ‘ranking’ system is for people they hate, as no doubt its a long list, but jews would certainly not rank as high as Russians.

          As an example, in WWII quite a few Ukrainian Waffen SS units (mostly eastern Galatians) mutinied against the Germans when they were sent to France instead of the Russian front. Several hundred actually joined with the French resistance.

          1. Harold

            How very strange! Less anti Semitic? What degree of anti Semitism is acceptable, exactly? And why did they refer to Russians as “Judeo-Bolsheviks” even well into the 20th C (as in 2014). (And are you aware of the history of David Duke’s Ph D degree? ) In any case, I think you will find reams of eyewitnesses testimony in the historical record that refutes your point.

    1. jo6pac

      LOL and you don’t need to make this S$$$ up. There are those in dc that say we could win a limited nuke war. WTF is a limited nuke war? I wonder if the genius in dc even know the Russia can reach touch Amerika with no problem and at the same time leave the EU out of the attack. It’s time to make room under my desk;-).

      1. Barbados Slim

        All Putin has to do to become the most beloved president for the rest of American history is nuke DC.

      2. upstater

        The updated B61 dial-a-yield makes nuclear weapons more usable. Only a “little boom”, really. Thanks, Obomber! Now our grandchildren’s great-grandchildren will have viable nuclear weapons in the year 2100, assuming humans exist then.

      3. Samuel Conner

        I think a “limited nuclear war” is one in which you live long enough to die from very long-term effects of radiation poisoning, rather than from the short-term effects of nuclear winter.

        1. tegnost

          On the bright side it will cover up the effects of long covid so it shouldn’t have much impact the market

      4. Henry Moon Pie

        This fellow will explain just how nuclear war is not only survivable. It could be quite a bit of fun for the well-connected. (Video)

        Terry Southern, who wrote that superbly satirical script, was also on the writing credits for “Easy Rider,” maybe not quite as brilliant a script. But in places, “This used to be a hell of a good country…”

        The IRS apparently enjoyed neither flick. They hounded Southern until his death.

        1. LawnDart

          10:1, huh? Sounds like fun, except you do realize that in close-quarters they tend to sync, right? Imagine PMS, X10…
          …radiation poisoning might be a blessing.

        2. Thistlebreath

          See if you can dig up any old copies of Paul Krasner’s “The Realist.”

          Terry Southern penned a memorable piece in one issue not long after ’63.

          LBJ was involved.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When Ronald Reagan was elected back in 1980, he had in tow a few keyboard warriors who thought that the world could survive “a limited nuclear war.” I credit dinosaurs with curb-stomping this idea. No, seriously. When the K-2 extinction event was discovered by Alvarz and his son, it was quickly realized that a nuclear winter triggered by this nearly wiped out life from this planet. And that a nuclear was would also cause a nuclear winter. Carl Sagan helped write a book called “The Cold and the Dark” which described what it would be like in fine detail. And it was about this time that the fizz went out of the idea of limited nuclear wars.

      1. ambrit

        Good as far as it went, but now we are dealing with politicos and their henchbeings who do not factor real science into their decision making processes. Most of what I have been reading emanating from the Neo-con apparat is clinically delusional. We are being ruled by legitimate psychos. I have discovered as I age that the more and more cynical my ideations become, the less and less I am disappointed by the resulting ‘real world’ events.

    1. ambrit

      I was going to pile on here but decided not to kick her when she is down. (Would she do the same for any of us?)

  10. Tom Stone

    I made the mistake of trying to talk to my Sister about current events yesterday.
    “Paranoid gullible fool” was as nice as her remarks got.
    I sometimes forget that her source of news for the last half century has been TV and that as a charter member of the PMC she is a big fan of Rachel Maddow and HRC.

    1. wol

      + Nietzsche: “A very popular error: having the courage of your convictions. The point is to have the courage for an attack on your convictions!”

      Courtesy of Jeffrey St Clair

    2. jr

      Just walked the dog, two interesting notes:

      Two PMC’s on the corner talking about the Ukraine, one declaring that Putin “terrifies” her.

      Something I’ve never seem before in my life, two full bottles of vodka tossed into the trash.

      1. barefoot charley

        I hope the ritual performative virtue uplifted all around the garbage can. If only so much virtue had any use!

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > terrifies

        “Terrify” has been in the headlines for some years. Our PMC is the most terrified governing class in history. And the cream of the jest is that they created the conditions for everything that terrorizes them, whether Trump, Ukraine, climate, name it.

    3. savedbyirony

      For the most part I am not bringing this topic up in conversation, but others will. I have tried a number of times to convey calmly the info, history and perspective of the Prof. Mearsheimer video which has been posted now twice here on NC. I also recommend the youtube video to others to watch and consider for themselves. It has not been going well.

      1. deplorado

        And also, this just in: mentions of Prof. Mearsheimer on y’tube are removed automatically!

        I just tried to comment under a video, and included in my post the Prof’s name, the 2015 talk title and the link. When it posted – BAM! – those 3 things were blank! I tried again, and as soon as I typed the name back into the comment in the Edit window – it disappeared again!

        So Prof. Mearsheimer is beginning to be censored. Truly, this is going into a very bad direction.

      2. barefoot charley

        I enjoyed his admission that he’s more at home in Russia and China than in elite faculty lounges in the West. They don’t get it at all, he says they must be 21st century people, while he and the Russians and Chinese are 19th century people–you know, reality based. And he notes parenthetically that the Chinese are going to eat our lunch. So refreshing!

        1. Louis Fyne

          Ah, I remember that episodes of Sopranos so well, when Tony gave up a street corner after someone pulled out their Robert’s Rule of Order and raised a point of order

          1. Mark Gisleson

            And here’s a 21st century cover that suggests the kids are alright:


            I was looking for Mederic Collignon’s jazz-classical fusion covers of King Crimson when I found this so if you’re into King Crimson and jazz, search for Collignon King Crimson on YouTube for a real treat.

      3. OIFVet

        Most people lack the cognitive capacity for an hour+ talk, what with having been habituated to the 10 second soundbite. Also too, most people don’t deal well with cognitive dissonance. I have found that trying to point people to prof. Mearsheimer is next to useless. Perhaps if he cultivated the Maddow snark, the PMCs do love them a good snark! In Bulgaria, the PM and several other members of the ruling coalition have adopted the oldie but a goodie McCain quip that “Russia is a gas station with nukes”. Without attribution, of course, because they want to sound original and tough and smart. Needless to say, the BG PMCs lap it up so gleefully that I am afraid they might get gassy from overconsumption and negate the environmental virtues of their Teslas.

    4. Daryl

      > “Paranoid gullible fool” was as nice as her remarks got.

      > Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

  11. Tom Stone

    As far as Richard Blum’s death, it did not come soon enough for my taste
    And double that for DiFi, I haven’t forgotten the Headwaters Forest…or the horrific crimes across the world she was so much a part of.

    1. tegnost

      … it did not come soon enough for my taste
      Just wait until they change the name of the sebastopol post office to the Blum Memorial

      1. Wukchumni

        My Kevin (since ’07) would most likely be a co-sponsor. as renaming post offices is the only thing Congress gets done on a bipartisan basis.

    2. Pat

      I briefly thought of it as a long delayed bright spot, but then realized he hadn’t died broke, in pain and waiting for a hospital bed because his insurance lapsed as the post office hadn’t delivered his premiums…

  12. Wukchumni

    Is this the 3rd or 4th time the Ruble has gone down to about nothing in the last 30 or so years?

    It would shock us so, if the $ were to do the same, but you get the feeling the Russians are used to it now, old hat.

    By the way, the idea that there is really no chance of hyperinflation happening under the current auspices has got me thinking…

    Hyperinflation vis a vis paper money was a blocking mechanism that usually slowly let air out of a country’s monetary system, letting it pass away until a rebirth was possible through coming up with a new kind of money. This didn’t always work (see Venezuela or Argentina) but it allowed for people to make other plans.

    I think what is in store for us will be something new and frankly terrifying in that all of the sudden the almighty buck might be worth bupkis, financial collapse all in one fell swoop.

    I’m still working out how it occurs…

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read once that through the international use of the dollar, that the US is actually exporting its inflation around the world. So if too many countries ceased to use it, that might mean that all that inflation would make its way home.

      1. Sailor Bud

        Endless love for ever bringing the magnificent Art Tatum into any friendly context whatsoever. We should be shoveling his playing into the minds of musicians and music lovers everywhere, and never let his bright light fade.

  13. Paradan

    Has anyone else noticed the complete lack of drone and air strike videos from this war?

    Also, I keep seeing videos of jets doing low passes in the day time. What happened to all the Stingers?

        1. ambrit

          Silly. The Arayan Brotherhood gets their ‘stingers’ from the Idaho National Guard armories.

  14. Brian Beijer

    Just read this quote in RT from Putin’ latest speech. With quotes like this, how can you not like the guy?

    “By the way, American politicians, political scientists, and journalists themselves write and say that, in recent years, an actual ‘empire of lies’ has been created inside the United States. It’s hard to disagree with that, as it’s true,” Putin stated.

    All [the US] satellites not only dutifully agree, sing along to its music, but also copy its behavior, and enthusiastically accept the rules they are offered. Therefore, with good reason, we can confidently say that the entire so-called Western bloc, formed by the United States in its own image and likeness, all of it is an ‘empire of lies.’

    1. rowlf

      In America we lie to ourselves about everything and we believe ourselves every time. Gustav Hasford, The Phantom Blooper (1990)

    1. griffen

      Always enjoy that one, the video still holds up well (even from the middle 80s!). Here is an updated version, decidedly by a more angry rock / metal band.

      Disturbed, is not for every one’s hearing. They grow on you.

  15. dcblogger

    Greg Palast has a team in Ukraine
    Kharkiv, Ukraine] Palast Investigations team member Nick Perepelitsa is in Kharkiv, at the center of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. He reports that yesterday was strangely quiet after the Russian invaders, trapped in the city, fled. He sent this video of a blood-covered Russian armored column, destroyed. The Russians were marching, literally, under his window. Once in the city, slaughtered and fled. In frustration, the city was heavily shelled, killing civilians. Nick has sent horrific photos of the wounded. Our Russian-speaking intern Margarita [last name withheld] is heading to Moscow to cover the protests. Yuriy Kirshnir is reporting from Lviv.

  16. tegnost

    It’s pretty high comedy to see the market “plummet” 179!!! points
    This dramatic! collapse! went from a nose bleeding 34,058.75
    to settle down a massive .49!!!!%!
    at 33,892.60!
    Folks! This is almost a half percent.
    in other news coal up 30% (cha ching, poor president manchin, sob (the crying kind, not S.O.B., which fits just as well…;))
    Crude pushing $100 (Kaching!!!) Buy now or be priced out forever!!!
    Goldman thinks 125!!!!

    In other news (noose?), Putin thumbs his nose at germany as china offers to buy all their nat gas at premium…go long german firewood haulers! /s

    Frack It, Bay-bee!!!!!

    1. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Listening to Eurocrats huffing & puffing in outrage as they triumphally announced a list of sanctions, I wondered mainly about Nord stream & things like electric cars & heating bills. I guess the Hoi Poloi will get the sharp end of the stick if their leaders great moments on the podium backfires. Still a distraction for Van der Leyden from a bit of a Pfizer scandal which will be disappeared for the time being at least, as she declares by omission that the last 8 years of conflict in the Donbass region didn’t happen.

      Then there is Boris who instructed the city of London to destroy the Russian economy, which would at least be a change from destroying the British one.

      If there was a lies, hypocrisy & BS clock it would likely be closer to midnight than the nuclear one.

      1. tegnost

        which would at least be a change from destroying the British one.

        Well, there’s always a silver lining, and it’s up to 24 bucks an ounce!

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘Then there is Boris who instructed the city of London to destroy the Russian economy, which would at least be a change from destroying the British one.’

        Heh, heh, heh. Oh no, wait. That actually sounds true that.

  17. Gerd

    Several medical and immunological folks I follow on Twitter are claiming much less negative covid related feedback now that Twitter is restricted in Russia. I don’t know if it is true but they claim it is.

    That got me thinking about Putin. Allegedly Putin has interfered with domestic politics in many western countries. Could the invasion of Ukraine be the trigger that let many countries say, OK we are in on the retaliation. I don’t mean the US here but the other normally middle of the road countries could be saying, this is our chance to maybe get rid of him and his meddling.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Left? He keeps on using that word. I do not think it means what he think it means. Did he oppose the constant bombardments of people like his relatives in the Donbass at all or the two failed invasions? If the Minsk Protocols had been adopted most of these problems would have gone away but we all know know that that was never going to happen.

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