Links 2/21/2022


Species Can Go Extinct. Why Should We Care? The Wire

Why Niki Segnit’s ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ stands out among culinary books, even a decade later Scroll. A fine book, from which I’ve learned a lot.

Fermented food: why eating sauerkraut helps your gut stay healthy The Conversation

Absolutely everything you ever wanted to know about ginger FT. Fuchsia Dunlop

Spain’s ingenious water maze BBC

Is This Your Brain on Drugs? The Baffler

The Ancient Greeks also lived through a plague, and they too blamed their leaders for their suffering The Conversation. This article has inspired me to dig out my old copy of Thucydides, to dip into again on this President’s Day afternoon.


Does Any Monoclonal Antibody Work Against BA.2? Medpage Today


Nowhere is safe: Record number of patients contracted Covid in the hospital in January Politico

Pandemic predictions are tricky. Except this one: U.S. hospitals are not ready for the new normal Stat

Baltimore public health professional exposes horrific conditions during the Omicron surge World Socialist Web s\Site (Martha r)

The C.D.C. Isn’t Publishing Large Portions of the Covid Data It Collects NYT (Jason Boxman). Hoisted from comments.

Whatever Happened to Biden’s Pandemic Testing Board? ProPublica. Seems to have gone the way of that extra $600.


Inmates Who Died Asked for Release Before Falling Ill With Covid Kaiser Health News


Was the hacking of Ottawa trucker convoy donors a US-Canadian intelligence operation? Garrison

Ask Prof Wolff: Finding Common Ground with Canadian Truckers YouTube (Aumua)

Capitol girding for potential ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest at State of the Union Fortune


Coronavirus: Hong Kong confirms more than 7,500 new cases, vaccine pass to launch in days as residents urged to stay home South China Morning Post

The Defeat of Progressive Movements in the Global South Made US Hegemony Possible Jacobin

New Cold War

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin agree ‘in principle’ to Ukraine summit FT

Biden and Putin Agree ‘In Principle’ to Ukraine Summit Amid Fears of War Common Dreams

The Burden Of Proof Is Always On The Ones Making The Claim (Even If It’s About Russia) Caitlin Johnstone

Vladimir Putin: Diplomacy over Ukraine crisis must ‘intensify’ Al Jazeera

The Evidence for Invasion the US Could Produce Consortium News. Scott Ritter.

Waste Watch

Why the ancient art of gleaning is making a comeback across England Guardian

US Department of Energy to offer $3B to boost battery production, recycling Waste Dive

Is Coca-Cola Serious About Returnable Bottles? Treehugger

We are afraid’: Erin Brockovich pollutant linked to global electric car boom Guardian

Black Lives Matter

One Dead, Five Injured From Shooting at Black Lives Matter March Portland Mercury (martha r)

Sports Desk

Winter Olympics: Closing ceremony marks ends of 2022 Beijing Games BBC

Climate Change

California’s Green-Energy Subsidies Spur a Gold Rush in Cow Manure WSJ


Winston Lord, in the room with Mao and Nixon, examines US-China relations then and now South China Morning Post

China plans to feed 80 million people with ‘seawater rice’  South China Morning Post

Supply Chain

Trump Transition

The Misleading Claim That Durham’s Reference to Trump White House Records Was Misleading National Review

Trump properties in talks to host lucrative Saudi golf events WaPo

Old Blighty

Prince Andrew made secret visits to Queen Elizabeth throughout the night on a routine basis, according to a report. NY Post. Page Six.

The Queen tests positive for Covid BBC


Payback time: Iran to return to the world stage Asia Times

Class Warfare

How the Left Should Think About Inflation The Nation. James Galbraith.

Apple Finds Itself Under Scrutiny in Washington’s Big Tech Clampdown WSJ

How Starbucks Workers Turned the Tables On Union Busters Truthout

Gig Companies Are Disguising Exploitation as Social Justice Jacobin

The 4-day work week: Who is trialing it and does it work? Deutsche Welle

The Statement of the Source Süddeutsche Zeitung

SUISSE SECRETS Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

What is the Suisse secrets leak and why are we publishing it? Guardian


South Asia Watch: From Foreign Aid to Foreign Troops, Politicking Continues Unabated The Wire

Why India’s Budget Push To Infrastructure Should Consider Climate Resilience India Spend

Digital rupee: The history of Indian currency shows that monetary revolutions are messy processes Scroll

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. The Rev Kev

      The fact that newsreaders have been saying people died ‘with’ covid rather than ‘of’ covid makes me very mistrustful of such facts as there is so much medical misinformation out there, especially by doctors. An example – I was talking over the phone to my sister this ‘arvo and she told me that our cousin had been told by her doctor to relax about getting infected as you need four hours for that to happen. A real WTF moment. I reminded my sister about that women in that Sydney cafe that was infected by another person ‘en passant’ as another person left the cafe and the whole thing was caught on CCTV. And that was the old Delta strain and not the more infectious Omicron strain. It is February 2022 so what excuse does that doctor have for spreading such falsehoods?

  1. Juneau

    “Is this your brain on drugs?”. I work in this field and the author makes many good points. I still think Nora Volkow’s research at NIH is good in identifying a final common brain pathway for compulsive use of substances (including things like sugar, nicotine and caffeine). “Addictions” which might be better labeled “problematic use” are rooted in many social, biological and psychological issues. Best predictor of which drug someone uses is availability-if you live in an area with a lot of liquor stores, then alcohol is it; pot stores, then cannabis, etc… My personal opinion is that most of us have one or more, it is part of the human condition, but not all addictions are problematic. It is unfair to use a one size fits all approach. And yes the stigma is always there. HCW like the psychiatrist mentioned in the article are held to a very punitive and unfairly high standard, being monitored for years after they recover.

    1. Howard Beale IV

      Whevener I see the name Nora Volkov, the hairs on the back of my hair go up. Dopamine isn’t the answer to everything, even though Volkov would like you to believe it

    2. Eric Anderson

      I “am” this field and have been sober for over 16 yrs. Was a psych major and published undergrad research on the impact of giving and taking behaviors ability to mediate impulsivity in NCUR. The 12-step model worked for me, and I believe it works precisely for the reasons the author lays out. In my mind, addiction is not a “brain disease” but a social disease. It’s the “selfish” disease. More akin to a personality disorder than any organic malady. The 12-Steps highlight this selfishness through a process not unlike love bombing. The spiritual aspect centered on a higher power is really just gradual acceptance of the fact that “I am” not the highest power. The indications to think of other before self to slow the obsession hamster wheel is a nifty psychological trick that diverts the “I’m the most important person in the world b/c all I think about is me.” So too, the exhortation to prayer — not for things — but to express gratitude.

      I could go on and on with such examples, but the takeaway is this: the 12-steps are a social process that reintroduces individuals to social coping mechanisms with the fundamental belief that resort to a substance to cope inevitably backfires because a substance removes us, or allows us to hide from our true self.

      All that from scientific rationalist who “prays” but has learned that one does not have to name what one prays to. Indeed, naming “God” is the most presumptuous act humanity has ever devised and the rot at the core of all religion.

        1. Eric Anderson

          You’re welcome. Just spreading the message that was spread to me. And for that, I’ll always be grateful.

      1. Pate

        Addiction a “social disease … It’s the selfish disease”. Interesting. Thank you Eric. Spitballing here, but right now I find myself wondering if there is less “addiction” in Japan (where I imagine selfishness is frowned upon). There is less obesity in Japan (sugar being my drug of choice) and greater longevity.

        Didn’t George Carlin have fun with the hubristic nature of religion and the presumptuousness of those claiming “to know god” (“who” god “really” is)? I always thought Carlin a very smart man.

        I don’t necessarily think of religion as an addiction but do think it a “selfish disease” and long been humored by the very convenient notion held by some true believers that the favorite creature of the god they worship is, well, them. In this sense I came to believe they were really only worshiping themselves. Which makes sense I guess if the notion of “god”is really the longing for power or control. Let us pray!

        1. Eric Anderson

          I don’t think I’m equating religion with selfishness. More with, as you picked up on, hubris. I mention it because so many people hang up on the “religious” aspect of the 12-steps when, IMHO it’s a spiritual program. A great book setting out the difference is “The Spirituality of Imperfection” written by Ernest Kurst. Kurtz was a “normie” (in AA parlance) who was the only person not aligned with AA allowed full access to the archives to complete his PhD thesis win history. His takeaway was that AA figured out a way to tap into many lessons learned by spiritual leaders over the centuries that had very little to do with religion per se, and that many of the troubles people struggle with in life are a result of religious teaching exhorting us to “be like god” when the path to spiritual enlightenment lies in understand that we’re “Not God” — which was the title of his thesis. We’re imperfect, and recognition of this fact takes a tremendous psychic burden off our shoulders. The Spirituality of Imperfection is essentially a condensed version of his thesis Not God.

      2. Stick'em

        My experience is very similar to yours, Eric. 15 years here.

        Bill Wilson was very careful to never call alcoholism a “disease.” Instead, he said, “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” That’s as close as we’ve come to a definition.

        Addiction to all chemicals – be they a liquid drug like ethanol or in some other form – is at root the problem of self. This has mental and physical consequences, of course, however, as you well know the -ism in its many forms isn’t a simple reductionist “chemical imbalance” or whatever the marketing people at the rehabs call it this days. Rather the solution is the spiritual experience of learning to be selfless.

      3. fringe element

        I remember a story from years ago about small children left to fend for themselves in some city destroyed by war. All of the people or locales that would have normally taken in abandoned children were gone.The story reported that some of the children had learned to sniff glue when they were eventually found and rescued.

        I always thought that turning to drugs in the first place was a response to unbearable suffering. How terrifying must it be for a really young child to be wandering around a ruined city alone, with no parents, family or any adult to shelter and protect them?

        Maybe there are other explanations for these dysfunctional choices when capable adults turn to drugs, if there are other coping behaviors available to them and if they hurt others to whom they are responsible with their addictions. I am sure there is much here that I don’t understand.

        I guess that for myself, I just circle back to the idea that turning to drink or drugs is a quest for relief from unbearable unhappiness that a person feels they must face alone. I see it as a response to societal malaise too encompassing to fight. I don’t see how it can be characterized as bad character or selfishness on the part of the victim although it is easy to see why a culture like ours that causes such suffering would choose to let itself off the hook by placing the blame on the addicts.

        Other people in the conversation here are probably using selfishness to means something different from what I am thinking when I use the word. Maybe they mean selfishness in the sense of thinking we control things that are beyond our powers.

        1. Eric Anderson

          It didn’t start with ‘suffering’ of any sort for me. There was an inferiority complex I attribute to being late to mature. I mean, seriously, I often joke in hindsight that I didn’t go through puberty until I was 17. This bred a constant need to “prove myself” among my peers. That proving included tons of risk taking and oneupsmanship. Also, the constant need to prove my worth by always being in the center of attention — read, partying, girl chasing and the like.

          Then, it got to the point where I found I couldn’t stop. And, when you find you can’t stop, that’s when I feel the selfishness really plays a role. All I thought about was how I was going to get loaded. Where I would get money to get loaded. Who I was going to cheat to get loaded. How I was going to lie to cover up the wreckage that came from getting loaded. Me me me me me me poor me poor me pour me a drink.

          It’s been scientifically demonstrated that serious alcoholics’ brains actually are smaller and weigh less than those of non-alcoholics. One theory is that our brains turns so far inward, to only examining ourselves, that we lose all those important connections we have that support socialization. Of course, it could be the killing of the cells too. It is, literally, poison. Or, it could be a combination of several factors. But, it suffices to demonstrate what I mean about the “selfish disease.”

        2. Stick'em

          We mean “selfish” as in thinking about yourself. Alcoholism (and addiction to other drugs as well) is a manifestation of being selfish. It comes out as resentment of others too, which you then drink off your mind.

          The solution is a spiritual one because to be spiritual is to think about others and do things for others, to be “selfless” in the sense of thinking about yourself less often. To stop resenting others as in to stop reliving your anger at them.

          This is my experience. Your mileage may vary.

      4. Wukchumni

        For me it was all about replacing a harmful addiction (gambling) with a good addiction (hiking & backpacking).

        It’s a 12,000 step program.

        1. Eric Anderson

          Yeah, it seems there always has to be an element of that. I’m kind of a hike/bike/fish/read/etc-aholic myself. Developing the ability to “keep my head where my hands are” has been really beneficial. But, that skill came later. At first it was just learning to hold on to my (family blog), and take prosocial direction from those that went before me.

      5. kareninca

        Wow. And wow again. I copied this. I do not have an addiction problem but I know people who do. I have read and heard that 12 step programs are often the best bet; that the other programs are often terribly costly and don’t even work. I am religious (fairly newly), but your account is a way of making it acceptable it to people who aren’t. Thank you.

    3. Susan the other

      It was a good essay. I gotta say that I can only smile at anyone who describes addiction as killing free will. What-a-lot-a-nonsense. Don’t know even where to begin on that one. For all we know addiction is the very opposite – it’s a desperate attempt to extricate yourself from the draconian demand that you have free will and you must use it (according to accepted norms). It is more arguable that addiction is the expression of free will at it’s very essence. What we need is good clean fun. Non toxic, purified substances at a reasonable cost; no particular hangover. Wake up refreshed and ready to take on another crushingly boring day full of amazingly self-satisfied bigots and nitwits who are all addicted out of their minds to money. But I rave on.

  2. Wukchumni

    Winter Olympics: Closing ceremony marks ends of 2022 Beijing Games BBC
    Once upon a time World’s Fair exhibitions were the bomb and there’d be much anticipation, I remember our neighbors going to Expo ’74 in Spokane-part of the 5.6 million who attended that event. Looks like there is still some World’s Fair activity going on now, but it ain’t what it was.

    To give you an idea of popularity of the just concluded Olympics-in the USA there were around 7 million primetime (down 50% from the last winter Olympics) viewers, a bit more than the amount of people who actually made the sojourn to Spokane 48 years ago. The Olympic movement is dying and the corporations who have sponsored it for the last 4 decades surely have taken notice.

    You almost got the feeling watching the Beijing games that China mostly wanted to showcase it’s stringent Covid anti-measures, versus the rest of the world-who have largely given up.

    1. Carolinian

      I was enjoying the Olympics until the doping nonsense (and an in depth report suggests it probably was nonsense) reared its ugly head. The show is supposed to be about how a world in conflict, for once, is doing something together and that is very much not the mood of our current elites. In the last century they suspended the Olympics during the world wars. It may be time to do so again.

    2. griffen

      Your above point about the movement is dying, well that clearly does not deter future host cities from competing for the right to host the next competition. To wit, Los Angeles is scheduled to host in 2028 ( which I read in the building up to the Super Bowl recently contested ). It’s a boondoggle. That should not shortchange the talented athletes who opt to participate and compete.

      1. hunkerdown

        The Olympics is an advertisement for competition. I hope with all my being that rivalry is the movement that’s dying.

    3. marcyincny

      We haven’t watched any of the Olympics for years primarily because the NBC prime time programming got so atrocious.

      This year we happen to have a Peacock subscription and we’ve been streaming more Olympic competition than we ever saw in decades past. Almost all of it is straightforward, minimal commentary, figure skating for example with no commentary, lots of Brits and Aussies doing what commentary there is…

      So while prime time numbers may be down I expect many more people have been streaming the events. We’re still watching replays this week.

      We’ve always taken the Olympic ideals to be aspirations, not likely to be lived up to as one might hope, so we’ve just enjoyed them for what they are: a virtual trip to a foreign land where people do silly, amazing things we would never think of doing ourselves.

    4. CanCyn

      Warning! I am Debbie Downer on the Olympics. At some point, I decided that there was nothing amateurish about the Olympics, put off even before the dream team and pro athletes began competing. Grooming of talented youngsters to the tune of lost childhoods and other worse abuses – of which the young Russian skater is but the latest example. And then there are the politics of hosting and and bribing the IOC. I paid attention the last time Toronto bid to host a summer Olympics, what a costly waste of time and creativity! Not to mention the costs to hosting cities and countries that are never recouped. I have a Bread Not Circuses t-shirt to wear during the Olympics.
      And last, yes, the American coverage is horrid. It is as though no other counties are even competing! This phenomenon spreads to other sports. My husband is a golfer and watches televised PGA tournaments – the Golf channel coverage on Thursdays and Friday isn’t too bad but once CBS or NBC takes over for the weekend, off goes the volume, it is truly unbearable. You see American golfers exclusively unless they have to begrudgingly feature a Brit or other nationality because they happen to be doing well. And the commentary is worse than inane. We do our own, humorous and more knowledgeable about the sport.

      1. orlbucfan

        The only reason I looked at the Winter Olympics is the figure skating. Those athletes are incredible. Ballet dancers on ice skates. As a life long klutz, I find that amazing. But the rest….bleh.

  3. jr

    “ Winter Olympics: Closing ceremony marks ends of 2022 Beijing Games”

    Huh? As opposed to the beginning or middle of the Games? Has the NYT been loaning out writers to the BBC? Who writes this (rap!?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I liked the bit where it said ‘After a series of appeals and re-appeals, Valieva was allowed to compete in the remaining individual events, but it has led to questions about her coaching team and the fairness of children competing in Olympic events, particularly as she crumbled in her final event.’

      So it is all about banning young competitors and I would be curious to know which countries has a lot of them. Ban them and then the right countries will start winning gold again I guess. But more to the point, the BBC is pretending that she crumbled because of her young age instead of a coordinated effort to break her confidence through a smear campaign. I hope that these people are proud of themselves and I suppose that Jeffrey Epstein could have advised them that underage girls are easy targets.

      1. jr

        “… it has led to questions about her coaching team and the fairness of children competing…”

        God, these people are bumblers with the smears and propaganda. As if her coaching team decided to use children all of a sudden, against all accepted wisdom. Don’t Russians love their children!? Are any of these mediocrities reading this? I need them to know that I could write better muck to fling by squatting over a notepad and clenching a pencil between my a$$ cheeks.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          They do the same thing with domestic politics. The latest outrage is that Trump is pushing to “close” the Wyoming primary to restrict it to registered Republicans. The outraged seem to forget that they’ve been pushing closing all Democrat Party primaries since 2016.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Capitol girding for potential ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest at State of the Union”

    And back by popular demand, Washington DC is re-erecting the fence once again. The same one that was put up after the January 2021 riots but hopefully it will not stay there so many months this time. Maybe what DC should do is make this fence permanent but have it so that it could be lowered into the ground. Then the next time somebody gets panicky, they only have to turn a key and up pops the fence all around the central part of DC making it once more a Forbidden City-

    1. Wukchumni

      Newsmax switched from Barstow being the starting point-to Adelanto instead, an even tweakier of a place than Barstow, which is really saying something.

      I stopped @ a Wal*Mart there about 6 months ago, and i’d conservatively estimate that 40% of the store’s wares were behind locked glass.

  5. philnc

    We’d like to think the public is not so easily manipulated. But the effectiveness of tobacco, in particular cigarette, advertising in the 20th century cannot be ignored. Banning such advertising, along with the release of the “true facts” about the link between smoking and deadly cancers, turned the tide in a dramatic way. Similar blackouts in the political arena, even absent negative counter-narratives, have also been remarkably effective in maintaining the marginalization of dissenting figures and ideas. Relieved of the constant drumbeat of softdrink ads and product placements, a serious public health campaign to turn people away from them might just work. Without it, even assuming sharp price increases due to higher taxation, I don’t think there’s a chance Big Soda can be defeated.

    1. Mr Magoo

      We could start this process easily by rolling back to the bans on advertising medications direct to patients (or wannabe patients as the case my be). I am not sure, but most would probably be happy not to see another
      ED, or ‘hide my skin, not me’ commercial.

    2. Altandmain

      The Iraq War may be an even bigger example of the public being sold a bill of goods to make the rich wealthier.

  6. jr

    Wonderful articles about food this morning! I can’t wait to try lacto fermentation! And I can’t wait to try to retro-engineer “The Flavour Wheel” from image files, reviews, and excerpts! ;)

    I’m a big fan of “cold pickling” but I am always left with tubs of the vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, and spices. I happen to have a ton of it and I hate to waste it because it’s delicious. I may strain it and reduce it to a syrup and see what I can do with that.

    1. Carla

      Pickled jalapenos are super easy to make and really good:

      All you need to make absolutely delicious nachos are good-quality tortilla chips, coarsely shredded colby-jack cheese, and one or two of these jalapeno slices per chip. Bake in 400 degree oven for 6 or 7 mins. Nachos recipe from the NY Times, but the allrecipes version of the jalapenos is superb & far easier than the Times version.

    2. Paul O

      I have just started out on regular lacto-fermentation and it’s going very well. I used to buy such things on fairly regular occasion but home made is, of course, much cheaper and I am finding it pretty straight forward. Sauerkraut, Kalekraut, basic Kimchi and (yet to try) Curtido so far.

      Lining up a few more exotic options – Celeriac Remoulade (fermented with butter milk), some wild garlic ‘caper’ (flower buds) once it starts growing like the clappers in the local woods, and a recipe using dried mushrooms of which I have maybe slightly too many (no, the normal sort!). On my way to Kombucha – which is the idea that started it – but SCOBY collection interrupted by catching Covid (which as been unpleasant).

      Not sure about recommending books here but No.18 in the River Cottage Handbook Series (UK) has plenty of straight forward recipes all of which have worked for me so far. I have a couple of books by Sandor Katz which I am enjoying.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        The River Cottage No. 18 handbook is excellent and I’ve tried many of those recipes. Homemade is indeed the way to go. Far, far cheaper and I know exactly how the food was prepared. My Weck canning jars are in almost constant use. Cherry tomato bombs; cucumber, fennel, or smoky beetroot kimchi; torshi; and celeriac remoulade are among many favorites. Today I’m going to try to make broccoli misozuke. I love broccoli, my husband doesn’t; broccoli was on special this week at the market but there’s only so much one person can eat. I also need to replenish my stock of preserved lemons and they take about a month to ferment. And I wanted to try a new recipe for soft ginger cookies. All good projects for a holiday afternoon!

        1. jr

          I have really gotten into gnocchi recently and I have a few tips to share with everyone. For one, be VERY delicate when you work the flour into the potatoes, I use a fork to drag over small bits of flour then slowly turn it over and into the potatoes. You may need a little water if the potatoes are dry, this isn’t a problem with the sweet potato version. Don’t boil the potatoes, it can add too much water which then calls for more flour and especially with the sweets you won’t get the caramelization of the sugars. Roast ’em.

          Don’t smash the potatoes into a paste, you are crushing the cell walls of the “flesh” and just as with over-exercised mashed potatoes you will add density/lose lightness. Ricing them through a ricer or food mill is best but if you don’t have those use a fork to spear them to pieces then gently crush them with the tines until as small as possible. Some lumpiness will cook out.

          I season it in the amounts I would use to season a potato plus a little bit more for the flour I’m adding. I don’t use a set amount of flour either. Once the mix begins to become a dough, don’t add but a pinch or two more. You just want to be able to work it like a coherent dough, just. Lightly mix, roll, and cut. You don’t need to rest them as far as I can guess as resting is to let gluten relax and you shouldn’t have but a bit of that. While you can freeze them, I’ve found they seem mushier after freezing.

          With gnocchi, unlike pasta, gluten is bad. You want minimal gluten exercise and the more energy, the more gluten. I’ve found this makes the lightest, airiest gnocchi I’ve had outside of a good Italian restaurant. My partner has compared them to Frankies 570 (now Anton’s, don’t bother) or Via Carrota. I forgo egg as it adds density; my next step is to try roasted cauliflower instead of potato.

          Remember, a gnocchi is only a dumpling! You can make them out of water, flour, and salt if that is what you have at hand. Melt a bit of butter or gently heat some oil, add a pinch of dried herb for a second or two to wake it up (don’t burn it!), and dress the gnocchi. Season and eat!

          This link talks about this and more:

    3. jr

      @ Carla: Thanks! Another awesome combo is cauliflower with red onions in a red wine vinegar mix. The usual additions as well. And a fresh slice of lemon or lime in each tub is lovely!

      @ Paul O: The “capers” idea is brilliant! I may try that with the now feral green onions I planted last year!

  7. Henry Moon Pie


    Maybe I haven’t been paying full attention, but so far there seem to be some dogs that aren’t barking. How can it be that warmongering ghouls like Bolton and Clinton haven’t demanded a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine? Why isn’t there an American aircraft carrier sitting off Sevastopol?

    With all the money Americans spend on “defense,” how can it be that all we can threaten Putin with is taking away his bank account and credit card when China is giving away toasters with new accounts?

    Maybe the most powerful military in this sector of the galaxy has been captured by “safetyism.”

    1. griffen

      I’ve generally avoided wading too far into this water, based on the conspicuous efforts by our “leading lights” at DC and the Council of Foreign Relations. They do have a sterling rep to maintain as we all know.

      I just am not buying what they are all selling. And the likes of Blinken and Sullivan…but I digress.

        1. JBird4049

          Invading without invading a country or a warless war. That is a nice trick. Either this is quality manure or they are smoking some really fine smack.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      Why no no-fly zone or aircraft carrier ? Because the plan is and always has been to gaslight the Ukrainians and/or Russians into a conflict. They’d be happy to fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian but I guarantee there are no plans to actually defend Ukraine with western forces.

      1. JTMcPhee

        C’mon, man! You don’t believe all those colonels and generals in their ergonomic warfighter ™ chairs, tapping and mousing away at their Battlespace Management ™ consoles and generating reams of PowerPoint slides, don’t have endless scenarios and contingencies, , all gamed out and cued up, just waiting for The Word or already in motion to nudge the situation toward WAR ™, that vastly used but most undefined term in the Pentagram’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, ?

        Or that those vast War Plans, if they were dusted off, stood up and implemented, would be any more successful than all the dreck that the Brain Trust in the US military has generated in the last 80 years? Other than sluicing more trillions to the war profiteers who bribe their way to power in the Pentagram?

      2. Kouros

        The treaty of Montreux concerning the control of the straights from Mediterranean sea to the Black sea forbids the passing of aircraft carriers. So there you are.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Since when has any treaty stood in the way of a good old USA imperial adventure? Rules-based international order, and her, whole makes the rules again?

    3. Carolinian

      The Bidenistas are trying to start a war, not stop one. They want to make sure the Ukrainians and Russians do the dying however. Biden in theory agreed to a summit with Putin but don’t hold your breath.

      It’s all about divide and conquer among our “enemies” who aren’t really our enemies.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      An aircraft carrier? Hehe. The Russians have too many missiles to keep the air craft carriers in the game. They don’t even have to sink it, just wreck it. Every aircraft carrier is an afront to the American people. There are reasonable arguments for the smaller marine carriers, but their Era is over against peer competitors.

      1. Michael Ismoe

        They are turning The Capitol into a castle with a removable moat. A republic where the representatives have to hide from the people may not be such a healthy republic. Ask Ceausescu.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        And the S-400s may make enforcing a no-fly zone less fun.

        We’re a paper tiger with nukes if we’re up against a peer opponent. Not a good thing.

        1. amechania

          I heard the french and germans balked already. Not sure about Macron, but get real. Belarus, on the other hand? Poland, macedonia and the minor baltic states arent much of a coalition.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Those little “sh!thole countries” do make for a pretty good fig leaf, though… the Coalition of the Other-Abled…

          2. JBird4049

            If this was real, instead of war profiteering, such a coalition could not win a war, but it could make Russia rethink having a war, or at least make it very painful. Think of it as the Finland strategy. The Soviet Union could have defeated Finland eventually, but the ongoing costs were so high, it was not worth continuing to do so.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              In 2002, Iraq was a wreck with an ideal set of routes for the tanks to run in the short term. Even the 1991 Iraqi army was undermined by Hussein as he didn’t trust the army and then strung out into Kuwait.

      1. Aumua

        At first I was like ok… and then it dawned on me. He’s talking about Putin! A certified facepalm for Sanders here, geez lol.

        1. Aumua

          Ad hominem much? I mean this is a terrible take from Sanders but I don’t think there’s any need for all that.

  8. John Siman

    In addition to the account of the Athenian plague in Thucydides, you should read Ovid’s account of the plague on the island of Ægina, at the end of book 7 of the Metamorphoses:
    … Contagion thickens, and the plague, grown stronger,
    Fastens on men, on the walls of the great city.
    Men’s vitals seem to burn: the proof is given
    By a red flush and a difficult breath; the tongue
    Thickens, and the lips are cracked and dry; the sick
    Cannot lie still in bed, they cannot bear
    The weight of covers over them; they try
    To get some coolness from the ground, which burns,
    Itself, from the heat of their fever. Even our doctors
    fare as the others do, or worse; the nearer
    One comes to the sick, the greater his devotion
    In looking after others, the more quickly
    He comes to his share of death. …
    In delirium
    Many poor souls leap from their beds, and stagger
    Too weak to stand, and others, too weak for leaping,
    Roll out on the ground. They flee their household gods,
    Since no man’s home is sacred. Each man’s home
    Seems to him Death’s abode. Since no man knows
    the cause, he blames his little habitation… (7.550–76).

    1. digraph

      “Ovid’s account of the plague on the island of Ægina”

      what rhymes Ægina?

      asking for a friend.

  9. Donald

    Does anyone else have trouble reading the Consortiumnews site? In almost all cases, when I try to go there my iPad says the server cannot be found. Occasionally I get through. Usually I don’t.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Slow to load and first attempt said server not found. Do a search of the title and you will find the article published elsewhere.

  10. russell1200

    I am disappointed in the media discussion of Durban’s charges. It seems like reverse Russia-gate. Downplay everything, or overplay it if your in Fox territory. It sounds very much like wingnut territory, but then so did parts of Watergate back in the day.

  11. dftbs

    One can’t help but sympathize with Galbraith‘s inflation policy prescriptions. But I have to question his grip on reality if he thinks the DC regime which genocided one million of its citizens through pandemic negligence and is now gleefully plunging towards WW3 would ever let something so rational happen. If one expects sanity from the insane, one is revealed to be in their company.

    For the better part of half-a-century monetary policy has been the preferred weapon of choice in the class war. It was the spark that set the American worker aflame on pyre of cheap credit driven consumption. Of course they will use it against the wage earning classes again; but since all that’s left of wage earners is a dried husk, the destruction of consumptive capacity will have to extend beyond them into the lower professional classes- the people that brunch and kickbox.

    What’s at stake is too great not to throw millions more Americans onto the pyre. You see it’s ramifications all over the linked stories on this page. The unnatural purchasing power of the USD has to be defended. How can you pay the Nazi battalions in Ukraine? How can you maintain hegemony in the global south? If our European and Asian vassals woke up to find the purchasing power of their dollar asset holdings destroyed, how could you keep them from defecting to the new Sino-Russo-Iranian non-dollar system which has all the energy, all the industrial capacity and all the customers.

    The Dollar long ceased to be a currency of any sense in terms of national productivity. It’s rather a transactional unit of political power. The effects of that power are largely diminishing across the world, but they remain intact stateside. And so the Fed has to raise rates, destroy the wealth and consumptive power of a larger share of Americans, and hence any remaining scraps of their political power, in order to buttress the power of the Dollar.

    I take solace in knowing that it’s a fools errand.

    1. Wukchumni

      The left must take inflation seriously—but not because what has already happened is such a big deal. And not because we face the kind of hyperinflation that boosted the Nazis or led to collapse in Zimbabwe. And especially not by nodding along with the tired ideologues who have dominated the economics textbooks, the financial press, and central bank policies since the era of Reagan and Volcker.

      In all past instances of hyperinflation, a physical financial host was needed, initially debased coins and then way too much paper currency.

      How do we get there from here, when everything is hidden in plain sight on a QWERTY not much different than the one i’m pecking away on?

      1. Jessica

        The Weimar inflation was in 1923, a year that saw Hitler a failed loser sitting in jail. What helped the NS party take power was austerity, not inflation.

        1. Wukchumni

          Imagine if every last American had their wealth in money form in cash or stocks rendered worthless in the space of a year?

          Austerity was an after effect of the Weimar hyperinflation…

          1. Wukchumni


            The classic reference on the Weimar hyperinflation, is Adam Fergusson’s When Money Dies.

            Written in 1975, it’s an amazing work. You’ll read about Ernest Hemingway and his foray into the fray from France:

            Ernest Hemingway returned to Kehl in late April, fortified by a visa obtained from the German consular attache in Paris with the aid of a bribe.

            Since the year before, the little Rhineland town ‘had been transformed. The waiter sat down at the table. ‘No, there is no one here now,’ he said. ‘All the people you say you saw in July cannot come now. — The French will not give them passports to come to Germany … The merchants and restaurant keepers in Strasbourg got angry and went to the police because everybody was coming over here to eat so much cheaper and now nobody in Strasbourg can get a passport to come here … Now no Germans can get passports to go across the river to Strasbourg where many worked. They could work cheaper than the French, so that is what happened to them. All our factories here are shutdown. No coal, no trains. This was. one of the biggest and busiest stations in Germany. Now nix. No trains, except the military trains, and
            they run when they please … We haven’t had any fun since 1914. If you made any money it gets no good, and there is only to spend, it. That is what we do. Last year I had enough money saved up to buy a Gasthaus at Hernberg: now that money wouldn’t buy four bottles of Champagne.’

            You’ll also learn that Austria was a forerunner to Weimar when it came to hyperinflation in 1919-22, with the populace also being wiped out financially.


            1. Dftbs

              The thing that is lost on economists is that all inflation is a consequence of political decisions. The “economics” is simply a narrative applied after the fact, and if Weimar is an example that narrative often doesn’t explain anything.

              In that regard our predicament is similar to Weimar. But whereas the Allied powers held claim on Germany’s post-war production, in our formulation it is the global creditor class (or rentiers in Prof. Hudson’s familiar terminology) that won the war. Whereas the Allies didn’t see their self-interest in maintaining the integrity of the German Mark; our rentier class understands their power is part and parcel with the imagined integrity of the USD. And so they will go to great lengths, even feeding a portion of themselves to maintain that imagined integrity.

              Since the causes are political the solutions are as well. Of course they are not of the fantastical nature put forth by Galbraith, who is laboring under the delusion of fair electoral politics and policy prescriptions. Those are fine and well for people that live in responsive representative political systems (those represented by a significant portion of our global antagonists); but this is America so unless it’s a Marvel movie be realistic with your expectations. Even those solutions that benefit the majority are fraught with pain.

            2. fringe element

              Looked up the book you cite. Among the reviews at Amazon, I ran across this profoundly chilling passage –

              “How far away are we, after all, from making the mistakes of post Great War Germany? How much can our current financial position in the world economy shield us from the consequences, and how much faster will those consequences unfold, given our pivotal world economic position and the speed of modern financial transactions, should the dam break?

              Money could die in a day, not over the course of years.”

              I have been, financial sub-literate that I am, thinking that we would be protected because we are digital now instead of analog. Turns out I have it backward. If we go the way of Weimar, it will happen faster, much faster.

              1. Wukchumni

                The way I tend to look at finance is similar to the difference between the US Civil War and WW2, 80 years later.

                Compare 1929 to now not in a war vein-but a high finance one-you could scarcely tell they are related, and the ‘blocking mechanism’ which was paper money in hyperinflation instances allowed for a timely crash that could take a year or decades to crater, whereas for us it’ll come in one fell swoop somehow…

                …stay tuned

      2. ArvidMartensen

        There is an explanation for the German hyperinflation that goes something like this. After WWI the UK and US etc tried to screw Germany to the wall through demanding huge payments for war destruction aka “reparations”. The problem was that Germany did not have the money to pay the reparations and so started printing money to keep on top of the payments. The German currency quickly bought less and less of imported goods, prices skyrocketed and sent local prices also skyrocketing. So hyperinflation.
        The hyperinflation was brought about by the amount of money that Germany HAD to send to debtors Outside of Germany, not by local conditions.
        The US could run into the same predicament if they HAD to pay trillions to other nations that they could not pay. Let’s say that China wanted all its money back that was invested in US shares and bonds, under the threat of major retaliation. And the US could no longer impose sanctions and throttle Chinese imports/exports because China had transitioned to a new global payments system.
        At that point, I expect the US to collapse into hyperinflation. It will come, but not yet.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, this is utterly incorrect. Germany had a tremendous loss of productive capacity, both as a direct result of Great War operations, and via the stripping of productive capacity in the reparations deal (see Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace for details. Recall he was in Treasury and resigned over the reparations terms).

          1. ArvidMartensen

            Yep true thanks, that was an omission in my story. But wasn’t lack of productive capacity just another factor in Germany having no money to pay for the reparations? I understood that it was having to send money outside of Germany that was a big factor in the hyperinflation that followed.
            And that is why the US has been able to print money hand over fist for the past decades without having to worry about hyperinflation, or until now, even inflation.
            Happy to be corrected.

            1. Yves Smith

              There is no fixed monetary velocity. Monetary experiments under Thatcher and Reagan showed no impact. And look at absolutely massive money creation in Japan, yet it has stayed mired in borderline deflation.

              Sending money overseas would also have zero impact on domestic inflation. The US has been doing it for decades. No one has ever suggested that capital transfers abroad have any impact on spending here.

            2. JBird4049

              IIRC, under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to pay war reparations to France. The Weimar Republic ran the printing press and sent the money to France and they immediately spent it on German goods.

              Because the French had more German money than everyday Germans, they were able to drive up prices and buy everything. The French also seized control of the Rhineland which had both most of the industries and the coal. All the production and profits went directly to the French.

              Of course, the German workers there were ungerman like in their work. The slowdown also made things worse, but I don’t blame the Germans for not wanting to work hard for the French.

              All this money flooding into France and then into Germany crushed the mark. It wasn’t like the German government printed the money and gave it to or spent it on Germans and that destroyed the money.

              Also, the social services including all the war veterans and their families of the individual armies that each state had going into the war were the responsibility of the individual German states and like American states they could not create their own money. Only the central government could do that.

              So Germany pays off France with printed money with are used to buy goods from Germany which drives up prices for individual Germans and their families. France also steals German manufacturing which then craters German productivity. It also makes it impossible for the states to deliver social services to the veterans, their families, and anyone else in need.

              IIRC, the central government refused to provide money to the states or help to Germans because it wanted to stop deflation. So we have a bunch of broke, hungry, often unemployed Germans getting desperate including the many, many veterans who are very use to violence. I think that the German people were more angry at the French at first because they were obviously a, if not the, cause for the hyperinflation until the federal government went into austerity, which created more pain. Unnecessary pain that they blamed the Weimar Republic for.

              Think of Covid. People might disagree about what to do about it, and they will fight over it, but it is or will be the callousness for our well-being that makes people enraged.

    2. doug

      Yes, he is calling for stuff that has close to zero chance of happening. Easy to come up with solutions that are not ever going to happen. I was hoping for more when I started reading that article.

      1. Wukchumni

        The idea that a trained baboon could work for the mouse clique, banging away on a keyboard creating money, gives me cold comfort that the Fed has been doing the right thing all along.

    3. Ds

      I don’t get Galbraith’s analysis.

      The role of Fed policy in financial speculation and the role of financial speculation in real-world asset inflation seems like an important omission.

  12. antidlc

    ‘We’re doing everything we can to survive’: As the US looks to move on from Covid-19, high-risk and disabled Americans feel forgotten

    The high-risk people CNN spoke to said as the country eagerly looks to move on from the pandemic, they feel forgotten — and worse, like they don’t matter to the rest of the American public. Some say they feel like they’ve been left to adapt to a more dangerous reality, while others are now mapping out a permanently isolated lifestyle.

    My. God. The lack of humanity is profoundly depressing.

    I cannot find the words to express how evil the people making these decisions are.

    1. Lee

      Meanwhile, my Stanford ME/CFS clinic, in keeping with dominant narrative that the pandemic is over, is terminating its telemedicine program in favor of in-person visits. Given that these appointments are purely consultative, involving no physical exam, that all their patients are already chronically ill, and in my case being within a few weeks of reaching the 3/4 century mark should I live so long, this strikes me as bat shit crazy, medically unethical and perhaps legally actionable. I’m definitely setting my sights on this particular windmill.

    2. Pelham

      Here’s how I see the insistence on returning to “normal”: The longer non-essential workers stay out or away from the office, the more that society runs the risk of confirming the truly non-essential nature of their work. This thereby also would confirm the truly essential nature of the work done by “essential workers” whose compensation, by and large, doesn’t come close to reflecting that reality — not to mention the hazards they face from the pandemic, including the horrors of Long Covid.

      The drive for normality, however, necessarily entails sloughing off the immuno-compromised as expendable (along with “essential” workers), although the ghoulish nature of this necessity will be disguised by data manipulations and suppression and contorted definitions. Then there’s always the option of mass distraction, as with the fuss over Ukraine.

      These, however, are only the mechanisms as I see them. I’d like to say more, but like you I cannot find the words to express the evil that appears to be at work here.

        1. Rod

          What pandemic?

          (not so) Big news in SC.
          Henry says the State’s Economy is doing Great. Henry says plenty of tests available if you’re wondering if you got the Covid–“you can test yourself and do what you think you need to do”.

          His new DHEC Chief agrees, time to move along–

          During a briefing with reporters Friday, DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said this shift in strategy is one of the steps towards an endemic response to COVID-19.

          Not getting the Data to collect certainly will make our infection numbers look great in time for the all important Spring Break economic stimulus.

        2. fringe element

          Like the scene in Young Frankenstein when Frankenstein asks Igor if he has considered surgery to fix his hump and Igor turns, fixes him with a puzzled stare and asks, “What hump?”

  13. Andrew

    Another needle to stick in the needy, The Emergency Broadband Benefit subsidy of fifty dollars a month providing internet connection to poor folks drops to thirty dollars a month in the new Affordable Connectivity Act beginning March first. Nine million homes affected.
    I ended up in administrative limbo for seven months wrangling with my internet provider and the programs administration protocols before getting the rebate. It turned out that the physical address I entered to apply didn’t match my providers record as it was case sensitive, I had put a small m instead of a M to indicate the state highway I live on. Anyways it will probably eventually morph into a $5 coupon if you sign up to AWS or something. So with along with the endemic pandemic, ending the child tax credit, no student debt relief, no $15 wage, increased medicare premiums, no parental or sick leave, no more federal unemployment, and no $600. Winning.

  14. antidlc

    Open Letter from UK Scientists and Medics Re: Early End to England’s Isolation Rules

    As members of the UK’s science and medical community, we are writing this open letter to express our concern about Government plans to end testing, surveillance surveys and legal isolation of COVID-19 cases. We ask you to clarify the scientific advice underpinning these policy decisions.

  15. Jason Boxman

    So at this point, if a Russian soldier trips and falls down over an imaginary line somewhere close to the Ukrainian border, Biden just might declare the invasion has begun! I can’t wait!

  16. griffen

    Credit Suisse in the crosshairs of legitimate investigative reporting and, get this, journalism! Cue the blame cannons for some middle managers in a far off branch location gone “rogue”. And by rogue, I mean totally adhering to stated policies and guidelines issued from HQ. That is my initial thought, and there is more detail to uncover further.

    Everything is like CalPers….everything is like Wells Fargo too ?!? Greedy as$hats for executives and senior leadership. They do so with seeming impunity, knowing the jail cell will never be their living quarters for the duration of their life.

  17. YuShan

    “Is Coca-Cola Serious About Returnable Bottles?”

    When (and where) I grew up, all soft drink and beer bottles were returnable. As a primary school kid, I made some pocket money from searching for bottles that people discarded anyway. Most people would return them, but especially around residential parking lots where people washed their cars and then throw empty beer bottles in the bushes, there were good foraging grounds.

    In Countries with severe poverty like Philippines and Indonesia, I’m not sure if bottles are formally returnable. But I often saw kids positioning themselves along bus routes, hoping for people to throw their empty water bottles to them. They would fetch perhaps $0.005 from a recycling company and that was enough for them to make the effort. In the Philippines I also came across a lady who collected plastic bottles washed onshore for the same reason.

    1. Basil Pesto

      Germany has a ‘pfand’ bottle deposit system where supermarkets have an automatic machine that processes bottle returns. You bring your stash of empty bottles, feed them into the machine, then get a receipt with the corresponding credit for your purchase (which I think can be redeemed for cash instead). Pretty great system.

      A couple of the smaller Australian states have a bottle return scheme (was 5c when I was a kid, now 10c). But there’s no easy way to do it, so nobody (except for the the really down and out) bothers; it involves going to some specialist waste depots that pretty much nobody knows the location of and that are few and far between. iirc a stronger, more effective, nationwide form of bottle return system has been lobbied against in the past by Coca Cola Amatil.

  18. petal

    I had to look up who John Harwood was(he is at CNN). At first I thought it was some kind of parody joke account or something: “Biden has girded Americans for shared sacrifice to defend Ukraine”. wtf? mmmm I love propaganda in the morning. What’s kind of funny is that it seems to not be working. I’d say these people are insane, but it’s worse than that. Some of the Congressional Dems from NH and MA are pushing it-the 2 NH senators and Stephen Lynch from MA.

    1. jr

      Biden can barely gird himself in the morning, let alone the nation. It’s funny in a sad way to see the MSM try to prop him up with manly words like “gird” or “resolute”. Does anyone else get that from “Slo-mo” Joe? Not I.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Vladimir Putin: Diplomacy over Ukraine crisis must ‘intensify’”

    The trouble here is that once again Washington is screaming WMD! – but in this case it us true. I cannot see any agreement being reached because if Biden and Putin did make one, Congress would refuse to ratify it which would be convenient for Biden. Worse, it could be like during the Syrian war when Obama made an agreement with Putin. But then a few days later the Pentagon, using Coalition jets, attacked the defenses of the ISIS-beseiged city of Deir ez-Zor nearly causing it to fall. After that Obama’s agreement was dead and it was about this time that the Russians started calling Washington as being agreement-incapable.

    Right now, half the Ukrainian army is on the borders of the Donbass and is being supplied and equipped constantly by the west. For defensive purposes of course. If they pulled back half their army and stopped shelling the Donbass, then tensions would decrease immediately but unfortunately the west is egging them on. The west won’t send their own soldiers of course or declare a no-fly zone but it would all be in a good cause. Unless you are from the Ukraine or the Donbass that is. For years I have noticed a trend. Washington will accuse another country of what they are planning. That way if Washington is accused of doing it, it can be immediately rejected. So today DC has said that the Russian have a list of people in the Ukraine that they intend to arrest and who knows what. And for that, I take it that actually the Ukraine has a list of people to arrest, interrogate and disappear in the Donbass. Think that the western media would even mention this if it happened?

    1. Bart Hansen

      “Right now, half the Ukrainian army is on the borders of the Donbass and is being supplied and equipped constantly by the west.”

      Write this down, boys and girls, because it will not be repeated anywhere in our commercial media.

      Although the Rev should have added ‘massed’ before the word ‘on’ :-)

  20. flora

    The US Truck Convoy sounds like a trap to me, just like last year’s 1/6 was a trap. Adding that the B admin and the Dem estab are eager to pass B’s domestic Patriot Act v. 2.0, a hideous anti-civil liberties bill. They tried to use the 1/6 riot as the reason to pass the bill, but that effort failed. I’m sure they’ll spin whatever trucks show up in DC as domestic terrierism to try and win passage of the bill again. I’m not saying don’t protest. I’m saying be careful of being played and used by larger forces for their own ends, not your ends.

    The US supply chain is still desperate for truck drivers, afaik. This guy isn’t wrong.

    “organizers have also set up a website where truckers can register, including their license plates, “so we know exactly who is in the convoy and to make sure that it’s going to be a safe ride,” said Steele.”

    Can they be that naive? oy.

    1. Aumua

      If 1/6 was a trap then it was one that Trump himself played a significant role in laying. I don’t know why he would do that to his own followers, but I suppose it’s possible. Maybe it was just ineptitude?

  21. Jason Boxman

    So as far as bad data goes, now that we’re two years into the pandemic, total infection numbers are no longer relevant. At this point, we should be tracking reinfections (and re-reinfections, ect.) so we have a better idea of what’s going on.

    But I doubt the US is collecting that kind of information.

    All the various graphs I’ve found so far only show current and total infection counts. (Someday total infections will exceed total population; maybe at that time, someone at the CDC might consider the uselessness of such information.)

  22. Wukchumni

    “Lloyd of the Flies” plot:

    A plane full of Unabankers plunges in the ocean not too far away from a deserted island, and most survive the crash thanks to government intervention. They get into an argument over who gets to be named Piggy, and seeing as it’s an apt name for all of them, they decide to all take that moniker. Jamie is in charge of coconut derivatives, and all goes well until they die of hunger, because there actually weren’t any coconut trees on the island.

  23. John

    The truckers may slowly inch toward a general strike and slowly come to realize that their problem is the neoliberal oligarchy, a much larger issue than pandemic. The crushing of unions, the divide and conquer strategy against the bottom 60%, and the Hunger Games restructuring of society has been very effective. General strike. Like the guy in the tictok says, just stay home and don’t drive anywhere.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “How Starbucks Workers Turned the Tables On Union Busters”

    And that is how you do it. Have the people from different stores talk to each other, swap notes, work out the standard script that those union-busters employ, and get inside their OODA loop. If I was there, I would be tempted to ask those union-busters are they hiring, what are the hours like, are there benefits, do you need your own transport, do you need qualifications to apply, is there a place that you can download a job application from, did they imagine that this would be their career when younger and the like. Put them on the backfoot for who and what they are and run out the clock.

      1. JBird4049

        How petty. Do not pay enough or give enough hours with poor working conditions, which causes the workers to form a union, then fire someone ostensibly for not blocking out enough hours for Starbucks. I hope the union keeps expanding there.

  25. simjam

    Why do you use light yellow against a white background for readers to read your text. It is difficult to read.

    1. John Beech

      Who is using light yellow text against white background?

      Not the NC website. Not on my computer. I am perplexed. More info please.

  26. jr

    So I wake up to this headline from CBS:

    “ U.S. has intel that Russian commanders have orders to proceed with Ukraine invasion”

    Oh, snap!, here we go! Half an hour later or so, we see this from CNN:

    “ …the US warned it had intelligence suggesting that the Russian strongman had already given his field commanders orders to invade Ukraine…”

    Please, please Alien Overlords, take the reigns of power from these idiots. I’ll sleep with all the alien ladies you want for your hybridization program. Preferably limbed not tentacled, but if it gets Blinken off of my screen I’ll lower that to pseudopods…

        1. jr

          That’s a fascinating link! I came across an interesting show on Utoob recently, it’s this guy Lex Fridman who interviews all kinds of folks but primarily from the sciences. I think he is a mathematician himself:

          The guy he is interviewing is Gary Nolan, a “professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. His research is in microbiology, immunology, bio-computation, and analysis of UFO artifacts, materials, and reports of UFO encounters.”

          To be clear, Nolan is a skeptic, and by that I mean he refuses to come down on any side of the question of aliens as he doesn’t have all the data. He does know that lots and lots of people report seeing UFOs. That is for certain. He has interviewed a number of people who make those claims, I don’t know about “contactees” specifically.

          His research has revealed that a significant percentage of those people have unusually dense basil ganglia, the “brain within the brain” as he describes it. This is the center of higher level abstract thinking, I believe he said. So dense in fact that when his team began to analyze the brain scans of those people they thought they were looking at a dead patch. Curious, no?

          1. amechania

            Check the authors twitter. Straight outta the Twilight Zone.

            The basal ganglia is for the unconcious stuff? So abductees report sleep paralysis, religious experiences, and, uh, probing. somewhere I have a county level map of ufo reports adjusted for population. The truth is out there.

    1. nippersdad

      After all of the hundreds of thousands of billions of dollars I have earned since Sanders’ first try at the presidency, knowingly pushing Russian propaganda, I feel like I should have standing to ask my personal friend Vladimir to just go ahead and invade so that I won’t have to listen to yet another news report from Winken, Blinken and Nodding-off about how he is going to invade Ukraine. Some bed-time stories are better than others, and the stories told by W, B and N Inc, are not as good as those told about them:

      What is the point of being a Russo-American oligarch if you don’t have a few perks?

  27. Brian (another one they call)

    The headline; “Does Any Monoclonal Antibody Work Against BA.2? Medpage Today”

    the headline was a minor mistake when it should read;

    Does Any pharmafia product Work Against any of the corona virus on earth? Medpage Today

          1. dcrane

            Statement to the contrary from the makers of the drug:


            “A Covid-19 antibody treatment developed by Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline is still capable of neutralizing the infectious omicron subvariant, BA.2, Vir announced Thursday, ”

            Vir chief executive George Scangos said the data supports the continued use of sotrovimab against Covid and suggests a standard dose of the therapy is “sufficient to retain activity against the BA.2 variant.”

            1. Yves Smith

              So? Seriously? Research funded by drug companies is notoriously biased.

              By contrast, from GM:

              There were a couple preprints showing escape of BA.2 from sotrovimab

              So at best this is disputed, 2 studies v. the company’s own research.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Agreed. It’s really useful for suggesting interesting flavour combinations, especially when I’ve bought something seasonal at the green market and want to prepare it in some way I’ve never thought of before.

  28. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike dept:

    One of the least visited hiking possibilities in Sequoia NP is walking above the North Fork of the Kaweah River on a dirt road that used to be challenging from an avoiding poison oak standpoint, i’d never seen so much and did so much bobbing and weaving to avoid it’s tentacles in years past.

    But that was before the KNP Fire laid waste to the upper section above the road and many areas now resemble tilted lunar landscapes, the conflagration hardly missed anything.

    Bulldozers did the heavy lifting of clearing the road of poison oak, so instead of it being a constant bother before, no problemo now.

    Our destination was Burnt Creek, which was the only place where the fire actually happened below the dirt road, and an easy get to walk down to the river with expanses of polished granite and a dozen Native American mortars, evidence that this was home for them once upon a time.

    The golden poppies on the drive to the trailhead were amazing and the flower show is really only getting going and promises to be an epic spring~

  29. Ignacio

    A personal comment in here. Since the pandemic started I have been (and still are) very wary about getting infected and taken measures to avoid it. The other day, about one week ago, I took exception and went to a Rock&Roll concert from a group of old friends whom I had not seen for a long time. It was in a packed closed local with about 100 peasants including me enjoying it. Most (including me) well masked with FFP2.

    I stood there about 90 minutes and enjoyed it. Good atmosphere, friendly people just willing to do that, enjoy it. Perfect place for Covid transmission. Incidence is not at peak but yet sky-high. Fortunately, no symptoms so far. Apparently the mask did it’s job nicely!

    1. sporble

      Glad you enjoyed live music – it’s one of the things I miss the very most.
      Hope you stay symptom (and virus!) free, Ignacio!
      Que te vaya bién!

      1. jo6pac

        ukraine under orders of Amerika. I really don’t think the leader of the ukraine is in charge of the army.

  30. Tom Stone

    So Credit Suisse has also been outed as an essentially criminal enterprise,operating with impunity except for occasional fines, paid with shareholders money.
    Just like every other big bank.
    No jail time.
    Just like in the USA and the UK.

  31. David

    I’d really suggest that people spend a little time reading Scott Ritter’s article.
    Essentially, armies in peacetime, armies on exercises and armies about to start hostilities behave in different ways, and these ways are known and can be tracked. There are certain signs – sometimes called Warning Indicators – which are typical of preparation for attack, and so provide advanced warning of one. This is why there are virtually no cases in history of large-scale attacks coming as a genuine strategic surprise.

    But of course these indicators can be manipulated. The Egyptians did this rather well in 1973, when they attacked under cover of an exercise, and when they had already given several false indications to the Israelis that they were going to attack, but didn’t. I have a suspicion (no more) that we may be seeing something similar. Half the world’s intelligence services have their eyes trained on Ukraine at the moment, and it may be that the Russians are playing them. They are doing things consistent with preparation for an attack, and then walking back without taking action. I would imagine the professional analysts are suffering at the moment: every time somebody asks them whether the Russians appear to be preparing for an attack, they have to truthfully answer “yes” on the basis of the indicators , even if the attack never comes. I’m convinced the Russians are playing some quite skilful mind games here.

    1. Carolinian

      It sounds more serious after the weekend. Putin said he will make an announcement today about annexation. Or maybe he will make the threat so that the US will finally get serious.

    2. Carolinian

      Correction to my in moderation comment–Putin to recognize the breakaways, not annex. And apparently he has decided yes.

    3. Cat Burglar

      Are the Russians faking out the intelligence services? It was that pontoon bridge built between the east and west banks of the Pripyat River, in a place where the invasion force would be moving from north to south, that did it. Then the bridge disappeared, and that got me wondering if we were, yet again, watching a show.

      Classification of intelligence only allows a citizen to guess at what is going on. Ritter’s article is excellent because it lifts the curtain — a little — to show what kind of information is being generated by intelligence services, and how it is evaluated — it allows you to make a more educated guess. It would have been useful to have general public knowledge, during the runup to the Iraq attack, of US remote sensing capability of nuclear weapons construction (which began in the 50s) — it would have created a public expectation to be shown the evidence. Now, as then, they won’t show us the evidence.

      Recent stories praising the amazing openness of western governments in sharing the conclusions of their intelligence work (but without showing any data generated by it) suggest they are aware of the PR problem that general public knowledge of satellite surveillance poses for the powers. I laugh whenever I read the old “sources and methods” excuse — the other governments have a pretty good idea what we can do. (Lavrov is the only one to bring it up publicly.) So, by design, only the public is left ignorant, but articles like Ritter’s are a big help.

  32. dao

    Propaganda blitz in full swing. Headline coming soon: According to “persons familiar with the matter” including “U.S. intelligence officials speaking on condition of anonymity” Russia has plans to pull Ukrainian babies off incubators.

    1. rowlf

      I miss the Weekly World News. They would have aced all this invasion hype with “Putin building secret moonbase”.

      Also, for the Russiagate supporters, why didn’t Putin invade during the last administration? Was Putin stymied by the ever vigilant Colonel Vindman?

  33. dcrane

    Was the hacking of Ottawa trucker convoy donors a US-Canadian intelligence operation? Garrison

    A clear violation of Betteridge’s Law, I’d say.

    Btw this is a good chance to note that The Grayzone is on Wikipedia’s so-called “deprecated sources” list of sites you’re not allowed to use as the basis of a story!

    That’s all I need to know that I will never donate to Wikipedia again. It’s an arm of the US intelligence information war.

  34. Wukchumni

    SUISSE SECRETS Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
    Somehow a veritable shitlode of all that glitters ended up in Switzerland during WW2 despite no new mining activity in any of the Cantons…

    How to clean up Nazi gold?

    Due to an odd quirk in the law as far as holding non-folding currency in the USA, ownership of any and all gold coins dated before 1933* was completely legal, and the most prolific of minters of such backdated coins was Austria which struck coins in the 1950’s and 60’s dated from 1908 to 1915 utilizing Swiss gold resources. See how easy that was, they cleaned up.

    The Swiss have always had the cleanest dirty shirt in banking, but now the veil has been raised and you can see how dirty they are.

    * rescinded in 1975, you can own anything you’d like now.

    1. urblintz

      We have been extraordinarily lucky to date — getting such highly effective vaccines into the arms of billions of people in a time frame that would never have been considered possible before. These vaccines, with boosters, have held up solidly, protecting vaccinated people against severe disease even though they are directed toward the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

      I beg to differ

    1. Sub-Boreal

      Additional commentary:

      ‘The “Freedom Convoy”—which for a week shut down trucking traffic at the Ambassador’s Bridge separating Detroit from Windsor, Canada, and led to a siege of Ottawa—has given a certain cohort of contrarian pundits a chance to chortle. Why are so many on the left refusing to support a truckers’ protest? Isn’t there hypocrisy here? Batya Ungar-Sargon, deputy opinion editor at Newsweek, said, “This is the biggest labor action I recall seeing in my life and the Left is on the other side of it. It has to do with the shift in the Democratic Party which used to be the party of the working class and is now the party of the pajama class.” Alluding to criticisms of the convoy, Glenn Greenwald sarcastically tweeted, “Many people love ‘workers’ but not workers.” ‘

      Speech (~ 10 min) by Winnipeg opposition MP Leah Gazan during House of Commons debate on proclamation of Emergency Measures:
      [Gazan has been one of the bright lights in the otherwise timid quasi-Blairite federal caucus of the New Democratic Party.]

      1. Riverboat Grambler

        I consider myself on the left and I think the trucker protest is a temper tantrum from grown children who can’t wrap their heads around the concept of taking precautions on behalf of other people, heavily astroturfed with a few Nazis thrown in for good measure.

        A good friend of mine is a type-1 diabetic, the virus will not be “mild” for him, but to these toddler-brained doorknobs his life is expendable because they DON’T WANNA mask. Waaah! Waaah! I have nothing but contempt for them, and why shouldn’t I? Because I’m on the left? Please.

        1. salty dawg

          >I think the trucker protest is a temper tantrum from grown children who can’t wrap their heads around the concept of taking precautions on behalf of other people, heavily astroturfed with a few Nazis

          I think your opinion of the trucker protest is a common one among the left in Canada. The idea that some people refuse to take the vaccines that don’t work invalidates an unquestioning belief in authority.

          I go to protests against the mandates.

          I meet the vaccine-injured.

          I meet the people who have been fired, or are under threat of firing for exercising their judgement on taking the vaccines that don’t work.


          I haven’t seen any Nazis.

          I meet a broad cross-section of society. What typifies them is questioning the narrative, being concerned about their health, the health of their children, and the damage that the mandates are doing to society.

          As to your friend who is at risk of serious illness from covid, does he wear a P-100 respirator ( which will actually stop him from breathing in virons when ventilation is inadequate?
          Or does he rely on everyone else to perform mask theatre, wearing any type of face covering and pretending that their masks will protect him?

          1. Basil Pesto

            That Substack article is mostly bullshit. You’ve been had, I’m afraid.

            That said, P100s and PAPRs will offer superior protection. But N95s are not “masking theatre”, for christ’s sake.

            1. salty dawg

              Thank you for your opinion on the article on P100s. Please feel free to elaborate on anything specifically incorrect in it.

              As to “mask theatre”, I see now that I worded that poorly. I meant that in relation to cloth masks, and poorly-fitted masks, not N95s. The larger point–that relying on someone else’s mask for one’s own safety instead of one’s own mask is dubious at least–remains.

        2. Yves Smith

          You’ve just stuck your foot in mouth and chewed.

          We’ve posted repeatedly and at length about how the vaccines do not prevent transmission. So your entire premise is incorrect. Having the public at large get vaccinated will not prevent your friend from getting Covid. Even before the vaccine-evading Omicron, a well-done, peer-reviewed study of >3000 areas found there was zero correlation between vaccination levels and Covid case rateds.

          In fact, the Biden Administration encouraging the vaxxed to drop masks in May and continuing to act as if masking is a punishment has been if anything more detrimental. Two of the people who visited me after I was hospitalized, for instance, insisted on taking their masks off near me over my protests. “Oh don’t worry, we’ve been vaccinated.”

          The only public health benefit is to prevent more people winding up in the hospital, as in reducing stress on the medical system. But we don’t force people not to smoke to not get cancer.

          And you are conflating being against vax mandates as being against masking. Left wing opponents of the vax mandates are pro or at least not opposed to masking. And I also suspect you don’t know anyone who has suffered a vaccine injury, as I have. I am having to have a D&C to stop vaccine-induced periods. At age 64.

    2. Maritimer

      Just the plain, unvarnished facts, Mam:

      The CDN Government acts on behalf of criminal organizations Pfizer, AZ, JJ. Police act on the behalf of these criminals. If you object, you are likely a racist, misogynist, stand by the Swastika, hold unacceptable views (being against criminals) and take up too much space (where have we heard that before?), all inciting, inflammatory, othering, segregating, discrminatory language, used by Chief Injector Trudeau. Of course, none of that language could be considered demogogic. The Chief Injector can also conjure up Nazi images but there is no objection.

      So those in favor of the CDN Government’s actions you own what they do.

  35. Wukchumni

    It sure feels like our Covid variant of Chernobyl is going to take us out, funny how both causes of the downfall of Communism & Capitalism were invisible with long half-lives.

  36. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Was the hacking of Ottawa trucker convoy donors a US-Canadian intelligence operation? Garrison

    Where the above example may be interpreted and assumed to be an example of the fog of psychological warfare that operates largely in the background of all democratic societies as ideological control of the domestic population, i.e., “the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups.”,, as it is applied to domestic populations, because “Governments regard their own citizens as their main enemy . . . (so) control of thought using other devices (besides the “legitimate” use of physical force against its own citizens) ) are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business. The population is the “enemy,” and you’ve got to control “enemy territory,” and the way you do it is by very extensive public diplomacy, meaning propaganda.”

    And where, for example,

    “According to a directive released Wednesday by acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre and Sajjan’s deputy minister Jody Thomas, the military deployed propaganda techniques in Canada without approval during the pandemic and gathered information about Canadians’ online activities without permission from authorities. . . .DND insists the activities undertaken to monitor and shape public discourse as it related to the pandemic did not constitute psychological operations. . . . In fact, DND denies it has used psychological warfare techniques, honed during the Afghan war, on Canadians. But the line between psychological warfare and information operation campaigns has become increasingly blurry over the last few years.”

  37. JadeBones

    Okay, maybe this has been addressed but three times now, before I selected a link to follow, I was logged into a google/apple phishing site…not the first day. What gives and is there a fix? Thnx

  38. Mildred Montana

    >Species Can Go Extinct. Why Should We Care? The Wire

    I have an idea. In order to increase public awareness of the serious problem of disappearing species, why not name sports teams after those that are in danger? Seven examples for NFL teams:

    1. The Pittsburgh Pandas
    2. The Tennessee (or Tampa Bay) Tigers
    3. The Washington Whooping Cranes. I know they recently settled on “Commanders” as a new name but I think this is more eco-conscious. It also reflects their recent haplessness as I can’t see the “Whoopers” beating anybody on this list.
    4. The Baltimore (or Buffalo) Blue Whales
    5. The Arizona (or Atlanta) Asian Elephants
    6. The Seattle (or San Francisco) Snow Leopards
    7. The Green Bay Gorillas

    Some interesting match-ups there. Pandas or Gorillas? Tigers or Snow Leopards? Whales or Elephants? And will they all pick on the poor Whooping Cranes?

    I especially like the new name for Green Bay. Current name the Packers. The Packers? That’s so meat-packin’ old-school. The only thing they pack in Green Bay these days is Lambeau Field. Time for a name change.

  39. orlbucfan

    I have an important question for the Covid braintrust. The disinformation/politicization of these viruses is deliberate bull-family blog. What is the time between when one is exposed to the virus, and the onset of symptoms? I have read 3-5-10, etc. days. Does anyone reliablely know?

  40. C.O.

    Canadian parliament is now voting on whether to ratify the prime minister’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. The call was made for a recorded vote, 10 minutes to go before the live stream from the house turns back on. The general prediction is still that the NDP will make sure the ratification passes.

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