2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

“I hate it when the sounds of my breathing are captured in birdsong clips.” Not that obtrusive. Anyhow, I like some reality: Footsteps, breathing, dogs barking, trains whistles…. The birds live in the world, after all!

* * *


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Capitol Seizure

“Abetting the premeditated lies that sparked the attack on Congress should trigger a 14th Amendment ban from office, plaintiffs say” [Up North News]. “Lawyers representing 10 state residents and the Super PAC of a liberal Wisconsin brewery announced the filing of a federal lawsuit Thursday intended to hold three Republican congressional politicians accountable for interfering with the election of Joe Biden as president. The repeated actions of US Sen. Ron Johnson and US Reps. Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald to conspire with others–and to impede Biden’s election and repeatedly spread falsehoods that undermined public faith in Biden’s victory over Donald Trump–make the lawmakers insurrectionists who are unsuitable for public office, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit seeks to have the three lawmakers removed from ballots before they are up for election. Citing a violation by the three lawmakers of the Disqualification Clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, the lawsuit was filed by the Milwaukee firm of Laffey, Leitner and Goode. ‘The falsehoods of Johnson, Fitzgerald, and Tiffany about the integrity of Wisconsin’s election procedures began even before citizens were allowed to cast their ballots in the 2020 Presidential Election and continued long after their lies were disproven,’ the lawsuit states. Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC founder Kirk Bangstad said he decided to be part of the lawsuit because the US Justice Department and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul have not yet taken legal action against the three Republican lawmakers 13 months after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. ‘If we can’t do something now, there is not enough time to get these guys off the ballot,’ said Bangstad—a 2020 candidate for state Assembly—said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit. ‘If these guys broke the law, they should be held accountable.'” • Here is the Disqualification Clause:

No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

If I were a Court, I’m not sure I’d want to figure out a test for “spread[ing] falsehoods that undermined public faith in Biden’s victory.” On the other hand, if I were a trusting and naive Democrat, I’d be expecting Garland to sh*t or get off the pot.

Biden Adminstration

“Budget deal is latest sign of Democrats’ empty weed promises” [Politico]. “On the brink of gaining control in Washington, Sen. Chuck Schumer said emphatically in 2020 that ‘I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to end the federal prohibition on marijuana‘ if Democrats took back the Senate. But 14 months since winning, Senate Democrats haven’t even succeeded at changing the little things.” Don’t suburban Republicans get loaded? More: “This week offered the most dramatic example yet of Democrats’ inability to make any progress on their cannabis promises: The new government spending package released on Wednesday continues to prohibit Washington, D.C. from establishing a cannabis marketplace, more than seven years after District voters overwhelmingly backed legalization. That wasn’t the only weed provision left on the cutting room floor. The spending bill also failed to protect state-regulated recreational cannabis markets, nor did it expand medical marijuana research or protect veterans who use cannabis — two issues with widespread bipartisan backing. • As it turns out, “EVERYTHING I can” means “NOTHING, as usual.” A familiar pattern for Democrats.

Covid is so over:

Health care is so over:

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

Democrats run the most vile direct mail campaigns in the world. And people are starting to notice:

“Tedra Cobb explains Backroads PAC finances, personal insurance payments” [Adirondack Daily Enteprise]. “Since March 2021, the political action committee has raised over $375,000, and spent about $9,500 on direct contributions to eight candidates across the country, including two candidates in New York, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Meanwhile, the organization has paid Cobb $34,500 for consulting work and a health insurance stipend, as well as $25,701 to Mauranda Stahl-Simmons, a communications consultant. Overall, 2.5% of the PAC’s money has gone to candidates, 81.5% has gone to administrative costs for the PAC, and 16% has gone to Cobb and Stahl-Simmonds. Maggie Bartley, chair of the Essex County Democratic Committee, said she’s disappointed to see that breakdown, and feels that Backroads PAC has been taking money out of Cobb’s former campaign district — New York’s 21st Congressional District — without sowing any money back into the local Democratic field.” • Seems legit.

No mention of unions, or of Tesla’s mistreatment of workers, I assume. I mean, this is Biden’s Labor Secretary we’re talking here:

But why is Musk wearing a dead animal on top of his head?


“GOP culture war attacks ‘alarmingly potent,’ DCCC warns” [Politico]. “Democrats’ own research shows that some battleground voters think the party is ‘preachy,’ ‘judgmental’ and ‘focused on culture wars,’ according to documents obtained by POLITICO.” The Democrats? Surely not. More:

The GOP hits are most effective with center-left voters, independents and Hispanic voters, demographic groups that Democrats have struggled to attract in recent years. The solution does not lie in policy proposals, the pollsters found, because voters are not generally opposed to Democratic policies. ‘Rather, Democrats need to demonstrate they fully understand and care about stressors in people’s lives’ and focus on the issues ‘without stoking divisive cultural debates,’ one of the slides said.” • How about — hear me out — delivering something?

“Latinas Are Pushing a Political Revolution in South Texas—to the Right” [Texas Monthly]. “The world of South Texas politics was rocked in November of 2020, when Trump far surpassed expectations in all the counties along the Rio Grande, and De La Cruz came within three points of ousting Gonzalez. Long-established Democratic fiefdoms now looked like disputed territories. Progressive Democrats’ messaging about defunding the police, abolishing the Border Patrol, and promoting green energy had proven deeply unpopular.” • That’s the talking point on messaging, retrospectively. Sanders, IIRC, did very well in South Texas, and those weren’t his issues at all.

“Democrats’ Hispanic peril” [Axios]. “A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that by 9 points, Hispanic voters said they’d back a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat. In November, the parties were tied. … Key factors, operatives say, include skepticism among Hispanic voters about programs they view as handouts. And many Hispanics are social conservatives, with what L.A. Times columnist Gustavo Arellano has called a ‘rancho libertarianism streak.’ The national party also needs to do better with messages that distinguish among Americans whose families hailed from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico or Central America, several Democrats tell me…. Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha, based in D.C., told Axios his party keeps hiring political consultants for U.S. House races who know little to nothing about Latino voters: ‘They run the same [expletive] game plan every two years.'” • Of course, Rocha wants the work. That doesn’t make him wrong.

“1. The New Voting Urgency For 2022” [Axios]. “Since 2020, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations has pledged about $300 million over the next five years in support of national, state and local groups focused on caring for and protecting the right to vote in communities of color.” • Sure is odd the unions aren’t getting any of this Soros money. (This is another example of the enormous funding flowing through NGOs.)

“Why the debate over a computer scientist’s Dominion report is so heated” [Votebeat]. “Experts who have reviewed Halderman’s report, such as Juan Gilbert, the University of Florida’s computer science department chair, have not found it to be nearly as dire as Halderman has publicly suggested. As part of the suit, Judge Totenberg granted Halderman unfettered access to the Dominion voting system in order to inspect the security of the machines. Because of his access, Totenberg sealed the report, making it available to only the attorneys on the case and the expert witnesses. And even though the state on Jan. 27 asked Totenberg to unseal the document so as to clear public confusion, she seemed unready to do so. ‘I’m unhappy about the course of political treatment of the report…. it’s out of hand,’ Totenberg said in court. ‘But I’m not going to release it without seeing what is being proposed with redactions.’ Still, the general contents of the report aren’t exactly a secret. Halderman has long claimed that ballot-marking devices could be manipulated by malicious actors. Halderman made public a high-level summary of his findings in early August. Marilyn Marks, the executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance who is among the plaintiffs in the Curling case, then distributed this summary to every county in Georgia by email the day after Halderman filed his report. Votebeat was provided with a copy of the email. She called Halderman’s finding an ‘urgent concern,’ alarming enough for counties ‘to reconsider their use of BMDs this fall, and instead use hand marked paper ballots with voluntary robust audits.’ No county acted on her warning.” • Too many steak dinners?

“Some In GOP Want Ballots To Be Counted By Hand, Not Machines” [Newsy]. “Republican lawmakers in at least six states have introduced legislation that would require all election ballots to be counted by hand instead of electronic tabulators. Similar proposals have been floated within some local governments, including about a dozen New Hampshire towns and Washoe County in the presidential battleground state of Nevada.” • Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, are only the gold standard for voting, globally.

* * *



How the Democrat regulars must hate him. I hope he wins the nomination, just to see the exploding heads. Of course, if Fetterman is the Democrat candidate, the regulars will try to sabotage him, so he will have war on two fronts.

Conor Lamb:


“The Memo: Get ready for Biden vs. Trump all over again” [The Hill]. “Faced with a Biden-Trump choice, the nation could not be more evenly split, at least according to a new Wall Street Journal poll. The survey finds 45 percent of registered voters favoring Biden and 45 percent favoring Trump in a hypothetical 2024 contest between the two men. The poll is a startling reminder of Trump’s political resilience. The former president was impeached twice — once for shady dealings with Ukraine and the second time for his role in inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. He faces several investigative probes and has repeated his false claims of election fraud ad nauseum. He’s also been banned from the social media platforms where he once seemed omnipresent. Despite it all, he is in a dead heat to beat the incumbent president. But even amid encouraging poll numbers, some erstwhile Trump admirers wonder if his divisiveness makes him too flawed a candidate for the GOP to put up in 2024. ‘If he is in a dead heat [with Biden], imagine what Mike Pence or Gov. [Ron] DeSantis or Gov. [Greg] Abbott or Mike Pompeo must be doing,” said Barry Bennett, who served as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign. Referring to the perception of Trump among Republican voters, Bennett added, “They love the fight in him. Everybody loves the policies he embodied. But they could do without some of the silliness. And he is also going to have to come up with a reason to run that isn’t just ‘I’m pissed that I lost.’” • What must they be doing? Losing, would be my guess. Pompeo? Really?

“Pence fine-tunes a message for 2024: Pro-Trump, to a point” [NBC]. “The once loyal number two has been carefully uncoupling himself from Trump as he girds for a potential presidential bid in 2024. Speaking to Republican donors last weekend as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine ravaged the democratic nation, Pence said, ‘There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin.’ That unmistakable swipe at Trump — who had recently called Putin’s tactics leading up to the invasion “genius” — came after an even more direct condemnation. ‘President Trump is wrong,’ he said in a speech last month, responding to Trump’s argument that Pence could have overturned the 2020 election results by refusing to certify the electors. It’s a marked shift from Pence’s deferential posture as vice president, when he was so wary of appearing out of step with his boss that he’d review speech drafts submitted by his aides and edit in Trump’s name with a Sharpie to be sure the president was getting enough credit, according to a former administration official.” • Obviously, Pence knew Trump well.

Oh, Beto:

“Trump EPA chief to serve as adviser to Youngkin after losing confirmation fight” [The Hill]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has named former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler as a special adviser after Democrats in the state Senate voted down his appointment for a Cabinet post. Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Youngkin’s office, confirmed the move to The Hill Tuesday morning. The position, which does not require General Assembly confirmation, will concentrate on issues relating to natural resources. Wheeler, who served as head of the EPA under then-President Trump from 2019 to 2021, was Youngkin’s nominee for state secretary of natural resources. The nomination was immediately controversial among environmental groups, who are longtime critics of Wheeler due to both his history as a coal lobbyist and the numerous environmental regulations he rolled back at the EPA. In particular, Democrats, green groups and former EPA employees excoriated Wheeler for his support for a rule, introduced under his predecessor Scott Pruitt, that barred the use of scientific studies that did not make the entirety of their data public.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Supreme Court Did the Right Thing. I’m Still Worried.” [Jamelle Bouie, NYT]. “Nestled at the heart of the Republican argument is a breathtaking claim about the nature of state legislative power. Called the independent state legislature doctrine, it holds that Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution — which states that “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators” — gives state legislatures total power to write rules for congressional elections and direct the appointment of presidential electors, unbound by state constitutions and free from the scrutiny of state courts. This isn’t a new theory, exactly. In his concurring opinion in Bush v. Gore in 2000 — joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — Chief Justice William Rehnquist argued that under Article II, any “significant departure from the legislative scheme for appointing presidential electors presents a federal constitutional question.” Meaning, in short, that a state court could go beyond its authority in adjudicating state election law. The other two Republican-appointed justices on the court, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, declined to join Rehnquist’s concurrence, even as they voted to stop the counting and give George W. Bush the win. For 20 years, the doctrine lay dormant. It was resurrected in 2020 by allies of Donald Trump, who needed some constitutional pretense for their attempt to overturn his defeat.” • So once again Republicans are more serious about politic than Democrats. You can seek to give entities that you in the main control plenary power, or you can bleat about norms. (Which I don’t think Bouie is doing; this article throws a light on Republican ambition.)


Case count by United States regions:

Fellow tapewatchers will note that “up like a rocket, down like a stick” phase is done with, and the case count is now leveling down. At a level that, a year ago, was considered a crisis, but we’re “over” Covid now, so I suppose not. I have added a Fauci Line.

NOTE I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it.

The official narrative was “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Flattened out, continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC). Note however that the South data is slowly incrreasing (scroll down); the aggregate data conceal this.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

For grins, national –but not necessarily representative — wastewater data from Biobot:

Would I like a lot more breakdowns on that data, both geographically and by time. And while the wastewater data is current, a month time-lag on variants? Really?

“U.S. Sewer Data Warns of a New Bump in Covid Cases After Lull” [NBC]. “‘While wastewater levels are generally very low across the board, we are seeing an uptick of sites reporting an increase,’ Amy Kirby, the head of the CDC’s wastewater monitoring program, said in an email to Bloomberg. ‘These bumps may simply reflect minor increases from very low levels to still low levels. Some communities though may be starting to see an increase in Covid-19 infections, as prevention strategies in many states have changed in recent weeks.'” • So we’ve put a death cultist in charge of CDC’s wastewater program. Good news.

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

Those notes in red at the bottom make me wonder about what else is wrong. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.) And what’s with Idaho?

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission:

bers aren’t jiggered.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of Green. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 991,038 991,260. Heading slowly downward. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

“United States NY Empire State Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The New York Empire State Manufacturing Index fell fifteen points to -11.8 in March of 2022, its lowest level since May 2020 and compared with market expectations of 7. New orders and shipments declined modestly, while unfilled orders increased. Delivery times continued to lengthen substantially, and inventories expanded. The prices paid index remained very elevated, and the prices received index reached yet another record high. Plans for capital and technology spending remained solid.”

* * *

Shipping: “A Year After Suez Canal Fiasco, Bad Luck Strikes Again for Evergreen” [Bloomberg]. “A year after a giant container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week and disrupted global trade for months, another Evergreen Marine Corp. vessel has run aground, this time near the U.S. capital. The Hong Kong-flagged Ever Forward got stranded after departing the Port of Baltimore Seagirt Terminal on Sunday night, according to mapping data compiled by Bloomberg. The 334-meter (1,096-foot) vessel was en route to Norfolk, Virginia, when it got stuck in the Chesapeake Bay.” • “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships….”


Note the smile when the mask comes off!

The Dollar: “Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales” [Wall Street Journal]. “Saudi Arabia is in active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would dent the U.S. dollar’s dominance of the global petroleum market and mark another shift by the world’s top crude exporter toward Asia…. China buys more than 25% of the oil that Saudi Arabia exports. If priced in yuan, those sales would boost the standing of China’s currency. The Saudis are also considering including yuan-denominated futures contracts, known as the petroyuan, in the pricing model of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. , known as Aramco.” • Since the dollar is now evidently a pure form of power projection by the United States, it’s not surprising that other sovereign states would want to get out from under it, if they can.

Cash: “What a U.S. Digital Dollar Means for the Future of Your Wallet” [Bloomberg]. “A digital dollar also raises questions about financial privacy. The ledger underpinning the currency would likely be operated by the government, which would potentially give it the ability to monitor transactions, halt them or confiscate balances.” • Oh.

Tech: “Twitter rolls back users access to chronological timeline by default” [Business Standard]. “Now, the ‘Latest Tweets’ tab has been removed from the iPhone app and users will get the old Home tab back with the option to show the latest tweets at the top in chronological order. We take feedback seriously, and in this case, we heard the new pinned Home and Latest wasn’t giving you the level of control over your timeline that you want,’ Twitter spokesperson Shaokyi Amdo said in a statement to The Verge.” • The algo team must have enormous clout within Twitter, to be able to try something so stupid not once but twice.

Manufacturing: “767F faces production extinction; Boeing ponders 787F, market says” [Leeham News and Analysis]. “With Airbus for the first time in its history offering a new-build freighter that is seen as not only competitive to Boeing airplanes but in some quarters viewed as superior, Boeing’s decades-long dominance for cargo aircraft is under serious threat for the first time.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 16 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 13 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 15 at 1:20pm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing, so higher is better.)

Groves of Academe

Yes, this is a parody account:

Our Famously Free Press

I wish I had a comparison to the stories on Iraq in the Bush Era. My feeling is that this barrage is more intense:

Of course, when you’re fomenting war with a nuclear power, your barrage should be intense.

Guillotine Watch

“SNL’s Pete Davidson is going to space with Blue Origin” [CBS News]. “‘Each astronaut on board NS-20 will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose Postcards to Space program gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets,’ the release reads. ‘The Club’s mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM for the benefit of Earth.'” • They’re not astronauts ffs. They’re celebrity passengers. Why doesn’t Bezos just pick passengers through sortition, if “for the benefit of Earth” is reallly the criterion?

News of the Wired

This is an absolutely amazing thread:

Parents concerned about the Jackpot would do very well to get their kids interested in these skills.

* * *

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JU writes: “Snowy Joshua tree and shrubberies on the road to Saline hot springs.”

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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. Samuel Conner

    > How about — hear me out — delivering something?

    recalling language from the SOTU address, I think that if you twisted their arms really hard, near to breaking, you might extract a concession to promise to eventually start to deliver access to some things.

    The things themselves? Forget it.

    1. XXYY

      … a concession to promise to eventually start to deliver access to some things.

      Only after first instituting a bipartisan blue-ribbon Commission to study what conditions would have to be in place to begin the above.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > to study what conditions would have to be in place

        and also ‘how to pay for it’

        Oddly, no-one right now is wringing their hands about ‘how to pay for’ the military assistance that is being sent to Ukraine.

        It’s only concrete benefits to citizens that need to be ‘paid for.’ It’s a way of capping the well-being of the population.

  2. atharvaveda

    I’m taking the liberty to ask a question again (from yesterday’s water cooler), since I am very curious about it:

    If the foreign exchange reserves (at least those denominated in Western currencies), how is Russia able to still receive and use energy payments in dollars? (Even with the carve-outs from the sanctions on Russian banks, exempting energy transactions.) Aren’t the new dollars Russia receives also immediately frozen, and therefore worthless? And if so, why would Russia continue to export oil and gas?

    1. aj

      Any bank can issue an account denominated in dollars if it wishes to. Google the term “eurodollar” (all one word). From the Investopedia article: “Eurodollars refer to dollar-denominated accounts at foreign banks or overseas branches of American banks… Because they are held outside the United States, eurodollars are not subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, including reserve requirements.”

      1. jsn

        Are you arguing that because of this the Russians can still get rid of the dollars they are paid for their energy products?

        Russian companies sell energy for dollars: said companies take those dollars to local banks (all this happens electronically) where they are converted to Rubbles or they are useless to the company; local banks transfer the dollars to the Russian central bank who pays Rubbles for them and adds them to Reserves which the Russian CB is prevented from purchasing other currencies with by those countries participating in the Sanctions.

        At least that’s how I understand it. India, China and other countries may be willing to launder dollars around the Sanctions, but in principal atharvaveda’s question, “why would Russia continue to export oil and gas?” stands.

        1. atharvaveda

          Yes, that is what I can’t figure out. The West has put sanctions both on the Central Bank of Russia and on various commercial banks. At the same time, apparently on the insistence of Germany, they have excluded “energy-related transactions”. They also, as I understand it, for now excluded certain (larger) banks from sanctions and excluded those same banks from the SWIFT disconnection.

          Now if Russia is paid for oil exports, let’s say in dollars to Sberbank (one of the non-sanctioned banks), those would need to go into a correspondent account that Sberbank has with an American bank, let’s say JPMorgan in New York. (As far as I know, there is at this time no Russian bank with a subsidiary or branch in the United States, so they could not simply receive dollars via the CHIPS system to such a subsidiary. To continue with aj’s point, they could also be paid with a eurodollar deposit with, for example, a European bank, but I don’t think that would change very much in this case.)

          The Central Bank of Russia is under sanctions, so transferring the dollars to its account with the Federal Reserve (or in any commercial bank), and receiving newly issued rubles in return, should not be possible. From what I’ve seen however, the Central Bank of Russia issued a mandate that 80% of the foreign exchange received by Russian exporters should be sold for rubles. This would imply that the dollars go to importers and other Russian entities in exchange for rubles these entities already hold.

          In any case, for the dollars which Russia received to be worth anything to them, they need to be able to pay for imports with them, or exchange them to for example yuan in the forex markets, or for example buy gold that is then brought to Russia. This would mean that Russia, via Sberbank, initiates a transfer from the account at JPMorgan to some counterparty. However, would this second transaction, where Russia is spending the money, really also count as an “energy-related transaction”?

          To me, this has from the start looked like “we will make exceptions in our sanctions so we can still pay you for oil and gas, but we will block you from ever spending the money on anything you need”, essentially meaning the West assumes they can receive oil and gas for free. It would be strange if Russia went along with it, but then again have gone along with a lot of things over the years without even retaliating.

      2. aj

        Sorry to confuse anyone. I was waiting for my comment to get through moderation before replying.

        If Russian banks and Chinese banks agree to exchange money in dollar-denominated accounts, there is nothing to stop them. Russians could then exchange those dollar-denominated accounts back with China or anyone else who is willing to take them. It doesn’t mean those dollars would be accepted by US (or current allies) banks.

        You and I could create accounts in Yuan and exchange them amongst ourselves without involving China. And we could then trade them to anybody else that was willing to accept them. Doesn’t mean China or mainstream banks will accept them, but we COULD do it.

        “Everyone can create money; the problem is to get it accepted” – Hyman Minsky

    2. Socal Rhino

      The reserves are a distinct pile of currency used to manage the exchange rate by buying or selling rubles for dollars.

    3. jsn

      I believe what you are describing is the case. Russia is still accepting useless dollars for their natural gas and oil.

      Why? There are any number of reasons that could be associated with Russia’s strategic goals, some of which Lavarov and Putin have articulated, others known only to them.

      How long can they do this? Who knows?

      1. liam

        Maybe they’re in a holding pattern. Possibly under the assumption that the sanctions won’t last, at which point they appear magnanimous and/or prescient. Macron is talking about a post military invasion conference with Russia on European security issues. Germany, I would assume, would take a seat at that table. And there’s Russia, saying, in spite of all the accusations we have never, not during the entire cold war, nor this new version, used energy for leverage. Completely undermines the argument the US made over NS2. Apparently Schroder made a surprise call to the Kremlin recently. I would link to an article in the Outraged Times about it, but I don’t think that would be fair to the readers here.

        1. Anon

          “Russia, saying, in spite of all the accusations we have never, not during the entire cold war, nor this new version, used energy for leverage. “

          and if you contrast that with what the US has done with its reserve. we look like children.

    1. atharvaveda

      This is really funny and beyond absurd. Do they think the Saudis don’t read Twitter? Or have they become so decadent that they don’t really care if they alienate them even further?

  3. Robert Hahl

    “But why is Musk wearing a dead animal on top of his head?” More to the point, why isn’t anyone else working there?

      1. jonboinAR

        The picture exemplifies that some styles the kids can make look cool, we older people make them look idiotic or just ugly when we try them.

  4. aj

    RE: Central Bank Digital Currency

    I couldn’t get past the Bloomberg Firewall, but I found an similar article from CNN.

    As I understand it, this would allow people to keep deposits directly with the Fed instead of having to go through commercial banks. And from the article “You’d have a network of wallets, probably held by members of the public, where people could pay each other directly without going through a third party,” Yermack said.”

    How is this ever going to get approved? Jamie Dimon is not going to let people bank directly with the Fed and lose his transaction and overdraft fees. Paypal, Venmo, CashApp, Google Pay, Apple Wallet are goi to fight this tooth and nail.

    “China’s digital yuan, however, notably does not operate on blockchain tech.” Ah China being smart again. I’m sure the US version will operate on blockchain and be a giant mess.

  5. Eureka Springs USA!

    I had a dream with Putin in it last night. In a large restaurant night club he shows up many hours later than expected. Everyone is inebriated engrossed in conversation no longer expecting him when he just shows up walking through the middle of the room. It takes a minute for most others to realize what’s happening and I begin to clap. Much to my surprise most of the rest of the people do as well. He just sort of smiles, glances at his well dressed guards with a slight nod and makes an exit.

    What have I done to my social credit score now?

    1. The Rev Kev

      You should seriously put that on Facebook and Twitter and see what happens. Maybe even post in in a comment on the Daily Kos to see how people react. /sarc

  6. Sam Adams

    RE: “ Musk wearing a dead animal on top of his head?”
    Its not a dead animal, its the remains of a Tesla self-driving car victim after the battery fire.

    1. Joe Renter

      That’s funny!
      What a strange dude. I know autism is tough to deal with. Wish he had just stayed with pay pal.

  7. Expat2uruguay

    On Saturday March 12 Republic TV had a riveting debate engaging the question: “Is this the end of the Western block of powers?” With a specific focus on the US sanctions and overreach. Amazing!!


    Republic TV is the largest english-language media channel in India. India has a policy of neutrality in the Ukraine war. Every day there are are spectacular debates hosted by this guy ARNAB. Also, Republic its own news crews on the ground in Ukraine and features their footage and commentary. I have posted about the specific video before, but it really deserves a wider audience. Jerri-Lynn liked it as well!!

  8. ambrit

    Piling on the Musk Mash-up; am I the only one to notice that Musk, in that picture, bears a striking resemblance to an “over the hill” Tintin?

    1. jonboinAR

      …who’s spent too much time in the grog with that captain fellow he pals around with.

  9. jr

    Jimmy Dore presents Kababble Hapless sharing a good laugh with the Poles regarding the Ukraine crisis and assisting the refugees:


    The View then weighs in, taking things to all the predictable places. Racism, misogyny, etc. Did you know Harris was one of the “top prosecutors in asking questions”? Then, it is admitted that her laughs are a “crutch” without a whiff of a realization that they are undermining their own case for Harris’s competence. They go on to mock Palin, doing the thing they literally just got done condemning.

    10’s of millions of dolts get their politics from The View. A patent moron who can’t stop giggling at a global catastrophe is one stroke away from the Button. I always thought the phrase “Truth is stranger than fiction.” was just some nod to how weird things can get. Now I see it’s decidedly accurate.

    1. PHLDenizen

      Sounds like an opportunity for someone to hop on The View and accuse the hosts of enabling the patriarchy by not shipping their “fierce daughters” off to basic and then Ukraine.

      Where are all the well-off white ladies to crowd source a Pussyhat weaponized drone flying over Russia? Aren’t we serious about literally fighting patriarchal institutions?

  10. Jason Boxman

    Where health care has not been erased is at, of all places, an employer I know with decent benefits. A thread of at least 50 emails so far is filled with complaints about how much Cigna dental sucks. Apparently Cigna has been aggressively cutting reimbursements to dentists in many geos, and as a result many dentists are leaving the Cigna “network”.

    To the extent that health insurance and health care intersect, it is an interesting discussion, to see even relatively well paid professionals complaining openly about their benefits on a company email list. As it happens, Cigna is awful for health insurance as well, and those stories are even worse than the dental ones. The reimbursements for the COVID tests in particular is a debacle, and Cigna seems to keep losing paperwork. Surprise.

    1. Socal Rhino

      My doctor surprised me by saying she prefers Medicare over private insurance because Medicare was most reliable at paying her.

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: The Dem’s direct marketing: Something about that email reminds me of the pitches Oral Roberts used to use for his ministry. “We need 2,800 gifts before midnight or god is going to call Joe Biden home.”

    1. jr

      Given that Harris then assumes the throne, I propose NC should run a fund raiser for Biden in such circumstances.

      /s, unless God really threatens to take Biden home. Or cast him into Hell, as is much more likely.

    2. Jen

      That one might actually work. I personally would contemplate a ritual sacrifice to prevent Kamala’s ascension to the throne.

        1. ambrit

          We’re in. The Worm Moon, the March full moon, happens this Friday. Spring Equinox happens on Sunday. Split the difference and have the sacrifice on Saturday. Perfect! A Democrat Party Weekend! Now. Who will be the “Guest of Honour?” Traditionally, The Guest is an Unknown Consumer. I say, why not think big this year? Go for someone who knows too many ‘secrets’ and is “expendable.” Fauci it is.
          [As is also Traditional, the attendees should all wear masks.]

      1. Pat

        Unfortunately I am not sure that two+ years of Kamala is any better.
        (Nor do I think that G-d is the biblical entity that would be calling Joe ‘home’.)

        1. ambrit

          Watch how our ‘new’ political system works. KH will have an “unfortunate experience” in a small aircraft and the Speaker of the House will ascend to the Seat of Power. Seeing who is presently the Speaker, expect the “series of unfortunate events” to happen before Janurary 2022. If she waits any later, the position of Speaker will be held by a Republican.

          1. Pat

            As I don’t see us losing two Presidents in nine months, after midterms, the best maintained item in the government will be the Disney animatronic Biden they have just in case…

            Of course if the Dems are competent enough to read the room and see what January will bring Kamala will have the small aircraft experience before Joe goes and before November. Then Hillary gets the call to be named VP, as this century’s Ford.

    1. ambrit

      We already offered more than that if our combined $1200 USD were to be released from limbo. Alas, no one from the DCCC has responded yet. I fear that, according to the rules of the Political Club of Washington, money flows are always one way whenever there is no existential problem pressing. The latest iteration of that rule is that, as far as I can figure out, funds flows are dependent on one’s wealth level. Basically, if you need the money, tough. If you do not need the money, how much do you want?

  12. Jason Boxman

    In more the-pandemic-is-over news:

    The White House said Tuesday that with no new coronavirus funding on the horizon, it was already scaling back plans to purchase monoclonal antibody medicines to prevent and treat Covid-19, and will stop reimbursing medical providers who provide Covid care for the uninsured in early April unless more money is approved.

    While senior administration officials made an appeal for $22.5 billion in additional federal funding, prospects for an emergency aid package appeared dim on Capitol Hill. Republican senators, who are demanding a better accounting of how the Biden administration has already spent hundreds of billions in pandemic aid, are digging in. They want it to be paid for by repurposing funds from other programs.

    Plenty of money for starting World War 3, but none for our current public health and human catastrophe.

    That’s our Democrats!

    What purpose do these people even serve, except to grift?


    1. ambrit

      As Lambert says, this is an extremely clarifying event.
      The ruling elites are outright trolling us. They no longer deserve our fealty. Monkeywrenching and uncivil disobedience will be quick rising trends after the next Coronavirus wave hits.

  13. Dr. John Carpenter

    On that twitter thread with the Apple ][ on a card, I follow several youtubers (such as The 8-Bit Guy and LGR) who work with old computer tech like this. I have a fascination and I’m trying to live vicariously through these videos rather than diving in and collecting myself. It’s great to see people making this stuff work again rather than letting it rot in e-scrap somewhere. (And, in my own professional life, I have found having skills with some of these much older systems to occasionally come in handy. It’s getting rarer, but every now and again I have run into a pre-Windows system in the wild. Like cars, I think these older machines are much easier to work on.)

    1. super extra

      I’m a professional computer person but I also have a serious hobby in one of the adjacent vintage tech things that may be an easier entry than going full-bore retrocompute rebuilding: open source hardware design. It’s a massive topic but a lot of branches tend to be focused on recreating the vintage experience, or replacement parts, or emulation, but using moden open hardware ecosystems (like the Raspberry Pi).

      I have also joked for years that general purpose computing will probably die off in the next few decades but 6502 variants will be in use for the next 300 years. You never know, the vintage stuff may be the way to go long term!

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        Oh yes. I am about to pull the trigger on a MISter. I’ve been super impressed with what’s going on with those. As much as I love the original hardware, I just don’t have the time, money, space, etc. for it all. I’ve also been super impressed with what you can do with a cheapo Pi. It’s a great hobby for sure!

        1. Joe Renter

          way back machine…
          I bought a TRS- 80 operating manual when they came out. I could not afford the machine at the time. I knew that the future was computers. I also had an Amiga 500 in 1987.
          However, my brain is one that does not do so well in coding. A generalist is what I am.
          I did do well in ham radio for learning morse code though. Well, enough reading 18 to 20 words per minute. The real good operators can do 30 to 40 as they typed it out on a typewriter or just could pick up whole words and sentences in their head stringing all those dots and dashes together.
          Ham radio went and morphed into computers to a large degree. It’s a fun hobby. Hope to get back into it when I have the time



  14. ChiGal

    CDC community levels vs county data tracker.

    since I too eschew the former, I continue to check the latter (I’m waiting for cases to fall into the OLD low category before changing my behavior) and have noticed subtle changes.

    When you enter your individual state and county it no longer provides you with a level nor states as it used to, for example, “everyone in ___ should wear a mask in indoor public places.” There is no guidance whatsoever. And only by looking at the whole country can you see what level you are at by the color.

    Also, there is a link to the new community levels page and a plug for a coming update incorporating its info into the county page.

    I am concerned that soon the old county data tracker and the useful corrective it provides to the bogus new system will be altogether disappeared, leaving those of us with whom the virus is NOT done no way to navigate.

    If knowledge is power, I guess the CDC know what they’re doing—and for what?? Am I being paranoid or is this indeed diabolical?

    History (if we survive long enough for there to be such) will not be kind to US public health in the 21st century.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Forget ‘No Plan B’, there is no Plan A with the Biden administration. They have tactical moves that seemed like a good idea at the time: Vaccines will save you, the slope is going to zero, Mandates, Masks ARE worse than waterboarding, Sanctions From Heck.

      Did it not occur to them to put out feelers on support during the last umpteen months of “Russia is Invading!11!.”

      It would be hilarious to see the PowerPoints behind all this genius, if the media survived the classification period.

  15. KD

    The substantive difference between the GOP and the Dems is that if the GOP promises something, even if it is evil like corporate tax cuts, you know if they are elected they will do it (exception: Obamacare repeal, but I’m sure they were well compensated by the insurance industry for keeping the grift in place). The Dems never do anything they promise, and I’m-Not-Orange-Hitler-Man can only take you through so many elections.

  16. Darthbobber

    14th amendment disqualification will head rapidly to the heap inhabited by faithless elector schemes, emoulments lawsuits, etc. Just because these people can’t see any difference between the antics of a Ron Johnson and the activities of Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, and company doesn’t mean the distinction escapes anybody else.

    1. Randy

      Tom Tiffany is the little engine that could. He kept running for a seat in the Wisconsin Assembly and losing until the 2009 GFC and he finally got in on the Tea Party wave. He is a cold warrior. He still rails about communism and socialism (he conflates the two) and his voters suck it up like an old Hoover. He and his fellow Repubs tried eviscerating open records laws in Wisconsin so they could keep their backroom deals secret, got soundly trounced in that move and he still advanced to the House. He had some crappy businesses. I think his motivation for politics consists of getting on the federal pension gravy train because he would have died poor otherwise.

      Ron Johnson defeated the best Senator of the bunch, Ross Feingold during the Tea Party wave. I am still amazed to this day that we elected RoJo over Feingold.

      I plan to quit wasting my time voting but I will have to participate this time to vote against these two a******s. They are two of the worst people ever to run for office. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t much better.

      Never overestimate the intelligence of the American electorate, especially the Northern Wisconsin electorate.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      The Democrats are soooooo freaking lazy that they don’t even want to run in elections anymore – just ban the Republicans from running against them. When they say “our democracy” they mean “our (Dem Party) democracy” where only Democrats run under Calvinball rules (see Sanders, Bernie).

  17. SD

    Could the Evergreen grounding be related to labor problems in the global merchant marine space and/or marine technology (GPS navigation, drive-by-wire ships and their stabilizers, etc.)?

    I’m sure others have made this point far more eloquently than I ever could, but “technology,” even if it’s supposedly self-regulating (as AI is constantly depicted), depends on human beings for maintenance. You can’t run a server farm if the local IBEW or water district employees are on strike and you’ve got a problem with your cooling or power supply.

    1. SteveB

      Re: Evergreen grounding.

      1)There should have been a Harbor Pilot running the ship until clear of channel in DEEP water.

      2) The channel (I’ve been there many times) is well marked and easily navigated both visually and by RADAR…

      Someone wasn’t paying attention…. Like the two Navy ships that had collisions a while back…
      How does that happen???

      1. Glen

        Quite some time ago (the 90’s?) a ship ran aground locally and it was discovered that the ship was under crewed, and they were all asleep after dealing with a storm during the crossing of the Pacific. The ship went aground right before they were supposed to pick up the pilot to take them into the harbor.

        So yes, it’s labor problems – not enough of them, over worked, and they’ve been almost trapped on their ships during CV, and marine technology that was probably working perfectly – many alarms going off to warn the crew that due to wind/currents/etc the ship is going off course.)

        And a couple of nights ago on the national news there was a segment on the oh so cool driver-less semi-trucks. So this whole “get rid of people, technology is better” is coming to a road near you (because heaven forbid we could just make trucking a good job again!)

  18. mistah charley, ph.d.

    Pfizer and BioNTech to seek authorization of second coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older


    The submission to the Food and Drug Administration, anticipated as soon as Tuesday, is expected to include “real world data” collected in Israel, one of the few countries that has authorized a second booster for older people

    Missus Charley is reluctant – her arm is still sore from the third shot. The most agreed-with comments at the WashPost site express willingness to get the shot, but strong disagreement is also expressed.

    1. Glossolalia

      My mother-in-law is crowing about getting her FOURTH shot. She also is asking that the grandkids get boosters before they come and visit her. When asked, she’s not quite able to articulate why it makes a difference if they are boosted or not.

  19. Pat

    Just a thought, since failing spectacularly is no reason for dismissal in either the DNC or Democratic administrations, could we be hitting peak Peter Principle territory? And could it be the same for the Republicans?

    After years of following SOP, suddenly they are discovering that those diminishing returns have diminished beyond the levels needed to keep the roof over their heads. As that SOP is largely unpopular and yes, ineffective, both as policy that people like AND as policy that achieves their goals beyond milking the system, we are now faced with a pandemic they are trying to treat as the flu, a military misadventure that they have misread entirely which their scrambling to take control of will likely destroy the shaky underpinings of the country’s financial system. And despite putting their only slightly effective skill – PR and propaganda – on turboboost, the public is not eating the dog food. And now their great hope of not having to help out those old union members without jobs any longer disappears into the sunset as the LatinX community rejects that name and them.

    While the Democrats are the most obviously reeling from this at the moment, truth is if you look the Republicans they are also in trouble on all the same fronts. Politically this makes sense since both serve the same masters, and stepping outside the usual parameters in order to make the public happy is not generally a means of job advancement in our national and various state capitols. But it leaves them with the same problems the Democrats have, the system is crashing, none of the usual suspects have the skills to formulate a dam for it or want to, their bosses are not entirely happy, and if the public gets much more unhappy they could have more than a few union fights as a sign of rebellion.

    I think there may be some competent people out there, but the chance of them being able to do anything in DC, or Albany or Austin or….well, can we say slim and none.

    1. jsn

      Good assessment. The Ds want power without actually doing anything while the Rs will and do do anything to get it.

      Neither has any idea what to do with it but gorge themselves.

      And they’ve taken everything including what’s nailed down causing nothing to work anymore. Not a good place to find oneself!

  20. Carolinian

    Trump has been getting some buzz for his appearance in downstate SC this past weekend. He did his usual tease about possibly running, denounced CRT etc. As for the Hill and their imaginary matchup, here’s suggesting that it’s a lot more likely that Trump will run than that Biden will run. IMO Biden’s already into lame duck territory.

    Plus it almost seems like the good old days when the Dems and the press were focusing all their hate on Trump and Putin was merely a supporting character. If they have to have a two minute hate let it be against somebody who isn’t likely to nuke us.

  21. Mikel

    “Budget deal is latest sign of Democrats’ empty weed promises” [Politico]
    The leading ignoramous of the Party with a crackhead son thinks “weed” was the gateway drug to his spawn’ss degeneracy.
    So he makes the children of others stay punished for using.

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: 2024

    “And he is also going to have to come up with a reason to run that isn’t just ‘I’m pissed that I lost.’”

    And why would that be? Biden had no reason other than “not Trump” and he gets to play president for a few years. Haven’t the pundits noticed it’s all mendacious popularity contest and we don’t bother will concrete material benefits anymore?

    1. djrichard

      I think Trump is smart enough to know that he’ll need to sell more than himself. Ideally he’d have a coherent position on Russia. You can see him trying to carve out territory between, ‘this wouldn’t have happened if I were in power’ and ‘Biden is too weak’.

      But I can’t see Trump embracing the nuance of why ‘this wouldn’t have happened if I were in power’. It’s not because Trump’s implicit threat of force. It’s because Trump is implicitly not a threat to Russia. Which is a good thing in most people’s books. But how does Trump sell that in this environment without the media jumnping down his throat? So instead, Trump is going to focus on ‘Biden is too weak’. The scary thing is, if Trump somehow won the 2024 election, he would likely drink his own kool-aide and seek out a way to escalate things with Russia. Because why not.

      The only person I’m trusting of to navigate these waters at the moment is Tulsi Gabbard. Hopefully she runs on a platform of not only of detent with Russia but on a platform of putting a stop to the US being agreement-incapable with Russia. Of course, the blob would viciously hate anybody who ran on such a platform. In comparison, Trump simply being strong-man for four years could be something they could work with until one of their own occupies power again.

      1. jonboinAR

        Will Romney harshly questioning Tulsi’s patriotism for daring to suggest nuance regarding the Ukraine situation help or hurt her? Are middle-of-the-pack Americans beginning to see through the organized media blitz of Ukraine-noble-resistors of dastardly-Russian-oppression, coming to realize that it’s much more complicated than that? Lord, let’s hope.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Yes, I thought that was a particularly idiotic remark. Of course that will be the main reason why he runs, and of course he will come up with other reasons, likely incoherent and mutually contradictory yet resonating deeply with his base, just like he did last time.

      It’s kind of amusing that Republicans still think they can control or change Trump. If he decides he wants the nomination, what’s to stop him from just demolishing all comers in the primaries and taking it, like he did last time? Trump may be a horrible President, but he’s arguably the most effective campaigner in decades. And the party’s proposed answer to that is… Pompeo? Yeah, let me know how that goes for you.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Why has the psy-ops idea of ‘electability’ not been smitten from our thought space by the fact of President Trump? Hopefully Brandon will do it.

    1. Paradan

      I’m pretty sure we’ve known about the Iskander deploying decoys and deceptive jamming techniques for years now. Though this may be an opportunity to see it in action.

      I do agree with you that the Russians aren’t using their full bag of tricks. We’ve been hearing about how great their EW capabilities in Syria were, and yet now in Ukraine they have communication issues with their encryption being no good, etc.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I bet too that when Ukrainian air defenses light up to detect those incoming Iskandar missiles that they are soon also targeted as well as they have given their positions away.

  23. Mikel

    “SNL’s Pete Davidson is going to space with Blue Origin” [CBS News]

    Take the entire cast. That would be real comedy.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Only if they have to listen to an endlessly repeating audio loop of the Ukranian national anthem and their Christmas paean to Saint Robert Mueller in December 2018.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Leave them up these. We can check on them every Saturday night. Someday they might be funny again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There absolutely is-

      ‘The name “Indian Treaty Room” was coined in the 1930s, and it is still not clear where it originated, despite extensive research. One theory is that it arose because the War Department stored papers there during the 1930s, including treaties with the American Indian nations.’


      Probably the Indians back then called it the Room of Broken Promises.

  24. tegnost

    The one thing I’ve been pondering is the dunning kreuger effect where one in ten don’t understand what’s real, and really going on…and extrapolating the oblique confluent congruence that the PMC is about one in ten of the population
    and then we move on to karens, very likely a larger per cent of the population vs. PMC, but certainly also, along with the above category, venn diagram eligible…

    A dunning kreuger karen swarm is a frightening thing…

  25. baldy

    “a dead animal on top of his head”? lmao, that’s supposed to look BETTER than balding!

  26. Grant

    I love the Democrats being confused about support from Latinos (I am uneasy placing such a heterogeneous group of people into such a broad category). They have supported disastrous policies for decades, offer working people and poor people next to nothing on policy, they are openly corrupt and led by the wealthy and capital, and they have done little since taking power and aren’t really serious about actually governing. What exactly are you voting FOR if you vote for the Democrats? Of course if most elections involve next to no choices on policy that speak to the material needs of people the election will be about other things, cultural issues in particular. I don’t see the point of either of these rotten parties existing, other than using them as a means to enrich themselves and their donors. Reminds me of Bill Black, the best way to rob a party is to own a party. Who owns these horrible parties? Not people like me. People like Pelosi own her party, she uses it and organizations like the DCCC to enrich herself and donors.

    This country is over. Sirota’s comment on healthcare is right on, and illustrates what a dysfunctional, irritational, broken and brutal society we live in.

  27. Maldonado

    “Democrats’ Hispanic peril” [Axios]. “A Wall Street Journal poll last week found that by 9 points, Hispanic voters said they’d back a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat.”

    Of course, as my Hispanic wife proclaims; ¡A la mierda con
    el cucho y la negra!Democrats dictating how people should live to our children in school, rejecting our opinions of how our tax dollars are spent in schools, passing zoning laws to prohibit who may live in our house, promoting illegals that come sell drugs on our street corner and never get prosecuted, obscene taxes and smog regulations on our classic cars, mocking our values, and mostly, trying to straitjacket us with language like “Latinex” and speak for us as though we were animals in a pen.

    ¡Viva La Presidenta Tulsí!

  28. eg

    My wife (who has limited interest and experience with geopolitics) turned to me this evening and expressed bewilderment that Ukraine is getting so much airtime when there is always one war or other on the boil.

    The mighty Wurlitzer may have overdone it this time …

  29. Kim Alphandary

    Incredible interview with Alastair Crooke on Al Mayadeen, a pan-Arabist satellite television channel launched on 11 June 2012 in Beirut, Lebanon.

    Discusses Ukraine, what he believes are the Russian & Chinese economic plans to break the “rules based order”

    a good 20 minute interview in English, begins 5 minutes into clip.

    Recorded on 13/03/2022


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