Links 3/27/2022

Dear patient readers,

Lambert and I, and many readers, agree that Ukraine has prompted the worst informational environment ever. We hope readers will collaborate in mitigating the fog of war — both real fog and stage fog — in comments. None of us need more cheerleading and link-free repetition of memes; there are platforms for that. Low-value, link-free pom pom-wavers will be summarily whacked.

And for those who are new here, this is not a mere polite request. We have written site Policies and those who comment have accepted those terms. To prevent having to resort to the nuclear option of shutting comments down entirely until more sanity prevails, as we did during the 2015 Greek bailout negotiations and shortly after the 2020 election, we are going to be ruthless about moderating and blacklisting offenders.


P.S. Also, before further stressing our already stressed moderators, read our site policies:

Please do not write us to ask why a comment has not appeared. We do not have the bandwidth to investigate and reply. Using the comments section to complain about moderation decisions/tripwires earns that commenter troll points. Please don’t do it. Those comments will also be removed if we encounter them.

P.P.S. One of our mods is on holiday till the end of the month, so comment liberation may take longer than usual. We are very sorry! Please be patient.

* * *

Earth Has a 27.5-Million-Year ‘Heartbeat’, But We Have No Idea What Causes It Science Alert

Mother duck hatches eggs at Florida hospital’s maternity center UPI (JB).

Deutsche Bank Fired Senior Bankers Over Strip Club Bill Bloomberg

Three Months In Web3: What I Learned Heisenberg Report

The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto NYT


What a Single Metric Tells Us About the Pandemic David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine. I’m so glad the adults are in charge:

On February 1, 2021, just after the inauguration of Joe Biden, the U.S. had registered, according to The Economist, 178 excess deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, quite close to Britain’s 166, Belgium’s 162, and Portugal’s 201. Fast-forward a year and those gaps have exploded. The U.S. has now registered 330 excess deaths per 100,000 — meaning our total has roughly doubled. In Britain, the excess mortality grew only 30 percent; in Portugal, it was 17 percent.

The Next COVID Crisis: Funding (with Jeff Zients and Zeke Emanuel) (podcast) In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt. Remarkable series of admissions from medical ethicist Emmanuel, worth reading in full:

Seems like “take that mask off” is the policy goal, and forcing people to play “Russian Roulette” with Long Covid is just a bump in the road.

How it started, how it’s going:

“Thank God.”

Flight attendants caught in middle again amid ‘dangerous’ debate over masks on planes Yahoo News


Hong Kong’s Completely Avoidable Covid Catastrophe Bloomberg

‘No Limits’? Understanding China’s Engagement With Russia on Ukraine The Diplomat

Spectre of ‘Indo-Pacific Nato’ accelerates China’s decoupling from the west FT

China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735: second black box found South China Morning Post


‘Stronger together’: Myanmar, Russia parade military relationship Al Jazeera (Re Silc).


US, allies call on Taliban to reopen girls’ schools in Afghanistan Channel News Asia and China’s foreign minister makes surprise stop in Afghanistan AP


P&O and the Tory Road to Serfdom Craig Murray

New Not-So-Cold War

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 26 Institute for the Study of War

Russia says new ‘phase’ of Ukraine offensive to focus on Donbas FT

What the city of Mariupol means for Ukraine — and for Russia’s military campaign NPR. “The Azov Regiment, a unit with neo-Nazi origins that has been folded into Ukraine’s National Guard….” Folded into.

Exclusive: BBC claims Ukrainian nazis are exaggerated – but shows video of Bowen with nazi unit The Sqwawkbox

Who’s “isolated” again?

* * *

Biden says Putin cannot ‘remain in power’ as he warns of ‘long fight’ FT. Biden: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Staffers try to put the toothpaste back in the tube:

Biden’s Comments About Putin Were an Unforced Error The Atlantic. Of course, a political party wouldn’t invest all its capacity in making Putin a hate figure without expecting a return on the resulting asset; this war is that return (and would have started in, say, 2017 if Clinton the candidate had lived up to expectations).

What Thai coups tell us of Putin’s chances of removal Pattaya Mail (Furzy Mouse).

* * *

President Biden demonstrates proper masking technique in the presence of children:

It has occurred to me that one more reason elites hate masks is that they interfere with their photo ops.

* * *

Duty Bound to Disaster: Beware the Imperative in Foreign Policymaking War on the Rocks. PMC moralizing in the saddle.

Why Aren’t We Hearing More Calls for Diplomacy to End War in Ukraine? The Intercept. I guess Biden just gave us our answer.

What If Russia Makes a Deal? Foreign Affairs

We Should Take the Ukrainian – Russian Negotiations Seriously Verfassungsblog

* * *

Russia MoD exposes Hunter Biden’s relation with US bioactivity in Ukraine Al Mayadeen

‘While Russia uses tanks to destroy Ukraine, we rely on revolutionary blockchain tech’: Ukraine’s Vice PM launches collection of 54 NFTs to support country’s ‘army and civilians’ Daily Mail

Sean Penn Says He Will “Smelt” His Oscar if Ukrainian President Is Not Invited to Ceremony Hollywood Reporter. Best Actor, then?

Is Peru becoming an ungovernable country? FT. Uh oh….

Biden Administration

President Joe Biden to propose new 20% minimum billionaire tax CNBC. Seems low.

Green Pastel Redness London Review of Books. On the Supreme Court

In emergency order, SCOTUS sides with Wisconsin GOP lawmakers over voting map in redistricting case ABA Journal

Justice Thomas Ruled on Election Cases. Should His Wife’s Texts Have Stopped Him? NYT

Tax Regimes Phenomenal World

Supply Chain

Farmers on the Brink Doomberg

Health Care

Financial Strain Tied to Increased Mortality After Myocardial Infarction MedScape

Here’s How an Algorithm Guides a Medical Decision The Verge

Frankly, we do give a damn: improving patient outcomes with swearing Archives of Physiotherapy

Sports Desk

Elite Pete! Saint Peter’s tops Purdue, makes 15 seed history AP. Pretty neat!

Zeitgeist Watch

Patriotism Felt Wrong and Embarrassing Until I Refused to Let It Jezebel

Guillotine Watch

How the World’s Richest People Are Driving Global Warming Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Black Tesla employees describe a culture of racism: ‘I was at my breaking point’ LA Times

Workers Are Trading Staggering Amounts of Data for ‘Payday Loans’ Wired

Sauron, Dark Lord of Mordor and Lord of the Rings Star, Dead at… Hoo Boy Gizmodo. “[O]ur thoughts go out to his followers at this unfortunate time.”

Love and Longing in the Seaweed Album Public Domain Review

Wonder, Hungry Wolves, and the Whimsy of Resilience: Arthur Rackham’s Haunting 1920 Illustrations for Irish Fairy Tales The Maginalian

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. jackiebass62

    One way Mother Nature controls population is through disease. I believe Covid is an example of this. It seems to be the most effect in dense populated areas because it is easily transmitted. After 2 years there are few effective treatments.

      1. ChrisRUEcon


        … and the article of note to my reckoning here comes from Ian Welsh:

        Only Zero Covid Worked And Everyone Knows It (via

        The $ quote:

        ” … any government which had the capacity to do this and did not, after the first wave proved it worked, essentially chose to kill a huge number of people who didn’t need to die. Mass negligent homicide, at best.”

      2. John k

        Or maybe thrifty nature, knowing we’d help and boot it in our own goal, went for an easy solution.
        Famine, disease, wars, oh my. They all seem to be reinforcing each other…

  2. Wukchumni

    ‘While Russia uses tanks to destroy Ukraine, we rely on revolutionary blockchain tech’: Ukraine’s Vice PM launches collection of 54 NFTs to support country’s ‘army and civilians’ Daily Mail
    I invested in Ukrainian NFT’s of NFZ’s, which will prove to be quite the deterrent to Russian air plans reliant upon blockchain tech, along with a small but useful profit for yours truly, hopefully.

    Someday this war’s going to end… (walks through battlefield sans shirt emulating Putin, or was it Duvall?)

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’m going to predict here and now that during the Oscars that the Ukrainian national anthem is sung.

        2. Greg

          He reported that he was leaving for Poland a few weeks back, had pictures of the line of cars at the border

    1. Pat

      This raises the question:
      Charities can be hot beds of corruption and payoffs, see Clinton Foundation and all of Zuckerberg’s and Gates’ pet slush funds. It is at least possible to follow the money somewhat in traditional charities. Is it even remotely possible to follow along for a charity that is based in one of the most corrupt nations of the world, where not only is the token digital but probably all donations?

      I am thinking this one might make Clinton’s look downright generous in allocating funds to the recipients they were supposedly collecting for.

    2. Dftbs

      When the histories are written there’ll be numerous interpretations of the global conflict between the Anglo dominated West and Eurasia. One that I find interesting is the conflict between the material-empiricists of Eurasia and the “metaphysicians”that run the West. I put it in quotes because I don’t think our current crop of thinkers exhibit the philosophical complexity of the Aristotelians.

      I call the Eurasians( and their global south partners) materialist and empiricists because despite their overarching ideological frameworks: Marxism, Russian Orthodox resurgimiento, revolutionary Shiism, their major concern has been the improvement of the material well being of their people. Our propaganda aside, from Beijing to Managua, Moscow to Hanoi, the governments we call “regimes” have done a better job of improving their citizens’ welfare through the nascent 21st century.

      By contrast our regimes in the West have a potty-poor record, so far culminating in the sadistic mishandling of the pandemic, and if Biden is to be believed that may be small potatoes when compared to the upcoming famine. Instead of addressing these crucial failures of state responsibility, our societies have opted to exert control over the “narrative”.

      We have a professional class that conflates the fiction in superhero movies for the morality that should govern the real world, good guys and bad guys. At the same time they think this fiction is indicative of our real world capabilities, as if a no-fly zone could be set up against the RUAF by Iron Man. You’ll get poorer in the real world but your avatar will “own” and NFT collection. This defiance of reality extends through nearly all aspects of Western life.

      It’s almost a re-run of the battle between iconoclasts and iconophiles of the Eastern Empire. And so it’s appropriate that as Ukraine loses the war in the real world, and the West’s capacity to affect change is realized as non-existent, they would perform the modern equivalent of parading a relic before the city walls and issue NFTs to support their army?!?!

  3. Barbados Slim

    I find it incredible that after two years, millions of infections, including the president of the US, and who knows how many studies, that they don’t know what the risks are of long covid. Either they have been keeping themselves deliberately ignorant or they do know and the truth is so terrible they have no way of spinning it.

    1. super extra

      they don’t know, becuase knowing would require actual science work, which none of these dummies can do between power lunches/meet-and-greets/zooms with reporters/podcast appearances/meetings about future press junkets/expensive dental treatments/tweeting or instagramming incessantly. All of that stuff is their raison d’etre for being in power, and being in power requires fluffing everyone who helped them get to where they are and defending their turf from newcomers. Actual gritty science involving more than pontificating in front of a camera for an audience takes too much time out of the daily schedule.

      1. Senator-Elect

        This is so true. It’s a whole “industry” of sucking up to money and influence. And yet they think they are worth more to society than the people who build their houses, grow and harvest their food and make their clothes. You know, genuine industry. Those chickens will come home to roost one day. It’s only a matter of time.

        1. Carla

          Well, I dunno. Seems to me that society keeps proving to them that they ARE worth more.

          And proving to the rest of us that we are nothing.

          Apparently “we” agree.

          1. Senator-Elect

            I would put the order of events as follows: people with power reward those who are like them or who are useful to them with more money and power; then they tell the rest of us that this is the only way things can work and that we should like it and be thankful for what we have; the propaganda works; and people uphold the order that has been created.

            I mean, how else do you explain the response to the war in Ukraine? As someone put it on Twitter, people who just learned not to call it “the Ukraine” are now shaming anyone who isn’t for a no-fly zone. That’s how people’s views are shaped by a few weeks of “top stories”. What about the effects of a lifetime of capitalist propaganda?

            1. Jeff W

              …people who just learned not to call it “the Ukraine”…

              “It’s ‘Ukraine,’ not ‘the Ukraine’ – here’s why” The Conversation here.

              Apparently, Russian, which has no definite article* (or, for that matter, indefinite article), makes a similar distinction using prepositions.

              *Somewhat tellingly, Natasha Fatale would ask Boris Badenov “Boris, how are we going to steal car from moose and squirrel?”

      2. anon y'mouse

        my guess would be that they don’t know because for so long, the paradigm in doctor’s offices means that things that don’t show up on scans are all classed as psychological.

        including mild traumatic brain injury, which my previous partner had and resulted in a permanent end to his working career.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The ‘War on the Rocks’ link above actually gives a pretty good overview over how this happens. The link is about war, but it applies in many areas.

      In simple terms, the medical establishment has convinced itself that the ‘imperative’ is to ‘return to normal’, whatever that is. The means to that end is the vaccine. If you want to be part of the in-group, the cool kids, you gotta be on board with this.

      Once the imperative is established then all decision making flows from it. It’s in nobodies career interest to come up with any evidence that points out the imperative is impossible, and the chosen means to achieve the imperative is flawed and may not work. Any evidence that suggests they are on the right track is highlighted and celebrated, contrary evidence is ignored or dismissed. Research proposals that seek to reinforce the imperative get funded. Those that might turn up uncomfortable facts, struggle to get funded. Any data that points the wrong way is dismissed as being an outlier or having been poorly carried out (probably due to underfunding). The imperative becomes an oil tanker, unstoppable and with no steering. It keeps going until it hits an immovable object. At which point everyone involved claims that ‘we tried our best, but nobody could have anticipated that….’.

      1. Senator-Elect

        Yup. Most people are followers. Somewhere in the aerosol Twittersphere, I saw someone hypothesizing that it’s 80% followers and 10% anti-aerosol and 10% pro-aerosol in the infectious disease control community. The fight for control is not about the 80%; they will follow whoever wins the fight between the 10% factions.

        1. redleg

          In my college military ethics course (back in the pre-Iraq day when there was such a thing and was taken seriously), we were instructed that roughly 1 out of 6 people could be counted on to do the “right” thing every time, and 1 in 6 could be counted on to do the “wrong” thing every time. The rest, 4 in 6, just go with the flow (IMO I think it’s closer to 1 in 8 as the leaders). The instructor, a lieutenant colonel, who was an incredible teacher and discussion moderator, then made it clear, with examples, that the “wrong” thing was exponentially easier to do. This was easily the best course I took as an undergrad, and continues to influence my view of the world all these decades later.

          1. TimH

            I am curious whether right or wrong thing is in terms of civilian ethics, or in terms of following orders which involve personal risk but are for the greater good of the platoon or whatever.

            So, being ordered to shoot civilians such as Mai Lai, or other clearly illegal (in terms of military regs, not international law) actions… is refusing this sort of direct order from chain of command the right or wrong thing?

          2. The Rev Kev

            A British WW2 general once said that out of every 6 soldiers, one will be aggressive and want to go forward, one will be hesitant and will want to hold back, while the other four will follow the majority.

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              In the early days of the American war in Vietnam US soldiers were hesitant to kill the enemy. They often fired their rifles into the ground or overhead. This was troubling for field commanders so the Pentagon established training protocols for new recruits that conditioned them to kill. The kill rates in the field increased dramatically. Perhaps we know to do the right thing, but we are programmed to do the wrong thing. Humans may not be inherently evil, though it can be difficult not to think so (at least in the United States of America).

    1. The Rev Kev

      I bet India’s Modi also paid attention to that. Especially since he has been threatened too if he does not toe NATO’s line.

      1. Michael

        and Angele Merkel dodges another bullet.
        See, retirement at the proper time has its benefits. Even if you push it all the way to the red line.

        Seriously though, what are her thoughts on RU? I’m sure she is advising.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m sure she is advising.

          Its a new government from a different party. Bringing in Merkel would be an announcement they weren’t ready for prime time. I see a few recent articles attacking her legacy for being a Putin puppet or something. Attacking Merkel makes sense with the inflation coming.

          1. CBBB

            She was in all honesty a terrible leader and she is to blame for many of the current problems as well as the problems to come. She basically kicked the can down the road her entire Chancellorship and now the road is ending

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      Bet it benefits Putin in terms of Russian public opinion, too. So, all in all, a very stupid thing to say in public.

        1. flora

          (adjusting my foil bonnet)

          When B was elected China knew exactly how to play him and the new US admin to weaken the US international position. (It seems RU and China have been in talks for some time and China’s been preparing for shortages. )

          (foil bonnet off)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Pivot to Asia” wasn’t lost on anyone except Americans who want to pretend Obama meant he would say aloha on occasion. TPP, knocking over countries at terminus points of the new Silk Road, not leaving Afghanistan but handing out guns and cash to anyone who asked, Libya after they had destroyed their chemical weapons, and so forth.

            We don’t need to resort to any nonsense about China playing long games. Beijing just isn’t as stupid and venal as the US with a less sycophantic media. Both Russia and China made a flurry of defensive investments and policy changes when Obama moved to Syria.

    3. Screwball

      The spin to cover this up/downplay it is off the charts, by both the media and the Biden worshipers. I am told, and I think I read on CNN (don’t go there unless you have barf bags in hand) as well, over 75% of the people agree with Biden, we need to remove Putin from power.

      Example from CNN; When he returned to his hotel, aides briefed Biden on the strikes in Lviv. A few hours later, propelled by heartache and anger, Biden walked into the courtyard of an old Polish castle to declare the Russian President “cannot remain in power.”

      So he was propelled by heartache and anger. Give me a break! Did he feel the same way when we butchered millions over the last 40 years while his war mongering ass was voting to do so in DC? I hardly think so.

      Think about it, our chain of command = Biden, Harris, Pelosi. If that isn’t the three stooges I don’t know what is. We are ruled by incompetent psychopaths who’s goals seem to be; at best – leave us to starve, freeze, and go broke due to inflation and sanctions. Die of COVID due to their inept response. Or, at worse; get us into a nuclear dick swinging contest.

      I don’t particularly like my choices. I’m old and my body hurts, healthcare sucks, my fixed income can’t keep up with inflation, but I’m suppose to sacrifice for the people of Ukraine.

      These people need to take a long walk on a short pier (that is as kind as I can be) before they either bankrupt us or get us all killed.

      1. ArtDog_CT

        Things don’t get any more cheerful when you extend that list to the next two in line, Leahy, then Blinken.

        1. Gc54

          Best go straight to military dictatorship. Cut out the middle-people to save time to Armageddon.

    4. Cat Burglar

      So the chief Senate Iraq War fixer says that war criminals (“butcher”) should be removed from power. No wonder they walked it back and limited the meaning of Biden’s statement so fast! It was an amazing own-goal.

      1. Futility

        I am not so sure most of the population sees it that way. If one points out the hypocrisy in online forums here in Germany one is immediately insulted as a Russian stooge. To me it seems that the propaganda in the West works very well. People don’t seem to have any recollection that the Iraq invasion was a blatantly illegal war killing far more people than the Ukraine invasion. Most really seem to believe that the West only has the best intentions.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Deutsche Bank Fired Senior Bankers Over Strip Club Bill”

    They weren’t fired for expensing a tab that was run up at a strip club. They were fired for being too stupid to bother covering their tracks successfully. For Deutsche Bank, that would have been a pretty low bar that. Any decent Deutsche Bank executive should be capable of flying a platoon of hookers & a coupla pounds of blow on a company private jet to Monte Carlo in Monaco for the weekend and hitting the office on Monday with a pile of verified receipts showing it to be a normal business trip including ‘personal development’ criteria fulfilled.

    1. griffen

      From the story, well the stupid it just burns. Supposedly two of the gentlemen dismissed were in the business of making it rain, which begs the question why bother with a corporate expense. Well, I’m sure the severance agreements will beget a nice parting gift.

      Could not happen to a nicer global institution.

      1. Dftbs

        It is DB. The protocols for expensing entertainment at SIFIs are very strict. Don’t put it past the “rainmakers” to have done this deliberately so they could move on to greener pastures.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, all.

          I worked for 5 years at the firm until last spring. Expense fiddling was rife among rainmakers and senior management. This was just an issue of degree, but it could be Frankfurt HQ at last asserting its authority. In addition, the US compliance team is low on numbers and morale at the moment, so whoever is covering erred on the side of caution. A few years, or months, ago, this claim would have been eased through.

  5. Wukchumni

    Farmers on the Brink Doomberg
    Wow, scarcities of most everything that allows food to be grown, and unlike the Great Depression or WW2 in the USA, a tiny percentage of the population has ever got their hands dirty in the underground movement.

    The fruit tree fertilizer I use has doubled in price in the past few years, imagine how the corporate owners of the 666 million nut & fruit trees in the state must be doing, with really the only options to either not fertilize or pass on the cost to the consumer.

    Might be a good time to keep a well stocked pantry with a year’s worth of food…

    Inflation is baked into all the Ag inputs, you’ll save money by buying now, versus later.

    1. Louis Fyne

      at the local Mega Lo Mart Warehouse a 25 lbs sack of basmati rice is $20 ish IIRC.

      White rice stays fresh for decades, easy to make and is versatile.

      if anyone is tired of pasta or potatoes, get a small bag and give basmati a try

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I recall a Korean proverb from a book on Korean proverbs I read once: “Rice without a side-dish is a poor meal.”

        1. FredW

          Yes, but side dishes may not present so much of a problem. For example, a four by ten foot bed of bok choi could be grown most places continuously most places perhaps nine months of the year. Add soy sauce and oil.

    2. flora

      Image how the wheat, corn, and soybean growers are doing. Adding the rising cost of fertilizer to the rising cost of fuel and farmers are facing an ugly year. Coming soon to a grocery store near you….

    3. doug

      Another tree fertilizer that is short and expensive is for the coffee trees. If you drink coffee, you might want to read a bit about that. Apparently next year’s yields will be down.

          1. jr

            It shouldn’t, both in the abstract as well as in practice:


            “ When picked, roasted and boiled, the leaves yield a yellow to dark-orange elixir with a fruity and earthy aroma and a smooth flavour with malty tones. As if orchestrated specifically for the mind and body, yaupon leaves’ perfect ratio of stimulating xanthines such as caffeine, theobromine and theophylline release slowly into the body, providing a jitter-free mental clarity and an ease to the stomach.”

            Here is the source of the unpleasant name, essentially botanists who also took things at face value:


            “ A small tree or shrub depending on your interpretation with small shiny leaves and red berry-like fruits
            A yaupon holly cultivar (Ilex vomitoria ‘Roundleaf’). John Ruter, University of Georgia,
            The leaves of the yaupon contain caffeine. In fact, the yaupon boasts the highest caffeine content of any plant native to North America. For centuries peoples indigenous to the Americas enjoyed yaupon holly tea on a daily basis, but it was also used ceremonially. One particular ritual involved consuming excessive amounts of tea in order to induce vomiting and diarrhea. The tea was brewed strongly and may have contained other plant material. Unfortunately for this delicious plant, the ritual was reported to interested botanists and their first impression of the drink stuck. Thus the alarming scientific name: Ilex vomitoria.”

    4. The Rev Kev

      I think that you are right. Only a day or two ago old Joe came out and said that there are going to be food shortages in America. In America! But I don’t think that it really sunk in what he said. He may as well have said ‘The crayon is purple.’ When was the last time there was a food riot in America? I think that it was in Boston in the very early 1700s – about three hundred years ago.

      1. super extra

        Rev, not sure how it has been down under the last two years, but in the states there have been rolling and erratic shortages in normal stores since the beginning of the pandemic. Sometimes it seems to have some relevance to an actual event, like the year of weird options in cream cheese flavors or the meat issues that seem to happen once or twice a year now. And amid all of this has been rising prices on everything. SO I think a ‘food riot’ in the states is unlikely, mostly because people have already been exposed to deprivations at random since the pandemic began.

        $8/gal gas riots tho, that might be possible! No clue what form they’d actually take beyond something like a wildcat general strike just due to mass amounts of people unable to get to work, or work being unprofitable to perform at that cost.

          1. Randall Flagg

            Some might argue the magic number is $6.66. Nationwide average. Jackpot of a different kind.

            1. TimH

              Possibly it’s worth pricing the fuel at $6.66 just to stop a lot of religious literalists from buying it…

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I would be somewhat surprised by shortages of basic survival foods like cabbage, potatoes, beans, corn, etc.

        I can imagine shortages or outages of fun foods like meat, milk, lovely California fruits and vegetables and nuts and etc.

        But life is full of surprises, of course.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Costs for the inputs to agriculture especially machine agriculture have risen. I believe it is clear consumers face price increases. Many countries have had their domestic agriculture destroyed by free-trade, making them dependent on global sources for basic food commodities. These countries face far more serious consequences than just price increases.

      I have trouble with the idea that “farmers are on the brink”. The simple term ‘farmers’ is too broad. If ‘farmers’ means the owners of small and medium size farms, I believe they were and have been on the brink for some time. There are still family farmers, just as there are still small businesses, but both have been fighting a series of losing battles for over a century. Farm subsidies are often presented as help to ‘farmers’ — represented as family farmers like the dirt farmers forced off their land in Great Depression. “Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.” Big agriculture also squeezes into the category ‘farmer’. Which subcategory of farmers will be most damaged by the cost increases to their inputs? Which subcategory of farmers can better pass their cost increases to the next factor in the supply chains? Which can better survive disturbances to their systems? Which better protect their interests through government actions?

      I believe that when the dust settles there will be many fewer farmers on the brink, the cost push on food will benefit big agriculture and the grain giants, the cost increases driven by the various shortages and supply chain problems will result in bigger markups for the corporations and cartels managing the supply of many goods, including food. But this is not stagflation like we had in the 1970s — labor, organized or fragmented, is a much weaker player. And in the rest of the world, the pillars holding up civilization and society will be much eroded as the world faces accelerating climate chaos and the further depletion of critical resources.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          “Squeezing by intermediaries hits farms of all sizes. Bigger farms can hold up better but it is not as if anyone is doing all that well.”
          I agree with that statement. I thought my comment also agreed with that statement. This quote from the link you cited speaks to the intended thrust of my comment: “To add insult to injury, 10 percent of farmers received 60 percent of the payments as a small number of relatively well-resourced producers took an unfair share of the aid.”
          All farmers are being squeezed but when the dust settles the smaller farmers will be bust and the bigger farmers will absorb their land and place in the supply chain. The gain for bigger farmers is delayed.

          When a ‘farmer’ contracts with land-owners to farm their land and contracts with Cargill to silo and buy the grain produced I have trouble viewing the little guy at the end of this deal as a poster child for the family farmer — maybe a modern form of share-cropper? When smaller producers of crops, meat, poultry, and dairy products are tied up in contracts to sell their product to one or another large intermediary, when does that start to look like a process of vertical integration of agriculture by the intermediaries? To me the squeeze on the share paid to the farmer/share-cropper in this arrangement looks a lot like another conglomerate squeeze of labor, and the higher markups the intermediary receives, are markups benefiting big agriculture.

        2. RobertC

          Thank you for that link Yves. I had no idea the situation was so bad. Forget taxing the billionaires — Biden should make fixing it a Top-10 priority.

        3. Robin Kash

          What part of his statement is incorrect? Large, corporate farmers have access to more credit than small, family farmers. They’re holding on to the world by the grass
          USDA subsidies support large outfits more than small famers.
          Even those who cultivate small farms are not set up to raise their own food to see them through.
          I look for a lot more consolidations to come out of this inflationary cycle.

          1. Yves Smith

            His statement was that only small farmers are being squeezed. That is incorrect.

            The bad guys to focus on are not big farms but the middlemen.

            From a 2021 post, Corporate Concentration in the US Food System Makes Food More Expensive and Less Accessible for Many Americans:

            As rural sociologists, we study changes in food systems and sustainability. We’ve closely followed corporate consolidation of food production, processing and distribution in the U.S. over the past 40 years. In our view, this process is making food less available or affordable for many Americans.

            Consolidation has placed key decisions about our nation’s food system in the hands of a few large companies, giving them outsized influence to lobby policymakers, direct food and industry research and influence media coverage. These corporations also have enormous power to make decisions about what food is produced how, where and by whom, and who gets to eat it. We’ve tracked this trend across the globe.

            It began in the 1980s with mergers and acquisitions that left a few large firms dominating nearly every step of the food chain. Among the largest are retailer Walmart, food processor Nestléand seed/chemical firm Bayer.

            Some corporate leaders have abused their power – for example, by allying with their few competitors to fix prices. In 2020 Christopher Lischewski, the former president and CEO of Bumblebee Foods, was convicted of conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined US$100,000.

            In the same year, chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride pleaded guilty to price-fixing charges and was fined $110.5 million. Meatpacking company JBS settled a $24.5 million pork price-fixing lawsuit, and farmers won a class action settlement against peanut-shelling companies Olam and Birdsong.

            Industry consolidation is hard to track. Many subsidiary firms often are controlled by one parent corporation and engage in “contract packing,” in which a single processing plant produces identical foods that are then sold under dozens of different brands – including labels that compete directly against each other.

            Recalls ordered in response to food-borne disease outbreaks have revealed the broad scope of contracting relationships. Shutdowns at meatpacking plants due to COVID-19 infections among workers have shown how much of the U.S. food supply flows through a small number of facilities.

            With consolidation, large supermarket chains have closed many urban and rural stores. This process has left numerous communities with limited food selections and high prices – especially neighborhoods with many low-income, Black or Latino households.

            There’s a lot more detail in the article.

            Did you notice big farms are not among the perps?

      1. lance ringquist

        you are correct about free trade destroying a countries ability to be food secure.

    6. TroyIA

      Doomberg wasn’t doomy enough. It’s not just American farmers who are experiencing issues with growing crops it is a global problem.

      The wheat that has already been produced is trapped in country until the fighting stops. The winter wheat is already planted but it remains to be seen how much will be harvested and how much of the spring crops are planted.

      United States
      The western states that are mainly wheat growing areas are in a drought. Plains Drought to Curb U.S. Wheat Harvest, Adding to Global Supply Worries The sea surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Alaska has an influence on weather patterns in the continental U.S. If the cool water of the Gulf shifts south to California then the drought conditions of the west could shift to the Midwest during the summer growing season affecting corn and soybeans.

      Experienced drought conditions in 2021 and may not have received enough snow this winter to replenish moisture levels.

      South America
      La Niña creates dry conditions for South America reducing potential yields. Drought threatens fertile fields of South America’s Southern Cone


      China agriculture minister says winter wheat condition could be worst in history

      I have learned to not trust anything China says but rather watch what they actually do. So what are they doing?
      China seeks bumper wheat harvest amid fears of global food crisis

      China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Finance issued a notice requiring local authorities to mull an “all-out effort” to guarantee the harvest of summer wheat and expand the planting of soybeans “by all means”, Global Times reported.
      . . .
      The notice comes as Chinese authorities spare no effort to raise domestic production in spring ploughing season, which started from early April. Against the backdrop of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, spring ploughing is deemed as a critical cultivation season for Chinese farmers to boost wheat, corn, soybean, and rice, which will be harvested from July to October the same year, the report said.

      China knows what’s coming and is planning accordingly. Everyone would do well that at least give some thought to Wuk’s advice because almost all of the major growing regions are under stress.

      Finally could be something or could be nothing
      Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks

      1. Cat Burglar

        The wheat-farmer wing of our family on the Oregon side of the Columbia, raisers of high-quality noodle and pastry wheat, are waiting. They report the wheat is doing well, and the soil has enough moisture right now — but all growth will stop if the dry Spring continues. Coming after the drought last year, and the scarcity and new cost of inputs the growing season has more drama than usual.

    7. CuriosityConcern

      I do hope growers are considering the methods of Elaine Ingham(and/or Gabe Brown). It would seem to be a perfect time to start weaning from chemical inputs and start using fungal dominant biology rich soil.
      The claims are that fungal mychorizze form networks with plant roots to trade for needed nutrients.
      The mechanism by which fungus is able to obtain nutrients from rocks and sand is exudation, they emit chemicals that can break down “insoluble” substances and supply it to the plant on demand.
      So if soil biology can replace the use of chemical fertilizers then it would help offset farm energy usage by reducing or eliminating the need to import and apply. I imagine big farms would still need to expend energy to gather compost materials.
      Composted fungal dominant soil is also supposed to absorb and retain water better too…

    8. AndrewJ

      I’m not too keen on Doomberg’s throwaway reference to ag work being “traditionally shunned” by American citizens. Ag work is tied to a system of pay so low only desperate and usually illegal immigrants will break their bodies to do it. If American workers were paid for the actual value of their labor, and not undercut by labor-law-breaking employers, I bet there would be a lot fewer Americans “shunning” it.
      It makes me wonder what other peculiarities there are to Doomberg’s take.

      1. Darthbobber

        “Traditional” shunning would be a relatively recent tradition, since for most of our history small and mid-sized farming was the dominant way of life.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          I highly doubt that the farm labor contractors in the CVBB would ever hire Anglo field workers. The Anglos know this and so don’t go there. On a related note check out the ethnic makeup of public transit bus drivers in Los Angeles. Anglos know better than to go there also.

      2. playon

        If farm workers were paid what they are worth, food would be much more expensive, assuming that corporate profit margins stay the same.

  6. Louis Fyne

    in Dutch. Dutch military veteran returns from the Ukraine Foreign Legion.

    Joyce Koster (40) voluntarily left for war-torn Ukraine at the beginning of this month to fight against the Russians.

    The mother of three narrowly escaped a deadly rocket attack on the military base in Yavoriv.

    She is now back home in Dordrecht, deeply disappointed: ‘We were used as cannon fodder.’

  7. griffen

    Sports desk, yes it is pretty neat. A quite small, inner city institution competing with the big boys is a story ripped right out of Hoosiers (well sorta). Heck even the guard for St Peters, who is getting most of the attention, resembles an updated version of Jimmy Chitwood!

    And their head coach can look forward to contract offers. The competition today only gets tougher; North Carolina features all manner of what is termed blue blood history in the sport. I will add, rightly so. Fortunately for St Peters they are not playing the ghosts of former players and coaches, necessarily.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The real team from Hoosiers was in the state championship game the year before the movie season.

      UNC has athletes and Barcot and Manek on UNC are quick. They’ll deny space the smaller players St. Petes players play in, so they won’t have any kind of in and out game. Then UNC has athletes on the bench. They will just stay on the St. Petes guys until they wear out. The Love from the other night is the college player he will be going forward. The sophomore growing pains tend drift away in the post season.

      1. Lena

        The movie “Hoosiers” was based on the Milan (IN) High School team that won the boys state championship in 1954. Enrollment: 161 students. Bobby Plump on that team was the real life Jimmy Chitwood. Now Bobby owns a bar in Indianapolis called Plump’s Last Shot.

        The “Hickory” players in the movie were from various HS teams around Indiana. They weren’t a real team from the state championship but rather guys who could act a bit as well as play ball.

      2. Charlie Sheldon

        I was living in New Jersey in the 80s when Seton Hall went to the Final Four, a similar very small school that was facing impossible odds. They reached the finals and lost, I think, to Duke. It was madness, just madness, with all the prognosticators making statements that the Seton Hall guys would be overwhelmed by the bigger school’s deeper benches and better athletes. But Seton Hall was running on will, a dream, craziness, and team chemistry, that indefinable thing that nearly took them to the championship.

        So don’t count St. Peter’s out, ever.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Seton Hall was in the Big East. The only contender for 2nd best and most physical conference in the 80’s. They weren’t a plucky automatic qualifier. These aren’t football programs where the student body matters.

          Duke wasnt even Duke until 1990.

        2. DanB

          I think Seton Hall lost to Michigan in that finals game; it’s the team where the coach was fired just as the tournament began because he accepted a job at another university for the following year. Then the assistant coach -at Michigan- took the team to the championship, IIRC.

        3. griffen

          Someone beat me to the answer of Michigan. Glen Rice was on fire during that six game stretch in 1989. Steve Fisher completed the best interview process ever. Win the national title on short notice.

  8. JTMcPhee

    As I recall it, RAND or one of the other really smart brain deads suggested that bombing the snot out of North Vietnam would result in a peasant uprising “removing Ho Chi Minh from power,” thus forcing the little Asian people to say “Uncle (Sam).” And that was going on while the fork-tailed devils at the CIA and were engaging in serial regime change in the client state of South Vietnam.

    So recourse to stratagems directed at shoving “our SOB” down the throats of other political economies that are the current or upcoming targets of corporate looting, to facilitate the looting process is baked into the “thinking processes” of the looting class, and has been, see e.g. Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler’s testimony in “War Is A Racket…”

    All in pursuit of steely-eyed, square-jawed “national interest,” which included making a lot of war profiteers and corruptniks very wealthy.

    Interesting how our ruling elites have sort of insulated themselves against wildfire changes in rulers, starting with the adoption of the Constitution, but then by putting a slew-footed gerontocracy in place where any “legitimate” or single-bullet re-jiggering of the top jobs would only put a worse, less competent, more venal and deadly personage into power.

    Harris as President? Pelosi? C’mon, man!

    1. Louis Fyne

      octogenarian Patrick Leahy is next in line for succession after Pelosi

      age 79 Biden, under 65 Harris, 80 something Pelosi, 85+ Leahy.

      The US is 1970’s USSR

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well, next in line is Antony Blinken who is only a whipper-snapper of 59 years old. I can see it now – President Antony Blinken – America’s Mikhail Gorbachev.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Gorbachev at least got Raygun Ronnie to agree to the Reykjavik Accords that led for a time to a serious dialing back of the Doomsday Clock, the agreements reached were, as I recall it, based on “trust but verify,” which was I think an approach that was initiated by the Soviets, not Raygun Ronnie and his speechwriters.

          We should all be thankful that Reagan was a science-fiction aficionado, to the extent that he could agree to “pause the arms race” at least, in the event of an alien invasion:

          And now the world is under the guns of a gerontocracy that because of the John Boltons, Blinkens and other monsters (all heirs to the Dulles Boys’ Theory Of Full Spectrum Power) has proven, again and again, abetted by the institutionalized duplicity and evil of the Three-Letter Agencies, the MICC, and the corporate interests behind them, to be “not agreement-capable.”

          So no possibility of “trust,” and a security state apparatus that ensures evil will continue behind any screens of “honor,” so verification is an impossibility too. Game, set, match to the Rapturists and Game of Risk(TM) players who appear to be driving the juggernaut…

          1. TimH

            Reagan also ratified the UN Convention against Torture… not that it constrained many successive US presidents.

    2. Carolinian

      You do wonder how much longer the MSM can stick with gaffe-o-matic Joe. His leader of the free world trip to Europe seems to have been a flop.

      There was a “Vietnam syndrome” for awhile after the ’60s and all that rebellion produced some good movies in the ’70s. But instead of a promised political revolution we got Disco and Star Wars.

      1. griffen

        Speaking of films, on CBS this morning, they did an overview of the 50th anniversary for The Godfather. I had no clue that Brando was younger than 50 when portraying the Don. And I think it was here in the last few weeks, an article interviewed Pacino discussing the same topic and how Coppola had to fight for Pacino to be in the film.

        Unfortunate finding from this morning, Talia Shire was related to Coppola (his sister maybe). I like her much better in the Rocky films. And Sonny aka James Caan is beginning to show his advanced age.

        These films are turning 50 a few mere months before I get my turn! If my recall is correct, the film Deliverance was also released in 1972. Banjo music was never quite the same experience in a canoe or a kayak.

        1. Carolinian

          Talia Shire is his sister. His father, once a member of the NY based NBC orchestra, worked on the score for several of his produced or directed movies. And of course his daughter Sofia is now a director herself. Nicholas Cage–ne Coppola–is his nephew. It’s a real movie dynasty.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        These are Shrub-esque gaffes. The msm loved Shrub and is as stupid and venal as Biden. My suspicion is this line was cooked up by the WH political team after vetting by foreign policy, hence the immediate walk back by fp types, to please the msm.

        I don’t like gaffes as it was the punctuation at the end of an aggressive speech.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        You do wonder how much longer the MSM can stick with gaffe-o-matic Joe.

        Could be way too long, since there seems to be a never ending supply of prostitute “journalists” willing to put their names on cognitively dissonant crap like Tom Nichols in the atlantic article, “Biden’s Comments About Putin Were an Unforced Error.”

        It is hard to blame Biden for giving in to his famous temper after talking to the people who have suffered from Putin’s barbarism. But the words of every world leader matter right now, and none more than those of the president of the United States. We should now let his remark pass for what it was—an outburst—and get back to helping Ukraine save its independence.

        It seems there’s an ample supply of “journalists” out there who will find someone else to blame if, in a fit of his famous pique, biden pushes the big red button.

      4. Mikel

        “But instead of a promised political revolution we got Disco and Star Wars.”

        If nothing else, “disco” wasn’t without its socio-political messages.
        The 70s band Chic had a song called “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).
        Around 1969, there was a Sydey Pollack film called, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” It was set in the era of the Great Depression. Dance contests with big money prizes had gained popularity. People competed in seemingly endless, last man/woman standing contests to the point where there were deaths from exhaustion, etc. That was the level of desperation. In the movie, there’s an MC of one of the contests who shouts “Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah” to keep the show going.
        Nike Rodgers used that refrain in his song saying, “Dance, Dance, Dance was all about the Great Depression….”.
        And a biographer added: “By using the central refrain from the film, it could prove a slyly ironic commentary on the current dance boom, where the ostensible optimism masked a country in doubt and decline.”

        Then there’s “Saturday Night Fever.” Take another look at the film. It’s climatic moment includes a dance contest and seldom to people talk about what happened at that contest. The movie was about way more than disco. There are the conversations with the brother of Tony, a priest who has lost his faith. The ending explores the character learning a new way to relate to women…lots of things to unpack.

        1. fringe element

          SNL is an honest movie about class. It is full of heartbreaking characters desperate to escape the circumstances they find themselves trapped in.

          Come to think of it, a lot of dance movies tend to be about class like Dirty Dancing or Strictly Ballroom.

          Dance seems to operate as a metaphor for working class conditions where work is physical, contrasted with the world these characters are excluded from which are clubs of insiders.

          It reminds me of an astonishing video I saw of Hillary complaining that Bernie never worked before he entered politics. Turns out, Bernie had plenty of jobs before he entered politics, but they were working class jobs stocking groceries or driving delivery vans. To Hillary, that was not real work and those were not real jobs.

          1. Mikel

            Race, class, gender relations, religion and family are touched upon in SNF.

            Also, Flashdance…the female welder with the dream of dancing professionally and the more wealthy love interest.
            However, there is that 70s realism, movie grit in Saturday Night Fever. The romanticism and fantasy is more prelevant in the 80s dance movies.

  9. Steve H.

    > Wonder, Hungry Wolves, and the Whimsy of Resilience: Arthur Rackham’s Haunting 1920 Illustrations for Irish Fairy Tales The Maginalian

    Wonderful in itself, and full of wonders. I fell in love with thick inking whilst meandering through the Dover catalog in my youth, in my transition to this wordly world. The magic of ordering, through the mail, and receiving tales full of art, at a price a child could conjur, only the third package on the doorstep, subsequent to the Classics Illustrated comic books, and the Banana Splits secret metric coding (Na na na, Nana na na, Na na na, Na na na-na!)

    Likewise are linky breadcrumbs here, to trek and touch, splendid amalgams, one of which led to the answer to a Very Important Question lately considered here, the faerie trap of Tom Bombadil.

    Three times I failed to negotiate the other side of his lands, thrice-thwarted, tome laid down in consternation. Not until I heard Tolkien reading did I realize his work emerged from a vocal tradition. Cadence in hand, the family read around the firepit and persevered, and finally strode back on the road that goes ever on.

    I particularly felt Tolkien’s rendition of Sam Gamgee’s ‘Troll‘, tho I caution he changed the words from ‘shinbone’ to ‘carcass’. One must be circumspect when altering the masters.

    1. Señor Dingdong

      Looking at the Rackham art reminded me of work by James Jean. Anyone that enjoys these might be interested in Jean’s work on the Fables comic from several years back (you can probably duck-duck-go “James Jean” and “Fables covers” and get plenty of examples). Jean was a God when I was in art school. Check out the comic itself too.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Italy is already experiencing serious problems and nearly 100,000 Italian farms are on the verge of closure. Can you imagine that? Food shortages and yet you can see 100,000 farms just sitting there idle. If Italy was smart, they would be preparing legislation so that they could at short notice ban the export of any food from their country. Brussels would probably scream like a stuck pig about that one but so what-

  10. griffen

    I see that actor and humanitarian Sean Penn is upping his game for tonight’s broadcast of the Oscars. It is curious to note, that both smelt and smug begin with the same two letters.

    Smug. The good think of Hollywood elite can be just so, off putting.

          1. Alex Cox

            If you scroll down there’s another cartoon, The Pursuit of Happiness, equally good. ‘Hardyhatludgwig’. What a great animator. Sean Penn should give him his Oscar.

        1. QuicksilverMessenger

          Somehow perfectly matched with the poignant Yann Tiersen piece of music from the movie Amelie

    1. Dalepues

      The Academy Awards is a reunion of actors, so perhaps
      the Academy feels that Zelensky really is one of them.
      And competing headlines:
      Newsweek: Thousands sign petition seeking Nobel…for Zelensky
      Yahoo News: Zelensky steps us call for more Western weaponry

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      During zelensky’s please-start-world-war-3-for-me zoom tour of world power, he invoked Winston Churchill in England, MLK in Washington, and the holocaust in israel.

      What hollywood icon will he invoke during the annual extravaganza in which the american fake “reality” industry exalts itself? My guess would be John Wayne or Rocky Balboa.

        1. ambrit

          Harvey Weinstein
          Nice stealth reference to Tom of Finland there sweet cheeks.
          I’ll venture that ‘Z’ refers to Ronnie Reagan in his speech. An actor and previous American President who also tirelessly shilled for his masters.

    3. fresno dan

      imagine if plumbers had a trade show called The Wrenches or even doctors had one called The Exams – would anyone watch? What is actually amazing to me is that people have continued to watch the Oscars – 80 years ago the entertainment options were fewer, but nowadays you can see on the innertubes 24/7 beautiful people wearing nice clothes (and you know what? Most actors are not exceptionally good looking)
      I’m not going to say every actor is an extreme narcissist, but many are. And with modern media saturation, where so many mass and social media platforms need filling, actors help fill up the voaracious void. But I imagine for every fleeting and insubstantial consiousness Penn raises in support of Ukraine, there will be an equal number repelled because they don’t like Penn.

      1. griffen

        Doctors. I was driving through the nearby city mid-day Saturday, and a billboard was advertising for a safe and effective colonoscopy. I write this with nary a hint of sarcasm.

        There’s a topic for the streaming services. Dead end doctors. Here’s how you can avoid these mistakes and get a truly clean health check up. See where our camera angles turn up on next week’s episode.

    4. Kouros

      Neutral Austria has refused to listen to Zelensky… It would have been to one sided speech… especially for a neutral country as Austria.

      1. flora

        Well, Austria’s earlier pol Kurt Waldheim, iron cross 2nd class, and all that. Austria is neutral now. / ;)

  11. Lena

    Two thoughts this morning (that’s all I’ve got):

    Elites hate masks because they spend so much *family blogging* money on their dental work. Please look into the camera and say “Chiclets”.

    Elites use the word “God” in expressions when they want to exert the infallibility of their opinions. As my grandmother would say, “Call on someone you know better.”

    1. flora

      Ha! As Brett and Heather say in a recent Darkhorse podcast, “We have an epidemic of sophistry.” (among the elites and the PMC)

  12. Wukchumni

    Justice Thomas Ruled on Election Cases. Should His Wife’s Texts Have Stopped Him? NYT

    Ginni Thomas bears amazing resemblance to Jeopardy champion Amy Schneider, and you know how much the far right despises trans people…

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: BBC claims Ukrainian nazis are exaggerated – but shows video of Bowen with nazi unit”

    This is one turd that no matter how hard you polish it, is still a turd. Rumour has it that in the early-1930s, that Jeremy Bowen’s grandfather was reporting from the streets of Berlin on Pathé Newsreels and denying that the Nazis had any influence in the new government – while a motorcade of SS troops were rolling behind him.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well, if you go into her family tree, you come across ‘American-born Mary Ladson Robertson (1883–1960), who belonged to a prominent planter family from South Carolina.’

    1. JohnA

      Well Bowen used to be the BBC Middle East correspondent and he was forever skipping over Israeli crimes and ill treatment of Palestinians and other Arabs. Goes with the territory at the bbc

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘In what he was later to describe as the pivotal moment of his life, a colleague and friend was killed on 23 May 2000 in Lebanon. This took place while Bowen was covering the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) pullout from Lebanon: Bowen’s car came under tank fire from the IDF and his “fixer” and driver was killed.’

        I guess that he got their message.

      1. happy bubbles

        Speaking of the Atlantic Council, need a good dose of American propaganda? Then listen to NPR (National Public Radio).

        1. Thistlebreath

          National Petroleum Radio.

          Am now abashed that I ever worked for them.

          Tokyo Rose had better delivery and writers.

  14. Young

    Who leads WH correction team? He/she must be on duty 24/7.

    JB: “Launch”

    Stratejic Command: “Does he REALLY mean it?”

    Jen: “He meant ‘Let`s go to lunch`”

  15. Objective Ace

    >President Joe Biden to propose new 20% minimum billionaire tax

    This is a strawman. Billionaires dont make money off income. They spend millions of dollars on accountants to ensure that. Their wealth is built from building, gathering, and hoarding assets. As long as they dont sell (and why would they — they can borrow hundreds of millions of dollars against them at absurdly low interest rates) they dont have income.

    Get rid of the borrowing against assets loophole and rebasing the value of wealth upon death so it passes on to kin tax free if you want to put some real pain in billionaires. They still wouldnt pay taxes on the majority of their wealth until their death, but at least every time they buy a helicopter or mega mansion they’ll have to pay taxes like us regular folk

    1. The Rev Kev

      Has he asked the Parliamentarian if this will be legal? Or how about President Manchin? Doesn’t matter as because of the Ukraine, any action will be pushed passed the midterms. And after that, it won’t really matter.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s the kind of thing for the choir to say in response to the tweet shared by one of the union organizers listing Joe’s perfidy. The highway reauthorization bill wasn’t the hit they expected. Transportation Secretary Guaido has disappeared again.

    2. Glen

      Agree, not only does this law have loopholes large enough to drive a substantial tax haven state/country through, but assuming a billionaire screws up and gets taxed (track this by watching large accounting firms getting fired), the rates are ludicrous. 20%? I though this guy is the second coming of FDR!

      When Income Was Taxed at 94%: How FDR Tackled Debt and Reckless Republicans

      War in Ukraine? How’s Nancy going to pay for that? And will President Manchin allow it?

  16. JTMcPhee

    In relation to another post I submitted earlier, I just came across this little trip down memory lane, guided by John Pilger, showing how the US “remembered the Afghan women and girls” by engineering the overthrow of an actually beneficial (to the mopes of Afghanistan) national government in Afghanistan:
    “The Great Game of Nation Smashing,”

    And now there’s a whole host of other nations on the CIA/State/MICC targets list, as the race to grab and extract the last bits of the world’s “resources” plays out.

    I recently read John leCarre’s “Silverview,” a smooth depiction of the current and final state of corruption of the British secret squirrel apparatus, MI5 and 6, now reduced to a private club for the worst products of the English public schools and old school ties, all hiding behind a screen of “patriotism.”

    And in that same time i came across Scott Ritter, who knows where the skeletons are buried, and offers that based on his experiences in multiple domains, the CIA is a similarly isolated and insulated corrupt monster. I think this is an exact quote: “The CIA breaks everything it touches.” So the CIA people hire on the al Quaeda and related terrorists to further one set of stratagems, debase public discourse (“We will know our program of disinformation is complete when nothing the American public believes is true”) and Operation Mockingbird which the CIA brags about publicly, and on and on. And these people, not even close to “Smiley’s People” loyalties, are driving events in furtherance of some undefined but (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, ya know what I mean) inchoate “national interest.”

    Do the CIA guys and gals have an algorithm that informs them how close they can come in pushing Russia and China leadership toward nuclear war, stopping, of course, just short of launching the lot? Be nice if they would publish it for the rest of us to judge.

    One thing that has made me very nervous is the surfaced but quickly submerged story reporting from open-source tracking of aircraft flights, showing a week or so ago that most of the Russian aircraft dedicated to preserving “continuity of government” all picked up their landing gear in the same short period and flew off from the major cities and government centers to someplace in the Russian East. Maybe that was just some ill-informed scare piece, reasonably discounted, but… This at the same time that Shoigu and other important Russian leaders kind of disappeared for a while… I bet if OUR Holy Patriotic Geriatric Idiot Rulers did any such thing, the Russian and Chinese and Israeli nukular forces would be at DEFCON One “tout de suite” and the US ruling cabal would be in the deep shelters with their Aryan Mädchen and vats of caviar with toast points and capers…

    I’m sure I am just being paranoid here, impossible that our rulers and sneaky-Petes could possibly be thinking that they could “fight and win a nuclear war with the Soviet Union Russian Federation…”

    1. RobertC

      Early February Russian bombers fly over Belarus amid Ukraine tensions Russia has sent a pair of long-range nuclear-capable bombers on patrol over its ally Belarus amid spiraling tensions over Ukraine

      The Russian Defense Ministry said the two Tu-22M3 bombers practiced interacting with the Belarusian air force and air defense during a four-hour mission. The flight followed several similar patrols over Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north.

  17. dougie

    RE:Sauron, Dark Lord of Mordor and Lord of the Rings Star, Dead at… Hoo Boy

    A fun parlor game for Tolkien fans! Assume that Sauron has reincarnated as Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk is the head Ringwraith. That leaves 8 more spots open……..

    1. griffen

      So many choices to make. Peter Thiel…Bill Gates…Zuckerberg…Any corporate executive whose mantra is don’t be evil but whose actions don’t really adhere to such a claimed mantra.

      Someone has to be appointed to play Gollum/Smeagol. Who amongst our celebrated and venerated is worthy to hold that honor?!?

      1. Steve H.

        Only one is worthy of this great commission, the one who had the precious and lost it, and has ever, ever sought it since:

        Hillary Rodham Clinton.

        1. griffen

          I suppose that would also make Trump to be the fictional hobbit, Bilbo Baggins? As clearly we all know, Baggins confronted and evaded the creature known as Gollum by a matching of wits.

          HRC. Must have the precious. Hobbits are tricksy, false. Taking this just one step further, Rudy Guliani in his older age as a lawyer resembles oddly enough a Samwise.

  18. Nikkikat

    I know everyone here believes Joe Biden is going to start taxing billionaires. Lol, Good old Joe fighting for the little people. This will make us all feel better while standing in the bread line.

    1. jr

      That assumes there will be breadlines…what if there isn’t any bread to be had? Pigeon lines? Rat lines?

    2. Maritimer

      Joe: “If we Dems win the election this fall, I will then pass this tax on billionaires.”

      After the election, fogedaboutit.

  19. digi_owl

    A fake smile is done with the mouth, a genuine one is done with the eyes, or some such. The mask makes them unable to fake it.

    And i have long felt that USA as a culture runs on rampant hypocrisy, where faking friendliness and a positive attitude is at the forefront. But that is perhaps the Scandinavian in me talking.

    Anyways, that has to be the best antidote in a long time. Just so damned sad that with them being predators, we humans are in direct competition.

    1. Louis Fyne

      I have a Hungarian-American friend who says the same exact thing re. fake friendliness and Potemkin Village positivity

      It is a reasonable conclusion…at least in my neck of the woods.

    2. Mikel

      It’s scary how much can be read about a person through their eyes. My eye doctor once told me how he saved a man from a heart attack by insisting he go get a check up based on what he saw from doing a routine eye exam.

      1. MT_Wild

        Best friend is an eye doctor. He has done the same for a patient as well.

        I am a firm believer in the idea behind “crazy eyes”. Asian concept, maybe Japanese? You know it when you see it.

      2. Lena

        Routine eye exams can also detect possible brain tumors, diabetes, leukemia and multiple sclerosis. Eyes are a window into the body as well as the soul.

        1. digi_owl

          Well from watching medical shows, a typical test for brain damage is to flash a bright light in the patient’s eye. A slow or no response would mean a problem with the gray matter.

          As for the rest, i guess it comes down to being able to observe the blood circulating behind the retina. Something similar is being attempted with smart watches, by shining a light through the wrist.

          1. Gc54

            Yes, high speed video record is analysed for frequency content. Many arrhythmias can be detected easily at rest and during moderate exercise. Correlate w ECG and eye jitter. Amazingly sensitive to many abnormal conditions.

  20. Tom Stone

    A few points that seem to have been lost in the noise.

    1) the sanctions on Russia were decided upon and implemented by the White House without any consultation with any other part of the US Government or any of the US Empire’s vassal States.

    2) these Sanctions are unprecedented, they are in violation of International Law and are an act of War.
    We are at war with Russia.

    3) No consideration whatsoever was given to the consequences of these sanctions.

    4) The United State’s policy in regard to the use of Nuclear Weapons changed last week, after decades of a policy where the US pledged to only use nukes ( Again) in retaliation to another Nations use of nukes, the US now states that it will use Nukes in response to a Conventional,Chemical, Biological or Cyber attack on the US or its allies if it feels sufficiently threatened.

    This change in Nuclear policy makes it clear that the White House is actively considering the use of tactical Nuclear weapons as a means of intimidating Russia.

    I respectfully suggest that it is time for our Oligarchs to remove Brandon from office before he destroys their investments.
    And the Human Race.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      well put Tom. I am wondering if the goal of the new coalition of the willing is to put Washington, DC, out of business before it can do more harm. The coalition now has members in every country of earth afraid of the next order coming from behind the Dark Gate by a very dark lord.

    2. digi_owl

      Cyber attack

      How will they tell that from some random kiddos screwing around like Anonymous?

      Will Beijing get glassed the next time the TLAs proclaim some ransomware being the job of Unit 61398?

  21. steve

    Frankly, we do give a damn: improving patient outcomes with swearing. Archives of Physiotherapy

    “…we don’t yet know the mechanism by which swearing works.” lets hope it stays that way.

  22. ddt

    Did Joe give that little girl’s pigtails a sniff? She looks like she’s politely trying to find a parent to get away…

    1. Aaron212

      I’m sure it’s difficult to sniff women and young children’s hair with that pesky mask on.

  23. Acacia

    President Biden demonstrates proper masking technique in the presence of children

    Mask down so Brandon can sniff kids’ hair again?

    1. jr

      I came across a video of Biden with those children, I believe it was the same young girl, where he declares he would love to take her home with him. I can imagine how this was received. He then goes on to state that he has four grandchildren and that they all love him. When you have to say it…

  24. judy2shoes

    re: Sweden’s pandemic response
    I ran across this tweet thread this morning:

    Some have wondered if this study, “Evaluation of science advice during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden” was correct in saying many elderly people were given morphine instead of oxygen.

    Reading the thread was sickening enough, and then I started reading the Nature article. I had to stop. I am having difficulty trying to process what was done to the elderly.


    1. John Beech

      What was done to the elderly (and vulnerable) resulted in removing them from the roles of SS and Medicare/Medicaid. Cold blooded cost reduction, in my opinion. Don’t believe this was any consideration? Whip off those rose colored glasses and take another look using mathematics as the metric.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      The way Western governments are using Covid is called Eugenics – the killing of the disabled, elderly and racial minorities.
      I don’t know whether this is opportunistic or planned.
      Two years ago I would not have even entertained the thought that “democratic” governments would go down the road of democide. But the evidence just keeps piling up.

  25. The Rev Kev

    ‘Yellow states have sanctioned Russia, gray have not. Nearly the entire Global South hasn’t sanctioned Russia and their condemnation likely isn’t coming any time soon. Vast majority of the Indo-Pacific is included in this group.’

    Notice how all the yellow-coloured countries on that map are the ones sucking in the resources from the rest of the world? In a multi-polar world, the grey ones might actually have a choice in getting financing and new markets that don’t leave their populations on the verge of impoverishment courtesy of organizations like the IMF. Maybe that is why they are not so enthusiastic about the west as they are part of the rest.

    1. digi_owl

      That said, going with China may have its own issues.

      I keep hearing about eastern EU members getting into a bind where they take a loan from China to finance some project or other. And then have to go beg EU to bail them out or else China will foreclose and thus own whatever the loan was used for.

          1. RobertC

            China’s Upstream Advantage in the Great Himalayan Watershed

            The four-character Chinese idiom “benefiting from the gifts of nature” (de tian du hou) captures China’s riparian advantage in the great Himalayan watershed. In Mother Nature’s luck of the draw, China is the big winner; many of the largest rivers in the Himalayan watershed originate in the glaciers of Tibet. The Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Brahmaputra, Salween, Sutlej, and Indus rivers provide water to 1.5 billion people from the mountains in Tibet down to deltas in Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Vietnam. As the upstream power, China has the ability to control the quality and flow of water that reaches its downstream neighbors.

  26. ChrisRUEcon


    “It has occurred to me that one more reason elites hate masks is that they interfere with their photo ops.”

    Too right.

    Oh, and about ya boy, Chef José Andrés (via #Twitter) …

    Every time this guy gets good press all I can remember is that he fought against raising the minimum wage at restaurants.— Tiresias, the Blind Seer of Thebes (@jedgarnaut) March 26, 2022


  27. t

    “….and would have started in, say, 2017 if Clinton the candidate had lived up to expectations).”

    Just a thanks for this. Amazed and annoyed every day that this never comes up.

    1. digi_owl

      Because democrats good, republicans (and especially orange man) BAD!!!. /s

      At this point one may wonder if Obamacare was a distraction they knew would not survive congress. But between that and “black man as president, WOHO!!!”, they got 8 years to set the stage for a “gentler” war and play with all those toys that Bush procured.

    2. Geo

      She was really ahead of the curve on the warmongering rhetoric of today:

      “Hillary Clinton says Putin’s actions are like ‘what Hitler did back in the ’30s’” – from 2014

      “Clinton’s plans for no-fly zones in Syria could provoke US-Russia conflict” from 2016

  28. Mikel

    “Flight attendants caught in middle again amid ‘dangerous’ debate over masks on planes” Yahoo

    Talk about canaries in the coal mines!

    1. Daryl

      > “It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do,” a group of CEOs from all major airlines stated in a letter to President Biden.

      Well, the CEOs have a point there although for the wrong reasons.

      About 80% of my illnesses ever have been caught while travelling. (Perhaps at the airport rather than on the airplanes — I’ve no way of knowing). The airlines motivations are unclear to me — do they think ending these will improve their bottom line? Seems similar to the mayor of NYC begging people to come back into work when a certain percentage of the population has simply altered their behavior, perhaps permanently. And outside of NC the role of global travel in the spread of this and other illness has gone largely unremarked that I’ve seen.

      1. Mikel

        “Perhaps at the airport rather than on the airplanes — I’ve no way of knowing…”

        Goes back to the reluctance to discuss aerosals and the spread of various diseases. I have more suspicions about the airports now too. No windows, the toilets flushing constantly and automatically with no lids, the blow drying hand dryers, and no doors on restrooms at most airports because of the passengers with luggage.

      2. Yves Smith

        Despite upper middle class beliefs otherwise, no one needs to go to a restaurant. You can take out. Or (gasp!) cook.

        People sometimes really do need to travel. Medical (a friend flew across the US because the best surgeon for her brain tumor was on the other coast), weddings, some business (you really do need to visit non HQ ops in person now and again, important customers expect to have their ring kissed once in a while…)

  29. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    Derek J. Grossman

    “Yellow states have sanctioned Russia, gray have not. Nearly the entire Global South hasn’t sanctioned Russia and their condemnation likely isn’t coming any time soon. Vast majority of the Indo-Pacific is included in this group.”

    It must be sheer ‘coincidence’ to note that the present situation, alluded to as above, might somehow be associated with a long history of global interventions , meddling, and regime change, in the following manner; which, according to the historical record assumes the following character:

    “Why does a strong nation strike against a weaker one? Usually because it seeks to impose its ideology, increase its power, or gain control of valuable resources. Shifting combinations of these three factors motivated the United States as it extended its global reach over the past century and more. This book examines the most direct form of American intervention, the overthrow of foreign governments.”

    “Author Kinzer Charts ‘Century of Regime Change’ ”

    Or, for those individuals that would prefer watching instead of reading:

    “Overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba”

    Noting that, pretending to be somehow unaware of past misdeeds does not alter that same past reality of ‘what was’, because it further appears that the past ‘once what was’ also determines the present ‘what is’, as cause and effect, or so it appears to be the case.

    Further noting, that it is somewhat ‘quaint’ that in what should be, an age of awareness, highly impermanent blobs of conscious matter extended in space and time are still seeking dominance and control by fighting and dying over pieces of dirt and those opposing ideologies that direct the affairs of the larger (national or state) tribal populations. But, it could not be any other way if belief systems determine, direct, and shape behavior and where “the dominant analytic framework for explaining international relations today is realism.” Because, “This theory assumes that all countries are the same: unitary actors seeking to maximize their power or security through rational calculations in an anarchic world. The only thing that matters in the world is power — both the power of individual countries and the balance of power among them.”

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Why Aren’t We Hearing More Calls for Diplomacy to End War in Ukraine?”

    Because there will be no diplomacy. There is no plan for it. That is why Blinken has not called Lavrov for the past seven weeks. All they are doing is pumping as many weapons as they can into the Ukraine, aka cannon-fodder central, to kill as many Russians as they can. If the Russians were in the Ukraine for 20 years and the place ended up like Libya, they would love it. In the old days you would have the SecState flying from one capital to another trying to negotiate a cease-fire but that is the last thing wanted here. Now? You have the President making belligerent statements and calling for regime change. If there were any US negotiations, it would start with Washington telling Putin that he has to withdraw all his forces immediately, turn over for prosecution all officers accused of war crimes, and then pay the Ukraine reparations for all the damage that was done. And that is before negotiations start.

    And Putin? He ain’t going anywhere. His popularity has actually increased. Was it because of the war? I don’t think so. But the average Russian can see that the west has actually declared war on the Russian people themselves. Ordinary westerners have sought to cancel Russian culture as Putin said and want to see the whole country collapse. So the Russians know that the mask has dropped and that they are in an existential fight for their country and their culture. All illusions have dropped about becoming part of Europe and as far as they are concerned, Europe can go freeze this winter for all they care. I suppose in some ways, it is like how America came together in December of ’41 and now their blood is up. Their military is actually having to turn away volunteers. The Saker has said that videos like the following are popular on social media there which shows their pride in themselves and their armed forces- (4:26 mins)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden needs a win, and too much of base is convinced Mother was denied by Putin. With the stated war aims of Russia being close to achieved sans denazify which is too vague to mean anything, he can’t really win except by continuing the struggle and hope people get bored.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if his speech was vetted but people like Neera were pitching on a campaign message and Biden decided to add the part the White House had to walk back. The US doesn’t listen to other countries, so it’s hard for DC elites to conceive what Biden said was a disaster for international relations going forward.

      1. Polar Socialist

        sans denazify which is too vague to mean anything

        It was actually defined pretty well in recent resolution adopted by the
        UN General Assembly. It has stuff like

        “any commemorative celebration of the Nazi regime, its allies and related
        organizations, whether official or unofficial, should be prohibited” by States


        Encourages States to take appropriate concrete measures, including legislative and educational ones, in accordance with their international human rights obligations, in order to prevent revisionism in respect of the Second World War and the denial of the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Second World War;

        and so on. If a country implements the resolution in it’s legislation, this would certainly be called denazification.

        Also, after 8 years of civil war, many of the Ukrainian nazis are know by name – they have not been hiding. The Donbass Telegram channels seem to have a constant stream of announcements about yet another azovian, aidarian, pravyi sectorian or other having “gone to meet Bandera”.

        1. Objective Ace

          I’d love to see a lawyer try to deconstruct what “commemorative celebration” means and exactly what constitutes an ally, related organization etc.

          You are calling Ukranians alive today Nazis, but as far as I know the actual Nazi regime collapsed in the 1940s. At best what these Ukranians are doing are celebrating the Nazi regime — unclear to me if thats the same thing as “commemorative celebrating”.. as NTG noted: vague

          1. Harold

            Celebrating the Nazi regime means exactly the same thing as a “commemorative celebration” [of the Nazi regime].

            Didn’t Ukraine pass a law that denying that Bandera was a hero was to be a criminal offence. Weren’t stamps issued in his honor and a national Bandera day proclaimed and his birthday honored with torchlight parades? Wasn’t a 60′ statute of him erected of him in Liv’v (two previous ones having been blown up by persons unknown).

          2. Lex

            In 1941 when the Wehrmacht arrived in “Ukraine” (the western oblasts and ethnic Ukrainian homeland were part of Poland at the time), Bandera declared an independent Ukrainian ethno-state which pledged fealty to Hitler. Not Germany, Hitler personally. Is there a transitive property of Nazism?

      2. Zephyrum

        The PMC dems I know loved that part of Biden’s speech. It’s terrible international relations, and it may not bring in new votes, but it sure plays to the choir.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      Even the Western “doves” who want a negotiated solution tend to propose absurd things like giving Russia nothing more than the concession of no NATO membership for Ukraine but at the same time giving Ukraine a binding security guarantee with peacekeepers on Ukraine’s eastern border. Some even suggest that the border regions on Russia’s side should also be demilitarized. How that isn’t functionally even a worse deal for Russia than NATO membership, I don’t know. As you might expect these “doves” also generally want to hand the Donbass back to Ukraine & at best want to delay resolution of the Crimea issue, at worst want Crimea to be demilitarized, or put on a timetable to return to Ukraine. Needless to say, if this is what even the “reasonable” analysts want, there’s no chance of any Western-mediated diplomatic settlement.

    3. Soredemos

      There will be diplomacy, as in Russia will gets its demands met. It’s just a matter of now or later. If they have to go all the way to Kiev and install a puppet government, that’s what they’ll do. But unless NATO is willing to escalate into open confrontation, how this war ends is already a foregone conclusion.

    4. Tom Denman

      As President Biden aptly observed long ago, “in Washington, D.C., a gaffe is when you tell the truth.” In 2016, Fiona Hill effectively corroborated the proposition that regime change in Moscow is the intention of the foreign policy establishment when she wrote that western state funded “organizations that promote political and economic transformations in Russia” are “from Putin’s perspective…just a cover for regime change.” [1]

      Similarly Mr. Blinken, in attempting to walk the President’s remarks back, claimed that “we do not have a strategy of regime change in Russia, or anywhere else” implicitly confirmed that regime change in Russia is in fact Washington’s objective, given that regime change has been or presently is its aim in Iraq, Syria and Libya, for example.

      The breathtaking hubris and stupidity of our ruling class will likely get us all killed.


    5. Henry Moon Pie

      The diplomacy is all going on in Beijing. Nation after nation has come there while China’s foreign minister has been going all over. China will end up being the mediator. They are the only party who can. The time will come when the Europeans will be begging for China to step in, and the U. S. may stand on the sidelines screaming, but what can they do if the Ukrainians take that out? And Putin will have to accept the result.

      The U. S. isn’t engaging in diplomacy because they are one of the combatants. The mantle is worn by the Chinese now.

    6. Robin Kash

      I wonder if the Biden people are hoping for a replay of gulling the USSR into a prolonged war in Afghanistan–which contributed to its collapse.
      By keeping the war going as long as the US can keep Ukrainians dying, they imagine regime change will come. Putin will be out. A Yeltsen redux will be in. And another ’90s Russia-rush will commence.

  31. Ed Miller

    Three Months in Web3 – humbly submitted

    I may be an idiot here regarding digital currencies and NFTs, not really knowing much but seeing hype all over the place, but I sense that this whole area is comparable to the long-ago Dutch tulip bulb frenzy. The difference is that lack of actual tulips. NFTs are just an illusion you can see only figuratively. Nothing of value in the real world, except for when some can convert into real properties in the physical world. Just digital “reality”.

    1. jr

      Recently got into a spat with someone online about “digital land”. I was told I was old and out of touch, that I didn’t grasp the value of owning “digital land”. One voice opined that in the decades ahead, as the climate becomes harsher and harsher, people will be forced to live online and owning “digital land” is an investment to ward against that time.

      I countered that with climate disaster comes political instability as well as infrastructure degradation. What happens to your “digital land” when the lights won’t come on anymore? This point was met with derision until I pointed out the blackouts in Texas last winter that resulted in who knows how many people losing their power.


  32. Randy

    Fertilizer and weed killer prices are rising. Oh no!

    Does this mean that:

    1. Farmers (industrial commodity producers) in the Mississippi watershed will have to be more judicious in the application of nutrients thus shrinking the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico?

    2. Wheat and oat farmers won’t be able to push the “Easy” button by spraying their crop with Roundup just before harvest to remove the difficulty of timing their harvest with weather conditions?

    3. Items in the middle aisles of the grocery store will rise in price making them less competitive with more healthy items and maybe reducing our obesity epedimic?

    4. People will have to get off their fat asses and get out into the yard, do some work and heaven forbid grow some of their own food? Victory gardens anyone?

    5. “Farmers” will have to downsize and diversify their operations back to the old days when farms were smaller, animals were raised on pastures that were fertilized with manure and then rotated with crop producing fields thus reducing fertilizer expense?

    6. The price of corn based ethanol will rise and the policy of using food to produce fuel decided to be stupid?

    7. We will be forced to conserve food (eat less), thus lose weight (see obesity epidemic above).

    These are just a few things that came to mind without too much thought.

    My apple trees are 45 years old, produce apples every year and have never been fertilized.

    1. Alex Cox

      Excellent observations, Randy. The article’s rationale is dementedly circular: we have sold farmers seeds with the Terminator Gene! So now we must sell them RoundUp!

      1. Art_DogCT

        In the immediate instance, the Doomberg author is not wrong. The monopoly infestation up and down the agriculture industry has locked many small- and medium-sized farmers into contractual limitations on the seed, fertilizer, herbicides, etc. they are able to purchase. If a wheat or corn farmer is contracted with one or another behemoth to grow this or that Round Up Ready™ seed, they are indeed between a rock and a hard place. It takes several years to transition a farm from industrial farming to something healthier for all concerned, and that’s just in terms of the horticulture and husbandry. Transitioning to a sustainable market for that produce is an enduring challenge, given the pathologies under which we all try to function.

    2. newcatty

      Please accept my offer of being honored with a title of “Randy Appleseed”. Just one thought, not all people can join the cause as far as “getting off fat asses and get out into the yard”. Reality can bite. Victory gardens are a great idea. Suffice it to say many elderly, ill or disabled people can not do gardening work. Will younger and/or able people do the work? Will they care for the others? Will the others’ contributions to a household be valued, if its things like cooking, baking, telling stories to grandchildren? All of the other items are splendid ideas. Especially, the smaller farms.

      1. Randy

        Yeah, my scenarios don’t work for everybody, especially people stuck in our concrete jungle megalopolis’s but here in flyover territory they can. I know some people who are too lazy to be more self sufficient but when you hit their wallet with higher food prices they might get more motivated.

        I have friends that want my excess vegetables. If they CAN’T grow their own I give them veggies. If they can but WON’T, I let them get their wallet out and go to the local farmers market and my local farmers market isn’t cheap thanks to the local Chamber of Commerce that runs that show (CF). Gardening done right is hard work and IMO if you are healthy, able and have some space for a garden, you are expected to help yourself with the result of your own labor, not mine.

        Randy Appleseed, LOL, I have 4 trees.

  33. Mikel

    “What a Single Metric Tells Us About the Pandemic”

    “…Others have been somewhat memory-holed, as when much of the public-health Establishment spent the fall of 2020 suggesting that herd immunity would be reached when 60 or 70 percent of the country was infected or vaccinated, a threshold we have now long since surpassed with nothing like herd immunity in sight…”

    Everybody was memory-holed before that. It was ESTABLISHED science that there is no herd immunity to coronaviruses and that anti-bodies from coronaviruses are temporary..less than a year barely more than a few months for both.
    The shots were non’sterilizing from the start.
    Herd immunity is a concept associated with sterilizing vaccines.
    People were lied to because other people wanted their money.

    So what is the real reason for these types of articles from the PMC?
    It’s subterfuge. They might throw out scraps of facts and stats, but I keep reminding myself that their overall goals and mindsets are no more different than when they were spewing lies about coronaviruses and immunity or trying to pass off the injected therapies as sterilizing vaccines.

    “Excess deaths” are the topic of disscussion. Something that has caught the attention of insurance companies.

    The article said:

    “By measuring against a baseline of expected death, excess mortality helps account for huge differences in the age structures of different countries, some of which may have many times more mortality risk than others because their populations are much older. And to the extent that the ultimate impact of the pandemic isn’t just a story about COVID-19 but also one about our responses to it — lockdowns and unemployment, suspended medical care and higher rates of alcoholism and automobile accidents — excess mortality accounts for all that, too….”

    What’s missing that is also Covid related?

  34. antidlc

    RE: The Next COVID Crisis: Funding (with Jeff Zients and Zeke Emanuel)

    I didn’t listen to the whole thing. Did Slavitt ever mention that his son suffers from long COVID?

    Son of top Biden science adviser suffers from ‘long COVID’

    Andy Slavitt, a top adviser on the coronavirus pandemic to President Biden, revealed on Tuesday that his teenage son suffers from “long COVID,” a plethora of symptoms that continue to hound people who’ve been sickened with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Some of those symptoms can persist for months, making long COVID a public health challenge even as the pandemic otherwise ebbs.

    “He is young and fit and in the prime of his life,” Slavitt said, “but six months later he still suffers from tachycardia, shortness of breath and ongoing and frequent flulike symptoms. His hands are cold to the touch.”

    1. haywood

      As always, the only hope for the rest of us* is that the rich and powerful come to suffer as we do.

      *short of Revolution, that is.

    2. Maritimer

      From this Non-Epidemiologist, Non-Scientist, I would understand that if I use Covid prophylaxis and do not get Covid, then I will not get short, medium, long or even longer Covid. The fact that the credentialed Epidemiologists, Scientists prevent me from using all available prophylaxis tells me a lot about the real agenda.

    3. Randy

      It might take a little more time but it will become apparent that our elite masters put their pants on one leg at a time and also breathe the same air the peons do. What goes around will come around for them too. They just don’t fully realize that yet.

  35. Otis B Driftwood

    The Institute for Study of War, funded by Raytheon and other defense contractors, founded and staffed by neocons, might be better named The Institute for Promoting War.

    1. Robin Kash

      Why are we getting this from this pair of AEIs? This is pretty much what is produced by MSM.
      After yesterday’s Saker and the summary by Larry Johnson, was this put in for, um, balance? Or is it a test?

  36. Jason Boxman

    Someone should record the names of all these people that are “thanking God” we’re back to normal, to check in on their long-COVID in the coming years.

  37. DAve in Austin

    Today’s NYT Ukraine story is paywalled so I can’t access it. But the NYT website has a photo from Ivor Prickett. I’d never heard his name before. Following his links I find: and

    What extraordinary photos from Mosul and the Ukraine… and everywhere. If you think the Ukraine is horrible and can’t possibly get worse, look at his Mosul pictures. They are what everyone from Putin and I hope Zelinskyy and Biden hope to avoid. Born in Cork, Ireland near where my family was from, he studied photography in Wales and became a free-lancer in London. Irish people in 1983 didn’t usually give their kids names like Ivor, so there’s probably a story there. In 2006 at 23 he went to Kosovo to take photos of the displaced Roma and never looked back. In many ways the typical catastrophe-seeker; but his is not so much an ego trip as the Way of Saint Francis of Assisi. Look at his face: This work does not come without costs. There is also a Charlie Rose interview you can look at.

    The war rolls on. It’s dawning on people that Putin has changed course. He never intended to occupy the Ukraine; he wanted to make a deal with it. That came close to happening on about the 5th day of the war but the peace was not to be. Some day we will get to read the biographies and the stories which will tell us who was responsible, why peace didn’t happen.

    Today Russian missiles attacked and apparently destroyed a fuel facility and a tank repair depot a mile from the center of L’vov, Sunday morning, probably the moment during the week when the fewest people were there.

    The Ukrainian government officials are vowing that any attempt at a “Korea solution”, a division of the Ukraine, will be followed by a Ukrainian (and American)-supported guerrilla war. I’m sure the Russian answer will be a bombing campaign like the one the American’s waged in Serbia. Turn off the lights and power. Disable the water system. Give the locals a little time freezing in the dark without toilets to think about it. Few photos for Ivor. Modern war; part slaughter, part Twitter. At least better than Mosul.

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      I’m sure the Russian answer will be a bombing campaign like the one the Americans waged in Serbia.

      Actually, I think the Russian response will be infiltration by the FSB and GRU, after which the leadership of the Ukrainian (and American)-supported guerrilla war will find themselves all rolled up in a single night and sent on a long trip to Siberia. While the tribal clans of Sunni Iraq & Pashtun Afghanistan seem to have been entirely impenetrable to American Intelligence, I suspect it will be almost impossible for the Ukrainians to keep Russian agents out of their organization.

      1. Kyle

        American patriots need to keep lists of those who are promoting nuclear war in the media, Add bonus points for supporting the losing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, round them up and hand them over to a people’s vigilante tribunal.
        Sean Hannity at Fox and most of the MSM.

      2. Ellery O'Farrell

        The Michael Collins strategy. It worked for Ireland; the Wikipedia entry isn’t all that good, but it’s a start:, starting with the “War of Independence” section. Became a bit of a Bible for outgunned revolutionaries, many of whom–including many later IRA splinter groups–disagreed with Collins’ restriction on warring only against combatants (defined to include British civil servants playing active parts, informers, and active confederates such as members of the Irish police forces who supported the British).
        (Collins is a very interesting man. He signed a treaty with Great Britain in order to secure, as he called it, a way that led to a united Ireland (including the North) though not a united Ireland. But that wasn’t what many members of the IRA had dreamed of and fought for, leading to the Irish Civil War in which Collins was killed. The Irish nevertheless approved the treaty.)
        Another item is that the British, finally getting their act together, had counter-infiltrated Collins’s organization. The result may have been that the British gave up just before they could have defeated Collins. Who knows.
        Sorry for the excursion, though it might be of interest here….

    2. KFritz

      For NYT articles, start with 2 open browsers, including Firefox. Copy and paste the web address to Firefox. Quickly click on “Edit” dropdown from the top toolbar. As soon as the print of the article appears, click on “Select All.” Then click “Copy.” In a text file, “paste”–but use unformatted text if you can. If you use plain “copy,” you’ll have a considerable wait for full download. You won’t get images in unformatted mode.

    1. ThirtyOne

      Back in the late ’90s, my anime obsession exposed me to the online culture of “face characters”.

  38. Pat

    I shouldn’t be amused, but I am. NYC mayor Adams removes the vaccine mandate for sports figures and performers. And in 1…2…3 the demands have started that if they can work then so should city workers (fire, police, mta, teachers). Not sure if he will hold on there, as I can see where that would start the demands that if the government doesn’t demand them, neither should private businesses.

    Since I think that vaccine mandates are of little use compared to masking it is one I am fine seeing end. I will continue to mask and take my D, C and zinc. But I do think the city may be in for a shock, perhaps not with BA.2, but by next fall surely.

  39. CaliDan

    >What the city of Mariupol means for Ukraine — and for Russia’s military campaign, NPR.

    The vacuity of the idiom “folding into” regarding the Azov Battalion has come to exemplify NPR these past years, I’m sad to say. I remember listening to a thoughtful piece on the passing of Antonin Scalia, which went over the allotted time and was promptly interrupted and followed by––literally––”and now, puppies.”

    But the article reminded me of one of my favorite Schitt’s Creek scenes. Man, what a good show overall. Those first two seasons were off the charts good––for those who haven’t yet seen the series, the premise centers around the misfortune of a clueless, super-elite family having to deal with poor people things. Once the show gained popularity, that wonderfully acerbic thread was almost entirely nixed and replaced by a relationship-centered fixation, which was good too, but not nearly as barbed.

  40. Tom Stone

    I’m beginning to think that the MSM has been afflicted with an epidemic of brain Hemorrhoids.

  41. BillS

    Hi all. Regarding ukraine propaganda: I watched the weekly news review on Italy’s RAI3 hosted by Massimo Gramellini “Le parole”. Lately, since the start of the “war of the two Vladimirs”, the show has generally become a pro ukraine propaganda vehicle, but yesterday they stooped to a new low when they ended the show with a “letter” from the azov battalion commander in Odessa who offered to give himself up to the russians if the russians would let the children leave Mariupol. I never expected this from a tv show dedicated to the mushy italian left (think the Italian democratic party). It was a complete “rehabilitation” of a dangerous neo nazi commander by a supposed left wing “violence is never the answer” tv personality. I almost lost my lunch and it kept me up half the night.

    Today, planted potatoes, cabbages, salad greens..also cut a few dead trees for firewood. A bit of work outside always clears my head.

  42. Soredemos

    >Re: Russia shifting strategy to focus on Donbass

    They aren’t changing strategies. The Donbass front has been the primary focus from the start.

    I have never seen propaganda like this. Not even during the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The media is openly manufacturing consent in a way I find utterly breathtaking. They’re just pretending that Russia tried to take Kiev, failed, and is now shifting to a plan B that focuses on Donbass. But as someone who has closely followed this war since day one, Russia is not changing strategies. There was never a serious effort to take Kiev; all the effort there has been on slowly expanding control around the city. All of the heaviest fighting has been in the east. The tempo of the fighting around Donbass hasn’t changed; it was the primary focus from the start.

    I suspect the media is also laying the groundwork for public acceptance of Ukrainian defeat. Now the narrative will be that the brave Ukrainian citizens successfully defended their capital, but then Ukraine was sadly overwhelmed in the field (just don’t ask why so many Ukrainian troops were on the Donbass front in the first place…).

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      The 3 above-the-fold stories on the front page of today’s NYT score the propaganda trifecta.

      Under the main title, “Rallying Allies, Biden Says Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power”

      left to right

      1. The Evolution of an Enigma: Tacing Putin’s 22-Year slide from Statesman to Wrathful Dictator (3 colum b&w photo of grim looking Putin)

      2. Signs of Persistant Counterattack Near Kyiv

      3. Fiery Statement After Visiting Refugees (with color photo of smiling Biden hoisting up an adorable little refugee girl in a pink jacket)

      Then there’s the magazine cover story about the citizens of Kyiv.

      And the cherry on top today’s edition is found in the weekly review with Hillary Clinton’s homage to fellow war criminal, Madeleine Albright.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Signs of Persistent Counterattack”

        “Signs” like the arrangement of entrails or yarrow stalks? Why not? Biden seemed to end that speech with a prayer that somebody strike Putin with lightning or something.

        It’s all getting pretty woo-woo for me. ;)

        1. Soredemos

          Ukraine has been launching counterattacks since the start of the invasion. They never achieve anything more than temporary local gains, and they’re further exhausting themselves with each attempt.

  43. dunnoaboutthat

    “It has occurred to me that one more reason elites hate masks is that they interfere with their photo ops.”
    interfere with sniffing hair too

      1. The Rev Kev

        The book was great and thoughtful. The movie was just Hollywood trash with cgi effects to cover up the badly written script.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I thought that there was a great story line in Pvt. Todd Waino who went from the Battle of Yonkers, the Battle of Hope, the march taking back America and right through to ‘The Hero City’ plus a bit about his life after.

  44. Andrea Casalotti

    Those who are wedded to the “Neo-nazi Ukranianians” meme will love this story:
    “French neo-nazi who killed Argentinian rugby star in Paris, arrested at Hungarian border as he was attempting to join Ukranian Volunteer Corps”

    What; there are neo-nazis in the French Army too? Putin needs to expand his operations (and give a hand to her stooge LePen)! But wait, isn’t LePen supported by the neo-nazis? It gets very confusing :-)

    1. Tom Stone

      There is no shortage of Neo Nazi’s anywhere.
      I encountered them in my teens in Oakland CA and as an adult doing volunteer work in the jails and prisons.

      1. Polar Socialist

        That’s the thing. They’re everywhere, and in most parts of the world they end up in prison and their organizations are banned, but in some countries they get to parade and recruit out in the open, erect memorials and name streets for their idols, be the “security force”, have their own army and write the school books.

    2. Elsie

      A whole regiment of neo-nazis with the full support of the French Government. Or just some rando in the ranks of the French military? There’s a difference, and if you don’t grasp that you might want to think it out.

        1. Soredemos

          Taleb is being weirdly dense here. The Azov Battalion are not just a thousand people. They just called themselves that when the militia was founded because they thought it was an impressive sounding title. The formal definition of battalion never had much relation to their actual membership. Furthermore, they’ve long since been integrated into the Ukrainian military, where they formed a significant part of the National Guard. Russia claims there were 14,000 of them in Mariupol at the start of the siege.

          On top of that, why is he pretending like Azov are the only Nazis in Ukraine? There are a lot of other groups as well: Aidar, Pravy Sektor, the Freikorps (yes, really), the Sons of Oden (also, yes, really), C14, Dnipro-1 and Dnipro-2. Many of these have been formally integrated as either part of the military, or as ‘Special Tasks Patrol Police’.

          These groups to a large extent formed the foundation of the reconstruction of the Ukrainian military after it was taken to pieces in 2014-15 attacking Donbass. Their influence is ubiquitous. It’s kind of hard not to notice how often Western media in Ukraine seems incapable of taking pictures of Ukrainian troops who aren’t wearing some sort of neo-Nazi emblem.

        2. Elsie

          And these units openly use and promote neo-nazi symbols with full support of their respective governments?

    3. The Rev Kev

      The French intercepted a coupla guys recently who deserted the French Foreign Legion to go to the Ukraine to fight.

    4. Soredemos

      The difference is that non-Ukrainian Neo-Nazis don’t meaningfully influence policy, and aren’t actively waging war against ethnic Russians, on Russia’s doorstep.

      Ultimately the Russian invasion of Ukraine is to stop NATO encroachment. This would be happening whether Ukraine was infested with fascists or not. But the presence of significant neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine (it isn’t a meme) makes it especially intolerable.

        1. Soredemos

          Yes, NATO shill, I’m well aware. A likely long-term Russian goal is to get all of those rolled back.

  45. KFritz

    The ISW’s daily reports don’t dovetail/match the information from their map–for at least two days running. On the map, the biggest circle by far–indicating combat–is in northeast Ukraine/north Donbas. Yet they talk as if the major Russian combat initiative is still the Kyiv front. ISW has been very factual about the fighting in Mariupol. Over the last week, I’ve inferred that expected the fighting to be over sooner than it’s happening. Ordinary readers can’t contact ISW to ask pesky questions. It would be interesting for someone in a position to do so to jerk their chain in the matter.

    1. Soredemos

      The Kiev front was never a major focus in the first place. Russia isn’t shifting their attention. This new narrative is completely at odds with the reality.

    1. RobertC

      Yep I was surprised too. But I think China is reducing its sanctions attack surface as kinda implied per Danil Bochkov Amid the Ukraine Crisis, China-Russia Economic Relations Remain Lukewarm China’s mixed signals on the Ukraine crisis extend to the economic realm, long a weak point for Sino-Russia ties. While the author has excellent credentials

      Danil Bochkov is an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council. He earned his Master of Economics at MGIMO-University under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. He also has a master’s degree in world economy from the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE, Beijing).

      I think he might be a bit alarmist.

  46. Lex

    I would post a direct link, but government websites from Russia seem to cause problems for duck duck go these days. The whole meme about Russia “reducing its goals” must be an intentional misreading of the MoD briefing it comes from. That actually said,

    We understood that a frontal assault on the Donbas grouping of the Ukrainian military would be costly and their side would be continuously resupplied from the west. So we sent groups towards the major cities to tie up Ukrainian reinforcements while we attacked their military infrastructure. They went on to say that they had no intention of storming Kiev or any major city outside the recognized republics, but that may change (Russians are so good at ominous).

    They literally answered all the questions the military “analysts” of the west were asking and were promptly ignored. The main Russian goal was to demilitarize Ukraine. Even if exaggerated, the Russian MoD figures for destroyed equipment and military infrastructure suggests that once the Donbas pocket is finished, there really won’t be a modern military left in Ukraine. And tanks aren’t the sort of thing you can resupply easily and cheaply. If the goal was to demilitarize Ukraine, Russia seems to have succeeded. Nor is there any reason to doubt their statement on operational tactics since nobody would try to capture a Capitol city with such a small force. I hope the actual US military doesn’t believe the Russians are as dumb as the media makes them out to be. What their next goal is remains to be seen. But since they’re dropping cruise missiles <100 miles from POTUS, I don’t think they’re intimidated.

    1. juno mas

      No, they are not. And the intense fighting in the strategic Mariupol is to be expected. It’s being defended by the Azov Battalion types. (They know it will be a fight to their death—no surrendering there.) Russia has the upper hand: they have a short, unfettered resupply operation for food, fuel and bombs. It will end ugly, but it will end.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Azov Battalion . . . . the TonTon Macoutes of Ukraine. Let us hope that not one single Azovazi is permitted to survive.

  47. Tom Stone

    I wonder how soon Brandon’s approval #’s will hit single digits?
    I was out and about today, regular gas at $6.05 and diesel at $6.999.
    I stopped to look in a Safeway and a Trader Joe’s without going in.
    Almost no one masked, maybe 1 out of 20.
    I did go in the main library to pick up a book on hold,maybe 20-25 people.
    I was one of three wearing a mask.
    BA.2 is here, now.
    In six weeks we’ll know how deadly it is, food prices will be noticeably higher, gas and diesel will be no lower and although I expect the situation in Ukraine to be clearer I don’t believe it will be to badass Joe’s taste.
    And it will be fire season for real in California and the southwest.

  48. drumlin woodchuckles

    . . . ” Seems like “take that mask off” is the policy goal, and forcing people to play “Russian Roulette” with Long Covid is just a bump in the road.” . . .

    My own view is that “Russian Roulette” with Long Covid is the point and purpose of “take that mask off”. The purpose is to get as many people sick as possible with long covid or delayed onset long covid so that tens of millions of people will die just before they would become eligible to recieve Social Security. The government probably feels that the savings from preventing tens of millions of people from receiving Social Security after a lifetime of paying FICA taxes will exceed the costs of caring for Long Covid people in the meantime.

    So the Oppositional and the Defiant will Keep Those Masks On. Why? Because the government told us to “take that mask off”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      “Russian Roulette”? Considering the fact that you have a one-in-three chance of getting Long Covid if infected, then that is like playing “Russian Roulette” with two bullets loaded instead of one. And you get to play to every time that you get sick. *click* *click*

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The government likes those odds. Citizens who don’t like those odds should keep that mask on.

    1. Foy

      She has recently updated the post at the bottom. Apparently Ian Kelly has since apologised: “Ms Johnstone, I regret my tweet. It was emotional and ill considered and I apologize for it…… I’m retired and I’m no longer connected to the US government”

      He has then put up a public tweet saying “Taking a needed break from social media. See you all in a few weeks.”

      Johnstone – 1
      Kelly – 0

  49. Glen

    When American culture and high tech come together to create something…

    NASA, and going to the moon!
    Whole new technology and industries!
    Free world class universities!
    A thriving middle class!
    Something? Anything?

    Well, I’d say great, but those days are sorta behind us:

    This Phone Fits in your ( * )… but WHY???

    NSFW! (And ads!?) And kinda weird! (But that describes the country I live in…)

  50. juno mas

    RE: Food and Fuel

    While rice may be a cheap and easy storage staple, here’s my thoughts on the likely scramble for food and fuel:

    – get involved with your local sustainable garden group, volunteer time as organic greens go goo with rice.

    – after you’ve learned the techniques of sustainable agriculture, dig up the backyard and start growing stuff.

    – Find a neighbor who has mature fruit trees. S/he is probably an older person who could use a younger soul to help share the harvest with. They will likely teach you valuable canning techniques.

    – While chickens are noisy and rabbits lovable, they are an easy source of protein, and should fit in the yard. Don’t be shy.

    – As for the fuel, don’t drive the car to market. Get an toting electric bike to get there. I would normally not recommend this, but there will certainly be fewer inattentive drivers on the road—so the danger declines.

    -Find a local group to share in your new found experience with the real world.


    1. ambrit

      Alas, we live in a South Mississippi ‘Festung PMC.’ Backyard chickens and rabbits are banned. As I found out, to my chagrin, working on your motorvehicle on your personal driveway is only allowed for three days. After that, you must either tow it off or build a fully enclosed garage to house it. (Must preserve those property values!) Neighbors can twitt you by complaining about your lawn care practices. Etc.
      I managed to finesse the automotive problem, so far. As is usual with Other Directed neighbors, “out of sight is out of mind.” [No more jacking the car up to work under it anywhere visible from the street.]
      Some may accuse me of being declasse. To which observation I respond that I never had any “class” to begin with.
      Stay safe! Keep wearing those masks, no matter what the “authorities” say.
      [I for one am seriously worried about the next few variants of the Sars Coronavirus. Does anyone else see the ‘relaxation’ of the Pandemic responses and thinks back to the fictional character of Milo Minderbinder from “Catch 22” and all the things he did strictly for profit?

  51. Mikel

    I went down to the kitchen for refreshments. In the living room, the Oscars were on and Chris Rock made a comment to the star studded audience to the effect of “Wow, great no masks.”
    I took a look and celebs were all smiles. During a crowd shot, caught a glimps of some production crew wearing masks.

    1. ambrit

      That was a great example of the fact that we should not take “entertainment” “celebrities” seriously at all.
      Chris Rock was good at one point, but no more. That comment was his “jumping the shark” moment.

      1. Skippy

        Face masks rob you of your atomistic individualism and brand image hence ones potential aka maximize ones utility … /S – sort of …

        1. The Rev Kev

          And what is the point of getting tens of thousands of dollars of dental work for that spectacular, class-defining smile as well as expensive Botox lips if a mask hides all that. It must be even worse for the women.

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