Links 3/4/2022

Poetry nook:

The END of ATMs in Australia? Thousands of cash machines are removed across the country as banks go digital Daily Mail


Iowa manure recycler operated without state’s permission when it leaked waste into creeks Iowa Public Radio

Farm Bureau opposes nutrient loss bill as negotiations continue Capitol News

NYS Assemblyman Patrick Burke Introduces Great Lakes Bill of Rights CELDF

The Elephant in the Courtroom The New Yorker

Nature as a Mode of Accumulation: Capitalism and the Financialization of the Earth Monthly Review. Stylistically leaden, analytically well worth a read. “The project is a mad endeavor to create the institutional certainties of a smoothly-trading market where no such certainty is to be had.”


In Missouri, CDC director Rochelle Walensky says COVID ‘will lead to death in every season’ KCUR.

[WALENSKY:] ‘I think ultimately we’ll have good-level population immunity for variants that come our way, and even if surges come, the amplitude of those surges will be less,’ Walensky said. ‘We’ll have a coronavirus that will lead to death in every season, that we will tolerate in some way.’

Who’s “we”? More:

[WALENSKY:] “We in infectious disease have long known that where infectious diseases go are not in places of wealth and places of poverty and places in lack of access,” she said. “We’re going to see it again with long COVID, where those who had been more afflicted with the disease had less access to care and more comorbidities are going to bear the burden of that disease.”

More commentary:

The party of betrayal:

Just in case anybody thinks CDC’s leadership is acting in good faith on mask policy, here’s Walensky’s “Scarlet Letter” clip again:

That laugh….

Freedom Day Eschaton. “People who get enraged by the idea that any rule actually applies to them were unable to understand the benefits of just following some simple ones instead of turning every minor inconvenience into some Noble Political Cause.” See “Neoliberalism Expressed as Simple Rules,” Invariant #1: “The rules of neoliberalism do not apply to those who write the rules.”

Lying Like A State (podcast) Death Panel. I’m rerunning this from yesterday, because it’s worth a listen. Frankly, I could use a transcript to dope this out, but if I understand it, the podcasters used CDC’s newly rejiggered “community levels” formula to determine the number of deaths that would be happening before CDC’s “High” level kicked in: 1000/day, or 350,000 per year. A fair description? Normalizing this would be useful when the Jackpot really gets rolling, I suppose. Readers?

Focused Protection From the Great Barrington Declaration Never Made Sense Gideon M-K; Health Nerd. Author’s qualifications.

* * *

National COVID-⁠19 Preparedness Plan Here’s the ventilation part:

The headline I’m not seeing: “Democidal Democrats Rule Out Regulating Ventilation During Pandemic of Airborne Respiratory Disease.” Perhaps I was being too kind; “Democidal Democrats” does have a nice ring to it….

Restaurants Learned the Wrong Pandemic Lessons The Atlantic. The URL: “restaurants-failed-covid-ventilation,” so the editors erased “ventilation,” good job.

* * *

What’s Holding Up the COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5? Pro Publica


As China’s yuan gets stronger while Ukraine crisis drives up raw material prices, exporters shy away from US dollar South China Morning Post

Ukraine puts ASEAN in ‘with us or against us’ bind Asia Times. Commentary:

It has occurred to me that the dominant factions of The Blob are Atlanticist both out of ideology (Fiona Hill) and careerism (Fiona Hill) and have never accepted a “Pivot to Asia.” At least for the Clintonites, why would they? They moved our industrial base to China, after all. Too simplisitic?

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Conflict Update 14 Institute for the Study of War. Handy map:

The Kagan spawn gave up on Mariupol a couple of days ago (though this is only a map, not ground; perhaps “under seige” scores as “might as well be captured” to the Kagans.

Darkest days of Ukraine invasion lie ahead, U.S. and European officials say NBC

Russia, Ukraine agree civilian evacuation corridors as fighting rages Times of Malta

Russian forces seize huge Ukrainian nuclear plant, fire extinguished Reuters. The coverage led some nuclear engineers to tear their hair:

The fire was in a training center, not the reactor. And so forth.

Estonian Cargo Ship Sinks After Possible Mine Strike Near Odesa Maritime Executive. Speaking of Odesa:

Lindsey Graham Calls for Russians to Assassinate Putin WSJ

* * *

So Many Holes in SWIFT Sanctions on Russia, those Sanctions are Useless Mish Talk

Wall Street Is Already Pouncing on Russia’s Cheap Corporate Debt Bloomberg

Putin’s Financial Isolation by World’s Powerful Is a Cautionary Tale for Xi Jinping Bloomberg. Xi is not among the “World’s Powerful”?

Chartbook #91: What if Putin’s war regime turns to MMT? Adam Tooze, Chartbook

* * *

Key Russia Oil Producer Lukoil Calls for Peace in Ukraine Bloomberg

Stay Calm, America The Atlantic

* * *

Why didn’t they stop it? London Review of Books. “The question remains, why did all those who for so long foretold this war do so little to stop it, and so much to hasten the disaster Russia has now set in motion?” A question that answers itself, once asked.

Putin Thought Ukraine Would Fall Quickly. An Airport Battle Proved Him Wrong. WSJ. Sourcing, paragraph eight.

Why a photo of Freeland holding a black-and-red scarf sparked a firestorm online National Post


Afghan government signs contract with Chinese company Al Mayadeen. Not for opium, I hasten to add.

A Pemex refinery in Hidalgo flares excess gas Mexico News Daily

Biden Administration

Washington lobbyists rush to aid Ukrainian government Axios

White House asks Congress to provide $10 billion in humanitarian and defense assistance for Ukraine NBC. Was $6.4 billion, so as predicted.

Veteran U.S. prosecutor to lead task force probing Russian oligarchs Reuters. Task force “KleptoCapture.”

Republicans resist full-court press by Democrats to OK Fed nominees American Banker

Congress Takes Field Trip To Goldman Sachs To Learn How Laws Get Made The Onion

Supply Chain

Grain pain in the Black Sea Hellenic Shipping News

Intelligence Community

Fractured majority allows government to withhold information on torture at CIA black site SCOTUSblog. Our democracy tortured some folks. But as Obama said: “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” And when you see how usefuli an alliance with the intelligence community has been to Democrats, it’s hard to quarrel with Obama’s political judgement. In any case, may Gorsuch continue to surprise:

Our Famously Free Press

Spotify Purges Dissident Voices In Latest Censorship Escalation Caitlin Johnstone. Podcasting, being built on RSS, is harder for the platforms to destroy, as they did the blogosphere. But they will try!


Human Rights Lawyer Who Took on Chevron Put Under House Arrest: Steven Donziger Tells His Story Georgetown Law. Commentary:

Schroedinger’s Evidence Craig Murray

L’Affaire Jeffrey Epstein

Melinda Gates Says Bill Gates’s Work with “Abhorrent” Jeffrey Epstein Led to Divorce Vanity Fair

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Breonna Taylor shooting brings no convictions, with detective Brett Hankison acquitted ABC Australia

Guillotine Watch

A Look Aboard Disney’s $6,000 Per Stay, Immersive Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Hotel The Verge

Class Warfare

California proposal would force unhoused people into treatment Guardian (DCBlogger).

Former OSHA officials urge court to side with workers in case against OSHA Investigate Midwest

Antidote du jour (via):

Perhaps not quite dusk….

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. Toshiro_Mifune

    A Look Aboard Disney’s $6,000 Per Stay, Immersive Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Hotel

    That is one of the least appealing things I can imagine doing. Being stuck in a hotel for $4k+ which a bunch of mouth breathers who have memorized Wookiepedia…. hard pass.

    1. Paul Jonker-Hoffren

      I agree. But think of the opportunities though, turning up like Frodo or any other “brand” and doing totally subversive things there. Waste of money for sure, but in a way wickedly fun!

      1. The Rev Kev

        They had better hope that Will Wheaton does not go there. He turned up to a screening of “Star Wars The Last Jedi” at the Chinese Theater in L.A. while dressed in a Star Trek uniform. When some fans heckled him about it, he told them to “Live Long and Suck It!” (52 secs)

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yeah, but I’m pretty certain Wesley is just one of the characters outside the Chinese Theatre all the time.

    2. .human

      It’s an escape that I imagine thousands will be happy to pay for.

      Disney apres Walt has been very good at separating visitors from their wallet.

      1. Wukchumni

        I have a stash of about a dozen partial Disneyland ticket (no E’s in em’) books from the early to mid 70’s that I found when we were clearing out my childhood home to sell it, and admission and rides was from $4.25 to $6.25 for an adult in that time span.

        Now, it’s $104 to $134 for an adult ticket depending on which of 3 tiers you choose.

        It’s gone up 95% in less than 50 years.

        1. Carla

          At least, Wuk, I’ll bet you might be able to sell those antique Disney tix on e-bay for some decent change.

        2. Stick'em

          Isn’t going from $4.25 –> $8.50 the same as the tix price increasing 100%?

          I wasn’t a math major so this could be a total screw up… but going from an average of $5 in the ’70s –> an average of $120 is something like (120-5)/5 x 100 = 2300% increase in tix price in 50 years.

          Render unto Mickey that which is Mickey’s!

          1. Wukchumni

            Math was never my long suit, but you get the gist.

            Now, imagine getting walloped with 2,300% increase in cost of a Disneyland ticket in just a few years instead of 50?

            We’ve gotten used to the slow evaporation of value of our money, but not 1 American currently alive has ever experienced it in out of control mode in a compressed time scale.

      2. jr

        The hold Disney has on some people’s minds is truly stunning to see. I got in an argument years ago with a bar tender over the fact that Disney is a horrible corporation that pollutes, bends the law to it’s will, tampers with local politics in Orlando, etc. She retorted that Disney is a wonderful place, she went every year, and what do I have against Disney? I reiterated the list of it’s crimes and she just shook her head back and forth like a child refusing to listen to an adult. This was a woman in her 50’s who had a t-shirt of every character and wore them daily.

        It’s like the people who get defensive when you criticize McDonalds Inc. or Coca-Cola. Consume that garbage if you will but don’t pretend they are wonderful corporations. They can’t separate the product from the people. Corporations simply provide services, full stop. They are the branded, images and ideas seared into their consciousness by brute repetition. Pitiful and profoundly dangerous. We are seeing the fruits of such ignorance now.

      1. You're soaking in it!

        Welcome to Delios; enjoy your stay in Westworld, Medieval World, or Roman World, where nothing can go wrong!

        1. anon y'mouse

          i am not scrubbing my behind with a sponge tied to a stick for $4k/day.

          especially not a communal sponge!

            1. JBird4049

              All the public toilets in Rome were open seats, co-ed, and communal.

              The sponges with vinegar were for the upper classes with the stones for everyone else.

              Somethings have changed for the better in the past 1,500 years

              1. Andy

                I don’t know how factual this is but I recall reading somewhere that in Rome sitting on the communal crapper and having a leisurely dump whilst shooting the breeze with your neighbors was a common practice. A kind of antiquity version of talking over a picket fence.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Veteran U.S. prosecutor to lead task force probing Russian oligarchs”

    When the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation heard about this, they were all set to form their own task force to go after American oligarchs but Putin told them to back off. He told them that the damage caused by a Russian military campaign against Americans was not even close to the damage that American oligarchs were causing to America right now.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I’ve been wondering what the smallest invasion would be that my country would have to pull off to get our oligarchs sanctioned and task forced. Already tried the Malvinas, didn’t work.

    2. Questa Nota

      KleptoCapture maybe stands a chance of not succumbing to that DC disease, RegulatoryCapture? Based on ample precedent, across numerous sectors, wait-and-see is prudent.

    3. Maritimer

      Asset seizure without Due Process seem to be the flavor of the day. Sanctions and more sanctions. From Canada seizing the assets of folks contributing as little as $50 to the Freedom Convoy to Oligarchs worth billions no person/institution seems safe.

      So, who is next on the asset Seizure Hit List? The Unvaccinated? Russian cab drivers? Protesting Truckers? Climate Deniers?

      A world without Due Process and Rule of Law will be very hazardous indeed.

      In the above regard, the Health Minister in Ontario resigned today and will not run for reelection. One might speculate that there will also be a movement of her assets in case of an eventual lawsuit regarding Covid malfeasance and negligence and any other charges the hungry tort lawyers may pursue.

      Seems anyone could be an asset seizure target if you are on the wrong side of the Prevailing Narrative.

  3. KD

    It has occurred to me that the dominant factions of The Blob are Atlanticist both out of ideology (Fiona Hill) and careerism (Fiona Hill) and have never accepted a “Pivot to Asia.” At least for the Clintonites, why would they? They moved our industrial base to China, after all. Too simplisitic?

    Putting aside that most of the people were raised in the Cold War and continue to operate with a Cold War mentality, NATO has allowed Western Europe to basically allow the US to subsidize their regional defense, so there is a huge financial benefit to NATO, and you have a solid NATO lobby that does not want NATO to end.

    Additionally, the best duty stations in the Armed Services are in Europe. If NATO goes, who wants to be posted in Korea? The Armed Services do not want all these bases closed, and they are going to fight like hell to keep them open–which means having some kind of rationale for their existence.

    There is a lot of vested interests in seeing NATO continue (which requires antagonizing Russia to generate a threat) which transcends even the vapidity of the Clintonites, and if we know anything about “democracy”, it is that financial vested interests supersede factors like geopolitical strategy or even coherence. Hence the question: Can the West survive?

      1. KD

        You cannot have a military alliance without a military enemy, can you? Otherwise, its LARPing and destined for funding cuts.

        1. Boomheist

          Of course, what we are now going to hear, endlessly, is this: “See what Russia has done? This only proves NATO was right to expand to the east and absolutely requires Ukraine and Georgia!!!”

        2. David

          Oh, but you can, you know. For a whole series of different (if often incompatible) reasons, there was little enthusiasm among its members for killing NATO off after 1989. Objectively, there was first of all the implementation of the arms control agreements that led to the end of the Cold War, and which were bloc-to-bloc in nature, then there were the NATO deployments to Bosnia after 1995, then there was Kosovo, then there was Afghanistan, and all the while there were new members, partnerships, reach-out and all that. NATO was never busier, in fact, even if it wasn’t always clear what its added value was. Fifteen or twenty years ago I recall being in NATO HQ and seeing in the list of the day’s meetings a Working Group on NATO and the Challenges of Modern Society. Ironically, the one thing nobody wanted was a war, because they had all downsized their militaries to practically nothing. Whoops.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Melinda Gates Says Bill Gates’s Work with “Abhorrent” Jeffrey Epstein Led to Divorce”

    I’m just going to quote a coupla tweets by @DoctorFishbones about this which kinda nails it-

    ‘Melinda Gates had nightmares after meeting Jeffrey Epstein but then she remembered she lives in a mansion worth $150 million and immediately felt better’

    ‘Melinda Gates felt terrible for all the women that Jeffrey Epstein abused and trafficked but there was nothing she and her $150 billion foundation could do to stop him’

    1. t

      Is there any evidence all that she had these notions prior to Epstein being publicly labeled a bad man? Did her schedule change to less time with Bill? Any leaks from staff about her being distressed? We all know she knew. We all know she stayed. So why exactly was this all of a sudden “one of the reasons”? Smells like a tacked on excuse to boost her brand. To her credit, she didn’t spend holidays at the ranch. I’ll give her that.

        1. Questa Nota

          She’ll have to do a little better on the branding front given that she signed a pre-nup that included Bill’s annual dalliances with an old girlfriend. That was some kitchen or hall or anything-goes pass!

          The rich are different from you and me. They aren’t bound by conventional notions of notionality.

        2. Nikkikat

          I agree Melinda Gates all the sudden feeling concerns about any of Bill’s activities is a bit of a stretch. In interviews Melinda herself comes off as more of a psychopath than Bill. She is just doing a little PR work.

      1. jr

        Same for Hillary. A woman as obsessed with power as she would know her husband’s whereabouts 24/7. She knew he was boinking underage women. She could have raised a stink, dumped him, and her public support would have ballooned.

        1. Tim

          I think you are right to join Hillary for comparison, for neither woman has demonstrated she currently ‘loves’ her husband. All the words in the world do not obscure the fact that both are rich, and need no male financial support, is past menopause and possibly no longer interested in you know what, bu,t if she, is can ‘buy’ it for little or no cost to her. Who needs a husband if you are married to Gates or Clinton? Both husbands are probably better off for their wives ditching them, rather than vice versa, for hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

        2. Andy

          Yup but instead she victim blamed and shamed the teenage girls and women that accused Bubba of rape and sexual assault. I brought this up during the 2016 election campaign with a friend who was appalled at Trump’s crudeness towards women and was told “No that’s not true, I can’t believe that.”

          1. jr

            Ditto, I asked a Demo friend where she was when “Hotpants” Bill was flying the friendliest skies and just got a head shake and pursed lips in response…

    2. Brunches with Cats

      Headline overstates what she actually said.

      Headline writers have to work fast and often don’t read past the first couple of paragraphs, but that’s no excuse here:

      Melinda French Gates said there were a number of factors that led to her decision to divorce her husband of 27-years Bill Gates, including his work with the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

      The philanthropist addressed their divorce publicly for the first time in a new interview with Gayle King that aired on CBS This Morning on Thursday, explaining that it was “not one thing but many things” that led to the demise of their marriage.

      1. Mikel

        “Many things”…just throwing this out there, but I don’t really think Epstein/Maxwell were the only source of millionaires/billionaires satisfying their obsessions.

      2. Pat

        Gayle King? What she couldn’t get Oprah? Although she may be smart enough to know a lot of people have figured out that Oprah is either fronting for or falling for most of the frauds she interviews, but hasn’t realized that they also know the same about Gayle.

        1. Maritimer

          Right on. Second Banana appearance on morning boob tube. Princess Megain Markle got Oprah. Others get star appearance and you, Billionaire, are in with the traffic and weather. This lady needs an agent!

          But let’s show compassion. How difficult it must have been to shop for the just-right sweater and coordinated slacks every Christmas for Doctor Bill.

  5. Sardonia

    With all the changes in CDC policy on Covid, America needs Kamala Harris to educate us by explaining it all in “layman’s terms”, as she famously did for the Ukraine war a few days ago:

    “Covid is when you don’t feel good. It’s when you get a germ in your body, which is wrong. It was very important to wear a mask, until yesterday, now it’s fine not to. Masks used to stop the germ, but now they don’t, which is good – it means the problem has been fixed. We fixed it for you, which is why you should vote for us. “Us” is the preferred pronoun for me and President Biden, who is the President. My preferred pronouns are “she” and “her”. I don’t know if Covid has a preferred pronoun but we should respect whatever pronoun is preferred. I am a black woman. I don’t know what color Covid is. I will find that out and let you know, because I am going to be President pretty soon. So it’s good that we can talk about these things.”

      1. ambrit

        Most of the time I think that she is ‘talking to’ a focus group. So, yes, you might be right.

          1. judy2shoes

            All I could think of when I read that was Sarah Palin, except she wouldn’t be explaining pronoun preferences.

      2. anon y'mouse

        all of our politicians behave as though they are speaking to children.

        this should alert everyone to what position the demos has in this “democracy”.

        The Adults are Back in the Room!

        and just like all of those photos of smiling and maskless politicians visiting schools, you are to remain masked in their presence.

        they are idiots for letting this pass just on the symbology alone, regardless of the tell it gives about their ideas on health & hygiene during an airborne virus pandemic.

        btw–why so many photos of these people visiting schools? shades of Dubya on 9.11. is this our century’s version of kissing babies? and is it necessary?

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: Eschaton
    in my very “red”, insular and isolated community…in general slow to adapt to change…i was wearing masks in public by the end of february 2020(ht: NC)…before prolly 99% of my neighbors/’countymen(?)” were even aware of the ‘chinese flu’.
    as happens when someone gets drunk and naked on the courthouse square, or does anything shocking and weird, people didn’t ask questions about the facecovering.
    (this method of social peace maintenance is akin to ignoring the old lady farting in church)
    i didn’t make a big deal out of it, either…just went about my bidness as if it were normal to be wearing a frelling bandana everywhere.
    when a tiny few asked…i answered…and reminded about wife’s immunocompromised status.
    soon after masks…and covid in general…began to get hyperpoliticised(from ‘both sides’ in the final accounting)…i think that this early adoption, as well as me playing the “i can’t see the spectacle”/”i am not a spectacle” game, helped me down the road.
    i’ve had a bit of stinkeye…but mostly from people who don’t know me…
    anyhoo…all of this could have been done much better.

    the tarnished silver lining, i suppose, is that now, when asked, i can say ‘failing empire, new dark age, with attendant disease(not jess covid: i can’t afford the flu, either) and little access to healthcare=>we’re on our own, and must act accordingly.
    this is my new tack…usually shorn of geopolitics, and focusing on facts on the ground, all around us.
    amazingly, perhaps, this seems to adhere to some part of the local, small-c conservative mind…the “on our own” part.

    1. Samuel Conner

      > ignoring the old lady farting in church

      Thank you, Amfortas, for this morning’s pulmonary exercise. It’s good for me.

      Readers seeking to become slightly less Jackpot-unready but reluctant to stock up on dried beans due to their effects on the distal regions of the alimentary canal may be interested to know that the obnoxious components seem to be neutralized by pressure cooking.

      One no longer needs to stop at 239 beans.

  7. Katiebird

    RE WALENSKY interview on KCUR — Basically WALENSKY says that COVID will be (is) a disease of poor people. And Because Markets, Go die. Because we will never, ever approve of universal health care for everyone.

    1. LaRuse

      I couldn’t decide if her forthrightness about it was refreshing or shocking that she would be that starkly honest.

      1. JBird4049

        Deaths per a year of the following are roughly:

        1,000 police homicides
        19,000 homicides by gun
        24,000 homicides
        37,000 Traffic deaths
        41,000 Total gun deaths (Homicide, suicide, and accident)
        53,000 Influenza
        58,000 Vietnam War (Total from 1955 to 1975)
        75,000 Opioid Overdoses
        350,000 Covid (Projected High Level)

        Note that the causes of the deaths listed are controversial (Police, guns) focus of a multi generation efforts at reduction (Traffic), or a generation long war (Vietnam). All of them have been the focus of great political and medical campaigns, massive protests, screaming fights, and great misery. Yet (and yet again), at up to 349,000 deaths per a year, efforts at controlling Covid will not be that important. Just a meh.

        Well, Hell, at least I know where my family and I list in this abattoir of a country of ours with its gloriously, sadistically evil leaders. I’m bouncing between hate and disgust.

          1. JBird4049

            Don’t know, but as long as they are convinced that Covid, opioids, or suicides will not affect them, but that dealing with the issues that causes those deaths might cause a loss in wealth acquisition as a society we will not be dealing with the effects except for pious BS like “in our thoughts and prayers.”

            It’s like with healthcare. I might lose a loved one, but as long as it would cost them profits or bribes donations nothing will change except increasing costs and bodies.

            What a wonderful country we live in!

        1. Andy

          In my area opioid ODs have killed more people than Covid and local pols by and large don’t give a family blog about either although they do concern troll a lot about C19. This country is indeed sick (no pun intended).

  8. CG

    Re: Atlanticists

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the Atlanticist wing of the Blob never accepted a Pivot to Asia.In the Obama years the Pivot was very much something that Hillary promoted, and the Biden Administration’s program vis-a-vis China has been in many ways a recapitulation of that as well as a continuation of the Trump administration’s program. I think it’s more accurate to say that the issue is that the Atlanticists remain high on their own supply and believe that it is still possible to do both. That the US can deal both with China and Russia as adversaries and that there is no need to make what, for them, would be tough decisions about where the US needs to commit itself and what compromises need to be made in order to do that. So to them, it still doesn’t really matter that in order to defend the poorest country in Europe, we have to make it more difficult for America to operate in the region of the world that will amount to half of global GDP in the next 30 years and which has in it a true peer competitor to the US. They simply believe that it is either possible or necessary to do so, and the US will simply manage to do it by default.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I would argue the point is to deny China a functional junior partner. A country like Vietnam, not really that small, can settle disputes through Moscow or go to Moscow while remaining in good relations with China. Russia is too small to replace China, but it’s big enough to keep Beijing honest in a way the European vassals aren’t as individual countries.

      And the US fp establishment (the West in general) is dominated by orientalists who can’t conceive the Chinese would do anything other than unleash hordes peasants.

      1. Andy

        Yes but they are more concerned about China as a “near peer competitor.” Mearsheimer talks a lot about this and how their incompetence is actually bringing Russia and China, who are not natural allies, closer together.

        It will be interesting to see how China’s position on the Ukraine invasion develops. So far Beijing has just been mouthing generic diplomatic platitudes of the “both sides must work towards peace” variety. The strongest position they have taken so far is against the sanctions on Russia and the West’s escalation of the war but that is still quite gentle.

        China needs Russia’s resources and military know-how and Beijing definitely does not want a pro-Western government in Moscow after Putin retires, but it isn’t completely comfortable with Russia’s invasion either.

        Beijing knows that as soon as the West finds a pretext China will face a similar propaganda onslaught and be subject to punitive sanctions and economic blockade. I think Beijing’s position will evolve to nuanced but firm support for Russia, perhaps with proposals attached to end the fighting.

    2. Questa Nota

      The Pacificist pivoters provided a valuable service to the Atlanticists. The new data points for dollars involved served to up the ante for parties wanting to work with the latter. They told their usual suspects that the Pacificists had upped their game so up yours.

      1. Rainlover

        OK. I’m starting a prize for punsters and you are the first recipient. Thanks for the giggles.

  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘Tom Fowdy
    The mere discussion of secondary sanctions against India over Russia in Washington D.C arguably marks the day the Indo-Pacific strategy died.’

    Oh my. Profanity is just too weak here. Do they think that when this is all over that the Indians will simply forget? Goodbye Quad – and good riddance. I have said before that Washington is made up of powerful fiefdoms and it looks like the anti-Russia coalition of fiefdoms have just gutted the anti-China coalition of fiefdoms.

    1. KD

      Its brilliant diplomacy to create a hostile Eurasian bloc to the Americans and their interests, excepting those Europeans on the fringes who can’t be bothered to reproduce themselves. I cannot wait for Biden’s next SOTU address where he announces that we are moving from “Pivot to Asia” to “Rise Up White People”. Its a good look for the Atlanticist’s given their recent embrace of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists.

      1. KD

        Also impressive is outright discrimination against Russian individuals on the basis of their nationality, legitimating a level of open racism that even Trump never attained with his Muslim ban. Go PMC! Are we going to get internment camps too? Or are they being saved for the Chinese?

    2. Charlie Sheldon

      Of course, what appears nowhere in any media is that, properly, if we were serious about sanctioning Russia, we would then sanction China for trading with Russia, even more than India. Meaning, we would place the hurt on China, meaning no more goodies coming to the US, meaning millions of people here in the US out of work because of closed big box stores and warehouses…..

  10. Jason Boxman

    Remember when GWB appointed people to cabinets that wanted to shut them down openly; Liberal Democrats just do it better; We’ve got Walenski, clearly not a proponent of public health, running the CDC!

    Nicely done!

    With friends like this…

  11. Jen

    Will stenciling a scarlet A on my N95 mask reduce its efficacy? I know I can count on the wisdom of the NC commentariate to advise.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Wear a bandana with the “A” over the N95. I don’t think you want to mess with material those are made of.

      And keep a few N95s in their packaging (3M Auras are especially nice in this regard, with their individual wrappers) with you at all times. It is surprising and gratifying how many people are glad to receive them.

      change from below

    2. The Rev Kev

      How about putting an American flag mask over your real mask. If people say something, ask them are they saying something against the American flag and why exactly they hate it.

    1. ambrit

      Oh boy. Now it begins in earnest. I really do worry about this website.
      We’re entering full blown 1984 territory.

      1. tegnost

        well, lee does video which gets noticed more now that the average american can no longer be bothered to read… I remember 2016 though, and NC got brought down many many times by the ddos crew.

        1. ambrit

          Yes, but I got the impression that the 2016 Purge was an amateur afair. This latest run of ‘Mental Purity Content’ enforcement look to be clandestinely “official.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I myself was wondering what the ancestors of Fauci and Walensky were doing during the Black Death in the mid-1300s.

      1. Nikkikat

        Lol, made me think of Monty Python’s bring out your dead skit in the Holy Grail movie. I’m pretty sure their ancestors enjoyed pushing the death carts.

    2. anon y'mouse

      according to that Death Panel podcast, we’re spending a lot of money rewriting documents, brochures and posters to make them more understandable by the public, and manipulating data to obscure the truth.

      but that’s what we’ve always done. what’s new in all of this? can’t say. they didn’t even enlarge the circle of grifters getting MMT money of these things, did they?

  12. ArkansasAngie

    If I may, given the due diligence given to covid. I would like to see a little focus on the idea that “you” can effectively have a gene splicer in your garage.

    I suspect we will be arguing our covid response for years. I surely hope that conversation isn’t replaced by some yahoo cooking up a “something or another” that ends humanity. This personally scares me a heck of a lot more than climate change

    1. Maritimer

      “I surely hope that conversation isn’t replaced by some yahoo cooking up a “something or another” that ends humanity.”
      It may be a yahoo or maybe an esteemed scientist. I have listened to many existential experts over the years and they would cite three threats: nanotech, biotech and AI/GI/SI.

      Well we are well on our way in a project to alter human biology with nano/biotech injections. As we move along the Science (is it really Science anymore?) Curve, the dangers increase. The Senate Subcommittee on the dangers of Science has yet to be even formed, let alone meet.

      Proof of the above: we have a 13 Trillion disaster, according to the IMF, and, to my knowledge, there is no active investigation/prosecution underway to even determine what happened and to prevent a recurrence. That’s why these Scientists will just keep going and going, no consequences to anything they do.

    1. Screwball

      Good article Amfortas, thanks for posting.


      We estimate that the direct effects of using the 2012 arsenals would lead to hundreds of millions of fatalities. The indirect effects would likely eliminate the majority of the human population.

      That sounds like a real problem.

      There sure seems to be a lot of people pushing for war. I don’t like it. Too many of my PMC friends are going crazy over wanting to get Putin, don’t seem to car how, and laugh at the talk of a nuclear war. I’m not laughing.

      Lindsey Graham even calling on Russians to assassinate him. Hillary is chirping for cyber warfare. Sean Hannity being his typical stupid self. Mrs. Greenspan is also in on the act. IOW, the narrative is all pro war, and from all angles.

      Not good people. I don’t know where this is going, but I’m starting to get a bit worried. We are being led by crazy people and they seem to have an agenda.

      How about not blowing up the world?

      1. jr

        I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I sincerely hope there are aliens who want us around for who knows what reasons and are willing to interfere with our process of self destruction:–rJDqyhs

        I have no other hope.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        ” I don’t know where this is going, but I’m starting to get a bit worried. We are being led by crazy people and they seem to have an agenda.”

        what’s the source….of all of humanity’s existential problems?

        too many humans.

        a “limited nuclear exchange” , as my linked article shows, would likely “fix” the global warming problem.
        it would definitely “fix” the population problem.
        10 or so years of stratospheric soot shade, and we’re back to the late Pleistocene/early Holocene..

        it is possible to imagine certain members of our elite thinking these thoughts.
        and coming to quite obvious conclusions.

    2. Rainlover

      Very sobering. This article explains to me why our leaders are so casual about threatening nuclear war. And, surprise, surprise, the MIC hopped on the nuclear winter model science and pummeled it to death.

      Nuclear winter was subject to criticism and damning articles in the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine. In 1987, the National Review called nuclear winter a “fraud.” In 2000, Discover Magazine published an article that described nuclear winter as one of “The Twenty Greatest Scientific Blunders in History.” The endless smear campaign was successful; the general public, and even most anti-nuclear activists, were left with the idea that nuclear winter had been scientifically disproved.

      They did such a good job that our leaders now believe that nuclear winter has been disproven. We are well and truly [family-blogged].

  13. amused_in_sf

    Re: Eurocentrism among the blob

    Here’s a list of the State Department hardship adjustments by city. It makes sense that most of the non-hardship places are in Europe (more wealth, more English, more countries), but if you look closely, even poor places in E. Europe seem to do pretty well compared to Asia. Maybe it’s the ability to dash off to Paris for a holiday?

    1. OnceWereVirologist

      Saint Petersburg or Moscow gives you a 25 % pay bump. That’s a deal I’d love to take. Perhaps they’re worried about the Havava syndrome death ray.

    1. JMM

      I was going to ask the same thing. I had just finished watching the video and reloaded for fresh comments. Poof! Gone.

    2. britzklieg

      I think the video, which appears to be current and which I fear I initially pointed to, is from 2 days ago.

      Apologies to Yves. I should have noticed it was not posted by Medhurst himself which would have made a difference in assuming the time tag was the same as the original broadcast..

      In looking for the most current reports, however, I gotta say – I don’t think Ritter was wrong when he said it’s over. I do think the Ukraine military has been effectively neutralized and, tragically for those who will continue to die, is fighting its last battle. I don’t know how Yves feels about the saker but his report from 2 days ago says essentially the same thing.

      More importantly, imho, is the almost laughably obvious propaganda suggesting Russia is disheartened, the army struggling, there will be riots in Moscow and Putin’s going down for this historic blunder. No one seems to be demanding much proof for those assessments and I’m not seeing credible evidence to support them. Ritter’s video being 2 days old does not mean Ritter’s assessment is incorrect especially since it’s only now being noticed.

      The fog of war is thick.

      Apologies to Yves if my post mislead you.

      Mea culpa

      1. britzklieg

        Actually, I believe the problem with Ritter’s video (which I fear I lead Yves to – see comment above) is it being 2 days old and his over-confident assertion about Mariupol, which perhaps hasn’t fallen completely. That doesn’t mean it won’t of course. It would appear to be encircled and fighting to the last man. I am not as harsh on Ritter as Yves, though I note her dismay that she may be able to trust him much less. He’s often got things right when everyone else didn’t.

        The economic stuff is from other videos, I assume, not from Ritter. I may be wrong.

        The fog of war

        1. britzklieg

          I’ve figured out a couple things about videos on youtube and wonder if others more familiar with the tech part can say whether it’s common, or can fill in any blanks in my description:

          an already broadcast video can be re-posted by anyone, with a new time stamp, and that a tip off, besides the poster’s name being different from the original – which isn’t always obvious or deceitful – is the lack of comments. A re-posted video will not have the comments from the original.

          I don’t know if the re-post, with a new and more current time stamp than the original, was made to deceive, to purposely encourage the listener to believe it’s the most update info. And if there were a dark intent, it could go both ways to a listener not interested in understanding the distinction. It could influence someone to believe the most current take is that US media is lying and that Russia really is winning (which I believe to be true), or to suggest that Ritter, after discrepancies in his observations became known, was deliberately spreading info he knew not to be true. But Neither Medhurst nor Ritter can be accused of having had that conversation after the time when it actually occurred. There’s no indication that Medhurst (or Ritter) were behind the re-post either and wonder if that can even be determined.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i thought i saw somewhere that some russian “oligarch” or other has put a $1mil price on his head for arrest.

      seems pretty cheap for an oligarch, but then again that’s how they become rich—pinching buffalo nickels until they….

      also, more symbology noise. the internal resistance to Hitler took matters into their own hands, at least.

  14. JohnM_inMN

    Ritter post: I’m guessing it was pulled due to inaccurate reporting re: Mariupol, as noted in comments below the post.

    1. oledeadmeat

      Just so.Mariupol has not fallen but is under seige and being heavily bombarded.

      The assumption that Russia will win this war seems questionable to me, in the sense of being able to displace present Ukrainian leadership and disarm the nation can not be quickly achieved. It’s a war of attirition now. There will be bombardment of Ukrainian cities and ugly urban warfare, because Putin will have difficulty sustaining a seige long enough to starve them out.

      Notable links from different sources so as to provide diversity

      BBC on the stalled convoy north of Kyiv: -reasons why stalled? – Logistical problems, unexpected Ukranian resistance and low morale among the Russian troops.

      “The attacks on urban areas signal a shift of Russian tactics amid Western assessments that Moscow’s six-day invasion had stalled. They raised fears the invading troops may now fall back on tactics that call for a crushing bombardment of built-up areas before trying to enter them.”

      Morale – from the Pentagon:

      “Some entire Russian units have laid down their arms without a fight after confronting a surprisingly stiff Ukrainian defense, the official said. A significant number of the Russian troops are young conscripts who are poorly trained and ill-prepared for the all-out assault. And in some cases, Russian troops have deliberately punched holes in their vehicles’ gas tanks, presumably to avoid combat, the official said.”

      1. Yves Smith

        The BBC and NYT were not reliable reporters during Iraq and the Times’ editors have admitted in cooler moments as viewing themselves as extensions of the state, as the BBC is.

        The part about the conscripts is inconsistent with the reports of huge numbers of troops the West claimed were on the border pre invasion v. the numbers reported as having entered, and other accounts that 70-80% of Russian soldiers are contract, as in paid regulars. Russell Bentley, who is very enthusiastically pro Russian and has been in Donbass for years, but has made a reputation for being accurate despite his enthusiastic spin, said the first conscripts he saw were on Day 5, as part of troops traversing an uncontested area south of Donetsk, where the Russians were going well into Ukrainian territory as part of an encirclement.

        A theory by a contrarian reader is that this sort of opportunity to season troops on a large scale almost never comes up, and it makes sense to include some newbies.

        1. Tor User

          How would one know someone is a conscript?

          Russia drafts up to age 27. College will delay conscription until dropping out or graduation. So age would help but not provide certainty.

          1. Yves Smith

            You are the first to bring up this topic with an unsubstantiated assertion.

            You need provide links. You keep making strong form claims with no evidence. You made an unsupported claim and have backed it up with another assertion that actually still does not even disprove the original contention. Even in the unpopular Vietnam War, many men enlisted and they were virtually all draft age men.

            Please read our Policies. They state among other things that commenting is privilege, not a right. You need to improve the quality of your comments to continue to be welcome.

      2. Samuel Conner

        Patrick Armstrong’s “take” in his latest,

        looks very reasonable to me.

        There has been a lot of headscratching among the military commentariat (for example ISW, here,

        with its remarks about inexplicable failures of operational art)

        interpreting the R conduct, thus far, to have been a series of blunders and worse.

        Armstrong characterizes the R effort thus far as “reconnaissance in force.” That seems a plausible account — they have the firepower to engage and destroy U formations but seem to be refraining from that.
        A similar interpretation might be “smothering”, probing along a wide front to tie down opposing forces.

        One imagines that when the time comes that the Rs want a breakthrough, they can lay down a line of thermobaric explosions in front of and behind the U forces in the intended breakthrough sector, sparing them, and then invite them to lay down arms and permit passage or, alternatively, be incinerated.

        1. Cat Burglar

          Lots of dogs are not barking in the reports we are getting. Where are the Ukrainian armed forces?

          A 40km traffic jam of Russian vehicles is only poor tradecraft if you have another force that is capable of destroying them. Are they indeed being attacked, as the BBC report suggests, or have the Russians succeeded in completely hamstringing Ukrainian forces? I keep looking for reports on it, but have not found any — you would think that an Institute For The Study Of War might be considering the question, but they seem to be poor students (their map does not seem to have been updated, even though the text of their report notes Russian troops in Zaporozhe).

          Mariupol is besieged close to what seems to be the largest concentration of Ukrainian troops in the country, but so far there are no reports of any attempt to attack the besiegers from behind.

          There is not enough information to tell, but one possible view would be that the Russians have decapitated the Ukrainian military and are just taking their time.

    2. John

      I hope this does not mean general suspicion of Scott Ritter as his take have proven accurate almost without exception. I questioned the “Mariupol has fallen” statement when I saw it as it did not square with the latest from The Saker or Andrei Martyanov.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Why a photo of Freeland holding a black-and-red scarf sparked a firestorm online”

    I saw this in the news the other day and although she put down that scarf, you could still see a black-and-red flag in the background. Freeland knows exactly what these colours mean and who they represent so I guess that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Makes you wonder if she has been setting aside Canadian priorities to follow Ukrainian priorities instead.

    This is not as unlikely as it sounds. In the US you had people like the Vindman twins and the US Ambassador for the Ukraine – who was of Ukrainian descent – working to undermine a sitting US President as he was not sufficiently supportive of Ukrainian foreign policy. But since then they have gotten promotions and recently standing ovations at a conference. Go figure.

    1. Questa Nota

      Stendhal’s ghost must wonder what happened to the world, when not laughing. Small town chancers from Hope, Arkansas and points beyond seek and seek.

    2. bun

      Every now and again there are news articles from the usual neoliberal suspects about how Freeland is “PM-in-waiting”, so she has powerful “interests” behind her. Some family members are players in the Liberal party of Canada, currently in power, and I’ve been telling them for years that she is a boil on the party that needs lancing. However, they think she’s great.

      IMNSHO her long-standing virulently hawkish russophobe stance is at real odds with most Canadians, though there is a sizeable Ukrainian constituency in the prairies that all parties indulge when convenient. The latter appears to be in play at the moment.

      Its not clear to me whether Trudeau made her deputy PM and finance minister to “keep his enemies closer”, if he was compelled in order to keep his head, or if he is just an idiot. (Despite media caricatures, I tend not to subscribe to the latter – he wouldn’t survive as he has if that were true.). It really pains me to see our federal parties all in with the US on this, rather than taking the more nuanced approach that Chretien did in the Iraq war.

      I can’t bring myself to read any of our major media outlets these days. thank goodness for NC :-)

  16. nycTerrierist

    Just re-watched The Life of Others (2006) highly recommend! re: the Stasi in E. Berlin.

    (should be a double-feature with The Front (1976) re: McCarthy-era ‘Murkah)

    fast forward to rampant corporate censorship today (Caitlin Johnstone)

    I went back to check comments on today’s NC post with Scott Ritter/Richard Medhurst and it seems to be gone — anyone know what happened?

    1. Wukchumni

      Watched Red Army from 2014 last night, and it’s in regards to the Red Army national hockey team in the USSR, leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union. It centers on Viacheslav Fetisov and you get a feel for what it must’ve been like having the KGB along as constant minders, and watch what you say or do!

      A hockey film for people not all that interested in hockey, 2 thumbs up.

      Red Army 10 Minute Extended Preview

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      While we’re talking about movies, I rewatched “The Day After” (1983). It made quite an impression on me when I first saw it almost 40 years ago, partly because it was set and filmed near where I grew up around KC, but also because of the honesty with which it portrayed not only the horrors of a nuclear war but also how WW III comes about. This was initially a TV mini-series on ABC.

      After the credits, we find ourselves in the Kansas City Board of Trade as the television news is playing to bring us up to speed. The Soviets are complaining about the placement of Pershing missiles too close to them, and they shut off Berlin. NATO responds by massing troops in West Germany while Russia holds exercises with its armies sitting just east of the Elbe. It takes less than 48 hours for things to go Jackpot.

      The anti-war vibe is quite strong in the film. One scene finds us in a barbershop where one of the barbers wonders “what we’re doing over there in the first place.”

      The movie is available on YouTube in a “cam” version that’s watchable (video). Jason Robards plays the KU Med Center doctor with Jo Beth Williams, Steve Guttenberg and John Lithgow.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And a very tangentially related but great flick because of what seems to be a growing international practice of using “Z” as a symbol of sympathy for the Russians. (Video)

  17. pjay

    – ‘What’s Holding Up the COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5?’ – Pro Publica

    Based on this article, concerned parents are desperately wanting to vaccinate their 2 year olds and wondering why they can’t. It simply *assumes* that any decent and rational parent would want this. I read the article for any acknowledgement that some decent and rational parents might want information on the relative safety of the vaccines, given the real but *very* small risk of major illness for infants. The only thing on safety I found was a vague reference to myocarditis in teens for Moderna, and this:

    “In December, Pfizer said that two shots were found to be safe for all kids under 5, but while children under 2 generated antibody levels similar to what has been seen in 16- to 25-year-olds, the 2- to 4-year-olds did not hit the same bar for effectiveness. In response to the results, the drugmaker said it would start testing a three-shot regimen to see if that could increase the level of protection.

    “For parents of children under 2, the obvious question was: Why not authorize the shot for the babies first?”

    I’ve accepted the fact that living in today’s media universe is like living in an episode of the Twilight Zone. But is this really the only “obvious question” for parents wondering about vaccinating their infants? Pfizer “said” it was safe (I believe a press release is the reference here), so no concerns about safety needed? The major problem is the holdup in getting those jabs into babies?

    Please tell me I’m not the only one that was gobsmaked by this article.

    1. Pat

      I have been gobsmacked throughout this by the sheer ignorance and lack of logic shown by the supposed educated class. From not realizing that advice made no sense to easily accepting press releases as science with huge red flags to the shaming of others who actually try to point out those red flags.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. The continual attempts to impose group think on the public is infuriating. It is exposing the worst elements of the Western PMC and their ideologies, Meritocracy and Credentialism.

      2. judy2shoes

        I had longer comment which was caught in skynet, but as you say, the shaming of people who try to point out the inconsistencies is something I’ve experienced many times. The implication is usually that I must be getting my news from shady web sites. It is infuriating, as Ambrit says, and gobsmacking as you say.

    1. K.k

      In this video Ray McGovern lays out a timeline of US “diplomacy” beginning march 2021. It begins with Biden calling Putin a “killer” . As well as Blinken attempting to dress down the Chinese. Importantly, around March 23, 2021 Zelensky declares Ukraine will take back Crimea.

      The following is from March 20, 2021 from wsws discussing the possibility of the devastating implications of these moves….
      Ukraine approves strategy to “recover” Crimea, threatening all-out war with Russia
      Again March 20,2021.

      This seems to really get the ball moving.
      Russians clearly see this as a serious provocation as over the next few days the Russians mobilized large number of troops to carry out “military exercises” in Crimea and near Ukraines eastern border.

      This seems to be enough to get a meeting with Biden.
      June 2021 , Biden has summit with Putin. Biden instead focuses on attempts to create a wedge between Russia and China at the meeting. Fails.

      Dec 2021 , China and Russia make it clear where they stand together.

      I just want to add the last couple years we have been reading about how poor NATO is loosing its pizzaz and needs a new focus , China. Well I guess they will get the combo special. Cha ching!
      China’s rise is exactly the kind of threat NATO exists to stop
      Nato warns of military challenge posed by China. June 15 2021
      NATO Needs to Deal With China Head-On . February 2021.

  18. Sailor Bud

    Bill Gates, according to capitalist dogma:

    Once you purchase his product, that means you explicitly endorse anything and everything he ever did, does, or will do in society, and you may never criticize capitalism afterwards. This surely must include any abhorrent relations with Epstein and his adolescent air harem…that you never got to hear about.

    The logic doesn’t work, btw, for the Soviet Union. Once you ate their bread or drove their Lada, you had every right to complain because their system wasn’t “free.”

    And never forget how much capitalists hate government, after all, even when they are worshipping its symbols, politicians, laws, police, and militaries. They hate it soooo much, even though they stuff every agreement in eight pages of legalese in fine print. They hate government so much, yes. They never control governments, buy them off, or get their lawmakers to legalize abhorrent things that allow them to say “well, it’s legal, so it’s okay!” The capitalists didn’t allow any true commons (for freedom), and then fenced off all the wilderness in “posted: no tresspass” signs, and set up hourly wage systems, because they love freedom so much and hate restrictions and government, those capitalists. It wasn’t them at all who now insist on international passports for entrance into each and every country (oh boy, passports – talk about a history nobody questions, knows, details, or mentions anywhere). It’s not the corporatists who are behind the Donziger BS. It’s the law.

    When Brunel died in a French prison by ‘hanging himself,’ Kulinski says his cell cameras failed just like Epstein’s did, which went totally unnoticed, btw.

  19. Tom Stone

    How are the automaker stocks doing?
    The chip shortage was bad enough, but where do they expect to source the materials for catalytic converters given the sanctions on Russia?

    And if not now,how soon will France and Germany start backing away from NATO?
    It’s the little things like freezing to death that gets people’s attention….
    The US leadership is not just incapable of keeping deals,it is clearly deranged and the responses to Covid are the kind of self inflicted wounds that oftenleadtoanovertly failedstate/

    1. Wukchumni

      Palladium looks like the bellweather metal, and luckily the USA has a strategic stockpile in the guise of catalytic converters that anybody with $300 to blow on a battery powered sawzall and long floor pump, can suddenly be in business!

      The idea that they probably net $100 for each cat worth $250 in metal value is bad, but add in what it costs to put a new catalytic converter on the purloined underbelly, along with having to rent a car for a week-maybe a month?

      …a growth industry

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Estonian Cargo Ship Sinks After Possible Mine Strike Near Odesa”

    They’re still being coy about naming the country that is attacking all these merchant ships. I think that the insurance companies have taken notice though and are having their lawyers to start preparing their cases.

  21. lance ringquist

    the article about chinas currency getting stronger and using other currencies besides the dollar for international transactions is that i say, what took so long?

    china is going to have to face the facts that a strong currency is the results of manufacturing and technological advances, which will make other countries want to use a currency that is backed by strength.

    china makes a whole lot of stuff and has the technology now, that nafta billy clinton sold out to wall street and the chinese communist party on the cheap.

    today america make very little that the world wants. the dollar is viewed in my opinion as a parasitical middle man, taking a cut off of everything, providing nothing in return.

    you would have thought that the nafta democrats would have understood that, it was easy to see back in the 1990’s.

    why use it all today? boy are americans in for a shock when they find out that free trade ain’t so free, unless your a economic parasite.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Avoidance of war, most notably economic, before China was ready. Besides SWIFT repercussions, international relations are still a might makes right realm which is why adherence to treaties is so important. You can’t sue sovereigns without their consent. Relationships matter as a result. If you are trading nuclear tech for mangos (thanks Shrub), that relationship can be dissolved at any time. If it’s a host of things plus smaller corporate deals, that is a real relationship where you can count on the faith and good will of Beijing. It sounds trite, but that is the way it is. Sound as a pound. Dollars work all over North America and will as long as the US exists, longer than Bitcoin. That is the real value of a dollar. The Chinese can’t just establish a competing currency until they get enough people willing to take it anytime.

      “NAFTA democrats” are the counterpart to guys like Romney. They never cared as long as there was profit to be had. The arguments were to just appease the choir.

      1. lance ringquist

        its not that the dollar will go away in america, its the dollar will go away as a reserve currency once other people see that its not worth much as far as spending it on needed manufactured goods and technology.

        why have a middle man? why pay that extra. just buy it in yuan, eliminate the middle man that takes a cut on everything, and rules the world with milton freidmans iron fist.

        other wise if china stays in the dollars trap, and will not accept the yuan, china is next.

        quickest way to get rid of the free traders(globalists)who are destroying civil society for markets, is to accept the yuan.

        the flood for the yuan will leave america trying to pay for a trade deficit, that is beyond all reason.

        catching the nafta democrats in the headlights, with a complete stupid panicked look on their faces of what happened!

      2. Bart Hansen

        But we never got the mangoes! As I recall on that deal we were promised access to India’s great variety of mangoes, many of which are said to be more tasty than the two types we get.

    2. anon y'mouse

      isn’t the problem with accepting your currency as “the world’s currency of choice” that the money then tries to come back and screw up your domestic economy, or that managing a border between the two economies becomes cumbersome?

      we somewhat “solved” this by giving people Tbills and letting them play in the stock market casino. oh, and buy up our real estate.

      1. lance ringquist

        nafta billy clinton set up china to be the next economic super power. the chinese knew this, its why they smile when ever nafta billys pictures come up.

        they should realize by now that the dollar is actually holding them back, and is setting them up to be the next russia.

        free traders are like rabid dogs, no mind left, and a terrible thirst for more.

        china better understand what nafta billy clinton handed them was a golden opportunity to be free to chart their own destiny. just as russia better understand MMT and autarky pronto.

        how is america going to pay for the ridiculous trade deficit nafta billy clinton was warned about, how are they going to pay to have the military be resupplied with parts because nafta billy clinton sent that manufacturing and technology off to china?

        pull the plug on the dollar, either the free traders will melt down and nuke the world, or they become deer in the headlights of a roaring truck that cannot break fast enough.

    3. dday

      “China, accounting for 19 percent of the global economy, has overtaken the
      United States on a purchasing power parity basis. In 2017, China manufactured
      $3.5 trillion of goods, or 60 percent more than the United States. The U.S. share of
      global manufacturing output declined from almost 30 percent in 2002 to 17 percent
      in 2018, while China’s share rose from less than 10 percent to 28 percent. During
      this time period, over 60,000 factories (out of 350,000) closed in the United States,
      according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses.”

      Source:, page ii

      1. lance ringquist

        yep, nafta billy really screwed us. and china better take the bull by the horns, because taking the dollar means they are under our thumb.

        create a demand based economy, flush the toilet with the dollars in it, because they will become worthless to them if we tell them what they can, and cannot do.

  22. timbers

    Big if true. “The headquarters of the Azov special detachment in Mariupol were hit with the Tochka-U tactical missile system by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to the DPR People’s Militia. According to the report, more than 20 militants were killed.” The Ukraine military (AUF) joining Russian in de-nazify her military? From South front. Easy to find please don’t ask for link :-)

    1. Polar Socialist

      That seems to be the rumor. Apparently the Azovians refused to follow UAF orders, so the UAF shot up Azov commanders car and then put a rocket into their headquarters. Very likely not true, but it does coincide with finally establishing a humanitarian corridor out of Mariupol for civilians.

  23. Carla

    So happy to see the Great Lakes Bill of Rights announcement linked today.

    Key points:

    “The Great Lakes Bill of Rights, A3604, recognizes, ‘that the people and the natural environment, including each ecosystem of the state of New York, shall possess the right to a clean and healthy environment, which shall include the right to clean and healthy Great Lakes and the Great Lakes ecosystem.’

    The motivation for introducing a Great Lakes Bill of Rights is the recognition that no person, institution, or nation has the right or authority to participate in activities that contribute to irreversible changes of the Earth’s natural cycles or undermine genetic and species diversity, the consequences of which would fall irrevocably on succeeding generations.”

    This is a natural and most welcome successor to LEBOR: the historic Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed by the courageous voters of Toledo, Ohio in 2018.

    The NC commentariat may also appreciate a welcome new piece by Jim Hightower, “Change That Matters,” in which he takes a broad view of the Rights of Nature movement, and where it’s coming from:

    1. anon y'mouse

      it’s great, except like most planning/development regs in practice (yes, i see this Bill is much larger than that, but at local levels it will function as zoning and other regs), won’t it just be used against the poors so that they can’t build boat ramps for their party pontoons, while highbrow RE developments can get theirs put through for their kayaks?

      1. Carla

        Oh, don’t worry. The Big Ag forces who continued to pollute Lake Erie until greater Toledo had no drinking water for a week in 2015 have also prevailed in the Ohio legislatures and courts, as they surely will in all the Great Lakes states where voters pass these kinds of Right of Nature initiatives — FOR AWHILE.

        The value of these actions is in showing people the breadth and depth of change that is needed for our continued existence on earth. With the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, Toledoans proudly joined the international Rights of Nature Movement. The people have to be WAY out front of governments on this. And in Toledo and Buffalo, along with Bolivia and El Salvador, we (the peasants) ARE way out front.

        Yes, it’s a very long, hard battle. But what is more worth fighting for?

        1. anon y'mouse

          corporate industrial pollution already being given a permanent pass was sadly my foregone conclusion.

          unless, of course, the bill establishes whether and how these superbeings can be gone after for their despoliation.

  24. fringe element

    Okay, just a minor point here regarding CDC suggesting that wearing a mask is a Scarlet Letter. Everybody knows the gist of Hawthorne’s story, the reason for the letter and whatnot. Beyond that however, it is obvious no one remembers the whole story, so let me remind everyone.

    At the start the novel Hester is obliged to wear the letter which does indeed mark her for the crime of Adultery. She then accepts her punishment with dignity and quietly leads an exemplary life, revealing herself to be a good neighbor and a fine mother.

    Eventually, as they do, the children grow up and begin to ask their parents why Pearl’s mother always has that big red letter on everything she wears. At that point, the parents of the town have punished Hester enough and don’t have the heart to tell their children what the letter means to them.

    Since their parents won’t explain the letter to them, the children are obliged to decide for themselves what the letter means. They decide it means Angel.

    So yeah, if you want to tell me wearing a mask is a Scarlet Letter, that works for me.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i think most people blank that ending out because it sounds like a fairy tale.

      anyone of the lower classes can tell you that the letter never comes off and doesn’t lose its stigmatic force, no matter how “exemplary” you are.

      1. ambrit

        We used to joke about your “permanent record,” being the determiner of your fate. Alas, absent decamping to some foreign clime, it turns out to be roughly true. The only ones who seem able to avoid such a fate are the psychopaths and amoral hustlers. They don’t care about what “decent people” think.

    2. Jessica

      When I actually read The Scarlet Letter (in my 60s; somehow my high never assigned it), I was surprised that some people were upset that she just had to wear the letter. It was common in those days to brand it on.

    1. judy2shoes

      Being American and more to the point, a non-sports follower, I didn’t know who Shane Warne was until I read your link. I am so sorry for your loss, Basil Pesto.

    2. wilroncanada

      Who the hell is Shane Warne?, I was going to ask right off the bat. Then I clicked on it. RIP, Shane. And sorry, Basil Pesto.

      1. Basil Pesto

        oh, thank you both, not sure I can claim the loss personally but it’s pretty broadly felt here (and abroad across the cricketing world as well). He was just unbelievable at what he did.

        1. petal

          I was in meetings a lot of today and didn’t catch up on news until I got home tonight. Am in shock. RIP Warnie. A life lived to the fullest. Legend.

    3. Foy

      Yep very sad Basil. He had covid in August of last year. They say he died of a heart attack, found unresponsive in his hotel room.

      I was shocked. I read a headline they were naming the MCG’s Great Southern Stand after him but I couldn’t work out why. Only a few minutes later did I twig, coudn’t believe it

      Very young at 52, he’ll now be remembered young. I wonder if he is one of those delayed covid excess deaths, with damage to heart/myocarditis from covid. Classic candidate, smoked a lot, carrying weight from time to time, never the healthiest.

      Sad day. Bigger than life he was, in almost every aspect. The good and the bad. One weird coincidence, he died on South African batsman Daryl Cullinan’s birthday, who was probably his biggest bunny (a batsman who he had the wood over as a bowler). Forever tied together.

      RIP Shane.

  25. tegnost

    Bloomberg. Xi is not among the “World’s Powerful”?

    Our Usian oligarchs rule the world. I’m thinking at least a few of those “laughing bezos” memes are pictures of him after someone asked him if all the russian oligarchs combined are richer than him, leading to the aforementioned hilarity. No, they are not richer than bezos.Where does a russian oligarch hide his yacht? Behind bezos’ yacht! What a silly quesiton…hahahahaha

  26. Gumnut

    Denmark sitrep:

    – daily life: as it was in 2019. No masks, no nothing, barely any covid in the news.

    – today from Statens Serums Institut’s: 59% of ALL Danes have had Covid since November.

    – for reference: 83% of Danes are vaccinated.

    – infection rates vs. vaccination status are no longer reported (nothing to see here, but since early Dec until the end of reporting, a vaccinated Dane had an at least 50% higher probability of being infected than an unvaccinated Dane in every reporting week from Dec-Feb (=Omikron dominant period)).

    – currently in hospital: 12% unvaccinated, 88% unvaccinated. Keep in mind population vax rate is 17:83%.

    – only 84% of the 2-jabbed opted for 3 jabs & booster dose curve is flat (very few #3s dished out right now) = Denmark is 17% never vaxxed, 12% opted out after 2, 70% went for 3rd shot and 1-2% went for #4.

  27. fresno dan

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More Louisville police officers should face criminal charges for their roles in the March 13 attempted drug search that ended in the death of Breonna Taylor, two grand jurors said Wednesday.

    And both jurors said they agree with the effort of Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, to have a special prosecutor appointed to review the case.
    “Do I feel that justice was done?” grand juror No. 1, who has maintained his anonymity, said in a phone interview with reporters Wednesday. “No. I feel that there was quite a bit more that could have been done or should have been presented for us to deliberate on.”

    “We looked at a lot of evidence,” added grand juror No. 2, who also has declined to reveal his name, “and we were able to see probable cause in a lot of different situations.”
    The grand jury never considered the six possible homicide charges that Cameron referred to in the press conference, the first grand juror said.

    “This was all Cameron. This was up to him. We didn’t get a choice in that at all,” the second grand juror told CBS. “So, I was livid. By the time I heard what he was saying, everything that came out of his mouth, I was saying ‘liar’ — because we didn’t agree to anything.”
    Maybe the aphorism that a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted before a grand jury should be amended to a prosecutor can get Jack Ruby exonerated before a grand jury.

  28. Ken

    Concerning the nuclear reactor fire and alarmist news. If this such a huge threat, shouldn’t the reactors be shutdown at this point? Think it would take a few days to get them shut down but this should eliminate the possibility of uncontrolled meltdown at least.

  29. antidlc

    Sometimes the truth escapes…
    Thread by Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH

    talks about
    1. Surveillance
    2. Vaccinations
    3. Testing
    4. Ventilation/filtration
    5. Masking
    6. Therapeutics

    Scroll to the end:
    “Bottom line is we are now at point where COVID will fade from the headlines. At least for a bit.”

    That’s really the whole point, isn’t it?

  30. ProNewerDeal

    Do we have current data on US Covid deaths by vaccination status & age cohorts?

    A Krystal Ball & Kyle Kulinski youtube clip says “majority of deaths are older unvaccinated”.

    I wonder if that is still true. IIRC I read here that in Israel & Denmark, a substantial portion (30%?) of the deaths were from vaccinated patients.

    In my view this overall decent social democratic podcast duo has a msDNC-like “vax is the sole magic bullet” Covid blind spot, & could stand to get a well-informed on Covid NC biomedical Pro like IM_Doc or perhaps Dr Kory from FLCCC on their podcast. Especially when they have time for the smugnerant arrogant pro-US MIC Fake Socialists like Vaush or Hasan Piker, smh.

  31. Lambert Strether Post author

    I had the destruction of the AN-225 filed under Symbol Manipulation the other day, because there were a lot of tweets about it, no digital evidence at all, and Antonov itself said: “Currently, until the #AN225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.”

    Now, after several days, digital evidence has emerged:

    However (a) there is still nothing official from Antonov, and (b) check the source: Dmitri Alperovitch, of CrowdStrike. Really? So I await confirmation from depoliticized sources, if any.

  32. Soredemos

    The whole Hostomel airport saga is fascinating. The Russian claim is the their paratroopers successfully held it until relieved, while the Ukrainians first claimed they slaughtered them all and took back the airport, only to lose it a second time when the relief forces arrived, and now they claim they actually just pushed the paratroopers back into the neighboring woods.

    Given how Ukraine loves to propagandize every time they set a truck or armored car on fire (and has repeatedly been caught faking even these), I seriously doubt they ever defeated the Russia paratroopers. If they had, they would have blanketed social media with pictures and video of dead Russians and their captured gear.

  33. Soredemos

    The media keeps implying the An-225 is a Ukrainian creation. It isn’t. It was a Soviet creation, and based on the An-124, which was designed by a Russian.

  34. Rainlover

    Detailed, if long, discussion on John Helmer’s website about possible Russian economic options for response to Western sanctions. It was written by Olga Samofalova and translated by Helmer. It originally appeared in Vzglyad (“Viewpoint”), the leading Moscow source for security strategy and tactics, according to Helmer. The post is dated March 3, 2022. It’s really too detailed to summarize here but does a good job of laying out Russian choices and possible effects on both the West and Russia.

  35. The Rev Kev

    There is a South Front story that is up so you have to take it for what it is worth. The DPR People’s Militia claim that the Ukrainian army in Mariupol have hit the headquarters of a separate special purpose detachment “Azov” in the south-west of Mariupol with a “Tochka-U” tactical missile. As a result of the strike, more than 20 militants were killed. Previously in comments, I have mentioned how on the Donbass front line, that firefights had broken out between units like this and the Ukrainian army so I am not prepared to dismiss this report out of hand. Maybe the army was unhappy how the Azov had been shooting civilians trying to flee the city. This story awaits some sort of confirmation of course.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe there was more than an element of truth to that story. The Russians have declared a ceasefire around that city as well as a nearby town so that an evacuation corridor can be opened up for civilians to leave the city. This will also allow for the restoration of electricity and water supply, as well as cell phone service while local officials will be able to deliver food and first-aid kits. Maybe that Azov unit was stopping this happening but as they “went away”, so did the problem-

    2. SET

      This is from the Saker on March 4. Well, So Much For “Unity”.

      VSU used good ol’ “Tochka U” against Nazi (Azov) forces in Mariupol. Killed a shitload of those. This was VSU’s the revenge for attempt of Azov thugs against VSU’s general. Mariupol is on the verge of the humanitarian catastrophe and Nazis openly use civilians as human shield. The operations by LDNR forces are already within the city limits (at the outskirts) and mopping up will be tough.

  36. none

    I uploaded the lying like a state podcast to which despite the .org is a commercial (paid) voice transcription service. They give you the first minute of transcription for free, and that minute looked like a good transcription as far as I could tell. Getting the rest costs 12 euro and I decided against paying it, but if anyone else wants to, it is there. The podcast is 72 minutes so I’ll guess that the transcription charge is 10 euro/hour. There have been some other occasions when I might have been willing to pay that, but I’d go broke if I did it with too many random podcasts.

    I’m going to look for ways to do it with free (libre) software, preferably not online services (even gratis ones). I have a hack to download closed captions from youtube videos and those transcriptions are awful, but I still find it much quicker to read through them, than to actually watch/listen to the damn video.

  37. judy2shoes

    I have a subscription to Matt Taibbi’s news articles. I don’t know if anyone else has seen the latest, titled “Putin May Have Played Himself. Will We?”

    Honestly, I don’t know what to make of the piece, which describes (among other things) Russian insider accounts of the days leading up to the invasion as chaotic (my word). I don’t want to post too much because it’s for paid subscribers, but here are some examples:

    “As a former security officer, [Putin] always wants to take everyone by surprise… We saw this during an emergency extended meeting of the Security Council three days before the war. The stammering of Foreign Intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin, the disorientation of the deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Dmitry Kozak, and the anxious face of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, were more than eloquent.”

    It also describes the war itself as poorly planned:

    “In video after video of POWs in Ukraine (YouTube is full of them, but only a few have been proven authentic, so I’m not linking yet), you see Russian soldiers, some too young to shave, insisting they had no idea what the mission was, or that they were expecting a 3-5 day training mission. Obviously some are reading off a script — in some cases their own, in other cases reading words handed by captors — but the consistency of the reactions is striking. Along with bizarre scenes like a widely publicized video of Russian tank operators stopped by the side of the road saying they have no idea where they’re going, it all points to a Russian mission that was poorly planned, if the bulk of the soldiers were trained at all.”

    The post ends with:

    “Through hyper-patriotism, paranoia, terror of free dialogue, and an incurable itch to use all his military toys, Putin played himself. I hope those on our side anxious to throw off “limits” and mix it up know what they’re doing, and at least try to keep his mistake from becoming ours.”

    Here’s the link where you can read some of the article:


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