Links 4/17/2022

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.

* * *
10 Gorgeously Colored Eggs, Straight From Birds Ars Technica

Does Spain have the Holy Grail? BBC

A Room with a Feud The Critic

A Practical Guide to the Nonsense Industry Los Angeles Review of Books

Will This Warhol Become the Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold? Vanity Fair

How to Catch a Cat Killer Narratively

I Grew Up Believing I Was Dumb. A College Education Behind Bars Healed That Wound Marshall Project

US zoo celebrates 50 years of giant pandas BBC. Cool video. I remember when Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing first arrived in D.C. As Pat Nixon predicted, pandemonium broke out.


Interview | ‘Fears of Fourth COVID Wave in India Currently Misplaced’ The Wire

India delaying publication of WHO’s estimates on global Covid-19 deaths: Report Scroll


Leana Wen talks Covid risk tolerance and her response to critics Stat

Following first unmasked concert, chorus members share cautionary tale WBUR

Uninsured People Are Left Behind as Government COVID-19 Funding Dries Up Truthout

New Not-So–Cold War

LIVERussia offers Mariupol defence a surrender window BBC

Russia-Ukraine live: Mariupol ‘completely cleared’ Al Jazeera


FIRST U.S. ARMORED HMMWVS ARRIVE IN UKRAINE, GREETED BY PRESIDENT POROSHENKO Defense Security Cooperation Agency (furzy). From 2015; still germane.

Military transport plane reportedly brought down outside Odesa – as it happened Guardian (furzy). For the Guardian to report this is something….. The “remaining troops defending Mariupol” is quite a stretch since the ones in the Illych factory surrendered and all that is left are the ones bunkered in the Azovstal factory.

UK’s top nuclear submarine arrives in Gibraltar as Putin issues Boris Johnson warning The Mirror



Russia Laments Moskva Loss, Bombs Azovstal, Warns US Against Arms Supplies to Kiev Alexander Mercouris. The opening section of the latest Alexander Mercouris show goes though the sources for various accounts of the sinking of the Moskva, discussing who said what in some detail. The idea that the Pentagon confirmed the Ukrainian story is based on two anonymous sources, not a Pentagon statement.

Russia Announces Space War On Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellites, Accepts Moskva Was Attacked Republic TV


Russia Ukraine War LIVE: Russian Defense Ministry To Publish Data On Military Deaths Republic TV

Winter 2022 Bandera Lobby Blog


Wife Of Putin-ally Detained In Ukraine Urges Captured UK Troops’ Kin To Seek Prisoner Swap Republic TV


Exclusive: Russia’s Sergey Glazyev introduces the new global financial system The Cradle (furzy)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Dials Vladimir Putin To Talk About Ukraine, Yemen & OPEC+ Republic TV


US, EU sacrificing Ukraine to ‘weaken Russia’: fmr. NATO adviser The Grayzone. Aaron Maté.

Supply Chain

Get ready for the next supply chain shockwave American Shipper

FDA needs to follow through on its plan to ban carbadox in animal feed

Fuel Ship Sinks off Tunisia, Threatening Environmental Disaster The Wire


Avian flu has spread to 27 states, sharply driving up egg prices WaPo

Seed banks: the last line of defense against a threatening global food crisis Guardian

Class Warfare

Amazon’s Union-Buster Consultants Are Also Consultants for Major Labor Unions Jacobin

Banning lawmakers from owning stocks would stymie war profiteering Responsible Statecraft

“If You’re Getting a W-2, You’re a Sucker” ProPublica

How Union Workers’ Money Funds A Union Buster The Lever

Luxury Building Workers in New York City Authorize Strike Truthout

Hillary Clinton’s Odd Midterm Counsel WSJ. From the deck: “Focus on the Democratic Party’s national record, she and Obama advise….” With advice like this, no wonder she lost in 2016.

The Memo: RNC’s break on debates nudges nation toward factionalism The Hill

Biden Administration

Politics at the pump: Democrats’ election-year plan to pause gas tax hike sparks backlash from station owners Chicago Tribune

The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees New Yorker (furzy)


One suspect in custody after 9 wounded in South Carolina mall shooting, police say NBC (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Patrick Lyoya: Could rethink of US police traffic stops save lives? BBC


Are These the Last Days of Die Linke?  Jacobin

La belle France

Macron backs EU-wide pay cap for CEOs in nod to left-wing voters (furzy)


The latest reset: India and the United States amid Ukraine war Firstpost

Bye-polls: TMC bags two seats in Bengal, RJD wins in Bihar, Congress in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh Scroll

GhoseSpot | India has changed and it will be a mistake to judge it by the lens of the past Firstpost

Power company orders people to move away from Ranganadi dam in the North East as monsoons approach Scroll

AAP announces 300 units of free electricity for every Punjab household from July 1 Scroll


Farewell lunch triggered ‘Lettergate’ dispute  Dawn

A note-taker at luncheon behind Imran Khan’s ‘foreign conspiracy’ charge: Report Hindustan Times

Army’s step back Dawn


Can Chinese defence firms profit as Western sanctions hit Russian arms makers? South China Morning Post

Chinese diplomats urge Harvard audience to build trust and not heed ‘narrow-minded’ Americans South China Morning Post

Old Blighty

Beebology London Review of Books

A scandal worse than thalidomide The Times

Sports Desk

Police State Watch

War on Cash

In praise of the dollar bill MIT Technology Review

Julian Assange

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. re silc

    regarding supplies of merikin anti-tank/aircraft supplies to the ukrainiacs…..making more here for them???
    too bad parts are stuck in containers off the coast of long beach or locked down in shanghai

    1. Louis Fyne

      pretty much guaranteed that the microchips and circuit boards in Javelins are not made in USA. Most likely Taiwan. some of the sensors probably are made in USA

      But low-end (but still essential) parts like the wiring probably was made in China.

      but don’t worry, the explosives probably are made in USA!

      1. timbers

        Would I be “exploiting fears over cost of living” if I asked if these microchips the West is throwing at Ukraine only for many to be destroyed could instead be repurposed to use in cars so as to help lower the price of cars for those of us who need to drive to work?

        BTW some claim the weapons the West is claiming to send consist much of what they don’t want, aren’t effective, and they can’t get rid of in a yard sale.

        1. Susan the other

          So let’s have one last party and use up all the stuff that might otherwise become a big inventory of stranded assets. Might as well make some money on it.

        2. Josef K

          Isn’t the whole basis of war as maybe the world’s best racket the fact that by definition the products (munitions especially) need constant replacing? The buildings and infrastructure they destroy need rebuilding, and the bodies they maim need medical attention and care. Those they kill, not so much.
          The flip side of the addage that wounding is preferable to killing as it requires more resources to deal with is that all that effort boosts GDP. It’s a win-win situation, aside from the unfortunates who are maimed and killed, omnis bono!

      2. redleg

        And the synthetic sapphire substrate for those chips is likely sole sourced from Russia.
        Explosives require ammonia (made from and by natural gas) and hydrocarbons. Cellulose will work, but the powerful stuff requires petroleum. Again, Russia is a global leader in exporting these things.
        Just sayin’.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Mariupol defenders ignore Russia surrender deadline”

    Things must be getting desperate there. By now, the only guys who are still holding out are Azov troops, mercs and likely a few NATO officers. But now Zelensky is saying if that the Russians clear out this last pocket and take them prisoner, that that will be an end to negotiations between Russia and the Ukraine. Since they have stalled out anyway, that would be no loss for Russia but somebody is sure worried about what the Russians will find there. Since they have been cut off from all food and ammo, it can’t be too long.

    1. Louis Fyne

      latest odd, odd of war news from Mariupol. so on video a Russian foot soldier showed off his trophy, the US passport of what the soldier called a mercenary.

      The top hits for the person’s name is multiple news stories how that person was heading to Mariupol to fetch his son from his estranged UA wife.

      Doesn’t sound like a would be mercenary. Did the American get press ganged by local UA authorities? lost his passport? Did the Russians also find his body?

      1. The Rev Kev

        There have been a coupla US passports found already on bodies so they can’t all be guys trying to rescue their families. Even saw a video of a coupla guys on a battlefield talking in English with American accents. Why are they there?

        That video, that you saw. Was it this one? The Russian guy showing the passport mentioned that the coordinates of his buried body has been marked in pen in his passport so that when the war is eventually over, they can retrieve his body if they so wish- (1:04 mins)

      2. Quentin

        Well, if he lost his passport and is still alive, he would have to apply for new one before he can go anywhere, wouldn’t he? So why defend someone or something you nothing about. Ask the State Department to clear up any ambiguity.

        1. Safety First

          Apparently, which at first glance appears to hew to a sort of a centrist position (i.e. critiquing both Ukrainian and Russian stories), did some digging on this. [] The man’s name is Cesar Quintana, he is alive and well and talking to the Washington Post (there is a screenshot in the piece), he was in the Ukraine last year to get his son back from his estranged Ukrainian wife at which point local authorities confiscated his passport – which is how the passport ended up in Russian hands, presumably found in some local police station or whatsit. Incidentally, his ex-wife and son have now apparently moved to Russia, per WaPo.

          Obviously there have been REAL foreigners captured or killed in Mariupol’ and elsewhere – e.g. Russian social media and TV have been agog for the past few days with interrogation clips of some brit named Aidan Aislin or some such – but in this case, it appears we are dealing with a PR stunt of some sort. And one needs to understand, there is context here; as far back as 2014 LDNR-affiliated media was regularly floating unsubstantiated stories about “African-American mercenaries” being killed or captured, mostly to shore up the idea that the fight is not against Ukraine but against The Evil Empire (affectionately referred to on Russian social media as either “the elves of Valinor” or “Jedi knights” – implying Russa is Mordor and the Sith Empire, respectively). So the Cesar Quintana thing is probably the twenty-fiftieth time they’ve tried something like this in the past eight years or so…

  3. Circle of Life

    Last day of Die Linke in Germany.
    100% they are dying and the current leadership sees it as its role to kill Die Linke.

    They have resorted to 100% symbol politics. For the presidential elections they nominated some volunteer professional with 0 connection to Die Linke and they motivated the rank and file members with “this is not about winning the presidency it is about putting the issue about poverty on the agenda”. A party leader that says that they are not even fighting for power is a sure way to lose. Also, nominating a volunteer peofessional is outright repulsive. Socialism is about eradicating poverty and make sure it is taken care of professionally, creating jobs for care-takers as part of the welfare state, making sure that taking care of poor people is not dependent on upper-middle-class people on an ego-ride.
    It is just insane. Sahra Wagenknecht published a book last year about big-city middle-class that have their heads so far up their Gazprom that despise people that cannot afford eco-meat and other eco-thing in small, small portion packages made out of plastics. She wa unfortunately describing the level of infestation in Die Linke.

    If they die, maybe we can start a real left-wing party that is a power-player not a virtue-signaller.

    1. flora

      I left this link a few days ago. It’s more widespread than is generally reported. For example, the largest egg production operation in the US shut down and isn’t scheduled to restart.

      From the Ice Age Farmer. utube, 20 minutes.

      BIRD FLU: the Next Pandemic?

      Ice Age Farmer has a short follow-up post to this one.

      1. Wukchumni

        The real profit in the restaurant industry is eggs, a $10 omelette used to have a buck, buck fifty in food cost, but that was then and soon to come, the new & improved $15 omelette.

    2. hunkerdown

      My fried chicken order yesterday was so disappointing. All had a vaguely chlorinated smell and not much flavor. Some thighs were twice as big as some others. I think chicken winter is here.

        1. jr

          I’ve given up on supermarket food entirely…veges taste like nothing, meats are sickly…i shop at the nice stores and it’s really pricey but why pay for low nutrition, tasteless garbage? It’s my only vice these days.

  4. ajc

    Leana Wen is gobsmackingly incompetent, if not evil.

    I think there are so many unknowns about long Covid that it’s very difficult to calculate the risk for any given person. And so if somebody says, well, how do I think about my risk of long Covid, I would actually ask them the question in a totally different way, which is it going to be really difficult to avoid Covid at all? Are you willing to give up a lot in order to avoid Covid? You don’t exactly know what is going to happen once you have it, but you do know what will happen if you don’t let your kids go to camp or sleepovers or extracurriculars. You do know what happens when you are not traveling and not going to indoor events with others. I really believe that all of us, unless we take really extraordinary steps, are going to get Covid and therefore be at risk for long Covid.

    Dr. Wen should have her medical license revoked. When little old me, not a doctor, is familiar enough with literature to understand that the long term risk of a covid infection is not just long covid, but things like brain damage, dementia, dilated aorta, pulmonary embolism, etc, I’m utterly shocked by this false equivalence she uses.

    That combined with her prattling about how masking is this difficult inconvenience that should only be used when we have really, really lost control is just insane. Plus supporting the CDC’s 15 day extension of the public transportation mask mandate while ignoring the reasoning she has for that support to argue against mask mandates in every other instance. I would be scared for my health and even my life if she were my doctor, considering how inconsistent she is and how blissfully unaware she seems to be about how if you don’t have your health, you don’t really have much of a life.

    1. flora

      I vote ‘evil’. I think she’s competent at what she’s hired to do, which is acting as the mouthpiece for someone or something else, imo. (The ‘Jen Psaki’ of public health. heh)

      1. Tvc15

        Perhaps she’s done enough now to take her turn as one of Lambert’s Sociopaths of the day. She has my vote. Shaming them seems to be our only recourse which eventually they’ll prohibit. They can use the unconstitutional Israeli anti-bds law in ~28 states as their template.

    2. Drake

      Personally, I find her views to be refreshing and better than the response to Covid that has prevailed for over two years now, the one that insists that there are only costs on one side (the side of doing nothing) and none on the side of locking people up, forcing experimental medicines on them, and destroying their businesses and lives. Disease is a fact of life requiring benefit/risk tradeoffs that are different for everyone. I came close to being fired for refusing a vaccine mandate from President Sniffy despite being a remote employee who had already had Covid. I will never forgive anyone associated with this.

      But in response to what I consider to be Wen’s very pertinent comments, she is labelled evil, incompetent, a prattler, a mouthpiece, a sociopath, should have her accounts frozen, among other creative punishments. On which side is the ‘evil’? When did the left become so hateful and authoritarian?

      1. Darius

        You should read the back catalogue of this site. COVID is airborne. Ventilation and filtration is needed, as well as masks. Vax only strategery was Scranton Joe’s attempt at sweeping COVID under the rug. And it has failed. His whinging about masks is his approximation of what a regular does.

        The politically ambitious Wen is one of the uglier manifestation of an ugly administration policy of empowering employers to force people back into unsafe working environments. But it’s all OK to Leana. They’re all working class. “No one we know.”

      2. Silent Bob

        Leona Wen was all in on the mandates and locking people up. In fact, as I recall she was very vocal that you and me and everyone like us who refused to be cowed deserved to lose our jobs. And now she isn’t. I imagine if the winds change she will be back on the mandate bandwagon. Plus ca change. . .

      3. ChrisPacific

        I have no problem with her listing the risks associated with long Covid avoidance – in fact I agree it’s desirable to consider them. I have a big problem with her handwaving away the risks on the long Covid side (as she does in her first sentence) and saying: Oh, there are too many unknowns involved, so we shouldn’t even try.

        There was a really good, link-heavy article yesterday in our local media that summarized most of what is known so far about long Covid with links to the studies that supported it. There’s still a good deal that isn’t known, but we definitely have enough information now to start painting a picture.

        Dr. Wen writing off long Covid risks as unknown and unknowable is just intellectual laziness – doubly so because she is a medical professional and authority figure and there’s an expectation that her advice will be well considered and backed by evidence and reasoning. (Intellectual laziness is the best interpretation – at worst she’s credentialing for hire, like Colin Powell was).

      4. Pelham

        I understand your concerns and unfortunate experience and sympathize. But the benefits, risks and tradeoffs are not just matters of individual calculation or choice. Given the fact that this disease is airborne, everyone is affected by everyone else’s choices. Yes, there are dangers associated with the vaccines, and some individuals — and even, perhaps, many or all of us — may suffer because we’ve gotten the shots.

        But given what we know now (which admittedly isn’t enough) and given the unavoidable interconnectedness of any modern society, each and every one of us has a civic responsibility not only to protect ourselves to the degree possible within the boundaries of imperfect and perhaps flawed knowledge, but also to protect everyone around us.

        I understand the reaction against this notion. We’re supposed to be rugged individuals looking out for ourselves and no one else. But, apparently, Covid doesn’t work that way. It is INTENSELY collective and thrives best in an environment in which one victim doesn’t give a flip about any of those around him. How much do we want to play into that?

      5. Cat Burglar

        Nowhere in the interview does she consider that the likelihood of repeated reinfection over a lifetime will create a high likelihood of increased debility from each acute episode and from long-term sequelae, and decreasing life expectancy. Maybe that is what we should expect from a former ER doc — you could almost say that short-termism is their specialty.

        But in someone purporting to be a public health expert, you have to wonder what her refusal to consider the medium and long-term damage means (because in a professional at her level, she knows what she is doing, right?). She may be sincere in feeling that each individual’s private concerns should take precedence in making policy (cf., the original definition of idiot); and perhaps she is just projecting her own problems as a busy upper-middle class professional parent. She may just be mimicking other opinion leaders that she knows. It seems unlikely she is doing political backscratching to aid a career rise, but we all know that happens, right?

        A professor of public health that can’t say anything about inequality of care except “working together” and “have a plan”? That’s all she can say? No mention of Medicare For All. It’s the same throughout. Right?

      6. gepay

        The science up to 2020 said masks are ineffective against air borne small respiratory viruses. The EPA agreed. In fact in May 2020 I read on the CDC website a review of 18 studies where 17 out of 18 said they didn’t work for influenza – a very similar size RNA upper respiratory virus. My memory says the 18th was one of individually form fitted N95 respirators in a medical setting where other precautions were also being used. A real world Danish study with 6000 participants found the same about covid. I have not come across any real world studies that say they do – only a few observational studies and studies using modeling. It seems intuitionally that masking should lessen infection but scientific studies say otherwise. Ventilating and filtering should be much easier to assess.

        1. Yves Smith

          I found this in two minutes. The CDC was in the business of discouraging mask use in 2020 to preserve them for medical workers and ADMITTED that! So relying on their cherry picking NOW is bogus. The CDC was affirmatively misrepresenting “the science”.

, from 2009. Masks found effective but compliance issues in household settings.

          This was a meta analysis of 21 studies in May 2020, which meant the studies had to have been completed at least 6 months prior, given time needed for analysis and writing of paper:

          A total of 21 studies met our inclusion criteria. Meta-analyses suggest that mask use provided a significant protective effect (OR = 0.35 and 95% CI = 0.24–0.51). Use of masks by healthcare workers (HCWs) and non-healthcare workers (Non-HCWs) can reduce the risk of respiratory virus infection by 80% (OR = 0.20, 95% CI = 0.11–0.37) and 47% (OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.36–0.79). The protective effect of wearing masks in Asia (OR = 0.31) appeared to be higher than that of Western countries (OR = 0.45). Masks had a protective effect against influenza viruses (OR = 0.55), SARS (OR = 0.26), and SARS-CoV-2 (OR = 0.04). In the subgroups based on different study designs, protective effects of wearing mask were significant in cluster randomized trials and observational studies.

          1. gepay

            From the meta analysis you quoted: 4.5. Limitations and future perspective

            The present meta-analysis still has several limitations. First, well-designed high-quality prospective studies and studies of masking in the general public are still insufficient. Second, Droplet-borne and airborne viruses are likely to cause large-scale transmissions among the passengers within closed transportation vehicles [55]. However, relevant studies are relatively rare [32]. Third, this article included some studies of SARS patients diagnosed according to clinical diagnostic criteria for SARS due to a low detection rate of RT-PCR [56]. The lack of sufficient virologic evidence may affect our conclusions. However, this effect might not be significant, as 92% of patients with clinical SARS for whom paired sera were available had a >4-fold rise in antibody titer to SARS-CoV [57]. Fourth, control subjects without masking are generally lacking in studies conducted in healthcare settings mainly due to the ethical issue. Future studies might choose HCWs from departments without needs of masking as controls [26]. Fifth, our study didn’t have sufficient data for subgroup analysis of different mask types since our inclusion criteria mainly focused on masks versus no masks, which might inherently omit studies that focused on effectiveness of different mask types. Though there were published studies that had shown different specifications of masks and different wearing methods may affect the protective effect of masks [17,32]. And when the included studies divided the time/frequency of wearing masks, we only included the group of masks with the longest wearing/highest wearing frequency. This might also ignore effects of the short/infrequent mask-wearing. In addition, the studies we included were mainly conducted in Asia, especially China, and more evidence from other countries is needed to support our views. Last but not least, information about other confounding biases, such as vaccination, hand hygiene, age, gender, and culture, may affect the protective effect of masks.

            1. Yves Smith

              You are now violating our site Policies. This is bad faith argumentation. You made an absolute, strong form declaration: “The science up to 2020 said masks are ineffective against air borne small respiratory viruses.” I disproved that in two minutes of effort with a single 2009 metastudy. I did not go looking for additional studies post 2009 since it was now clear your assertion was false.

              You are now arguing in bad faith by attempting (not very successfully) to shift the grounds of your argument without conceding your initial statement was false.

              You need to drop it.

              1. gepay

                So I shouldn’t have pointed out to you the limitations of the study you posted but instead have given you the many other studies that found that masks are not effective here is one: 29) Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020, Fisher, 2020 Reported characteristics of symptomatic adults ≥18 years who were outpatients in 11 US academic health care facilities and who received positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 test results (N = 314)* — United States, July 1–29, 2020, revealed that 80% of infected persons wore face masks almost all or most of the time. Another 21) The use of masks and respirators to preventtransmission of influenza: a systematic review of thescientific evidence21) The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence, Bin-Reza, 2012 The use of masks and respirators to preventtransmission of influenza: a systematic review of thescientific evidence“None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection. Some evidence suggests that mask use is best undertaken as part of a package of personal protection especially hand hygiene.” And another: Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures, CDC/Xiao, 2020 “Evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza…none of the household studies reported a significant reduction in secondary laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the face mask group…the overall reduction in ILI or laboratory-confirmed influenza cases in the face mask group was not significant in either studies.”
                I should have said the science is equivocal with the weight on my bias.

                1. Yves Smith

                  You initial strong form claim was that “the science” as of 2020 said masks didn’t work. I showed your claim was false. You then cite a footnote that does not undermine the paper but merely qualified it somewhat and did not even being to rise to supporting your contention.

                  You have again shifted grounds of your argument. The official talking down of mask use was Feb-April, see this post as an indicator that masks had become orthodox:

                  You cite studies later in 2020, which are irrelevant to your claim.

                  Masks do work, otherwise workers would die in working with dangerous inhaled materials. It would be impossible to go on the moon or scuba-dive if masks didn’t work, fer Chrissakes. It is a question of what stringency of mask is needed given the hazard/pathogen.

                  You are doubling down when you are still unable to prove your initial false contention.

                  I warned you you were arguing in bad faith, a violation of our site Policies. You persisted.

                  I trust you will find your happiness elsewhere on the Internet.

        2. Basil Pesto

          A real world Danish study with 6000 participants found the same about covid.

          Imagine unironically citing the preposterous Danish mask study in 2022

          1. gepay

            It was published in a peer reviewed competent medical journal – ” Annals of Internal Medicine. Annals of Internal Medicine is an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians. It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world. Annals publishes content relevant to the field of internal medicine and related sub-specialties.”

    3. t

      The people who are privileged are going to have access to the best care. Everybody else is going to be worried about what level of care they’re going to get, how they’ll access care. There are going to be barriers like transportation, taking time off from work. They may not have primary care. I mean, this is the same throughout.

      That was my favorite part. Give her a pat on the back for saying that out loud and then moving right along.

  5. Stick'em

    re: A Practical Guide to the Nonsense Industry – LARB

    Yesterday my 75-year-old mother-in-law advised my 8-year-old daughter to “fake it until you make it.” Then she looked to me with this giant grin as if she had just imparted some ancient grandma wisdom unto the child.

    Is there some sort of test you can give to see if someone has been replaced by a robot? Asking for a friend…

    1. The Rev Kev

      At least she didn’t tell your 8 year-old daughter to ‘marry for money as it lasts longer than looks.’ Then again, what was she going to say? ‘Hard work and dedication always pays off?’ ‘A college education is a guarantee of a good job?’ If your mother-in-aw is 75 years old, she was a young woman in 1970 and has seen the deterioration in all those decades. Maybe in all that time she became a cynic.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >‘marry for money as it lasts longer than looks.’

        “Those who marry for money earn it.”—Anon (probably someone who married for money)

        1. jefemt

          Jackie Kennedy Onasis on her hubby Ari…..” he’s taller when he stands on his money…”

      2. Stick'em

        Grandma did years of graphic advertising in the marketing dept and considers herself to be plugged in to the tech world. She thinks this commercial stuff is not only normal, but good.

        Debating whether to try to get grandma to watch Hypernormalisation:

        Usually I don’t bother because his sort of thing tends to alienate people stuck inside the simulacra:

        Maybe just focus on my daughter and let grandma believe whatever she wants…

    2. John Merryman

      I’ve been telling my daughter for a long time that my generation will break the world and hers will have to put it back together.

        1. John Merryman

          She spent four years teaching high schoolers in Memphis, now she’s in law school……
          A few law professors are a walkover, after four years of thirty five plus little gangbangers….

    3. Wukchumni

      I came of age on just the other side of Bullshit, Ca.

      Born in east L.A. three score ago (not Elmer Bernstein’s) I was inured & nourished from the cathode teat, or as they say in the UK… the dummy.

      Almost everything I ever feasted my eyes upon was fabrications of truth in a world where nobody ever watched tv on tv shows, why waste precious plot time, in the same way nobody ever goes to the bathroom on tv.

      Did tv set a course for life imitating art, or were we always a nation of bullshitters?

          1. albrt

            Be sure to get an annotated version. The story scans OK on the surface, but the offhand contemporary cultural references are as dense as a millenial’s facebook post, and 99% are impenetrable to us. It opens up a whole alternate historical timeline.

      1. LawnDart

        A nation of bullshitters? Not all, for sure, but our prevailing society, common culture, and a hell of a lot of people, for sure.

        Putin called it “The Empire of Lies” and I can see no reason nor find any grounds on which to disagree with the man.

        I think that it has been intensifying– the lies and bullshiting– with the weakening of the 4th Estate and the wholesale purchase of “democratic representation.” The law gets bought, we get newsish infotainment, and truthtellers get hammered– just ask Assange.

        There is definately spillover that I’ve seen into the workplace and elsewhere, and I attribute it to “monkey see, monkey do” and “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” And add a toxic, delusional narcissism fostered by social media to the mix– here we are.

    4. Geo

      I’ve seen so many instances of confidence and bravado being rewarded over skill and accomplishment in my many years that I find the advice given to be wise. It’s depressing, and is a symptom of a sick society, but it is wise.

    5. Anthony G Stegman

      I see nothing wrong with your mother-in-law’s advice. Life is a game. Cheating in the game of life is acceptable. Most of out “leaders” faked it until they made it. Some continue to fake it (Obama, Biden, Trump, etc…). The old adage who you know is more important that what you know is very true in this world of ours. I hope your daughter takes to heart the good advice she received.

    6. Maritimer

      “fake it until you make it.” Well that sure must seem like wisdom to the folks at BP/WEF/WHO/etc. who came up with the fakest injections ever and even redefined vaccine to get past the smell test. And not only that but will keep on rinsing and repeating the unsafe and ineffective injections. Wise indeed.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Leana Wen talks Covid risk tolerance and her response to critics”

    I have seen here name often in connection with basically living with the virus. Wikipedia tells me that she currently ‘a Research Professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, where she is a Distinguished Fellow in the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity. She is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.’ So I was just thinking. You know what she needs? She needs a promotion for all her hard work in normalizing the virus on behalf of the medical establihment. So perhaps she could be put in charge of a brand new clinic – to be called the Institution for the Treatment of Long Covid Sufferers.

    1. Pat

      Not in charge, how about if all her accounts are frozen and she has to take the job as an orderly with a 12 hour/day six day a week job no vacation, no benefit job in the same facility. If she were in charge she would never see a patient and would be “optimizing” care procedures to give as little care at the highest cost possible.

  7. John Merryman

    The question we will be asking ourselves in the not too distant future, is how many of those deliveries of weapons went directly to the black market;
    How much blowback will this create throughout Europe, as the Ukrainians come to realize they were never more than useful idiots and roadkill and the only thing they have to show for it is a lot of weapons designed for insurgency. The tactical armor of the police and armored cars of the rich won’t seem so intimidating.

    1. Dftbs

      Very interesting link, it carries a whiff of something. I’ve always assumed that weapons shipments and “aid packages” are just another way to shuffle around dirty money and were never expected to reach any frontline. But I suppose there are levels of “leakage” in any grift, and this here is just the retail level leakage, a javelin missile being the Ukrainian equivalent of a lost dime bag.

      Also, hoping Gonzalo Lira is found safe.

    2. Tom Stone

      The radical right has a lot of connections with the military and police world wide.
      And it is well funded.
      I have no doubt we’ll see stingers used in the USA and Western Europe, several hundred could easily be lost track of redistributed to groups that share the beliefs of Freikorps, Azov, C14 Kiev and the like.

      1. playon

        If the Israelis are buying them I would hope not, but I suppose arms dealers don’t care who buys their stuff as long as it’s cash.

  8. Wukchumni

    The Easter bunny came out of it’s burrow and saw the shadow market, indicating 6 more weeks of winner.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Our Easter bunny came out of it’s burrow and was quickly dispatched by our 16yo Jack Russell. He can barely run and will doubtless pay for his exertion for days. But, he was so proud.

    2. Michael Ismoe

      Our Easter Bunny came out and Joe Biden tried to shake its hand, Kamala giggled at it, Congress appropriated $20 billion “for egg dye”, Zelensky asked it for more weapons and then the rabbit and Hunter did three lines and it ODed.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese diplomats urge Harvard audience to build trust and not heed ‘narrow-minded’ Americans”

    That article had the following paragraph-

    ‘Largely absent from Saturday’s two hundred or so attendees were the average Americans and lawmakers that Beijing seeks to convince. Instead, most in the Harvard hall were Chinese-born students at elite Boston-area US universities sympathetic to China’s message that its rise is peaceful and its development non-threatening, even as tensions mount.’

    Could it be that in the present atmosphere, that a lot of Harvard students did not attend in case their image attending was taken there? And that down the track as tensions ramp up with China, that this image would be used to sideline them career-wise as being a sympathizer of the Chinese? And once you get sidelined, your entire career is toast so perhaps for a lot of students, it was safer not to be seen anywhere near that talk. Thing is, you don’t learn much by listening to people that agree with you. You learn a lot more listening to people whom you disagree with which is in danger of becoming a lost art.

    1. Late Introvert

      I will have a college age child in 2 years and would absolutely encourage her to be an attendee (what a crap word, btw). Job prospects much higher, and also super interesting event. I bet the Chinese speak impeccable English and are on the very best behavior.

  10. Louis Fyne

    …Pentagon officials say that Kyiv is blowing through a week’s worth of deliveries of antitank munitions every day…

    on social media since the first days of the war, there is a steady stream of RU and UA videos of extremely large, mushroom cloud explosions, which can only be ammo dumps.

    more likely RU intel are doing a very good job of tracking inbound deliveries and RU has the patience to hit those deliveries only after the weapons arrive at distribution centers

    1. Polar Socialist

      Then there’s the thing that Javelins are not really designed for troops without any transportation – when Ukrainians leave a position, they can’t haul those with them. Thus a lot trophies paraded by DNR and LNR militias.

      The word in the Telegram also is that Javelins don’t take nearby explosions (blast and dust) too well. NLAW is better in that regard, and Soviet RPGs survive the best (being the simplest of them).

      1. Soredemos

        Also it’s very likely that the Javelin is massively underperforming. Russian and Donbass troops keep capturing huge stockpiles of them, completely unfired. They just aren’t being used.

        1. OnceWereVirologist

          It does seem that a Javelin would be an impractical weapon for an army that doesn’t have much armoured transport. 16 kg for a single shot plus another 6 or 7 kilos for the aiming unit does not leave a lot of spare carrying capacity for a soldier on foot.

    2. OnceWereVirologist

      60000 anti-tank weapons divided by 7.5 weeks is 8000 a week by my calculations. If they were actually using that many in a day the front lines would be a never-ending fireworks show. Destroyed in ammunition dumps as you say or more worryingly sold off to third parties is my guess.

    3. Geo

      There’s a great scene in the movie Lord of War (about an arms dealer) where Jared Leto’s character has made a map of Ukraine from lines of cocaine and describes how he’s snorting up the warring regions.

      It’s a perfect showcase of the situation there right now. Just a bunch of strung out war profiteers getting high off a nation’s conflicts.

    4. Safety First

      I think that the answer here is a complex of factors.

      1. In contemporary conflicts, ATGMs are used as much as ersatz field artillery as purely anti-tank weapons. Apparently US troops used the Javelin as such in Afghanistan with some success, by the way, and certainly other ATGM types were employed in this fashion routinely in Syria/whatever. [E.g. one recalls a 2016-vintage interview with a Russian Special Forces ATGM operator who noted that he always had to relocate within 30-45 seconds of firing because the other side’s ATGMs would be hitting his position in that time frame.] So it is possible that Ukrainians are burning through their stocks as quickly as they are in the course of just regular firefights and such, especially given the apparent focus of Russian Air Force on hunting artillery guns and MRLS launchers.

      2. Modern armies are stupefyingly vehicle-heavy compared with their predecessors – I would argue. I would not be surprised if a bunch of Javelins were being used against not tanks, but your regular supply lorries, APCs, light wheeled vehicles, and so on. Using a Javelin on basically a Jeep may seem like overkill and a waste of one’s heavy weapons in the abstract, but perhaps not so in the heat of battle.

      3. As others have already noted, plenty of stocks are getting captured as well, unused. Obviously if a unit is defeated and is forced to retreat in disorder, or is surrounded and captured, then its heavy weapons are “lost” pretty much in their entirety. Just the other day there was a large Ukrainian column trying to break out of Mariupol’, with their vehicles, and most ended up being captured – one guesses this sort of thing “uses up” ATGMs very quickly indeed.

      One can think of several other factors as well, including blowing the things up in transit – though thus far Russian long range strikes have been more focussed on large fixed targets, airfields, fuel depots, that sort of thing. Obviously any supply lorry making its way from point A to point B anywhere near the frontline runs the risk of being blown up by a passing helo or combat drone…

      Insofar as the Javelins’ effectiveness. Unfortunately, at this juncture we simply have no facts to go on, since the Russians have not disclosed even their total vehicle losses (never mind by type or cause), and in just about any conflict “claims” by one side almost always outnumber actual losses incurred by a factor of anywhere between two and twelve. [In other words, Ukrainian claims on the matter are dubious at best.] What IS indisputable is that there are a number of photographs on pro-Russian Telegram channels of tanks with a sort of a wire mesh “roof” welded over the turret – almost like a saint’s halo, in a way – presumably to protect against Javelin strikes. So at the least the Russians seem to be taking this threat seriously, for whatever that is worth.

      1. Yves Smith

        I am in no position to evaluate, but the Saker’s latest Sitrep argues that the Javelins are flat out not terribly effective against Russian tanks:

        There is video evidence of this now that’s emerged where UAF is mostly operating in the style of ISIS ‘technicals’ where they mount a machine gun on a pickup truck and drive around the countryside in search of fast ambush opportunities on RF rearguards, supply lines etc., but unlike ISIS they’re armed with tons of ATGMs and Manpads.

        One Russian T-72B3 came home to base last night near Izyum having been reportedly struck as many as 2 or 3 times by Javelins and Nlaws, but its Kontakt-5 reactive armor had no problem shrugging them all off. Photos show Kontakt-5 damage around the turret indicating possible “top attack” (such as NLAW and Javelin) as opposed to normal RPG style weapons hitting lower broadside on the hull. Just further proof that Western weapons are performing abysmally. In fact the ONLY consistently confirmed proof I have seen, out of thousands of videos, of tank kills on Russian armor all comes from the Ukrainian Stugna-P ATGM, which is a Ukrainian/Belarussian produced weapon.

        One frontline reporter several days ago said, upon breaching a UAF position they found a bunch of spent Russian/Soviet legacy RPGs laying on the ground, while next to them was several western (NLAW/Javelin) units that were completely unused. You can figure out what this implies.

        1. vao

          One frontline reporter several days ago said […etc…] You can figure out what this implies.

          That very specific example is not conclusive. The Ukrainians were under attack, i.e. a situation where keeping one’s cool and reacting fast and efficiently is essential.

          One the one hand, Ukrainian and Soviet legacy RPG which the soldiers have been long trained to use, can handle with skillful routine, and are accustomed to their aiming or recoil quirks.

          On the other hand, the very recent fancy stuff they have seen used appropriately once during a demonstration, might have possibly experimented with a couple of times during a rudimentary training session, and must keep trying to remember the instructions on how to operate them properly — under fire.

          Under battle pressure, Ukrainians presumably first resort to those weapons they are familiar and confident with, which may well explain the observed discrepancy in the type of spent ammunition when their position is overrun.

          Again, for that one report, there is an alternative explanation to the alleged ineffectiveness of Western armament.

          1. Yves Smith

            I don’t find your retort persuasive, plus it has the air of “the lady doth protest too much”.

            If you read the entire selection, he says he has yet to see an example of a Russian tank rendered unusable by a Javelin. And if someone were completely out of ammo, which is they case here, why would you not try to get off shots with other weapons, even if less familiar?

      2. OnceWereVirologist

        I think the concept of ATGM as ersatz artillery probably works fine if you’re the US army fighting Jihadis with AKs in the backwoods of Afghanistan. But firing ATGMs is not in the slightest bit covert and the operator has to expose themselves to enemy fire to use one. Stack up a pile in a trench and start firing them off and you’re just asking for an artillery barrage if you don’t get your head blown off first sticking it above the trench line. All the close-range infantry combat footage from the Donbass that I’ve seen involves the classics – i.e. machine gun nests, snipers, and mortar teams.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          We’ve seen this many times before, from the Arab-Israeli war to Syria. ATGM’s are very effective at first due to the surprise factor and the general disorganisation that takes place on ‘first contact’. But then the attacking force works out how best to suppress them or keep them at arms length to minimise their impact. As you say, they were used a lot in Afghanistan for things like bunker busting – a very expensive way to kill a couple of guys with AK-47’s. But there is a world of difference between shooting these at insurgents and shooting them at an enemy that can call in precise artillery fire down upon you from 10km away once they get a geo fix.

          Ultimately, IEDs are probably more useful to the weaker side in asymmetrical warfare, as you generally don’t give away your position when you detonate one, plus they have potentially much bigger explosive power as you don’t have to carry them around. I would guess that if the war drags on, Ukrainians will start falling back on domestically made ones – easy enough when there are lots of explosives and electronics around to play with.

          A note about RPG’s. Even though crude, these are still very popular and effective because they are cheap and light and can have all sorts of uses beyond simply busting armour. They can be used in large numbers as a sort of cheap short range artillery, and can even keep helicopters away – the Iraqis learned this lesson very quickly. Its also useful in that its hard for the defender to know if its a crude RPG being fired at them or a Javalin. I suspect the Ukrainians are being trained to shoot lots of RPG’s first to create confusion before using the more expensive guided weapons.

          As to the point about the real damage caused by them – its clear Javelins and NLAWs can destroy Russian tanks as we’ve seen live pics of tanks cooking up after strikes. But there are also plenty of tanks that seem to have survived multiple impacts. A lot comes down to luck – Javelins are designed for top down strikes, but the ‘vulnerable’ part of an upper tank is maybe just 20% of its surface area. So you either need luck or extremely good guidance to hit the right spot. But even a ‘miss’ can look spectacular – lots of flames and smoke, even if the tank is ok. So it would not surprise if many ‘kills’ reported are nothing of the sort. This is also the reason why an advancing army grows stronger as it goes. It can retrieve and repair its damaged material, the retreating army loses everything damaged as it goes.

  11. Wukchumni

    I’ve sat out the war largely, too much on my plate as it is…

    You can’t spell crUSAde without us being in the thick of things, and lotsa agitation to get us more involved it seems, utterly Krupp’d we are.

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    Hillary’s most successful election was against a guy who isn’t pictured on Wikipedia. Her policy achievement is a post office renaming.

    Even for Obama, this is stupid. It’s likely why he never spoke in specifics just vagueries. He likely knows nothing.

    Their advice isn’t confusing as they belong to a coddled class and have been allowed to be ignorant.

    1. Pat

      When we are told repeatedly that if you vote for a third party you are wasting your vote, I really have to wonder at the logic that voting for a Clinton or an Obama is somehow better. Their record is good on voters rights, the environment, women’s rights, anti war, workers rights, equality, education, etc. Not.

      I wasted one vote each on them, and I regret those far more than any third party vote I have cast.
      And probably the third party candidate, if they won the top office , might be the first who could truly claim they were blocked by the rest of elected officials from achieving their priorities.

      1. Susan the other

        Interesting how we are so willing as a nation to have big expensive insane events like presidential elections, which inevitably are close to pointless, but we are unwilling to have nationwide referendums on what is wanted and needed. We are told to send a “representative” to Washington to speak for us. Clearly, so that any position too popular can be bargained down or simply ignored. It’s almost proof that the presidential election is inconsequential. If a president were important, actually had power to make decisions, the election would have to go through something much more rigorous than the electoral college.

        1. jonboinAR

          I don’t know. In California in the ’70s through the ’90s a lot of dumb junk was passed by referendum-like voting. Prop 13 is an example. I left after 2000, so I don’t know about recently, but “back in the day”, depending on how it was worded and pushed for, it seemed like nearly anything might pass.

          1. Anthony G Stegman

            That is very true. In California all it takes to pass a referendum is money. Without taking money out of politics public referendums are no better than leaving things up to elected “representatives”. In some cases things are worse.

      2. jonboinAR

        You need to keep your expectations lower, sometimes. I voted for Obama for his first term only in an effort to avoid the chance that hot-headed (seemed to me) McCain would take us to the brink. I succeeded, evidently, in that quest, but didn’t know that I was only putting off the risk for a couple of presidential terms. In the second Obama run I did vote 3rd party.

        1. Carla

          Me, too, Jon. I always smile when you pop up in Comments. Wishing a beautiful spring to you and your family.

          1. jonboinAR

            And a beautiful spring to you, as well, Carla! Great to hear from you! We’re having blessed rains here in South Arkansas today. I hope you get to enjoy spring daffodils. Here they’re known as “jonquils”. Cajun influence, I imagine. They bloom out here in early March.

        2. Pat

          My one vote was in that election. And yes McCain might have been worse. OTOH Obama was a disaster on so many fronts I cannot honestly be sure.

          1. John Merryman

            In 2020, I wrote in Assange/Manning. Looks like I’ll have to again, in 2024, if we make it that far.

        3. albrt

          I was (almost) totally taken in by Obama in 2008. Never again.

          I have never voted for a Republican for a federal office, but now I doubt I will ever vote for a Democrat again unless the current leadership is completely wiped out and replaced by a different party operating under the same name.

          Which leaves staying home or voting third party as my options. I guess that will have to do.

  13. Carolinian

    That Starlink story seems a tad dubious and not seeing any mentions on other sites. Are there any?

    1. integer

      I’m not convinced about this, either. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s bs. The sole source of the information appears to be a tweet from Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Probably just disinformation aimed at getting Musk to censor Russian media.

      1. integer

        Was just reading an article at Grayzone and came across the following about Gerashchenko:

        “One less traitor”: Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition Grayzone

        Ukraine’s SBU has even hunted opposition figures outside the country’s borders. As journalist Dan Cohen reported, Anatoly Shariy of the recently banned Party of Shariy said he was the target of a recent SBU assassination attempt. Shariy has been an outspoken opponent of the US-backed Maidan regime, and has been forced to flee into exile after enduring years of harassment from nationalists.

        This March, the libertarian politician and online pundit received an email from a friend, “Igor,” seeking to arrange a meeting. He subsequently learned that Igor was held by the SBU at the time and being used to bait Shariy into disclosing his location.

        For his part, Shariy has been placed on the notorious Myrotvorets public blacklist of “enemies of the state” founded by Anton Geraschenko – the Ministry of Internal Affairs advisor who endorsed the assassination of Ukrainian lawmakers accused of Russian sympathies. Several journalists and Ukrainian dissidents, including the prominent columnist Oles Buzina, were murdered by state-backed death squads after their names appeared on the list.

        Seems like a very nasty character.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Does Spain have the Holy Grail?”

    Here is an image of that cup on the page-

    Yeah, nah! That last supper was supposed to have been held in a guestroom in some dude’s house. That is not the sort of cup that I would associate with 1st century Jerusalem. Maybe one of backed clay would have been more likely or even one of metal but that cup? Nah! Even Indiana Jones could tell you that- (5:30 mins)

    1. Brunches with Cats

      Did you read the entire article or watch the video? It clearly states that only the top part of the cup is the alleged Last Supper vessel. It’s made of agate and, according to the historian, is consistent with blessing cups of first century Jerusalem. The bottom part, which I presume is what’s got your panties in a twist, was added in the 11th century as a relic holder. Similar housings were added to other relics in the Valencia church — gaudy and cheesy by today’s standards, but apparently all the rage in 11th century European Christiandom.

      1. Fritzi

        As far as I know the Grail started out as a piece of pagan folklore and only much later was “christianised”.

        1. Janie

          Remember the book and movie, The Da Vinci Code? It’s based on the book Holy Blood Holy Grail. The authors’ premise is that the words Holy Grail are a corruption of holy blood, sangre real. I found the first part of the book very interesting and I have been to Renne le Chateau in southwest France, but the last parts seem off the deep end to me.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, I knew that the bottom part is an addition as you see that often with holy relics. It is not enough to have a relic but you have to dress it up with gold and precious stones to show that it is a precious relic. But that cup? Not buying it. That meal was held in some dude’s house whose name we don’t know. The only thing we know was that it was in a guestroom and it was in Jerusalem itself and the later was only know from deductive reasoning. So it would have been a common cup and not a blessed anything.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          “Some dude,” LOL. Both of the likeliest contenders were people of means whom Jesus knew well enough to entrust with a gathering of his disciples, when there was a price on his head. Moreover, they were all Jewish, and by that era, there were established traditions of ritual objects for religious occasions. But since personal belief apparently is just as good as scholarly research on this topic, I’ll share my own logical theory …

          With the authorities hot on the J-Man’s trail, anyone giving him refuge was risking his life and livelihood. Therefore, “Some Dude” would never have set the table with a one-of-a-kind object that could be traced back to him, should it fall into the wrong hands. Besides that, he had only a couple of hours to prepare for a dinner party of 13. But he knew that his guest valued humility, and therein lay his solution: Obviously, he used paper plates and cups, which could be burned immediately after dinner, leaving not an ash of evidence should some poor schmuck stumble on the plot and thank Yahweh for sending him a ticket out of the servants’ quarters. Of course no one can prove they’ve got the real Grail, because it was composted into oblivion centuries ago.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Rev Kev + Brunches with Cats:

      These assertions in the article don’t even hold up: “From there, St Mark settled in Rome where the cup was passed on to various Popes and eventually to St Lawrence, who sent it to Spain for safekeeping from further wars. Eventually, it ended up in Valencia, the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon in the 1400s.”

      Saint Mark settled in Alexandria in Egypt and is the first bishop of the Coptic Church. Mark died around A. D. 60. Saint Lawrence though Spanish, possibly even born in Valencia, was in Rome around 200 years later, and even though he was an archdeacon, he wouldn’t have had the authority to send a highly regarded relic anywhere–and A.D. 225 wasn’t a time when the city of Rome was threatened. Valencia was never the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon, and in the 1400s, Barcelona was the capital of the combined Kingdom of Aragon and Catalonia.

      Besides, as everyone knows, the Holy Grail is buried somewhere under the Church of the Gran Madre di Dio in Turin.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          Some say they saw him at the Great Lakes
          Some say they saw him off of Florida
          My mother said she saw him in Chinatown
          But you can’t always trust your mother *

          Sorry, couldn’t resist.

          Here’s a perky piece from Atlas Obscura (2017) with the leading Grail theories, including Rosslyn Chapel and my personal favorite, Montsegur:

          * Lou Reed, Last Great American Whale

      1. juno mas

        …I’ll just consider this thread discussion to be my Easter Sunday service attendance (sans rock music) ;)

      2. Brunches with Cats

        DJG, didn’t mean to imply that I believed the two-piece cup in Valencia is the real deal, if there even is such a thing. I meant only to point out that that the alleged relic part was separate from the later chalice-like base and therefore could be from 1st century Jerusalem. Beyond that, the bundle of evidence offered was IMO a rather skinny bunch of brittle twigs, so thanks for confirming with that historical clarification.

        I lived in the south of France on and off for eight years, with a magnificent view of Mount Alaric from my apartment and, on a very clear day, the Pyrenees. A strong current of Visigoth lore runs through the region. I got to see Visigoth ruins known only to the locals and thus having escaped archaeological excavation — at least up to that time, more than 20 years ago. That’s where I first heard the theory that the Visigoths brought the Grail to this region of France following the sack of Rome. That’s as good a theory as any, and since I was there, I’m rather partial to it.

        The story continues that the Grail and other holy relics from Jerusalem ended up in the hands of the Cathars, who held them at the mountain fortress of Montsegur until they were besieged by crusaders. They were forced to surrender and all burned at the stake for alleged heresy. However, so the story goes, some of them were able to slip away with the treasure, and from there, who knows where it went or what “it” was?

        The interesting thing is, Hitler and Himmel believed those relics existed, they believed they were somewhere in that area of France, and they did in fact send archaeologists on a dig during World War II. So there’s historical evidence for that little bit of the original Indiana Jones series. However, from what I’ve read, the artefact they were seeking, which they believed would give them the power to rule the world, wasn’t the Ark of the Covenant or the Grail.

        1. Bugs

          What was it then? You can’t just leave us in suspense?

          An undergrad history teacher was very into relics and he said, imagine that you go to Jerusalem in say, 900 CE and what kind of stuff people might sell a tourist. And those authentic souvenirs of the Holy Land ended up in cathedrals.

          1. Brunches with Cats

            Yep, that’s it. Which makes it so ripe for a gazillion different theories. Can’t prove a negative.

            Your history professor was the best kind. Making it relevant, engaging, and not at all a stretch. Votive figures were sold to travelers from early times to leave as an offering to boost the prayer to the guardian goddess, god, saint, spirit, etc., of that locale, so why not “reproduction” holy relics? And anyway, how many of those agate cups were produced in or around Jerusalem circa the first century? How could anyone possibly know whether that particular cup was The One?

        2. Tom Bradford

          The manufacture and trade in Holy Relics was one of the few growth industries of the Medieval period, kicked off by Constantine’s mother Helena who toured the Holy Land in 326-28 buying up ‘Holy Relics”, no doubt vouched for by local bishops up for a 10% commission.

          Fortunately she didn’t come across the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch. Having that sitting in some cathedral somewhere encased in gaudy golden trappings doesn’t seem conducive to public safety.

  15. griffen

    Top UK nuclear submarine arrives in Gibraltar. Some 30 years after it’s release, I can’t resist the urge of watching Hunt for Red October whenever I stumble upon it. Obviously the film seems a little dated with the Cold War themes, but boy it makes being on a US navy submarine a tad more interesting for my taste.

    I am slow to notice, that Johnson of the UK bears an uncanny similarity in facial appearance to Gary Busey. Like this just dawned on me.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “the surge in migrants”

      Doesn’t give away the game? It wasn’t kids in cages or ICE that bothers this guy. Let me guess, he blames the left. He worked for noted Republican Michael Bloomberg.

      1. RobertC

        Actually his affiliation seems to be attached to his wallet. But I liked his readable aggregation in the article so checked out his book, which was cheap (and looked it), hoping for something similar in foreign policy. I’m expecting it will be a ROPO (read-once, pass-on).

      1. gepay

        I switched to Brave search but am not happy with the results. Of course I am not looking for mainstream views being a contrarian. On Google where I had to go 10 deep to get something interesting to me (now it’s 20) – like for an article or report which I read several months ago and want to find it again.

    1. curlydan

      Here is DDG’s response from their CEO:

      His explanations are kind of pretzel-ly:
      “Unlike independent media, Russian state-sponsored media is highly censored and violations are punishable by jail time or worse. This makes it inherently more spammy relative to independent media. The same is true for all censored media.”

      1. Ed Miller

        Thanks to all for checking. I had to run but didn’t want the story lost, just in case it was true.

  16. RobertC

    New Not-So–Cold War

    Surprise…Not! Europe gets to keep my emigrants and refugees Zelensky says up to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed during war with Russia

    …Tapper also asked Zelensky if he would like the roughly 4 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country to return.

    “Not now. I think not now,” said the Ukrainian leader. “First of all, it’s about women and children. They should come when the situation will be stabilized and when the war will finish, of course, because they will not help us now.

    Men should be here and should fight, and then the families will come back, of course, because I know the statistics. About the — 93, 95 percent of those people who are out of the way because of the war, they want to come back, really,” he added.

    Meanwhile send money Ukraine has asked G7 for $50 billion to cover budget deficit, says senior official

    April 17 (Reuters) – Ukraine has asked G7 nations for $50 billion in financial support and is also considering issuing 0% coupon bonds to help it cover a war-linked budget deficit over the next six months, the president’s economic adviser Oleh Ustenko said on Sunday.

    Prospective NATO member Finland with an eighth of the population had twice the GDP of Ukraine. EU to Ukraine — we want your agricultural and mineral riches but not as a member of our club. I think Zelensky has come to understand that.

  17. Jason Boxman

    And the NY Times admits the United States isn’t a society any longer:

    Like it or not, the choose-your-own-adventure period of the pandemic is upon us.

    Is Covid More Dangerous Than Driving? How Scientists Are Parsing Covid Risks.

    The coronavirus remains new enough and its long-term effects unpredictable enough that measuring the threat posed by an infection is a thorny problem.

    Basically just talks about death risks, though. Does mention long-COVID briefly. If we looked seriously at long-COVID risks, we’d pursue elimination immediately. There is no other course to take.

  18. RobertC


    Today’s news is increasing common Indian police arrest 14 after Hindu-Muslim clashes in New Delhi

    MUMBAI, April 17 (Reuters) – Indian police arrested 14 people in connection with violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims during a Hindu religious procession in the country’s capital, New Delhi, police said in a tweet on Sunday.

    But sadly this seems to be the larger context The Unstoppable Rise of Hindu Nationalism* How India’s Far Right Is Conquering Castes—and the Country

    On March 25, Yogi Adityanath—a saffron-clad monk from the right-wing, Hindu-fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party—was sworn in for a second term as chief minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. For two hours that morning, temple bells rang at ceremonies organized across the state to mark the occasion. It was in keeping with the image that Adityanath has sought to project: heir to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a leading figure in the BJP’s attempt to turn India into a Hindu nationalist state.

    If this analysis is correct, it appears India will be distracted by wide-spread internal conflicts including “cultural genocide” that will be hard for Biden to overlook nor will China and the rest of Asia wait for India to heal itself. An own-goal at an inopportune time for India.

    *I read the entire article my first visit but couldn’t my second.

  19. North Star

    re: example of effects of sanctions on agriculture in the Canadian prairies

    My cousin and his two sons run a grain farm in south-central Saskatchewan and I called him yesterday to see how things were going for the upcoming season. They seed all 7 sections of their farm with a rotation of spring wheat, canola, lentils and peas, and had no problem acquiring fuel, fertilizer and herbicide. But the usual annual gamble that is farming is much higher this year as fuel is up 40% from last year, fertilizer up 60%, and herbicide 45%. And last year’s prices were high! While futures for harvests are also through the roof and encouraging, he suspects it could be difficult to find buyers at these prices. He said with the high input costs they will need to harvest a half decent crop at a bare minimum; last year’s crop was a disaster because of the prolonged heat wave.

      1. playon

        We have been lucky in that there has been an unusual amount of April snow here and in the Cascades, so there will be plenty of water for irrigation this year if it doesn’t melt too quickly. However it’s likely that another dry, hot summer with the attendant wildfires is on the way — it’s the new normal.

        1. Wukchumni

          My French ex-pat friend who does software for automated fruit sorting machines told me today that the cherry and apple crops in Washington state will be awful this year thanks to the heavy amount of April snow. He said it couldn’t have come at a worst time

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘he suspects it could be difficult to find buyers at these prices.’

      With the chaos with wheat shipments in the Ukraine, he should be able to get a good price for his wheat at least as where else are people going to be able to buy it?

  20. Jason Boxman

    On taxes, I briefly had an association once with a guy that occasionally went on about not having to pay any income taxes, and his association with a church in Tampa with a name I don’t think was ever disclosed and the pastor there. I can only assume he found some way to take advantage of a tax exception. Maybe it was nonsense, but he was a no nonsense guy, so it seemed credible.

    I lack that kind of creativity, so I just pay what I’m told I owe every year. Seems safest that way.

    1. griffen

      Creativity can get people into a lot, an awful lot of trouble. I only want to remit the minimum required amount and not anything more. I just put a nice bow on my efforts for the tax year 2021, so time for a cold beverage or five.

      The W-2 earners among us don’t appreciate the label from that article.

    2. HotFlash

      I had a client (3rd gen business owner w/high political connections) who actually believed he paid no income taxes. I reported to his controller, who did the financials for both corp and the owner’s personal taxes. For years that guy had been preparing (and signing) the owner’s personal returns. Owner ran for national office and won, still none the wiser. These are our ‘representatives’, dog help us all.

  21. Brunches with Cats

    Bandera Lobby Blog is totally mind-blowing, all the more so, since I had no idea of what was happening right under my nose in Upstate New York. More importantly, it lays out in excruciating detail the connections between the Banderites and U.S. politicians, some of them quite close. Puts a whole different spin on funding Nazis. “People who look just like us,” indeed.

    I can understand why the Ukraine groups think Robeson is stalking them, but somebody had to, and I don’t see how it could have been done by anyone less obsessed than he. Also kudos to his boss for resisting the overwhelming pressure to fire him and for defending his freedom of speech.

    Many thanks for the off-beat link.

      1. playon

        These people seem to have successfully fooled many politicians, I assume most of whom do not realize they are dealing with a fascist organization. I hope Robeson’s blog can get some wider distribution.

        1. Brunches with Cats

          I will grant that some of them may be unaware, but “most,” not likely, not when “Toria” Nuland is a regular on Capitol Hill, not when there’s a congressional “Ukraine Caucus,” FFS. Would never have imagined such a thing before reading this blog post. FYI, Pelosi’s a member. Shocking, I know.*

          I, too, hope this gets out, but the sad truth is that Robeson will just be dismissed as a Putin apologist — names, dates, facts be damned.

          * /s, for anyone who needs it.

  22. Lee

    TWiV 889: COVID-19 clinical update #110 with Dr. Daniel Griffin

    Features an in depth discussion of current available treatments that are effective in preventing progression to serious disease and death, with treatment summary provided in PDF.

    A number of alarming indications include the rise in case rates in the tri-state area, and toward the end, letters from the public revealing the woeful ignorance among some doctors as to appropriate treatment protocols essentially placing their Covid patients at high risk of otherwise avoidable suffering and death.

  23. Jason Boxman

    So I finally got around to finishing the excellent (from Politico!) in depth reporting on how completely broken on the FDA food arm is linked here a few weeks ago. Like, so shockingly bad, I don’t understand why there aren’t criminal referrals prosecutions?

    Last year, the agency finally proposed revoking a restrictive standard of identity for frozen cherry pies – a full 15 years after the bakery association petitioned the agency to do so. The policy has not yet been finalized.

    When FDA announced it was working to free cherry pies from their regulatory tyranny – something bakers hadn’t pressed for more than a decade – MacKie said he “half-jokingly” asked his staff to check and see whether the group had filed any other petitions in the 1970s or 1980s that might spring free out of nowhere, so they could be prepared.

    It’s probably not a bad idea. The FDA in January surprised everyone and no one by announcing it had finally revoked an overly restrictive decades-old standard of identity for French dressing – something of such little importance you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who cares.

    A spokesperson for FDA said the move was the result of Trump’s deregulatory push and cited overall staffing constraints. A dressings and sauces trade group had asked the FDA to do this in 1998. The trade group did not respond to a request for comment.

    FDA did not explain why a decision took more than two decades.

    (bold mine)

    And the whole of the reporting is like this. On the food side, it seems by and large employees are just cashing checks. How is this not literally just theft? Leadership actually does not do a thing. How is this not criminal?

    The FDA’s food failure

    Don’t read this if you’re easily angered, or at least be prepared to go for a walk after.

  24. Susan the other

    Aaron Mate on The Gray Zone with “Nato Insider” (Swiss) Jacques Baud. The sacrifice of Ukraine by the US and EU was intended to weaken Russia; to “bleed” Russia. It makes sense. Even if Germany self-sacrificed to toe the NATO line. I’m curious why Baud didn’t mention the UK as a chief instigator of this dirty little war. Boris and UK diplomats were just kicked out of Russia. They were clearly unfriended. Like Joe.

    1. RobertC

      Susan — UK as a chief instigator of this dirty little war

      Baud kinda sneaked up to that:

      I think Zelenskyy…I’m not sure exactly if he’s so reluctant to have peace. I think he cannot do it. I think from the very beginning he was caught between his…remember that he was elected with the idea of achieving peace in the Donbas. That was his objective; that was his program as president. But I think the West—and I would say the Americans and the British didn’t want this peace to occur.

      In my RobertC April 16, 2022 at 6:31 pm I said it appears Fried had a major role in sanctions although its not clear if the timeline was 2014 or 2022 or both. He also stated in his essay

      …National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s April 10 forward-leaning statement on “Meet the Press” of U.S. aims in the conflict: “A free and independent Ukraine, a weakened and isolated Russia, and a stronger, more united, more determined West [that] are in sight, can be accomplished.”

      It appears the UK is fully onboard with this; the EU not so much.

  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: “If You’re Getting a W-2, You’re a Sucker”

    It’s almost as if class has it’s own distinct markers to distinguish how the system will treat you. The author ruins the entire article by saying that two different millionaires that live in the same neighborhood would have their incomes treated differently by the tax system.

    Millionaires don’t usually have their wealth increase based upon on a salary. They grow their wealth through capital gains, stock grants/dividends, economic rents, or some other form of increase in their net worth. All of which are taxed at a lower rate compared to the proles who earn their living through labor.

    Another class distinction would be the difference between people who itemize their deductions and those who take the standard deduction when tax filing season begins. It’s easy to distinguish who a prole is in either case.

    America doesn’t have a class system. /sarc

  26. Wukchumni

    Go take a hike: New Oriole Grove

    We searched in vain for the granite basins sunk into boulders near Oriole Lake in Sequoia NP, despite no shortage of likely boulders for them to be on. Must have looked at 100 likely candidates, but no dice.

    There was once a trail from Oriole Lake to Atwell Mill in Mineral King called the Lovelace trail which was a stock trail in the 1860’s and the only way into Mineral King until the road was built in 1879.

    Had a NPS archaeologist along for the walk and when she spied the Lovelace trail clear as day, well, we had to use it, probably being the first people in a century to walk on what is now a quite distinct trail thanks to everything burning like crazy (I saw lots of spalling-thin sheets of granite flake off the lower parts of boulders due to high heat of the fire) and getting rid of everything that would have obscured it, and it only takes about a decade for a trail to become unusable if not maintained, imagine what a century of build up of burnables and non use must have done to the old trail?

    Our objective was the New Oriole Grove of Giant Sequoias, and it did a lot better than the Oriole Grove which we visited a fortnight ago, and despite 10 to 20 foot high scorch marks on the mostly 10 foot wide trunk models, they were plenty green up top and made it through the conflagration a bit worse for wear, but they’ll live. We saw a fair number of seedlings on the ground, which is perfect as there were really no young Sequoias in the New Oriole Grove, everything was 4-5 feet wide for the most part, a grove of Monarch trees.

  27. ChrisRUEcon


    Glazyev interview is really interesting. On the one hand, I think he gets it – the need for a new global currency of sorts; on the other, he confesses to wanting to replace Russia’s Western FX holdings with gold, which I assume would caused Russia to end up in much the same predicament as Venezuela.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      … tongue not so firmly planted in cheek.

      I swear, I don’t worry about a cashless society so much … I’ve seen close up what happens in underserved communities – those communities find a way. Whether it’s dollar vans and gypsy cabs filling the void created by subway and bus lines whose routes are ill-fitted for the new millennium in Brooklyn; or flea and farmer’s markets that provide an alternative to traditional supermarkets and stores. Also, never forget: for every action … ;-)

      Can’t wait for the post-digital-currency wave of hipster establishments to open in the BK, proclaiming proudly via hand-carved wooden signs hung on their entrances: “Vintage and Artisanal Currencies Accepted Here”


  28. VietnamVet

    The basic truth is that there is no Left left. There is the Western Empire that is failing, the Chinese civilization which is rising once again, and Russia with its unexploited resources. The Western Empire is trying to replay ancient Rome but it will only last a century at best.

    There are no democratic nation states left. The Imperial Blob reigns poorly. The ruling belief is the only thing of value is money and that there is no such thing as the clash of civilizations. But, their colonial wars to obtain resources and defend the fiat global currency can only be fought with mercenaries and ethnic proxy forces since the U.S. draft was abolished. Vengeance, ethnic hatred, and protecting homes and families drive the soldiers in these regional wars. Within the Empire, Identity Politics (divide and rule) splinters the plebs.

    Another Nuclear War has been delayed since 1945 but the combatants in the Ukraine Russia War do not want peace. All sides are so embedded with their own propaganda that they cannot even talk to each other. Subordinates wing it, guided by past hostilities.

    The use of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is almost a certainty. Ukraine wants Crimea and Donbass back. Russia’s goal is the demilitarization and elimination of all neo-Nazis which can only be accomplished by sweeping across Ukraine to NATO’s borders. War games predict that almost immediately after tactical nuclear strikes, strategic nuclear weapon systems will be fired to avoid their loss.

    1. Acacia

      All sides are so embedded with their own propaganda that they cannot even talk to each other.

      Agree with your first paragraphs, but not persuaded by this claim.

      As you know, the Russians have spent literally decades trying to talk with the West. They have asked to join NATO and been rebuffed repeatedly, they have asked for diplomacy and in response mostly received duplicity and bad faith (e.g., broken promises w.r.t. expansion of NATO, deployment of weapons and troops in Eastern Europe, duplicity in Syria, the Minsk agreements, etc. etc.), leading the Russians to reasonably conclude that their US-NATO counterparts are недоговороспособны or “non-agreement capable”.

      The US, for its part, is not going to discuss the current conflict, but rather acts indirectly through quislings like Zelensky. As you must also know, neither Biden nor Blinken have spoken with Putin or Lavrov since mid-February. Instead of discussion, there are only churlish insults coming from the US, with Biden calling Putin “a murderous dictator, a pure thug.” etc. Patrick Lawrence’s phrase “imperial infantilism” rather sums up the attitude of the American Empire, don’t you think?

      So, I don’t quite see how the Russians are “so embedded with their own propaganda” that they cannot talk with the West. They are taking a very straightforward, realist approach to this, asking for security guarantees and a demilitarized Ukraine. Their position is not very complicated, though our media has done a pretty good job of obscuring it. The Russians have been ignored, their red lines have been crossed, and here we are. This is roughly the view of Mearsheimer, Jacques Baud, Chris Hedges, Aaron Maté, et alia.

      As for the use of tactical nukes in the Ukraine, surely the Russians are well aware of the potential for escalation that you describe as that has been the very reason they have repeatedly asked for security guarantees in Eastern Europe. The more likely scenario — though of course we hope it will never come to this — is that some Ukronazis are quietly supplied with a tactical nuke, which they detonate to kill a bunch of their own guys in a battle, and then try to pin it on the Russians, with of course the entire Western propaganda media apparatus supporting the Ukronazis.

    2. integer

      I’m concerned about the possibility of a tactical nuke being planted in one of the deliveries of weapons to Ukraine, which would likely result in a scenario where Russia destroys the arms delivery, inadvertently setting off the planted tactical nuke in the process. What got me thinking about this possibility is the following article from The Atlantic, which outlined four possible scenarios of “how [the war in Ukraine] could conclude and the alternative geopolitical futures that might result”. The final scenario – that of the “brave new world” – details a sequence of events in which Russia destroys an arms delivery with a tactical nuke, which ultimately leads to the Russian people electing a coalition of Navalny and Khodorkovsky, and the world living happily ever after.

    3. Robert Gray

      > The use of tactical nuclear weapons in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is almost a certainty.

      Funny thing, opinion. In my view, the use of such weapons there is a less-than-1% chance.

      > Russia’s goal … can only be accomplished by sweeping across Ukraine to NATO’s borders.

      This is an awfully heterodox position, if you’ve been following the discussion here the past seven weeks. Care to support your analysis with some details?

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Honestly two can play at the false flag game. Russia should steal a couple of Javelin missiles and use them to hit the pipelines carrying gas to Europe. They can then sit back, witness the collapse of the European economy, and blame everything in the Americans/Europeans/Ukrainians. “Those guys did it!!!”

      2. VietnamVet

        There are just a few outcomes to be determined by the coming battle that commences as soon as the grain fields dry out.

        Ukraine doesn’t have the tanks and manpower for an offensive. All they can do is defend against the attack, halt the advance, prevent a breakthrough, and make counter attacks if manpower is available. The future rests on Russian having the materials, the will, and leadership to overcome the courage of the Ukrainians defending their homes against the foreign invader; or not. This is the known unknown.

        So Russia takes Odessa and makes Ukraine a rump state with no access to the Black Sea. Russia is still in the exact same position as before the invasion. They have more conquered land but are still subject to shelling and future conflicts. Hatreds have grown exponentially. Russia must conquer Western Ukraine, risk a NATO tactical nuclear strike, and kill off the “neo-Nazi” ethnic resistance. The only other alternative is Russia makes a peace treaty with a DMZ that separates the combatants. But the West does not want peace. Talks have halted. The West wants regime change and to control Russia’s resources. A economic depression, food shortages, hyperinflation, and Europeans freezing next winter could prompt a Eastern European peace settlement outside of NATO.

        The choice is between peace or mankind exterminating itself.

  29. SocalJimObjects

    This came from the Russian News Agency, TASS, so take it as you will, but quoting from the article, “Vice Chancellor of Germany, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck spoke against introducing an immediate embargo on gas supplies from Russia in an interview published on Saturday.

    “An immediate embargo on [Russian natural] gas would threaten social peace in Germany,” he said in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe. ”

    The Euro on the way to zero?

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Mon Dieu!

      And THAT is how you know she is probably tracking to win. Internal polling for Macron must be a disaster!

    2. caucus99percenter

      Talk about obvious, ham-handed attempts to sway an election! I agree, it shows just how desperate they are to keep the outsider out and the insider in.

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