Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 19, 2022

Open Thread 2022-06

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 19, 2022 at 18:17 UTC | Permalink

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Pfizreal in the news:

Israel, most quadruple vaxxed nation on Earth, has highest number of new COVID cases

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 14:02 utc | 101

@Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 2:54 utc | 69

It looks like Lavrov will be meeting Blinken on Friday.
Blinken blinked then? Sherman didn't succeed?

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 20 2022 14:36 utc | 102

Evidence that Germany hasn't gone Stoltenberg, at least yet:

Der Spiegel complaining the German government is not being strong enough against Russia

Despite this alarming global political crisis, the German government has been surprisingly reserved in its comments. Chancellor Scholz has been notably reticent and over-reliant on formulaic banalities. The government has emphasized that it would act in concert with the EU and NATO if Russia were to launch an attack, but Berlin hasn’t even been able to promise that it would put a stop to the Baltic Sea gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, in the event of war.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 14:37 utc | 103

Gilbert Doctorow has been blogging and appearing on news programs more the past week.
His critique and criticism have grown more strident and pointed:
"The problem is Mr. Blinken is at a very low intellectual level..."

This video also includes George Szamuely out of Budapest who makes a key observation which I paraphrase: "Ukraine knows the Donbass is gone. They don't want them and the Donbass doesn't want Ukraine anymore." Szamuely elaborates that Ukraine's end game is to join NATO which cannot happen while they are in conflict with parts of their own territory. That's why they need for the Donbass to split. However, Ukraine needs to be able to credibly argue that the separation was the fault of Donbass and Russia. Hence, the finger pointing and finger poking in an effort to trigger Russia.
Instead of a color revolution we could call it a color divorce.
Bottom line, Minsk is long dead. The split will happen. Ukraine will fall apart. Blinken and crew (including his evil mentor, Nuland) will get beat up bad.

Here's Gilbert Doctorow's blog site in case some of you don't have it.

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 20 2022 14:51 utc | 104

Just my two cents but I believe things are happening faster than Blinken can blink. Look out as things are going to start flying.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Jan 20 2022 14:53 utc | 105

@103 migueljose

Great wrapup in that first clip there, especially in the end.

The first part of it is interesting. Szamuely has a plausible thesis, that Zelensky's government is attempting to force Russia into a physical defense of Donbass, for the purpose of realizing NATO membership of Ukraine. IMO, the Zelensky government, acting on behalf of the relevant business interests, has another objective -- even more pressing goal than NATO membership. It is to maintain the "strategic relevance" of Ukraine, so that they can continue to get subsidies ... which are then siphoned off by the oligarchs as usual.

This means, first of all, preventing the commissioning of NS2 at all costs. Zelensky seems to have pulled this off actually. But it's exactly here, in the gas arena (and not in the willingness to defend Donbass) where the firmness of Russian response came as a little bit of a surprise. Russia simply stopped making new commitments to sell cheap gas to Western Europe, until NS2 is no longer held hostage. I think this development really did take EU energy markets a little bit by surprise.

So what happens next? Getting pretty speculative, but I think if the objective for Ukraine is to maximize subsidies from the west, then the best outcome is to maintain the status quo exactly as it is. However, along similar lines to what Doctorow and Szamuely conclude in the end, the US might have different priorities, and provoking a physical (if short and pointless) conflict in Donbass, and permanently ending EU-RU business ties, might better serve US goals.

Posted by: ptb | Jan 20 2022 15:32 utc | 106

Odd that the countries sending arms and men to Ukraine are standing the furthest away. The US, UK and Canada probably hope they are far enough away not to get hurt.

All those anti-tank missiles will only be used against European Banks and money carrying armoured cars, when the UkeoNazis recycle into other forms of money making schemes.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 20 2022 15:32 utc | 107

This is why we are where we are today (as Americans):

Maxed Out - a pdf report on is proposing a public finance only for political campaigning. Admirable, but will never happen. Even were it to magically happen, it still wouldn't stop the myriad ways by which money can be used to benefit politicians, and thus politics.

But the data is worth considering:

• Candidates for Congress received more than $1.6 billion in maxed-out contributions in the 2016 to 2020 election cycles. Two-thirds of these contributions came from the wealthiest 10 percent of zip codes. • The wealthiest 1 percent of zip codes provided one-fourth of maxed-out contributions. • Zip codes in the top 4 income percentiles accounted for more than half of maxed-out contributions. • Only 40 percent of zip codes provided a single maxed-out contribution to a candidate for Congress in the past three election cycles. Eight of the 10 zip codes giving the most in maxed-out contributions are located in New York City and, specifically, in Manhattan. • Contributions from neighboring zip codes can vary starkly. In New York City, for example, donors from Manhattan gave an average of $86 per person in maxed-out contributions while donors from bordering Bronx and Queens gave 82 cents and 71 cents per person, respectively.


• Washington, D.C., which does not have a voting representative in the U.S. House or Senate, overwhelmingly ranked first in per capita maximum contributions, giving 3.5 times as much per person as any state.


By various reports, members of Congress spend an average of 20 to 30 hours per week raising money from wealthy donors.2 An orientation presentation given to incoming Democratic members of Congress in 2013 recommended spending four hours a day on “call time” to raise money and just a half hour a day on constituent visits


Candidates spending the most money have won more than 80 percent of U.S. Senate contests since 2000 and more than 95 percent of U.S. House races


About 60 percent of the campaign contributions that winning congressional candidates received in the 2020 elections came from donors giving more than $200. These “large
donors,” whose contributions must be reported to the Federal Election Commission, made up only about one-third of 1 percent of voting age Americans in 2020.9
As stunning as it may be that such a tiny percentage of Americans play such a significant role in deciding elections, a much smaller slice of the population exerts an even more disproportionate influence.
About 40 percent of the money that congressional candidates receive from large donors comes from those who give the maximum amount. Only about 85,000 people, comprising about 1/33rd of 1 percent of voting age Americans, made a maxed-out contribution to a candidate for Congress in 2020.

So from the above, the total amount spent by Congressional candidates in 2020 is about $4 billion. $2.4B is from contributions over $200; $1.6B is from maximum $2800 contributions. But only 85000 people made those $2800 contributions and a huge number live in New York or Washington DC.

$4B is a lot of money, and yet it isn't. If say, 2/3rds went to winning candidates, then we're talking about only $2.6B. That's only $7.90 per American or $21.53 per American household.

That's how much we're getting sold out for.

It seems to me that this is a fixable problem. We need to stop jawing over useless shit and start figuring out ways to aggregate enough money to offset the oligarchs - who disproportionately are funding the candidates now.

There doesn't seem to me to be any reason, whatsoever, why the 99% cannot outspend the 1%, if the 1% is only paying the amounts specified above.

We're not only getting sold out, we're getting sold out TOO CHEAPLY.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 15:33 utc | 108

Covid update from India
ICMR(Indian council for Medical research) has completely removed ivermectin and Azithromycin from treatment protocols for covid from 14Jan2022. Reason given similar to American official advice.Now the pandemic is raging and govt is bent upon jabbing 15-18year kids and everybody in election undergoing States including Uttarpradesh which had practically eradicated covid by giving ivermectin. Now in UP also cases are increasing.
Somebody in this blog aptly said it is not a good idea to jab during a pandemic but that is precisely happening in India. Daily cases have jumped to over 380000 in the country

Posted by: R M Rao | Jan 20 2022 15:38 utc | 109

US imperialism is run by a bunch of deceitful, ignorant, lying, pathologically narcissistic moronic mendacious nitwits and uncultured nincompoops who know nothing ...

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 20 2022 10:36 utc | 88

In my opinion, many of those nitwits are highly cultured and erudite... just a nitpick, but it is important to know that they project "convincing appearance" as long as you do not think "but do they speak with any sense?" etc.

When I was still watching TV, I recall Hillary Clinton loudly exclaiming in her debate with Trump: "You will never see me singing praises of strongmen or dictators who do not love America". Lawyer to the bone, she kept the option of being cordial with absolute monarchs and other strongmen who love America. And she had good grades in college etc. Ted Cruz hides his intelligence very well, but there are reasons to doubt sincerity of his schtick, he could even prefer opera over country music.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 20 2022 15:38 utc | 110

Posted by R M Rap post 109
Corrected figures for daily cases over 300000

Posted by: R M Rao | Jan 20 2022 15:48 utc | 111

The ICAO released its fact finding report into the event involving Ryanair flight #FR4978 in Belarus airspace.

Posted by: Mambo | Jan 20 2022 15:59 utc | 112

Russia and Iran may cooperate much closer than before.

Israel tries to assemble enough in-flight-refueling capacity to "credibly threaten" Iran, but if Iran gets state of the art fighter planes and air defense system, it is "back to the drawing board". There are also joint projects of Iran, Russia and Venezuela to upgrade the deteriorated oil industry there -- something that is more significant than vague plans about weapon systems in Venezuela.

Russia/Iran combo is at least as damaging to imperial plans as Russia/China. All three are extremely proud and they used to have a complex mix of joint and divergent interests, but the divergencies seem to go deeper and deeper into the background.

Blinken seems like a person who will develop tinnitus soon, or another psychosomatic disorder.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 20 2022 16:49 utc | 113

A quote from my link above:

The Su-35SEs were originally intended for Egypt, However, the US threatened sanctions against Egypt under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Thus nearly 15 ready-to-fly Su-35SEs could be delivered to Iran by early next year.

I guess it may become a great episode in the history of "tough sanctions". King Pyrrhus must be glad to see his ardent followers even after more than 2000 years.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 20 2022 16:54 utc | 114

Peter AU1 @70--

Thanks for your replies and additional commentary. Yes, I agree there's a window related to hypersonic deployment by the Outlaw Empire, but I suspect something new will arise to take its place and further open the window. By the time the Empire deploys IMO it will face at least four other nations having their own and better hypersonics--China, Iran, North Korea, and India--as well as Russia. And that list might be too limited as Pakistan, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are likely to be included by then too. However, the deterrent will be the S-500 family of AD weapons Russia already has deployed. Additionally, there's the issue of having a better equipped and trained military force that Russia and its allies already possess yet the Outlaw US Empire and NATO conspicuously lack.

In that and other matters, the address of Iranian President Raisi to Russia's Duma is very important and doubly so when combined with Xi's speech to the Davos denizens. This excerpt shows the convergence of thought between China, Russia and Iran:

"The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks “maximum interaction” with all countries around the world, especially its neighbours and allies. The purpose and basis of this cooperation and interaction is the mutual interests of nations and the increasing formation of a 'civilised global community'. This path can be achieved through the cooperation of independent countries with high cultures and attention to the principles of 'justice, morality and spirituality'. Undoubtedly, the root of what human society suffers from today is the separation of politics from morality and spirituality. Violence, terrorism, the collapse of the family institution, and the spread of drugs do not come from a spiritualist mind-set. Any structure created on the basis of this segregation intensifies the suffering of humanity and, instead of promoting justice, structures oppression and creates the roots causes of domination.

"Distinguished Representatives,

"The experience of an international system based on domination shows that its output was nothing but war, violence, insecurity and division among nations. The failure of the policy of military occupation and forcing the United States to flee Iraq and Afghanistan stems from one concept: resistance of nations. The idea of resistance serves the independence of countries. In modern times, the concept of resistance plays a central role in deterrence equations. The successful model of cooperation between Iran and Russia in Syria has also ensured the independence of the countries and the consolidation of regional security in the continuation of the resistance of the Syrian people and government. In this regard, we have enjoyed the cooperation of the Russian Federation with the intelligent leadership of Mr Putin, which is commendable and can be considered an effective model for the development of cooperation in various fields.

"However, the war on terrorism has been part of the war on hegemony; because terrorism is one of the by-products of hegemony. The strategy of domination has now failed, and the United States is in its weakest position, and the power of independent nations is experiencing its historic growth. The important thing in this age, which requires vigilance, is that the desires for domination have not disappeared and new forms of domination are on the agenda. The most important goal of this agenda is to weaken independent governments from within, which is pursued through economic sanctions, destabilisation, the promotion of insecurity, and false narratives of events; In such a way that they try to change the place of the oppressor and the oppressed in public opinion."

The path proposed by China, Russia, Iran, and other likeminded nations won't produce a utopia because humans will populate that world and we are imperfect and incapable of creating something as perfect as a utopia, although such an outcome can and must be aimed at and strived for. Such a world is antithetical to the one pursued by the hegemon and must be resisted to the point where it has no other choice than to change its behavior.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 17:09 utc | 115

Do you eat seedless watermelons?

Then you're eating chemically genetically modified fruit!

How Seedless Watermelons are grown

The chemical colchicine is used on normal watermelon plants. The effect is to create mutant seeds; it is these seeds which grow seedless watermelons. The colchicine mutates the normal watermelon chromosomes such that seeds don't mature due to the genetic abnormality.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 17:18 utc | 116

Hello barflies. From Montreal, a view on a few things.

1) Thou shalt not bring thy own mask to work at Canada Post:
“If they don’t have the masks we’ve provided, we have additional masks and disposable medical masks on hand. If an employee still does not wish to comply, they are asked to leave the workplace.”

2) Ooooh that scary Canadian financial sector…
“The recently launched diplomatic process offers Russia two options: they can choose meaningful dialogue, or severe consequences,” Joly said in Brussels on Thursday where she was meeting with her European Union counterpart Josep Borrell.

“We of course, appreciate the EU’s collaboration on many deterrence measures, including economic ones. Canada will be ready to take additional measures, particularly with respect to the financial sector.”

3) Hey some original CBC-sourced coverage of Russia/Ukraine:
“Putin has accused the West of taking an "aggressive" course "on the threshold of our home."

Giving in to those demands would effectively restore a Cold War-era division of power in Europe, with Russia expanding its sphere of influence further west.

NATO officials, who represent 30 nations in Europe and North America, have flatly rejected Putin's demands.

Russia now appears to be threatening military action as a way to break that stalemate.”

4) 24 seconds of Blinken for the Francophone audience

5) 4 minutes and a bit from Montréal mayor, Val Plante on the significance of neighborhood police stations

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 20 2022 17:19 utc | 117

@ Paco | Jan 20 2022 10:21 utc | 87.... i have now listened to 4 of his songs.. i hear a french, or is it just an european influence! sounds a bit like gypsy or django reinhard type music.. edith piaf might have been an influence? thanks for the additional 2 tracks and background on the man..

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 17:20 utc | 118

@ c1ue | Jan 20 2022 17:18 utc | 116... thanks for that.. i kind of knew that without asking...

@ bemildred - thanks for the lavrov picture and story earlier...

@ karlof1... thanks for all your posts!

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 17:23 utc | 119

"It seems to me that this is a fixable problem. We need to stop jawing over useless shit and start figuring out
ways to aggregate enough money to offset the oligarchs - who disproportionately are funding the candidates now.
Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 15:33 utc | 108

I’m surprised you wrote that c1ue, it just doesn’t sound like you. It’s rather a pundit’s
summation at the close of a Huffpo piece, a bit of idealism you seem not to embrace easily.

I certainly don’t have the prescription for correcting the political situation at this stage
but I don’t think that matching the oligarchs’ spending would lead anywhere. I think there is zero
chance the money could be raised by the 99% in the first place. Then to spend it on agreed upon
candidates who would work in the interest of the people is hardly imaginable. And that money from
the 99% would still go to the media oligarchs, thereby upping the ante.

Anyway, reading your posts over a long time makes me think you would advocate more for a different solution
altogether, maybe something along the lines of a soviet style grass roots system or a Chinese or Cuba
meritocratic model. Low level politicians getting no more benefits than the average worker, being subject
to recall and having to work their way up the gov’t hierarchy seems to me the more democratic ideal.

I’m not looking for discussion, just tossing a couple thoughts your way in case you want to write more.
I enjoy a lot of your content, (but not all:-).

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 20 2022 17:26 utc | 120

I again provide the link to Raisi's speech to the Duma, which deserves a close reading. The excerpt I provided above omits these very important words from Raisi:

"I seize the opportunity to congratulate the Russian nation and government on the birthday of Jesus Christ and the New Year. The people of Iran and the World of Islam respect Jesus Christ and his pure mother, Saint Mary, and based on the teachings of the Quran, believe that the most important common message of all Abrahamic religions is the spiritual development of humanity through worship of the Lord of the Worlds, which in itself promotes peace and intimacy and the emergence of God-loving and, consequently, human societies. At the same time, worshiping God always takes its meaning from avoiding obedience and worshiping any entity other than God." [My Emphasis]

I emphasized the last sentence because the Abrahamic God is not the God of Mammon or the God of Greed for neither is spiritual, which even a non-religious person like myself can see and appreciate the vast difference. And that sentence then leads to words from Raisi I did already cite:

"The purpose and basis of this cooperation and interaction is the mutual interests of nations and the increasing formation of a 'civilised global community'. This path can be achieved through the cooperation of independent countries with high cultures and attention to the principles of 'justice, morality and spirituality'. Undoubtedly, the root of what human society suffers from today is the separation of politics from morality and spirituality."

Now we should enter our time machine by picking up Plato's Republic and compare Raisi's words to Plato's Philosopher Kings ideal. I'd argue they're very similar in concept and are certainly missing from most governing methods employed today. In that regard, it should be noted that China has resumed its Anti-Corruption Drive, "vowing to cut off the collusion between capital and power." China ought to make it extraterritorial so it can discipline the vastly corrupt West where everything's distorted by the collusion between capital and power.

And that brings me back to the conclusion of my article showing why Russia had already won its confrontation with the Outlaw US Empire when it put forth its very reasonable demands. Even if the West agreed and put everything in writing, its behavior has proven that even chiseling its words into stone wouldn't be worthy enough thanks to its centuries of prevarications. The only option for the Collective West is to act immediately and retreat, while also exerting maximum pressure on its Kiev puppets to implement UNSCR 2202. Only in that manner can it retain some aspect of a positive face in the eyes of the world.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 17:38 utc | 121

a bit of sanity from cbc no less! Spain locked down hard to fight COVID-19 - now it's preparing to live with the virus

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 17:39 utc | 122

@waynorinorway #120
If you believe American politics is decided by money, specifically campaign contributions - the point which I was making is that the amounts are actually not high at all.

$20 per household per election cycle? I'm sorry, but that's not a lot of money. This isn't an insurmountable amount of money by any stretch of imagination.

As for your other guesses: totally wrong.

China's system is "more" meritocratic than the American one, but I believe it is mostly because the original Long Marchers and their immediate kids are still in power. They still remember why they succeeded: the corruption of their opponents and the struggle the 1st generation went through. Whether this carries through into the 3rd generation and beyond - we will see.

Cuba - no idea. I don't have any direct interaction or understanding of what went on there - but the external facts are that Cuba has been run by Fidel Castro pretty much since its beginning and is now run by his brother. See China above.

As for Soviet grass roots style - I don't think you have any idea what that really means. How the USSR operated in its beginning is very different than after Stalin took power, for example, and is very different than Brezhnev and later - but every stage was predictable given bureaucratic processes.

My personal view is that there are no perfect systems. Every system is exploitable - the only question is what is the reward/goal of the system and whether there are external considerations preventing the sociopaths from taking ever greater control. Thus the perfect system is one which provides some stability but also changes regularly. One example would be a lottery every 30 years in which the government randomly changes between republican democrat, full democrat, parliamentary, communist, socialist, etc etc.

And again, the point now is that the amount of money the American people are being sold out for is not even very much.
$20 every 2 years per household is literally pocket change, and the people who ARE dominating the political discourse due to their contributions are getting their way for very little.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 17:58 utc | 123

It's official, Lavrov and Blinken will face off tomorrow in Geneva. Given Blinken's hysterics, I don't expect the meeting to last very long. There are only two possible outcomes--NATO retreats or it doesn't and the crisis continues. I'm betting on the latter, and that outcome makes for a very short encounter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 17:59 utc | 124

A scathing indictment of the Empire, and every punch squarely on the nose:

This quote is a beauty:

In the end, the West was hoisted by its own petard. A public health system gutted by neoliberal policy, run by a government twisted by its own lies, ideology, and agenda was incapable of taking necessary and timely rational actions. To this day, there are large numbers of people who do not believe in Covid-19, others who believe that it was engineered by the US government, and many others who oppose all public health measures, including vaccinations. Liberals who excoriated Trump for "mass murder" and "criminal incompetence" have sat silent and stone-faced as a confused, scattered Biden Administration surpassed Trump in disgracing himself on Covid performance.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 20 2022 18:03 utc | 125

@karlof1 121
re: Iran's Raisi: "The purpose and basis of this cooperation and interaction is the mutual interests of nations and the increasing formation of a 'civilised global community'. This path can be achieved through the cooperation of independent countries with high cultures and attention to the principles of 'justice, morality and spirituality'.
Iran has been there.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. Ten years ago Iran was the chair for the Movement, counter to the US meme that Iran had been isolated. Last year, in Belgrade, was the High-Level Commemorative Meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of the First Conference of Non-Aligned Countries.
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly --

. . .Excellencies, the future will be a choice: do we continue to plod along on our own paths, marking some successes and far too many fallbacks, or do we put aside differences and work as one species, as one humanity.
For me, we have no choice but to choose the latter, and that for me is what sparks hope, what sparks optimism.
I trust you will join me in making this happen. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 18:05 utc | 126

@116 c1ue - I don't eat a lot of watermelon, but when I do I always chew and eat the seeds. I remember a hippy mother of an old girlfriend saying that they are really good for you liver and kidneys. Thanks for that bit of information about the GMO seedless variety. Why in the world do people do things like messing with Mother Nature.

Maybe they ate too much Chiffon margarine back in the 70s.

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 20 2022 18:11 utc | 127

@c1ue | Jan 20 2022 17:58 utc | 123
the point which I was making is that the amounts are actually not high at all.
The point I was making was that getting it together effectively is idealistic.

As for your other guesses: totally wrong.
As per your normal you respond with unnecessary insults, so I will respond once and consider the source if there's more.

China: China

Cuba - no idea.
Here, let me help. Cuba

As for Soviet grass roots style - I don't think you have any idea what that really means.
I was referring to John Reed’s description in his short work Soviets in Action, First Published: October 1918 in The Liberator. You can find it in the John Reed Library through the Marxist Internet Archive, an archive the contents of which I am quite familiar with, btw, so you are totally and completely wrong that I have no idea what that really means.

You think everyone but you is still in the 3rd grade. That’s not a question.

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 20 2022 19:23 utc | 128

@music appreciators

can listen to that guy for weeks at a time! it just feels real, like he gets it

very large collection of vlad v

some translations to english:">">

Posted by: Rae | Jan 20 2022 19:58 utc | 130

wow sorry! really tried to get that web.archive link to work (is there a secret?)

Posted by: Rae | Jan 20 2022 20:00 utc | 131

@Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 20 2022 17:19 utc | 117

Thanks for these, I stopped watching our wonderful national broadcaster/propaganda unit a long time ago but can still enjoy a bit of unintentional comedy - a bit like watching the wonderful Premier of Ontario attempting to shovel snow into his boots. I reciprocate with these of BoJo being interrogated by the police (a very good fake!) and said shovelling for the wider audience.

In these times you need a bit of a laugh to stay sane. And in other news, manboy Blinken goes head to head with hard man Lavrov to let him know that his US oligarch puppet controllers won't stand for not being able to rape and pillage Ukraine and other nations at will and how dare Putin take away "their" Russia - a high crime that still requires punishment.

BoJo and the cops (if only!)

Doug Ford shovelling. The comments are priceless, a man with a small shovel who doesn't know how to use it properly just isn't fit for the job ...... Also, its his press secretary's car 'cos it was a fake photo op covered by our so unbiased media

Posted by: Roger | Jan 20 2022 20:10 utc | 132

@waynorinorway #128
I don't read random web sites, so you'll either have to excerpt or forgo the opportunity to respond.
As for the rest:

1) Your assumptions on my beliefs were wrong. That is a fact. I am not a socialist; I am not a communist; I am not a capitalist. I am a pragmatic observer of reality. If you can't understand that I was responding to your speculation, then so be it.

2) Aggregating amounts. Your response is glib and irrelevant. Yes, political parties spend huge amounts to raise what money they get, however, their messaging is based on politics as opposed to issues.

A simple example: Americans consistently poll 80%+ in favor of fixing the American health care system. What about an issue based PAC: raise money specifically to fund candidates who are openly for single payer or whatever, and then follow up on them over time. Would this PAC raise $2.6B in a year? no. But it doesn't need to. All it needs to do is raise enough to actually get 1 or more candidates elected and show everyone that the process works. Neither the end goal amount of money nor the specific congressional race amounts of money are so big as to be out of the question, unlike, for example, raising money to build an F35 fighter competitor.

3) Soviet grass roots: you totally missed the point in your haste to illustrate your erudition. The grass roots committees disappeared and were replaced. Inevitable outcome of bureaucracy.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 20:21 utc | 133

More fun with food: did you know cashews are seriously toxic?

Secrets of Cashews

I knew about the Cashew apples, but didn't know that the shelling and processing of cashews is complicated by the toxic shell and oils as the plant is related to poison ivy. I wonder how many thousands of Indians are employed doing this (it is apparently the country where most of the world's cashew processing occurs).

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 20:28 utc | 134

c1ue | Jan 20 2022 20:28 utc | 134

removing cashew nut from the shell is not as dangerous as you think. Even kids know how to remove the nut from the shell properly. I think there are more dangerous chemical plants in India. Ivory Coast has big cashew plantations, but they send the whole cashews to Vietnam to process, because Vietnam has much better processing plants.

Posted by: Calgary guy | Jan 20 2022 20:48 utc | 135

Posted by: Rae | Jan 20 2022 19:58 utc | 130

That is a good repository of Vysotsky songs and poems. A lot of the recordings are of very poor technical quality since they were recorded with very simple equipment.

There is a couple of studio records with good quality though, they were made in France, but the quality of Vysotsky performances lays more in what and how he says it than the music itself, so some of those awfully recorded songs are really hair raising performances, that guy is able to drive anyone to tears, and lots of laughs too. Here you have the links to the two albums recorded in France:

Here some translations of very few songs:


Posted by: Paco | Jan 20 2022 21:04 utc | 136

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 20 2022 14:51 utc | 104

Thanks for the link to Doctorow, yesterday I suggested that the proposal to recognize the independence of D/LNR would go under the radar, no member of the MSM has anything to say about it, it is all invasion invasion invasion, Doctorow picked it up though, and rightly so since it is like a time call to Kiev, do something about what you signed in Minsk or we will end it without a shot, Georgia style.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 20 2022 21:09 utc | 137

@136 Vysotsky makes me think of Leonard Cohen with a sore throat. Do you know DDT?

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2022 21:14 utc | 138

Some Rankings + list of sites you may never have heard of before and may find useful

Posted by: librul | Jan 20 2022 21:22 utc | 139

FJB basically invites Putin to cross the border with armor.
And tells everyone that “he will pay” if he does

Putin is not afraid of economic sanctions.
He’s spent 20 years overcoming the Imperial control of Globocap imperialism.
He is ready, and so are his cronies.

The ONLY thing that would dissuade Putin from rolling iron
Is iron rolling back at him. And that’s not in play.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Jan 20 2022 21:26 utc | 140

I'm not sure how excited I should feel about this.
I was alerted by Alexander Mercouris's latest, where he talks about it as "bizarre" and "extraordinary"

I have lost count of how many times recently I have to had to explain the meaning of the English term “straw man” to my European allies. That is because the best living, breathing “straw man” at the moment is the Kremlin’s claim to be under threat from NATO. In recent weeks the Russian Defence Minister’s comment that the US is “preparing a provocation with chemical components in eastern Ukraine” has made that “straw man” even bigger.

If you have not been following me you should read this post

Why? One simple quote.

A "Prime Minister" who can be simply repudiated at any time. A man of straw.

It sounds like Europe is finally waking to its dire peril.

Surely even the European dunderheads will be able to work out that Wallace's definition of "straw man" is an out and out lie.

What say you all?

Posted by: John Cleary | Jan 20 2022 21:36 utc | 141

The Donbas.

I have tried to figure out the demographics of the Donbas.

Have found contradictory information (no surprise). Who can you trust?

Is there an unbiased, trustworthy source anyone is aware of?


Posted by: librul | Jan 20 2022 21:40 utc | 142

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2022 21:14 utc | 138

Autumm, that's a nice song, I like Butusov and his Nautilus group better, he is in that clip, I like the sound track of the film Brat.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 20 2022 21:42 utc | 143

There is something about this report on rental stress for essential workers which is metonymic of the entire global crisis of late stage capitalism. The scenario is simply that cities are dysfunctional places where centres radiating out 15-20km into the suburbs are unaffordable to rent (let alone buy) for the normal wage earners who do everything that keeps a city functioning (retail, childcare, police, health workers, garbage collectors, teachers, ambulance drivers, firemen, hospitality staff, tradesmen, etc, etc). Why?

Late stage capitalism creates an increasingly unbridgeable gap between the productive/service ('real') economy and the financial economy (assets, property, stocks, bonds, etc). Large capital flows in this situation are not destined for investment in the real economy but seek to avoid value loss by converting to assets. Among many other consequences are wage stagnation (no real economy investment), inflation and skyrocketing property and share prices which, when combined, diminish the wealth of the 99% and cascade windfalls for the 1%.

We have now arrived at a situation—in Sydney at least—where it has become too difficult to live close to where you work and maintain quality of life (i.e. where rent exceeds 30% of net pay: in inner city Sydney, e.g. Glebe/Annandale, one pays around AUD$900-1000/week for a 2-bedroom apt. This can be compared to the net salary of a teacher with 10 yrs experience of around $1400/week, leaving $400/week for bills, groceries, etc). To move further out (and Greater Sydney extends North, South and West from the CBD between 70-100km into surrounding smaller cities and towns) involves very long commutes on expensive toll-roads or else inadequate and slow public transport (in the Blue Mountains for example——100km west——one can rent a 3-bedroom house for $450/week but the commute to Central Station takes 2+ hrs or, if one drives, the same time but adding around $25 in round-trip motorway tolls: who can spend 4-5 hours a day on the train on top of an 8-10 hr shift?).

So, what happens when all these trades, professions and essential workers are forced to live at great distance from work only to have to spend long hours and extra money making arduous commutes to the inner west, the affluent eastern suburbs or the inner city, which were all once very affordable working class suburbs 50 years ago? Of course they begin to look to do their jobs in their local areas instead. And yet, to take one example of consequences, in Sydney 3 of its major hospitals are located in or around its CBD——RPA, Prince of Wales, St Vincents——huge and essential health facilities. Nurses there are currently doing 12-16 hour shift amidst covid-related staff shortages. Nurses are particularly low-paid: I have no idea where they could affordably live within 10-15km of each of these hospitals and aspire to a future of home-ownership, etc. In this situation the affluent suburbs would face a crisis: no staff in supermarkets, fewer health workers, etc etc. Will the demand result in higher wages for these kinds of workers? No. Instead refugees and international 'students' will pack into slum-like housing to perform these tasks and the wealthy will turn more and more to live-in help. A return to the 19th century city looms.

There are solutions (property taxes rather than consumption taxes, high-speed rail, long-term leases at fixed rents, income tax rebates and reductions for essential workers, wage increases for public staff, toll-exemptions and free public transport for teachers, nurses, etc) but government is not interested in any of it because collectively they will act against any move that will mitigate asset appreciation. Times are booming for boomers and that cannot be allowed to stop. The 21st century will thus play out like the 20th but in reverse.

And this is just a microcosm for all aspects of the failure of states worldwide.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 20 2022 21:42 utc | 144

@ dh | Jan 20 2022 21:14 utc | 138 Vysotsky's voice and energy is so much more interesting then leonard cohens!

@ rae / paco... thanks for the links..

a friend shared me david byrnes website which i thought was interesting.. it is along the lines of the name of the website -

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 21:49 utc | 145

@145 james - That is funny that David Byrnes' website is named Reason to Be Cheerful. It must be a hat tip to the late Ian Dury and his band the Blockheads. Ian suffered from polio as a child, but he went on to be a very influential artist in the post-punk world. I find him to be very a inspirational artist.

Ian Dury - Reasons to Be Cheerful


Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 20 2022 22:04 utc | 146

@patroklos 144
What you, and your provided link (thank you), describe is exactly what is happening in the urban centers of the US.
I know many people, who, in order to make a good wage , live hours away from their work sites.
Plumbers, electricians, highly skilled union tradesmen….they make pretty good money.
60$/hr or more (US)
That’s well north of 100k a year.
But the rents/mortgages/transportation costs don’t make up for the distance and time spent.

I was that guy, for ten years. Making $50/hr as a union plumber, but the $500,000 home loan I qualified for
still put me in the outskirts. I was still looking at an easy 1-1 1/2 hour commute, each way.

Eventually, I shit canned the whole thing.
I went into business for myself, went back to school and got my degree, and moved
300 miles north of the Bay Area. Eventually settling in a town of 20,000 people,
Where I can afford to raise my kids in a safe environment.
Really, I couldn’t imagine raising my kids in that environment.
I would be failing them, if I raised them and modeled that behavior.

Once a month, I drive back to the Bay Area to sell my wares.
It takes me 3 days usually, but that’s the only 3 days of bullshit, crazy, city traffic and rat race
I deal with per month. The other days I’m home. Basically a stay at home Dad.

It’s not perfect, but I’m out of the freeway, angry, bust my ass for nothing grind I lived for 10 years.
I’m much happier now.

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Jan 20 2022 22:15 utc | 147

librul 142

Look for language and voting pattern map 2014 or earlier.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 22:25 utc | 148

With each day, looks more like the understood intent is to create pressure to implement minsk accord. Biden is wobbling - that would give the clown reason to be nervous, if he were not already. The return of Poroshenko is interesting twist. I suspect thisk will end with Z in protective custody in Pennsylvania.

Posted by: jared | Jan 20 2022 22:26 utc | 149

@145 "Vysotsky's voice and energy is so much more interesting then leonard cohens!"

For sure. Tell the truth I never cared much for Leonard Cohen But he did come up with a few good ear worms. Apparently he spent the last years of his life sitting on the front lawn of a suburban LA house waving to passers by.

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2022 22:26 utc | 150

This looks like the Language map I looked at at the time of the MH17 downing.

This is a map of the 2010 election results and also looks similar to the ones I saw in 2014.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 22:32 utc | 151

From the San Francisco Chronicle print edition:

Couple paid $30,000 for solar panels on their SF home and we’re getting back $3000 a year. 10% return, nice deal.

PUC is proposing cutting feed in tariffs by 80% and adding a $684 grid fee to solar users.

The net metering program was costing non-solar users $3 billion a year. That’s not far below $100 per person - hardly small change.

I have previously noted how California is already discarding record amounts of Solar PV electricity because its generation profile inherently mismatches against actual peak demand; barring affordable storage, this will not change any time soon.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 22:38 utc | 152

@143 Yeah Brat was great. Not Goodfellas but very interesting. Hope nobody minds me discussing Music and movies while we wait for WW3 to get started.

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2022 22:50 utc | 153

@Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 22:32 utc | 151


Could you fix the second URL, I think you snipped off the end, thx.

Posted by: librul | Jan 20 2022 23:00 utc | 154

Apparently Russia has 'downscaled' its demands about NATO. Blinkers will probably see this as a sign of weakness.

"Commenting on the negotiation process with the US, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia was ready to consider two options.

The first one is discarding the “formula of the Bucharest summit” which had put Ukraine and Georgia on a membership track.
The second is the US commitment to “never vote for Ukraine and other countries to join NATO.”

Ryabkov’s statement shows that Russia has narrowed down its much broader initial demands put forward a month ago."

Posted by: dh | Jan 20 2022 23:07 utc | 155

John Cleary @141--

Wallace is a liar, and not a very good one at that, although he does go about constructing a straw man, but it's not the one he aimed to at the outset. NATO has never operated in a defensive manner; ALL of its operations have been offensive. Not one NATO goofball has an argument capable of holding water since Russia has already trumped them with the reality at its disposal--the lies and treaties are very much the real deal and Russia is capable of wielding them as a mighty mace to crush any NATOite that approaches trying to overcome reality.

Tomorrow, Blinken will confront reality and probably say it doesn't exist. That will spell the end of his meeting with Lavrov, for not accepting the current reality is just another way to prolong talks that will never get anywhere because one side isn't connected to reality.

I wonder what the line officers think of their political leadership whose orders they're supposed to follow? I suppose that would depend on how well they understand reality. But then, if they actually understood reality, then they'd revolt and attempt to arrest most of the politicians and most specifically all the Dirty Money Men and Women who are the genuine traitors in our reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 23:10 utc | 156

Karl, what do you expect at the press conference afterwards?

Posted by: John Cleary | Jan 20 2022 23:17 utc | 157

dh 155

You put a lot of faith in the accuracy of Ukrainian media.

Video with auto generated subtitles of Ryabkov speech at the Valdai club.

Russia's position at the moment is unchanged in that they want a written response to their security proposals. From what I can make of it US has offered to talk about some sort of missile treaty which Russia is willing to talk about in addition to, rather replacing the security proposals.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 23:59 utc | 158

John Cleary @157--

Before I try to answer your question, I'd like to comment on what Biden recently said according to TASS:

"Biden says invasion of Ukraine going to be disaster for Russia"

Well, he ought to know since the Outlaw US Empire's invasion of Ukraine has been a complete disaster for both nations, but that's another reality both nations deny. The problem for Biden is Russia won't invade Ukraine, although Russia may try to hermetically seal Ukraine from both Russia and Belarus if it continues to not implement the world's requirement/demand to it--UNSCR 2202.

Back to your question. As I've explained, the reality is the Outlaw US Empire has only three choices: First, admit it was wrong and submit a plan for withdrawal; second, it could let the status quo remain in place and say it has nothing further to say; third, it could upset the card table and accuse Russia of further falsehoods along the lines on those we heard yesterday, and after making a scene again do nothing.

The first possibility allows for a constructive presser, while the second and third hardly call for any presser at all, although I would think Lavrov would at least spell out reality for those who can't see it or aren't properly describing reality.

The Outlaw US Empire inhabits a Fantasyland of its own construction that has nothing to do with genuine reality. No innocents die in that fantasy since only collateral damage exists, nor is any infrastructure damaged or destroyed, or poisonous chemicals released into the environment. Nor does any soldier or politician commit War Crimes, while the UN Charter allows the Empire to do whatever it pleases to any nation it chooses.

I'm more interested in what Russia decides to do as it has many more options.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2022 0:00 utc | 159

librul @139

Saker posted this ranking of alternative news blogs. I am completely shocked by this ranking. I cant really believe it. MoA is neck and neck with Naked Capitalism in terms of readership! I had always thought MoA was a much much smaller blog. It is a one person blog (compared to 3 at NC). There are sometimes days without a new post (NC has at least 4-5 new posts a day). More importantly, NC has an annual fundraiser where they consistently rack about $100,000. Maybe I'm too pessimistic but I'd be very surprised if MoA manages to get one tenth of that sum every year.

Is NC an elite backed blog? Yves Smith started this year's fundraiser bragging about the fact that the Library of Congress had written to her about archiving her blog. There is a lot of overlap between NC and MoA. The main (only?) difference is China. MoA is verboten at NC because it is pro-China.

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Jan 21 2022 0:03 utc | 160

@158 "You put a lot of faith in the accuracy of Ukrainian media.'

I put no faith at all in the accuracy of Ukrainian media. I just thought that post might be of some interest to people following the US/Russia discussions. If discussions isn't too strong a word.

Posted by: dh | Jan 21 2022 0:05 utc | 161

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Jan 20 2022 22:15 utc | 147

Good for you. Unlike Australia the US still has many regional towns which can reactivate the untapped economic power essential workers represent if they're given a chance at a meaningful life. I see here the tragedy of gifted natural teachers run into the ground and leaving the profession they love because it's made just too hard for them to attain quality of life by remaining a teacher. Perhaps regions and small towns will boom as cities turn into 19th century ghettos surrounding gated palaces.

Like you I could only afford to buy something 50kms from where I work after 20 years of renting. Mercifully there is much I can do remotely, but this comes with its own unique problems (blurring of home and work, zoom fatigue, loss of sociality, poor posture, exercise, diet etc). I dream of the pastoral life, retiring to the countryside and becoming as self-sufficient as possible. Maybe it's just a matter of will, but I doubt I could pull it off.

Ultimately this is a failure of the pact between governance and community. That pact involved government supporting communal institutions and aims to provide the maximum opportunities for human thriving to as many as possible. This requires regulation and investment in community led by government. For example my local council supports a community garden in which all participants contribute 8 hrs/month in return for a share of fresh produce. I give one Saturday each month, where the supervisor rosters certain duties: weeding, planting, boxing, etc. We have access to an agricultural expert who can offer specialist advice. The council's support consisted in allowing the use of the land (~1.5 acres) and a $10K start-up grant for materials and equipment. Each garden can support about 30-40 participants and the produce is incredible (the biggest cauliflowers I've ever seen). It is not a new idea: the institution traces back in various forms to the French communes of the 12th century.

One can easily broaden examples of that pact to include good public housing, etc. The community in turn commits to holding up their end of the bargain by contributing each to his or her capacity. If it sounds like communism that's because it is. The aim of government should be to support communities achieve the good and meaningful life for as many as possible.

That pact has broken completely. The COVID response is one witness to the current policy of government: every poor bastard for themselves.

All power to you CC

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 21 2022 0:13 utc | 162

"I just thought that post might be of some interest to people following the US/Russia discussions."
Looking up those Ukraine claims you posted is how I found US had offered to talk about some sort of missile treaty and perhaps why Lavrov agreed to meet Blinken in Geneva.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 21 2022 0:29 utc | 163

‘over extending’ comes back to roost as the US and Empire realises. How many fronts can it defend? The thousand needles are underway.

Iran is certainly not forgiving and forgetting as per this Exclusive.

‘On the second anniversary of Soleimani’s death, Raisi said Iran would exact “revenge” unless those responsible face an international tribunal.
“The one who commits such a great crime and confesses to this crime, naturally, should be punished in court,” Raisi told RT. “The promise to protect the oppressed and punish the oppressors is, of course, a sincere promise, and it will certainly be kept.” ‘

Posted by: D.G. | Jan 21 2022 0:30 utc | 164

@163 Let's face it Peter. We don't really know what they are discussing or what kind of concession they are prepared to make. We grab at any little piece of information we can get. At least they are still talking.

Posted by: dh | Jan 21 2022 0:35 utc | 165

I must admit that Orlov says it better than I:

"Russia has demanded that both the US and NATO put their refusal to agree to the security guarantees in writing; these pieces of paper will be important moving forward. To understand why, we need to take on board the fact that everything within these security guarantees has already been agreed to by the West; namely, the 'not an inch to the east' guarantee given to the Russians by the US 30 years ago and the collective security principle agreed to by all members of the OSCE. By signing a document in which they declare their refusal to abide by what they previously agreed to, the US and NATO would essentially declare themselves to be apostates from international law and order. This, in turn, would imply that their own security needs can be disregarded and that instead they deserve to be humiliated and punished."

His last sentence isn't one of the outcomes I've mentioned, but it's possible except that Russia doesn't want war. Orlov then writes the following:

"Further, by putting their refusal in writing, the US and NATO would declare the collective security principle itself—specifically with respect to the US and NATO—to be null and void, meaning that if, for instance, the Bahamas, a sovereign nation since July 10, 1973, decides to reinforce its sovereignty by hosting a Russian missile battery pointed across the Gulf Stream at Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the US would have no say in the matter, and if the US did try to speak up, they’d get beat up with this very piece of paper they signed. 'Do you feel threatened now?' the Russians would ask; 'Well, maybe you should have thought of that when you threatened us by putting your missiles in Poland and Romania.'" [My Emphasis]

This segment is quite humorous:

"Will the US impose 'sanctions from hell'? Perhaps, but you have to understand that at this point in time the US and other Western economies can be accurately caricatured as a crystal vase full of excrement parked on the very edge of a high shelf over a hard marble floor. The hope is that nobody is going to sneeze because the sound pressure might cause it to go over the edge. Sanctions from hell do sound like they could cause a bit of a sneeze. Needless to say, the US will continue to talk about sanctions from hell and maybe even pass some legislation so titled, and claim to have sent 'a strong message,' but to no effect." [My Emphasis]

Perhaps the claim will be that the sanctions from hell have generated a strong smell. The remainder is classic Orlov, and IMO he has a better than even chance of being correct.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2022 0:38 utc | 166

It's doubtful that the US will respond to any Russian demand, because the US is exceptional don't you know, especially to a country the US has criticized so totally as Russia. In any case Even if the West agreed and put everything in writing, its behavior has proven that even chiseling its words into stone wouldn't be worthy enough thanks to its centuries of prevarications.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 1:02 utc | 167

recent news....
Joe Biden
"I think what you're going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It's one thing if it's a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do."
Jen Psaki
"If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that's a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our allies."
Volodymyr Zelensky
"We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 1:07 utc | 168

@168 Joe slipped up badly there. Makes me think that he doesn't want to be a war president. But of course he still has to act tough. Certainly is interesting watching him trying to keep his balance.

Posted by: dh | Jan 21 2022 1:16 utc | 169

Dmitri Orlov has an amusing piece posted at the Saker today. Here is a more serious part of his essay:

...First, Russian security guarantee demands are not ultimatums. An ultimatum is an “or else” sort of thing, offering a choice between compliance and consequences, whereas in this case both the noncompliance and the consequences will follow automatically. The West and NATO are, for well understood internal political reasons, unable to sign these guarantees; therefore, the consequences will unfold in due course.

Russia has demanded that both the US and NATO put their refusal to agree to the security guarantees in writing; these pieces of paper will be important moving forward. To understand why, we need to take on board the fact that everything within these security guarantees has already been agreed to by the West; namely, the “not an inch to the east” guarantee given to the Russians by the US 30 years ago and the collective security principle agreed to by all members of the OSCE. By signing a document in which they declare their refusal to abide by what they previously agreed to, the US and NATO would essentially declare themselves to be apostates from international law and order. This, in turn, would imply that their own security needs can be disregarded and that instead they deserve to be humiliated and punished.”

Further, by putting their refusal in writing, the US and NATO would declare the collective security principle itself—specifically with respect to the US and NATO—to be null and void, meaning that if, for instance, the Bahamas, a sovereign nation since July 10, 1973, decides to reinforce its sovereignty by hosting a Russian missile battery pointed across the Gulf Stream at Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the US would have no say in the matter, and if the US did try to speak up, they’d get beat up with this very piece of paper they signed. “Do you feel threatened now?” the Russians would ask; “Well, maybe you should have thought of that when you threatened us by putting your missiles in Poland and Romania.

Posted by: suzan | Jan 21 2022 1:28 utc | 170

dh 165

From watching the current Russian leadership over the years, they do not do theater. In the security proposals there can be some slight negotiated adjustments in details but the underlying principle in each point is a red line for Russia.
With the coming of the Hypersonic weapons age, Russia must have a security agreement that covers all their points and that must be in place before US deploys the first of its own systems. This has come about shortly after US had completed R&D and successful testing of a ground launched boost glide missile and well into the production stage.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 21 2022 1:29 utc | 171

@ lex talionis | Jan 20 2022 22:04 utc | 146... i never heard of them before! very cool! i dig the changes on the sax solo and i like the energy of the band... guitar solo at the end is great! 1979... by then i was into jazz and i think i missed out on some of the more interesting pop and alt pop bands like this... i was into herbie hancock though which was somewhere inbetween i suppose... funky, but no vocals... i was telling someone how i never really gravitated to vocal music, but more instrumental... with most people it is the reverse.. some of my folk musician friends think i am very weird for not listening to vocals! of course for the longest time now, one could hear what the singers were singing anyway, although that's not the case with ian dury! you are probably right about david byrnes website being connected to this interesting band... thanks for sharing this lex... i love the sentiment of the song and the energy of the band.. the additional percussion is a big plus as well..

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2022 2:09 utc | 172

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 22:38 utc | 152
The net metering program was costing non-solar users $3 billion a year. That’s not far below $100 per person - hardly small change. From the San Fran Chronicle.

Really? And you believe anything that is printed in that particular paper?

it's amazing how with their billion dollar profit margins and payments to shareholders they can still claim that solar is "costing" other consumers. This is more of the divide and conquer bullshit narrative. And its working, obviously!
Why wouldn't they deduct the cost of the program from the profits rather than pass it on to other consumers?

Coz mafia capitalism that's why

it's not solar that is the issue nor is it storage for peak times, we are doing it successfully in parts of Australia. it is the Energy Industry and the fact that energy is a trade commodity rather than a basic right for all citizens. Solar is much harder to control and manipulate the price and that is the real issue.

Posted by: K | Jan 21 2022 2:26 utc | 173

Why do people get into the drug business?
news report
Roughly 315 kilograms of suspected cocaine were uncovered, which the Navy said had a total value of approximately $22 million. thirty thousand dollars a pound?
USS Milwaukee confiscates more than $20 million in suspected cocaine . .here
photo . . .here
(how's my math)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 2:37 utc | 174

@171 Russians definitely have their red lines. That is clear. They are fed up with US/NATO double talk. But they are experienced negotiators too. I think it quite possible they have demanded more than they expect to get.

Posted by: dh | Jan 21 2022 2:38 utc | 175

Kamala Harris insists US will respond aggressively on Ukraine after Biden flub . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 2:41 utc | 176

@ dh 175
I think it quite possible they have demanded more than they expect to get.
Yes, laying the groundwork for the next phase. The US has failed to cooperate for peace so Russia must. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 2:59 utc | 177

Have You Seen 200 Million Barrels of Oil Anywhere?
Interesting item from Bloomberg
It seems the International Energy Agency - the adviser to energy-consuming nations - is reporting observable global oil inventories plunged by more than 600 million barrels last year.
Gonna paraphrase:
>head scratch. Number should be 400million, based on its estimates of supply and demand.
>discrepancy- what does it mean, what caused it?
>global traders use IEA benchmark to evaluate supply and demand.
>Last 2 years caused havoc in reliable analysis and forecasts.
>blah blagh err. Gonna do better 2022. Cause we got one job, and we don goofed.
>they use satellite data to track oil stockpiles, but someone caused us to stuff up.
>could be this. Could be that
China is always the answer.

Posted by: Melaleuca | Jan 21 2022 3:53 utc | 178

Back to patroklos:
We also have a community garden. Though I’m not participating.
I have my own large garden I tend.

And give many heads of lettuce, lbs of tomatoes and beans, corn, etc to my neighbors.

We participate in a collective preschool, where parents donate time, energy, supplies.
Our monies fund the head teachers salary. I spend 8-10 hrs a week there.

We also have a collective security and fire apparatus for our small town, with us being quite far away from the sheriffs office, a tiny police dept, and only having one fire engine. Perhaps when my kids are older I will lend some time there.

There is even an energy collective developing, where we, as a county, would purchase the existing infrastructure from the state PUC, and run it ourselves.
I guess I AM sort of into collectivism, maybe even communism.
What I do know for sure is that I do not like the government dictating what I can and can’t do.

Posted by: Cadence calls | Jan 21 2022 4:21 utc | 179

@ Cadence Calls | Jan 20 2022 22:15 utc | 147... i want to say good for you as well... smart moves you are making cadence... your kids will benefit too.. good luck with all that.. thanks for sharing all of that and @ 179 too...

Posted by: james | Jan 21 2022 4:37 utc | 180


Here is the American blog 'eurasian geopolitics' with several maps of Ukraine. The underlying data based on official census, surveys, elections. Not sure of reliability.

Maps of Ukraine

Posted by: Unknown31 | Jan 21 2022 4:38 utc | 181

The know-everything Blinken corrects the president--
SECRETARY BLINKEN: If a Russian soldier crosses into Ukraine, then we have a profound problem, a clear attack on Ukraine, whether it’s one soldier or a thousand soldiers. . .here

The US has attacked and invaded many countries with thousands of soldiers. Were these weak soldiers? Russia needs only one to invade. But hey, it's never been "profound problem" for the US to destroy those countries, while killing, injuring and displacing millions.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 21 2022 4:58 utc | 182

Blinken logic: Since the USA has one soldier inside Syria, then the USA has invaded Syria and must pay the cost for doing so.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 21 2022 6:13 utc | 183

@Calgary guy #135
I am sure you are right that the process is well understood.
However, I am far less sure that the overall impact is so minimal.
For example: what is done with the discarded shells? Burned? Landfill?
The machinery also has to be cleaned plus processing masses of biomatter means dust - possibly toxic dust in the air.
Worldwide production of cashews is ~750 million metric tons - how many tons of toxic shell result?
It may be a coincidence or more likely a geographical factor, but the processing of cashews into safe saleable product seems to be restricted to 3rd world nations. That's often a sign of a really bad thing - "recycling", for example, has always been heavily dependent on 3rd world nations accepting 1st world trash.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 6:59 utc | 184

@K #173
Given that the San Francisco Chronicle is notoriously woke and climate change panic-monger - I don't have any idea what you think you're saying. The Chronicle would print a huge net metering cost in opposition to its woke PMC audience? That the $3B is false?

As for Australia:
I know for a fact that Australia has spent large sums on experimental storage, since a Tesla battery installation caught fire not long ago.
Have you actually looked at the economics of electricity storage using lithium batteries, Tesla or otherwise?
Australia also has only a 10% solar PV contribution to overall electricity use vs. California's 15.43%.
I've never said solar PV is never useful or good; what I've said is solar PV is not reliable as a major source of base load. California's problems at 15.43% actual generation contribution - where literally millions of kWh of solar PV are being thrown away - shows this to be true.
That the solar PV program in California was shifting $3 billion a year in electricity utility costs, via outrageous net metering rates, from rich people to everyone else including poor people, is another impact.
Let's not forget that the CPUC approved the net metering to start with, or that California is entirely climate change panic mongering.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 7:07 utc | 185

@Melaleuca #178
May just be economic/geopolitical illiteracy on the part of the Bloomberg reporter.
200 million barrels seems like a lot but it is 2 days worldwide consumption or 20 days of China oil imports. Given the price of oil (due to demand), not at all clear this means anything.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 7:10 utc | 186

Does this signify anything?

Tucker Carlson - the top rated news show, period - has come right out and said "Why are we meddling in Ukraine".

Tucker Carlson video snippet on Youtube

He shows the bipartisan nature of the Ukraine warmongering and even talks about Russia having legitimate security concerns over NATO expansion.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 7:14 utc | 187

@b re: Saker posting of alt blog ratings


@Robert Macaire #160

MoA is only slightly lower than NC, but it has a visibly higher bounce rate (which is negative).

I will say that NC is both significantly skewed liberal (but tries hard to be objective) and also PMC (but visibly tries not to herd). I do look at NC regularly because they do have an excellent daily link list (in terms of discovery - very often new and interesting sources as opposed to reposting from the usual suspects).

Much less clear what is the time frame involved or who/what is doing the measuring. For example: I wonder how compares on the list.

I will say, however, that MoA's ongoing open forums are the single largest reason I am a regular. The same cannot be said for much of the Saker's/Unz' list: even the ones which are large distribution, many are dominated by extremists of one side or the other.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 7:28 utc | 188

Posted by c1ue @ 195

You are right, Tesla, Samsung and other lithium ion batteries are prone to catch fire. Because the OEM don't want to use adequate 'expensive' cobalt in the chemistry. Manganese may be a substitute.

California has has thermal energy. NZ has some thermal energy too.

The cost/benefits future for large capacity storage and discharge is liquid vanadium:

Posted by: Paul | Jan 21 2022 9:27 utc | 190

In conjunction with threads about "military-technical solutions" Russia has made explicit far reaching demands. As a reply it received a polite but firm "No". No cracks in the "collective West" (usually just a loose confederation) visible - just unanimity. I guess it takes a Karlof to perceive this as a huge Russian diplomatic victory.

Anyway, the Polish position towards the diplomatic boycott of the Olympic games in China is noteworthy because it points towards another important fact. The Chinese-Polish relations are good. So are the Chinese-Ukrainian relations. China is generally perceived in Europe as a not fully trustworthy and sometimes difficult partner. But still overall as a partner, not an enemy.

This comes probably as a shock to the MoA bubble who likes to perceive China and Russia (and Iran) as a monolithic "Eurasian Bloc": Nobody in China has an interest in incursions into Poland or the Baltics [with the exception of Lithuania] or in destroying Ukraine as a nation state. China follows the same pattern as in other conflicts. It stays neutral and establishes mutually beneficial partnerships with all parties.

Hence no Polish boycott of the Olympics.

Posted by: m | Jan 21 2022 9:39 utc | 191

Posted by: Paul @ 190

Oops, I meant @ c1ue @ 185

Posted by: Paul | Jan 21 2022 9:45 utc | 192

Telephone conversation with President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to close coordination in international affairs in keeping with the principles of strategic partnership that underlie bilateral relations.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 21 2022 9:48 utc | 193

Can’t help but remember Billy boy the stud when I read headings like this one:

“Biden persuades Russia to invade Ukraine, but not very deeply”

What’s with US presidents that live in a little bit pregnant world? Decaffeinated brew again, guys go for the real thing! and believe me it is not Coke.

Just listened to the Lavrov - Blinken intro, again the same picture, the US delegation did not do its homework, Blinken even mentioned some US citizens held in Russia, this when the talks are about war between nuclear powers, beating around the "arbusto", as Dubbya would say.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 21 2022 10:54 utc | 194

Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation:

There are requests from journalists to comment on the draft resolution of the State Duma on an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to recognize the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.


We see President Zelensky ignoring the Minsk agreements. NATO wants to occupy Ukraine. Both one and the other can turn into a tragedy. We must not allow this.

One thing is clear: solutions to ensure the security of our citizens and compatriots in the DPR and LPR must be sought.

A clear hint to the "Western partners" about the possible actions of the Russian Federation if the requirements for security guarantees are ignored...

Posted by: alaff | Jan 21 2022 11:26 utc | 195

Fron the introduction of Lavrov - Blinken meeting:

In one of your recent statements during your European tour, you mentioned that you do not expect a breakthrough from this meeting. We also do not expect a breakthrough from this meeting. We are waiting for answers to our proposals. They are extremely specific. We expect the same concrete answers in line with and in full compliance with the commitments that were taken at the highest level within the OSCE on the problems of the indivisibility of security, so that no country strengthens its security at the expense of the security of any other country. It will be interesting to hear how the United States interprets these commitments.

Lavrov's presser, written answer promised for next next week.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 21 2022 12:20 utc | 196

Blinken Lavrov meet went as expected. Blinken talked shit and Russia position unchanged. All that remains to be seen is US/UK move in Ukraine and if US ever give a written response to the Russian security proposals.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 21 2022 12:43 utc | 197

Is the borg growing a conscience?



Posted by: jared | Jan 21 2022 13:09 utc | 198

Interesting COVID news:

Why UCSF expert Bob Wachter is over the pandemic

Note Mr. Wachter was prominent among the most COVID careful... hence the backlash from at least some of his Twitter followers.

on Tuesday, Wachter tweeted something that did not sit well with many of his more cautious followers.

“If the Table of Contents of @TheAtlantic is any judge, it’s clear that Omicron is ushering in a new ‘I’m over it’ stage, even among people who have been careful for two years,” Wachter tweeted with a screenshot of headlines from the Atlantic that include “Two Years is Long Enough” and “Why More Americans Are Saying They’re ‘Vaxxed and Done.’”

“I’m holding tight until the current surge ends, and then may well join them,” Wachter wrote.


“For more than a year, I did everything that public-health authorities told me to do. I wore masks. I canceled vacations. I made sacrifices. I got vaccinated. I got boosted. I’m happy to get boosted again. But this virus doesn’t stop. Year over year, the infections don’t decrease. Instead, virulence for people like me is decreasing, either because the virus is changing, or because of growing population immunity, or both. ... COVID is becoming something like the seasonal flu for most people who keep up with their shots, so I’m prepared to treat this like I’ve treated the flu: by basically not worrying about it and living my life normally.”

I wonder if this is why "Let 'er Rip" is happening now?

I would note that infections increasing is completely at odds with "growing population immunity", but whatever.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 15:20 utc | 199

Fascinating article about the "Paul is Dead" conspiracy theory - which very far predates the internet.

Just goes to show that there is nothing new under the sun...

Misinformation and the story of Paul Is Dead by

In October 1969, the western world was swept by a story that Paul McCartney had died in an automobile accident three years earlier, been secretly replaced by a double chosen in a lookalike contest, and that clues to this were strewn throughout recent Beatles albums. [Does seem like QANON, no?]


In the fall of 1969, a woman at a party at Drake University in Des Moines told a male student that she had heard that McCartney had died in a crash and been replaced by a double. The young man told a friend, the sports editor of the student newspaper.

On September 17, the Drake Times-Delphic published “Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?” It set out clues the author said could be found on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album from 1967


A couple of days later, a Drake student told a friend at Ohio Wesleyan University about the story. Three weeks later, it had spread to Eastern Michigan University, and students there began calling in to radio stations playing popular music, first one in Ann Arbor, then another, with a stronger signal and greater listenership, in Detroit.


One of the Detroit station listeners, Fred LaBour, who was enrolled at the University of Michigan, and had an assignment to write a review of “Abbey Road,” which had been released nine days after the Drake paper’s story. LaBour and a friend spent a few days studying Beatles albums. He decided to do something more interesting than a traditional review and published “McCartney Dead: New Evidence Brought to Light” in the Michigan Daily.

LaBour added new “clues”: a name (William Campbell) for the ostensible lookalike substitute Paul, the meaning of the letters looking like “OPD” on McCartney’s Sgt. Pepper uniform patch (“Officially Pronounced Dead”; they were actually “OPP,” an item worn by Ontario Provincial Police) and a raft of elements from the cover of Abbey Road, where he saw John dressed as the officiant at a funeral, Ringo as an undertaker, George as a gravedigger, the barefoot Paul signifying death, and a license plate on a Volkswagen Beetle parked nearby (“28IF”) as a reference to McCartney’s supposed age “if” he had lived (although he was actually 27).

[the above is an example of another grifter latching onto the original meme]

Pretty interesting all around.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 21 2022 15:26 utc | 200

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