We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, March 16. 2023
Eagle pizza delivery
Wellesley College Students Vote to Admit Trans Men and Nonbinary Applicants
Climate Crisis? What Climate Crisis?
Arkansas makes it easier for teens to work. Heads explode
Joe Biden Claims a Child Wrote to Him About the ‘Gender Wage Gap'
Democrats Fear the Truth About Biden’s 2024 Presidential Run. A re-election campaign is a manifestly bad idea, but members of his party are too cowardly to admit it.
How Brandon Johnson Broke Through to Chicago’s Mayoral Runoff. After a decade of organizing, the city’s teachers’ union could elect one of its own as mayor.
UN Secretary-General: ‘For Well Over a Millennium, Islam’s Message of Peace Has Inspired People’
Ron DeSantis is flat out wrong on Ukraine and the role US should play
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I've found eagles to be the worst scavengers of the raptor family. When I was in Juneau AK, there were scores of them, with most of them to be found hanging out around the dumpster clusters down by the water. Anyplace else in the coastal US, it would be seagulls.
Benjamin Franklin promoted the wild turkey as the national bird with a pretty devastating comparison of the turkey and the eagle.
I have no doubt he was accurate but the first time I saw a bald eagle I was in awe! It has to be the most beautiful, powerful, and majestic bird I’ve ever seen. I think it makes a great national symbol!
Regarding DeSantis, I think a fair portion of the USA now understands the insidious role that propaganda now plays in our daily life. We have seen one party assert an overwhelming dominance in the control of the Legacy Media, we have seen most of the workers in that industry display their political preference openly and reinforced this with the bias in their coverage. And we have seen, via the Twitter files, the sinister results - a shaping of narrative designed to replace news coverage, designed to substitute it with preferred policy directions, and fully willing to silence dissenting private citizens by secretly downrating the exposure of their views, or worse by censoring them openly.
So we now understand how the mechanisms have worked. Can we see how they are put into play? Day after day, we get a relentless stream of 'Muh Russians' evil empire, the Wicked Putin, the Brave Ukrainians. It's a narrative; It's not news. If there's any doubt, then ask yourself: Who is promoting peace? Why Not? Whatever the Booga-Booga that is being promoted as the new existential fear of Russia, it is not realistic to think that Putin's aggression is the responsibility of the US. This is a European problem. What are they doing to promote victory, and what is their peace plan? If you can't answer this immediately, then why can't you?
Aggie: Who is promoting peace?
Russia chose war when they sent a column of armor and paratroopers to take the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. Events there show how history often lies on a knife's edge. If Zelenskyy had left the country, Ukraine would most likely have fallen.
Aggie: This is a European problem.
As history has shown, global events affect what happens in the United States.
Aggie: What are they doing to promote victory, and what is their peace plan?
An alliance of democracies won't tend to have a single message, but the overall thrust of the strategy is to exhaust Russia and then seek an end to the hostilities on terms meant to guarantee the sovereignty of Ukraine.
Yes, that's The Narrative I was referring to. That's funny, I thought there was a European Union and a North American Treaty Organization, complete with highly-paid, tall-forehead, status-endowed, expert leadership. And yet they are curiously not present in the news feeds with their progress and goals.
History has shown a lot of things, including quite a few embarrassments for the USA when it meddles in place without any good reason, including in the Ukraine, including within the past 10 years.
Attempting to 'exhaust Russia' appears to be having the consequence of exhausting our own battle-readiness, as has been evidenced by our quickly-depleting armaments. History shows that Russia is quite good at getting results from heavy manufacturing in the military interest, when pressed into service.
I am unconvinced that Russia is a significant or meaningful threat to the USA, and also even more unconvinced that the European response shows as much focus and interest as the USA's right now. This also is a case of history repeating itself. Let them handle their regional problems like grownups, instead of dependents.
NATO, constantly encroaching on Russia's borders, created this "crisis/emergency/panic" which has been occurring since the reunification of the Germanys. The State Dept, Nuland with help from the CIA helped overthrow the legitimately elected Ukraine leader and install an illegitimate leadership. They couldn't even gather enough votes to legally impeach him. Since 2014 the junta has killed nearly 14,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians. And now they are surprised that Russia isn't accepting this outcome. The Russians are going to slow bleed the entire western European countries if they don't wise up an tell the US to go home and leave them in peace. Now they have a banking crisis to go with an energy crisis to go with a Covid crisis to go with a migration crisis.
Nuland is second-generation immigrant from Belarus.
That argument about Russia threatening NATO drives me nuts.
Now: Which time did Russia 'encroach' NATO? Was it 1990, 1999, 2004, or 2009??
I am no fan of Russia. But Russia's GDP is about $1,700 billion, compared to the USA's $23,000 billion. Are they a threat to the USA? No. Ukraine's GDP is around $200 billion. So the USA is on it's way to supplying the entire GDP of Ukraine in armaments alone. How much are the other NATO partners kicking in? Poland seems to be the only one taking it seriously, and their moves are to bolster their own defense - not engage in foreign action.
Aggie: How much are the other NATO partners kicking in?
The U.S. and Europe have contributed comparable amounts. That doesn’t include the huge costs involved in Europe taking care of millions of refugees.
OK, thanks for the link, gee that looks pretty great - as a % of GDP, anyway - until you scroll way down and start looking at the actual billions. Then, I am not impressed - the billions tell the story of just how committed the EU is, since their GDP is about on par with ours. It's their neighborhood, their circus, their problem - they need to provide the diplomatic leadership, backed up by the military preparedness.
Other, 15.5 (includes European countries, such as U.K. and Norway)
Billions €, %GDP
EU+UK+Norway, 64.45, 0.30%
I disagree. Europe could conceivably be under threat from Russian aggression because of their proximity. They certainly have a more indelible economic reliance on Russian gas, now being partially supplied by LNG from the USA among other nations.
But the USA is not under threat from Russia and hasn't been since Glasnost (and wasn't really, before Glasnost, as we found out). Further, the USA is doing much to damage relations that could conceivably be of assistance against the real threat, which is China. It's foreign policy for stupid people.
Putting forward the old booga-booga about Russia's supposed aspirations to World Domination is just stupid. It's stupid on the basis of Russia's present GDP, which could never hope to underwrite such aspirations, and it's stupid on the basis of their progress over the past year. And if the premise is to be supportable in argument at all, then one would have to be able to point to Europe, the supposed ultimate target, to show that they are taking it seriously. They are not, in my opinion - they're being dragged behind the USA as the friend being dragged into the fight. They have taken neither initiative nor leadership, and have made few feeble moves towards peace. It is their circus, their monkeys.
I don't much care for Ron DeSantis as a Presidential Candidate, but he has this issue right, I think. It's a territorial squabble that has long been brewing, has nuanced support from within the disputed territory, and should be resolved peacefully via diplomacy. The UN, the EU, and NATO should be earning their keep. It's not the USA's responsibility to either mediate or supply armaments.
Aggie: I disagree.
The fact is that European allies have sent comparable amounts of aid to Ukraine. That was contrary to the suggestion above. If you mean Europe should shoulder the primary responsibility, then we are in agreement with you.
Aggie: Europe could conceivably be under threat from Russian aggression because of their proximity.
Europe is under threat. Ukraine is a European country, after all.
Aggie: But the USA is not under threat from Russia
The U.S. is under threat. There is no way the U.S. can avoid involvement in a general European war under threat of totalitarianism.
Aggie: It's a territorial squabble that has long been brewing
The borders of Ukraine were established and agreed upon by Russia. Violating sovereignty to resolve disputes is illegal under international law. Russia even sent in unmarked troops to stir up trouble.
But, sure. Just give him the Sudetenland. That should satisfy him. He seems nice.
everything I don't like is Hitler!
What I ackshually said was:
"Then, I am not impressed - the billions tell the story of just how committed the EU is, since their GDP is about on par with ours. It's their neighborhood, their circus, their problem - they need to provide the diplomatic leadership, backed up by the military preparedness." ....and nothing you have responded with is disputing that. It is not contrary to assert that the European countries are not stepping up to the degree they ought to, if this is such an existential threat. They are following the USA's lead under furious prodding by the Biden Administration. They are not out in front and they are not showing leadership. It is THEIR PROBLEM.
So: The USA is 'under threat' from Russia? Tell me more. Is the Russian threat in the room with you right now?
Aggie: The USA is 'under threat' from Russia?
Yes. Today, the world is even more connected than in the twentieth century. Global stability is essential for American prosperity and American security.
Ukraine chose this war when they abandoned the Minsk accords at the behest of Western powers and began persecuting ethnic Russians in the Donbas region. And by persecuting I mean demanding they stop speaking Russian, sending their ultra-nationalist goons in to murder and torture them and actually shelling them to the tune of 14,000 dead. The notion that Russia would just sit back and watch that is ridiculous. Also Ukraine isn't even remotely a democracy. It's a corrupt oligarchy where Western politicians launder their ill gotten gains. Whether I generally agree with you or not you usually look in to things a bit deeper than this. You're just spouting CNN talking points. I'm disappointed. :)
Aggie: And yet they are curiously not present in the news feeds with their progress and goals.
Joint statement following the 24th EU-Ukraine Summit: "We gathered today in the context of Russia’s ongoing unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. We condemned it in the strongest possible terms and discussed how to further support Ukraine and how to increase collective pressure on Russia to end its war and withdraw its troops."
Statement by NATO Heads of State and Government: "We condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We call on President Putin to immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine . . . Russia’s attack on Ukraine threatens global security. Its assault on international norms makes the world less safe."
Aggie: History has shown a lot of things, including quite a few embarrassments for the USA
Quite so. Healthy skepticism and a pragmatic approach are certainly warranted.
Aggie: Attempting to 'exhaust Russia' appears to be having the consequence of exhausting our own battle-readiness
It may very well have the same result as the Lend-Lease program, which helped prevent the collapse of resistance to fascism in Europe, while leading to a military industrialization in the United States.
indyjonesouthere: They couldn't even gather enough votes to legally impeach him.
The vote to remove Viktor Yanukovych was 328-0. The new government was immediately recognized by virtually every country but Russia.
Lord Heathen: Ukraine chose this war when they abandoned the Minsk accords at the behest of Western powers and began persecuting ethnic Russians in the Donbas region.
Russia claimed that Ukraine was systematically exterminating the Russian population in the Donbas. In response to a complaint by Ukraine, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Russian invasion was not justified by the "so-called genocide" in Ukraine. Keep in mind that Russia had sent army units into the Donbas without insignia to surreptitiously stir up trouble. Regardless, hostilities had actually been decreasing before the invasion.
Was president Yanukovych impeached? The British government said yes, President Poroshenko says no. They held an impeachment, but it was not a Constitutional impeachment. They just had to cheat. What else would you expect in Ukraine politics? And that's from the UK Huffpo.
They had to have gotten Victoria (fuck the EU) Nuland advise passed along from the US CIA.
indyjonesouthere: Was president Yanukovych impeached?
No. He abandoned his office. The Rada passed a resolution which stated that due to the fact that Yanukovych had unconstitutionally stopped fulfilling his presidential duties, the Rada was calling early presidential elections under Article 85/7.
Nice narrative. No substance. The Ukraines didn't bother to follow their own constitution as even the Ukraines admitted. Have the Borg masters developed a new narrative for you to push?
And as long as America handles Europe's problems for them they won't worry about said problems. And why would Ukraine prepare for their defense if they can farm it out to the Americans.
Dependence breeds entitlement and entitlement breeds resentment.
Hoss: And as long as America handles Europe's problems for them they won't worry about said problems.
Europe is rapidly increasing military spending, Poland especially.
Hoss: And why would Ukraine prepare for their defense if they can farm it out to the Americans.
Not sure your point. Ukraine is fully mobilized.
Fetterman is essentially being kept alive in the hospital but the Democrats are hiding the truth about his health because if he was declared to be brain dead the law would require a special election to replace him. But if they can keep up the subterfuge until after August 18th his replacement could be appointed by the Democrat governor.
Question for any health car professionals. I tried to rearrange my yearly doctor check-up and have it 2 weeks earlier. I am 80 YO and that is a factor in this question. I travel and I had set up other specialist appointments and wanted to have them all in the same week so I would be free to go someplace and not hang around for two weeks for my yearly physical. The appointment people checked with the doctors staff and they said that Medicare "required" the yearly appointment to be on the anniversary of the previous appointment. I said, WTF! No I didn't I was stunned but argued for the change anyway but they said they couldn't do it. Bottom line, I canceled the appointment and will simply forgo my annual physical exam. My question is simply is this true that Medicare is this inflexible? Is it better in their mind that I skip the check-up rather than nothave this appointment exactly 365 days apart?
In order for Medicare to pay it has to be at least 365 days apart. If I were you I would schedule after you get back from your trip. I would not skip it for a whole year however.
To be honest I was planning on cutting back my doctors visits anyway. I am scheduled for a CT scan for my Oncology appointment and unless he tells me I'm going to die in the next 3 months I'm going to ask him to end my future appointments. As for my regular doctor the only reason I get the yearly check-up is because I'm on anti-coagulants and I am afraid that they will at some point stop renewing my prescription if I don't comply with doctor visits. But since they won't let me set up an appointment I think I will test that out and see what happens.
Same with my eyes. I have glaucoma and cataracts so I have to see ophthalmologist to keep getting the medication. But the actual visit doesn't really matter. I was supposed to get the tests every 6 months but cut it back to a year by just not scheduling it and it had no effect on my ability to get the prescription. I may just ask him if I can cut out the visits altogether and still get my prescription.
Now my skin cancer is a different story. I need to see a dermatologist twice a year because I've had multiple melanoma's BUT I can see a dermatologist where ever I happen to be. SO I just call one where ever I am staying for awhile and get an appointment and they freeze off all the nasties and it doesn't really matter if I see the same one again.
You have to be wise about your choices, with Medicare. I don't know your situation, but I learned quite a bit with my sister as we were caring for our Mom. You want to stay away from Medicare Advantage insurance policies. They remind me of HMO's which are similarly geared to favor the medical industry at the expense of the patient. In the same way that HMOs discourage discretionary medical care, Medicare Advantage plans exercise the same kinds of rationing, many of them with caps in place.
If you can afford it, you should consider a Supplemental Plan G - Then you can see the doctor whenever you bloody well think you need to - not according to some bean counter's tables.
Good luck with your doctor visit. Like Aggie I won't touch the Advantage program but went with the plan G. My last doctor appointment, other than a VA hearing aid and glasses, was about 20 some years ago at the Mayo Clinic Rochester campus for what was diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia. It required a surgery and ICU stay for a couple of days. Only the Mayo or the Cleveland Clinic perform the procedure. Otherwise, I am like Mel Gibson's dad, I avoid doctors, medications, and hospitals.
I did appreciate how organized and efficient the Mayo was in dealing with all the patients. What would generally take a week for most hospitals to accomplish in testing will be started and finished within a day or at most two days. They are good.
OneGuy: Question for any health car professionals.
The most important thing is to change the oil on a regular basis.
OneGuy: I would be free to go someplace and not hang around for two weeks for my yearly physical.
Medicare doesn't cover a physical but does cover a wellness visit. The wellness visit doesn't have to be on the anniversary date, but it has to be "at least 12 months" from the previous wellness visit or initial physical exam.
Chicago, Brandon would be another Laurie Lightfoot.
Chicago has a shot with the other candidate who has a long successful administrative track record, including running schools.
Worst article ever (well almost) on the Chicago election, one take away; North-side liberals frequently with no children in the the public schools supported Brandon. Otherwise the New Yorker needs to do better.
Climate Crisis? What Climate Crisis?
Global temperature changes mapped across the past 24,000 years. Note that the mean global temperature has been relatively stable since the advent of human settlements, slowly rising about 0.5°C, that is, until the industrial era. The data is now sufficient to show regional changes over the period.
Yet Quibble-DickZ still cannot define exactly what the crisis is..
Instead points to Michael Mann's debunked temperature graph and claims the data is sufficient.
It's to laugh.
Imagine that the entire banking system was about to collapse, not just in the U.S. but spreading to the entire Western countries. Well as you would expect the people in charge would take drastic measures to prop it up AND most importantly would do it secretly while publicly assuring everyone that the banking system was perfectly safe. Well that is where we are right at this moment. The FED is quietly pumping $2 trillion into the U.S. banks and the "face" of the FED will be in front of congress and the nation swearing that everything is fine, don't worry, be happy!
Should we worry? After all $2 trillion will fix a lot of bad shit, right! Well... the problem is a $1-2 quadrillion problem and no one really knows if a mere $2 trillion will fix it. Yes you heard that right; $1.5-2 quadrillion dollars!!
It's Thursday, banks close at 5 PM Friday night and over the 64 hours until 9 AM Monday morning this problem must be "fixed". If it isn't, and we won't know until the banks open on Monday and even them it could be a delayed response by days or weeks. But if it isn't fixed... the FED will shut down the banks, luahgingly called "a bank holiday". Are you ready for this?
The financial collapse will likely begin in earnest in the European banks and spread out to other banking regions from there. Just as it did in 1929. Even so, I have kept minimums in my accounts for the past couple of years. Politics is ramping up chaos, panic and an endless parade of emergencies. Keep a cash stash for rainy days.
Are We the Byzantines?
The similarities are ominous.
If the gender wage gap were real, would it not represent a huge labor arbitrage possibility for employers? If I can women for 65 cents on the dollar compared to men, of course I'm going to hire all women and increase my profits by that amount. The fact you do not see this arbitrage in action is the surest sign that the wage gap is a myth.
Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” Album Cover Was Blurry Because the Photographer Was Cold
Pizza is a construct of the white male patriarchy. (honk!)
Arkansas needs those workers at the AG and packing plants.
Online mockery of the letter from the fourth grader was epic.
Brandon's handlers really are that unhinged from reality just like the rest of Chiquitastan.
A teacher's union comrade commissar for the glorious people's republic of Chicago AKA CPUSA Central HQ?
Forward! Yes we can. (honk!)
Poor Ronny D getting a woodshed session for bucking the Warpigs, good on him.
Generals gather in their masses, just like witches at black masses, evil minds that plot destruction, sorcerer of death's construction, in the fields the bodies burning as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind, poisoning their brainwashed minds.
©±® Osbourne, Iommi, Ward, Butler, 1970