Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sometimes keeping up this ancient blog is useful

I'm in San Francisco. I've been here before a few times, but it has been a really long time since my last visit? "How long?" people have asked me. How the fuck should I know? 

The archives, that's how!

So yeah, a lot has happened in 19 years. Happy birthday Noz Jr. He is very missed today.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


The all-caps online ravings of an unhinged man in mental decline did not end up being entirely factual.

I do think that Trump will be charged with a crime in the near future. There are other signs pointing to that. But maybe we should consider our source before getting to excited about this generation's Fitzmas.

Monday, March 20, 2023

While I'd like a nice Nauryz present as much as anyone...

I can see the building excitement for tomorrow in certain online spaces. But the hard fact is that the only source for the proposition that Trump will be arrested tomorrow is Trump himself. It is definitely possible that Trump's lawyers were advised that he will be asked to surrender on that date, the lawyers told Trump, and Trump doesn't know how to keep his fucking mouth shut. But it also possible that the whole story came out of the fevered paranoia of a narcissist's mental decline.

(Elise Stafanik's assertion that the arrest story was an "illegal leak" is hilarious, by the way. How is it illegal exactly? And if it is illegal to leak that information, wouldn't that just be another crime that Trump committed since he is the leaker?)

For the record, I think Trump should be arrested. There has been sufficient evidence to arrest Trump for multiple reasons for years, and almost anyone else with that much misconduct in the public record would have been behind bars a while ago. After all, Michael Cohen has already served time for helping Trump make the illegal Stormy Daniels payment.

And cut the bullshit about how arresting a presidential candidate is unamerican and unprecedented. If America stands for anything is should be the equal application of the law, and arresting a presidential candidate has happened several times before in American history (Eugene Debbs ran for president while in prison). Hell, there is even a precedent for arresting a presidential candidate for this same exact offense.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The War in Iraq was clearly a bad idea 20 years ago too

I think a major point that needs to be remembered about the U.S. Invasion of Iraq how the reasons for the invasion didn't make any more sense in the run-up to the war in 2002-2003 than they do today. While the going to war was being debated, it was pretty obvious that all of the shifting justifications for invading did not make sense (that's why they kept shifting). And yet, the people who raised objections to the invasion (and there really were a lot!) were treated by both the establishment media was the lunatic fringe. The people with expertise on Iraq, were almost universally against the war. Even senior U.S. Diplomats with years of experience in the region resigned in opposition to the war. There was a lot of dissent, and a whole lot of effort by both people in power and the media establishment to hide and silence the scope of that dissent from the public at large.

Don't buy the 20 years after the fact spin that the Iraq War only appeared senseless in retrospect. The ridiculousness of the idea was right there in the open from the start. Lots of people tried hard to tell the public how ridiculous it was, and they were mocked and marginalized for it. Meanwhile, the people who mocked and marginalized them mostly kept their influence to this day, without ever paying a real price for the death and destruction they made happen. That's a big legacy of the Iraq War.

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Saudis are dropping their pretenses

It is interesting to compare the Saudi initiative for peace with Israel originally proposed in 2002 (endorsed as recently as 2017), with Saudi Arabia's current proposal for Israel. While the 2002-2017 initiative was about exchanging normal diplomatic relations with Israel for rights of Palestinians, the current proposal would have the Saudis trade recognition of Israel for U.S. endorsement and support of their nuclear program and more arms sales to KSA. This coming when Israeli violence against Palestinians is spiking and a rightwing government determined to further curtail any Palestinian rights or autonomy is in control. It's almost like the Saudis don't actually care about the Palestinians are are using their relationship with Israel as a bargaining chip to get the U.S. to further arm one of the worst regimes in the world.

Put up or shut up

I really do believe that criminal charges for Trump are likely in the near future. But how many times have we read that Donnie Two ScoopsTM is about to face criminal charges over the past few years?

Monday, March 06, 2023

The 2nd biggest nuclear arsenal is sitting on a demographic time bomb

It's weird how enamored conservatives are with Putin's Russia, because just about every way I try to look at the country, it just looks doomed:

A demographic tragedy is unfolding in Russia. Over the past three years the country has lost around 2m more people than it would ordinarily have done, as a result of war, disease and exodus. The life expectancy of Russian males aged 15 fell by almost five years, to the same level as in Haiti. The number of Russians born in April 2022 was no higher than it had been in the months of Hitler’s occupation. And because so many men of fighting age are dead or in exile, women outnumber men by at least 10m.

The article is probably paywalled for most of you, but the bottom line is Russia's crashing population has multiple causes. Most former communist European countries have had low birth rates which have produce shrinking populations. But Russia isn't just part of that overall trend, it also is waging a war that is killing a phenomenal number of its men (the gender imbalance in Russia is growing). There are large numbers of Russians emigrating both to dodge the draft and to avoid economic problems in the country, and those leaving are largely the most educated/most economically productive class. Plus, Russia had one of the worst COVID responses in the world. The excess deaths, which was bad enough to shave about a full percent off Russia's total population. Putin's belligerent foreign escapades are clearly making matters worse and the only thing the Russian government seems to be doing to stop a demographic crash is kidnapping Ukrainian children.

It just seems inevitable that a huge sprawling country, which rules over an extremely diverse range of ethnic minorities, many of which are not losing population, won't be able to keep things under control if these trends continue. That's a far bigger threat to Russia than NATO.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Why is a "low confidence" conclusion by a Government bureaucracy about something completely outside of its area of expertise worthy of any attention at all?

I'm not very interested in the origin of COVID question. I mean, in theory it would be good to know, but I think between the unwillingness of the Chinese government to cooperate in an open and transparent investigation, the loss of so much physical evidence, and the intense racism and politicization surrounding the issue (at least in the U.S.) makes ever getting a real answer to that question impossible. Which means every time someone claims that an origin theory is true or even just likely, I immediately question their motives for making a such a claim about something that is, almost certainly, unknowable.

But on top of that, why the fuck does the U.S. Department of Energy have any particular expertise in the origin of an infectious disease?