The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


Official Inflation vs. Real Inflation (Rent Edition)


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 17, 2022


  1. bruce wilder

    News junky that I am, I noticed some time back how little trustworthy information came my way, but it seems worse now somehow. Last night I saw a TikTok version of what turned out to be a report in The Guardian that seemed to me to jump the shark. I thought I would share it and see what others think. I warn you that if you believe a word of it, it would be beyond horrifying. If you don’t — I do not — then you can marvel as the heart-tugging details are piled higher and higher, reaching absurd heights in the writer’s artless, superlative tragedy. Here is the link.

    I don’t know if I should wonder about the author’s (editor’s too) sanity — integrity is not even a concept.

  2. Willy

    bruce, war is hell where anything can and does happen. That’s why I tend to prefer the video evidence and the most plausible explanations for events, instead of “official” body counts and all the typical military-industrial-media complex agitprop complete with inane speeches from the leadership.

    As for these text articles (with a couple pics), I think of another story I read about the consequences of war.

    In that one, instead of your typical Ukrainian bookworm/geek dating a foxy model, it was the towns high school prom king and prom queen who married before he heroically and patriotically went off to war. Sadly, his vehicle got IED‘d in Iraq and he lost three limbs and had his face burned off. Yet still this beautiful young wife stayed committed to this ruined shell of a former ubermensch husband, changing his diapers and carrying on with supporting the family.

    There are many implausible stories which come out of war. Sorry, but I don’t get your point.

  3. Lex

    I will not dismiss the story out of hand if for no other reason than war is a terrible thing in any and all cases.

    I will say it sure sounds like what thousands of interviews from Mariupol detail all rolled into one with a dash of human interest about the young man. Just transported to Kiev. So, no, I don’t believe it. And this is good place to point out that frontline war coverage is the jewel of TV ratings. Isn’t it kind of strange that the major networks don’t seem to have much of it? No reporters with the brave Ukrainians fighting back the Russian horde. At most people in ill fitting helmets with a green screen of Kiev behind them. There was that time Don Lemon put on full battle dress to cover the missile strike against a fuel depot in Lvov, but it the mood was ruined by locals milling around without a hint of fear. And then Ukrainian authorities threatened to arrest him for publishing the location.

    Lots of front line reporting on the other side. Of course all war reporting is slanted, the reporter can’t get there without protection and support from one side. I’ve watched many, subtitled and not (this conflict has really improved my Russian again!). Frankly, the people of Mariupol are the only thing that gives me hope these days. Even in the horror they have not lost their humanity. It’s rare in those interviews to even hear calls for vengeance (but the more recent ones have it as a more common theme).

    I’ve seen parents taking their son out to a bit of grass to kick a soccer ball. There’s shelling in the distance. Neighbors and strangers helping each other, living for 6 weeks in basements without food and water. Finding people who’ve got an evacuation ticket in the ruins, giving up their spot for evacuation so that someone else may go. For emotional health I’ve added rereading Vasily Grossman. I’m not sure anyone saw and described more horror while retaining his humanity than grossman.

  4. Lex

    “I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never by conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil, struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.”
― Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

  5. bruce wilder

    @ Willy

    i thought i made my point clear: the absurdly manipulative features of the narrative led me to think the specifics are fiction. I don’t need you to tell me that many people are indiscriminately killed in war and that their deaths are wasteful and tragic. A fiction published by The Guardian does not erase that sure knowledge. It only erases the credibility of its reporters and editors and reduces further the little residual sense in my mind that any institutional intergrity remains.

    Your plea on behalf of agnatology is noted.

  6. Frogger

    @bruce wilder

    The Guardian article is war propaganda. It triggers an emotional reaction on multiple levels. It humanizes the victims and promotes empathy and sympathy be telling their story instead of just rattling off facts, it titillates (‘Warning: contains graphic descriptions’) and taps into human fascination with violent death and it, of course, reminds everyone that the Russians are the designated bad guys and isn’t it horrible what they are doing.

    I don’t think the events described are fake, I agree with Willy that war is horrific and unimaginably terrible things happen during wartime. There is no such thing as a clean war. There is nothing wrong with reminding people that war is the stuff of nightmares and showing how it affects civilians but that isn’t what the piece is about. The Guardian is not anti-war. The Guardian is not overly concerned with civilian casualties of war. You will find no heart rending pieces humanizing the civilians being shot down in cold blood in Palestine and you certainly won’t find any articles that portray America and its partners in war as cold blooded or indifferent killers of non-combatants. Any story of an American atrocity will make it out to be an aberration, a “mistake”, the result of a rogue madman or a crooked low-ranking patsy. “It’s a shame that it happened but we mean well.”

    That is what pisses me off about articles like this. When taken in the context of the Guardian’s editorial line and the way it reports on other wars and violent conflicts it is a disgusting piece of propaganda. The average Guardian reader and western news “consumer” doesn’t go away thinking “Jesus, this war is terrible and we ought to try and stop it as soon as possible.” The message is sends is the Russian army are war criminals. It says nothing about ending the war or how events like the one depicted happen in every war. That ties in nicely with the media’s obsession with advocating for a no-fly-zone and World War 3 (“something must be done!”).

    When the Guardian changes its editorial stance to one that advocates diplomacy over war (how quaint that sounds in 2022), starts running stories holding the IDF and US Military to account for their war crimes and “collateral damage” and gives their civilian victims space on its pages to publicly grieve their losses, then I might take articles like this one seriously. But until that time comes I can’t see it as anything but war propaganda designed to manipulate the reader into following the approved narrative.

    To get a sense of what war is like “on the ground” I suggest two books by the late Robert Fisk.
    The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East and his book about the Lebanese civil war Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War. If you pick only one to read, go with the latter. The average westerner who gets their news from mainstream sources has absolutely no fucking idea what kind of things regularly happen during war and just how brutal and depraved it gets.

  7. Another Joe

    @Lex. Six weeks in a basement without food and water? Please.

  8. Ché Pasa

    During one of our periodic electricity outages here in the wilderness I was idly thinking about just how precarious most of our situations are these days and how oblivious — or gleeful — our rulers are about it.

    Most of us who live out here are used to not having electricity for longer or shorter periods; public power wasn’t universally available until the 1950s, and these days most people we know don’t have generators for when the electricity inevitably goes out. You roll with it and get by. Outages are usually only a few hours, or in exceptional cases, a few days.

    For a week or so recently we didn’t have reliable running water as valves and pipes were being replaced. So far, natural gas supplies haven’t failed, but it’s cripplingly expensive to use and word is that once Russian supplies are cut off from the West, cost of natural gas for us will increase exponentially. Again.

    These are simple things, ordinary things, and it’s way worse for those under bombardment in Ukraine or wherever they are, but they are examples of the precarity we’re all facing, even those of us who are prepped up the hoo-hah. What do you do when the basic systems we rely on for survival as well as comfort and convenience fail and that failure becomes routine?

    We have some adaptations and expedients and work arounds, and we’d get by reasonably well at least for a while, but that’s far from true for many, perhaps most people. The trick is to ensure they don’t become our enemies.

    When the cities become unlivable, where do they go? And do the psychopaths among them become the organizers and rulers?

    Finally, how close are we, really, to nuclear apocalypse? There’s a lot of denial about it, isn’t there? Remember where all those folks were running around screaming that Hillary was going to start WWIII?

    Realistically we’re well and truly into it right now with no easy exit. A hard exit maybe one day. War fever is hot and heavy. Those who believe we were on the wrong side in WWII think they have the advantage now, proof of the inferiority of the Slavic hordes and ample proof that they should have been wiped out back in the day. The Slavic Motherland perceives and existential threat yet again. Will they just let it be and quietly fade back into the steppe? Is the conflict to be confined to those on the ground in Ukraine? No, it’s already spread. A tipping point is not far off.

  9. Lex

    Oh I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t specify “no regular access to food and fresh water”. Or are you saying that the residents of Mariupol are lying when they describe melting snow over a fire outside the basement entrance or trying to boil dirty water that way so children don’t get sick.

  10. jo6pac

    I’m planting some seeds in my green house so I can afford salads in the near future. I’m also planting some mary jane for my head;-)

  11. bruce wilder

    Remember where all those folks were running around screaming that Hillary was going to start WWIII?

    I remember. I think I might have been one of them, though I don’t “scream” often. Of course, we probably should have allowed that Hillary had people for that. And, guess what? Those people Hillary had have been busy. Russiagate and the first impeachment of Trump fed this, now.

    Reversing course rarely seems to be an option. That’s why I, too, sense WWIII has started. There’s no end game that I can see, no settlement that will stick allowing a resumption of that “normal” so beloved by the liberal-“left”.

    A common theme of the propaganda coming from the West is that there’s nothing to negotiate, no conflict of interests to be resolved. Of course, if you are huddling in a basement in Mariupol without enough food, you just want the war in which you have no part to play except as its victim, to stop. So that is a safe story to tell.

    I still cling to the idea there is value in factual truth as an antidote to the unreality of story-telling in service of power. It is weak, dubious, forgetful, uncertain and morally ambiguous, but whatcha you gonna do?

  12. Ian Welsh

    Sure, Hillary was talking about a no fly zone in Syria after Russia was there. She was deranged.

  13. Ché Pasa

    She was deranged.

    Good thing she wasn’t elected.

    Oh… wait…

  14. Willy

    The Guardian is a business. It’s been argued that Life Magazine, once the ‘many pretty pictures for the family coffee table’ shit, went out of business because of its increasingly graphic coverage of hell like Vietnam. I highly doubt that The Guardians editors are having sit-downs with the neoliberal neocon establishment to plan out their next bit of wartime propaganda. It seems far more likely that they’re continuously trying to figure out what potential readers want to read so they can stay in business. Leave that other shit to the Russian state-run media.

    IMHO, one thing that most readership still gets right, is that the bad guy in all fights is the one who physically starts it.

    It’s the minority who gives the headknocker a pass because his girlfriend got looked at wrong, or the slapper because the little comic told a bad joke, or the Japanese military/industrial complex because they had some fuel supplies cut off.

    People have opined that 1940’s Americans were at fault because they should’ve taught the Japanese how to trade better all neoliberal-style. Maybe the Japanese leaders should’ve imagined the possibility of Tokyo being firebombed to the ground, especially after it was obvious they were going to lose the war.

  15. Z

    How to perform the Democrats’ pre-election/post-election two-step:

    Step 0: Democrat and Republican stand next to each other with Democrat on the left and Republican on the right both facing forward with arm nearest each other around partners’ waist.

    Step 1: Democrat takes half-step to the left while Republican stands in place and slides hand to their partners’ near hip. Democrat puts hands on their hips and turns head to the right and frowns at partner.

    Step 2: Republican leads and takes full step to the right and opens arms. Democrat follows with full step to the right and swoons into Republican’s open arms to unite with dancing partner.


  16. Ché Pasa

    The USandNato together with Zelensky acted as provocateurs of the current Russia/Ukraine conflict. They have been poking the Russian Bear for years. With lots of malice aforethought.

    The goal appears to be the disassembly of the Russian Federation and the replacement of the current government in the Kremlin and the constituent parts of the RF with USandNato collaborators who will oversee the looting of what remains of Russian wealth and resources for the further enrichment and empowerment of a cohort of Western oligarchs. These goals have been known and understood in Moscow and among many scholars and critics of the Western Powers for many years. Until recently, Moscow refused to be goaded.

    In my view, something must have happened behind the scenes, something hardly any observers are aware of or can articulate plainly to get Putin/Kremlin to initiate the invasion and war. Lots of casus belli can be cited, but they’ve all been around for years. Any of them might have triggered something last year or the year before or eight years ago, or…. but why now? And what the hell made the Kremlin think it was a good idea?

    What made DC think it was a good idea?

    Once started, though, it’ll go to the bitter end. It won’t be like Vietnam or Afghanistan or Korea. An intervention was desperately needed if it was to be avoided, and I suppose at least briefly, Trump’s regime served as something of a hiatus in the relentless march to WWIII. Favoring Moscow over Kiev and trashing Nato slowed things down, but it didn’t stop the bloodlust.

    It could have been stopped, but it wasn’t. There were no wise heads. I won’t go so far as to say “We’re Doomed!” but we won’t get out of this unscathed. Our rulers — no matter where they are — seem not to care; they’re all about their power of force. Death and destruction on a vast scale are minor impediments to them.

    Russia is to blame for going to war against Ukraine. But the USandNato and Ukraine are not blameless. They wanted this conflict, and they were going to have it, even if they fight to the last Ukrainian. They are the ones who are suffering and will suffer the most if they can’t or don’t get out of the way. I hold all the leadership and elites responsible.

    The local peace and justice community is flabbergasted and nearly paralyzed. It didn’t have to be this way.

  17. the other joe

    For sure Lex.
    I’m guessing you’ve never been truly hungry, like going without food for days—involuntary fasting.
    Otherwise it’s all crocodile tears for the Flint water debacle and examples too numerous to mention.
    Go to an El Salvador water tap if you can find one and report back.
    War is shit show misery. Rooting for one side or the other is treating it like theater. There are no good guys, no heroes or villains.
    Simplifying complex situations into bumper sticker sound bites is a disease beyond anything some COVID vaccinations could prevent.

  18. Frogger

    Hey Willy, what was the Guardian line on the Iraq invasion? Did they read the public mind and clearly condemn the aggressor nation that started the war because that’s who the public see as the bad guy? No they didn’t. The Guardian was never as left wing as some people think and particularly after 2013 and the Snowden affair that ended with MI5 agents physically destroying hard drives in the Guardian HQ basement and editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger handing the reins  to Katharine Veiner, the Guardian has been a staunch supporter of Atlanticist policy.

    So your assertion that only business interests influence the Guardian’s editorial choices is incorrect. Do you think that in 2022 a Snowden or Assange type whistleblower’s leaks would be welcome at the paper? I think you know the answer to that.

    Russia is the aggressor is this war and Putin is a war criminal. As Ian says, haul him to the Hague…along with Bush Jr., Blair and all the rest. But you know that the ICC is a sham that operates as an arm of western power so that will never happen.

    So what is to be done? How should a news organization like the Guardian approach this war? Is cheerleading for the western supported side and portraying the war as a zero-sum game that has to be fought until there is a definitive winner and loser the right approach? Did the Guardian unequivocally support the people of Iraq and Afghanistan in their war against US and NATO invaders?

    There is a real chance that this war could lead to a nuclear conflict between Russia and NATO. Given that reality do you think self-righteous moral grandstanding condemning Russia as pure evil as if the west’s hands are clean is a defensible choice? Do you think this conflict is worth risking a nuclear war between Russia and the US? Do you think advocating total war does Ukrainian civilian non-combatants any favors?

    If newspapers, pundits, political leaders and everyday Joes and Janes had the same attitude during the Cold War it would never have ended peacefully. No nukes peace protests and attempts at detente with the USSR would have been widely condemned as “supporting Soviet aggression and tyranny”.

    It’s almost like westerners subconsciously would rather see the planet destroyed than facing the reality of western decline and climate change. Westerners, at least the ones who shout the loudest and have media access, have chosen Thanatos over Eros.

    But are they prepared for the consequences? If there is a nuclear war will it make you feel better to say “Putin started it by invading Ukraine?” Or maybe you think advocating for a diplomatic resolution to this conflict is for wimps and losers?

    Have you really thought this through, Willy?

  19. Willy

    Frogger, I had a quibble with bruce about why articles like this are to be viewed as being so unnervingly unnatural, given the nature of warfare, especially the scorched earth land conquest kind. I’d think they’d be par for the course.

    Maybe what bruce found disturbing, was that he never saw an equivalent story in the Guardian about bookworm/geek Mohammed and his foxy Iraqi girlfriend?

    To be more accurate, the Guardian formula is in most likelihood:
    “what the readers want to read” minus “what their corporate advertisers don’t want to read” = “what they present for the people to read”. If you can conclusively prove that there are other variables involved, such as “secret money exchanging hands” and/or, “is secretly owned by the Conservative Party”, then I’ll go with it.

    I’d think that finding the truth is always best so that one can better arm themselves to fight the power. Neoliberals/neocons didn’t gain so much influence in the west by using highly disagreeable scorched earth land conquest techniques, but by using more ‘agreeable’ kinds of warfare, the kind aimed at conquering minds and cultures. I think the Guardian was more the cart instead of the horse. But I’ve been wrong before.
    Maybe they’re an unwitting horse following nefarious carrots and they should’ve known better? That’d make more rational sense than say, provoking a nation armed to the teeth with nukes which is being run by a ruthless dictator nutjob. Unless you’re a lawyer I suppose.

  20. different clue


    I have read that another way to have reliable salad-equivalent is to sprout grains and seeds and let them grow just long enough in the jar to become ” nano-greens” or what the trade calls “sprouts”. I have never tried making them myself, but the literature makes it seem very plausible and do-able.

    If that is correct, then a way to have “salads” if the greenhouse fails is to stockpile various grains and seeds and beans and keep making jar-sized batches of them into rotating batches of sprouts.

  21. Willy

    Have you really thought this through, Willy?

    I saw a video segment where a former investor in Russia (before Putin banished him) claimed that Putin’s real objective in all this was to maintain his own power. Because he and his have stolen as much as $1T from the Russian people, and if Putin loses power that he’s facing prison or much worse. Seems quite plausible and this isn’t news to me with Ian also suggesting as much.

    I find it interesting that Stalinists and Maoists never seemed to go as far as Putin seems willing to. Maybe different priorites? But that’s besides the point.

    Che and others here seem to believe that a policy of negotiated appeasement is the only solution. Maybe. Maybe there is no other choice. But I must remind the not-very Dark Triad experienced, that negotiation and appeasement are ALWAYS seen as weakness by Dark Triad types, who care nothing about others or even their own, only themselves. It’s the human survival impulse gone unchecked mad.

    Maybe we’ll somehow get out of this mess where a demonstrated psychopath has control over a nation and its nukes. Maybe this will be seen as a lesson that nobody should ever allow anybody like that into positions of great power. So maybe there’s at least that. In the meanwhile, I’ll be rooting for the Ukrainian innocents, such as they are. Even if they lose, it’s well known in military circles that invasion is always the easy part. It’s the occupation of angry, unwilling peoples that’s hard. Maybe Putin and all of his Canada-sized resources (except nukes) will be kept occupied so that innocents in other nations can breathe easier.

  22. Z


    The Putin stole a trillion dollars story is being peddled by William Browder.

    If you care to critically think about this matter then you really ought read up about the source of the story.

    There were plenty of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia and Putin’s requests were consistent and many diplomats believed were reasonable. He didn’t demand Zelenskyy hand over Ukraine to him.


  23. capelin

    One level up, folks, you’re skirting around the edges.

    Collapsed world financial system and “the world as we know it”. Digital global currency, w/ Social Credit Score.

    Kinda like that Great Reset conspiricy, I mean actual book.

    Go look at their damn website, ffs.

  24. Z

    One thing that this war has made clear is that the Russian propaganda, which supposedly played a decisive factor in the the 2016 election, ain’t shit compared to ours.


  25. Willy

    Z, I follow the money. And the history. What or who do you follow? What are these “sources of the story”? Who are these “many diplomats”?

    And please explain Putin’s fear of the west, currently known as NATO.

    First off, he’s got nuclear missiles. Second, his economy is marked based with significant western investments. Third, whenever it comes to Russia’s fears about being invaded/controlled by the west, I think of Poland. Historically, as went Russia so too usually Poland, as a dress rehearsal or afterthought, Poland usually got theirs too. Yet Poland overcame their fears and went NATO. What’s Putin afraid of?

    This time I’ll read your comment, I promise.

  26. Z


    You follow the money? No, you follow what you’re told about “the money” from sources who tell you what you want to believe apparently. But but but but Billy Browder sez isn’t following “the money”, it’s just believing some dude’s word who has a feud with Putin.

    Is there a trail of receipts you’re following of the trillion dollars that Putin supposedly rifted? That’s a lot of dough! There ought to have been some crumbs to follow, but yet all Billy Browder can do is Cry Putin.

    Yeah, I suppose it all sounds feasible though, I imagine the Russian government is secretly working on their arrest warrant for Putin right now for his trillion dollar theft, but Billy Browder was the one of the few told about it in advance, a tale that even the greatest screen writers at the CIA couldn’t conjure with all the psychedelic drugs that they have at their disposal.

    Russia actually did in fact ask to join NATO and NATO said “no”!

    If you don’t understand why Putin and Russia is wary of the West you in fact have not read much of the history, particularly about the Yeltsin era when folks like your esteemed Billy Browder were rolling around naked in Russia’s natural resources probably with prostitutes they impoverished.

    You got a lot to google and read … have you even read all that Ian has written about the situation on this very site? … if you actually want to gain a deeper understanding about the situation than what one would get from a comic book: Putin-bad; Ukraine-good; Zap! Pow!.


  27. Ché Pasa

    Russia has oligarchs, Ukraine has oligarchs, the US and EU have oligarchs; they all thieve the wealth of the nations they loot, and they all have immense power.

    Some of them occasionally use some of that immense wealth and power — that they have mostly stolen — to benefit the people they exploit and oppress. Most of the time, they ignore the masses who they are conditioned to believe are mostly useless eaters in the way of their glory.

    At the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I speculated that the Ukrainians would either capitulate quickly or the Russians would “go Grozny” on their asses. That’s pretty much where things are right now. Russia prevailed in Chechnya partly because it seems the majority of the people favored Kremlin control. The rebels were a distinct minority, and most of them (along with a lot of innocent civilians) were wiped out; survivors dispersed.

    But…. Ukraine is not Chechnya or any of the other modest “republics” where Russian troops have been deployed since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Nor is it Syria. Ukraine is torn between (“Aryan”) Europe and (“Slavic”) Russia. Most of present day Ukraine was an integral part of the Russian Empire for hundreds of years, and after the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, the Soviet Union created the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine and assured it a seat at the United Nations. Khrushchev was Ukrainian as was much of the Soviet politburo and hierarchy.

    From the Russian point of view, Ukraine and Russia are the closest of siblings. The West and part of the Ukrainian population think otherwise. Negotiations between Moscow and Kiev over the future course of both nations was undertaken and produced two Minsk Accords which were promptly abrogated by the government in Kiev spurred on by interests in the West. Those interests seek to dismember the Russian Federation and further loot the parts for their own benefit, something Moscow has been well aware of since the ’90s.

    I don’t agree that the Kremlin had no choice but to invade and “go Grozny” on Ukraine. At the same time, there was no sign at all that either the Ukraine government or the West would negotiate a return to the Minsk agreements or negotiate in good faith at all.

    Russia has some popular support in Ukraine, but it is nowhere near what it was. Many ethnic Russians and Russian speakers have fled to Donbas, to Russia, to Belarus, Moldova or elsewhere. The invasion and war itself have compromised much of the remaining support they had, and I don’t see how they can rebuild it.

    In my view, Putin and his oligarchs have probably committed a fatal error.

    It didn’t have to be this way.

  28. Willy

    Z, all you gave me back was opinion and ad hominem, not the least bit compelling.
    Please answer my questions:

    What or who do you follow?
    What are these “sources of the story”?
    Who are these “many diplomats”?

  29. Z


    Look it up yourself. I’m not doing your research for you.


  30. Willy

    Che, I have Ukrainian and Belarusian friends who’ve independently told me that while they can understand each other in speech, they cannot understand Russian, that Ukrainians cannot understand Russians without learning that language. Seems a bit like proclaiming that Italians and Spaniards are so closely related that one needs to invade the other.

    Strangely, my Ukrainian and Belarusian friends believe the very same basic things about Putin which people as wildly different as Andrei Illarionov and Malcolm Nance also believe, that Putin is a tyrannical kleptocrat who must be stopped.

    My, is our propaganda indeed that powerful?

    When I Googled “Putin’s net worth” as advised by our friend Z, I averaged out all the estimated figures I got from several pages of returns and came up with the number $200B. Not bad, considering a salary of only $145K. I don’t know the names of all the oligarchs, but I’m guessing the grand total could well top $1T.

    Z, should I try DuckDuckGo instead? Seems Google’s been infested.

    Anyways, I also tried to find confirmation that NATO saying “no!” to Putin, and… here we go again, a variety of opinions. But not a single one of them linked to an official quote from an official NATO official saying “no!”. Or “nyet”. Not even a “ni”. There was that time back in ‘54 when they did officially say “no!”, but Putin was only 2.

  31. Willy

    Z, I tried. I tried and failed. Google, DuckDuckGo… Even the nefarious Bing.

    All have apparently been compromised by our own propaganda which is even worse than the Russian propaganda. As open as I try to be to having my mind changed by credible information (gaslighting not so much), I may just have to keep on believing as I do. Sorry about that.

    Putin and his cronies have stolen $1T and he never actually wanted to join NATO, despite any rumors suggesting otherwise.

  32. Z


    Well, I suppose in your mind you’ve proven it then.


  33. Ché Pasa

    They say Ukrainian is to Russian as Dutch is to English, but it seems to me that the Ukrainian vocabulary is much closer to Russian than the Dutch vocabulary is to English, but what do I know? When I was interviewing that Ukrainian survivor of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine all those years ago, he was speaking Russian — at least I thought he was!

    But then, maybe I couldn’t tell the difference? My Russian was that bad, and after years of not using it, today it’s much worse. Would I be unable to tell Dutch from English if I barely understood either of them? Maybe!

  34. Willy

    I mentioned Malcolm Nance. He’s the black military analyst who occasionally appeared on Stephanie Miller to discuss the rise of racism in America. Then he got a gig at MSNBC reporting from Ukraine. Then he decided he’d witnessed enough and left MSNBC to go fight with the Ukrainians.

    I think it’d take one helluva neoliberal conspiracy to arrange everything so that the Russians look like monsters and the Ukrainians heroes and innocents, just to get Nance to go fight with them.

    I also thought leftism, and this place, was where powerless workers, benevolent ethicals, and the science could all gather to debate practical strategy against the machinations of unchecked concentrations of power which ruins their lives.

    Now it’s the place where one concentration of power gets rationalized and championed, just because it fights another unchecked concentration of power. And anybody who disagrees, or who just wants more credible information, gets run out of the place.

    Seems like a neoliberal plot to me, but what do I know.

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