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

Quick Takes 3: Foreign Interference, Pandemic Deaths As New Normal, China-Brazil Trade and More

In Covid news:

1) CO2 levels below 540 are sufficient to stop exponential Covid spread.

2) The European Mortality Project will start using death numbers from 2020-2022 and late when calculating excess mortality. Meaning that they will make “people who died due to Covid or Covid related mortality” just part of the normal. An out of control pandemic is normal now.

Given the reduction in testing, I have no idea what current Covid death numbers really are. Last time I wrote an article a commenter kindly pointed out that the CDC’s numbers were much less than the numbers I’d posted (always check the most recent numbers, woops) and I adjusted them down, but how much of that reduction in Covid deaths is real, I just don’t know. I’m 100% sure it’s not, well, 100%, however.

We’re all just going to pretend the pandemic is over and if that means not testing and changing statistical indices to make a pandemic level of death normal, well that’s what we’re going to do.

Meanwhile, readers who were with me thru the pandemic will know I constantly said we needed filtering and ventilation. Turns out that if we’d done that, we could have ended the damn thing. What a sur…-well, ok, not a surprise. Complete common sense solution would have worked. Who would’a’thunk?

Who’s Interfering In Country’s Politics?

Every time I hear some idiot whine about Russian interference in the US I laugh my ass off, and chasing it down and bolting it back in place has significantly inmproved my fitness.

But what everyone knows is that the country that interferes the most in other countries’ politics is the US. I knew a senior aide in the Mulroney government of the 80s, and she said they confirmed that the US had the place wired for sound. Everything said in the parliament buildings, including in private ministerial officers were known to the Americans.

Anyway, the French are doing a witch hunt about foreign (read “Russian”) interference, and Francois Fillion (prime Minister from 2007 to 2012) told them the following

“Have I encountered foreign interference in my political life, and particularly when I was in government? Yes, I have encountered it. Most of the time they came from a friendly and allied country called the United States. I am not passing judgement: your commission is working on foreign interference. I am telling you that, for example, I was listened to with President Sarkozy for 5 years by the NSA. We found out when documents from the American secret services leaked, and everyone focused on the fact that the NSA was listening to Ms. Merkel, but they were also listening to all members of the French government and probably those of other European countries.”

You’d have to have a room temperature IQ and the judgment of a cabbage to think otherwise, but our journalists and pundit class are down with the requirements of their jobs.

That China Developing Country Trade Thing

So, if you were Brazil, which country would be more important to you, the US or China?

Brazil’s extreme, but the issue is simple: this sort of stuff is going on all through Africa and South America, though in most cases it’s less one sided: the Chinese sell a lot of goods. But whatever way you slice it, Chinese grade is more important than the US or the EU now to most developing countries. (France, in particular, used to be a big deal in a lot of Africa. China has eaten their lunch.)

Then we have US/Israel Blowback. It seems that when Israel decided to support Ukraine, and Iran not only sold Russia drones it needed but helped them build a domestic factory, Russia decided to reciprocate by giving Iran hypersonic missile technology, which, yeah, the Israeli “Iron Dome” is not going to be able to shoot down worth a damn.

Russia spent a lot of time balancing its Syria interests against not antagonizing Israel, but I guess Israel didn’t realize there were limits.

And remember, Iran hit a US base with missiles when the US assassinated one of its generals.

Enough for today, more in the future.

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What Made Wagner Useful To Putin & Russia + Notes On Ukraine’s Counteroffensive


Open Thread


  1. Richard Holsworth

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    “ We ought to be acutely aware of the levels of risk maskless settings pose as world governments roll back Covid policies while Covid continues to thrive.”
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  2. Willy

    When I hear somebody talk Russian interference, I’ll ask them if turnabout is fair play. Or why election interference is tolerated by believers of democracy. Or if somebody’s such an American patriot, then where’s the economic patriotism, or why do they tolerate corporate socialism? Or why any lines between good and evil are always getting blurred, or who it is that actively blurs those lines. I’m hoping they’ll get the idea that power players play by different rules than regular citizens do, which includes appearing to fight for citizens but actually having personal motives.

    But anyways yeah, Trump was POTUS because Russia. But we shouldn’t be taking that fact out of any context, because Hillary.

  3. bruce wilder

    “what everyone knows is that the country that interferes the most in other countries’ politics is the US.”

    the obvious but subliminal point is that the U.S. has a vast institutional capacity to manipulate national polities. when that institutional capacity was being built during the 1940s and 1950s Cold War — the Cold War was the process of building and using that institutional capacity — there were, at least, some thoughtful people who feared the implications and some small gestures at drawing lines. It was hypocritical, of course, to have a policy that made interference in Greek politics or Italian politics “O.K.” while at least nominally prohibiting manipulation but the legal prohibitions on propagandizing the domestic population, say, or surveilling citizens — as wags have long had it, was an instance of hypocrisy paying tribute to virtue. An idealistic political opposition to the ways of the national security state cum military-industrial complex could not stop them, could not reform them but could insist on principles theoretically applied domestically at least. But, in the end, unsurprisingly, not being able to marshall the political will to stop the evil abroad meant not being able to bar the evil at home or to punish violation of those idealistic principles.

    I can’t do a catalog off the top of my head, but I think all of the prohibitions on domestic surveillance and propaganda imposed on the intelligence agencies have been swept away. They don’t even exist in theory for the most part, and haven’t existed in practice for quite a long time.

    When Willy comments, “Trump was POTUS because Russia” I know he thinks he’s being a smart ass.

    The whole point of the experience of Russiagate should be the demonstration it provided of the full power of the intelligence agencies to interfere in U.S. politics.

    The past hypocrisy Ian cites is just that, past. We don’t even have hypocrisy to protect us or preserve the hope of a democratic politics. It is gone, baby, gone.

    I think it is great that RFK, Jr is running for President. It forces the long overdue admission that JFK was assassinated by elements of the CIA. I like that RFK, Jr treats that murder as a fact, not a woo-woo conspiracy theory. It is time to get real, but that time won’t last long.

  4. VietnamVet

    The coronavirus pandemic is taking place in the same world that is undergoing a proxy world war and climate change with the human global plutocratic hierarchy (not democracy) in charge. Propaganda facilitates the profiteers’ extraction of wealth from the earth’s resources and human labor to make the high castes and classes richer. Humans fall into two groups those who see this and those who don’t. To climb the success ladder one has to believe the propaganda and deny one’s facilitation of this extraction process. That is “profits outweigh human life”.

    The main non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent transmissions of viruses are quarantines, space separation, masking, contact tracing, filtration and ventilation. CO2 monitoring measures the stagnation of the air and the degree of the increased exhaled CO2 and the likelihood of virus too. Filtration and ventilation of workplaces to mitigate virus transmission costs real money which eats into the profits. NGOs took over the pandemic response from the WHO and money wasn’t spent to save human lives only to purchase pharmaceutical gene therapy injections. 1.1 million Americans (and still counting) died. “Covid vaccine profits mint 9 new pharma billionaires”.

    At some point, humans will chose life and face reality or vanish from the earth.

  5. KT Chong

    The last time I had a COVID vaccination was last year. I’ve been trying to get another booster shot and not able to get one. It’s only available for people who are sixty and older.

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