Friday, May 27, 2022

This One's For Beer.

Our old friend Mr. Beer 'N Hockey is the one who got me hooked on WDVX, whose playlists often included the work of the Drive-By Truckers, back in the day.

Above is a newly posted video of a full Truckers show from Atlanta at the tail-end of 2006.

I'm sure there are DBT aficionados who would vehemently disagree, but for my money this version of the band, wherein Mr. Isbell is right on the edge of busting loose from the bonds of Mess'rs Patterson and Hood while Ms. Tucker just keeps on pounding that bass, is at the top of the heap in all its dishevelled, whiskey swigging glory.

In The End, What Kind Of Leader Will Be Able To Ride The Base They Are Building?


We've been talking a bit about how some Canadian conservatives are starting to realize that the base they built is starting to come after them and theirs.

Down south, this realization is actually preventing conservatives, right here and now, from backing sensible 2nd Amendment preserving legislation they know will save lives.

The following is from a NY Times piece by David Hulse about why today's GOP won't budge on the gun control issue:
...Asked Wednesday what the reaction would be from voters back home if he were to support any significant form of gun control, the first-term Republican (from North Dakota, Kevin Kramer) had a straightforward answer: “Most would probably throw me out of office,” he said...

All of which makes one wonder what the good Senator Kramer will do five years down the road when he's so scared of the base that he's willing to sign on to legislation by, say, Ted Cruz to defund public schools.

Sound far fetched?

'The Federalist' you ask?

It's a dark money, billionare-funded far-right extremist website whose masthead is designed to prepare the base for battle:


The fine folks running the Federalist also do their darndest to convince the base to deride, blame, dehumanize and foment hate of the 'other'. Case in point, a piece on the front page right now titled:

'A Culture That Celebrates Dismembering Children In The Womb Can’t Understand Why It’s Afflicted With Mass Shootings'

One can only wonder if the base that these people are building will ultimately morph into a beast that only a true authoritarian bent on destroying liberal democracy will be able to ride?

Subheader ear worm?...Yup, it's that DFelder/GFrey/DHenley money maker...The truly apropos/on the nose lyric for this particular post is...Here.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Little Libraries For All!



Awhile ago, back when people started making maps like the one shown above, I thought it might be fun to check out a bunch of the little free libraries around town, writing a quick post about each one for that 'My morning ride' thing I used to do.

But a whole lot of other folks beat me too it and many of them, including a couple of real estate agents, did it so well that I let the idea go.

Which happens to me a lot.

In fact, as you might expect given my slightly obsessive personality, I've got notebooks filled to bursting with post and theme ideas never realized.

Then, earlier this week, littler e. sent me a photo of something new (at least to me) down on the Fairview slopes.


I just might have to look into that one with the Whackadoodle II.

Will a post follow to mark the occasion?

Who knows!


The Great Forgetting...


The following is a wee bit of recent shite posting....errrr... 'anger grooming' from a fine fellow named Jeff Ballingall and an organization called 'Canada Proud' that he founded:

Which brings us to the lede of an opinion piece written by Conservative party operative Melanie Paradis that was published last week by the Globe and Mail:
A month before Canada was first rocked by COVID-19 in March of 2020, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney leveraged his meteoric popularity and organizational mastery to endorse Erin O’Toole for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. This week, he joined Mr. O’Toole on the pyre of discontent.

The ouster of a conservative heavyweight like Mr. Kenney should serve as a stark warning: The anger out there is so much bigger than the political establishment thought. People have a lot of reasons for being angry, many justified, but what matters is what’s being done with that anger and where it’s going to go.

We’ve been groomed for anger for the past decade. Social media algorithms incentivize outrage. Media outlets churn out clickbait. And bad actors like Russia and China use the long arm of the internet to run elaborate thought scams on Canadians, leveraging our distrust in the media, our governments, and even each other. This has all been bubbling under the surface for years, but during pandemic lockdowns, this toxic brew boiled over as anger and isolation collided with conspiracy on a mass scale...


The following is from a Postmedia story written by Brian Platt a couple of years ago, titled "Creator of Popular Conservative Ontario Proud Page Joins Erin O'Toole Campaign Team":
Erin O’Toole has signalled he will make aggressive digital messaging a feature of his bid for the Conservative leadership with the appointment of Jeff Ballingall, founder of Ontario Proud and other influential Facebook pages, to oversee his digital strategy.

Ballingall has made a name for himself over the past few years in pioneering the use of Facebook to spread conservative messaging, often through viral posts that don’t require any ad spending. The Ontario Proud page remains his best known effort, with nearly half a million followers, but he also runs Canada Proud (192,000 followers) and B.C. Proud (82,000 followers). In addition Ballingall co-owns The Post Millennial, another conservative website that’s gained a strong online following...


...O’Toole has pulled together a full campaign team with a wide range of experience, and will be formally launching his leadership bid soon, campaign sources said....Fred DeLorey, a veteran organizer who also ran O’Toole’s 2017 leadership run, is the campaign manager. The campaign chair is Walied Soliman, a key figure in Patrick Brown’s successful 2015 Ontario PC leadership bid and the Canadian chair of global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

Melanie Paradis, Jim Burnett and Dan Mader are deputy campaign managers, and all have worked on numerous federal and provincial campaigns. Tausha Michaud, who worked for O’Toole on Parliament Hill, will be the campaign’s principal secretary. Laura Kurkimaki, a former issues manager in Stephen Harper’s Prime Minister’s Office, will be a senior advisor...

The point here is that Conservative party operatives like Ms. Paradis thought they could ride a hateful base that they helped build to electoral Valhalla without consequence.

But now that that very same base is turning on a number of them and theirs, operatives like Ms. Paradis are suddenly doing their best to bamboozle us into forgetting the active role they played in the base building and the anger grooming.

We should not let that happen.

And the proMedia in this country should not be aiding and abetting in the great forgetting.

Importantly, the anger grooming cuts both ways... For example, if you look at the comment thread below the original 'Canada Proud' tweet shown above you will see that it has folks yelling at  each other from both sides of political chasm about something of little or no consequence.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Unburnables, Plural.

In the wake of what's going down with a woman's right to (soon) no longer choose down south you may have already heard about this:
Across the United States and around the world, books are being challenged, banned, and even burned. So we created a special edition of a book that’s been challenged and banned for decades.

Printed and bound using fireproof materials, this edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Talewas made to be completely unburnable. It is designed to protect this vital story and stand as a powerful symbol against censorship...

But you might have missed this one:
...This new edition of Fahrenheit 451 by Super Terrain is an artist’s book in which the object echoes the fiction it contains. At first glance, it is completely black, as if carbonized, already a victim of the firemen’s assault. But, as you warm it up with a after page, the black ink disappears and reveals Bradbury’s text...

Which just goes to show...

Despite the digital babel tower's best efforts, words are still powerful things.


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Con Sequential Pandering.


I get that the likes of the Pierre Poilievre and friends are attempting to simultaneously own the libs and strap the base to their manly chests with sequential pander runs that involve things like railing against public health mandates and stomping on the federal bank.

After all, that way in the end Cons of all stripes, with the help of work like that generated by Ms. Rempel Garner and/or her wordsmiths last week, hope they will be able to keep the base straps firmly in place while they gingerly back away from the overt racism of great replacementism come election time.

Which, of course, is something that many pundits in the proMedia herd will tell us to be grateful for when the time comes.

However, that is a strategy that could lead to a doubling down on the softer/safer aspects of the base strapping insanity.

For example, just imagine what would actually happen to CanuckiStanMikitastan if a fine fellow like Mr. Poilievre actually came to power and made an even finer fellow like the good Dr. Peterson his science advisor during a public health crisis that involved safe and efficacious vaccines...


Saturday, May 21, 2022

With Friends Like These Who Needs (Their) Laptops?


From the Washington Post story by Matt Viser:
...Carlson refused to discuss the emails, pointing to past claims by former U.S. intelligence officials that the laptop’s emergence in the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign had all the hallmarks of Russian disinformation.

Carlson was speaking with apparent irony, as he has frequently mocked those disinformation claims as part of an effort by establishment figures and the tech industry to protect Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign...


It's almost as if Uncle Neil wrote the entire third verse of a certain song on an album called 'Freedom' specifically for the likes of Mr. Carlson and his hypocritcal politically expedient ilk more than thirty years ago...


Friday, May 20, 2022

All The Salads In All Of The Worlds...

...Couldn't possibly make sense of these words.


(unless, of course, Mr. Kenney is actually behind things like OPEC's price fixing scheme and/or a certain dictator's war of aggression in centralish Europe)


The Hungary Games.

Earlier in the week we noted that the codswallop that is the 'Great Replacement Theory' has been pushed by master propagandists of the extreme and racist right, including those with major media megaphones, over and over and over again.

And not just on the left side of the Atlantic, northern division, or otherwise:
...Hungary’s nationalist leader, Viktor Orbán, will be the star speaker at an extraordinary session of America’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to be held in Hungary this week, in an effort to cement bonds between the radical right on both sides of the Atlantic under the banner of the “great replacement” ideology.

In a speech on Monday, Orbán made explicit reference to the ideology, which claims there is a liberal plot to dilute the white populations of the US and European countries through immigration. Increasingly widespread among US Republicans, the creed was cited by the killer who opened fire on Saturday in a supermarket in a predominantly black area of Buffalo, New York...


It's almost as if there is an axis of some type or another brewing or something...

And don't be fooled
into thinking that the prop masters haven't been working this sick trope in Canada for quite awhile now also...And not just out on what some might call the fringes as folks who pay attention noted at the time.
Re: that axis thing...The megaphone man and the strong man are are doing their darndest to have us all spinning on it...


Monday, May 16, 2022

Propaganda That Kills While It Simultaneously Moves Public Opinion.


As Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish of the NY Times note, three recent mass murders in America were driven, at least in part, by a pile of conspiratorial propagandist bullshite euphemistically called 'replacement theory'.

Here is their lede:
Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.

The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.

And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence...

And this garbage is not just pushed in the fever swamps:
...No public figure has promoted replacement theory more loudly or relentlessly than the Fox host Tucker Carlson, who has made elite-led demographic change a central theme of his show since joining Fox’s prime-time lineup in 2016. A Times investigation published this month showed that in more than 400 episodes of his show, Mr. Carlson has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration, and his producers sometimes scoured his show’s raw material from the same dark corners of the internet that the Buffalo suspect did...

Well, it turns out that, according to an AP/University of Chicago poll from last week (i.e. before the most recent shooting in Buffalo), fully one third of Americans now believe this stuff:
...Thirty-two percent (of Americans) are concerned that immigrants are being brought to the country by a group of people for political gains - one of the central arguments of so-called 'Replacement Theory'...

Which begs the question...

Is there an 'acceptable' level of violent unrest and mass killing that people like Mr. Carlson and friends are willing to put up with as long as it makes them  money on the road to winning gerrymandered elections?


Friday, May 13, 2022

The Tulips Are Melting!


LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - The meltdown in TerraUSD, one of the world's largest stablecoins, sent shockwaves through cryptocurrency markets on Thursday, pushing another major stablecoin Tether below its dollar peg and sending bitcoin to 16-month lows.

Cryptocurrencies have been swept up in a sell-off across higher risk assets, which has picked up steam this week as data showed U.S. inflation running hot, deepening investor fears about the economic impact of aggressive central bank tightening...

The sell-off has taken the combined market value of all cryptocurrencies to $1.2 trillion, less than half of where it was last November, based on data from CoinMarketCap...

Meanwhile, the financial 'managers' of the scheme say all is fine and dandy regardless the presence of a whole lot of curvy necked blackbirds pecking away at the vaults:
Coinbase Global Inc. Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said there is “no risk of bankruptcy” for the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, even amid a “black swan” event...



It's almost as if there was a run on the blockchain bank or something.

And if we (i.e. Canada) were in it like Mr. Poilievre wants us to be that other Mr. P. (i.e. Potter) wouldn't be selling, he'd be buying.


More specifically, buying pretty much everything when we hit rock bottom.

Which, given the folks that actually run horses like Mr. Poilievre, is probably the point.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Real Surprise Beneath The Headline.

Here is the headline:

COVID-19: B.C. naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists least likely to be vaccinated among health care workers

And here is the real surprise, buried well below the lede of Katie DeRosa's piece in the the Vancouver Sun:
...Health professionals with the lowest rates of vaccinations are naturopaths at 69 per cent, chiropractors at 78 per cent and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncturists at 79 per cent...

Why surprise?

Well, while those numbers are not 98%, as is the case for dieticians, physicians and surgeons, they are actually pretty good all things considered.


Coup De Vill(ain)


In that twilight zone time between the last US Presidential election in November 2020 and Joe Biden's inauguration day in January of 2021 a very fine legal beagle named John Eastman was palling around with R. Guiliani ginning up all that bizarre stop the steal stuff in an Orwellian effort to 'Save America'.

Mr. Eastman, who once clerked for Clarence Thomas, was also Donald Trump's lawyer at the time.

Furthermore, it was Mr. Eastman who tried to convince Mike Pence to block the certification of the presidential vote on January 5th, 2021 and then blamed Pence for the violence at the US Capitol the next day.


It turns out that is wasn't the only thing the good Mr. Eastman was up to at the time:
...Attorney John Eastman urged Republican legislators in (the critical swing state of) Pennsylvania to retabulate the state’s popular vote — and throw out tens of thousands of absentee ballots — in order to show Donald Trump with a lead, according to newly unearthed emails sent in December 2020, as Trump pressured GOP lawmakers to subvert his defeat.

This recalculation, he posited in an exchange with one GOP state lawmaker, “would help provide some cover” for Republicans to replace Joe Biden’s electors from the state with a slate of pro-Trump electors, part of a last-ditch bid to overturn the election results.

Per the exchange, Eastman suggested that GOP legislators could simply cite their concerns with Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot procedures and then use historical data to “discount each candidates’ totals by a prorated amount based on the absentee percentage those candidates otherwise received.”

“Having done that math, you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors — perfectly within your authority to do anyway, but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote,” Eastman wrote in a Dec. 4, 2020 email to Pennsylvania Rep. Russ Diamond. “That would help provide some cover.” ...

Imagine that.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Willie Mays A's?

The initial premise of the baseball movie 'Major League' is that the fictional owner of the then Cleveland Indians, Rachel Phelps, wants to field a team so bad that attendance will fall below a magic threshold that will allow her to move the team to Miami.

Thus, the team brings in a broken down catcher from the Mexican league, a fireballer that (literally) can't see the plate, and a speedster named Willie Mays Hayes who can't hit.

Of course, in the end, everybody, including the owner and the long suffering fans, wins.

That does not look it will be the case for the real life fans of the current version of the Oakland Athletics 



The current version of the real life Oakland Athletics are still being run by Dr. Moneyball, Billy Beane.

Which means that while they routinely sell off high-priced stars to stock the shelves with cheaper  talent with quality 'metrics', the A's on-field product is almost always competitive.

What's going on in the A's front office, driven by team president Dave Kaval and owner John Fisher, however, is a completely different story:

...The attendance (for a recent home game with the Baltimore Orioles) was just 3,748, the lowest crowd count at the alternately dreary and cheery Coliseum since 1980. It's also the smallest crowd at a major league game minus pandemic restrictions since an announced 5,297 fans attended an August 2019 Miami Marlins game.

The reasons why are both well-worn and also infuriating...


...Since the Raiders left and the pandemic landed, the A's have held all the cards and their actions suggest as much.

(The fan-friendly) A's Access (ticket program) was discontinued. Parking was jacked up to $30, even as COVID-19 restrictions left mass-transit options emaciated. Single-game tickets were raised – $25 for a third-deck seat in a decrepit football stadium, anyone? – and in the grimmest turn yet, many season-ticket packages were significantly raised before this season.

How much? A bleacher seat went from $456 in 2019 to $840 in 2022, according to the San Jose Mercury News, with more expensive options also doubling or nearly doubling.

Meanwhile, as the A's continued jumping through ever-growing hoops for their desired waterfront home at Howard Terminal, Kaval and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred teamed up on a not-so-subtle bit of dark messaging: Your current home sucks...

What are Mr. Kaval and his commissioner lackey Mr. Manfred up to here?

Well, if you pay any attention to professional sports whatsoever, it's essentially a most egregious version of a story you've likely heard before - essentially team owner Fisher is holding A's fans hostage while he attempts to force the city of Oakland into coughing up a half a billion dollars for a new ballpark that will make him and real estate developers billions.

And if that doesn't work, the Mess'rs Kaval and Fisher are threatening to move the baseball team, like the football team before it, to the Nevada desert.



When we lived in the Bay Area, back in the time of La Russa, it was a great time to be an Oakland A's fan.

We could walk to the North Berkeley Station, take the train down to the ballpark, and stroll right into the outfield bleachers. One afternoon I even went alone, with a then four month old Tiny E. in the backpack, so that we could wander around the concourse above the bleachers the entire game. I ate more than my share of hotdogs that day.

It was heaven out there in the bleachers. And it was cheap. And then Al Davis wrecked everything with his stupid mountain of seats and skyboxes that destroyed the up close and personal view of the field in front of you* and the panoramic view of the East Bay hills behind you.

Since then we've been back more than once - including the the spring day we went to see Vlady Senior after he abandoned Les Expos and went on to ply his trade for the pre-Troutian California Angels. At that time the former Tiny E. was getting bigger and the Oakland Coliseum was much fuller than it is now. 

One time we were sitting near a bleacher denizen who bellowed... 'Hey, Rickey. They traded the wrong Henderson!'....The guy was referring to recently dispatched bleacher favourite Dave Henderson....Rickey just went into his crouch in left, put his right hand on his rear end out of view of all the other players on the field and gave the guy the finger...The fans all around us went bonkers...
Hey, just so you know...All is not lost with today's game because it turns out that sometimes there is crying in baseball...
And, on that note....Apparently there is a TV version of 'A League Of Their Own' coming...


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Something To Actually Be Outraged About...


What with all the faux outrage being generated by, say, the truckload, here is something genuinely disturbing that affects just about everyone in Canada:



How much are Canadians gouged for this in sum total?

This much:

...Telecommunications services (in Canada) are a $50-billion a year business — the third biggest household expenditure after shelter and food...


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Your Evening Audio...Cigarette Machine (Fred Eaglesmith Cover)


Bigger E. brought this tune to me just before Easter.

I'm having a hard time figuring out if there is any redemption whatsoever in there or not.


The pandemic seems to have taken some of the wind out of Mr. Eaglesmith's sails...Here he is a few years ago with his partner, Tif Ginn, telling a tale about the Texas State Troopers' Running Light Dogs before getting down to a road tune.


The Pyramid Pardon Scheme, Defined.


The top of the scheme:
...In Donald J. Trump’s final hours as president in January 2021, he pardoned his onetime chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, who faced charges that he had conspired to swindle donors to a private group that promised to build a wall along the Mexican border.

But three men charged with Mr. Bannon were not pardoned...

And the bottom:
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that BRIAN KOLFAGE and ANDREW BADOLATO pled guilty today in connection with their roles in defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to an online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall.” Both defendants pled guilty before United States District Judge Analisa Torres...

Clearly, the noble here was properly handled.

At least in Trumpian pyramidalismic terms.

Subheader/kicker earworm need scratching?...This.
Meanwhile, Driftglass points out the eighteen year education of Barack Obama when it comes to both siderism.


Friday, April 22, 2022

The Times, The Trumpist, And The Tape.


What's it all about this time Alfie?

Well we're talking what went down amongst the US'ian Republicans-In-The-Know as Congress got ready to vote on Mr. Trump's second impeachment for inciting insurrection in January of 2021.

Here's what the NY Times reported yesterday:
...When Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming asked about the chances Mr. Trump might resign, Mr. McCarthy said he was doubtful, but he had a plan.

The Democrats were driving hard at an impeachment resolution, (Republican House Leader) Mr. (Kevin) McCarthy said, and they would have the votes to pass it. Now he planned to call Mr. Trump and tell him it was time for him to go.

Mr. McCarthy said he would tell Mr. Trump of the impeachment resolution: “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” he said, according to the recording of the call, which runs just over an hour. The Times has reviewed the full recording of the conversation.

He acknowledged it was unlikely Mr. Trump would follow that suggestion...

Here is yesterday's response from the longtime Trumpist, Mr. McCarthy:


And finally, the bit you've likely heard about (often sans the context) on about a gazillion media outlets today...the tape:

Image at the top of the post...A very different K. McCarthy, and my favourite Winnipeg Club/Monarch player of all time.
Tip 'O The Toque to....Digby.
In totally unrelated (not) news...Is anybody else wondering about a still to be built escalator from space and the ultimate political ambitions of a man named Musk?


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Local Postmedia Opinion Page...Mr. MacLeod's Job In Lotusland Is Done.

From Davide Mastracci in the National Observer, circa 2019, commenting on original reporting by Sean Craig who was then at Canadaland:

...(I)n October 2018, Postmedia’s then-president and now CEO, Andrew MacLeod, called a meeting and told National Post editors the publication was “insufficiently conservative.”...

From yesterday's online version of the Vancouver Sun's OpEd page:


Does this mean that Mr. Ivison is now the house liberal?


Friday, April 15, 2022

Boosters Work....Second Boosters Work Even Better.

Please note...

The controls/upper curves in the graphs here are NOT placebos.

They are either two or three jabs that have been compared to three or four, respectively.

This is really quite exceptional, especially given that this is the ultimate endpoint.

The image is from a summary by Eric Topol...We've reported on the earlier studies previously...Here is the link to this week's paper (bottom graph) published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Lies And World Travel, vol 3.


When last we discussed the story of how the bogus US-funded Ukrainian Bioweapons Labs story went mainstream, we went through the immediate proximal origin story which was generated by a single conspiratorial Twitter account the day that Mr. Putin's forces began their war of aggression.

Essentially, the poster pushed the conspiracy story that the real reason for the war was because Mr. Putin wished to target such Labs in Ukraine.

Within a day the Twitter account concerned had been suspended and it's claims were thoroughly debunked.


Why didn't the lie die then and there?

Well, pretty much immediately, Mr. Jones and the gang swung into action (no link on purpose):


Here, according to an investigatory report from the Anti-Defamation League, is a summary of what happened during the twenty-four hour period after the original tweet thread was posted on February 24th:
...Within hours of (the) initial tweet, InfoWars, a conspiracy site run by Alex Jones, published a story promoting the biolab conspiracy, crediting @WarClandestine for uncovering what it dubbed the “ulterior motive theory.” QAnon forums and Telegram channels also began to share the theory. Meanwhile, the hashtag #USBiolabs began trending on Twitter and TikTok, where posts promoting the conspiracy racked up tens of thousands of likes...

Snopes has more on this period, including a description of how various hashtag conspiracists managed to tie themselves into further knots because of, you guessed it, COVID-19:
...Conspiracy theories are very often built on top of one another. The claim that the U.S. is operating biolabs in Ukraine, for example, is built on the false notion that the United States (or, according to similar theories, China) intentionally started the COVID-19 pandemic with a human-made bioweapon. Once you buy into that rumor, you can be sold the next: that Russia is invading Ukraine to stop the next pandemic...

On social media, a number of people responded to a #usbiolabs thread with false claims about Russia attacking Ukraine to stop a “Covid-2” bioweapon from being released...

And then, with the brush fire already lit, the state actor-driven flame-fanning soon began:
...On February 26, the state-owned Russian news outlet Sputnik posted on Telegram what it claimed were "some of the documents on US biolabs in Ukraine." The post included what appeared to be a basic fact sheet about a regional laboratory of veterinary medicine based in Luhansk...

This was followed by more furious flame fanning the very next day:
...On February 27th – just three days after his thread was posted – the Russian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina posted on Facebook endorsing the theory, accusing the United States of stuffing “Ukraine with biolaboratories, which – quite possibly – were used to study methods for the destruction of the Russian people at the genetic level.”...

Which led the original Twitter poster, who by then had a new account, to crow:
...“My hypothesis was correct!... Russian air strikes in Ukraine have nothing to do with Ukraine, but rather AMERICAN ASSETS in Ukraine! It means this “war” is MUCH bigger than Ukraine. It’s a skirmish with the United States of America.”...

And how did this now fully blazing 'hypothesis' reach the floor of the US Senate less than two weeks later?

Stay tuned for Volume 4....

Meanwhile....If the state-prop shoe fits...fake film frame it.


And The Tulips Were Boiled In Their Tanks.


From Matt Novak in Gizmodo:
Crypto investor Sina Estavi bought an NFT of Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet ever for $2.9 million in March of 2021. And after a year of constant hype for NFTs, most people would naturally assume Estavi might be able to turn a nice profit on his investment by now. But most people would be wrong.

Estavi put the NFT up for auction last week, and bidding ended on Wednesday. The highest bid? Roughly $277 worth of the cryptocurrency Ethereum, at current prices, according to crypto news outlet CoinDesk...


One can only wonder if the good Mr. Poilievre is looking for just such a chained to the blockhead-type bargain?

Header and image at top of post...
William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac once wrote a book about tanks and boiling that involved hippos not tulips.


Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Vancouver Civic Politics (ctd)...Oh Captain My Captains, Plural?


Yesterday we finally learned, for real, that the new alphabet political ship in town captained* by Ken Sim would have three new mates on board.

From FABula's piece in the Globe:
A new Vancouver civic party and its mayoral candidate, Ken Sim, got a significant boost Monday when three current city councillors said they’d be running with him in this fall’s election.

It’s a significant coup for the ABC Vancouver party to gain incumbents Sarah Kirby-Yung, Lisa Dominato and Rebecca Bligh. All were elected under the Non-Partisan Association banner in 2018 and later left because they said the party had become right-wing and undemocratic...


Soon thereafter one of the mates apparently signalled that she is open to communicating with a potential new skipper.

Or some such thing.

*And built and backed, according to Ms. Bula, by a political shipping magnate named Peter Armstrong.


Monday, April 11, 2022

Vancouver Civic Politics...The End Of The NPA?


Former NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim, who left the party in a huff, apparently, at least in part, due its hard right turn awhile back, has constituted his own party with other disaffected civic pol types, types who are actually elected councillors at the moment.


Who benefits from a for real split on the right side of the CoV ledger?

Conventional wisdom will likely weigh in saying that this all but ensures Mr. Stewart and friends will have a relatively easy ride this fall.

After all, this development is essentially like having a guy named John Coupar Mellencamp getting himself on the ballot and hiring a thousand buses, or some such James not Jim-type thing.


One can only wonder if Marky-Mark will soon start spouting off about how he is the only one who can be the uniter in this town.

And why not?

After all, M-M's Wiki page is as clean as a whistle these days.

Update, Monday evening: Hmmmm...Looks like Marky-Mark's charmingly offensive charm-offensive has already begun...


Has Mr. Putin's Expansionist Plan Gone Sideways?


And, no, we're not talking about the outer reaches of the Donbas.

Instead, we're talking about Scandinavia.


Here was the situation one month before Mr. Putin's war of aggression in Ukraine:
...There is no mistaking the long-standing animosity between Russia and NATO, with whom Putin’s government broke ties in 2021, calling back its NATO mission in Brussels. For months, Russian officials have been demanding that NATO stop expanding, bar Ukraine and Georgia from joining, and kick out members that have joined since 1997...

Here, apparently, is the situation, now:
Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is a "massive strategic blunder" that could result in an expansion of Nato as early as this summer, officials have claimed.

According to the Times (of London), US officials reportedly confirmed that membership of the alliance for Sweden and Finland was "a topic of conversation" during talks between Western foreign ministers last week attended by representatives of both Nordic countries.

It is thought the two nations could launch a bid for Nato membership in the coming months in the wake of Russia's widely condemned military assault.

Finland -which shares an 830-mile land border with Russia - is expected to apply for Nato membership by June, with Sweden potentially poised to follow soon after...

If this happens, Mr. Putin will have achieved a feat that not even Mess'r's Stalin, Malenkov, Khruschev, Brezhnev, Andropov and Chermenko, combined, could achieve.

Imagine that.

The next installment of the generation and the propagation of the big lie of US'ian bioweapons labs in Ukraine is coming...Just busy with the end of term stuff and all...The first two installments are here and here...
Image at the top of the post...Finnish and Russian border marks...from RCINet.


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Let The Franco Nose Holding Begin!


First there was this:

And soon thereafter there was this:


Friday, April 08, 2022

Lies And World Travel, vol 2


In volume one of this story we noted that, by mid-March of this year the mainstream media was having a little difficulty figuring out why, exactly, it was continuing to cover the Ukranian Bioweapons Lab story when they knew it was not true.


How, exactly, did the story even start?


The Anti-Defamation League has determined the identity, and the QAnon connections, of a former restaurant manager and Army National Guard veteran who, using the handle @WarClandestine began tweeting things like the following on February 24th, the day that Russia began its war of aggression against Ukraine:

This person went so far as to posit that destroying US-funded biological weapons labs was Mr. Putin's real motivation for bombarding places like, say, Kiev:

The Twitter account concerned was soon suspended and by the next day, February 25th, groups like Politifact had investigated and thoroughly debunked the claims:
...There are no U.S.-run biolabs in Ukraine. The country is one of many former Soviet Union republics, and other countries, partnering with the Defense Department as part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program...
And what, exactly, is the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program?
...The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program began after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 to reduce the threat of existing weapons of mass destruction. It is also known as the Nunn-Lugar Program (named after the senators who passed the Soviet Threat Reduction Act) and is housed within the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, according to the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation...

And how, precisely, has the program been used in Ukraine?
...(T)he U.S. Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction Program has provided technical support to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health since 2005 to improve public health laboratories, whose mission is analogous to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Given all that, you may be wondering how the lie managed to out-race the truth around the world in the interim.

That's something we'll get to in the next installment of the story...


Thursday, April 07, 2022

Lies And World Travel, vol 1

I'm pretty sure you've come across the following phrase:
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
And I'm almost as sure that you've heard the phrase attributed to Mark Twain.

Or, even, Winston Churchill.

But neither is true, as the phrase was first uttered in various versions long before it was attributed to either Twain or Churchill:
“A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” C. H. Spurgeon, Gems from Spurgeon (1859). An earlier version appears in the Portland (Me.) Gazette, Sept. 5, 1820: “Falsehood will fly from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling her boots on.” Still earlier, Jonathan Swift wrote in The Examiner, Nov. 9, 1710: “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”

But, regardless its true form and/or it's or its actual originator, there is no question that there is validity in the phrase, perhaps now more than ever.

To wit, the lie that is the Ukranian Biolabs story...

The following was the state of play on March 14th, three weeks into Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine:
Russia’s early struggles to push disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine have picked up momentum in recent days, thanks to a variety of debunked conspiracy theories about biological research labs in Ukraine. Much of the false information is flourishing in Russian social media, far-right online spaces and U.S. conservative media, including Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News...

But how did the lie start and how did it travel around the world almost immediately on February 24th, the day war started?

Stay tuned for volume 2...


One Of 'The Only Media Critics Who Mattered' Has Died.

Eric Boehlert, the guy behind 'Press Run' has died.

One of the other US'ian media critics who matters, Charles Pierce, has this to say:

...Eric Boehlert, who fashioned for himself a career as one of the only media critics who really mattered, was killed while riding his bike through his beloved New Jersey suburbs. He was 57, but his spirit was decades younger and his wisdom was decades older, and that’s just the way that was, too...


...He was gloriously unimpressed by reputations. He was the implacable foe of journalistic laziness in all its forms, especially as expressed through access journalism and the reportorial arch-heresy of Both Siderism. Take him all in all, he was something of a proud throwback to what the craft of journalism ought to be. It pains me as a professional to know that a lot of famous yahoos are going to get a freer ride now that he’s gone, although I feel certain that the likes of Dan Froomkin and Margaret Sullivan—and, in its own little way, this shebeen—will carry on his work as best we all can...

Regarding that last bit from Mr. Pierce...

I would only add that someone should, maybe, roll Jay Rosen in bubble-wrap for the duration.


Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Fourth Vaccine Dose Update.

Here's the kicker from the province's announcement yesterday.

Last week I mentioned that the big data sets for fourth shots under Omicron were coming. Here's the first one, with the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, from Israel, published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The following is a description of the cohort from the paper's abstract:
...Using the Israeli Ministry of Health database, we extracted data on 1,252,331 persons who were 60 years of age or older and eligible for the fourth dose during a period in which the B.1.1.529 (omicron) variant of SARS-CoV-2 was predominant (January 10 through March 2, 2022). We estimated the rate of confirmed infection and severe Covid-19 as a function of time starting at 8 days after receipt of a fourth dose (four-dose groups) as compared with that among persons who had received only three doses (three-dose group)...

Eric Topol summarizes the paper's findings here:


Given all that, I would be very surprised if the province doesn't move down to age 60 for everyone as that group approaches six months after their third jab.

While these fourth shot data are important, especially for the large elderly at-risk portion of our population, I can't emphasize how important it is for anybody who has already had their 2nd shot but nothing more to go out and get their 3rd shot if they want to significantly reduce their risk of serious illness in the event that they get caught up in the coming (already arrived?) 2nd Omicron variant wave.


Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Progaganda v. The Free Press.


First, the propaganda:

Second, the free press:

Here is the lede of the New York Times report by Malachy Brown, David Botti and Haley Willis:
An analysis of satellite images by The New York Times rebuts claims by Russia that the killing of civilians in Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, occurred after its soldiers had left the town.

When images emerged over the weekend of the bodies of dead civilians lying on the streets of Bucha — some with their hands bound, some with gunshot wounds to the head — Russia’s Ministry of Defense denied responsibility. In a Telegram post on Sunday, the ministry suggestedthat the bodies had been recently placed on the streets after “all Russian units withdrew completely from Bucha” around March 30.

Russia claimed that the images were “another hoax” and called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on what it called “provocations of Ukrainian radicals” in Bucha.

But a review of videos and satellite imagery by The Times shows that many of the civilians were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military was in control of the town...

And no,
Mr. Carlson of Fox News did not say the things that former Fox News person Mr. Walsh said he did...In fact, despite his previous utterances, Mr. Carlson has suddenly gone quiet on all things Mr. Putin and/or Ukraine in the face of real reportage.


Sunday, April 03, 2022

Sunday Set For April 3rd


This one is pretty much all about the verisimilitude of the 1/4/5.

Anyway, today's tunes are:
John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery" which momentarily breaks the three chord cycle in the truth of the chorus.

Guy Clark's "Stuff That Works" in, what else but the people's key.

Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty".

Springsteen's addition to the murder ballad genre, "Nebraska".

And here are this fine spring afternoon's warbly covers...

Video at the top of the post...Guy and Susanna Clark's Christmas sing-a-long with friends at their Nashville kitchen table, Christmas Eve 1975.