Saturday, April 23, 2022

Leftists and Viral Pandemics Part II


So now that Parenti is going to provide the evidential foundation for his moronic, incoherent, denialist, pro-employer diatribe that I went through here, I might as well clarify my own thinking about the pandemic.

1.  The virus is real.  It's an airborne, respiratory virus that is highly contagious and kills about 1% of its victims.  It's killed (as of this writing) 38,000 Canadians and over 900,000 US-Americans.  It also does a number on some of its survivors.  So-called "long covid" produces mild to debilitating fatigue, muscle pain, and memory and cognition loss.  These symptoms can pass in weeks, or month, or (with some people) the condition appears chronic.

1. a).  Whereas the denialists claim either that the virus was manufactured in China to destablize the world and make it easier to conquer.  So obviously they inflicted it on their own people first.  Or they didn't and the whole thing (including the people screaming in Shanghai recently) was all "crisis actors."  Sometimes denialists simultaneously claim that China invented the virus and that it is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu.  Which makes it a pretty weird thing for China to have done, no?  Ah yes!  The seasonal flu.  When old folks' homes get inundated and the Canadian military is called in and witnesses the filth and degradation that Canada allows capitalists to subject its elderly to.  Happens every year.  And every year we're asked to wear masks and quarantine but some TRUE CANADIANS (or true US-Americans in their country) boldly film themselves stating their refusal to give in to fear (by "excessive masking and hiding" in Christian Parenti's stupid words) and government diktat and then go on to contract the virus and die.  Happens every year.

2. Masks.  Holy fuck! Masks!  Leaving aside the nitwits who haven't yet realized that they do most of their breathing from out of their nose, ... the petulant cry-babies who think that wearing a mask during a viral pandemic is Stalinism, ... the enormity of that stupidity is truly mind-boggling.  I have as much respect for these anti-maskers as I do for people who don't wash their hands after wiping their asses. 

3. Vaccines.  It was thought (especially by people like Doug Ford who wanted a magic potion to make all his problems go away) that vaccines would provide total immunity to the virus.  The consensus now is that the vaccines greatly mitigate the impact of the virus by speeding up the body's production of antibodies. Are there problems with the vaccines?  Apparently there were statistically negligible problems with Astra Zeneca.  And since starting this discussion with Mr. Parenti I've heard that some women's menstrual cycles have been affected.  Perhaps I would be more open-minded about debating such issues had I not read Parenti's first half of his essay wherein the only defenders of the WORKING CLASS are people like Parenti who want to cram everybody back into crowded workplaces and classrooms and to give imbeciles the freedom to go maskless on crowded buses, and, also, that wearing these masks is "excessive" and social distancing (during a viral pandemic) is "hiding."

3. a)  Pharmaceutical companies are among the sleaziest entities in the capitalist system.  Their leadership produces for profit not human benefit.  They test their products in poorer countries where any potential victims of unforeseen complications are unable to afford litigation and where bribes to various officials are cheaper.  They don't care if they're selling addictive pain-killers or anti-depressants.  The stuff they make that is of proven value they protect behind multi-decade patent rights thus denying them to the poorest and allowing them to price-gouge others.  On the other hand, there are scientists working for them who want to be useful to society; their products (as was just said) are occasionally of great value and the world is not 100% corrupt.

Bah!  Enough of this!  I'll share more as I go through the piece should the situation warrant it.



Below, I address: agency capture, disease severity, vaccine efficacy, the damage of lockdowns in the Global North and South, freedom as a political goal, and finally how Trump Derangement Syndrome allowed the pandemic industrial complex to run out of control. 

All well and good.  Let's see that you do so.

Captured Agencies

Large segments of the left are afflicted with an astounding case of political amnesia. The central fact forgotten is that Big Pharma has thoroughly captured our public health agencies.  

All US Government public health agency budgets are heavily dependent on fee-for-service research work contracted directly by the pharmaceutical industry in exchange for “user fees.” The FDA website, as if mimicking the satirical film Idiocracy (in which the FDA is purchased by a sports drink “Brawndo – the thirst mutilator”) states that, “About 54 percent, or $3.3 billion, of FDA’s budget is provided by federal budget authorization. The remaining 46 percent, or $2.8 billion, is paid for by industry user fees.”11 Meanwhile, the FDA’s drug approval testing program has 75 percent of its budget paid for directly by pharmaceutical companies. [12]  

Interesting.  I did not know that.  Whether that's relevant for the issue of the reality of the virus, how contagious it is, what its mortality rate is, is another question.  I mentioned my own thoughts on the power and corruption of the pharmaceutical industry at the top of this post.  I won't dispute the facts that Parenti states here but how is it relevant to the question at hand?

In addition, government scientists are allowed to own patents derived from the research they do for private corporations. Government scientists can receive royalties of up to $150,000 per patent on top of their salaries. [13] For example, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, co-owns six HIV related patents. [14] This sort of direct financial entanglement constitutes a very dangerous conflict of interest. 

So is Parenti suggesting that Anthony Fauci manufactured the virus to sell vaccines?  Is government health in the USA a scam?  Are viruses just a Ponzi-scheme?  What about the Oxford scientists who wanted to give Astra Zeneca away? Does the same thing hold true for German pharmaceutical scientists?  Russian?  Chinese?  Cuban?  They've all made vaccine.  How are they funded?

Before Covid, the left led the critique of captured agencies, but now even the likes of Chomsky take the official pronouncements at face value; even as those pronouncements change to the point of self-contradiction, as in: Do not wear masks, do wear masks. The vaccines stop the disease, no the vaccines merely blunt its lethal edge. Asked by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman why people should trust large pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Pfizer, Chomsky waved away the issue with, “If the information came from Pfizer and Moderna, there would be no reason to trust it.” [15] But of course much of the most important information does come directly from these companies. More on that later on.

Whereas Parenti is saying "WHAT" exactly????  That we don't need vaccines?  What is the point of all of this???  Fauci's wrong-headed early rejections of masking the general public have been discussed numerous times in the media.  He didn't want the general public getting hold of the limited supply of N-94 masks ahead of frontline healthcare workers.  It was a mistake.  (Unless Parenti is going to follow this up with evidence that Fauci's pay-off from the N-94 mask cartel was late!)  Furthermore, I don't recall anyone saying that the vaccines provided total immunity once they were released.  That was certainly the hope.  But I heard nothing from any government or pharmaceutical company or health expert saying that our problems would be over once everyone got a shot.  And, anyway, what is Parenti claiming that the pharmaceutical companies are lying about?  What is the great corruption that these captured agencies are engaged in here?  He doesn't say.  All he's done so far is provide vague innuendoes.  Is he saying that the pharmaceutical industry is 100% corrupt and useless?  No.  He's not.  He can't.  That being the case he has to do more than just talk about industry capture and conflicts of interest and provide specifics to make a specific case.  He hasn't so far.

Severity of the disease

The basic error of mainstream media hype is to conflate the “case fatality rate” (CFR) with the “death rate.” 

Wow.  He didn't even try.  He's gone from innuendoes to a completely different subject.  Just wow.

Okay. "Severity of the disease."  Let's go:

The number of known Covid “cases” is a function of testing; more testing means more cases are found. Thus, the denominator in the CFR depends on political, scientific, and economic choices. 

This is Trump-level stupidity here.  Notice how he only used scare-quotes once.  Yes Parenti, ... when you put resources into finding things that do exist it's highly possible that you will find more of these things than if you don't look for them at all.  Very good.

Up to 40 percent of Covid cases are totally asymptomatic[16] and another 30 percent have only mild symptoms that can be confused with the common cold.17 Many of these asymptomatic and mild cases do not get recognized as Covid. 

I already knew this.  What's your point?

Thus, the real measure of lethality is not the CFR but the “infection fatality rate” or IFR. That ratio must be estimated from large scale, statistically controlled, randomized testing. We now know that the IFR for Covid is basically low for anyone under 70, but it is rather high for those over 70. A total of 75 percent of Covid deaths have occurred among people over age 65; and 51 percent of the deaths occurred among people over age 75. [18] In early 2021, The Bulletin of the World Health Organization published a Stanford-based epidemiologist’s overview study of 64 studies that used randomized serology sampling for antibodies; it found an infection fatality rate ranging from 0.00% to 1.54%. This study, found that, “In people younger than 70 years, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.31%…” 

Wow.  So I guess all those elderly people are unimportant?  Also, it's apparently possible that COVID has killed 0.00% of people younger than seventy.  Also, those ICU cases that overwhelmed hospitals and led to surgeries being cancelled ... they were actually smaller than they could have been if the world was completely different and the parameters for counting covid cases were different.

Among those over age 85, (the average US life expectancy is about 78 years) the infection fatality rate was very high. [19] One study considered by the author found an IFR of 15% among over 85-year-olds, but most of the studies found much lower rates and thus the mean average was lower. [20] Translation: the young have very little to fear from this disease, while the very old face very real risks. Policy should have reflected these facts, but it has not.

Anyone who says "I'm young and healthy, I'm willing to take my chances" doesn't know what the conversation is about.  It's not risky behaviour that only threatens the individual.  It's a contagious virus.  I shouldn't need to have to explain this by this point.

The author of that study, John Ioannidis, MD, MPH, Physician and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Stanford University, has been attacked and censored simply for doing antibody research that suggested an IFR lower than that assumed in most headlines.  As Politico explained: “YouTube has been especially aggressive about pulling down speech that questions various coronavirus prevention measures. For instance, the company took down a March 2020 interview with John Ioannidis — a Stanford physician long known for skewering bad science — in which he questioned the quality of the data about COVID-19 death rates and called for more targeted responses to the pandemic.” [21]

Okay.  Here's where I agree with Parenti and I disagree with all of the liberal censors.  Allowing the government and large tech firms like Google and Facebook and Twitter and etc., to be able to censor freedom of speech because the information might be "false" or "misinformation" is HIGHLY DANGEROUS.  I've said this elsewhere on this blog about this topic.  If millions of people don't believe the government and corporate media (partly because they lie all the goddamned time) and have ended up believing in dangerous nonsense, then you need to do a better job of confronting this nonsense, instead of just wishing it goes away.  It would also help to stop lying all the goddamned time.

The real IFR demonstrated by Ioannidis suggest that the approach called “focused protection” put forward in the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) – a statement drafted by several prominent epidemiologists that promoted an alternative strategy which sought to protect the most vulnerable, for example the elderly with pre-existing health problems, while minimizing the social harm of overly broad lockdowns – would have been the most effective public health strategy. But the left, like the liberal mainstream, immediately attacked “focused protection” not on the merits of the argument but with guilt by association – because the GBD was associated with a libertarian think tank. [22] 

Isn't it cute how Parenti has found one study that he imagines validates his shit-headed delusion that the pandemic didn't happen and is fucking it in front of us?  And, also, isn't it hilarious that "guilt by association" is apparently only an unpardonable crime in this one specific instance?  I'm going to type it out very clearly here:  Anything valid that Parenti has said or will say in this essay of his is undermined by his sneering tone and his brazen manipulations of facts and arguments.  For some reason I'm nonetheless in a receptive frame of mind and willing to entertain that the GBD might be worth looking into.  I certainly don't think that Canada's federal and provincial governments have done a perfect job of handling this pandemic.  Obviously my criticisms of these governments would differ from Parenti's criticisms in many areas.

The real IFR was becoming apparent by March of 2020 and it offered an opportunity for a policy course correction. [23] But the pandemic was already hostage to the party politics of an extraordinarily weird election struggle.

Sure. Whatever.  Or not.  Mere assertions.

Inflated Death Count?

The Western left justifies its embrace of mandates, lockdowns, and censorship by invoking the dead. The US has the highest reported death rate per hundred thousand of any developed economy. [24] As a friend protested “but, the deaths are real!” Indeed, but how many are actually due to Covid? 

The CDC reports that less than 6 percent of Covid deaths had COVID-19 as “the only cause mentioned on the death certificate.” The other 94 percent of deaths occurred “with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19” and, on average, had “4.0 additional conditions or causes per death.”[25] The death of 84-year-old Colin Powell, who was afflicted with multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s, but whose death was reported as “from” Covid, comes to mind. 

More of this crap.  Were hospitals overwhelmed or weren't they?  When anti-maskers show up in emergency rooms with a fever and difficulty breathing, do they have Covid or don't they?  Was there a pandemic or wasn't there?  When Scott Moe and Jason Kenney decided to "let 'er rip!" was it their hospitals that had to send patients to BC and Manitoba and Ontario or was it the other way around?  Those stories of horror and mass graves in India, ... was that all people's imagination (Because people die all the time. It was business-as-usual but Covid hysteria affected everybody's brains.)?

It is worth noting that the Covid death count in the US is the highest in the developed world. As the New York Times put it, the “American death toll has set the country apart — and by wider margins than has been broadly recognized.” In fact, the US death toll from the coronavirus “is at least 63 percent higher than in any… other large, wealthy nations.” [26]

In other words, many of these US deaths were people who died with Covid, not of Covid. Any inflation of Covid severity helped stoke the public’s fear. Exactly what portion of the nominal Covid dead are misclassified? I would not venture to say. But during the Omicron wave of 2022 even Rochelle Walensky and a reluctant Anthony Fauci acknowledged that many people who were in hospital and Covid positive were not in the hospital for Covid but with Covid. [27]

Parenti is arguing that the USA's 63% higher death than other large, wealthy nations is an accounting trick and not the inevitable consequences of the childish denialism of Trump and various Republican state governments and the USA's lack of a public healthcare system.  Again, saying this requires saying that yearly death rates in the USA during the pandemic were the same as any other non-pandemic year.  People were dying of the same things they a lways die of, in the same numbers, it's just that some of them were also infected with a practically harmless virus.

That nonsensical position is the logical conclusion of Parenti's sophistry.

Finally, nobody is denying that in 2022, a lot of people in hospitals with Covid but not because of Covid.  This would be due to the efficacy of the vaccines helping bodies fight off a virus that had (as the Omicron variant) become more contagious.  Earlier, in 2020 it was clearly the case that the people with co-morbidities (diabetes, hypertension, etc.,) were dying FROM Covid.  The same way that elderly people were dying FROM Covid and not old age.

I wonder if Parenti has actually looked at the counting methods of other countries to see just how exactly they massaged the numbers to make their Covid fatalities appear lower than the USA's, or if he's finished shitting out this particular "argument"?

Despite the definitive nature of death (you’re either dead or you’re not) its causes are not always so clear. The pathways to mortality from disease are often multiple, overlapping, vague, and open to interpretation. As one coroner told me: “In many deaths from diseases, where you have multiple comorbidities, ten different coroners or physicians could possibly give you 10 different versions of the ‘immediate’ and ‘due to’ causes of death.” [28]

Talk about beating a dead horse! Nobody really knows anything when you get right down to it!  It's all about quantum uncertainty man!  Notice that the coroner said "In many deaths from diseases" as opposed to "EVERY death from disease."  I read several articles where doctors angrily rebutted this garbage.  Of course that was in the corporate news media and those doctors were either globalist traitors or works of fiction.  Waboo

"Waboo" is the little thing I typed as a paragraph header, to try to keep my font consistent and separate from the font of Parenti's quotations.  There's still a lot more of Parenti's essay to go through.  I think I'll deal with it a section at a time over a longer period of time.  There's other things I'll want to vent about too.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Leftists and Viral Pandemics


Okay.  So I saw this article by Christian Parenti while looking for something else at The GrayZone, skimmed some of it, and decided it'd be interesting to read and debate with.  I'll be reading it and responding to it bit-by-bit.  "How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy" Maybe you'll all have learned something by the time we're done:


It is hard to destroy your own cause and feel righteous while doing so, yet the American left has done it. After more than two centuries at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom, the American left, broadly defined, executed a volte face and embraced anti-working-class policies marketed as purely technical public health measures.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Engaging With a Former Russiagater


Nick Pemberton over at CounterPunch wrote something on March 23rd that I remember wanting to engage with.  As of this writing, I don't remember what it was that I wanted to say, but perhaps it will come back to me as I get on with it.  The piece is called "What To Do With Russiagate in 2022?"

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Only An Abstract Grasp of What "Nuclear Holocaust" Means


In a recent post about liberal moral imbecility I vented about how pompous blowhards yammering about how Putin's crimes against humanity are so egregious that we must seriously consider the nuclear option must obviously not know what they hell they're talking about:

Sunday, April 3, 2022

This n' That

 Note: I entitled this blog post "This n' That" because I'd planned on venting about a few things.  But topic number one ended up taking too much time.  I have a job and a rather long commute and a "side hustle" and venting here is just venting here.  It's an outlet for pressure, but that's about it.

1.  The First USA-Iraq War

In July of 1990 the Soviet Union was crumbling.  It had about a year and a half left to it before its dissolution on December 25th, 1991.  At that point, its last Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev was signalling the end of the Cold War and was attempting the transformation of the USSR into something resembling a Scandinavian social democracy.  (He failed of course.)

But the era of two military super-powers locked in a pereptual stand-off was clearly at an end.  The re-unification of West Germany and East Germany was already underway.  There was talk of a "peace dividend" now that the great political-ideological-international rivalry between the USA and the USSR was coming to a close with the USA the winner.

Obviously this wouldn't suit the Military Industrial Complex.  Cost-plus contracts; endless waste; gargantuan levels of corruption.  All on the taxpayers' dime.  Why squander the people's money on healthcare for them? Or housing?  Or education?

It's in that context that we should look at the meeting between Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie.  

July 25, 1990 – Presidential Palace – Baghdad

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie – I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of your confrontation with Kuwait. (pause) As you know, I lived here for years and admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. We know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. (pause) We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your threat s against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship – not confrontation – regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s borders?

Saddam Hussein – As you know, for years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement on our dispute with Kuwait. There is to be a meeting in two days; I am prepared to give negotiations only this one more brief chance. (pause) When we (the Iraqis) meet (with the Kuwaitis) and we see there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death.

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie – What solutions would be acceptable?

Saddam Hussein – If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab – our strategic goal in our war with Iran – we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (i.e., in Saddam s view, including Kuwait ) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States’ opinion on this?

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie – We have no opinion on your Arab – Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)

On August 2, 1990, Saddam massed troops to invade and occupy Kuwait. _____

It is beyond ludicrous to suggest that Glaspie was not luring Saddam Hussein into a trap for her master George H.W. Bush.  (Though, not surprisingly, many of her fellow imperialist diplomats have attempted to do exactly that.)  It is said that this meeting hadn't been planned, that Glaspie had been summoned by Saddam, that her superiors in the USA were asleep at the time.  As if both Glaspie and the Secretary of State and the President had noticed Saddam's build-up, were anxious about it, but hadn't developed any further thoughts on the matter.  As if Glaspie as an expert on the Middle East and the goddamned US Ambassador in Baghdad didn't know what Iraq's claims on Kuwait were.  As if "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts such as your dispute with Kuwait" is just a diplomatic way of saying nothing and NOT a clear expression of indifference to a threatened invasion!  

Now, I remember one time when I mentioned this (either online or in a meat-space conversation) that some silly person thought that I was justifying Saddam Hussein.  So let me state unequivocally, with my voice not quivering, that's not my point.  My point is that the Bush I Administration orchestrated Saddam Hussein into following his already formulated plan to invade Kuwait so that they could respond with a war that would provide continued justification for the Military-Industrial Complex.  It could establish George Bush Sr.'s "New World Order" ("What we say goes!")  That Chomsky link goes on to talk about the Establishment celebration of the death of the "Vietnam Syndrome."

The same Times reporter goes on to quote the gallant champion [H.W. Bush]  himself: “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.” The second national newspaper joined in, applauding the “spiritual and intellectual” triumph in the Gulf: “Martial values that had fallen into disrepute were revitalized,” and “Presidential authority, under assault since Vietnam, was strengthened.” With barely a gesture towards the dangers of overexuberance, the ultraliberal Boston Globe hailed the “victory for the psyche” and the new “sense of nationhood and projected power” under the leadership of a man who is “one tough son of a bitch,” a man with “the guts to risk all for a cause” and a “burning sense of duty,” who showed “the depth and steely core of his convictions” and his faith that “we are a select people, with a righteous mission in this earth,” the latest in a line of “noble-minded missionaries” going back to his hero Teddy Roosevelt — who was going to “show those Dagos that they will have to behave decently” and to teach proper lessons to the “wild and ignorant people” standing in the way of “the dominant world races.” Liberal columnists praised “the magnitude of Bush’s triumph” over a much weaker enemy, dismissing the “uninformed garbage” of those who carp in dark corners (Thomas Oliphant). The open admiration for fascist values is a matter of some interest.9

For 20 years, there have been vigorous efforts to “kick the Vietnam syndrome,” defined by Reaganite intellectual Norman Podhoretz as “the sickly inhibitions against the use of military force.” He thought the disease was cured when we were “standing tall” after our astounding victory in Grenada. Perhaps that triumph of martial virtues was not enough, but now, at last, we have kicked these sickly inhibitions, the President exults. “Bush’s leadership has transformed the Vietnam Syndrome into a Gulf Syndrome, where `Out Now!’ is a slogan directed at aggressors, not at us” (Thomas Oliphant); we were the injured party in Vietnam, defending ourselves from the Vietnamese aggressors, from “internal aggression” as Adlai Stevenson explained in 1964. Having overcome the Vietnam syndrome, we now observe “the worthy and demanding standard that aggression must be opposed, in exceptional cases by force,” Oliphant continues — but, somehow, we are not to march on Jakarta, Tel Aviv, Damascus, Washington, Ankara, and a long series of other capitals.10

So, quite clearly, the MIA wanted an excuse for war.  Saddam Hussein was manipulated into thinking the USA had given him a green light to invade Kuwait and when he did, he was the "New Hitler," a "mad-man" with whom negotiations were pointless.  And Baghdad was bombed and retreating Iraqi soldiers were massacred from the air on the "Highway of Death."  And that tided things over until the dissolution of Yugoslavia could provide for some further US-American pomposity.  Then the "Great Bullshit War on Terror" which (insanely) included the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  But all the horror and death and futility of these abominations soon soured the US-American people on them.  Luckily for the US oligarchy, Vladimir Putin has been demonized for well over a decade and, evidently, a sizeable portion of the human race is so goddamned fucking stupid that the histrionic ravings of Rachel Maddow and other shameless propagandists are enough to get them braying like jackasses about how maybe a nuclear war is a worthwhile response to whatever atrocities, real or fabricated, that Putin has committed.

Remember, ... in Iraq-Kuwait as in Russia-Ukraine, there is to be no negotiation.  No diplomacy.  Just war, war, war.  This is evil.

2.  Russiagate Re-visited

I'll finish this later.  (Spoiler alert: I won't.)

Saturday, April 2, 2022

War Criminals


Like liberals, I share a deep hatred for war criminals. And Vladimir Putin is clearly a war criminal.  At least for what he did in Grozny.  That alone is enough to warrant life imprisonment.  But what about his invasion of the Crimea?  Nah.  That should be: The "invasion" of the Crimea.  I'm not even going to discuss why wailing about that is stupid.  It should be self-evident.  If it isn't, then you're too debased to waste my time with.  What about Aleppo? Personally, I'm not so sure about Aleppo.  Yes, indiscriminate bombing killed a lot of innocent people.  But the war itself was started by the United States of America and Saudi Arabia.  And all the crimes of war flow from the first decision to start a war in the first place.  That is what makes a war of choice the supreme war crime.  And the nature of the mercenaries that the USA and Saudi Arabia were employing (deranged, fanatical religious fundamentalists) made defeating them essential for the continued existence of Syria as a functioning state.  For those reasons, whenever I heard about Assad using barrel bombs over neighbourhoods or about the destruction of Aleppo, I restrained my outrage.  Especially after what the USA had only recently done in Iraq, especially in Fallujah.  In its battle against the Jihaadist psychopaths employed by the USA and Saudi Arabia, the Syrian army had suffered horrendous casualties. It is absurd to think that soldiers are going to sacrifice themselves, that they are going to opt for a mode of combat that is highly likely to get them killed, rather than pursue an alternative (such as a bombing campaign) that will spare them.  Even our heroic and virtuous Canadian soldiers in World War Two, during the Battle of Ortona, would toss grendades into rooms before entering them, taking the risk of killing a family sheltering from the violence, to avoid the possibility of being shot by hiding German soldiers.  

And I remembered all of this after the USA did the exact same thing when it re-took the Iraqi city of Mosul back from ISIS soon after it was finished condemning Putin and Assad for Aleppo.  (Again, with the obvious difference that ISIS came out of the deliberate Obama-Biden-Clinton administration's criminal assault on Syria that started that entire mess.)

What of the invasion of the Ukraine itself?  Chris Hedges (and a lot of other respectable and worthy writers) condemns it as a war crime:

Preemptive war, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, is a war crime. It does not matter if the war is launched on the basis of lies and fabrications, as was the case in Iraq, or because of the breaking of a series of agreements with Russia, including the promise by Washington not to extend NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, not to deploy thousands of NATO troops in Eastern Europe and not to meddle in the internal affairs of nations on the Russia's border, as well as the refusal to implement the Minsk II peace agreement. The invasion of Ukraine would, I expect, never have happened if these promises had been kept. Russia has every right to feel threatened, betrayed and angry. But to understand is not to condone. The invasion of Ukraine, under post-Nuremberg laws, is a criminal war of aggression.

I still harbour feelings that Putin still had alternatives to war. Not being privy to all the information and not knowing the minutae of all of the diplomatic tools at a world leader's disposal, I'm not totally certain, but I think there were still alternatives to be pursued before deciding on a war that would inevitably kill thousands of innocent people, if not tens or hundreds of thousands.

In recent days though, I've been entertaining some thoughts.  Now, perhaps they come from my deep, burning desire for Putin's cock, or, alternatively, they come from being an adult in a shitty world run by idiots and psychopaths.  If you're an adult, I invite you to continue reading.  If you're a moral child who can never believe that Big Daddy USA could ever do anything wrong, just go back to reading Thomas Friedman or listening to Rachel Maddow or Max Boot or whatever shit-heads feed your infantile worldview.

1.  The USA is actively pursuing what it calls "Full Spectrum Dominance."  There can be no alternative power blocs on the face of the Earth except for itself. 

2.  The USA's oligarchy does not want the best for its own country's citizens, let alone the best interests of the rest of the world's peoples.

3.  The last time that the USA had access to the steering wheel in Russia it was disastrous.

4.  The ultimate goal of the USA's power elite is the breakup of Russia and China to turn the areas under their control into impoverished, Balakanized zones of chaos and poverty (like Iraq and Libya) that can be more easily controlled.

5.  Aside from the provocation of the anti-Russian military alliance NATO absorbing more and more Eastern European countries into it, over the condemnations of Putin, and aside from the possibility that there was no plan to incorporate the Ukraine into NATO (although they would still be coy about it), it is a fact that the USA was building a defacto military alliance with the Ukraine, pouring in weapons and training its military, for the obvious use of it as a hostile power on Russia's border.

Given all that, ... what were Putin's options?  Whatever you think of the man (his authoritarian tendencies, his pandering to social reactionaries, his personal corruption) his own self-interest compels him to seek Russia's continued existence.  And Russia's continued existence was clearly being threatened.  Should he have tried diplomacy?  He DID try diplomacy.  The Biden-Blinken team of racist imperialist fuck-faces dismissed him.  Should he have gone to the United Nations?  The recently un-dearly departed Madeleine Albright showed how (in the case of the illegal invasion of Iraq) the USA would disregard the UN.

As I said in a recent post, in the case of Syria, it's undeniable that Bashar al Assad is a monster.  But in the shitty world that the USA still currently dominates, if one wishes to call oneself an adult, sometimes hard decisions have to made.  I'm starting to think that Putin had no choice.  Failing that, I certainly don't know when it would have been the day that Russia was completely surrounded and that the point of no return had been past when it would have been unable to adequately defend itself from the inevitable US attack.

But!  If you're a Westerner, that is to say, a citizen of the USA or one of its "allies" in the "community of rules-based international order"-respecting nations, and you POSITIVELY HATE war criminals and you're just ITCHING to get your hands on the war criminal Vladimir Putin, I have some GOOD NEWS for you!

Because you must know that it's difficult for us to get at the authoritarian leader of a powerful enemy state. We might never be able to bring Putin to justice.  But there are other war criminals we can go after!  If you're a US-American, George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joseph Robinette Biden and numerous other war criminals are still alive.  Start a movement to go after them!  If you're a citizen of the UK, you can start with Tony Blair.  And we in Canada can certainly bring the hammer down on stephen harper who covered-up evidence of torture and child rape in Afghanistan.

Prove that you're not a disgusting hypocrite and a childish moral imbecile!  Go after your own homegrown war criminals!  I dare you.