Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Helen Kennedy @HelenKennedy

    This farmer stealing a tank.

    Actually an armored personnel carrier, still funny if it’s true.

  2. de stijl says:

    In regards to Russian armed forces in Ukraine –

    I have been feeling Crowded House Don’t Dream It’s Over.

    We know they won’t win

    Hey now /
    Hey now

    That Hammond organ riff

    Don’t dream it’s over

  3. charon says:

    If I’m reading this correctly, Putin started a war in Ukraine because people in America have gotten tired of mask mandates.

    See this is exactly the sort of analysis cancel culture is depriving us of

  4. charon says:


    So how far up your own ass do you need to be to think Ukraine is newsworthy only because lefty politicians want a distraction?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A nice piece, not too long:

    As “winterkeeper” at Yellowstone national park, Steven Fuller lives in a rustic cedar-shingled cottage, built in 1910, set on a hill a short walk from the majestic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

    On balmier days, with the windows open, he can hear the roar of the 308ft Lower Falls tumbling into the chasm. In autumn, he is treated to the sound of bugling bull elk in rut or, in the middle of night, the howls of wolves.

    A key part of Fuller’s professional responsibility in winter, when deep snow and bone-chilling cold shuts down tourist operations for five months in the centre of Yellowstone, is removing snow from building rooftops to prevent them from collapsing under the weight of the load.

    His solitary existence might seem idyllic, but when Fuller and his English wife, Angela, landed the winterkeeping assignment in 1973, there wasn’t a long line of competitors. He was the only applicant.

    That’s 49 years he’s been doing it.

  6. sam says:
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    IPCC issues ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown

    Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly, many of the impacts will be more severe than predicted and there is only a narrow chance left of avoiding its worst ravages, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said.

    Even at current levels, human actions in heating the climate are causing dangerous and widespread disruption, threatening devastation to swathes of the natural world and rendering many areas unliveable, according to the landmark report published on Monday.

    “The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a co-chair of working group 2 of the IPCC. “Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.”

    We are so screwed.

  8. de stijl says:


    I would take that job. Not a problem.

    Give me a gaming rig for off-hours, easy frigging peasy. A satellite dish.. I kinda like dumb labor even though I made my stash off smarty pants data analysis.

    You know those folks at national campgrounds who are the greeters and purveyors of pertinent info? Semi-formal guadians I guess would be the best descriptive. Live on the grounds semi-permanently? I could do that easy. I am an ascetic.

  9. Scott says:

    OK, this made me laugh.

    From Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider:

    People are asking me why I endorsed the use of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the Ukrainian people and did not for the anti-maskers. Well, one use is for a righteous battle against oppression; the other is a infantile feet stomping against an inconvenience.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I just need a few good books.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That Zelenskyy guy is a man of many talents.

  12. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ha! Yes, CSK flagged that little factoid yesterday. Fascinating.

  13. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Jen:
    As I said, he can totally bust a move.

  14. KM says:

    Zelenskyy is what MAGAts thought would happen for them by electing an entertainer as politician – that That Guy In The Thing They Liked would turn out to be Presidentially Badass when given the chance. It must royally piss them off that the Left got one without even trying (technically he’s centrist) simply by Zelenskyy being awesome and Putin being an asshat.

  15. de stijl says:


    I read on the john and after going to bed but before falling asleep. I knock out 20, 30 pages a day depending on the density of the prose.

    I was in a place years back when I read too much for me and got a bit dogmatic and superior. A bit of a pompous dick. I did not like that. Stopped it.

    Now, I keep it to an hour a day give or take. Any more, I get pushy to other folks. “You need to read this, etc.”

  16. Jen says:

    Random musings: what kind of exposure does TFG still have with Russian oligarchs? All of this upheaval with the ruble has me wondering how it might affect the fortunes of a certain family whose sons have explicitly stated that Russian money was propping up their empire.

  17. CSK says:

    Russia has hiked its key interest rate to 20% in an effort to keep the ruble from cascading to worthlessness. And the U.S. Treasury has prohibited transactions with the Central Bank of Russia.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And the Republican Supreme Court is about to nut the ability of the EPA to impose standards.

  19. Scott says:

    Little things:

    The International Judo Federations has removed Vladimir Putin as its Honorary Chairman.

  20. CSK says:


    “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Eric Trump, 2014

  21. Jen says:

    @CSK: Exactly. I am wondering what that looks like now. Clearly TFG has a new line of cash flow from willing dupes happy to send him $5 a month or whatever. I’m curious about the funds from Russia. Do those guys start to sell their interest in whatever (empty apartments in NYC, for example) to bolster their cash flow?

  22. MarkedMan says:

    This is to Steven:
    I see the “Is Putin Irrational” has reached terminal velocity, but I’m left with something I’m curious about: What, exactly is the definition of irrational vs. rational decision making in PS? And how does that translate into real world examples?

    While I understand the case of rational but seriously wrong (ex: the amazingly large number of military disasters caused by thinking “1 of our guys is worth 2 or 3 of theirs, because, reasons”) and irrational due to insanity (ex: some of the lead poisoning warped decisions by Roman rulers), you explicitly stated that sane leaders can still make irrational choices, but I’m struggling to come up with an example.

  23. Kathy says:


    Or they could do nothing and rename their currency Rubble.

  24. Jen says:

    On the “is Putin rational” front, he’s apparently behaving as he always has.

    If he’s irrational now, he always has been.

  25. CSK says:

    Trump-branded properties sold about 98 million worth of real estate to Russians in southern Florida. Trump himself got about a 20 million commission on initial sales of 2 billion that he did in partnership with a New York developer.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    A week or few ago we had some discussion of the odd fact that traffic deaths went up during the pandemic. WAPO has an article today quoting AAA research. They claim that while most people drove less, some people drove more, and that group skewed young and male, the demo most prone to risky behaviors like speeding, running lights, and texting. As to why they drove more, they said they’re still researching that.

  27. Jen says:

    @CSK: Ah, gotcha. So, if Russians start dumping those properties at bargain prices, it really won’t affect TFG. He’s already made his money off of them, right?

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: I see in that tweet thread,

    This is the man who almost certainly ordered GRU to interfere in US elections in 2016 and French elections in 2017, operations that could have backfired badly for him

    Indeed it could have backfired, on Putin and the GOPs, but it didn’t. Le sigh. Another thing for which, in part, we can thank Moscow Mitch. I think now is a good time to revive that nickname.

  29. JohnSF says:

    There is the “right revisionist” argument that it was irrational of the UK to fight Nazi Germany.
    Can’t say I agree myself.

    Napoleon was generally thought to be sane; but he certainly made some fairly reckless, id not irrational, choices.

    It’s arguable that a lot of reactionary politics has been carried out by fairly sane individuals for pretty daffy and unrealistic goals.

    I still argue that it’s not necessarily the rationality of tactics, but of mistaking your preferences for the way things are, of filtering reality through preconceptions without error-checking, of assuming as a given that your goals are realistically achievable.

    It doesn’t much matter how rational you are in your trap construction, if you are trying to trap unicorns.

    See also toddlers.
    A tantrum may be a rational tactic to impose your will. But the toddler worldview is not necessarily a very accurate one.

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Correct. To get him ensnared in that mess at this point, you’d need to go after money laundering / conspiracy to facilitate.

  31. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Thank you! I really hadn’t paid that much attention to *how* he was intertwined with them–just that he was.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Agreed. Rationality has to be examined within the sphere of the actor IMO, not that of the observer. From Putin’s vantage point – Russian domestic politics – this was a rational, but very poorly planned, move that failed to accurately estimate either the difficulty of execution / likelihood of success or the potential external consequences.

    TLDR: I fully believe that he expected this to be Crimea 2, but he underestimated the Ukranians and he underestimated the EU / NATO.

  33. gVOR08 says:


    And the Republican Supreme Court is about to nut (gut) the ability of the EPA to impose standards.

    Everybody thinks the Federalist drone Justices are there to kill Roe v Wade and protect gun rights. As far as I can tell Chuckles Koch and his accomplices don’t give a damn one way or another about abortion and guns except as red meat to toss to the base. They spent millions astroturfing into existence and maintaining the Federalist Society for this, to gut regulation, especially environmental regulation.

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:


    No worries. NB: if you can somehow get them for the above, you can conceivably force him to disgorge his gains from the transactions. There is more that could concievably be done, but that the easy, low hanging fruit that hits him where it most hurts.

  35. CSK says:

    Yup. Trump’s made his pile off the Russians. He won’t get anything more.

  36. Kathy says:

    I knew eventually new technologies would stop making sense to me. Here’s one, NFTs. I think people are still buying “rights” to not much at all.

    Maybe I don’t understand it.

    Or maybe I do, and it’s the world that’s no longer making sense.

    And maybe this is what my parents felt when the internet was gaining ascendancy in the 90s.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    CSK have you seen this?

    Investigators suspect a link between the Gardner Museum heist and an execution-style murder in Lynn

    Figure that you have, but put it up just in case. And of course, it needed to include Lynn and a horse track.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yep. I linked to that a day or 2 ago. Thought about sticking it in again here but didn’t want to be tiresome.

  39. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I didn’t see this. Thanks very much for the link.

    What’s that old rhyme? Oh, yes:
    “Lynn, Lynn,
    City of sin.
    They don’t come out the way they went in.”

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: As to why they drove more, they said they’re still researching that.

    My money is on boredom.

  41. Kathy says:


    If I’m reading this correctly, Putin started a war in Ukraine because people in America have gotten tired of mask mandates.

    The way I heard it, Biden got Putin to start a war in Ukraine to distract attention from the trucker convoy that is not blocking traffic anywhere.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I apparently contributed to the “irrational” thread going down hill. Dr. T sees “irrational” as not a useful category in Poly Sci. I tried to amplify the point by arguing that in any case it’s a semantic argument. A point I’ve tried to make in other contexts. I tried to buffer my argument by referencing the philosophical tradition of Pragmatism, but I fear I just muddled it.


    It’s arguable that a lot of reactionary politics has been carried out by fairly sane individuals for pretty daffy and unrealistic goals.

    I recently stumbled across a useful Poli Sci term, “ethnic entrepreneur”. It came up in reference to Slobodan Milosevic. He was charged by the Communist Party with resolving the ethnic tensions in post-Tito Yugoslavia. But he saw personal opportunity in exploiting them instead. He was sane and he succeeded in his rational goal of self aggrandizement, whatever the cost to others. Does sociopathic equal insane equal irrational? I dunno, ask a shrink. Calling him an asshat seems more to the point. And ethnic entrepreneurs are hardly rare.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Maybe I don’t understand it.

    It’s simple enough: A fool and his money are soon parted.

  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    Coincidentally I was pretty sure I saw Dee Snider Saturday in a Santa Monica Mexican restaurant. Probably not, but def looked like him.

  45. CSK says:

    Or on being “transgressive.” We were supposed to stay in, so they went out.

  46. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: However. IIRC, Trump still needs to keep rolling over his debt. Refinancing may be getting a lot harder. As of this morning, Russian money, if you can get it, is going for 20% interest. And we never did get an explanation of the Trump Tower server connected to the Alfa Bank server. I believe Alfa was listed as sanctioned.

    I see Paul Manafort and Moscow Mitch’s buddy, Oleg Deripaska, has called for peace. I assume he’s living outside Russia.

  47. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yup that’s how I remembered it. My best friend grew up in Lynn. Everyone had a racket. The barber was the local bookie, no need to go to a shopping mall when you could buy whatever you wanted out of the trunk of your cousin’s car. And then there were all the made men living out on Nahant Neck. Good times.

  48. de stijl says:

    I am of the opinion that Putin got ahead of the oligarchs in regard to Ukraine. Stepped on his dick. Over-reached.

    I see Putin as basically the equivalent of the NFL Commisioner of the Oligarchs.

    Billionaires like money and power. Russian billionaires like money and power and access to western Europe and fungible assets and owning English Premiere League football clubs and yachts and effing fashion models and Italian villas and French chateaux and London townhouses. They like the opportunity to buy respectability.

    And they are going to be very pissed off when they no longer have access to those things. They will be pariahs. They will be spat upon. They will be the richest kleptocrats in a rogue state unable to spend any of their Rubles outside of their borders in the West. A billionaire in a very large North Korea equivalent.

    I expect Putin will shortly have a sudden, lethal health emergency. A few months out so it can be plausibly deniable. A more tractable commissioner will be appointed. Concessions will be made, face will be lost. Appoint a new someone who isn’t fixated on rocking the boat so he can look like a bad-ass to the local yokels.

    The commissioner cannot go off leash again.

  49. Jen says:

    Well, looks like the UK might be getting serious about Russian money laundering:

  50. CSK says:

    Arizona state senator Wendy Rogers has opined that Zelensky is a globalist and a puppet of Soros and the Clintons.

  51. Scott says:

    @CSK: I wonder if the Russians paid substantially over market price. Otherwise known as bribery (or investment in an asset).

  52. CSK says:

    This could be a problem for him. It’s been a long time since any U.S. bank would do business with him.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I don’t recall ever sitting foot in Lynn.

  53. charon says:
  54. charon says:


    Religious nutter.

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: There’s a story perhaps of interest only to you and I, which you’ve probably seen. A Russian attack damaged or destroyed an An-225 Mriya at Hostomel airport near Kyiv.

    For others – In the 80s the USSR built one Mriya to transport the Buran space shuttle. Antonov was located in Ukraine. They started a second, but it was cancelled. Recently there was an effort to complete it. The first Mriya continued to operate as a heavy airlifter, like the American Super Guppy. Stories I’ve seen seem unclear as to whether it was the first aircraft or the partially complete second that was hit.

    The company says they’re going to rebuild it, at a cost of a few billion US$, and that Russia will pay. Sounds to me like Mexico paying for the wall, but unlike TFG, you gotta admire the chutzpah.

  56. Kathy says:

    It looks like pretty much the whole EU, the UK, and Canada, have closed their airspace to Russian airlines. Vlad* has closed his airspace to airlines form all these countries.

    It’s the right thing to close airspace to Russian airlines, state and private, but it was a given Putin would retaliate in kind. It remains to be seen who gets hurt worse. Many flights from Europe to Asia cross Russia. What hurts air travel from Russia more is Canada’s closure, as that keeps them out of the US and parts of Latin America.

    Back in the cold war, Soviet airspace was not open to most airlines, except for flights to Moscow. I think many flights from Europe to Asia made a stop in Alaska to refuel, taking the Pacific route because they had to. we may see this again.

    More concerning is what happens if a commercial flight mistakenly crosses into Russian airspace. The Soviets in their day shot down to Korean Airlines flights that strayed into their territory. Many remember KAL 007 in the 80s. Less well known was KAL 902 in 1978.

  57. CSK says:

    This is funny:

    They changed it to “FCKPTN.”

  58. JohnSF says:

    European politic continues to be reshaped by Putin’s war on Ukraine:
    Sweden departs from it traditional neutral stance and supplies 5,000 anti tank missiles to Ukraine.

    Switzerland will implement the same sanctions on Russia as the EU.

    German Economy Minister states that extending the operations of German nuclear power stations that were due to be phased out is being considered.

    Meanwhile, Hungary plays does the old one step forward, two steps back act.
    After falling in line with EU policy over sanctions, now announces that it will not allow weapons to transit its territory to Ukraine.

    IMO this is likely because if it blocked an (arguable) EU competence re. sanctions it faced the possible implementation of Union financial penalties.
    Whereas arms shipments are technically outside EU jurisdiction, so penalties unlikely.

  59. CSK says:

    I think they usually do pay over the market price.

  60. Kathy says:



    I had heard about it. I understand it was the completed, operational plane.

    It’s worth noting Antonov made other large lifters that are still in operation, only not that large. They may yet complete the one under construction, if they find the necessary financing. I’ve no idea how profitable the first one was.

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:


    AFAIK it’s a case of paying over market with the residual typically being a kickback to the domestic partner side of the equation for facilitating the transaction. Once it has closed, wait a bit, and then sell, or just rent it out. Either way, dirty money has become clean assets overnight.

  62. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Considering that the principle product/service of Trump Enterprises is promoting the Trump name, that’s probably still true even with a financial crackdown.

  63. CSK says:

    Yes. It’s a great way to launder money.

  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Was he having lunch with Hutch Hutchison?

  65. Sleeping Dog says:


    The weird thing about Lynn is that it sits on a lovely bay and is a slum surrounded by prosperous communities. In truth the cause of Lynn’s problems are similar to the cause of Lawrence’s. It’s not simply that they’re poor and that their industries disappeared, but both cities were let down by the fecklessness of their political and business leaders who chose to loot the crypt rather than move forward and rebuild the city. After all what has happened to Lynn, Lawrence and let’s also mention Springfield, happened to a dozen other cities in eastern Mass, most of which are doing OK today.

    In grad school we did a cursory comparison of the city plans of Lowell and Lawrence. By the early 60’s both were in about the same shape and headed in the same direction, down. But by the early 70’s there was evidence that Lowell could turn it around. A lot of that was based on political and civic leadership, but it was reflected in the city development plans of era. Lawrence would say something like “revive the mill district,” while Lowell’s would say “revive the mill district,” and to do that we need to make these investments that will cost X. Today Lowell isn’t a garden city, but it is a place that is moving in the right direction.

    One could also look at Haverhill, but Haverhill was smart enough to annex several townships to their east, Bradford etc, which were mostly farms and small villages. In the 50’s & 60’s those became Haverhill’s suburbs, but are still part of the city, giving them a strong tax base. That wasn’t an option for Lowell or Lawrence, since the surrounding communities were well established in the early 19th century.

  66. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: The “Global War on Terror” comes to mind, as does the “War on [SOME] Drugs,” but I suspect that’s not what you’re thinking of.

  67. Mister Bluster says:
  68. Scott says:

    @CSK: Now we have SPACs to do the same thing.

  69. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    This is an excellent analysis. I always thought one of the smartest things Lowell did was to have itself declared a national historic district. They should have a statue to Paul Tsongas on every corner.

    Lawrence is just…a mess. I saw some photos of Essex Street taken around 1900. It looked like the Rue de la Paix.

  70. Michael Cain says:

    As I recall, Gorsuch’s history in regulatory agency cases was precisely why he was nominated. Also seem to recall that the Dems didn’t ask him about it at all during committee hearings.

  71. MarkedMan says:


    Napoleon was generally thought to be sane; but he certainly made some fairly reckless, id not irrational, choices.

    I have no military background, but I’ve seen some commentary that Napoleon’s most ill advised decisions later on were based on his inability to realize his enemies had developed effective strategies against his most innovative military tactics, such as attacking in columns. He felt that the diminishing return of these tactics were due tohis generals being simply unable to drive the troops to the same level of morale and fervor that he was able to do personally when he developed those tactics. So, in essence, he overestimated the importance of spirit and failed to value the basic math of things like how many bullets could hit his columns before they reached the redeployed British ranks.

    I’ve heard the same thing said about Admiral Nelson on the British naval side, but with the important distinction that although the Captains fairly worshipped the ground Nelson walked on, they were first and foremost autonomous agents at sea once an engagement happened and so would do whatever they felt worked best in their specific situation.

  72. Kathy says:


    I find it hard to believe there are that many fools with that much money.

    My other operating hypothesis is that they are engaging in a public display of conspicuously wasting money for some reason.

  73. de stijl says:

    I found a super cool dude on YouTube today: Frank Watkinson

    He has 400k+ subs and has songs with a million plus views so has hit pretty big, but still he was brand spanking new to me as of this morning.

    He is an older guy – 70, 75 in that range – with an acoustic guitar in his living room doing kick ass covers. Sometimes he wears totally grandpa sweaters and he rocks that look so hard.

    Normally with acoustic covers shot at home, I usually hard pass. Meh. Why bother?

    But who in the eff does a cover of Lua by Brighteyes? It’s one of my favorite songs. Hardly anyone knows it. No one covers it. It is so sad it would make Gordon Gekko sob. And dude nailed it. Wow!

    Covered by a septuagenarian? I an 100% in on that! Subscribed in twenty seconds.

    He did a cover of Bowie’s Heroes 2 days back. Another lifetime fave. He does really cool covers. That cat has amazing taste.

    And he’s not a half bad guitarist at all.

    I am pretty stoked. Wish I had found him earlier.

  74. Scott says:

    Hadn’t heard about Russian mercenaries on TV or cable news:

    Volodymyr Zelensky: Russian mercenaries ordered to kill Ukraine’s president

    More than 400 Russian mercenaries are operating in Kyiv with orders from the Kremlin to assassinate President Zelensky and his government and prepare the ground for Moscow to take control, The Times has learnt.

    The Wagner Group, a private militia run by one of President Putin’s closest allies and operating as an arm-length branch of the state, flew in mercenaries from Africa five weeks ago on a mission to decapitate Zelensky’s government in return for a handsome financial bonus.

    Information about their mission reached the Ukrainian government on Saturday morning and hours later Kyiv declared a 36-hour “hard” curfew to sweep the city for Russian saboteurs, warning civilians that they would be seen as Kremlin agents and risked being “liquidated” if they stepped outside.

  75. de stijl says:

    I listened to Frank Watkinson sing Lua, and Heroes, and I’ll Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab back to back. Then, Wake Me Up When September Ends.

    Oddly, I encountered some weirdly persistent environmental allergen and my eyes watered the entire time. Who could have predicted?

    God damn, that man is so bad-ass.

  76. Sleeping Dog says:



    Even when I was in high school, late 60’s, Essex St, was vibrant shopping district. While the decline had begun, it wasn’t evident yet. Many of those shops were mom and pops, who kept them running because it was their living. But when they retired… Also they were kept alive during the 60’s by folks like my mother, who grew up in Lawrence and still viewed Essex St as the place to shop. By the early 70’s shops began closing and fear of the ‘other’ was perpetrated in local press. Not that there weren’t real problems.

    Tsongas and the people he brought into government in Lowell was the catalyst. He convinced the business community to invest rather than exploit. It worked. Actually his model were the old Boston/North Shore moneyed families led by Charles Francis Adam, plus the Sargent’s and Saltonstall’s, who convinced the rest of the old money to take a risk and invest in what became the 128 tech corridor.

  77. JohnSF says:

    There’s been a lot of comment from Ukrainians that the Chechen Special Forces they wiped out at Hostomel were tasked as a “kill squad” intended to carry out a rapid incursion into Kyiv centre and link up with Russian undercover units for a “decapitation” strike against the government.

  78. Joe says:

    TLDR: I fully believe that he expected this to be Crimea 2, but he underestimated the Ukrainians and he underestimated the EU / NATO.

    @HarvardLaw92: Crimea was supposed to be Russia’s dress rehearsal for this invasion. No one stopped to ask whether it was Ukraine’s.

  79. Kathy says:


    The GQP should be up in arms about enemy combatants any minute now.

    Any minute now.

  80. Sleeping Dog says:

    Switzerland had announce they will freeze Russian assets. Yesterday arms, today finance.

    I wonder what type of veiled threats the US and EU made to the Swiss, to move them off the sidelines.

  81. HarvardLaw92 says:



  82. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I know a guy who is a city planner for Lowell, Mass. He is a super smart, extremely competent professional. He is also a good person off work.

    Recently, I dated a city planner for Des Moines. She is also crazy smart.

    I sort of made it my business that the two of them should communicate and share. It seems to have taken root. Hopefully their professional relationship will last longer than my romantic one did.

  83. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m curious but think this situation might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Swiss and other similar hiding spots for wealth such as the Canary Islands have gotten some rather bad press lately. The Pandora Papers and Panama Papers did them no favors, and at some point you have to decide if the reputational risk is worth it. I’m wondering if being the clearing house for ill-gotten gains (finally) isn’t worth it.

  84. CSK says:

    Trump is demanding credit for saving NATO because he forced the member states to pay their dues.

    Of course, he also planned to destroy it during his second term.

  85. Kathy says:

    So, Rudy seems to be in legal jeopardy*.

    Seeing as the odds of Donnie the Cheeto ever wearing the orange jumpsuit range from microscopic to zero, putting the rest of his coup plotters in prison will have to do. he may find it harder to recruit willing partners in 2024, or DeSantis or whoever is the candidate might, if this current crop does hard time.

    To that end, I suggest it would be a mistake for te January 6 committee to offer Giuliani, or any other of the syndicate, immunity in exchange for testimony. Yes, it’s important to know what happened, and no doubt their testimony will besmirch Donnie as well.

    But 1) it’s more important they be tried, convicted, and jailed, and 2) we know the Orange base won’t believe a word issued by the January 6 committee, so that limits its usefulness.

    There’s also the faint hope that Rudy and the gang might offer so much evidence against Benito, that the DOJ will have no choice but to arrest and try him. say odds of 10,000 to 1 (I said faint).

    * That’s the best kind of jeopardy, lots of people say that.

  86. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:


    Why would that comment go to moderation. It was entirely anodyne.

  87. CSK says:

    Richard Blum, Dianne Feinstein’s husband, has died. He was 86.

  88. Sleeping Dog says:


    I suspect that most government around the world are tired of the wealthy hiding assets. Simply too much wealth has accrued to too few people. That in it of itself would be a good enough reason, then layer on what we see happening in Ukraine, and has happened elsewhere, while the populace suffers and finally the governments said enough it enough. If Biden introduced legislation tomorrow that went after the wealthy and their Swiss bank accounts, and campaigned on it, legislators in parties would vote for it. Despite the outrage from the donor class. The 1% is still only 1% of the votes.

    The world has changed since the Swiss began issuing numbered bank accounts. The choice for the Swiss, was likely give up some neutrality or lose your industry. Yesterday’s agreement to send arms may have been an attempt by the Swiss to placate the US and EU and it didn’t work.

  89. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Agreed. The problem is that there’s no way to verify someone is hiding money for a legitimate* vs. illegitimate reason.

    * A legitimate reason would be to reduce kidnapping threats, for example–but, that would have to be coupled with an overall lower visibility, which we just don’t seem to see that much anymore.

  90. Jen says:


    “overall lower visibility, which we just don’t seem to see that much anymore.”

    Oh lawd. This feels very Yogi-Berra-ish. What I meant is, there are a lot of people who are just okay with flaunting their wealth now, rather than that old-timey thing of just staying out of the public eye. Yeesh.

    Doing too many things today.

  91. Gustopher says:


    Many remember KAL 007 in the 80s.

    Gary Moore didn’t just remember, he wrote a hard-rock/light-metal song about it, “Murder In The Skies.” As the title suggests, he was opposed to shooting down civilian airliners — it was a brave stand.

    Mr. Moore was in Skid Row (not that one, the other Skid Row), Thin Lizzy (intermittently), and then did a solo career where he tried stuff like this, and then shifted to blues.

  92. Sleeping Dog says:

    Also saw this morning that Germany has decided to pause the closing of the remaining operational nuke plants.

  93. CSK says:

    That was always the old New England style: don’t talk about money and don’t flaunt it. Some carried this to extremes. There was a guy in my town who dressed like a ragpicker, but he was worth a couple of million.

  94. Sleeping Dog says:


    There is a growing consensus that there isn’t a legitimate reason for secretly hoarding money. One maybe able to make a case for some on the margins, but the abuse of the secrecy has gotten so great that it has become a danger. There are ‘numbered’ accounts where the owner is ID’d in the banks records and is available to law enforcement and tax authorities, but not revealed to anyone. That type of account should suffice for anyone worried about kidnapping. Besides, few with great wealth live like they’re clipping coupons to get by.

  95. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: When I lived in Madison CT last decade, this was still valid, at least in some cases. I never saw drug dealer rides there, no Ferraris, no Lambos, no Bugattis. But would occasionally see big, big buck classic cars on the road. You had to know classic cars to know they were an ostentatious display of wealth. What was really interesting was they would show up in the same diner “Car Night” parking lot displays as the hourly mechanic with a painstakingly restored 1973 Stingray.

  96. sam says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    But by the early 70’s there was evidence that Lowell could turn it around.

    Thanks, in no small measure, to Paul Tsongas. Lawrence wasn’t so fortunate in native sons (Leonard Bernstein wasn’t of much help).

  97. CSK says:

    There was a guy in my town who had a fleet of old cars, including a fully restored Checker Cab from the fifties, and he tooled around in these vehicles while clad in full-length cape, jodphurs, and riding boots. His name was something like Bertram Winthrop Winslow Cabot Lodge Saltonstall XVI.

    Madison is quite affluent. Isn’t it where Jacques Pepin lives?

  98. CSK says:

    Yep. Tsongas was the man. That’s why I say Lowell should have a statue of him on every street corner.

    Robert Goulet didn’t do much for Lawrence, either.

  99. JohnSF says:

    Both BP and Shell have announced they are divesting all Russian assets.
    BP holds 20% of Rosneft, on books for c.$14 billion plus $10 billion in accumulate exchange losses that will now fall on BP. Ouch
    Shell is Gazproms main foreign partner IIRC.
    This is going to hit some market funds pretty hard.
    (I have sneaking suspicion Treasury/Bank may have promised key funds special support facilities)

    Russian ships have been banned from docking in UK ports.

  100. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Agree–I bungled my comment. I am familiar with some people with significant wealth who deliberately flew under the radar–things such as getting vehicles armored (Volvos were a common choice, because the right angles/boxy shapes meant that the armor integrity was intact–and, it’s a well-built car that isn’t ostentatious). There was a heightened risk of kidnap as some of these were families I knew posted abroad, etc.–but, this was decades ago. The world has changed quite a bit.

  101. Sleeping Dog says:


    Absolutely. As I said he was the catalyst. He brought into government some very bright and motivated people. Yeah, Lawrence suffered through term after term of Irish/Italian grifters and when that string was finally broken by a Hispanic, he was a grifter as well. Though the current mayor is doing a good job, but when you’re dealing with a city on life support…

    When someone tells you that politicians don’t make a difference, Lawrence v. Lowell is case study for the opposing point.

    Sam, did you group up in Lowell?

  102. Sleeping Dog says:


    But Goulet and Bernstein certainly were from Lawrence. 🙂

    I don’t think Goulet ever looked back, but Bernstein late in his life did come back and direct a concert and conduct a masterclass.

  103. JohnSF says:

    Another big piece of maritime news: Danish shipping company Maersk announces it “may” stop all shipping to and from Russia.
    For those who don’t know, Maersk handles about 20% of global container traffic.

    Between this and the idiotic Russian trigger happiness in the Black Sea (they have struck Turkish, Romanian, Japanese and Moldovan merchant ship) Russia may be facing something approaching a de facto shipping embargo by next week.

  104. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I find it hard to believe there are that many fools with that much money.

    I don’t. Over the years I spent a whole lot of time in rich people’s houses wasting their money building stuff just because they had more money than they knew what to do with. Too many times I would build stuff according to the plans, and they would change everything just because… They could.

    What did I care if I got paid 3 or 4 times building the same damn thing just a little bit different.

  105. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, but raised in Lawrence, Mass. He graduated from Lawrence High School.

  106. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: The Guardian got a hold of a bunch of documents: Revealed: Credit Suisse leak unmasks criminals, fraudsters and corrupt politicians

    Massive leak reveals secret owners of £80bn held in Swiss bank
    Whistleblower leaked bank’s data to expose ‘immoral’ secrecy laws
    Clients included human trafficker and billionaire who ordered girlfriend’s murder
    Vatican-owned account used to spend €350m in allegedly fraudulent investment
    Scandal-hit Credit Suisse rejects allegations it may be ‘rogue bank’

    They had just begun publishing a series on it when Putin crossed the line and the story went on the back burner.

  107. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    The situation in Ukraine is terrifying me. Putin has painted himself into a corner (rationally or not, deliberately or not).

    At this point does anyone just see him backing down? Of course not. Full credit to Ukraine for defending more effectively than expected–but I don’t see an off-ramp for Russia and Putin from the current state. If things continue to go poorly for them they still have multiple military escalations available: They have a lot more forces to commit; they have not gone full “Chechnya” on Ukraine’s cities or even come close (not denying they have attacked civilian areas, just pointing out that they have not yet engaged in scorched earth tactics designed to destroy cities and kill everyone); and perhaps most frighteningly, Russia has never eliminated the use of tactical nuclear strikes in their military doctrine.

    The only thing more frightening than Russia making quick work of Ukraine, may be a Russia struggling in Ukraine but unable to back down and admit their expectations were dead wrong. There are very few non-military escalations left for the rest of the world. Complete SWIFT cutoff as opposed to partial, asset seizures, and China’s displeasure (which we have no control over at all). Any others?

    At some point, we are looking at a Russia and authoritarian Putin that is as much of a pariah as it’s going to get, and if they haven’t won, what happens next? A dictator like Putin CAN’T just say “oops” and retreat. He has to get a “win” of some sort that he can use as an off-ramp. At this point, what could that possibly be? Ukraine won’t just give up control of the entirety of the breakaway provinces, or a land bridge to Crimea. And they just signed paperwork to join the EU today, which is about as anathema to Putin as joining NATO. The “best” case for the world looks to be turning into the worst cast for Ukraine–a grinding Russian victory at enormous civilian cost but without any sort of nuclear escalation.

    I fear things are about to get much, much worse. And I have no idea what an appropriate response from NATO/Europe/rest of the world will be if Russia employs a tactical nuclear device on Ukrainian troops. What additional non-military responses are even feasible or theoretically useful? What military responses don’t end in a nuclear exchange of some size, up to and including the practical end of the modern world? Where is an off-ramp that Ukraine and Russia can both live with before this snowballs out of everyone’s control?

  108. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: If Biden introduced legislation tomorrow that went after the wealthy and their Swiss bank accounts, and campaigned on it, legislators in (?both?) parties would vote for it. Despite the outrage from the donor class.

    I want some of what you are smoking.

  109. Sleeping Dog says:


    Then like so many Lawrenceans, moved to NH. Lived in Plymouth for a number of years, maybe taught there, and had the farm in Derry on RT28 that is now a museum to him.

  110. Sleeping Dog says:


    Given how much hate R voters have for the rich, there would be votes.

  111. Sleeping Dog says:


    Smoking? An artisanal Humboldt Cty in a briar pipe.

  112. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, a lot of that seems to be echoed in the content I posted from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. There are multiple entries there for Credit Suisse.

  113. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yep. I’ve been past the Frost place a few times, as I’m sure you have.

  114. Sleeping Dog says:


    Not to forget a 5th grade field trip there when I was forced to sit next to girl on the bus. I was afraid I’d get cooties. 🙂 Then a few years later I had such a crush on her.

  115. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Okay, that made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

  116. JohnSF says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    Off ramping:-
    Need to balance to between a climb down cover, and avoiding Russia being granted in the conference chamber what it could not win on the battlefield.
    – Russia will almost certainly immediately revert to trying on the “reverse Munich” tactic it was attempting in the pre-war phase. Sod that.
    – Make it clear that if Russia returns to status quo ante key financial sanction (bank activity blocks, SWIFT cut-off, Russian Central Bank transaction block) will be suspended.
    – Offer a peace conference in say, Beijing (?); on the basis that the primary talks will be bilateral, between Russia and Ukraine
    – Offer Ukraine private promises of compensation if they make concessions; but without pressure
    – Making it privately plain to Russia that if it slaughters it’s way to an occupation, the West will fund and supply any insurgency Ukrainians undertake, and a new Cold War will last until it evacuates.
    – And any use of nuclear weapons will result in absolute disconnect sanctions, and maximum effort to extent that to all third countries. At minimum

  117. MarkedMan says:

    I find the blanket prohibition from using the N word or other slurs, even when reporting on those slurs, to be ridiculous. A major executive of a gigantic American company, Estee Lauder, has just been fired for posting a “racist meme” on Instagram. In five minutes of searching I’ve found dozens of articles about his firing, but not one actually reveals what he was fired over. This is stupid and childish, and certainly doesn’t fulfill a news sources obligation to inform the public.

  118. JohnSF says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    Incidentally, some reasons Russians have not (yet) gone full bore bombardment on Ukrainian cities:
    – Rather surprisingly, Ukrainian air defence continues to shoot down Russian aircraft. Russian defence suppression seems poor; and Russian air appears very reluctant to fling it’s planes and pilots into a meat grinder
    – The bulk of MLRS and gun artillery has probably not been moved up; Ukrainian dispersed defence seems to be playing hob with supply lines and secure routes for reinforcements.
    – Russians are facing a defence a lot smarter than that mounted by the Chechens, Georgians or indeed Ukrainian in 2014. Those experiences, and air supremacy/special forces war in Syria may have misled leadership about capability against a savvier opponent.
    – There is evidence that where Russia can move heavy artillery up, they are not shy in employing it.
    Numerous reports of pretty indiscriminate barrages in the suburbs of Kharkiv, for instance.

  119. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Me too. And I didn’t smoke back in the day at all.

  120. Mister Bluster says:

    The civil rights movement wasn’t easy for anybody.
    Sammy Davis, Jr.

    February is Black History Month.

  121. senyordave says:

    @MarkedMan: Took me one minute to find this:

    According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the controversy last week, one of Demsey’s Instagram posts bizarrely featured a “spoof” Sesame Street book cover.
    As Insider reported, the since-deleted meme referred to one of the characters using the N-word, saying he “done got the ’rona at a Chingy concert,” referring to the coronavirus.
    Demsey later posted a statement to his Instagram page claiming he had posted the image “without reading it beforehand” and said he was “terribly sorry and deeply ashamed.”

    In today’s business world “I didn’t read it” doesn’t cut it.

  122. sam says:


    Those experiences, and air supremacy/special forces war in Syria may have misled leadership about capability against a savvier opponent.

    Some Russians in Syria got a rough lesson.

  123. sam says:


    Those experiences, and air supremacy/special forces war in Syria may have misled leadership about capability against a savvier opponent.

    Some Russians in Syria got a rough lesson.

  124. sam says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  125. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: All 3 of them. And those 3 are DEMs.

  126. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Send me some. Or a source, please.

    @Jen: I saw after I posted that, that you had linked to the same stuff. My apologies.

  127. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I still have a crush on her. I wonder if it’s the same girl.

  128. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: – And any use of nuclear weapons will result in absolute MAD.

    As has been since the USSR got the bomb.

  129. JohnSF says:

    Use of Russian nuclear weapons upon Ukraine would not entail NATO nuclear response.
    Use on NATO state would.
    Then we all go together when we go.

  130. Mister Bluster says:

    I can still think back to the Cuban Missle Crisis in October of 1962 when I was 14 years old. The news reports came over the radio that missles were out of their silos in the western United States.
    “Not much I can do but wait and see what happens” I said to myself.
    Sixty years later I guess I will actually see what happens on my laptop.
    Somehow I have the idea that the Moscow–Washington hotline established in 1963 is all but useless today.

  131. Jax says:

    @JohnSF: So Putin can fire nukes on Ukraine and nobody would hold him accountable? What in the actual fuck?!

  132. de stijl says:

    I bought some Inglehoffer spicy brown mustard and used a big dollop on a bratwurst. Spread it around up and down and licked my finger after. Whew! Golly!

    Holy moly, that is a seriously assertive mustard! I like it! Inglehoffer is not fucking about, are they?