Elites escape scrutiny for sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape, yet again

COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans


Anthony Faiola, “Canada’s Trumpian trucker protests show the global radicalization of anti-vaxxers,” Washington Post, February 8, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/08/trucker-freedom-convoy-radicalization-global/

Renatta Signorini, “Hospital leaders hopeful as covid cases decline, staffing remains an issue,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 9, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/hospital-leaders-hopeful-as-covid-cases-decline-but-staffing-remains-an-issue/

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Covid: Trucker protests may hit Super Bowl, US security agency says,” February 10, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60338090

Leyland Cecco, “Protesters defy order to clear bridge connecting Canada and US,” Guardian, February 11, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/12/protesters-defy-order-to-clear-bridge-connecting-canada-and-us

Amanda Coletta et al., “Police prepare to clear ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters on Ontario border bridge. Tear gas used on Champs-Élysées crowd,” Washington Post, February 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/12/canada-ottawa-trucker-protest-freedom-convoy/

Miguel Marquez, Jason Hanna, and Kim Berryman, “Canadian police begin attempt to clear protesters blocking Ambassador Bridge to US,” CNN, February 12, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/12/americas/canada-truckers-protests-covid-saturday/index.html

Kayla Tarnowski and Julio Cesar Chavez, “Key bridge to U.S. remains closed as Canada police clear protesters,” Reuters, February 13, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-protesters-police-deadlocked-tensions-simmer-blocked-border-bridge-2022-02-13/

Brian Wilk, “US Freedom Convoy met with support as they make stop in Erie,” YourErie.com, February 13, 2022, https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/us-freedom-convoy-met-with-support-as-they-make-stop-in-erie/

Miriam Berger et al., “U.S.-Canada border crossing reopens after six-day blockade by ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters,” Washington Post, February 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/13/canada-freedom-convoy-border-blockades-truckers/

Amanda Coletta et al., “Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act against Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ trucker protest,” Washington Post, February 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/14/canada-ottawa-trucker-protests-bridge/

Paul Vieira and Kim Mackrael, “U.S.-Canada Bridge Reopens After Police Clear Protest,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/canadian-police-begin-to-clear-protesters-disrupting-cross-border-bridge-traffic-11644759497

Amol Rajan, “Novak Djokovic: I’m not anti-vax but will sacrifice trophies if told to get jab,” British Broadcasting Corporation, February 15, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60354068


Jeffrey Epstein

Once again, we escape a reckoning for the relationship between power and sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape.

[Jeffrey] Epstein, a multimillionaire and registered sex offender with ties to celebrities and politicians including President
Trump and former president Bill Clinton, was arrested last month on federal sex trafficking charges that could have
put him in prison for 45 years. Prosecutors alleged he abused dozens of young girls at his homes in Manhattan and
Palm Beach, Fla., and enlisted his victims to bring him others.[1]

People following Jeffrey Epstein’s long saga have expressed frustration that his larger network has never been properly interrogated. After Epstein’s death in prison and Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, which was limited in scope, the last hope to understand the breadth of his influence hinged on a lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew. That hope may now be dead after she settled her case against the British royal on Tuesday.[2]

Jeffrey Epstein’s former pilot named Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Itzhak Perlman, Prince Andrew, Senator George Mitchell, Senator John Glenn, Kevin Spacey as passengers on Epstein’s plane but was not witness to any sexual activity or signs of sexual activity.[3]

Choire Sicha, “The Last Chance to Learn Jeffrey Epstein’s Secrets Closes,” New York, February 15, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/02/jeffrey-epstein-prince-andrew.html

Shayna Jacobs, “Prince Andrew settles with U.S. woman who says she was trafficked to him by Jeffrey Epstein,” Washington Post, February 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/02/15/andrew-giuffre-settlement-epstein/

Will Pavia, “Prince Andrew’s payout to Virginia Giuffre ‘is worth its weight in gold’ for Queen,” Times, February 16, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prince-andrew-and-virginia-giuffre-agree-settlement-in-sexual-abuse-case-q257kth5m


Ukraine

As I’ve been saying, really since Jon Allsop said it,[4] everything we’re hearing on Ukraine is bullshit. So last Friday, February 11, Nick Schifrin tweeted that Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine and that the invasion would likely begin in what is now this week causing all sorts of agitation, agitation that seems, now anyway, to have been unwarranted.[5]

Friday’s kerfuffle was just another installment of what the Biden administration calls “strategic communications,” but is better understood as information warfare. Last week, a certain kind of conventional wisdom had set in that if [Vladimir] Putin did invade, he would wait until after the Olympics were over, so as to not anger the man he needs the most right now, Xi Jinping. There was a sense that we could wait to worry about Ukraine until after the closing ceremonies. We were comforted and our attention wandered, which meant that the pressure on Russia was easing. So the White House acted, releasing information to snap us back to attention and blow apart the idea that Ukraine was safe until the Olympics were over. Not only had the troop build-up continued, the White House countered, but Putin was about to pull the trigger.

In private, administration officials were more circumspect. Despite the movement of troops, the fundamentals hadn’t really changed, they said. An invasion was still extremely likely and they believed Putin would act sooner rather than later. But given that they’ve been saying that consistently, for the last two months, it’s becoming harder and harder, at least for me, to get as agitated about the imminent outbreak of World War III than it was, say, a month ago.[6]

But it’s hard not to worry. Julia Ioffe also writes,

Vladimir Putin has virtually encircled Ukraine with an unprecedented number of soldiers, tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery installations, ships, and the logistical backup required to support this war machine. And, as observers have pointed out, all of this is being done out in the open, for all to see. The Kremlin continues to say it has no plans to invade Ukraine and that it is simply conducting perfectly legal military exercises, but that is, quite obviously, a lie. Putin has built this military presence on Ukraine’s borders at the same time as he publicly drew his “red lines,” and as his foreign minister warned of the “nightmare” of war in Europe. He has spoken openly this winter of keeping up the pressure until the West takes his demands seriously and gives him what he wants—or at least some of it. Ukraine is the unfortunate hostage in this game of chicken between Moscow and Washington.[7]

Still, it does seem like the Biden administration has a plan:

Here’s the rub: the Biden administration is using this novel technique [“strategic communications”] to get something not to happen. To do this, they’re trying to ramp up the fear that something will happen.

The idea is to take away Putin’s favorite tool: unpredictability. There are few things the man seems to hate more than being forced to do things on someone else’s timeline, on someone else’s terms. Announcing, or even leaking, that Putin is going to invade next week is a pretty good way to make sure Putin doesn’t invade next week. And the longer you can push off a potential invasion, both with diplomacy and this kind of weaponized leaking, the longer his troops are waiting in the cold and the mud, the less potent the threat becomes—hopefully. (Plus, the two things can be interrelated: leaking can buy more time for diplomacy and thus, hopefully, end the standoff without a shot being fired.)[8]

Ioffe seems to think it’s working and seems very cautiously optimistic that the probability of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is diminishing.[9] Let’s hope.

Jon Allsop, “The one person who knows what Putin is thinking,” Columbia Journalism Review, February 14, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/putin_ukraine_state_media.php

Vivian Salama and Alan Cullison, “U.S. Is Closing Kyiv Embassy, Relocating Diplomatic Operations to Western Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-is-closing-kyiv-embassy-relocating-diplomatic-operations-to-western-ukraine-11644864455

Nahal Toosi to Global Insider list, “A thin line between love and war,” Politico, February 14, 2022, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/global-insider/2022/02/14/a-thin-line-between-love-and-war-00008565

Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/


San Francisco Schools

When I was a kid, I thought Los Angeles had too much influence in California politics. Today, there can be no question that San Francisco is a Democratic Party powerhouse; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and California Governor Gavin Newsom are merely current examples—there are many more historically and still more if you broaden your scope to the Bay Area—of important U.S. politicians all hailing from San Francisco. But if there is or ever has been an intelligent person in the San Francisco political establishment, I’ve yet to hear of them. They’re all fucking idiots; while one or the other may be or have been a savant in the psychopathic[10] exercise of political power, their treatment of issues is and always has been superficial at best. This recall[11] merely rearranges three deck chairs on the Titanic. It solves nothing.

Jill Tucker and Annie Vainshtein, “S.F. school board recall: Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga ousted,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2022, https://www.sfchronicle.com/sf/article/S-F-school-board-recall-Alison-Collins-16922351.php


McKeesport

In Clairton, upstream from McKeesport, an old hotel with views of the U.S. Steel Clairton Works plant is being redeveloped. Somebody is pouring millions of dollars into the effort. And I wonder who would put that kind of money into Clairton’s downtown. It doesn’t appear to be a redevelopment agency and I saw nothing in the news about it.

That hotel reminds me of a restaurant in a not so great neighborhood some old friends went to in the San Jose area. They said that every time they went in, the place was empty. The service and food were excellent but clearly, this restaurant was not about being a restaurant. Their dark suspicions were that it was a front for organized crime, perhaps for laundering money.

Like McKeesport, Clairton’s downtown is blighted. If there’s any money in town, it’s hard to see. And it’s hard to see how prospects for Clairton or McKeesport improve under capitalism. Except perhaps with organized crime.

But in McKeesport, the city is trying anyway.[12] I can’t fault them for trying. That city, warts and all, is what they’ve got. But I wonder if they can even begin to imagine the uphill struggle they face.

Rich Lord, “In McKeesport, a demolition drive pauses at the door of a once-glamorous hotel,” Public Source, February 14, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/mckeesport-rising-penn-mckee-hotel-kennedy-nixon-cherepko-preservation-demolition/

Rich Lord, “Saving McKeesport’s Penn McKee Hotel would cost millions, but the mayor wants to give it a try,” Public Source, February 15, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/mckeesport-penn-mckee-hotel-preservation-cherepko-great-allegheny-passage/


Intractable polarization

Jennifer Rankin, “ECJ dismisses Hungary and Poland’s complaints over rule-of-law measure,” Guardian, February 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/law/2022/feb/16/ecj-dismisses-hungary-poland-complaints-eu-rule-of-law-measure


  1. [1]Matt Zapotosky et al., “Jeffrey Epstein dead after ‘apparent suicide’ in New York,” Washington Post, August 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/jeffrey-epstein-kills-himself-in-jail-according-to-media-reports/2019/08/10/a3d48862-bb73-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html
  2. [2]Choire Sicha, “The Last Chance to Learn Jeffrey Epstein’s Secrets Closes,” New York, February 15, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/02/jeffrey-epstein-prince-andrew.html
  3. [3]Lauren del Valle and Eric Levenson, “Jeffrey Epstein’s former pilot testifies Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew flew aboard Epstein’s private plane,” CNN, November 30, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/30/us/ghislaine-maxwell-pilot/index.html
  4. [4]Jon Allsop, “The information war over Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, January 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/ukraine_russia_america_britain_media.php
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  6. [6]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  7. [7]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  8. [8]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  9. [9]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  10. [10]George Monbiot, “Outer Turmoil,” June 17, 2019, https://www.monbiot.com/2019/06/17/outer-turmoil/
  11. [11]Jill Tucker and Annie Vainshtein, “S.F. school board recall: Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga ousted,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2022, https://www.sfchronicle.com/sf/article/S-F-school-board-recall-Alison-Collins-16922351.php
  12. [12]Rich Lord, “In McKeesport, a demolition drive pauses at the door of a once-glamorous hotel,” Public Source, February 14, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/mckeesport-rising-penn-mckee-hotel-kennedy-nixon-cherepko-preservation-demolition/; Rich Lord, “Saving McKeesport’s Penn McKee Hotel would cost millions, but the mayor wants to give it a try,” Public Source, February 15, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/mckeesport-penn-mckee-hotel-preservation-cherepko-great-allegheny-passage/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.