Little Did I Know: I’m pleasantly surprised such communities exist

I must be an innocent, or they are.  I only learnt just yesterday via Sophie Labelle (author of the wonderful “Assigned Male” webcomic) about Littles after she came out as one.  And down the rabbit hole I went.

Little, Middle, and Big ageplay is roleplay where people live or act as a different age or role in a relationship (e.g. partners acting as parent and child)There may be some “Rule 34” and BDSM, but that’s rare.  It’s a misconception (read: hateful propaganda) that this is anyway linked to pedophilia or that those involved would commit crimes.  Thus far, nothing I’ve seen suggests this is true.  It’s role play between adults or alone.

It’s primarily the search for “headspace” (definition 4 on Urban Dictionary), a place of safety away from the world and from responsibilities, the ability to things like playing with dolls, wearing clothes, watch cartoons, etc.  Some ageplayers are survivors of abuse who didn’t have normal childhoods.  Having a safe place to “play” and experience things they were denied as children can improve mental health.

I’m not a Little, but I can empathize with it.  Between violence and emotional abuse at home and bullying at school, there were a lot of normal child and teen experiences I never had.  Many of the social skills people learn as teens I didn’t learn until I started transitioning in my forties.  In some ways, I’m still a bit naïve and too trusting, but I’m enjoying my “second teens” and “early 20s” years, and having experiences and building relationships I never had before.

Little Lessons: Kink and Psychology

In the kink community, individuals may use different labels to describe what type of activities they engage in or how they identify. In this blog I am discussing the label/identifier of little.

A little is an individual who identifies as having a child-like attitude and/or behaviour. Many littles will identify as a specific age – with ages ranging from infant to toddler to pre-pubescent to teen. Individuals who identify as an older age may call themselves middles instead of littles.

Some, but not all littles, engage in power exchange relationships or kink dynamics with individuals who identify as Bigs. A Big is an individual who is nurturing and can sometimes take a quasi-parenting role. Other titles for Bigs can include Daddy, Mommy, a variant of the two, or more temporary caregiver roles – such as baby sitter.

[. . .]

I spoke with a different friend who felt they were not a little, but the more I got to know them the more I felt they had a little inside.  When I mentioned it, they seemed surprised! I was curious if their little was hiding because it was hurt and didn’t feel safe. This clicked for my friend; their little had indeed been hurt by ex partners and abusers. They realized that they didn’t allow that part out – it felt too vulnerable. They didn’t connect with their little because they didn’t feel safe.

Being able to express oneself whether through kink or some other practice should be celebrated. These expressions allow individuals to feel safe and whole. This is one of the little lessons I’ve received so far from the kink community.


It’s Painful To Hear: Music as a form of torture

A case of crappy entertainment (not “art”) imitating life:

August Burns Red is a third rate “christian metal” group.  Desperate for any media attention, they agreed to allow their “music” to be used in an episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles”.

In the episode, it was used in a simulated torture and interrogation scene, their unlistenable “music” played at excesive volumes.  The group knew and approved of its use in the scene either because they’re desperate for publicity, or because they approve of torturing Black and Brown people.

August Burns Red Music Used as Instrument of Torture on NCIS: Los Angeles

The February 14 episode of CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles, “The Frogman’s Daughter,” featured a plot point in which a character’s daughter is kidnapped and tortured via the use of “Bones,” a track from August Burns Red’s 2020 release, Guardians. You can watch the scene in question below.

What’s really great about this is that it makes for the rare story that every metal fan is sure to enjoy: August Burns Red fans will be happy the group got extra exposure, and August Burns Red haters will find that the jokes write themselves. Everyone wins.

Nobody wins.  Forget how crappy their “music” is, noise is torture and abuse.  And any show advocating and glorifying the use of torture as a plot point shouldn’t be on TV or in theatres (e.g. “24”)Torture doesn’t work, and everyone knows it’s only used by abusive sadists.

Unfortunately, the show’s use of music as a form of torture is not their own idea, it’s “ripped from the headlines”.  In 2014, the Canadian Industrial band Skinny Puppy learnt that their and other groups’ music was being used by military terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, torturing muslim people they had kidnapped.  The band took legal action, first filing a cease and desist order, then suing the US government for $666,000 in royalties.

More below.

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A Dubious Claim, I Think: COVID-19 and glasses

The preliminary version of a new study from India on COVID-19 was published but has not yet been peer reviewed.  I suspect it will see revision and a different argument made to explain its results.

The study claims that people who wear glasses have one third the risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to those without.  But their argument is that wearing glasses means they touch their face and eyes less than other people.  I suspect others reading this think the same thing I do.

Risk of Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among spectacles wearing population of Northern India


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spread mainly through respiratory droplets and contact routes. Long term use of spectacles may prevent repeated touching and rubbing of the eyes. Aim of the study is to compare the risk of COVID-19 in long term spectacles wearers with the risk in persons not using spectacles.

[. . .]


In this study, total 58 patients showed the behavior of using spectacles continuously during day time and always on outdoor activities. The risk of COVID-19 was found 0.48 in spectacles wearing population as compared to 1.35 in population not using spectacles. The calculated risk ratio was 0.36. The protective effectiveness of the spectacles was found statistically significant (p-value .00113).


The present study showed that the risk of Covid-19 was about 2-3 times less in spectacles wearing population than the population not wearing those. The nasolacrimal duct may be a route of virus transmission from conjunctival sac to the nasopharynx.

I suspect that the results are right, that those with glasses are less likely to catch COVID-19.

But isn’t it more likely that the glasses are serving as a shield, protecting the eyes and preventing droplets from entering?  So yes, wear glasses, goggles or better yet a full face shield.


A Bomb Dropped: In the form of a letter

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965.  Mujahid Abdul Halim (born Talmadge Hayer), Muhammad A. Aziz (Norman Butler) and Khalil Islam (Thomas Johnson) were convicted of the murder, but always maintained their innocence.  Given the history of cops falsifying evidence and extracting false confessions and false witness testimony, it’s completely unsurprising that they were innocent.

Ray Wood wrote a deathbed letter in November 2020, outlining how the FBI and NYPD conspired to assassinate Malcolm X.

New evidence in Malcolm X assassination points to possible conspiracy

Fifty-six years after the death of Malcolm X, lawyers revealed what they called new evidence of a conspiracy, perpetrated by the NYPD and the FBI to assassinate the Civil Rights activist in Harlem.

Ray Wood was an undercover police officer at the time – his family and their attorney now claim Wood wrote a letter on his deathbed confessing the NYPD and the FBI conspired to kill the Civil Rights activist.

Malcolm X was gunned down in February 1965 in Harlem during a speaking engagement. Wood’s family says in the letter that Wood wrote, he stated his responsibility was to ensure Malcolm X’s security detail was arrested days before the assassination.

The letter further states this move would guarantee Malcolm X not having door security at the Audubon Ballroom where he was killed.

Now Malcolm X’s three daughters, along with Wood’s family and high-profile Civil Rights attorney Ben Crump, are asking for the murder investigation to be re-opened in light of the new evidence.

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None Shall Pass: Israel’s newest form of apartheid

Israel received millions of COVID-19 doses in January, but has thus far only vaccinated Israelis, including the squatters living illegally on Palestinian land (those falsely labelled “settlers”).  The Israeli regime has refused to vaccinate Palestinians, and only began vaccinating medical personnel after international protest.  The general population of five million Palestinians are being denied vaccination.  They are being told they will have to wait months, which could kill thousands – IF they receive it at all, because much of the world is turning a blind eye to the situation.

Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers

Israel is celebrating an impressive, record-setting vaccination drive, having given initial jabs of coronavirus shots to more than a 10th of the population. But Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza can only watch and wait.

As the world ramps up what is already on track to become a highly unequal vaccination push – with people in richer nations first to be inoculated – the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories provides a stark example of the divide.

Israel transports batches of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine deep inside the West Bank. But they are only distributed to Jewish settlers, and not the roughly 2.7 million Palestinians living around them who may have to wait for weeks or months.

“I don’t know how, but there must be a way to make us a priority, too?” said Mahmoud Kilani, a 31-year-old sports coach from the Palestinian city of Nablus. “Who cares about us? I don’t think anybody is stuck on that question.”

Israel claims it is “not their responsibility to vaccinate the Palestinians” despite international law saying otherwise.  From Amnesty International:

Denying COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians exposes Israel’s institutionalized discrimination

The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said Amnesty International today.

On 23 December, the Israeli Health Ministry began the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Having already given initial jabs to more than a 10th of its population, Israel has been hailed as the country that has to date achieved the widest vaccination coverage in proportion to its population size. However, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan so far covers only citizens of Israel, including Israeli settlers living inside the West Bank, and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

Israel’s refusal to vaccinate Palestinians is now being weaponized to engage in another form of discrimination: medical apartheid.  Anyone who doesn’t have proof of a “green pass” (a verified COVID-19 vaccination) will be barred from many places and buildings.  And since it’s only the Palestinians who aren’t being vaccinated, they’re the only ones who will be denied access to many other places.  Don’t be surprised if this is used as a pretext to close down mosques.

Green Pass: Israel’s Covid-19 vaccination certificate opens fast track to normal life

People with the so-called “Green Pass” will get access to gyms, hotels and theatres, as more than 46 percent of its 9 million population get vaccinated.

Israel reopened swathes of its economy including malls and leisure facilities on Sunday, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by Covid-19 vaccines administered to almost half the population.

Shops were open to all, but access to gyms, hotels and theatres was limited to people with a “Green Pass”: those who have had both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior, or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity.

Pass-holders could prove their status by presenting a vaccination certificate or downloading a health ministry app linked to their medical files.

I’ll probably be accused of “anti-semitism” again for posting this.

Well, Shoot: This comes as no surprise

More proof that there is no connection between mass shootings and mental illness.  But there is between coping with life events (e.g. toxic masculinity).  Who could have predicted that other than all the people who already said it was true?

First report on mass shootings from Columbia University database

A research team at the Center of Prevention and Evaluation (COPE) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, led by Drs. Gary Brucato and Ragy R. Girgis, found that, contrary to popular belief, serious mental illness was present in only 11% of all mass murderers and in only 8% of mass shooters.

The study–the first published report on mass shootings from the Columbia Mass Murder Database–appeared online Feb. 17th in Psychological Medicine.

The investigators sought to gain much-needed insight into the relationship between serious mental illness and mass shootings. Creating the database involved extensive review of 14,785 murders publicly described in English in print or online, occurring worldwide between 1900 and 2019.

[. . .]

Dr. Brucato remarked, “The findings from this potentially definitive study suggest that emphasis on serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or psychotic mood disorders, as a risk factor for mass shootings is given undue emphasis, leading to public fear and stigmatization.”

Coauthor Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, known for his work on violence in psychiatric samples, noted, “These data suggest that other difficulties, such as legal problems, substance and alcohol use, and difficulty coping with life events seem more useful foci for prevention and policy than an emphasis on serious mental illness.”

From Cambridge University:

Psychotic symptoms in mass shootings v. mass murders not involving firearms: findings from the Columbia mass murder database


Mass shootings account for a small fraction of annual worldwide murders, yet disproportionately affect society and influence policy. Evidence suggesting a link between mass shootings and severe mental illness (i.e. involving psychosis) is often misrepresented, generating stigma. Thus, the actual prevalence constitutes a key public health concern.


We examined global personal-cause mass murders from 1900 to 2019, amassed by review of 14 785 murders publicly described in English in print or online, and collected information regarding perpetrator, demographics, legal history, drug use and alcohol misuse, and history of symptoms of psychiatric or neurologic illness using standardized methods. We distinguished whether firearms were or were not used, and, if so, the type (non-automatic v. semi- or fully-automatic).


We identified 1315 mass murders, 65% of which involved firearms. Lifetime psychotic symptoms were noted among 11% of perpetrators, consistent with previous reports, including 18% of mass murderers who did not use firearms and 8% of those who did (χ2 = 28.0, p < 0.01). US-based mass shooters were more likely to have legal histories, use recreational drugs or misuse alcohol, or have histories of non-psychotic psychiatric or neurologic symptoms. US-based mass shooters with symptoms of any psychiatric or neurologic illness more frequently used semi-or fully-automatic firearms.


These results suggest that policies aimed at preventing mass shootings by focusing on serious mental illness, characterized by psychotic symptoms, may have limited impact. Policies such as those targeting firearm access, recreational drug use and alcohol misuse, legal history, and non-psychotic psychopathology might yield more substantial results.

I Half Believe: Matt Pottinger’s appearance on Face The Nation

Matt Pottinger worked for Cheetolini as Deputy National Security Advisor.  Normally I would automatically discount anything coming out of anyone who worked for Cheetolini.  But enough of what he says matches what was in the news here in Taiwan and press releases from Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that it’s worth reading or watching the video interview (on the CBS website link below).

Interspersed with parts of the transcript are my own commentary and links to other sources.

Transcript: Matt Pottinger on “Face the Nation,” February 21, 2021

POTTINGER: The Chinese government was not sharing useful data with anyone in the world. The World Health Organization was parroting misinformation about this virus. They were- they were claiming that it is not featuring significant human-to-human spread. They continued for weeks, even months, to claim that there was not a significant amount of asymptomatic spread. So that misled our public health experts. I was able to call doctors on the ground in China in late January. And they were already telling me, look, this thing spreads asymptomatically. Half of the cases or more are asymptomatic. That was a different story from what the Chinese government was telling.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  Why is it that you were seeing and hearing things from doctors that the official health organizations were not getting

POTTINGER: We had about a dozen CDC officers in China. We have lots of CDC officers in the United States who deal with Chinese doctors. I had covered the SARS epidemic back in 2003 when I was living in China, writing for The Wall Street Journal. So I dusted off some of my old contacts and talked to Chinese doctors who had firsthand information about this pandemic. And they were very open. They said, yeah, this thing is not going to be like SARS 2003. It’s going to be like the 1918 flu pandemic because it’s spreading silently.

This is what Taiwan’s CDC and CECC did.  They heard rumours coming out of China, and several doctors went to Wuhan for first hand information.  As seen with whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang, there were individual medical doctors focused on stopping the disease, not playing politics.  It was they that the CDC and CECC obtained information from and put into action.

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Life Imitates: But I wouldn’t call it art

Comedy and tragedy would be more apt.

In January, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah posted this fake image of Hannity and Fox Nuisance, inferring that they were capable of such crass opportunism and rewriting of the past year’s events:

As it turns out, it wasn’t Fox Nuisance that did it.  It was Breitbart.

Nearly 100,000 in U.S. Died from Coronavirus in Biden’s First Month in Office

An estimated 99,763 people in the U.S. have died due to complications from the coronavirus during Biden’s first month in the White House, according to statistics provided by Johns Hopkins University.

When Biden first took office, the nationwide coronavirus death toll was 397,611. Just one month later, that number is on the cusp of 500,000, as  total numbers of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States reached 497,374 on Saturday.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised that rightwing liars and propagandists would be capable of it.  But this soon?


Cast Doubt, Then Cast Out: MI6’s ‘apology’ is empty of any remorse

MI6 (formally known as the Secret Intelligence Service) is the UK’s foreign intelligence service which spies on and in other countries. Richard Moore (a/k/a “C”), who is head of MI6, recorded a video apology to LGBTQIA people who in the past were forced out of MI6, their careers and lives ruined by witch hunts and false accusations of “being untrustworthy”.

MI6 boss apologises for past ban on LGBT staff

The new head of MI6 has apologised publicly to officers who were thrown out of the spy agency before 1991 when it operated a “wrong, unjust and discriminatory” ban on LGBT staff in its ranks.

Richard Moore, also known as C, released a short video statement acknowledging that “committed, talented, public-spirited people had their careers and lives blighted” because they were told gay people could not serve.

Problems continued after 1991, Moore acknowledged. LGBT staff who were employed when the ban ended were treated badly for not previously disclosing their sexuality, he said, and others who joined after 1991 were made to feel unwelcome.

During the cold war it was believed that same-sex relationships were a risk to national security, partly because of the prejudices of the time and partly because it was thought the information could be used as a tool for blackmail.

The ban persisted for nearly a quarter a century after homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967. MI6 said it was unable to say how many people had been kicked out or prevented from joining for security reasons.

Given MI6’s past actions, I’m untrustworthy of their motives in issuing this “apology”.   His words from two parts of the video:

Same sex relationships were decriminalized in 1967.  But until 1991, there was a security bar to LGBT+ individuals serving in our intelligence agencies because of the misguided view that they would be more susceptible to blackmail than straight people.  It meant that until 1991 being openly LGBT+ in MI6 would cause you to lose your job or prevent you from being allowed to join in the first place.

[. . .]

Even after the ban was lifted in 1991, its effects lingered. Some staff who chose to come out were treated badly for not having previously disclosed their sexuality during their security vetting. Others who joined in the period post-1991 were made to feel unwelcome. That treatment fueled a reluctance to be their true selves in the workplace.

Well, MAYBE if MI6 and society in general weren’t disciminating against LGBTQIA people and we could live openly, people wouldn’t have secrets and you couldn’t compromise them.  You can’t blackmail people who have nothing to hide.   The UK government’s circular illogic (“Why were you hiding it all this time instead of letting us fire you?  You must be untrustworthy.”) tells me they should catch the name MI-22 (massively inconsistent).

The weed goes on to say this, again in two separate parts of the video:

Being LGBT+ did not make these people a national security threat. Of course not. But the ban did mean that we, in the intelligence and diplomatic services, deprived ourselves of some of the best talent Britain could offer, ready to serve but denied that opportunity.

[. . .]

We still have more to do to become a fully inclusive employer and my goal for MI6 is to make it a workplace where you can always bring your true self to work.

The carefully scripted text and intentional separation of related points tells me they didn’t want them connected.  Because this isn’t an apology, it’s a recruitment video.  It’s an admission that they have a shortage of intelligent and skilled people.  And the ONLY reason they are changing their police is a shortage of warm bodies, just like every military that now accepts LGBTQIA applicants.  If the UK government wants LGBTQIA people to sign up, get rid of rightwing bigotry in UK society.

I suspect that MI6 wants to hire LGBTQIA people for the same reason police department used to hire women: dress them up as sex workers.  When LGBTQIA people can live openly and safely in many countries, MI6 needs people to lure them into sexually compromising positions, something cishetero binaries can’t make themselves do.

This applies as much to the US as it does to the UK, after Biden’s “signing statements” in his first month in office.  Obama only changed the US’s policy on LGBTQIA in the military because of recruitment shortages, not “inclusiveness”.  If he could have kept the policies of Bill Clinton and George Bu**sh**  (“don’t ask, don’t tell”, firing translators), he would have.  From 2002:

US army sacks gay Arabic experts

The United States Army has forced six linguists trained to speak Arabic to quit after they admitted that they were gay.The decision comes when American military and intelligence services are suffering from an acute lack of translators and interpreters needed for their war on terror.

The US military has a policy on homosexuality among its personnel – known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” – whereby homosexuals are not barred from serving as long as their sexual orientation remains private.

Three other linguists, two specialising in Korean and one in Mandarin Chinese, were also dismissed – one for being gay and two for being caught together when they should have been in separate rooms.

[. . .]

In the wake of the 11 September terror attacks in Washington and New York the US Government has been frantically trying to recruit more Arabic speakers.

“We face a drastic shortage of linguists, and the direct impact of Arabic speakers is a particular problem,” said Donald R Hamilton, who told Congress of the need for more linguists as part of the National Commission on Terrorism.

Cheetolini’s open hate was obvious, but Biden doesn’t deserve any cheers either.  He’s only changing back to Obama’s policy because Transgender people had proven themselves not to be a problem in the military.  The bigotry of cishetero binary people was, unsurprisingly.

My biggest issue with Biden?  On his first day, he only rescinded Cheeto’s ban on Trans people in the US military.  He waited until much later to do the same about equal rights protections for non-military Trans people (e.g. banning discrimination in housing, employment, health care, etc.).  Biden’s message was clear: “You’re good enough to die for the country, just not good enough to live in it.”  The protections for millions of civilian Trans people should have come first, not protections for thousands in uniform.

When Egos Inflate: They think they can say anything

PZM’s post on Limbaugh’s death and other recent news reminded me of a topic that’s been on my mind for a while, but couldn’t think of how to say it.  Now’s the attempt:

Limbaugh was a vile racist and fascist apologist who spewed conspiracy theories.  But was he doing that sort of trash talk in the 1990s as his popularity was on the rise?  Nowhere near as much.  He didn’t fully come out as human garbage until the early 2000s when he started working for ESPN.

No, this isn’t a “Hitler was good at first” defence of Limbaugh.  My point is that those who eventually become garbage usually didn’t start out that way.  When Chris Wallace was at NBC and Lou Dobbs was on CNN, was there any inkling that either would become fascist fanatics and apologists?  No.  At one time, they and others who went to Fox Nuisance were actually viewed as credible journalists.

It’s not limited to media or politicians. When pewdiepie (or putrid pile, as I call him) first became famous, there wasn’t even a hint of his neonazi beliefs.  Laci Green used to be intelligent until she “went red pill”, and used her former celebrity to lure her one time audience toward ignorant ideology.  We could say the same about certain ex-FtB bloggers who started swallowing pseudoscience and left the blog.

The late 1990s and early 2000s were the first decade of high profile atheism.  How would we now view Richard Dawkins had he died in 2010 before Elevatorgate and “Dear Muslima”?  If Hitchens died in 1999 before cheerleading Bush and the US invasions?  Sam Harris and Pat Condell had died before they exposed themselves as racists?  Very likely, their reputations would be very different.

So what happens that makes such individuals do this, what causes them to lose the plot?  In most cases, it seems to fall into one of two categories:

1) They reached a certain level of “untouchability” before feeling safe enough to do it. They became phenomenons and appealing to adversitizers, no matter what they said or did.

2) They said or did something that the public liked or agreed with, and assumed they could say or do anything and the public would still agree.  They made the egotistical mistake of assuming it was themselves that people liked, not an insight that they had.

This doesn’t mean it happens to everyone.  Just look at John Pavlovitz.  For years his ideas and insights have attracted a lot of public attention, and yet he managed not to become full of himself.  His latest pieces on Carano, Cheetolini and others are thoughtful and worth reading.

Always check your hat size at the door.  If mine grows, please slap me.

Texas Done Messed Up: Tim Boyd the gimboid resigns

Tim Boyd was the mayor of Colorado City, Texas until today.  He was forced to resign after one of the most tone deaf political statements that made Newt Gingrich’s victim blaming (“failure of citizenship”) look like a kind and tasteful gesture.

Ex Colorado City mayor catching heat for comments about citizens affected by cold

The now former mayor of Colorado City is catching some heat after a social media post berating citizens affected by the cold.

In a Facebook post made Tuesday morning, Tim Boyd wrote that it is “not the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice!”

Addressing power outages, Boyd writes, “The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!”

“Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish (sic),” Boyd continues.

He’s actually wishing and hoping for people to die of cold, as if the actions of republicans who caused the problem were blameless.

Texas deregulated the energy industry to maximize profit and to exempty large corporations (both energy consumers and producers) from accountability or acting in the common good.  When energy shortages happen (such as during the winter storm), the energy companies increase prices to make a profit rather than produce more energy to prevent people from freezing to death.

This happened exactly the same way and for the same reasons as California’s energy crisis of 2001, driven by greed and deregulation pushed by corrupt republiclowns.  They knew this was a potential disaster.  They wanted it to happen.

As Chris Hayes reports, Fox Nuisance and rightwing politicians are trying to blame windmills and clean energy for the disaster, rather than the dependence on a poorly built and fossil fuel dependent infrastructure.



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How Quickly Things Change: It’s only been a month

Joe Biden was sworn in on January 20th, and on of his first actions was to mandate wearing masks in government buildings and call for increased usage elsewhere.

Worldometers: US

On January 8th, the US peaked at 308,442 new COVID-19 infections.  On January 12th, the US peaked at 4,502 deaths.

On January 14th, the US had 400,000 death from COVID-19.  On February 17th, it has 500,000.  By the end of February, the daily average of US deaths will be half was it was in January.

On January 20th, the US had over 191,000 new COVID-19 infections and 4,400 deaths.  On February 16th, the US had 63,398 new infections and 1,787 deaths.

Since January 20th, the US has seen a decline in active cases.  It is the first decline since June 10th when active cases dipped below 1.1 million for one day.

Cripes, could you imagine how many new infections and deaths per day there would be if Cheetolini were still in power?  300,000 and 5,000?

Oh, wait, there would be zero infections and deaths, because everyone would be under orders to stop talking about it or reporting it.

A Minor Point To Make….

After much frustration with cheap membrane keyboards, I finally bought a mechanical keyboard with blue cherry switches.  Now I’m wondering why the bleep I never bought one before.

I love and miss Model M 101 keyboards.  I much prefer the five key home row (Control, Alt, Space, Alt Control) because the gap lets me know where my hands are without looking at the keyboard, thus I can type accurately.  Unfortunately I had to give mine up when I moved abroad, and no one here sells them.  I bought one from unicrap. . .I mean, Unicomp a few years ago, and it was broken out of the box.  They refused to replace or service it.  Don’t buy from them.

I bought cheap membrane keyboards for years because I could rip out the three unwanted, unused, and annoying keys: left menu, right menu, and function.  The Control and Alt keys were then smaller than I’d like, but at least there were the gaps I wanted.  But the problem with membranes is that they’re crap and don’t last very long.  I’m not a heavy gamer, and I can wear out one of them in 12-18 months.

So, after years of wasted plastics and money, I took the plunge(r) and bought a mechanical.  Cripes, it was expensive, five times what the cheap ones cost.  But, ooooooh, am I happy.

I’m a sloppy typist.  My fingers float closely and slide over the keyboard.  Overly sensitive membranes (or not sensitive enough) result in too many typos.  With a Model M or this one, you have to push down with effort to get a response.  I learnt to type on a manual typewriter (and still have one), so the harder keypresses and audible clicks are very satisfying and not hard to do.  Errors dropped to near zero immediately.

Now the only problem is that the thing glows like a blinking disco ball.  I changed the settings so it only glows slightly after I press a key (with a two second fade).  But if it’s not in use (i.e. I put the computer to sleep), it will start glowing on its own after a while if I don’t unplug it.  I’ll have to figure out all its functions.  Unfortunately, they’re all written in Mandarin.

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I’ll Tread Carefully Here: Same saddling of debt, different horse

“Same horse, different saddle” is a Persion idiom similar to an English language idiom containing “different day”.  I’m reversing it because it fits better here.

I’ll tread carefully and not draw conclusions on this post, but it should be pretty clear where this is going.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria has been named head of the World Trade Organization.  She is both the first woman and the first person from an African nation to be named head of the WTO.  On the surface, this looks like progress for women and giving African nations an equal seat at the world table.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes History As WTO’s First African And Female Leader

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former two-time Nigerian finance minister, was appointed Monday to the be the next director-general of the World Trade Organization. She is the first African and the first woman to lead the body, which governs trade rules between nations.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO,” David Walker, the WTO’s General Council chair, said in a statement.

Okonjo-Iweala said she was “honoured” to be selected to lead the organization, and vowed to take on global economic and health challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

But there’s another side to this story not being told in the media, and it’s a story that went untold in 2017 because the media didn’t want to tell it.

Nigeria is one of the many countries China targeted with its “belt and road” plan of world domination.  China “invests” in countries, saddles them with debts, and then either threatens to seize assets or demands to dictate the internal and foreign policy of the debtor nation.

Nigeria In Turmoil Over China’s Debt-Trap Diplomacy

Africa’s largest economy is in turmoil over the prospect of ‘losing’ its sovereignty to China over bad debts.

The Federal lawmakers of the national assembly are demanding a probe into China’s lending practices into Nigeria, in a wake of a sovereign guarantee clause in loan agreements that they consider ‘an entrapment of Chinese neo-colonial plans’.

Lawmakers fear that the clause could see Nigeria sign away its sovereignty in the event of a payment default.

The House of Representatives had attacked the government over clauses in Article 8(1) of the Commercial Loan Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Export-Import Bank of China.

In the said agreement, Nigeria stands to concede her sovereignty to China should there be a default in the repayment of the $400 million for the Nigerian National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone phase 2 project signed in 2018.

Why is this relevant?  Because Tedros Adhanom was appointed head of the World Health Organization in July 2017.  Tedros is from Ethiopia.  And Ethiopia is, like Nigeria, stuck in China’s debt trap: “Do what we say, or we’ll seize your assets.”

Ethiopia in talks with China to ease ‘serious debt pressure’ tied to New Silk Road rail link, envoy says

Ethiopia is renegotiating billions of dollars in loans from Beijing for a railway that links the Ethiopian capital to neighbouring Djibouti, to avoid being buried by “serious” debt woes tied to China’s controversial infrastructure push, Ethiopia’s top Beijing envoy said.

But despite the increasing debt pressure on Africa’s fastest growing economy, Ethiopian ambassador to China Teshome Toga Chanaka defended the ambitious trade and infrastructure plan known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” against criticism that it is a “debt trap” for developing countries.

We all know what happened at the WHO in 2019 an 2020, how it mishandled COVID-19, and how Tedros pandered to Beijing as a local disease turned into a worldwide pandemic.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa, Debt Risk and New Dependency: The Case of Ethiopia (PDF)

There are numerous examples of the tangible manifestation of China’s policy across Africa. Some recent large-scale projects have directed the spotlight on Ethiopia, where the Chinese presence has already been overwhelming: the first modern light railway (tram) system of Sub-Saharan Africa in the capital, Addis Ababa; or the Addis–Djibouti railway connecting the landlocked country to the maritime trade routes of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea aiming at improving the country’s port access.

It’s not just two countries.   China holds more countries debt in other nations than the World Bank and IMF combined.  This is Table 1 from the from the University of Florida’s African Studies Quarterly, the PDF linked above:

Table 1. Maximum amount of African government external 
debt owed to different creditors

Creditor grouping        Total debt owed     % of external debt owed

China                    US$100 billion      24%
Paris Club governments   US$ 40 billion      10%
World Bank               US$ 66 billion      16%
IMF                      US$ 18 billion       4%
Other multilateral       US$ 61 billion      15%
Private sector           US$132 billion      32%
(excl. Chinese private sector) 

Total                    US$417 billion
[Figures add up to 101 percent because of rounding]


This is not to suggest that such practices began with China.  The US, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been practicing disaster capitalism for decades, using the threat of debt to force other countries to enact policies that are detrimental to themselves.