Links 1/14/2021

What can corporations do to help save the ocean? Al Jazeera

Dire wolves went extinct 13,000 years ago but thanks to new genetic analysis their true story can now be told The Conversation (The Rev Kev)

Saudi Arabia Puts the Future of Cities on THE LINE Treehugger

The other virus that worries Asia BBC

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Charged With Willful Neglect of Duty Over Flint Water Crisis WSJ

Russian Cosmism: a national mythology against transhumanism The Conversation


The erotic origins of Italy’ most famous sweet BBC


We may have only weeks to act before a variant coronavirus dominates the US MIT Technology Review

Initial Israeli data: First Pfizer shot curbs infections by 50% after 14 days Times of Israel

China’s vaccine falls short of Western-set standard Asia Times (UserFriendly)

Mother-of-two Covid hoaxer, 30, who took pictures inside four hospitals to falsely claim they were ’empty’ in anti-lockdown campaign is fined £200 Daily Mail

The Pandemic Necessitates a New Approach to Health Care American Compass. Marshall Auerback.

Critics Say Expensive Masks Place Burden on the Poor Der Spiegel

One Mask Is Good. Would Two Be Better? NYT (David L)


DUP’s Brexit ads: Who bankrolled the secretive £435,000 campaign?Irish Times


German CDU on verge of electing divisive figure to replace Angela Merkel Guardian

Capitol Seizure

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says Trump was banned after ‘threats to physical safety both on and off the social media platform’ but admits it sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ – as Snapchat also permanently suspends him Daily Mail

Trump Was Dangerous But the Solution is Not to Give More Political Power to Unrivalled TechGiants Counterpunch

TOI headline becomes online blockbuster Times of India

Questions swirl around possible ‘insider’ help for Capitol attack CNN

9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail Strategic Culture Foundation. Pepe Escobar

Facebook Has Been Showing Military Gear Ads Next To Insurrection Posts Buzzfeed (Dan K0

When government becomes destructive The Hill (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

EXCLUSIVE-FAA chief vows ‘zero tolerance’ approach to disruptive passengers, warns of possible jail time Reuters

Donald Trump finally discovers a spotlight he wants to ignore Politico

In Wisconsin, hidden flaws in new proposal for electoral votes Princeton Election Consortium. UserFriendly: “This would be a hilarious self own.”


Trump Impeached Amid Efforts to Silence Him Consortium News

In Historic House Vote, Only 10 Republicans Join Democrats to Impeach Trump for Inciting Insurrection Common Dreams

McConnell says he’s undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump The Hill

Biden Transition

Interventionist Samantha Power is latest pick to serve in Joe Biden administration as USAID head RT (The Rev Kev)

Biden expected to include new child benefit in major new stimulus proposal WaPo (UserFriendly)

Dems eye punishing Republicans who challenged Biden’s win Politico

Class Warfare

Unionizing Google Workers: We Want Democracy at Work Jacobin

The C Word Dublin Review of Books

What’s Wrong with the Way We Work New Yorker

‘Lazy,’ ‘Money-Oriented,’ ‘Single Mother’: How Union-Busting Firms Compile Dossiers on Employees Motherboard

The SEC Undermined a Powerful Weapon Against White-Collar Crime ProPublica

The Rosenberg Orphans and the Power of Radical History Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Health Care

Combination of two drugs can help treat methamphetamine addiction for some, new clinical trial data shows Stat


Wakashio : 45 patients ont des symptômes et pathologies liés directement avec la marée noire, selon l’ONG Eco-Sud  Le Défi


De-Classified US Govt Paper Says India Can Counterbalance China, Beijing Slams the Document The Wire

The BRICs at 20 Project Syndicate. Jim O’Neill

Antidote du Jour (via):

See Yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Halcyon

    What a world it must be to live in Marjorie Taylor Green’s mind. What does the political spectrum look like in her world? Does she believe she is in the centre of the political spectrum, perhaps with some actual Neo-Nazis and 6MWE-hoodie types to her right? Soft, cushy liberals and leftists like Mitch McConnell slightly to the Left? And Joe Biden, who, as I’m sure we can all agree, is the most radical Communist ever to hold public office anywhere in the world.

    But now private businesses like the Marriott hotel and the Commerce Bank are also Communists. That will presumably come as a shock to them, too.

    Mind you, I suppose there are not a few liberals who have the same distorted political spectrum – a horseshoe where they sit at the centre, and at the other end we have those dogged agents of Vladimir Putin, Bernard Sanders and Donald Trump.

    How can you attempt to triangulate to appease such people, or the imaginary moderates?

    In other news, I can’t recall if this featured on a previous link, but the role of Tether in the latest tulip-mania Bitcoin run has been written about a bit

    The irony will be wonderful if everyone paranoid about the Fed “printing money” and leading to runaway inflation buys an “””asset””” as an “””inflation hedge””” that totally collapses because it essentially has its own Fed that is actually printing money

    1. Phillip Cross

      “How can you attempt to triangulate to appease such people, or the imaginary moderates?”

      Did you read ,”The Welding Shut of the American Mind”?

      It’s from a few months ago, but I thought it was an interesting take. I don’t know if was linked here.

      Long story short: Sophist demagogues and echo chambers have caused extreme polarization and many of our minds to become ‘welded shut’, and it will be difficult to open them to alternatives soon, if ever… But it’s more in depth, balanced and interesting than that sounds.

      1. Maxwell Johnston

        Epsilon Theory is one of my favorite sites, and that particular article (based of course on Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind”) was superb. The USA has many complex issues to deal with, and I’m not optimistic that it will be successful. Of course Rome dealt with its issues unsuccessfully for 400+ years, so I expect we will be dealing with the USA for some time yet.

        1. Young

          Keep in mind that it took at least a few weeks for the outposts to hear what was happening in Rome during its decline.

          Now, we know what will happen in DC even before it happens.

          400+ years should be scaled accordingly.

        2. Wukchumni

          The kindling to the closing of our minds is what i’d call Fortnight Memory, we can think back a week or forward a like amount, but that’s it.

          This contraption stores all the information for us, and what’s the jibe about not owning the platform you’re wholly dependent on?

          For some 70,000 years our ace in the hole to perpetuating a way of life was remembering, and then we discarded it.

    2. km

      TLDR: “Everyone I Don’t Like Is A Commie!

      Goodthink liberals do something similar, except they use the words “fascist” or “Russian” in place of “commie”.

    3. fresno dan

      January 14, 2021 at 7:10 am
      Martin convinced her supporters that superior beings from a planet called Clarion sent her messages promising they would save her followers if they would only become true believers.

      Dr. Laughead further explained, “There will be a tidal wave, a volcanic action, and a rise in the ground extending from Hudson’s Bay [in Canada] to the Gulf of Mexico which will seriously affect the center of the United States. There will be much loss of life, practically all of it, in 1955. It is an actual fact that the world is a mess. But the Supreme Being is going to clean house by sinking all of the land masses as we know them now and raising the land masses now under sea.”
      A person with conviction is nearly impossible to reason with, even when presenting them with facts to the contrary. Festinger wrote:
      Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view.
      I think a good deal of what Trump says is true enough, e.g., Washington is a swamp, Russiagate is a hoax, manufacturing in America was gutted to enrich the rich, woke endangers freedom. Never the less, as I have often mentioned, I despise Trump.
      In the last two elections, our choices have been Trump, Clinton, and Biden – and as I have frequently mentioned, every presidential election the choices get worse. At a time where the all pervasive political class espouses incessantly that America is a shining city on a hill, the indispensable nation, what problems exist are eminently solvable under our current system (but somehow never get solved…)

      Remember the shock and horror of the media at Trump’s inaugural when Trump spoke: This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
      It doesn’t matter to Trump supporters that Trump didn’t stop it, or even didn’t try – what matters is that Trump said what is REALITY for many supporters and non-supporters, and what CANNOT be said by practically anyone else in the elite. And ironically, the worse the US becomes due to Trump malfeasance, incompetency, lethargy, the more his supporters can accurately state that the world is going to heck in a handbasket…the more afraid they become of losing what they have, or of losing more…

      1. Halcyon

        I quite agree that Trump and the “””populist right””” often make valid points which they can make as anti-establishment types. It frustrates me to listen to a lot of right-wing talking points, as I do, and find myself agreeing with approximately half of them and then, in general, vehemently disagreeing with the solutions that are proposed, which are generally dire. “He tells it like it is” is not about Trump’s inherent truthfulness but a deep-seated, and accurate, suspicion that business-as-usual, as represented by Clinton, is not good enough; that the establishment is corrupt and has sold out the people. Those things are accurate. A rag-tag bundle of ideologies attached themselves to that, alongside an insanely narcissistic and not particularly bright individual, and you have the last four years. It is hard to see how things can improve. The Capitol storming has further opened fissures in the Republican party, and has punctured a hole in Trumpism in a way I don’t think we’ve seen before, but it feels like this just empowers establishment Dems and BAU.

        1. fresno dan

          January 14, 2021 at 11:58 am

          I agree 1,000%. I sometimes think NC is one of the very FEW places where the proposition CAN be stated that BOTH Russiagate was nonsense AND Trump lost the election.

          One wonders what percentage of the population agrees with that, but it seems that the financial incentives of our TV media preclude acknowledging what I believe are two rather pedestrian observations that require minimal amounts of intellectual honesty.
          I have to say, I have always found the NEED for the incessant self aggrandizement of the US by its own inhabitants rather telling – it seems to indicate a deep seated insecurity and suspicion that the country is not as full of free, brave individuals as proclaimed. The same type of propaganda that proclaims every body in the military a hero, therefore every military operation ipso facto heroic…

          1. Wukchumni

            Fresno dan, why not 999% or 1,001% instead?

            “1000 percent” or “1000%” in a literal sense means to multiply by 10. In American English it is used as a metaphor meaning very high emphasis, or enthusiastic support. It was used in the 1972 U.S. presidential election by presidential candidate George McGovern who endorsed his running mate, Thomas Eagleton, “1000 percent” following a scandal, then soon after dropped him. Communication experts Judith Trent and Jimmy Trent agree with journalist Theodore H. White who called it, “possibly the most damaging single faux pas ever made by a presidential candidate.


            1. fresno dan

              January 14, 2021 at 12:40 pm

              Good point – I support your point 1,000%…I mean 999.99%
              What ever happened to Eagleton?

    4. The Historian

      I wouldn’t worry too much about Marjorie Taylor Green. There has been a vacuum in Congress for Michele Bachmannn’s position as resident wing nut and she is just one of the contenders.

    5. JBird4049

      In fairness, the John Birch Society probably agrees with your description, which means too many Republicans and their overlords do as well.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia Puts the Future of Cities on THE LINE”

    You know, I have just the transport system in mind if that project went ahead. SciFi author Robert Heinlein wrote a story called “The Roads Must Roll’ back in 1940. In it, highways and railways were replaced by a new and complex network of moving conveyor strip sidewalks called “the roads” which were capable of traveling up to 100 mph. So instead of cars moving along a road, the roads themselves rolled on a set of rollers with slower speeds on the outer edges and higher speeds as you moved in. But as the Saudi Arabian economy is threatening to swirl around an economic toilet, I doubt that this project will go ahead. Here is an article about this recurring idea-

      1. Winston Smith

        An elaborate system of variable speed moving sidewalks was described in Isaac Asimov’s “Caves of steel”

    1. Synoia

      Heinlein also included a passage where one of the “belts” broke and killed many. The “belts” were very large single points of failure, which are very difficult, or impossible, to keep ruining continuously and safely.

      Maintenance is the issue. Stopping and starting a large object is non-trivial.

      If it a large system. is not running, Management are under pressure to perform, Ignorance about details, while simultaneously having the liability of error.

  3. FreeMarketApologist

    “Facebook Has Been Showing Military Gear Ads Next To Insurrection Posts”

    Well, yes, of course it has. Hardly news these days. An advertising engine that matches words used in insurrection posts to categories of goods related to those words is going to select ads that advertisers have tagged to those words.

    This site, this morning, has displayed ads for (“Supplies for the Conservative Revolution”) and (NY police dept uniforms and “Lifestyle” accessories), containing many of the same products noted in the article. My browser history and cookies contain an absolute minimum of information that identifies me and my browsing trends, so it’s unlikely the ad selection is being driven by my preferences (I usually get ads for industrial equipment and precious metals sites, I’d prefer ads from arts organizations and architectural history sites).

    I remember a discussion here a while back about Yves’ work to limit the categories and types of ads shown, and it’s a never ending game of ‘outwit the algorithm’ and managing countless categories of goods, most of which can be gamed by the advertisers (or the selection algos).

    1. Cocomaan

      I can’t browse the internet without an ad blocker these days. It makes it a much better experience. Facebook still tries to show ads but a lot of them get shut down.

      1. John Zelnicker

        The Opera browser has a very efficient built-in ad-blocker that most sites don’t recognize. It also has a free VPN. I’ve used it ever since Navigator disappeared. I think Lambert uses it, too.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I had to abandon Opera. I was using their Opera Link to sync tabs and passwords, and I looked once in Facebook at the partner-shared data, and saw “Opera” appearing as a reporting source frequently. I stopped using Opera, deleted these data points from Facebook, and they never returned.

          So Opera was sharing some of my browsing data (all?) with Facebook without my permission.

          The key Opera developers all decamped to start Vivaldi several years after Opera was bought out by a Chinese VC firm, which is the browser I use now.

          So be careful!

          I’ve been using AirVPN as a VPN; It’s based in Europe. No issues so far, although it’s not as easy to set up as one of the US multinational offerings.

          Good luck!

          1. JeffC

            I’ve been using AirVPN for over a year and am much happier with it than I was with the better-known brands I used before. The higher security makes setup a bigger pain, but still I managed it on iOS, an Android TV, and a router, possibly their three most challenging setup environments.

            I hope we are not too far off topic. Dodging corporate surveillance seems both a universal good and likely of wide interest here.

        2. ilpalazzo

          Modern (post 2016 or so Chinese buyout) Opera doesn’t have very good credentials these days.

          Here is an article by an admittedly paranoid software developer about browser security. Worth reading about various browsers to learn about various issues.

          I myself have been using Vivaldi for a few years which is a new development of the original Opera creators.

          1. John Zelnicker

            January 14, 2021 at 1:12 pm

            Thank you and thanks to Jason Boxman above.

            I will look into Vivaldi and AirVPN as soon as I get the time. As a tax accountant, I’m pretty busy right now.

            My involvement with Opera in their user forums was back in the day when they were trying to break into the big time by being the most accurate at rendering HTML according to the W3C (?) protocols. They were far better than the major browsers at the time.

    2. km

      I have often read that the tech companies have such granular information on ever internet user, how their algorithms enable them to know us and our preferences better than we know ourselves.

      In my case, judging from the ads sent my way, I can safely say that that is bull.

      In particular, the political ads seem to assume that all Americans can be safely divided into “smug Resistance” and “meathead Trump supporter” and no other categories.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Has anyone suggested reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine and applying it to the algorithms of the new tech communications era.

        The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011.

        The self enforced information bubbles most people live in must be broken before we can have rational discussions on the many issues that we have to solve in the near future.

        1. pasha

          the “fairness doctrine” was predicated on the rationale that f.c.c. gave radio and then t.v. licenses to operate on public airways, so could demand fairness. unfortunately, government has no such licensing role with cable, much less internet streams, so it would require legislation (subject to heavy first amendment attack) to impose the doctrine on newer media.

          not that it isn’t needed, and could still be reinstated to require balance on radio and t.v., which still have surprisingly large audiences

      2. Rock Hard

        I formerly worked in adtech and that’s true from the demand side: one can parse users into all kinds of bizarre segments. The problem is as an advertising vendor, you have to match that to the supply side, that is, the people who want to buy ad space. Right now ad revenues are in the toilet, because marketing organizations are pulling back spending. So that leaves the bottom feeders, or the places that are making obscene amounts of money selling questionable stuff.

  4. Wukchumni

    The feel now is that of a juvenile delinquent about to graduate from high school in a week, despite failing his courses and being the cause of continual discord on campus. The bright spot for him was his role as a cheerleader on the sidelines, and what a megaphone he wielded, hectoring the other team. Only recently has the principal come to the conclusion that he ought to not be allowed to go to graduation ceremonies, but he’s wavering.

    I feel as if i’ve been in a 4 year long Twilight Zone episode, and here comes the twisted ending.

    Here Comes by INXS

    1. Carolinian

      the cause of continual discord on campus

      Cause, or effect? Or as someone around here said, the stench or the rot?

      In a true Twilight Zone episode the new big man on campus would turn around and it’s the same guy.

      1. Wukchumni

        Cause or effect didn’t matter to Anthony Fremont, as he could easily whisk those into the scorned field if they upset him.

      2. caucus99percenter

        As the Firesign Theatre pointed out, the [new] president of the United States is named Schicklgruber.

        Coups for industry!

        1. Wukchumni

          January 6th was ‘Iresign Theatre’ w/o a prop you weren’t part of the crowd, and those without wished they had something, anything.

          Quotes from The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon. Written in 1895, it aged well.

          “A crowd thinks in images, and the image itself calls up a series of other images, having no logical connection with the first…A crowd scarcely distinguishes between the subjective and the objective. It accepts as real the images invoked in its mind, though they most often have only a very distant relation with the observed facts….Crowds being only capable of thinking in images are only to be impressed by images.”

          “By the mere fact that he forms part of an organised crowd, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian — that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings, whom he further tends to resemble by the facility with which he allows himself to be impressed by words and images — which would be entirely without action on each of the isolated individuals composing the crowd — and to be induced to commit acts contrary to his most obvious interests and his best-known habits. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.”

          “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.”

          “Civilisations as yet have only been created and directed by a small intellectual aristocracy, never by crowds. Crowds are only powerful for destruction. Their rule is always tantamount to a barbarian phase. A civilisation involves fixed rules, discipline, a passing from the instinctive to the rational state, forethought for the future, an elevated degree of culture — all of them conditions that crowds, left to themselves, have invariably shown themselves incapable of realising. In consequence of the purely destructive nature of their power crowds act like those microbes which hasten the dissolution of enfeebled or dead bodies. When the structure of a civilisation is rotten, it is always the masses that bring about its downfall.”

          1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

            The Crowd:

            It reminds me of the pejorative word “nerd”. The denigration of the intellectual is so successful, and that they have been suborned to such a degree that the focus of denigration could be moved on to be those who are suspected of any critical thinking (the “mechanics” in the Le Bon article).

            I suspect that the sidelining of the remaining critical thinkers of influence coincided with the period when the word “nerd” became current in popular media.

            And who is doing the denigration? It seems to be those who have high command of other people’s money, little competence in anything that matters apart from the making of money, a vast chip on their collective shoulders, and an overwhelming fear that the “technicians” in the crowd might wake up, start thinking critically, and not be suborned.


  5. Basil Pesto

    Book club: I just finished reading David Bellos’ Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, about translation. Bellos is a literary translator but in discussing translation broadly, he touches on all manner of subjects. It’s fascinating stuff, and might provide a nice diversion from all the nonsense.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks, that looks fascinating – I’ve two friends who are translators and I find their various accounts really interesting about how easy it is to get things wrong. There are a few really interesting Youtube channels on languages – NativLang and Langfocus are two I really enjoy.

      1. Basil Pesto

        It really is. He also highlights the differences between written translation and oral translation, and makes the point that simultaneous language interpretation (eg at the UN) might be one of the most mentally intensive and exhausting activities there is (which I believe). Which made me think that if meritocracy was real, they’d be as well remunerated as elite athletes. alas.

        Bellos also makes you think about what it means to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to translation. And that some forms of translation have their own challenging formal constraints. I will definitely be less inclined to grizzle about a film subtitle translation I don’t like from French or German in the future.

  6. Harry

    Well, even though I completely support NC line on dealing with comments its still very good to have comments back,.

    A question. I have been reading/hearing about a two stage fiscal push by the new Biden admin. The Q1 Covid stim package which is already being widely discussed in the media. But also a less widely discussed $3-$5 tr infrastructure package which will emerge later and is supposed to come on the legislative radar in Q3. Have others heard the same?

    1. ambrit

      Q-3? That hardly seems like a “Bold First Hundred Days” program to me. That lag time says that all the ‘usual suspects’ and revanchists will have lots of time to ‘water down’ any truly “progressive” policy proposals. (Which might be the entire point. I suspect that the Biden Administration is going to be “All Hat and No Cattle.”)

      1. JTMcPhee

        More to the point, the “usual suspects” will set up the legislation and programs to further loot the public wealth and privatize anything that can be rented back to us mopes. FL is embarking on a big program of paving a lot more of the state with toll roads, despite popular resistance. the business perspective: “Task forces,” that supposedly will be bringing “new economic activity” to FL’s “sleepy backwaters.” “Little boxes on the flood plains, and Big Boxes full of ticky-tacky…”

      2. polecat

        The BidenBunch will now sport road-dragging bluball cahones from the rear vestiges of their hitched-cucked priuses!

        In other words: ‘Joe Rats, and All Prattle’ ..

    2. Harry

      Hey, a trillion here, a trillion there. Pretty soon you are talking real money.

      I dont know the time frame being discussed, but there are a lot of bets going on clean energy, broad band infrastructrure and hard infrastructure. And given the timings I dont think the infrastructure package can come any sooner. The Covid 2/3 package has to take precedence.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “‘Lazy,’ ‘Money-Oriented,’ ‘Single Mother’: How Union-Busting Firms Compile Dossiers on Employees”

    An extreme measure so I wonder if there is a corporate memory for what unions were capable of a century ago. Here is a long forgotten incident by unionists back then that torpedoed most unions in California ever since the but helped lead to such measures as an eight hour day. Then again, maybe modern corporations have forgotten those lessons-

    1. Wukchumni

      We must have been separated @ birth Rev Kev.

      When you brought up the Bastille yesterday, it had been coursing around my noggin as well, and now’d be a most excellent time to read about the era of assassinations & bombings in The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 by Barbara Tuchman, one of my favorite authors.

      1. The Historian

        What I liked best about “The Proud Tower” was Tuchman’s in depth analysis of the “elites” of the time. It was ever thus!

      2. ROC

        Love Barbara Tuchman! Currently reading A Distant Mirror. She has a knack for seemlessly zooming in and out and making broad, insightful observations.

        1. Wukchumni

          Her book on Joseph Stilwell was quite something as well.

          He was an old China hand who liked to walk around the middle kingdom in order to get a better lay of the land, we’re talking backpacking trip distances. You really see a lot when on foot and get to process things slower and it sinks in smoothly.

          One of the vignettes that stood out, was him watching an orange seller on the street in Peking, offering fruit for sale by the segment, circa 1910.

      3. Paul O

        Thank you. Needed something to re-establish some audiobook habits after CV-19 curtailed my commute since last March . This looks really good.

  8. Isotope_C14

    “German CDU on verge of electing divisive figure to replace Angela Merkel”

    Hey, we need to win votes from AFD! Let’s go for a Euroskeptic millionaire who will fight for austerity!

    I predict CDU – if they run this guy, will drop around 5% and most of that will flip to AFD.

    Admittedly I’m in immigrant-town Berlin, but I don’t know a single person here who would vote for CDU. Of course, I don’t really talk to anyone over 50 about this stuff, and that’s the CDU base.

    I’ve known voters for Die Linke, Diem 25, SPD, and the Greens. I should be here in September, I’ll try to get some political sign poster photos and send it to the blogger@ account.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think this is so often the problem of big, cosmopolitan cities. People lose touch with what the regular folks out in the ‘burbs and small towns are thinking. Wasn’t it Pauline Kael who exclaimed in horror that Nixon couldn’t possibly have won because she never met anyone who voted for him?

      The base of the CDU vote – as so many conservative parties – are middle aged and elderly settled people who don’t go out much to cool bars or cafes or argue on Twitter or have Instagram accounts – but they do vote – in very big numbers.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Merkel pulled an outsized percentage of single women. Merz isn’t the publicly inoffensive Merkel either. 16 years is a long time. I don’t remember the details of the German government formation requirements, but I could see Merz “winning” and simply not being able to put together a government within the 30 days(?). Merkel was a small c conservative as well. We haven’t seen the CDs promising change since before Merkel was in the leadership.

        And remember elderly bases have the potential to you know die.

  9. ambrit

    Zeitgeist Department sighting.
    I opened up my e-mail site this morning and found the monthly, “Your Xfinity Bill” notice. Zounds! The bill has gone up three dollars per month overnight. No warning, no ‘nudging,’ no explanation. Internet only for this ‘cheapie’ is now $55.95 per month. The data cap is now 1.2 Tb. The company did a similar raise in the rates a year ago, also an additional three dollars per month.
    Going over to the price sheet, one encounters a dazzlingly complex array of plans within plans, all costing extra, of course. Internet only ranges from $56 per month for base, on up to $116 per month for your hard core gamer.
    I feel definitely “taken advantage of.”
    Is our experience replicated in other places?

    1. rob

      well, there is ATT and verizon… in my neck of the woods to choose from… they both have their respective monoplolies in the geographical confines of their technology actually working… so people have to buy what they have… landlines,cell phone,internet,… and all the prices go up… and always cost more…
      We had shaved a few basic services off to save money… and they started billing us more(and yes, they did cut the services)… and with “covid”… they seem to have changed the average waiting time for talking to a customer service rep to about ?how many hours?… and now ATT is charging $7.95 to talk to a person…. It seems like they are “padding the bills”… and using the pandemic to “pretend” that they just can’t hear you complain… but they do have a complaint window… but that will cost you money….

      so after breaking up “ma bell”… and the ’96 telecommunications act”… .. just like breaking up standard oil… had led to oligopoly… instead of monopoly…but the idea of doing something “for the people”… is just a “non-starter” on both sides of the aisle. They are all in there to “end the commons” . To neuter any regulation against utility malpractice and price gouging.

      1. ambrit

        Yes. The Xfinity price sheet does have a “speak to a live customer care employee” charge; $6.99.
        It isn’t as if we have any real alternatives available. It comes down to either being in the thrall of Big Tech or doing without. To do without, parallel institutions must be established, a la the old style “samizdat.”
        The rent seeking is driving a robust separation of the “haves” from the “have nots.” As far back as Wells and his Morlocks and Eloi in “The Time Machine,” the process was clear to see.

      2. marieann

        “so after breaking up ma bell”

        My husband retired from Ma Bell (Canada) in 1997….the last few years he worked, they were installing phone jacks in every house,which I thought was a good idea. He said what is coming down the line no one will like,and here we are.

        We always got a discount for Bell Services because he had worked there, a few years ago he kicked them out, because of their rotten service…the discount was not enough to cover what he had to put up with every month

        1. Wukchumni

          Our only electricity in Mineral King is via a landline we share with the NPS, a token amount to be sure.

          There’s a few cabins with solar panels, but i’ve come to enjoy the off-the-grid existence (with the ability to call Kalamazoo if need be) during the summer.

    2. Tom Stone

      Ambrit, I live in a part of Sonoma County where the choice is comcast or dial up.
      I have the minimal or basic plan, same data cap and basic TV. And the service is oft interrupted.
      $131.62 last month, up $40 over the. last two years.

      1. ambrit

        D—-! And I thought that I was being milked like a ‘cash cow.’ Everything IS more expensive on the West Coast. (You are from Metaluna? The ending of “This Island Earth” was a lie? The ship made it?)
        How would your “dial up” service work? Here, in the North American Deep South (NADS) the ‘phone company’ has abandoned the copper wire infrastructure and gone to wi-fi telephony. Might as well go all cell phone.
        What is disturbing is that, at least for my lifetime, the ‘conventional wisdom’ has been that the West Coast is the trend setter for the rest of the country. Thus, wildly inflated prices for basic items is the new normal?

        1. JTMcPhee

          I went to a restaurant in Tarpon Springs, FL, back in 2018, and was seated near a table for two, a well turned out guy of maybe 45 or 50 and a very attractive young blonde woman. Could overhear their conversation, mostly his as he was talking loud to maybe impress the woman. He was bragging about being an Important Actor in Corporate for one of our local “phone” monopolies. One point he made was about how successful “his” strategy” of physically ripping out those antiquated copper phone lines has been, to make any recursion to land line telephony and data impossible. And touting how successful he has been in pushing the fable of 5G on the captive customers, and how much money the corporation was going to make off this switch to the latest and greatest. Did not do my digestion of a nice Greek dinner any good.

      2. fresno dan

        Tom Stone
        January 14, 2021 at 9:50 am

        Uh, besides paying 209.99 a month, for basic cable and basic internet – I pay that much and I live in FRESNO – talk about adding insult to injury!!!!!!!!!!!
        My inertia about doing something about my own fleecing is due to the fact that I intend to move to a new domicile, and at that time I intend to cancel the cable TV. Right now I live in an abandoned refrigerator, but I am looking at moving up to abandoned VW vans, contingent of course on my home loan being approved.
        Seriously, I don’t know if I should stick with Comcast, or move to AT&T

        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re all you’ve got.


          Hwy 41* might have some abandoned vehicles on it, although a VW van is a tall order.

          * the I Like Ike Memorial Freeway

        2. cripes


          $209 per month, yesiree that’s a deal!

          RCN in Chicago is notorious for doubling their rates, without waiting for expiration of the sucker rates–no explanation, no negotiation, might as well just write F_ck you on the bill…

          All of them routinely tear out competing cable lines, I worked outside with ATT guy to re-install.

          I could lease a RAV 4 with that.

          If you have food stamps, medicaid, SSI, SSDI, housing subsidy, anything that might qualify you as low income, look (carefully, its well-hidden) for “internet essentials” or “internet first” run, do not walk, for a $9.95 monthly rate usually 25 actual Mbs monthly and 1 Tb data cap.

          Try for now free to get all local stations stations streaming.

          Amazon Prime including video and free shipping $5.99 monthly (low income again)

          My total monthly data bill = $15.94 not including mobile phone.

          Glad I did.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      On a related note I can vouch for the fact the streaming TV services are playing the same bait and switch with their rates that the cable companies do, even after telling me they wouldn’t be doing that – no way, no sirree – when I first cut the cord. Imagine that, a large corporation not telling the truth – I am shocked.

      I very reluctantly signed up to youtubeTV a year or two ago, mainly because they were the only one I could find who carried NESN (for RedSox games) at the time. Since then their rates have increased 50% and they removed NESN from their channel lineup, so when and if pro baseball starts back up again, I won’t be using them anymore.

      If anyone knows where you can stream NESN that isn’t on youtube or SONY (already tried them too), I am all ears.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        As an interested occasional watcher of Yankee sports I am perplexed that anybody would pay extra to watch slow-spit-ball, too-tall-ball or dementia-ball, but then politics is the only game in town for me.

        Lately it has been just peachy!


    4. FreeMarketApologist

      Charter (previously known as Spectrum, previously TimeWarnerCable) basic internet-only, 100Mbps service, delivered by cable modem (I provide my own), is $74.99/mo. (went up from 65.99 about 14 months ago). I’m not sure if there is a data cap.

      1. Gc54

        Charter $52 all in just internet for at best 115/10(!) mbps and no data cap & can kill anytime, mostly I suspect because google fiber is creeping slowly down the street toward us. AT&T around here too ripping up DSL copper but not at competitive rate when they lock you in for a yr hoping you don’t want GF at $99/yr+tax for 1 gbps. No idea about cable TV.

    5. flora

      State lege and regulatory boards are involved in rates setting, and also in whether or not to allow ATT et al to rip out copper lines.

      user forum on ATT’s plan 2020.

      Note that ATT has to get approval from each state’s relevant board/agency to move ahead with retiring copper. Not all states have approved this change, some have a approved with the proviso the customer must be offered “equal service” on fiber and must request the change in person. (Watch out for questions about using your copper phone line for medical devices or data transmission. Fiber isn’t as reliable as copper in power outages.) Some states have allowed/given permission ATT to go ahead with copper retirement with no restrictions. I think over 20 states still keep a leash on what ATT can do with copper and its rates increases.

      If rates are getting pushed to gouging levels, if copper is being taken out without notice, your state lege and state boards are the entities allowing this.

      1. flora

        adding: States that allow municipal broadband (22 or 25 states now, don’t remember exact number) have lower cost competition to the bigs, and have lower cost cable fees in general.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Michigan doesn’t make municipal fiber easy — but it’s possible, as my hometown of Marshall. $60 for 60MBps is one step.up from baseline, and fine for our not-so-streamful lifestyle.

          Our likewise limited demand for video is pretty well covered by Roku and Amazon (the latter partly to help out with her cottage-foods vegan baking business) — and BritBox for a time, when my wife wanted to catch up with me on Classic Doctor Who and have us move forward together into the 13th Doctor era. I don’t know the costs of those now, but think they may still be hanging around $20/no combined.

          Her cell phones have been Apple since before we met online at a forum for fans of Rumiko Takahashi when the Princess of Manga’s previous series was debuting. I’m a Samsung regular myself. We use fairly high-end Straight Talk service, partly because she works as a night-shift support manager at WalMart. (She knows better than any of us it’s a rotten place to work. OTOH, it meant she had a job waiting for her when we got back from our honeymoon in Japan ten years ago this coming August and moved her, her things, and her now-recently departed cat to Marshall from 45 minutes outside Boston.)

          And we also still have a landline — which IIRC is copper-based. AT&T is about to boost its basic Phone 200 service $2 to $27.99 next month (we used 10 of those 200 minutes last billing month); we also pay as much and an extra bit for a package including back-up DSL and a rented back-up power supply as insurance for my sometime gigs of Japanese-language document review in fairly big and somewhat international lawsuits. (Hmm — I may have to look into that bill one of these days. I wonder if the copper’s a bonus in a small town with the nation’s second-biggest historic-homes district . . . after Cape May. OTOH, our house isn’t historic yet — born in the 1950s, same as I was. OTTH, I guess we’re both just entering antique status.)

    6. Grateful Dude

      We don’t have much up here in the Sierra foothills. HughesNet was the only service here for a long time. Expensive and terrible bandwidth: can’t use Wifi calling, e.g. A 10 minute Netflix load. Every five minutes.

      No cable. Most folks get by with smartphones. But …

      There are internet towers with good bandwidth and reasonable prices, but only if you have sight-line from somewhere, even up a tree, to a tower. Two install attempts later each spending over an hour to align the antenna with the tower, and whoopee, life starts up again. We have 30 MBps down and minimum 5 up for $100 a mo. Serves three households.

      Two companies do this: DigitalPath and SucceedNet. Same could be done anywhere, esp in a city.

    7. crittermom

      After reading what others are paying for internet, I find myself grateful that our broadband service is tied in with our electric company. My landlord/roommate pays $39.95 month. 25 MB, which is all that’s necessary for our needs.

      Regarding our source of teevee?
      It’s from an antennae. We can get one major station all of the time, and a second only after 7:30 or 8:00 at night (don’t know why?).
      Just a couple PBS stations, Me TV, & two children’s stations round out the rest of rest of what’s available to us.
      However, it’s FREE.
      And I prefer not to spend my time ‘tied to the tube’, anyway.

      And if there was something I wanted to watch on that third major station (or others), I can view it for free on the internet later.

      When I had cable decades ago, it infuriated me that while they advertised “160 channels!”, it seemed at least 148 of them were informercials. IOW, I was paying for commercials.
      I haven’t subscribed to cable since, and see no reason to again.

      As long as I have decent internet, the news provided by NC is much better than anything on MSM.

  10. JMM

    I have a small observation about the Telegram messaging system. I have an account there that I opened years ago and I maintain subscription to several Spanish free software chats there. I still remember when it used to be the messaging system of the “good guys”.

    But then, suddenly, I found this, in two separate articles two days ago.

    Exhibit A:

    The messages are being posted in Telegram chatrooms where white supremacist content has been freely shared for months, but chatter on the channels has increased since extremists have been forced off other platforms in the wake of the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week by pro-Trump rioters.

    Telegram is a Dubai-based messaging service that does little moderation of its content and has a sizable international user base, particularly in eastern Europe and the Middle East.

    Exhibit B:

    On Gab and Telegram, two fringe networks frequented by white nationalist and other extremist groups.

    I wonder if this is a trend…

    (Also, I’ve noticed there’s a NakedCapitalism channel on Telegram, with only 4 subscribers. Nothing seems to be happening there.)

    1. flora

      Sorry, all I see, looking over a very broad landscape of the most recent MSM media stories, is the creation of a new bogey to replace T for the shock-value viewer ratings once T’s out of office, and a rising demand for stifling “unapproved” speech on the internet. ;) (too cynical?)

          1. ambrit

            I’m not sure about this.
            Who is being ‘serviced’ by the “news” today? Is it culinary “brunching,” or just plain old “I”d-pol? Either way, let me recommend the “Blackened Red-Phish,” a melange of spices and ‘extracts’ fit for any Padishah Emperor’s table. Who would have guessed that Nancy was a devotee of “Kanly?”
            [By the way; when are the “PC” crowd going to demand the books be rewritten along more ‘woke’ lines? I would counter that demand by remarking that, by way of the Bene Gesserit, Herbert has already supplied us with “femtats.”]

    2. Grateful Dude

      This seems like a great way for some of our external enemies to infiltrate domestic “terror” groups, and to provide them with money, weapons, opportunity intelligence, and logistical support. I hope our law enforcement folks are up to this.

      1. Wukchumni

        Law enforcement swings pretty far right as a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t be banking on them ratting out like minded fellow travelers.

        1. pasha

          federal insurrection (10 year sentence max) or seditious conspiracy (20 year max) charges could well loosen a few vocal chords. and conviction of federal felony can often mess with police pension rights.

          if the feds let them off with misdemeanor charges, not so much

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Initial Israeli data: First Pfizer shot curbs infections by 50% after 14 days”

    Yeah, good on them. Really great work that. Tough luck if you are a Palestinian though. The Israelis have no plans to get them any vaccines at all and I bet any vaccines delivered would get confiscated for use by those that need them more – such as illegal settlers. Doesn’t matter that as an occupying force that they have legal responsibility for those five million people as this is yet one more way to ‘mow the grass’-

    1. JTMcPhee

      Israel, population maybe 8.6 or 9.7 million depending on the source, is 75% people recognized as Jewish by religious law, 20% Arabs who have limited rights, and 4% “others.” Not counting Palestinians at all, about 5.2 million people being dispossessed of their homes in fits and starts by colonial micro invasions and regular bulldozing and bombing. Truly, Israel is the exceptional thing, and great PR and messaging, , have created a nice face for the people who refer to regular assaults on Palestinian space as “mowing the grass.”

      Here’s what to me is a very successful but of hasbara in action, by that arbiter of truth (sic) Politifact: How much visible wealth is transferred to Israel? Here’s one summary, taken from reports of the Congressional Research Service: “Yah, Israel gets a visible $3 billion a year, more or less, but Detroit gets federal money too, so the claim is Mostly False.”

      Of course, just in “military aid,” not counting a lot more for other subsidies, the annual figure Congress appropriated is $3.8 billion for the next ten years.

      And the Israelis, notably under Likud and Netanyahu, but ever since the Partition, drive policies that are intended to extinguish Palestinian population as part of an aspiration to establish a “Greater Israel.”

      So no surprise that, having complete hegemony over Palestine territory, having a policy of slowly starving them of calories and money and medical resources, would deny them even “access” to the vaccines.

      1. Basil Pesto

        Politifact in that instance weren’t testing the veracity of Israel getting $3 billion federal funding, they were testing the veracity of Detroit getting zero, which was the crux of the ~viral~ social media meme that they were addressing. Detroit gets tens of millions of federal funding. If the meme-makers had been honest about that instead of saying they get zero (0) federal dollars, which doesn’t pass the smell test, then not only would they have been rated true by politifact, their post would have been just as scandalous, if not moreso by having a more pronounced ring of truth.

  12. Carolinian

    Re Escobar–he thinks it is all going according to plan for the deep statey “great reset.” Just as 9/11 was used as a basis for revived US militarism, 1/6 will be used as an excuse for domestic repression against misguided nationalists in their red hats.

    Here’s Diana Johnstone’s take

    One might think that in his moment of victory, a true statesman would demonstrate the qualities it takes to lead a nation by offering to bring all people together as fellow Americans. He did quite the opposite.

    The very next day after the Capitol happening, in his small fiscal haven home state of Delaware, Biden raged against his opponents as a terrorist mob, no less.[…]

    The Establishment has long been determined to crush Trump. But there is talk of “purging” all his followers as well. Biden is already speaking like a War President, calling for measures to combat the internal enemy such as accompany major wars.

    The oligarchic nature of the American War Party is revealed by the haste with which privately owned social media enterprises silence dissent – even the still acting President of the United States. Indeed, who really rules the United States? Is the president only an agent of economic powers whose role is to serve their interests? And the trouble with Trump is that he had not been picked for the job.

    Some of us have our doubts, given that masterminds like Pelosi and Biden are not exactly up to Machiavelli standards. It may be more likely that they are way overplaying their hand.

    1. Redlife2017

      I take the “way overplaying their hand” option. The Iraq invasion was about redrawing maps (“Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” crap), showing American power over the world (the unipolar insanity), and having control over vast swaths of oil. That most certainly did not happen.

      And the sub-par people who voted for Iraq (and Libya) are now back in charge. Lol. This is going to be as successful as our takeover of Fallujah. How many times did we destroy that city? At least 2 times?? We flattened that city and still couldn’t take it over…

      Pelosi and Biden (two people with deathly shinny skin) are going to push all the same buttons and pull the same levers they always have – but the outcomes will not be at all what they expect (veering from nothing to the exact opposite of the intended effect).

      And that doesn’t take into consideration the new UK B117 variant coming to a city near you…

      1. John

        I had read Caitlin Johnstone’s piece and then saw the Diane Johnstone link. Same article. Does she use both names or is that reference
        inside baseball”?

        1. Carolinian

          Johnstone’s article is from several days ago. They are not related and Diana Johnstone is from a completely different generation, has praised Caitlin. She has even cited Counterpunch’s attacks on Caitlin as one reason she no longer writes there.

  13. DJG

    The erotic origins of the cannolo alla siciliana [BBC Travel]. A pretty good cultural history.

    There is one misunderstanding: When the Normans arrived in Sicily, they replaced Muslim rulers. The Normans inherited a population that was mainly Greek speaking and following the Greek rite. There was a sizable minority of Muslims, many from what is now Tunisia, many of Berber descent.

    So the “conversion” was to impose Latin rite on Greek rite. You can still see this in older Sicilian churches, which are built in Greek style. A very famous example is the Pantokrator in the dome of the church of Cefalù. (Some of my primordial Sicilian forbears are from just west of Cefalù.)

    At the same time, the Normans “converted” the Greek speakers to Latin speakers. The Muslim community was gradually absorbed. (Sometimes, forcibly–although the Norman kings were fairly tolerant.)

    A classic cookbook that describes these pastries and how to make them is Mary Taylor Simeti’s Pomp and Sustenance.

    There is also a wonderful scene at the end of Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) when Prince Fabrizio is at a lavish ball (recall the film by Visconti) deciding whether to have a Breast of Saint Agatha or a Chancellor’s Buttock. He opts for something less ostentatiously sweet.

    1. DJG

      And that mention of pre-filled cannoli? Who engages in such sacrilege?

      When I was a kid, a big treat was to go to an Italian bakery owned by some distant relatives on a Sunday for cannoli to serve after Sunday dinner. The owners always filled the cannoli to order. Only Americans would eat a soggy cannolo!

      But then Americans are willing to pay for bruschetta, something that is usually complimentary in Italy.

    2. Wukchumni

      Sicily is the happy hunting ground for ancient Greek buildings, including one with the original roof still intact. We spent a fortnight in search of about 25 years ago.

      We were in Agrigento staying at the Hotel Kaos, an appropriate name-nice rooms, and outside dining with Fawlty Towers like service, truly awful. The view helped, but it was the worst service @ a restaurant i’ve ever encountered.

      The hotel was only maybe 1/3rd of a mile from The Valley of the Temples, which are floodlit @ night, oh my my!

  14. Carolinian

    From the Counterpunch article

    Twitter is notable here having become a formidable public forum in its own right, which has led to the infantilisation, hyper-moralisation, simplification and suffocation of the political imagination. Having been on the platform for a number of years, a week before Trumps banishment I decided to leave. I had come to realise how it effectively exists for its own purpose, with much of its vitriolic content concerning what others had said on its very terrains – often to deride and publicly shame their provocations. Dramas about said tweeted dramas, fifty-character witch-hunts by actors who demand the freedom to all think alike, morality aside what’s revealed is the luxury and privilege of time wasted.

    Right on? Clearly Twitter is made for someone like Trump who is nothing but “hot takes” and hot air. They only abandoned him when he was already on the way out the door.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Questions swirl around possible ‘insider’ help for Capitol attack”

    Yeah, I have a few questions of my own to ask. Apparently when the Capital Building was declared a crime scene, the legislators got very nervous until reassured by the FBI that that only applied to the visiting clown college. So I was watching AOC’s speech at the beginning of this article and it reeked of showboating for political purposes. As it happened, I went to her Twitter account a few hours ago and caught some of her other videos, especially one where she declared that instead of pledging allegiance to the donor class, legislators should cast their vote based on the right thing to do. A Democrat said this.

    Of course this could just be my own personal opinion except for one thing. Democrat legislators bitterly complained that Republicans refused to wear mask while they were locked down together and even mocked those trying to hand them out and there is not a doubt in my mind that this actually happened. But here is the thing – the Code of Omertà still applies on Capital Hill and they still protect each other. Think about it. If I was there, I would be be naming names and shaming them for their behaviour in public. Since people were using their mobiles, did they use them to take snaps of those not wearing masks? What’s that? No fotos because it is a secured area? Well how about sound recording those Republicans mocking those who did wear masks? Or are sound recordings also a security breach?

    But I have heard no names mentioned in public about who refused to wear a mask and the only Republican names being outed are those not voting the way that the Democrats want. Remarkable that. Another dog that has not barked.

    1. Jeff W

      “…I have heard no names mentioned in public about who refused to wear a mask…”

      The names are mentioned by, among other news outlets, CNN here: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Michael Cloud (R-Texas).

      1. JCC

        And since those Dems that now have a dose of covid due to the named persons above, I guess we have to assume that they all had/have covid too… otherwise how could they have infected the complaining Dems? (not that I’m against wearing a mask)

        These people that work on in the Capitol are driving me nuts with their totally oblivious outlook relative to the rest of the country. Now we get to listen to some Republicans having to go through a metal detector, yelling about their “freedom.” And Pelosi wants to fine them $5K which will be taken out of their paychecks. How about she does the same to them that they all have chosen to do to the rest of us for the last 15 years of security theater should we refuse to go through a metal detector… no entry, period, and possible fines and/or jail time for complaining out loud?

        These people along with their media hacks that promote these “scandals” are all very sick, and I’m not talking about covid.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hear here!

          Last time I showed up to not do time on jury duty in Visalia, the screening to get into the courthouse almost had me pleading guilty to wondering why galoots with AR 15’s slung over their bodies were allowed to cavort in the Michigan statehouse open carry trade style?

    2. CuriosityConcern

      Pure speculation, not supported by any reports or news I’ve seen to date:
      What if the walkthrough and 1/6 events were a Trojan horse to spread virus to members of Congress? Put legislative foes in quarantine prior to ?
      I know it’s far-fetched, on the unlikely end of the spectrum of possibilities.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d say easily 85% of the mob in Humordor on January 6th were maskless, but it was on account of displaying your political affiliation and certainly spreading schvitzkreig among others of their ilk, but who would’ve planned such a thing to spread it politically, the germ’ins?

    3. The Rev Kev

      Thanks Jeff W & grayslady. I went looking for names and images but must have missed them in my search. I still think that AOC was showboating here to dramatic effect. Like that black legislator that said if that woman rioter had not been shot and killed, that he and like others would have been lynched and be hanging from the balconies. Drama queens all. Still, it’s a bad brew when you have powerful people that have been frightened personally and aim to strike back at anybody remotely connected with the people responsible.

      On a side note, Lambert has had countdown clocks for stuff like elections and primaries in the past. I wonder if other places have countdown clocks for when Trump is gone? Nevermind. I just answered my own question-

  16. John Anthony La Pietra

    (Please pardon me for inserting this information both here and on the 1/14 Links page. If you want it only one place, please feel free to pick either one.)

    There are reports out now (this one, for example) that Snyder’s charges will be two counts of willful neglect of duty. That’s a misdemeanor . . . carrying a maximum of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    And the court records found so far indicate that the “offense date” is April 25, 2014 . . . the day the city’s water source was actually switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River.

    But that’s more than six years ago — and six years is still the applicable statute of limitations for this charge. It’s the default period stated in subsection (10) of Section 767.24 of the Michigan Compiled Laws — and none of the special cases listed elsewhere in the section apply. (Though there were some efforts last legislative term to extend the limitations period — three bills, none of which got anywhere.)

    There is one chance I can see to get around the “limitations limitation”. Under subsection (11) of that same section of state law, the period is paused if they can prove Snyder “did not usually and publicly reside within this state” during some of the time since the offense date. And he was up for that fellowship at Harvard. . . .

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Sorry — that was supposed to say “both here and at yesterday’s post on the Snyder/Flint criminal-charges situation” or something like it. (I should have made haste a bit more slowly. . . .)

      Anyway, one bit of added value: here’s a Lansing TV station’s report going over an analysis of the charges from another Michigan attorney with (I presume) much more criminal-law experience than I have.

      The article also says WILX is going to cover the press conference live. (I expect lots of Michigan media will; dunno about national media. Hey, it’s an old story from flyover country. . . .)

    1. Carolinian

      Pirate Bay can still be found via Google or at least one of the many mirrors can (not that I would do so of course). It’s not quite the same thing. And providing a link so the masses themselves can do the illegal file sharing is not quite the same thing either despite those never enforced FBI warnings. Google has every reason in the world to suck up to the upcoming government–Hollywood movie studios not so much.

      As for those studios, I think they simply decided if you can’t beat them join them and to deliver movies to people’s homes in a convenient manner. Streaming is now the thing. Much of Pirate Bay’s appeal was not about money for content but about convenience.

      1. Pat

        I should have stated that I thought the real comparison was an apples to oranges thing, but it amused me.

        AND since I didn’t pay much attention to the early mentions of Parler this was the first time I saw any mention of their major donor.

        1. Wukchumni

          I paid scant attention to Parler as well, never having done social media, had no idea Mercernaries were behind it.

      2. lordkoos

        Pirate Bay is still around but there are many newer torrent sites and I doubt if PB is even #1 at this point. I surmise that many that use torrent sites (illegal downloading is an international activity BTW) do not have money to burn on Netflix subscriptions.

        1. Carolinian

          The computer world is all about workarounds which is why the notion that sedition is being planned and promoted on open public fora like Facebook and Twitter doesn’t make a lot of sense. There are more private ways to communicate. They are either exceptionally incompetent revolutionaries or the tech companies are merely using recent events as an excuse to censor.

          1. ambrit

            Strangely enough, I used to think that the World of Politics was also all about workarounds.
            As to the propensity to censor; I wonder just how much the initial involvement of the Military Industrial Complex in setting up the Internet in the first place, via DARPA, has a bearing on the tendency.
            Can we consider the provision of “backdoors” in internet processes to be a case of “Turtles all the way down?”

      3. jonhoops

        The problem now is that all the content is siloed and each service wants it’s $10 or $20 per month. So there has been an uptick in piracy since people can only afford a few of these streaming services. They resort to torrenting the few shows from other services they hear everyone talking about.

    2. peak.singularity

      I don’t get why he’s mentioning Gab, since Gab has moved some time ago to the federated Mastodon network, created by left-anarchist leaning types like himself.

  17. Tom Stone

    I recieved very good news jn yesterday’s mail, an application for unemployment fro the CA EDD in response to the registered mail letter I sent in the last week of November.
    It even came with a self addressed envelope.
    It went out, filled out, yesterday afternoon and I expect a response in 3 weeks to a month.
    Registered mail again, I want proof of delivery.
    We’ll see…

  18. Mikel

    RE: “9/11 Was the Prelude. 1/6 Is the Holy Grail Strategic”…Pepe Escobar

    Trump changed nothing.
    I do remember how he wasn’t expected to win in 2016.
    Outside of professional political apparatchiks and careerists on the Clinton/Obama train, wealth and power largely stayed in the same hands. The only “unlucky” got caught up in “me too.”
    I woke up thinking this.
    So the only part of Escobar’s piece that seems worthy to me – in this moment – is the warning about a big war.

    As for the role of Covid, it’s being handled more like a managed depopulation effort than a health care crisis.
    I keep going back to how in the world could you lay off health care workers during a pandemic (which occurred in places this year) and to almost one year in there is still not enough PPE.

    Then you see the Alabama college football celebration. That is only one of two things:
    1) people who don’t believe the virus is real
    2) believe it is real but want the people that it affects the most ro die.
    There were no masks worn.

    So the big war better come before the USA tears itself apart on the inside, wouldn’t you say Pepe?

    1. Wukchumni

      I shouldn’t have, but we needed a few things and popped into our local small supermarket, where 3 employees including the checker were sans mask, along with 3 customers unshod. That’s it for us, we’re not going there again, too risky.

      Sadly, these self identifying rightists (who would’ve ever thought the way we tell us apart visually was whether you wore a mask or not?) will get sick, and the hospitals wont have any vacancies soon.

      What becomes of us, divided over masks-while over on Fox, ‘The Masked Singer’ was such a hit, they’ve come out with ‘The Masked Dancer’.

      1. Mikel

        “The Masked Singers and Dancers” – essential workers now. How about that?
        The really big changes in society have been brought about by responses to a virus.
        Divisions along the lines that started before the Obama and Trump eras still remain. The downward economic escalator still remains.

        1. Wukchumni

          After enduring the unendurable watching the impeachment trial yesterday…

          The man in an irony mask @ Château DC’if

  19. josh

    inre Samantha Power at USAID. At least it’s not State? Maybe she wanted to get in on coup operations instead of just setting policy? I guess it will at least be a bit farther away from Biden’s ear than I expected.

    1. Mikel

      But you can bet they are going to be filling the State Dept holes left by the Trump admin.
      Elections in Europe coming up. The blob can’t imagine itself in any type of “non-interventionist” mode with all of that about to happen.

    2. Judith

      Here is Ben Norton describing what USAID has been doing in Venezuela.

      “From 2017 to December 2019, the Trump administration spent at least $654 million on Venezuela-related aid schemes. While Washington claims this spending assisted humanitarian efforts, much of the US taxpayers’ money financed efforts to destabilize and ultimately overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

      The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is a central arm of Washington’s hybrid war on socialist and independent states around the world. It has a long and sordid history of funding “civil society” groups and political opposition parties to topple the governments of designated enemies.

      USAID has provided $435 million of this $654 million, bankrolling Venezuela’s right-wing, US-controlled opposition. At least $128 million of this USAID money went directly into the pockets of the coup leaders that the Trump administration attempted to install as the rulers of the country in 2019.

      USAID recently divulged this shocking level of support, acknowledging that it is going to fund Venezuelan anti-government activists, NGOs, and opposition media outlets, along with the supposed “interim government” led by US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó, as well as Venezuela’s National Assembly, which until January was led by Guaidó and controlled by the right-wing opposition.”

      1. carl

        I’m going to violate my own commenting holiday and just say that I’m glad I didn’t vote for Biden, after seeing a lot of who a lot of his choices are. I understood all the arguments for and against, and I was pretty conflicted about what to do, but now I feel much better that I didn’t vote for Mr.”nothing will fundamentally change.” YMMV.

      1. ambrit

        I wonder, did the Wily Putin send some S-400s to Teheran?
        Or: Will America do to Trump what the Sixth Coalition did to Napoleon? Ship Donald off to Diego Garcia for his “retirement?” That or Johnson’s Island. A C-5A with an escort of F-35s heading West.
        {The best way to hide the truth is to release it as a “conspiracy theory.”}

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s a long way to Tipperary and even longer to Tehran, so a tell would be the rapture of this F-35 wing from what was actually Burpleson Air Force Base all of the sudden, no?

          1. ambrit

            Since when has oil become a “precious bodily fluid?”
            Oh. I didn’t think of “Riley: Ace of Spies.”

    1. tegnost

      you’re pretty close to fallon, I wouldn’t read too much into it. up here they’re (listening to growler in the background now) pretty much constantly doing training runs out to carriers, esp in bad weather.

      1. Wukchumni

        Said F-35 jets are from their base @ NAS Lemoore-about 50 miles away, with their signature sound-way too loud!

        Many local residents are concerned by potential noise pollution caused by the F-35A that registers at 65 decibels or more. The decibel range is as loud as being in the same room as a washing machine, according to Centers for Disease Control website.

        “I can barley get my hands over my ears to stop the pain levels that occurs when one of these planes fly over,” said Julia Keen Neighborhood resident Peter Dooley. TUSD closed Julia Keen Elementary School due to DMAFB aircraft noise in 2004. “If anyone says they haven’t heard any complaints from residents, they haven’t spent much time in Julia Keen.”,Centers%20for%20Disease%20Control%20website

  20. JWP

    Pepe Escobar’s piece got me thinking about what may cause a domestic civil war and I can see some clear recent historical examples,
    At what point does the Great Cancel in the wake of the capitol riots start being seen as a large scale social destabilizer. To a lesser but still relevant extent, I can see this turning into an al-Qaeda situation. Where a huge section of the population is left with basically nothing in an economic and social wasteland (minus the war) and is able to capitalize on violent retaliation to grow in size and influence. I can’t image 50 million plus are going to accept being cancelled from society, their jobs, their friends and still willingly participate in society. Absent massive social welfare programs that allow them and everyone else an economic base, the climate is ripe for a grassroots terrorist/rebel organization on a national party level scale.

    1. lordkoos

      One of the more interesting things about the capitol riot was that many if not most of the participants appeared to be fairly well-off, and the median age looked to be 40-something. It’s not driven totally by economics.

      1. Grateful Dude

        ummm. racism? mostly. And radical christians (not Christians). These aren’t poor people. Unserved and underserved as the poor are, they’re mostly left (and left out) of the Dems. And a full complement of dupes, other delusionals, and tools of power. Who bankrolled this?

    2. mnm

      Some of the people smashing at the door where the Air force lady was shot have been identified as antifa protestors. Andy or Anthony Ngo at twitter has documented people and crimes at protests all over, but mostly Portland Oregon. These guys were at scenes where the crazy started, but none arrested.
      Color revolution came home? Based on people coming into the dementia president’s cabinet things are going to be even worse than Trump.

      1. Massinissa

        I think you heard wrong. Andy Ngo is a conservative journalist who documented the antifa protests in Portland Oregon.

        You’re surprised a conservative journalist who did hit pieces on Antifa in the past was a member of the Capitol Riot why exactly? He was either there as a protester, there as a journalist, or both.

        Oh wait, I read wrong, you’re saying Andy Ngo is saying there were Antifa at the riot? Could you, uh, post the link? Ive scoured the last 72 hours or so of his Twitter and can’t find what you’re even referring to. If he really had a scoop like that, wouldn’t it be mentioned again recently? His twitter is almost exclusively talking about how Antifa doesn’t like the new book hes publishing, so clearly people should buy his new book!

        Even if he did make a tweet like that, its not as if hes a completely neutral observer, seeing as how his career pretty much revolves around telling people that Antifa are *gasp* secretly scary! I suppose it could also be true, but again, I can’t find the tweet you’re specifically talking about, and I would rather not read the thing until I get to the 6th. Ive already read a few dozen of these things just to get to three days ago.

        You sure hes not talking about Antifa being at the building break in at Portland? I’ve found tweets about that.

        EDIT: Wait, I think I found it. Are you talking about John E. Sullivan?

        In case anyone is wondering who he is:

      2. Massinissa

        Apparently he was talking about this dude:

        Just one dude. Claims to be a journalist apparently. Also hes, uh, been arrested. I can’t tell if he was even at the door like you say. I’ll keep diving through Ngo’s tweets and see if I can find anything else.

        EDIT: I went all the way back to the 6th. Pretty much all Ngo’s tweets are about stuff around Portland. The only antifa mentioned specifically at the Capitol is that one Sullivan dude. Who has been arrested.

          1. Yves Smith

            In any event, the controversy is total ad hom. His role was that the took the best video of the woman who was shot being shot. Some on the right used that to argue it was a bad kill by policing standards, since she wasn’t posing a physical hazard to the cops.

            There’s no evidence (yet) that he played any role in inciting violence. So how the hell does someone from the left, even if Sullivan really is a bona fide “leftie” being on site as an apparent observer prove squat about Antifa claims? This was a public protest at least at the start.

            1. mnm


              link to arrest papers & photos, videos Sullivan took himself where offers a knife to get doors, windows open, wants to burn the place, instigating others. The journalist stuff is a ruse.
              Other antifa had helmet under fuzzy hat, he smashed out the window that the deceased tried to go through. Cannot access his info as I am at work, won’t find this stuff on MSM.

  21. sam

    Good to see that comments are back as they are the best part of NC and what sets it apart from other venues, IMO.

    Has anyone noticed that the existing defects in the US balloting system (frequently discussed at NC) are now complemented by an evolving establishment position that it is illegal and indeed insurrectionary to question official election results?

    1. flora

      Microsoft to the rescue. Nothing to see here. Move along. ;)

      Microsoft’s ElectionGuard fix entails instead of using paper ballots, voters would make their selections on digital tablets. CNN reported the information is then loaded onto plastic cards outfitted with memory chips, and inserted into a card reader that saves the votes to a computer. Last but not least it’s then printed onto a paper copy so that each ballot can be easily placed in a ballot box. Voters are able to log-in after the fact to make sure their vote was accounted for.

      Doesn’t that sound good? /s

      Hand marked paper ballots, hand counted in public, please.

    2. Ronald Grissman

      “Has anyone noticed that the existing defects in the US balloting system (frequently discussed at NC) are now complemented by an evolving establishment position that it is illegal and indeed insurrectionary to question official election results?”, – No person of a serious intent has either (a) said “we need to stop talking about the election process & voting”, and (b) no such person(s) have tried to make it illegal. I find these remarks to be nothing more the honey-pot. So my answers are no and no.

  22. Amfortas the hippie

    Another too early awakening(2:30am, this time), and time to rummage around.

    A few lenses:

    ie: it ain’t really feudalism

    on spiting one’s face…

    a spike in ronesh panuru’s(sp-2) eye.

    and this, from months ago…don’t know if it was ever linked.

    “This is what sets the modern world apart from all others. We choose our political leadership by adding together individual choices, and our ritual of expressing those choices in curtained-off booths tells its own story about the sovereignty of private minds. We decide what uses we will make of our natural resources through markets in goods, which add up individual decisions about what to consume, and we decide what tasks will be accomplished by bidding for people’s services in labor markets, which compile individual decisions about what people should do.
    Underpinning all of this is a single idea: that each of us is essentially alone. We come to social life from the outside, nursing a pre-social essence which lies at our very root and to which we turn when we seek to find or express ourselves. This is not so much an idea as it is a way of making sense of our experience, and it takes the form of several mutually reinforcing separations. The personal and the social are separate, as are the private and the public. The human and the non-human are separate, and so on. These divisions must be maintained, because our liberty seems to depend on them. Freedom in our sense is not Kant’s autonomy, the ability to give laws to oneself, but the ability to act in accordance with one’s authentic desires, and that kind of freedom is meaningless unless the source of those desires lies outside the realm, in which they are realized. If we could not step away from social processes, we could not claim those desires as our own.
    All of this seems obvious. But what if we are wrong? What if there is no standpoint external to social life, and those separations are simply the artifacts of self-consciousness? Our deepest ambitions and wishes would not be private but public, then, and what seem to be our own thoughts and feelings would be distorted echoes of a shared life that is as all-pervasive as it is inaccessible to conscious thought. If that is the case, our justifications for the way we live are mere bootstrapping. They rest on the belief that we have incorrigible access to an individual essence that logically precedes our interactions with each other. If that belief is false, our culture and our ideas of our selves are as delusional as the divine right of kings.”

    echoes of Blake on down to Theodore Roszak.

    I will now take advantage of the sunshine, and a high of 55(with 40 mph north winds), and eat a magic brownie, put on the Django, and play with dirt and little pots in the greenhouse…where it’s already almost April.

    1. polecat

      Beekeeping?? I seem to remember a couple of years ago, how you were entertaining the idea of just such an adventure ..

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i intend to purchase a colony this spring…although i’m still on the list with the local bee guy, in case there’s a swarm.
        i’d prefer local bees.
        pandemic has disrupted bee guy’s life enough that he’s been hard to find.
        meanwhile, i’m doing what i know….rooted cuttings of various herbs, filled 40 flats with potting soil…seeded out the stuff that gets seeded out in january…
        and i’m finally renting a dump trailer next week for gobs of city mulch(from the dump) as substrate for new beds…effectively doubling bed space.
        then the 10 or so yards of decent, non-herbicidal, manure i’ve managed to secure….half of which must be loaded by hand, because you can’t get a bobcat, etc into that barn.
        I’ll likely go on and obtain as much of the feedlot’s potentially herbicidal cow manure, too…to pile up somewhere out of the way, sprinkle with dry molasses, and attempt long term compost to kill the likely persistent herbicides(the hay farmers love that stuff)

        all my infrastructure endeavors are almost complete: the run for the new chicken house, and the completion of the turkey house and run are all that’s left…and i have some time before the new birds arrive…drying room/brooder&chick room is almost ready, too…
        hopefully all this cold, and snow, will have finally ended our 4 year grasshopper plague.
        i fear that we’ll need to feed ourselves this year.

  23. Mikel

    Doesn’t the continuing need for stimulus, more of which we will hear about from Biden, belie the “V-shaped” recovery narrative pumping the stock market?
    When does “Mr. Market” and its cheerleader analysts admit the depths of the holes in the economy?

    I’d imagine it wouldn’t be too far into the future now that a fall guy (retail trader exuberance) has been set up to take the blame for a crash. And it’s a set-up driven by internet memes that trigger emotion, especially among younger traders/investors.

    Covid came along as cover for the previous stagnation and a crash, but it doesn’t make people reach for the sell button like it used to.

    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      The continuing need for stimulus;

      Sounds like the process of jolting the heart of a motionless body with electricity. The muscles still twitch but chances are the brain is dead.


Comments are closed.