Links 2/20/2021

Alaska woman using outhouse attacked by bear, from below Star Tribune (Chuck L)

Moose And Her Family Sneak Into Man’s Backyard And Decide To Make It Their Own Animal Rescue (David L)

Scientists clone black-footed ferret, first for endangered US species The Hill

Alligators in Oklahoma Stick Their Mugs Out of Ice Amid Abnormal Freezing Temperatures Sputnik (Kevin W)

Mars landing: Excitement builds over new images from Nasa Perseverance rover BBC. Resilc: “More excitement if Texans had drinkable water instead of this military jobs program.”

How fires have spread to previously untouched parts of the world Guardian (resilc)

John Deere Promised Farmers It Would Make Tractors Easy to Repair. It Lied. Vice (resilc)

Making Sense of the Mass Data Generated From Firing Neurons Neuroscience News (David L)

A Marketplace and a Temple: Ancient Urbanism London Review of Books (Anthony L)

The penis: a life Aeon (Chuck L)

#COVID-19

African Union says Russia offers 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine Reuters (resilc)

Vaccine diplomacy: west falling behind in race for influence Guardian

Coronavirus Vaccine Nears Final Tests in Cuba. Tourists May Be Inoculated. New York Times. Honestly, looks easier to get it there than in Alabama.

The pandemic made the world realise the importance of human contact Economist. At the risk of oversharing, as a WASP, I can’t relate.

Science/Medicine

Why We Can’t Make Vaccine Doses Any Faster ProPublica (resilc)

Covid Pandemic: How Youyang Gu Used AI and Data to Make Most Accurate Prediction Bloomberg (resilc)

US

Two young women in Florida ‘dressed up as grannies’ to get vaccinated, health official says Seattle Times

School board members vent on hot mic about parents who ‘want their babysitters back’ The Hill (resilc)

Why Do Democrats Pretend Andrew Cuomo Did a Good Job With COVID? Slate (resilc)

Andrew Cuomo’s Week From Hell Will Test His Political Stranglehold Vanity Fair (resilc)

Getting a Covid shot at a time of health care corruption Lucy Komisar. More Cuomo watch.

Why Myanmar’s military will win in the end – Asia Times

Antonio Lettieri – The problematic future of Mario Draghi’s new Italian government Brave New Europe (Eileen Appelbaum)

An Inside Look at Cuba’s Constant Struggle for Clean Water New York Times (resilc)

If it were a narco lab, it would be working London Review of Books (Anthony L). On Honduras.

Norway to Decriminalize Personal Purchase, Possession, and Use Of All Drugs In Small Quantities Gizmodo (Dr. Kevin)

New Cold War

Russia: Origin and consequences of the debt repudiation of February 10, 1918 CADTM (Micael T)

Lipstick on a Pig, British Style: Or Why the UK’s Anti- Russian Propaganda Campaign is Bound to Fail  IRRUSSIONALITY (Anthony Li)

EU to impose sanctions on Russia over Navalny, but economy unlikely to be harmed — experts TASS (Micael T)

Syraqistan

U.N. Report Accuses Blackwater Founder of Libya Weapons Ban Violations Wall Street Journal. Oh, this is going to be FUN!

Untold Chaos: living through Libya’s wars – documentary Guardian (resilc)

NATO Increasing Troops in Iraq From 500 to 4,000 Antiwar

Middle East Roundup: Biden Takes Steps Forward on JCPOA & What Iran’s Feb. 23rd Deadline Means NIAC Action (Micael T)

How to Write About Iran: A Guide for Journalists, Analysts, and Policymakers McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (Anthony L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The F-35’s Engine Is a Bit Busted Right Now Popular Mechanics

Texas Deep Freeze

President Biden to declare major disaster in Texas BBC. Isn’t this a little late?

Fundraisers For Texas—From AOC, Beyoncé, Reese Witherspoon And More—Net MillionsEfforts follow the White House’s promise for more aid. Forbes (resilc). Charming. As Lambert stressed yesterday, the government should be the first line of social services in emergencies…..

Texas inmates stuck with clogged toilets, freezing cells, advocates say: ‘So cold that their bodies are numb’ Houston Chronicle (resilc). Turtles got better treatment.

Ted Cruz LEFT BEHIND family poodle named Snowflake when he fled frigid Texas for resort in Cancun Daily Mail (resilc)

Deconstructed: The Roots of the Texas Energy Crisis Intercept

Texas Is Facing a Food Supply Nightmare in Wake of Blackouts Bloomberg

Texas family forced to ration oxygen for their baby amid power outage Independent

‘An Ordinary Country With Serious Shortcomings’: U.S. Foes Blast Deadly Texas Outages US News

Q&A: What was behind Nebraska’s rolling blackouts? Why did an outside group decide? Omaha World-herald (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

After acquittal, Trump 2024? Maybe not so fast Associated Press (furzy)

Capitol Seizure

More Members Of Oath Keepers Charged With Conspiracy In January 6 Capitol Riot NPR (furzy).

Police suggest keeping Capitol fence for months, source says Federal Times (Kevin W)

Militant preppers, ‘boogaloo’ members and QAnon adherents can push products on Amazon Seattle Times

Biden

President Biden Addresses the Munich Security Conference C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Sen. Manchin opposes Neera Tanden as Biden’s budget chief, imperiling nomination NBC (resilc)

Beto O’Rourke’s response to crisis rekindles speculation about his political plans. New York Times (Kevin W)

The Tea Party Began 12 Years Ago. What’s Changed—and What Hasn’t. Washington Monthly

Georgia Republicans in sweeping new effort to make it harder to vote Guardian (Kevin W)

Bernie Sanders lays out ambitious Budget Committee agenda Washington Post

Our Famously Free Press

They Don’t Work To Kill All Dissent, They Just Keep It From Going Mainstream Caitlin Johnstone

Judge rejects Rep. Devin Nunes defamation suit against CNN Associated Press (furzy). As we said, defamation suits are hard to win in the US.

Facebook

Lawmakers in U.K., Canada Slam Facebook After Australia News Blackout Wall Street Journal (furzy)

Facebook makes a power move in Australia – and may regret it Associated Press (furzy)

Exclusive: Coming bill would allow U.S. news publishers to team up when negotiating with Facebook, Google Reuters (resilc)

Google fires Margaret Mitchell, another top researcher on its AI ethics team Guardian (Kevin W). Looking like Google has problems with ethics, as opposed to particular people. Google claims Mitchell removed company documents….but I’d like to hear Mitchell on this issue. If she thought she was being fired or about to be scapegoated, she might have taken copies so as to assist if she needed to litigate (having docs is a hell of a lot easier than suing to get them via discovery).

If serious, it’s desperate, heavy-handed, and unproductive, but could just as well be understood on both sides to be optics:

FAA Tracking All Boeing 737 Max Flights Around World With Satellites Bloomberg. Not a good look.

Dozens of WWE wrestlers sue company for brain damage at US Supreme Court Independent

Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies Reuters (resilc)

Class Warfare

Share of US Workers Holding Multiple Jobs is Rising, New Census Report Shows Reuters

Uber Drivers Are Entitled to Worker Benefits, a British Court Rules New York Times

Gig Economy Coming for Millions of U.S. Jobs After California’s Uber, Lyft Vote Bloomberg (resilc)

As U.S. pork plant speeds up slaughtering, workers report more injuries Reuters

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus (Jules):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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196 comments

  1. zagonostra

    >’An Ordinary Country With Serious Shortcomings’: U.S. Foes Blast Deadly Texas Outages – US News

    I find it interesting that the article opens up with “America’s most consequential adversaries on Thursday pounced on the news of historic and deadly outages in Texas…” What about America’s not so “consequential adversaries?” I remember Hugo Chavez sending heating oil to Americans when oil heating subsidies were cut. How about America’s friends? Do they not wonder at the condition/ability of the country that is supposed to be leading the “free world” to take care of its own.

    It’s not criticism from “consequential adversaries pouncing” on the glaring shortcomings of this country that they are seeing on their screens that is a problem. It’s the inability for self-criticism that is at the root of the problem.

    The “free market” has run rampant. The results of “rugged individualism” has shown it’s ugly underside, with images of people seeking shelter, warmth, food, and a place to take a dump. There are now reports of people receiving utility bills that run into the thousands. Throw CV19, stalled stimulus checks, checks that other countries receive monthly, and you don’t have to wonder too much about other countries openly seeing our “serious shortcomings.”

    And yet you still see the casuistry coming from officials when they try and make the glaring failings of our social economic system into a virtue:

    “The very fact that we’re constantly trying to build that more perfect union is an acknowledgement of our imperfection but also it’s in the striving that you really make progress. And I think that there’s a model there for others,” he said. “I don’t feel any hesitation about advancing our views on democracy and our views on human rights. Because again, I find that there’s actually strength in the fact that we’re confronting these things openly, that we’re confronting our own deficits, our own challenges, for the entire world to see. And that’s very unlike, still, most other countries in the world.

    1. Fireship

      The United States is visibly in an early stage of disintegration

      America was an interesting experiment. 400 years is not a bad run. There were some good things in amongst all the horrors. I particularly liked the jazz. I think it is quite safe to say that a country based on hustling has no future. Even Morocco has high speed rail. The challenge for the rest of the world is how to manage US decline. I imagine the US will split up into about a dozen political units. Fun times ahead.

      1. lordkoos

        The ugly part is that I think the decline will be expressed by the USA being involved in more military adventures. If the country does divide into smaller states that will also be extremely ugly. Glad I won’t be alive for the worst of it.

        1. Keith Newman

          If the US divides into a dozen smaller states won’t each state have fewer resources available for military aggression elsewhere?

          1. The Rev Kev

            True, but those resources will then be devoted to military aggression against their neighbours in a grab for resources. Consider the importance of having water in the American south-west for example.

      2. Emanuela Maria Agostino

        I live in Italy and more or less that’s what has happened….about a dozen political units…

      3. Phenix

        High speed rail requires dedicated lines just like a highway. America’s areas that need high speed rail do not have the necessary open space to make use of this technology.

        The West Coast and NE corridor are heavily developed. I can not see a future were eminent domain is used on that real estate and towns/cities.

        1. upstater

          And China, I guess without settlement density or wide open space could build 30,000 km of HSR… or Japan, or France, or Russia. The only people that cannot see a future for HSR are vision impaired.

        2. Wukchumni

          We can’t even build a choo-choo from Chinatown in LA to Chinatown in SF, and have settled our aspirations for more meager train fare from Bakersfield to Modesto, making Fresno somewhat of a mecca, maybe.

        3. JBird4049

          The government in the United States is very, very willing and happy to used eminent domain to destroy those annoying poor and/or minority neighborhoods and enrich developers. Just read about the 50s and 60s where mass seizures and demolitions were used to construct some of those highways in cities across the country. San Jose, Tulsa, and New York would be three good examples.

          IIRC, San Francisco had a multi decade fight over the Freeway to Nowhere that only finally ended after the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Although that example shows that activists can sometimes win, it can be a serious and protracted struggle to prevent The Powers That Be from carrying out their so called redevelopment. If the government at all levels was willing to plan and fight for rail, slow or fast, and was willing to do it in a way that helped everyone and not just the elites, they probably would succeed. As it is, if it doesn’t help Bezos and Friends, it doesn’t get done or is actively blocked.

        4. Grateful Dude

          the NE corridor could probably be replaced in place by an integrated 3D transportation-communication corridor with all the, sigh, latest laser-sensed auto-control AI of course, and travel at high speeds, on one track anyway. Maglev?

          Greenwich and Westport can rest easy. This is for them after all.

    2. endeavor

      ‘Rugged Individualism’ is a rich mans trait to get richer. Kissing cousin to ‘Let them eat cake’. Normal Americans are quite generous in times of need.

    3. IdahoSpud

      “Rugged Individualism” is simply the logical response of the precatiat to one obvious fact: Nobody in a position to help you actually gives a rats’s ass about you. If you get into real dire straits, they might take your kids away though.

          1. farragut

            Some would argue the road was paved at the behest of Capital. The fact Labor gets to drive on it is merely a happy coincidence.

            1. The Historian

              “Rugged Individualists” always depend on society for a great deal of their lives, whether it was done for their benefit or not – they just tell themselves that they don’t.

            2. JP

              It’s really late to be commenting but: Capital/labor dialectic for the day? Gets right to the fiction of socio-economics. It’s not really that hard to build and maintain a road but only those who can make a profit out of it bother. Labor or for another phrase, willing victims, couldn’t possibly get it together to make a road for their own convenience. Fiction! we allow capital to organize our “labor” efforts otherwise we would revert to the stone age, which might be preferable because those people knew how to work together without money to achieve a community commons. It is so much easier to complain then actually do something. Not really criticizing your comment just springing off it.

      1. Adam Eran

        Re: Rich broadcasters: From The Intercept: “After Rush Limbaugh died on Wednesday, there was an outpouring of analysis of his impact on U.S. politics. He popularized a hard-right perspective on economics, celebrating the worthy wealthy and pouring scorn on the undeserving poor. Along the way, he amassed a personal fortune in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

        What’s gotten no attention, however, is the hilarious irony at the core of Limbaugh’s life: His career and wealth were a handout from the U.S. government.

        This is because Limbaugh was a radio broadcaster. The section of the electromagnetic spectrum used for radio is an extremely valuable resource, and different stations in the same area can’t broadcast at the same frequency. This means the federal government has to regulate radio, and grant monopolies in the form of licenses to broadcast at every point on the band. And until fairly recently, the government handed out these licenses — and thereby the opportunity to exploit the radio spectrum — at essentially no cost.)

        This situation is equivalent to huge gold mines on public land. Imagine if the government simply gave the rights to extract the gold to corporations, and then the corporations hired a contractor to mine the gold, splitting the proceeds with them. The contractor would easily grow stupendously wealthy. But it would be a little hard to take if he constantly lectured everyone else about the nobility of the rich and the dangers of dependence on the government.”

    4. WobblyTelomeres

      “The very fact that we’re constantly trying to build that more perfect union …”

      That there is one high quality reach-around.

    5. Edward

      Blinken also stated that:

      “There is no doubt that our ability to wave the banner of democracy and human rights to some extent has been tarnished by recent events, especially the egregious attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6,”

      I have news for him; “our ability to wave the banner of democracy and human rights” was tarnished a long time ago. I think Blinken was Biden’s foreign policy staff person when he was chair of the Senate foreign relations committee. Blinken bears responsibility for the Iraq war, and is probably incapable of referring to that human rights disaster.

    6. Jen

      I find this a curious piece. I’m not sure if the point is to suggest our “most consequential adversaries” have it wrong, or to say “hey, you a**holes, as citizens of this country, our most consequential adversaries do kind of have a point.”

    7. Wukchumni

      Our peers in the developed world see what a mess we are, and yet they are still yoked to our almighty buck. Now, why would they want to continue doing that?

      These same peers would have not criticized us 20 years ago during an event such as 9/11, as they were in solidarity with our plight, not now.

    8. Peter McGuire Wolf

      Well considered post Zagonostra! Most of the time, all of this rhetoric about democracy reminds me of the Soviet leaders speeches. The root of the problem is not political so much as it is PHILOSOPHical—Progressives are Platonists without brakes who feel that they have contributed to a problem if they can make a beautiful speech–utopism and rampant future speculation—while being blind to common sense, natural law and an Aristotelian realism based on empirical evidence. Because being human in terms of realism and common sense is a very complicated, messy sinful affair—and there will be no political rectification or amelioration, until a week after the eschaton, to quote Bishop Barron humorously. I remember going to academic conferences where philosophers only were concerned to make their own speeches, where people just talk AT each other—that’s academia to a TEE. All of these scholarly books are a waste of paper—I for one prefer OLDER books and scholarship from the days when there were real scholars in America. Sadly those days are gone. But all of this social media—easy quick, cheap , ephemeral—is not a replacement for actual scholarship—I mean unless someone has studied at least several years of classical political philosophy—they are not qualified to even proffer OPINIONS — democracy panders to mob ignorance where every kid thinks that they need to express their views on anything and everything. There is no authoritative legitimacy in intelligentsia (again like the Soviet Union)–Ph.Ds are granted by illegitimate authority on subjects and disciplines that aren’t even real: gender studies, race studies, etc…brand new “sciences” Crazy trans-gender theories—it’s like the parents aren’t home and the kids are running the household—there’ the new administration—these are kids—but to be an adult and immature morally is not becoming, it’s unhealthy. There just aren’t any nobles left–no MLKs instead we get BLM which is hateful and deceptive. If I were KING I would shut down these academic institutions who pander to leftist progressivist ideology and dissolve the philosophy departments and then start over with Real philosophy: i.e. Aristotle’s critique of Plato, all of the rest is a footnote. Current progressivist ideology is not even a footnote, it’s just a shallow blurb, stated by ignoramuses with Ph.Ds, especially from Ivy League where the rot really set in and produced this current cache of lawyers and politicians and health officials whose mentality is not one wit better than the soviets, who systematically undermined real artists, real poets, real philosophers, real musicians—for a truly tragic example see Maxim Gorky’s fascist progressivist efforts, and what they did to a poet such as Osip Mandelstam. But now we see this in the States—vilifying geniuses and awarding the higher honors to fools.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Why Myanmar’s military will win in the end – Asia Times

    This is a great article, it goes well beyond the usual superficial assessments. Its pretty clear the Myanmar military are very competent at what they do, and have been planning this coup for a long time. By coincidence, I’ve been listening recently to Dan Carlin’s podcast on Japanese politics in the first half of the 20th Century and there are echoes there of how an unconstrained military can slowly usurp power without necessarily knowing what to do with it.

    The one thing I’d throw into the mix is that in the 1980’s the autocratic regime of South Korea seemed very competent and impregnable, but fell apart with surprising speed when they picked an enemy too many. The key element historically has been that no matter how competent and/or brutal an army based autocracy is, it cannot afford to make an enemy of both the working classes and the urban professional classes at the same time. The Burmese military seem to have a lot of enemies, from the various ethnic based rural rebel groups to the poor and it also seems the administrative class in Rangoon. It will be fascinating to see who wins out. Unfortunately, its tough to see any of the potential winners being nice guys we can all get behind.

    1. Andrew Watts

      The Meiji government was formed by samurai drawn primarily from Satsuma and Choshu domains after the Boshin War. It was pretty much a military oligarchy to begin with. The period of Taisho democracy saw the emergence of political leaders that actively struggled with the military for power.

      However, this was only possible because the adventurism in Siberia was such an embarrassment to the military. They only remained relatively subdued in governmental affairs for a short period of time.

    2. Wyatt Powell

      I have been LOVING Supernova in the East

      I wish he had been. More active with his “Common Sense” Podcast* during these last 4 years (Yes I know his reasoning).

      *For anyone not in the Dan Carlin podcasting cult lol*
      2005-2015, 316 Common Sense Podcasts***
      2015-2021, 5 Common Sense Podcasts

      2006-2015, 56 Hardcore History
      2016-2021, 10 Hardcore History

      *** Common Sense went through an almost two-year hiatus beginning in May 2018 and ending on April 1, 2020, with episode 319 – “A Recipe for Caesar.”

      1. JBird4049

        Carlin has always been slow with his podcasts. He is a perfectionist and some of those “podcasts” are more like books.

        It’s a shame that he does not do more of his Common Sense podcasts. I don’t always agree with him, but his honest and thoughtful words, I really do appreciate.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “African Union says Russia offers 300 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine”

    Definitely not a good look for the west. Western countries were just asked about sending vaccines to other countries at the G7 meeting I believe and you could hear the crickets. I was reading somewhere too how the vaccine companies were trying to gouge the EU big time on pricing so I guess that those companies figure that they will never need any friends in the capitals there in the coming years.

    Not only do the Russians have Sputnik V to draw on but a third vaccine has just been registered called CoviVac so if production of these vaccines can be ramped up, it may go eventually big time in getting the people in those countries vaccinated. But that will leave Russia with a lot of chips to be cashed in around the world-

    https://www.rt.com/russia/516125-third-coronavirus-vaccine-covivac/

  4. Mr. Magoo

    Re: “Mars landing: Excitement builds over new images from Nasa Perseverance rover”

    Maybe characterizing the Mars program as a ‘military jobs program’ is correct, however the amount of money spent here is an absolute drop in the bucket to the budget overall (and even the military budget). Surely, there are enough people that know when you trace the genealogy of technical achievements in the past, most lead to the space/military programs and addressing their needs. Frankly, the work of NASA and even America’s favorite nerd, Elon Musk (gasp) via SpaceX, have been producing some of the few last vestiges of American ‘exceptionalism’.

    And the Mars program has nothing to do with the market-force raping and abuse the citizens of Texas are being subjected to.

    1. Ella

      Agree. I for one enjoyed watching the live coverage this week with my family. My daughter cheered when it landed. It was refreshing to actually see something WORK for a change in the US.

      1. orlbucfan

        +100. I have been anti-war/MICC my entire adult life, but give space exploration some credit. One powerful item that came from its research is laser technology, and its ( peaceful) applications in medicine.

        1. oliverks

          Also don’t forget that the idea for global warming came from studying Venus. Without that insight, we might be 20 years behind where we are right now. Not that we are doing brilliantly at dealing with the problem.

          1. Aumua

            Around 1900, Arrhenius characterized the greenhouse effect of CO2 and suggested that man made emissions could affect the Earth’s temperature. Venus was not any part of that discussion as far as I know.

    2. Pelham

      You’re certainly right about the spending drop in the bucket. But overall I still think it’s probably a waste.

      If the objective is some kind of human landing or achieving a base on Mars, isn’t this pointless? NASA has concluded that Mars can’t be terraformed. And why send a few human beings to a desolate rock?

      That said, I deeply believe in space exploration. In fact, I’d pour a lot more money into it. But rockets aren’t the answer. They can’t take us to anyplace worth going to. We ought to begin working on the science and technology that might do that, taking us to other star systems with potentially habitable planets in useful timeframes.

      Maybe this will never, ever be possible. I’ll concede that. And maybe the sheer adventure of aiming for Mars or some other objective in our solar system is worth the time and effort despite the inutility. I’ll concede that possibility as well. I just think that the spirit of exploration requires that something of real worth — and possibly human rebirth — potentially lie at the far end of our strivings. That’s not the case (as far as I can see) within this solar system. Real buccaneers need to think galactically.

      (BTW, we should note that the Pentagon has come rather close to suggesting that visitors from other worlds are here. This ought to open up some minds.)

      1. TsWkr

        I think of these projects as basically a lottery ticket that simultaneously have incidental positive societal benefits from the R&D needed to get there. If there’s a chance we can become a multi-planetary species and reduce extinction risk, then I say it’s fine to spend a tiny fraction of our resources on it, particularly since it could “pay for itself” in earth applications. Terraforming or colonization probably won’t happen as you say, but I don’t think we should be complacent in what we know, and missions like this allow for positive surprises.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Large scale construction. Materials. Mars provides low enough gravity to escape the planet cheaply, but we don’t need to produce artificial gravity for people to work on Mars and mimic how ships and stations will function before final assembly. There is nothing to wreck either.

        If we are going to leave our sun, Mars would be a great place to work from. Except for the start up costs, we have all the science knowhow if not technological expertise to plan an end to mining and energy production on Earth.

        1. Hepativore

          I have an aunt that works for NASA, as she helps design the joints on space suits. It is a rather specialized area of engineering, as there has to be a balance between dexterity, and still being able to maintain suit pressurization. One major advantage of having humans in space, is that it has allowed us to collect and study just what effects a microgravity environment as well as other variables have on the human body which we would have never learned about otherwise.

          Plus, I really do think that it is probably a good idea to try and eventually set up some sort of permanent colony whether in the form of an orbital habitat or on another planet. This is for the simple reason that it is only a matter of time before we face another unavoidable catastrophe like impact with a huge asteroid or the supervolcano going off in the western US. It is not wise to have all of our eggs in one basket.

          With that being said, I am vehemently against the privatization of space exploration and colonization in the event that we get something like the ultra-rich setting themselves up with their own empires of chattel off Earth, completely unaccountable to anybody even more than they are now.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The cosmonaut who did the first space walk said one of the hardest things he ever did was try to open and close his hand on that space suit because they didn’t know how rugged it had to be so they erred on the side of caution. They recorded his heart beat. They use the recording in movies all the time.

            The development of space and what it looks like is much more clear than it was 20 years ago. People like your aunt aren’t doing guesswork anymore. This is a huge deal.

        2. Pelham

          Mars would be a great place for rockets to depart from, yes. But you’re still thinking in terms of rockets, and they won’t get us anywhere worth going to. We literally need some kind of technology that far exceeds the speed of light. And yes, science and its theories now tell us that nothing of the sort is within reach technologically, so it may never happen. But keep in mind that ALL theories are only dim approximations of what’s possible.

      3. Captain Obious

        No connection between the fall off in military activity and the coincidental boosterism for “space” every time I open Google News? Somehow it seems our military-industrial complex has not missed a beat, and will do just fine until the next military adventure.
        Also, Kim Stanley Robinson has suggested that the interstellar distances in space are simply too far for humans: “The distances between stars, however, are ‘stupendous,’ and it would take ‘forever to get there’ with multigenerational starships. The people who take that journey will become a separate species and never come back; they are not ‘part of the human project,’ he argued.”
        Maybe astral projection…

        1. TsWkr

          Honestly, if MIC spending is re-purposed for space, I see that as a not not terrible outcome, as long as we’re not weaponizing it. The economic disruption from just shutting down the MIC would be huge, so we’d have to shift all of that production capacity. Ideally it would be infrastructure, disaster preparedness and other immediate needs, but that’s probably not as close of a match in skills or production type as space exploration.

      4. Keith

        It is a way to hide military spending. It is similar to the department of energy where a large chunk of their budget is for military nuclear weapons and propulsion systems, along with r&d. Multiple that with DHS, NSA, etc. I think it is good to remind people about that.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Ted Cruz is slammed for leaving the family poodle Snowflake at home when he fled frigid Texas for luxury resort in Cancun”

    I think that you can kiss Ted’s chances for a run at the 2024 Presidency goodbye now so America gets to dodge that particular bullet. But bailing out of the country to work on his tan while the big freeze was on? Seriously? That was like when Scotty from Marketing waited until half of Oz was on fire and then took off through the back door for a tropical holiday. Never a good look. But Ted did him one better. He blamed his daughters for making the trip but then let the family pet freeze at home. Did he not think that he could have brought the dog along in that airplane as a comfort dog? What else can you say-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZruHfeUcNys

    1. jefemt

      When one gets seriously bogged in snow or ice often we resort to throwing ANYTHING under the tires for traction.

      Ted was just throwing his kids under the bus to get his show back on the road . The humor in the link headline was RICH….. Left Behind and Snowflake in one sentence? My gosh made my morning. Hat tip to the wordsmiths

    2. jhallc

      It’s not a Standard Poodle. He could have stuffed it under his seat in 1st class. Or like Mitt, stuffed it in the overhead compartment:)

        1. ambrit

          Because the security guard’s girlfriend’s kid can’t go to school because of the covid. Thus, that kid is using the available seat location in the automobile to stay warm. (The mother is working cleaning houses for the rich folks who stayed; and we all know how they get about stray ‘deplorable’ brats hanging around all those stealable items.)

        2. chuck roast

          Given the general Tejano zeitgeist I am proposing that we organize a Go Fund Me for Snowflake the dog. This is entirely consistent with the official Texan attitude towards its citizens…“You ain’t gettin’ one public family bloggin’ nickel,” and the heart warming Christian sympathy for turtles and the like that you would find in any I-10 megachurch. You’re on your own.

    3. Fireship

      I don’t think you understand America: cruelty to the weakest and selfishness are the highest virtues. The weakest, in turn, blame themselves for not believing hard enough. The homeless camps are full of patriots flying the star-spangled banner.

      1. Winston Smith

        Cruelty to humans doesn’t get much traction but a dog…is there a picture of this dog somewhere? Better still a video showing how cute and playful the dog is. That would absolutely sink Ted

          1. JBird4049

            Well, anyone who would live their pet behind, never you mind the dog, is just heartless. I guess Americans focus on animals instead of people because you can always find something to blame the human on for their situation.

        1. km

          I have long thought that what the Novorussians need is a puppy.

          Of course, the sufferings of that particular puppy would be greeted with silence from the western MSM, but let one stray dog in Kiev scrape his precious paw and CNN will be live, on the scene.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      Ted’s goose would be cooked if we had an actual opposition party in Texas:
      https://twitter.com/Steinklev/status/1362777724700532736
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EumhncAXUAEkAgm?format=jpg&name=small

      the political ads write themselves.
      but, sadly, Texdems will most likely crawfish back into their holes in the muddy bank, issuing ads about gun control and abortion, and totally neglect the birdsnests on the ground that the Texas goptea has left for them.
      the cell phone pic that started this:
      https://image.cnbcfm.com/api/v1/image/106842406-16136745192021-02-18t182913z_1149617863_rc26vl9cytcb_rtrmadp_0_usa-weather-cruz.jpeg?v=1613674566&w=630&h=354

      the look on Ted’s face says it all:”uh oh.”
      the hordes of rabid magabillies who are rushing to his defense, and deflecting onto AOC, or whatever other folk devil is to hand…are really a minority.
      whenever his reelection is, if that last image could be plastered on billboards across the state, he’d be done.

      i think i’ll call the Texdem HQ on monday and yell at someone.

      i used to deliver playbills to theaters in austin from a printer/ad agency right behind and up the hill from Dem HQ, there on west 6th, down the street from Katz’s(a new york deli of some repute).
      this was early 90’s, after Texdems had lost everything, and were in full retreat.
      never saw a soul, there.
      not even cars in the little lot….it’s been downhill ever since for Opposition(sic) in Texas.
      I was active out here for Dems during the 04 campaign, when it looked like the Cheney/Bush admin was gonna arrest everyone to the left of reagan.
      even got on tv and the front page of major texas newspapers for my in yer face home made tshirts and arid wit.
      but soon after, the demparty couldn’t even have a county storefront, or a working phone number.
      took me until 3 weeks into Obamatime to abandon them completely…part of the problem, not the solution.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d love to toss off accusations of “poor judgement” or “arrogance,” but somehow this seems to go far beyond that. Anyone with two functioning neurons could have figured out that, under the circumstances, this trip would be an irredeemably terrible mistake. And leaving the dog where someone could take that pathetic picture looking out the window, fer chrissakes!

      From newsom at the French Laundry to all things cuomo, there has been no shortage of teachable moments for these politicians over the past year. How does anyone, let alone one of only 100 u.s. senators, take such complete and total leave of their supposedly keen political senses?

      I mean, WTF?

      1. verifyfirst

        Imagining Cruz’s story was true–his two girls, 10 and 11, look up plaintively to Dad–“it’s cold here, it’s dark, it’s miserable, Dad, can’t we fly off to Cancun for a while?”

        Ted: “oh sure girls, way to problem solve!” So resourceful you are.

      2. Calypso Facto

        How does anyone, let alone one of only 100 u.s. senators, take such complete and total leave of their supposedly keen political senses?

        I’ve pondered this question deeply and my conclusion is that Ted (and the rest of them) believe they have a backup plan (a cushy role in lobbying or public-private boards) and/or enough dirty money in offshore accounts to make their political calculus beyond “engineer the law to benefit my corporate patrons/donors” pointless. Like they believe it to be an actual waste of their time to fix/solve the problems in their governing job because of both the money they receive from the corporations, and because they know enough of the power structure behind the scenes to know they don’t have the pull to resolve the problem anyhow, so stay out and let the businesses sort it out themselves (wielding power would end his gravy train, which is no-doubt more personally profitable than his Senator salary). His role is to provide culture war red meat/bait to distract from the looting and make the sure fines, when they come, are paltry relative to the damage.

    6. Wukchumni

      I wonder what Newsmax thinks of Ted’s pooch?

      As far as Presidential curs go, yeah i’d have been down on Biden if he got one of those dogs that bark & back up at the same such as a Chihuahua, but a German Shepherd mix rescue has a certain gravitas, and perhaps Joe will even stoop so low as to rescue human mixes from shelters?

  6. OIFVet

    Just got the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine today, together with couple of other US expats in Sofia. Typically chaotic Bulgarian organization, especially since the vaccination schedules were thrown away in an impromptu speech by the PM, who ordered a first come/first served vaccination yesterday. So we went bright and early this morning and were within the first two dozen to be vaccinated once the stations opened. My US friends were grateful that firearms are not readily available here; given the chaos of the process they remarked that in the US there would likely be people who settled their disputes with guns. Nevertheless, we are now jabbed and have a date in April for the second shot, so we are happy Americans today 😁

    1. The Rev Kev

      Starting to get a bit of a pattern Americans having to get vaccinations in their host countries. Recently a lot of the Moscow-based foreign journalists that were rubbishing the Sputnik V vaccine waddled off to get it for themselves as there were no other way to get vaccinated. But then it went up a notch. The US has diplomatic staff based around the world who have been informed by the State Department that as far as vaccines are concerned, that they are on their own. So you now have the embarrassing sight of these diplomats having to ask their host countries if they can get vaccinated along with the rest of the population.

      1. carl

        We’re thinking of flying to Cuba once their vaccines are approved. They say they will offer vaccines to tourists. Only partly kidding.

        1. Winston Smith

          Well, it is medical tourism at its prophylactic best and certainly a great way for Cuba to poke fun at the US.

  7. Carolinian

    Re BBC as establishment mouthpiece–I’ve been watching the new Adam Curtis documentary and, while he is quite willing to criticize UK domestic policies and past imperial exploitation, he seems quite unwilling to buck the party line on Putin–portrayed as a mediocre bureaucrat seeking to recapture past Soviet power. That Putin himself has given important international talks saying the opposite doesn’t register. You have to wonder if this “outside the box” documentary/essay series would make air if it did.

    We Carolinians don’t get a lot beeb but we are able to see some and I’ve yet to watch a BBC show that had anything nice to say about Russia. The Red Army saved England’s bacon in WW2. Where’s the love?

    1. km

      To be fair, even if Great Britain lost the Battle of Britain, there was no way that Germany would be able to mount a successful seaborne invasion of England.

      The British knew this full well at the time. After the war, they repeatedly tried gaming an Operation Sea Lion and pretty much could not invent a scenario in which the Germans weren’t forced to surrender or driven into the sea.

      The submarine campaign was a different matter.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps. But as discussed here before the Brit beef with Russia goes back to the 19th century–something to do with India, the Great Game, English aristocratic snobbery etc. Given that Can’t Get You Out of My Head is about the struggle against old ideas Curtis might want to have a talk with his channel.

        1. urblintz

          I imagine the talk he’s surely already had with the BBC clearly laid out the parameters of what could and could not be documented. Indeed, one might say he is “cover” for BBC nationalism. The BBC has long practiced the similar dodge found in Baraitser’s judgement against Assange… a false attempt to demonstrate genuine and humane concern serving to hide (not so well in Assanges case – he’s still in prison… for skipping bail) the real (some might even call it evil) agenda.

      2. JacobiteInTraining

        Taking a bit of a tangent on reply – but when one considers the Royal Navy was the cornerstone of the defense against Operation Sea Lion…maybe not so much of a tangent.

        Anyway, I stumbled upon this guy – Drachinifel – the other day, and have been absolutely impressed & fascinated at his incredible collection of content on the navies of the world. Heavy focus in-depth on capital ships, the late 19th to mid-20th century, and British Empire Dreadnaughtiness…..but with enough breadth to cover many other countries as well.

        Anyway – I make very limited use of patreon, focusing my limited ‘subscription’ dollars for those people who really deserve it…and this guy darn well does. I am History buff, so his content fills a gaping hole in my knowledge really well.

        If you watch his ‘Drydock’ QA series *alone* it is insane how many questions and answers he fits in, with – what sure seems to be – excellent answers!!

        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4mftUX7apmV1vsVXZh7RTw

        1. Carolinian

          So a Luftwaffe controlling the skies couldn’t have sunk those capital ships? Those ships didn’t do very well in the Pacific.

          And while Britain staved off the invasion in Battle of Britain round one, conventional WW2 history says the Russian invasion took the place of round two.

          This bought time for America to also save the UK’s bacon.

          1. km

            Don’t believe me, believe Sandhurst.
            .
            Logistics was one German problem.
            The other was that the Luftwaffe would not be able to sink enough British ships fast enough to stop them from mauling the Kriegsmarine. And of course the Luftwaffe would not be able to attack the Royal Navy by night.

            1. Jason Boxman

              The best book I’ve read on German industrial might and logistics is “Brute Force” by John Ellis. It’s worth a read. In short, the Germans never had sufficient industrial and logistical capacity for a prolonged war.

              1. LifelongLib

                My understanding is that Hitler didn’t want to fight in the West at all, and was rather dismayed when Britain and France declared war after Germany invaded Poland. Hard to believe that even if the USSR had been fighting alone that Germany could have won though. At the start of the actual Operation Barbarossa the USSR had a 12 million man reserve and Germany didn’t have anybody. The Soviets would have won by attrition anyway.

        2. AndrewJ

          I love that guy and his channel. To be brutally honest, though, it’s mostly a sleep aid :) He’s got an interesting, but calming voice, and and the topic of warships is one that I hold little interest in, so I’m not bothered when I drift off to sleep. Now if it was a botany channel, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all, straining to stay awake and absorb precious information.
          As much as I hate militaria, it is a facet of our existence, and the tidbits that I learn through Drach help shed light on humanity.

        3. marku52

          I’m also a fan of “Drach”. He’s been doing a great series on the sea battles around Guadalcanal.

          1. LifelongLib

            What strikes me about his battle accounts is the incredible number of mistakes the combatants make. Seems like the winner is the side that screws up less.

      3. Synoia

        To be fair, even if Great Britain lost the Battle of Britain, there was no way that Germany would be able to mount a successful seaborne invasion of England.

        Could understanding that that be why the Germans did not try to Invade?

        1. Jessica

          Even if they couldn’t invade, were it not for the Red Army, Germany would have sat there and rained V2’s down on the UK until it looked like North Vietnam after the American bombing.

          1. RMO

            I’ll go to Jackie Fisher: “If the Royal Navy falls it is not invasion that Britain needs to fear but starvation.” An invasion would have been pretty much impossible for the Third Reich but the U-boat campaign came fairly close to making an invasion unnecessary. Fortunately Germany didn’t start the war with a large U-boat fleet (compared to what they could have had if they had made it a priority) and the campaign was countered with increasing effectiveness as time went by but Churchill was right when he said it was the U-boat campaign that really frightened him.

    2. urblintz

      Absolutely right. It starts well but my enthusiasm was checked in part IV and part V fails utterly (imho). He skips Obama entirely while continuing to portray Putin as some brain-dead mannequin who “had no view of the future” blah blah blah. He says Putin was “hand-picked” by the oligarchs when in fact he was “hand-picked” by “our” guy Yeltsin and spotlights Navalny calling Putin a thief – this from a guy found guilty of embezzlement (and now in jail for breaking his parole on that crime). And the fact that Putin took on the oligarchs is related as some sort of surprise move with seriously dark motives. Indeed, every good decision Putin has made is referenced as some sort of abberation. The clearly fascist nature of his detractors, with their nazi/sovet flag chimeras, is passed over with a kind of “too bad, but not bad enough to linger upon” fleetness.

      Mention of the 2008 crisis doesn’t show one scene from or comment about Occupy Wall Street…

      …but hey, that Pussy Riot clip…

      Curtis always comes close in his docs but usually gets a lot wrong in the end, usually by omission.

      Like Alex Gibney, Curtis is over-rated, and both ultimately service empire by what they leave out.

      1. Carolinian

        Well I certainly agree about Gibney.

        Interestingly today’s linked Caitlin column is about how the elites permit dissent as long as you don’t stray beyond their red lines or become too influential.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          take Democracy Now!
          post-911, i got my mom and stepdad hooked on Amy Goodman…well on their way to being moderately radicalised.
          but then Obama…and all was well with the world.
          i had my life so arranged that i would be dropping off my toddler eldest right about the time Amy was on(and in time for Second Breakfast), and it was an epiphany to me that things like DN/Amy Goodman, no matter their sincerity, were like the pressure relief valves on tank water heaters…there to blow off some steam, mess up some drywall, and prevent more catastrophic damage.
          mom and stepdad never had that epiphany…and, indeed, were psychologically resistant to it…because, as i realised at the time, it was too much…not having Dems as the Good Guys was a Bridge Too far…and the world looked far too hopeless.
          so get comfortable waffling between Denial and Bargaining.

          1. Carolinian

            Yes the “war and peace report” has not been good on Syria. But I haven’t listened to DN in a long timee.

        2. Karina

          Elitism with a BAME front:

          “In 2016 the BBC pledged that half its workforce and leadership would be female by 2020 despite less than 40 per cent of Britain’s full-time workers being women. It also set an 8 per cent target for LGBT employees, although only around 2 per cent of the population identify as LGBT. This target has been comfortably exceeded, as has been the target of having 15 per cent of employees from a BAME background. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last month, the corporation raised this target to 20 per cent.
          The BBC admits that people from ‘low and intermediate income households’ are hugely underrepresented in its workforce.”
          https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-lost-boys-the-white-working-class-is-being-left-behind

          Think the preceding is the only reason why Curtis’ documentary incorporated and focused on the transgender person, as though that were as important as an empire being overthrown.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Good point. That part didn’t really fit in well with the rest. I figured it was just another example of Curtis’ penchant for skipping from topic to topic, but I wondered how there came to be so much old footage about this fairly unknown person. When I looked up Julia Grant, I found that this person was the subject of a 40 year old documentary done by,,,, the BBC!

            Now the inclusion of Grant makes a lot more sense given the BBC’s recent idpol quotas.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I took Curtis’ portrayal of Putin as bucking the party line narrative of him being some supergenius megalomaniac tyrant bent on world domination that we often see in the US, especially since the Russiagate ridiculousness. And we could quibble over whether Putin was handpicked by oligarchs or by our guy Yeltsin, but they are pretty much one and the same – Yeltsin was just the drunken front for the oligarchy created by the US shock doctrine “assistance” to Russia.

        I do agree that there was a lot of handwaving over significant parts of history. I did watch the entire series and the whole decade of the 80s gets barely a mention and I may be mistaken, but I don’t believe the words “Ronald Reagan” are ever uttered once.

        As I thought about it though, I think this was Curtis’ point. This series and others from Curtis are about the power of narrative and how we tell stories to each other to define our societies, and in the case of the elites, to control those societies. So Curtis glossed over Clinton’s role in catapulting the neoliberalism and didn’t mention St. Reagan at all. In a small way, that denies them agency. It shifts the prevailing narrative. And as a USian who closely follows the news, I already knew all about the depredations of Thatcher and Reagan and Clinton and Bush. What I did not know is the history of China and specifically that of Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, who Curtis spends much more time on. I now look at the world a little differently than I did before.

        He starts the whole series off with this quote from David Graeber:

        The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something we make, and could just as easily make differently.

        Cutis showed how in the past the powerful created narratives in attempts to control their societies, but those narratives are only successful if people keep believing them. The one being crammed down our throats now is that there is no alternative to Western neoliberal capitalism. By quoting Graeber at the beginning of his documentary which does not follow the script many of us might have expected, isn’t Curtis not only saying that another, better world is possible, but also changing the narrative to jumpstart the creation of that different and hopefully better world?

        1. urblintz

          I agree, especially about the opening Graeber quote… and hadn’t considered Curtis might be offering a counter image to Putin as evil genius. But Putin is neither that nor a doddering fool whose every move deserves condemnation because he can not possibly do anything “good,” In that respect Curtis adds to the false, controlling narrative in the same way he rightly skewers the same. And I am less sanguine about the historical hand-waving and less certain about how many people are as informed about the details which understandably you felt less in need of being included.

          But I do appreciate the overall veneer of non-partisanship he attempts at, even when falling short.

          And yes (!) the China history and footage was splendid! Best aspect of the doc by far!

      3. lordkoos

        I finished part V of Curtis’ series last night and haven’t watched VI yet. Was surprised that didn’t mention 9-11 in part V. What I do like is his presenting the frame of collectivism vs individualism, which is something I haven’t seen explored much in mass media.

      4. Bruno

        “Navalny…a guy found guilty of embezzlement.” The Moscow Trials verdict and sentence against the target of the Moscow Frameup Trials remains on the books of the “former” KGB state to this day, and its president, KGB Colonel Putin, has just promulgated a law criminalizing any publication of truth about Stalin’s conspiracy with Hitler leading to World War II. In light of those facts, why does anyone give even the slightest credence to a “verdict” from a Russian court?

        1. GF

          I think Navalny might give even the slightest credence to a “verdict” from a Russian court.

          Please provide some links to back up your statements?

        2. urblintz

          Navalny is a right-wing racist crypto-fascist with next to zero support from the Russian people. He has less legitimacy than Juan Guido in Venezuela, who has none. And he is a dangerous buffoon not unlike the one just deposed in the USA. Why are you defending him? That Curtis chose to spotlight him may very well be the weakest moment in the entire documentary and specifically caused me to take it less seriously… but that’s just what I think. Of course, you are entiltled to believe anything you want.

          (and I didn’t even need to resort to whataboutism re “justice” in the USA)

        3. Polar Socialist

          According to the official biography Mr. Putin only reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, so your facts are not really facts, but in the ballpark.

          European Court of Human Rights actually went trough the proceedings of the Navalnyi case, and they found that the trial was “not fair”. Not because Navalnyi (and his brother) had not committed a fraud, which he was prosecuted for, but because the Russian law had changed during the process, thus leaving some ambiguity and perhaps incorrect legal classification of the crime.
          This allowed the Russian court much in the way of interpretation, and ECHR considered that the interpretation was too harsh. This, we assume, is why the sentence was transferred to suspended.

          They’re not perfect, they are courts after all, but they have improved a lot during the last two decades or so. People win cases against the government and corporations, and therefore people use legal actions more than ever before.

          1. urblintz

            Indeed. How many ‘murcans even remember that George Bush Sr. was HEAD of the CIA and never tried for the myriad of war and other crimes the Bush clan is well-known for, beginning with Prescott.

            But Putin = KGB

            I can not stop laughing…

    3. Andrew Watts

      “Where’s the love?”

      Lost in a dispute over the Curzon Line and the oil fields of Lwow/Lviv. Churchill devoted a significant amount of space articulating this dispute between the Soviet Union and Great Britain in one of his books. If I remember correctly I think there was a whole chapter about it in Triumph and Tragedy and then some. The French had taken an interest in those very same oil fields earlier in the century.

      The conclusion I drew from Churchill was that everything from the Cold War, and the current situation in Ukraine, is based upon a desire of Western Europe to exploit the East. An ideological battle between superpowers and bringing freedom and democracy by overthrowing it in Ukraine doesn’t pass muster.

    4. Count Zero

      Adam Curtis and BBC

      Well you just have to check his Wikipedia entry to discover that he satisfactorily passed through the gates that ensure that radical arguments don’t get access to BBC channels. Educated at Oxford, with a long career inside the BBC, he is quoted as saying that he was inspired by the sociologist Max Weber, who, he argues, challenged the “crude, left-wing, vulgar Marxism that says that everything happens because of economic forces within society”. Is there a Marxism that isn’t “crude” or “vulgar”? Instructive terms really for the polite pearl-clutching Lady Bracknells who manage things at the BBC. “Oh how vulgar my dear. And how crude!” And I how wonder how closely he has read his Weber?

      Curtis is also quoted as saying: “People often accuse me of being a lefty. That’s complete rubbish. If you look at The Century of the Self, what I’m arguing is something very close to a neoconservative position…”

      Fear not, the BBC is in safe hands.

      1. skippy

        He presents the argument for better elites or elites to manage their own better …

        The vulgar “Marxism” – “The vulgar Marxist reduction of the cultural artifact to its basic economic determinants comes too close to paralleling the culture industry’s own evaluation of its products by their sales numbers. That which in culture might escape exchange value also escapes the vulgar Marxist’s attention.”

        It would seem the same with vulgar Libertarians – The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. – John Kenneth Galbraith

        I would note that if you go back to his earliest works you would find his umbrage was at the “free market” ideologues getting in the ears of some conservatives, of the day, and how that all played out.

        https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Vulgar_libertarianism

        Personally the old if you go far enough left or right you find the other around the corner apropos.

        1. Jason

          The linear left-right paradigm better illustrated in a circular manner perhaps. Or, the left-right paradigm could be abolished entirely.

          On a personal level, we all have liberal, conservative, and libertarian tendencies, depending on the situation.

      2. Brian L.

        > neoconservative position…

        Hmm, what’s after that ellipsis?

        “… because I’m saying that, with the rise of individualism, you tend to get the corrosion of the other idea of social bonds and communal networks, because everyone is on their own. Well, that’s what the neo-conservatives argue, domestically. ”

        source

        I find taking someone’s words out of context to be despicable. It’s also a large part of what got Trump elected, the MSM constantly twisting his words and taking them out of context. So it’s not only despicable, it can lead to reality TV stars becoming POTUS, too. You might want to rethink that line of argument.

        Curtis has been lamenting the rise of individualism for quite some time. It leaves people disconnected and powerless in his view. Is he wrong?

  8. apber

    The excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone asserts that the sheep are allowed just enough dissent to prevent revolution but certainly not enough to be TRULY informed. If NC believes this then it should link to the latest from Global Research.ca on the open letter to the world from noted doctors regarding the pandemic. Both sides of every argument or controversy should be available for discussion or debate.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your “both side now” sounds like an echo of media “moderation” concepts that gave such long life to Climate Chaos denialists.

      1. Aumua

        Global Research is like an OG fringey wingnut CT site. Not that you couldn’t get anything relevant from there, but definitely enter with a good degree of skepticism. As far as the Times… well, yeah. We live in the age of fake news and narratives.

      2. CoryP

        What Aumua said.

        Though I would hasten to note that Wikipedia often isn’t a great reference for these kind of controversial topics either. I think we’ve all heard of that Phillip Cross “person” who edits there. (presumably not the one who posts here!)

  9. The Rev Kev

    “This cat is tearing up the slopes”

    I for one am seriously impressed with that cat. How do you actually train a cat to do that in the first place? Sure, they have great balance skills but this is a serious advancement on that.

    1. Wukchumni

      My attempt at getting our hair’m on skis was a total failure, first they didn’t want to put their paws into boots, and four legs bad as far as walking the planks go, it was really awkward. The only thing they seemed to like was being on the chair lift so high above the action, but then one of them shimmied up the cable and wouldn’t come down, which was really embarrassing as they had to stop the lift for about an hour waiting for the fire department to coax kitty from it’s perch. They had no poles and fell down numerous times on the snow after getting off the chair and descending on a mellow blue cruiser, and one thing newbies have a really hard time with is getting up after a fall, so I had to be johnny on the spot in making it seem like the point of all this was not to give them a really cold bath as the snow melted into their fur, and frankly they were furious with me, as I realized it was another case of somebody trying skiing once and never again.

    2. Lee

      “How do you actually train a cat to do that in the first place?”

      You misunderstand the relationship of cats to humans. This particular cat has trained its human companion to teach it things it wishes to learn.

  10. Tom Stone

    America may be in decline, but at least the Biden Administration has made restoring America’s Soul a priority.
    Rumor has it that Halliburton has recieved a cost plus, no bid contract to do the work.

    1. Darthbobber

      If they’re getting into the restoration of souls, I’m curious as to their theology. Are there 4 parts to the Trinity now?

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Biden Administration restoring America’s Soul suggests he is establishing a committee of necromancers to study the problem. Halliburton, though a corporate person has no soul. References to Halliburton in the context of restoring America’s Soul are purely red herrings.

      1. Synoia

        Restoring America’s soul? That cannot be true- It was floated on the NYSE and vanished into oblivion when its options on goodness expired.

  11. Carolinian

    Re John Deere–the tractor industry’s stalling and excuses are ridiculous given that millions of cars are sold under rules that do allow consumers to repair their own vehicles. It’s dubious that a tractor our in a field somewhere poses a greater danger to others and he environment than an automobile on a public highway.

  12. Mikel

    Re: “Two young women in Florida ‘dressed up as grannies’ to get vaccinated, health official says” Seattle Times via Washington Post from Florida..

    “Hurry, hurry, step right up…This is the hottest commodity that is out there right now so we have to be very careful,” Pino (Floridian health director) said at a press briefing Thursday.

    (OK. I made up the “hurry, hurry, step right up” but I heard it in my head as I was reading the article).

  13. Mikel

    “Alaska woman using outhouse attacked by bear, from below” Star Tribune

    I don’t know alot about outhouses. I’d expect bad oders, but once the door was open wouldn’t a bear dipped in crap smell especially bad?

      1. Wukchumni

        Used to backpack with a Karen (that was her name-she didn’t fit the Karen stereotype) who always seemed to be on her period when the trip was happening, and she’d stress over black bears keen sense of smell (7x as strong as a dog) and a bruin crashing her party, er tent.

    1. TsWkr

      I expect they will continue to be vindicated as events unfold during USA’s steady decline, while the preppers also continue to be being laughed at using extreme examples of people with bunkers and such.

      I just took a glance as the preppers subreddit and there’s some really informative “lessons learned” posts from the Texas situation for those who want to consider risks. I expect the implied lack of faith in critical systems is too uncomfortable for people to grapple with mentally, so it’s easier just to avoid preparation and treat people as loonies.

      1. Daryl

        I wonder how many people’s prepping included a winter storm in Texas. I was well “prepped” but mostly through regular hurricane readiness (plenty of food and water) and my hobby of camping (enough gear to stay warm without heating). Certainly I have taken away a few lessons from this thing.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          At least for the past week, my guess is the deaths can and all will be attributed to pre-existing malnutrition or no prepping whatsoever, probably due to limited budgets. 11 year olds shouldn’t die when they are out of the wind and have plenty of calories unless there is an underlying condition or they aren’t getting enough calories. Layers and clothing go a long way. Extreme loneliness and isolation is another factor too.

          Besides the grid, the problems will still come back to bad food policies and no real healthcare system.

          1. Daryl

            > Extreme loneliness and isolation is another factor too.

            I have to say, the feeling that the situation was engineered and avoidable certainly made me a lot more unhappy. Have been through my fair share of hurricanes and unpleasant weather but this left a different feeling.

        2. carl

          We normally keep a lot of food and drinking water in the house, so no worries there. We did our best to cover everything in the garden, and from the looks of things, it mostly worked. The chickens required only periodic attention of thawed water and the usual food. So plenty of salads and eggs going forward. We use natural gas for cooking and heat (two small space heaters were adequate for our small house). Water slowed to a trickle for a couple of days, but we already had plenty. Agree on camping gear coming in handy. Lessons learned: keep more water on hand and lots more plant covers.When the water comes back on, check the aerators for sludge.

      2. montanamaven

        I once read an article (probably here at NC) that the Cubans have great hurricane/disaster preparation. Each village or neighborhood has a person in charge of knowing what each person needs in terms of medications. Each family has a certain amount they can bring to a shelter. Like a radio, water, etc. When I briefly dipped into local politics I envisioned Precinct Captains knowing their precinct in terms of older people who would need help to safety, what medications they needed, etc. But maybe that’s just a natural thing that we would do here in rural America anyway since there are so many less people. (Our county is the size of Rhode Island with only 3500 people in it.) But I got the idea because I’m from Chicago and in the city, your Democratic precinct captain knew everybody. Machine politics might have its uses in disaasters. AOC and Beto seem to get this. Anyway, I should try to find that article or maybe somebody remembers it.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      After a brief review of recent Government responses to several past and on-going large-scale natural and designer disasters I would hope we were all beginning to prep for catastrophic events.

    3. skippy

      Yet would all that money and time spent on prepping been better utilized to move away from the threat[s.

      1. Wukchumni

        I mentioned the other day how by spending the same amount ($500) on a gun, holster & ample ammo, you could have easily avoided the worst effects of Uri (…a Commie storm of epic proportions?) deep in the heart of trouble~

        Half a thousand won’t get you very far as far as moving away and becoming an ex-Texan, but here’s what they should have bought out of hope of the future-not fear of it, and all of this could be used for car camping trips for 2 people, so it wasn’t a 1-shot deal…

        7x 7 gallon water containers with 49 gallons on hand

        1x Coleman 2-burner stove & 10x 1 pound propane canisters

        10x Mountain House freeze dried entrees

        4x soft rubber hot water bottles

        2x synthetic sleeping bags rated to 20 degrees (add in the hot water bottles when you go to bed, and you might be too warm)

        2x beanies for your head (warmth seeps away through your noggin when its freezing, don’t let that happen)

        2x headlamps (much better than flashlights-as you’re hands free)

        1x Clearwaste portable chemical toilet & a dozen WAG bags

        1x Sawyer water filter

        1x Multi-band am/fm/shortwave radio tri powered (batteries-solar-hand crank)

        1x box of 300 wood matches

        1. Buzz Meeks

          I collect old Coleman and I would recommend purchasing the earlier Coleman suitcase stoves that run on white gas. The propane, aka “profane” to collectors, solidifies when the temps drop into the forties or below. The bottle gas jobs won’t run whereas my old stoves it’s just pump them up and light. You will have flame and heat to cook just about anything at any temp.

        2. skippy

          When I think of preppers its more a case of the full load out and not the suburban or intercity rings sort = drugstore cowboys thingy …

          Costs at that level would fund a move – away – from whats on the cards, but property seems to be a sticking point.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Any suggestions for safe destinations away from the reaches of Neoliberalism? Higher elevation is already on my list along with an area with local production of food and regular precipitation.

        1. skippy

          Each to their own but Texas is up high on the list for environmental/climate issues and as one can see a gov that should call itself IBGYBG party.

  14. Mikel

    RE: “Gig Economy Coming for Millions of U.S. Jobs After California’s Uber, Lyft Vote” Bloomberg (resilc)

    Am I the only one who wants to print copies of this article and watch people, who wrote about, promoted, and otherwise bamboozled about the effects being limited, eat these words?

    1. lincoln

      My guess is the next industry on the labor protection-removal block is trucking. A few months ago, Softbank led a $1.2 billion funding round for the Chinese ‘Uber of Trucking’ Manbang Group, and a $113.5 million funding round for a similar U.S. Trucking firm called Flock Freight. And a little over a year ago Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management led a $400 million funding round for Convoy, which is described as the ‘Uber of trucking’, and counts among its other investors Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Marc Benioff. If this is the plan, then I’m sure there are a whole pipeline of industries which can be converted to pre industrial revolution labor protections.

    2. Pat

      It does bear rewriting the the old “then they came for me” quote. So many only interested in keeping their cheap Uber ride may soon find they won’t be able to afford it any way because the people that really count don’t want to pay them either.

      In a sensible world, none of this would have been a question. The independent contractor designation would have been tightened and limited long before Uber. Same with the H1B1 visa standards and yes, the unpaid internships. But we do not live in a sensible world, we live in one where our elected officials are legally for sale to the highest bidder.

  15. Mikel

    Re: FB / Australia

    Do not bend Aussies.
    Fight and think of alternatives and it could be one the greatest contributions to the 21st Century.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Murdoch press can be pretty despicable but the main difference between him and Zuck is that Murdoch never suddenly decided stop printing his newspapers as a bargaining tool.

  16. Mikel

    Re: Google / Ethics …the Guardian

    The Guardian wastes a lot of space writing about diversity in hiring as if that were Google’s biggest ethics issue.

    The very last paragraph tells what is really going on and it is only one paragraph:

    “Google has recruited top scientists with promises of research freedom, but the limits are tested as researchers increasingly write about the negative effects of technology and offer unflattering perspectives on their employer’s products.”

    That is THE story. Did the writers have more on THAT story?

    1. Alex

      No, that would be racist.
      Google is firmly on team D. The closest you can come to criticizing it is “Celebrating diversity! But there are still challenges.” Anything that cuts deeper than that would be carrying water for Putin/Yandex.

  17. Skip

    Re: Google fires Margaret Mitchell

    Since last Fall, my Google Home is a constant reminder of the company’s duplicity.

    When I bought it a few years ago, the sales people at Best Buy assured me there’d never be a subscription fee, and I’d never hear ads. I just couldn’t request specific songs. For me, that put it way above its competitors. Fine, deal, I bought the magic box. Google will make money off the sale and that’s good enough.

    When I said “OK, Google, play the music of Charles Lloyd,” the magic voice replied with a hint of apology at my lot in life, yet also a hint of hope, like “That specific artist is for subscribers only, but check out this music station based on Charles Lloyd.” I’d usually get a random track or two by the requested artist, then Home would move on to various unannounced artists. It would continue for hours, with no interruption. I didn’t know who the musicians were, or the names of the tracks. Didn’t care, the music had some thematic tangent for my mood, and was usually new to me. Serendipity held me captive.

    Then last Fall, in classic bait-and-switch mode – class action, anyone? – Google started pushing You Tube subscriptions. I ignored it. Then suddenly our understanding was kaput.

    Now if I say “OK, Google, play the music of Ralph Towner,” I get “Got it, check out this You Tube music station based on Ralph Towner.” A single track is played. Often it has nothing to do with Ralph Towner. After one play, an extremely annoying pitch to subscribe to You Tube begins.

    One coercive pitch actually starts with a loud crying baby. A crying baby! I can stop it with “OK, Google” and then make another request, sometimes after a therapeutic curse. Then I usually get an unrelated tune, with only one track played before another annoying subscription pitch starts. It’s a train-of-thought derailment.

    This morning when a pitch started, I said “OK, Google, you’re really becoming annoying.” I was weirded out by the response “That’s OK, I like you.” And then an actual Ralph Towner track played. Later, a response to a curse was, “What I like about you is how consistent you are.”

    Clever lady. But I’ll never subscribe.

    Greedy Google is earning whatever whacking befalls it.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Many political, economic, scientific … lectures and presentations are posted on You Tube as well as “How-Tos” and selected views of on-the-ground action and impacts. I am surprised these content providers have not grown very worried about their rights to this material as Google limits access and censors content through various overt or under-handed methods.

      The Government is preparing a wet noodle to administer a whacking to Google and the many other monopolists and monopsonists who own the Government, Politics, and the Economy. Google shivers with giggles even now in anticipation.

    2. Geof

      I ditched Google Home when it refused to play music (which I paid a subscription fee for!) unless I allowed it to track my location on my phone.

      The standard reaction I’ve heard is, “You’re a hypocrite – you let them spy on everything else.” No, I don’t. I keep location and data switched off on my phone. My browser blocks javsacript social media and advertising domains. I run Linux. And I kept the Google Home microphone switched off when I wasn’t using it.

      The idea that I cannot listen to music unless I let Google know everything about my life is offensive (location tracking really does reveal everything). It should not be legal. So, no music. Google Home is in a box in the closet. I expect that is where it will stay.

  18. 🤦‍♂️

    Still thinking of a few pictures posted yesterday and now here comes this article on the alligators. Why aren’t folks stuffing alligators in their cars like the turtles due to the cold weather? Are turtles more susceptible to the cold? I understand turtles are a little nicer than alligators but why are people saving the turtles from, well, nature?

    1. ambrit

      Imagine the epistemological nightmare of the realization that it really is “all alligators all the way down.” Now there’s a world view with teeth! (Social Darwinians should be in ecstasy at the thought.)

  19. David Mills

    The R2R article is demonstrative. There are so many things that we “own” (ie: pay for) but that are not truly ours. John Deere has applied a revenue model to screw farmers out of additional money by making the software deliberately less efficient / incompatible – thus requiring dealer service. It is the same for most cars now. Mobile phones – forget about it. Even “our” computers – ever tried to seriously deal with Windows 10 – another reason to despise Bill Gates. All demonstrative of oligarchy. Enjoy.

    1. Maritimer

      I live in the boondocks. Lots of folks here tinker, make do, fix their own stuff, etc. A guy up the road had a recent, out of warranty Ford 150 extended cab that had an electrical problem. He made the rounds of fixit folks and none could help him. He ended up buying a new chip from the dealer: $5000! True story. I couldn’t even believe it myself.

      Those “product designers” are working overtime at headquarters to screw over “customers”. Warranty is 100,000, get some stuff to blow at 105,000! Modern engineering at its finest.

  20. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Facebook makes a power move in Australia – and may regret it

    “Zuckerberg’s flex here shows how he can disrupt global access to the news in a heartbeat,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and professor at Syracuse University. “No company should have this much influence over access to journalism.”

    Never done social media myself, so admittedly I may be missing something, but it isn’t like all the news just disappeared – it just means people in Oz will need to get the hell off FB to find it now. Is an extra click or two really that big of a disruption?

    And this –

    Billions of people around the world rely on Facebook for essential information…

    Do they though? Or are they just a little lazy and mistake FB for the internet at large? All that info is just a click or two away from FB – really not that hard to find.

    Australian publishers felt a blunt impact. Analytics firm Chartbeat said the Facebook ban resulted in a 24% drop in overall traffic to Australian publishers by late Friday morning local time compared to 48 hours earlier.

    We’re talking two days here. If people want to be informed and start missing what used to be available through FB, it seems reasonable to expect they’ll start to go directly to the source. That would lead to a drop in people spending time on FB, which is the absolute last thing FB or any of these platforms want.

    1. Chris

      My go to source for current news is RSS feeds (using NewsBlur on an iPad). Don’t do the social media thing (unless you count family chitchat on WhatsApp).
      The Facebook nonsense here in Oz hasn’t affected me so far.

    2. Glen

      FB is starting to feel like AOL.

      But then, I never used AOL either so I’m not a good data point, but my immediate family stopped using FB about ten years ago.

    3. Jen

      I rely on facebook for family photos, vile puns, and cat videos. These are the common denominators between everyone I am acquainted with on that platform, irrespective of age, race, gender, country of origin, class or political affiliation.

      Essential information? I rely on NC for that.

    4. The Rev Kev

      ‘Or are they just a little lazy and mistake FB for the internet at large?’

      Bit of irony here. Back in the 90s when Microsoft was powering along, they set up MSN. This was supposed to be a competitor to the internet and all the users were to make themselves home – and be trapped – in this online garden. Of course it failed miserably as the net back then was too wild and woolly but when you stop to think about it, this describes exactly what Facebook is trying to do.

  21. hamstak

    Apropos of nothing, does anyone know if Nancy Pelosi has remarked regarding the recent inclement weather along the lines of, “This storm was a very good storm for Putin.”?

  22. Pat

    I am amused by both the subject and the source:

    Biden Fact Checkers really excuse makers

    Not a fan of the NY Post in general but it has some of my favorite coverage of Cuomo, and this shows promise regarding Biden.

    I don’t think the Post coverage proves the theory that Biden’s honeymoon didn’t even last a month, but the scrambling being done by multiple outlets to cover the mendacious President Biden, and Harris, does indicate that the usually supine media realizes the public didn’t pick Biden because they loved him and they aren’t all just going trust him and head to brunch.

  23. expr

    Re Cuomo: I just finally got a covid vaccine appointment for march via the NYS “Hotline”. The way it works is: you call up (usually waiting in queue) and ask if there are appointments available, they tell you no. Early on, they asked your birthdate, gender and zipcode, if you lived in NY and if you worked in NY then read you a 5 minute blurb about what they use this information for and then enter the system to see if there are slots
    Later they skipped the 5 min blurb and yesterday the guy just went straight to looking up.
    Sometimes when I called the queue was about an hour. They have an option to press a button and have them call you when your turn comes.
    Last night the mailbox was full.
    They presumably have a database. Why not have people call or go to a web page and enter their information, how they wish to be notified and any restrictions on when and where they can be vaccinated. Then as slot become available, the first entrant in the most qualified non-empty class gets a call /email/text message?
    Perhaps this is just an employment program.

  24. Irrational

    Re. the BBC being the mouthpiece of the establishment:
    Not sure it is that deep.
    It may just be crapification – I have long noticed the BBC’s stories getting more and more “tabloidy”. Serious news you have to dig for (or rely on NC).

  25. flora

    Glenn Greenwald’s latest article:

    Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment
    In their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.

    House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing: to exert control over the content on these online platforms. “Industry self-regulation has failed,” they said, and therefore “we must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation.” In other words, they intend to use state power to influence and coerce these companies to change which content they do and do not allow to be published.
    ….

    Instead, the key point raised by these last threats from House Democrats is an often-overlooked one: while the First Amendment does not apply to voluntary choices made by a private company about what speech to allow or prohibit, it does bar the U.S. Government from coercing or threatening such companies to censor. In other words, Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose viewpoint-based speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing.

    https://greenwald.substack.com/p/congress-escalates-pressure-on-tech

    1. fresno dan

      flora
      February 20, 2021 at 2:35 pm
      As much as I’m a first amendment absolutist, I don’t think that is actually THE problem.
      Its simply the lack of the ability of our political system to accept reality. Its not simply speaking as much as belief in a particular narrative. It is to be a member in good stead one must believe in an all pervasive propaganda with no deviation or doubt. The inability to admit error and acknowledge the error. Its both parties and can only be explained as religious zeal. And speaking of religion, the tenants of the religion (party) are not subject to skepticism or examination. If one does, one is excommunicated from the party or the tribe.

    2. Carolinian

      Thanks for link.

      But it is unquestionably true that these social media companies — which set out largely for reasons of self-interest and secondarily due to a free-internet ideology to offer a content-neutral platform — have had the censorship obligation foisted upon them by a combination of corporate media outlets and powerful politicians.

      While Yasha Levine wrote a book claiming that the tech companies were always in bed with the government, I believe the above to be true. There’s no upside for Google to block and censor a portion of its readership since their whole business model is about keeping as many eyeballs as possible glued to computer screens.

      And while Greenwald invokes the fairly recent precedent of Joe Lierberman there’s a far more compelling example in the McCarthy period of the late 1940s through mid 1950s. There communists’ ideas were cast as a physical threat to US citizens and mainstream media willingly went along until Murrow finally stood up and said enough. Arguably it was Joe McCarthy along with the New Deal that were the engines of the 1960s, when most professors and intellectuals were firmly of the left and someone like Buckley considered the outlier (Galbraith joked that his friend was “the finest mind of the 18th century”).

      Are the parties in the process of switching fields the way the Earth’s magnetic field periodically does a 180? People like AOC and Markey need to learn some history.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I’m extremely reluctant to defend FB and they certainly have a lot to answer for, but I also believe they’ve had this foisted upon them.

        The book Shattered claimed that the Clinton campaign made the decision to blame Russia for her loss, and almost immediately after the election we started hearing about the “Russian interference”. Congress asked Facebook to provide evidence of such, and remember that at first Zuckerberg claimed there was none. I believe this was about the same time that Zuckerberg was on his “listening tour”, causing some in the media to suggest he was running a possible presidential campaign up the flagpole. Congress didn’t like the initial answer, and some senator (Warner maybe?) went to Zuckerberg and strongly suggested he look a little harder to find some evidence. It was only after that prodding that we were regaled with the ‘Rainbow Muscle Bernie” ads and the like, and told a few ads that not many people even saw swung the election to Trump with Facebook’s assistance.

        Congress killed two birds with one stone with that extra Senatorial visit – they got their “evidence” to back up Clinton’s fraudulent claims, and we haven’t heard a peep about a Zuckerberg political run since.

  26. Stormcrow

    Sr. Dianna Ortiz, 1958-2021

    https://paxchristiusa.org/2021/02/19/statement-on-the-passing-of-our-beloved-dianna-ortiz-osu/

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/11/08/30-years-ago-american-nun-dianna-ortiz-was-kidnapped-and-tortured-in-guatemala-shes-still-waiting-for-truth-justice/?fbclid=IwAR28z2aMc1qqPynId69YFTIZ7RK9Neme2kydrhSH7RATKgAta0sJfbuRbmE

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/21/human-rights-advocates-biden-no-torture-defenders-allowed?fbclid=IwAR0dxLDWk3Eo2s3tCCltWxUk-qoeELQ92qntDbI4klIHfN-iITITCB8orpE

    1. The Rev Kev

      Right now the White House is working with Big Tech to fight against ‘vaccine hesitancy’ which of course is a noble cause and cannot be criticized. Considering the fact that even one third of the US military is refusing to take these vaccines, that would suggest that this effort would have to be ramped up and any alternate views suppressed-

      https://www.rt.com/usa/516154-biden-big-tech-misinformation/

      If the unlamented Trump had done the same, those people pushing and approving this measure by the Biden admin would have fought Trump tooth and nail as part of the resistance to defend something or other. You know. The other thing.

  27. Wukchumni

    “…The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

    So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction…”

    George Carlin

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with.

      It is a beautiful idea that Gaia is self-regulating, but then neoliberals think the economy is self-regulating, so…. And self-regulation didn’t work real well on Mars, as far as sentient life is concerned. Or Venus:

      But I do think that if “Gaia” “decides” we’re an annoyance, then nature will, as it were, deselect us; an apex predator that destroys the systems it preys on does not survive long. For exampple, I would doubt that enough time has elapse for a micro-organism that eats plastic to evolve.

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s no way we are collectively going to give up our electricity & oil lavished lifestyles willingly, which will bump up temps just a few degrees-tantamount to game so over. No need to worry about 869 degree hell wholes such as Venus, 8.69 degrees warmer than now will do us in. It will take the planet some time to adjust to the new normal, but all it has is forever to work out the details.

        It was a fun ride and allowed for such things as my being able to communicate with you 3,000 miles away instantaneously, but in the end wasn’t worth the down the road cost.

      2. expr

        our trash piles will be covered over and be turned back into carbon
        in a billion years a new species will mine them to power their industrial revolution

    1. Lambert Strether

      Liberal Democrats will be absolutely fine with platform monopolies as along as the platforms censor the right people. I’m not sure Stoller has integrated this into his thinking.

  28. Wukchumni

    Judge rejects Rep. Devin Nunes defamation suit against CNN Associated Press (furzy). As we said, defamation suits are hard to win in the US.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    But Devin won already when he filed the $435 million lawsuit, as it was all about making the amount so incredibly large, that in the mind of his righty-tighty-gawdalmighty supporters who hate CNN, it was quite merit laden.

    It’s one of those stupid dog tricks Devin learned from Trump…

  29. a fax machine

    re: They Don’t Work To Kill All Dissent, They Just Keep It From Going Mainstream

    It’s not so much that they need a safe space for dissent, it’s that the cost of dismantling all dissent is presently too high for the system to tolerate. Removing every underground community is effectively impossible right now, and has become much harder due to the Internet. Look at piracy, it is impossible to stop because users keep doing it and attempts to change that would fundamentally break the Internet.

    Which is where the actual worry should lie: in attempts to destroy the Internet as we know it. Google has tried to do this through Google Video, Google Plus, Google Sites and Google Blogger but only found partial success because the cost of doing this is more than what a company will tolerate.

    Nothing short of a government-led Web 4.0 standard would change this. Which is something that can happen here, as it is happening in Russia and has already happened in China. In such a case (as usual) the cost of silencing dissent is fully socialized while the profits from doing so are fully privatized. It continues until the system collapses as the cost of policing labor (writing is work) surpasses the profits from the allowed, exploited labor.

    Capitalism is a constant series of crises, eventually it becomes so big and unmanageable it cannot continue. This goes for dissent as much as it goes for capital.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “NATO Increasing Troops in Iraq From 500 to 4,000”

    Iraqi Parliament: ‘We hereby adopt a resolution that all foreign troops cease to occupy our country and leave.’

    NATO: ‘Right. That’s an eight-fold increase in foreign troops coming right up. We’ll bill you later.’

    1. RMO

      Hey, but at least NATO installed a democracy right? I find it fascinating that in the case of Iraq the US doesn’t even bother with overthrowing this government (that they installed!) when it doesn’t do and say the things the US wants it to. That’s usually what happens but apparently the government of Iraq is seen as so inconsequential by the US that they just flat out ignore it.

  31. Carolinian

    Latest Taibbi–more on Marcuse

    The core idea of Repressive Tolerance is that one can build freedom by way of unfreedom, and this strikes me as an idea that’s not just very unlikely to be correct, but deeply un-American. It’s what’s troubling also about the gloomy collectivism dominating today’s intellectual culture, which looks at the unreconstructed individual as the worst kind of menace, always and everywhere a potential purveyor of harm, deception, and oppression, instead of what I think he was designed to be in our culture, the first line of defense against more organized forms of misery.

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/a-friendly-debate-about-herbert-marcuse

  32. Jason Boxman

    I gotta tell ya, the grift is everywhere these days.

    I signed up for Experian, so I can get my credit report. They helpfully allow you to purchase credit protection for information they have no rights to, and even offer a “boost” to one of their lender credit scores, although you’ve a 1/3 chance a lender uses Experian, and the lender might opt for a different credit score that is not boosted. And I’ve been offered a variety of credit cards I’m qualified for, so helpful! What kind of con is this? A true self-licking ice cream cone if there ever was one.

    And I signed up for Duke Progress Energy today, and they offer to help you with your cash flow, by looking at your previous 12 months of usage and then letting you pay for 1/12th of that every month going forward for the next 12 months. And they proudly state that this is a “free” service. Ha, it’s not free to me, says I. More so because I’m renting, so the last 12 months has nothing to do with my power usage habits!

    Grift, grift, grift. This country is all about the grift. I don’t remember it being this bad always?

    Always, always, hold your wallet tightly.

  33. Steve

    Re. the earlier comments about the beginnings of climate science, in 1857 the American woman scientist Eunice Foote published the paper “Circumstances affecting the heat of the Sun’s rays” in which she demonstrated that atmospheric water vapour and carbon dioxide influence the degree of solar heating of the atmosphere. This was even before John Tyndall’s experiments. There’s good page on this largely unrecognized pioneering woman scientist at climate.gov.

  34. Lorenzo

    Antonio Lettieri – The problematic future of Mario Draghi’s new Italian government Brave New Europe (Eileen Appelbaum)

    for future reference I would much more recommend Thomas Fazi’s writing on Italian current affairs. They are much better informed (I particularly found issue with Letieri’s characterization of the Next Generation EU’s funds for Italy as “200 billion euro of financial aid”. This is simply wrong as fully 2/3 of the funds are loans) , poignant, and with a perspective that overlaps significantly with our humble bloggers’ as he’s “a proponent of MMT”, has co-authored a book with Bill Mitchell

    incidentally, he is frequently published on braveneweurope as well as an assortment of Italian outlets

    https://braveneweurope.com/thomas-fazi-mario-draghi-is-the-problem-not-the-solution

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