Links 2/21/2021

What would human history look like if told through our relationships with animals? Scroll

21-year-old UK teacher becomes youngest woman to row Atlantic solo Guardian

Tea With Martin Amis Tablet

Can Historians Be Traumatized by History? The New Republic

America’s Hidden Gulag New York Review of Books

Gov. DeSantis to order flags lowered after Rush Limbaugh’s death Click Orlando

NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization NY Post

On Thin Ice: How climate change is wrecking the Himalaya Mint

The Savages and the Summer of ’69 Trincas


It took a year, but Gwyneth Paltrow figured out how to exploit the pandemic Ars Technica

Deforestation and Mining Increased in Tropically Forested Countries During COVID Treehugger

Covid’s health legacy demands radical revamp of welfare systems FT

In Kent London Review of Books. Patrick Cockburn.

Beyond Six Feet: A Guideline to Limit Indoor Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 medRxiv

New CDC school opening guidelines fail to ‘follow the science’ Stat

We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April WSJ. If only….The view from the WSJ op-ed page. Hmm.

Covid-19 Vaccination Delays Could Bring More Virus Variants, Impede Efforts to End Pandemic WSJ. The view from the WSJ news side.

As coronavirus variants spread, the US struggles to keep up Ars Technica

Racial inequality plagues US vaccine rollout FT

Eeek! London Review of Books

Russia Approves Its Third COVID-19 Vaccine, CoviVac The Wire

China’s coronavirus vaccines: for many countries, it’s not political, it’s the only choice South China Morning Post

Fears of AstraZeneca Could Have Dangerous Consequences Der Spiegel

Has Indonesia followed science in COVID-19 response? Perhaps not Jakarta Post

Two Democratic governors see stars dimmed by virus woes AP

Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal Vindicates His Critics in the Press FAIR

Government memo crushes Cuomo’s defense in COVID nursing home scandal NY Post

The Sound and the Fury of Andrew Cuomo New Yorker

Texas Deep Freeze

The Energy Policy Culture War Is an Absurd Fantasy Jacobin

Texas freeze shows a chilling truth – how the rich use climate change to divide us Guardian. Robert Reich.

His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752. NYT

Lawsuit accuses ERCOT, power companies ‘consciously’ allowing mass outages during storm Austin American-Statesman

‘Saturday Night Live’ mocks Ted Cruz’s trip to Cancun and others who needed to apologize CNN

Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi gets flight from Cancun back to storm-ravaged Texas as parents at her daughters’ private school demand they quarantine after hitting the Ritz-Carlton beach without masks Daily Mail

Unprepared for COVID, Texas Women’s Prison Was Equally Unprepared for Uri Truthout

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visits Houston Food Bank in wake of historic Texas winter storm Houston Chronicle

Class Warfare

Should the rich pay for the pandemic? Argentina thinks so. Other countries are taking a look. The Hour

COVID Obscures New Mexico Legislature — But Oil and Gas Still Get In Capital & Main

Oregon Nursing Home Workers Strike – Miami Janitors Strike – Biden Cancels ICE Union Contract Payday Report

Why Is Kroger Closing Stores Instead of Paying Hazard Wages for Its Employees? Vice

With Hunger Growing, Brooklyn Food Pantries Look to Expand Before Passover The City

Biden Transition

After Years of Chaos, the White House Is Definitely in Different Hands New Yorker

The US Empire Is An Abusive Narcissist: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

Joe Biden to meet Justin Trudeau of Canada after Keystone pipeline order Guardian

The jockeying to replace Neera Tanden has begun Politico

Merrick Garland’s long wait is over but his problems are just starting Guardian

Biden coronavirus advisor made millions advising private sector during pandemic, report says Independent

Julian Assange

The Atrocious Prosecution of Julian Assange Counterpunch

LETTER FROM LONDON: On the Matter of Assange’s Lawyers Considering a Cross Appeal Consortium News

New Cold War

Russia holds the key to German sovereignty Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Alexei Navalny fined for ‘defaming’ Russian veteran Deutsche Welle


India court extends activist Ravi’s detention over farm protests Al Jazeera

India’s Privatisation Drive The India Forum

Why Narendra Modi Believes He Can Ridicule Farmers and Get Away With It The wire


Myanmar coup: UN chief Guterres slams ‘deadly violence’ Deutsche Welle

A ‘war zone’: Witnesses describe violence at Myanmar protests Al Jazeera


China raises rare earth quotas in ‘goodwill trade signal’ to US South China Morning Post



“The Europeans Suffer from Arrogance” Der Spiegel


UN expert details crushing human toll of US sanctions on Venezuela Grayzone


Facecrook: Dealing with a Global Menace BIG Matt Stoller

What we can learn from the Facebook-Australia news debacle MIT Technology Review

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Don Cafferty

      Fears of AstraZeneca Could Have Dangerous Consequences — is a very good article that highlights too many issues for discussion in a single comment. The “dangerous consequences” are explained in the article and they are of a political determination. If enough people in Germany choose not to be vaccinated with the AstraZenaca vaccine then “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan to offer every person in Germany a vaccine by September will be jeopardized …”. My country (Canada) has the same target. There have been delays in the supply of the Phizer and Moderna vaccines and combined with the threat of the more infectious variant (b.1.1.7), the public health authority and politicians in my province are speaking about making (great) haste to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible with at least one dose of the Phizer vaccine even if the second dose is delayed by as much as 90 days. It is taking the public some time to comprehend (and discuss) the varying messages and urgency that has been directed at them. The urgency is less seen in my province as the B.1.1.7 variant may not hit with force until another month or two. Concerning the AstraZenaca vaccine, the comment that remained in my memory about it from other discussions was that AstraZenaca did not help itself when it appeared to have fumbled its initial clinical trials. I don’t think that the AstraZenaca vaccine has been approved yet in Canada and the US. Bearing in mind that I am a layperson, my observation is that the review process in these 2 countries is taking longer than for other vaccines.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      I find this article unconvincing, particularly on the individual level, especially when it purports to explain “the math” to the profane. 60 percent vs. 90+ percent remains quite different regardless of whether it describes the difference between placebo group and vaccine group or (falsely as most know) the percentage of protection for anyone who gets the vaccine. And the article even admits it after it’s little math lesson which no doubt, it assumes, has gotten it right in our minds (though it seems, nevertheless, to clumsily reinforce the misconception);

      “[…]So, during the study period, the vaccination prevented 90 cases of the disease and reduced the risk of contracting the disease by around 60 percent.

      There is no question: The results from BioNTech and Moderna are better, but the AstraZeneca vaccine still significantly reduces the risk.” bolding mine

      Oh. Well, in that case, of course I want the one at 60% vs. the one at 90+%. Duh.</snort>

      The article does go on to mention that the AstraSeneca vaccine does prevent hospitalization and serious illness by a resounding 100% (so far) and I have not heard yet whether that remains the case for the South African variant, but the Moderna and BioNTech vaccines also have claim to those distinctions.

      It seems to me the article is proclaiming, accurately but as if that made all the difference, that the AstraZeneca vaccine is valuable in that it will work to control the worst effects of the virus on a societal level; by which -I assume- it means reducing hospital loads and the disastrous effects on the economy, and it assumes that we can all get behind these benefits if we only understand the math. But it remains that most of us quite understandably get the vaccine to protect ourselves firstly and that as far as the economy goes, we are selfishly and stubbornly resisting the greater cause, nay the greatest cause, nay again, the only cause; the further enrichment of the very very very rich. We’re just plain selfish.

      Regardless of the article, I remember hearing that the AstraZeneca vaccine claimed 90 percent efficacy if the latter of the doses was reduced by half. Has that gone by the wayside? If so, yet another reason to be hesitant.

      Another question is that if one gets one type of vaccine, does that prevent him or her from getting another? (Other than having to wait, of course)

      Yet another question completely outside the article is how well the two major mRNA vaccines (at least the Moderna and the BioNTech) are doing with the variants, particularly the South African one. Better or worse than or the same as the AstraZeneca jab?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Adding, I’m not against the AstraZeneca vaccine. Rather, I want clarity on what all of them do and don’t do. But this article doesn’t impress me as a convincing apology for why the public, including the medical profession, should be satisfied with this vaccine vs. the mRNA vaccines.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Agree. I didn’t find the article persuasive, particularly it’s explanation of “the math.” It remains completely understandable to me that one would choose a vaccine that has a higher degree of efficacy even though the measurements announced are not directly comparable to one’s chances of being safe from the virus’s symptoms (a longer version of this in mod.)

  1. zagonostra

    >Texas freeze shows a chilling truth – how the rich use climate change to divide us – Guardian. Robert Reich.

    White grievance helps keep Republicans in power, protecting their rich patrons from a majority that might otherwise join to demand what they need – such as heat, electricity, water and reliable sources of power…Texas is one of the few states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving the share of Texans without health insurance twice the national average, the largest uninsured population of any state.

    I get dismayed when articles analyze and break down a topic into Republicans bad or Democrats bad. You would think that the Democrats don’t have “rich patrons.” You would think that Biden didn’t say he would veto M4A. RR is a smart man, he knows what his former employer’s teacher, professor Carrol Quigley, documented (I wonder if RR had the same teachers as Clinton).

    This is not a Rep/Dem issue. It is about the power elite subordinating the interest of the nation for a wider global game plan – whatever that may be. The infrastructure in this country is crumbling, China and other countries are investing in bullet trains and mega infrastructure projects. We can’t even provide safe water to Detroit citizens, choosing to allow them to drink lead and other noxious toxins to save money. I appreciate RR always coming to the defense of the “little guy,” but he should not dumb down his analysis into the Hate Inc. template or gin up antagonism toward the “oil tycoons.”

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Reich, like Krugman, has been a spokesman for the smug neolib “we’re right / they’re wrong” New Democrat party line for decades now.

      It’s too bad, because like Krugman, he used to write stuff worth reading.

  2. shtove

    On historians traumatized – the reference to Freud has this Golden Rule from Darwin:

    Darwin on forgetting. In Darwin’s autobiography one finds the following passage that does equal credit to his scientific honesty and his psychologic acumen: “I had during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought, came across me which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones”.

  3. RGFCT

    RE: WSJ and Herd Immunity By April.
    The CDC website contains a wealth of information. One of the most interesting is this one:

    CDC is partnering with commercial laboratories to conduct and publish results from a large-scale geographic seroprevalence survey that has tested de-identified clinical blood specimens from Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, South Florida, Utah and Western Washington State for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The survey includes people who had blood specimens tested for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, such as for a routine or sick visit during which blood was collected and tested by commercial laboratories in participating areas from each of the 10 sites. CDC aims to test about 1,800 samples collected from each of these 10 areas, approximately every 3–4 weeks. Researchers are looking to see what percentage of people tested already have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, and how that percentage changes over time in each area.

    I’ve gone through most of them. The results indicate that the number of samples that have the antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is at the minimum between 4 and 13 times the number of reported infections.

    1. TsWkr

      FWIW, it looks like that data was from early on in the pandemic (May – July). The multiple is probably lower for more recent months when testing was more available, but that would also put the winter spike into better context.

    2. Yves Smith


      The problem with these ridiculous discussions (not attacking the poster above but the general theme) is the subtext is more people already had Covid than we thought, so normalcy is just around the corner. They ignore the fact that immunity to the other common coronaviruses is only 6 months to 34 months, for MERS, which also tidily has a 34% fatality rate.

      We published a study of Marines during basic training. They had to quarantine before. During a six week study period, 10% of the Marines that had previously had Covid were reinfected….oh, and with the same strain they’d had before.

      And given the time frame of the study v. when Covid was getting going in the US, some of the reinfections may have been in less than six months.

      And before you dismiss asymptomatic Covid, a large study in Texas found that 100% of the symptomatic cases and 70-805 of the asymptomatic cases showed lung damage worse than smokers sustain. There is hope some of this will reverse itself but no one knows.

  4. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    Just back this morning catching up on yesterdays links & in regard to the Irussionality article, I believe I chanced on a chunk of that to which they refer on Sky News UK yesterday while in a hospital waiting room. The screen was quite a distance away & I didn’t take much notice at first but it featured Putin’s alleged petit Versailles. Following on from that was an American guy labelled as a campaigner who appears to believe that the sun rises each morning from Navalny’s rear end. He was also very concerned about the welfare of the Russian people due to their terrible healthcare system etc, which he insisted would all be swept aside if his hero were to be allowed to presumably wave his magic wand.

    I was wondering who the hell he was & why would anyone in their right mind take any notice of an American’s view on the subject. It turned out to be someone I have seen mentioned here, going by the name of Bill Browder.

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      Not to be a nitpicker, but Browder is not an American. He renounced his USA citizenship in 1998 and is now a loyal subject of the House of Windsor.

      1. Synoia

        Umm, the majority of “Subjects of the House of Windsor” are quite aware that in reality they are “Objects for the House of Windsor.”

        Parliament is a vassal of he Queen.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Alexei Navalny fined for ‘defaming’ Russian veteran”

    The Russian veterans of WW2 are an honoured part of Russian society by all accounts and their numbers are rapidly dwindling. So today there are perhaps less than 200,00 combat vets still left alive. Laws passed in Russia ensure that they are not dishonoured so Navalny insulting one who appeared in an ad was a deliberate self-goal. I suppose an American equivalency of this Russian law is Obama’s Stolen Valor Act of 2013 which makes it a federal crime to claim that you are a vet so that you can get something for it. This law was just an updated version of George Bush’s Stolen Valor Act of 2005 making it bipartisan-

    1. Polar Socialist

      Right after the first hearing of this trial, where the veteran just wanted an apology but Navalnyi launched himself in to an unhinged cascade of insults calling the veteran a “puppet”, his grandson a “granddad dealer” and the judge and prosecutor “fascists” there were articles in Russian media predicting that Navalnyi’s political career ended right there in that court room.

      So it may not be a coincidence that his wife left the country almost immediately and his “chief of stuff” canceled all demonstrations. When the “protests” suddenly resumed, participation was abysmal. Haven’t seen any reporting of new protests at all.

      One analysis I read talked about how certain brand of the Russian liberals detest all this commemoration of Great Patriotic War since to them it represent all that is bad in Russian psyche. WW2 was a Soviet thing, and as such it only deserves ridicule. And Mr. Navalnyi provided. Too bad for him this brand of liberals have support only in Novaja Gazeta and Western media. And they dislike Navalnyi, because he seems to embrace what these circles consider “Western-thought-police fascism”, a.k.a. identity politics.

      We often forget (or more likely haven’t ever even heard) that liberalism in Russia has over 150-year history filled with weirdness, oddities and extremism.

      1. John A

        Over the past year, a British WW2 veteran, Captain Tom, then aged 99 raised millions for the neoliberal fundstarved NHS, by walking slowly round his garden on his zimmer frame. In so doing he became a kind of national folk hero, even to the point that the queen knighted him. He reached his 100th birthday but recently died, apparently of covid related causes. He also attracted vitriol on social media and I understand, possible prosecutions related to this are in the pipeline. If so, it will be interesting to see how the media cover Captain Tom being insulted compared to coverage of the sainted Navalny. Incidentally, John Helmer, in covering Navalny’s outburst in court, was firmly of the opinion that Navalny’s behaviour was due to withdrawal from his various medications, medication that was the likely cause of his mid air collapse last year rather than the so-called ‘underpants poisoning by Putin’.

        1. Wukchumni

          Been watching Oliver Stone’s 4 hour interview with Vladimir Putin this morning, and its really illuminating. Each of the 4 episodes on Youtube has garnered a whole 20,000 or so views, a 20 second video of a dog that only walks backwards on it’s hind legs in Houston would get 2,000,000 hits, in comparison.

          The Putin Interviews – Oliver Stone Part 1 of 4

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        Navalny didn’t insult the veteran directly; he criticized the entire group of people (of which the veteran was one of many) in the pro-constitutional reform video last summer. He used quite strong language (“traitors and corrupt stooges”, IIRC), hence the court case. There are a lot of nuances to this story, though; it seems to me that the veteran’s grandson is using him as a prop to score political points and further his own career. The gentleman in question is 95 and in poor health. I don’t like Navalny, but this is overkill (again) on the part of the Russian authorities.

        I agree with you that Russia’s ‘liberals’ have a long and glorious history of scoring own goals, stretching at least as far back as 1917 if not further. If today’s band were competent, they’d use Navalny’s prison term as an opportunity to unite around someone less abrasive and more marketable to ordinary Russians from flyover country. But I doubt that will happen.

        1. urdsama

          Can you blame Russia if this is the case?

          How well do you think the US would deal with a similar tactic from Russia?

          1. albrt

            I imagine the American people would elect a Russian stooge president quite promptly, based on a vacuous slogan such as “Make America Great Again” or “Build Back Better.”

            But then, the Russians today do everything more competently than Americans. Except making nerve gas and poisoning people with it. Somehow the Russians are very bad at that.

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    there’s an important aspect of the “debate” over electricity in Texas…one that never really made it into the national awareness…

    a few years ago, there were plans to put giant windmills on a couple of hills in my county.
    a few landowners/ranchers, forever cash poor, had been approached by 2-3 wind corporations. just like with cell towers, the landowners would be paid an annual fee for allowing these large wndmills.
    suddenly, like mushrooms, signs saying “save our heritage!” appeared.
    letters to the editor(from people we know…so this part wasn’t astroturf) railed against the “unsightly contraptions” that “ruined my view”, “killed birds”, “killed bats”(we have a batcave that is a minor tourist destination), and prolly “caused cancer”, and “loose morals”(really).
    the natgas and coal industries were behind it, of course.
    there’s lots of 140 year old farmsteads around here, and all of them have a windmill in the yard.
    (yes, smaller than the 3 MW kind, still…if 140 years ain’t “heritage”…)
    I pointed this out in a letter to the editor…along with the utter hypocrisy of not wanting to mar the view from one’s hilltop manse, and yet calling me a communist for not wanting a Sand Plant a mile upwind(“Think of the Jawbs!” …surely worth sacrificing air and water quality).
    so no big windmills went up in Mason County…but about 60 of them did go up north of Brady….and i think they’re beautiful,lol.
    (i’ve also made it a point to go stand underneath one on a windy day, and found the noise to be rather quiet, and potentially soothing…although i wouldn’t want one right outside my bedroom)
    regardless…the sentiments and craziness instilled in the population back then, took hold, and are part of the zeitgeist, now…and must be factored in to any discussion of Wind Power in Texas.

    not limited to texas:

    Note that all of these sites and groups portray themselves as environmentalists(but notice the Real Estate Group in the last link).

    I can definitely sympathise…i love the view from my farm, too….but i also care about the planet.
    I have always been a big fan of distributed generation….every home, barn and chicken house with a solar panel on the roof, and a little windmill or 5 in every yard and pasture…all tied in to the grid….rather than the Hydraulic Despotism Model these mega wind farms are an extension of…but looking at a bunch of dancing windmills in the distance(lots of distance out my way…population density 2/sq mile…less to my west) is objectively better than a new natgas plant…let alone a “clean coal” boondoggle.

    1. timbers

      I recall similar opposition to wind mills off the Massachusetts coast many years ago. I did not at the time dig deeper as to who/why was opposing them.

      Here is a tell from a libertarian site. The headlines and snippets seem quite manipulative:

      Cascend: Data Shows Wind-Power Was Chief Culprit Of Texas Grid Collapse

      Cascend claims it does “fundamental data-driven research”

      Not highlighting the fact that wind mills don’t fail when properly weatherized, doesn’t really seem to be very good fundamental data-driven research.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ted Kennedy opposed them because of “birds” or he might have to see the windmills. Given Massachusetts Democrats, I’m not sure the fossil fuel industry would need to even fund a campaign.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That is my recollection too – the Kennedy’s didn’t want the windmills spoiling the view from their Hyannisport compound.

          1. Jason

            Yes, that was it. I live in New Jersey and I remember they also suggested the windmills be built off our coastline. Needless to say, that sentiment was not well-received here.

            1. Wukchumni

              When driving east through Tehachapi, I always tilt my car towards the windmills, which under the influence of a vivid imagination, looks like a bunch of aircraft warming up their engines, fixing to take off.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              off the gulf coast, those same folks seem to have no druthers about the oil rigs out on the horizon.
              just sayin’…
              and, why wouldn’t you put said offshore windmills >7 miles offshore, where they wouldn’t even be visible at all?
              in the Gulf, coastal shelf is a long, long way out there, and it stays relatively level for quite a ways(used to fish out there, under the rigs)

              lack of moanin’ about oil derricks, and the lack of concern about the sand plant in my neighborhood belie that “we ain’t NIMBY’s” nonsense.
              They most definitely are.
              stepdad’s cousin was up during all that astroturf, and rode to brady with us. You crest the hill leading into town from the south, and there they are, north of town, whirling away.
              she went immediately to the talking points: well, i wouldn’t want one close to MY house…
              me: i reckon the folks in Pasadena or Deer Park would rather those refineries and chemical plants weren’t literally across the street.
              her: silence.
              me:but that’s where the gas, diesel, and plastics and fetiliser and on and on that make this modern life possible come from…want the latter, the former must go somewhere…so lets put it in the poor and brown neighborhoods.
              I’m sure those poor and brown neighborhoods would agree with me that i’d rather have a windfarm next door, than a poison spewing bomb complex.
              she was instantly converted.

              during that astroturf contoversy i mentioned above, i’d sit under the Big Oak, look at the Mountain, and dream: if i won the lottery, i’d put one right there, and give all my neighbors free power….let them come…let them try and stop me…after 100+ years of Property Rights! and other related cri de cour.
              i could easily use their own words….word for word…against them.
              (i’m reminded of a hyperlibertarian(randian faction) jackass who cried like a child when the city zoning people told him he couldn’t put a dog kennel in the Barrio(it’s the noise,lol)—-or another gang of hyperlibertarian jackasses(out of state money, no less) who cried and wailed at not being allowed to dam the James River, denying those downstream water)

              1. Jason

                amfortas, I’m with you. I live in Atlantic County and we have a 5 windmill “wind farm” on the outskirts of Atlantic City. Like seemingly everything these past couple decades, there has been a lot of fanfare around something that, while nice and certainly a start, is not even making the proverbial dent in the energy problem:


                I don’t follow it closely, but there are a number of proposals for the offshore windmills you talk about. I’d love to see the 7-miles-out windmills being built and maintained by something like our ACUA as opposed to private interests.

                if i won the lottery, i’d put one right there, and give all my neighbors free power….let them come…let them try and stop me…after 100+ years of Property Rights! and other related cri de cour.

                I figured we’d never see or hear from you again…/sarc

              2. Jason

                Adding, just checked and the windmills would be 15 miles out, though some folks would like to see them much farther out:


                There’s a lot to unpack just from this short article, but the thing that stands out most of all to me is the double message of, on the one hand, “fixing” some of our issues by moving towards wind power, but not touching our current way of life at all. Our own Jeff Tittel, who’s probably the most oft-quoted “environmentalist” here, thinks it may actually increase tourism. Oh great. I mean, people journeying to see something is human nature, but “tourism” here really means consumerism and profits. Jobs, yes. But to what end? These questions are never raised. We have to find a way to slow down. That’s the only way I know how to say it, and I don’t know how to do it myself. I know a thing or two about addiction and the greatest drug of all would seem to be mass society. It always leaves us feeling like we’re missing something. And there’s never enough of it.

        2. Keith

          Windmills are an eyesore. We have a bunch in our view of the blue mountains. At night, they all glow with blinking red lights mucking up the night sky. It is definitely a NIMBY issue.

          On a side note, while Inslay have put these eyesores up all over the place in eastern Washington, his ilk wants to breach the dams in the snake river, which is the main supplier of green energy for us. To me, it seems a lot if this green push is about chasing fads and virtue signaling. Buy hey, it’s easy to be green when you love bitcoin and Tesla. Lol.

    2. Kramer

      I from the Panhandle, and up here the windmills are everywhere now. If you drive from Weathorford (OK) to Amarillo, and then down Lubbock and final over to Abilene(~500 miles), you will almost never be unable to see dozens or even hundreds of them. Its stunning. We have millions of migratory geese, ducks and other birds stop off at the playa lakes every year. So is this really is fly over country? I wonder how many are killed by the turbines.

      1. marcel

        Cats kill about a 100 times more birds than windmills. Standard issue windows (fixed or mobile) are also big bird killers.

        1. heresy101

          Agree on the wind turbines and windows, but the amount killed by cats is just propaganda by Bayer (Monsanto – glyphosate) and Dow with their insecticides. The whole environmental destruction is destroying the birds and their food and nesting environment. Cats kill birds but no where the level of Bayer, Dow, et al.

    3. TsWkr

      I have heard the story of a family friend in rural Illinois who tried to get county approval for solar panels on some unusable land on an agricultural property. There was some pretty strong opposition on the grounds of disturbing the existing aesthetic of the area, pollution and the noise the panels would generate. It was a very long saga of public hearings, and I think it was eventually voted down. Hearing it second or third hand, I can’t really tell if it was actual NIMBY opposition or a way to make a political statement, but I imagine that plays out in a lot of different places.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        The noise they would generate? Solar panels?

        Not to rain on Amfortas’ comment, a lot of which I agree with, but giant wind mills can -I think- have issues.

        About 15 or more years ago, my wife and I were driving through New Hampshire and came upon a hilly area where there were half a dozen or so large windmills rotating lazily away up on top of the hills (just under small mountains). Down in the valley, where we were, there were a number of houses along the road. From the car, it all seemd quite picturesque. We stopped and got out of the car for about 20 minutes out of curiosity and we remarked on several things that would have bothered us were we in the lee of these things on a permanent basis. One was a vibration; hardly earth shattering, but constant in that it didn’t let up but varying slightly in ways you couldn’t quite anticipate. The other was this odd effect on the eyes of a rythmic slightly hypnotic slightly disturbing shadow as the blades turned against the sun. Perhaps things have changed since then, but even with free electricity I would not have wanted to live underneath these things full time, though of course you could grow trees (if you had enough property) and also wear sound muffling ear phones all the time. That said, and with full understanding that sacrifices will be the rule for all of us, I would still be hesitant to choose such an environment if I had a choice.

        I imagine on giant tracts of land where houses were a good distance away, these effects (and others we may not have noticed in such a short time) would diminish until they were perfectly tolerable, but I fear in many areas the edge conditions would be increasingly used for housing tracts aimed at people with less resources and less voices to get meaningful mitigation efforts.

        I would much rather a field of solar panels next to my house. Based on the ones we live near, they don’t make any noise at all, don’t tower over you and are thus fairly easy to shield from view where desired.

        1. Jason

          I lived in Vermont a few years back and I heard the same stories from the folks who lived near the windmills there. All the usual stuff – all related – were at issue: sleep problems and mental and emotional disturbances. It was interesting in Vermont because many of the “mountain people” who were affected were “small c conservatives” for lack of a better term, and some of my “progressive” friends didn’t know what to do since they were so high on all things “green.”

          I’m going to start putting all political indentifiers in quotes going forward. We have so much more in common than these silly words allow us to see.

          1. furies

            There was recently a fight about placing windmills on a ridge in Humboldt County, CA…on native sacred land or something. PR Campaigns by both the corporation who wanted to put them up and the NIMBYs who opposed them.

            What I got out of all of that was that the windmills themselves have a huge footprint, building them is environmentally toxic and the fact that these hugely expensive machines age out in a relatively short time makes the whole thing a…self licking ice cream cone?

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          Yeah, that mention of noise caught my eye, too. Best guess I’ve come up with is that they were thinking of noise from whatever mechanism may turn and tilt the panels to catch the solar radiation better. But I’m confident there’s someone in the commentariat who’s better informed on this.

    4. jp

      Yes, distributed generation. If every home and business had some generating (and battery) capacity we would have actual national security. I’ll bet gasoline generators are already sold out in Texas.

      1. Wukchumni

        I ordered a $1000 gas generator from Home Depot to be paid for out of my 1,200 Covid clams our government gave us in July, and kept getting e-mails telling me it was on backorder for 4 months until I cancelled the order, No Sale!

        Anybody else have a similar experience?

      2. JTMcPhee

        Have not noticed any reporting on gasoline shortages in TX, so lots of generator sales, and stories of people gassing themselves with the generator exhaust in desperation to keep warm. I’d bet that as with FL in advance of hurricanes and immediately post-blast, the Big Boxes and Amazon rushed pre-positioned generators into that Market ™. And is there an anticipated regular number of people who die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the aftermath of these events?

        Small windmills and solar panels do require maintenance and replacement of things like blades and brushes and the electronic controllers and inverters needed to tap the “free” planetary heat engine energy.

        And then there’s the constant flood of “nevergiveasuckeranevenbreak-ism” that is as American as control fraud and genocide of First Peoples:

        There are no doubt lots of us who would like to “do things right” for the planet, but in among the hucksterism and scams and regulatory capture, how the hell is one to know what “right” is? Other than offing oneself immediately, to minimize one’s carbon footprint, followed by natural burial,, though if everybody did it, no doubt there might be a public health problem from all the corpses decomposing at once into the ground water…

      3. barefoot charley

        As a recovered windmill owner, I predict cold days in hell before millions of people will bother to harvest gusts off their rooftops. It’s just not worth the bother. Not only do you need steady wind in excess of 10 mph. Scale is everything in wind-harvest: its power yield is the cube of blade reach, so a windmill with 30-foot blades will generate 10x10x10 times more electricity than 3-foot blades. Much more, actually, because every foot you go up in the air increases wind velocity and staying-power too. My windmill was an intermittent, chronic maintenance glutton, though admittedly a brilliant science toy. Now, micro-hydropower, there’s the ticket!

        1. cocomaan

          I researched both windmills and solar. Saw all the problems you mentioned with wind. With solar, being tied into the grid is a financial necessity AND your panels shut off if the power goes out. Inverters are not designed for flexibility.

          To create a solar or wind system that can power your house independent of the grid OR can feed the grid requires large and often dangerous batteries, special inverters that cost a lot of money, and in general a massive financial investment that is out of reach for 99% of people.

          The fact is that controlled energy is an incredibly difficult thing to generate. There is no easy solution.

        2. juno mas

          Yes. For residential power generation photo voltaics (PV) is the best option.

          Windmills in days of old were for pumping water into troughs for cattle (and some home use). The megawatt generating windmills (turbines) of today need to be large AND regulated. On the other end of the stick, CONSERVATION of energy is imperative.

        3. Brooklin Bridge

          I was part of an off the grid situation where we had no supplied electricity. We had a small wind mill to generate electricity when it was cloudy for long periods (we also had solar panels). Along with an array of batteries and the various devices to control it all and convert it to AC, it worked beautifully and when the old wind mill finally broke beyond repair, we found one that made almost no noise or vibrations.

          Thing was, we had an abundance of steady steady wind. It was considerably more costly than grid power, but less expensive in various ways than running a generator all the time.

          But I agree that this wouldn’t work everywhere and roof-top wind mills are less likely to take over than a functioning government of, by and for the people.

          1. Synoia

            I have idly wondered about natural gas generators, which would generate electricity and heat the house, by passing the cooling water through radiators, for winter and Solar panels as the top surface of solar hot water heaters for the summer.


            1. Brooklin Bridge

              In the case I described above, transport was a problem so getting the gas to the site was difficult. There was a generator; it was critical for some things such as the clothes washer and dryer or on those rare occasions when the batteries ran low. But it was used as sparingly as possible. Heat and hot water was fueled by wood which there was in abundance.

              It strikes me as a good idea but I have no experience with it. It could also be part of a thermal setup where warm ground water was used to get the initial temperature up to around 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit which might still be low enough to cool the generator but which would end up with significantly more heat for conditioned space in winter and hot water in summer.

              My only even vaguely related experience has been with the ductless heating systems that operate with the outside air, a compressor for AC type refrigerant (a very expensive gas), and a heat exchanger that can be reversed to provide either warm or cold air on demand. All I’ve got to say about these things (Mitsubishi at least) is bad, really bad, and worse. I would strongly caution people not to believe anyone when they say, “Oh but the technology has completely changed since then…”

    5. lyman alpha blob

      I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph, but the problem is that the push is not for lots of little windmills in everyone’s back yard – it is for enormous corporate-backed wind farms that further enrich the elites and the political class. Maine’s former governor and current Senator Angus King had big ties to wind companies and ran into some hot water due to conflict of interest several years ago –

      And if anybody really believes King divested himself of all wind-related investments, well I’ve got some property up in the County you might be interested in, and it’s totally not a mosquito and black fly infested bog.

      So the big wind farms got built, and when we take a drive to northern Maine you can see the big turbines on the hillside just idling along on a windy day – because they don’t work. According to friends who live in the area of one farm, they are quite often not turning at all.

      If this were brand new tech, I might have some patience as the kinks were worked out, but windmills have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Call me cynical, but I suspect that corporate corruption and cost cutting in order to turn bigger profits are the culprits here. There is no reason we can’t have the small scale turbines and solar panels feeding into the grid as you suggested, except for the greed of our elites.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        hence the mention of Hydraulic Despotism(something i learned about from Frank Herbert, btw)
        at the same time that Texas was buiklding all these giant corporate windfarms, the industry was busy with the bribes in the big pink granite cathouse in austin to put a stake in the heart of grid intertie…wherein, say, someone like me, would put in a lot of solar and wind for my own use, and have it set up so that it would feed into the grid when i had a surplus.
        This is the beating heart of distributed generation….and they want to outlaw it.
        lots of mumbling about safety and such…morons not hooking it up right, etc.
        every one of their objections/concerns is easily overcome.

        but, like i said, i’d rather have a bunch of Big Wind than no wind at all.
        i like the idea of Tidal Generation, too…perhaps using some of those defunct oil platforms one can see from just about any beach in Texas…

        and! the national security angle is a good one.
        the idea behind the internet is the example i use when talking about distributed generation….instead of a handful of giant power plants, a million little ones…terrists or chicom hordes take out one, or a thousand, and the rest take up the slack…just like, “they can’t put all of us in jail”,lol.

        all of this is moot without a party or some other organisation withthe clout and the smash to make these arguments.
        not gonna happen with two right wing corpse parties.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If a movement-load of people tried setting up a Public Power Party in Texas to make those arguments and run candidates, would it get anywhere?

    6. Lynne

      For another view on windmills:

      The blades have to be replaced at least every 10 years, are completely non-biodegradable, are not recycled, are full of hazardous waste, and are being dumped in places like South Dakota and Wyoming, where mountains of them are being buried in shallow graves, where they will be for eternity. Meanwhile, the rapacious mining of materiel as well as insistence on putting them on the Central Flyway is criminal.

      1. Alex Cox

        Why, since windmills have been around forever, do the current crop rely on hazardous materials and rare earth metals?

        I don’t know the answer to this; perhaps some commentator does?

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I’m no expert but possibly because historically wind mills were directly hooked up to grinding mills or some other non electric mechanical devices rather than to very large electric generators with (I think) a lot of chips in them to deal with variable wind speeds.

        2. juno mas

          As Barefoot noted, the power produced by a rotating blade is a cubic function. The stress on that same blade increases exponentially as well. A flat wooden blade doesn’t have the tensile strength of a 30 foot long blade, contoured to handle wind gusts, with the tip of the blade traveling at a velocity hundreds of times greater than the base of the blade. The Laws Of Physics are unforgiving. Thus exotic materials.

    7. lordkoos

      The wind farm in our county was met with resistance from some local citizens, along with our ultra-conservatrive county commissioners, who were enraged by governor Inslee’s approval of the project. What many locals consider to be the “west-siders” (the more urban & liberal Seattle types) control of eastern Washington is a long-standing beef here… I have little sympathy for their knee-jerk reactions against any progressive policies, which generally turn out to be beneficial for this area in the long run. At any rate for the last dozen+ years we have had 48 giant windmills in the county. Speaking as a person who enjoys the outdoors I do not find them to be an eyesore although it took a bit of time get accustomed to seeing them on the neighboring hills. It can be very windy here so the site was a no-brainer as far as generating energy. I have heard that the project has yet to turn a profit, which I found surprising. No doubt there was some grift along the way. I have not seen any replacement of the original windmills going on so they must last for awhile. Out of the 48, I have seen a couple that appear to have broken down and no longer spin.

      1. lordkoos

        I should add that there is also some resistance to installing large arrays of solar panels around the valley. The somewhat manufactured fear of farmland being lost to solar panels is IMO mostly bogus as there are many areas with good exposure to the sun that are on land that is useless for agriculture, being rocky hillsides full of sagebrush. I have a friend whose family has owned some of those rocky hillsides for generations and he would love to see solar allowed on those pieces.

        1. albrt

          Dealing with erosion on a hillside raises the cost considerably. Unless you just don’t deal with it and leave the downslope landowners to deal with the flooding and mess. Then the cost comes later in the form of litigation and insurance issues.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Where have you seen solar PV panel installations that created erosion and mass wasting issues? In Reno the local community college has a few megawatts of panels strung out across the hillside on the south side of its land. It is a comparatively steep place for an array, and is sagebrush steppe similar to that in eastern Washington. The installation has been there for about 7-8 years now and I haven’t seen any of the characteristic signs of severe erosion. No silt washed over the southern access road after storms, no gullying, etc.

    8. Daryl

      > so no big windmills went up in Mason County…but about 60 of them did go up north of Brady….and i think they’re beautiful,lol.

      have driven past some of the big installations by Lubbock and I have to agree, they are quite majestic compared to unsightly oil rigs criss crossing the land in other parts of W. Texas. Although this may just be my political bias talking.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization”

    Just because Trump is gone and the second impeachment show trial is over now does not mean that Trump Derangement Syndrome is over with finally. Not if some people can help it. So in line with the vindictive pettiness of the story above, some Democrats are pushing for the ‘No Glory for Hate Act’. What is it? It is an Act ‘prohibiting the use of federal funds to create or display any symbol, monument or statue commemorating a twice-impeached president. Not only would the legislation also ban the naming of any federal building or land after such a president, but it would also block federal funds from being used to help pay for a government at any other level to put his name on a building or other property.’ How many Presidents fit that category? It would also ban him from being buried at Arlington but as he is not a veteran, he is not qualified in any case-

  8. Mikel

    RE: We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April” WSJ. If only….The view from the WSJ op-ed page. Hmm.

    So the other flu…the ones nobody heard about all year, that they always say to get vaccinated for (which I don’t) because there is no immunity to the various strains, sounds more dangerous now. But again, didn’t hear anything about “the flu” we deal with any other years.And they say that’s because of what? Quarantine measures?

    Then the article says 2/3 of the country has already gotten this virus (don’t laugh), but all these pepole getting sick somehow never got the other “flu” that we are told to take vaccines for every year because there is no immunity to various strains.

  9. doug

    After reading the good reporting here, and elsewhere on the texas outages, I deleted several bookmarks, and canceled a newsletter that featured the Cascend BS as truth.
    I like to check out multiple sources and views, but don’t like being lied to.
    Thanks to everyone here that participates and to our industrious hosts.
    Long may you run.

    1. Lynne

      I’m a little confused by the reportage that Texas has no tie-in with the rest of the country’s power grid. Here’s an article about SD blackouts and a map of the Southwest Power Pool, which clearly shows parts of Texas integrated with the other Plains states.

      We handled it because we’ve dealt with it before. I was fortunately spared due to a backup generator, but my neighbors went without power for a month after the catastrophic Winter Storm Atlas back in 1993. And my recollection is clear that at the time, quite a few people on the Coasts cheered the suffering of flyover country.

        1. HotFlash,

          My neighbour reports that his daughters in Lubbock TX were also unaffected, they are on the New Mexico grid.

        2. Lynne

          Thank you. That takes care of my confusion. The SW Power Pool map is pretty much a reverse of that ERCOT fact sheet.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Hidden Gulag”

    America’s jail system was always a gulag system. Saw a doco about those aircraft flying prisoners all over the country. At one point they were talking with prisoners from Alaska – in Arizona. They were terribly homesick and of course could not see their families on visits. And you can’t get much more different than Alaska and Arizona. But they were not originally jailed in Arizona but their native State of Alaska itself. It was just Alaska did some sort of deal with Arizona to house them. But if those prisoners have a problem they are stuffed. If they ask the Arizona prison, they will be told that they are actually Alaskan prisoners and to contact their home State. When they do so, they will be told that it is all up to the Arizonan prison where they are. Catch 22.

    1. Wukchumni

      Delano, Ca. is the Mason-Dixon line between Sureños & Norteños, Mexican gangs.

      It’s also home to ‘competing’ penal colonies, North Kern State Prison and Kern Valley State Prison. I always wondered if their proximity had any bearing?

      My recently retired friend who was a 7th grade science teacher told me a good one some years back, he was handing out reports with a blue cover, and red is the Norteño color, and one of his students wouldn’t take one with the rival gang’s colors, flat out refused.

    2. albrt

      As long as we don’t put any Uighurs in there we should be OK from a public relations standpoint. Meanwhile I wouldn’t expect any changes for the next few years – Gulaging black people is Joe Biden’s specialty.

  11. Carolinian

    Re Stoller–reasonable, or rant? His attempt to make this a morality tale about how the internet and Facebook in particular killed off the poor little newspapers ignores some inconvenient particulars. For one thing the victims are often themselves giant corporations and monopolists in their particular markets and this has been true for some time. The reality is that the newspaper industry has been declining for decades such that newspapers in cities like Atlanta and Washington had no meaningful competition–at least in print. It was television that did this by itself being a government propped up (those broadcast licenses) local monopoly distributed free over the air to the public.

    As for advertisers, one reason PBS is able to sustain itself via public donations is so that viewers don’t have to put up with these people. My brother, who gets the cable TV that I do not, tells me that cable shows are now fifty percent advertising. That’s quite a noise to signal ratio.

    Without a doubt antitrust is important in a system like ours, but lets not turn it into a morality play when the system itself is the villain. Murdoch versus Zuckerberg? A plague on both their houses.

    1. Yves Smith

      Straw man much?

      I read his piece and the newspaper ad revenue past was SOLELY about Australia. And late in the piece too.

      I lived in Australia. Did you? Newspapers were doing fine as of when I left, about 2004.

      1. Carolinian

        You are missing my point, which is not about Australia but about print media in general. I’m saying that before Facebook was a quasi monopoly these large papers like the WaPo were quasi monopolies in their own markets and their entrenched position, along with the ever increasing influence of channels like Fox and CNN, turned them into establishment organs that were already pushing a party line on matters such as the 2000 election. Thus the internet was for many people an antidote toi “Media Whores Online” who even then were viewed as in many ways corrupt. Nowadays the situation with these big name organs is exponentially worse and yet Stoller thnks we are supposed to feel sorry for them and their special pleading.

        And btw Murdoch has been pushing this anti-internet link tax for years. First they came for Facebook. Don’t be surprised if NC is next.

        1. Yves Smith

          I am disagreeing with what you wrote, which was an attack on Stoller by straw manning his piece. Stoller’s piece was almost entirely about Facebook’s legal abuses such as lying about its ad reach. His point about the impact of FB on the Australian newspapers was secondary, late in the piece, and limited ONLY to Australia. You mischaracterized what he said and are doubling down by making an argument about US newspapers, when Stoller made no such argument.

          You are now straw manning ME by acting as if I’ve advocated a links tax. You are on a fast track to having your comments privileges revoked if you keep this up. Fon’t sit there and act as if you can threaten me.

          1. Carolinian

            Fair enough and apologies to Stoller if I misinterpreted this particular column. But the undeniable fact is that in the past Murdoch has advocated a link tax against Google in particular and there have been others who have claimed (not me–I do indeed know little about Australia) that the Murdoch organization is at the bottom of this latest Australian move. Indeed I believe this site itself has in the past spoken out against the effects of Murdoch’s past proposal but that was a long time ago and won’t swear to it.

    2. bob

      “As for advertisers, one reason PBS is able to sustain itself via public donations is so that viewers don’t have to put up with these people.”

      Have you ever watched the 5 minute lead in to those stories? The ending? Bill and Malinda are advertising to their preferred class in the manner most common. We just don’t call it that.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes that’s like two or three minutes at the beginning of a program for shilling versus fifty percent of cable news shows. It’s not that there’s no advertising on PBS since obviously there is and has been for many years. It’s that you aren’t continuously bombarded during the program. For this people are indeed willing to support with pledges.

    1. Massinissa

      I mean, it is sad that Bob Dole has lung cancer.

      On the other hand… Its not as if he has unique importance. I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of other cancer patients that are fairly notable that Biden won’t bother to visit. So, why Dole of all people?

        1. tegnost

          yes, they see the world in the same way. Any differences are just politicians talking and no one should expect a politician running for office to not lie. Of course biden said 2000 immediately, what else would he say? of course he would say 50,000 off student loans (which would basically destroy the education industry) then change it to 10,000, which is essentially a direct payment to wall st (h/t to robinhooders, get in front of this announcement as when it’s announced there will be a big bounce in the bankster sector). Biden and Dole have more in common than most married couples, any insinuation to the contrary is purely a smokescreen of political BS.

        2. dave

          I will never forget Richard Ben Cramer’s observation that Bob Dole was kinder and far more decent than the perception of him was, and that Bill Clinton was far less kind and decent than the perception of him was.

          We are always at the mercy of how things are framed/sold to us.

        3. Michael Ismoe

          Maybe Biden asked Bob to join the Administration. At 99, he’d be the boost of youth and vitality that DC needs right now.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Deregulation is getting a lot of bad press right now, so Biden wants to assure one of the champions of “onerous rules and regulations” that he won’t do anything about price gouging or undoing Bob Dole’s life work.

        4. NotTimothyGeithner

          Perhaps, you may have not have noticed this, but with Covid, people aren’t getting out. I don’t care if they’ve been vaccinated. Biden has a job, and he’s not producing.

          Kids are still in cages, so spare us, they might be friends routine. To borrow from Joe, I have no sympathy for the pig.

        5. pasha

          exactly, they are old friends — used to be on several committees together, co-sponsored some legislation

      1. Mao "No Landlords Now" Zedong

        The only sad thing about Bob Dole getting cancer is that it didn’t happen sooner.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Last of the decent republicans

          (Stares blankly) Bob Dole? I know he was in a Pepsi commercial and that bad people wouldn’t be allowed on tv.

          Not being Newt Gingrich doesn’t make him good. As a leading advocate of deregulation and not getting people healthcare, it is a bit much.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Might be a different Dole family. Or at least a 3,000 miles-different branch of the “same” family in the most hyper-extended sense.

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “The Europeans Suffer from Arrogance” Der Spiegel

    I don’t know much about Ugandan politics (and what is it with media personalities with no political experience running for office these days? [Ukraine, Uganda, Haiti I believe, and of course the US to name a few]) but one detail does lend credence to the headline:

    DER SPIEGEL: During the protests on Bobi Wine’s behalf in November, more than 100 people were killed by security forces, according to observers.

    Museveni: It was a kind of riot. People attacked security forces and were shot, some were accidentally caught in the crossfire. Mistakes were made. The investigation is ongoing.

    In the US, we have a election related riot that delays a procedural Congressional vote for a couple hours and one law enforcement official dies in some vague riot-adjacent circumstances, and it’s a national existential crisis possibly requiring draconian new “anti-terror’ legislation and increasing censorship of certain political viewpoints.

    Much of the rest of the world can suffer through events a couple orders of magnitude more serious if we’re judging by death toll, and it barely merits a mention in Western media many months after the fact.

    Seems a little arrogant to me. Either that or USians are very easily ‘terror-fied’.

    1. JBird4049

      I have been wondering how today’s political establishment would have handled the 50s, 60s, and early 70s especially the Summer of 68 where there were massive riots with entire neighborhoods being burn down and with MLK and RFK were assassinated.

  13. chuck roast

    Gov. DeSantis to order flags lowered after Rush Limbaugh’s death

    Take action my Florida friends. When the toxic Scalia bit the dust I looked out my 5th floor window to see the flag at the nearby hospital at half-staff. I put on my pants, marched down the street and raised it to full height. Immediately copping to the fact that they would be doing the same at the post office, I drove down to the Main PO and raised that flag to its full height. My enthusiasm petered out after a few days, but I felt as though I was performing service to my fellow citizens. Cheers!

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The jockeying to replace Neera Tanden has begun Politico

    Tanden is an Indian American woman, one of only two women of Asian descent nominated for the cabinet other than Vice President Kamala Harris.

    That ‘only’ is implying a lot there. Given that there are a couple dozen cabinet positions and we aren’t in Asia, just how many Asian women should there be to meet quota? And whatever happened to those very wise words of MLK about judging people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character? I think we all know how far Tanden would get were character the sole guideline here.

    Have we reached peak idpol yet?

    1. c_heale

      What does Asian mean anyway. The meaning of the word is so broad as to be just about meaningless. We need some new words for this part of the world.

  15. DJG, Reality Czar

    The flaw in the Mark Ames tweet and in relying on the NYTimes and its agenda.

    The NYTimes is positing that the fall in life expectancy in the U S of A is related specifically to the pandemic, is more or less a one-time thing, and can be easily redressed. Yet those of reading Naked Capitalism know that Case and Deaton’s analyses of the situation indicate that life expectancy in the U.S. has fallen for the last four years.

    What concerns me here is how selective things are. (Of course, Caitlin Johnstone would upbraid me for being a naif.) What we are seeing in the interregnum between the ignominious end of the Trump administration and the glorious dawn of the Biden administration and its re-treads and worn-out ideas is people positioning things selectively. At least, Ames admits that the elites are corrupt beyond repair.

    This urge to be selective is one of the reasons I”m skeptical of responses to the crisis in Texas. No, Ted Cruz ins’t going to turn into a pumpkin and disappear. No, this doesn’t mean that Beto’s fan club will resurrect his career. Yet Texas suffers from too many years as an extractive economy, and what went on there has whiffs of the problems of Saudi Arabia rather than of party politics.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      The NYTimes reporters get selective: “The drop comes after a troubling series of smaller declines driven largely by a surge in drug overdose deaths.”

      Troubling, indeed.

    2. The Rev Kev

      This fall in life expectancy is bad enough but during the Flu Pandemic of a century ago, life expectancy in the US fell by twelve years for one year.

  16. Jeremy Grimm

    My sister called from Upstate NY last night to chat. Texas cold and power outages came up for discussion. My sister criticized Texans for being so poorly prepared to deal with the cold and power outages. Texas utility companies got no mention, until I brought them up as villains in the Texas disaster. My sister thinks for herself, but like all of us she tends to focus her attentions on what she hears or reads in the media and what she hears talking with her friends. I believe it remarkable how discussion appears to slant so heavily toward blaming the victims.

    I cannot add anything to the already considerable discussion whether and how Texans should have been better prepared. I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for almost three years in the 1980s. I experienced a couple of ice-storms including one that left over an inch of ice all over my car windshield and as much and more on the roads; multiple gully washer rain storms; gorgeous night-time electric storms; thunder and lighting storms; thimble sized hail that damaged my roof [driving around, I saw cars that had experienced golf-ball sized hail in years past, and there were stories about field hands killed in an open field by hardball sized hail]; and waited as small tornadoes tore random paths as wide as a single lane road through the countryside splintering mesquite trees. But I cannot remember ever losing power or water at my home or at work. I grew up in California, recall seldom being without electric power, and cannot recall losing power for more than half-a-day.

    The Grid is in sorry condition, aging, and badly maintained. There is a lot of work to be done on the Grid and the structure and control of utilities — which must become a national network of public utilities — before we get carried away building too many forests of Green Dreams to line the pockets of the Great Green Grift.

    1. fresno dan

      Jeremy Grimm
      February 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm
      I wasn’t living in CA back when CA had problems with the “free market” and getting electricity due to Enron, but it is ironic that Enron’s corporate headquarters were in Houston. People just don’t learn…

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I was long gone from California and Texas before Enron. I sometimes wished I could afford to live in Santa Barbara or one of the other Central California beach towns, but I saw little future for me in California and the more I learned about Climate Chaos I saw little future at all in California.

        1. JP

          I love my spot in CA. The Sierra has to be one of the most rugged and beautiful places on the globe. I’m sure CA has more national parks and monuments then any other two states.

          Our power goes out every time the heavens flicker. We light lanterns and throw another log in the wood stove. We live amongst troglodites, Nunes and McCarthy are our reps. The sheriff drags knuckles. It’s great

          1. Wukchumni

            Hear, here!

            Imagine just having any old Congressman, when you can have ‘my Kevin’ y Devin? They’re always doing accidentally humorous.

            I fell in love with the Sierra @ a tender age, a rugged range of light with gentle summers~

      2. JBird4049

        Driving during the commute and listening to the daily blackout reports, wondering whether my home or my job would be out of power that day. Fun times.

        It is not a coincidence that Enron was headquartered in Dallas. The vampiric ghouls at Enron just went and got jobs at other companies spreading the infection far and wide.

  17. Brooklin Bridge

    Here is another article on the trans atlantic rowing adventure. It’s actually a race with various size boats with different size crews of rowers. The article describes the boats in some detail. Apparantly, Jasmine Harrison had a serious issue with sea-sickness at the start and even went blind for 48 hrs. Must have taken a lot of gumption to continue on – chapeau!

    1. Maritimer

      Sad that these endeavours all have to be sponsored and push one or more commercial products to gain interest. And, of course, the particular product has to blare in the headline. Probably owned by a Hedge Fund.

      Contrast this with the famous Joshua Slocum who, 1895-1898, circumavigated the Earth ALONE in a rebuilt 38′ sailboat. He used a $1 alarm clock as a chronometer. He wrote a famous book about it Sailing Alone Around The World. No sponsors, no commercials, no coverage. It is a certainty “they don’t make’em like they used to.”

      It is a marvelous book not only about sailing but about the vicissitudes of Life and Old Age.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Wasn’t it the “Spray?” Also, I remember it being only 32 feet though perhaps that was waterline. Regardless, 38 feet is NOT a big boat for going around the world. I read the book, longingly, many many years ago. Back then, the technology wasn’t all that different, especially for boats of that size. Incredible how much as changed. The only place I was in any way happy back then, for any length of time at least, was on a boat. Thanks for the mention, I’m going to read it again.

        No radio, no depth finder, no course plotter, definitely no radar, not to mention no engine, not even a little battery for that oh so useful flashlight when you hear crashing noises in the middle of the night. Slocum even rigged up his own self steering mechanism with the stuff he had at hand. And got it to work! Just amazing.

        1. RMO

          They don’t have to be sponsored and pushing a commercial product but after it’s been done once you’re hardly likely to see it splashed across the news when it isn’t, barring there being something exceptional about the trip. People did, and still are doing things like this just for themselves and quietly. Many don’t go so far as even trying to write a book about it afterwards, and those that do hardly end up famous or rich.

          My favorite circumnavigation story is John Guzzwell’s “Trekka, Round The World” I’ve seen Trekka in person, in a small room at the Victoria maritime Museum. She’s tiny at 20.5 feet but she was the biggest boat he could afford to build.

          When it comes to how much things have changed since around 1970 reading Knox-Johnston’s account of participating in the Velux 5 Oceans and comparing that to the experiences of the Golden Globe sailors is striking. They were out of communication for weeks and months at a stretch and doing things not much different from what had been done at sea for centuries – the occasional radio report and the ability to get time signals are just about it. In the Velux Knox-Johnston relates having email trouble due to a flood of spam messages (for things like Viagra ordered online and delivered to your door) that had to be weeded out before he could find the ones from his team. And that’s just the at sea differences. The changes in the places you would visit on your way around the world on a cruise now are even more striking.

  18. Dikaios Logos

    re: The Energy Policy Culture War Is an Absurd Fantasy

    I’ve known more than a few ultra-mob connected Democrats in DC that have decades of experience doing big-energy’s bidding. It’s hard for me to see this culture war framing of energy policy and not think that’s the Democratic noise machine working to make typical people hate each other in order to perpetuate the status quo. Sad!

    1. marym

      True we need serious discussions about energy policy and infrastructure, not culture war framing. However, this time around Texas Republicans – who have some interest in “doing big-energy’s bidding” – who came out of the gate blaming the situation on windmills and the Green New Deal.

  19. JEHR

    Re: Can Historians Be Traumatized by History?

    I first read about the Holocaust when I was in Grade 8 (around 1954) and it made a deep and lasting impression on me. The author was Lord Russell of Liverpool.

    We need to read about atrocities in order to know what human beings are capable of. I have great sympathy for those who do the terrible feat of writing about such horrible events.

    1. Wukchumni

      I mentioned last month how much my aunt in Prague loathed the Soviets even more than the Nazis, and one of the responses on here was somebody traumatized by my remark, with a rather long explanation of what the Nazis were-as if I didn’t know, and I think history does that to people, always going for the worst case scenario-and that would be the Holocaust, but what if you weren’t a small part of the population who were Jewish, as was the case with my family, no atrocities were perpetuated upon them by the Nazis other than a constant fear that wasn’t really dissimilar to what she experienced under the heel of the Soviets, albeit 7 times as long of a duration, which was why she despised them. They took away the most productive years of her life.

      History has many angles…

      1. Molon labe

        I’m sure I’m going to regret my rule not to hit “send” on this type of reply. Also, no disrespect intended to you, especially as I respect and learn from your posts. However, as far as your aunt goes: no f**ks given.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I find that one can get away with a bit of crudity in a post if such crudity is ensconced among even a little bit of substance.

          1. Molon labe

            Sorry—I thought it was implied that her aunt caring more about her decades of discomfort than the murders of millions of Jews was disgusting. Not to mention making it illegal of modern day Poland to discuss the complicity of some Poles in the Holocaust.

            1. Basil Pesto

              Thanks for clarifying

              Wuk said his aunt loathed the Soviets more than the Nazis, not that she “cared more” about anything. Maybe an overly semantic point but it seems utterly normal to be inclined towards a higher degree of resentment towards one’s own perceived oppressors rather than another group’s, even if one oppressor is more overtly nefarious than the other.

    2. David

      On the other hand, Iris Chang publicly admitted that her book on Nanking was specifically written in the hope that the horrors she described would lead to pressure on the Japanese government to pay financial compensation to the families of Chinese victims There’s a fine line between recounting atrocities and atrocity propaganda, as we’ve seen, for example, in Syria recently. The problem is that, confronted with allegations about apparently terrible events, and assertions about large numbers of victims, it seems somehow indecent to ask for something as intrusive as actual proof. In particular, there’s a long history of wild exaggeration of casualty figures in wars, partly because of the inherent difficulty of arriving at such figures: estimates of excess deaths in the war in the DRC caused by the Rwandan/Ugandan invasions in the 1990s have gone as high as 4-5 million, but there are complicated methodological reasons why the real figure could be as little as a tenth of that.

      1. fresno dan

        February 21, 2021 at 1:40 pm
        All those poor Kuwaiti preemies thrown out of their incubators…
        We are in the era of hyperbole. Dispassionate equanimity in the face of shocking claims in this era that demands high dungeon for every outrage just won’t do.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        It’s a really difficult issue, as when you take issue with some claims, you can be immediately labeled a ‘denier’. Its a long time since I read it, but from what I remember Changs book was both passionate, comprehensive, but also almost entirely one sided, and she made no attempt to question many of the witnesses assertions, despite many being often questionable or contradictory. Even while being horrified by the descriptions of what I read (and there isn’t an iota of doubt that horrifying things happened in Nanking, even by the standards of that war, which were particularly low), I found myself not really believing a lot of her conclusions. The raw facts should have spoken for themselves, and there were plenty of other more dispassionate accounts published before her book hit the best seller list.

        There is a place for this type of work, especially when highlighting forgotten corners of history, but its not always very helpful. Especially when its become so politicised – it was convenient for the Chinese government to ‘forget’ it happened for several decades, and then it was suddenly hyped again when they wanted to put pressure on Japan over some trade argument or other. Of course, the Japanese don’t help their own cause either by their insistence on hedging their apologies and trying to enforce their own narrative, in particular on the Koreans.

        As to the topic of the article, I’m quite sure it can be very destructive of your mental health to spend too much time researching the dregs of human behaviour. I’ve found myself that when reading about things like this I can disassociate most times, but every now and again you’ll come across a story or account that just hits you emotionally, often for a very random reason – maybe seeing a photo of a victim looking like someone I know, or it occurring in a place I know well. But I think its pretty clear that Chang suffered from some type of depressive illness, I’m not sure its helpful to draw a link with her work.

        1. David

          Yes, it has a lot to do with the modern cult of The Victim, and the recognition that if you can claim that status, or claim that status on behalf of others, you become powerful, and can access favours and money. The greater and more numerous the victims, the more rewarding is the exercise. But for books like Chang’s, I’m with George Orwell’s argument that all propaganda is false even when it’s factually true, because the intent is dishonest, and the those making the charges don’t care about the truth. Even if the Kuwaiti babies story had been true, the intention behind it would have been dishonest, and it would still have been propaganda.
          But I think that (like anyone who’s had occasional brushes with the darker side of human nature) what I find hardest to take is not mass killings, however terrible, but rather the sheer, numbing, brutal stupidity and unimaginative evil that characterises the fringes of all conflicts. In Klimov’s film Come and See for example, there’s a scene (apparently based on a real incident) where the young boy who is the central character is dragged off by the Germans and an SS officer puts a gun to his head. You immediately think he’s going to be killed, but in fact it’s staged for a photograph, because the officer wants to look tough. He lets the boy go, but actually the scene is more horrifying as a result. I think that in the end you just have to accept that apparently normal people are nonetheless capable of doing terrible things under conditions of great stress, and that’s it. Not a very comforting conclusion.

          1. fresno dan

            February 21, 2021 at 4:24 pm

            I don’t know if kudos is the right word to endure Come and See I don’t mean to imply its not a “good” film in what I think is an unsurpassed depiction of the horrors of war.
            I can only come back to banality of evil.

      3. Bazarov

        I would also add that Nanking gets an awful lot of press in the West because the massacre and rape victimized the “right sort” of people, as Nanking was at the time a Chinese nationalist stronghold (KMT).

        I’ve never met a single person aware of the 1.5 million (a conservative estimate) or so North Chinese peasant civilians slaughtered and starved to death by Japan’s North China Area Army in the late 1930s to early 1940s as part of the “Three Alls” strategy to combat Chinese partisans. The strategy involved killing, driving off the population in a given region, and despoiling the land in an effort to prevent partisans from returning (as they would usually “fade away” when the Japanese attacked partisan rural bases of operation, only to reoccupy the area when the Japanese ultimately withdrew).

        Why does the West ignore this carnage, far worse than that of Nanking? It’s simple: the peasants supported the communists, and communist sympathizers aren’t the “right sort.” They don’t really count among bourgeois historians as victims worthy of remembrance, so they get relegated to a footnote somewhere.

    3. JTMcPhee

      My horror-history moment came in 1968, with reading John Hersey’s 1946 book, Hiroshima. Augmented in the early 70s in history studies that compelled me to reject the glib and comforting narrative that using the bombs “saved millions of lives.” Of course that kind of observation, in most USian company, lights up the patriotic-righteous-anger billboards of most listeners.

      That horror moment came after years of reading books on the Death March on Bataan and the island-hopping Marines and GIs on their way to take on Hirohito on the main island of Nippon… And since then, about the only personal enemies I perceive are the gluttons of great wealth and their minions, who are supranational in their ubiquity.

      1. JBird4049

        Iris Chang committed suicide while working on a book about the Bataan Death March. She had interviewed the survivors of the march. Apparently the interviews were very traumatic especially as some of the veterans had not talked about their experiences in the march before.

        In a way, Chang was a casualty of a war that ended over 55 years before.

    4. Winston Smith

      I think reading “Bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder has a similar capacity to shock to the point of leaving one numb at so much death and cruelty

  20. Jeff W

    Pfizer-BioNTech Shot Stops Covid’s Spread, Israeli Study Shows Bloomberg

    The Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE Covid-19 vaccine appeared to stop the vast majority of recipients in Israel becoming infected, providing the first real-world indication that the immunization will curb transmission of the coronavirus.

    The vaccine, which was rolled out in a national immunization program that began Dec. 20, was 89.4% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed infections, according to a copy of a draft publication that was posted on Twitter and confirmed by a person familiar with the work.

    [emphasis and internal link added]

    Very good news if it is borne out.

  21. WobblyTelomeres

    Questions about student loan forgiveness.

    In terms of money supply, won’t canceling (forgiving or whatever the right term is) student loans result in a 1.7T reduction to the money supply?

    Would this change to the money supply be the same if Biden’s legislation banning student loans from being dischargeable through bankruptcy was repealed and all holders declared bankruptcy?

    And if so, then wouldn’t Biden’s 1.9T COVID stimulus bill essentially be a wash in terms of the money supply if combined with complete loan forgiveness?

    That is, in an apparent perversity to non-MMT people, student loan forgiveness would “pay for” the stimulus?

    1. Mel

      ” won’t canceling (forgiving or whatever the right term is) student loans result in a 1.7T reduction to the money supply?”

      To the extent that student debt is held by the government, paying it back takes money out of private sector hands, and returns it to the government from whence it came. That reduces the money supply in the private sector.
      Not paying student debt to private-sector lenders just keeps the repayment money in one set of private hands rather than another. No net effect on money supply.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Thank you.

        Please note that I am trying to learn here.

        From repeat posts by Sound of the Suburbs,

        money supply = public debt + private debt + coins

        Students owing money to private lenders = private debt.
        Students owing money to government = public debt?
        Students owing money to private lenders guaranteed by government = private debt.

        If students declare bankruptcy, the government will make whole those private lenders whose loans were guaranteed by the government, resulting in an increase in public debt and a decrease in private debt, a wash.

        If students declare bankruptcy on debt owed the government, there is a reduction in public debt and a reduction in the money supply.

        If students declare bankruptcy on debt owed a private lender with no federal guarantee, there is a reduction in private debt and a reduction in the money supply. And the private lenders will howl bloody hell, and they are very effective when yelling at their representatives, effectively making their loans sorta government guaranteed as well (so it would seem).

        For the 92% of student loans that are guaranteed by the government, forgiving these loans requires the government to make the private lenders whole, again a wash in terms of money supply. Even if accomplished with platinum trillion dollar magic coins, it would be a wash in terms of the money supply.

        If the above is right, I think you have led me to answer my earlier question. Rev Kev sez D’uh. Ha. Yeah, it was kinda dumb. Shrugs. Story of my life.

        Is it safe to say that anyone attempting to argue a money supply threat (inflation fear mongering) to paying off/forgiving/bankruptcy-enabling-legislation is simply wrong?

        1. Mel

          When I answered the question, I was spouting MMT orthodoxy at you. I’m sure I was right, but I’m not sure I can explain it. Hmm.

          Re Sound of the Suburbs’ equation, there’s esoteric theory around the equivalence of public debt and money, going back to the founding of the Bank of England. At that time, King Whoever borrowed a lot of gold money from some wealthy burghers. Rather than the King having to pay them back, and them having to wait for the King to pay, they accepted a Royal Charter permitting them to start a bank. Then they started to circulate their own banknotes BUT backed by the King’s promise to pay. In essence, those notes were IOUs from the King promising to pay the bearers. Of course, the King wasn’t going to actually pay anytime soon, so the bearers had to be content to pass the notes around to settle debts between each other.
          This debt was very unusual from a commercial lending standpoint. The lender (bearer of the IOU) can’t call the loan in, and has no recourse. In practice, the only way these money-shaped debts get paid is when the Government creates a new contrary debt, taxes for instance, owed by the money bearer to the Government. The money bearer can get this new debt cancelled by agreeing to cancel some of the Government’s old debt, and surrendering some of the IOUs aka banknotes.
          That whole story runs contrary to our usual notions of lending. Private debt is debt that people owe to lenders. Public debt aka money is debt that the Government owes to people. The opposite of “Students owing money to government = public debt?”.

          What happens in student loans first, is the student gets money from a lender, and takes on a debt (promises to repay the loan). Then the student spends the money, e.g. with a college. Now the college has the money (until they spend it), but the debt obligation is still with the student. The money supply increases by the amount that the student borrowed and spent at the college.
          If the student pays the debt back (i.e. doesn’t default), then the student has acquired enough money from somebody else, and gives it to the lender, and the debt is extinguished. The money supply decreases by the amount of the loan, but that’s not magic — the student took that money (legally, of course) from somebody who had it before and doesn’t have it now.

          In the various cases of default:
          1) Student debt owed to the government: the college, or the college’s suppliers, or the college’s suppliers’ employees, or somebody, still has the money the government loaned the student and the student spent. It’s part of the circulating money supply, and isn’t going to leave. The money supply has increased.
          2) Default with no government guarantee: the money the student spent is still circulating, the lender has lost the equivalent value from their assets (a bank lender will have to charge the bad loan loss against its equity). No net change in the money supply.
          3) Default with oovernment guarantee: the government pays the lender to make up the loss that they would have suffered in case 2. The money supply has increased by the amount of the loan.

          This is how I think it would happen. Quite the exercise to work it through.

          1. Mel

            The money-as-debt theory is esoteric, but it really matters. Ilargi reports on JTN reporting on House Rules Committee member Tom Cole, “To make matters worse, of the previous COVID-19 relief packages, there remains nearly $1 trillion in unspent funds. Before we leap ahead into another gigantic spending package that drives the American people further into debt, shouldn’t we at least spend down the funds already allocated and see if new money is actually required?”
            Cole could well be right about spending what you appropriate, it makes sense to me, but he’s wrong on the debt thing. The last stimulus drove American people out of debt when they payed down their credit cards. It drove the American government into debt so that the people could do that. But the government can afford it.

  22. JWP

    Campus update,
    Kids in cages has taken on a new meaning on campus. The current policy is contact traced kids must quarantine in a hotel with bolted shut windows, delivered cafeteria food, and no time outside for 14 days. Furthermore, those in isolation are NOT tested, so false positives and even negative cases are stuck. Rumor has it the company who handles testing samples, cycles them so many times, even trace amounts pop up as positive, so people who are in and of no danger are isolated in what amounts to a prison.

    Meanwhile, the student body has completely given up on the school to the point people would rather get the virus than risk being stuck in the hotel for a potential case or false positive. I’m sensing there will be 4 or 5 years’ worth of alumni the schools will not be getting donations from.

    After a major wave (~17% of the school) having it in the last three weeks, cases have completely fallen off a cliff. Given that wave had almost everyone showing symptoms, it is likely one of the newer strains was the culprit.

  23. flora

    Here’s a very good back and forth between Matt Taibbi and R.J. Escow about Marcuse that follows on Taibbi’s Marcuse article. Free. to view, not paywalled. (hat tip to Carolinian for the link in yesterday’s Links.)

    I understand where both are coming from. I don’t disagree with Escow but agree with Taibbi that (I think) most USians not read into left philosophy in the 60’s and 70’s would assume Marcuse meant what Taibbi suggests, whereas USisans read into left philosophy would agree with Escow. Most voters, imo, aren’t read into either left or right philosophy but instead look to what’s happening in the world around them and whether or not those happenings are good or bad for themselves and their communities and states. My 2 cents. I recommend this good will debate between Taibbi and Escow.

    1. pjay

      I’ve mainly been cheering Taibbi lately in his on-going skewering of id-pol liberals. His targets usually deserve it. But his original “critique” of Marcuse was a *bad* one; as much simplistic caricature and straw-manning as the worst right-wing critics of “cultural Marxism.” Nor does he evaluate these works in the social and historical context for which they were written (over half a century ago). There were valid criticisms of Marcuse and the other Frankfurt theorists back then, and even more so today. But to compare his perspective to the inanities of today’s “White Fragility” theorists is simply ignorant. More important, it undermines his own critique by demonstrating the same intellectual shallowness as his PC targets.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I’m not sure I would go that far. I think Marcuse and Taibbi would have a lot in common in their critique of contemporary affairs. Marcuse lived in a similar time where the left-wing had begun to lose control and influence over the civil institutions as well as society as a whole. He understood that without any kind of power the left would be subject to authoritarian control in spite of our laws guaranteeing the freedom of speech and association. What I don’t think Taibbi understands is that Marcuse wouldn’t have endorsed this illusion of freedom in a repressive society as much as he was actively warning against it.

        I have my own problems with Marcuse. His criticism that the American proletariat wasn’t revolutionary, and his overall frustration that they wouldn’t fit into the Marxist mold, ignores the history of the labor struggle in the United States. Often times labor organizing in the US involved shooting it out with forces loyal to business interests and/or fighting the US Army in armed struggles like the Battle of Blair Mountain.

        The working class socialism that left-wing intellectuals idealize died with the rise, and not the fall, of the Soviet Union. As I frequently point out to European friends the American bourgeois have a much higher bodycount than their European counterparts. The unwillingness of the working classes to radicalize and take up arms against the imperial State during the Cold War is understandable in the historical context. That doesn’t make’em as a class inherently reactionary as the New Left thought.

        If anything they are demobilized politically and socially in the present. Nobody who makes below the American median income consistently votes in any significant numbers in my experience.

  24. Winston Smith

    As a non-tribal Liverpool supporter, I have great admiration for what Marcus Rashford is doing and love the fact that the two rival teams in the city are coming together for its less fortunate denizens.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “NYC shutting Central Park ice rinks to kids to freeze out Trump Organization”

    Just because Trump is gone and the second impeachment show trial is over now does not mean that Trump Derangement Syndrome is over with finally. Not if some people can help it. So in line with the pettiness of the story above, some Democrats are pushing for the ‘No Glory for Hate Act’. What is it? It is an Act ’prohibiting the use of federal funds to create or display any symbol, monument or statue commemorating a twice-impeached president. Not only would the legislation also ban the naming of any federal building or land after such a president, but it would also block federal funds from being used to help pay for a government at any other level to put his name on a building or other property.’ How many Presidents fit that category? It would also ban him from being buried at Arlington but as he is not a veteran, he is not qualified in any case-

    1. Ook

      Yes, this is puzzling. The orange man is censored and a new old man is in charge, with a completely different kind of dementia. But I have an investor friend in NYC, a very intelligent man, who even now, probably 60% of our conversation is him bringing up this or that “terrible thing about Trump”. To which I never respond, but still he can’t let go.
      Like get over it already.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “New CDC school opening guidelines fail to ‘follow the science’”

    So I’m looking at the photo of the classroom at the top of that article and the only difference that I can see between this photo and one that would have been taken in 209 is that the kids are wearing masks and that is about it. Check 0ut how the South Koreans are doing it with plastic barriers around each and every desk & all the other precautions and you can see that the CDC isn’t even trying-

  27. MarkT

    Re Cristian dying of hypothermia in Texas

    From a weather forecaster.

    My heart cries out to people in Texas and elsewhere, who are experiencing the Earth’s response to our pumping of heat into the atmosphere. I am not a believer in the death sentence. But perhaps an exception might be made (it involves people going back many decades).

    1. MarkT

      (afterthought: might be worth thinking about how to live on this planet before trying to go elsewhere. Saint Elon should def be on the first rocket)

  28. ArvidMartensen

    The der Spiegel article on the growing bias in the community against the Astra Zeneca vaccine in Germany is timely. People are afraid it doesn’t work for over 65s, it doesn’t work against mutations, and it is immoral.

    And no wonder after the steady bad news in the media – ,, and

    Meanwhile, other vaccines in the western world like Pfizer just sail on with no controversy at all.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists published an article in 2017 with a list of tactics used by corporations to spread disinformation – “How Business Interests Deceive, Misinform, and Buy Influence at the Expense of Public Health and Safety”.

    Well worth a read.

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