Links 2/28/2021

Conch shell in French museum found to be 17,000-year-old wind instrument Guardian

Inside the Gently Competitive World of Giant Vegetable Growing Atlas Obscura

Airbus Wants to Seize the Skies From Boeing Bloomberg. With smaller planes.

Sneakerheads Have Turned Jordans and Yeezys Into a Bona Fide Asset Class Bloomberg

Nevada lithium mine kicks off a new era of Western extraction High Country Vrewws

Can Auditing Eliminate Bias from Algorithms? The Markup

E-mail Is Making Us Miserable The New Yorker

Crossword politics Tempest


U.S. authorizes J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it third available Reuters

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine rollout marred by production problems FT

* * *

SARS-CoV-2: eye protection might be the missing key The Lancet (Furzy Mouse).

Ventilation ‘the biggest risk’ after Perth hotel quarantine report finds virus likely airborne WA Today

Window fans may be Philly’s fix for schools with poor ventilation. But teachers and parents are saying no way. Philadelphia Inquirer (via Atrios).

Cobb parents question schools spending $12M on UV lights, hand-rinsing machines Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage Axios (dk). Handy map.

Risk for Fomite-Mediated Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Child Daycares, Schools, Nursing Homes, and Offices Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC. Modeling.

* * *

5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic. Well worth a read; here is an open thread about the article on Tufecki’s substack.

Emerging Lessons From COVID-19 for the US Clinical Research Enterprise JAMA

Life on the Line: D.C. Cooks Confront COVID-19 Risks, Lack of Job Security Washington City Paper

From the first stitch to the final zip: The global journey of a COVID-19 body bag LA TImes. Grim. But good.

How to Remember a Disaster Without Being Shattered by It Wired


Drop by drop, China’s Yangtze River is drying up South China Morning Postr

China’s Covid vaccination programme beset by delay and reluctance FT


At least seven dead on bloodiest day of Myanmar protests against coup Reuters

Myanmar Workers and Unions on the Front Lines in Fight Against Coup Labor Notes

Exclusive: Bangladesh under ‘no obligation’ to accept stranded Rohingya refugees, says minister Reuters


Modi Government’s Strategy On Farmers Appears To Be Working NDTV

From the hinterland to Hollywood: how Indian farmers galvanised a protest movement Reuters

India: BJP’s rise in former communist bastion has Muslims worried Al Jazeera

Drought Is Not Simply a Natural Calamity, It Is Also Driven by Commercial Greed The Wire


Kingspan used BRE report on failed test as basis for 29 desktop studies, Grenfell Tower Inquiry reveals Inside Housing

French Village Says ‘Non’ to Elon Musk’s Space-Age Internet Euro News (Furzy Mouse).


Israel Is Heading to Its Most Dangerous Election Ever Haaretz

What Were the Legal (and Strategic) Grounds for Biden’s Syria Airstrikes? New York Magazine

Biden Comforts Families Of Syrian Airstrike Victims With Eloquent Speech On Living With Heartbreaking Loss The Onion

The Other Carter Doctrine Foreign Affairs

Capitol Seizure

‘Blame Trump’ defense in Capitol riot looks like a long shot AP

The Ohkrana at work?

New Cold War

Reuters, BBC, and Bellingcat participated in covert UK Foreign Office-funded programs to “weaken Russia,” leaked docs reveal The Gray Zone. “These materials may have been obtained through hacking.” For some reason, Twitter seems to think this is a bad thing.

Biden Administration

Stimulus And The Tyranny Of ‘Practicality’ Heisenberg Report (Re Silc).

White House imposes COVID-19 testing fee on reporters in latest step limiting press access NY Post. In egregiously coincidental fashion, hits small outlets hardest.

Democrats en deshabille

Unity Proves Elusive in Democrats’ Fight for $15 NYT. Lucy and the Football:

The party of betrayal does what it’s best at…

Rep. Omar Calls For The Firing Of Senate Official Who Tanked Democrat’s Minimum Wage Increase Plans Blavity. And abolish the filibuster.

What the Neera Tanden affair reveals about the Washington DC swamp David Sirota, Guardian (Re Silc).

Resign, Andrew Cuomo Ryan Cooper, The Week

New Cold War

Visions of “A New Political Nationalism” Denis Lavinski (MA). Navalny.

Our Famously Free Press

Nonprofit newsroom dissolves over allegations directed at founder Current

Groves of Academe

NYU’s ‘Disruption’ Commissars The American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

Keeping hegemon-addicted Americans in their proper place Responsible Statecraft

America: Where It’s Much Easier to Kill People Than Help Them Discourse Blog

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Elijah McClain’s mother relieved he ‘is no longer labeled a suspect’ after investigation into officers’ actions CNN. The cops injected McClain with ketamine?! That’s what the Thai cave boys were sedated with, to prevent them from panicking when rescuers dragged them through a mile-and-a-half of underground tunnels! After a street stop? Really?

Black Lives Matter: Where are the Black clergy? Al Jazeera

Slay! This Private Prison is Woman-Owned Reductress

Amazon VP Abruptly Resigns From Board of Liberal Legal Organization The Interept

Practical Tips for Dealing with Woke Mobbing Eric Rasmusen’s Home Page. News you can use!

Class Warfare

Police: Albany landlord tied up, ‘evicted’ sleeping tenants, dumping them in cemetery Times-Union. Innovative.

The Deep South Has a Rich History of Resistance, as Amazon Is Learning Jamelle Boie, New York Times

Say it’s not so, Trader Joe’s!

Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018 Rand Corporation

Tanker trucks, National Guard dispatched to Jackson, Mississippi, water crisis ABC

Mars Is a Hellhole The Atlantic

Lewisham, we have a problem: How a NASA professor is controlling Mars rover Perseverance from a flat above a hairdresser’s in a SOUTH LONDON high street Daily Mail

Antidote du jour (Chuck L):

Chuck L writes:

One year ago on February 28 we said goodbye to our beloved dachshund Jolie. She’d been with us going on 15 years and life was no longer much fun for her. It had been several months since she’d walk any distance outside, and more recently the fun of playing hide and seek behind the couch no longer appealed. As the severity of the pandemic was becoming apparent and the certainty but unknown scope of lock downs were on the near horizon, we decided the time had come. Here’s how we’ll best remember her – the day she joined us in August, 2005. Playful, but a bit uncertain of these two people whose family she’d joined. Was this guy with the camera going to take her new toy away?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. zagonostra

    >America: Where It’s Much Easier to Kill People Than Help Them – Discourse Blog

    “…Harris doesn’t want to, and neither does Chuck Schumer, and neither does Biden, whose repeated declarations that he thought the minimum wage was doomed can’t really be read as anything other than a message that he’d be perfectly fine if it disappeared from the COVID bill. So the Democrats immediately declared defeat. An unelected official made an advisory judgment that Democrats are under no obligation to follow, so the tens of millions of people who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage will just have to wait.”

    That is America. Killing people is easy. Helping them is almost impossible. Thursday night’s events were the system working exactly as it is intended to work.

    No rep. Omar they aren’t going to fire parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, they will probably be promoting her as they did Debbie Wasserman Schultz. As the article above says the system is working as it was intended. The “superdelegates” and parliamentarians are functional appendages limiting the amount of “democracy” that can flow through the body politic.

  2. Pat

    What a sweet girl. And how wonderful that Jolie had 15 years with people who loved her so. My condolences on having to say goodbye too soon because no matter how long our time with them is never long enough.

      1. a different chrisa

        Haha anybody who’s owned a dachshund, except for maybe rare cases, will not describe them as “sweet”.

        Funny, interesting, demanding, tough-as-nails yes. Sweet no.

        I miss my miniature but my wife won’t let me get another one. She expects German Shepard level discipline and obedience and LOL no.

        Sad to hear you had to say goodbye. Why do our pets have such a short lifespan? The only reason I can come up with is so we can serve so many of them.

  3. Jesper

    About: Can Auditing Eliminate Bias from Algorithms? The Markup
    IT-projects often have three goals. Something is to be automated and the desired outcome is that it will be done: faster, cheaper and better. Better might in some cases be defined as without bias.
    Often the reality is that only two out of the three goals can be achieved and the selected goals are often faster and cheaper. Better might at times have such a low priority that crapification is part of the result.

    & then there might also be the meta-discussion about bias. Is there something completely without bias or is the issue about how much bias we can allow? Is the auditor without bias?

    If the primary motivations are about doing things faster and cheaper then I’m not surprised if the result is that things are being done faster and cheaper but at worse quality. Officially companies might say that all three are of equal importance but I’d say that the primary drivers is getting things done faster and cheaper while possibly maybe eventually dealing with quality issues later.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    link within the cnn article on the colorado kid killed by cops and ems:

    i didn’t know this was a thing.
    in my experience, cops have long mistaken everything from fear to mild, and even unconscious, resistance to their assholery as “crazy” and “dangerous”.
    30 years ago, all i had to do was take a step back from them, and ask –politely– what they wanted, for the 2 cops to draw their guns and call for backup.
    that sort of thing was bad enough.
    now, they can compel an emt to give you a knockout drug?
    and this is OK?

    sounds a lot like something out of russian dissident literature or spy novels.

    and the statements around this case, and that of ketamine usage in general, by the cop union just makes it worse:”out of line” to question our methods of oppression?


    1. The Rev Kev

      If that dosage of ketamine sends these people into the hospital for a coupla days, who picks up the tab for that?

  5. Alex

    Re Navalny, that’s a lot of words but at the end of the day his position is more or less in line with what an average Russian thinks about Crimea (it’s Russian and shouldn’t be returned), Central Asian migrants (there are too many of them), Caucasus and Chechnya.

    I don’t want to discuss the merits of each of these positions but it definitely makes sense for a politician to adopt a mild form of nationalism. Otherwise you get a liberal party that gets 5-10% at most (even in 90s when they could freely speak on tv).

    1. Alex

      And one more thing: the video in the end of the article features Dmitri Rogozin, the former head of Rodina party which was one of allowed opposition parties, and now the director of Roskosmos (Russian NASA).

    2. Felix_47

      Does the average American think the US should give back San Diego to Mexico? Does the average American think Latinos are taking their jobs because they work for a lot less money? I guess the average American and the average Russian might see eye to eye on quite a lot. Maybe that is why our oligarchs and their water boys in Washington keep demonizing Russia.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    5 Pandemic Mistakes We Keep Repeating Zeynep Tufecki, The Atlantic

    A good article undermined unfortunately by the authors mis-representation of the ‘risk compensation’ argument. There is a huge and well attested literature on risk assessment which is very important to understand for anyone engaged in public policy discussions. The problem with the early stages of Covid is that many in the public health field was using it as an excuse and a shield for making recommendations they didn’t want to make for one reason or another. As with any other similar phenomenon, risk compensation is quantifiable and can be tested for and (in many cases) reasonably anticipated. The problem wasn’t the concept of risk compensation, it was how it was used. Using risk compensation to oppose mask use was just stupid, there was no evidence whatever for making it.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Kingspan used BRE report on failed test as basis for 29 desktop studies, Grenfell Tower Inquiry reveals Inside Housing

    Back in the mid 1990’s, I had a friend who worked in the BRE (Building Research Establishment) back when it was a public body that produced very high quality free research for the building industry. I had a file full of their excellent reports to support various bits of research I was doing at the time. A particular benefit of their work was that it was summarised and written in a way that made it easy to incorporate into building contracts, which meant it was disseminated to small developers and builders very rapidly.

    Needless to say, the (Labour!) government at the time decided that it would be a good idea to privatise it in 1997. My friend was a useful source of information, as all the free research was suddenly put behind paywalls and I couldn’t afford to access any of them (neither could my employer at the time). She, along with everyone else who worked there, seemed to be baffled as to how they were supposed to generate money by providing independent research available to everyone. Who would pay for research that their competitors could take advantage of?

    Needless to say, its now become another ‘pay per research result’ body. It does not surprise me at all that they allowed their research to be twisted in a way to benefit a big player like Kingspan.

    And all due to ideology – the cost of running the BRE was minuscule in comparison to overall government budgets, there was no sound economic reason whatever to force them into privatisation.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Slay! This Private Prison is Woman-Owned”

    You go girl! Definitely womanspiration as they say on that page. About eight years ago Mother Jones labeled Reeves County Detention Center as one of the ten worst prisons in America but I am sure that she has changed things there. Let’s see what Mr Google has to say in the past year about this place-

    ‘Inmate speaks out about the conditions at the Reeves County Detention Center’

    ‘Lack of medical care at Reeves County Detention Center’

    ‘Inmate claims Reeves County Detention Center not providing medical care’

    Hmmm. Never mind. Meet the new boss – same as the old boss. Perhaps she could fly a rainbow flag over the place and call it sweet.

    1. jhallc

      Nice photo (shopped) of Ms. Reeves at the top of the article. The prison behind her looks like its in as good shape as Alcatraz the last time I saw it 30 years ago.

      1. The Rev Kev

        No. These days it is sometimes hard to tell and I have come across stories and articles that I thought were satire, even hilarious, until a second or third reading made clear that it was in fact serious.

  9. km

    Re: Responsible Statecraft article – if the United States under Biden wanted to return to the JCPOA, then it would do so.

    However, this would infuriate Israel and Saudi Arabia, so the United States places conditions that are unlikely to be met in order to avoid this. In the unlikely event that Iran were to comply with these conditions, new conditions would be invented and a imposed.

    Not only is this Oh So Much Better than the bluster and *open* bullying of the Trump Adminstration (/sarc), it also resembles the runup to WWI when Serbia imposed 14 impossible conditions to avoid war, then declared war anyway when Serbia agreed to 13 and asked for time for the 14th.

      1. RMO

        13 of which were immediately agreed to and the remaining one the Serbs indicated willingness to work with. The Kaiser was delighted as he thought this meant they got everything they wanted and no need for war – it had to be patiently explained to him that the demands were written to try and make war inevitable, and that a war is what they would have regardless of the Serbian actions.

        Very similar to the US over the past decades except that the person in the role of the Kaiser has usually been all-in for war as well.

    1. lordkoos

      It also reminds me of the run-up to the war with Iraq 2.0, when the US kept moving the goal posts to make sure that there was going to be war no matter what Saddam Hussein agreed to.

      1. km

        I recall the neocons insisting that Saddam was obligated to prove he didn’t have WMDs.

        Demanding that one’s opponent prove a negative is the hallmark of an intellectually dishonest argument.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Airbus Wants to Seize the Skies From Boeing Bloomberg. With smaller planes

    Well before Covid, it was becoming clear that the overall direction of the airline industry was to smaller long distance aircraft to replace the big wide bodies and hub and spoke patterns. This was to some degree an accidental impact of developing more efficient engines – reducing fuel use came first, it was only when airlines realised that they could now use smaller aircraft to do cross-ocean trips that were non-viable for bigger aircraft that Airbus and Boeing realised that they’d accidentally destroyed their own market in big wide bodies. In many ways, the MAX debacle came about because Boeing was slower than Airbus to realise this and had to catch up quickly.

    It also highlights the huge error smaller operators like Bombardier, Embraer, Mitsubishi, Comac, Sukhoi made in focusing on regional sized aircraft. I suspect this was because they feared that they could not break into the 737/A320 duopoly, so they’d fill the lower rungs instead. But what we are seeing is that mid sized narrow body become queen of the size, with longer range efficient engines they can pretty do anything, from short range city to city hops to the Atlantic and Pacific routes. There is little reason for any airline to buy anything else.

    And of course Boeing fatally decided on the MAX instead of a 737 replacement. I think in years to come this may be seen as a Rank Xerox or Kodak scaled business misstep.

  11. timbers

    What Were the Legal (and Strategic) Grounds for Biden’s Syria Airstrikes?

    “Congress should hold this administration to the same standard it did prior administrations….” – some random Democrat or Republican (same thing) who probably voted for eternal AUMF or would have if he were in office at the time..

    Better idea: Congress should hold CONGRESSMEN accountable who voted for wars and AUMF by expelling them. And impeachment of Presidents to be used for it’s intended purpose – removing those who break laws to commit high crimes and start wars.

    One article of impeachment for every bomb dropped by a sitting President? Sounds about right.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “What the Neera Tanden affair reveals about the Washington DC swamp”

    Just an odd data point. If you go to Tanden’s twitter account, you will see that she labels herself as the following-

    Director of OMB Nominee, liberal, Indian American, feminist, mom, wife. Not in that order. Views expressed are most definitely my own.’

    I understand that before she became a nominee for the Directorship of the OMB, she labelled herself as a ‘progressive’, but changed that to ‘liberal’ when she went for this job. I tend to agree with her later description – with all the baggage that it implies.

    1. a different chris

      Somebody nudged her and said “uh, Neera, progressive actually implies trying to do something for the little people” and she was all “oops I gotta fix that…”

      1. tegnost

        I think it means when she’s gardening she applies the maximum possible manure so she can reap the highest yield…

        1. JBird4049

          Kinda explains why all the politicos and operatives keep failing upwards. All their verbal manure sends them shooting upwards.

    2. km

      Truth in advertising. Twitter is cracking down hard on fake news and Tanden doesn’t want to get herself cancelled for mislabeling herself as a progressive. /sarc/

  13. pjay

    Re: ‘What Were the Legal (and Strategic) Grounds for Biden’s Syria Airstrikes?’ – New York Magazine

    Well, there is some pretense at discussing the legal (various AUMFs) and strategic (keeping those devious Iranians in check) grounds for bombing Syria. But here is the real money quote:

    ” … Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed to have intelligence that the U.S. never plans to leave Syria and wants to break up the country. Perhaps we will never leave Syria, but not because we are eager to stay. Instead, it will be for the same reason we might never entirely leave Afghanistan or Iraq: the likelihood that these countries will collapse and spawn new transnational terrorist threats if we leave them unguarded.”

    See, it’s not that we *want* to stay. But we have to fight them over there to keep from fighting them over here. Forever! It’s the terrorists, stupid!

    So I guess Congress should keep those AUMFs coming, go back to sleep, and let our National Security Establishment do what it does best.

    1. Synoia

      Empire building is a messy process. Especially for those, the locals, who get no benefit from joining the Empire.

  14. Andrew Watts

    RE: What Were the Legal (and Strategic) Grounds for Biden’s Syria Airstrikes?

    If Congress is actually serious about reclaiming it’s legal powers to wage war and make peace they can draft new legislation at any time. The last attempt to pass a new AUMF was in 2015 for the war against the Islamic State. Holding hearings is a pointless exercise in political theater. It will do little to assuage the anger that Americans feel over not getting their $2k checks or the $15/hr minimum wage.

    Which is what I think most people are outraged about. I don’t think they know much about Iraq or anything concerning Iraqi Hezbollah or the Badr Organization’s newly rebranded brigade.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘Blame Trump’ defense in Capitol riot looks like a long shot”

    ‘The “Trump-made-me-do-it” defense is already looking like a longshot.’ Well, yeah. To try to convict Trump based on the actions on what other people did, they would have to argue in court that people are not responsible for their own actions. They really wanna go there?

    1. farragut

      …they would have to argue that people are not responsible their own actions.

      After Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, this seems like a reasonable line of thinking. >:-/

      1. Patrick

        The idea “that corporations are people” aka “corporate personhood” goes back to antiquity (BC India, AD Rome, etc.)

        In the US the idea has been supported in a series of SCOTUS decisions, starting with Dartmouth College in 1818.

        Most legal scholars point to the 1886 Santa Clara County v, Southern Pacific RR decision as having established the legal precedent for “corporate personhood” (with the help of the Court Reporter; one Bancroft Davis, a former RR executive who ‘wrongly’ claimed that the Court had ruled that corporations had 14th Amendment protections. It had not; while the justices orally agreed beforehand that corporations had such protections, the issue was not included in the case and therefore not decided by the Court).

        Later decisions expanded the idea of “corporate personhood rights”. In Buckley v Valeo (1976) the Court ruled that political spending is “speech” and therefore protected by the First Amendment (corporate persons have speech rights, including the right to fund elections).

        In Citizens United(2010) the Court followed the precedent of corporate personhood established in earlier decisions and then expanded on the rights of corporate persons when it ruled that political spending by corporations cannot be limited (i.e., that limiting political spending is an attempt to limit speech and thus a violation of a “corporate persons'” First Amendment free speech protections.

        1. JTMcPhee

          A series of precedents by a court wholly owned by the corporate interests of the Empire.

          There is more interesting history about corporations. Once upon a time they were required to serve a public purpose, and could be “executed” (have their charters and franchises terminated) by governments that dared to do so:

          Our Hidden History of Corporations in the U.S.

          When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.

          Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these*:

          Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
          Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
          Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
          Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
          Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
          Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.
          For 100 years after the American Revolution, legislators maintained tight control of the corporate chartering process. Because of widespread public opposition, early legislators granted very few corporate charters, and only after debate. Citizens governed corporations by detailing operating conditions not just in charters but also in state constitutions and state laws. Incorporated businesses were prohibited from taking any action that legislators did not specifically allow.

          States also limited corporate charters to a set number of years. Unless a legislature renewed an expiring charter, the corporation was dissolved and its assets were divided among shareholders. Citizen authority clauses limited capitalization, debts, land holdings, and sometimes, even profits. They required a company’s accounting books to be turned over to a legislature upon request. The power of large shareholders was limited by scaled voting, so that large and small investors had equal voting rights. Interlocking directorates were outlawed. Shareholders had the right to remove directors at will….

          Of course the power of concentrating wealth has resulted in either the repeal of these bits of wise legislation, or resulted in their non-enforcement, depending on the type of regulatory capture.

          1. Patrick

            Yes, the Supreme Court is the most important “barrier to power” created by the framers and designed to protect the status quo as measured by “property interest”. Appointed and not elected and serve for life aka “insulated or indirect democracy”.

            In An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution Charles A Beard identified the Court as “the final bulwark against change” (change historically in the form of “democratic reform”).

            And yes, no mention of “corporations” in the Constitution. The changes you describe began with post civil war industrialization and the emergence of the first large and powerful corporations (railways, steel, banking trusts etc)-a 70 year period of corporate free rein at the hands of the “friends of big business” Republican Party with its near monopoly on political power after the war. Of course the Guilded Age of Robber Barron’s gave rise to the populist farmers, the Progressive Era, and eventually a Great Depression and a New Deal.

            After the war was won big business – the masters of the universe- has worked very hard to undo the New Deal and reclaim their elite status. They have brought us a reiteration if laussez faire giving it a new name: free market capitalism aka neoliberalism. We now find ourselves in a new era of corporate free rein.

            Wonder how it will end.

        2. chuck roast

          I can hardly wait for Citizens Exalted (2025) when the court expands the rights of corporate persons to not be bothered by actual persons and rules that humanoids cannot criticize any American person with a corporate charter in Delaware. This will be the result of the forthcoming Personhood Abuse Prevention and Corporate Protection Act currently in the works and being written by Gina (yes, I have my own personal guillotine) Raimondo and her staff at the US Department of Commerce. The legislation is reportedly coming with a ‘poison pill’ that kicks in when any humanoid attempts to file suit against a corporate person or attempts to avoid arbitration through mediation. Also included in the legislation will be funding for all municipalities with a corporate (heh, heh) charter to purchase pillories for placement in front of local courthouses in which they may place these uppity miscreants. The Senate Parliamentarian has already ruled that this legislation may be attached to the upgraded Patriot Act.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Wasn’t that what the whole second impeachment was about?

      I find this as a defense lacking, but IANAL nor have I sat on a jury where this was argued. However, just in my opinion, the basis of that second impeachment seems to me like it would make this a little less cut and dried.

      In any event, I do appreciate the irony of these supposedly free-thinking “we don’t trust the government” types now claiming they were “brainwashed” by the POTUS and just following orders. I’m not surprised by this at all. Just amused.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Impeachment is political and constitutional issue, so it’s not about statute interpretation. “High crimes and misdemeanors” is whatever the eff the majority wants it to be. The Founders set the threshold high so impeachment and conviction in the senate wouldn’t be as easy as legislation which per the constitution simply requires 50+vp in the Senate.

        The actual impeachment was about assuring the #resistance crowd that Team Blue elites weren’t full of it before more or less continuing the Trump administration.

        The impeachment process also came from the Era before joint tickets, so impeachment after midterms were considered to be more likely.

      2. fresno dan

        William Turton
        Proud Boys chairman is here outside of #CPAC. I asked him about him about reports that he was a government informant. “There’s some truth to it,” he said. “I refuse to apologize for that.”
        Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger, but I hear tell Trump was working for the government…

        1. Psalamanazar

          FD, Is that a succinct way of saying Trump was all along putting on an act so as credibly to start a riot, after which the rioters would be arrested on the evidence of their own selfies? Or, to return to the original comment, to say that a member of a ‘militia’ should obey an ‘order’ given by the then commander-in-chief?

      3. Wilbur Nelson

        The timeline on the 6th is a problem as well. (big problem since the incursion was planned on FB far in advance)

  16. jhallc

    Israel is heading for its most dangerous election ever:

    “This will come with a heavy cost. Israel could wake up the day after the election to a government and country it had no desire for. No one in the anti-Netanyahu camp, which is currently the majority, will forgive anyone who dares to sabotage the establishment of the only dream government – the non-Netanyahu government – even at the price of wiping out the last remnants of ideological identity. ”

    Gee.. where have we seen an election like this before? Off course my ideological identity has been wiped out for the past 40 years.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that the first Israeli election a year or so ago was the most dangerous election ever. Or it could have been the second election. Well, perhaps it was the third one. Maybe even the fourth. What is this one now – the fifth? Maybe they should hand the whole thing over to the Israeli Arabs and see if they can’t sort this lot out.

  17. a different chris

    Uh, that Tufecki article is missing a very, very salient point:

    Anthony Fauci was slammed for being too optimistic for suggesting we might plausibly have vaccines in a year to 18 months. We had vaccines much, much sooner than that: The first two vaccine trials concluded a mere eight months after the WHO declared a pandemic in March 2020.

    Moreover, they have delivered spectacular results.

    *I* am eligible now. I cannot get vaccinated. They send (and send) me the “where to get vaccinated” map and every link I click on -I’m up to a 50 mile radius – says “sorry we don’t have any check back later and don’t bother us”. And I live <20 miles from one of the biggest health-care centers in the country, Pittsburgh.

    So WTF. Yeah we deserve to be mad. The people who don't want to take it are somewhat justified by our MIC's spectacular failings in so many ways, and the ones who do are quite justified with the "Ok great so where the (family blog) is it?" reaction.

    1. Lost in OR

      I qualify tomorrow, March 1. I called a local clinic last Monday to register or make an appointment or whatever else I had to do. They had two appointment options last week. I had to remind them that I was not yet qualified. It’s a pretty easy process here in Oregon.

      1. RMO

        You’re still better off than we are here in Canada when it comes to the vaccine.

        The article seemed to be mostly concerned that people aren’t being optimistic enough about the pandemic, which isn’t what I would think is one of the worst “mistakes” we’ve made regarding it. As for vaccination meaning we get to live without precautions well my household has someone in their 80s, someone in their 50s and someone in their 40s. Even if the current vaccination schedule doesn’t slip again it will still be nearly 2022 before we’re all vaccinated so we’re going to have to keep up all the precautions for quite a while.

    2. JP

      Yeah it’s really screwed up but the other side is if the vaccine was there and you weren’t eligible you would be complaining about that. The recording said there was no vaccine available but stayed on the line until I heard someone breathing, said hello, person said “oh hi” and then said there was an EVENT in a couple of days. I said I want a vaccination. She said OK what time do you want your appointment. We both signed up and got our first dose last Wednesday. It was very efficient. We didn’t get out of the car. Pfizer, a little itch at the injection and tired the next day The dose is only point 3cc thru a fine insulin needle. You can’t really feel it.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Crossword politics”

    For some people, crosswords are not a matter of life or death. They are more important that that. There seems to be a whole culture for people that have a passion with crosswords and here is a fictional character who had this passion which came from the writer of this character-

    Check out the crossword links under ‘Crossword blog’ near the bottom too.

  19. Baby Gerald

    Re: Mars Is A hellhole

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m not inclined to check The Atlantic so I would probably never have come across this article which so well encompasses my thoughts regarding all the hype about this recent Mars lander mission. Krystal and Saagar interviewed the astrophysicist Dr. Joe Pesce on The Rising the other day. I had a chuckle when in response to the question about what we’ve learned from the mission so far, Pesce replies that it helps us understand the landing characteristics of the surface. Nice. We’ve been landing on foreign bodies for half a century now with a lot less technological power. We can even land things on asteroids now. One might think our physicists have that aspect of space travel under their belt by now.

    I’m no opponent of space travel and exploration. I am, however, a proponent of logically focusing on the practical solution to the problems facing our species’ existence. During a world-wide pandemic, it seems the ultimate waste of resources to continue exploring Mars to learn over and over again that it is uninhabitable by virtually every measure. Instead of preventing turning Earth into another Mars, fools like Musk would prefer turning Mars into another Earth.

    1. Hutch

      “During a world-wide pandemic, it seems the ultimate waste of resources to continue exploring Mars to learn over and over again that it is uninhabitable by virtually every measure. Instead of preventing turning Earth into another Mars, fools like Musk would prefer turning Mars into another Earth.”

      Nicely said. And bears repeating.

      1. RMO

        NASA’s entire budget is less than one half of one percent of the federal budget. Annual US fossil fuel subsidies are about equal to NASA’s yearly budget. More is spent buying cigarettes each year in the US than is spent on NASA. This isn’t an either/or situation.

    2. Gc54

      I’m all for sending the billionaire passengers on a one way flight to their ego battles in subarean rat tunnels. Let them preen on the video feed back to earth all they want, but don’t allow a ticket back.

        1. Jason

          Indeed, although the song could be updated to reflect the reality of identity politics and environmental disaster. They’ll gladly put a black person on the moon. Or a gay person. Or transgender. But the underclass of all those groups – along with most of the rest of humanity – will continue to increase. And mother earth will continue to be raped.

    3. hamstak

      In defense of the Perseverance mission, this was not something that was dreamed up in the midst of the pandemic, and I don’t see how canceling could have had any material affect on alleviating the pandemic. What resources from the endeavor could have been reallocated towards pandemic relief? Money? The amount of money spent on the MIC/NatSec grift sector dwarfs the entire 2021 budget for NASA (around $25 billion), the latter of which arguably (if not materially) dovetails with the MIC.

      NASA FY 2021 Budget Estimates

      So perhaps it is frivolous — Kurt Vonnegut Jr. once described the Space Shuttle program (or perhaps just the first mission) as a “giant space f***” — but in terms of resource misallocation, Perseverance is pretty far down the list of offenders.

    4. Patrick

      Borrowing from Chomsky, I’m thinking this a part of/akin to the “Pentagon System”. Have the public fund the R&D and then hand it over to the private sector to be monetized and sold back to us so that we pay for it twice. Think internet/smartphone/bigpharma etc. (most everything really).

      Is the goal to create an economy/increase GDP/increase economic activity in the context of capital interest/nation state competition? I had thought that currency supremacy might be the game, but Ives says not (at least as it applies to China). Mongo need help!

      1. Patrick

        Or simply to create investment opportunity in the name of wealth accumulation? In its extreme example “War is the health of the state”? The wealthiest state wins?
        IIRC Chomsky would say the same could be accomplished through social spending but is not because such an approach does not serve “ the prerogatives of power”

    5. Alternate Delegate

      I register opposition to this take.

      “The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space–each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.” Mouseover text for xkcd #893

      At this point, saving human life on Earth requires humans to solve the extremely difficult technical challenges of living away from the Earth. We will have humans on Earth and humans on Mars, looking at each other, knowing what it takes.

      Going back to the caves means dying there. I oppose that course.

      1. Michael McK

        “At this point, saving human life on Earth requires humans to solve the extremely difficult technical challenges of living away from the Earth.”
        No, the seemingly difficult challenge for us to solve is how to live on Earth without destroying it. I suspect the solutions are social at this point, we have all the tech we need and more tech seems to go with more ecological and social destruction (though Capitalism is probably more to blame than early adopters. BTW, those green growth/GDP decoupling stories you may have read did not take into account the full production footprint of imported items.
        The thought that we could engineer a viable long term ecosystem to support us off planet when we can not even maintain the one we live on is silly. When we are capable of living on Earth with out fouling it we can think about living among the stars.
        My general impression of the types who push for Martian colonies is that they see it as too late to save the Earth and are readying the ultimate bunker in (New) New Zealand if not for themselves than in the hope that at least some humans survive. Of course those same people are almost always the ones whose massive personal and professional ecological footprints are most to blame for the peril we are in. Can’t we just be satisfied with where we are and what we have? (at least those of us on top enough to have time and computer access for NC)

        1. Synoia

          The Energy requires to settle on Mars is such that it leaves a corpse of the Earth behind.

          The Saturn V rocket’s first stage carries 203,400 gallons of Kerosene
          The second stage carries 260,000 gallons (984,000 liters) of liquid hydrogen fuel
          The third stage carries 66,700 gallons (252,750 liters) of liquid hydrogen fuel

          Each person transported to Mars would requires about 100,000 gallons of Hydrocarbon fuel. If mankind id to reach the other planes then two hurdles appear:

          1. The earth is more rapidly driven to overheat
          2. Adult Humans are too heavy to be colonists. Thus the Colonists would consist a limited number of nurse maids and teachers, and many very young fetuses.

          Sorry Mr Musk, you are not part of either category. Too much redundant tissue, and no necessary skills.

        2. JTMcPhee

          The aliens in “Independence Day” and similarly moral tales solved the problem of prolonging the life and the elite of their species by learning to strip-mine whole stellar systems, then on to the next one. Space-ists here are all excited about the possibility of building a Dyson Ring or Sphere around ol’ Sol. To what end? I doubt Arthur Clarke’s words for Keir Dullea in “2001” — “Something Wonderful is going to happen.”

          Best case I can see is the story line in “The Expanse:” human violence, corruption, tribalism and corporatism extended and expanded throughout the “home system,” and then to a thousand other places in the galaxy where lie the billion-year-old remnants of another ended Wonderful Species…

    6. Michael McK

      While I am in favor of space research (after all humans’ basic needs are met) I have not heard enough comments on the danger of the use of Plutonium as a fuel source in Perseverance and other projects. NASA figured there was a 1 in 960 chance of a catastrophic accident on launch which would have severely impacted Florida. If there is a disaster high in the sky/low orbit then everyone on the planet gets a few Plutonium atoms in their lungs.
      “Space Force” would make things far worse.
      Solar panels are adequate, let’s stick to them.

    7. Kouros

      But it is important!

      Excellent ability to drop motorized robots that are semi-autonomous is a key if one wants to conduct massive attacks on China or Russia…

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Mars Is a Hellhole”

    I think that Musk has been reading his D.D. Harriman. I also think that he wants to get to Mars, set up his own government, award himself exclusive deals for mining and anything else to his own choices, and have those contracts only go to the US government. Think that I am kidding? In the user agreement for the company’s satellite internet service Starlink, one particular paragraph stands out:

    “For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonisation spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities,” the governing law section states. “Accordingly, disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”

    Musk then is all about building an empire in the tradition of the East India Company.

    1. Carolinian

      This actually comes up in Ridley Scott’s The Martian when Matt Damon talks about an international agreement that planets may be claimed by no country.

      Except for this planet of course where we are constantly fighting it out.

    2. hamstak

      …set up his own government, award himself exclusive deals for mining and anything else to his own choices, and have those contracts only go to the US government.

      He should start with Nevada then — much more cost effective, though not as sci-sexy.

    3. Bruno

      “Mars is a Hellhole,” yeah, and Venus is a Hell, though nobody has anything but arm-waving to explain how either got that way. But we do know that it is *not* the case that “the only things our planet and Mars really have in common is that both are rocky planets with some water ice and both have robots (and Mars doesn’t even have that many.” What we know is that Mars and Earth are tilted at virtually the same (~23 degree) inclination to the ecliptic. And that nobody even has an arm-waving explanation of how they got that way.

      1. Gc54

        True, but Mars has had much larger swings in inclination than Earth because it lacks a stabilizing large moon. Thus there are “polar” deposits near the equator that are target destinations for settlement especially if below the planetary average altitude.

        1. ambrit

          Complicating ‘things’ for Mars is that, at several times in it’s far past, a sizeable planitesimal struck the planet and devastated it.
          Places like the bottom of Hellas Planitia would be optimal for Terran Human colonization efforts. The atmospheric density is highest there, and liquid water at the surface is possible at times there.
          Despite the drawbacks, Mars can be settled. One way would be to “engineer” the colonists to be better able to tolerate the conditions there.
          Shades of Musk Morlocks and Engineered Eloi!

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Hate to say it, but I would get ‘altered’ if it meant i could colonize Mars. From my childhood I have always wanted to be an ice miner on Luna. or Mars, too.

            Wanna wrestle that laser drill around, making cubic and all that.

            I sure as hades do not want my corpse to have to be buried on Earth, with the rest of the groundhogs….nope, give my ashes to either the void of space, or else into the recycling vats on luna or mars….

            1. ambrit

              As long as there is a ‘Frontier’ to open up, Terran humans will have a chance. Otherwise, its fellahin-dom for most. (Hat tip to JHB from last year.)

            1. ambrit

              Good one! Who shall be “Morlock” then? Bezos? Kissinger? Uh, perhaps Harris. She is a bottom feeder after all.

              1. chris

                Heh. No, none of those would be Morlock material.

                Remember, the morlocks were the descendants of those who had labored to maintain everything and then were forgotten in the mechanical bowels of the earth while the Eloi lived blissful lives above. Kissenger, Harris, etc. have never done any kind of honest work to maintain anything other than their egos their entire lives.

                In Wells’ Time Machine, wasn’t until the morlocks started raiding the surface that the Eloi even began to appreciate their existence. I think there’s a lesson there for people like Harris.

      2. JacobiteInTraining

        well, I wouldnt say ‘noone has an arm-waving explanation of how they got that way’.

        This seems pretty reasonable:

        Didn’t see her waving her arms wildly at all in that clip… :)

        I’m more partial to the much older animation of it tho, just cause thats the one I first saw to be aware of that particular theory:

        The Mars tilt also has a pretty plausible theory too.

    4. Jason Boxman

      Only partially related to Mars, but someone here recommended “The Expanse” TV series, which does include Mars, and so far it has been enjoyable to watch.


      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        The Expanse’s latest season kicks ass. Love how the POV shifts from characters from Earth to Mars and the Asteroid belt. The Villain, Marcos, proves to be a formidable and well written antagonist and the sideplot of Castor(?) is great too.

        Just finished Cobra Kai Season 3. Is 36 yrs old too old to join a Deaux-Jeaux???

  21. Dr. John Carpenter

    “AOC: “There would have been a lost more resistance over other measures” had progressives known $15/hr wage would fall out”

    Who could have possible imagined such a thing would have happened? (I mean aside from all the YouTube commentators and her Twitter followers and anyone who’d been following the Dems for more than the last four years and tried to tell her this.)

      1. Jason

        A lost more resistance? Where was it last seen?

        On Twitter.

        An unknown black girl pointed this out recently after one of Ilhan Omar’s countless tweets:

        “All y’all do is tweet.”

        Words of wisdom. I imagine I’ll write her (the unknown black girl) in for president come next election. Hard to see anyone more honest emerging.

        1. Robert Gray

          > “All y’all do is tweet.”

          “After all is said and done, a lot more will have been said than done.”

  22. Michael Ismoe

    AOC: “There would have been a lost more resistance over other measures” had progressives known $15/hr wage would fall out”

    Is she really this naive – or just pretending to be? She worked in a whorehouse for the last two years, I guess it’s possible she’s a virgin, but the odds are astronomical. She seems awfully unsure how DC works but if it gives you cover, use it.

    1. Bruno

      If she had any there, there, she and her fellow squadristees would vote NO when Zombie Joe’s covid bill goes back to the House without the (pitifully inadequate) $15 minimum wage but with whatever mischief the Bipartisans stick into it.

    2. km

      Even taking her at her word, it seems that AOC has only now figured out that there is, in fact, gambling taking place in the casino.

      Seriously, where has she been for the last two years, how naive is she, not to have learned how “bait and switch” and “first put the gun down and then we’ll talk” works?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To be fair, “but the Senate Parliamentarian,” is so wild and over the top, even JJ Abrams would think it was too hacky to stay in a script.

        Team Blue turned itself into a joke which Obama avoided. SNL might not do it, but every betrayal will and action henceforth will involve memes of people throwing bones to divine why the Democrats folded. They ended any argument they are fighting or that it is one or two problematic democrats.

      2. rowlf

        One of my sons has a ginger tabby. One of the habits the cat has is to walk past me, fall on the ground and roll over belly up. I call this Schumer-ing.

        On the plus side the cat reows instead of whimpering.

  23. Carolinian

    Re that lithium mine–as it happens I drove through the area a bit over a year ago on the way to Oregon. If lithium we must have then it’s hard to imagine a much more remote region from which to extract it. I’m not sure complaints by cattle ranchers carry much weight in that cattle ranching in the dry West is itself a dubious environmental activity.

  24. Dr. John Carpenter

    It’s interesting the Bloomberg has picked up on the sneaker flipping. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as eBay has been spamming me about their sneaker verification services for a while now. As noted in the article, this isn’t new, it’s just gotten more high tech.

    I’ve followed, from a distance, the scene for a while and it’s a pretty fascinating market. What really jumped out at me is that I missed the boat, big time. Years ago, I used to haunt the outlet stores buying stuff for myself. It always occurred to me someone, somewhere might be looking for this stuff too. This was before the Internet really had places to go for this, aside from eBay. (StockX sprang up in part because eBay was so overrun with fakes.)

    Obviously, many people are going to shake their heads because it’s just sneakers. But, as the title of the article implies, there’s a lot more going on than just shoes.

    1. Mason

      What kind of psychopath writes a book declaring victory over a pandemic… in the middle of a pandemic? The fact that it has four and a half stars is disturbing too, though I’m sure most of the reviews are fake.

      They started writing it a month or two before publishing? Who thought it would be over by then.

      “…compassion for others, and a commitment to truth-telling” – book description.

      1. Pat

        You have to understand our Governor is all about our Governor. The book was an attempt to keep building on the political capital that the media’s love affair with his daily briefings was giving him with the public. He had stumbled, but was now a Democratic hero which revived his higher office (President/VP) hopes.

        The fact that anyone paying attention to what was happening beyond his self serving briefings eventually had to come to the conclusion that he had about as much a handle on the situation as the big bad orange man in the White House. It was of course missed because very few people were paying attention. And that most definitely includes the media. All Cuomo had going for him is he looked managerial spouting bull and didn’t insult the scientist on social media (choosing to make their lives miserable out of the spotlight.

        Truth is the largest part of why the vaccine rollout is a disaster in NY can be laid at his feet, particularly the problems in NYC. I know many people want to blame DiBlasio, and yes he has some serious flaws, but DiBlasio has pretty consistently had a better plan and been undercut by the Governor. Going with people who have more background in this would have been the best choice, but that got ruled out early by…yes…the Governor.

  25. Lupemax

    Excellent indepth exploration of The Gates Foundation and empire. He dominates BIG AG, BIGPHARMA, exploitation of the Global South. He seems to not know or not care about the real reasons for poor health in poor areas. He just wants corporate profits. So sad for the world. Max Blumenthal mentioned this article on Jimmy Dore’s recent meet up with him…

    As George Carlin said more than 20 years ago at the National Press Club. “I root for the demise of this species. It happens to be my hobby to kind of root for all this stuff to go away and give another species a chance perhaps. I root for the big comet. I root for the big asteroid. I really do…”

    1. skippy

      Its no surprise after his CORE agenda, which was built ground up on the IP of knowledge supplied to students.

      Monopolist software oligarch branching out using the same scaling used in software product, same for Eloi Musk and many others these days.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link.

      Somewhat related, imo, is the ‘groves of Academe’ item (which could also be listed in the ‘imperial watch collapse’ section) NYU’s ‘Disruption’ Commissars – The American Conservative.

      This line from the AC report caught my attention and seems very much in line with the reasons for the shrinking dollars in the STEM sector in your linked article:

      Funding, Roles, and Processes
      Given the same financial limitations that restricted our ability to hire new faculty in AY

      Financial limitations. Of course, and by design, imo; this applies to all uni applicants in STEM and non-STEM fields for reasons your link outlines. (My large uni just did away with its Humanities Dept.) So, per the American Conservative article, it’s not surprising smaller groups will try any rationale to increase their odds of getting and keeping employment at unis.

      1. ambrit

        Trying hard not to sound ‘snarky’ here, but, by eliminating the Humanities Department, hasn’t your university just declared itself to be a glorified Technical College?
        Hoping you and yours weather this ‘storm’ well.

  26. Darthbobber

    Noticed that Sawant joined DSA and encouraged her organization to do so as well. So there’ll be a Socialist Alternative faction in DSA now.

    Timing-wise, this is coordinated with a hard to counter argument about not counting on the democrats for the $15 minimum wage.

    1. ambrit

      United Front is the way to go now. The Democrat Party has publically disavowed it’s past, abandoned it’s old base population.
      I’d imagine that a Left Coalition Party with Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys as “street fighters” will have to emerge to challenge the Unopoly.
      This is going to get very ugly. All the signs are there.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t think that kind of alliance can exist, but I don’t have high hopes for the state of local politics without “Orange man bad.” When President Harris starts cracking down or ignoring problems, people are going to lose faith in the system quickly.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Only a matter of time before this United Front happens, Comrade, and I’m all for it.

        Love. Peace. Hope. We forgive each other and unite over Economic issues.

        I have WAYYYYY more in common with my racist worker uncles than the Woke PMC.

        1. ambrit

          Stay safe out there on the Edge of the World!
          I’m coming more and more to be estranged from my 10%er sisters and families. It’s almost as if they have ideological blinders on. Perhaps they are just scared of losing their wealth and status.
          a lot of the “hate” floating around is manufactured. Clickbait News Programming has reduced the public discourse to a series of slogans and calumnies.
          Education is the key. Spread the light of reason wherever we can.

        2. Aumua

          Yes, cause it worked out so well for them in the past when leftists made alliances with fascists.

  27. coloradoblue

    The police didn’t inject Elijah McClain with ketamine, the paramedics did that, after he had already passed out from a carotid hold – courtesy of the police. Apparently the medics didn’t examine him, grossly overestimated his weight, causing them to inject a dose designed to sedate a much heavier person.

    1. lordkoos

      I wonder why they felt the need to do that to someone who was already unconscious? I’m sure the police let the medics know that Elijah was “a troublemaker”.

  28. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Re: What Were the Legal (and Strategic) Grounds for Biden’s Syria Airstrikes?

    An interesting article until I came to this:

    “Perhaps we will never leave Syria, but not because we are eager to stay. Instead, it will be for the same reason we might never entirely leave Afghanistan or Iraq: the likelihood that these countries will collapse and spawn new transnational terrorist threats if we leave them unguarded.”

    If Jonah Shepp really believes that this is the reason that the U.S. is maintaining a military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan and not for the maintenance of empire, well I’ve got some bridge in Brooklyn to sell him.

    1. rowlf

      Why does the US feel the need to be in the Middle East anymore? What would be the downside to the US citizens if Iran ran everything east of the Sinai Peninsula? If the US stops issuing visas to terrorists, how will the terrorists attack the US anymore?

      1. Jason

        United States Middle East policy has been run in the interest of another country for a long time now. Opinions are immediately ridiculed without being honestly debated – or they are outright censored – and personal reputations and careers are destroyed whenever an attempt is made to address this ultimately all-pervading issue.

    2. km

      Could, would should.

      Someone should tell the author about a place called “Saudi Arabia” which is a staunch US ally and also a place where lots of terrorists come from and also get their funding.

      To give but one example: how many 9/11 hijackers were from Syria? Afghanistan? Iraq?

      Answer: None, none and none.

      1. Synoia

        the likelihood that these countries will collapse and spawn new transnational terrorist threats if we leave them unguarded,,

        I’d call the a certainty, and it falls under the category of “self licking Ice Cream cone.”

      2. RMO

        Someone should tell the author about a country called Iraq where the US invaded and turned it into a failed state which created new, transnational terrorist threats. He might find it illuminating.

  29. juno mas

    RE: Nevada Lithium Mine

    The strong winds of Northern Nevada blow from west to east. The open pit mine will create dust that will blow into the Burning Man site. If you’ve never been to B-Man the swirling dust is already irritating on windy days. Open pit gold mines dot all of northern Nevada. They extract huge amounts of groundwater, employ relatively few unskilled laborers, and the trucking of refined material in large 16-wheel trucks destroys the highway. Guess whom will pay for road repair and maintenance. You will. 75% of the Nv. Dept. of Transportation (NDOT) is funded by the federal government. (85% of Nevada is federal land.)

  30. Alex Cox

    Regarding lithium, it’s already being mined in central Nevada. I ran into a big mine operation while ambling along a gravel road west of Goldhill.

    The High Country News article is very useful — it’s interesting how, like nuclear, the costs (in terms of diesel fuel, electric generation, depreciation of heavy machinery) is never factored into the ‘green energy’ fantasy.

    What happens 40 years hence, when the lithium is gone and the groundwater poisoned? Will the Canadian mine owners embark on a scrupulous cleanup… or file for bankruptcy?

  31. DJG, Reality Czar

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on Zeynep Tufekci’s excellent article in Atlantic as well as her Substack, which has many astute comments, which she “curates” carefully.

    A few notes:
    –Even though some of the commenters caution her that polio was different, with different means of transmission, it may be time for us to admit that effective vaccines are effective and act accordingly.
    –Although the public health officials are in part at fault for poor messaging, let’s admit that “the business of America is business means” that public health officials weren’t calling the shots. At times, it seemed as if national policy was being run by ever-whiny restaurateurs (who, what a coincidence, are now prevailing on minimum wage–during a pandemic! Wow!). The U.S. ideal that people should work while they are sick means that people are working while they are sick.
    –She points out that public health officials didn’t counsel enough about diet, supplements, and exercise. Others can weigh in: The commenters here at Naked Capitalism have been writing about supplements for a year. Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc–all have been discussed here. My chiropractor, like most chiropractors, has been insistent on good habits.
    –Accountability comes up in the Substack. Briefly. Once or twice. Well, well, you have an unaccountable, spoiled, self-indulgent business class propped up by an unaccountable, spoiled, self-indulgent political class, all wrapped up in a coating of corruption. Accountability? We don’t need no stinking accountability.

    In short, the two are definitely worth your while.

    1. fresno dan

      DJG, Reality Czar
      February 28, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      The theory that things that improve our safety might provide a false sense of security and lead to reckless behavior is attractive—it’s contrarian and clever, and fits the “here’s something surprising we smart folks thought about” mold that appeals to, well, people who think of themselves as smart. Unsurprisingly, such fears have greeted efforts to persuade the public to adopt almost every advance in safety, including seat belts, helmets, and condoms.

      But time and again, the numbers tell a different story: Even if safety improvements cause a few people to behave recklessly, the benefits overwhelm the ill effects. In any case, most people are already interested in staying safe from a dangerous pathogen. Further, even at the beginning of the pandemic, sociological theory predicted that wearing masks would be associated with increased adherence to other precautionary measures—people interested in staying safe are interested in staying safe—and empirical research quickly confirmed exactly that.
      Because so much of what is reported in not really news but narrative (almost always without prespective), that politicizes and makes everything (e.g., Mr. Potato Head) into a political issue, requiring ever more pundits pontificating about ever more inconsequential stuff, modern life seems a debate of only the trivial.
      Why, just the other day as I was adding some more aluminum foil to my anti CIA microwave mind protection headgear, it occurred to me that they want to keep me thinking of conspiracies, to sell more aluminum foil…

    2. Cuibono

      not nearly enough emphasis on how this pandemic has been felt mostly by those at the bottom of the totem pole imo

      1. lordkoos

        Including many “essential” workers who apparently aren’t essential enough to be paid a decent wage.

  32. Mark Gisleson

    Reading about the worker who was fired for sending a letter to the CEO of Trader Joe’s, I wondered how many NC readers truly appreciate how strong unions used to be.

    In the mid-70s while working at the Des Moines Firestone plant, I wrote a letter to the Des Moines Register spelling out the many ways in which the Firestone 500 tire issues were entirely the fault of management*. I was working the graveyard shift (11pm-7am) and the next morning at 6:30 am the plant manager showed up at my machine to yell at me. He was incensed (he had notoriously ripped apart his shirt at a contract negotiation the year before as part of a diatribe about how the union was trying to take the shirt off his back) and really put everything into chewing me out but at no time did he touch me or threaten me with disciplinary action because we had a strong union.

    It also didn’t hurt that I was one of five people in an 1800-clock card employee, three-shift factory who knew how to run a tractor tire bead machine. My nightly production provided enough tire beads for 300-400 tractor tires which gave me quite a bit of leverage, even with the plant manager.

    * The problem with the Firestone 500 radial tires was that when transitioning from bias tires to radials, Firestone management tried to pay the tire builders at the same rate even though the radials were much more difficult to build. Tire factories weren’t air conditioned in those days and the builders were sweating so profusely trying to make their much-harder-to-attain quotas that the defects were literally the result of too much sweat getting into the tire before it was cured. A classic case of too-smart management cutting corners on pay without seeing the problems they were creating.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Mark Gisleson: You are bringing up a question related to de-skilling of jobs as well as the difficulty of proving that service jobs have skills.

      Not so long ago, the crafts unions could shut anything down. My father was a printer, and the printers’ locals in Chicago pretty much never went on strike. Management certainly didn’t know how to start and stop the presses. Likewise, the old typesetters’ unions, the people with Linotype machines and “pigs” of lead melting in the heater, were radical and highly skilled in operating a complicated machine.

      So much has since been de-skilled, including U.S. managers, who no longer do much besides filling in Excel spreadsheets and coming up with snappy slide presentations at mandatory meetings.

      A place like Trader Joe’s operates on the idea that its staff truly doesn’t know much. Management should know otherwise, but U.S. management is now mainly layers and layers of extra employees, doing, errrr, something. Here in Chicago, Kroger took over the smallish Mariano’s chain–and are swiftly ruining it–even though all anyone would have to do is ask the workers on the floor what the customers want. Naaaah, someone at Kroger Central knows better.

      1. Josef K

        Kroger is similarly ruining the Fred Meyer’s stores in the Pacific Northwest. Prices up, like 25% at a go, quality down (fewer healthy options, bulk staples section being reduced). An employee said that about 2 years ago, when the stores’ layouts were being noticeably redone, Kroger added a layer of management to the corporate structure. So my food costs have risen to subsidize a bunch of overpaid PMC types.

        I caught a radio ad for FM recently that stated, falsely, “Northwest owned for 87 years.” I may have the exact number of years wrong, but in that ballpark. No, owned by a corporate goon out of Ohio.

        My quick take on American society–it’s gotten mean and selfish, even by American standards. That’s a big ship to turn around.

        1. flora

          American society entirely has gotten mean and selfiish or only the American PMC middlemen in corporations have gotten mean and selfish (at the direction of their owners) ? It’s important to define the problem correctly, imo, as in 87 years?, no. ;)

    2. Kurt Sperry

      In the termination letter sent to Ben Bonnema there’s a strong tell I’ve learned to associate with general right-wing nuttery, which can be found in the sentence, “It is clear that you do not understand our Values.” with the last word inappropriately capitalized.

      This may seem trivial or nit-picky but I’ve seen a strangely strong correlation between this error applied to ideas and concepts, presumably to lend them some sort of moral weight, and extreme conservatism.

      1. ambrit

        That could also apply to ‘Basic (Social) Conservatism,’ as distinct from purely Political Conservatism. I’ll go out on that rotten old limb yet again and suggest that what passes for “Conservatism” today is a tool of the Reactionary Oligarchic class, as in financially based, not socially based.

  33. Susan the other

    High Country News. Lithium Nevada. The Quinn “River”. Antimony pollution. Lithium extraction to last an estimated 40 years. I know exactly where they are. We detoured home one year through southern Oregon. There’s a big terrifying dug way that goes from Oregon to Nevada and then straight on to Winnemucca for several hours. Some of the most desolate, but very beautiful, landscape in the Great Basin. Very clear night sky. Wondering if this is Elon Musk’s lithium mine project, which I assumed was closer to his Nevada factory. Mining our own lithium is a no-brainer compared to forcing other countries (Bolivia) to mine and sell their lithium to us. So that part is good. So is the plan for renewable energy. But they only plan to do reclamation work every 7 years. They will get woefully behind that way – better to do ongoing reclamation. And the Quinn River is probably only a “river” in May and June when the Montana Mountains melt their snowpack. So water will be a big problem. If there isn’t enough water (and there won’t be unless they can divert some from farther north in some pipeline project which is probably in the works but nobody’s talking) then reclamation will be severely hampered. As far as I know the only way to reclaim for antimony pollution is to dilute the antimony. It can’t be treated in any other way. If it is in drinking water (it is in our drinking water because we are an old mining town and lots of water melts its way through the old mine shafts, etc) then the only thing they can do is dilute it with other fresh water. But the new town of Lithium Nevada has no other sources of water. So my crystal ball sees a water pipeline from maybe the nearest actual river, which is the Snake River going through Idaho and connecting northward into the Columbia River. Then that could kill two birds because Hanford Washington is leaking radioactive material into the Columbia and one way to stop that contamination would be to divert that portion of the river. And part of it could go south to Lithium Nevada. Hey….if they can run a pipeline from Canada to the Gulf to transport liquid tar they can do a pipeline to Lithium Nevada for the necessary water. It would only take part of the river and the rest could be diverted around Hanford and back into the river bed on down stream. Dreaming here.

    1. lordkoos

      If there was to be a pipeline from the Columbia they will have to fight the farmers upstream for that water. A lot of it is already spoken for, I believe. I live 30 miles from the Columbia and most of eastern WA agriculture depends on that river for irrigation.

      Isn’t Lithium is one of the main reasons the US is so interested in Venezuela?

      1. Susan the other

        Lithium is the new gold rush. I did read that Venezuela had lithium. We know Bolivia has it. South America has tons of minerals because of the Andes. Interesting they talked about Lithium as a sediment in northern Nevada – settled out from the inland sea which was known as Lake Bonneville. I think that the branch of the Columbia River that comes down from Canada goes around Hanford and might not be contaminated. But the Snake is the main tributary and goes right past the Hanford site. I once thought it would be environmentally beneficial to divert the Snake to both save the Columbia from Hanford leaks and to provide southern Nevada with a secure water supply to do geothermal electricity. Nobody ever talks about it but Harry Reid mentioned it in his autobiography – that Nevada would become the Saudi Arabia of clean thermal energy.

  34. Mikel

    RE: Sewage /Corona Strains

    Along with the reluctance to emphasize aerosol transmission because of the pressures it would put on businesses about ventilation, there hasn’t been much discussion about making sure all public restrooms & those in businesses have toilet seats with lids to put down before flushing.

  35. noonespecial

    Re: Modi Government Strategy on Farmers Appears to Be Working

    The link includes these words:

    “The misinformation campaign and the vicious propaganda against the agitating farmers seems to be unending on social media. A narrative is being created that the movement is a proxy war unleashed by anti-national elements, that it is internationally being coordinated by the friends of Khalistan… The arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi is to reinforce that sentiment… farmers should not forget that the BJP has an unmatched electoral machine and immense resources to successfully neutralize any impact they may plan for.”

    As to BJP’s “unmatched electoral machine and immense resources to successfully neutralize”, Naomi Klein at the Intercept ( makes the case that tech overlordsa are abetting BJP’s info games. Her piece focuses on Dashi’s arrest and subsequent document filed by the judge.

    Some quote that stand out for me:

    1. The police’s evidence against the young climate activist is, he wrote [ Judge Dharmender Rana], “scanty and sketchy,” and there is not “even an iota” of proof to support the claims of sedition, incitement, or conspiracy that have been leveled against her and at least two other young activists.

    2. [Tech companies’] tools have been used in a coordinated pro-government messaging campaign to turn public sentiment against the young activists and the movement of farmers they came together to support, often in clear violation of the guardrails social media companies claim to have erected to prevent violent incitement on their platforms.

    3. Indian print and broadcast media has relentlessly echoed the preposterous charges of sedition, with well over 100 stories about Ravi and the toolkit appearing in the Times of India alone. Television news shows have run crime-stopper-style exposés of the international toolkit “conspiracy.”

  36. Jason Boxman

    Another sighting of our lack of operational capacity (In Quest for Herd Immunity, Giant Vaccination Sites Proliferate):

    Dr. Nicole Lurie, who was the assistant health secretary for preparedness and response under President Barack Obama, said that instead of just asking FEMA for help, state and local governments should seek input from private companies used to keeping large crowds moving — while keeping them safe and happy.

    “These sites need to be motivated to make this a good experience for the customer, especially since they’re working with a two-dose vaccine,” Dr. Lurie said. “If it’s really a pain in the neck, why would you go wait in line again a few weeks later?”

    Get help from the private sector! Customers! Hooray! The mindset that brought us ObamaCare!

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    An English pursuer of the giant vegetables hobby named Bernard Lavery once wrote a book about how to do it. Here is a NOmazon link to that book.

  38. rowlf

    While at a shooting competition today and trying to schedule our next event, the range manager mentioned her upcoming international travel plans where she is a judge at International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) events. I mentioned how lucky she was to travel to South America as the pharmacies outside the US work differently and she could likely pick up anti-parasite medicine to bring back for her family instead of having to ask her veterinarian daughter for horse paste.

    Now I’m wondering I should offer to trade a case of ammunition for her high school rifle teams shooters to use in exchange for some people grade Ivermectin? (Yeah, I live in a zip code where Tractor Supply won’t flag me buying horse paste.)

    1. ambrit

      A case of ammo? That’s some pricey people paste. As for Tractor Supply flagging someone for buying a particular item; Veterinary Police State here we come. I wonder what a “woke” farm would look like?

      1. rowlf

        22 ammo? Still cheaper than finding a US doctor to write a prescription for Ivermectin pills for my family and getting it filled..

  39. Ook

    Re: E-mail is Making Us Miserable
    I am able to take weeks off at a time (I don’t check my mail but my team can reach me on an emergency basis). On returning, I am usually able to delete most of the mail that is over a few days old, without much loss.
    So FOMA is misplaced; these discussions tend to take care of themselves if you have a well-functioning team, like I do.
    It’s more an ego thing: the shock that comes with the discovery that the company does not collapse when you disengage for more than a few minutes.

  40. cshapenote

    Bemused by Rasmusen’s instructions for decocting a woke mob.
    Seems reminiscent of Robert Benchley…

    1. skippy

      Feral dead heads get with the program like the hippies did – ????? – heaps of money to be made thingy …

  41. CoryP

    So I just got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine about 24 hours ago. (Ontario, health care worker) Mild injection site soreness and no constitutional symptoms. No different than my usual reaction to the flu shot.

    I’m disappointed to note that I cannot yet pick up radio signals and must still rely on my Bluetooth headset for podcasts. I’m hoping that if I get the second shot in the opposite shoulder the resulting antenna array will be sensitive enough.

    I have in the past expressed reluctance to take part in what seems like a Phase III trial, but In the end I jumped at the chance to get it. I doubt Sputnik V will ever be available here, and upon reflection I have introduced into my body substances of far more dubious provenance.

    Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens.

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