Links 3/10/2021

Final thoughts Aeon

Egyptologists translate the oldest-known mummification manuals Technica

Suspected dog and cat meat factory in China raided after owner traces missing pet by GPS SCMP

Russia turns away from NASA, says it will work with China on a Moon base Ars Technica

Wildfires Will Keep Getting Worse — Even in “Best Case” Climate Scenarios TruthOut

NYPD Must Pay Price as Hundreds of Protesters Sue Over Crackdown, Comptroller Says The City

Football Has Long Been the Third Rail for College Leaders. It’s Even More Perilous Now. Chronicle of Higher Education

Japan’s Fukushima disaster could have been avoided Asia Times

New Mexico’s Coming Megadrought Highlights Farmers’ Control of Water Capital & Main

US urged to cut 50% of emissions by 2030 to spur other countries to action Guardian

Butterflies are Disappearing in the Western US Treehugger

Hackers Breach Thousands of Security Cameras, Exposing Tesla, Jails, Hospitals Bloomberg

Disney+ pulls ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Peter Pan’ other films from children’s profiles over negative depictions KTLA


Covid 19 and Illegal Immigrants Craig Murray Much broader than the headline suggests.

‘Then the world caved in’: 7 experts describe the day they realized Covid-19 was here to stay Stat

COVID-19 Vaccines, Access and the Intellectual Property Wars Counterpunch

England’s £23bn test and trace programme condemned by MPs FT

Alaska becomes the first state to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 16 or older who lives or works there Daily Mail

Has NYT Heard of China’s or Russia’s Covid Vaccines? FAIR

India is widening its Covid-19 vaccination drive, but without sharing data on adverse reactions Scroll

Fact check: No links found between vaccination and deaths Deutsche Welle

Black, Hispanic Americans lag in COVID-19 vaccination as outreach efforts struggle Reuters

APPY DAYS China issues ‘world first’ Covid vaccine passport and plans to accept other countries’ passes in boost for travel The Sun

Pandemic blamed for falling birth rates across much of Europe FT

Developing | Cathay Pacific Airways posts record losses of HK$21.6 billion for 2020, as Covid-19 pandemic scars Hong Kong airline SCMP

Opinion: Masks, money and a lack of morals among Germany’s conservatives Deutsche Welle


Lula Is Back — And He Can Save Brazil From Bolsonaro Jacobin

NYT Fails to Examine Its Participation in Brazil’s ‘Biggest Judicial Scandal’ FAIR

Biden Administration

House passes labor overhaul, pitting unions against the filibuster Politico

With congressional approval imminent, Biden prepares to send checks, but big stimulus challenges loom WaPo

Does Joe Biden Keep Canada Safe At Night? American Conservative

Biden’s Yemen stance could spell the end for MBS Asia Times

Consent That’s Manufactured By Propaganda Is Not Informed Consent Caitlin Johnstone

Biden Iran envoy boasted of depriving civilians of food, driving up Iranian inequality in sadistic sanctions manual Grayzone

Pentagon Confirms Biden’s New Restrictions on Drone Strikes, Commando Raids US News and World Report

Biden to Name Antitrust Scholar Lina Khan for FTC Post WSJ

Biden picks 2 antitrust crusaders. But his biggest choices come next. Politico

It’s important to note that appointing @linamkhan – and actually getting serious about antitrust enforcement! – is perhaps the most pro-business move the administration could make. Monopolies everywhere are capturing markets, killing upstarts and competitors. Especially in tech.

Trump Transition

Top Republicans seek to tamp down concerns over Trump’s funding demands The Hill

Former President Jimmy Carter says he is ‘disheartened, saddened, and angry’ to see Georgia legislators advance voting restrictions Business Insider


Only one New York governor has ever been impeached. Some lawmakers hope Cuomo will be the second. NBC

Class Warfare

#BoycottAmazon Deja Vu of WV Teachers Strike – BLM Pouring $$$ Into Amazon Union Fight – How Biden Turned the Tide #RollTide Payday Report

Police Unions Won Power Using His Playbook. Now He’s Negotiating the Backlash. NYT

Health Care

Are punitive rules forcing doctors to hide their mental health problems? Guardian


Indian Agriculture’s Enduring Question: Just How Many Farmers Does the Country Have? The Wire

888 projects delayed, panel of MPs wants NHAI to focus on incomplete roads, not new ones The Print

Indian economy to be hardest hit by Covid-19 despite recovery, predicts new OECD report Scroll


‘Shoot till they are dead’: Police who fled Myanmar reveal orders Al Jazeera

Myanmar’s Gen Z – “You messed with the wrong generation” Qantara

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Alaska becomes the first state to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 16 or older who lives or works there”

    For Alaska, it would be not that hard. They only have a population of about 710,000 people which is not a lot. And looking at the numbers, if you vaccinate just the people living in the cities of Anchorage, Fairbanks & Juneau, you have already done over half the population of that State.

    1. The Historian

      I think you need to go visit Alaska, particularly in the winter months when they’ve been vaccinating. You might have more respect for the job they’ve done.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you misunderstand me. I think that the Alaskans are doing a great job when you consider that there are so many far flung communities in such a large territory. What I was saying that they have an easier job than most because so much of their population is concentrated in only a few cities. What they lose in geography they gain in population densities.

        1. The Historian

          Not easier, just different. I am impressed because like Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have most of their population in dense areas around major cities, and MUCH better weather, but still haven’t been able to vaccinate at the rate that Alaska has.

  2. Alex

    Re Covid and Illegal Immigrants

    London in particular would simply grind to a halt without the illegal immigrants who keep its services and infrastructure going.

    Wouldn’t supply of and demand for such services and infrastructure balance out even with no illegal immigrants?

      1. a different chris

        More to the point, it was balanced out with illegal immigrants because that the way TPTB wanted it to balance out.

        The whole “invisible hand” phraseology needs to be upgraded, or maybe completely redefined, to the fact that things like this aren’t some magical confluence of people acting without knowledge of other’s actions.

        The hand is invisible because the people wielding it have the money and power to hide it.

        1. shtove

          Adam Smith himself didn’t feel all that moved by the invisible hand – he mentioned it a few times in passing in The Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments.

          1. Bruno

            The full reference starts with *as if by a invisible hand*. The phrase was stylistic, not in the least theoretical.

            1. Count Zero

              And “the invisible hand” chimed in with contemporary notions of divine providence. It was a metaphor with powerful theological resonances in C18th Britain (& in the colonies). Free-market doctrines are based on a metaphor and a hidden theology. But of course, economists aren’t usually very interested in literature or theology. They are in a quite different and entirely unimportant faculty of the University.

    1. Keith

      But then the cost of the labor would increase, which may be the real issue.

      Keep then in the shadows and you keep them cheap.

      1. Vargo

        And the price of housing rentals would drop which would affect the Golden Few who own land.

        His assertion that London would grind to a halt without illegals, where is Murray’s link(s) to a peer reviewed study that supports that assertion?

        Those who advocate for open borders, no matter how well intentioned they are, serve as useful idiots for the elite.

        1. JTMcPhee

          “Peer reviewed study,” you demand? After a 3-second search (“ importance of illegal aliens in british economy london”) I did find a number of references, one that kind of tells it in charts for you:

          Looks like in London, as here in agriculture in FL and the Central Valley in CA, illegals form indeed a very crucial part of the ugly dirty understory that lets the nabobs soar in the upper levels of the jungle.

          And do you really think Murray is plumping for “open borders?” Where’s he say that?

        1. Phillip Cross

          “In fact, an amnesty for illegal immigrants is precisely what is needed for the sake of society in general.”

          If you gave the immigrants amnesty, as Craig suggests, they would be able to claim a range of benefits, since they all earn $0.00 in the eyes of the state. Would they all leave their cash in hand job, and go P.A.Y.E with a legitimate employer?

          Assume the government did give a blanket amnesty, the beneficiaries abide by the law, and our society is reliant on that work getting done for that price.

          Wouldn’t those exploitative employers need more undocumented workers to exploit, to get that vital work done?

          Wouldn’t a million new workers, who all suddenly want to work legally, exacerbate unemployment?

    2. David

      When I was young and lived in London, and Murray was a baby in Scotland, there were very few illegal immigrants. The dirty, dangerous jobs were done by white English natives, generally unionised and tolerably well paid. So long as there are levels of pay and conditions on offer that the existing workforce won’t accept (and this includes recent immigrants, legalised or not) illegals will be brought in to undercut that workforce. To change countries for a moment, there are also parts of France where there are few immigrants, legal or otherwise, and local authorities and contractors are forced to recruit people with decent wages and conditions of work.

    3. c_heale

      Don’t think it would balance out. For example there is a massive shortage of nurses in the UK in part due to changes in the training if nurses in the last 20 years. Nurses now have to have a degree and the cost of degree courses in the UK is ridiculously high. Even before this the UK didn’t train enough nurses. A lot of this was hidden since in addition to nurses from outside Europe, for example the Phillipines, many came from Spain. Now the UK is outside Europe. In addition London is an expensive city to live in, especially regarding housing cost. Nurses salaries are relatively low, especially since public sector workers have had their pay frozen (a decrease in real terms) many times in recent years. Added to this, many are worn out due to the Covid pandemic, and were not supplied with adequate protective clothing and have been working flat out. And finally older people have been prioritised for the vaccine in the UK since they usually vote Conservative. I imagine some nurses have left due to demoralisation and exhaustion. Nurses cannot be replaced by random people from the street unlike gig workers.

      1. Taurus

        Here is a thought – what if nurses were paid better than investment bankers? Then their salaries will no longer be relatively low and they would be able to afford to live in an expensive city like London. If there was only a mechanism that we knew of that made this possible…

        1. vlade

          In reality, this would mean dropping IB’s income, not raising nurses (because there’s simply not enough money in the health care, and no MMT would not help here, as giving all nurses six/seven digit incomes would be very inflationary).

          That said, even that could be a good thing – and would make living in London possible for more people.

          On the other hand, I’d argue that we don’t want more people to live in London/NYC etc., as it sucks the life out of other regions. We need to make the other regions attractive to people first, and not just because they have their roots there.

  3. stefan

    With reference to deathbed perspective, at the end of his life, a 95-year-old psychiatrist friend of mine told me something along the lines of, “I’ve never regretted any of the risks I took in life.”

    1. Sam Adams

      As I was told told at 14 outside Studio 54, “ you never regret the things you do, it’s what you didn’t do.”

      1. Ghost in the Machine

        I have met plenty of people who regretted things they did. Sometimes terribly.

        1. Vargo

          Talk to the cigarettes slobs who are dying of lung cancer. Do they regret making that conscious choice to start?

          1. lordkoos

            Not sure how much of a real choice it was for many smokers. Most people start when they are still in their teens, and continue smoking because they become addicted.

            1. Taurus

              “Conscious choice to START”. This is what Vargo said. Addiction is a different matter but starting to smoke is very much a conscious choice, that requires some effort and a degree of commitment. So – yes, free will and all …

            2. vlade

              Given that most people react to their fist cigarette with a violent retching, arguing that smokers had _no_ choice is very dubious. *)

              Now, if you said second-hand smokers, that’s what was a really hard choice.

              *) speaking as someone whose mum was a heavy smoker, and so were many other people around me. I almost had a first cigarette as a 10+ old, but when I saw the reaction a friend of mine (same age) had to his, I turned the chance down.

      2. Procopius

        I long ago came to the conclusion that I would not wish to go back and do things differently, because that would certainly lead to different outcomes than the life I currently like, but with old age bringing me (many) sudden memories of things that produce deep embarrassment I do regret a lot of things that I did.

        1. campbeln

          Indeed! If you like who you are today, its due to the sum of the actions you’ve taken in life. If you don’t like who you are, then now’s the time to start making changes.

          I, too, would change nothing, for I like who I am today ;)

    2. Bruno

      Most sincere–and conceited–deathbed remark: “With me, what an artist the world loses”–Nero

      1. nycTerrierist

        “D’ailleurs c’est toujours les autres qui meurent ”

        – epitaph on tomb of Marcel Duchamp

          1. mary jensen

            Another noteworthy tombstone inscription:

            “Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”, in English: “I told you I was ill.”

            – Spike Milligan

          2. The Rev Kev

            “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.” – Oscar Wilde

            There should be a section of the last words of people that die suddenly. A WW2 vet said that one that was heard from time to time was “Oh no!”

              1. The Rev Kev

                @ mary jensen

                Would you believe that I was watching a war movie years ago showing German troops getting hit by artillery and I distinctly heard a voice in that movie cry ‘Ach nein!”

            1. Count Zero

              “Oh no,” sounds like the polite version. “Oh §¥*#,” might have been the more common one I think.

          3. Rodeo Clownfish

            The Romans did actually maintain temples dedicated to deceased emperors. So Vespasian’s quote is understood not as a sign that he believed himself more than human, but he felt his oncoming death and knew the routine consequence. He was actually known as one of the most “down to earth” of Rome’s emperors.

    3. Milton

      In my early 20s, while visiting my great uncle in a nursing center, I was startled by a firm grasp of my arm by a thought to be sleeping 96 year old man–living out his final weeks in hospice. His still strong grip, clutching at my forearm as he gathered whatever remaining strength he had to utter, summoned what I thought would be a Zen-like pearl that I could call upon when life’s moment called for some inspiration or clarity. Instead, what I received was a combination of defiance and resignation. “Don’t get old. It sucks” His words have stayed with me but alas, have made no difference in how I have lived my life. I’ve continually steered the cautious route but I can’t say I completely regret that path.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Fact check: No links found between vaccination and deaths”

    ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ or translated here, who will fact-check the fact-checkers?

    Has there been any studies done yet for post-vaccination deaths? Not taking one side or another but it would be kinda nice to know as it might be important.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that. I wonder if the WHO is coordinating such reporting across nations for all of the vaccines. It might tell us how each vaccine stacks up and for each age group.

      1. Cuibono

        BASG said blood clotting was not among the known side effects of the vaccine. It was pursuing its investigation vigorously to completely rule out any possible link.

  5. UsDisVet

    It is not difficult to connect the dots between Greenwald’s analysis of Lula’s problems and Caitlin Johnstone’s rant on the never ending US military excursions without consent of the US governed, with the current situation in the US of monopoly power held by the Dems which is leading the US down the rabbit hole of totalitarianism. Not saying that the GOP would necessarily be any better; after all, there truly is the Uni-party always seeking power and lucre to the detriment of the populace. Meanwhile under the guise of Progressivism, the Rule of Law dies, the nuclear family is under constant attack, and the US becomes a third world country overnight. Very few who post here should be happy; the effects are global.

    1. JP

      Confirmation bias much? The Dems are hanging onto their ascendancy by their fingernails on the federal level and the Repups continue to build majorities in the states and pass legislation to curtail power of elected Dems. If you think the rule of law dies per the progressives, you must think an authoritarian police state is a lawful exercise.

      1. pasha

        you are, i believe, historically inaccurate. the senate is in fragile balance, and the house has a very weak majority; these do not equate to “monopoly power.” moreover, the events of january sixth have destroyed any claim that republicans have respect for the Rule of Law. nor can i find any progressive legislation that is responsible for the fact that the US has been devolving economically for forty years — picketty and others have clearly put the blame for this on tax givebacks to the wealthy, under various GOP regimes

    2. lordkoos

      How is the nuclear family “under attack”? Giving rights to people who prefer other ways of living or other types of families doesn’t take away the rights from those who prefer more traditional arrangements.

  6. t

    I think a lot of people die terrified about how their families will manage without their income. Especially with Covid deaths hitting so many under paidworkers.

  7. a different chris

    Oh god that “deathbed perspective” twaddle. So much of the old shinola of taking of a simply expressed point and painting it into a corner the speaker(s) never intended it to be in, then attacking the strawman with a carefully-worded flamethrower. The best thing here for the author is that the targets can’t do anything to fight back because they are conveniently dead.

    Nobody said they didn’t want to work at something and see results, and the perks (nice house on the corner) and -some of – the people associated with life’s passage. They just wanted a bit more time to just appreciate it.

    The real tell is here:

    >Saving money often makes sense only because there’ll be a later, at which I might need the money.

    *I* might need the money. The whole thing is written from a perspective that doesn’t include the very human longing of actual companionship, because the author is a self-centered family-blog.

    Most people save money so that their kids will have a little cushion, I claim with no evidence but talking to other, you know, people. But that’s as much or more than he has for any of his assertions.

    Bet the author doesn’t get invited to many parties.

    1. Wukchumni

      A few near death experiences shaped me, as i’ve been living on borrowed time since…

      About 40 years ago I was stopped at the lights-the first car in the left hand turn lane in Downey, Ca. when the light turned green and usually i’m quick to accelerate in such a situation, but for some reason I hesitated and flying through the intersection easily 3 seconds after the light had turned red was a black BMW that would have t-boned me on the driver’s side if i’d been johhny on the spot.

      It was so shocking that I remember looking in the rear view mirror at the driver behind me and there was an incredulous look on his face, and I made the turn and then pulled over and he did too, and we both got out of cars, and he asked ‘how did you know to not go when the light turned green?’ I had no answer.

      31 years ago on what was a perfect summer day in July when I started walking up to Mt Whitney, turned into 2 hours of steady lightning hitting all over the place @ around 10,000 feet where there was no place to run no place to hide, my hair was levitating and knew I was in deep kimchi, but there was nothing I could do and then summer and blue skies suddenly returned as if to make mockery of the situation. I was convinced there were dead people all over the mountain, but there was only 1 fellow up at the stone hut @ the summit who got killed by lightning, easily the scariest hours of my life.

      23 years ago I was by myself about 20 miles back in the wilderness when an ice bridge I had to cross suddenly collapsed on me throwing me down a gully and breaking my scapula in the process-which was bad enough, but if i’d gone another 5 feet forward on said ice bridge, I would have slid to an expanse of boulders about 200 feet down that would have made for quite a battered body for the helicopter retrieving the corpus derelicti.

      I will have no regrets when the time comes to depart this mortal coil, as I was able to cheat death repeatedly and get away with it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That hesitancy that you had may have been the proverbial sixth sense of our ancestors. I read an account from WW1 where this German soldier was walking along when he suddenly threw himself flat to the ground. And just then shrapnel passed through the air where he would have been. His friends saw this and asked about it and he said that he saw and hear nothing of the incoming shrapnel. There was just this instinct to hit the deck for no reason at all. I sometimes wonder if our ancestors had such a developed instinct that occasional turns up in modern life from time to time like with you at that traffic stop.

    2. Lee

      “Most people save money so that their kids will have a little cushion, I claim with no evidence but talking to other, you know, people.”

      During a portion of my working life, I sold life insurance to a lot of people with a care for others’ futures that they would not live to see.

    1. nick

      Those who received a lot of UI benefits without having the taxes withheld should wait to file until next week or so. This problem was spotted and the recent stimulus bill included a waiver on $10,200 on UI benefits for those under a (high) earnings threshold.

    2. Vargo

      “For people who have been without a job for nearly a year, finding money to pay their tax bills is yet another financial burden coming at a fraught time.”

      Silly people, what do they think credit cards are for? Just another way to suck the life out of the precariat.
      Future generations have to pay the interest on the T-Bills the gov sells to the fed, which lends the keyboard money to the credit card companies that mark it up 27% or so, so that the formerly middle class can join the food lines with migrants.

      1. Bruno

        With T-bill interest rates around zero, even an ignoramus (ie., anti-MMTer) should realize that “paying the interest” will be no burden on anyone.

    3. pasha

      that january washington post article is out of date. problem has been fixed by the rescue act passed today. taxes are now excused on most unemployment insurance benefits

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Iran envoy boasted of depriving civilians of food, driving up Iranian inequality in sadistic sanctions manual”

    I wonder what that Richard Nephew would say if his kids asked him what he did in the war (on terror) and the tens of thousands of dying civilians that he was responsible for? Funneling Madeline Albright, would he say “I think that i(was) a very hard choice, but the price, (I) think, the price is worth it.” Does he think of himself as an actual war criminal or does he tell himself that it does not matter as he will never have to stand for his crimes in an international court of law.

    In any case, he is not alone here as a similar “strategy” is being employed against countries like Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. They’d like to do it to China and Russia as well but both countries are just too big. Come to think of it, maybe this is where Saudi Arabia got the idea to do a medieval starvation siege of Yemen from.

      1. Duck1

        Sez teh Goog:
        Current international humanitarian law (IHL) — the law of armed conflict — makes clear that the deliberate starvation of the civilian population as a tactic of war is prohibited and a prosecutable war crime.Feb 4, 2016

        And Nephew seems adequately fed as well. Looks like he has a Buddha tat on the arm . . .

        1. Alex Cox

          How about Nephew’s trip to Russia, where he regretted that the Russians had enough to eat?

          Surely he will follow Pompeo and Binken to greater glory.

    1. Procopius

      I remember reading that Heinrich Himmler once gave a speech to high ranking SS officers, praising them for accepting the terrible burden of killing people for the “good of the Race.” I wonder if Obama felt any of that when he remarked, “Who could have known, it turns out I’m pretty good at killing people.”

  9. petal

    For those of you following the Cuomo drama-Gillibrand has finally voiced support for an investigation. I believe 6 women had come forward already.

    “During a press briefing Tuesday, Gillibrand did not comment on whether he should step aside. She did say, however, she supports Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and that she has a right to voice her opinions. Stewart-Cousins is among top Democrats who have called for the governor’s resignation.

    “I admire Andrea Stewart-Cousins and I think she understands the serious nature of these allegations, and she has every right to give her judgement on this issue, as any other elected leader does,” said Gillibrand. “…I think she’s absolutely in her right to do whatever she wants to do in this. She is also leader of the Senate, and as I said in my first response on this issue, it will be up to the legislature on how to deal with this.”

    “These are very serious allegations,” the senator said, “and that is why I called for a thorough independent professional investigation with subpoena power to get to the bottom of these allegations.” “

    1. MK

      Another possible scandal involves winter road salt of all things. It’s thought that the study is being castrated so the state is not on the hook for millions in damage to private landowners whose water sources (mostly wells, but lakes and streams also) have been poisoned by excessive road salt use over the last 60+ years.

    2. upstater

      Elliot Spitzer was going to be impeached for a consensual episode with a prostitute. His downfall was rather quick.

      Cuomo obviously used his position to get sex from subordinates. His demands were very brash and forward. I think he must have scrored on occasion. Yet this drags on…

      Quite a number of state senators and assembly have called for his resignation. My senator has, but the assemblyman is a D hack, but waffles.

      Hopefully he leaves soon…

      1. Efmo

        Because Elliot Spitzer had a reputation for being tough on Wall Street. They were very happy when he was forced to resign.

  10. lakecabs

    It is great to see the Amazon strike gaining momentum.

    We need to win this one and keep going.

    25 an hour for the workers seems about right.

    Strong unions will make the minimum wage obsolete.

  11. DJG, Reality Czar

    Good news in the Jacobin article about President Lula and President Dilma Rousseff. And then there is this, which may be the biggest bombshell (not to be acknowledged in the US media, natch):

    However, the legacy of Lava Jato extends beyond Brazil. As I pointed out in Jacobin last month, the Biden administration is promising to make anti-corruption a centerpiece of its foreign policy agenda, and the model they have in mind is based on Lava Jato. The investigation was actively enabled by the US Department of Justice, likely in violation of both international treaties and Brazilian law. The exposure of Lava Jato’s criminality first by the Intercept and later by Brazil’s Supreme Court has yet to inspire any public introspection among much of the international anti-corruption industry or among US foreign policy types who are still pushing it as the paradigm for fighting corruption.

    Note that Rousseff was impeached in removed in 2016. Lula was convicted in 2016.

    Busy times for the U.S. “intelligence community” and its pals. Thanks, Obama! Who later referred in his timeless memoir, volume gazillion, to Lula as being like “a Mafia don.” As if Obama could identify a Mafia don, having worked with Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton, and Victoria Nuland.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Russia turns away from NASA, says it will work with China on a Moon base”

    Not really surprising this. The US has been trying to keep the Chinese out of space for decades and when the Chinese wanted to send their people aboard the International Space Station, they were refused. So now over the years they are doing it themselves the way that other countries did it decades ago. There is still cooperation between NASA and Russia right now but as soon as the US has its own reliable rocket engines, they will stop buying any more from Russia and will probably try to sanction the Russian rocket engine manufacturers out of business. The US might even pull out of the ISS when their commitments end in 2025 so it may have to be safely crashed if it can no longer be supported financially along with the Russians.

    The “Artemis Accords” are just a joke and are really about Washington trying to set the rules of space without having to negotiate something through the United Nations. No wonder China and Russia are giving this one a miss. The International Space Treaty tries to stop any nation from exploiting space all by themselves but the “Artemis Accords” say that a country can set up a “safety zone” in space or on the moon for example. How would that work out? So the US sets up a base on the moon and then declares a “safety zone” around it of a coupla thousand square kilometers so that all possible mineral reserves fall in that zone and thus exclusively to the US. That would be like the Martians landing in Nevada, setting up a mining operation in the Carlin Trend, and then declaring that the entire of Nevada is a Martian “safety zone” so keep clear, or else.

    1. Kouros

      I read the read the article about the joint Russo-Chinese collaboration on Ars Technica linked through reddit.

      I was really triggered by the comments (on Ars Technica, not Reddit – Reddit is expected), which were horrible and unexpected, coming from a technical publication presumably followed by nerds. The American public, due to the Cold War and the present drummed up situation is entirely dehumanizing people from these two countries. I grew up in a socialist country and never such a thing was considered about Western Europe and the US. Soviet movies never portrayed the American enemies as evil, the way American movies did.

      I am fed up and absolutely disgusted with people like that. Why don’t they spend time to study the work done by the Brown University about the cost of the 20 years continuous war the US has imposed on the world, and talk to their representative and senator about? That would be something meaningful one could do, rather than volunteer for the war against China / Russia choir.

        1. Michaelmas

          I read the Ars Technica comments too, with morbid interest but not surprise.

          The U.S. population is the most propagandized — and overall possibly the most uneducated — in any developed nation I know of. That’s presumably the way its owners like it.

          1. RMO

            The level of hate and distrust for Russia that has been generated here in the west now far surpasses anything I saw during the 70s and 80s phases of the Cold War and is also worse than what I can see in the popular culture from the 50s and 60s. It’s remarkable.

            1. Procopius

              The most remarkable thing to me is how tiny the Russian Federation is compared to the USSR, even in the ’50s. They were always represented as a real juggernaut, with thousands of really, really good tanks and enormous infantry forces, capable of pushing through all NATO forces to the English Channel in a week. Now it’s doubtful if Russia could even beat the Ukraine, and we’re supposed to be terrified of them.

            2. jonboinAR

              In my experience, a good part of the US population is woefully ignorant of anything beyond their immediate interests, but yes, the current demonization of all things Russian by some of our political leaders and media is just bizarre. Many I know are liable to just drink it in unquestioningly.

  13. DJG, Reality Czar

    The article about House passing labor law reform (as if the U.S. currently has what one might consider “labor law) is interesting for the lay of the land. There is some Republican support.

    I note this:
    –Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said. “It will make it harder for manufacturers to thrive and more difficult to foster positive, inclusive workplace cultures.”

    Wowsers. People can really talk the talk, now can’t they? Even the NAM is woke, now.

    I used to have blue eyes, but after years of witnessing flying bull poop like this (which is part of the long U.S. tradition of stupid talk), I now have brown eyes. So it goes.

    1. flora

      The article about House passing labor law reform (as if the U.S. currently has what one might consider “labor law) is interesting for the lay of the land.

      Politicians are mostly followers of where the energy in the voters is heading. For the last 30 years, pols have followed the energy of the big donors and promised trickle down economics to the wage earners. The voters and wage earners aren’t buying the trickle down idea anymore. imo. Check the number of wildcat strikes in the US and around the world in 2019.

      “There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”
      – Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin


      “There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”
      ― Mahatma Gandhi

      (Lots of variarions on this theme attributed to different authors.)

      1. flora

        Search on ‘wildcat strikes 2020 covid’ for links to stories about strikes by essential workers forced to work in dangerous conditions.

  14. Carolinian

    Re The American Conservative link–here’s Peter Van Buren’s explanation for our endless wars

    Thinking like an American, the ostensible reason for all this bombing seems to be Hitler. He’s why we couldn’t support Trump’s nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, why no other president has even tried for 20 years, and why Biden seems reluctant to revive the Iran nuclear accord. In 1938, old-timey British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain got hoodwinked by Hitler. No American president wants to be Neville Chamberlain. So every bad guy in the world, whether Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad, and Fidel Castro even while dead, is Hitler.

    It follows, then, that every friction point is Munich 1938 and the only way to deal with it without appearing Chamberlain-weak is to attack just one more country. When actual fighting cannot be on the table, presidents are content with crippling sanctions, a kind of economic Guantanamo as have been in place against Cuba since about when the Beatles first came to America, even before that for North Korea, and since roller disco was popular in the case of Iran.

    Maybe. But there’s an explanation other than politician vanity–a deep statey explanation.

    By this explanation, relying heavily on David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard, the Cold War was driven by Wall Street financial interests as represented by the Dulles brothers and their prominence in the Eisenhower administration. Thus when Ike warned against the MIC he failed to complete the thought which was that he had a great deal to do with creating it along with his hapless predecessor Truman (who at least somewhat regretted the CIA). The nation shed its onetime economic/manufacturing power in favor of financial/military power and the latter two go hand in hand.

    Of course one can go overboard blaming everything on the CIA and other hidden branches of government. But CTs are what happen when you needlessly keep secrets. Time to flood the whole thing with disinfecting sunshine.

    1. Michaelmas

      The nation shed its onetime economic/manufacturing power in favor of financial/military power and the latter two go hand in hand.

      The nation’s ruling class probably wouldn’t have seen it that way back in the 1940s-50s, nor even understood that one day economic/manufacturing power could be separate from financial/military power.

      You can say, but they had the example of the British empire’s decline to show them the damage that excessive financialization can do. Even then, though, they would have claimed that was British-specific — the costs of WW1 and WW2; the fact that the UK was only ever an island when all was said and done, whereas the U.S. was a whole continent full of vigorous Americans and besides the U.S. empire was not an empire, anyway, but the foundry of democracy and so naturally preponderant over the rest of the world.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    At the beginning of March, the Los Angeles Teachers Union (UTLA) voted–91% to 9%–to “remain closed for in-person instruction,” due to life-threatening dangers presented by covid to themselves and their beloved students.

    “This vote signals that in these most trying times, our members will not accept a rushed return that would endanger the safety of educators, students, and families,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement.

    “As much as educators long to be back to in-person instruction, it must be done safely for the sake of students, staff, and families. That has been our guiding principal from Day 1 of this pandemic,” Myart-Cruz added.

    Meanwhile, back at the private UTLA facebook page ranch, UTLA members are warned NOT to post any spring break trip pics on social media since parents, whose kids have not been in school for a year, might get pissed.

    “Friendly reminder: If you are planning any trips for Spring Break, please keep that off of Social Media. It is hard to argue that it is unsafe for in-person instruction, if parents and the public see vacation photos and international travel,” the post said.

    What’s a poor LA teacher to do? All that “longing” to get back to the classroom, but prevented from doing so by that mean old covid.

    1. Carolinian

      “Optics” seems to be the new buzz word.

      Here in the hinterlands schools have been open since last September but with reduced schedules, parent option for “virtual” and lots of covid paraphernalia in the classrooms.

    2. Laura in So Cal

      We are in a school district in LA County but not LAUSD. Our high school has started back up outdoor sports for 5/day week practices. My son made varsity soccer and they are scheduling a smaller “district schools only” season in April-May in accordance with CIF guidelines. I’m really happy about this for my kid who needs a lot of physical activity for his mental health (and bonus Vitamin D!). Also, I got notification last night that we are going to “hybrid” instruction on 3/29 with the kids divided into 2 groups based on last name with each “cohort” attending in person 2 days/week and on-line the rest of the time. They will try their best, but it will probably be really messy. Academic progress this year has been spotty at best as my son is a hands on learner who does well with lots of interaction with this classmates & teachers. Keeping him focused has been a real issue for several classes.

    3. Swamp Yankee

      It’s clarifying to see just how much contempt some commenters have for teachers and organized labor more generally.

      European, Canadian, and Indian studies show clear transmission through schools. It’s frankly galling to hear those who wouldn’t touch a classroom with a ten foot cattle prod blame the teachers for this, who have for decades been at the front line of America’s failing state. Let’s also be frank that the professional-managerial class which is pushing reopening (see recent Pew data) frequently view their children as expensive show-pieces, but God forbid they should have to actually, you know, take care of them.

      We all know the real culprits are those who say there is no such thing as society, and then act to make it so.

      Nurses just went on strike in Worcester, Mass., over safety conditions and staffing levels. Presumably those who sneer at teachers in L.A. also sneer at the nurses in New England.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Reminds me of Ewan MacColl’s great anti-Thatcher song, “The Grocer,” referring to nurses, firemen, teachers:

        “They may be gallant heroes
        When they’re saving people’s lives,
        But they’re just a buncha’ layabouts
        When they’re askin’ for a raise.”

      2. Laura in So Cal

        Here in California, Teachers and child care workers are in Tier 1B for vaccination availability. Tier 1A was healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Vaccinations for Tier 1B became available over a month ago. My parents who are also in Tier 1B (over 65) are getting their 2nd shot of Moderna tomorrow. I think that is one of the reasons parents (here at least) are pushing for a date for some kind of re-opening. Starting in a couple of weeks, our high school will be doing 1/2 capacity each day, you will have to certify every day via an app that your kid isn’t sick, masks are mandatory etc. Most of my friends who are teachers do have mixed feelings. To a man/woman, they hate the on-line model and know that it is more work for them and less effective for the kids. However, like the rest of us, they have doubts about the vaccine, and for those who teacher younger kids, they know that masks & hygiene will be a problem.

        In addition, all the stories about the private schools that are and have been open (Gavin Newsom’s kids go to one) and the cases that are still dropping like a rock lead most of us to believe that school transmission won’t be any worse than normal community transmission. My workplace (600 people) which has been open the entire pandemic had “0” cases last week and 1 case/week for the last month. We had a smattering of cases last spring/summer and a huge spike in Nov/Dec/Jan.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        And yet somebody felt the need to provide a “friendly reminder” on a “private” forum.

    1. jp

      What I got from that article was the US had state backed research partnerships with Chinese researchers at the lab in Wuhan. The Chinese researchers raised concerns about lax protocol, basically asking for money to address the problem and the US agency involved said not interested. This would make US interests culpable to some degree for an accidental viral release.

  16. occasional anonymous

    >Disney+ pulls ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Peter Pan’ other films from children’s profiles over negative depictions KTLA

    Speaking in regards to Dumbo specifically, they claim that “The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations”.

    I don’t actually know this to be true, that the intention there was to ridicule black people, and not just emulate them as they actually often spoke in the real world. This is part of a wider historical revisionism in American fiction that erases how slaves actually talked. Because we do know, in great detail, how they talked. The WPA Slave Narratives program in the late thirties and forties sent writers around the country to interview (by then very old) surviving slaves, and went out of its way to record the particulars of their speech, in addition to making recordings in some cases They really did speak in a characteristic ‘slave style’. How and why this more or less uniform speaking style emerged on plantations across the south is something of a linguistic mystery, but from what I’ve read no one in academia disputes that it really existed.

    You basically never encounter it in fiction nowadays because it does have an ugly history of being used to mock slaves and the descendants of slaves (go watch something like the TV show Underground and it’s quite conspicuous, if you’re aware that a slave dialect really did exist, how unslavelike all of the slaves speak). But that doesn’t change the fact that it did actually exist.

    Portraying black people speaking in a certain style that historically existed and was widespread isn’t racism. It can be done with the intent to mock, but the mere fact of portraying it isn’t inherently racist.

    Also, even if we ignore everything I say here and just say Dumbo (and the other movies) are racist and ‘problematic’, what’s happening here isn’t a useful way to deal with the issue. Because it’s not dealing with anything. It’s just trying to memory hole the past. That’s where we’re going these days, apparently. Just refusing to engage with the past because we judge that it doesn’t live up to our moral standards.

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