Links 4/4/2021

Happy Easter!

Spain To Try Nationwide 4-Day Workweek Treehugger

Why Did the Slave Trade Survive So Long? New York Review of Books

The Collapse of Puerto Rico’s Iconic Telescope New Yorker

The Slow Travel Trend Is Here to Stay Conde Nast Traveler From December, still germane.

Farms Are Coming To Cities American Conservative

What is Brood X? When do cicadas come out in 2021? Answering your buggiest questions. WaPo

Pete Buttigieg mocked for ‘phony’ Cabinet meeting bike stunt NY Post. Gotcha! I want to know: did he drink any water?

How did this crisis happen? A breach at Piney Point puts area in environmental peril Miami Herald

Florida residents are evacuated after reservoir contaminated with radioactive wastewater started collapsing: Gov. Ron DeSantis declares state of emergency Daily Mail

#COVID-19

Peter Maybarduk on Global Vaccination, Jane Chung on Big Tech Lobbying FAIR

“It’s the Biggest Genocide in Our History” Der Spiegel. Lula interview.

China’s Covid-19 vaccine drive ramps up as Beijing rolls out incentives from eggs to shopping vouchers South China Morning Post

U.S. puts J&J in charge of plant that botched COVID vaccine, removes AstraZeneca Reuters

Covid pandemic peaks in Eastern Europe ruins Easter BBC

Health Dept. data: 70% of most recent COVID-19 cases in New York City are variants amny

Pandemic poised to surge again in California’s Silicon Valley tech hub Reuters

Los Angeles Faces Familiar Virus Challenges As It Enters Orange Tier Capital & Main

A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons Marshall Project

Across Asia-Pacific and Europe, Covid-19 has thrown up another risk – an addiction to lockdowns South China Morning Post

Randi Weingarten on Opening Schools Safely New Yorker

What the world can learn from New Zealand’s Covid-19 bin mystery Wired

Some Standard Cynical CIA-Style Cuba Covid Reporting at The Washington Post Counterpunch

The Surprising Success of Sputnik V Der Spiegel

Covid-19 Vaccine Passports Are Coming. What Will That Mean? Wired

Covid vaccinations are free — but they’re taking a toll on local pharmacies’ bottom lines NBC

*****

Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes in the US, March 1, 2020, to January 2, 2021 JAMA

Use of portable air cleaners to reduce aerosol transmission on a hospital COVID-19 ward medRxiv

The effect of respiratory activity, non‐invasive respiratory support and facemasks on aerosol generation and its relevance to COVID‐19 Anaesthesia

Class Warfare

How has the US pandemic response increased inequality? Look at New York’s nail salons. MIT Technology Review

Egalitarians are more aware of inequality Ars Technica

Majority of World’s Flights Taken by a Small Minority of Elite Travelers Treehugger

Amazon Workers Shouldn’t Have to Work This Hard to Win a Union Jacobin

An insider-trading indictment shows ties to Bloomberg News scoops Columbia Journalism Review

In apology, Amazon admits some drivers have to ‘pee in bottles’ Agence France-Presse

As Private Equity Comes to Dominate Autism Services… The Nation

Biden Administration

White House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn’t vote for them The Hill

U.S. and Iran Agree to Resume Talks on Nuclear Deal WSJ

Sports Desk

MLB All-Star Game yanked from Georgia over voting law AP

New York State of Mind

How New York’s New Marijuana Law Plants Seeds of Fairness The City

How to (Legally) Smoke Marijuana in New York City Grub Street

Embattled Cuomo Pushes Skyline-Altering Penn Station Real Estate Plan as Critics Mobilize The City

They happen to like New York Times Literary Supplement

What Happens to New York Theater on April 2? New York magazine

A Pasta Factory in Brooklyn New Yorker

Syraqistan

‘Someone Was Out There Deliberately Manufacturing Evidence’ FAIR

China?

China Is Missing from the Great Inflation Debate Project Syndicate. Jamies Galbraith.

Weaponized Immigrants: Uyghur Edition Immigrants as a Weapon

Spratly Islands, Diaoyu, Bay of Bengal: is a storm brewing in Asia-Pacific waters? South China Morning Post

India

The Making of Brand Modi The Diplomat

Sachin Tendulkar: India cricket legend in hospital with Covid-19 BBC

Bengal Polls: Will TMC Stand Strong in Hooghly Despite BJP’s Momentum? The Wire. Important election in West Bengal: Didi (Mamata Banerjee) and Modi square off.

‘Corruption first, citizenship later’: Why CAA is having little impact on the Bengal elections Scroll

Salman Rushdie on Midnight’s Children at 40: ‘India is no longer the country of this novel’ Guardian

‘I Am Not Afraid Of Arrest, The Govt Can Do Whatever It Wants’ Article14

Myanmar

Myanmar death toll edges up to 550 as online crackdown tightens Al Jazeera

Conspiracies rage over CNN visit after military-owned Yangon malls go up in flames Coconuts Yangon

LETTER FROM LONDON: A Troubling Decision Consortium News. Concerning Craig Murray’s case.

Anidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video (chuck l):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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119 comments

  1. Amfortas the hippie

    link for TAC on urban “farming”:
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/urbs/farms-are-coming-to-cities/

    I am all for urban ag…rip up that worn out parking lot or crumbling building and plant a garden…and replace those lawns with useful plants.
    But i have mixed feelings about this sort of high tech, high input “farming”.
    while it’s certainly applicable in certain situations(like on a big space station…or in researching how to farm on a space station,lol…or feeding Greenland, or something), it falls into the same Playing God complex that the rest of Big Ag does…removing the variables of Nature, so that one can have entirely predictable returns….it’s part of the financialisation of agriculture…or of Nature, herself.
    I have certain…and rather amorphous…pseudoreligious problems with this….but also practical issues…especially the input problem. I’ve run a big greenhouse…and it’s hard to be God.
    I never even tried to provide artificial sunlight in my greenhouse…that just adds another layer of complexity…(see: industrial pot farming)
    and i used manure and mulch and covercrops and interplanting and good bugs just like i do outside the greenhouse(hydroponics, unless it’s connected/integrated with a fish/crawfish farm —where one must provide an artificial substitute for frelling SOIL seems pretty hubristic, to me…take better care of the soil we have, instead)…but providing everything else was difficult, to say the least.
    the “services” provided by Nature are indispensable, in the long run….and those “services” are to be “paid for” by grasshopper outbreaks and late freezes.
    it boils down to just another attempt at working against Mother Nature, rather than with Her….and I’m sorry, but Nature always wins in the end.

    my big greenhouse(3000 sq feet) is currently just a frame…I’d like to cover it again, and grow things in winter, again, but the market won’t justify it…heating it is the main problem…especially with strange phenomena like the valentine’s ice age. (my little greenhouse didn’t fare well with 2 weeks of extreme cold and cloudy, and i lost everything i wasn’t able to bring into the house(coldest part of the house, by my bed, got down to 35)…including the seeds i had planted in little pots the week before…had to reseed everything)

    Reply
    1. marieann

      I agree with everything you posted. I have a small put up greenhouse to extend the planting times and I often have to improvise during a bad cold spell.
      One of my problems with this “vertical farming” is that so far I have only ever seen salad crops growing and it is real easy to grow salad crops indoors.They do it already in greenhouse near me.

      I never see rows of potatoes or broccoli or corn…you know the real food people eat to fill them up.

      As far as I am concerned this is just another “planet saver” type of thing because it’s easy. The work of fixing our soil and farms is much too yesterday…..Oh and it’s also too much work.

      Reply
    2. Bruce F

      Hi,
      Have you tried an type of passive ground air heat transfer systems? My friend in Chicago put one in 2 yrs ago and it seems to be working.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIMTCFaV8J0

      Here’s a link to his site as well, where he talks about how he built it.

      In cold climates a substantial amount of supplemental heating is required to run greenhouses during the winter season. Based on research established here in the United States most famously by Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside Maine. Based also on the Chinese solar greenhouse experience and a study conducted in Canada titled “Winter performance of a solar energy greenhouse in southern Manitoba” we intended to implement and use proven techniques to grow food year round in Chicago with minimal supplemental heating.

      Following our farm capitol plan we plan to erect a Chinese style solar greenhouse in 2019 to grow food 12 months a year. With our Chinese solar style greenhouse we intend to employ several passive techniques to minimize supplemental heating:

      a GAHT (ground-air-heat-transfer) system (already installed);
      a thermal night blanket;
      a wall of reclaimed city brick to act as a thermal mass;
      an efficient 3-layer polyethylene film greenhouse cover;

      A traditional geothermal system is a closed circuit, pressurized type system. A GAHT (ground-air-heat-transfer) system is like geothermal-lite. We decided to employ this technique as one of the methods to grow year-round in our hoop-house.

      Here are two references to systems of this type:

      http://www.ecosystems-design.com/climate-batteries.html

      https://www.greenbuildermedia.com/diygreen/climate-control-and-your-year-round-solar-greenhouse

      HERE you can see a video of our GAHT system installation in the fall of 2018.

      Also, HERE you can see a video of a GAHT system that is 10 times larger than the one we have installed. This system took a week to install but is a good representation of what we accomplished in one 10 hour day.

      In October 2018 we installed a GAHT system to employ in our hoop-house we are erecting. The bottom of our footprint for the GAHT system was 20’ by 16’. The layers were constructed like this:

      5” – gravel – bottom of hoop-house
      1.5’ – soil (also water container in this layer)
      5” – 2nd pipe layer – in gravel
      2’ – soil
      5” – 1st pipe layer – in gravel
      5” – gravel, very bottom

      Reply
    3. Greg

      I get tired of the hype for high tech urban farming as well. They’re just trading one form of resource for a lot more of several other resources. The energy consumption and carbon footprint of these farms, once you factor in the nutrient and plastic manufacture and endless disposable plant care guff, is enormous. Absolutely insane.

      Reply
    1. cnchal

      Just what we need. Moar power sucking data centers to store the digital sewer the internet has become.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Google also has close ties with the best-known DNA testing companies in the United States, such as Ancestry.com. Ancestry, recently purchased by private-equity behemoth Blackstone, shares data with a secretive Google subsidiary that uses genomic data to develop lifespan-extending therapies. In addition, the wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, is the cofounder and CEO of DNA testing company 23andMe. Wojcicki is also the sister of the CEO of Google-owned YouTube, Susan Wojcicki.’

      Unfortunately, DNA-testing will not show up this type of incestuousness.

      Reply
    3. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      So I suppose the tremendous ecological waste involved will offset the little dip in emissions so many were so enthusiastic about when ‘lockdowns’ were hard and heavy just a year ago.

      Reply
    4. Carolinian

      Don’t forget the just annouced leak of 500 million Facebook records including phone numbers and personal information. I’m not a Facebook-ian but it seems nuts to trust an internet company with so much private data.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I suppose that having people change their passwords from time to time is not enough. People will also have to start rotating their social security numbers to be more safe online.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        And in interesting news about the Facebook leak-

        ‘The cell-phone number of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is among the personal information leaked online in a low-level hacking forum, according to a researcher.

        Multiple outlets reported the claims about Zuckerberg’s leaked personal information. Data including his name, location, marriage details, birth date, and Facebook user ID was exposed’

        https://www.businessinsider.com.au/mark-zuckerberg-phone-number-facebook-leak-data-reports-2021-4

        Reply
    5. Mme Generalist

      Thanks?

      Ugh. Having had Covid and having an auto-immune disorder (plus no “smart” phone), this is making me crazy. Oh, well. Further to the margins!

      Reply
      1. flora

        Not inevitable. Florida govt is rejecting it as any sort of mandatory requirement. I expect other states to follow suit. And, I’m finally beginning to appreciate the US federal system of states. I’m starting to be glad I live in GOP state. (Never thought I’d ever think that.)

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: understand my opposition to a mandatory digital C19 “passport” does not mean I’m against voluntary vaccinations. These are 2 separate issues.

          Reply
          1. Louis Fyne

            Regrettably that nuance isn’t allowed in the discourse on CNN. You’re either with us or against us on every major public policy issue

            Reply
        2. Yves Smith

          They are already illegal in many states and cities due to civil rights and privacy statutes. No way would this fly in Denver. TN is passing an amendment to its privacy statute to make it unambiguous that this is not legal.

          Reply
    6. Foy

      So glad you posted this Flora, I saw that article recently and didn’t tag it and promptly lost it, couldn’t remember who was the author and couldn’t find it again. I’d been hoping someone would post it in the links, and you did! Thanks.

      Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I was not surprised that the American Conservative article failed to mention what is perhaps the largest and most valuable crop often grown indoors.

      Reply
    2. Mr. Rogers

      As a an urban farmer myself I have never been impressed with indoor methods. If the main problems were land availability and water use then maybe it would make sense. But many areas, like the northeast have water rich climates. However, energy over-use is arguably the defining problems of our time – and we want to move toward becoming reliant on LEDs for agriculture? I wonder how much it might cut the impressive yield per square foot estimates if we include the field of solar panels needed to power the indoor farm. Lets not forget sunlight is free….

      I don’t want to squash all creative thinking on this topic – there may be some rational future for indoor hydroponics – but it is just a little too techno-utopian for me to believe. Luckily there are lots of other lower tech solutions and historical examples staring us in the face to help localize food systems. Paris produced all of its own vegetables within city limits in the 1850’s and cities like Cincinnati were designed with agricultural green belts around their perimeter. Although much of those green belts have been “developed” into suburbs it seems those locales boast quite a bit of lawn, America’s most abundant crop by far…. plenty of sun shining there…. it’s called an agrihood. My friend is doing his PhD in urban ag and this is his focus area.

      But now we are talking about cultural change, city planning, land use policies etc.. in our current state of affairs is a lot easier buy a cheap warehouse and scrape together some venture capital for LEDs…

      Reply
      1. Zamfir

        I grew up among Dutch greenhouses, which makes these American farming startups utterly weird. Their “technology” descriptions read like a standard tomato farm from my childhood, except without glass.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        the ring of farmers around Paris during that period was utterly reliant on abundant manure from the city…from carriages and wagons and wains and the like.
        I would be doing French Intensive if not for the apparent manure shortage(where does it all go?!*)…as it stands, i am a lot less densely planted than i’d like(about an acre of garden space plus numerous bathtubs and washtubs and washer/dryer tubs and cow-lick tubs and so on.)
        thus, integrating more chickens into the mix(more for meat than for eggs, since we’re already lousy with eggs,lol)…and hopefully convincing mo to make a couple of burros happen…specifically for the grass to manure conversion.

        * as for manure shortages…out here, the local feedlot(not a single cow is eaten here) has a lot of manure, but it’s contaminated with “persistent herbicides” that endure the cow’s gut as well as the composting process, and can persist for as many as 5 years.
        this is due to (engineered by marketing/mythos) trends and fads in hay raising…not enough manure users to make a dent.
        so i’m limited to horses…horse people are persnicketty about what their hoses eat, in my experience…and, aside from wormers and such, have much cleaner poop…but few out here stable their horses, and many of those who do either expect me to clean their stalls for the privilege, by hand(no loaders, there,lol)…or have no idea what i’m talking about when i ask if they have any horse manure.(lady at the horse racing track 50 miles south got offended when i got frustrated with her ignorance of the connection between horses and manure and listed off:”caca, poop,horse shit, manure, feces of equines, that giant brown pile you park near and walk past to get to the phone yer talking to me on…”–so flabbergasted was i at her obliviousness)

        I doubt the situation is any better near the great cities.
        other than that little issue, French Intensive on vacant lots and in back yards could indeed go a long way towards feeding people

        Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “Embattled Cuomo Pushes Skyline-Altering Penn Station Real Estate Plan as Critics Mobilize”

    After his latest press conference, Cuomo opened up about future plans for the Cuomo vision of New York city. Said that he wanted to remodel both the Chrysler building and the Empire State Building as they were too old-timey for what he wanted. Also mentioned that he has been in contact with a UK firm willing to clad both buildings with aluminium composite cladding and that he will be able to get them cheap as for some reason, there is a whole surplus of them in the UK and the demand there has dried up for them.

    Feeling expansive, he let on his heart’s desire to really change the New York skyline with what he calls the Cuomo Central Development. He noted that there is several hundred acres going to waste in New York that is just begging to be developed with banking & insurance headquarters, exclusive apartment buildings, high class-restaurants and everything else that average New Yorkers like himself deserve. “Would you believe that we own this place?”

    “You should see this area” he said. “Totally undeveloped and filled with people loafing about instead of being at work in their office buildings. There are a coupla fetid lakes that will have to be drained but we should be able to pay for that by selling the timber from the trees in this area” though he could not state how much board-feet that it will total. “Would you believe that there are animals like squirrels & ducks in that dump? Probably carrying rabies or something. Should send in animal control.”

    At the time of publishing, reporters were scouring maps to try to identify this area.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am an infrequent visitor to the City. I am not sure what is so wrong about Penn Station. I think the building is very beautiful. If Cuomo wants to fix something he can put in places to sit — that have backs — and add some signage intelligible to foreign travelers from distant places like New Jersey. It was easier for me to navigate Shinjunku to find the train to Narita Airport during rush hour than it was to find the A-Train and the right track the first time. If he really wants to improve Penn Station, spend some state money, and leave a significant legacy, he should team up with New Jersey to fix the North River Tunnels before they succumb to terminal decay. I have not visited the new Hudson Yards neighborhood in a long while but if that is an example of the kind of improvement and modernization Cuomo’s moneyed friends have on offer … UGH! Cuomo wants to remodel the Empire State Building because it’s too old-timey!? That’s insane!

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        This was clearly an April fool prank (please tell me it is!), albeit by someone who is not a “Cuomosexual”.

        I would guess you are thinking of Grand Central Station?

        Penn Station, a similar grand old train station, was demolished in the 1960s to construct what is now Madison Square ‘Garden’ arena complex, a bunch of hideously ugly office towers. The train ‘station’ is an underground maze of shops en route to the rail tracks (very little seating, as that would become a homeless shelter). Fit for purpose, but all the charm of an aging subway station.

        …There’s talk of converting its twin, the old Post Office Buiding, to a rail terminal, but AFAIK that hasn’t gotten past the talking stage. NYC has more urgent infra that it needs to spend billions on, like the Hudson river tunnels.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I was definitely thinking of Madison Square Gardens. It is listed as Penn Station when I buy my NJT ticket to get to the city. I even ran into trouble one time when I bought a ticket in a hurry, not realizing there was also a stop in Newark, NJ with a Penn Station. I have not been to the City since before the days of Corona. After the Hudson Yards and Central Park Supertowers this April Fool’s joke is not funny to me.

          Reply
          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I forgot to add that much as I dislike the Hudson Yards architecture I really like the skyway walkway. It really speeds walking not to have so many lights along the path.

            Reply
    2. ambrit

      My money is on this being a belated April Fool’s Joke. The “missing” piece of ‘waste ground’ is obviously Central Park.
      If this is really from Cuomo’s camp, someone there has a sense of humour. If not…..

      Reply
    3. Janie

      Dateline is updated April 2. My guess (too lazy to research) is originally April 1. Giveaway is surplus of aluminum cladding lying around, rather than referencing the horrendous fire.

      Reply
  3. Brian (another one they call)

    I wanted to read the JAMA paper, but I am not a member. In what I read about diseases that were included on the mortality list, influenza was not mentioned. If someone that is a member might comment please; Is it mentioned somewhere in the body of the paper? I understand that it is normally one of the larger mortality events each year.

    Reply
      1. Cuibono

        those two numbers are only vaguely related.
        suppose in a given year 100 people die. This year 20 died. that is 20% excess, right.
        Now suppose those 20 died of covid. that would mean 1000 people roughly had covid infection (for a CFR of about 1.8%)

        Reply
      2. Skip Intro

        If the annual mortality is M, there are 0.2M excess should be about equal to 1.8% of the covid-infected.

        Reply
  4. giant squid

    Re: “Pandemic poised to surge again in California’s Silicon Valley tech hub”

    This Reuters article includes the following statement:

    “In California, the most populous U.S. state with 40 million residents, about 5.6 million people, or 17.3% percent of the population, had received one vaccine dose, the CDC said.”

    This is mistaken. The LA Times reported today that 32.3% of Californians, not 17.3%, have received at least one vaccine dose while 17.8% are now fully vaccinated.

    Reply
  5. Michael Ismoe

    Pete Buttigieg mocked for ‘phony’ Cabinet meeting bike stunt

    The Daily Mail had pictures of Pete’s bodyguards unloading his bike out of the back of a black SUV. He couldn’t even lift the thing by himself. What? you had no idea that Mayo Pete had bodyguards? Yes he does and I am personally responsible because every time I see him I want to punch him in the face. Where Amy Klobuchar when I need her?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Where’s Amy Klobuchar? Why does Mayo Pete need bodyguards? Aren’t these the same question and answer?

      Nice catch on Pete not even unloading his own bike. It’s 20lbs.

      Reply
    2. Maritimer

      From Photo Op to Photo Flop. Trump it: Fire the Staffer.

      These Important People cannot even manage their PR, let alone run a country. You see these PR bombs over and over again, must be Nepotism or Patronage at work.

      (Hey, remember Four Seasons Total Landscaping with bonus crematorium and porn shop?)

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Sachin Tendulkar: India cricket legend in hospital with Covid-19”

    Hopefully he will be in for a quick recovery. And who is he? Why, he is “The Little Master.” From Wikipedia-

    ‘Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar…is an Indian former international cricketer who served as captain of the Indian national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. He is the highest run scorer of all time in international cricket, and the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries, the first batsman to score a double century in a One Day International (ODI), the holder of the record for the most runs in both Test and ODI cricket, and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in international cricket. In 2013, he was the only Indian cricketer included in an all-time Test World XI named to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. He is affectionately known as Little Master or Master Blaster.’

    The guy was brilliant and whenever he came out to Oz with his team, Aussies looked forward to seeing him play, even though it was against our own team. Everybody respected him and loved watching him when he went in to bat. Wasn’t the sort of guy who would say I-am-the-greatest nor the type to point his bat to where he was going to hit the ball. Just a real good guy.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I never saw him bat live but I always looked forward to his batting when I was in India and caught it on the telly. For an avid baseball fan, it was a real eye-opener to see a master like Tendulkar play the whole ground (aka field). Also to try and appreciate the different approaches a batsman would take in a test, vs an ODI, vs T-20.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        You would think the 4 million from his ridiculous “I am brilliant at pandemics” book would have managed that, not to mention the thousands of dollars a month In pension benefits he will be eligible for as AG and governor (upwards of $6000 dollars…)

        But it is so much less than our former Presidents have managed and that is who he probably compares himself with.

        Reply
  7. semiconscious

    re: Excess Deaths From COVID-19 and Other Causes in the US, March 1, 2020, to January 2, 2021 JAMA

    why does covid-19 seem to select for first-world countries? (the u.s. accounts for roughly a fifth of all world-wide covid-19 deaths, while only a bit over 4% of the world’s total population) one factor might be this: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/08/covid-cdc-study-finds-roughly-78percent-of-people-hospitalized-were-overweight-or-obese.html

    Among 148,494 adults who received a Covid-19 diagnosis during an emergency department or inpatient visit at 238 U.S. hospitals from March to December, 71,491 were hospitalized. Of those who were admitted, 27.8% were overweight and 50.2% were obese, according to the CDC report. Overweight is defined as having a body mass index of 25 or more, while obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.

    The agency found the risk for hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths was lowest among individuals with BMIs under 25. The risk of severe illness “sharply increased,” however, as BMIs rose, particularly among people 65 and older, the agency said.

    Just over 42% of the U.S. population was considered obese in 2018, according to the agency’s most recent statistics.

    Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        Saudi Arabia and some of the other Persian Gulf states have US-like or worse obesity rates…but IIRC their per capita death rates are lower.

        Cue the hypothesis re. Vitamin D and covid mortality and/or other factors like indoor ventilation, institutional homes, etc.

        Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      Another factor may be that first-world people generally spend a lot of time in sealed, poorly ventilated interior spaces. Here in Hawaii we have (per the NY Times) the lowest number of covid cases per 100000 population in the U.S. It’s also one of the few places in the U.S. where its comfortable to be outside or have your windows open year-round. We certainly have our share of over-weight people…

      Reply
      1. Carla

        Aloha, LifelongLib. I am constantly amazed at how the message about VENTILATION fails to get through. Of course, medical authorities saying imprecise things like “Wear a mask whenever you leave home” sure doesn’t help.

        Lambert’s saying “Don’t share your air” is great. The corollary is, in the great outdoors, it’s OUR air, and there’s plenty of it, so don’t stress. Strictly limit the number, frequency and length of indoor contacts, and wear a mask in those indoor circumstances. Pray tell, what is hard about this?

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Across Asia-Pacific and Europe, Covid-19 has thrown up another risk – an addiction to lockdowns”

    ‘In Australia, the city of Brisbane on Monday began a snap lockdown after the emergence of seven coronavirus cases, weeks after Perth, Australia’s fourth-largest city, went into a five-day lockdown over a single infection.’

    The writer does not get it. Yeah, we just came out of a snap lockdown and will still have to use masks for the next fortnight. But most people here recognize that the purpose is to short-circuit a spread of this virus after any cases appear in the community as in ‘you go in early and you go in hard’. Else you are trying to fight down a general spread of this virus as it spreads near and far. We saw what happened in Victoria when it got loose and spilled over into the other States and have no wish to repeat the experience.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      And in a bit of local news about that three-day lock down. So one of our home grown neocons – Peter Dutton – attacked the Queensland Premier for doing this saying it was merely panicking and nothing ever came out of it anyway and won’t anyone consider the poor tourism operators? Apparently it being Easter Sunday is no reason for people like Peter Dutton not to get into people’s faces. So our Deputy premier tweeted to him to “Go eat some chocolate and read a book Peter Dutton.” That’s good advice that-

      https://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/politics/peter-dutton-says-qld-premier-annastacia-palaszczuks-threeday-covid19-lockdown-was-panic/news-story/a5051c6276d78fd0f5b53efb9d11d3b5

      Reply
  9. Pelham

    Re breaking up Big Tech: For me, this echoes the Democrats’ approach to social media misinformation and censorship, with the solution offered being only more censorship. Here, the solution is aiming for a greater choice of problematic, poisonous social media in place of the few existing and dominant problematic, poisonous players.

    In neither case is the central problem addressed, this being the very nature of social media serving to primarily spread inflammatory, divisive and mostly untrue garbage, thus greatly amplifying toxic tendencies already hard at work in our media environment.

    Repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is commonly cited as one way to address this problem, and I continue to think that repeal is essential as a big first step. The goal should be to make anyone publishing online individually responsible for their content and thus subject to every jot and tittle of existing communications law governing defamation.

    Thus something approximating truth and reality would come to be the yardstick for responsible content rather than leaving that judgment to spooky, impenetrable algorithms and shadowy, unaccountable tech elves and billionaires or a more competitive media marketplace that would only serve to multiply the number of treacherous algorithms, elves and billionaires.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Not much gratitude to Big Tech by the Democrats for helping them across the line to make old Joe President. Like when the New York Post came out with the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop and Big Tech worked together to deep-six that story for a fortnight and remove it from public sight.

      Reply
    2. Fraibert

      I think you misunderstand Section 230. That provision protects “content providers” that deliver defamatory material. This means, for example, that Twitter is not liable for defamatory statements on that platform. Similarly, Verizon is not liable if you use your Verizon-provided internet connection to post defamatory materials on a blog.

      Section 230 does not protect person(s) (whether individuals or corporate) from liability for their defamatory statements. A defamed person can still sue the person(s) who defamed them. For example, if Jim defames me on Twitter, I can still sue Jim. I can also sue all the people who retweeted Jim’s defamatory remarks. However, in this hypothetical, I cannot sue Twitter itself.

      Of course, all of this raises an additional issue–even if a defamed person _could_ sue someone or some number of people for defamatory statements on social media, is it worth the time and effort? Mostly it isn’t, unless there are “deep pockets” on the other side, such as a media company.

      In my Twitter hypothetical, the best deep pocket, of course, would be Twitter itself. At common law (both English and then American), a defamed person could sue anyone who “published” the defamatory material. Publication was as simple as repeating or distributing the defamatory material.

      Absent Section 230, I could sue Twitter for Jim’s defamatory remark. Twitter is almost certainly a better lawsuit target than Jim. But, this also creates an incentive for Twitter to prevent Jim from posting his defamatory content in the first place…or any content that Twitter /thinks/ might be defamatory (even if that content actually is true).

      Now, in American law due to the First Amendment (though traditionally not so in England), truth is an absolute defense in a defamation suit. So there’s that, but I’m not sure getting rid of Section 230 helps with tech censorship.

      Reply
    1. Alex Cox

      Very good article. Timelines are always useful, which I suppose is why we see them so rarely in the MSM. Still, we need not worry, as Biden’s Central American solution is to pump more money into the military and police forces in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Well, those military and police are so useful in dealing with any of that pesky democracy and squeezing out terrified, hungry refugees from their homes to flee the United States; gotta keep those unions busted and the costs of paying people peons for their work to nearly nonexistent.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          The problem with the contras was their messaging…./s
          why not call them end of life squads, or maybe angels of neoliberalism…yeah, that’s it!
          Their god is a vengeful god…

          Reply
  10. kareninca

    “Pandemic poised to surge again in California’s Silicon Valley tech hub”

    I don’t know. I live in Silicon Valley, in a zip code of 15,000+ people. So far in this zip code, in the course of the entire pandemic, there have been 149 cases of covid, per county stats. I don’t know a single person in this area who has had covid. So we never had a original surge. Will the variants cause a surge now? People are still being pretty cautious. I know some older vaccinated people who can’t seem to absorb the idea that they can still catch and transmit, but they are constantly told by others that they can and so they continue to mask up.

    Yes, I know this is not all of Silicon Valley; some parts were hard hit.

    Reply
  11. Robert Gray

    > Covid pandemic peaks in Eastern Europe ruins Easter BBC

    And that is absolutely [sic]. Way back in the mists of time, the BBC was considered a standard of English usage. Nowadays, ‘peaks … ruins’ things. Unfortunately, one sees that kind of sloppiness (or ignorance?) there every day. (Even to be acceptable as headlinese it needs a comma, after ‘Europe’.)

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’m certainly not the grammar police, but i notice an apparent lack of copyediting or even just proofreading pretty much everywhere online.
      not really spelling errors, but transposed words and words that are spelled right, so spell check gives a pass, but that are the wrong words for the sentence…but might start with the same few letters, so again, a spellcheck artifact, maybe(i don’t use it for this very reason: it doesn’t recognise so many of the words i use or the idioms and idiosyncrasies i am comfortable with that it’s not worth the red squiggly distraction–spellcheck doesnt recognise “spellcheck”,ffs).
      I guess spellcheck has replaced learning to spell and/or proofreading.
      I also reckon that a lot of writing is now done on those tiny screens…witness all the multi-part twitter essays…the syntax and other errors are the same.
      ergo, i try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt on such things…and rarely is it so bad as to be incomprehensible.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        spelcheque is second for me behind parking tickets for triggering events. I reserve the right to mispel.

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        It may be rare that it’s incomprehensible, but the extra effort of sorting through possible meanings to choose a candidate meaning, then analyze the whole sentence to see if that’s the only candidate that makes sense, is tiresome. I hate all the “butcher’s apostrophes” I see, too. They’re just jarring. I’m guilty of sometimes failing to proofread, but it seems so common, now.

        Reply
      3. Robert Gray

        For many people this will no doubt sound more extreme than I intend but I don’t believe that I am alone in thinking this way.

        Imagine you, as a former chef, go into a restaurant and ask for a chicken-fried steak. They bring you a cheeseburger. ‘Erm … sorry … that’s not what I wanted.’ ‘Well, it’s not so bad as to be incomprehensible, is it? It’s just that the chef’s not comfortable with all that red squiggly distraction. So, enjoy your meal!’

        As a former teacher and editor, I don’t see myself as the ‘grammar police’ — now there’s a pejorative meme; kind of like ‘conspiracy theory’ — but I do expect that professional writers / copyeditors / proofreaders are careful in their work. And that they have a basic competence, such that ‘peaks ruins’ sets off an alarm bell. The standard is of course lower for non-professionals (and non-native speakers) posting comments on the internet. There I’d agree that simple comprehensibility is enough — but woe betide when major institutions (remember, my initial remark was in regard to the BBC) settle for such slackness.

        James Howard Kunstler may be a crank but his assessment of this modern era — ‘anything goes and nothing matters’ — is too often right on the money.

        And then there is the old joke about the Gallup pollster interviewing the man in the street. ‘Excuse me, sir. There’s a new report saying that the two most urgent problems facing the world today are ignorance and apathy. What do you think about that?’ ‘Well, I’ll tell you the truth: I don’t know and I don’t care.’

        I realise of course that I am fighting a rear-guard action and rear-guard actions by definition merely delay the inevitable. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

        Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    The Slow Travel Trend Is Here to Stay Conde Nast Traveler
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Just back from our favorite slow travel trend, 4 days of soaking in the just recently re-filled Saline Valley hot springs which had been emptied due to the pandemic. We anticipated things being a wee bit busy thanks to pent up demand of it being down for over a year, but not really as only a dozen vehicles were in our neck of the woods (‘woods’ being about 2 dozen mature palm trees near the tubs) and it was quite pleasant taking in the warm water for soaks in the early morning, occasionally mid-morning, late-noon, sunset or mid-evening, sometimes @ midnight.

    Nobody wore masks and if you didn’t know Covid was going on, you would have had no clue.

    Jets emanating from China Lake naval air station put in quite a performance of around 20 very low flyovers with F-16’s, F-18’s, F-35’s and a 4 engine cargo jet, all making passes from 100 to 500 feet above the ground @ 500 mph, with the ‘highlight’ being an F-18 that flew so low it set off a car alarm on a truck parked about 100 yards away from us, ha ha!

    We felt like we got our share of the nearly trillion bucks the military wastes every year, with probably well over a million spent in those assorted sorties.

    A friend calls Saline hot springs an ‘AirBnB’ as in it comes with an air show, there are a few Burros kicking around, and the Bats come out at night, occasionally emulating the jets with really low runs over the hot springs, catching a drink on the fly…

    Conde Nast would never have a story on Saline hot springs-as there’s no money in it, not one Cent changed hands when we were there.

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/saline-valley-hot-springs-2

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      That sounds really lovely (even the flyovers, I’m an occasional planespotter). Like lots of people I’m planning on just doing local exploring for the coming summer. Its frustrating here though as most places won’t take bookings, so its hard to know what trips are doable. Last week I did a little camping on a detour after a work trip (its nearly impossible to get a hotel anyway) and it reminded me of how much I missed that pleasure. It helped that its lovely spring weather here, not the usual March/April rain and storms. Maybe thats our climate armageddon bonus.

      I’ve spent the weekend planning my first real post-Covid trip, and it will be a nice and slow one. Thanks to Brexit there are a lot more ferries from Ireland to Europe, so I’m hoping next Spring to take my bike on one to Spain and to a nice gentle cycling loop down to Portugal along the coast and back following the old Roman road through the centre of Spain. Camping is usually nice, but when you can match up your camp cooking with a vinho verde or alborino with local goat cheese and bread it can feel very special.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I wonder what effect so many people having tasted the outdoor life will have on them, once the pandemic has passed?

        Everything in the wake of Covid @ Sequoia NP went to computerized reservations for car camping & backcountry wilderness permits, spur of the moment trips are no longer feasible. It cramps my style a bit, but i’m mostly interested in doing dayhikes, which doesn’t require anything.

        Looks to be a long summer and I used to pace myself slowing down a bit as the fall came into focus, but not this year. There’s essentially no snow up to 7k now, and it’ll go away quickly in the higher climes as the melt-freeze cycle is lurching into a melt-melt cycle.

        Wildfires are rare in the Sierra before August usually, and my plan is to get as much walking in before the eventuality happens, and the air quality goes to hell.

        Reply
  13. skk

    Re:
    Salman Rushdie on Midnight’s Children at 40: ‘India is no longer the country of this novel’ Guardian

    That’s a great read. Most of the essay, apart from the last two paras are about writing, writing that particular novel, of capturing the sense of urban India in a novel form. His thoughts on using sentence structure, narrative flow and divergence to capture the sounds, smells, heat of India are worth a read for sure.

    The inevitable guardian heading and sub-heading don’t reflect that aspect but I guess the Guardian, Salman Rushdie have to indulge their own feelings on the matter of the steady disappearance of British Victorian and heavily British influenced urban elites and their India and the emergence of a vastly different Indian elites, still influenced by the west but the modern West and perhaps influencing it in turn.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I was most interested in Rushdie’s thoughts on the techniques he used to convey a sense of India. I read Midnight’s Children quite a while ago and this piece makes me think it’s time for a reread.

      Reply
    2. R

      That’s a lot of spin to put on the heading and subheading about a nostalgia for Empire he just doesn’t evince.

      If you read the article to the end, he bemoans the polarisation and sectarianism of modern India and the abandonment of a dream to weld a new Indian settlement when the post-Raj one died on the rack of Mrs Gandhi’s Emergency.

      Reply
  14. Katniss Everdeen

    Last night, the ncaa final four men’s basketball teams played in Indianapolis. It was on April 4,1968, also in Indianapolis, that Robert Kennedy announced the assassination of Martin Luther King. During last night’s pregame, that event was remembered.

    JFK’s brother called on people to seek compassion and justice rather than anger and revenge, saying the vast majority of Americans, both black and white, want to live in peace with each other, which was the message Barkley said he took away from the speech. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated two months later.

    This is Charles Barkley commenting on RFK’s remarks:

    “I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power.

    “I truly believe in my heart most white people and black people are awesome people, but we’re so stupid following our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats,” he said.

    He described what he believes to be the thinking behind the divide-and-conquer strategy: “Hey, let’s make these people not like each other. We don’t live in their neighborhoods, we all got money, let’s make the whites and blacks not like each other, let’s make rich people and poor people not like each other, let’s scramble the middle class.”

    I, for one, will be sitting squarely in Barkley’s corner when cancel culture comes for him which, I have no doubt, it will. That kind of talk cannot be tolerated.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/520080-barkley-divide-conquer-politics/

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      Fifteen years ago he talked openly about running for governor of Alabama when he retired from basketball. But he gave up on that years ago. He has been a steady critic of both parties for a while now.

      Reply
    2. chuck roast

      Back in the day when Charles was a JD he used to regularly say that he was nobody’s role model. I’d say that he grew up rather nicely.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Dose climate drove genetic selection?.

        Here’s some observations:

        The Long Distance Runners of East Africa, and the acceleration and leaping ability of West Africans.

        Both of which would feature will in catching food in their respective climes.

        Reply
  15. juno mas

    RE: Anitdote

    Nice photo of juvenile Southern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis ‘lucida’). This is not the Northern spotted owl of the environmental standoff in Oregon/Washington. How to tell?:the light tan feathering, and the tree they are roosting in. This southern sub-specie has a relatively low probability of becoming adults: habitat loss, higher-order predators, and folks with guns.

    Reply
  16. lincoln

    “Why Did the Slave Trade Survive So Long?”

    Because…money. Slave farmed sugar and cotton were some of the most valuable commodities during the late 1700s to early 1800s. I remember reading that sugar made the Caribbean island of Martinique more valuable than all of Canada during part of the 1800’s. Their closest contemporary comparison is probably oil. Regarding sugar:

    “By 1750, sugar surpassed grain as “the most valuable commodity in European trade – it made up a fifth of all European imports and in the last decades of the century four-fifths of the sugar came from the British and French colonies in the West Indies.” From the 1740s until the 1820s, sugar was Britain’s most valuable import.”

    And cotton:

    “by the early 1830s the United States produced the majority of the world’s cotton. Cotton also exceeded the value of all other United States exports combined.”

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      The South was the richest region of the United States both because of its cotton and its human cattle, which could be bought, sold, and used as collateral, just like any other “property;” this describes the past four centuries of the American economy, especially its supposed free-market capitalism. All the factories, farms, shipping, and people in the North and Northeast were less valuable than the plantations with their slaves of the South. It is a partial explanation of why the Southern Slavocracy thought it could win as money usually determines the winners except their wealth was built not on creation, but on fear and theft.

      Reply
  17. Tom Stone

    America ended up with mostly black slaves because the white slaves died too quickly to be profitable, while black slaves had some resistance to tropical diseases such as malaria.

    The Malaria pandemic of 1822-1823 killed 95% of native Californians to give one example of how deadly new diseases can be.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Also, the whites usually being indentured had some rights and were not quite property. They had to be freed and be given some tools and supplies, maybe even a little land, usually after seven years and their children were usually born free. It is true that their owners had little incentive to feed, clothe, or house them enough to keep them alive, so they often did not. The indentured still had some recourse with the community and the courts. If nothing else, they could try to fade into the white population once the colonies grew enough in population.

      Blacks became straight up property for life with no rights or protections excepting the extremely minimal legal ones of not being tortured or worked to death, or just murdered, which were not always enforced anyways. So, no rights.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      The Malaria pandemic of 1822-1823 killed 95% of native Californians to give one example of how deadly new diseases can be.

      This is now the second time you’ve mentioned this, with no documentation. I spent a few hours online trying to find evidence that it ever happened, and came up empty.

      Please provide a link~

      Reply
    3. Milton

      That’s the 2nd time I saw a reference re: the California malaria pandemic and resultant native population decline in NC Comments in the past week. Would you have a link to any literature as I’m coming up empty in my searches.

      Reply
        1. VietnamVet

          Skim reading the strange archaic 1955 language of this article, there were periodic outbreaks of malaria until 1936 in the “The fruit basket of the world”. Mosquito borne diseases are likely to reoccur again with the current homelessness. They, the victims, will be ignored or blamed, rather than the lack of decent paying jobs or the failure of the California public health disease control system.

          Reply
  18. tegnost

    Re galbraith…
    It’ll be interesting to watch the inflation fear alongside the already being deployed “amazons not so bad” news and opinion pieces in advance of alleged tech/monopoly action by congress. It is bizarre to me the way one side must be anchored to zero, construction wages $30/hr for instance, and over 40 years no adjustment for inflation, but now? Any restrictions on the infinity side of the scale will cause the oh my god this is the end of the world kind of inflation…wages. While everything is so expensive one can’t buy it without debt on the poor people side, while corps use debt to get richer with buybacks etc…and even the minor kings are doing cash out refis down to 15 year and cashing out their student loans and credit card debt with bloated asset values. Two completely separated worlds. ISTM that it’s deja vu all over again. Like with M4A the well funded scare mongerers will pound the table with “smart people know inflation, and it must be stopped at risk of violence to the social order…”. Things are going to stay the same, for better or worse.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the thing that leapt at me:
      ” But the only real inflationary danger comes from those fanning the flames of war with China. War is always inflationary; a war with our largest goods supplier would be an inflation nightmare. ”

      it’s curious that those fanning the flames are essentially the same bunch that so fears inflation that they’d rather have millions of their fellow americans living in dumpsters.
      we really need some new elites.
      replace them with my geese for ten years.
      see what happens.
      (I’ve moved a sub-flock to greener pastures, and have spent a lot of time in the last week with geese—)

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Really, Amfortas, let’s get hep with the times, shall we? Using logic, reasoning, or common sense is so passé.

        ;-)

        Reply
  19. Phillip Cross

    The news of that radioactive pond, fixing to dump itself into the Florida bay, made me think of a remix of an old Michael Jackson joke.

    Q. Where did Jeffrey Epstein go on vacation?

    A. To Tampa with the kids.

    Reply
  20. rowlf

    I was asked to do some research on the recent Georgia Voting law and I have to say Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Stephen Fowler’s reporting has been very good. Back in the Fall he wrote the excellent “Why Do Nonwhite Georgia Voters Have to Wait in Line for Hours? Their Numbers Have Soared, and Their Polling Places Have Dwindled.” for Propublica.

    I’d like to point to two more very good links about the fallout from the Georgia Voting law:

    Georgia Today: Fallout Intensifies Over Georgia’s Controversial Election Law (with transcript)

    Political Rewind: Corporate Criticism Of Election Law; Aftermath Of Sine Die As Legislators Go Home April 1, 2021 9:07 AM (no transcript yet)

    Political Rewind is a very civil roundtable on politics in Georgia with a lot of detail that doesn’t always appear anywhere else. I normally hate NPR (and talk radio) for omissions and bias, but some of the local shows like Political Rewind are listenable.

    Reply
  21. montanamaven

    One year ago today I got on an Amtrak train in Albany, NY to get home to Montana. The Lake Shore Limited. Changed trains in Chicago and took the Empire Builder to Malta, Montana. Then a 3 hour drive back to the ranch without seeing but a few trucks. I was the only passenger in both sleeping cars. It was me and the attendant. We weren’t sure even about masks. I had a homemade one, but I didn’t bother to use it and just put a scarf up around my nose when I went for a walk to the Observation Car. I wiped the room with some wipes. And starred out the window a lot not knowing what to make of this virus deal which was supposed to peak the following week in New York. One year later and I went to a buffet Easter brunch. A buffet! I didn’t even like buffets pre-pandemic. They were akin to salad bars with what I would imagine were all kinds of people sneezing and dribbling on the salads and the mashed potatoes. And the place was packed. There were two people wearing masks out of 100 people there. Youza! But at the same time most people had it or are vaccinated now. Only a handful of people here died and they had underlying conditions. But the ceilings are super high with a lot of ventilation. So I rolled the dice. I’ll let everybody know how we fair.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Or your heirs and assigns.
      Now is not the time to gamble. This Pandemic is nowhere near being over.
      Stay safe.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Weaponized Immigrants: Uyghur Edition”

    Meet the new ‘Cuban exiles’- same as the old ones. And they will get leg up in Washington by the Turks because they too are a Turkic people.

    Reply
  23. UserFriendlyyy

    I was just reading some of the comments on:

    Spratly Islands, Diaoyu, Bay of Bengal: is a storm brewing in Asia-Pacific waters? South China Morning Post

    I was quite surprised to find out that it wasn’t just the west that was standing on China’s neck during the century of humiliation, but also the other ASEAN nations who stole those precious islands that don’t even really exist at high tide.

    That’s the problem with using propaganda to control people. Sooner or later the lies get so much momentum that they end up driving the show. Even if Biden does know that Russagate is 100% manufactured crap he has a nation full of MSNBC / NYT zombies who are convinced Putin turned half the country into violent racists with facebook meme’s about masterbation. There is no way to spin detente as anything but surrender. So here comes nuclear holocaust over Ukraine.

    Reply
    1. a fax machine

      But those countries exist now, regardless of how they got there. China bullying them is the same as America bullying former Spanish plantations like Cuba or Venezuela. If people are put into an impossible position by China’s government, American imperialism becomes instantly favorable. Japan and South Korea’s economic success, or at least success over the former Eastern Bloc and Vietnam, attest to this. Same for Panama, Iraq or Yemen. If countries are put into an impossible situation by the US government, people will try any other option including fascism.

      Which is exactly how the Ukraine and Taiwan situations escalate into nuclear armed standoffs, because it’s how the Cuban Missile Crisis happened.too. The only thing stopping it are leaders’ willingness to not kill large amounts of people, and we might have approached the end of this.

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        Based on the existence of Obama’s “Trillion Dollar Nuclear Modernization Program,” about which we hear very little, I think we are past the “end of this.” From the hints I get from suspect places like Vineyard of the Saker, it seems there is a coterie of neoconservatives (similar to John Bolton) , embedded in the State Department and the National Security Council, who have been convinced that the stories about the power of nuclear weapons were fairy tales, concocted to frighten the sheeple. It’s impossible to know what they actually believe, but they say that it is possible to use nuclear weapons with lower yield (about the size used at Hiroshima) in tactical situations without causing other nuclear powers to use theirs. They claim that it is possible to use nuclear weapons to “send a message,” in the sense that the bombing campaign in North Vietnam (“Rolling Thunder”) sent a message. Of course, those of us who were around at the time think that the implied reply, “We will persist,” was ignored, but that does not appeal to them.

        I don’t know if any academic “strategist” or “game theorist” has validated it, but I believe the scenario I read a few years ago. Any nation possessing nuclear weapons that uses one is clearly insane. The only rational response is to immediately launch every nuclear armed ICBM that you have aimed at that country, then start programming a couple hundred more to that set of targets for possible follow-up, which probably will not get launched because you will be destroyed before you can get them off. The reason this is the only rational response is that you must assume the next thing that insane nation will do is a preemptive strike on every other nation that possesses nuclear weapons. Since they are insane, you cannot estimate the probability that they will do that, so you must act as if the probability is 1. Failure to do so possibly means they will destroy your ability to retaliate. It’s Cheney’s “2% Doctrine.” I’m a child of the ’50s, in the sense that’s when I was in high school. The McCarthy Years, but also The Curtis LeMay Years. I believe what they told us about the effects of nuclear weapons, which younger people have not been told. I’ve been expecting to die before the rockets fly, but recently I’ve been fretting that I may be too slow.

        Reply
  24. rowlf

    I thought this was a good article and relevant now: The Liberal Contempt for Martin Luther King’s Final Year
    The standard liberal canon waxes fondly nostalgic about King’s “I have a dream” speech in 1963 and his efforts against racial segregation. But in memory lane, the Dr. King who lived his last year is persona non grata.

    The pattern is positively Orwellian. King explicitly condemned what he called “the madness of militarism.” And by any reasonable standard, that madness can be diagnosed as pervading U.S. foreign policy in 2021. But today, almost all politicians and mainstream media commentators act as though King never said such things, or if he did then those observations have little to do with today.

    Reply
  25. a fax machine

    re: immigrants as a weapon

    I don’t take issue with reporting about CIA attempts to force a narrative, but violence against Uyghurs is the same as violence against any other human being including the ones Biden detains at Gitmo or in the ICE stations along the border or at Comic Con (the San Diego Convention Center). It is entirely plausible to take issue with China’s treatment of domestic ethnic groups for the same reason it’s plausible to take issues with our own. This will become more and more true if China decides to actually eliminate ethnic groups it doesn’t like, something which is at least conceivable as China’s government has all the infrastructure to do that. So does the US gov’t.

    It doesn’t help that China tries to harass and intimidate refugees that do escape, which they have a political motive to do especially in countries like Australia or Canada that export a lot of goods to China and might look the other way. Which relates to the article about China and African TV mentioned days ago – China has built a global surveillance network that could let them do bad things even in western countries. Any exercise of that power is liable to cause major whiplash in the US, putting the immigrants at stake. In which case sinophobia rises, and we enter a situation comparable to the Japanese in WW2. And similarly, as Biden attempts to flex American cyberpower overseas he’ll see the Internet and modern computing be ripped apart. It’d be a cultural Hiroshima, pardon the term.

    Fearmongering over Russia has already set the stage for this, and China plays that exact angle in Europe against Russia. Everything could go sideways very quickly as it did in 1914, although perhaps it wouldn’t lead to a world war but instead a global telecom network meltdown.

    Reply
  26. drumlin woodchuckles

    About American Conservative’s article about Farms Are Coming To The City, Is This A Good Idea? article,
    the first comment on that article’s own thread spray painted some intriguing absurdiffiti on it, like this . . .

    . . . ” So the “cool” kids want to use solar panels to gather the energy to power the LED lights that grow the crops indoors. Is this an episode of The Twilight Zone?”

    The French Intensive Marachiers showed in the last decades of the 1800s just how much perishable food could be grown under good old sunlight in good old soil. Here are some images for French Intensive Gardening in our own day.
    https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A2KLfSOrnmtgbz8AkQhXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzIEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=french+intensive+gardening+image&fr=sfp

    And of course this can be done in the suburbs, the semi-burbs , the peri-burbs and the nearest-by shallow country regions. If fruits and vegetables grown with sunlight in soil taste good enough that urbanites will continue buying them alongside the hi tek indoor LED farm food, then rural employment and business can be preserved on these ” real market hypergardening” sites.

    Reply

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