Links 5/30/2021

Day With New York’s Bird Paramedics New York magazine

The hidden architecture of birds MIT Press

What Is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act? TreeHugger

From bats to hornbills: Whitley award winners – in pictures Guardian

The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush New Yorker

As Bayer Considers Ending Some US Glyphosate Sales, Campaigners Urge EPA to Enact Full Ban Common Dreams

A world of goods Times Literary Supplement

Sentenced by Algorithm Judge Jed Rakoff

What We Lose When Literary Criticism Ends The Walrus

More boats on canals and rivers than in 18th century as thousands opt for life afloat Guardian

The woman who walked the world BBC

Gates divorce spurs changes to $50B foundation Al Jazeera

THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF PHILIP AGEE, THE CIA’S FIRST DEFECTOR AND MOST COMMITTED DISSIDENT Crime Reads

#COVID-19

Deaths from Covid-19 and during the battle of the Somme exhibit similarities – bad leaders bear responsibility Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Memorial Day Travel Surge to Test Airports, Airlines WSJ

*****

DHS says no plans for vaccine passports, clarifies Mayorkas’ comments Axios

117 staffers sue over Houston hospital’s vaccine mandate, saying they don’t want to be ‘guinea pigs’ WaPo

The COVID vaccine pioneer behind southeast Asia’s first mRNA shot Nature

VN starts injection of homegrown COVID-19 vaccine in first-stage human trial Vietnam News

Vaccine makers want to help South Africa — Germany’s health minister Deutsche Welle

Eager Teens Give Needed Boost to U.S. Vaccination Campaign NYT
UK intelligence ‘is helping US probe theory that Covid leaked from Wuhan lab’ after Biden ordered officials to ‘redouble’ efforts to identify origins of virus Daily Mail

*****

Will Bolsonaro Be Held Responsible for Brazil’s COVID-19 Disaster? Jacobin

Capitol Seiizure

Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe The Hill

Biden Administration

Biden To Continue Unpopular Trump-Obama-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Reagan-Carter-Ford-Nixon-Era Policy The Onion

I grew a beard London Review of Books

Remarks by President Biden Addressing Service Members and their Families The White House

‘Creepy Joe’ strikes again: President Biden is slammed for singling out ‘elementary school-aged’ girl during speech and saying ‘she looks like she’s 19 years old’ Daily Mail

2022

9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 The Hill

Class Warfare

Companies Paying Starvation Wages Whine That Workers Aren’t Interested Counterpunch

Republic shareholders reject ESG-linked pay proposal while industry sees another year of rising CEO compensation Waste Dive

Policy Hackathon: Can public transit recover from Covid-19? Politico

Arizona Slim: “What NC started with the Hubert Horan series, the Gravel Institute is bringing to YouTube video. Let’s see how long this one lasts before the YouTube PTB throttles it.”

Life Without Parole Is Replacing the Death Penalty — But the Legal Defense System Hasn’t Kept Up Marshall Project

Eugene Clemons May Be Ineligible for the Death Penalty. A Rigid Clinton-Era Law Could Force Him to Be Executed Anyway. ProPublica

Our Famously Free Press

Matt Taibbi: ‘Fact-checking’ takes another beating National Post

What if journalists covered controversial issues differently? The Narwhal

Groves of Academe

The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t NYT

Shared Governance Was Eroding Before Covid-19. Now It’s a Landslide, AAUP Report Says. Chronicle of Higher Education


Syraqistan

Israel Narrative Management Is Getting Incredibly Desperate And Brazen Caitlin Johnstone

The PML-N’s change of tack Dawn

Pakistan leans towards giving US military bases Asia Times

India

#SaveLakshadweep: They paved paradise and put up another Gujarat Scroll

Government Assault on Digital Media Reflects Modi’s Paranoia The Wire

Vijay Prashad on India, Covid and Modi FAIR

97% of Indians have been left poorer by the pandemic, says economist Mahesh Vyas Scroll

India is grappling with covid grief MIT Technology Review

Kumbh Mela: how a superspreader festival seeded Covid across India Guardian

To break free from Beijing’s chokehold on solar manufacturing, India should act like China Scroll

China?

Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to rally country’s scientists for ‘unprecedented’ contest South China Morning Post

Ellsberg leak shows folly of ‘bad China, good Russia’ Asia Times

Mainland Chinese tech start-ups hope to tap SPAC trend to go public South China Morning Post

Eisenhower rejected military chiefs’ demand for nuclear war on China, classified account of ’58 Taiwan Strait crisis reveals Grayzone

Antidote du Jour (via):

And a bonus video (guurst):

See yesterday’s Lnks and Antidote du Jour here.

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156 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Matt Taibbi: ‘Fact-checking’ takes another beating National Post
    Like fact-checking itself, the “on the one hand and on the other hand” format is just a defense mechanism. These people say X, these people say Y, and because the jabbering mannequins we have reading off our teleprompters actually know jack, we’ll let the passage of time sort out the difficult bits.

    The public used to appreciate the humility of that approach, but what they get from us more often now are sanctimonious speeches about how reporters are intrepid seekers of truth who sit next to God and gobble amphetamines so they can stay awake all night defending democracy from “misinformation.” But once you get past names, dates, and whether the sky that day was blue or cloudy, the worst kind of misinformation in journalism is to be too sure about anything. That’s especially when dealing with complex technical issues, and even more especially when official sources seem invested in eliminating discussion of alternative scenarios of those issues.
    ================================================
    I would say the real problem is not getting the facts correct, as it is leaving the facts out. For example, another posting talks about Roman Protasevich and as far as I can tell, this pertinent and credible information is just left out in MSM reports. Censorship by omission…

    Reply
  2. John Siman

    Who else is appalled by the overt racial fetishism which The New York Times so aggressively promotes? “[Person of Sacred Blood X] knew what it felt like to belong ancestrally to one place but be raised somewhere else,” we read near the beginning of the essay “The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t.” And it gets only worse from there.

    My fear is that the academic racism now celebrated by American elites is only a few steps away in its hideousness from becoming our official *myth* — myth, that is, as used in the Nazi Alfred Rosenberg’s 1930 book The Myth of the Twentieth Century, the official myth then being “the myth of blood, which under the sign of the swastika unchains the racial world-revolution. It is the awakening of the race-soul, which after long sleep victoriously ends the race chaos.”

    Reply
    1. GERMO

      Well not me LOL. “Academic racism now celebrated by American elites”?

      Seriously your comment is beyond offensive.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Is that what that is? I was hard pressed trying to decide if it was animal, vegetable or mineral.

      Reply
      1. petal

        Glad I wasn’t the only one! Couldn’t figure out what kind of thing it was, as the skin was torn away from the jaw and I couldn’t make out the baby birds. Something out of a nightmare!

        Reply
          1. griffen

            Since you went there, indeed what a remarkable & horrifying creature. Pre CGI too, hard to believe what they accomplished on that film.

            In space no one hears you cr*p your pants when that beast decides you is dinner.

            Reply
          2. Jack Parsons

            The new video game ‘Lust From Beyond’ is based on Giger’s work, and porn. It’s insane, and the most disgusting game I’ve ever seen.

            Really interesting work.

            Reply
        1. tegnost

          My first thought was gator too, seems pretty big for a pike…but the via says pike, so I say I want to know where it is so I never go swimming there…

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Wow! Just Wow! A pike?
            (I have seen eight foot long gar fish here in the Bayous, so, it’s possible. The blasted thing swam past us. It was almost as long as the little 12 foot skiff we were in. I once referred to it as the “Loch Miss Monster.”)

            Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >What We Lose When Literary Criticism Ends – The Walrus

    These days, the status of the professional critic—that is, someone who can earn a living writing criticism for the general public—has largely been subordinated to enthusiastic amateurs giving thumbnail reactions on Amazon and Goodreads.

    A similar “Displacement” is happening in many areas of life and art is not immune. For instance the technologically mediated distribution of music through devices like smart phone and platforms like Ytube and, to a lesser extent, Soundcloud, has certainly impacted those who produce it giving rise to “enthusiastic amateurs.” But this “Displacement,” which like the great “Reset” are unfolding so fast that it’s hard to see where it will go. You’re in the river and moving with it, either stranded on the bank, or drowning, or flowing the best you can with it.

    I don’t think that good literary criticism will ever completely disappear if there is good literature that stirs the soul. An Edward Wasiolek who can open up different vistas of a Dostoevsky World that you hadn’t seen on your first encounter, or even second, will emerge if there is another Dostoevsky. And as the now not so popular Frankfurt School’s Leo Löwenthal showed, literature gives man an understanding of man that can come from nowhere else.

    Reply
  4. griffen

    Come on man. I’m just complimenting the young woman / not quite teenage girls.

    Creepy! Very creepy.

    Reply
    1. doug

      and guesses her to be ‘legal age’…oooo boy…

      Plus I was sure the onion article would have
      ‘nothing fundamentally will change’
      under the headline…But I guess the headline was enough…

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      What’s creepy here is that this is just another data point in the evidence stream chronicling the ‘normalization’ of elite predatory behaviour. Add this to the Clinton “B— J–” saga, Epstein’s immunity from prosecution for decades, the Jimmy Saville mess, and many more and you get a portrait of a “Ruling Elite” that thinks that it can get away with anything. The “blow off” to this massive confidence game will be Epic.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        As disgusting as I find the double standard, what scares me is that we don’t get to know the rules regarding who, what and when determines the sacrifice. Why does the former comedian lose and Biden with far more evidence survive.

        This isn’t Spacey using every tool at his disposal (which in a far more underhanded way also probably applies to Epstein). This is about never even having to prove anything the victims/whistleblowers just get disregarded. How? Who decides who is untouchable, so to speak?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          At base, (and I do mean ‘base,’) this is a function of power relations. You never read of the offspring of the wealthy and powerful being victimized. You do read about a lot of minor children, (the poster children for “powerless,”) being abused by those with power over them. Most abusers I have read about were known to or related to the victims in some fashion. That was the case with the child sex cases the Grand Jury heard this week.
          I suspect that Saville “lost” out due to the deterioration of his ‘elite’ status. From what I gather, he was a “Nouveaux Famous,” with no ‘pedigree’ to fall back on. Once he was of no more use to the ‘elites’ he served, he was expendable. [More knowledgeable commenters correct me if I am wrong.]

          Reply
          1. jonhoops

            Saville was dead before they threw him in the trash heap. He was protected while alive, with various allegations being dismissed or ignored.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Ah. So he did “get away with it.”
              I remember reading an interview with Johnny Rotten where he said that his “outing” of Saville was quashed by mysterious ‘powers.’
              So, the “brand” must be protected.
              My other “disposed of” elite deviant is Epstein.
              I’m sure that there are a lot more stories like this, and that’s the real shame.

              Reply
              1. Norm de plume

                Rotten/Lydon’s suppressed comments reminded me of a scene in a very good Brit comedy called Early Doors (circa 2003), where the town gossip, the main character’s mother, was on the phone to someone who was obviously giving her some salacious celebrity gossip at which she tut-tutted and said ‘There’s only Cliff Richard and Jimmy Saville that can sleep safely in their beds these days’…

                Reply
          2. Procopius

            After he died, it was revealed that Freud devised the theories of Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex because he could not bring himself to believe that the children of Austrian nobility and merchant princes could really be sexually abused by their parents.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Now that is very interesting. One of the primary theories undergirding ‘modern’ psychiatry is based upon a repression itself. There is irony and tragedy in that.

              Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          Nihilism proposes that there is no “greater” cause. By that light, elitism can be seen as the valorization of “greatness” for its own sake. In anthropological terms, elite society is an “all-down alliance”, again, existing for its own sake, much as O’Brien boasted in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The rules are simply that those who contribute to “greatness” and its use as a tool of domination get a pass, and those who don’t, don’t. The Forms Granfalloons must be obeyed.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            The occasional references to ‘Quatloos,’ a science fictional form of finance are pertinent here. All in pursuit of an ‘entertainment.’

            Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder who and why decided it was time to kill Epstein. I wonder why Epstein was stupid enough to confuse himself with the upper class/ powerful people he serviced and provided for. Perhaps he thought he had become one of them and couldn’t imagine being lured in to be set up and killed?

        Reply
    3. jr

      It does warm my heart to think of the icy terror Doh-Joe’s legion of handler’s, mouthpieces, and professional liars must have felt when he dropped that bomb for the world to hear…

      Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “The Native Scholar Who Wasn’t”

    ‘More than a decade ago, a prominent academic was exposed for having faked her Cherokee ancestry. Why has her career continued to thrive?’

    Oh I’m sorry. I thought that this would be an article about Elizabeth Warren. My bad.

    Reply
    1. Robert Gray

      Still, Rev, it’s an important (and, I think, interesting) piece. “O brave new world, / That has such people in ’t!”

      It’s no longer what you are that matters, it’s what you think / “believe” / want yourself to be. The process is already complete with gender; why not with ethnicity too?

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        for most of my life, the family history of my maternal grandad was that he was half Cherokee…even looked the part, what with the reddish tint and graven lines on his face….his dad had run off with a cherokee Maiden…or, likely purchased her. Grandad’s ancient biddyhen aunts were well known for getting likkered up and complaining about those events at family reunions.
        but it was almost impossible to confirm.
        then, 10 years after i discovered the intertubes(you’re welcome), i finally figured out how to search the Dawes rolls, and found my great grandmother…and she was listed as Cherokee…but then i found her dad, who was listed as Choctaw.
        turns out, they were part of the “Texas Band” of Cherokee, who haven’t gotten along with their Oklahoma kin for quite a while…and Choctaw and Chickasaw were just sort of lumped in with the Cherokee Tribe, and had accompanied them on the Trail of Tears…further confusing matters.
        The Official Cherokee Tribe, in OK, doesn’t recognise the “Texas band”…so they don’t care about my Blood Quanta…I will never be recognised as 1/8 Native American, no matter what.
        add to this that my Maternal Grandad was born in a dirt floor, tar-paper shack in East Texas, and didn’t have a birth certificate, ever…and no Social Security Number until he joined the Navy for the Pacific Theater…(i have his Union Card, though)

        Similarly with my Paternal Grandad…our Czech family name is well known in Prague as “a Jewish name”…and he actually looked sort of Jewish,lol…but there’s no records that i can find(Czech Language totally escapes me)…so I’m pretty sure that we’ve got Bohemian Jew in us, as well…which is cool…but you’ll just have to take my word for it.
        Maternal Grandmother, on the other hand, has a well documented pedigree, straight back to the brother of one David Crockett…which is also pretty cool…French Huguenot stock,lol….Alamo…all that.

        My Point: I don’t care.
        I’m 1/8 Indian/ some unknown percentage Jewish/bunch of other stuff….and people will just have to take me at my word on that…or not.
        My policy with others is the same: benefit of the doubt, unless there’s some compelling reason not to.
        I feel no sense of appropriation if someone sticks a feather in their hair, either.

        related question: why is the usage(or the very idea) of frelling “Blood Quanta” A-OK when an Indian Tribe does it?

        Reply
        1. lambert strether

          > Blood Quanta

          I agree the notion is creepy as [family blog] (Hell-o-o-o-o, “one drop of blood” theory) but if I understand the Cherokees correctly, tribal membership is not by blood, since tribes are nations, not races. This was all hashed out during the controversy over Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test, and claimed tribal membership based on family lore.

          Needless to say, if Warren had simply asked the tribes, instead of doing the test, the whole controversy would have been settled one way or another, an example of Warren’s infallibly bad political instincts.

          Reply
    2. Brooklin Bridge

      An understandable error to be sure. According to my handbook of id’s, to be confirmed as one E. Warren, one must also have a proclivity to stick a shiv in the back of those who extend a helping hand.

      Reply
      1. Watt4Bob

        Why do I get the idea that you intend to impugn the character of Will Rogers, a Cherokee man, born of Cherokee parents, in the Cherokee Nation, by associating his name in this way with people known for cultural appropriation?

        Could it be his political leanings?

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Warren’s Cherokee fakery had nothing to do with her area of academic study and expertise. So it wouldn’t in itself kill off the academic side of career. As to her political career lately, it may have attrited her chances to gain more from her Pres-Nom run than she gained.

      Reply
  6. Mikel

    Re: Gravel Institutute / Uber

    Yes, more are waking up and questioning claims made by the company.

    But it’s the bigger picture deregulation and worker rights killing parts of the business that those bigger, subsidizing investors are investing in…things like Prop 22 in Cali that already threatens a wider labor base than Uber drivers. That’s “ideology” they are investing in, not any innovative, world changing technology.

    Reply
    1. lambert strether

      > That’s “ideology” they are investing in, not any innovative, world changing technology.

      Unless you think of ideology as a machine…

      Reply
  7. HomoSapiensWannaBe

    Yves might think that I am “making shit up”, but when Philip Zelikow heads a commission, I assume a cover up is underway, as was the case with the fictitious 9/11 commission (omission) report that he headed and basically wrote before any investigation had begun, or was ever allowed to really happen.

    In this case, a Fort Detrick lab leak (intentional or not…) in the summer of 2019 is now the most likely explanation for how the Covid-19 pandemic got started.

    Fort Detrick is also where the weaponized anthrax came from that was sent in letters to frighten and intimidate reluctant congress critters during the “debates” about 911 forever wars in the fall of 2001. Read Graeme MacQueen’s excellent book for more info about that, and the FBI cover-up that followed.

    What a sick, sad country we live in. Pass the Popcorn!

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      While I agree we in ‘Murica do indeed live in a sick nation state, we cannot claim an exclusive monopoly on it.

      Lots of bad actors out there. Might just be part of human / in-human mankind man-unkind.

      The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves..

      Reply
    2. flora

      I wondered when someone would mention Ft. Detrick; its lab work was shut down for a time by CDC in July 2019 for shoddy lab practices.

      https://wjla.com/news/local/cdc-shut-down-army-germ-lab-health-concerns

      and

      https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/11/24/cdc-inspection-findings-reveal-more-about-fort-detrick-research-suspension.html

      Coincidentally, in July 2019 several wider area nursing homes started reporting an unidentified flu-like virus causing illness and deaths, like this event:

      https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/health-officials-to-give-update-after-respiratory-illness-sickens-dozens-at-virginia-retirement-community/135890/

      Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        Just for the record it is very common to ship organisms between different labs.

        When I was stateside someone actually sent multi-drug resistant bacteria through both the Canadian and then US mail to me. It was even incorrectly addressed to some degree, and a secretary opened it up and then realized, this wasn’t for her.

        I like to point this out for those that think a virus necessarily had one leak point – if this is how it happened, it could have had more than one.

        I think this is an important point, if all they thought they had was a BSL-2 sort of backbone of a virus, and were sharing it, it could have been treated incorrectly in a number of different laboratories.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          >>>When I was stateside someone actually sent multi-drug resistant bacteria through both the Canadian and then US mail to me. It was even incorrectly addressed to some degree, and a secretary opened it up and then realized, this wasn’t for her.

          This is a serious question. When does it stop being stupidity or insanity and becomes a mental illness or deliberately suicidal?

          Reply
          1. Isotope_C14

            I like the comment of Guy McPherson, roughly paraphrased: Humans are the clever ape, not the wise ape, as the sapiens suggests.

            I hope you read the links provided by flora – I’ve worked very briefly with “military” science employees, can confirm that this is how lab safety is ignored. These are usually not the sharpest tools in the shed.

            Reply
      2. Jonhoops

        Or the spate of deaths that summer and fall attributed to “vaping illness” , which had eerily similar characteristics to COVID.

        Including the tell-tale ground glass indication in the lung X-rays.

        Reply
        1. Isotope_C14

          A bit unsurprising that blaming THC vaping, a clear virtue of the unworthy would be blamed instead of a microbial agent by the US medical community. Much harder to do that in the PRC.

          Reply
          1. Isotope_C14

            In case Jonhoops is offline, here’s a variety.

            https://www.radiologybusiness.com/topics/care-delivery/vaping-thc-pattern-ground-glass-opacities

            https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/evali-3-images-reveal-damage-vaping-can-do-to-teens

            https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/02/health/vaping-illnesses.html

            Searching EVALI with ground glass gets these results. I do not know the provenance of these, but I’ve heard this odd connection for some time.

            It is completely possible that a positive correlation exists between vaping and COVID infection.

            Reply
    3. Pelham

      Whether federal investigative commissions reach the right conclusions or not, it seems they have a habit of starting from preconceived desirable (from a federal standpoint) outcomes. The Church committee hearings may have been one notable exception.

      Reply
    4. pjay

      Philip Zelikow!

      Well, the Democrats keep saying we need a “9/11-style commission.” I assume that means:

      1. Start with a preconceived narrative.

      2. Any evidence that challenges the dominant narrative will be ignored, distorted, or destroyed.

      3. The conclusion will be: *more surveillance and security* to protect us from “terrorists” (this time the “domestic” kind).

      Maybe Lee Hamilton could co-chair to give it a “bipartisan” sheen.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        This is beyond silly. It’s huffing and puffing at China at a remove.

        No way is China gonna cooperate. Aside from the fact that this inquiry has just about nothing to do with real concern (because on a “real concern” list, >20 public health measures rate higher and have been done), China has political reasons of its own not to want an inquiry besides a cover-up.

        I had forgotten, but PlutoniumKun pointed out that that first “lab leak ” story was China accusing the US! I am not in touch with Chinese social media, but my impression is this story got traction. Having deflected blame internally (whether for absolutely horrible food safety practices or bad lab practice), they’ve deflected blame. No way, no how do they want to undo that.

        Reply
      2. wilroncanada

        I expect the name Lee Harvey Oswald to resurface anytime now.. Two or three people saw him in the crowd.

        Reply
    5. Lambert Strether

      > now the most likely explanation for how the Covid-19 pandemic got started.

      I don’t see any justification for this claim in your comment, whether by reference or the slightest bit of reasoning. Come on, man.

      Adding, when a really out-of-bad comment like this appears, it may not be true. What is clear is that when the comment is a bare assertion, it doesn’t educate the readership in any way. So its value is zero. If the comment becomes the index case for other zero-value comments, and we throw in the requirements to moderate them, the value becomes negative. Do better.

      Reply
      1. flora

        What is clear is that when the comment is a bare assertion, it doesn’t educate the readership in any way.

        And yet, the follow-on comments to the original comment may have added useful information unnoticed elsewhere, imo. One can evaluate the comment’s causative assertion as a step to far and yet still entertain the underlying hypothesis of possible vector sources as reasonable.

        Reply
  8. Pat

    I was being nostalgic reading the comments from yesterday. We all know that not only is Google evil, since it became a verb it doesn’t work as well as it used to work. The thing is that I started using it as a search engine somewhat reluctantly. This is a question similar to the MS Word vs. Word Perfect one.

    Does anyone else miss Alta Vista? I find myself trying new search engines and missing its system. I got the tricks Google used to follow before it became an ad delivery system that judged and abridged your search for you. But those were about you limiting what it searched. I really liked starting broad and narrowing it down from there. I will continue to look for the better choice, but memory and nostalgia makes it about more than just a Google replacement.

    I also have to laugh that my relationship with the internet resembles my parents with television and my grandparents relationship with radio. “When I was a young whippersnapper we had a dial up modem and were lucky to have that!”*

    * I am also sure we all would have that nagging thought that whichever one we are talking about becoming ubiquitous is a double edged sword, not a universal good.

    Reply
    1. steve

      In the late 90’s I was using Copernic, a desktop search engine aggregator, and had around a dozen search engines configured. All gone now.

      Reply
    2. J7915

      Thanks for the trip down memory lane. From day one Google’s algos to suggest related info were more of an annoyance than a help.

      Now of course with all the paid ads, Google is a time waster. Like Alice in Wonderland: the words I write are the words I mean as a first search target.

      Reply
    3. Ranger Rick

      I think the decline happened once they started interpreting your search terms for you. Back in the day, when you gave a search engine multiple words, it searched for results that contained any of them in any order. People understandably got tired of the lack of relevance of the returned search results and they switched the default to AND being the operator that joined search terms. That still wasn’t good enough, so they evolved to searching for exact phrases by default and then sprinkled the output with results returned with AND and then ANY. They started weighting search result positions by how many times the search term was used on the page, or how often the page came up in other search results (and was visited) or started using vast meta-categories to hold pages with particular content so that search results could be partitioned off. (This is what I understand as the origin of the “bubble” — the first time search engines assumed they knew what search results you wanted — even though it was really just a reaction to unscrupulous types trying to game the search engines by dirtying results with unrelated pages.)

      And then several new search engines came along with the idea that search engines were being too precise with their algorithms. Fuzzy logic got involved. Suddenly it became important how often people linked to that page using terms you were searching for, where those terms appeared on that page, how often that page changed, how far apart each word in the search query appeared on that page, and so on. When the iPhone hit, millions of Internet novices started searching for things like parts of Web URLs (kind of like the old AOL keywords) or using complete phrases to ask questions instead of searching for specific terms (Ask Jeeves was a search engine that used to specialize in this). Suddenly it became critically important to understand what the intent of the search was (e.g. patents, published research papers, shopping, news, general information, marketing). And that’s when things started to go off the rails. We used to have separate search engines to handle these “intents” and now it’s up to just a few to handle every request imaginable. Several search engines became or acquired advertising companies, and then it became monetarily important to return particular search results. Then the lawyers got involved…

      It’s all just a big mess now. I miss the old web rings (every time I see the blogroll on the sidebar of Naked Capitalism it gives me a little cheer). I thought the old Geocities paradigm, clusters of websites as natural analogues to neighborhoods, really had an aptness to it.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        I just realized that one of the advantages of having access to a college’s library, besides that access, is the ability to not only get to all the articles, papers, journals, magazines, and books, including often very obscure ones, online, but to not have to dig through all the “helpful” suggestions or paid advertising of search engines like Google.

        But a library is suppose to help you find information for study or research, while the internet is just another way to sell stuff like junk electronics, clothing, and propaganda, while hiding inconvenient facts, and especially knowledge, from us.

        Unless I decide to get a Masters degree, in four years, more or less, I will lose access to a very valuable resource. I guess I could ask to pay several thousand dollars a year just for that.

        Reply
        1. juno mas

          If you graduate from the California university system you can have online library access for the rest of your life. I get hard copies of stored documents sent to me occasionally, even.

          If not a university graduate, California community colleges are part of the inter-library loan system and are open to all adults to take classes (credit or non-credit). Credit classes automatically confer access to the college library (including online access) and library loans from the university system.

          Life long learning is at hand.

          Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    ‘assistant inspector
    you have gotta be f*cking kidding me https://washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-us-needs-a-nonpartisan-commission-to-evaluate-pandemic-failures/2021/05/22/d2848622-ba58-11eb-96b9-e949d5397de9_story.html

    So Phillip Zelikow hid evidence in the footnotes while he was executive director of the 9/11 Commission. And now he has already laid the groundwork in this self-selected group comprised of ‘More than two dozen of the nation’s most accomplished virologists, public health experts, clinicians, and former officials, joined by four of America’s leading charitable foundations from across the political spectrum, are laying the groundwork to discover and preserve the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis.’ Yep. Sounds completely legit to me. No need to look any closer.

    C’mon, man. At this point they aren’t even trying to hide the gaslighting of people and the dodgy commissions. If the origin of this virus was in Russia then they probably would have selected Rachel Maddow to head it up. Should we be expecting the appearance of a Chinese ‘curveball’?

    Reply
    1. John Emerson

      I read the 9/11 commission report pretty carefully, and it was useful if you read the footnotes and worked from there. The summaries and conclusions were less than useless.

      The report was released shortly before the Democratic national convention, and I had trouble getting anyone interested in it.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      > More than two dozen of the nation’s most accomplished virologists, public health experts, clinicians, and former officials,

      Here is the agenda of the Commission. Nothing on (a) the failures of the CDC, (b) getting the mode of transmission wrong for over a year, or (c) the role of “essential workers.”

      I know I hammer on these points constantly, but they are good points to hammer on.

      The whole thing looks pretty rancid to me, honestly.

      Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      The article provides a measure of (cold) comfort that there are countries in the world that have done a worse job than US in managing the epidemic — we are not uniquely badly governed.

      Reply
  10. km

    Re: Brasil – I wonder whether the Colombian/Bolivian genie is getting out of the bottle? No wonder the Colombian authorities are cracking down harder, lest the peasants start getting ideas.

    #latinamericanspring
    #yankeegohome

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Eisenhower rejected military chiefs’ demand for nuclear war on China, classified account of ’58 Taiwan Strait crisis reveals”

    The Joint Chiefs back then were even bigger maniacs than they are now. A few short years later after this incident, they were trying to force Kennedy to launch an invasion of Cuba but he told them to forget it. Good thing that he did as it was only found out three decades later that not only did the Russians have ICBMs in Cuba but also tactical nukes with full authorization to use them. So imagine the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan” – but ending in a ginormous flash. But this was not enough for the Joint Chiefs. So they formulated plans of false flag attacks, including “terrorist” attacks in America itself, to get the public behind invading Cuba-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

    Reply
        1. jhg

          If I have read his history correctly, I would say that General Power could be considered more of a fanatic than General LeMay.

          Reply
        2. Josef K

          Don’t forget project Argos, nuking the Van Allen belts.

          If only we could bottle the hubris, we could…..bury it all deep underground.

          Reply
      1. rowlf

        flora, that was a fair article on LeMay and is inline with the book “With the Possum and the Eagle” by Ralph H. Nutter, where Nutter worked for LeMay in the European and then Pacific theaters of operation and remained friends with LeMay until Lemay’s death.

        It’s a good book and gives a good insight to how LeMay thought and made decisions. I’d place LeMay as a mix of Generals William T. Sherman and George Thomas.

        Preston, Nutter and LeMay after LeMay went on a bombing raid to try to figure out how to improve bombing performance. First USAAF Raid over Germany: unedited crew interviews

        Reply
      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        In Daniel Ellsberg’s 2017 book The Doomsday Machine he relates the defense establishment was freaked out about how closely the the movie Dr. Strangelove mapped to reality, and were convinced the script had been based on leaks. Ellsberg wrote the nuclear war plan really was a Doomsday Machine because once the order had been given for the bombers lurking on the borders of the USSR, China, etc., to proceed to deliver their weapon load, there was no way to abort the mission. This was intentional for fear the adversary might otherwise be able to fake an abort message.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          My father, a B-52 pilot that did fly Chrome Dome and Vietnam/Secret War missions, claims that after the Dr. Strangelove film SAC actually did make a CRM-114 type encoding/decoding communications device. I haven’t chased down the technical documentation to confirm if true. SAC could do some needed changes and revisions and worked hard on safety, but also had moments of getting stuck in doctrine, like in Linebacker II using nuclear bomb run turnoffs after bomb run that weakened the ECM protection of bomber flights. I also liked my father’s rowdy squadron members who would go after leaders for dumbassery. Maybe a front-of-the-spear versus paper-pushers situation.

          (I grew up on SAC bases in the 1960s and 1970s. It was normal and insane at the same time. Maybe like living in Berlin during the Cold War and not knowing if you could get your best prayers said in twenty minutes.)

          Reply
            1. rowlf

              Yep. A veteran would have turned off the primary rudder actuator (Lieutenant Colonel Arthur “Bud” Holland) for not operating properly. The paper-pushers try to get rid of the veterans, as seen in post conflict RIFs.

              Reply
    1. David

      This is a story that’s been doing the rounds over the last few weeks, and I think it’s probably appeared here at least once before. The framing changes a bit, but it’s generally of the shock-horror variety.
      I bestirred myself to read the actual leaked document last week at some point. All it says is that the US military commander in the area told his chiefs, who told the political leadership, that if they were serious about defending Taiwan, they could not do so with conventional forces against a determined Chinese attack. That much was obvious to anyone. Therefore, they wanted permission to use tactical nuclear weapons against Chinese air-bases. The alternative, of course, was not to defend the island. As the document itself makes clear, there was no chance of a nuclear conflict, because the Chinese didn’t have any nuclear weapons – their first test was in 1964. There was also no chance of the Russians intervening with their very limited stockpile. But let’s not spoil a good story.

      During the Cold War, the West made the specific choice not to try to match the cripplingly-expensive massive conventional forces of the Russians and the Chinese, but to be prepared to threaten, and if necessary use, tactical nuclear weapons against attacking forces. This episode, whatever you think of it, was part of that strategy.

      Reply
      1. Henry Moon Pie

        That’s ‘Murca. Maximize death and destruction, but do it on the cheap.

        Profits all the way around!

        Reply
  12. Louis

    The New York Times had a recent article on attempts to create ridesharing co-opts to counter Lyft and Uber.

    I guess the fundamental question will be whether it will be cost-competitive enough–there is a limit to how much more many riders will be willing to pay–and cover enough areas to be competitive with existing ride-shares.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Uber and Lyft compete with cab companies because of the subsidies and dumping the maintenence costs onto the gig workers who come and go. Not that there isn’t room to improve, but without subsidized fares, there is a reason cab companies are set up the way they are, cost savings on maintenence and keeping cars on the road, not running the cabs for the 9 to 5 crowd. How does a coop deal with a finite supply of drivers versus Uber which has no loyalty and has a supply of drivers due to economic precarity?

      My sister had her inspection on her car the other day, so there was coordination of get her car dropped off and get her to school. Cab companies need to keep cars on the road. It’s not an I’ll give you a ride kind of thing.

      Reply
      1. Louis

        Another problem cabs have historically had is that it was like waiting for a service technician to show up to fix your internet or a plumber arriving to fix a problem with your drain or pipes–sorry but a window of time that could be subjected to delays is not going to cut it when you need to get somewhere.

        This can be a real issue, especially if you live outside the city core, and need to get somewhere even if it’s downtown.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cab companies know they aren’t in the business of having to get someone somewhere on short notice despite Hollywood portrayals. They are oriented around the schedules of mass transit, planes, the elderly, the disabled, people off the local 9 to 5 schedule, and drunks. Uber and Lyft are eating into airport and drunk runs, the car less and temporarily carless.

          Without the subsidies, cars aren’t magically appearing. There is a reason Domino’s dropped it’s infamous guarantee.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Insurance costs were a big reason for Domino’s to drop its guarantee as they covertly encouraged drivers to do whatever it took to meet it.

            Reply
          2. Procopius

            This is why I wonder about the underpinning for their Magical Thinking that driverless cars will be their making. They’re losing billions every year now, while they have no investment in their vehicle fleet and many of the expenses are borne by their drivers. If they do away with the drivers they also do away with their auto fleet, and they will have to invest more billions in the driverless cars, maintenance on them, gas, oil, and insurance (which surely is going to be a lot higher than what their current drivers are paying). It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I assume their investors are a lot better at financial analysis than I am.

            Reply
      2. Oh

        I took in my car for service the other day. They had a van that would drop you off at work and then pick you up later when the service was done. I asked for a drop off this time only to be told that they now use UBER. The UBER tentacles are longer now. I refuse to use UBER

        Reply
    2. Pelham

      I recall that when I first heard about “ride sharing,” I thought, Cool, here’s an app that links Person A who happens to be headed to Destination X with Person B who’s basically on the route and needs a lift to reach the same destination.

      In days of yore that’s what was understood by the notion of sharing a ride. What Uber and Lyft are doing is not that.

      Reply
      1. Milton

        I remember using Craigslist for actual ridesharing on drives from the Bay Area to LA. No reason that couldn’t be replicated in an easy to use app–utilizing P2P tech. On another note, I’m surprised none of the current ride hailing companies haven’t got into the rental truck space. I would consider such a service for times when I purhase a piece of furnature and need a truck to haul it home.

        Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        In the 90s I took cabs in Athens, and unlike in the US, drivers would stop for a hail sometimes even if they already had a fare. If the new person was going in the same direction as the current passenger, the cabbie would pick them up too and the riders would split the cost. And we were able to figure out an equitable split amongst ourselves, and all of this without any app at all.

        Like the video in links says, there really isn’t much innovation going on with “rideshare” companies at all.

        Reply
      1. tegnost

        I liked his “innovation”, seems like amazon, google, and all the rest of them have the same goal in mind, right? At first it was a real service, while now we’re just product.

        Reply
  13. Craig H.

    > THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF PHILIP AGEE, THE CIA’S FIRST DEFECTOR AND MOST COMMITTED DISSIDENT

    Published in 1975—the so-called Year of Intelligence—Inside the Company scandalized the agency, enraged its top management as well as its rank and file, and compromised its operations in the Western Hemisphere. The book and Agee’s campaign to expose intelligence operatives and operations drew bipartisan opprobrium among American politicians—Barry Goldwater wanted Agee’s citizenship revoked, and Joe Biden said he should go to jail. For the rest of his life, Agee would continue, albeit with diminishing returns, his efforts to undermine CIA covert operations and other aspects of what he considered objectionable US policies.

    This is dubious. Inside the Company is one of the dullest books I have ever read. It’s a pity we didn’t have that kindle spy function back then to see how many readers got past ten pages. Agee’s book might have had a chance at the all-time record.

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Matt Taibbi: ‘Fact-checking’ takes another beating”

    Maybe what we need right now is Schrödinger Fact-Checking. How would that work? So take Dr. Fauci for example. You look at one set of facts and he is decrying conspiracy theories saying that Covid was man-made in a Chinese lab that he helped fund. Then, when you looked at those facts again, Fauci is saying that he is ‘not convinced’ that it started naturally in China. So Fauci is never wrong but what the facts are comes down to a function of time as when you look at them. Yeah, that could work that.

    Reply
      1. rowlf

        Maybe we are using an inferior brand of science and we should shop for something of higher quality? Are there commercials for science product showing what kind of lifestyle we could enjoy if we just buy that brand instead of others? Commercials showing unhappy owners of brand B science compared to the happier and smarter owners of brand A science? Science with more power, efficiency and built in features?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          When I read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” I wanted to yell at the author, that’s not what scientific conclusions mean. Some of them have held up pretty well, like Newton’s Laws, but even those have been subject to modification. Many others don’t last long before they get changed. “I change my mind when the facts [as far as I know them] change.”

          Reply
    1. Ping

      Fauci be nimble, Fauci be quick. The guy is a political weather vane just like first opposing waiving mrna vax IP rights then reverse course with increasing pressure that so-called benevolent COVAX isn’t working.

      Reply
  15. pjay

    – THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF PHILIP AGEE, THE CIA’S FIRST DEFECTOR AND MOST COMMITTED DISSIDENT Crime Reads

    This is an excellent illustration of the liberal laundering of history. There are “good” whistleblowers, but also misguided “bad” ones whose amorality or misguided idealism leads them to cross the line into “treasonous” territory. Along with Agee, Snowden and also Assange (though not mentioned in this article) are in the latter category according to Stevenson. As liberal history, its derogation is more subtle than simply labeling Agee a commie traitor. But the selective history is obvious throughout. Here’s just one example:

    “Some combination of the cumulative value of well-intentioned and narrowly targeted disclosures like Ellsberg’s and the cumulative damage of broadly destructive ones like Agee’s impelled Congress to pass the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which, as amended, in effect expanded the lane for insiders to lodge complaints about legally or ethically questionable policy implementation by protecting those who stayed in that lane. This statutory scheme has encouraged legitimate whistleblowing complaints of significant consequence in American affairs of state—notably, in 2019, that of a CIA officer alarmed by President Donald Trump’s apparent withholding of foreign assistance to Ukraine for his personal political gain, which led to Trump’s impeachment.”

    Not mentioned in his condemnation of the “near-sociopathic” Snowden is the fact that it was the *failure* of this Act to provide protection for whistleblowers such as Thomas Drake (also not mentioned) that motivated Snowden’s decision. Citing Eric Ciaramella, the anti-Trump CIA insider, as a shining “whistleblower” example is another tell.

    This is an excerpt/advertisement for Stevenson’s book. Here is an alternative take, from Covert Action Magazine (originally founded by Agee himself):

    https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/05/25/new-book-that-tries-to-brand-cia-whistleblower-philip-agee-as-a-traitor-winds-up-proving-exactly-the-opposite/

    Reply
    1. jsn

      I took the article to be a description of the “epicycles” the true believers are reduced to devising to avoid having to confront all the horrors their faith has imposed which they refuse to face.

      Reply
    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      pjay: Thanks for this. I was reading along and the author went off on a tear about how Snowden isn’t Ellsberg–even though Ellsberg has recognized Snowden as Ellsbergy-enough. I stopped computing.

      And thanks, too, for parsing that “CIA agent” who mysteriously had to whistle-blow on Trump. I thought that the author meant Col. Vindman–but you are right, the author is dancing around the Unnameable Ciaramella, former Biden operative.

      Reply
    3. Wellstone's Ghost

      Love me some Covert Action Quarterly. I was thrilled to see it had jumped over to the internet. Used to buy it off the newspaper stand shelf back in the 90’s. You know, when we had newspaper stands.
      Their in house cartoonist Matt Weurker did some dynamite drawings.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    ‘BreakThrough News
    @BTnewsroom
    Why is no one talking about the fact that recently arrested Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich is literally a battle-hardened neo-nazi? Journalist Mark Ames walks us through the real story of NATO’s new hero.’

    Last night on the news they described him as a young journalist who loves freedom and wants it for his own country of Belarus. I wonder if he follows Greedo from Venezuela on Twitter?

    If it is not too late, have a good long weekend guys.

    Reply
  17. Pat

    I wasn’t against the 9/11 commission, the investigation of Benghazi, the current drive to investigate January 6 and/or the start of Covid 19. I am against all of these because they are not about discovering the failures and correcting the things that led to them, they are about political cudgels meant to increase power for some and limit power for others.

    I do think some investigations should lead to punishment if crimes have been committed. Or to new laws making such actions illegal, but not I would guess for the same things those pushing these commissions would want. Take Benghazi, it wasn’t the spin in the aftermath that I would consider the problem, it was using diplomatic installations as fronts to provide arms or money to so-called rebels. But knowing that our leaders have embraced criminality for the greater good, these are not means for them to correct the problems. Thus I have put away my desire for knowledge and will have to embrace that the less investigations the better.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      ….they are about political cudgels meant to increase power for some and limit power for others.

      Or, they are for pretending to do something about a problem with the intention of just burying it.

      Where is the Durham report?

      Reply
    2. GF

      Why not have the Justice Dept. do the investigation of Jan. 6 using career investigators and not political appointees? One of the reasons I am against the bipartisan commission is that it would be a distraction from the criminal investigations currently underway targeting 400+ insurrectionists/rioters. Let those prosecutions/investigations play out and use the evidence gathered from them as a baseline for the larger Jan 6 investigation.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        In my case because I feel like the majority of those 400+ cases are about diddly as most of them were rioters who got caught up in the moment. I watched the videos live that day. Most of the people roaming the hallways and on the street were there to protest and went along. They weren’t overthrowing diddly. Which is why it was way less violent than an actual insurrection. And while I sincerely believe that they should go forward and figure that the majority will end up being trespassing charges, their reasons for being there were and are pretty clear, even if a whole lot of people do not agree with them.

        No, for me the real question is and always has been why there was such a token security force in place for a major protest, something that when even supposedly addressed didn’t answer any core questions and because it is at best embarrassing or at worst a sign of a different type of conspiracy WON”T be answered by your criminal investigations. I was in Washington DC over a decade ago for a march during a summer that had seen far less protests and far fewer violent confrontations with/from protesters. Let me tell you looking at early video from January 6 there were three times as many police on the streets at the event I attended where the biggest uproar were some dehydrated protesters. On January 6, I was seeing questions on line from foreign police wondering where the crowd control was. Asking why they weren’t kettling the crowd. They didn’t realize that there was not remotely enough police presence to do typical crowd control. Because it was unthinkable that you wouldn’t have a police force prepared and ready to yes, control a crowd.

        Was this incompetance? Was it a result of the possible idea that conservative/right wing protests are law abiding and non violent? Was it because some one thought it might be a good idea if this group of protesters had their Minneapolis moment, and made sure that any usual precautions were ignored? Which? While there have been many explanations as to why help didn’t come in a timely fashion, frankly those also don’t make sense.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Maybe the Capitol Police don’t really respect or like the congress critters? Maybe class issues? (Half snark)

          Reply
    1. Maritimer

      In my jurisdiction, at a recent Covid Panic Dog and Pony Show, the Dear Medical Leader let slip that their most recent lockdown by county was working as reports obtained from Google indicated that traffic was down about 50%.

      So, extrapolating from that, it seems Emergency Government is purchasing Covid data and reports from Big Tech. It stands to reason they are also purchasing public opinion data the better to massage their propaganda—lots of this about. And, as a political party running the Emergency Government, it would be reasonable to assume they are also purchasing political opinion data and calculating how to best use the Covid Emergency to optimize their political outcome. I would further suspect that Big Tech has legions of massagers and marketers packaging up useful products for Governments and political parties.

      So, politics intimately enmeshed with Big Tech.

      Reply
  18. synoia

    All the above is quite depressing – We are living in a horribly warped civilization.

    The only thing I could attribute to our leaders is a very old quote:

    He has a mean and hungry look.

    Reply
  19. Vic

    This Memorial Day, think of the relatives whom you never met, or who were shattered for the rest of their shortened lives after serving in the military. How would they have lived? What would they have done with their lives?

    In her first Memorial Day weekend as vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris simply posted a smiling photo of herself and said “Enjoy the long weekend.”

    https://www.newsweek.com/vp-kamala-harris-bashed-her-enjoy-long-weekend-memorial-day-tweet-1596181

    Reply
    1. Charlotte Korb

      When I was a child, it was called Decoration Day; people placed wreaths on ancestors’ graves and some picnicked there. (I’ve been wished “happy veterans day”, also.)

      Reply
    2. Glen

      I have meet relatives and friends of my son who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are, for lack of a better word, shattered. They have seen and done things that have cracked their humanity. Being told to kill an Iraq mother because being pregnant makes you look like you MIGHT have a weapon is too much to bear. (and yes, this happen)

      I, despite 15 years with the US Navy, am too old to have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but all I can say is GET OUT. We need to return to the time of having a civilian military, with a draft. Only then, can our country make a correct, and ligitimate determination that sending our sons and daughters into war is necessary.

      Reply
    3. griffen

      I strongly suspect this could become a much larger, involved and interesting comment thread. I’ve had many older relatives no longer above ground who served.

      Maternal grandfather, and his younger brothers. One killed on Guam, another held hostage after the USS Houston sunk in February 1942. Fortunately the brother held hostage survived that ordeal and lived well into his 90s. They don’t make em like that anymore. The surviving crew of the Houston, a cruiser class vessel, are worth remembrance.

      Reply
        1. griffen

          Okay, prisoner held by Japanese for 42 months. This family assumed the worst. I understood that my great grandmother was astonished to hear he was alive still in 1945 as the war was nearing its end.

          Reply
      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Then there was the light cruiser USS Juneau, which was sunk by a torpedo fired by a Japanese submarine off Guadalcanal in November, 1942. Among the crew were five brothers, the sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa. There was a huge explosion, probably because the torpedo hit a magazine. The Juneau sank within about a minute and a half. Four of the brothers apparently wend down with the remains of the ship. The fifth and oldest survived for the days it took to be rescued, but by that time was to far gone from his wounds to be saved. The grief and hollowness felt by their parents and surviving siblings are unimaginable.

        Reply
        1. griffen

          That’s remarkable, something I’m certain was not covered in my history books..how on earth the wise leaders in the US military thought to place siblings on the same ship is beyond me.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            In earlier times it was common practice to have the men from one town or region go to war together as a unit because they were already bonded together before joining and this of course included family members. But if that unit had heavy casualties, it could be devastating for that place. I heard about one Confederate regiment during the Civil War that went went out at full strength but by the time they returned home there was only about the equivalent of a platoon left. When Joshua Chamberlain took the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, he saw the approaching rebs and said that going by their Colours, Brigades had shrunk to Regiments and Regiments had shrunk to companies, such were their losses.

            Reply
          2. Dirk77

            I can speak for only my dad’s high school class, but many if not most died together at Kasserine Pass. They were drafted and trained together, and shipped out as a unit. My dad, seeing the war coming, had already volunteered long before and served elsewhere.

            Reply
    4. flora

      Thank you. In honor of my great uncle R: he was killed in WWI long before I was born. He’s buried somewhere In Flanders Fields .

      Memorial Day – originally called Decoration Day – is historically the US’s remembrance of US Civil War dead to remember both sides’ fallen soldiers in that terrible conflict. It’s come to memorialize all the soldiers in all the US wars.

      Reply
        1. tegnost

          That was what broke me. I’d watch jim lehrer regularly and at the end of the news hour, in silence, they’d show the soldiers who’d lost their lives, and it was 20 year olds, 40 year olds, and everything in between and around that, with pictures. I was never the greatest person and I felt that I was looking at people who were better than me getting killed for bad reasons. Sorry for your loss, we all share it in some way…

          Reply
  20. Alex Cox

    The Agee article (which is overall hostile to Agee) describes how when his estate tried to ship his CIA notebooks to a university in New York, the US forced a civilian airliner to make an unscheduled landing in Cincinnati so that it could seize the documents.

    A government forcing an airline to land a scheduled flight for political purposes? I am shocked, shocked… Oh, wait…

    Happy weekend!

    Reply
  21. Adam Eran

    Re: corruption in the judiciary: See Sarah Chayes’ On Corruption in America. She starts the book with the story of the Virginia governor whose wife accepted $75K in shopping trips, while he got a variety of financial and non-financial favors. He was convicted of corruption in Virginia, and on appeal. The Supremes unanimously (!) said this was the way politicians do business in America…and let him off.

    Rotten at the core.

    Reply
    1. Dictynna

      It is disgusting, but he shouldn’t be made to pay for the crime when others get off scot-free. They should all be replaced if convicted.

      Reply
    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      And then there’s the Congress, where leadership positions such as committee and subcommittee chairs are awarded based on how effective the rep or sen is at fund raising. A recipe for legislative capture. The Democrats started it, but when the Republicans saw a good thing they jumped on it as well.

      Reply
    3. Paradan

      Wasn’t he the one that they said if they went after him, they’d have to go after half of Washington, so they just let it go? I remember seeing an article about it in Foreign Policy, the author said when he saw that it reminded him of failed states overseas.

      Reply
    1. Gerd

      I saw them about five years ago. They are back on the road again after being away for many years. The concert was excellent. Jeff Lynne doesn’t talk much but just kept playing.

      They did a concert for the BBC at Hyde Park several years ago, you can find it on youtube. After that was successful they decided to hit the road again.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Pakistan leans towards giving US military bases”

    Is that wise? After the Coalition pullout from Afghanistan, the first time the Taliban are hit by a drone launched from Pakistan, well, you can guess what would happen next.

    Reply
  23. ex-PFC Chuck

    re “The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush” New Yorker
    Mineral resources have been a cursed blessing for the former Belgian Congo going way back. A fascinating story is told in Spies in the Congo, by Susan Williams regarding uranium mining there during World War II. A deposit had been found in the eastern area, parts of which were in excess of 50% pure pitchblende. At the time the percentages for all other known deposits elsewhere in the world were in the low single digits. As one might expect conditions in which the miners worked were appalling, and the human costs were high.

    Reply

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