Links 6/17/2021

Forty-nine years ago today, burglars broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, setting in motion a chain of events that would eventually result in Richard Nixon resigning the presidency.

A look back at how Watergate scandal began Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Breaking of Stephen Colbert National Review

Amazon blames social media companies for sales of fake Amazon reviews Ars Technica

History As End Harper’s

Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed Coca-Cola. Then their market value sank $4 billion. CBS

Why 1971 was an extraordinary year in film BBC

In Alaska, Commercial Aviation Is a Lifeline. The State Is Also Home to a Growing Share of the Country’s Deadly Crashes. ProPublica

Making hot sauce and working to save wetlands AP

Poultry prices soar to record amid U.S. chicken-sandwich wars Farm Progress

SpaceX threatened with arrests as local authorities in Texas warn it may have committed a crime by using private security guards to block public roads Business Insider

‘Financial surrealism’: Lebanese opt for beer over banks Reuters

Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins NYT


Education Is a Right — Not a Reward Jacobin

Forget Going Back to the Office—People Are Just Quitting Instead WSJ

CORONAVIRUSA Los Angeles COVID Report Card Capital & Main

Vaccine Maker Earned Record Profits but Delivered Disappointment in Return NYT

Britain, facing airline pressure, considers easing restrictions for vaccinated travellers Reuters

British study reveals rapid growth of delta variant across England WaPo

China’s zero-tolerance approach helped control Covid-19, but is it time for an exit strategy?South China Morning Post

Tokyo set to lift state of emergency ahead of Olympics WaPo

Women in finance say ‘mediocre’ male managers block progress FT

Biden Administration

US optimism to reshore supply chains from Asia ‘overblown’, with region’s share of global exports set to rise South China Morning Post

America’s Soup-Brained President Says The US Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections Caitlin Johnstone

White House tries to privately calm Democratic fears on infrastructure deal Politico

House approves Juneteenth holiday, sends bill to Biden’s desk The Hill

US industrial policy not a threat to Asian allies Asia Times

Biden Spending Plans Remain Popular Monmouth University

Trump Transition

‘Pure insanity’: How Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department
to help overturn the election WaPo

Class Warfare

The Antitrust Revolution Has Found Its Leader BIG. Matt Stoller.

AP says it will no longer name suspects in minor crimes AP

With moratorium ending, more than 8 million households face foreclosure or eviction CBS

New Cold War

Biden’s vow of digital reprisals against Russia draws skepticism Politico

Short and sweet: Biden and Putin claim summit gains but talks end early as tensions remain Independent


Number of EU citizens seeking work in UK falls 36% since Brexit, study shows Guardian

The Decline of Western Power Craig Murray

Boris Johnson Toadies Up to Biden at the G7 Counterpunch


Coronavirus: Biological E’s made-in-India shot likely to be 90% effective, says vaccine panel chief Scroll

Rural Rajasthan Runs From the State, Not Medicines The Wire

The force that could redraw the peninsula of India BBC

Unemployment Falls as India Eases Lockdown: CMIE The Wire

BJP has mastered the art of using symbols to its advantage. But will the mass pyres singe it? Scroll


Former head of Covid-19 vaccine rollout charged with high treason Myanmar Now


China says its fighter pilots are battling AI aircraft in simulated dogfights, and humans aren’t the only ones learning Business India

Hong Kong Cracks Down on a Pro-Democracy Newspaper NYT

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jur here.

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  1. zagonostra

    Did I miss links/reference to “Captial Seizure” reporting?

    It seems just like when any mention that CV19 could possible have been a lab leak you were shut down, now the MSM is suggesting that any mention that the 1/6 events may have had elements (agents) of FBI fomenting the “insurrection” you’re labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”

    Was it an inside job? Who knows? But It does seem that more and more politics is becoming a shadowy show on the cave’s wall.

    1. Carolinian

      Carlson’s theory may be a speculative stretch but the belief that 1/6 was a pre planned attempt to overthrow the government is also a conspiracy theory and one widely believed by the Dems and, quite likely, the Washington Post.

      Also paranoia about the FBI initiating conspiracies is more than justified given their history.

      1. Pat

        In truth I would say that Carlson’s theory has more evidence and history supporting his speculation than 1/6 being an insurrection meant to overthrow the government.

        But then again, I have spent some time looking at actual insurrections and coups…

      2. John Zelnicker

        June 17, 2021 at 10:10 am

        I won’t contest the idea that the FBI may have had a role in the 1/6 riots (I really think that is the best descriptive of the events that day).

        However, I have seen what appears to be plenty of evidence that the right-wing militias, etc., such as Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and others were making serious plans to attack the Capitol. There were email exchanges talking about weapons caches, meeting places, where to stay, etc.

        Of course, the FBI or other agencies could have been involved in the background. I don’t think we can ever be sure.

        It’s most likely, IMHO, that there was a real desire and plans made by the militant extremists to do something for their Fearless Leader(c) to disrupt Congress’ work that day, and the FBI or some agency manipulated that desire to their own ends.

        The result was deadly.

        1. Pelham

          I think you’re on the right track, although some of the evidence of right-wingers laying plans may have been the FBI itself. Or not.

          I’ll hold open the possibility that the FBI had absolutely nothing to do with instigating 1/6. But it doesn’t matter because the FBI in the past has done stuff like that, so there’s absolutely zero way for any of us to make any kind of informed judgment. Maybe this is by design.

        2. Vlad "The Mad Lad" Lenin

          In the 70s, one fifth of the KKK was on the FBI’s payroll. I find it extremely hard to believe that the FBI wasn’t in deep with all these groups, and being in so deep I think 1/6 points to either an incredible level of incompetence, or a disturbing level of collaboration.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            One wonders if the FBI helped lead the overthrower-wannabes along in order to get large numbers of them to do something prosecutable ” on the social media record” so as to facilitate attriting their numbers through arrests and etc.

            If so, gathering that much human fissile material together in one place was highly risky.

            ( By the way, who pre-placed those handy piles of bricks ahead of time at planned BLM march-sites and march-routes? Does anyone even ask about that any more?)

  2. Sawdust

    Here’s a question for all and sundry: Who’s actually running the Biden Administration? The man himself is clearly incapable. Who are the adults in the room? Kamala? The Blob?

      1. jsn

        We did, but were told not to worry about it by the OAA because Biden is what we were going to get regardless of actual votes in the Caucuses/Primaries.

        Who was it actually that caused the “reconciliation” vote on the Relief bill? Is there some shifting group or is there some individual?

        And, most importantly, can we expect other actual fits of real governance like that, or was it a one-shot deal?

      2. petal

        We did here at NC. August 24th, 2019. I mentioned my observations from seeing JB up close in-person at a town hall and off we went. Might’ve been the 25th that my comment/report was pulled from comments and made into a separate post by Lambert.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Sanders avoided his one chance to help that point to make itself in public during that one-on-one TV debate with Biden.

    1. Stanley Dundee

      Sawdust asks Who are the adults in the room? I would start with Ron Klain, longtime Biden advisor and white house chief of staff. He’s rarely in the news, despite the importance of his position, which suggests to me that he’s a major power broker. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, is another to watch, as a key representative of the neoconservative faction that’s dominated US foreign policy for decades. If you could check their meeting schedules you’d have a pretty good idea of who is actually making policy.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      My guess is the last person in the room. Then again Samantha Power is an admirer of Henry Kissinger, so it’s possible theyve recognized the ludicrous approach to Russia relative to plans to contain China, but they are dumb versions of Kissinger who likely think a reset to 2009 is possible just by showing up. The original plot was to scare Russia with isolation from Europe, ignoring Russia has its problems but it’s a rare country that could become an autarky. Given the escalation a couple of months ago and the rapid drawdown, it’s possible they really expected Putin to back down.

      For those with strong stomachs

      There is certainly a segment of Soviet phobes and people who can’t acknowledge the ludicrous nature of the Hillary candidacy looking to blame it on something other than the obvious, but you guess is the driving force was always Obama’s pivot to Asia, China. It’s just US fp is dominated by the idiot underlings of monsters like Kissinger.

      1. Randy G.

        @NotTim the Gypster-Geithner,

        Good point because something strange happened on the way to a war with Russia over Ukraine. That ‘policy’ seemed to indicate Biden at the helm, considering the Ukraine putsch and continued meddling was his baby as VP (with lovely business opportunities for Hunter tossed in).

        Russia responded with a rapid, large, and extremely well organized ‘military exercise’ on their border and in the Black Sea, making it clear that they were ready go to war with Ukraine — and NATO if need be — if the U.S. brinkmanship persisted.

        Considering Biden’s macho stupidity, this was an extremely dangerous development. Add in Biden’s ‘Dirty Harry’ rhetoric that Putin was a “soulless killer” and Russia needed to be taught a lesson or two for their alleged “aggression”, and a war seemed seriously possible.

        Tulsi Gabbard went on Tucker Carlson (well, they aren’t going to have her on MSNBC or CNN to question the sanity of Biden’s foreign policy), pleading, essentially, that Americans should be fearful of a nuclear war with Russia over Ukraine.

        Then, suddenly, the U.S. Empire braked slightly, leaving our “good friend” President Zelensky and the frothing-at-the-mouth neo-fascists in Ukraine dangling in the wind.

        Did someone at the Pentagon who analyzes warfare (more than, say, Raytheon stock prices) throw cold water in their face?

        Did one of the current crop of Kissinger homunculi grasp that a two-front pie-eating contest with both China and Russia might give one a bad tummy ache?

        Armageddon delayed? At least for the weekend.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden is a run of the mill classic bully. I’m not so sure he’s macho-stupid as much as he kind of just shuts down and gets in line when the going gets tough. When the predictions about the Persian Gulf War were more dire compared to the relatively easy victory, how did Biden vote in 1991? But for expected easy wins, Biden was all over it. In retrospect, I think 41’s wimp reputation might have had more sway over Biden compared to Shrub’s rotating costumes.

          It might even explain Afghanistan. The Pentagon not offering answers and the Taliban demanding adherence to the dates didn’t give him an easy option beyond withdrawal.

          Biden was a sitting VP who had run for President twice who let the unlikeable loser to Obama take the front runner status in 2015-2016.

    3. km

      Before the election, concerns about Biden’s mental fitness were pooh-poohed because Biden wasn’t really going to be in charge of anything, the Permanent State, the Adults In The Room would have everything under control.

    4. Nkkikat

      I’m beginning to suspect it’s Neera Tanden. Kamala doesn’t seem too capable of much of anything. She is good at inappropriate giggling though.

  3. John Emerson

    I was deeply involved in opposition to the Vietnam War, and when Nixon resigned I felt that we had won. But we wanted real change, and Nixon was replaced by a totally mainstream operative who wanted to forget the whole thing even happened — forget Nixon, but also forget the anti war movement. There was a sort of speed bump for American militarism, but by the time of the Gulf War militarism was back at full strength, and at this point the anti-war movement barely exists.

    1. a different chris

      >I felt that we had won.

      That’s the unfortunate problem with winning, isn’t it? Especially against a well-funded opponent.

      It seems like you don’t have anything more to do, so you go on with other stuff. Meanwhile said opponent retires to their cave and licks their wounds and comes up with a new plan.

      It just sucks that we can never actually declare victory. Stupid warmongering, racism, environmental disaster, they just keep coming back with new techniques.

      1. campbeln

        That’s why woke authoritarianism is so hot right now; the idea of crushing your opponent morally AND politically.

        Give it time, but they’ll add “legally” and “mortally” to the list :/

    2. Pat

      Oh, we won the battle, but we lost the war when we accepted the terms of a volunteer army. The moment the draft was thrown into the landfill of history, the anti-war movement was over, it was only a matter of time. Press blackouts about the dead and long term damaged haven’t helped, but the big one was getting rid of the draft.

      The moment it was no longer ‘your kid, who couldn’t avoid being conscripted, can come home in a box’ for the majority of the United States, it stopped being personal for enough Americans to threaten the status quo.

      1. km

        I suspect that at the time, the antiwar movement treated the end of the draft as a great victory.

      2. Nikkikat

        Donald Rumsfeld came up with the volunteer army and pitched it to Nixon. I would say it’s worked quite well for the elites in Washington. The pentagon’s propaganda campaign to include patriotic military displays at sporting events along with yellow ribbons. Gold star parents, and “thanking the military for their service etc etc.

    3. Steve from CT

      I was a Vietnam vet active in the antiwar movement after returning home. When Nixon left office in disgrace I also thought maybe we had won. I did go the D.C. and met with Vietnam Vets Against the War then headed up by the now pro war John Kerry. I then realized that it was a phony organization that was being used by Kerry for self promotion. They had no interest in what docs I showed them or what b.s. the army was doing.

    4. km

      Plenty of people felt the same way when Obama won in 2009. At least the Forever Wars would be over at last. There were people who felt the same way about Trump.

      Hell, one could argue that every winning presidential candidate since Bush 1.0 (“kinder, gentler nation”) ran on a platform of dialing back the militarism and restoring the middle class. Once in office, each has arguably morphed into a foaming at the mouth hawk and the middle class was forgotten as quickly as a discarded paper towel.

      Now, I don’t pretend to know what exactly is going on, or even whether the process is the same for each candidate. But the results suggest that something is going on, and the results speak for themselves.

    5. jonboinAR

      I think that since the days of Nixon/Kissinger, there have been professionals pulling the strings of power. Not that there weren’t always, but there’s been a consistency to the direction of policy, administration to administration, which-ever party was holding the presidency or the majorities. By professionals I mean literally people who’s livings are made doing what it takes, holding this position or that, to direct policy. They’re able to maintain focus over the long haul, unlike amateur anti-war activists, because it’s their job. They haven’t other obligations to distract them. Who pays them, really, I don’t know. There’s all these foundations, lobbying groups, 501c-whatevers to bury the connections behind. I have a theory though, that the very rich are able to get what they want over time mostly because they can pay people to stick with their goals and keep focus on them.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It used to be that political parties and movement-adjacent organizations pooled money, effort and time from large numbers of non-rich people to advance a consistent agenda over time for those non-rich people.

        The DemParty used to be partly that before it was Boren-From-Clintonized.

  4. John Siman

    Princeton professor Matthew Karp’s Harper’s essay “History As End: 1619, 1776, and the politics of the past” is beautifully written, but, sadly, reminds us that even our most talented professors now operate with very limited freedom of thought. Thus, when pressed for a conclusion, Karp piously — wokefully — quotes from the aphorisms of Saint Foucault rather than exhorting us to understand the facts of our history:

    “In 1971, [Karp writes] Michel Foucault published a lengthy critique of any enterprise that aimed to attain historical truth by uncovering its elemental beginnings. “History,” he wrote, quoting Nietzsche, teaches how to laugh at the solemnities of the origin. The lofty origin is no more than “a metaphysical extension which arises from the belief that things are most precious and essential at the moment of birth.”

    “This is a perverse fantasy, Foucault believed. Actual historical origins were neither beautiful nor ultimately very significant. A true student of the past, he argued, must grapple primarily with “the events of history, its jolts, its surprises, its unsteady victories and unpalatable defeats—the basis of all beginnings, atavisms, and heredities.” Against the idea of either a glorious or a deterministic starting point, Foucault urged an approach to the past that emphasized turbulence over continuity: ‘History is the concrete body of a development, with its moments of intensity, its lapses, its extended periods of feverish agitation, its fainting spells; and only a metaphysician would seek its soul in the distant ideality of the origin.’”

    But there really was an Enlightenment in the 18th century, which included, for the first time in human history, the transcendence of feudalism by the organization of national economies. Until the time of Adam Smith, “economics” meant household management, or, to put it more bluntly, plantation management. It is in the year 1776 — in which Smith published The Wealth of Nations and Jefferson the Declaration of Independence — that we find the true foundation of the abolition of slavery. Here is where we should begin our study of American history, even though it is now forbidden at places like Princeton.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this comment. I’ll add a longish quote from The Revolt of the Elites which seems relevant wrt Foucalt’s theories and the current university environment.

      “The misleading distinction between knowledge and opinion reappears…in the controversies that have recently convulsed the university…. These controversies are bitter and inconclusive because both sides share the same unacknowledged premise: that knowledge has to rest on indisputable foundations if it is to carry any weight. One faction – identified with the left although its point of view bears little resemblance to the tradition it claims to defend – takes the position that the collapse of “foundationalism” makes it possible for the first time to see that “knowledge” is merely another name for power. The dominant group…imposes their ideas, their canon, their self-serving readings of history on everybody else….The critical demolition of foundationalism, according to the academic left, exposes the hollowness of these claims and enables disenfranchised groups to contest the prevailing orthodoxy on the grounds that it serves only to keep [the powerless] in their place. …Once knowledge is equated with ideology, it is no longer necessary to argue with opponents on intellectual grounds or enter into their point of view. It is enough to dismiss them as…politically suspect.

      …The trouble in academia, however, derives not from the absence of secure foundations but from the believe (shared, it must be said, by both parties to this debate) that in their absence the only possible outcome is a skepticism so deep that it become indistinguishable from nihilism. ”

      ― Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy , 1995

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      John Siman: I find the essay not as skillfully written as you do. Yet I note that the reference to Foucault is followed by six long paragraphs that lead to a different summation.

      Quoting: “Today’s historicism is a fulfillment of that discourse, having migrated from the margins of academia to the heart of the liberal establishment. Progress is dead; the future cannot be believed; all we have left is the past, which must therefore be held responsible for the atrocities of the present.”

      That’s a refutation of much of Foucault. It is also a refutation of the current ideas among liberals that everything is a social construction from the past and must be destroyed.

      Why, if I didn’t know who Karp is, I’d say that the article was written by bane-of-liberals Camille Paglia, who has been saying exactly this for years.

      1. flora

        John Dewey (yes, *that* John Dewey) wrote about education and philosophy. Here’s a quote:

        It may be seriously questioned whether the philosophies… which isolate mind and set it over against the world did not have their origin in the fact that the reflective or theoretical class of men elaborated a large stock of ideas which social conditions did not allow them to act upon and test. Consequently men were thrown back into their own thoughts as ends in themselves.
        -John Dewey

    3. marym

      That the study of US history should begin in 1776 is currently a claim with a political agenda, not a reflection of how that study has been conducted. For example, the arrival of the Puritans, the Mayflower Compact (1620) and the establishment of the Virginia House of Burgesses (1619) have been taught as foundational to ideas of religious freedom, self-governance, and representation.

      As far as the Declaration of Independence as a foundation of the abolition of slavery, Jefferson – who enslaved his own children – may not have agreed, but it’s been a contention of many who have studied and resisted slavery and racism. There’s an essay at the beginning of the 1619 project that talks about it. Of course there’s also a history of resistance before 1776.

      1. a different chris

        Yeah that’s so weird intellectually – there are useful, if not entirely defensible, “before and after” dates when you learn about history but there’s no way to understand them if you start at that point?

        It’s like examining a car wreck from the moment it comes into contact with whatever, rather than the actions of the driver/road slickness/visibility before that. You learn very little.

        Which I think is the objective, of course.

        >There’s an essay at the beginning of the 1619 project that talks about it.

        One of the many reasons no doubt we are being screamed at about said project. Heaven forbid we actually read it.

      2. Geof

        Not to distract from American navel-gazing about race, but there is also a problem with space, not just time. In that sense, American geography does not even extend back to 1776: it begins in 1898 (not even, if former possessions like the Philippines are left out).

        The date of 1776 severs territories that remained loyal as though their decision not to join the revolution were retroactive. Similarly, current borders cut in two lands that were once parts of Mexico. Never mind the division of traditional native territories, even though Indian bands still exist whose territories are recognized as spanning the border.

        I realized later how unnatural it was to learn Canadian history in school as though American history were a completely different and separate entity. This left weird mysteries like why the place I live is called British Columbia. American history taught the same way will share the same flaws.

        The monomaniacal obsession with race is bad enough. Americans come to believe that European racism was the reason for the enslavement of Africans: when in fact African slavery was the reason for American racism. But when the fiction of race becomes the sun around which everything orbits, so much is left out. What of New France? The English civil war? Imperial satellites, like my country? All over the world we have protesters shouting “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”, as if the only way to be written in to imperial history is to stake a claim in a drama in which they played little or no part.

    4. David

      Foucault is, to put it mildly, frequently misunderstood. Many of his lectures are only now being published, and translations of his books and articles are of varying quality. His main interest was the history of ideas, and how ideas and the surrounding discourses had changed over time. He gives examples, including the treatment of the mentally ill, and changes in penal policy, where the literature and concepts of one age are simply meaningless to another age. He argued that interpretations were imposed by those who had the ability (“pouvoir”) to do so, and that changed as time went on. Unfortunately, “pouvoir” has been too often translated as “power”, which is not really what he meant. He was primarily interested in facts and events, and would, I think, have been astounded to find people arguing that the past is fluid and unknowable. Rather, our understanding of it evolves and varies, which seems to me to be demonstrably true.

      What I think is going on here is something rather different: the abolition of history itself, the condemnation of all knowledge and understanding; the dismissal of everything before last year as what Islam calls the Jahiliyyah, the “time of ignorance”, which can be disregarded. First are statues and names, then books, then museums, then courses in history … until the past becomes simply an idea, a time of darkness and misery before the blessed present. It’s the totalitarian impulse writ large, and there are any number of historical examples. There is no past. The Year is One.

      1. jsn

        The Year One. This has been systematically enforced by the US media at least since the turn of the century.

        No surprise now that the generation that grew up with Year One as the water they swam in has concluded that all information flows exist for the opportunistic exercise of power. As such “carpe diem” is reduced to getting your elders fired to create space for career advancement.

        So now the institutions charged with cultural reproduction at the heart of the Empire are overcome by a nihilism they see as “justice” from a “discourse” that’s robbed language of most of its meaning.

      2. The Rev Kev

        History is certainly being abused by a lot of hucksters who do not want people to know what has happened in the past and how things have changed. And because of the present day use of the Confederate flag, the Civil war constantly comes up. A lot of people say that that war for the southerners was all about slavery, even though most of the soldiers did not own any. From what I have read, the Confederate soldiers thought that they were fighting the Second American Revolution or were fighting for State rights. Whatever.

        Did have one wicked thought about what to say if you found yourself in an argument about this period with one of these history revisers. You could both agree that slavery was one of the core issues of that war and that when the Confederacy was militarily defeated, that the institution of slavery was also defeated. So if they agreed to that, you could then say: ‘So you could say that the Confederacy died for our sins then’ and see if their gears grind at the implications of that bent piece of theology.

        1. Massinissa

          Second American Revolution would be closer than ‘states rights’; the term States Rights came about after the war in order to justify it post-hoc by revisionists. Wasn’t used in any contemporary documents or journalism.

          At least for the elites it was about slavery; they said as much in official documents. For the average southern man it was, as you say, seen as American Revolution 2.0: Gotta shoot the brit-er, yankee imperialists.

          We essentially have to separate why the elites fought it and why the average man did the wars dirty work, similar to what we have to do with American soldiers in Vietnam. No in the rank and file went into the war realizing it was about global american imperialism. That understanding came later.

    5. zagonostra

      It may be irrelevant that Foucault engaged in all manner of perverted sexual and illicit behavior with young boys, but I can’t help being affected in terms of how I view the man’s work. This is coming from someone who was steeped in the French intellectual movement known as “deconstructionism” back when I was in college. There is a deflation of the man (or woman) and his work you get when you become familiar with the man, kind of like Heidegger and the betrayal of his teacher, Edmund Husserl.

    6. FluffytheObeseCat

      It is in the year 1776 — in which Smith published The Wealth of Nations and Jefferson the Declaration of Independence — that we find the true foundation of the abolition of slavery. Here is where we should begin our study of American history, even though it is now forbidden at places like Princeton.”

      1) Active efforts to abolish slavery in North America pre-date 1776, and were more grounded in pre-Enlightenment Reformed strains of Christianity than in the political philosophies of Locke, etc. The Quakers began to speak out against it in the 1680s, and became active against it in the wake of the Great Awakening in the mid18th century.
      The founding father were a mixed lot in regards to true freedom. I.e. the author of the Declaration of Independence, in particular, was one to honor freedom more in theory than reality. The primacy of Christian evangelism in the abolition effort continued into the 19th century. The most active, influential abolitionists were men and women of really loud and proud faith. They weren’t well respected by contemporaries who idolized the “rationalism” of the Enlightenment. The Great Men of the Enlightenment, key Founding Fathers, etc. provided some of the philosophical underpinnings and bases for arguments in defense of emancipation…. but they did little work to effect it.

      2) Would you please provide some proof of your assertions regarding the teaching of American history at Princeton? They are within the realm of the possible given the precious extremes of virtue signaling that now characterize such places. But, I’d like to see the evidence.

      Far too much current, trending argumentation against “woke” rewrites of history is characterized by misrepresentation of the facts of our past, most of which are quite well documented and known to experts. I won’t give undue respect to florid midcentury baloney just because it exists in opposition to currently trendy, vicious CRT baloney. It’s all sausage meat as I see it.

  5. John Emerson

    On the chocolate monopoly: in 2013 3 Mars chocolate heirs were among the top 20 richest Americans. There were also 4 Waltons in the top 10. (In “Billionaires and Stealth Politics”, Page / Seawright / Macomb, citing Forbes.) The Mars family is a famously secretive.

    1. heresy101

      Silver Spoon Oligarchs: How America’s 50 Largest Inherited-Wealth Dynasties Accelerate Inequality

      “In 1983, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his children were worth just $2.15 billion (or $5.6 billion in 2020 dollars). By the end of 2020, Walton’s descendants had a combined net worth of over $247 billion, an inflation-adjusted increase of 4,320 percent.

      The Mars candy dynasty has seen its wealth increase 3,517 percent over the past 37 years, from $2.6 billion in 1983 (in 2020 dollars) to $94 billion by 2020. The Mars family also stands out for the miniscule amount of money they have stored in family foundations—$48 million as of 2018—in contrast to the large sums they have spent on public policy advocacy to change tax laws.”

      “The 27 families who were on the Forbes 400 list in 1983 had a median increase in their net worth, adjusted for inflation, of 904 percent over those 37 years. In contrast, between 1989 and 2019—the most recent year available—the wealth of the typical family in the U.S. increased by just 93 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      I see those American late night TV comedians on TV here in Oz from time to time and they all share one trait. They are not funny. Topical yes but funny no. They seem to be under the impression that being topical is the same as being funny. George Carlin could mop the floor with the whole lot of him but the truth of the matter is that if he was still with us, that he would never be allowed on TV and in all likelihood be banned from social media as well.

    2. QuarterBack

      When it comes to high comedy, George Carlin is probably at the top of my list. He seemed to get stronger the more he focused on the absurdities of “mainstream” narratives and thinking. I’m sure this cost him potential revenue, but sticking to his craft is what makes him a comedic giant.

      I’m sure that Colbert is earning beyond his wildest dreams, but it has been at the expense of his craft, and possibly a piece of his soul. To me, he doesn’t look like the same person behind those eyes as he was in his Daily Show years. I had, and still have, so much respect for him, but it makes me too sad to watch him today. Another example that comes to mind is Howard Stern, once considered a king of irreverence, he seemed to start aligning to wokedom about 5 years ago, and he became a different person.

      1. Carolinian

        Putting on my five cent psychiatrist hat I’d suggest South Carolina born Colbert is a lot more insecure in his position than New Jersey boy Stewart. Contra the notion that he has changed, here’s suggesting the neediness always was there.

        1. QuarterBack

          I doubt that insecurity is a factor. I think most people would be hard pressed to risk destabilizing the once in many lifetimes revenue stream that is flowing his way. Not to say that he is materialistic, but millions of dollars per year will greatly influence the number of self-editing that occurs.

        1. Screwball

          I use that clip every time people start arguing about tribal politics. Here, this is all you need to know – the best explanation EVER in only 3:14.

          He was a friken genius, and I miss him so. Imagine what he could say today.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            Even though I am included for liking Steely Dan, Carlin’s list of people who should be taken out & be horribly murdered always cheers me up. I imagine if he could update it there would be plenty of available candidates.

            I stick on Hicks & Pryor now & again the latter first heard on illicit LP’s played during the late 70’s by 2 stoners who sort of ran an attic record shop specialising in heavy rock that was above the main shop. They also played a lot of Zappa which was also banned in the UK at that time.

        2. QuicksilverMessenger

          I love George Carlin, but this is the one bit that doesn’t work for me at all: it’s a Very Small Club!

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Unable to sleep one night due to being on edge because the Missus was as she put it ” ready to pop “, I read the Harpo Speaks biography which was brilliantly distracting before eventually falling asleep only to be woken with news that her waters had broken.

        About 4 years later my daughter fell in love with Harpo at her first experience of him one day when watching Duck Soup & she has been a Marxist ever since.

    3. Nikkikat

      Stewart and Colbert just aren’t funny. Satire and stand up comedy has to have an edge. Good Comedians say the things that most of us can’t say. They hold up a mirror and say what you were thinking but couldn’t say out loud. I miss David Letterman.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Colbert’s descent from courageous and funny satirist (re: 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner) to smug and dull #McResistance sycophant (“Let me sit here a moment and take you all in,” as he opened an interview with Obama recently), has been most dispiriting. He and the other late-night “comics” are insufferable, and unwatchable…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Jimmy Fallon was never funny. Kimmel was behind the Man Show, which says enough, and Win Ben Stein’s Money (not that the latter wasn’t a good show, but the team up with Ben Stein…). Colbert is really just an “i’ve got mine to hell with everyone else” type. There are plenty of them. Stewart is something of a dinosaur in his views, but he does communicate a certain vision for the world. I don’t blame him for his fawning interviews with McCain because McCain really made Stewart a star when let Steve Carrell and Ed Helms (?) onto the campaign bus.

        2. Ping

          Yes, Unfortunately I caught Colbert’s revolting syrup fawning over Obama. Agreed…. where is that guy at the White House Correspondents dinner??

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I was really shocked when I watched some Colbert recently, after many years. He was shockingly unfunny and unbelievably smarmy. Exactly the sort of host he would have happily satirised years ago. Stewart has always been unbearably smug (for me anyway), but at least he has genuine wit and intelligence.

      If it wasn’t for Chappelle and Burr, comedy would be a wasteland now, at least as far as it goes with big names – I’m sure there is plenty of talent that doesn’t get on TV or Netflix specials.

    5. Maritimer

      I’m not a fan of the opinions of Internet/TV/Media Celebrities but Jon Stewart hit it the other night. On scientists:
      “”And I love them, and they do such good work, but they are going to kill us all,” Stewart responded.”

      Amazing that the story hungry media seems to have ignored this statement. Interesting also that Stewart has two young children. So he may have thought about science quit a bit.

      Of course, scientists apparently never think about the consequences of science. To them it is all good—a very scientific opinion worthy of a Wall Street pillager, talking their own book.

  6. ChrisFromGeorgia

    RE: Number of EU citizens seeking to work in UK falls

    Feature, not a bug?

    Jobs for the British, make Britannia great again!

    1. John A

      Except the CEO of Weatherspoons, a chain of downmarket pubs that sell cheap beer and even cheaper junk food, such as an all day breakfast for about £5 or less, who is a fanatical Brexiter who went as far as printing anti EU propaganda on beer mats and posters in his pub empire, is now complaining he cant get the staff cos all the accept low wages East Europeans have gone home or to Spain, and wants the government to let EU workers back in again.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        Well, that escalated quickly … just like the Chamber of Commerce republicans here in the US, they love low wages more than they love their country.

  7. CH

    Education Is a Right — Not a Reward

    So, a few kids will be able to afford an education by getting a shot instead of getting shot at?

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      I am curious, those of you who have had the Pfizer shots, did you feel symptoms with the with the first shot and nothing with the second? The reason I ask is that I heard from a nurse that might be a sign of previous SARS2 infection.

      I think there were two times I can look back to where I might have had COVID in January 2020.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        I had that response with the Moderna shot. And skin rashes suggestive of a very mild COVID infection in March 2020. My only reaction to the first Moderna shot was skin rash at the injection site however.

        1. enoughisenough

          I did have confirmed (but mild case, did not get into my lungs) Covid back in November.

          I got the Pfizer: nothing the first shot, overnight fever the second shot.

          so the opposite of what you suggest. Anecdotal, of course. But that’s what happened to me.

        2. Isotope_C14

          Hello Krystyn and Fluffy!

          I’ve thus far refused the vaccines. I had long COVID, without a “test” that proves it, however I’m participating in a trial where they are looking at my T-cell sars-cov-2 cross-reactivity. It’s pretty cool to be able to help immunologists with their work.

          My co-workers all had Astra-Zeneca as the first shot. They are doing the mRNA one now here, and my co-worker lifted up her arm to me at work and has a nasty looking armpit rash. She’s also gone through fever, chills, extreme fatigue, and hopefully she’s better soon. Most of my co-workers have had at least some fever with the Mix-n’-match strategy.

          Within the heavily lady-leaning lab that I’m in, they all seem quite happy to take an experimental vaccine. I’m old and had buddies get Gulf War syndrome, and I’m a bit less willing to be a guinea pig for the pharma industry. I also have a mild auto-immune, so I’d rather not make that even worse. Signing a bunch of papers that says I can’t sue their pants off if they blind me is also not in my list of dumb things to do in my lifetime.

      2. grayslady

        The nurse you spoke with may be on to something regarding reaction to the shots, although I suspect that age also influences reactions. I had the Pfizer shots: sore upper arm for 24 hours after shot #1, sore upper arm for 3-4 days after shot #2–presumably meaning that my system was recognizing the protein after the second shot. Most of the people I know who’ve had either Pfizer or Moderna are over 60, and none of them have had more than a sore arm or slight fever for 24 hrs. Stories I’ve read about immediate reactions seem to be occurring more to younger people, but then, as you say, who knows whether they had a mild case of Covid prior to receiving the vaccine.

      3. neo-realist

        After first Pfizer shot, no discernible arm pain, lethargy, slight headache late in the day, lethargy the morning after. After second shot, a little pain in the shot arm, lethargy, headache, then a slight fever a couple of mornings after.

        Nowhere near the crap I felt–similar to the flu–after the shingrix shots.

      4. emme

        I got the Pfizer vaccine and had horrible symptoms similar to the initial covid infection. We were in Mexico at the beach over easter break about five days after the first vaccine and I was so afraid that I was getting covid again. I organize the trip and am the only who speaks Spanish plus no one reads the info I send out about the trip also everyone was freaking out. Same pattern for the second vaccine. And I have had random times where I have the same weird symptoms. Otherwise my health is excellent.

  8. WaltD

    Re: Forget Going Back to the Office—People Are Just Quitting Instead

    I worked at the top corporate consulting firms for 15+ years. In March 2020 I took an unpaid leave of absence to take care of my kids when the schools closed. I was terminated in June 2020 when I couldn’t return to work.

    After a 16 months of being a stay at home dad, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could never go back to the office. Nor am I interested in going back to the mid level manager life in a US corporation. I’d rather stock shelves at a super market.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      I’d rather stock shelves at a super market.

      There’s no soul crushing/unending meetings for that.

    2. Chris Smith

      Same here. I am not going back to the office, and I’d rather flip burgers than do so. Sweeping floors would be a step up from returning to the office.

    3. DJG, Reality Czar

      WaltD: I have worked at home in what I call my workshop for years, mainly as a free-lance editor and writer. I was employed (“remotely”) for much of the past five years. The thick stew of enforced cheerfulness, mean-spirited demands for deference, mansplaining & ladysplaining (= condescension), and endless distraction means that offices aren’t a good place to work. Especially with the current cheap-o setup of cattle pens. When this remote employee had to go to NYC for consultations, I made sure to get out of town again quickly.

      You likely have all kinds of skills that you can re-create into a new way of earning a living.

      And you have time, now that you are home, to teach the kids to speak French. (But, you say, you didn’t know how to speak French when in the office…)

      1. WaltD

        Instead of French we have been learning small scale agriculture and animal husbandry.

        I’m also turning the 1.5 decade of writing client emails and memos into fiction writing. I’ve got enough terrible and traumatic experiences under my belt now to write something meaningful (to me atleast).

        1. griffen

          You might have a best seller in the works! Before I left most recent post, I interacted with a kindly individual running due diligence / procedural reviews. We talked about counting down weeks and days until he was retired.

          You could pitch that collection as satire, just to be safe though.

    4. griffen

      There is a soul crushing quality to the required or expected work load in corporate America. Maybe I just ignored that in my younger days, but it’s much different now. You’re not really working hard or online on weekends.

      Yes, I do live to send emails about data questions on Saturday afternoons. Only to be taken for granted. Thanks but no thank you.

      Office Space had it right. Wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Every time I take a look at job descriptions on Linkedin I experience a wave of revulsion and horror. Words like “passionate,” “cross-platform,” and “brand ambassador” are bandied about with breathless enthusiasm attempting to conjure up some brave new corporate shangri la. I’d much rather sit here at my kitchen table as a freelancer rather than put one foot back into that hellscape.

        1. freebird

          Years ago I was stunned to see an ad for a lead NURSE where among the qualities sought were ‘aggressive’. We ought to round up these pathological freaks and put them where they can’t hurt others.

          1. newcatty

            A lead nurse where among the qualities sought were “agressive”. Even professions that are , perhaps wistfully, seen as the opposite of “agressiveness” being lauded as a desired personality characteristic are now being reduced to and defined by PMC cut throat competition and control by upper echelons of power.

            I’d rather stock shelves at a super market. Well, we happen to know some close members of our extended families who do just that, or other jobs ( in management) at huge super market chain stores. The ones we know are bright, hard working, young to middle aged people who do these jobs for various personal reasons. The ones we can speak about from our long time knowledge of them are dedicated parents of young adults , preschoolers and babies.

        2. griffen

          I appreciate your reply. You left out a veritable marker of a manager uncertain of who will be hired.

          High integrity. I am sheeting you not. Good gawd! I have low integrity but please take my application!!

          Corporate bullsh*ttrs, telling themselves such things.

    5. a different chris

      Buried in here is a classic example of this:

      I mean the whole thing is just so family-blogged up, you can find a symptom of every disease clogging Red America’s arteries* in here. So just one:

      The Maryland Lottery bestows a $100,000 bonus upon the store that sells the winning ticket, and Ravenscroft, the owner, “gave us girls some of the money, all 11 of us,” Bennett said.

      Depending on how many hours they work, they got anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand.

      Ravenscroft put the biggest share of the bonus into expanding the market — a new kitchen and a bigger seating area for folks to try the new menu item (ham salad, joining tuna salad and chicken salad among the sandwich offerings).

      But some of the new equipment just sits in the store, waiting until the owner can find workers to put it all together.

      “We can’t find nobody to work because everybody’s staying home collecting unemployment,” Bennett said.

      So the guy got 100K for doing absolutely *nothing*, threw some trinkets at his workers (and they are of course grateful as hell because, well America F’ Yeah!), then spent the rest of the money upgrading his store and thus his potential future income. But heck if he’s gonna pay anybody any more….

      That extra $300/week (which went away June 1) is real money, I tell you! Spread it out on the carpet and roll in it is what people are doing instead of slinging hot dogs at Mr. Bennett’s shop like they should be.

      *That is, I mean this story is about Red America. Blue American is just as messed up, just in completely different ways not touched on in here. Hmm, actually not wanting to pay people is kindof Blue striver, so you are welcome to dispute my characterization.

      1. Craig H.

        And also: those parrots look even better than snow leopard kittens. Kudos to photographer.

  9. tegnost

    “While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale, it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them,” Amazon said.
    …proactive controls…..yes we need to throttle the info available to consumers in order that we may more easily funnel them into the abattoir that we consider to be most suitable for them.
    The “march to mediocrity” continues apace.
    Also, poor fakebook….when you’ve lost amazon….
    All hail bezos!
    King of Thieves!

  10. Tom Stone

    The drought here in Sonoma County is unprecedented in my lifetime and flows from lake Sonoma into the Russian River are being cut in half to preserve water for both residential and Ag use.
    The river was the lowest I have seen it since the 1976-77 drought before they cut the flows.
    We’re going to see a lot of dead fish soon and we;re already seeing a spike in algae growth, partly due to the fact that half the septic systems along the river have failed or are failing.
    It’s mid June and it smells like mid September when I walk through Armstrong Woods.

    1. WaltD

      I wonder how all the rich Bay Area families that overpaid for rural properties here in Sonoma county at the start of the pandemic are going to handle the heat and drought? Our area in west county saw half our neighborhood sell to SF residents, and we haven’t seen any of them since that first spring heat wave…

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I was just thinking the same about all the NYer’s who moved to Montana. They literally left the frying pan for the fire.

        I was in Missoula for two days this month and it is horrible now, too much manic energy. Sure enough I found it it was a huge COVID relocation spot. I hope they can get fire insurance on those houses the paid a 100% premium on! Snowpack is only about 60% of usual though they are in a bit of an wet island for now.

    2. Wukchumni

      Our rivers are already going green with algae blooms in the Sierra foothills, that doesn’t usually happen until late July-early August.

    3. Zephyrum

      Normally I start seeing the water trucks rumbling around Occidental starting in September or October, but this year people were already supplementing their wells by the end of last month. We had some nice foggy overnights there for a while, but it’s amazing how quickly it dries out when we get a heat wave like this.

      1. WaltD

        I know of a spot west of Occidental that went dry for the first time since Europeans settled the area. This was in January. They’re drilling deeper for water and finding nothing. Our well has never gone dry, but I worry it might this summer/fall and there’ll be such a crush for trucked water that we won’t be able to remain on the land. Sometimes I wonder if we should sell before the entire region goes dry and move to a wetter state

  11. fresno dan

    Matt Taibbi
    That’s priceless.
    Jake Sherman
    Replying to @JakeSherman and @JoeBiden
    Biden just now to reporters: You’re the brightest people in the country.
    Trump didn’t say that.
    America’s Soup-Brained President Says The US Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections Caitlin Johnstone
    O’REILLY: Do you respect Putin?
    TRUMP: I do respect him.
    O’REILLY: Do you? Why?
    TRUMP: Well, I respect a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean I am going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. Will I get along with them? I have no idea.
    O’REILLY: He is a killer though. Putin is a killer.
    TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent? Do you think our country is so innocent?
    O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers in America.*
    TRUMP: Take a look at what we have done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
    O’REILLY: Yes. Mistakes are different then —
    TRUMP: A lot of mistakes, okay? But a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.
    O’REILLY: All right. You mentioned ISIS. Can we expect, we the American people, more U.S. military action against ISIS?
    Whether it is O’Reilly or the NYT, there is a universal inability to not acknowledge reality – the propaganda CANNOT be challenged in any meaningful way. Not ever having lived in any foreign country and learned the language and politics, I wonder if the US is exceptional or just average in not being able to look at its own history honestly. Of course, most people can’t look at themselves critically or honestly, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that countries can not accept the unvarnished truth.
    * What a line – I can’t help but think of the Godfather II and Diane Keaton (Kay) saying to Al Pacino (Michael Corleone), “Presidents and senators don’t have men killed, Michael.”
    So when Trump says something absolutely true, the total, lockstep step refusal of ALL commercial media to acknowledge that Trump is correct shows exactly what the problem is – the inability to be reality based…

    1. Carolinian

      Man the rationalizing animal? I’d say all countries think they are exceptional. Our elites just take it to an extreme due to that other truism: power corrupts. Thus, per the dogma versus nihilism discussion at the top of Links, their ideas can’t be questioned because it is about their power and not just their beliefs.

      Some of us powerless are glad we don’t have these sorts of problems.

    2. LP5

      One mark of independent thought is to no longer pretend to not notice the patent untruths. You don’t have to be that child saying the Emperor has no clothes, but having read the story would help.

    3. Aumua

      I almost think O’Reilly was lobbing some softballs there to Trump. But then I’m not sure about how he may have shifted in the past 4 years. Certainly these days you won’t hear Bill O’Reilly say anything remotely critical of Trump, just like the rest of the hard right media hosts.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “America’s Soup-Brained President Says The US Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections”

    I think that a case can be made that the Trump press corps was superior to the Biden press corps. Four years ago Trump took care that his press corps included a lot of smaller media companies but I am willing to bet that it is almost entirely main stream media corporations now just like in Obama’s day. But the press are not exactly covering themselves in glory lately. Apart from sucking up to Biden, they ended up in a brawl and shoving match at the conference trying to get good shots of Biden and Putin-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They didn’t like Trump so it created the illusion of an adversarial press corp. I mean the whole notion is absurd except for potentially questioning the President directly, but the questions were just as vapid. I mean the whining about lying was so over the top. It’s a glorified press shop, not a realm of investigation. They worshipped Shrub. They detested Bill for not being a blue blood and putting out spreads beneath them.

    2. tegnost

      In sports it is generally known that it’s a bad idea to motivate your opponent by being a…well, let’s see, how to put it…
      an amazon logo, yeah, that’s the ticket!
      And thanks to caitlin for the woolsey clip.
      There are an uncountable number of times the US has interfered in other peoples elections and claiming otherwise is just a flat out and obvious lie.

    3. km

      The Trump press corps wasn’t busying itself singing the praises of Dear Leader.

      The Trump press corps was busying itself chasing after every crackpot conspiracy theory it could latch onto, stuff that would have embarrassed the 1961-era John Birch Society, it didn’t matter, as long as it made Trump look bad.

      If Trump did nothing else, he made the MSM stop even trying to pretend to be objective.

  13. nvt

    I feel like a personal observer to the Watergate break-in. In the summer of 1972, I was a teenage summer associate at a small DC consulting firm that also acted as the Washington HIspanic Committee to Reelect the President. I was not then and am not now a Republican, but it was a good summer job. I remember the office managers laughing nervously at the early Washington Post reporting of the break-in because it blamed the break-in on the National Hispanic Committee to Reelect the President. Only problem — there was no National Committee. We had some interesting visitors those early weeks til they figured out that none of us were devious enough or connected enough to be involved in the actual theft.
    I did end up meeting many of the Watergate co-conspirators (including Liddy, Hunt, and Colson) when they visited our offices for some pre-election polling and trending work. Everyone thought Colson was dumber than a post — he even broke our coffee machine. I still have some Committee to Reelect the President stationery in my attic. Good times.

    1. Stormcrow

      After all these years, I think we’re still not entirely sure what Watergate was all about. I haven’t kept up, but years ago Jim Hougan suggested that the break-in was so incompetent that the bungling was deliberate. He posited that Watergate was an intelligence operation to damage President Nixon or gain control over him. See Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA (New York, NY: Random House, 1984). Hougan, who wrote extensively about the CIA, was Washington Editor of Harper’s Magazine (1979–84).

      A relatively recent attempt to discredit Hougan’s line of reasoning can be found here:

      1. nvt

        Thanks for the Politico link. I would be willing to bet that the bungling was due to incompetence and not a deliberate strategy. There were some very clever people in CRP, but many that I met seemed (at least to me) too rash, self-assured, and ruthless to understand the risks and long-term implications of many of their actions.

      2. Stormcrow

        Apparently Nixon himself believed that the CIA was somehow involved in the Watergate break-in. Don’t forget that two key Watergate figures—James McCord and E. Howard Hunt—were “former” CIA officers. That is apparently one reason why Nixon eventually fired Dick Helms, the director of the CIA. I think there’s still a lot that we don’t know.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “SpaceX threatened with arrests as local authorities in Texas warn it may have committed a crime by using private security guards to block public roads”

    SpaceX appears to be tone deaf to criticism. If it wasn’t a big corporation, doing stuff like closing off roads would have some real cops being sent out to arrest those private wannabe cops. But it is not only local authorities that SpaceX is not listening to. Last year the FAA twice warned them about how they were taking shortcuts testing its reusable Starship system. SpaceX didn’t listen and their rocket subsequently crashed while trying to land-

    1. Anthony Noel

      To be honest and I’d understand if this doesn’t get through moderation, but the best outcome is to give Bezos and Musk as much money as needed for them to finish building their ships, let them stock them up with their rich friends then get to Mars. At which point the scientists, pilots, farmers, construction workers, janitors and every other person they bring along to, you know actually build and research and design and maintain and grow stuff, should thank them for the ride then march them out the air lock and put bullets in their brains. Then build a 2001 monolith with the words “Billionaires, never again.” carved unto it’s surface.

  15. Wukchumni

    Notes from the overground:

    In the summer months, you can confidently expect the temperature to go down around 4 degrees for every 1,000 feet gained in altitude, and we gain 6,000 feet driving to our cabin…

    But for the first time ever the usual climatic dynamics didn’t play out yesterday, it was 99 degrees @ the turn on Hwy 198 @ 1,000 feet, and 88 degrees @ 7,000 feet, and the really bad part of the heat wave only starts today~

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Biden’s vow of digital reprisals against Russia draws skepticism”

    President Putin actually addressed this whole subject in his post-Conference Q & A session-

    ’In 2020 we received 10 inquiries from the United States about cyberattacks on US facilities – as our colleagues say – from Russian cyberspace. Two more requests were made this year. Our colleagues received exhaustive responses to all of them, both in 2020 and this year.

    In turn, Russia sent 45 inquiries to the relevant US agency last year and 35 inquiries in the first half of this year. We have not yet received a single response. This shows that we have a lot to work on.

    The question of who, on what scale and in what area must make commitments should be resolved during negotiations. We have agreed to start such consultations. We believe that cyber security is extremely important in the world in general, for the United States in particular, and to the same extent for Russia.

    For example, we are aware of the cyberattacks on the pipeline company in the United States. We are also aware of the fact that the company had to pay 5 million to the cybercriminals. According to my information, a portion of the money has been returned from the e-wallets. What do Russia’s public authorities have to do with this?

    We face the same threats. For example, there was an attack on the public healthcare system of a large region in the Russian Federation. Of course, we see where the attacks are coming from, and we see that these activities are coordinated from US cyberspace. I do not think that the United States, official US authorities, are interested in this kind of manipulation. What we need to do is discard all the conspiracy theories, sit down at the expert level and start working in the interests of the United States and the Russian Federation. In principle, we have agreed to this, and Russia is willing to do so.’

    1. Pat

      Now that is a diplomatic iron fist in a velvet glove. Not that most Americans will see or hear about it.
      Obama might have been able to read a script like that, but off the top of his head I doubt it. Biden and Trump couldn’t even manage the script. And as we know the idea that our countries might need to cooperate abou these issues isn’t even allowed to be considered.

      Like I said, competent is so lacking in American leaders today.

  17. bassmule

    Re: Geneva

    NY Times Headline this morning:
    “Analysis: After Putin Meeting, Biden’s Stubborn Optimism Shows Itself Again”

    Washington Post Headline this morning:
    “Biden’s strategy of pessimism ekes out a few gains with Putin”

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

    1. Maxwell Johnston

      I’m just glad that Uncle Joe and VVP actually met (I didn’t think they would) and had a reasonably constructive discussion. At least they’re talking to each other (and both countries’ ambassadors will soon be returning to their respective posts). It’s not much of a start, but you gotta start somewhere.

  18. Wukchumni

    Tokyo set to lift state of emergency ahead of Olympics WaPo
    I’ve been hoping the Olympics would finally die, and what better place for ritual Seppuku!

    The games (on tv) became increasingly in the thrall & heavy hand of Big Corp’se, good riddance…

    1. Maritimer

      Numerous tomes on Olympic corruption. The Racketeers confined to nation states look to the Olympics as the model for globalizing their rackets. Hello, WHO, WEF move over Olympics.

  19. Carolinian

    Re 1971: Critic Pauline Kael was the queen bee of that early 70s film renaissance–first by championing the French New Wave in the 60s and then their derivatives in America such as Bonnie and Clyde (she made it a hit) and Altman’s loosey goosey riffs. This reached its ultimate climax when she declared, after a screening, that Last Tango in Paris had “changed the face of an art form.”

    It didn’t, and it should be pointed out that many of those Altman films were box office flops. Before she became quite so grandiose Kael had written shrewd essays about the struggle between art and commerce in an art form where millions of dollars are at stake and not just the cost of a painter’s canvas. Contra Kael the return to commerce and Pop in movies like Jaws and Star Wars was probably inevitable.

    There’s lots of great stuff being made now but not much of it for the big screen. Those comic book movies and the cynical remake-itis of companies like Disney dominate there.

    1. John A

      I saw Last Tango in Paris in the cinema. It was preceded by some B movie during which a couple of elderly ladies talking continuously to each other in some foreign language. When the B movie ended, I politely asked them not to talk during the main film. One turned to the other, presumably to explain what I had said, and the other one scowled contemptuously at me. (I got the impression the first was doing some kind of simultaneous interpreting for the other). Anyway, Last Tango started, which if I recall, there is not much dialogue early on, till Brando reaches for the butter to ease entry in Romy Schnieder’s behind. At which point, the two women very loudly jumped up and stormed out, tut-tutting to each other in disgust. I can only assume that they had imagined from the title, it was about Argentinian dancing in romantic Paree.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think any art form that requires huge sums of money just to create requires a special window of opportunity to thrive. The early ’70’s in US cinema were an obvious example (although interestingly, cinema stagnated in other countries in that period, from the UK to Japan). Sometimes its just that there is so much cash around that the money people are willing to subsidise fringe film makers (such as in the boom years immediately after the war), sometimes its deliberate public policy (recent South Korean cinema, which is largely supported by huge wads of government money).

      Its interesting looking back to see just how much power someone like Kael had – no critic now has a tiny fraction of the power of film critic had back then. At least she had moderately good taste, unlike the relentlessly middle brow Vincent Canby who more or less had to be shoved out of the NYT after years of giving films like Dr. Strangelove and Bonny and Clyde (and before that, Seven Samurai) bad reviews.

      1. Carolinian

        Kael’s bete noire was Bosley Crowther who preceded Canby at the times.

        And it was an era when people took writers in general more seriously–perhaps too seriously which is what I am trying to say above. She was a brilliant woman regardless, even when she may have been wrong.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Actually, I should correct myself, I was thinking of Bosley Crowther not Canby, although I think it was Canby who gave a bad review to Seven Samurai. Neither of them from what I recall seemed to be up to standard, which presumably reflected the fact that the NYT didn’t take cinema all that seriously until the 1970’s or so.

    3. Mikel

      “There’s lots of great stuff being made now but not much of it for the big screen…”

      There’s more ALMOST great stuff being made for the smaller screen (streaming services).

      So much starts with an intellectually stimulating premise and then slowly becomes soapy drama…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Details: The court said Republican attorneys general did not have the legal standing to bring their lawsuit, which aimed to get the entire ACA struck down. It’s the third time the Supreme Court has saved the law.

      Another brilliant “supreme” court “decision” that amounts to nothing more than, “Shut up and go away. We’re supreme and we don’t have to listen to you.”


    2. Glen

      The Supreme Court of the (Mega Corporations) of the United States will always protect the All-in for Mega Corporations (Non)Caring (Insurance) Act.

  20. Mildred Montana

    Glenn Greenwald: “Max Boot and his fellow neocons have this obsession with their Leaders showing power and strength because they know they themselves lack it and always have. Militarism and imperial power is how they compensate for their own inadequacies and feel vicariously strong.”

    In 1990 John Gregory Dunne (husband of Joan Didion) published an essay about the Vietnam War called REMF’s (Rear-Echelon Motherf**kers). In it, Newt Gingrich is asked why he and other Congressmen had avoided service. He replied, “We had bigger battles to fight in Congress.” Yup, that was his excuse.

    Gingrich, Boot, et al, are REMF’s.

    (This essay is from a collection called “Crooning” which I highly recommend. Dunne died in 2003. Another truth-teller gone.)

    1. km

      Note how little frontline service Bolton, Abrams, Boot, the odious Kagans, etc. have. Collectively, these folks make Ronald Reagan look like Sgt. York or Audie Murphy by comparison.

      Note also that the unpatriotic and freedom-hating (boo hiss) George McGovern had flown B-24 Liberators in combat over Germany.

  21. Pat

    In yet another sign of herding people to the preferred vaccines:

    Astrazeneca not good enough in NY

    So if you want to see Springsteen on Broadway you will need to be vaccinated with an FDA ‘approved’ vaccine…supposedly using NY guidelines for this.

    I suppose my question is if you are requiring everyone over the age of 16 be vaccinated AND everyone below that have a negative covid test, why are you concerned that the vaccine is not approved. The only people at risk are the one’s traveling with the inadequate vaccine.And they will never be able to prove they got it watching Springsteen on Broadway. Everyone who works there has had the good American approved vaccines, so shouldn’t be worried.

    Or do they expect all the visitors to get another vaccination that will be paid for?
    What is the game here?

    Not that I think our standards have much logic.

      1. Pat

        That was the reason for the quote marks around the word approved. The article may not have understood the nature of the authorization but I did. Sorry I did not make that clear.

  22. Jason Boxman

    Cha-ching! Covid Live Updates: U.S. to Invest $3 Billion on Developing Pills to Treat Covid:

    The U.S. government will invest $3.2 billion to develop antiviral pills for Covid-19, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday. Such a treatment could keep people out of the hospital and potentially save many lives in the years to come, as the virus becomes a perennial threat despite the distribution of effective vaccines.

    A number of other viruses, including influenza, H.I.V. and hepatitis C, can be treated with a simple pill. But despite more than a year of research, no such drug exists for the coronavirus. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s program for accelerating Covid-19 research, invested far more money in the development of vaccines than of treatments, a gap that the new program will try to fill.

    The new influx of money will speed up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of those pills might become available by the end of this year. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics will also support research on entirely new drugs — not just for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause future pandemics.

    If only some other course of treatment had been explored, somewhere; here the policy seems to have been to strenuously avoid finding any effective treatments. And now that’s going to pay dividends, probably quite literally, for some.

    1. elissa3

      This pill already exists. Outside of the US, its generic form, Ivermectin, is very cheap.

    2. antidlc

      If the US government is investing $3.2 billion, then we the people should own the rights. Pharma should not profit.

      (We shouldn’t be investing anything since an effective treatment already exists.)

  23. Dr. John Carpenter

    What motivation does Facebook have to police Amazon’s reviews? If they were serious about doing away with the paid review practice, I have two surefire ways to do it: 1) ban the companies/sellers who engage in the practice or 2) turn off the customer reviews, which were largely useless even before the shilling really kicked in. I have a hunch they won’t even consider either of those.
    It’s interesting to me how concerned they want to appear about this when I can’t tell you the number of items I’ve bought that come with a little business card offering you a gift card for a five star review. That didn’t just start and they have to know about it. Some of their featured products and brands offer this.
    Of course, to paraphrase one of the comments on that article, company that sells counterfeit goods, shocked by counterfeit reviews. Technically, it’s not Amazon doing the selling, but take memory cards for instance. It’s entirely possible to get a fake memory card from a third party seller shipped from Amazon and in their packaging. It’s clear to me Amazon wants to compete with Ali Express, so they have to take the bad that goes with that.

  24. AndrewJ

    Any commenters have thoughts on Kahn’s successful appointment to the FTC? Honestly, I’m conditioned into believing the Biden administration is going to have “accomplished” as little as possible before their four years is up, so the appointment of someone who seems to be ready and able to take down a few monopolies is a bit of a curve ball. How did she slip past the net? Or are there enough alligator-filled moats to cross that we’ll just get sound and fury, but ultimately nothing?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Did you catch my Wednesday post on the Khan appointment? There are some comments on that post.

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