Links 6/8/2021

Yves wanted to thank all of you who sent her good wishes for her surgery today and e-mailed her notes privately. An update of sorts: she and her MD made a battlefield decision late last week to do a bilateral hip replacement (both hips at once) rather than a “staged” surgery (recall the original plan was to do the other hip in August, which is early for a staged surgery; the normal wait time is three months). Her less bad hip deteriorated with remarkable speed in the last six weeks, to the degree that it is now worse for walking than the side originally scheduled to be operated on first.

This means Yves will probably be slower to get back in the saddle but will have less total recovery downtime than with Plan A. And bilateral operations have better outcomes than staged surgeries, not just from the “one operation less risky than two” standpoint but even for orthopedic outcomes. See here for a layperson’s writeup: When Two Joint Replacements are Better than One.

You may ask why they were going to be staged in the first place. The long version is tedious, and the short is, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”


Breaking: Global web outage as world’s biggest websites crash including Amazon, UK govt and Reddit City A.M.


Feluda is one of Satyajit Ray’s greatest creations but is he too brilliant for the movies? Scroll

German Conservatives Back on Track as General Election Approaches Der Spiegel

FDNY: 16 people injured after MTA bus crashes into building in Brooklyn ABC Eyewitness News. I heard the emergency vehicles rushing to the scene, a half a block from our home.

U.S. Retrieves Millions in Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers WSJ

Pipeline exec to face Congress as US recovers most of ransom AP

Climate crisis to shrink G7 economies twice as much as Covid-19, says research Guardian

As AMC Entertainment stock surges, SEC says it’s watching memes for ‘disruptions of the market, manipulative trading, or other misconduct’ MarketWatch

ANOM: Hundreds arrested in massive global crime sting BBC

An Everest season like no other in Nepal amid a deadly pandemic Al Jazeera


Which US vaccine plans actually helped hard-hit communities? MIT Technology Review

US may miss July 4 vaccination target as number of daily doses plummets Ars Technica

Wait, Vaccine Lotteries Actually Work?  Wired (Dr. Kevin)

Many More Americans Would Be Vaccinated if Our Health Care System Wasn’t So Terrifying The New Republic

What My Covid-19 Vaccine Saga Taught Me About the U.S. Health Care System Politico


Tourists returning from Portugal with hours to spare ‘ashamed to be British’ Daily Mirror

Airline chiefs urge end to UK-U.S. travel restrictions Reuters

The rules for travel hotspots as Europe gears up to welcome back tourists France 24

Canada prepares to ease quarantine rules for vaccinated travelers – Bloomberg Reuters


New cluster exposes loophole in HK quarantine Asia Times

Tokyo warned locals pose greater Covid risk to Olympics than visitors FT

Third wave sweeps across Africa as Covid vaccine imports dry up Guardian

Brazil braces for third wave of Covid-19 Yahoo News

Vaccine makers should give half their doses to Covax, WHO chief says WaPo

Health Care

FDA grants historic approval to Alzheimer’s drug designed to slow cognitive decline Stat

Nobody Should Be Celebrating the Affordable Care Act Jacobin

Liz Fowler is Back! And She’s Writing US Health Policy Again Counterpunch

Our Famously Free Press

Pentagon Papers Failed To Prevent Perpetual Media Kowtowing American Conservative

Police State Watch

FBI Effort to Expose ‘USA Today’ Readers Was Likely Unlawful, Experts Say Gizmodo

Biden Administration

Kamala says she WON’T visit the border because it would just be a ‘grand gesture’ at Guatemala press conference 2,142 miles from the Rio Grande and tells migrants ‘do not come’ to the US Daily Mail

Biden agenda under threat — from within his party Yahoo News

Biden shifts from Obama on Cuba post-Florida losses The Hill

Class Warfare

Mainstream Politics Offer Pretend Revolutions To A Discontented Public Caitlin Johnstone

Scoop: Conservatives sound alarm against taking Big Tech money Axios

Taxi Medallion Crisis Drives Council Candidates on Road Toward a Rescue The City

New York Senate Passes Antitrust Bill Targeting Tech Giants WSJ

Jeff Bezos is going to space on first crewed flight of rocket CNN


China unveils new legal weapon to hit United States and other Western rivals with tougher sanctions South China Morning Post


Modi Forced to Change Tack But New Vaccine Policy Still Promotes Inequity and Inefficiency The Wire

While Students Use Social Media to Speak to Power, Schools Tutor Them in Slavish Sycophancy The Wire

New Delhi and Mumbai loosen lockdowns as India’s Covid-19 crisis eases in cities France 24

Why Amazon Is Confronting the Richest Man in India NYT

Antidote du Jour. TH: “A Hooded Oriole visiting our Honeysuckle Trumpet Vine.”


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    Here’s hoping that Yves sails through her surgery today. A hip replacement sounds like a really big do so I can see why it would be better to have both done at once. I hope that she takes all the time that she needs to have a full recovery but the place will not be the same without her until then.

    1. QuarterBack

      All my prayers and good wishes are for Yves’s speedy and productive recovery. The good news is that the branch of medicine for bone and joint recovery seem to be the most solid in achieving good outcomes. How nice it will be for her to be able to someday soon walk around again without a cane.

      1. Yves Smith

        About to head out to the hospital and thanks for the note, but my device is a shooting stick, not a cane. I was using it long before I had any hip issues. It’s a portable seat and also a bludgeon. Once I handed it to a store employee during a robbery attempt where one of the perps started waving a knife. It came back covered in blood.

        1. Tom Stone

          I lit a candle for you this morning, at both ends.
          My Realtor friend Heidi had this done 3 years ago, at age 63.
          She was dancing 5 weeks later and started riding a Harley again, something she had given up doing for almost a decade due to her hips.
          May your surgery go smoother than a politician’s lies!

          1. jefemt

            I am having difficulty erasing an image of Yves on a Harley heading southwest out of Sturgis into the Black Hills., on her way to Jackson, WY to present MMT to the econnedomists….

            Best of luck, Yves, may you work with as much industry and success on your post-surgery physical therapy as you have on shining a light on the world’s 21st century issues!

        2. Leftcoastindie

          Good Luck with the surgery.
          I just had my spine fused in December and it is a joy to be able to walk with no pain! You should be up and running in no time – hopefully with no pain!

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Very best wishes Yves, thankfully this is an operation that can often be lifechanging for the better. You are in all our thoughts.

    3. jonboinAR

      Yes, Ms Smith. All the very best. Recover quickly! I know several who have had hip surgery with excellent results. And thanks for your years of tirelessly making us better informed.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Yves; you get to take it easy, you deserve it and make the most of it! Get well quick

    4. Lee

      When I had my hip replaced quite some time ago, it required a large incision in a major butt muscle necessitating a considerable period of limited weight bearing and rehabilitation. My neighbor had his done recently employing a newer procedure that required only a small frontal incision and he was up on his feet and walking normally in a much shorter period of time. I don’t know which type Yves is having done.

      Here’s some news that no doubt some number of us will come to use: New, Less-Invasive Hip Replacement Technique at Scripps Makes Headlines

      1. Larster

        You have to do your research (for those of us who can go out of network). I had mine done five years ago with a small incision in the rear on top of the buttocks. Was walking on day two without a cane, walker, etc. I asked my internist, who had recommended the out of town surgeon, why more doctors did not use this procedure. He replied that, “if you had a million dollar Orthopedic practice, would you shut it down for months while you learned a new technique?”.

      2. Pelham

        I knew two people, a man and a woman, at my former workplace who had hip replacements, and both were thrilled with the results. One of the great things about joint replacements is that they insist on movement shortly after the surgery and recoveries tend to be swift.

        All the best, Yves.

    5. Susan the other

      I’m guessing you’ve got 2 new hips and you are in recovery by now. I’m glad you are gonna get some excellent hospital-grade pain pharmaceuticals. Please take your time.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, because economists have given us such reliable advice the past forty years. And who better to go to for advice on medical matters than an economist though 128,000 British people may tend to disagree with him. Paul Ormerod also believes that ‘shale fracking should not be opposed by environmentalists and that top-down measures are ineffective at reducing environmental harm. He has argued that capitalism and the profit motive have reduced global inequality.’ Yep, I’m convinced.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Oh, I’d nearly forgotten about Ormerod. I read his book The Death of Economics many years ago. I recall being vaguely impressed at the time but I can’t remember anything of substance in it. He sounds to me like someone who decided that being a professional contrarian on the side of the well paying establishment was a good career option.

    2. Glossolalia

      Remember how couple of weeks for the last 9 months the experts have been worries that variant X, Y, or Z might be much deadlier and might be able to evade vaccines only to find out later that the vaccines are actually quite effective against said variant.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good thing that they will be also quite effective against next year’s variants too. From what I have heard, it is difficult to get any sort of handle on how often that this is happening though you see stories online of these breakthroughs. And I am not sure but was there not a link a few days ago how they are dropping the tracking of such breakthrough cases in the US?

        1. tegnost

          Don’t measure what you don’t want to know…
          One might think that in a stage 3 drug trial one would, along with being required to sign away any liability, be required to submit a record of one’s reaction to said experimental drug that one has signed their life over for…
          I suspect there are a lot of negative reactions to this and triumphalism is at this point mostly cheerleading. Cases are dropping and vaccine uptake is +/- 50%, sure, but correlation is not causation, and mRNA is the solution brought to you by the believers in self driving cars and self crashing planes. Maybe waiting for data is a good idea…oh wait…there isn’t any data because they’re not measuring anything so there won’t be any pesky negative results…
          Move along and be cheerful, Serf.
          Spend money, get to work , and no you don’t get a raise.

          1. Nikkikat

            I believe I read on NC that the CDC was aware of around 6,000 cases of vaccination break through or becoming infected despite full vaccination.
            That was when the geniuses at CDC decided to stop counting. These individuals also were mostly Asymptomatic.
            So right after that the head of CDC announces that everyone fully vaccinated could take off their mask. Just insane. Big Pharma always gets what it wants and they want everyone to get their shot, because you know $$$$$$$$

  2. Cocomaan

    U.S. Retrieves Millions in Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers WSJ

    I want documents on this FOIA’d. Anything dealing with cyber security resembles alchemy to me, so I want to know how the FBI was able to recover this and from whom they recovered it.

    For all we know, it was an FBI hacker that did it. Attribution is next to impossible, so how did they find this money?

    And sure NPR has a fawning article this morning, typical National Pentagon Radio, they just publish an effective government press release

    1. TomDority

      On a return on investment basis – who made the most money on the ransomeware attack – the hackers or the hacked — after all, we know who paid all the costs, including the increased cost at the pump – main street. — who made all the money under the price spike?
      Just like to know what the total cost of this attack to the main street folks was and that should give the profit made from the attack.

      1. cocomaan

        It’s a good point! I would like to see a fuller description of what happened. I want to see some discussion of whether paying ransoms is good policy.

        And most of all, I want to see what Yves has talked about in the past: an honest discussion of whether crypto facilitates this kind of stuff.

      1. TomDority

        I may be wrong – but i thought I heard or read that the hackers came out and said that it was a mistake to do what they did against the pipeline target – or that the group resposible was identified – that would explain why the FBI and DOJ was able to cooperate and get refund from culprits. Hope I am not wrong in my memory

      2. cocomaan

        Yep, but no discussion of how they tracked it down. I guess “trade secrets,” but I do not trust these people at all when it comes to anything related to cybersecurity.

      3. ChrisFromGeorgia

        This seems to rule out a nation state as the actor – unless it is a really stupid one (North Korea?)

        So once again the “Rooskies did it!” narrative appears to have collapsed.

        Edit: – see comment below from Katniss Everdeen for better explanation.

      4. chuck roast

        Gee…how did they do that? The reason The Blob so hates Julian Assange is that not that he revealed American war crimes, it’s because he revealed Vault 7. Who knew that there was a cyber-library of all the world’s known malware, electronic bugs, spyware, the lot. You wanna’ find out who jiggered Colonial? Just ask the Vault 7 librarian for the book on the Colonial intrusion. Without getting too foily, I’m beginning to think that The Blob gets a bit-o-vig on every ransomeware rip-off. Or more probably their more astute elements are doing it themselves and creating the climate of fear that allows them to continue with this clean and very lucrative operation. Yep, best keep Julian in the can until he fades. Anyway, there is a rally for Julian at Park Station on the Commons tomorrow. Be there or be square!

        1. BCD

          They got a password, phishing is the entry point like Podesta’s email. No need for secret state weapons to access a system someone unlocked for you. Vault 7 is 4 years old and the vulnerabilities well known making them weak tea. Vault 7 was mostly code and exploits lifted from other known malware in the first place. So way too foily for me.

          Generally speaking to the commentariat, just because a story references “Russian hackers” doesn’t mean a direct tie to the Russian government was implied. All the dots aren’t connected even if it fits your cynical world view and seems plausible to you.

          It’s not a good look when RussiaGate is trotted out as the cherry on top of a huge pile of gut feelings every time the word Russia hits the news wire. Same sort of stuff Aaron Mate accused of Maddow, waxing philosophic about imagined plots using unsubstantiated claims. Pot meet Kettle

    2. The Rev Kev

      This may be a happy ending for a lot of people. Perhaps a deal was done that if they returned most of the money, that the FBI wouldn’t really chase this group. Why would they do that? So imagine that the ringleader is arrested and it goes to trial. So they put this guy on the stand and start questioning him. Can you imagine?

      ‘So, your group hacked the Colonial Pipeline system.’
      ‘Yes, that is correct. We just used a compromised password that we got from the web. They didn’t even use multi-factor authentication, the lazy jerks.’
      ‘Yes, yes. But apart from that. Will you please tell the Court why you shut down that pipeline causing massive amounts of damage and costing people more expensive gas costs?’
      ‘We didn’t.’
      ‘Wait, what?’
      ‘No. We made sure that we never touched the operation part of Colonial Pipeline as too many people depended on it. That would have been irresponsible that.’
      ‘But, uhhh’…’
      ‘No, that was Colonial that shut down that pipeline. We merely locked down their ability to bill people so they shut down the pipeline themselves as they did not want to lose any money. There was never anything wrong with that pipeline at all.’

          1. Leftcoastindie

            Fascinating that. I am still waiting to hear from the MSM why a company can shut down a pipeline because they can’t bill and it’s no problem. Especially a pipeline that delivers fuel to 1/3 of the country.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              What I heard was that Colonial headquarters realized an intruder had taken control of the digital side of their system so they shut the physical pipeline down to be safe.
              I am prepared to accept that theory if the evidence points that way.

              How is an executive to know if the intruders are merely ransomware moneyseekers or are joker stuxnet artists? Maybe the Colonial leadership feared the hackers would instruct their pipelines to gush oil out of every joint/seam/orifice.

      1. JTMcPhee

        There was and is “something wrong” with the pipeline. It’s a dangerous point of failure, feeding the addiction to fossil fuels that ought to be left in the ground.

        More important, what kind of money extracted from end users does Colonial put into maintenance and repair? The just spilled 1.2 million or so gallons of gasoline into a nature reserve, claim they did not know there was a leak, the rest of us only found out about it when a couple of high school students happened across the spill on a hike.

        And this Colonial spill is only one of many from all the pipelines that crisscross our Exceptional Nation, 220 “significant” events just in the year 2016, , and how many “insignificant” ones and major spills since then?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Anything dealing with cyber security resembles alchemy to me….

      Me too. But Karl Denninger has considerable experience with it, and here’s his take:

      They [the feds] served a seizure warrant on an exchange in the United States.

      Likely the BTC was at Coinbase, since the location is identified as “Northern District of California” although that’s speculation.

      You won’t convince me that Putie-boy hacked Colonial (nor any Russian group associated with him) and had the funds sent to a US custodial account and then left them there instead of transferring it somewhere outside the US originally (BTC is global, after all) and then immediately moving it offline into a “hard” wallet where you would have to obtain the physical hardware. Any “state-sponsored” entity would have done that within minutes of the transaction occurring.

      Next question: “Know Your Customer” law applies to US custodians and exchanges. So who was it held on behalf of? “I don’t know” is a bad answer by the way.

      No idea whether this critique is legit, but certainly sounds like there’s more to the story than is being told.

      1. Yves Smith

        Could be any Five Eyes member, and there is an expanded group of nations that share data.

        I think at a minimum this sheds doubt on the idea that these were Russian hackers.

      2. Aumua

        Regardless, keeping their ransom for any length of time at all in a wallet held by any exchange, especially a U.S. company is criminally stupid. If it’s even true.

    4. JohnnySacks

      Now maybe our Dick Tracy heroes can spare some bandwidth to get to the people scamming older Americans? Or at least put some corporate suits to an inquisition as to why their network security was so incomprehensively pathetic, fee for services rendered even?

      1. Michael Ismoe

        If the FBI was able to get monies “that were coerced out of it in an illegal way” does that mean that Obamacare customer still have hope?

    5. Mikel

      Maybe they aren’t ready to let the cat out of the bag that, alas, no anonymity in digital currency?

    6. Carolinian

      Here in the heart of Colonial land gas prices went up .30 per gallon and have stubbornly stayed there–for most stations–ever since. However it is also the start of summer travel season so the tin foil hat only at the ready, not firmly in place.

      And joining the others to say best wishes to our host.

    7. Lee

      I wonder what this might portend for taxing crypto-currency gains. I know someone who credibly claims made a fair sized pile in crypto-currencies, and I rather doubt he paid any taxes on these strangely gotten goods.

  3. John Siman

    It is very telling, I think, that in her latest piece, “Mainstream Politics Offer Pretend Revolutions To A Discontented Public,” Caitlin Johnstone quotes the late Gore Vidal:

    “It doesn’t actually make any difference,” Vidal wrote, “whether the President is Republican or Democrat. The genius of the American ruling class is that it has been able to make the people think that they have had something to do with the electing of presidents for 200 years when they’ve had absolutely nothing to say about the candidates or the policies or the way the country is run. A very small group controls just about everything.”

    I used to love reading Vidal back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but in the end I felt that he was a tease: that he was always promising some breathtaking insight into our darkest national secrets, on which he would never quite deliver. Yes, there have always been oligarchical forces at work in the United States, but so have there also been opposing democratic forces. (Consider the struggle between Adams and Jefferson, just for starters.) Vidal, for all his talent and charm, bequeathed us a lot cynicism.

    And Johnstone in this piece likewise dazzles us at first with her spirited disrobing of Saint Obama but leaves us with nothing but an exhortation to total (violent?) revolution. Vidal once complained that editors of The New York Review of Books published all his literary criticism but “forbade him politics.” Perhaps Caitlin should be reminded of their wisdom.

    1. Alfred

      So your point is that NYRB muzzled Vidal, so….Caitlin should therefore STFU about her Views? violent revolution is an option, why lie down and be walked over without doing more than complaining about it? She has no editorial restraint–I see where that is a problem for the Patriarchy.

      1. Carla

        @John Siman and Alfred: With the number of guns in private and public hands in this country, how could a revolution be anything but stunningly violent? In my city, 35 people were shot over this past weekend, and that was just for fun (3 died).

        1. Wukchumni

          A hack of our grid seemingly is in the cards and should it go down for a spell, the only common mechanical item in our lives that doesn’t require electricity or gas to operate, just happens to be guns.

          That’s how we get on the path to warlords, circa a century ago in China. Since everybody (statically) has a hand cannon, you have to decide which armed camp you belong in, once we drop the pretense of politics as usual having meaning anymore~

          1. GF

            “…the only common mechanical item in our lives that doesn’t require electricity or gas to operate, just happens to be guns.”

            Let me think hard on this one. Hmmm … muscle powered bicycles work great.

        2. Alfred

          Carla, people shooting each other is what the establishment wants. Revolution on the other hand…thats the LEOs shooting at the rest of us.

          1. tegnost

            I think revolution is easily managed in this day of the ubiquitous cell phone tracking/spying device and all the myriad of other digital trappings that decorate our world. I expect a crash from overreach, and see no evidence that the PTB think that overreach is possible. More, faster. Now.

            1. Alfred

              More, faster. Now.

              When the crash comes, they won t be the ones with no food or water or electricity(gee, is this why they hate solar power so?)–I think the whole idea is to be so far ahead, people will have an awful time just surviving, and will be killing each other for the means to live. Didn t Hollywood already tell us this? If it s going to work, it has to be done before TPTB have all their ducks in a row. Maybe that is Caitlin s point.

      2. Carolinian

        Yes, what is the point? It isn’t “cynical” to state the truth. We can praise the ideals of the founders–and I believe much of it was sincere in its way–and still cast shade on the reality of the result. In our current oh so hypocritical age we need more people like Vidal, not fewer. The New York Review is a lot less valuable than their one time big star.

    2. fresno dan

      John Siman
      June 8, 2021 at 7:35 am
      The door to meaningful change in America via electoral politics has been closed, locked, bolted, welded shut, and barricaded with a metric ton of solid steel. The only thing that can cause an end to the oppression and exploitation is an end to the oligarchic empire, and the only thing that can cause the end of the oligarchic empire is direct action by the American people: mass-scale activism, general strikes, and civil disobedience the likes of which the nation has never before seen, in sufficient numbers to bring down the plutocratic institutions which maintain the status quo.
      I would say that is not an endorsement of violent revolution – she advocates for a peaceful revolution…
      But EVEN poor Caitlen says this:
      For this reason, even politicians who run on relatively progressive-sounding platforms are themselves a part of the fake decoy revolution unless they demand a complete dismantling of oligarchy and empire. The politicians who present themselves as progressives in America today offer only light opposition to some aspects of empire and oligarchy, in effect merely supporting an oligarchic empire that gives Americans healthcare.
      Uh, there is a political group (dems) that supports INSURANCEcare, but no group that supports Health care for everyone.
      But the piece is important to raise awareness that it is the ACTUAL policies that matter – that Obama continued a lot of Bush policies, that Trump continued a lot of Obama policies (where was the vaunted ending of Obama care???) – if we are to get any where, we have to stop portraying politicians as saints (Obama) versus sinners (Trump).

      1. Alfred

        The violent part will be done by the police and their agent provocateurs. That is the way it is derailed, by justification of institutional force, how any people have to get killed before it is snuffed out again, like OWS.

        1. km

          I thought the pretext used to crack down on OWS was that they were violating some public health ordinances, not that they were violent.

            1. km

              The way it usually goes down is that an undercover cop “encourages” violence, this providing a pretext to crack down.

              In the case of OWS, they didn’t even bother with the undercover cop part.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Oh they were there. I was at a peaceful OWS demonstration – maybe a few dozen people protestors chatting with each other happily, waving some signs at passing motorists, looking for approving honks in return. OWS had been going on for a while at that point and protestors knew each other to a large extent.

                Then I noticed one young guy in a hoodie who was going through the crowd by himself, not really mingling with anyone or trying to. Under the hoodie was a buzzcut – not the coif of choice among the rest of the protestors but much more common with law enforcement. Hoodie guy starts mumbling into his phone as he walks through the protest and disappears, and about 30 seconds later a few police cruisers come around the corner to start checking things out.

                I don’t believe seeing Mr Hoodie followed by a bunch of cops was just a coinky-dink.

                1. km

                  I would be honestly shocked if there weren’t more than a few undercover fuzz at OWS. But apparently they weren’t able to incite a riot.

                  For that matter, it seems that at least some of the individuals who were plotting to kidnap and/or kill the Governor of Michigan were also undercover cops. That by itself is no surprise, but it also would not surprise me in the slightest if the cops were not the ones instigating the violence, or at least were egging it on, only to develop amnesia once it comes time to testify.

        2. hunkerdown

          Every ideology except nihilism is a variation on the theme that imaginary friends (aka “institutions”) are superior to life itself. These ideologies are simple, seductive, and deranged.

    3. Mikel

      Vidal was quite clear that the US was and is an oligarchy. No tease about it.
      You don’t believe it.

      I think it’s obvious by priorities.
      And me calling it an oligarchy is being diplomatic.

    4. John Emerson

      The cynicism wasn’t produced by Vidal. I’ve never read much Vidal and rather dislike hisveleant persona, but to me his cynicism is just common sense.

    5. km

      So if you don’t like what Caity Johnstone proposes as a solution, what is your alternative?

      And since La Johnstone is writing on her own site on the internet, not for the NYRB, what do you propose be done to keep her from writing on politics on her own site? Do tell.

        1. km

          Probably self-censorship. For Fairy’s own good, see!

          I noticed that Mr. Siman also took time out of his busy day yesterday to complain about Caitlin Johnstone.

          1. pjay

            In fairness, John’s comment yesterday was positive; it was some of the replies that complained. That did make his comment today seem a little strange, though.

    6. Cuibono

      ” but so have there also been opposing democratic forces.”
      ROFL! You just proved his point

  4. Mikerw0

    Bezos going into space further unmasks the climate virtue signaling of the elite class. Yes, as a percentage of the total CO2 emissions launching rockets is a small percent. But, if they really believed in stopping climate change, which it is unclear they do if it in any way means altering their lifestyles, they would not gratuitously pollute.

    There is zero reason to do what he is doing other than arrogance, ego and because he can.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I used to fly small airplanes all over the US in the ‘80s and ‘90s, then started to feel that my hobby did not set a good example. Now I hear that one third of total human CO2 emissions have occurred since I sold my airplane. I don’t think we are going to stop in time.

      1. Pressure Chamber

        How about mail-bombing the Amazon management team to try to convince him to stay in space?

    2. lyman alpha blob

      In Bezos particular case on this flight, I’d say it’s about ego. But in general, there are good reasons for space exploration of the kind his company looks to do. My understanding is Blue Origin would like to do asteroid mining. If there were a safe way to get all the metals needed in manufacturing from a lifeless asteroid rather than by tearing apart the earth, destroying ecosystems, and driving species to extinction, including possibly our own, I think that would be a plus. “Safe” is a key word here – some of the methods I’ve heard discussed like towing asteroids much closer to earth risk dropping a really huge rock on the only habitable planet we have. I’d want to require a much better understanding of orbital mechanics before allowing a bunch of money grubbing space cowboys to start flinging asteroids around.

      If Bezos truly cared about the climate though, rather than scrapping space flights, he could stop enabling and encouraging hundreds of millions of people to purchase things they don’t really need and have them shipped in multiple layers of plastic and paper packaging by fossil fuel consuming vehicles, with all the waste (and some of the purchases) winding up in a landfill shortly thereafter. Or people could themselves show some sort of self control and just don’t order so much junk.

      All that being said, I heard Christa McAuliffe called and wished Bezos luck…

      1. Carolinian

        Apparently it may also be about the denial of the Amazon bid for upcoming return to the Moon project. Musk has been flying people to the International Space Station whereas Bezos’ rocket has yet to carry anyone. Given that Bezos is not a young, super fit astronaut the whole thing sounds crazy. Will he prove he has The Right Stuff (as if anyone cares) or The Wrong Stuff upstairs.

      2. Mikel

        “Lifeless asteroid” is an assumption, no?
        No telling what an asteroid picks up in its travels.

      3. Kurtismayfield

        #1. They would never be allowed to fling an asteroid at the Earth. Too much risk to toss an asteroid at the only source of organic biological material in the solar system. I am thinking all the hub bub about colonizing Mars/Moon would be the more likely target, and then have mined raw materials transported doelwn the gravity well

        #2. The math for flinging an asteroid to a desired target should be relatively easy to model. The problem arises when there are factors not accounted for, like rogue objects / debris.

        I am 100 percent in agreement with you that this is all of the space hype machine’s goal. The asteroid belt is a very lucrative resource.

        1. tegnost

          how does one get a mass of ore such that it would be worth mining, through the stratosphere? Space elevator? I watch shooting stars and wonder…

          1. ambrit

            The basic refining of the ores would be carried out up in space. The Sun is an essentially endless resource, (unless you are accostomed to thinking in very long time scales.) A big, tunable mirror can concentrate as much solar ‘heat’ as you wish. Use such mirrors to heat up and refine the ores. Then drop the intermediate product down the gravity well. Use ablative shields and aerobraking to guide the mass to wherever you desire the drop point to be; in a desert, or a lonely piece of shallow sea terrain.
            I’m betting on the majority of space sourced materials being processed and used in space. The ‘Offworld’ is going to be the “coming thing” while the Earth tries to ‘weather’ the storms of the Climate Crisis.
            Terran humans have always ‘gravitated’ towards an “Open Frontier” for various and sundry reasons. Space fills that psychological need for the ‘modern’ age. Never underestimate mass psychology.

          2. Kurtismayfield

            What Ambrit said, and the more valuable materials will be rocketed down.. think platinum.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          “Fling” was a bit of hyperbole on my part, and hopefully any asteroids getting too near the earth will be hyperbolic too. Can I get a rimshot for the attempt at physics humor?!?

          Haven’t calculated orbits myself, but I believe you’re correct that the math is relatively simple on how to get from point A to point B. The problem isn’t the short term trip – it’s what happens after you get there over the long term. We know what happens when two bodies orbit each other, but when you start talking about three or more, things get tricky –

          Lots of people don’t know that the moon is receding from the earth a little bit each year. The moon is largely responsible for tides, which are responsible in part for how life develop and ecosystems develop. Throw a few asteroids into near-earth orbits and what happens to the moon? I’d say that probably the mass of your average asteroid would be negligible compared to that of the earth and moon, but how much added mass is too much? How would multiple new bodies, even if small, affect the overall mechanics of the currently stable system? How would it affect the lagrange points?

          There are quite likely good answers to questions like these – I just like to see the answers before capitalists with delusions of grandeur start “disrupting” again. It’s one thing to try to change the way we watch movies, quite another to do something that could move the earth from its habitable zone.

      4. Procopius

        Doesn’t (or didn’t, don’t know if he still does) insist on not eating anything he hasn’t killed with his own hands? Or is that Peter Thiel? One of the obscene tyrants, anyway.

    3. griffen

      There is a headline just waiting to be posted on The Onion.

      Billionaire goes into space never to return. Earth doesn’t miss him.

      Or, billionaire goes into space with lifelike humanoid robot of his own design. Robot decides in space he has the odds of no extradition and decapitates his creator/owner.

        1. griffen

          Flight of the Conchords had s pretty good episode around Bowie. I miss that show. They did some hilarious songs.

          Bowie’s in Space is the tune, methinks.

          1. newcatty

            Miss Flight of the Conchords, too. Funny and touching… I know someone, an American, who worked for Air New Zealand. She was based in LA. She loved working there. The New Zealand personnel were all highly competent, kind, funny and it was a special time in her life. They laughed out loud when she watched “Conchords” in their company.

      1. Wukchumni

        We’d miss Jeff if he was to leave this mortal coil, and as if on cue the Car Go Cult would flock to long defunct malls, demanding the shelves be filled with all sizes, colors and other options of a lengthy line of consumer goods, on the loading dock of a long ago closed merchandiser, some madly typing their demands, silently.

    4. Nikkikat

      It would be great if we could arrange that he could never come back, but with all those EX-Obama staffers now in Amazon management, it might turn out we are better off with the evil Bezos.

    5. Lee

      “Bezos worries that in the coming generations the planet’s growing energy demands will outstrip its limited supply. ‘We have to go to space to save Earth,’ he says.” The Atlantic

      That reasoning strikes me as a bit nutty. But then I’m not a billionaire, so what do I know?

    6. Oh

      I hope he ends up like Laika with the exception that he can “bark” from space every minute of the hour.

  5. Koldmilk

    ‘AI is neither artificial nor intelligent. It is made from natural resources and it is people who are performing the tasks to make the systems appear autonomous.’

    ‘Ethics are necessary, but not sufficient. More helpful are questions such as, who benefits and who is harmed by this AI system? And does it put power in the hands of the already powerful?’

    Microsoft’s Kate Crawford: ‘AI is neither artificial nor intelligent’ —The Guardian

    Much that is familiar to NC’s readership but good to see in the mainstream media.

  6. vlade

    re recovering the crypto.

    This is good news and bad news.

    It’s good news because it may make the criminals (the dumber ones) to realise BC is not the anonymous thing they thought it to be. In fact, I’d really like to see details on how exactly they recovered it, ie. whether they traced the payments backwards through transactions and just seized it all as “illicit gains” even from third/fourth parties in the transaction chains (here’s hoping).

    It’s bad news, because it may mean that the govts now can see crypto as a cheap way to track criminals (and not-yet-criminals), better than any bank transactions records.

    Would not it be a delicious irony if BC and assorted crypto became a critical instrument in the Big Brother surveilance?

    1. QuarterBack

      Government crippling of encryption is not new. Cryptographic algorithms are treated as “munitions” under many regulatory frameworks. The great irony here is that this crippling of crypto and other security and privacy capabilities to “better catch the bad guys” is often an enabler for the same “bad guys” to gain access and wreak havoc on large scale.

    2. fresno dan

      June 8, 2021 at 8:05 am
      so much for bitcoin being anonymous – but than again, everything said about bitcoin can be seen as preposterous with about 2 seconds of thinking about it…

      1. Skip Intro

        Just noting, it said they recovered the money from the bitcoin wallet. It does not say they connected the wallet to a real-world identity. The wallet ‘s connection to its owner may still be secret, depending on the IT skillz of the hackers.

        1. Aumua

          Oh they definitely did go together. But those days are long gone, and not necessarily because it’s impossible either. People have just given up even trying. It’s too much work.

      2. Mikel

        Like this from the other day:

        “Millions of retail investors were really counting on their crypto gains to improve their lives,” a Guy Fawkes-masked figure said in the video. “Of course, they took the risk upon themselves when they invested, and everyone knows to be prepared for volatility in crypto, but your tweets this week show a clear disregard for the average working person.”

        Anonymous often means well, I’ll grant them that and bless their hearts. And they’ve nailed Musk’s personality. But:

        “Crypto skews young, male and white: 74% of crypto holders are men, 77% of all crypto owners are under the age of 45, and 71% are white. The data shows that the “average” cryptocurrency owner is a 38-year-old male making approximately $111k a year.”

        1. Aumua

          “Anonymous” lost their relevancy years ago. Nothing will happen to Elon Musk for his trolling, are you kidding me? As far as blaming him or anyone else for crypto or meme stock market losses well… no one else pressed that buy button or that sell button but you, my friends.

      3. QuarterBack

        Bitcoin (and other block chain) have always been far from anonymous. Your wallet signature and every transaction is recorded forever. One confirmed link of that wallet to an identity loading, purchasing, or receiving product, and anonymity is gone. The biggest advantage of block chain is, because it is peer-to-peer, there is no middleman that can block a transaction from going through, plus because the ledger is distributed and not centralized, transactions can be often completed before they can be reliably surveilled. It is these two reasons that make central banks and governments want to stop them. The plan is to get people used to digital money then enforce laws to prohibit peer-to-peer and only allow ledger chains signed by approved central banks

    3. Wukchumni

      Bitcoin et al claim to be money and were you to grant them that dubious distinction, they’re acting like Bizarro World hyperinflation, the opposite of the post WW1 Austrian experience as chronicled in When Money Dies:

      In 1914 a pound sterling was worth about 25 kronen. By May, 1922, when the pound could still purchase only 1200 marks, it would have bought 35,000 kronen.

      1. Aumua

        I think you might be mixing up inflation and deflation there. I’m not totally sure.

    4. Bill Smith

      Since Colonial told the FBI before they paid the ransom and how they were told to pay the ransom, it makes it a lot easier to do something. Likely the FBI had help to watch things in real time and where armed with court order that allowed them to move, in effect preemptively.

  7. zagonostra

    >Wait, Vaccine Lotteries Actually Work? Wired (Dr. Kevin)

    It’s strange to see wired doing multiple stories along the same lines. Below is a list of private corporations providing incentives to get vaccines.

    I find this a very bizarre way to promote public health policy.

    1. Alfred

      I used to get a lollipop when I got a shot as a kid at the dr. That was eons ago–guess Id want a new auto now.

      1. fresno dan

        June 8, 2021 at 8:20 am
        I asked for a lolly when I got my vaccine – and I think I should have gotten one for EACH poke. They didn’t have ANY lollypops
        No wonder people aren’t getting vaccinated…

      2. Wukchumni

        We frequented the evil Dr. Taylor DDS in my cavity prone years, which would be all of them. Dental offices had this odd almost burnt smell to them in the 60’s, which only added to the lack of allure.

        He’d torture you for what seemed like an eternity, and then when you were done thankfully, he’d escort you to a wicker basket full of ten Cent toys where you selected one, as if that made things all better.

        1. HotFlash

          You are of my vintage, then: pre-fluoride, before high-speed drills, and back in the days when anesthetics weren’t given to children. We got a toothbrush, a toy, and a lollipop (even back then, it made me wonder). That smell was burning tooth, I get the same smell when I drill bone.

          1. Josef K

            I love the smell of smoking gutta-percha in the morning.

            My childhood dentist was Dr. Heck, the visits were heckish at best. I later saw an endodentist for a root canal, I heard his name over the phone as Dickens, seemed appropriate, but when I arrived I saw it was Dr. Diggens, even more so.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        This just in!

        Adults can claim a complimentary joint of marijuana in Washington state this week when they receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

        The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced Monday that the promotion, called “Joints for Jabs,” was effective immediately and would run through July 12. During the afforded time period, state-licensed cannabis retailers are permitted to give one free pre-rolled joint to customers who are 21 or older when they receive their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an active, on-site vaccination clinic. Customers can only claim the complimentary joint from the retail location during the same visit as receiving the jab, according to the board.

        Washington is not the only U.S. state to get creative in incentivizing people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In Arizona, a cannabis dispensary is handing out free pre-rolled joints and gummy edibles in exchange for getting vaccinated.

        Please tell me there are no souls still languishing for life in for-profit prisons, having been stopped, frisked, and found with dangerous “gateway drug” marijuana shake or seeds in their pockets.


          1. Josef K

            I knew I should have held out longer. I didn’t even get a lollypop, never mind a THC/CDB-infused one. Insley should grandfather us all in for a stick of the wacky.

    2. Carla

      Hell, the state of West Virginia is holding a GUN lottery as a vaccination incentive. That’s the ticket: get the jab so you can stay alive long enough to shoot somebody.

      As Lambert says, America is BACK.

      1. Wukchumni

        I heard one of the other belt bible states is upping the ante with a chance to win a LAW rocket if you get the vax, not to be outdone though, another is dangling a recoil-less 105 mm howitzer on a trailer mount that’ll hitch to any ball joint on your truck, but you gotta get shot first.

        1. fresno dan

          June 8, 2021 at 9:16 am
          If I know they were gonna give weapons to entice one to get vaccinated, I would have held out for a MIRV

          1. ambrit

            You want to talk “weapons of mass destruction” and incentives in the same sentence? I want a day’s access to the Fed Repo window. (Oh, the fun I could have!) [I could lever the ‘value’ of our house and make all sorts of “bets” er, investments, in the markets. Better yet, I could “find” an allonge attached to the Articles of Incorporation for our half-horse town giving me proprietary rights. Lever that and I’d be really able to have some fun for a day.]

      2. The Rev Kev

        The State of West Virginia are just being cheapskates here. Remember that Michael Moore doco “Bowling for Columbine” which featured a bank that gave you a rifle if you opened up a bank account with them? And that was twenty years ago! To do this the bank was actually a licensed firearm dealer. I understand in an older America, that they would give you an electric toaster for opening up a bank account- (2:16 mins)

        1. GF

          Arizona is giving away AZ Diamondbacks (20 – 41) baseball tickets. Can’t sell them so may as well give them away. Stands look like last year when no one was allowed at the games.

      1. ambrit

        Good idea! However, from what I’ve been reading about the questionable state of affairs concerning the Spike Protein used in the mRNA vaccines, we might need Medicare for All after having the mRNA Jab.

    3. Jason Boxman

      All the Match Group dating apps offer “premium content” for displaying vaccination status. I guess dating is back?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “US may miss July 4 vaccination target as number of daily doses plummets”

    Yeah, the way that vaccinations are going could mean that there may be problems developing between those who have been vaccinated and those that want to, but cannot at present get one- (4:15 mins) (some swearing)

    But luckily the internet has come up with a solution which I present to you below. I think that it might actually be a mini-documentary- (2:09 mins)

  9. Wukchumni

    An Everest season like no other in Nepal amid a deadly pandemic Al Jazeera
    Looking at that overhead shot of the Everest base camp, who would ever aspire to be there with so many fabric sky scrapers all in close proximity, and the lines of climbers on the mountain appearing awfully similar to photos of Chilkoot Pass in the Klondike gold rush.

    If only it was the 3rd highest peak in the world, then nobody would really care and leave it alone~

    Talking tents, its amazing the lightweight gear out there that’s heavy on the wallet. My longtime backpacking partner just bought a 2 person Zpacks model @ $650 that weighs in @ 1 1/2 pounds and utilizes hiking poles for support.

    Contrast that to a $150 Kelty Salida 2 person tent that comes in @ 4 1/2 pounds, or my $100 hammock & tarp that’s 3 1/2 pounds.

    I’m pushing 60 and my buddy is 64, and i’ve always been able to carry the weight, but we’re both getting to the point where we have to lighten up to keep on keeping on, I kinda wonder what next advancement will come about, perhaps dehydrated single malt scotch?

      1. Wukchumni

        Wormstone also said that dextrin ‘might taste okay with sake but I don’t think it will do much for 12-year-old scotch. My dictionary says its used to make postage stamps stick when you lick them.’

        Actually, dextrin has been used as an adhesive in powdered food products for years.

        I’ll stick with Lagavulin…

        1. tegnost

          I’ll stick with Lagavulin…

          one of the funny things regarding whiskies for me, and it may be for the best, is I don’t want to buy the wrong kind…so I sidle over to the beer, which comes in smaller packages that facilitate keeping track of the consumption. At the current IPA prices of around 12 buck for six, I don’t know that I’m saving money on an alcohol for alcohol basis, though.
          For this rural denizen vodka is too cheap these days it’s got alcohol problems written all over it, so it gets a hard no…

        2. JP

          I just love the 16 or the special 12 year but I have gone ultra-lite to pack with any 150 proof and koolaid.

  10. jsn

    “…we did not see that Republican establishment say hold on, time out”

    So, of course you want to make sure you rely on that establishment to make bipartisan policy.

      1. jsn

        Joe Nothing Will Fundamentally Change Biden.

        Look at what he says, not what he does: he doesn’t want to do anything.

        I’m still puzzled by “reconciliation” for the COVID Relief Act and remain open to there being some sub rosa player behind the administration who enjoys the actual exercise of power. What the Washington Generals, I mean Democrats, put in their next reconciliation play should clarify that.

  11. QuarterBack

    Re today’s internet outage. The growing dominance of cloud service providers is moving much of the Internet into monoculture vulnerability land. For large enterprises (that can afford it), using redundant cloud providers only goes so far if you don’t understand what common architecture services they might rely upon.

    To paraphrase: When AWS or Azure sneezes, the Internet get double pneumonia.

    1. flora

      re today’s internet outage and the cloud(s).

      Wonder if Amazon turning on its Amazon Sidewalk project this morning had anything to do with this cloud outage. I can imagine its effect being like a giant DoS traffic flood on existing infrastructure. Funny if true. / heh

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Not a techie myself, but the way I look at the cloud, I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the potential risks. And as someone concerned with data privacy, I’m not really sure there are any benefits. Seems better to me to be in control of your own data rather than farming it out to some 3rd party who has complete access to all of it, regardless of whether they promise not to peek. And when a 3rd party controls it, bad actors don’t have to target a company specifically or even know it exists ahead of time to get at the data – just hack into the cloud and see what you find.

      I do understand that the cloud companies use highly sophisticated security measures or nobody would pay for their services to begin with, but I’ve also learned that no matter how much security there is, nothing is invulnerable. Had an acquaintance years ago whose job was building digital firewalls for companies. I asked him that since he was designing the systems, couldn’t he at least break in even if others would have a very hard time doing so? He just kind of smiled…

      1. tegnost

        bad actors don’t have to target a company specifically

        sometimes, and possibly more often than that, bad actors own the company…

    3. HotFlash

      When I tried the link to ProPublica’s IRS story an hour or so ag, I got “Access temporarily unavailable due to a CLoudflare problem, please try again later”. Perhaps it’s contagious?

  12. eric bowman

    Well…..I’ve managed to miss (somehow) Yves hip “problem”. Best of luck!!! May your recovery be quick! & tolerable. I’m on one replaced knee & the other welllll…. I know others that have gone through the hip(s) ordeal….more complicated. Again, the best, Yves.. you will be missed!

  13. The Rev Kev

    “German Conservatives Back on Track as General Election Approaches”

    Yeah, so maybe it is better that the Greens are only having a weak showing in Germany at the moment. Some of the policies that they are pushing for are right out of Washington’s handbook. But recently, the co-leader of the German Greens did a tour of the Ukraine’s eastern front wearing a helmet and body armour. While there, he was also proposing sending more weapons to the Ukraine to continue the war there. Frankly, this does not sound like the actions of a Green Party to me-

    1. km

      Frankly, it sounds exactly like the sort of actions of a weak, emasculated Eurogreen party thoroughly in the thrall of Washington.

      Some cosmetic changes, some environmental noises and diversity talk to keep the liberals on side and making excuses, but the bombs keep on falling, which is all the Empire really cares about.

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Biden agenda under threat — from within his party Yahoo News

    “He [manchin] is literally your linchpin to having a Democratic majority, so if you push too hard, or if you force him out of your caucus one way or another, you’re likely to lose that vote altogether,” Casey Burgat, an assistant professor and director of the Legislative Affairs Program at George Washington University, told AFP.

    It seems to me that the democrats claiming a “majority” in the senate, depending as it does on 2 “independents,” the vp, and joe manchin (who is really a republican), is a total sham.

    With democrats “in control” of the senate, schumer gets to flex his political muscle and raise his profile in advance of his reelection campaign in 2022 as “majority” leader. Having been reelected in 2020, mcconnell didn’t need the exposure this time around.

    Just more “democracy” theater in defense of the status quo if you ask me.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Biden sent the Delaware Senators to vote with Manchin and Sinema against the minimum wage hike. When the heat became too much for Manchin, Warner opposed the PRO Act, so Manchin could be for it. Like the 60th vote garbage when Obama was President, the leader of the party is setting the agenda.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Remember all those loud mouthed dem hacks who said Bernie should not be running as a “democrat” in the presidential primaries because he wasn’t a “real” dem?

        But when they need him to run up the score for a fake “majority,” he’s in.

        jeezus h. christ.

        1. km

          Funny how nobody said that Mike Bloomberg wasn’t a “Real Democrat(R)” in 2020.

          Bloomberg was such a Real Democrat(R), he even gave the keynote address to the RNC in 2004, praising Dubya for his war of aggression against Iraq. (Of course, Sts. HRC, Kerry and Biden also were cheerleaders for that particular war of aggression, so maybe I’ll shut up now.)

        2. Oh

          I wonder why Bernie doesn’t hold out like Manchin on key legislation to get us what we want?
          Don’t answer that! I already know.

          1. Pat

            I don’t think you do.
            Manchin is a trusted member of the team. If you look closely you will find that he is performing the will of the Democratic leadership, insert name of administration, and 99% of the time he is either there to derail the bill completely OR to jettison line items they never wanted in the first place.

            Sanders is the outsider, largely disliked by the Democratic leadership. Unlike Manchin he will negotiate if he holds out. His price for supporting ACA were community health centers, which outside of the medicaid expansion was the only decent thing in that atrocity. If he is holding on a bill they really want (and for the most part those are things we really don’t want), they will negotiate and perhaps add something useful, if it is a bill for show like these are….well he could hold out for a decade and get nowhere.

            If Manchin or Lieberman Or….were really problematic, they would be punished for their positions. It isn’t just Republicans who can take away beloved committee positions or offices or funding. You will know the problem ‘Congressperson/Senator” are in ‘the dog house’ when you see them lose something of value to them.

            1. neo-realist

              If Manchin were really punished, he’d cross the aisle and McConnell would reward him with 3 chairmanships. Biden needs him for the judicial appointments at the very least since Manchin doesn’t give a damn about voting rights.

    2. Mikel

      “Same as it ever was
      Same as it ever was
      Same as it ever was
      Same as it ever was…”

      David Byrne – Talking Heads
      “Once in a Lifetime”

    3. Dr. John Carpenter

      Joe Manchin feels more and more like a rerun of the Joe Lieberman show. I was waiting for the “we have to be nice to him, lest he defect and cost us our (worthless) majority” line that was given as cover for Joementum back in the day to reappear and there it is. Awfully convenient that a spoilsport like the Joes always seems to popup right at the point when the Dems could pass anything for the people.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Filibuster farce aside, Lieberman had more leverage. The GOP voters won’t ever accept Manchin. Connecticut was a different beast, but this is more outrageous.

    4. Grant

      Who cares about a partisan majority anyway? I mean, if an ideological socialist was in the Republican Party, would it matter that he was a Republican that supported things like single payer (I know this isn’t the case, just making a point)? The policies and the societal impacts of those policies that Manchin supports are horrible, and what matters. It doesn’t matter which party he is in if he supports what he does and he is as corrupt as he is. If the Republicans are off the spectrum to the right and Manchin is a “moderate”, wouldn’t him going to that party make it slightly less off the spectrum? I just don’t get the point of caring what party that creep is in, and I don’t understand how people like him win elections.

      Manchin, by the way, speaks for many right wing, corrupt Democrats behind the scene. He is just willing to be the face, which isn’t pretty.

    5. Pelham

      Historically, it appears that Democrats need to win huge majorities in Congress to carry out their plans while Republicans need only to keep the balance fairly close to either block the Dems or get nearly everything the GOP wants.

      So, basically, the Democrats retained the House last year but lost the Senate.

    6. Procopius

      Yeah, well, “theater” is not likely to produce a majority in both House and Senate in 2022.As it happens I adore my Representative, and neither of my Senators is up for election then, so I’ll more or less be voting straight ticket Dem, but once I develop a resentment I tend to hold it for a long time. I’m sure the DNC/DCCC/DSCC think everyone will have forgotten by next year, but Joe Biden still owes me $600 and I think I’ll still remember that in 2024.

      1. JBird4049

        I think that the powers that be do not realize just how disliked they are, and while the security state might know, people tend to forget that things like hunger, drought, or epidemics tend to make clear on just what the government’s priorities are.

        Failure is an option, if people believe that the government was competent, but overwhelmed. It is kind of hard to stop a hurricane. But if the failure is due them not caring about the people’s welfare, that is harder to hide and less forgivable.

        Over 250 million Americans are increasingly desperate, angry, and disillusioned. About a hundred million have at least a handgun and many have a lot more than that. The Praetorian Guard might come from the upper classes especially the officers and the security state establishment, but strangely, too many don’t think to realize that most of the rank and file military comes from the disposable flyover country, while the lower classes of leftists and liberals really do not like or trust the Democratic Party. Nope, the only people that the regime, and that is deliberate word choice, is the top 20%, maybe.

  15. anon y'mouse

    i hope all goes well, recovery is quick and complete, and Yves is up and running again as soon as she can be.

  16. zagonostra

    >Local Supply Chain

    I went to the local bicycle shop to get a tube and noticed they only had 1 new bike. They are still waiting to receive their shipment. It seems that most if not all of the bicycles one can buy in the U.S. come from overseas, mainly China and Taiwan. It’s sad because the bike I have is a Cannondale and Bedford, PA where they used to manufacture them is only 30 minutes from me.

    From high speed trains, automobiles, and even bicycles the U.S. has decided it doesn’t need to manufacture locally. When supply chains really get disrupted we’ll see if trend will reverse. We saw that pharmaceuticals are mainly coming from China during this CV19 outbreak, but I haven’t seen much economic reporting on re-establishing manufacturing in the U.S. CV19 will blow over and I am skeptical anything much will change in where things are produced.

    1. Arizona Slim

      The Bedford Cannondale bikes were the best.

      The offshored models? I would love to share my honest opinion, but I can’t use those vocabulary words on this blog.

      1. petal

        I happened across a used one several years ago for not much so I bought it. I was so happy to have a made in USA Cannondale.

      1. petal

        HotFlash, this is wonderful! Thank you! Just bookmarked it for future use and will pass it around. I’ve been getting more and more curmudgeonly in the past year about only buying made in USA. I was before, but even more now.

        1. Anthony Stegman

          Lots of American made stuff is crap. Don’t assume that because something is “American made” it is better.

          1. petal

            I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. Thanks, though.
            I’d like to have more options to buy American and help keep my neighbours afloat. Family members have lost their jobs because they were shipped overseas.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            On the other hand, some or perhaps even lots of American made stuff is non-crap. Don’t assume that because something is “American made” it is worse.

            Now, how to tell which is what . . .

    2. PlutoniumKun

      ‘crack n fail’ they used to call the early Cannondales due to their…. vulnerabilities. I’ve never 100% trusted them because they polish out the welds which is often a way manufacturers hide crude welding (at least, according to bike builders I’ve spoken to). That said, my very first ‘real’ roadbike was a very beautiful Cannondale from 2004 which I still own, and which I rigged up as a lightweight touring bike and rode around Taiwan a few years later. It attracted many admiring glances from everyone else on their Giants and Meridas. I even rode past the Giant factory on it.

      The nicest place to see US bikes being made is in the Kent Erickson shop next to the Orange Peel Bike shop in Steamboat Springs, Co. Erickson was one of the guys who set up Moots, which is up the road. I was told locally (quite a few years ago, things may have changed) that if you knock on his door he will show you around as he makes the titanium frames, but I was too shy to try it.

      1. ArcadiaMommy

        Huh. My cannondale is 25+ years old and still going strong. My dad bought me one for college. I had to replace the handle bar grips and my dad tunes it up for me when he visits. I just use it to tootle around the neighborhood with kiddos these days. I have noticed more “peddle assist” bikes. Like it is just so hard to peddle.

        1. Still Above Water

          It’s a 3 mile commute to my bar, mostly downhill. Which means it’s mostly uphill going home. I’m not a peddler, but I do find it hard to pedal home after a long day of work. I bought an VanMoof ebike last year, and now I almost never drive, as my commute time hasn’t appreciably changed, and I’m getting a good workout pedaling. Scoff at the power assist if you want, but for me, it’s the difference between torture and pleasure.

  17. Mikel

    Re: “Why Amazon Is Confronting the Richest Man in India” NYT

    Time for the world to ask: Can anybody else other Bezos have anything?

    1. tegnost

      I’m sure that in Davos they’re sighing about the unfairness of only bezos having 200 billion there really need to be more 200 billionaires. Not. Fair.

  18. zagonostra

    Headline from CNN: “Senate report reveals new details about security failures ahead of January 6 attack but omits Trump’s role”

    I see why some people refer to CNN as the Consciousness Negating Network. Has it already been
    established and I missed it that investigations have been conducted and determined that Trump had a role in the security failures in the 1/6 attack? Wrong anatomy, but what a knee-jerk headline.

    1. Geo

      Just saw this and reading through it… wow! Even a cynic like myself is a bit overwhelmed by what I’ve read so far. Highly recommend to others here too. Would love to hear insights from the commentariat here that understands this stuff better than my art school dropout brain does. :)

      Excerpt: “ Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. ”

  19. The Rev Kev

    Fmr. Pres. Obama to Anderson Cooper on the GOP: ‘With my eight glorious years as President behind me, I told old Joe all that he needed to know how to be a modern American President.’

    Joe Biden: ‘Nothing will fundamentally change.’

    1. Geo

      Ha! Those two should be a comedy duo. Like a Laurel & Hardy or maybe more like Lewis & Martin? Except, the punchline to every bit is human suffering.

      The audience at their high priced speaking affairs would love it.

  20. fresno dan
    I don’t think it’s right that someone like Bezos can make $46 million in income and not pay a dime in federal income taxes, but I also don’t know how you solve the bigger issue, which the chart above shows. Are you supposed to tax people on their stock gains if they’re not selling?* Imagine that the value of Bezos’s shares increases by $10 billion one year, and he pays taxes on that. What happens if, in the next year, the value of his shares falls by $10 billion? Does he get a refund?
    Yet, somehow, these people get richer and richer and …richer. And government policy has NOTHING to do with that???
    And somehow, the percentage of income I pay in taxes was about 30 times what Buffett paid. And I’m retired! And sales tax means something to me, while it means nothing to Buffett because of the relative income and worth. Not to mention the endless fees, taxes on phones, internet, water, waster collection, ad infinitum. So the real question, is why am I paying so much in taxes?

    and this just makes my blood boil:
    What happens if, in the next year, the value of his shares falls by $10 billion? Does he get a refund?
    I don’t know – maybe this guy was 14 years old back in 2007, but as I recall, most all of the crooks, grifters, scammers, and billionaires in the great housing scam were bailed out and never had to enjoy the destitution that free enterprise is suppose to visit upon incompetent capitalists.
    C’mon man – its heads they win, tails you lose…
    * how about we tax labor, which supposedly has all sorts of salutatory affects upon society, at a LESSOR rate than capital gains?

    1. Nikkikat

      Dan, this gets my blood boiling too. Have you Ever tried to convince someone that the Flat Tax is a scam? That 25% of your lowly income is NOT equivalent to 25% of Bill Gates income? So much for critical thinking.

      1. ambrit

        I have tried to do the “Flat Tax Avoidance Dance” and I agree fully with you. It really is like banging your head against a brick wall, not once, but repeatedly.
        I wish someone would come up with a simple and ‘brainworm’ quality meme to promote “High Wealth Tax” programs with.

      2. km

        I dunno, a flat income tax with a high enough threshold and a high rate would not be as helpful as a wealth tax would be, but would be a lot better than what we have now, which is an Internal Revenue Code which is lavishly stocked with provisions enabling legal tax avoidance for those whose income is derived from sources other than salaried employment.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Heh. Imagine how easy it would be to sell a repeal of all personal income taxes, to be replaced with taxes on wealth only.

          But somehow that would nonetheless be considered a tax increase on middle class families or some such nonsense.

          1. LifelongLib

            You can bet that a wealth tax WOULD fall more heavily on the middle class, just like income taxes do. A classic example is the real property tax, which falls most heavily on retired people who still live in the house they bought when they were working and the kids were with them, and which they now think of as a home and not just a house. Paper wealth doesn’t always translate into ability to pay.

  21. Mikel

    Breaking: “Global web outage as world’s biggest websites crash including Amazon, UK govt and Reddit” City A.M.

    Breaking: Promotion for Fastly.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Pentagon Papers Failed to Prevent Perpetual Media Kowtowing”

    The funny thing about this article is that it only mentions Afghanistan once and makes no mention of the Afghanistan Papers at all though you think that it would be important to compare the results of the release of both sets of papers.

    1. Alfred

      It is also a peculiarly empty term. Not at all like how old Larry foamed the runway for the banks on TARP.

  23. Grant

    “Climate crisis to shrink G7 economies twice as much as Covid-19, says research Guardian”

    Talk about an understatement. It is clear we are or have reached the limits of growth in regard to resource consumption and pollution generation. There is also massive inequalities between and within countries as far as resource consumption and pollution generation. So, saying that economies need to shrink doesn’t really address which economies need to shrink, which societies need to massively change. Is Haiti or France going to have to reduce their consumption of resources and their generation of pollutants? Over the last few centuries, did Britain or Guatemala spit more carbon into the atmosphere? Within France, will the working class and the poor have to reduce both and change their lifestyles, or the rich and oligarchs? Also, the financial and monetary parts of the economy can grow forever, debt can grow forever, so what about the massive debt in developing and underdeveloped countries? You don’t need to cut down a tree to add to a person’s debt load. Can capitalism as a system exist when there is no more room for growth and when these environmental impacts cannot be realistically monetized?

  24. juno mas

    RE: Hesitant to get vaccinated …for profit healthcare.

    The hesitancy is not just the convoluted beauracracy. It’s the hassle of responding to error-prone billing and the endless hand-offs to “customer service” agents who know less than you do. There is no easier way to ruin your day than interact with a hospital/clinic about billing.

    Most people hate interacting with the healthcare system.

    1. ambrit

      As we have learned, to our cost, it now is the “Wealth Level Mediated Healthcare Access System.”

    2. curlydan

      this is maybe the 2nd or 3rd article I’ve seen on the subject. And yet, there is no mention of the fact that even though “it’s FREE!”, everyone asks for a copy of your insurance card at the very least and then (jerk faced [bleep][bleepers] like CVS also ask for your prescription card. So what’s someone to think?

      You know they’re going to do something with those cards to get paid.

      Just have a bunch of clinics, verify identity, and get the shot. Not hard, but no, we’ve got to drag out the ID cards, provide a jpeg of them(!) when you make your online appointment, and leap or backflip over other various obstacles.

  25. Doc Octagon

    The US seized $2.3mil of the $4.4mil Colonial ransomware bitcoin ransom, nearly 50/50 split. Right there, you know. Who got the other half? Other ransomware criminals, gladly assisting the FBI in shutting these dilettantes down. Ransomware is SaaS in 2021, and the Colonial hack put that lucre at risk by messing with a US strategic infrastructure asset. Like burgling an embassy and claiming to not know who lives there. Careers from on-high depend on a scalp. – Who burgles embassies? Other governments, colonels who have run out of ideas. DarkSide raked in $43 mil in bitcoin in the first three months of this year. They do not need this kinda tsuris. Plus, a SCADA network has diminishing returns from a business standpoint; it is only networked horizontally with other pipeline segments. Useful in modern warfare but has a shallow pool of insured victims from the criminal standpoint.

    The DOJ said they have tracked the ransoms from 90 victims, establishing an MO and a pattern for the transactions. If you are a ransomware hacker, it pays to live in a non-extradition country but to have the launder placement and layering through banks of an un-economic sanctioned country. For the country who gives refuge to ransomware criminals, this is classic blowback.

  26. allan

    Student Debt Cancellation IS Progressive: Correcting Empirical and Conceptual Errors [Roosevelt Institute]

    A good slap back at the Brookings-Third Way-NYT/WaPo/Atlantic op-ed axis of misdirection and obfuscation.
    Contains a link to a .pdf of the actual report, from which:

    …The myth of student loan cancellation regressivity is now widespread. In this brief,
    we argue that critiques of student loan cancellation as regressive are based primarily
    on five empirical and conceptual errors: the inclusion of private student loans,
    conditioning analyses on borrowers only, focusing primarily on income rather than
    wealth distributions, highlighting the value of debt to the government rather than
    benefits to households, and ignoring the racial distribution of debt. Our analyses
    take as a focal point recent analyses by Catherine and Yannelis (2020) that have been
    portrayed as “proof” of student loan debt regressivity—but are also plagued by each of
    these errors. We show how correctives paint a much more progressive image of student
    debt cancellation. …

    1. HotFlash

      I tend to think of student debt cancellation as retroactively funding institutions of higher learning. Which a decent society ought to do anyway. In 1892 the National Education Association recommended that free public schooling consist of 8 years of elementary school plus 4 years of high school, but it took another couple of decades to actually get that done. A hundred years ago, a high school diploma was a ticket to a good job, and in Ye Olde Days, there was also a very real prospect of rising through the ranks through experience and employer-provided training. My FIL took his high school diploma to Ford’s back in the 40’s and after a while on the line, applied for the in-house machinist training. He said that the calculus was the roughest, but the teacher explained it to him, “Pass the test or go back on the line.” He passed *all* the tests and later upgraded to be a tool-and-die maker (that’s machinist royalty).

      As far as getting a job, a college degree in the year 2000 is equivalent to a high school diploma in 1900. Free education should keep up with the times.

      Aside re school funding. It should be equal per student. Per Wiki 8% of school revenues are federal, 47% from the state, and 45% locally sourced. “Locally sourced” generally consists of property taxes and, well, bake sales and car washes. Poor states and poor neighbourhoods simply can’t raise as much as rich ones. Only the federal government can do that, and they should, post haste.

  27. Neoliberal Cowardice

    Yeah more neoliberals should get their fair share of slaps

    Typical for neoliberals: they take the right to immiserate the lives of not only countries but continents but when they get the slightest bitch-slap they throw the full state violence on the persons

  28. Dalepues

    I hope you make a quick and painless recovery Yves. I don’t know what the temps are in Birmingham, but it’s already Summer here in Mobile. Stay cool!

  29. Alice X

    Yves, I don’t pray and hope is illusory. I look to the uplift of the oppressed. I am certain that your early recovery will benefit that end, and your own well being.

Comments are closed.