Links 7/12/2021

Bats’ brains predict their next move during flight MIT Technology Review


Jodie Turner-Smith Lost Family Jewelry in Cannes Hotel Room Theft Variety

Future Fears American Scholar

Unexamined Life The Baffler

When science breaks bad: A rogues’ gallery of history’s worst scientists Ars Technica

A bird’s eye view of coal leases on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rockies The Narwhal

How hot is too hot for the human body? MIT Technology Review

Officials across Florida rethink condo inspection policies AP

Death Valley sees its hottest day since 1913 at 130F and 50 million Americans are under heat advisories as blistering temperatures ravage the West Coast fueling wildfires and power outages Daily Mail

Flood watch issued as stormy weather expected to slam NYC again NY Post

A Billion South Asians Face Water Insecurity Due To Warming In The Himalayas India Spend

New cholera vaccine, ‘drink’ made from GM rice, clears phase 1 human trials: Study in Lancet The Print

Srebrenica genocide survivor: ‘It will happen to us again’ Al Jazeera


Fauci says that based on current data from CDC, FDA, there’s no need for booster shot The Hill. I’m counting the days until he needs to walk this back. Remember the mask guidance? This time, he’s made the caveat explicit – that this advice may need to change. I’ll say.

Vaccines will get full FDA approval, Fauci predicts Politico

Experts warn full Covid-19 vaccine approval is no quick fix for hesitancy Stat

POLITICO-Harvard poll: Americans sharply divided over vaccine mandates Politico

US “Very Concerned” Covid Variants Could Risk Recovery: Top Official NDTV


NYCHA Ignored Warnings That Ventilation Woes Endangered Tenants During Pandemic, Emails Show The City

What does Africa need to make more coronavirus vaccines? South China Morning Post

Japan pinpricking China’s gains in SE Asia Asia Times

Australia reports first 2021 local COVID-19 death, highest case number Reuters

Woman, 90, infected with Alpha and Beta Covid variants at the same time Guardian

Historic Warsaw store, seeking rebirth, hit by pandemic AP

Class Warfare

Give Us a Three-Day Weekend at the Beach, Every Week  Jacobin

Inequality and the Macron Commission Project Syndicate (David L)

Frito-Lay Seeks Scabs as Kansas Labor Launches Boycott – Fort Lee Barbers Strike – USC Nurses to Strike Payday Report

The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes ProPublica


32 Angry Consumer Complaints to the FTC About Binance Gizmodo (Richard Smith)

Anthony Constantinou charged in England over ‘£50M Ponzi scheme’ involving BVI & Cayman Offshore Alert. Richard Smith: “Another old story matures. Dubious FX Broker CWM FX Claims Sports Celebrity Scalps, but Princess Anne Remains Unmolested

Biden Administration

‘A Great Day’: Biden Fires Trump’s Social Security Boss Who Refused to Resign Common Dreams

Democrats hit crunch time in Biden spending fight The Hill

Biden Launches Sweeping Action on “Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Ag.” Can It Be Real? BIG. Matt Stoller.

Violent Extremists Took Over The US Capitol Long Before January 6 Caitlin Johnstone

States Gear Up for Fight to Keep the National Guard Out of War (The Rev Kev)

‘We Have Seen the Deepening of the Anti-Democratic, Anti-Protest Legislative Trend’ FAIR

Tears, politics and money: School boards become battle zones AP

Trump Transition

Trump says being impeached twice didn’t change him: ‘I became worse’ The Hill

Groves of Academe

Marketing and PR Are Corrupting Universities Chronicle of Higher Education


US alarmed as Saudi lawsuits threaten to expose secrets France 24

UNSC Watch: Does the US-Russia Compromise on Syria Portend Better Times? The Wire


Activism Uncensored: Colombia in Chaos TK News. Matt Taibbi.

Sports Desk

Untold stories of Ichiro: Wrestling with Griffey, All-Star speeches and ‘Ichi wings’ The Athletic

Euro 2020: ‘Football comes to Rome’ as Italy break English hearts at Wembley Deutsche Welle

Shocker: US falls to Nigeria 90-87 in pre-Olympic opener AP


Investigation: Hidden water crisis behind India’s sugar dominance The Third Pole

India: The New ‘Republic of Fear’ The Wire

At least 67 killed in lightning strikes in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Scroll


The U.S. didn’t start Cold War 2 Noahpinion. Noah Smith.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Sawdust

    Sonnet – To Science

    By Edgar Allan Poe

    Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
    Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
    Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
    Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
    How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
    Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
    To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
    Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
    Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
    And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
    To seek a shelter in some happier star?
    Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
    The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
    The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

      1. ambrit

        Chaste Minerva, full blown from the brow of Jove descending? She was also the goddess of war. Few reflect on the close connexion between Science and War.
        Artemis now, sayest thou that the hunt is up? (How far up is a matter for Science’s handmaid, NASA.)
        Artemis program:

        1. Harry

          Minerva was the Latin Athena – who leapt fully formed from the brow of Zeus. Artemis was the Greek name for the twin sister of Apollo. The Romans called her Diana. Goddess of the Moon and the hunt.

          Forgive my terrible pedantry. Of course, who says Im right! When you get to my age memory cant be trusted.

          1. Susan the other

            Thank you – it puzzled me how Edgar Allen Poe could have been so clairvoyant as to see Princess Diana in her crazy Mercedes.

  2. russell1200

    I guess I don’t understand what the point of the jewelry heist link. Or is it just general interest? I presume jewelry is fairly often stolen: just not from famous people at Cannes.

    1. Michael Ismoe

      I assume it’s a caution to NC readers to leave their major jewelry home this summer when they schlep the yacht all over southern France playing with the Euro trash. I, for one, took the warning seriously.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          That was the idea – and I had intended to make my thinking clear with a sentence or two. But I got distracted and forgot to add that. Apologies.

  3. fresno dan
    In recent years, we’ve been confronted with a key question. If the United States of America is the most powerful and most prosperous nation in the history of the world (and it is), then why are so many of its people so miserable and angry? Until the pandemic shock and the turmoil of 2020, for example, we were experiencing rising incomes, low crime rates, increased employment, relative global peace, and furious partisan hatred and rage.

    Yet as much as we don’t want our nation or our communities to be weak and poor, ultimately we were not created for power and prosperity. We were created for community and fellowship.
    Ironically, the more we twitter, facebook, instangram, txt msg each other, the weaker friendships become…

    1. IMOR

      Not a one of the alleged positives cited is factual for more than a snapshot of a sliver of our population. The fourth one , ‘relative global peace’ is so false across the 22 or more years before it was written that I suspect trolling, recent emergence from a 25-year coma, or ignorance.

    2. anEnt

      Labor mobility and flexibility is the largest corrosive agent acting on peoples’ sense of community.

      Lack of a secular church analog (or reduced church attendance) is another big corrosive. (Yes Unitarians and Quakers welcome atheists, but what % of atheists are interested in church, or community for that matter?)

      A third corrosive is lack of commerce with one another caused by the hollowing out of manufacturing and industry. Also, some “friction” is good – it’s community bond maintenance.

      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        There is such a lack of trust between people. But that is what capitalism does; forces you to always be on guard, buyer beware and all that. The reason the coffee shops here are not open is because the owners do not trust the customers. Sad.

        I do not think atheism is the answer, we need a God. Capitalism has a God, that is why it works.

        To me the answer is Daoism. The Dao is the God of Daoism. No need for worshiping it, but a great thing to come together around.

        There was something formless and perfect
        before the universe was born.

        It is serene. Empty.
        Solitary. Unchanging.
        Infinite. Eternally present.
        It is the mother of the universe.
        For lack of a better name,
        I call it the Tao.

        1. mistah charley, ph.d.

          Someone once expressed to me the 3 basic assumptions of mysticism.

          1. The Universe is not an accident – it is here on purpose.

          2. Human beings have, or could have, some connection with that purpose.

          3. It is possible to improve your ability to perceive and act in accordance with that purpose, at the time and place where you find yourself.

        2. Procopius

          I don’t tnink it’s mysticism people need so much as ritual. I’m currently unable to connect to it (and to some other links), so I can’t paste a link, but there’s a blog called A Collection Of Unmitigated Pedantry . He’s a military historian, but he publishes essays which delve into details of how ancient people live. How they grew grains and converted them into bread, for example. He had a series on How Practical Polytheism Worked, in which he points out that ancient people trusted their appeals to gods to work, if only they got the details exactly right, because experience had showed them that these rituals did work, but it was important to get the words and the format right. That was part of why Confucius made ritual such an important point, I think. In general, the ancient pagans did not have mass ceremonies, but every day they poured out a little wine for the lares and penates, and in times of stress they prayed to the god they hoped was the appropriate one. I don’t know how to provide a substitute for the social function of churches in a secular society that is increasingly turned off by the hypocrisy of religious grifters. Book clubs, sewing and knitting circles help. I see Capitalism, especially with labor mobility and flexibility, as hostile to human relationships.

      2. lordkoos

        I can assure you that just because someone is an atheist or agnostic does not mean they don’t care about community.

        1. anEnt

          I didn’t write about caring, whatever abstract thing that is. I wrote about participating in community institutions and the lack of an analog for atheists to match churches/synagogues/mosques/temples. Participation matters. Else we imagine a state of community that the rest of the community doesn’t experience. This leads us to be easily propagandized. So much so that the description of this process takes up several pages in Bernays’ Propaganda

    3. Geo

      Years ago I was hanging out on a beach on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua with a fisherman sharing a drink. He was a bit drunk and was talking about how “Americans always talk about money this and money that”. About how he knows we look down on people like him because he’s poor. Then he got quiet and said with sincerity, “We don’t have much here but we have everything we need.”

      Those words have stuck with me. Watching his family enjoying fresh coconut the son had just plucked from a tree he climbed, sitting there watching the evening sky darken while kids laughed and ran around, animals grazed, and the tropical wind cooled the air. Thinking about how I don’t know many people in the US who are actually content with their lives. I strive to be like the people I met there: content. It’s not easy here surrounded by marketing and bills and social pressures, but his words have helped me stay grounded in prosperous times and through rough times – to stay focused on appreciating what I do have.

      1. gc54

        It also helps to be on a beach facing sunset or sunrise, not surrounded by ghastly built environments! One must escape to feel the essential planetary rhythms … cycles of the Moon, bird migrations, shifting constellations, plate tectonics. Religions are just hierachies of childish rituals that obscure. Think of humanity as a flash in the pan that in a few centuries may be extinct but life will continue in many forms for hundreds of millions of years more before the Sun becomes too intense for liquid water.

      2. Harry

        Im sure some CIA officer will be along shortly to arm local war lords and make their life a living hell just like ours. Wouldnt do for the poor to be happy.

  4. Planet Fry


    Quite an accomplishment, but calling himself an astronaut? Not in my book. More accurately, he’s the first touronaut.

    1. griffen

      Maybe he requested to be addressed as Major Tom while on board. Except they didn’t orbit Pluto exactly.

      1. orlbucfan

        Plus, Branson returned hale and hearty, unfortunately. Major Tom did not in Bowie’s iconic tune.

        1. Harry

          I blame the Sacklers for Major Tom’s predicament. Strung out in heavens high, hitting an all time low.

    2. Glen

      I’ve done more than my share of sporting activities where something very expensive was required (think very expensive sailing on a 40 foot boat with lots of carbon fiber bits), and the technical term that was most often used in an instance like this was “the check writing dildo”. And, to be totally fair, I think I was writing the checks in a couple of cases.

      But I think in this particular case it might be unfair to dildos.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I’m reading Brave New World again, this time without the lens of puberty.

        One thing Huxley gets very right is the way we’ve been shaped as consumers. Remember that children are raised collectively in BNW and indoctrinated thoroughly in fordliness. In a scene I hadn’t remembered, children are brought into a room filled with flowers. After they first react with delight, they’re given shocks and painfully loud noises to associate with all that beauty.

        (this is a paraphrase from memory.) An observer couldn’t understand. “Why make them afraid of flowers?” The “teacher” responded, “At first we didn’t. Then we observed them when they went into the country. They just walked around, smelled the flowers and enjoyed the wildlife. They didn’t spend a thing! That would never do, so now we make them hate Nature and teach them to enjoy games, games that require lots of expensive equipment.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just worked out that I have never read that book. I think that I might have to go grab a copy now.

    3. Krystyn Podgajski

      Sorry, Branson shared only a small piece of this accomplishment. We need to recognize all the other people who made this possible, including the people and organizations who came before him. We even need to acknowledge the janitors who clean his toilets. This “Boss” worship has to end if anything is to change.

      Branson does not live isolated from the world.

      And it is not that big of a deal. We have proved over and over we can do many things if we have enough money and authoritarian control to get it done.

    4. PHLDenizen

      “Narcisstronaut”, me thinks, is a better description. Hubris on a scale so grand it’s outgrown its earthly proportions. Can survive only by colonizing the infinitely large cosmos.

    5. Susan the other

      Yes, but look at all the spinoffs in addition to multi-million dollar joy rides: Space Cuisine, Branson Jumpsuits, Branson Diapers, Branson Barfbags, and Branson Special Wipes…

      1. John A

        Almost, except they wont be branded Branson x or y, but Virgin X or Y, that is all Branson does, get Virgin plastered on everything and franchises out that name to all sorts of products. All the while paying zero tax.

    6. Robert Hahl

      I don’t know if Branson had any piloting responsibilities. If not he was just a passenger.. The original Mercury capsule design had no windows. The astronauts objected to this as being like “spam in a can,” or more accurately passengers, so a window was added. I think that turned out to be important because there was a need to take manual control of flight attitude one time, if I recall correctly.

      1. gc54

        Scott Carpenter expended so much fuel swinging around to look at his urine dumps that he almost didn’t have enough left to orient for re-entry. NASA was so pissed that he never flew again. After that near miss on the flight after John Glenn, Mercury get better at attitude control which was counter-intuitive to test pilots without the X-15 experience of e.g. Neil Armstrong.

      2. The Rev Kev

        There was also the case of astronaut Gordon Cooper in “Faith 7” back in 1963. I will just quote Wikipedia here-

        ‘There were several mission-threatening technical problems toward the end of Faith 7’s flight. During the 19th orbit, the capsule had a power failure. Carbon dioxide levels began rising, both in Cooper’s suit and in the cabin, and the cabin temperature climbed to over 130 °F (54 °C). The clock and then the gyroscopes failed, but the radio, which was connected directly to the battery, remained working, and allowed Cooper to communicate with the mission controllers. Like all Mercury flights, MA-9 was designed for fully automatic control, a controversial engineering decision which reduced the role of an astronaut to that of a passenger, and prompted Chuck Yeager to describe Mercury astronauts as “Spam in a can”. “This flight would put an end to all that nonsense,” Cooper later wrote. “My electronics were shot and a pilot had the stick.”

        Turning to his understanding of star patterns, Cooper took manual control of the tiny capsule and successfully estimated the correct pitch for re-entry into the atmosphere. Precision was needed in the calculation; small errors in timing or orientation could produce large errors in the landing point. Cooper drew lines on the capsule window to help him check his orientation before firing the re-entry rockets. “So I used my wrist watch for time,” he later recalled, “my eyeballs out the window for attitude. Then I fired my retrorockets at the right time and landed right by the carrier.”‘

        It proved once and for all that you needed a pilot as a manual backup in case of systems failure? And Branson? They simply had him listed as cargo.

    7. shinola

      I heard a good one from one of the tv nooze common ‘taters:

      Since Branson & Bezos don’t go into orbit, but just go up & come down at/near the same place they launched, it’s essentially “bungee jumping for billionaires.”

      1. Irrational

        Good takes from Shinola, Hot Flash and PHL Denizen. I just labelled it the ultimate billionaire’s indulgence. Sets a high bar.

    8. Geo

      I rode Space Mountain at Disneyland. Not much different in terms of accomplishment.. He paid for a ride just like I did. The engineers did the work.

  5. upstater

    re. The U.S. didn’t start Cold War 2 Noahpinion…

    The MIC needs a cadre of shills to assure decades more of jingoism, militarism and record spending on systems that don’t work. What would all these corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon do without constant fear and threats? Where would the millions employed by the national security state go without constant threats? We’re told here that opposing the dead-end of more militarism and conflict is “appeasement”, sort of like Munich, Hitler and Chamberlin, I guess. At least Noah didn’t tell us that Xi is “worse than Hitler”.

    12 of 16 cases of rising superpowers have resulted in war. The US has been in a near constant state of war somewhere with somebody for 80 years. And Noah thinks it like the US MIC that it is always the other guy. How many ICBMs does China have, again? How many Chinese military bases ring the US in the western hemisphere? Isn’t our “nine dashed line”, the Monroe Doctrine established 200 years ago, the entire western hemisphere? Or has it always been the entire world?

    Noah should enlist in the US military…

    1. Louis Fyne

      the one (and only) good thing about the culture wars is that it will do what Jane Fonda and the hippies never could accomplish—

      Ameiricans realizing that “war is a racket” and end the knee-jerk support for the Pentagon and bombing other countries among many conservatives as many conservatives are seeing the Pentagon as just another bureaucracy that is become woke.

    2. Chris Smith

      Noah should have stuck to having “noahopinion” (yuk, yuk, yuk) on China. Here’s the big question: who has who surrounded by military bases? Because while the US has bases surrounding China, I don’t recall hearing about all those Chinese bases in Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda.

      As for “invading” Taiwan, Nixon and Kissenger gave that one up when they recognized Taiwan as part of China back in the 70s. You can’t “invade” territory everyone agrees is your own. And spare me the west’s crocodile tears over Hong Kong. The west sold out Hong Kong when it mattered back in the 90s, and then shouts “how dare you” when China does the thing the west knew they would do all along.

      Oh, and let me throw in the now-obligatory “just because I think the US position in these matters is dumb and hypocritical does not mean that I think China is all unicorns and ice cream.” “Obligatory” because a certain contingent of people think its clever to try and box people in with the “with us or against us” logic the Bush II administration was so fond of.

      1. jsn

        Agreed, there is a lot of room for great power rivalry short of war.

        We could start, for instance, by stopping the CCP from making our C Suites richer while hollowing out the real economy, which would be an entirely domestic affair that would actually strengthen the US.

        But strengthening the US really isn’t on the formal agenda, that would be a fundamental change.

      2. Tom Bradford

        The west sold out Hong Kong when it mattered back in the 90s,…

        Hardly. Hong Kong was returned to China as required on the termination of a lease valid under international law. To have done anything else would have been illegal, indefensible and impossible in practice, and exposed ‘the West’ to accusations of exactly the kind of arrogant ignoring of its international obligations so often decried in these comments.

        in fact Britain did try to limit China’s hand in its treatment of Hong Kong after the handover, and China has certainly not been able to ‘take over’ to the degree it would probably have liked to even if it has, predictably’ been chipping away at it.

        I’d also point out that during WW2 Roosevelt tried to get Britain to return Hong Kong to China in return for China’s help against the Japanese but Churchill refused, so in fact Hong Kong might have been ‘sold out’ at the US’s bidding in the ’40s.

        1. Yves Smith

          That is false. China most assuredly broke handover treaty commitments:

          The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed by both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China on 19 December 1984 in Beijing. The Declaration entered into force with the exchange of instruments of ratification on 27 May 1985 and was registered by the People’s Republic of China and United Kingdom governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985. In the Joint Declaration, the People’s Republic of China Government stated that it had decided to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong (including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories) with effect from 1 July 1997 and the United Kingdom Government declared that it would relinquish Hong Kong to the PRC with effect from 1 July 1997. In the document, the People’s Republic of China Government also declared its basic policies regarding Hong Kong.

          In accordance with the One Country, Two Systems principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, the socialist system of People’s Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. The Joint Declaration provides that these basic policies shall be stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

          1. Ook

            I have ongoing business relationships in HKG dating back to 1988, and I don’t see where the “commitments” were broken.

            The place still has its own currency, pegged to the USD, and its own legal system, quite different from what one experiences even in Shenzhen. The biggest change I see is that it costs a lot more to have an apartment there now, and I hear a lot more Mandarin in daily use than before.
            The manner of corruption (as in, who to pay and for what reason) has certainly changed, as it is now more focused on the mainland, but that is to be expected.
            The only point I can imagine as a broken commitment is the security law, but here I point out that the Basic Law Article 23 stipulates that Hong Kong is to enact its own security law, and attempts to do so were blocked for 23 years until finally China stepped in to stop the attempted color revolution. And I don’t see how the current security law is any worse than what the British imposed when they were in charge.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > The only point I can imagine as a broken commitment is the security law

              Other than that, Mr. Pikachu, how was the play?

              NOTE So far as I know, nobody other than the tankiest of tankies asserts that the Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations were Color Revolutions. Our intelligences agencies simply aren’t that good. Hong Kong people need no lessons from outside sources in any case. But you do you.

          2. Harry

            Im sure your right Yves, but much like the original treaty which the Chinese signed under duress, what exactly would the UK care to do about those treaty breaches? Back then, the UK and France decided that Chinese treaty breaches were unacceptable and invaded, ultimately burning the Summer Palace to the ground (a world heritage disaster). What would we do now?

      3. wilroncanada

        to Chris Smith
        Noah simply doesn’t in his lifetime want to see the overthrow of the Kaching dynasty.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Carter claimed the Middle East, but Shrub and Obama claimed the right to act against any potential developing threat anywhere, not threats just stuff that could be threats if you squint really hard and talk yourself into it.

    4. Carolinian

      Since writers like Smith are always prating about democracy perhaps we should put that to the test by letting the American people decide if they want to engage in a war–cold or hot–in order to defend Taiwan. In fact such an idea seems to be in the US Constitution.

      Plus last I checked the world had decided that Taiwan is indeed part of China not to mention Hong Kong. Without a doubt China is controlled by an authoritarian system but it’s hard to know what the Chinese themselves think about that. However in the past local public opinion has never been much of a factor in US desires for regime change. For example reports suggest that most Syrians would actually prefer Assad to the head choppers we supplied and supported. Indeed it’s a huge joke for America and its military to scold other countries about “territorial aggression.” The job of people like Smith is to make the absurd sound reasonable.

    5. Glen

      I see all of the China vamping as nothing more than a massive case of deflection.

      China has managed to increase it’s industrial base, pull tens of millions of it’s citizen’s into the middle class. Basically do what America did in the 50’s and 60 except they seemed to have escaped the need to spend massive bucks on a MIC, and get involved in a series of stupid wars. This is not to say that China doesn’t have more than it’s fair share of problems, but what country doesn’t?

      What has America done during this time? Well, we concentrated on making billionaires by massive and never ending tax cuts, deregulating Wall St and ramped up fraud and corruption, then bailing out all the corrupt banks (while sending no one to jail), all while off shoring our industrial base, eliminating good jobs, neglecting our infrastructure, and wrecking good public education. Oh, and let’s not forget the insane invasion of Iraq, and all the other losing wars we’ve had in the middle east. So, on the whole, we’ve managed to make life going forward worse except for the billionaires/millionaires. Bravo!

      So, yes, it is very important to somehow spin all of this as China’s fault rather than acknowledge that America’s leadership spent the last forty years figuring out how to loot the country rather than provide a future for our citizens.

      And very much yes, Noah should join the military if he is so concerned about defending America.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Just to be explicit, there is a direct link between “China has managed to increase it’s industrial base” and “America … offshoring our industrial base” – the mostly U.S.-based multinationals that did the offshoring to China. Does anyone honestly think that these corporations (and the people who make decisions in their names) are interested in a hot war with China? Or that the nitwits in the State Dept can somehow call the shots against the interests of said corporations? Even the MIC understands that WW3 with China is just hype for future business – they don’t make any special effort to ensure that the products work as tools for actual warfare.

        There is so much misdirection and avoidance of the central issue in the US-China relationship… one wonders why?

    6. Pelham

      Maybe the real reason for the attention directed at China these days has something to do with the massive offshoring of US jobs, manufacturing know-how and — crucially — the handing over of crucial US-taxpayer-funded technology to China. China is blameless on this front. Our genius elites did this, and probably knew, or were at least heedless of, what the consequences would be. In fact, as noted, the MIC’s ability to whip up anti-China fervor at this stage could be counted as a bonus benefit for US elites.

      If it weren’t for the narrow and precise definition of treason written into the Constitution, we could accuse these people of that.

      1. hunkerdown

        What do you mean “handing over of technology?” Knowledge is not a rival good. Americans think that anything they think is worth paying for, and they need to get over that precious conceit.

        1. JBird4049

          Well, no, as it takes time, money, work, and resources to create new technology, when our beloved elites essentially gave away that knowledge as well as the factories that used it, it was stolen from the people who had originally created and used it for the elites’ profit. Had the Chinese created the technology on their own, it would have been rightfully theirs, but they did not.

          1. chris

            This exactly. So many people are so ignorant of what has happened they don’t even understand what has been lost. Tooling, back bench design, institutions who support/teach/train workers to actually make things…We’ve shredded all of them. Or, in some cases, worse than shredded. We’ve taken equipment that used to do all the things we now don’t do domestically and have shipped it the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans who are using it for the exact things we used to do here. Our ruling class sold our future at fire sale prices with a smile :/

  6. Louis Fyne

    Hear-hear Mr. Sirota…oh, give me a family blog break,

    Richard Branson went up, what? 200,000 ft, sub-orbital!

    The Russians and Americans figured out how to do that in the 50’s with slide rulers and computing power that was a fraction of today’s budget smartphones.

    Let’s see billionaires battling over if they can beat the international consortium that is working on the first practical fusion reactor.

    Not holding my breath

    1. marym


      1961 – Yuri Gagarin – Vostok 1
      108 minutes – 1 earth orbit
      203 miles high

      1961- Alan Shepard – Freedom. 7
      15 minutes
      116 miles high – suborbital flight
      5 minutes weightlessness

      2021 – “Swashbuckling billionaire” – private* property
      15 minutes
      50 miles high – sub-orbital
      5 minutes weightlessness

      * “Virgin Galactic moved into its facilities in New Mexico in May 2019 after years of delay. The glitzy building, called Spaceport America, was paid for with more than $200 million in mostly taxpayer money, and it had been waiting nearly a decade for Virgin Galactic to move in and open for business.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s really time for James Cameron to challenge these people to a breath holding competition.

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        @marym: I was similarly underwhelmed.

        To get to an altitude of 53.5 miles, Richard Branson’s rocket had to provide ~0.85 MJ/kg of kinetic energy. To get to an altitude of 120 miles and then achieve a lateral velocity of 5 miles/sec (so that your payload doesn’t immediately fall back out of the sky), you must provide ~35 MJ/kg of kinetic energy. In terms of putting tourists into actual orbit, Virgin Galactic is short by a factor of FORTY.

        This isn’t space flight. It’s a high-altitude, straight-up and straight-down, rocket ride. Basically a high-powered theme park attraction.

    2. jefemt

      The billionaires know where the smart money and sure R O I is? Fusion, just around the corner, about twenty years out (since the 1930’s)

      Looking around the world, I’d say we are too dumb to get fusion figured out!

    3. Sutter Cane

      Let’s see billionaires battling over if they can beat the international consortium that is working on the first practical fusion reactor.

      Let’s not! I don’t want Amazon employees who aren’t allowed to take a bathroom break running a reactor…

    1. Carolinian

      Excellent link.

      As to the analogizing with Covid time, one can suggest that those scientists making pronouncements of great certainty about a disease that is so uncertain were acting as politicians, not scientists. Perhaps Science the method and discipline will always be at war to a degree with Science the all too easily co-opted brand.

  7. Alex

    Srebrenica was probably the worst massacre of the Yugoslav wars but by far not the only one. Somehow I’ve never seen (at least in western media) similar stories of Serbs murdered and ethnically cleansed from larges areas of Croatia and Kosovo.

    1. Keith

      Because the Serbs were the “bad guys” In the western media and the enemy. I suspect a lot of this is narrative control and rejustifying the US/NATO picking sides in the internal conflict.

      1. David

        This is probably sparked off by recent calls for Bosnia to be divided among ethnic groups (it’s been suggested by the PM of Slovenia, for example). The West has spent 25 years trying to build a “multi-ethnic” democracy in a unified Bosnia, and all efforts have failed because the Serbs and Croats, who make up the majority of the population between them, don’t want it. Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, and that country (and much of the Gulf) were important financial supporters of the Muslims during the war. So we can probably expect to see more examples of such special pleading in the near future.

        The Muslim leadership has ruthlessly exploited the suffering of their own people for the last 25 years. Essentially the town fell because it was not defended properly: the 28th Division of the Muslim Army, which far outnumbered the attackers, ran away, and many of its soldiers, as well as other males who left the town, fearing reprisals for massacres in the Serb villages nearby, were caught and executed. For decades, Muslim politicians have been trying to blame that on the West and the UN, but with increasingly less effect. Thus the current story I suspect.

        1. Alex

          Ah I didn’t know that there were recent calls to divide it, thanks. While it’s certainly not a fashionable solution nowadays it did work a lot of times in Eastern Europe.

      2. Spring Texan

        I’m glad the US picked sides, it’s the ONLY war I’ve supported in my lifetime. Unlike other wars, it prevented a lot of refugees and a bigger long-term problem.

        Bernie Sanders supported Bosnia and Afghanistan, I only supported Bosnia . . . (and Bernie now acknowleges he was wrong on Afghanistan).

        1. Alex

          It’s hard to say what would have happened without an intervention. I’m not saying it would have been better. What I am saying is that one side is portrayed as villains and very real massacres and ethnic cleansings perpetrated against them are effectively cancelled (haha)

    2. The Rev Kev

      It is strange seeing that article with its demonization of the Serbs once more. Plenty of blame to go around in that brutal war that broke up Yugoslavia but at the time the Serbs were made out to be the ‘bad guys’ and this was reflected in Hollywood films at the time. Alex mentioned Kosovo which was an illegally created state (no referendum held) with some really nasty people in charge. I cannot verify it but I read recently that all that opium grown in Afghanistan under US watch? Guess which country it flies into in Europe for distribution to the rest of Europe?

      1. The Historian

        Let’s not rewrite history. The Serbs were not just victims in all this. You have to look back to the 1900’s to understand what happened there. The Serbs, when they broke free of the Ottoman Empire had aspirations of empire themselves and thought they should rule the Balkans. When the Hapsburgs took Bosnia Herzegovina, it took Russia to convince the Serbs not to attack the Hapsburgs. In return, they got a promise from Russia to defend them if the Hapsburgs tried to take any more of their lands they thought sould be theirs – and hence, WWI. After WWI, the great chess players joined all those countries together and installed a king. Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, etc, and all their own religions, cultures and nationalistic aspriations so they were never going to get along peacefully with each other. After WWII, the Communists took over and installed a strong man, Tito, who kept things relatively peaceful with force and the threat of Russia takeover if they didn’t get along peacefully – i.e., he was ‘defending’ them from the USSR, and he designed the country around the Serbs which further alienated the other ethnic groups so that Yugoslavia never really did meld into one country. But strong men die. And when he died, each of those ethnic groups saw their chance. Serbia still thought they should control the Balkans and were willing to do it by force if necessary. Milosevic was no Tito though. So when the Croats and other groups tried to break away from what was the old Yugoslavia, he sent his arrmies in. And yes, there were atrocities on all sides – it is what ultra nationalists do when they get a chance, But let us not pretend the Serbs were innocents in all this.

        This is the history of half of my ancestors. And the Croat members and the Serbian members still argue over what happened there and which side was ‘right’!

        1. The Rev Kev

          Wasn’t saying that the Serbs were innocent. What I was saying was that the official narrative over the past thirty odd years has made them out to be solely the ‘bad guys.’ I did say that there was plenty of blame to go around here but what happened was that one group was selected for political purposes and made out to be the source of all the bad things that happened.

          1. The Historian

            I think that came from the fact that the Serbs were the first to send their armies in and the fact that the Serbians thought they were the rightful rulers, ala Tito, of the Balkans. But, really, the blame for all this comes from the agreements made at the end of World War I and the refusal of the powers that were to understand the history of that region and the various ethnicities involved. That set the stage for all of what followed! Sort of like what has happened in the Middle East when they divied up the lands between the French and the British with no regard for what the people of the area wanted and needed.

            1. a different chris

              “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
              —William Faulkner.

              We should pay historians more. OTOH, it could just lead to nothing more than this:

              “Experience enables you to recognize
              a mistake when you make it again.”
              Franklin P. Jones

        2. Kouros

          You cannot call Yugoslavia an empire, not even as a joke, because it is so ridiculous. Yes, beside the Serbo-Croats of various religious affinities, Yugoslavia had a bit of Albanians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, etc., but that is pretty much the case for all of Europe. Only Great Britain, at the forefront of everything, has managed to almost completely roll over the other ethnicities in the British Isles. All the others in Europe were only aspirants of such resounding success…never accomplished.

          1. The Historian

            I didn’t say Yugoslavia was an empire. I said that Serbia, after they gained their freedom, had aspirations to become an empire in the Balkans – and that was a part of the problem.

        3. chuck roast

          The 1900’s? Really. The people in this neighborhood have been holding grudges…blood grudges…longer than the Irish, and that’s saying something. “The Balkans” as I understand “The Balkans” is synonymous with a rats nest of hatreds and revenge that goes back more centuries than most of us care to remember. This place is the mother’s milk of murder and carnage. In my lifetime the only person ever worthy of respect that ever came out of this sad-ass place was Josep Bros Tito…actually a saint in comparison to his countrymen and near-countrymen. And a damn shame he threw Milovan Djilas in the can.

    3. Judith

      Michael Parenti’s book, To Kill a Nation: the Attack on Yugoslavia, provides, I think, a clear, well-documented discussion of that US-Nato war.

    4. jsn

      Diana Johnstone’s “Fool’s Crusade” is pretty comprehensive.

      She talks about the Yugoslavia breakup as beta testing for the State Department “Color Revolutions” that followed, a “newer, better” regime change regime. She’s pretty hard on the German Greens and the Catholic Church as well.

  8. griffen

    Sports desk, incremental added thought. Watching the Wimbledon men’s final yesterday, one appreciates the overwhelming greatness of 3 champions for like the last 15 to 20 years.

    Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Just incredible and I’m merely a casual fan.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks for saying so! Rafa fan here but yes, all three amaze. Stats wise, the Djoker will have the last laugh. But he will never come close to the embodiment of pure form that is Federer.

      I once saw them playing in person, one the rubberband man, the other an Arabian stallion running free—breathtakingly beautiful in a way the TV cannot fully convey.

      But Rafa’s my guy—all those compulsions, neuroses, doubts, humility, and the determination to grind through the punishing pain.

    2. ProNewerDeal

      Amazing that the likely 3 best players ever are born within under 6 years of each other & playing simultaneously. A true Golden Era that may not be ever matched

      I try to explain to non-tennis basketball fans imagine if Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Lebron James were all close in age & playing simultaneously. Etc for other sports

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Death Valley sees its hottest day since 1913 at 130F and 50 million Americans are under heat advisories as blistering temperatures ravage the West Coast fueling wildfires and power outages”

    This heatwave is just not effecting North America but seems to be for much of the northern hemisphere. I was watching the news earlier and Siberia is also being slammed with this excess heat and there was a bad fire that wiped out much of a town-

    That is not all. Spain is also being hit by a heat wave that emminated from Africa-

    So instead of referring this with the innocuous term ‘climate change’, can we go back to the more realistic description of ‘global warming’ again?

    1. HotFlash

      I am liking ‘climate emergency’ these days, as in, gotta do something *right now*. ‘Global warming’ just sounds slow and even comfy.

  10. Raymond Sim

    If this signifies what I think it does:

    then Fauci’s probably negotiating an endorsement contract for a signature line of elastomeric respirators.

    A thousandfold increase in viral dose would account for many of the more startling aspects of the Delta wave. For instance I had imagined the ‘black mold’ must be due to immune exhaustion from repeated infection, but take Delta’s various enhancements, then multiply by a thousand? It might just be that you had the bad luck to breathe in the wrong few liters of air.

    And as far as immunity goes, good luck with that.

    The ramifications for the safety of public spaces like grocery stores and metro systems are extreme. One or two infected people passing through in the course of a whole day could be enough to render a space continuously contaminated.

    When that happens growth is no longer exponential. Instead of being proportional to the number of cases, it’s proportional to the number of people exposed to the venue. With metros and supermarkets almost every household will have exposure. Household attack rates for Delta approach 100%

    1. Nikkikat

      Oh, but, but the CDC director keeps saying it will just rise in areas where the UNvaccinated deplorable people live. We vaccinated can just toss those masks and be free!
      I’m with Raymond, I am still getting up at 6:00 am to dash into the grocery; as any other time of the day is dangerous due to hordes of maskless, clueless idiots.
      I wonder when CNN will bring back the death number ticker on screen with Biden’s name on it instead of Trump. Once that army of maskless children heads off to school everything will be great!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not sure. Though it’s just an executive order, Biden’s minor move against Big Pharma is an attack on MSM’s advertisers. Maddow will start questioning whether Putin is buying Hunter’s “art”.

        1. PHLDenizen

          Hunter’s “art” might very well be portraiture of Stratospherically Priced Medications of Dubious Efficacy — SPMODE. A toddler’s rendering of The Creation of Adalimumab.

          She can devote whole episodes to a curated exploration of his formerly latent artistic genius, unlocked by the business end of a crack pipe that spent years hot to the touch.

          Solves the problem of making corruption palatable by garbing it in the NPR crowd’s enthusiasm for the arts.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Between the billionaires dress up competition and the prices of nintendo games at auction, there is the possibility there is a real search for ROI as places to loot dry up. I’m too lazy to look it up, but don’t we get these kinds of sprees before our crashes?

            1. Cuibono

              I am not sure But i do have this one gorgeous tulip that i could let you have for just 2.7 million

    2. Brian Beijer

      When that happens growth is no longer exponential. Instead of being proportional to the number of cases, it’s proportional to the number of people exposed to the venue. With metros and supermarkets almost every household will have exposure. Household attack rates for Delta approach 100%.

      Yes, I believe that is correct. Now, think about the Euro 2020, Wimbeldon, etc. where most of the people in attendance were not masked. Sweden just announced today that it will be following the U.K.’s lead and doing away with most “restrictions” (suggestions really). In another article that’s unfortunately behind a paywall, the Health Minister during the press conference stated that “Life and health will always come first”.

      The stupidity boggles the mind.

      1. rjs

        even with the anomalously smaller number of Covid cases reported over the holiday weekend, last week quite a pronounced surge of new coronavirus infections in the US; new cases reported in the US during the week ending July 10th were 25.3% higher than those reported during the week ending July 3rd, and 40.6% higher than those reported during the week ending June 26th….since the data reported for July 3rd, 4th and 5th is suspect, we tried comparing later in the week figures, week over week, to see what the change would be excluding the holiday effect; new cases over the three days ending Friday (July 9th) were 32.7% higher than during the same three days of the prior week (June 30, July 1 & July 2), and 53.9% higher than the 3 day period ending June 25th…

        European countries are also seeing a resurgence of infections; new cases in Spain were up 103% over this past week; new cases in France were up 61%, new cases in the Netherlands were up 386%, new cases in Portugal were up 39%, and new cases in Greece were up 163%…

        it’s probably not a coincidence that most of those countries are close to England; new cases reported in the UK over the week ending July 10th were 1500% higher than those reported during the week ending May 8th…

  11. JTMcPhee

    This article caught my eye this morning, as I browsed through the pretty uniformly dread-inducing news:

    Rebecca Gordon: Teetering On The Existential Edge

    On an unnaturally hot late June day in the Northeast, my eight-year-old grandson was walking back to a broiling car to continue a long trip. It was in the mid-nineties and he and his three-year-old sister were complaining about how miserable they were when, out of nowhere, he said, “This is why climate change is important!”

    Startled, his mother agreed, and then he suddenly added, “And imagine what it’s going to be like when I’m 50 years old!”

    Imagine indeed! When it comes to climate change, my grandchildren have long been on my mind. I’ve certainly worried about the nightmarish world they might inherit, if we — my generation and the ones just below mine — don’t do what’s needed to stop this planet from becoming a hothouse of the first order. And yes, since I do my best to follow the news on the subject, I’m aware that, from a melting Greenland to an overheating Middle East, this planet is indeed changing more or less before my eyes.

    But here’s what I didn’t imagine: that, at my own advanced age (I’m almost 77), I would live to see something of the genuine blast-furnace effect of that phenomenon. Now, it seems, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not just my children and grandchildren, but I am likely to be living through climate change in a big-time way. After all, this is happening remarkably fast, as the recent soaring temperatures and fires in the northwestern U.S. and Canada have so shockingly made clear, as has the staggering mega-drought, unprecedented in human memory, that now extends across significant parts of this country. As Jonathan Watts of the Guardian observed recently when it came to weather events in the Canadian and U.S. Northwest that were already exceeding the worst-case scenarios of climate scientists, “More people in more countries are feeling that their weather belongs to another part of the world.” How painfully true. Canada, it seems, is now the new Persian Gulf…

    This called to mind a little vignette from a third grade Sunday school class I taught in the mid-eighties. The setup that morning was asking the children what they thought the future held for them.

    Since this was a very upwardly mobile Episcopal church in a wealthy Chicago suburb, I was curious if the responses might offer some teaching moment tied to the Jesus of the New Testament.

    I was pulled up short when two of the kids started there testimonies with the phrase “If I grow up…” Not “when.”

    These kids are mostly now well up in the PMC and the C suites of the corpoligarchy… money changers in the temple…

    1. Carolinian

      There’s talk today about Poe, someone who seemed obsessed with death and disaster. But in the 19th century everyone seemed to be obsessed with death and disease because it was so omnipresent–increasing urbanization bringing on cholera and tuberculosis to go with the already high rates of infant mortality.

      My point being that other generations have faced grim futures as well but have coped. And here’s suggesting your grandchildren will as well because that’s what we humans do. It’s nature that is going to take it on the chin. But nature also created us.

      In my oh so humble opinion the world will get its act together eventually. Perhaps it’s too much to expect that it would have happened in only a few decades.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Another common sorrow of the era you cited was famines, and not solely politically manufactured ones. The last widespread one in Europe was the potato blight famine of the mid-19th century. However, crop failure famines have continued to have major impacts globally through to the present day.

        The expectation that we’ll never face food shortages in North America is pretty pervasive, and we certainly are better positioned than many places. But. If central Kansas is in the climatic equivalent of trans-Pecos Texas by 2045, I don’t know just how “resilient” we may end up being.

    2. Rod

      Climate Change happened in the 20th century.
      Climate Crises is its 21st century manifestation.

      Climate Crisis is the honest description of what we see.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      “other people’s weather”
      here in the northwest texas hill country, we had Montana’s normal winter for 2 weeks in february…and since march, we’ve had either maine’s summer, or…now…cameron louisiana
      barely scratched 93 yet…in the middle of july…but we’ve begun each day since march with 100% humidity, only getting down to 40-50% by day’s end.
      i miss my mild winters, with a few real cold spells to keep it innneresting(never more than 3 days worth)….and my hot, bone dry summers.
      add the weirdness with all of nature, seemingly: bugs hatching at the wrong times, plants blooming at the wrong times, tree frogs appearing in july so loud that i thought it was mom’s ac unit fixin to explode…
      all manner of strangeness.
      plants i seeded out in march just now acting like they’re ready to do something(all these in bought potting soil, so no persistent herbicides)…and about half of what i planted never getting beyond leggy seedling stage.
      add in yet another year(making 6!) of a grasshopper plague…later this year, just in time to eat all my grapes, squash, and other things that actually produced.
      i hope beyond hope that this is just a strange year…but i fear that it’s not.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Australia reports first 2021 local COVID-19 death, highest case number”

    State Premier Gladys Berejiklian has gotten New South Wales in a helluva mess. The official count this morning of infected people was 112 and I would expect much more tomorrow. There has already been an infected removalist travel to two other States sending them into alarm. A few States have already shut their border to NSW and the State Premiers are telling their people to come home before they get trapped after any border closures. It is all touch and go at the moment.

    We have seen again and again that the only way to get atop this virus is to go in early and go in hard. So she delayed a lockdown until there was no other choice and the lockdown they started off was pretty lax so now they are paying the price for it. Berejiklian had wanted to have the lockdown for only a short period of time but now it is obvious that it is going to be several weeks now until they can get it under control. Scotty from Marketing, who was fully supporting Berejiklian not locking down and demanding that the States keep their borders open to NSW, has gone MIA and is not to be seen.

    1. a different chris

      >State Premiers are telling their people to come home before they get trapped

      Yeah gotta get that viral load back while it is still fresh! WTF are they thinking?

      1. Kouros

        Not that hard to put people in quarantine. Successfully done in the past. Now with Netflix at al, some would even want some of that, just to catch up with a new series…

    2. JTMcPhee

      “so now they are paying the price”? Not Gladys or her government, I bet. Any more than it is ever the sh!tes who serve the Overlords and the greed mavens…

    3. ChrisPacific

      I had a look at the so-called ‘lockdown’ rules that NSW applied. I do not believe there has truly been a lockdown yet, or at least not in the sense that people from Victoria or New Zealand would understand it. My read is that NSW is still in the denial/bargaining phase. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned, the recovery is likely to be more painful the longer it takes to exit this phase.

  13. Nikkikat

    The television coverage was absolutely causing me to gag. Whether local or National. The breathless fawning over Branson and his good friend Elon Musk who had come to the launch to see him off for his little space trip. How gasp, gasp he had beat out Bezos by nine days! Branson talking about his dream of being an astronaut as a child and how he had realized that dream! Oh my, he was so excited about the future as people would soon be able to also sign up for space travel!
    No one asked these three jerks how it is to spend billions on your own little vanity projects, while people starve or if after working so hard to destroy the planet, would they be looking to also found a planet for Billionaires. I wonder how much money the tax payer spent subsidizing Musk and Bezos ? Do you think Branson will invite his buddy Obama to go for a ride?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      We should just be thankful they’re not forcing us to make bricks without straw. After all, they’re the Pharaohs of this Age.

    2. Geo

      My problem isn’t that a few Billionaires are going into sub-space, it’s that all of them aren’t being lobbed into the sun at once.

      Let’s just call it the Billion Mile High Club and encourage all of them (and their minions) to take their space yachts on a voyage where they can live out their U$$ Enterprise sci-fi Ayn Randian fantasies. And when they’re gone we can start fixing the messes they’ve created.

      Even if survival in space was technically feasible, I give that ego-centric group of libertarians about 72 hours in a space pod before they go Lord of the Flies.

  14. Mikel

    From July 2:

    “…J&J said its single-dose vaccine can last at least eight months after inoculation with an 85% efficacy rate.

    In a statement, the head of J&J’s research and development said that the vaccine “generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane”.

    That’s against all variants, including Delta…”

    Is the CDC, Fauci, and FDA going to call this head researcher a liar about the 8 months?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Fauci says that based on current data from CDC, FDA, there’s no need for booster shot”

    Let’s see. If America’s Doctor is saying that a double-vaccination is enough and that no booster is required, then that must mean that the Pandemic will be all but over by the end of the year. Already about half of Americans have been vaccinated so you would expect that all those that want to be double-vaccinated will be so by the end of the year. Since they cannot force any remaining people to be vaccinated, then the US government can claim that they have done their job as far as the Pandemic is concerned so now it is time to move on to more important matters of State – with an eye to the 2022 midterms of course. Oh, and that the White House COVID-19 Response Team can be officially shut down as no longer being needed. Uhhh, OK, I guess-

    1. RMO

      Well,after hearing Fauci’s expert opinion I am now warning up my upper left arm for my booster shot that I will be sure to be getting in a few months.

      Regarding the Pigs In Spaaaace!!!! adventures of the billionaires I remembered that for quite some time flights to 80-90,000+ feet (high enough for the F.A.I. to consider it “space”) were available to those with the cash in a two seat version of the MiG-25 Foxbat:

      More impressive to me is getting the glider altitude record to 76,000:

      The record reached 49,000 back in the 80s (in a regular flying club type standard class glider) and stood there for quite a long time because going higher requires either a pressure suit or pressurized cabin.

  16. BlueDuck

    Re: space bezos

    The gods may not be just but they do have a deep sense of historical irony. The gods who were tempted by the Titanic, must also be tempted by Bezos’ space flight.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Tears, politics and money: School boards become battle zones”

    I can understand why these schools have been turned into a “cultural battle ground.” If the schools had just been left to themselves then it would have been mostly fine. But then you had some people want to introduce Critical Race Theory into the schools which got some fight back. And then about a week ago, the National Education Association, which represents some three million public-school employees, declared that they were going to push Critical Race Theory into schools. If those conservatives had any doubts before about what was happening in schools, this must have been like a declaration of war for them. And say what you will about conservatives, for them kids are things that they will fight for-

    And this is spilling over the border into Canada. ‘Canada’s Ontario province has injected anti-racist activism into its Grade 9 math curriculum, decrying the science as having been used to “normalize racism” and demanding that lessons “challenge systems of power and privilege.” ‘ Jee-zuz-

    1. marym

      It depends on the detail of what the right does and doesn’t want schools to teach. Conservatives also object to schools teaching evolution or climate change. Their concerns need the same scrutiny as “CRT” as to whether it’s about teaching history or promoting a political agenda.

      Here’s a critique from the wsws of the right wing project to take racial history out of the schools. Probably an interesting companion to their critique of the 1619 project.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s been awhile since I was in school but my impression is that those around here (the Bible Belt’s buckle….or maybe that is Texas) objecting to evolution have already sent their kids to a ‘Christian’ school. There is a difference between science and CRT. Indeed the race theory defenders are now claiming there’s no such theory and it’s all made up by Fox viewers.

        However 1619 is definitely a thing and a very dubious thing. It should not be taught in schools even if that’s the school board’s business to block, not the state lege.

    2. Basil Pesto

      And say what you will about conservatives, for them kids are things that they will fight for-

      you can say that again!

      when it comes to trying to dictate what silly bullshit should be taught in schools, methinks the conservative ladies doth protest too much.

    3. hunkerdown

      Oh, no, that last part is good! I want to see their curriculum against capitalism and private property, and how to mathematically prove both are scams.

  18. Mildred Montana

    The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes ProPublica

    But wait! There’s more! Maybe even worse!

    “In 1989 an investment group headed by George W. Bush acquired the Texas Rangers. They promptly asked the city of Arlington, Texas, to build them a new stadium. In January 1991 voters approved raising sales taxes to pay 71 percent of the cost of the stadium. The “public” agency overseeing the project also seized surrounding land by *eminent domain* [my emphasis] to allow the team owners more room for development. All told, the taxpayers chipped in about $200 million for the wealthy team owners, and the new stadium opened in 1994. Bush and his partners made big money when they sold the team in 1998.”

    Not only did the lucky taxpayers of Arlington get to pay most of the cost of the stadium, but those fortunate enough to own property adjacent to the park had their land purchased (ie. confiscated) by the local government—at below-market rates albeit. Some of them were forced to go to court in order to protect their rights and their money.

    The use of public policy—eminent domain—for private profit is just another in a long list of taxpayer abuses.

    Rhetorical question: Has anyone in the history of mankind ever accumulated huge wealth by playing fair? I exempt sports stars, actors, writers, artists, etc. from this accusation. They actually *earn* their riches because many people like what they are selling and and willingly buy it.

    1. Paleobotanist

      Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait. – Balzac

      Behind every great fortune lies a great crime…

      1. Mildred Montana

        Although I’ve never read any Balzac, I’m familiar with the quotation. He seems like an interesting guy:

        “Balzac’s work habits were legendary. He wrote from 1 am to 8 am every morning and sometimes even longer…His preferred method was to eat a light meal at five or six in the afternoon, then sleep until midnight. He then rose and wrote for many hours, fueled by innumerable cups of black coffee. He often worked for fifteen hours or more at a stretch; he claimed to have once worked for 48 hours with only three hours of rest in the middle.” (Wiki)

        If Balzac died wealthy, he certainly earned every penny.

      2. witters

        & there is this from Raymonad Chandler’s The Long Goodbye:

        “There ain’t no clean way to make a hundred million bucks…. Somewhere along the line guys got pushed to the wall, nice little businesses got the ground cut out from under them… Decent people lost their jobs…. Big money is big power and big power gets used wrong. It’s the system.”

    2. a different chris

      They should have tried this in the libertarian Right state of Texas! Real men live there! They don’t do no gummint handouts for nobody! You can’t take a person’s property from them unless you first pry their gun out of their cold, dead hands. You can’t… wait, you said this was Arlington? The team was the Texas Rangers?

      Never mind.

  19. Wukchumni

    A Billion South Asians Face Water Insecurity Due To Warming In The Himalayas India Spend
    We’ll be account overdrawn, water bankrupt within a month, its a given unfortunately. Fortunately we can haul water from elsewhere and keep on keeping on, albeit in a stingy fashion, gallon long solar showers, paper plates & bowls, and portable toilets with wag bags as a finishing touch. We’ll live like that till October, and its not the end of the world, we’re used to getting by with a few gallons a day in the back of beyond.

    If we couldn’t schlep water from our deep hardrock well in the foothills though, we’d be in the same straits as a billion South Asians all wondering where their ‘ice bowl’ went.

    1. a different chris

      How much fresh water does it take to produce a pack of paper plates, I wonder? More than washing china, I bet.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Oh, don’t confuse us on what constitutes proper paper virtue signaling. It satisfies my soul that he at least gets to enjoy his grandfathered cabin in the rustic public woods. At least some of us are getting pleasure out of what remains.

        I do wonder who gets to handle those wag bags and where the bags and paper and other trash end up. It’s not like those folks in the campground in the tall trees can burn their waste these days — like we did in Vietnam and like my successor troops did and do in Not-Again-istan and Syria and parts of Africa and 300 other places in this best of all possible worlds.

        1. Wukchumni

          When I see pictures of the Everest base camp and the route up the mountain strewn with trash and dead bodies i’m so glad those that partake in exploring the wilderness in the Sierra Nevada are so considerate, you really never see any trash to speak of, those mylar balloons that drift into the backcountry being the worst offenders, picked up a bouquet of a dozen limp zeppelins last year, ‘Happy Graduation’ they proclaimed.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I would note that those who trash Everest tend to be wealthy people whereas those that wander the wilderness in the Sierra Nevada are probably people who just enjoy nature and are not doing it to check off a tick box on a bragging list.

      2. Wukchumni

        How much fresh water does it take to produce a pack of paper plates I wonder?

        About the same as it takes to produce a pack of Benjamins, not as easy to launder though.

  20. lordkoos

    So Biden fired the head of social security, but DeJoy is still running the USPS. Six months in, and Democrats somehow cannot figure out how to get rid of this guy?

    1. Nikkikat

      Oh, the Dems can figure it out but, they have no intention of saving the USPS. This guy didn’t send out Biden stimulus checks fast enough, that’s why they canned him. Otherwise he would still be there.

    2. pasha

      de joy can only be fired by the USPS board of directors. the senate republicans are holding up approval of biden’s directors to the board, who will give democrats a 4-3 majority. i agree, senate approval of biden’s appointees must be expedited.

      biden was only able to fire the head of social security this week because it does not have a controlling board of directors.

  21. Carolinian

    Re those Florida condos–some of us can remember when, here in South Carolina at least, the only houses you would see on the beach were cheap frame houses on stilts. There were no mansions or ten story high rises. But–perhaps inspired by glamorous Malibu (on a different behaving ocean)–that all changed and practicality was thrown to the winds (literally). While it’s not at all clear that ocean proximity caused the condo collapse, one has to believe that any building in such an environment is unlikely to last longer than a few decades. Perhaps the whole Atlantic coast of Fla needs a rethink.

    Here in my little town and county, as I see new buildings going up at every turn, I think that is already happening. Goodbye sun and surf. Hello horse property.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Re Florida coasts: the developers and then the rich sh!ts who buy the “properties” thus developed have a main arterial access to public money to maintain the wealth-value and hedonic worth (sic) of their carve-outs. Stuff like flood insurance and gov’t handouts to those under-insured, and of course one of my favorites, “beach renourishment.” That’s where Mother Nature sends a storm or vagarious current that removes and relocates the pristine white sand beach from the water side of condos, hotels and most important, the McMansions that have all supplanted the stick-built little cottages that older folk put up starting maybe 90 years ago. And since the Rich Must Be (Pre)Served, the rest of us have to come up with hundreds of millions to perform that Sysiphean task of trying to find some spot where sand has built up (and not been bought by bidness interests already) to haul back onto those geolocations where Mother Earth has already said there’s not supposed to be pristine sandy beaches any more.

      Doesn’t help that the Rich Sh!ts violate the few laws against despoiling the seashore by in-your-face destruction of mangroves and other wetlands that might mitigate the effects at virtually no cost… They “own” the view and the beach, as far as their beady little eyes can see…

    2. The Rev Kev

      To think that all those condos were being built in Florida back in the 80s using “cowboy” standards and nobody was caring at all. Looks like “Sonny” Crocket and “Rico” Tubbs of “Miami Vice” were going after the wrong crooks back then.

      1. skippy

        Raygun coke money was good till the parking lot OK corral showdown scared shoppers and some heads needed knocking …

  22. enoughisenough

    “Marketing and PR Are Corrupting Universities”

    oh my god I can’t stress this enough.

    The college where I work is eating itself. For someone who really believes in the value of education, it’s entirely demoralizing. That, and the fact that everyone on both sides of the ideological moral panic are determined to undermine and punish faculty for trying to do our jobs.

    It’s Kafkaesque, and the pressure is debilitating.

  23. chuck roast

    Dunno…never read Said. However, the author is either way young, a poor general historian or remarkably shortsighted. He describes Said thusly, “…significantly, one of the first academic celebrities—an institution that became entrenched in the 1990s when American universities began to model themselves after Hollywood.” I’m old enough to remember when America actually had a class called “public intellectuals.” Lamentably long gone, but they did exist in the popular imagination. People like Keynes, Bernard Baruch and Einstein regularly made it to the cover of…drum roll please…TIME magazine.

    Long gone indeed, but we can now take our inspiration from plutocrat space travelers and Hollywood families with ass implants. I really do have to get around to reading Said. Sorry about the quibble.

  24. Reader

    5th grade math teacher, 48, dies after enduring COVID, income loss and being evicted in 2020 during the summer in Tucson. While homeless, he sometimes taught classes from his car. He thought the eviction moratorium would protect him and his family.

    For more details on the eviction in 2020, see

  25. VietnamVet

    The Boeing article just about says it all. Deindustrialization and financialization have nearly killed manufacturing in the USA. All that is left is assembly but that becomes difficult without parts and workers.

    The basic problem is the purposeful wealth extraction through education – vouchers & student loans, healthcare – no public health system, transportation – Lexus Lanes, and human sin – lotteries. The privatization of government has reached its nadir with unaddressed climate change hitting North America’s West Coast. Early regional wildfires triggered by severe heat domes have cut the main railroad line between Oregon and California until September and electrical power transmission to dangerously hot Southern California is being interrupted by the Bootleg Fire in Oregon. Smoke covers parts of the west and mid-west.

    Today’s tale of neo-America is a DC air force veteran who lost his job, van and home due to the pandemic got an mRNA vaccine jab and won a lifetime pass to ride Metro.

  26. Keith Newman

    I read the Baffler review of Edward Said’s biography. I didn’t expect to read it all the way through but did. Beside touching on a number of interesting points regarding orientalism it touched on something else that has irritated me for many years. To wit, the supposed specialist dealing with an issue s/he only partially grasps because of ignorance of basic information. I am not referring to cynical propagandists of the Noah Smith type who deliberately mislead, but rather honest writers whose knowledge is partial and are very misleading because they don’t actually know what they are talking about.
    The gaps in the knowledge of Edward Said’s biographer (Brennan) are quite remarkable. Yet it seems he is entirely unaware of them even though they should have been obvious.

    1. Carolinian

      I found the article a difficult chew and suspect I would feel the same about Orientalism should I tackle it. I do know that some writers I’m a lot more familiar with, like Alex Cockburn, thought of Said as a great hero.

      And I have several performances of the West/East Divan orchestra under the direction of Maestro Barenboim on my hard drive. Very good stuff. There’s an excellent German 2020 film–clearly based on the idea of Said and Barenboim’s orchestra–called Crescendo.

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