Links 12/11/2022

Rare good news from the Amazon: Gigantic fish are thriving again NPR

Human Rights is a tremendous dream Morning Star


Leak on Keystone Pipeline released more than half a million gallons of crude oil Nebraska Examine


A boil-water notice in Houston made national news. In rural Texas, it’s a way of life. Texas Tribune

Report suggests that litter from chicken farms has upped contamination of water Nebraska Public Media



They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organizers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one. Grant Wahl

Belgium detains four over suspected Qatar bribes at EU parliament France 24

South America Coups

Judicial coup in Argentina: Corrupt judges conspire with media oligarchs to ban Cristina Kirchner from office Multipolarista

Peru’s oligarchy overthrows President Castillo Liberation News

Old Blighty

UK to ease financial regulations in post-Brexit shakeup AP


Fearmongering Pentagon steps up its threat inflation of China SCMP

Filipinos Don’t Want Their Country to Be Used As a “Launching Pad” for a U.S. War Against China or Any Other Country Covert Action Magazine

The Koreas

U.S. Commits to Keeping Troop Strength in Korea Chosun

Secret Plan Revealed: CIA Told to “Destroy” Those Supporting Communist Germ Warfare “Myth” Jeffrey Kaye

New Not-So-Cold War

Dr. Michael Vlahos & Col. Douglas Macgregor: Why NATO strategic failure? A war of deceit, denial Pt2 YouTube

Pentagon gives Ukraine green light for drone strikes inside Russia The Times

The ADL declares Ukraine’s Azov Battalion no longer ‘far-right’ Alex Rubinstein


Germany is on the brink – munitions production depends on China

S&P cuts Italy 2023 GDP forecast to -1.1% Ansa

Italy distances from ‘cancellation’ of Russia Indian Punchline

Italian defense-investment hikes appear to taper off DefenseNews

European Disunion

The EU is more divided than ever on immigration Le Monde

Sparks fly as Kosovo police increase presence in Serb-majority north Euronews

The Dutch parliament requests suspension of the visa-free regime if Serbia does not impose sanctions on Russia European Western Balkans

Netherlands plans new curbs on chip-making equipment sales to China Euronews.

Biden Administration

Biden Devotes $36 Billion to Save Union Workers’ Pensions New York Times

Joe Biden Has Just Given Wall Street a Huge Win Jacobin “When former president Donald Trump paved the way for his private equity donors to skim fees from Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts, Joe Biden’s campaign denounced the stealth executive action and promised to oppose such changes if he won the presidency. But less than two years later, Biden’s administration just quietly cemented that same policy, delivering a gift to the Democrat’s own finance industry sponsors, even as federal law enforcement officials are warning of rampant malfeasance in the private equity industry.”

Biden Announces Final Rules for Pension Bailout WSJ. “Pension plans can invest up to a third of the aid they receive in stocks”

How Retirees End Up Funding The Climate Crisis. The Lever.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Cyborgs on the Highways The American Prospect

Imperial Collapse Watch

Convicted Guantánamo Prisoner Ali Hamza Al-Bahlul Seeks An End to His 14 Years of Solitary Confinement Andy Worthington

The Impunity of Sanctions AdvocatesEunomia

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Predictable Resurgence of Fascism and Nazism On Both Sides of the North Atlantic and Its Consequences Counterpunch

How Everything Became ‘Fascism’ Compact


Florida GOP donor, DeSantis ally under ‘active investigation’ weeks before death, authorities say Politico

Democrats en Déshabillé

Police State Watch

Coworkers of cop who killed 3 in California removed items from his home prior to official search LA Times

Groves of Academe

Our No Longer Free Press

BBC News hits another low, pushing fake anti-RMT propaganda Canary

Class Warfare

Federal labor board sides with strippers in North Hollywood bar dispute LA Times

Stolen Time: Portraits of Californians living through wage theft claims Cal Matters

The Other New York Times Workers On Strike The City

A rigged game? Poultry farmers complain of big debt, unreliable income Charlotte Observer

Lawsuit Alleges Chicken Farmer Misclassification American Prospect

Costco’s $4.99 Chicken Violates Animal Welfare Laws, Lawsuit Says WaPo

The Bezzle

Insiders made millions from Justin Bieber’s NFT project. His fans are down almost 90%. Dirty Bubble Media

Lawsuit Alleges Yuga Labs Conspired With Celebs Like Justin Bieber to Push Bored Ape NFTs Decrypt

Zeitgeist Watch

Life-Size Version of Mouse Trap Board Game is a 50,000-lb. Rube Goldberg Machine! (PHOTOS) Inhabitat

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. Alice X

      Thank you! The two-state solution has appeared long dead with the relentless annexation of the West Bank. Recognition of the 1967 borders tends to legitimize the colonialist UN 1947 Resolution 181 which was used as the template for grabbing Palestinian land by force. Admitting Palestine as a full member would unleash powerful dynamics. There would be a certain two votes against it.

    1. Screwball

      I have found these dumps to be quite entertaining. They are confirming what I thought was going on all along. Best I can tell, this news hasn’t played out on the MSM to much extent, if at all. It might be fun to watch, but like everything else, I have to wonder where this all goes, and if the guilty parties ever pay the price.

      I’m guessing not, but at least we have the entertainment value of watching this country go one more step down the crapper while TPTB get away with whatever they want.

    2. griffen

      Curious and ever more interesting. Streaming channel working title suggestion for anyone who wants to fund a series, “Wandering into a Rabbit Hole.” Who knows where in Wonderland we actually wind up when all these document dumps are completed? Okay that suggestion maybe does not work after a second thought.

      Elsewhere on planet earth, plenty of people will just shrug their shoulders and remark who cares. Speaking personally, I find this both fascinating and virtually indefensible behavior from senior leaders at Twitter.

  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘Hey guys don’t attack the power substations ok? Not cool.’

    I heard that a team of snipers was in California shooting up the power substations for PG&E equipment causing rolling blackouts and massive power disruptions but it was a month before PG&E’s customers noticed any difference.

    1. Charger01

      Hard to say. Both of the articles in the thread were vague, except for the incident at PGE’s substation. PSE and BPA being mum on the subject sounds accurate, as in “investigations are underway”…stitching the narrative that Cowlitz was attacked as well seems like a stretch. Substations are regularly vandalized by folks attempting to steal copper or simply to break into the panel house to see what’s inside…

      It would be super expensive to perform grid hardening, either by building up blast walls around subs or to add armor ingredients to equipment.

      1. Carolinian

        It’s probably just coincidence but a major Duke substation near one of my hiking trails has been adding more elaborate fencing and other improvements–might want to mount one of those Ring cameras on the gate.

        All joking aside you do wonder why power companies tend to be so casual about the security of these things that have always dotted the landscape. That may change.

        1. MT_Wild

          Most of this infrastructure was built when the social contract was more or less intact. The idea that disaffected Americans would shoot up vulnerable equipment jeopardizing the health and safety of their fellow citizens probably wasn’t much of a consideration.

          It’s a different country now.

          1. Charger01

            Destruction of public (or community, natch) property is an old story. Most of the time its litter and graffiti, but idle hands will wrought terrible destruction.

            I’m reminded of the guy back in ’00 or ’01 that put a rifle round into Alyeska pipeline for kicks. The spray from that .30 caliber round was visible by aircraft doing their inspection (due to the pressure and dead vegetation getting soaked by the warm crude). He ended up in prison.

        2. LaRuse

          Utilities are less causal about security that it probably appears. One component is attempting NOT to draw attention to the vulnerability of utility infrastructure. But the biggest part comes down to rate making and recovery of costs for utilities. Regulated utilities have to be able to justify expenses they wish to recover from ratepayers. Only in the past decade have these attacks become common enough to really justify the costs of hardening infrastructure to the extent that is rapidly becoming obviously necessary. So utilities need to not only figure out exactly how to protect their facilities, they have to pay for it and they have to justify those costs to their State utility commissions in order to gain recovery. And I can tell you from experience, utilities and their regulators are very conscious of affordability concerns for customers. These attacks are not helpful to ANYONE.

          1. Pat

            Ratepayers shouldn’t be paying for it, although looking at my delivery charges I already am and am not getting good value for it. Smart meter installation being good value before fixing and strengthening actual troubled infrastructure my Great Aunt Fanny’s…

            This is a security and defense issue and yes the defense budget should be paying for it.

            1. Not This Again

              > Ratepayers shouldn’t be paying for it,

              Well, in that case who should pay for it?

              The money has to come from somewhere…

              1. marku52

                No worries, the FED will just create it out of thin air. Where do you think all that Ukraine money comes from?

          2. Aumua

            One component is attempting NOT to draw attention to the vulnerability of utility infrastructure.

            OOPS… hehehe

      2. Nikkikat

        It would be super expensive to perform grid hardening
        PG&E does nothing that will be expensive. This is why they have started so many fires
        The equipment is crap and if the PUC will not agree to make the customers pay for it, then it ain’t done.

        1. anon in so cal

          >”if the PUC will not agree to make the customers pay for it, then it ain’t done.”

          In California, voters repeatedly approved bonds that repeatedly gave PG&E many millions to be used for overdue maintenance. Instead of using the funds for maintenance, PG&E CEOs gave themselves big bonuses.

          Due to PG&E’s repeated failures to maintain its equipment, horrific wildfires resulted–some of California’s worst wildfires in history, such as the 500,000+ acre Dixie Fire.

          “Three days after Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated his 2018 election victory, one of his major corporate campaign donors caused a mass killing.

          The Pacific Gas and Electric Company pleaded guilty in June 2020 to felony involuntary manslaughter for killing 84 Californians in the 2018 Camp Fire.

          PG&E’s officials walked out of court to go back to work on turning a profit, aided by state policies Newsom crafted to help the company.”

          Newsom signed new financial protections for PG&E into law—-his office paid $3.7 million to private lawyers in New York who wrote the legislative language of California AB 1054.
          AB 1054 gave PG&E state “safety certificates.”

          1. JBird4049

            Blow up a neighborhood because you didn’t use the money explicitly given to maintain the gas lines and nothing bad happens; the company had to pay some fines and payoff the lawsuits, but the people responsible, nothing. Maybe their bonuses were hurt.

            The government can throw all the money it wants, but unless white collar crime is dealt like with strong-armed robbery, not much will change.

  2. Wukchumni

    Oooh ungowa
    Please don’t mess
    With our power
    Department, dept:

    I crave power as much as the next politician, dictator or law enforcement officer, but not that kind. They’d better nip this in the bud or things might get outta hand in the Big Smokes should prolonged shortages occur on account of acts of revolting hertz hooliganism.

    It is worth noting that perhaps the one mechanical item widely held by the populace that requires no electricity whatsoever, is over in the gun closet or in between mattresses or where have you.

    That is how blowback comes for all of our dirty wars we unleashed on other countries, for those playing along at home.

    1. griffen

      The outage last week in Moore County, NC left my immediate family without power for over 4 days. I think the initial outage occurred on Saturday evening and lasted until mid day on Wednesday. I was able to text message and offer some advice, like the installation of a backup generator for such outages. No real good will come of this, should these become normalized instances.

      Things could be better, Lloyd. Thus said Jack Torrance to an imaginary barkeep.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend owned a coin store in Manila in the 80’s to 90’s and I remember him telling me how power shortages were a way of life there and you could count on it happening frequently.

        We get them maybe 6-10x a year here, usually a tree falls on a line or regular scheduled power outages of say 6 hours to do service on the lines-and they give you constant reminders it’s coming. I’m cool with that, and combined with living without electricity in the wilderness for cumulative total of a couple years in 40 years of backpacking, its no big deal.

        4 days in suburbia would mean all of the food in the fridge and freezer goes bad, and if you have a gas range you can boil water, that is if the faucet isn’t dependent on electricity to get it to you.

        (slips on Reynolds Wrap fedora & peers into the mirror, mirror on the wall…}

        What if an inability to create power was blamed on hertztrans activists, when it was merely cover for something else, such as a lack of coinspiracy theory or other sundry hoodwinks?

          1. juno mas

            … a more modern system would use Lithium battery back-up and LED lighting. The propane refrigerator in the ECO Home could be replaced with a high efficiency electric one at substantial cost. However PV panels are about 20 percent less/watt today, so increase solar array production to account for keeping things cold.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, what’s the bet that Twitter was also doing a job on Julian Assange as well. I wonder if Matt Taibbi has come across them yet.

  3. The Rev Kev

    ‘Grant Wahl, a beloved long-time football reporter from the US, just suddenly died in Qatar. His brother believes he was killed.
    Here are the facts (& some speculation)’

    He actually turned up to a stadium wearing a pride t-shirt in Qatar? In spite of knowing full well that they would block him from entering which as a reporter he would know full well? That would be like arriving at Kiev airport sporting a t-shirt with the image of Putin on it. Look, I’m sorry that the guy is dead and I understanding his brother is demanding answers but ‘feeling sick with cold-like symptoms’? What does that sound like? I would be checking the remaining Covid tests that he was using in case it was a dud batch. Qatar has already received some 765,000 visitors the past two weeks so have more important fish to fry than deal with some random jorno trying to make a statement.

    1. Greg

      Yeah I’m not seeing enough detail about how they’re sure he didn’t have covid. I imagine Qatar, hosting a massive international sporting event, is motivated to downplay the presence of the dreaded plague.

      We don’t need to go looking for conspiracies when we have a known respiratory illness (check) that sometimes causes sudden heart problems (check) in young healthy adults (check).

      This is like all the people who suddenly have a cold that left them real tired but who knows what mystery illness it is.

  4. griffen

    US sports columnist and avid soccer reporter dies apparently in his seat at the stadium. I’m certain the organizers in Qatar and FIFA had this entry highlighted on their bingo card for these 2022 games. Bad publicity has haunted these games, let’s face it. That is highly unfortunate but based on some immediate reading of the tea leaves, he might have needed a higher level of care that was above the “maybe it is this” conclusion. Grant Wahl was a mere 1 or 2 years younger than myself. Which in itself makes this ordeal a little more unusual.

    I kept a subscription to Sports Illustrated some 15 years ago so his in depth reporting was usually quite good. Wahl’s most famed basketball article might have been the new new thing, a cover story on a 17 year old who would go onto an excellent NBA career. The label of King James was struck, and Lebron James would indeed avoid that legendary “SI Cover curse”.

    1. LY

      Wahl was one of the first national journalists to make a living covering soccer full-time. Tributes were made on Fox Sports, the World Cup broadcaster for the US, as he worked for them in the past.

      One thing to note: his wife was Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist. She was a member of Biden’s COVID-19 transition team.

      1. lambert strether

        > Celine Grounder

        She retweets @jljcolorado, so she’s got a lot more going for her than the Biden Administration.

    2. Bugs

      From what he described, it sounded like he’d been overworked for months and kept working through a bout with Covid. Then he got some antibiotics and cough syrup for “bronchitis” at a mini clinic set up for Cup reporters. Probably had pneumonia. That can kill you.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    Italy distances from cancellation.

    The column by MKB is worth it for this insightful and witty paragraph: “Where Talbot erred was that the US and its allies underestimated Russia, overestimated the trap and underestimated the fact that they overestimated themselves.”

    Yes, indeedy.

    Much of the column is devoted to Poland (pretty much a non-entity in Italy) and Germany (more worrisome in that the New Middle-Europa Nationalism or whatever it’s called will end up as German nationalism has always ended up: In an invasion of Italy).

    Italy differs from the other major players in a few respects: It has the Pope, who is highly influential even among non-believers here. Communists listen to the Pope. The Pope has been calling for negotiations and peace for months. Further, Italy, speaking of underestimation, is always treated as the eccentric sister who wears too much makeup, which means (you’ll notice) that the current Merkel revelations don’t include Italy. Third: Italy is distinguished by having one political party (the Five Stars, of all people) aligned against the war as well as a fairly large slice of the defeated/disarrayed Democratic Party. Let alone smaller parties with some influence like Sinistra Italiana and Unione Popolare.

    But Italy, even if it is edging away from conflict, largely because of its exposed geopolitical situation–across from wrecked Libya, across from the mess in former Yugoslavia–isn’t going to be able to “control the narrative.” The “narrative” is coming out of the U S of A and U.K. Places that overestimate their powers and their moral seriousness.

    1. Chas

      “. . . and underestimated the fact that they overestimated themselves.” That’s an important observation that’s well put. It makes me realize that even though I’ve never given the Biden administration much credit for intelligence, even that little bit is too much. It rings of the Talleyrand quote about the Bourbons having learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

      1. marku52

        At the time, I thought that Biden’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan was just a happy random event. Now I think it was clearing the deck for the war with Russia.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Politics aside, the article tells us that opera season at La Scala opened with a (…gasp…) Russian opera, with actual (…double gasp…) Russian performers. Attended by Italy’s president, prime minister, and (…triple gasp…) Ursula VdL:

      Hilariously enough, a UKR diplomat tried to get the performance cancelled. Unsuccessfully.

      Symbolic it is, but symbols matter. This is a small piece of good news. Viva l’Italia!

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘BREAKING: #BNNBrazil Reports
    President @jairbolsonaro
    broke his silence and delivered a speech suggesting a “coup” to supporters in the Palácio da Alvorada enclosure, after more than a month of silence following Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s (@LulaOficial) win on election day.’

    Bolsonaro must be feeling vulnerable these days after losing the Presidency. Before, he would go right into the middle of crowds and meet his loyal supporters and they would crowd around him. And now? It looks like he is content to have what amounts to a moat between him and his followers and you can see one of his goons in that footage ready to protect him. That is not the sign of a confident man anymore and maybe he is wondering if his supporters will eventually desert him leading to his appearance in a court of law as special guest star.

        1. hunkerdown

          He’s not a hero, he’s a blunt object with which we are happy to see moral perfectionists crushed and their lives ruined. Anything that destroys capitalist myths such as liberalism is a good thing.

          1. Aumua

            You know, if the net effective result of what he does destroys any Capitalist myths, then I will be all for it. I just don’t see it though, at the moment. What I do see is Musk responding to and engaging with far right forces, be they Libertarian or Q-anon Trumpists, and I see what he is doing with the Bird as effectively energizing and vindicating those forces. Regardless of whatever truth or important stories he might be otherwise uncovering.

      1. spud

        both those countries are poster boys in why if you leave elites who created the mess with enough power to do what they just did, you will never ever be able to reform your country.

        if you are unable to, or naive enough to believe you can change the future for better, yet leave the ones who created the mess with their freedom, wealth, prestige in tact.

        you get peru and argentina.

  7. David

    Belgium detains four over suspected Qatar bribes at EU parliament France 24

    This has been big story in the French media for several days now.
    Le Monde which had previously identified the main suspect as the Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who has been suspended as vice-President of the Parliament, has beengiving more details today. According to the Belgian prosecutor, the bribery (and yes it was Qatar) was absolutely flagrant: bags of banknotes were found at her residence. She has been suspended, among other things, from her role as representative of the Parliament in the Middle East (sic). This is going to get worse.

    One of the positive effects, though, is to draw public attention to the corrupting effect of Qatari “soft power” in Europe, something that elites don’t like to talk about because they benefit directly. In France, for example, Qatar owns the Paris St Germain football team, as well as a lot of property in Paris, and has managed to infiltrate a number of extremist Wahhabi imams into mosques in the suburbs of major cities: the kind of imam who dismisses the Taliban as pro-western moderates. It’ll be interesting to follow the consequences.

    1. Ignacio

      Not less than vice-President of the European Parliament. PASOK “socialist”. Says a lot about the current standards of MEPs.

    2. Eclair

      ” ….. bags of banknotes were found at her residence.”

      Growing up north of Boston, mid-last century, I remember my Irish-American grandfather talking about one of his cronies, known affectionately to all as ‘Bagman Buckley.’ Decades later, in Hoboken, NJ, the mayor, I believe, was caught receiving a paper bag of cash in the parking lot of a popular local diner; a corruption scandal ensued.

      It’s good to know that, in these uncertain times, ‘bagman’ remains a protected and valued occupation.

        1. Laughingsong

          When living in Ireland in the noughties, there were tribunals in the works, I believe investigating government corruption (I was pretty new at the time and didn’t know any backstory).

          During the Mahon (?) Tribunal, it came out that the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (Charles Haughey was apparently his mentor) received a suitcase of something like £30000 I believe. Said he won it on the horses. :-D. Nothing changes.

        2. John Wright

          Agnew was known, when he was a Maryland pol, as the “Only politician you could bribe with a bag of groceries”.

          I remember touring the Nixon library many years ago and Agnew was described as “bringing balance to the ticket”.

          Balancing the sleaze?

    3. Bugs

      She’s a Papandreou-aligned Greek socialist, which is as corrupt as they get. My sense is she’s going to spill the beans pretty quickly in police custody because for someone of her social status and background, this is going to be extremely traumatic. She will do everything to avoid jail. Too bad for her that she got busted in Belgium.

      1. David

        Yes, I agree. People like her within the Brussels bubble never think that reality will actually catch up with them. According to Le Monde citing the Belgians, she’s been charged with being a member of a criminal organisation, as well as corruption and money-laundering. Enquiring minds would want to know what this organisation is, and who else was a member. In particular, if they can identify a Qatari or an agent thereof, this could be really fun, and could open cans of worms in other countries.
        Keep an eye on this one.

      2. David

        And she’s just been expelled from PASOK, which wants someone to replace her in Brussels. Watch them run for cover.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Alex Christoforou said in a recent video that he was shocked – shocked – to learn that a Greek Parliamentarian could ever be found corrupt, and then bust out laughing.

  8. timbers

    Pentagon gives Ukraine green light for drone strikes inside Russia The Times

    “…the Pentagon has revised its threat assessment of the war in Ukraine. Crucially, this includes new judgments about whether arms shipments to Kyiv might lead to a military confrontation between Russia and Nato. This represents a significant development in the nine-month war between Ukraine and Russia, with Washington now likelier to supply Kyiv with longer range weapons.”

    Hopefully the article is bluster, but why leave that to chance? It is too important not to take seriously and act accordingly. If not, we may see Kyiv score an embarrassing home run and the Kremlin faced with public outrage demanding retribution and vengeance on a bigger scale than when Putin sent 50,000 troops to play games with China as Ukraine pushed back Russia in Ukraine.

    I warned about this months ago as reasons for Russia to immediately shut down resupply routes and bridges and electric grid, and more aggressively target decision centers.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Ukrainians really do have the hots for anything nuclear. The war really got started when Zelensky was at a conference and sported the idea of the Ukraine getting nukes again with no western leaders actually telling him to STFU. Then you have had the constant shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which could have led to a disaster. After that, you had the Ukrainians trying to put together a nuclear dirty bomb until the Russians blew the whistle on that little project. And now you had a drone attack against a Russian base that has nuclear-armed bombers stationed there.

      The Pentagon may have given the go ahead for Ukrainian strikes in the Russian Federation but have they really thought this through? Maybe the Pentagon is thinking of military targets and Russian infrastructure but what if the Ukrainians try for another provocation – by aiming a drone at a school full of children. Why not? They have been doing stuff like that for the past eight years in the Donbass and even now are constantly shelling the civilian city of Donetsk so they have form. Then again, maybe that is the idea. The Ukraine does an attack like that. Russia responds with a vengeance attack. And that gives NATO the excuse to stick their noses under the tent’s edge.

      1. John k

        The camels nose has been in the tent from the beginning, so far it’s getting bloodied. But imo without nuke backup from us it’s a paper tiger… few troops, much of nato artillery/ammo/tanks already destroyed.
        What can they do? West might have superior planes, but Russia has pretty good air defense. Can’t really see the logic for escalation from west side unless the think they can win a nuke war, no matter Russia has more nukes and hypersonic missiles. Launching nukes is mad and suicidal.
        Russia doesn’t want nato that close to Russia because they would only have 5 min to respond at such close range, meaning they have to have a finger on the button at all times. A false alarm wouldn’t be good for us.not good for us.

  9. Wukchumni

    Just another day in the crass-test-dummy state after a much hoped for month of silence not meant to be as Kari Lake sued Arizona election officials over her loss, a new record low by a politician on the wrong side of voce populi, but only pussies give up.

  10. Pat

    I have been saying for years that at significant portion of the defense budget should be going to strengthening the electrical grid and securing power stations and substations.
    Perhaps it was going through a couple of significant blackouts, but I had no doubts about this country’s dependency on electricity. The discovery of how much delivery of fuel could be disrupted by electrical outages made it clear that temporary measures weren’t going to cut it in a weeks long regional or national outage was also disturbing. In those years there have been reports of how many substations were easy targets, how little it would take for a grid failure cascade, etc. Even Ted Koppel made it into a network documentary to point out this was a problem. But crickets.

    Nothing has been as influential in my awareness that our Defense Department is and was utterly uninterested in actual defense of America but only functions as a money making operation for top military, some politicians, and the private MIC combined with support of certain multinational corporations as the total lack of concern and action regarding our Electrical grid.

    We are very lucky these attacks appear to be individual, with coordination they could take out electricity for months in entire regions. (It isn’t just the Ukraine that has limited replacement parts).

    1. Not This Again

      It would actually be far cheaper and easier to simply add redundancy in the vast majority of circumstances, and doing so would actually improve resiliency overall. Building the additional substations and (especially) transmission lines, though, is simply impossible with respect to rate recovery and zoning regulations, etc.

    2. semper loquitur

      “Nothing has been as influential in my awareness that our Defense Department is and was utterly uninterested in actual defense of America”

      It makes me wonder if there is a point past which we can really consider this a country at all. I’m not saying we are there yet but is there a tipping point where we aren’t cohesive enough to be considered a proper nation? A point of no return?

  11. griffen

    For any fans of the long haul trucking industry or the railroads, the article linked above is a worth while read. In summation, attempting to automate and control the waking hours of all US based long haul truckers just sounds like a working hell. And it was really no picnic before the laws changed and electronic devices were required, as opposed to hefty paper trails. Let alone maintain command of a rolling 18 wheel potential death trap for the wayward Smart car.

    Trucking is or will continue to morph into an industry like any other. Whether it is miles driven, Excel files revised and updated, or xyz orders filled modern America is increasingly a hell hole for those living at or underneath the median income scale. I feel a certain measure of pity for the following generation which includes many nephews and nieces.

  12. Toshiro_Mifune

    Netherlands plans new curbs on chip-making equipment sales to China
    This is a big deal. It did not state what the curbs are but I’m assuming this is for ASML EUV equipment; meaning they’re curbing access to the only real seller for advanced process node equipment. Again, a big deal.

    1. John k

      Probably a good chunk of those machines are in Taiwan. So this gives China a strong incentive to take out the factories. After that the west might lose interest.

      1. bdy

        Know-how is a movable feast. China will make their own Mongo Dutch Chip Building Thingies. “A good chunk of those machines are in Taiwan.” It’s a matter of time.

    2. Stephen

      I agree. Another test of how much monopoly / technological lead a specific western company has. Similar to the oil price cap and its test of how much monopoly the west has over maritime insurance.

      My understanding is that ASML dominates high end chip making machines but there are competitors at the lower end and they are gaining ground. So probably another own goal in the long run.

      Will just spur China to innovate and be more self sufficient.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “BBC News hits another low, pushing fake anti-RMT propaganda”

    The BBC has been acting like gutter scum for some time now. About four years ago they did a program on Opposition Leader Jeremy Corby so what they did was to take his photo and put it against an image of Moscow’s Red Square. They then tinged his skin to give it a more reddish look and digitally altered his cap to make it look more like one wore by Russians. That is really third-world, banana republic stuff that-

  14. The Rev Kev

    “The ADL declares Ukraine’s Azov Battalion no longer ‘far-right’’

    And this is how you normalize Nazis – by using human rights organizations to run cover for them. The Anti-Defamation League has now revealed itself to be totally corrupted and I would say that you can now write it off. It has been captured. I went to check their Wikipedia page to get a better idea of who and what they are when in the second paragraph it said-

    ‘Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Silicon Valley tech executive and former Obama administration official, succeeded Abraham Foxman as national director in July 2015. Foxman had served in the role since 1987.’

    Reading their page, they seem to have had a chequered history-

    1. MT_Wild

      Use the term “Gloabalists” and you are anti-semetic and a “White Nationalist” according to the ADL.

      But the Azov Battalion is fine. LOL.

    2. All Ice

      So which part of the very diverse Jewish population does the ADL represent. It seems to represent the finance/political sector and not much more.

    3. wilroncanada

      They stood in a line together at the far right and stated unanimously, ‘There is nobody farther right than us!” Then turned right in their jackboots and marched off to find a Palestinian child to knock off.

  15. Wukchumni

    Federal labor board sides with strippers in North Hollywood bar dispute LA Times
    TV show pitch: ‘Dances with Laps’

    Usually a union suit is a onesie, but not with the hard working talent of Local # 36-24-36, who from now on will take it all off slowly but Shirley, Emma & Evelyn will benefit from the new arrangement where the trio gets paid more for stripping out the middleman, think ‘Three’s Company’, where you see everything but them removing any pertinent stitches, leaving us in stitches in a naked ambition exhibition. Don Knotts makes occasional animated appearances as Mr. Limpet.

  16. Carolinian

    Thanks for the article on fascism.

    Never had a major new force in modern times been so quickly and thoroughly defeated as historical fascism by 1945, yet its obliteration had little effect on the prominent place of fascism in political imagination and discourse.[…]

    In the process, the term has lost all specificity. Its usage isn’t merely wildly contradictory, but applied in the most directly and specifically opposite ways. The only entities known to history that were indisputably fascist were the Italian National Fascist Party, founded in 1921, and the Mussolini dictatorship, set up four years later, for they were the inventors of the term and the only notable organizations ever to use it officially. A major problem is that Italian Fascism was one of the more moderate of the major dictatorships of modern times—not given to mass violence or genocide, and for the greater part of its history not prone to military bellicosity or antisemitism. According to common notions, therefore, Italian Fascism was scarcely “fascist.” But all this is irrelevant to the political imaginary, dominated by fantasy and subjectivism and oblivious to empirical reality. Italian Fascism can thus be dismissed merely as an imperfect version of the real thing. The term fascist is now primarily used to evoke Hitlerism, though the Nazis themselves did not employ the word.

    Needless to say this debate has been going on for some time and many in the Dem version of the left have Hitler on the brain and are willing to deploy the Nazi analogy to almost any situation (except of course Israel). If Hell is real then Adolf is doubtless down there enjoying his enduring relevance. The article continues

    More likely the reason for the mindless ubiquity of the f-word is simply that the era of World War II focused a polemical “fascism” as the only major destructive political alternative to emerge from within Western civilization itself since the 18th century, while association with Hitlerism and the Holocaust lent it a uniquely demonic connotation. All this serves as a mental and political smokescreen

    Yes. We live in a mostly secular age but seems Devils are still needed.

    1. Stephen

      Clearly, all labels often get used loosely. But Fascism and Nazism are quite different in my view and using them interchangeably, nuanced mainly by geography as the article does, is not helpful.

      My understanding from studies many years ago is that fascism is primarily an ideology of state supremacy over society, whilst leaving capitalism intact. The symbol in Italy was a bunch of sticks, or fasces, which was the Roman symbol for the state and the origin of the term. Fascism leads to authoritarian rule, like an old fashioned autocracy or either of the Napoleons in some ways. Arguably, the modern west is going in that direction and fascism might be an appropriate term to use for it.

      Nazism is different though. It is a totalitarian movement that springs from Social Darwinism with a dialectic of a natural law that the different races must fight each other. The strongest will then prevail. This natural law is seen as self evident and is an equivalent to the Marxist dialectic of class struggle. Nazism is about forcing the whole of society, including the state to be subservient to the racial struggle. Ultimately, it subverts the state and subordinates it to the “movement” which is in the never ending racial struggle.

      It is therefore quite different to fascism. Mussolini behaved like a traditional dictator, worked through state institutions and even came to an arrangement with the Church. Unthinkable under Nazism. Hitler completely subverted the state: he left its form and theoretical constitutional protections in place but then simply bypassed them at will and all that mattered was the leadership principle. There is no end point to Nazism until the racial struggle is ended with victory. It is a pure movement. Fascism tends to be satiated once it has achieved power, as was the case with Salazar and Franco, and might easily have been with Mussolini. Fascism can be stable, Nazism cannot. Fascism is not about genocide, Nazism is. Hitler was not fascist, it is not just that he did not use the term.

      Historically, the terms have been used interchangeably though by many people. This is because some of the outcomes do look similar. This is rather in the same way that people compare similarities between Bolshevism and Nazism. But those movements spring from different “natural” laws even if many outcomes look aligned.

      For these reasons, modern day Russia could never be described as Nazi because Putin actually lauds the multi ethnic composition of the country. That is not consistent at all with racial struggle. It might be possible to make the label fascist work, although I would not personally apply it to modern day Russia. It probably suits western narratives to make the terms interchangeable with loose definitions though so that people ignore the real differences and simply accept the labelling as applied to the enemies our leaders want us to hate.

      1. digi_owl

        The line can be blurry though depending how one define “state/nation”.

        If one define it along blood or ethnic lines, then nazism and fascism easily become one and the same.

        And i could have sworn that the catholic church and the nazis got along quite well.

        1. Stephen

          My understanding is that relations with the Catholic Church were complex (especially when it came to anti semitism) but Pius XI accused the Nazis of hostility in the 1930s, Catholic regions of Germany was less likely to vote Nazi and a large number of priests were incarcerated. The Centre Party (Zentrum, the Catholic political party) also opposed the Nazis pre 1933. Nothing occurs in a similar way to the institutional accommodations that Franco, Salazar and Mussolini were able to come to with the Church.

          I do agree that extreme nationalism within an ethnic state can look like Nazism. Just as Bolshevism can outwardly look similar too in many respects with a party and secret police in place.

          But the dialectic iron law of extreme unending racial superiority and conflict associated with Nazism gives the movement its totalitarian form. Religion, other parties, separate institutions, the state itself, independent thought of any form are ultimately just incompatible with it. It is a godless religion in its own right. What we tend to associate with fascism is not really this. Just as classic working class socialism is not the same thing as Bolshevism.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for those explanations. It makes a lot of sense. Over the past few years the Russians were referring to the Ukrainians as fascists in news articles but no longer seem to do so. Perhaps this war woke them up to the fact that they were no longer dealing with fascists but out and out Nazis. There certainly is an element of white supremacy at work there which has been attracting volunteers from many western countries that subscribe to this idea and white supremacy is the same as the white race being superior to all others..

      3. hk

        One rather strange thing people forget is that, at least for first 2/3 of his regime, Mussolini was open to a sort of multiculturalism. The Fascist Party was open to Jews, perhaps even more so than many aspects of Italian society and there were quite a lot of Jewish Fascists: indeed, Mussolini boasted, early on, about how he expanded the rights of Jews in North Africa. Fascists were also quite tolerant of Muslims, as long as they were loyal to the Italian state: Mussolini had various plans for assimilating Libyans as “Muslim Italians.” Indeed, this tolerant attitude for most of Fascism’s history was what made many Fascists skeptical of Mussolini’s German alliance: Italo Balbo, for instance, made the point of having the Jewish (and very Fascist) mayor of Ferrara (also his good friend) as his guest to the state dinner attended by Hitler before the war, I think, in 1938. Even when antisemitic laws were enacted after alliance with Germany, Italians never really enforced them–it took German occupation after Cassible events in 1943 that serious persecution befell the Italian Jews. This makes for a strange mix, largely forgotten by the misleading memories of the second world war.

        1. Stephen

          When I was young an Italian friend always used to make similar points!

          Nazism is about racial superiority.

          Fascism is about fidelity to a state.

          Race / ethnicity may be a factor in fidelity to the state but does not need to be, and often will not be. Fascism can have racist overtones (as some commenters note) but often may not, as you say with respect to Mussolini.

          But, as with “democracy” the terms are now just used as labels with very little attempt to probe what they really signify.

    2. Mikel

      There is a book called “The Great Class War 1914 – 1918” by Jacques R. Pauwels.

      The title explains the book. It’s a long look at WWI through the lens of class struggle.
      Some of the points from the book provide a clear line to the interwar years that led to WWII.

      It’s an interesting book to add to the “great library” about WWI & WWII.

    3. Michael

      Yes a good article. I actually ordered the book and rec’d my library buy it!

      The Counterpunch article is a great companion to this offering and runs afoul of the prof’s pov.

      “The primary reason for mobilizing the electorate of the Democratic Party in the United States, however, is to stop Trumpism rather than to support Biden’s policies which have created considerable disappointment.”

      “The political and media establishments of the European Union are apparently not fully aware of the fascist character of Trumpism, as they consider this label to be an exaggeration.”

      What does this even mean? Citizens of Europe, what say you?

      Add in the Tweetr sh!tstorm and one can see Fascism again pales to the ruthless actions of those manipulating and covering up the constant debasing, looting and outright “murdering” of the institutions of progress to benefit the average citizen. Ex. Biden and the Private Equity article.

      It seems the Twitter Files are a prequel to 1984 and possibly the Wizard of Oz.

    4. Lex

      I’m a Georgi Dimitrov stan on this subject: “fascism is the political manifestation of finance capitalism.” As he was a titan of communism, I find his specificity of capitalism type particularly intriguing and important. It’s as if he’s saying that industrial capitalism does not necessarily manifest as fascism but finance capitalism always will.

      We too often mistake right wing ethno-nationalism for fascism because of the Nazis. It may be, and it’s very prone to being captured by finance capitalism but it alone is not necessarily fascist. By Dimitrov’s definition the US is already fascist and that makes me wonder about our grave concern for fascism’s right wing ethno-nationalist rise as a mask over reality.

      1. Carolinian

        I think I agree with what you say

        often mistake right wing ethno-nationalism for fascism because of the Nazis

        But that’s the article’s point too. The word itself no longer seems to mean much even as the social consequences of wearing that label are immense. Back in the sixties when people used the word it was sort of implied that it was merely an epithet. Back then there were still memories of real fascism. Misappropriating WW2 genocide was bad form.

        But today you could at least say that the “spirit of fascism” lives on in the sense that, as Huey Long (or whoever) said, “when fascism comes to America it will be called anti-fascism.” The demonization of the other and alliance with an elite group of supporters lives on in an American movement that diverts the class war into rumbles with “deplorables” –as though they have any more power than the rest of the underclass. Like so much of our current culture it’s not very authentic. Everyone’s a re-enactor.

        1. spud

          when fascism came to america, its was sold as free trade spreads democracy, and eradicates poverty.

          i came up with that statement years ago. no citation needed.

        2. Jokerstein

          Whenever I see the word “fascism” in a discussion like this, I’m surprised that this comment by George Orwell isn’t mentioned:

          Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

          From Politics and the English Language.

      2. spud

        nationalism is at the core of the founders vision of the enlightenment

        fascism is the exact opposite, under free trade, the corporation has sovereignty over the people

        its why hitler vowed to make europe a free trade zone, it was to take away the right of self determination

        Hitler and Mussolini were in the firm camp of the free traders

        protectionism is the foundation of national self-determination and is fundamental.

    5. Aumua

      It’s an interesting source. I’m not sure what to think about it yet. The article speaks of fascism as a historical reality, and fascism as an epithet, but it kind of glosses over the notion that there could be a generalized definition that might apply beyond Mussolini and Hitler. My current understand is this (and thanks to Prof. Wolff): Fascism is what happens when Capitalism, due to its inherent contradictions and increasing inequalities, gives rise to various anti-Capitalist movements which threaten the system. Fascism is then the totalitarian, reactionary backlash against that. It is the monster form that Capitalism assumes when it is threatened.

      Taking that as a working definition, I think that if you don’t see how we in the U.S. are at the precipice of a new, uniquely American form of fascism then you’re not really paying attention.

      1. digi_owl

        In other words, it reinvents feudalism along corporate lines.

        Where one’s standing depends on one’s stock portfolio wroth more than the land holdings assigned through title.

        1. Aumua

          and where the same dynamic that exists between lord and serf is replicated between employer and employee. People ‘voluntarily’ give up their freedom for 8 hours or whatever to effectively become servants, who are compensated but never as much value as they earned with their labor. It’s certainly better than feudalism, but it’s still a class based division of labor.

          1. digi_owl

            One thing to ponder though is that unless they are also the majority shareholder, the executives of a public company are more like retainers than lords. Their status and power are handed down by the board, and can be just as easily stripped.

    6. LifelongLib

      A number of political terms have morphed since I was young. ‘Capitalism’ used to just mean private (non-government) ownership of capital, so even an employee-owned or workers collective business could be capitalist. ‘Socialism’ meant government ownership of capital; obviously, whether that was good or not depended on the government. I suspect that over time many terms like this lose their original technical meanings and instead become terms of approbation (or abuse). ‘PMC’, ‘working class’, and ‘middle class’ come to mind as more recent examples.

      1. Aumua

        Yeah and let’s not forget ‘Woke’. That and ‘PMC’ are in my opinion very ill-defined terms that are tossed around here way too casually. They’ve kind of lost all meaning except to say ‘people who are doing things we don’t like’. In a wider context, ‘leftism’ and ‘leftist’ have also been stripped of meaning, and deliberately so, by the likes of Sean Hannity and Elon Musk for example.

          1. Aumua

            I’m saying the terms are not well defined at all. Perhaps you would like to offer your definitions as a starting point.

            1. tegnost

              I agree they’re generalizations so include more than the guilty parties, I guess I think woke is more specific to aware true believer dems, so less general but claims more agency (“we’re the good people”) than PMC, but PMC is a class and as such lacks awareness, but has collective force that gets applied without the agency (“It’s not me, it’s the system”)

        1. hunkerdown

          What part of “salaried mental workers who do not own the means of production and whose major function in the social division of labor may be described broadly as the reproduction of capitalist culture and capitalist class relations” does your salary and your political religion require you not to understand? And worse, to proudly perform obfuscatory ignorance on the matter?

          There is no “too big to be failed” argument merely on account of the class constituting some 10% or more of the population. The formation needs to be abolished.

          1. Aumua

            Are you accusing me of being one of the unforgivable PMCs? Haha. Well I do have an advanced degree in a hard science, but if you know anything about me at all, then you know I am very untypical case. Currently I am doing independent contractor work as a tech, for example. So my point is, what does that make me, and how do you define exactly who is a PMC and who isn’t? I’ve read the wikipedia definition or whatever it is you tossed up there, and it doesn’t satisfy me. Does every university professor or medical doctor reproduce capitalist class culture (whatever that means)? Do not many people perhaps act in different capacities in different areas of their lives, or at different times in their life?

            It’s just a label, which is liberally applied here every single day, in most of the discussion threads. And when I see it, my brain kind of turns off tbh, and I pay less attention to whatever that person was saying.

            1. Basil Pesto

              PMC is not ill-defined; the classic definition is Barbara Ehrenreich’s. I agree with you that, in many contexts including here, the initialism has been diluted from a more rigorous meaning into a mere epithet to be casually hurled at one’s political enemies, thereby losing its rhetorical force.

              I think the same is true of “woke”, to the extent it had any serious definition in the first place – I quite like Yves’ definition below, and I am very much in favour of criticism of identity politics as such, but that definition is so far removed from the way that ‘woke’ is used in the daily vernacular of media consumers which, again, is as mere epithet to be casually hurled at one’s given political enemies – often in such preposterously bad faith, or with such egregious stupidity, that it’s impossible to take seriously, and which mostly seems a vacuous rehash of decades-long culture war puritanical bullshit (and the conservative reaction against “wokeness” at its most prominent seems like mere jealousy and backlash at the wokes surpassing them at daft public morality and the reactionary social bastardry that defending that public morality necessarily entails). Ditto the tenets of wokeness itself, such as they are, which at their most excessive are so axiomatically silly – and egregiously stupid – that it’s impossible to take then seriously, as anything more than a mere fad, let alone as some meaningful political threat. To that end I’m convinced that in ~12 years time we’ll be talking about “the wokes” the same way we talk about the hipsters of the late-00s today. Remember hipsters?

              1. Aumua

                Thank you for standing with me at least partially, and also for stating the point with more eloquence than I could conjure.

            2. hunkerdown

              That was Barbara and John Ehrenreich’s definition from their PMC paper. Have you read it? If not, it’s about 40pp, both parts here. They first explain their reasoning for complicating the orthodox Marxist duality with a class, trace the historical origins of the class through and before the Progressive movement, and situate the class in antagonism between capital and labor but of neither.

              Does every university professor or medical doctor reproduce capitalist class culture

              The Ehrenreichs knew you would ask. :) They examine the wide range of “skills, income levels, power and prestige” that could apply to an occupation, using the registered nurse as an example (unfortunately, the magazine scan can’t be cut and pasted). They also point to the function of the class in the continuous process of proletarianizing its own lower end into McJobs, and how that contradiction necessitates a continuous flow of new occupations and members into the class, which they arrange through symbiotic reshaping of capitalist relations (management consulting, trade associations, intellectual property expansion) and culture (the ESG industry, Twitter, think tanks).

              1. Lambert Strether

                > ey first explain their reasoning for complicating the orthodox Marxist duality with a class

                Not so. Here are the concluding paragraphs of Volume III of Capital. From Chapter 52, “Classes”:

                The owners merely of labour-power, owners of capital, and land-owners, whose respective sources of income are wages, profit and ground-rent, in other words, wage-labourers, capitalists and land-owners, constitute then three big classes of modern society based upon the capitalist mode of production.

                Three, not two. That’s not a duality, by definition. (We tend to forget land-owners. I think that’s a mistake. Look at what private equity has done to the housing market! Or what small-holders have done, via AirBnB.)

                In England, modern society is indisputably most highly and classically developed in economic structure. Nevertheless, even here the stratification of classes does not appear in its pure form. Middle and intermediate strata even here obliterate lines of demarcation everywhere

                Again, not a duality! We might throw today’s PMC into “middle and intermediate strata”….

                … (although incomparably less in rural districts than in the cities). However, this is immaterial for our analysis. We have seen that the continual tendency and law of development of the capitalist mode of production is more and more to divorce the means of production from labour, and more and more to concentrate the scattered means of production into large groups, thereby transforming labour into wage-labour and the means of production into capital. And to this tendency, on the other hand, corresponds the independent separation of landed property from capital and labour,[58] or the transformation of all landed property into the form of landed property corresponding to the capitalist mode of production.

                IMNSHO, Marx was over-optimistic. As it turns out, those “intermediate strata” have been very useful to preserving capital’s hegemony (as producers of spectacles, engineers of delusion, gate-keepers, cops, etc.)

                The first question to he answered is this: What constitutes a class? — and the reply to this follows naturally from the reply to another question, namely: What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landlords constitute the three great social classes?

                Once again, not a duality.

                At first glance — the identity of revenues and sources of revenue. There are three great social groups whose members, the individuals forming them, live on wages, profit and ground-rent respectively, on the realisation of their labour-power, their capital, and their landed property.

                Enter the PMC, stage right. In the vulgate, “follow the mopney”

                However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords-the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries.

                This is almost a fractal vision of class; interesting to think of.


                [Here the manuscript breaks off.]


              2. Aumua

                I have skimmed it before, yes. I guess I’ll have to read it more thoroughly to make my point clearer, but I think the point still stands, that the term is tossed around way too much here.

        2. Yves Smith

          Disagree. Woke has a specific, and IMHO accurate connotation that those who benefit from “privilege” which varies a lot by context (white, male, cis) have to wear sackcloth and ashes and do penance, which results in the undue elevation of out groups.

          Put in another way, it preserves bad behaviors by merely being a ludicrously extreme obverse, rather than trying to break the frame. Thais, for instance, have somewhere between 11 and 17 genders, depending on who is counting, but Thai tolerance is founded on not being in your face or evangelizing.

          1. Aumua

            That behavior does exist, and I’m not trying to defend it, but I think that’s a very narrow definition that doesn’t apply to very many actual people or situations. There’s more to it that is removed from the moralizing and preaching aspects, but once again as above, I ask how you tell the difference between who is an evangelizing ‘wokester’ and who is simply trying to be aware of things like privilege and (real) systems of oppression based on race, gender etc?

              1. Aumua

                As I have said, I did spend 6 years on a state university campus, ending in 2020. Also I’m sure you’re aware that the outrage culture of the right makes a lot of noise about whatever examples they can find that push their narratives. Looking at the midterm results though, It seems like a lot of people are getting real tired of hearing about the woke menace or how leftists are ‘trans-ing’ your kids etc.

      2. MT_Wild

        Just look how “man” and “woman” or “male” and “female” have changed. No surprise we don’t have a working definition for middle class.

        Words don’t seem to have definitions anymore. They mean what you want them to mean. Hard to maintain rational discourse. But maybe that’s the point.

  17. David

    Those with a taste for the ironies of history will have been morbidly amused by the story about Kosovo.
    In 1984, as part of the final desperate attempts to keep post-Tito Yugoslavia together, yet another level of devolution was introduced, this time to the majority-Albanian province of Kosovo, and the partly-Hungarian province of Vojvodina. in Kosovo this led to control of the police passing from Belgrade to Pristina, and the consequent oppression of the minority Serb population, who complained and demonstrated, sometimes violently.

    The Party in Belgrade, which didn’t need any more problems, sent Slobodan Milosevic down to Pristina to calm the local Serbs down, but he was heckled and practically shouted off the platform. You can see him getting worried, and even afraid, in the TV news record of the event. From that moment on, it was clear that those politicians who wanted to survive would have to give up Communism and embrace ethno-nationalism pretty quickly, which is of course what happened.

    Sometimes, you wish that history would display a bit more imagination.

  18. Anon

    The Impunity of Sanctions Advocates

    I long ago came to realize, that the intention is not merely to cripple the subject, but in doing so, to exacerbate their grievances and radicalize them further. We need boogeymen to justify ongoing supremacy and profits. Hence eg. Putin as Lucifer, black people as “black”, etc. You lay siege from a distance by denying them access to resources, and once they become feral you assert this as evidence of their inherent, moral inferiority, justifying a prosperous crusade to defang them. A self-fulfilling prophecy that sprouts entire industries to maintain, and forever more perpetuate it (War on Drugs?). Fire and forget. This is why sermons such as this article fall on deaf ears, because they assume noble intention, and ignore the actual function.

  19. semper loquitur

    Glenn Greenwald presents Michael Tracy on former Censor in Chief of Twitter, Yoel Roth:

    Roth has a long history of pro-censorship scholarship. Typical Woke PMC grifter sociopath.
    Working to reduce “harm”.

    Notice: Posting of this comment is not meant to imply the poster believes Musk is the Spirit of Truth. Please address any concerns to Dailykos.

      1. semper loquitur

        Hysterics. And Roth calling for “services like Grindr” for young adults is grooming. Those services will be riddled with older men, like the Furries are riddled with pedophiles. This is obviously a pipeline being proposed by Roth. Obvious to everyone.

        Gotta love the selective outrage here as well. Where was it when people were being harassed and doxxed by blue-haired mobs on Twitter? Lives being ruined, businesses shuttered? Zilch-o. I’m willing to bet Roth was onboard with it. Paybacks are a bi+ch.

        The groomers attached themselves to the LGB community as cover. Now innocent people will pay the price. Lesbians are being erased, as are all queerfolk, slowly but surely. The Right has seized the banner of decency and reason; they are out for blood.

        1. hunkerdown

          And what about tomboys? What has the successor ideology done with my tomboys? *cries* This centuries-old dinner theater goes downhill ever faster. Food sucks, show’s even worse.

          Social structures decay without maintenance. The useless and frankly ideological consequences of gender could have been left on the floor at any time to denature themselves. Instead, we have the illusion of motion stimulated by titles of warrior nobility, “fighting for/against” something, e.g. “Fighting Against People Who Blaspheme Our Holy Democracy”, actually strengthening the polarity and the oppressive qualities of whatever institution or symbol, by piquing emotional investment and rewarding symbolic policing behavior. We also have gender roles and relations so socially over-weighted and symbolically important that people who can’t or won’t keep up bow out of or subvert the property entirely. Gender has lost its material basis and become a pure ideal.

        2. Aumua

          Hysterics? Do you think that Roth has not received many death threats already as the result of Musk insinuating that he is a pedophile? You don’t have to look further than the comments on this story to see that he has. Your gaslighting isn’t going to work here.

          The groomers attached themselves to the LGB community as cover. Now innocent people will pay the price … the Right has seized the banner of decency and reason; they are out for blood.

          and what is that but basically a terroristic threat? “If you don’t get your rampant pedophilia problem under control, gays, then there will be further attacks”

          What’s behind this is exactly what I said: homopohobia and/or transphobia.

          1. semper loquitur

            Nothing that hasn’t happened countless times on Twitter already, it’s just not a target you care for. It’s been business as usual for the Woke mob. See my points about lives ruined, etc. Again, your outrage is highly selective. That’s also business as usual.

            And frankly, I don’t care if groomers get threatened. Fu(k Roth and his Kiddie Grindr.

            I made that statement you quoted precisely because it is a threat. Thanks for explicating, I guess. Queerfolk are being lumped in with the groomers because it’s a convenient way to attack them. I’ve noticed that increasingly, they are voicing their concern and anger with that. Oh, that and being erased.

  20. farmboy

    “The old brick factory haunts along the mighty Mississippi River are dark, thanks to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and everyone else who sold us out for “free trade.” Keokuk, the gate city to the river, was once a bustling industrial and shipping hub but recently lost its hospital. Your best hope in rural Jefferson was to land a casino to save the town. You essentially can’t haul a load of hogs to the packinghouse in a pickup anymore: You need a contract and a semi. The sale barn and open markets are quaint memories. John Deere tractor cabs will be made in Mexico, not Waterloo. Our rivers are rank with manure. It tends to frustrate those left behind, and the resentment builds to the point of insurrection when it is apparent that the government is not here to help you.”

      1. IowanX

        Farmboy, ain’t that the truth. We built a regionally diversified economy with real resources production, strong value add, transportation infrastructure, and strong public services. and tossed it all away.All in the interest of the bigger is better, and unfettered monopoly capitalism. It makes me sad that we’ve tossed away so much, for so few and for little in the long run.

  21. upstater

    Exxon is apparently spending too much on dividends and buybacks. We need more fossil fuels. We really need more wastelands created so we can export to our NATO allies and fuel our SUVs. Frack, baby, frack:

    U.S. energy envoy Hochstein calls investor hostility to shale drilling “un-American,” Financial Times reports (reuters)

    U.S. energy envoy Amos Hochstein described the refusal of the country’s shale investors to ramp up drilling as “un-American” in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday.

    “I think that the idea that financiers would tell companies in the United States not to increase production and to buy back shares and increase dividends when the profits are at all-time highs is outrageous,” the White House’s chief energy adviser told the FT, adding, “It is not only un-American, it is so unfair to the American public”

    1. griffen

      The message is pretty clear. We’re gonna end your polluting industry and make you all bankrupt when are done. But in the meantime, will you please open all the spigots to the magic supplies of energy you keep in your secret vaults??

      Not defending the oil and gas industry mind you, but they are in the business of (gasps) profit making. By the way, today a gallon of 87 octane gasoline at my local grocery is roughly $2.70, as compared to the Quik Trip big station chain offering the same gallon of 87 octane for roughly $2.95.

      Oil and gas industry can point to the years of zero to negative profits and ask, politely perhaps, what the heck do you want again? They are telling Dark Brandon to pound sand. Keep draining the SPR with your brilliant energy schemes, Mr. President.

    2. Lex

      Those pop and gas investors lost a lot of money the last time the price dropped below production costs (which was sold as trying to destroy Russian oil but that was silly, it was the Saudis making shale unprofitable because Russia has a $20/bbl production price). So now they A. Want to recoup their losses and B. Don’t want to get burned again. Hochenstein is mistaking profit motive and patriotism. A common category error in American politics. What’s good for GM is not what’s good for america anymore.

  22. tegnost

    I’ll have to wait a few hours before I get my hands on a hard copy of the NYT to read the story, but 36 billion for a pension bailout that seems like it came out of nowhere (no stories leading up to what amounts to a surprise announcement) reeks. Marcie is probably happy. My expectation is rewarding bad managers. As to Grant Wahl, an autopsy would be good, otherwise I’m not buying. Found myself watching fauci friday night on the news hour, no, as in zero, mention of NPI’s.

    1. Objective Ace

      I’d be really interested in knowing how much of a kickback/royalty he gets for each vaccine sold. I used to give him the benefit of the doubt, that his heart was in the right place, but at this point all he ever says is “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate”. This after we know they barely stop transmission and last only a couple months.

      I really don’t see any other explanation for pushing them – and them alone – anymore except to line his own pocket

  23. LifelongLib

    I watched the first two linked videos from today and yesterday featuring Douglas Macgregor on Ukraine. I continue to be impressed by him, less by the other guy (Vlahos?). The latter seems anxious to blame things like “blue elites” and “deindustrialization starting with Clinton” for our current situation. There’s a lot more blame to go around than that.

    1. IowanX

      I watched the same two videos and had exactly the same reaction. McGregor knows his stuff and directionally it’s fine, but politically it’s wrong. The professor keeps saying it starts with Clinton, but it was Reagan that started the war on workers by crushing the PATCO strike, and he introduced “Neoconservative” to our lexicon.

        1. KLG

          I had a friend where we previously lived who was fired because of the PATCO strike. When I asked him what they thought they were getting when PATCO endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980, crickets. The full neoliberal turn began with Jimmy Carter when he loosed Alfred E. Kahn on the airlines and the world. Jimmy Carter was in many ways a good President, and he is a good man (ducks and covers). But he had little imagination of political economy beyond his petty bourgeois upbringing as the son of a “leading businessman” in Sumter County, Georgia. Noblesse oblige was real in the Carter family, but it doesn’t travel very far, in rural Georgia or anywhere else. That “Labor versus Capital was simply beyond his ken,” is a major subtext of Jonathan Alter’s biography, to me. President Carter was technocratic above all. Considering what has succeeded him in the past 42 years, though, I would take Jimmy Carter again in a heartbeat.

          Agree on Reagan, but I think “neoconservative” was coined by Michael Harrington, who also foreshadowed “neoliberal” in his 1972 book Socialism not too long after Foucault first brought it up in the late-1960s. But I would have to go back and re-read my (second) copy to complete the argument ;-)

  24. griffen

    I know this is being covered ad nauseam, but I am getting back to the linked video by the channel for Coffeezilla and the saga of FTX / SBF interviews. It is shocking but also maybe not, how Stephanopolous on ABC had him pegged regarding a bright red line about the FTX terms of service. As opposed to a CNBC anchor like Sorkin, but that’s a topic for another time. Digital assets actively being shifted over to Alameda is the bright red line and surely this will be the ultimate smoking gun. Oh and still the guy should really be fitted with a Hannibal Lecter mask so he stops talking to interviewers.

    Dude screwed people over, after all is said and done. Stories like this have just fascinated my interest for years, going all the way back to LTCM (Long Term Capital Mgmt) collapsing in 1997, the Enrons and Worldcoms collapsing and onward through today.

    1. eg

      If you enjoy those grifts, you could dial a little further back to the S&L scandal and Michael Milliken — good times!

      1. The Rev Kev

        True, but I read that about a thousand business people went to the slammer for their part in it at the time. These days, not so much a thing.

        1. griffen

          Somewhere along the way, the rule book got tossed into the dustbin of history and there is now an updated official book of rules. One book for thee and none for me. Pay the large fine and keep your irresponsible conduct to a minimum, say, Wells Fargo in recent years.

  25. spud

    there is some truth to his statement, “blue elites” and “deindustrialization starting with Clinton” for our current situation”

    all one needs to do is look at thomas pickettys famous graph to see a long gentle rise in inequality in the world.

    then in 1993, the arrow takes a steep rise in a upward trajectory that shows no sign of letup.

    “Those bleating about “free trade” are simply pushing a Darwinian strategy that benefits them above everyone else. US corporate profits have quadrupled since China entered the WTO; is this mere coincidence? No: global corporations arbitraged labor, credit, taxes, environmental/regulatory and currency inputs to dramatically lower their costs (and the quality of the goods they sold credit-dependent consumers) and thus boost profits four-fold in a mere 15 years while tossing the hapless consumers a few nickels of “lower prices always” (and lower quality always, too).”

  26. The Rev Kev

    Gotta say that that was a great image of that wolf in the Antidote du jour today. They are magnificent animals.

  27. ChrisPacific

    I see Uber is launching what they call “self-driving cars” in Vegas. They require two people to operate, twice as many as non-self driving cars require. You can’t make this stuff up.

Comments are closed.