Sunday, February 19, 2023
Speaking of Which
As usual, this is assembled piecewise as I find the pieces, kind of
like an Easter egg hunt. As such, the bits accumulate somewhat randomly,
although given the present political situation some topics inevitably
PS [02-20]: I added a comment on the Washington Post Ukraine editorial.
Top story threads:
Top stories for the week:
DeSantis and Trump: For a primer on these two asshole clowns,
consider how they interact: [02-18]
Inside the collapse of the Trump-DeSantis 'alliance of convenience'.
Lindsey Bever: [2022-05-10]
DeSantis mandates lessons on communism for high school students:
I missed this one at the time (h/t Steven Fraser, below). Florida
passed a law requiring that on Nov. 7 each year, teachers spend at
least 45 minutes lecturing students on the evils of communism. Of
course, back in my day, every day was "Victims of Communism Day,"
which is part of the reason I grew up thinking that everyone in a
position of authority was constantly lying to me. Of course, the
irony is that no one is working harder than DeSantis to make sure
that American students never hear about victims of capitalism, of
racism, of bigotry, of nationalism, of plain stupidity. Many never
will, and presumably that will be good for Republicans, but a few
will get a painful lesson in hypocrisy, and grow up like me.
Ben Burgis: [02-16]
Ron DeSantis Hates Democracy and Freedom.
Fabiola Cineas: [02-15]
Ron DeSantis's war on "woke" in Florida schools, explained.
Steve Contomo/Jeff Zeleny/Fredreka Schouten: [02-19]
Ron DeSantis' use of government power to implement agenda worries some
conservatives. He's pro-corporate, but only as long as the corps
back up his culture war ploys. This sort of abuse of power reminds me
of Tom DeLay's plot to force Washington lobbies to back his cultural
agenda: sure, we'll indulge your corruption, but only if you further
Tim Dickinson: [02-16]
This Christian 'Prophet' Backed Trump in 2020. Now He Says God Favors
DeSantis: Ever notice that God seems to be kinda fickle? Alternate
theory is that his self-proclaimed prophets are phonies.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: [02-17]
Who's Afraid of Black History?: Link lede was "Ron DeSantis Should
Be Careful of the Company He Keeps."
Margaret Hartmann: [02-13]
Trump's 'Meatball Ron' Nickname Is Better Than 'Ron DeSanctimonious':
Easier to spell, too.
Benjamin Hart: [02-15]
Matt Gaetz Didn't Need That Presidential Pardon After All: Yeah,
but it would have been so cool.
Ed Kilgore: [02-17]
Rick Scott's Revised 'Rescue Plan' Is Still Stuck on Stupid. I
gather he's been shamed into dropping the bit about sunsetting Social
Security and Medicare. I haven't revised my
but even if I credited him with a change of heart, not much else would
have changed. Also see [02-17]:
White House Congratulates Rick Scott For Confessing His Soc Sec Hatin'
ways. It's nice to see the White House not pulling punches over
Scott's trivial concession.
Kenny Stancil: [02-16]
GOP Has Introduced 84 Educational Gag Orders So Far in 2023:
DeSantis is the poster boy for Republican thought control, but is
far from the only one. While you're at it, you might consider the
history of gag rules, especially the famous one from
1836. (If you don't recognize it, maybe a remedial course in
Black History would help?)
Jeff Stein/Josh Dawsey/Isaac Arnsdorf: [02-19]
The former Trump aide crafting the House GOP's debt ceiling playbook:
"The national debt exploded on Russell Vought's watch. Now he wants
Republican lawmakers to play hardball."
Matt Stieb: [02-16]
Here's Every Single Lie Told by George Santos: I've resisted
citing this often-updated article for a month or more, but might
as well log it. Unlike late night comics, I have no particular
interest in this story (other than wondering who was supposed to
do opposition research on him -- I wouldn't want to have that on
my résumé). Also, the title is pretty daunting.
Flying Objects: It's open season, although it's gotten so
silly that even
Biden wants 'sharper rules' on unknown aerial objects.
Ellen Nakashima/Shane Harris/Jason Samenow: [02-14]
US tracked China spy balloon from launch on Hainan Island along unusual
path: This report says the balloon "may have been diverted on an
errant path caused by atypical weather conditions." It also suggests
that, given the balloon was tracked from its launch on Hainan (a large
island in the South China Sea) that the panic that ensued once the
balloon was seen by civilians in Montana was unwarranted. Biden could
have simply announced that we knew about the balloon, had tracked it
since its launch, and considered it harmless.
Chas Danner: [02-18]
Did an F-22 Blow Up an Illinois Club's Hobby Balloon? Perhaps
the doubt is because when a $150 million F-22 shoots a $472,000
AIM-9X Sidewinder at a $100 "pico" balloon there isn't much debris
left to analyze.
Jonathan Guyer: [02-13]
Why the balloon and UFO affairs are a Sputnik moment: "As all
these objects fall, a new space race is rising." The problem starts
with the phrase "Sputnik moment": the original event was turned into
fodder to fuel an arms race that resolve nothing; do the same thing
here and you'll get the same stupid results (or worse).
Fred Kaplan: [02-15]
The Very Serious Lessons We Should Learn From the Balloon Fiasco:
Starts by citing the Nakashima post (above), then adds that both China
and the US blew this incident up into something ridiculous, with their
instinctive claims of innocence, macho posturing, and faux rage. The
net effect was to add fuel to a conflict that neither side really wants.
Not that there aren't factions in the US stupidly spoiling for a fight
(most conspicuously among Congressional Republicans, not that Democrats,
some, following Obama's "pivot to Asia," aren't also encouraging).
Hot Rails to Hell: Mostly on the derailment in East Palestine,
Ohio. Also see Jeffrey St Clair's latest "Roaming Charges" (below) for
a pretty detailed summary.
Ukraine War: The war is approaching its first anniversary,
with a minor Russian offensive near Bakhmut, and not much more news
to report, other than a lot of posturing about how both sides are
resolved to fight on indefinitely, regardless of the costs.
Blaise Malley: [02-17]
Diplomacy Watch: Is the Biden team laying the groundwork for talks?
They still seem to be under the delusion that pre-negotiation posturing
will make a real difference when the only thing that will work is finding
a mutually tolerable agreement -- one that all that posturing, with the
suggestion of bending the enemy to your will, only makes less likely.
Luke Cooper: [01-30]
Ukraine's Neoliberal War Mobilization: "Low taxes, privatization,
and pared-back labor protections could undermine Ukraine's fight
against Russian aggression." One fact that's rarely been mentioned
is that Ukraine's economic performance since independence has been
worse than Russia's. That's a big part of the reason it can make
sense that some parts of Ukraine -- especially ones where Russian
is the first language -- might prefer reunification with Moscow to
continued rule from Kiev. Since the war started, Zelensky has been
pulled toward the US and Europe, mostly by his insatiable demand
for weapons, but nothing comes with no strings attached. He may be
hoping that after spending so much, the west will help Ukraine
rebuild, but in Washington the redevelopment choices are neoliberal
and even worse.
Francesca Ebel/Mary Ilyushina: [02-13]
Russians abandon wartime Russia in historic exodus. "Initial data
shows that at least 500,000, and perhaps nearly 1 million, have left
in the year since the invasion began."
Nicholas Kristof: [02-18]
Biden Should Give Ukraine What It Needs to Win: Some rather huge
hidden assumptions here, starting with the notion that the war can
be won, that Ukraine can win it, that there is a finite recipe of
weapons (and other aid, although Zelensky mostly just wants to talk
about weapons) that can do the trick, and that Biden has it within
his power to deliver them. Also that winning would be a good thing.
Anatol Lieven: [02-14]
Austria should buck the West and welcome Russia to key security
Anton Troianovski/Valerie Hopkins: [02-19]
One Year Into War, Putin Is Crafting the Russia He Craves:
I don't know whether that's an accurate headline, but the images
and descriptions of the propaganda barrage Russia is mounting to
bolster support for the war are unsettling. It's hard to tell how
effective this is, but the idea that defeating Russia in Ukraine
will cause Putin's house of cards to crumble is far from certain.
It's just as likely that, having been brought up on such propaganda,
Putin's successors will be even more gung ho than he is.
Erin Banco/Sarah Anne Aarup/Anastasiia Carrier: [02-18]
Inside the stunning gnrowth of Russia's Wagner Group: The obvious
question this raises is how does Wagner compare with the mercenary
outfits the US uses, like Blackstone?
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos: [02-16]
The Sy Hersh effect: killing the messenger, ignoring the message.
Remember: means, opportunity, motive. Hersh may not have every detail
right, but can you spin a more plausible story? The main argument
against the US having blown up the pipeline is that it would have
been a really stupid thing to do (if you ever get caught). Again,
I may spend too much time watching crime fiction, but the maxim at
work here is: "criminals do stupid stuff." Ergo, stupidity is not
a defense. It's practically a necessity.
Timothy Snyder: [01-23]
Why the world needs Ukrainian victory: The author, an historian
of the conflicts in 20th century eastern Europe, the study of which
has left him with an outsized hatred of Russia (although at least he
never was a Nazi symp; he started out as a protégé of Tony Judt, who
was perhaps overly excited by the emergence of democratic movements
following the Cold War). I can't imagine what a "Ukrainian victory"
might look like, but I'd be happy to see Russian troops pushed back
to pre-2014 borders (probably what he has in mind), or even to the
separatist borders before last March. Still, the cost of doing so
has already been huge, and will only get worse, so one has to doubt
the value is of protracting the war, especially given the stalemate
of the last six or so months.
Perhaps I might agree that "the world
needs a Russian defeat," but hasn't that already happened? And hasn't
history taught us that defeats (and for that matter "victories") are
often poor predictors of future peace? Perhaps "an utterly defeated
people" (to cite a phrase Israelis have used to describe the goal of
their plot against the Palestinians) isn't the best answer? Still,
Snyder is not just claiming that defeating Russia will be a good
thing in itself. He's arguing that Ukrainian victory will save and
redeem European civilization. And without having the slightest wish
to defend Putin, he's wrong on nearly every point. Quotes are from
his piece (answers to "why does the world need a Ukrainian victory?"),
followed by my brief notes:
- "To halt atrocity. Russia's occupation is genocidal." Not true.
Brutal? Impossible to justify? Sure.
- "To preserve the international legal order." There is no such
thing. Maybe there should be, but there are too many counterexamples,
including the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
- "To end an era of empire." Does this presume that the US, UK,
etc., will dismantle their empires (remember that the US has over
800 military bases abroad) if Russia fails in Ukraine? How does one
cause the other? I don't doubt that some Russians harbor nostalgia
for lost empire, and I don't approve, but fighting to defend fellow
Russians who accidentally found themselves on the wrong side of an
arbitrary border from threats they regarded as existential (one
might say "genocidal," but let's not), is rather limited compared
to, say, the European partition of Africa.
- "To defend the peace project of the European Union." Ukraine is
not part of the EU, so this seems out of bounds. The notion that
Russia is really fighting "against the larger idea that European
states can peacefully cooperate" is specious.
- "To give the rule of law a chance in Russia." Russia has no
shortage of "rule of law," nor is this likely to change regardless
of the outcome of the war. It is true that states at war tend to
become more repressive and less free (as Americans should know,
from our own experience), but what helps is ending the war, not
whether it is counted as a victory or defeat.
- "To weaken the prestige of tyrants." We're so gullible that we
need a war for this? "Fascism is about force, and is discredited
by defeat." Us so-called "premature antifascists" think fascism is
discredited by its acts. Are you suggesting that fascism would be
vindicated by victory?
- "To remind us that democracy is the better system." This assumes
that Russia isn't a democracy, which is the stock propaganda line,
but by most measures it's not much different from Ukraine: both have
elections and multiple parties, with both significantly corrupted by
oligarchs. Ukraine has been more volatile, partly because US and EU
interests have lobbied more there. But unless the war is settled by
some kind of referendum, there is no reason to think that its outcome
will be determined by differences in political system. [*]
- "To lift the threat of major war in Europe." The only reason the
threat exists in the first place is the exclusion of Russia from Europe,
which is defined by NATO and the EU. Defeating Russia in Ukraine may
make Russians meeker, or may make them more bitter and vengeful. Only
cooperation lifts the threat.
- "To lift the threat of major war in Asia." He means "a Chinese
invasion of Taiwan." This would take a long explanation, but in short
that doesn't follow.
- "To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons." More faulty reasoning.
He plays fast and loose here, drawing a conclusion from "if Ukraine
loses," whereas supposedly he's arguing for "Ukrainian victory," as
if there is no middle ground.
- "To reduce the risk of nuclear war." Partly derived from previous,
but also depends on a tautology: a Ukraine victory only happens if
Russia accepts defeat without resorting to nuclear arms, hence the
risk removal is defined into the proposition. Real problem is that
the proposition is the risk. Perhaps reasonable people might conclude
that if the use of nuclear weapons is worse than accepting defeat,
possessing nuclear weapons has no value. But are we dealing with
reasonable people, on either side? And if, perchance, the taboo
against using nuclear weapons is broken, the long-term risk of
nuclear war elsewhere will most likely increase.
- "To head off future resource wars." There is no reason to think
that frustrating this kind of war in one place will dissuade others
from trying it elsewhere. More often than not, the failure of one
war just encourages warriors to try harder next time.
- "To guarantee food supplies and prevent future starvation."
Another case of overgeneralization. Ukraine may be a powerhouse
granary, but pales compared to the threats posed by climate change.
- "To accelerate the shift from fossil fuels." To some extent the
war has already done this, but it is tangential to the outcome, and
in any case is something that should be decided on its own merits,
rather than as a side-effect of war gaming.
- "To affirm the value of freedom." So why not end with something
totally vacuous? Seems par for the course.
[*] When comparing democracies, you might want to consider Julia
Due to Wars and Climate Destruction, US Ranks Worse Than Peers on
'Impunity' Index: "A democratic system of government is insufficient
to fend off impunity." If you're unfamiliar with the concept: "Impunity
is the growing instinct of choice in the global order. It represents a
dangerous world view that laws and norms are for suckers." As best I
can tell, Russia ranks worse than China, which ranks worse than the
US, which is somewhere close to the median on a list of 160 countries.
Washington Post Editorial Board: [02-18]
How to break the stalemate in Ukraine: On reading the title, my
first thought was the way must be to press harder for a ceasefire and
a sensible settlement, since that's the only way the war can possibly
end. But no, they insist that "the West's overarching goal must be
ensuring that the Russian tyrant gains nothing by his aggression.
To allow an outcome that rewards the Kremlin in any way would be a
moral travesty." As opposed to their alternative, which prolongs
and intensifies the destruction and slaughter. They then go into
a long shopping list of weapons systems they want to send Ukraine.
And they insist the US should throw caution to the wind: "But a
principal lesson from the past year is that the risk of escalation
Nuclear weapons? "As for the Russian autocrat, he
has nothing left to escalate with other than manpower and nuclear
weapons. If the West adequately arms Ukraine, he cannot win with
the former and is very unlikely to resort to the latter, which
would alienate his most important ally, China. A tactical strike
by Russia would be one of history's greatest acts of self-immolation,
cementing Russia's pariah status for decades." The logic here is
hard to fathom, especially given that nuclear deterrence depends
on the mutual understanding of logic and nothing more. If the West
doesn't respect Russia's nuclear threat, and no longer shows that
respect by limiting its military response, why shouldn't Russia
follow through on its threat? If Russia is rational enough not to
use nuclear weapons, why isn't it rational enough to negotiate?
After all, it will only be "self-immolation" if the US decides to
retalliate massively -- a separate decision which should make the
US even more of a world pariah than Russia. After all, wouldn't a
US strategic nuclear attack on Russia also be self-immolation?
Thus far, both Biden and Putin have been sane enough not to
paint themselves into a corner where they have to follow through
on the dismal logic of their war strategists. Still, they have to
endure insanity like this editorial.
Peter Beinart: [02-19]
You Can't Save Democracy in a Jewish State. Of course, it's only
ever been a slogan. From 1949-67, Palestinians within the Green line
were able to vote, but subject to martial law, and Palestinians who
fled the atrocities (like the mass murder at Deir Yassin) were denied
re-entry as their homes and land was confiscated. After 1967, martial
law was relieved, but reinstated in the occupied territories, where
Palestinians were denied even the vote. As settlements encroached on
Palestinian lands, a two-tier system of (in)justice was implemented.
Now the right-wing wants to be able to strip citizenship and force
into exile those few Palestinians who still have it, and they want
to prevent the courts from reviewing whatever they do. Yet still
zionists liked to brag that Israel was "the only democracy" in the
region. Given that "democracy" is one of those slogans the US is
supposedly fighting for in Ukraine and elsewhere, you'd think the
loss of it in Israel might matter, but to the folks to direct US
foreign policy, it doesn't.
Ryan Cooper: [02-17]
Elon Musk Shows How Oligarchy Poisons the Speech Commons: "Free
speech is not when one rich guy gets to shout 1,000 times louder than
anyone else." And not just any rich guy: the one who now owns the
platform had Twitter tweak its algorithms to promote Musk's own
tweets. By the way, the least free speech in America is still
advertising, where the volume is simply scaled by money, and the
motives are always suspect, and often downright fraudulent. For
an example, see: Christian Downie/Robert Brulle [02-19]
Research Finds Big Oil's Trade Group Allies Outspent Clean Energy
by a Whopping 27x.
David Dayen: [02-03]
Amazon's Endgame: "The company is transitioning to become an
unavoidable gatekeeper in all commerce." It's really hard to get
a handle on how many angles a company like Amazon is playing to get
control over virtually all consumer spending. ("The real danger from
Amazon is that is invisibly takes a cut from everybody: consumers,
businesses, even governments.") The other thing that's hard to get
a grip on is that while this works mostly due to proximate monopoly
power, it's based on network effects and efficiencies of scale that
are impossible to compete with, so traditional antimonopoly remedies
(divestments, standing up competitors) won't work. What might help
would be to treat those parts of the business as natural monopolies
and strictly regulate them. Or one could create public utilities to
compete with them while eliminating many of the most onerous aspects
of the business (like the capture and sale of personal data). Of
course, a regulatory regime that would expose Amazon's side-dealing
would help make alternatives more competitive.
Huntger DeRensis: [02-15]
How a Super Bowl whitewash of Tillman cover-up was a helpful
reminder. I've long felt that the only reasons people join the
military are delusion and desperation. NFL star Tillman wasn't
desperate. There is some evidence that his delusions were lifting
before he was killed by other American soldiers, but that fact
itself should disabuse one of some of the most common delusions,
including the notion that the military serves the nation in any
substantive way, and that joining it is somehow heroic. much of
what I know about Tillman specifically comes from Jon Krakauer's
book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman,
who takes the whole macho/hero thing very seriously.
Lauren Fadiman: [02-13]
How a For-Profit Healthcare System Generates Mistrust of Medicine.
I haven't been looking for support on such an obvious point, but did
stumble across this:
Steve Fraser: [02-16]
The Spectre of "Woke Communism". Explains that DeSantis's rant
about "woke corporations" isn't a particularly novel idea: irate
right-wingers have a long history of conflating "Bankers and
Also at TomDispatch:
Andrew Bacevich: [02-12]
Tanks for Nuttin': Or "Giving Whataboutism a Chance." Tipped me
off to the silly Snyder piece above. As for "whataboutism": "When
the Russian president embarked on his war in 2022, he had no idea
what he was getting into, any more than George W. Bush did in 2003."
Also: "Classifying Russia as a de facto enemy of the civilized world
has effectively diminished the urgency of examining out own culture
Julia Gledhill/William D Hartung: [02-14]
Merger Mania in the Military-Industrial Complex: Hartung is a
long-term critic of Defense spending, with several books on the
subject, going back to And Weapons for All (1994), and
How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? A Quick and Dirty
Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration (2003).
So I'm a bit surprised that in looking at the latest scandals,
they don't mention the wave of defense contractor mergers in the
1990s (like Boeing-Douglas and Lockheed-Martin). Those were
supposedly guided by the Defense Department on the theory that
post-Cold War they wanted to reduce the number of competitors
for a shrinking pie. (Given the infamous "revolving door" take
that assertion with a grain of salt.) Of course, thanks to the
CIA's backing of Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, and the
neocon plot to "garrison the world," the pie actually expanded,
and the megacorporations spawned by the mergers became even more
politically influential than ever -- leading to this latest round
While it made sense during WWII to temporarily convert industry
to war production by guaranteeing high, low-risk profits (contracts
were typically "cost + 10%"), it was foolish to build a permanent
arms industry on that basis, specifically because it created a huge
independent political force lobbying for more war. The result is
that US foreign policy is now largely subordinate to the continued
profit of the arms manufacturers. Absent this corrupt influence, a
sensible foreign policy would focus on the need for peace, fairness,
and cooperation between all nations, instead of splitting the world
into permanent conflict zones. One example is the Abraham Accords,
where Israel and its former Arab enemies puy aside their differences
so that both can freely buy American arms to use against their own
people. Another is the expansion of NATO with its vilification of
Russia, eventually prodding Putin into creating the current Ukraine
bonanza. And then there's the militarization of what are basically
trade disputes with China. The latter hasn't blown up like Russia,
but if/when it does the consequences could be far worse.
Also relevant here is Stephen F Eisenman: [02-17]
The Insecure Superpower.
Amy Goldstein/Mary Jordan/Kevin Sullivan: [02-19]
Former president opts for home hospice care for final days:
Jimmy Carter, 98. I've listed him among the short list of era-ending
one-term presidents, along with Buchanan, Hoover, and Trump (a slightly
looser definition of era might also pick up John Adams, and maybe even
John Quincy Adams). Of those, Carter most resembled Hoover: an extremely
talented technocrat who faced bad times and made them worse through dumb
choices. When I look back now, the thing I'm most struck by is how many
of his choices anticipated turns toward disaster that we now associate
mostly with his successor, Ronald Reagan. He appointed Paul Volcker,
who crashed and burned the economy to smash unions and slay inflation.
He kicked off the fashion for deregulation. He exacerbated the Cold War
with his Olympics shenanigans, and more seriously by arming jihadis in
Afghanistan. He misplayed Iran, leaving a conflict that festers to this
day. He paved the way for the neoliberal turn in the Democratic Party,
a dead weight that still exercises undue influence.
On the other hand,
give him credit for actually doing something constructive about Israel
(even if he mostly rationalized it as countering Soviet influence in
Egypt). He negotiated the Begin-Sadat accord that guaranteed that Israel
would never again have to face a united front of Arab enemies. Less
known is how he backed Israel down from intervening in Lebanon in 1978.
Four years later, Reagan gave Begin the green light, leading to a
17-year occupation that failed in every respect, leaving Hezbollah
as the dominant power. Carter has often been maligned for being
critical of Israel (especially for his 2006 book, Palestine
Peace Not Apartheid, which is worth scanning through, even
though the reality now is worse than apartheid), but he was a truer
friend to Israel in 1978-79 than any of his more popularly obsequious
Also give Carter credit for a remarkable post-presidency, a
record of public service unique in American history, one that
worked on many levels, ranging from the mudane (Habitat for
Humanity) to high diplomacy. (His mission to North Korea, which
Clinton's people subsequently bungled, could well have nipped
that conflict in the bud.) I had hopes that Clinton and/or Obama
might have followed suit, but they opted instead to hobnob with
the rich and grow their fortunes (with the bad faith effectively
killing Hillary Clinton's political ambitions). At root, that's
because Carter was a fundamentally different kind of person --
one rarely seen in American politics. As one recent piece put it,
The un-celebrity president: Shunning riches, living modestly in
Laurie Hertzel: [02-15]
Is owning a lot of books a mark of middle-class smugness? This
popped up in the wasteland of bits that is my morning newspaper,
and rubbed me bad enough I decided to save the link. Smug? Sounds
like someone is insecure.
Ashley Parker/Justine McDaniel: [02-17]
From Freddie Gray to Tyre Nichols, early police claims often
misleading: "Misleading" is putting it mildly.
Can the Republican establishment finally stop Trump this time?
As someone who regards the "Republican establishment" as even more
malevolent than Trump, this is not a contest that interests me, but
you're welcome to consider it. Sure, based on the four years when
Trump was president, you could counter that Trump = the Republican
establishment (for policy, admin, and judges) + a media-obsessed
dose of crazy and extra risk of volatility, and that combination
of risk probably makes him worse. But don't lose sight of how bad
the other blokes are (or their handlers and donors).
A juicy new legal filing reveals who really controls Fox News:
"As Trump spread his stolen election lies, Fox was terrified of
alienating its own audience, emails and texts show." This comes
from Fox internal email collected by the Dominion Voting vs. Fox
Also: Erik Wemple: [02-17]
Fox News is worse than you thought;
and Matt Ford: [02-18]
The Fox News Text Messages Prove the Hosts All Know They're Craven
Liars; and Ben Beckett: [02-18]
Fox News Knew Donald Trump's Election Fraud Claims Were False. They
Broadcast Them Anyway. Texts uncovered in the Dominion Voting
lawsuit against Fox.
The rise of the Trump-Russia revisionists: Latest summary of the
latest analyses of the public reporting of Trump-Russia entanglement,
if you still give a whit. I've said my bit many times over. For this
one, note the chart comparing pre-2016 election search interest in
"Trump Russia" with the alleged Clinton scandals (email, foundation,
wikileaks). Even if Trump was maligned unfairly, the effect was much
less than the insinuation of scandal re Clinton -- something both
the FBI and mainstream media should be ashamed of (and not just
because it tipped the election to Trump, a more disastrous outcome
than the mainstream media, despite all their hyperventilation on
Russia, prepared us for). The other thing that should be noted is
that if reporters had a realistic concept of how political actors
work, they could have dismissed 80% of the bullshit out of hand,
instead of breathlessly repeating it for amusement.
Nathan J Robinson: [02-16]
The Apocalyptic Delusions of the Silicon Valley Elite: Interview
with Douglas Rushkoff on "how the super-rich plan to escape the world
after they've destroyed it." Rushkoff is what you'd call a social
critic, with a dozen-plus nonfiction books (plus some novels) since
1994, most related to tech. His latest is germane here: Survival
of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires. By
the way, I've picked up a copy of Robinson's new book Responding
to the Right. You can read an overview
Jeffrey St Clair: [02-17]
Roaming Charges: Train in Vain: Leads off with a lengthy report
on the East Palestine, Ohio train disaster -- probably the best piece
to read on the subject. Also includes significant sections on the
Seymour Hersh pipeline piece, which he doesn't accept at face value
but also doesn't reject out of hand ("the lack of any follow-up
reporting from the New York Times or Washington Post, to either
confirm or discredit Hersh's story, is one of the more shameful
episodes in a dismal couple of decades for American journalism").
And some pertinent comments on the art of shooting things down,
as well as more statistics and details about prisoning America.
One stat I basically knew is that we're running more than one
mass shooting per day in 2023. One I didn't realize is that there
have been over 1,000 train derailments (basically, 3 per day) for
many year running. Also includes a
L7, about assholes and their wars.
Ask a question, or send a comment.