Friday, January 24, 2020

Another runaway post

You can see more pretty oils by Zingitis here.

Digby has a new address.

Michael Moore's podcast, Rumble, has an interview with Anand Giridharadas about how the incredibly rich scam us into giving up more and more of our lives, and try to get us to love them for it, "Please Let Me Rob You, I'm Woke. [...] But what happens when the very people hoarding this wealth at the expense of democracy, the environment and an equitable society, re-brand themselves as the people who will fix society's problems? What happens when the arsonists pose as the firefighters?"

"Virginia Votes to Ratify ERA, Setting Up Likely Legal Battle: Court ruling or congressional action likely needed to override 1982 deadline Virginia on Wednesday became the 38th state to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, teeing up an expected legal battle over whether the approval counts. The Trump administration has said the ratification deadline expired by 1982, a decade after Congress first passed the ERA, which would enshrine women's equality in the U.S. Constitution. It may take a court ruling or congressional action to override that decision and determine whether the vote in Virginia, which pushed the number of ERA-approving states across a necessary three-fourths threshold, should lead to amending the Constitution.:" Well, I wasn't expecting that headline at this late date!

"Bernie Sanders leads Donald Trump by widest margin of all 2020 candidates: election poll: SurveyUSA asked 4,069 registered voters nationwide how they would vote in an election today if Trump was pitted against each of the 2020 candidates in the Democratic race. The progressive Vermont independent came out on top. The poll found that 52 percent of voters would choose Sanders and 43 percent Trump, giving the veteran senator a nine-point lead. Next was former vice president Joe Biden at 50 percent to Trump's 43 percent, a seven-point lead."

Hillary Clinton came out to lead her hate-fest against Bernie Sanders again, claiming no one likes him and he can't build coalitions. The Atlantic debunked this one ages ago, showing that Democrats and Republicans alike have praised him on this very thing. Not that it should be necessary, since, as surely everyone knows, Bernie Sanders was co-founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and chaired it for its first eight years, so it sure looks like he is used to working with others. But even Peter and Leela Daou, having come to their senses and remembered what they actually believe in after getting wound up defending Hillary for two years, came right out in public to say that, "I worked for Hillary Clinton. Her attacks on Bernie Sanders are a big mistake: Why is Clinton amplifying destructive myths about Sanders and his supporters just weeks before the primaries begin?"

"S. Carolina elected official now backing Sanders over Biden: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina elected official who endorsed Joe Biden last month is switching her allegiance to Bernie Sanders in the state's first-in-the-South presidential primary, saying she had viewed the former vice president — whose support in the state is considered deep -- as 'a compromise choice.' Dalhi Myers told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she was making the change in part because she values what she sees as Sanders' strength in being able to go toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump in the general election. 'I looked at that, and I thought, 'He's right,'' said Myers, a black woman first elected to the Richland County Council in 2016. 'He's unafraid and he's unapologetic. ... I like the fact that he is willing to fight for a better America — for the least, the fallen, the left behind.'"

"We Tortured Some Folks: The Report's Daniel Jones On The Ongoing Fight To Hold The CIA Accountable: MONDAY MARKED THE five-year anniversary of the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's executive summary on the CIA's torture program. The former top Senate Intelligence Committee investigator, Daniel Jones, and his team combed through 6.3 million pages of CIA records. Jones discusses the yearslong battle with the Bush and Obama administrations to make public the findings of this still-classified 7,000-page report. In this bonus episode, Jones expands on the torture report findings. Jones is the subject of the new feature film, 'The Report,' starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening, and the host of its companion podcast, 'The Report Podcast,' with Kelly McEvers, where they unpack the story of the CIA's torture program, the Senate's investigation, and the ensuing cover-up.

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"Entire Afghanistan War A Fraud, Rich People Scrubbing History"

I need to introduce this Lee Camp video:

Anyone who was paying attention knew that The Most Trusted Names In News were telling you lies for at least the last couple of decades. A lot of us warned that false information was being funneled into an ever-contracting news-gathering apparatus controlled by self-serving billionaires who happily broadcast single-sourced press releases straight from the White House and/or the Republican Party, unedited, to your pages and screens without any real investigation. You weren't allowed to argue with these obvious lies in American mass media. There might have been the occasional op-ed from some college professor few had heard of expressing doubts, but it might as well not have been there for all the acknowledgement it received from broadcast media. Phil Donahue was fired from his popular slot on MSNBC for opposing the invasion of Iraq, something that should have generated wall-to-wall outrage from working journalists of every stripe, but it was barely reported and was forgotten within days instead. The only person who was allowed to express those doubts on the air at all was actor Janeane Garafalo - because she could be ridiculed as a mere actress - but at least there was one debater allowed on the air - ironically, on Fox News.

But, pretty much no one at all asked why we had to invade Afghanistan. Surely no one even believed the fantasy that Osama bin Laden was in a high-tech James Bond villain-type cave fully supported by the government of Afghanistan, could they? Everyone knew that bin Laden and his merry band were Saudis, right? When the normally timid Barbara Lee voted against the attack on Afghanistan, she was the sole member of Congress to do so, which generated lots of hate for her on Fox but no defense from fellow Democrats. We went into Afghanistan without a whimper of objection in the "serious" and "respectable" American media.

Be that as it may, when American citizens who want to argue with this blatant propaganda look for an outlet, they generally have to go abroad for a platform. And then they get dismissed by not only the mainstream media but by our very own, "liberal blogosphere"-spawned unpaid social media gatekeepers who seem to think there is anything more reliable about the New York Times or CBS than there is from internet comedians on RT. Bollocks.

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"Hear the Bern Episode 32 | Bernie Gets It Done (w/ Warren Gunnels): Next time someone asks you what Bernie has accomplished in his career, send them this podcast and tell them that we had to leave the better part on the cutting room floor just to get it under an hour. Featuring veteran policy advisor to the Senator, Warren Gunnels."

The Maryland Democratic machine actually resisted the prospect of electing the Democrat who won the primaries so much that state elective officials told the press they were supporting the Republican. Ben Jealous was a union guy with progressive policies, so Democrats backed a man who Alex Pareene calls, "The Most Popular Crook in America: The ominous approval ratings of Larry Hogan, the corrupt Republican governor of Maryland Maryland Governor Larry Hogan repeatedly steered state transportation development money to projects that would increase the value of his real estate holdings, according to a lengthy investigation by Washington Monthly's Eric Cortellessa. Cortellessa reports that Hogan, who ostensibly left his brother in charge of his real estate brokerage firm when he was elected, has, in fact, maintained ownership and control while serving as governor; the trustees he handpicked to run his company have continued to keep him apprised of its business dealings. And as governor, he has advanced highway and road construction projects that directly boosted the value of land owned by his company. Those efforts have proved extraordinarily lucrative: During his first three years in office, Hogan reported $2.4 million in income, more than four times his salary. No other governor in the history of the state has made as much, according to Maryland's former Secretary of State John Willis. Hogan, he told Washington Monthly, is the only governor in the history of Maryland 'to have made millions of dollars while in office.' [...] Hogan, on the other hand, is exactly the 'normal' to which politicians like Joe Biden promise to return us when they try to speak into existence a Republican Party that they can 'work with.'"

And since Pareene has been on a roll, check out this earlier piece, "How Political Fact-Checkers Distort the Truth Glenn Kessler and his ilk aren't sticking to the facts. They're promoting a moderate dogma. At the June 28 Democratic presidential debate, Senator Bernie Sanders said, 'Three people [in this country] own more wealth than the bottom half of America.' And Glenn Kessler, who leads The Washington Post's 'Fact Checker' blog, wrote, 'This snappy talking point is based on numbers that add up.' But Kessler, having checked the fact and confirmed that it was true, for some reason continued checking. 'People in the bottom half have essentially no wealth,' he helpfully pointed out. 'So the comparison is not especially meaningful.' That seems like a judgment call best left to, say, a 'meaning-checker,' but Kessler, a former business section editor who happens to be a descendant of Royal Dutch Shell and Procter & Gamble executives—an actual member of the American elite and a likely member of the one percent—makes Sanders the regular target of his attempts to police the bounds of acceptable political realities from his perch at The Washington Post. In June, he dinged Sanders for saying that 'millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs'—because, while Sanders was right, at least eight million do work more than one job, 95 percent of Americans don't. His team has also taken on Sanders's claim that health care costs lead to 500,000 bankruptcies a year, going so far as to fact-check the study where Sanders found that statistic. Finding fault with its premises, they declared the study to be untrue, and awarded the candidate three 'Pinocchios' for referencing it. (In the lexicon of the Post's fact-checking department, lies, rather than causing Pinocchio's nose to grow, cause him to spontaneously reproduce, like a very naughty paramecium.) [...] Because Kessler is particularly bad at his job—or, rather, because he is doing a different job, that of a centrist columnist disguised as a fact-checker—he has deflected attention from his competitors, most of whom also routinely mistake elite conventional wisdom for truth. In September, PolitiFact, the venerable fact-checking operation run by the nonprofit Poynter Institute, waded into a fight between Julian Castro and Joe Biden over their health care plans, and found a disputable but eminently supportable claim Castro has made—that there is a 'big difference' between a plan people are automatically enrolled in and one they opt into—to be 'mostly false.' When Elizabeth Warren blamed trade policy for American job losses, an Associated Press fact check said, 'Economists mostly blame those job losses on automation and robots, not trade deals.' Some economists have indeed made that claim, but others vehemently disagree—pointing out that very little, if any, evidence exists to support the automation thesis. What may look like the unquestioned assumptions of centrist economists appear to these organizations, somehow, as cold, hard facts. Ironically, had fact-checkers kept to this narrow interpretation of the facts, they might actually be useful today. Trump deals less in shifty evasions and omissions than he does in clear falsehoods. While some of his claims can be hard to verify, the just-the-facts approach will catch most of his 'whoppers' (to use a highly technical fact-checking term). The trouble is, fact-checkers have expanded their purview from checking strictly empirical statements to 'checking' contestable political statements. As a result, Trump's most glaring whoppers—such as his ludicrous suggestion last April that wind turbines cause cancer—appear no different than Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's contention that it's morally wrong to pay people less than a living wage."

At first when I saw this headline I thought this was The Onion — because it's true. But no, it turns out to be The Washington Post. "The 1% are much more satisfied with their lives than everyone else, survey finds: An NPR/Harvard poll shows that, among the rich, 97 percent say they're living the 'American Dream.'"

Stepping in to sow division, "Yet Another Round of Clinton Smears." He didn't even mention that Clinton was the one with the army of online trolls set up to sow division in the party.

In this segment, Nomiki tells Sam about the time she was getting death threats from the Clinton campaign trolls and she told the DNC to make it stop, and it stopped.

"Andrew Yang and the Failson Mystique," in which Amber A'Lee Frost argues that, "America has already witnessed the largest UBI experiment known to history — the postwar middle-class housewife. And she was utterly miserable."

"Biden Accidentally Makes Case for Medicare for All by Admitting Employers Can Take Away Your Insurance—Even If You Like It: 'No you don't have the choice, but you had the choice to — that's why — I'm not saying, I said, if you like your plan, you can keep it, assuming — I should add the obvious — if your employer doesn't take it away from you. OK?'"

Pretty terrible campaign news here, "Bernie-Elizabeth Tacit Alliance Frays." You can read the piece, but what I get from it is that in a week when French protesters forced Macron to back down on raising the retirement age, more and more of Trump's crimes were exposed and he bragged about selling US troops as mercenaries to Saudi Arabia (or did he just give them away for free?) , and, oh, we had only just recently been on the brink of war (and maybe still are), Elizabeth Warren thought it would be a good idea to make sure the big topic for the last debate before the first primary vote was that Bernie Sanders was sending his campaign out to "trash" her, and then next day "someone" leaked the unlikely claim that Sanders told her two years ago that a woman couldn't win the presidency. (Kristal Ball is on a real tear about this Clintonesque betrayal, and I can't help agreeing with her.) The buzz has been that Warren has hired Hillary's people and if David Brock is one of them this is just the sort of thing he does. This makes Warren look weak, and the fact that she's suddenly shifted to a BernieBro-type of tone just means her advisors are screwing her over. Seems to have backfired. But Taibbi thinks the network was even worse: "CNN's Debate Performance Was Villainous and Shameful: The 24-hour network combines a naked political hit with a cynical ploy for ratings [...] This time, the whole network tossed the mud. Over a 24-hour period before, during, and after the debate, CNN bid farewell to what remained of its reputation as a nonpolitical actor via a remarkable stretch of factually dubious reporting, bent commentary, and heavy-handed messaging." (Taibbi's follow up is "Media Stupidity Is Uniting Left and Right: After CNN's debate ambush and MSNBC's body-language analysis, loathing of media is becoming a crossover phenomenon.")

"Joe Biden Lies to the New York Times About His Attempt to Gut the ACA's Contraceptive Coverage, Rambles Incoherently About the Hyde Amendment: Joe Biden—who somehow continues to be the frontrunner in the Democratic primary despite repeatedly lying about his opposition to the war in Iraq and evincing a decades-long passion for cutting Social Security—also continues to be on his bullshit about everything from his support for the Hyde Amendment to his attempts to gut contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act." Biden had tried to pretend that video of him from C-Span huckstering Social Security cuts that David Sirota put round was "doctored" and that he'd never tried to cut Social Security, which had half of Twitter out with more C-Span videos of him doing the same thing multiple times, and even The Washington Post admits that his record makes him vulnerable.

Democracy NOW!, "Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: Qassem Soleimani Worked with U.S. in Fight Against Taliban & ISIS: [...] But let's take that and apply it to what we're looking at today. In September of 2015, I was in the Roosevelt Room in the White House. President Obama came out of the Oval Office, sat down across from me, with Secretary John Kerry beside him. And we were there ostensibly to be thanked for our help on the nuclear agreement with Iran. The president launched into a 30-minute disquisition that he began with these words: 'There is a bias in this town toward war.' I almost fell off my chair. That's what I teach. But I didn't think that any president, even one who had been in office for seven years, would ever come to that conclusion. Clearly, here was one who was intelligent enough to have come to that conclusion. But what he was telling us was he didn't know what to do about it."

Richard Eskow, "The Progressive's Guide to Corporate-Democrat Speak:'Purity test'? 'Pragmatic progressive'? 'Free stuff'? What are these politicians talking about?" This is a handy primer but I think he should have included the fact that "centrist" is genuinely constructed jargon to make right-wing Democrats sound mainstream.

New polling shows that "Americans want jobs, not war," and they want spending on health care and other public goods instead of war toys.

David Dayen, "Goldman Sachs's Shell Game: The mega-bank has created 61 different off-balance-sheet corporations with help from companies based in the Cayman Islands. That looks in no way shady! Tyson Slocum has embarked on a crusade the past few months that would make I.F. Stone jealous. The director of Public Citizen's Energy Program has stumbled into some genuinely novel evidence about how mega-banks cloak their entry into commodity markets. First, Slocum found associations between JPMorgan Chase and an allegedly non-affiliated entity buying a power station in El Paso, Texas, links that the bank would eventually acknowledge. But Slocum's discovery regarding Goldman Sachs seems even more revelatory. The banking giant has set up at least 61 different off-balance-sheet entities controlling various investment assets, all of which have the same three-member panel of 'independent' directors. The directors were all leased from 'rent-a-director' firms based in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. 'They're almost like a dating site, choose your director,' says Slocum, who is protesting one of the entities as it requests regulatory approvals at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These transparently affiliated shell corporations enable Goldman Sachs to avoid FERC limitations on sales of electric power, bank regulatory requirements around participating in pooled investment funds, merchant banking restrictions, and requirements to add capital in case of losses. 'Goldman Sachs has enormous financial and regulatory incentives to keep these entities off the books,' Slocum says. The sham directors fulfill corporate governance rules without having to put the fate of the shell companies in the hands of anyone with independent thought. In other words, it's a useful and lucrative fiction, manipulating the securities laws to conceal the truth."

"Unmasking the secret landlords buying up America: America's cities are being bought up, bit by bit, by anonymous shell companies using piles of cash. Modest single-family homes, owned for generations by families, now are held by corporate vehicles with names that appear to be little more than jumbles of letters and punctuation — such as SC-TUSCA LLC, CNS1975 LLC — registered to law offices and post office boxes miles away. New glittering towers filled with owned but empty condos look down over our cities, as residents below struggle to find any available housing. All-cash transactions have come to account for a quarter of all residential real estate purchases, 'totaling hundreds of billions of dollars nationwide,' the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — the financial crimes unit of the federal Treasury Department, also known as FinCEN — noted in a 2017 news release. Thanks to the Bank Secrecy Act, a 1970 anti-money-laundering law, the agency is able to learn who owns many of these properties. In high-cost cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami, it's flagged over 30% of cash purchases as suspicious transactions. But FinCEN also cites this bill to hide this information from the public, leaving the American people increasingly in the dark about who owns their cities. For journalists, it requires undertaking a tremendous investigative effort to find the real owner of even one property, let alone millions. 'It reminds me of Moldova after the fall of the Soviet Union: oligarchs running wild, stashing their gains in buildings,' James Wright, an attorney and former Treasury Department bank examiner, told me. [...] With anonymity comes impunity, and, for vulnerable tenants, skyrocketing numbers of evictions. It wasn't until reporters from The Guardian and The Washington Post began to investigate, for example, that residents living in hundreds of properties across the South learned that they shared a secret landlord, hiding behind names such as SPMK X GA LLC: Fox News personality Sean Hannity."

"Economists 'Surprised Americans Aren't Revolting' Over $8,000 Tax They Pay Each Year Due to For-Profit Healthcare System: The payments made to the U.S. healthcare system are 'like a tribute to a foreign power, but we're doing it to ourselves.'"

Here's a fun little episode of Useful Idiots in which Katie and Matt have some useful insights and then a chat with Nina Turner.

R.J. Eskow and Diane Archer reminding me how lucky I am that I escaped to Britain before I ever had to go on the health insurance shopping spree every year, "Don't let the Trump administration corporatize Medicare". Oh, God, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

EuroYankee, "The Smears Against Bernie Must Be Stopped—Here's How to Do It: A rapid response guide to 23 classic anti-Bernie smears. This is a handy guide to beating back the ridiculous and vile smears that are being leveled at Bernie Sanders, and in particular those that may compare him to Joe Biden."

RIP: Steve Stiles (1943-2020): Steve Stiles, one of fandom's all-time great artists, died during the night on January 12, only a few days after he shared on Facebook that he had cancer and a short time to live. It's a double shock to his wide circle of friends who were still adjusting to the first piece of news. His awards history barely begins to scratch the surface of how much he meant to fandom over the past fifty-plus years, substantial as it is. He earned the first of his 17 Best Fan Artist Hugo nominations in 1967, winning the award in 2016. He's won 15 FAAn Awards, presented by fanzine fans at Corflu, since the award was revived in 2001. And Steve was the first winner of the Rotsler Award (1998), a career honor for fan artists." There's a lot of stuff in Mike Glyer's obit about his pro work, too, and also some fascinating things I never knew. He was an important part of my life for a long time and I have often missed him since moving to London. I'll also always cherish that moment when we were in that room party (I think it was Boston in 1980) where John Shirley was rhapsodizing about fatherhood and using a lot of sentences that started with, "I believe..." and when he wound down Steve quietly remarked, "I believe my suitcase comes from Saturn." I have stolen that line many times.

RIP: "Mike Resnick (1942-2020): Mike Resnick, who at his zenith was one of the most popular figures in the science fiction fan and pro community, died January 9. He was nominated for the Hugo Award 37 times, winning 5, and 11 Nebula nominations, with 1 win. He was a Guest of Honor at Chicon 7 in 2012." Mike edited a lot of anthologies, famously doing alternate histories as well as his Women Writing Science Fiction As Men and the vice-versa companion book.

RIP: Terry Jones, 77. Another Python gone. Stephen Fry tweeted: "Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind."

RIP: "Roger Scruton: Conservative thinker dies at 75." I won't pretend I never deliberately mispronounced his name, especially after that time he accused me of destroying British culture when we got the courts to acknowledge that there was no proof of harm from seeing pornography.

RIP: "Barbara Testa, Hollywood librarian who found 'Huck Finn' manuscript in her attic, dies at 91: Barbara Testa had enjoyed a perfectly anonymous life in Hollywood until she crawled up in the attic one day and opened a steamer trunk left behind by her grandfather, a 19th century attorney with powerful friends. Inside, amid the letters and ledgers James Fraser Gluck had stowed away, was a handwritten manuscript that would solve a century-old literary riddle and plunge Testa into the headlines in a mounting dispute over ownership of the precious document, the missing first half of the original copy of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

David Graeber on how the "center" threw the election to the right, "The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the 'Brexit Election'. [...] This simultaneous embrace of markets, and of rules and regulations, represents the soul of what's sometimes called 'centrism.' It's a decidedly unlovely combination. Nobody truly likes it. But the talking classes had reached an absolute consensus that no politicians who departed significantly from it could possibly win elections. In 2015, the handful of 'hard Left' MPs of the Socialist Campaign Group, who fell well outside this consensus, were largely considered mildly entertaining Seventies throwbacks. The election of one of them as party leader was therefore treated—both by the party establishment and their allies in the left-of-center media outlets like The Guardian—as an embarrassing accident that had to be immediately reversed. Corbyn was declared 'unelectable.' In order to demonstrate this, dozens of Labour MPs initiated an immediate campaign to render him so, via an unceasing barrage of press briefings, leaked documents, attempts to create false scandals, and a campaign of sustained psychological warfare directed against Corbyn himself—essentially waging an active and aggressive campaign against their own party. Tony Blair even openly stated that he would rather see his own party defeated than come into power on Corbyn's leftist platform. [...] Most sitting Labour MPs had begun as Labour youth activists themselves, just as most centrist political journalists had begun their careers as leftists, even revolutionaries, of one sort or another. But they had also risen through the ranks of Blair's machine at a time when advancement was largely based on willingness to sacrifice one's youthful ideals. They had become the very people they would have once despised as sell-outs. Insofar as they dreamed of anything, now, it was of finding some British equivalent of Barack Obama, a leader who looked and acted so much like a visionary, who had so perfected the gestures and intonations, that it never occurred to anyone to ask what that vision actually was (since the vision was, precisely, not to have a vision). Suddenly, they found themselves saddled with a scruffy teetotaling vegan who said exactly what he really thought, and inspired a new generation of activists to dream of changing the world. If those activists were not naive, if this man was not unelectable, the centrists' entire lives had been a lie. They hadn't really accepted reality at all. They really were just sellouts.":

"Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future: " - This London Review of Books article is so depressing I don't even want to quote from it.

Screaming far-left radical John F Kennedy argues for universal healthcare.

"Mobilization and Money: I'm nearly finished with a very long book that may well be the best illustration of the basic principles of Modern Money Theory available. The book is 'A Call To Arms,' by Maury Klein. It is an historical account of the U.S. mobilization as it prepared for, and engaged in, war with Germany and Japan. The scale of the task was unprecedented in human history—and the accomplishment of it changed not just the structure of the American economy, but American society as well. What is striking about the story—and the monumental effort to quickly build, virtually from scratch, the largest and most sophisticated war machine ever to exist on the planet—is that there is nary a peep of concern or argument about how this enormous task would be paid for. All of the anguish and struggle had not to do with finding enough 'money' to pay for things, but rather with finding enough things to buy—and enough skilled labor to properly marshal it all together. In the end, virtually every real resource available in the continental U.S.—oil, gas, steel, aluminum, rubber, copper, sugar, tin, and man-hours of labor—was purchased by the Federal government to build the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps that ultimately defeated the Axis powers. The scale of the sovereign spending is almost beyond comprehension—especially given the fact that, at the starting gate, the U.S. economy was still decimated and impoverished by the Great Depression. At the finish line, however—VJ day, September 2, 1945—the U.S. had become the most powerful, efficient, and equitable economic power the world had ever seen. So how did it all get paid for? And even more important, how did we travel from that VJ day of economic triumph to our sorry state of today, where we think we are so 'broke' we can't even afford to hire enough fire-fighters and equipment to put out the forest-fires raging in our western states?" Of course, it worked by MMT - not a theory, but just the way things are done. The question has never been how to pay for things - we can do that easily. The question, always, is what to spend the money on.

Mark Fisher's 2013 piece, "Exiting the Vampire Castle: We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital's work for it by condemning and abusing each other. This doesn't mean, of course, that we must always agree — on the contrary, we must create conditions where disagreement can take place without fear of exclusion and excommunication."

"Why was pioneering director Alice Guy-Blaché erased from film-making history? A new documentary sheds light on the career of the forgotten Frenchwoman who helped write the rules of film [...] Guy-Blaché was in the room when the Lumière brothers held the first ever cinema screening, in Paris in March 1895. By the following year, she was making her own films. And while the Lumières were still hung up on cinema as a technological spectacle — 'Look! A train!' — Guy-Blaché immediately saw its potential for telling stories. Even her 60-second debut, The Cabbage Fairy, had a fictional narrative (a fairy conjures babies from cardboard cabbages). As time went on, Guy-Blaché helped write the rules of this brand new medium. She incorporated now-standard techniques such as editing, primitive special effects and hand-tinted colour. She might even have invented the music video, back in 1905, with her use of newfangled 'chronophone' technology, by which singers were filmed lip-syncing to a prerecorded playback."

I posted a link to a story about this survey when it came out, but I could never find the original survey report. For completeness sake, here it finally is, saying that people on social media found Hillary Clinton's supporters the most obnoxious after Trump's.

Linkrot already got another article I posted and still occasionally want to link to, but the Web Archive comes through again, "The American Prison in the Culture Wars."

"Picardilly Circus: TfL renames Tube station to celebrate Star Trek launch: For 48 hours Piccadilly Circus will be renamed PICARDilly Circus to celebrate the launch of Amazon's original series Star Trek: Picard." I didn't see it but the article has pictures, and Rob took some more posted here..

I got Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series for Christmas and I absolutely love it, in case you're interested.


  1. Huh. How do you pronounce Scruton's name? I've only ever seen it written or printed, and just sounded it out, like my mother taught me to do.

    1. It's pronounced pretty much like you think it is. I kind of change a vowel here and a consonant there sometimes when I pronounce it.

  2. If it feels like I've been around for 15 years, it's because I have been. Yep, the Jurassic One wrote his first blog post about John Kerry and the 2004 election 15 years ago. But my rent's gone up $150 over the last decade and Mrs. JP, Popeye the cat and I need help. So if you can help us out in any way possible, please do so. There are Paypal links on my site.