cartoon by Michael Leunig
Every once in a while I take a quick peek at the publications that I once lauded for their insight, their investigative reporting, and their courage to speak truth to power. Basically I wanted to read their response to award-winning journalist Sy Hersh’s exposé on the Biden-approved US Navy/CIA bombing of Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines.
So I glanced at the headlines in the NYT, the latest New Yorker, the Guardian, and Daily Kos, just to get a sampling. Other than one buried verbatim transcription of the White House’s and CIA’s one-sentence “utterly false” dismissal of the revelations, there was nothing. Complete silence. (Billmon has elaborated on Sy’s article, as have Patrick Lawrence and Craig Murray.)
I suppose, like all the other times they have been embarrassed to have been duped and caught in monstrous US military war-crime lies (My Lai and Vietnam, Abu Ghraib, the Hill & Knowlton PR con about Kuwaiti baby incubators being turned off, the “shock and awe” Iraq Wars, the obscene war in Afghanistan, the photo-op Navy Seals’ murder of Bin Laden in a Pakistani prison, and on and on and on), these complicit news media hope that if they say nothing people will forget about their grievous misreporting and move on. Their mastheads should read: We Never Apologize.
These once-important news and analysis sources are now really nauseating to read. Endless, amateurish, shameless, information-free, anti-Russia, anti-China, anti-Iran, war-mongering, fear-mongering screeds, full of hate and fury and misinformation and dutifully transcribed propaganda from the Pentagon and CIA spooks and White House PR offices. Reading even just the staggeringly-biased headlines and the first paragraphs visible above the paywalls now leaves me feeling polluted, disgusted, insulted, and abused.
It’s just scary to think that a lot of people believe these rags are reporting something even vaguely resembling the truth. Having read just a bit of what I’ve been missing since I turned them off, I have to go take a bath and scrub off the dirt.
you don’t suppose this would have anything to do with Biden’s attempts to foment war with a certain foreign country, do you?
How to give up: Dark Mountain Manifesto co-author Dougald Hine talks about XR’s decision to abandon Direct Action, the inspiration of Oaxaca’s Gustavo Esteva, and what we can do next after we discover we have no choice but to give up and walk away from everything we once believed to be true, including our false sense of control and power and agency and certainty about the future, and words that have lost their meaning. But I’m dismayed he’s looking at the disastrously unsuccessful 12-step ‘surrender to your powerlessness’ program as a model going forward. We’d be better looking to wild creatures for ideas on coping with collapse, rather than new religions. The crows can show us how the light actually gets in.
Bend not break: Nate Hagens has a 5-part series of interviews with Daniel Schmachtenberger on adapting to and coping with collapse and the polycrisis; the 3rd (outline and transcript; video) on the psychology of collapse, and the 5th (outline and transcript; video) on strategies for dealing with it, are IMO the most valuable. Thanks to Paul Heft for the links.
Biding time: Lovely essay from Flat Caps on how our perception of time has evolved and now come unraveled, and how that perception determines our worldview on collapse.
Will political collapse accompany economic & ecological collapse?: Two measures of political collapse are corruption and kleptocracy, and they are on the upswing everywhere.
Why a transition to renewable energy is an impossible dream: Albert Bates employs the chart above to explain some of the reasons, and Richard Heinberg elaborates:
This means that, if society’s overall emissions are to stay within the budget permissible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the rest of society (i.e., sectors other than the energy industry) will have to reduce emissions, perhaps effectively to zero. How this could be accomplished for sectors such as aviation and the steel and cement industries is barely imaginable. Unless we figure out how to reinvent many key industrial processes, they’ll simply have to be significantly downsized.
Hospicing Modernity: Dougald Hine writes about a different way of thinking about our role in times of collapse:
‘In these times, all we can do is be a sign,’ a father tells his daughter in Ben Okri’s novel The Freedom Artist. ‘We have to help to bring about the end of the world.’ We must do this, he goes on, so that a new beginning can come. ‘But first there must be an end.’
First there must be an end – but many kinds of end are possible. My friend Vanessa Machado de Oliveira wrote a book called Hospicing Modernity. The title invites us to a kind of work in which the focus is not on saving modernity, or bringing it down, or rushing to build what comes afterwards, but doing what we can to give it a good ending.
Carbon offsets are a fraud: But then you already knew that. And you already know carbon capture and storage is a fraud too. Thanks to John Whiting for the link, and the one that follows.
Greenland’s already soared past a 1.5ºC rise: Its ice sheet is collapsing at an incredible rate.
cartoon by Will McPhail, from his website
Dying with dignity: This Canadian organization produces courageous, factual, articulate reporting and advocacy for those facing excruciating and humiliating end-of-life agony, who are prohibited from ending their lives peacefully by religious zealots and political opportunists. This is the abortion fight all over again. Gutless waffler Trudeau Jr is, again, fighting on the wrong side of this issue.
Global South shows us how to prepare for pandemics: It’s all about global collaboration, not competition to develop new tech.
Eugene bans natural gas in new homes: A courageous step, especially since they voted for it now, rather than kicking it to a referendum that would end up seeing it defeated by moneyed lobbyists. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.
How not to fight poverty: Lyz Lenz outs right wingers’ contemptuous laws trying to gut social assistance to the poor and compel single mothers to get married.
Vancouver adds mental health nurses to emergency response teams: Still far too many mis- and under-skilled cops on the payroll, but these pairings with mental health nurses have been shown to work better.
A real strategy to deal with the housing crisis: The Vancouver Foundation reiterates the need for massive-scale construction of decent, affordable, publicly-financed and operated housing.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS AS USUAL
facebook meme; thanks to Michael Dowd for the link
What’s really going on behind the curtain: Daniel Dumbrill and other actual investigative reporters discuss what’s happening in the US/NATO/Russia war, China warmongering, CoVid-19 capitulation and other subjects. Still some flickerings of truth out there.
Bend or break?: Aurélien provides some historical context to explain why the current political system is teetering on collapse.
Corpocracy, Imperialism & Fascism: Short takes (thanks to John Whiting for many of these links):
- Jeremy Corbyn on Julian Assange, multipolarity, and the need for peace in Ukraine
- Aurélian explains the absurdity of Europe’s “rearmament” and how most of those opining about the advances and withdrawals in the Ukraine war have no idea how wars are actually conducted
- The Chinese weather balloon lunacy and why China didn’t pick up the phone
- Bill Gates celebrates China’s rise — didn’t he get the memo?
- Chris Hedges on imperialism’s cooption of “woke” culture
- Sacrifice workers to fight inflation or no op-eds for you (thanks to Gerry Gras for the link)
- Pentagon urges overt military offensive against Russia
- Self-proclaimed “untethered” US general calls for war on China by 2025
- Pentagon war against Russia, China and Iran has long been in the planning (a warning written back in 2018)
- The demise of Finland’s vaunted education system (due to cuts in health and education spending — what a surprise!)
- 100,000 Israelis march to protest Netanyahu’s corrupt, totalitarian, apartheid regime
- Medea Benjamin outlines how peace in Ukraine is possible. So do Lee Camp and David Swanson. A former Israeli PM says the US blocked his attempt to mediate in the war. And finally there are peace marches, Feb 19 in the US and Feb 25 in the UK.
Propaganda, Censorship, Misinformation and Disinformation: Short takes:
- The imperialist spinmeisters have launched an all-out disinformation attack on Caitlin Johnstone
- Economist JK Galbraith explains why “the debt ceiling” is a myth
CoVid-19 Watch: Short takes:
- Biden’s continued CoVid-19 policy of mass infection without mitigation
- Zeynep Tüfekçi explains the dangers of the current explosion of H5N1 bird flu
- Canada has been lucky so far in 2023 because the bivalent vaccines that most senior Canadians have received seem to work on the XBB.1.5 variant
- China reports that 80% of its population has now been infected, in line with the experience of other countries abandoning protections. But because the new variants are so much less lethal (so far), China’s previous, stringent policies have saved millions of lives.
FUN AND INSPIRATION
six word story — from the memebrary
Barnes & Noble turns it around — by refusing promotional money from dealers, charging a fair price, and making the stores interesting. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.
A piano lesson: How to play Grieg’s beloved Concerto in A minor like a professional. Fascinating.
Scientists find new way to control quantum computers: Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder at her funniest.
Genetic screening is already here: Also from Sabine. How genetic screening is currently used, and how it might be used in the future, for better or worse.
Making eye contact: Liana Finck explains it’s OK if you can’t look the world in the face.
A high-pressure exhibit: Hank Green takes us behind the scenes at the Monterrey Bay aquarium, which shows creatures from the deep sea, kind of in the own environment, a technical tour-de-force.
Is this the future of pop music? In a feat going Milli Vanilli one better, a Korean company has introduced a K-POP group called MAVE: that is made entirely of avatars. No human dancers can match their gymnastic feats, the singers don’t have to be pretty or skinny or coordinated or fit to be part of the group (as long as they can sing). And that way recognition can go to the real stars, the music’s composers and players (not that it will). Look out, David Crosby, they may not be done with you yet! (Oh, and the ‘performers’ even have personal profiles, in case you want to stan them.)
Yuja and Khatia: Yuja Wang and Khatia Buniatishvili are my two current favourite pianists. My sense was always that Yuja was more technically precise and Khatia was more emotional in her playing. But when I listened to them playing the same pieces, I ended up with the opposite impression. And surprisingly (as I’m a romantic) I can’t decide which I like more. Of course, it’s not a duel.
The new rules of etiquette: Some of these rules are very funny and insightful, especially the first two sections on dealing with friends, lovers and strangers. (What is not funny is finding your way around the pay/registration wall to access it.)
THOUGHTS OF THE MONTH
combination of two memes from the memebrary; here’s a third: Egyptian scholars have found records of late-Egyptian archaeological work dating back to 500 BCE, on early-Egyptian relics from 3,000 years earlier; that one single culture lasted so long that it required the expertise of archaeologists from its final centuries to reconstruct the history of its earliest centuries
From Kim Addonizio, in Tell Me
New Year’s Day
The rain this morning falls
on the last of the snow
and will wash it away. I can smell
the grass again, and the torn leaves
being eased down into the mud.
The few loves I’ve been allowed
to keep are still sleeping
on the West Coast. Here in Virginia
I walk across the fields with only
a few young cows for company.
Big-boned and shy,
they are like girls I remember
from junior high, who never
spoke, who kept their heads
lowered and their arms crossed against
their new breasts. Those girls
are nearly forty now. Like me,
they must sometimes stand
at a window late at night, looking out
on a silent backyard, at one
rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
of other people’s houses.
They must lie down some afternoons
and cry hard for whoever used
to make them happiest,
and wonder how their lives
have carried them
this far without ever once
explaining anything. I don’t know
why I’m walking out here
with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up
with a mild sucking sound
I like to hear. I don’t care
where those girls are now.
Whatever they’ve made of it
they can have. Today I want
to resolve nothing.
I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold
blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.