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Sorry, Raul.“Wow, no-one’s got anything to say about Assange…?” Though I know I shouldn’t, I often have to skim over stories about Assange because the situation is so f**ing depressing. Today I fortified myself and read your selections. There, in one man’s story, is Spengler’s decline of civilizations. Since the events of 2001 a generation of journalists has retired or been furloughed. And the new generation seems to have so few of integrity. There are many reasons for that (loss of income from printed media to fund REAL journalism, ADHD of readers, 5-second attention spans, clickbait mentality of editorial staff, consolidation of media outlets and their allegiance to TPTB, I could go on for pages)
Grim consolation is that the governance of the UK is perhaps even worse than that of my home nation
It is constantly asked by Julian’s supporters why the media do not see the assault on a publisher and journalist as a threat to themselves. The answer is that the state and corporate media are confident in their firm alliance with the powers that be.
Thoughtful essay, Raúl – I had an unproductive conversation with one of my lefty friends about NATO a few weeks ago. My point was much the same as yours. Charles Hugh Smith points out the ‘lifecycle of a bureaucracy’, that after a while the original mission is lost, and the sole purpose for the bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself. NATO is a 70-year old sclerotic bureaucracy that hasn’t updated its mission in the world in thirty years. But so many careers, so much money, so much cultural momentum is tied up in it that most people can’t bend its path or admit to themselves that it might not be necessary
Ouch. Sagan’s words come true in less than one generation. I re-read Demon Haunted World this year in virustime (at age 51) and was floored by that very passage. Twenty+ years ago (at age twenty-know-it-all) my mind surely dismissed and skated right over the improbability of those words.
RIP, Carl Sagan. The very credibility of the science Sagan loved has since been auctioned off for money and influence by its practitioners. Many of them don’t even realize it. I have friends in medicine, marketing and engineering and all of them see “science” as infallible truth, not as a process that requires thought and questioning and self-correction. In the current sere of civilisation Science is a once-great institution hollowed out by charlatans and apparatchiks.
Raul, very good unpacking of (Kuppy’s?) essay. I struggled with that one. I kept thinking “I don’t like that, but he’s not…wrong.” Much he says is true or probably true, and apart from his comment about ‘just a bad flu’ he echoes much of my current thinking. Absent a treatment though, I still don’t want to catch this thing. I fear the co-morbidities and I fear giving it to elderly family and friends. As you’ve said more than once, there is much that we don’t know about this virus. Not ready to surrender yet.
Scott Adams pointed out that we’re only at halftime, it’s too early to call winners and losers in how leaders responded, too many variables at play. Team Sweden is way behind at halftime. Team New Zealand isolated early and is “winning” and bigly at that. But a lot can change in a sports metaphor. I’m skeptical of Sweden’s approach, but at the same time it’s pointed out something crucial: people will self-quarantine on their own, particularly if they are vulnerable, and they are provided with reasonably sound information.
We don’t get reasonably sound information in the US. We get ‘masks are useless, masks are for HCP’s, masks are required and we’ll fine you for not wearing one!, HCQ is dangerous and ineffective! Why won’t you stubborn stupid people believe us?’ It is staggering to behold how inept and compromised and impotent our institutions are. 2020 pulled back the curtain. These institutions have probably been rotting for years, decades. But now I know, and I can’t go back. And worse: I can hardly relate to my fellow citizens and friends – who do still trust the institutions.
“Yevgeny Khaldei – 75 years ago the Soviet banner was raised over the Reichstag”
What a photograph. How that must have felt in the heart of any who saw that moment. Finality, triumph, relief, despair, perhaps even hope.
I’ve been there…on the roof of the Reichstag after we stormed our way through the last holdouts of the fascist regime, but that was in Call of Duty – World at War, and it’s nothing like the real thing.
Things are getting interesting here in Flyoverland USA. Ohio schools are closing for three weeks, any event over 100 people is getting cancelled. Most big white-collar companies are telling people to work from home. The Gov announced these measures today. And the Ohio Dept of Health Director dropped this bombshell: “…at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today” or close to 100,000 people in the state.
Stunning statement. I’m gobsmacked between disbelief and adjusting my mental map of this thing I’ve been studying for 2 months. That would put it two orders of magnitude above Italy, the worst case rate at 206 cases per million population. Seems implausible at best, and hyperbolic (bordering on criminal) at worst coming from a public official. There’s no data, could be hunch, could be informed by other evidence. I don’t know what to make of it yet The error bars and signal:noise ratio of data for this thing make prediction and comparison very difficult.
Could it be true? In my non-expert assessment it would mean:
– This strain is MUCH more contagious than WHO, CDC, et al sez. Airborne, not droplet. It would have to have been here for weeks to have spread so far essentially undetected (just four confirmed cases here now.)
– it would have to be far less deadly than thought, with the vast majority being asymptomatic or mild cases, passing it off as a cold or flu – but carriers nonetheless.
Article here and from any search engine.
Fox News used to be laughable (and an outlier, as a major outlet) for its low quality of reporting. Irrespective of them being right-leaning, I couldn’t stand to watch. If they interviewed someone with a non-Fox view, they would throw out jabs about their appearance, irrelevant ad-hominem attacks, silly accusations (of the “when did you stop beating your wife?” variety) to throw them off balance. Just childish stuff. Couldn’t watch it. It was mentally exhausting to sit through, having to tease out a fact or two from the discussion and discard the rest. It was amusing but pretty harmless (or seemed so 20 years ago)
Here’s the thing though – they’re ALL like that now! No one in the media seems concerned with objectivity. Even dear old NPR, formerly stalwart, introspective, neutral (well, left-leaning, but mostly fair) NPR. The news media, every major outlet that I can find, freely mixes opinion and fact and thinks nothing of it. The jabs are the same as they used to be on Fox – an unflattering picture, clear tones of contempt from the voice of the talking head, facts cherry-picked. Childish, juvenile reporting. I listened to an NPR newscast a few weeks ago, before the impeachment inquiry got up steam. They were talking about the cost of low-income housing, of all things, and they still managed to pepper it with anti-Trump jabs. Something as neutral a subject as housing had to be saturated with an agenda. That seems to be common editorial practice from every conventional media outlet. It’s been normalized, I think.
Illargi, your article and the email nailed it. It used to be *reasonably* common practice in the media to clearly delineate between a news piece and an opinion piece, and between facts and analysis. They taught us that in HS. You can combine them into one piece if you want, insert opinion in among facts, but call it out for the reader: “I think” or “this reporter believes.” Most news outlets did that, even TV reporters a generation ago.