Showing posts with label Joe Biden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joe Biden. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2024

22: Joe Biden

What Biden’s Decision Not to Run Means for America By bowing out of the presidential race, he appears to have increased the odds that Democrats can hold onto the White House and compete strongly for control of Congress. He may have set in motion a historic process that could result in a woman becoming the most important person in the world, a step that would reshape gender norms worldwide. ............ Biden’s act of political self-sacrifice caps an extraordinary career of public service, including a presidency more productive than others, even some that lasted twice as long. Biden’s announcement also offers a stark contrast between his devotion to the national interest and Donald Trump’s long focus on his own personal interest. ......... In his 1961 inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy celebrated the torch being passed to the greatest generation. Then, in 1993, President Bill Clinton claimed power for baby boomers, who have since held it for more than three decades. Once more the torch will be passed to a new generation of Americans. ........... Biden’s presidency already has reshaped towns across America with everything from broadband to insulin price caps to a (unfortunately temporary) refundable child tax credit that helped reduce child poverty by half. All that is an immense legacy. .......... My guess is that because a Democrat is now more likely to win the White House, Russia is less likely to defeat Ukraine and China is less likely to go to war with Taiwan. Women are more likely to be able to get a legal abortion. The Education Department is more likely to survive and so, for that matter, is a healthy American democracy. ........... What is clear is that Joe Biden had a productive term in office and should be proud of his accomplishments. But without diminishing those achievements, historians may look back in their assessments of Biden’s presidency and paraphrase what Shakespeare wrote in “Macbeth”: Nothing became his presidency like the leaving of it.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

18: Joe Biden

@paramendrakumarbhagat सुपर डुपर हिट मुवी कल्कि २८९८ AD में कहा गया है भगवान कल्कि आएंगे। ७०० साल बाद आएंगे। लेकिन वे आ चुके हैं। अभी धरती पर हैं। कलि युग समाप्त करने का काम शुरू हो चुका है।  #kalki2898ad In the super duper hit movie Kalki 2898 AD it is said that Lord Kalki will come. He will come after 700 years. But he has already come. He is on earth right now. The work of ending Kali Yuga has begun. #kalki2898ad❤️ ♬ original sound - Paramendra Kumar Bhagat
@paramendrakumarbhagat भगवान कल्कि आएंगे नहीं आ चुके हैं अभी धरती पर हैं काम शुरू हो चुका है #kalki2898ad ♬ original sound - Paramendra Kumar Bhagat
@paramendrakumarbhagat सुपर डुपर हिट मुवी कल्कि २८९८ AD में कहा गया है भगवान कल्कि आएंगे। ७०० साल बाद आएंगे। लेकिन वे आ चुके हैं।  मानव इतिहास के सबसे अधिक प्रतिक्षित व्यक्ति अभी धरती पर हैं।  #kalki2898ad In the super duper hit movie Kalki 2898 AD it is said that Lord Kalki will come. He will come after 700 years. But he has already come. The most awaited person in human history is on earth right now. #kalki2898ad❤️ ♬ original sound - Paramendra Kumar Bhagat

Pelosi has told House Democrats that Biden may soon be persuaded to exit race Concerns among Democrats about Biden’s bid have increased in recent days. Along with Pelosi, party luminaries including former president Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), have conveyed their concerns about Biden’s continuing candidacy for the White House. Jeffries and Schumer told Biden directly in separate meetings recently that his continued candidacy imperils the Democratic Party’s ability to control either chamber of Congress next year. And Obama has told allies in recent days that Biden needs to seriously reconsider the viability of his candidacy. ........ Now 84 and back among the rank-and-file, Pelosi retains a large degree of clout at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Many lawmakers view her as the best Democrat to deliver the tough message to Biden, in part because he views her as a contemporary with her own legacy.

18: Joe Biden

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

4: Biden

Anthony Fauci on Larry Kramer and Loving Difficult People Larry was the initial driving force that changed forever the relationship between the advocacy community and the scientific and regulatory establishment. .......... the tactics that he had mastered to an art form: confrontation, outrageous behavior, anger and insults followed by insight, rationality, sensitivity, vulnerability, empathy and even humor. ........ it was pure passion related to his concern for the plight of what he called “my people,” the gay community, which drove him to outrageous behavior in order to gain the attention of the government and the general public concerning the disaster of the AIDS epidemic. ........ despite his sometimes provocative behavior, he was as noble as the most respected scientist and public servant .......... He felt strongly that I should chain myself to the White House fence and, as he put it, embarrass President George H.W. Bush into speaking out more on AIDS and providing more funding for AIDS research. I explained to him that this would be 15 minutes of attention and I would immediately lose all access to the White House. No matter. He still felt I should do it. ........... During a dinner that he threw for just the two of us in his Greenwich Village apartment, we reminisced like two aging warriors who recalled the battles that we fought together, how despite our initial adversarial relationship, we ultimately became partners in an important struggle and how differences of opinion and even a history of antagonism are entirely compatible with friendship and even love. .

Putin’s Options for Dealing With Wagner Aren’t Great For years, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s sprawling private army has quietly acted as a proxy for Russian foreign policy. The Wagner force’s network of thousands of Russian mercenaries installed in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have helped the Kremlin secure natural resources and project influence in failed states and conflict zones, while allowing President Vladimir Putin of Russia to conveniently distance himself from the group’s unsavory alliances and ruthless tactics. ........... In Syria and Libya, Wagner fighters prop up strongmen like Bashar al-Assad and Khalifa Haftar in exchange for profits accrued from the oil and gas installations the mercenaries help protect. In Madagascar and Sudan, Wagner has advised governments on stamping out protests, started disinformation campaigns and meddled in elections. In Mali and the Central African Republic, military juntas rely on Wagner for regime security, while Wagner extracts gold, diamonds and timber, and wages counterinsurgency campaigns against jihadist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. ........... Days after the doomed uprising, Mr. Putin proclaimed that Wagner was entirely funded by the Russian state, to the tune of billions of dollars. ........... Wagner forces already have a well-deserved reputation for brutality, are alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in several theaters and have been credibly accused of torture, kidnapping and executing civilians. .......... Wagner’s African footprint is vast, with ongoing activities in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. .......... Patriot, a group linked to Mr. Shoigu, is widely viewed as a significant competitor to Wagner, with reported operations in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Syria and Yemen. ........... The E.N.O.T. Corporation is another Russian private military company, founded by Russian nationalist Igor Mangushev, with some experience abroad, but is much less influential and experienced than Wagner. Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has also developed its own private army, although it is designed mainly to protect oil and gas infrastructure against attacks............. For a leader who has worked assiduously to cultivate an image as master strategist, Mr. Putin does not appear to have a plan for what comes next with Wagner. Instead, he looks increasingly vulnerable, both at home and in his effort to maintain Russia’s influence abroad. He will almost certainly struggle to rein in the beast he helped create. .

Jersey Boy Takes On Florida Man After years of watching Republicans cower before Trump, it’s bracing to see the disgraced former president finally meet his mean match............ I warned that Trump is an asymmetrical fighter, so it’s hard to know how to go at him. Clinton tried to rise above him, and Marco Rubio imitated his crude style. ........... He knows I know what his game is. .......... Trump came to debate prep in September 2020 without telling Christie or anyone else that he had tested positive the day before, and Christie ended up in the I.C.U. for seven days. ........... Christie mocked Ron DeSantis responding to Jan. 6 by saying he was not in Washington — “Was he alive?” Christie asked Kaitlan Collins on CNN. ........... Trump is playing checkers, not chess, Christie said, just scrambling to make that next jump. ......... He told me one time the reason he ties his ties so long is that it slenderizes him and I should do the same thing.” .

Biden Is Taking Aim at Trump’s Biggest Strength . The wildness of Donald Trump’s political style often obscures — at least to his critics — the more banal dimensions of his appeal. ....... the order of the day was incoherence. Infrastructure weeks came and went. Tax cuts were tilted toward the rich. There was no strategy to restore America’s manufacturing prowess or rebuild bargaining power for workers without college degrees. ......... Only about a third of voters approve of the job Biden has done on the economy. Polls show Trump is the more trusted economic manager, by far. ........ “Bidenomics.” Biden’s case is this: What Trump only promised, I delivered. ........... The Biden administration is thickly populated with veterans of the Obama and Clinton White Houses. But it doesn’t see itself in comfortable continuity with those legacies. It sees itself, in key ways, as a break with them. .......... Sullivan slammed the belief that “the type of growth did not matter.” That had led, he said, to administrations that let Wall Street thrive while “essential sectors, like semiconductors and infrastructure, atrophied.” He dismissed the “assumption at the heart of all of this policy: that markets always allocate capital productively and efficiently.” ......... In letting globalization and automation hollow out domestic manufacturing, Democrats had been part of a Washington consensus that “had frayed the socioeconomic foundations on which any strong and resilient democracy rests.” .......... “I believe every American willing to work hard should be able to say where they grew up and stay where they grew up,” he said. “That’s Bidenomics.” ......... Biden’s red states will get $623 billion in clean energy investments by 2030, compared with $354 billion for blue states. ....... After comparing the infrastructure weeks Trump never delivered and “the infrastructure decade” he did, Biden noted: “Construction of manufacturing facilities here on U.S. soil grew only 2 percent on my predecessor’s watch in four years. Two percent. On my watch, it’s grown nearly 100 percent in two years.” ......... About two-thirds of the work force isn’t college-educated. And there’s no version of Bidenomics that leaves two-thirds of the labor force out.” ........... The Black-white employment gap has nearly closed, and wage gains have been particularly strong for workers without a college education. ........ Inflation is down by more than half since its peak. Forecasters who were confidently predicting a recession in 2023 are now hedging. .

Biden Versus the Bad News Bros no longer a fringe phenomenon: Bizarre conspiracy theories are now mainstream on the American right. .......... the old inflation truthers and the new recession truthers. ....... The new group is dominated by tech bros, billionaires who imagine themselves focused on the future rather than the golden past, more likely to be crypto cultists than gold bugs. .......... Indeed, the most prominent recession truther right now is none other than Elon Musk ............ You might have expected technology billionaires to be well-informed about the world — someone like Musk could, if he chose, easily maintain a large research department for his personal edification. ........... So why do we see tech bros indulging in conspiracy theories, often citing random Twitter accounts to justify their views? ......... The answer, I believe, is that technology billionaires are especially susceptible to the belief that they’re uniquely brilliant, able to instantly master any subject, from Covid to the war in Ukraine. They could afford to hire experts to brief them on world affairs, but that would only work if they were willing to listen when the experts told them things they didn’t want to hear. So what happens instead, all too often, is that they go down the rabbit hole: Their belief in their own genius makes them highly gullible, easy marks for grifters claiming that the experts are all wrong. ............ What you need to know, then, is that the economic data isn’t fake. A recession might eventually happen, but it isn’t happening now. And the wealthy men claiming to know better are actually less well-informed than, say, the average reader of The New York Times — because they don’t know what they don’t know, and nobody is in a position to enlighten them. .

Putin Thinks He’s Still in Control. He’s Not. That was rather strange, because the festival was on Saturday, June 24 — the day Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, launched his mutiny. Despite the shock of the rebellion, which saw Wagner forces march to within 125 miles of Moscow unimpeded, Mr. Putin flew to St. Petersburg. Nothing, not even armed revolt, would deter him from his favorite party. .......... In the opinion of my sources close to Mr. Putin’s inner circle — officials, administrators, journalists, businessmen and more — this is the clearest evidence yet that the president is divorced from reality. He still believes that he has everything under control and that Mr. Prigozhin’s rebellion has not changed the political situation in any way. But he is mistaken. Not only is the atmosphere around Mr. Putin fundamentally different, but there is also a growing appetite for change — even among those close to the president. For many I spoke to, Mr. Putin’s system of rule simply can’t go on much longer. ............. Prigozhin was clearly elevated to act as a counterweight to the defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the military generals, ensuring they didn’t become too popular. So when Mr. Prigozhin started criticizing the military leadership — often in explicit, expletive-ridden diatribes — the president did nothing to stop it. ............ But it soon became a problem. Mr. Prigozhin, riding a wave of popularity, became increasingly personal and insulting in his denunciations of Mr. Shoigu. Yet Mr. Putin failed to mediate. Though he arranged a meeting between the two men in February, he did not, according to a source in the presidential administration, say anything specific in the conversation, hoping the gathering itself was a sufficient warning to stop the public attacks. Mr. Prigozhin did not take the hint, however, and continued to fulminate against the military commanders. ........... In the weeks after the meeting, Mr. Prigozhin traveled the country as if he were a politician running an election campaign, meeting with potential supporters and criticizing the war effort. In this again he was unhindered by the Kremlin, which knew of his plans but chose to do nothing about them. As Mr. Prigozhin grew in popularity, even pulling in a former deputy defense minister as a deputy commander for Wagner — a clear sign he had high-ranking admirers among the security forces — Mr. Putin kept to himself. Sources close to him tell me he hasn’t met with Mr. Prigozhin for months. ........... In early June, when Mr. Shoigu sought to clamp down on private militias like Wagner by making all mercenaries sign a contract with the army, Mr. Prigozhin couldn’t get in touch with the president to object. In the language of Russian bureaucracy, this signals the highest degree of disfavor. ............... the Wagner chief is in Belarus. Exile in the Central African Republic, where the Wagner group has a military base, is reportedly in the cards. ............ A purge is to be expected, starting with Gen. Sergei Surovikin, a former commander of Russian forces in Ukraine who is said to have known of the mutiny in advance. ............ The rebellion has desacralized Mr. Putin, substantially weakening his authority. Before this weekend, much of Russian society, and especially state bureaucrats, believed that he always made the right decisions, that he was much more cunning, wiser and better informed than anyone else. But the events of the weekend have shown Mr. Putin in the worst possible light: weak, vacillating, incapable of exerting control. He alone is to blame for what happened, something that is obvious to everyone except him. ........... For many members of the ruling elite, it is now clear that Mr. Putin has ceased to be the guarantor of stability he was for so long. .

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

21: Putin, Biden

Two Supreme Court cases this week could upend the entire internet An expansion of apps and websites’ legal risk for hosting or promoting content could lead to major changes at sites, including Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube, to name a few....... Many Republican officials allege that Section 230 gives social media platforms a license to censor conservative viewpoints. Prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have argued Section 230 prevents tech giants from being held accountable for spreading misinformation and hate speech. ........ Rulings in the cases are expected by the end of June. ........ The case involving Google zeroes in on whether it can be sued because of its subsidiary YouTube’s algorithmic promotion of terrorist videos on its platform. ........ Google and other tech companies have said that that interpretation of Section 230 would increase the legal risks associated with ranking, sorting and curating online content, a basic feature of the modern internet. Google has claimed that in such a scenario, websites would seek to play it safe by either removing far more content than is necessary, or by giving up on content moderation altogether and allowing even more harmful material on their platforms. ......... Friend-of-the-court filings by Craigslist, Microsoft, Yelp and others have suggested that the stakes are not limited to algorithms and could also end up affecting virtually anything on the web that might be construed as making a recommendation. That might mean even average internet users who volunteer as moderators on various sites could face legal risks, according to a filing by Reddit and several volunteer Reddit moderators. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and former California Republican Rep. Chris Cox, the original co-authors of Section 230, argued to the Court that Congress’ intent in passing the law was to give websites broad discretion to moderate content as they saw fit. .......... In recent years, however, several Supreme Court justices have shown an active interest in Section 230, and have appeared to invite opportunities to hear cases related to the law. Last year, Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote that new state laws, such as Texas’s that would force social media platforms to host content they would rather remove, raise questions of “great importance” about “the power of dominant social media corporations to shape public discussion of the important issues of the day.”

The housing market correction just took a new turn Brutal. That’s the best way to describe KB Home’s fourth quarter, which saw its buyer cancellation rate spike to 68%. That figure dwarfed the publicly traded homebuilder’s 13% cancellation rate from the previous year’s period. It also surpassed the industry’s peak cancellation rate of 47% during the darkest days of the 2008-era crash.

‘Treason!’ Wagner boss slams Russia’s military leaders They want to ‘destroy’ Wagner, says Yevgeny Prigozhin about Russia’s defense minister and army chief........ Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the private Wagner Group, has claimed that the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, are trying to “destroy” Wagner — marking an escalation in hostilities between the influential paramilitary boss and Russia’s military establishment. ......... Prigozhin’s remarks are another sign of infighting in the Russian military. Ultranationalist figures such as Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov have long pushed for a restructuring of the top echelons of the military command. ....... The Wagner boss has been continuously increasing power in the shrinking inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin

How Vladimir Putin sells his war against ‘the West’ Unable to explain setbacks in Ukraine, the Kremlin appeals to past victories. ....... “It’s unbelievable but true: we are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, who traveled to Volgograd to deliver a speech on February 2. “Again and again, we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.” ........ Putin’s statement was full of factual inaccuracies: Russia is fighting not the West but Ukraine, because it invaded the country; the German Leopards being delivered to Kyiv date back only to the 1960s; there’s no plan for them to enter Russian territory. ......... But the Russian president’s evocation of former victories was telling — it was a distillation of his approach to justifying an invasion that hasn’t gone to plan. These days in Russia, if the present is hard to explain, appeal to the past. ........... “The language of history has replaced the language of politics,” said Ivan Kurilla, a historian at the European University at St. Petersburg. “It is used to explain what is happening in a simple way that Russians understand.” ........ Putin has long harkened back to World War II — known in the country as The Great Patriotic War, in which more than 20 million Soviet citizens are estimated to have died. ............. On the streets, however, Russians seemed confused. ........ The term “special military operation” at least was somewhat clearer. It suggested a speedy, professional, targeted offensive. ...... As the special military operation turned into a protracted conflict, and the facts on the ground refused to bend to Putin’s narrative, the Kremlin has gradually been forced to change its story. ......... by spring the terms “demilitarization” and “denazification” had practically disappeared from the public sphere .......... In October, Putin declared that one of the main goals of the war had been to provide Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, with a stable water supply. .........

But the appeal to history has remained central to Putin’s communication effort.

......... In June, he referenced Peter the Great’s campaign to “return what was Russia’s.” And during an October ceremony to lay claim to four regions in Ukraine, it was Catherine the Great who got a mention. ......... “Especially in spring and early summer, there was an attempt to Sovietize the war, with people waving red flags, trying to make sense of it through that lens.” ........ Throughout, the Kremlin has sought to depict the conflict as a battle against powerful Western interests bent on using Ukraine to undermine Russia — a narrative that has become increasingly important as the Kremlin demands bigger sacrifices from the Russian population ......... “What we observe today is the culmination of that feeling of resentment, of unrealized illusions, especially among those over 50” ......... “We are moving away from a special military operation towards a holy war … against 50 countries united by Satanism,” the veteran propagandist Vladimir Solovyov said on his program in January. .............. Russians are now expecting the war to last another six months or longer. “The majority keep to the sidelines, and passively support the war, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly” ........... reports of Western weapons deliveries have been used to reinforce the argument that Russia is battling the West under the umbrella of NATO — no longer in an ideological sense, but in a literal one. ........... “What started out as a historic metaphor is being fueled by actual spilled blood.” .......... In newspaper stands, Russians will find magazines such as “The Historian,” full of detailed spreads arguing that the Soviet Union’s Western allies in World War II were, in fact, Nazi sympathizers all along — another recycled trope from Russian history. ......... “This level of hatred and aggressive nationalism has not been seen since the late Stalin period”

Zelenskyy: Macron is ‘wasting his time’ with Putin ‘It’s a useless dialogue,’ Ukraine’s president says. ........ Macron added that although he wished for the Kremlin to lose, the war would end not on the battlefield but with peace talks — and that France would “never” support “crushing Russia.” ........ “He likes vodka? If that’s the case, we have some of the finest quality in Ukraine — we can offer him some,” Zelenskyy said. ........ The Ukrainian president also commented on recent reports from the U.S. that China was ready to send weapons to Russia, saying he hoped Beijing would keep a “pragmatic approach,” to avoid a “Third World War.”

Biden’s Military-First Posture in the East Is a Problem A singular focus on countering the threat of Chinese aggression made America neglect economic ties in the Indo-Pacific. ........ Changi Naval Base, which sits on the east coast of Singapore near the busy shipping lanes of the Singapore Strait, has in the first months of 2023 been welcoming well-armed American visitors. Less than two weeks into the new year came a visit from the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship. Days later, the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier with a small city’s worth of crew members, made a port call—accompanied by three destroyers. ........ U.S. troops have access to five military bases in the Philippines, which is a former U.S. colony and America’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. Earlier this month, the two countries reached an agreement that gives U.S. forces access to four more. That announcement followed a decision by American and Japanese officials to enhance their military cooperation. ........

The aim—sometimes spoken, other times left unsaid—of such developments is to counter China’s more assertive presence in the region.

Washington now views Beijing as a growing threat to America and its partners and allies there. These concerns have only intensified since a spy balloon launched by China was shot down two weeks ago. Hence the Biden administration’s focus on defense and security in the Indo-Pacific.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Elon Musk's Irresponsible Economy Comment: "Super Bad Feeling"

Elon Musk started believing his own hpye, the image created by him and his rabid fans on Twitter, an echo chamber that just might mirror Putin's TV shows across Russia. Capitalism can be its own autocracy. I am on record for being for a wealth tax.

Musk's Twitter move would have been good if his motive were right, but now we know it wasn't.

Should Elon Musk Be Owning All Of Twitter?
Musk's 44 Billion Dollar Give To Foolish Fascism

Maybe he should hang out with Peter Thiel less often. He might end up leaning less right. Stop texting.

Musk's "super bad feeling" about the economy is him trying to blame the market for the tumbling shares of both Tesla and Twitter. There seems to be nowhere to go but down. Musk fears the Tesla shares might go further down, with the Twitter deal albatross around his neck, and so he is trying to prepare the market. I don't think it is going to work.

I am neither bullish nor bearish on the economy. On those matters I let Paul Krugman talk.

From: Paramendra Kumar Bhagat
Date: Tue, May 31, 2022 at 9:11 AM
Subject: Paul, you are my favorite part of the New York Times, my favorite newspaper

Hello Paul. I was just reading this and for the first time, I noticed this email address at the bottom and figured, hey why not write to him? I could help balance out the hate mail he gets. It could not hurt!

The only thing I disagree with you on is Bitcoin. It is exotic to me how you are missing out. This is like missing out on the Internet in 1995. My thoughts on Bitcoin are here: It would be a coup for me if I could "convert" you. Bitcoin is biblical. The Age Of Abundance that has been promised in the scriptures is upon us. Bitcoin is the best thing to come out of the 2008 crisis.

Your arguments tend to be so lucid, I am often tempted into thinking, if only Marjorie Taylor Greene could subscribe to this newsletter, American politics would see a tectonic shift for the better. :) But we both know that is not in the cards. The mental blocks are real. It is not your writing that is lacking.

I wish NYT also featured a right-wing Paul to balance things out, the column clearly labeled right-wing, something like A Voice From The Right. You succeed so fully in your writings, sometimes you make me feel like I am in an echo chamber. :)

I was a fan of your column before you won the Nobel. You are the only NYT columnist who shows in my email. If I see your column anywhere, I read it.

In fact, my respect for the Nobel people went up after you won. Even a columnist can win the Prize. How Ivory Tower can it be?

NYT should emphasize the psychology of some of the right-wing phenomena. But then it does. Only last week I read the transcript of the Ezra Klein Show. The guest argued people are lonely. And then they fall for all that hate.

Sangham Sharanam Gachhami. (I go to the community.) As the Buddhists say. "Whenever two or more of you gather in my name, there I will be." That is a promise in the Bible. One-third of Americans live alone. That is blasphemous.

I subscribe to the NYT online for $1 a week. Probably the best bargain I ever got. Except for when there was no paywall. :) Come to think of it, crypto can solve the paywall problem. Super micropayments are the way.

What I admire most about you is your earnest desire to reach out to ordinary people with your complex topics explained as simply and clearly as possible. I wonder how many rewrites that might take.

Check me out on Mirror and see if you don't want to start creating Writing NFTs yourself. When you mint your first Writing NFT, you are converted. And I will take a victory lap. :)

Have a good day.


Before he makes his off the cuff science fiction announcements, perhaps Elon Musk should hold a convo with his top engineers.

With his Twitter antics Musk has managed to kill two birds with one stone. Both Tesla and Twitter seem to be going down.

Musk had been giving the impression there was a time not long ago when he was hanging on to the Tesla rocketship barely by the fingernails. And now he is saying he can walk and chew gum at the same time? Already people thought he spent all day on Twitter. And then he threatened to buy Twitter and become CEO. Tesla also had been facing some bad news of its own.

Elon. Renounce Trump. Repent. There are plenty of Republicans to choose from. Well, maybe not that plenty. But still, you get my point. Trump is fascist. Look at January 6.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Biden Should Buy Vaccines For India

The rich countries are being unjust, selfish, and myopic. The variants now mutating in India will circle back to the US and Europe. 

Biden just launched a $4 trillion plan on top of his earlier $2 trillion plan. The only reason the US is able to "borrow" all that money is because the world accepts the dollar as the de facto global currency. 

The US could spend $6 billion from that pot and buy vaccines for everybody on the planet. Or it could spend $12 billion to do research to fight the triple mutant variants next year.

लास्सामा सुन छ, कान मेरा बुच्चै। For Nepal relying on vaccines to save the population from COVID-19 in short-term,...

Posted by Madhav Bhatta on Saturday, May 1, 2021

Monday, February 08, 2021

In The News (19)

Please, Biden, Try for 2 Million Shots a Day The administration’s vaccine plan isn’t ambitious enough. ............ the United States could get to 150 million shots in 100 days. ......... Now, like millions and millions of others, I watch the administration with a frantic eye to my own family’s survival. ......... Pfizer and Moderna, makers of the two vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use, have promised 200 million doses, enough for 100 million people, by the end of March.  

The Coronavirus Is a Master of Mixing Its Genome, Worrying Scientists New studies underscore how coronaviruses frequently mix their genetic components — which could contribute to the rise of dangerous variants. ............ The novel coronavirus has a propensity to mix large chunks of its genome when it makes copies of itself. Unlike small mutations, which are like typos in the sequence, a phenomenon called recombination resembles a major copy-and-paste error in which the second half of a sentence is completely overwritten with a slightly different version. ............... recombination may allow the virus to shapeshift in dangerous ways .............. related coronaviruses are quite promiscuous in terms of recombining with each other. There were also many sequences that cropped up in the coronaviruses that seemed to come out of nowhere. ............ Scientists have limited knowledge about whether recombination could give rise to new pandemic coronaviruses  

The Task Ahead for Biden on Climate The new president has shown a welcome interest in combating climate change. But more will need to be done. ..........  Put simply, the richest and most powerful nation in the world is back in the fight to rescue the planet from the fires, floods, famines, rising sea levels, human dislocations and other consequences of a warming globe. ................  In part because of Mr. Trump’s intransigence, the United States has struggled to meet its commitment in Paris to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025; with the help of the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the economy, emissions have dropped by 20 percent ........... What might cut it is major new climate legislation that encourages serious investment dollars — in millions of emissions-free vehicles, in hundreds of thousands of new charging stations to service those vehicles, in a reimagined electric grid carrying power from plants that rely not on fossil fuels but on rapidly growing renewable sources, in a cleaner public transportation system and in millions and millions of weatherized homes. ................... If America’s legislators cannot deal with a present emergency, how likely is it that they can be persuaded to address a more remote one?  

Aleksei Navalny Is Resisting Putin, and Winning The opposition leader was sentenced to prison, but he has mobilized a vast movement that’s not done growing. .............. “Hundreds of thousands cannot be locked up,” Mr. Navalny declared from court to his millions of followers on social media. “More and more people will recognize this. And when they recognize this — and that moment will come — all of this will fall apart, because you cannot lock up the whole country.” ............ The opposition now has 40 offices across Russia, and most of its millions of followers are young people who have not challenged the Kremlin before. Among people ages 18 to 24, Mr. Putin’s popularity has slid from 36 percent in December 2019 to 20 percent.  

Putin Isn’t as Strong as He Looks For the first time in a long while, the Russian president isn’t holding all the cards. ............... On Sunday, over 5,000 people were detained — the most ever on a single day in Russia — including 1,600 in Moscow alone. ............. The odds seem stacked against the protesters, who remain a tiny fraction of the population. Though his approval ratings have declined from previous highs, Mr. Putin still commands substantial popular support. There is little sign of rifts within the Russian elite, and the government has a formidable repressive apparatus at its disposal. The Kremlin also has a firm grip on the political system: United Russia holds 335 out of 450 seats in the State Duma, and the rest are mostly held by parties that back the government. ................ It’s an “imitation democracy,” as the Russian political scientist Dmitri Furman termed it. However autocratic Mr. Putin may wish to be, he still requires a facade of legality and regular elections. .............. United Russia is polling at about 30 percent and will be looking nervously over its shoulder: Elections to the national parliament are due in September. ............. A generation that has grown up entirely under Mr. Putin’s rule is more willing than its elders to take to the streets and reject it. ............ In other countries of the former Soviet Union — such as Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia — contested elections have set off movements that resulted in transfers of power. ............ There is a long way to go before Russia can turn its “imitation democracy” regime into a living, breathing one.

Becoming Teammates in Life and Business Erin Higgins Coles and Drew Coles, who own a wedding band company, admit that learning to fight fair and communicate during arguments was a challenge. ......... Because marriage is an ever-evolving experience, we constantly shift, change and, in some cases, start over. ............. He dives right in; I’m risk-averse. We rarely see eye to eye. ......... We are competitive and stubborn. Because we work together, we lost who we were as a couple. Now we set aside time for ourselves individually and as a couple. We do dinner dates, take walks, ask each other questions about our lives, and share things we might not know about the other person. It’s a deeper level of talking than we normally do. And we don’t talk about work. We’ve matured in this relationship. ............  He’s learned to loosen up and enjoy the little things in life. He’s gotten better at showing his emotions. He had a wall up getting close to my family. He had a really difficult childhood and was raised by his grandparents. He’s learned how important family is. ............ Being together every moment of every day last year helped us learn to live with each other in a way we hadn’t been able to do before. Covid slowed us down and got us on the same page. ............ Erin is loving and has made me a stronger communicator. She’s helped me interpret who and what I am. She taught me the importance of family, what family really is and what family could be. Mine wasn’t as open, welcoming and outwardly loving as hers is.  I’ve learned what to take from my past and what I want to bring into my future and the kind of father I want to be. Now that we have worked out some of our issues, enough to see what we are bringing to this marriage, this relationship and what kind of parents we will be, we’re working on starting a family. ............... We’ve had dark times in our relationship, which made it hard to know where we would end up. Marriage takes work and a lot of self-reflection. The hard work is asking, “Is this worth the fight?” And “Why am I bringing friction to the relationship?” ............... We have learned to be less selfish. To be kinder to each other in the argument. You have to fight hard when it doesn’t seem easy to give the other person a smile, but you do because they need it. We are learning to stop and appreciate each other even in the worst of times.

The UAE is now offering citizenship to foreigners, and the economic gains could be ‘transformative’  Nearly 90% of the UAE’s roughly 10 million inhabitants are foreign nationals. ......... A major step forward in domestic policy, the move follows several months of historic reforms and diplomatic breakthroughs for the Middle Eastern trading and business hub. In August, the UAE became the first Gulf country to normalize relations and open direct flights with Israel. In the following months, the officially Muslim country introduced reforms legalizing cohabitation, allowing alcohol buying without a license, and permitting 100% foreign business ownership, compared with previous requirements of 51% local ownership when based outside of a free zone. .............. UAE citizens currently receive very attractive advantages: a high tax-free income; subsidized education, health care and fuel; incentive packages for buying houses and land; and pensions and retirement benefits from the age of 49. 

President Biden pledges to fix the racial wealth gap. Here are his plans  The median wealth for a white family was $188,200, compared to $24,100 for Black families and $36,100 for Hispanic families ........... In addition to proposing some sort of student debt forgiveness, Biden also advocated making public colleges and universities tuition-free for all families with incomes below $125,000. He also wants to nix tuition at two-year community colleges. Nearly 85% of Black bachelor’s degree recipients carry student debt, compared with 69% of white bachelor’s degree recipients ............ Biden also wants to expand access to $100 billion in low-interest business loans by funding state, local, tribal and non-profit lending programs in Black and Brown communities. He proposes expanding the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in underserved communities.  

'The Democratic version of John McCain' As the critical swing vote in a 50-50 Senate, Joe Manchin has emerged as the most powerful man in Washington. ........ The West Virginia senator has become the central character in Democrats’ control of Washington, a conservative throwback who speaks his mind and is maddeningly frustrating to liberals. He sided with his party to give them a critical vote toward approving President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan, but is already vowing to cut back Democrats’ dreams of a $15 minimum wage and limit who gets direct checks.  ............ Manchin often publicly discusses how he’s struggling with issues or tough votes. In a nod to his state, he lives on a boat while in D.C. named “Almost Heaven.” ............ he has found mostly frustration during his 10 years as a senator, eventually declaring of the hallowed chamber: “This place sucks.” ............ The United States doesn’t have royalty, but Manchin is pretty close to the lord of the Senate at this moment now that he’s the deciding vote.  

The Supreme Court’s new, deeply fractured decision on churches and the pandemic, explained Amy Coney Barrett just handed down her first Supreme Court opinion, and it’s surprisingly revealing ........ the state bans indoor singing and chanting because, in the words of one of the state’s expert witnesses, “most scientists believe that group singing, particularly when engaged in while in close proximity to others in an enclosed space, carries a high risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus through the emission of infected droplets.”  

In The News (18)

Through Genetics, Luck or ‘Prehab,’ Tom Brady Endures at 43 The mother of the opposing Super Bowl quarterback was a year old when Brady was born. What’s he still doing here? ........... Old quarterbacks hobble around the field, propped on stiff hips and achy knees, their arms ragged and their faces craggy. They look like survivors, elevated in myth but diminished in stature. ............ Rigid and worn, older quarterbacks usually move as if they might be unable to tie the laces on their cleats. ........... Then there is Brady, a cyborg. He is 43. Does he have a wrinkle on his face? Is his arm bionic? Are his joints made of rubber? He probably can tie his own laces while doing downward dog. ........... will be the oldest player to participate in a Super Bowl, at any position. He is the only quarterback to start a Super Bowl after age 40, and he is about to do it for the third time. ........... This will be his 10th Super Bowl. He has won six of them and earned the game’s Most Valuable Player Award four times. .......... this season Brady threw 40 touchdowns, the second-highest total of his career. Still mobile in the pocket, he was sacked at a lower rate than his career average .......... Brady talks of playing to 45, maybe beyond. .......... and explained it in a 2017 book espousing muscle “pliability.” The goal is a spongy elasticity that can absorb all that life throws at a body ..........  Brady’s diet is mostly plant-based ........... He fills his body with protein shakes, TB12-branded electrolytes and lots of water — “Drink at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water daily” ................. “Replacing injury and rehab with pliability and prehab” is a catchphrase. Sleep and mindfulness are also promoted ............ he has found the optimal blend of diet, exercise and sleep.   

The Working Mother And The Pandemic

A YouTuber Shoots to Literary Fame in France, Ruffling  Feathers The social media star known as Léna Situations, 23, had a pretty eventful 2020. She racked up millions of followers, became a best-selling author — and attracted criticism from the Paris book world.  .......... On her desk stood a nameplate saying “I am not bossy, I am the boss.” ..........  She is quick to laugh and talks with big, enthusiastic gestures, marveling on a recent morning at the large snowflakes falling outside her window. ............ She started sharing low-price fashion advice and makeup tutorials on her YouTube channel five years ago, as she was juggling several odd jobs to pay for her studies in a fashion marketing school. ...........  Her videos are often low-key and feature family and friends. In one, her father, a puppeteer who performed at schools and is currently unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, makes jokes about his unfashionable clothes ............. how naturally curly hair should be acceptable even if artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna have straightened theirs. ........  “One positive aspect of social media is that it gives minorities a space,” Ms. Mahfouf said. “I hope that this dynamic will take off from social media to real life.” ........ in a country where French people of North African origin still suffer from stigmatization and discrimination. .......... With a few exceptions, like the young Moroccan-born novelist Leïla Slimani, voices like Ms. Mahfouf’s are rarely heard in the very closed French world of publishing, which is dominated by white men. ............ Unlike some YouTubers who hire camera operators and editors, Ms. Mahfouf spends days writing, filming and editing her videos herself. ............ “Social networks are my No. 1 priority, where I am the freest and the happiest,” she said. “And the internet won’t disappear anytime soon.”  

QAnon Believers Are Obsessed With Hillary Clinton. She Has Thoughts. The mass execution cult has roots in three decades of demonization. .......... The lurid fantasy of Frazzledrip refers to an imaginary video said to show Hillary Clinton and her former aide, Huma Abedin, assaulting and disfiguring a young girl, and drinking her blood. It holds that several cops saw the video, and Clinton had them killed. ............ Trump himself called Clinton “the Devil.” .........  “This is a Salem Witch Trials line of argument against independent, outspoken, pushy women. And it began to metastasize around me.” .......... “I don’t have one iota of sympathy for someone like her, but the algorithms, we are now understanding more than ever we could have, truly are addictive. And whatever it is in our brains for people who go down those rabbit holes, and begin to inhabit this alternative reality, they are, in effect, made to believe.” ............ Clinton now thinks that the creation and promotion of this alternative reality, enabled and incentivized by the tech platforms, is, as she put it, “the primary event of our time.”  

The First Post-Reagan Presidency So far, Joe Biden has been surprisingly progressive. .......... Franklin Delano Roosevelt was such a figure. For decades following his presidency, Republicans and Democrats alike accepted many of the basic assumptions of the New Deal. Ronald Reagan was another. After him, even Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama feared deficit spending, inflation and anything that smacked of “big government.” ............. Trump was a “late regime affiliate” — a category that includes Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover. ......... if Trump represented the last gasps of Reaganism instead of the birth of something new, then after him, Skowronek suggests, a fresh regime could begin. ........... a time when what was once conventional wisdom about deficits, inflation and the proper size of government has fallen apart ............. government, by getting the shots in every person’s arm of the vaccines, and building infrastructure, and helping working families, is going to be a force for good ......... His administration is working on a child tax credit that would send monthly payments to most American parents. ........ “Every major economist thinks we should be investing in deficit spending in order to generate economic growth.” ........ It’s not just that the Democratic Party has moved left — the old Reaganite consensus in the Republican Party has collapsed. ............ he has at least the potential to be the grandfather of a more socially democratic America. ........... both Abraham Lincoln and Roosevelt were “viciously” attacked from the left ........ “Moderation can stand as an asset if it’s firmly grounded in a repudiation of the manifest failure and bankruptcy of the old order. In that sense, moderation is not a compromise or a middle ground. It’s the establishment of a new common sense.”  

It’s Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Party Now She embarrasses some Republicans, but she’s no outlier. ........ By now, you’ve surely heard her theory that California wildfires might have been caused by a space laser controlled by Jewish bankers. That wasn’t Greene’s first foray into anti-Semitism; in 2018 she shared a notorious white nationalist video in which a Holocaust denier claimed that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation.”  ........... She described the results of the 2018 midterms as “an Islamic invasion of our government.” ......... and several agreed that Democrats are controlled by Satan ............  The Texas Republican Party has adopted the QAnon slogan “We are the storm” as its motto, though it insists there’s no connection. The chairman of Wyoming’s Republican Party, who attended Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, said he might be open to secession. ..............  Senator Mitch McConnell floated openness to convicting Trump in a Senate trial, but ended up voting that such a trial was unconstitutional. Fox News, finger to the wind, purged many of its real journalists and gave the conspiracy theorist Maria Bartiromo a prime-time tryout. 

GOP's Future  a majority of House Republicans voted to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election ............ Histories of the modern Republican Party often place Ronald Reagan at their center. That is, in Levin’s view, a mistake, and one that obscures the true nature of the coalition’s tensions. “I think Reagan is better understood as a detour from a history that is otherwise a story of a constant struggle between populism and conservatism,” he said. Donald Trump was an inheritor of a tradition that stretches long before him — Pat Buchanan’s tradition, and Strom Thurmond’s tradition. He didn’t form a new Republican Party; he allowed a long-existing part to express itself. .................  The core institutions of American media, the academy, culture are abjectly left-leaning institutions. ............. I think that when conservatives think about universities now, they’re more inclined to think that there is no saving these institutions — we have to attack these institutions. ............. the culture of the right has become much more hostile to the establishment. .............. I don’t think conservatism can do its job in a free society in opposition to the institutions of that society. I think it can only function in defense of them. And a conservatism that becomes anti-institutional looks like a mob attacking the Capitol — which I don’t think is where anybody wants to end up. .................  conservatives need their own New York Times — a place that goes out and does reporting and is not completely bought into the movement’s incentives. ............ whether we can move a little more in the direction of a politics of ‘What does government do?’ and less of a politics of ‘Who rules?’ ............. I’d like to see a more democratized, majoritarian system. Levin would, among other things, add a filibuster to the House. .............. the filibuster plus the weird structural imbalances in our electoral system plus the system’s other veto points have created such a slow-moving form of government that symbolic politics can take over. .............. a functional republic, to be stable, has to not only enable enduring majorities to have their way but also protect durable minorities — large ones. .......... there are all kinds of structures in the system that compel accommodation, that require differing factions to work together if they’re going to achieve anything. ........... Congress was not intended to be like a European Parliament, where the majority rules for as long as the public will let it. .............. I would create a filibuster in the House before I would get rid of the one in the Senate. ................ the filibuster was not an idea of the founding fathers. They did not want a supermajority requirement in Congress. They thought about that and rejected it. ............. We have more filibusters than ever and more polarized politics than ever. More party line votes than ever. Less cooperation than ever. ............... how to fix American politics — how to recenter it on policy that changes people’s lives, rather than symbolic clashes that harden our hearts.

Liz Cheney’s Courage A reader praises her vote to impeach Donald Trump. Also: Renaming San Francisco schools; discrimination against Black girls; food pop-ups and safety. ........  her statement preceding her vote was one of the most powerful any politician has ever delivered, paving the way for the most bipartisan vote to impeach a president in our nation’s history. 

Fighting Covid Is Like Fighting a War Why Biden needs to go big and ignore the worries. .........  What we’re dealing with is more like a natural disaster than a normal recession, and the appropriate policy response is mainly a kind of disaster relief. ........... You spend what you need to spend to win the war. ............. Winning, in this case, means providing the resources for a huge vaccination program and for reopening schools safely, while limiting the economic misery of families whose breadwinners can’t work and avoiding gratuitous cuts in public services provided by fiscally constrained state and local governments.  ..............  Emergency spending may not be intended as stimulus, but it nonetheless has a stimulative effect. And wartime surges in spending have often been accompanied by bursts of inflation, because they can lead to an overheated economy. ................ the only way to find out what we’re capable of is to test our limits .............. every major element in the Biden plan has strong public approval. But support for stimulus checks is through the roof. ......... If you want effective policy on infrastructure, on the environment, on children and more, Biden has to deliver big, tangible benefits with his rescue plan. Otherwise he’ll squander political capital, and probably lose any chance to do significantly more.