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January 28, 2021

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sorry, little open thread. you got bigfooted!

And wtf does this say?

It says the party that used to be all about family values doesn't give a sh*t about kids. (Or, perhaps, about education. I suppose that's more likely, as I think about it.)

The only thing that a certain segment of the Republican base believes in inoculating their children against is other points of view.

Since it's an open thread...

One of lj's links "...even if it's bonkers..." leads with the poll finding that "Forty percent of respondents said they believe the coronavirus was made in a lab in China", followed by "one-third of Americans believe that voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election".

These things seem to me not to be alike. I wouldn't say I believe in the lab theory, but I wouldn't rule it out either. Do we have experts here who can tell me why I should not suspect the Covid-19 virus to have come from the bat coronavirus lab in Wuhan, rather than from some unknown animal intermediary, or from bat caves hundreds of miles away?

... the coronavirus was made in a lab in China

There're some reasons to think that it may have escaped from a lab in which it was being studied. There's less reason to think that it had been manipulated in a lab. Some experts say there doesn't seem to be any evidence in its DNA that it was a modified version of a wild virus.

https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-not-human-made-in-lab.html

My understanding, and I am no expert, is that there exist "gain-of-function" experiments, in which viruses are encouraged by exposure to adapt to infect a new sort of cell, rather than directly modified. And that the results of successful experiments along these lines are indistinguishable from adaptation in the wild.

I am no expert in genetic engineering either, but I do teach research and can usually spot an unreliable source even if I can't evaluate individual studies for their scientific merit. There were a few articles about gain-of-function research on google scholar (not the best search engine for rigor because it is easily duped by imposter journals) but several of those articles were variations on the same underlying article given different titles and registered as pre-print.

Out of the stack they go.

Another was published in a journal named (I shit you not) Conspiracy Tech.

Another was published in a "variant views meant as conversation starters" publication, which is also to be taken with enough grains of salt to fight off a small slug infestation, but it at least cited this piece from Nature:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01541-z

...which should at least help in sorting through all the questions.

I'll also note in passing that one of my academic colleagues used to work at a school that had a BSL-3 lab in which the janitor found an unsecured sample of a very dangerous infectious agent sitting beneath the lab's microwave oven, apparently for months.

Protocols are only as strong as the people who are meant to practice them.

That matter never officially made its way to any monitoring agency and the lab is still running as usual, last I heard.

...variations on the same underlying article given different titles and registered as pre-print.

Ha! Reminds me of Liberty Patriot News and Constitutional Freedom Beacon and such (those were made up, but may well exist for all I know) all putting out the same Alex Jones nonsense, though usually word for word without attribution. Never a good sign.

This is the paper I read (and I read the 2020 Editor's note too). Zhengli-Li Shi is the Director of the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Shi, responding somewhat to the rumors in this piece about her and her work:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-chinas-bat-woman-hunted-down-viruses-from-sars-to-the-new-coronavirus1/

Good news regarding foreign policy, Robert Malley, progressive who helped broker the nuclear deal, was appointed envoy for Iran:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/29/politics/rob-malley-iran-envoy/index.html

Of course the knives are already out and there will certainly be much more of this once re-engagement with Iran starts:

https://theintercept.com/2021/01/28/iran-biden-robert-malley-smear-campaign/

Also, bad news regarding foreign policy, continuing Trump's confrontational course against China:

https://twitter.com/resplinodell/status/1355277961587548160?s=19

I don't know about this. I don't think that the same approach to both Iran and China are going to work, but I don't know what sort of middle ground there is. I also think she was responding to a gotcha question. From the article
Johnson asked her why she had said the United States is not in a new Cold War with China. He pointed to Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on democracy activists, and Taiwan, where Beijing says flights by its warplanes near the island last weekend were a warning against foreign interference in any independence moves.

I wish it were better phrased, but when you have iijits like Johnson and Cruz asking questions, it is unavoidable.

That's as of yet but a lukewarm war. It's yet to be decided which way to go.

Openish thread, so I am linking to Ian Leslie's blog The Ruffian, which always has interesting stuff (it's where I got that Paul McCartney piece so many of you liked - but he ranges far and wide: in this one Approaches to Conflict, Jerry Seinfeld, Tesla, the Irrelevance of Relevance, lots of interesting stuff on Covid and Astra Zeneca etc). He says he is relying on his readers to be his marketing dept, so I am taking him at his word.

https://ianleslie.substack.com/p/exit-strategies

It says the party that used to be all about family values doesn't give a sh*t about kids.

the GOP has given up the pretense of having policy preferences. it is now fully radicalized and reactionary, to the exclusion of all else.

it's The Law.

Since russell admired metal drummers' chops on the other thread, but the music was not seasoned to taste, here's Cynic's dearly departed rhythm section's take on the standard of standards. I'm not entirely sold on the first half, but I do like the second when Malone and Reinert strip it down a bit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJwyvueH_ks

A little sidebar to the minimum wage (i.e., money) discussion is hereby provided for your reading pleasure.

Enjoy your Sunday.

The article seems to suggest that a wealth tax is extremely difficult to impossible to administer.

By GAAP, possibly that would be the case, but under GAPP*, not so much.

*Generally Accepted Political Principles

Cynic's dearly departed rhythm section's take on the standard of standards.

ha!! the tune that cleared 10,000 jam session bandstands!!

that was pretty killing. cool to see Reeves Gabrels pop up, too.

great players all. thanks nous!!

So now Trump is totally changing his legal team. Because they were planning a "it's unconstitutional to try a President after he has left office" defense. And he wants a . . . wait for it . . . "the election was stolen by massive fraud" defense.

Does he have a gunrest on his knee? In order to be sure he shoots himself in the foot. GOP Senators look like they are rushing to the former (procedural) approach, in order to avoid having to vote on the substance. But it seems Trump wants to force them to vote, explicitly, on his claim of fraud.

I'm not sure lj, Blinken said more or less the same thing: continuity with Trump's FP in many respects.

https://www.newsweek.com/antony-blinken-joe-bidens-state-department-pick-says-donald-trump-got-it-right-china-1562777

The elephant in the room being of course: "what do they actually want to do with regards to China?"

shudder...

the standard of standards

The lovely and talented Camille Bertault does a vocalese of the John Coltrane solo on that tune. It's kind of a parlor trick, and has become something of a calling card for her, but it's also a pretty remarkable achievement.

The listener may find it impressive or annoying, depending on one's interest in things jazzy. :)

Dig it if ya dig it! And I promise, no more jazz today.

A remarkable achievement indeed. And I agree she is lovely. Previously the closest thing I ever heard in the same sort of vein was King Pleasure singing Moody's Mood for Love, but although I love that for old times' sake, it's not nearly as technically amazing.

Or do I mean King Pleasure singing Parker's Mood? It's all so long ago, I'm so confused....forget I mentioned it!

wow. that's nuts.

no more jazz today

booo.

Camille Bertault - Holy breath control, Batman!

what cleek said. (Although rags would be an adequate substitute for jazz.)

haha, I lied!!

King Pleasure, Moody's Mood For Love, notably covered by Amy Winehouse, who did a pretty good job!

And the amazing and elegiac Parker's Mood, recorded about a year before Parker passed.

and for wj, the remarkable Dame Evelyn Glennie plays the Maple Leaf Rag. Glennie is remarkable not least because she's clinically deaf.

O brave new world, that has such people in it.

King Pleasure! me like.

here's one of my fav's: a very high Anita O'Day stripping the bark off of Sweet Georgia Brown / Tea For Two, from the awesome "Jazz On A Summer's Day" movie.

one more...

Madeleine Peyroux doing the impossible : improving an Elliot Smith tune.

hi novakant, I think that Blinken is wrong, in that Trump didn't really have a policy on China, it was just performative moves for an American public. I do think China needs to be 'confronted', they are a bigger 'threat' than Iran, but what should be done to 'confront' them, I'm not really sure. Certainly not by labelling covid 'the China flu' or stopping cooperation with health officials.

This is what makes foreign policy so difficult, Biden can't simply come in and say he's going to do everything the opposite of Trump. Blinken is, like Thomas-Greenfield, answering questions from the seditionist from Wisconsin, Johnson, and I wish he could say 'why are you asking me anything and why should I answer it, because you've proven that you are untrustworthy'. As an alternative, I wish Blinken had pointed out that a more enlightened view of China might have helped us prepare better for Covid, and asking why he's still opposing mask mandates.

https://www.kenoshanews.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/sen-ron-johnson-tests-positive-for-covid-19-attended-fundraiser-while-awaiting-test-result/article_a81174a2-9186-5a15-961c-4b8775120469.html

Everytime Newsweek or any other outlet takes the answers given to bozos like Johnson and Cruz seriously, they are just setting up the pins again for another round. Screw that.

Gosh russell, I'd never heard that Amy Winehouse version - you're right, it's not half bad. Thanks!

I think that Blinken is wrong, in that Trump didn't really have a policy on China, it was just performative moves for an American public.

Not wrong, I think, so much as strategically tactful. By telling the GOP airheads that he's continuing Trump's (nonexistent, as you say) policy, he makes it hard for them to oppose whatever it is he plans to do. Because then they'd have to articulate a different policy, (And somehow tie it to Trump.) And they got nuthin'.

Whether what he intends to do is a good idea or not is a different discussion. But the statements on the genocide in progress in western China seem like a big step in the right direction on at least one front.

wj, more aptly phrased than me.

I don't want to get into motivations, but a lot of stuff popping up on my radar is driticism from the left. I don't think that Biden's admin should be exempt from criticism, but I'm at a loss to see how this is different from making a common cause with senators like Cruz and Johnson, who really should be ignored as they can't be trusted to raise honest questions.

a lot of stuff popping up on my radar is driticism from the left

It seems to be a recurring pattern: gat someone in office who is a moderate liberal, and the far left positively stampedes to join forces with the far right in attacking him.

Assume that any moderate Democrat elected to national office becomes the flag in the middle of the tug-of-war rope and marks the center of the Overton Window.

Assume that any Republican elected to national office functions in exactly the same way, but the GOP kicks all of the Democrats out and the tug-of-war is just between the donors and the base.

Assume that the moderate Democrats are trying to keep the left from pulling too hard too fast in hopes of getting the R donors to stop pulling right and start pulling left instead.

It seems to be a recurring pattern: gat someone in office who is a moderate liberal, and the far left positively stampedes to join forces with the far right in attacking him.

the far left has no influence.

the far right just staged a failed insurrection, at the behest of the former President and hundreds of members of Congress and all of Republican media.

you can always find unsatisfied lefties, if you look for them. if you tune your radar just right.

Anita O'Day

O'Day was just a bad-ass. She could pretty much hang with anybody. Just as bad as she wanted to be, every day of the week.

The Winehouse version of Moody's Mood For Love just always makes me sad. She had a real gift, a real understanding of soul music, a true ear and intuition for rhythm and phrasing, she was a natural, but I think she just kind of drowned in her own hype. That, and the chemicals.

She coulda been a contender. Not just a pop star, but a real artist.

That chemical shit is a bitch. Bill Evans talked a bit about his addictions. For a while it let him shut the rest of the world away, and just live in his music. Then, it took over that, too. Just a slow-motion suicide.

I think a lot of the glamour has gone out of the junkie artist thing, and that is nothing but a good thing.

When Peyroux first came out, I kind of thought hey, that's nice, but a little Billie goes a long way. But now I think that's just her real thing, and it's pretty cool. She owns it, she makes it work, and it sounds great. A cool singer.

In case the moniker "far left" should be directed at me, I just praised the Biden admin for appointing O'Malley and then mentioned the fact that while they otherwise are very keen on distinguishing themselves from Trump's policies, there is a pronounced continuity with regards to China, which is not restricted to the confirmation hearings.

FWIW the latter has been noticed by many experts as well as mainstream news outlets.

I feel like the highlighting by mainstream news outlets is problematic in that they are highlighting questions that are not asked in good faith. For example, the newsweek article
https://www.newsweek.com/antony-blinken-joe-bidens-state-department-pick-says-donald-trump-got-it-right-china-1562777

Has as its title
Antony Blinken, Joe Biden's State Department Pick, Says Donald Trump 'Got It Right' on China

Yet in the article, here's Blinken at length

"I also believe President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China. I disagree very much with the way he went about it in a number of ways, but the basic principle was the right one and I think that's very helpful to our foreign policy," Blinken said. "I have issues with the way he carried it out, in many ways."

If anyone has a problem with that, what is the alternative statement? Trump was wrong in everything he did, therefore the US should not do anything to protect their interests?

I prefer the Reuters title, which seems a much fairer way of putting it
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biden-state-china-idUSKBN29O2GB
U.S. secretary of state nominee Blinken sees strong foundation for bipartisan China policy

Newsweek seems to be set on making a equivalence between Trump and Biden with headlines like this
https://www.newsweek.com/antony-blinken-picks-mike-pompeo-mantle-tackles-china-1565140
Antony Blinken Picks Up Mike Pompeo's Mantle as He Tackles China Head-On

This New Republic article,
https://newrepublic.com/article/160992/biden-china-climate-yellen-blinken-austin

criticized Blinken and Biden, but doesn't try to go for the zinger of just carrying out Trump's ideas

This Politico article gives a much better and more nuanced explanation and more closely analyzes what Blinken said rather than 'oh my god, he agreed with Trump'
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-china-watcher/2021/01/21/a-biden-doctrine-on-china-emerges-491467

This is also a great article to discuss how a Biden admin could confront China in ways that the Trump admin couldn't even imagine
https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/01/19/us-black-ambassadors-china-foreign-service/

As far as experts, I'm wondering you specifically you are citing. Navarro was held up as a China expert, it's not like there is a test or a licensing process for them. So I'd have to see who was being cited as an expert before I'd accept that their view is that Biden is just doing the exact same as Trump.

Lj, I have no idea why you are so defensive about this. There has been a bipartisan consensus building over the last few years that aggressively confronting China is the way to go for US foreign policy and everything we have heard from the Biden administration so far on the matter is in line with this stance.

So it is not surprising if there will be continuity with Trump's recent China policy, but this in itself is only of limited interest. What is worrying is the prospect of a new cold war, or god forbid, a military confrontation over Taiwan / South China Sea.

It's early days and everyone is reading the tea leaves, but the tone is remarkably aggressive and I don't think that's helpful.

Apologies, I don't mean to be defensive, but your initial post was
Also, bad news regarding foreign policy, continuing Trump's confrontational course against China:

which sounds like it would be "good" news if Blinken was saying that we should not continue to confront China. At least that's how I took it.

I agree that we are reading tea leaves, but the tea leaves of the confirmation questions, especially when they from Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz, are more like reading a book made with crayons by a 3 year old. There is some intention there, but it is better at revealing the lack of insight of the Republican questioners.

I do want the left to pull Biden and move that Overton windown, as I am sure you do, but implying that Biden is going to have the same policy as Trump (which is what the newsweek articles do) is remarkably unhelpful. I believe that China has to be confronted on a range of issues, Tibet, Hong Kong, the Uighur, maritime claims in the South China Sea are the ones that spring to mind. Not to mention the Belt and Road initiative and developments in terms of Covid. Along with the mundane world of IP, piracy, and dealing with North Korea. You stack those up and the newsweek hot take of 'oh, he's just like Trump' doesn't really grab me.

Obviously, this is a lot more of an issue with me over here than it would be with you, and the mere mention of the names Johnson and Cruz raise my blood pressure, so I apologize for my aggressiveness, but I don't believe it is 'defensiveness'. I just don't think it is going to do any good to have a steady diet of hot takes from senators more interested in trying to score cheap points rather than try to come up with a foreign policy that is going to require some pretty tough balancing. And who have demonstrated their own willingness to choose sedition.

Again, apologies if I am too aggressive with my reply, it is just that China is a lot closer to home for me.

It's early days and everyone is reading the tea leaves, but the tone is remarkably aggressive and I don't think that's helpful.

Well, compared to Trump applauding Xi for setting up concentration camps for the Uighurs, pretty much anything could be seen as aggressive or "confrontational." But the fact is, failing to push back on China over Taiwan or the South China Sea looks to me like "peace in our time."

Under Xi, China is a bully. As with any bully, either you show that you won't fight back, and keep getting punched, or you show that you are willing to fight back so you don't have to. We don't want to start a fight with China. But that doesn't mean caving in everywhere in order to "avoid confrontation".

The mind boggles
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2021/02/01/update-2-kushner-berkowitz-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize-for-israel-deals-2/

Although, after the trashing the value of the Medal of Freedom, I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise.

She coulda been a contender. Not just a pop star, but a real artist.

I agree. Such a tragedy, and so strange that it was booze that got her in the end, she'd already kicked the smack. I thought Rehab was funny when it came out - I can't stand to listen to it now.

But it seems Trump wants to force them to vote, explicitly, on his claim of fraud.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that Trump actually believes this balderdash.

...What is worrying is the prospect of a new cold war, or god forbid, a military confrontation over Taiwan / South China Sea....

It is hard to see how the US avoids defending Taiwanese independence, though.
It's an uncomfortable fact that most of the high end computer chips on which a very large port of our economies depend come from there. An authoritarian China doing with Taiwan what it just did with Hong Kong would be very uncomfortable for the rest of us.
https://stratechery.com/2020/chips-and-geopolitics/

When Peyroux first came out, I kind of thought hey, that's nice, but a little Billie goes a long way. But now I think that's just her real thing, and it's pretty cool.

yeah, same here. i kept waiting for her to do something in what i assumed was her 'real' voice, and it never happened. so, i've just accepted that she just has a similar voice to Billie H..

So, does the U.K. escape the reach of Big Dairy's E.U. overreach?

"Opponents of the current E.U. proposal, Amendment 171, have dubbed it the 'Dairy Ban.' The law would prohibit plant-based milk producers from using words or images on their food labels that may also be used to describe or refer to animal-based dairy products.

Worse still, the rules could expand beyond simply censoring words and pictures on food packaging. It could even prohibit the use of some common food packaging itself.

'They would also be unable to use packaging designs that call to mind dairy products, such as yoghurt [containers] or milk cartons,' The Conversation explains. 'Even simply showing climate impact by comparing the carbon footprint of their products with dairy equivalents could become illegal.'"
Europe Considers Orwellian Proposal To Protect Its Dairy Industry From Vegan Competitors: Consumers aren't confused about where plant milks come from. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It is hard to see how the US avoids defending Taiwanese independence, though.
It's an uncomfortable fact that most of the high end computer chips on which a very large port of our economies depend come from there. An authoritarian China doing with Taiwan what it just did with Hong Kong would be very uncomfortable for the rest of us.

Yes, and let's keep this in mind when discussing defense spending. The PRC has interior lines of communication and land-based aircraft. No one knows what would happen if war broke out. The PRC's soft spot is food. My innumeracy prevents me from teasing out the precise import of this:

*In the year of 2017 China imported 53.48 million tons of food & beverage with total value worth 58.28 billion USD, representing 36.5% and 25% year-on-year growth respectively. In the past five years from 2013 to 2017, the average annual growth rate of imported food trade in China remained 5.7%.*

But, if there is a soft underbelly, it is food, which means closing off the PRC's ports which then means, first, decisively winning a major air/sea battle and thereafter having sufficient assets left over to blockade a very long coast line.

China's food imports are only a few percent of domestic production.

and a lot of China's imported food comes from the US.

so, any blockade of China is going to come with a lot of angry US farmers. which means they'll be OK if a Republican does it, but not a Democrat.

which means they'll be OK if a Republican does it

And if they get (Republican-proposed) subsidies. Democratic-proposed subsidies being, of course, a threat to freedom and independence.

As a tangent to the article on Taiwan based chip foundries, Intel's commitment to CISC chip technology is becoming RISCy.

"When Apple announced that it would transition away from Intel processors to its own chips in June of 2020, many were skeptical that a computer powered by a processor based on an iPhone chip could compete with the Intel-based Mac computers that have been the standard since 2006. The M1 Mac computers that launched in November of 2020 have quelled much of that doubt, demonstrating surprisingly high performance. The M1 defeats many of the top Intel and AMD CPUs in single-core tests and handily beats low-power chips in multi-core tests as well."
M1 Mac: How RISC Makes Apple Silicon Faster Than Intel: The new Macs with Apple's M1 use a RISC design that enables more low-level parallel processing than the CISC design of Intel and AMD processors.

https://chinapower.csis.org/china-food-security/

and

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/CHN/Year/2018/TradeFlow/Import/Partner/USA/Product/All-Groups

basically, underlining what pro bono and cleek point out.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3111623/china-food-security-hows-it-going-and-whys-it-important

also this link points out that China is the 2nd largest food exporter to the US, and that half the exports to China in 2014 were soybeans (Though it is a smaller part with China turning to Brazil for that) means that all the talk of blockades is so much hot air.

https://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/the-u-s-imports-a-lot-of-food-from-china-and-you-might-be-surprised-whats-on-the-list/

The last thing I'm going to do is get in an argument over statistics unless the math is very, very basic. It may very well be that the PRC is almost self sufficient in food production. This piece indicates some reason for doubt (.21 arable acres per capita is not a lot of arable land): https://chinapower.csis.org/china-food-security/

OTOH, if my seldom-requested judgment of how the US could gain leverage over the PRC in a way that would bring a shooting war to an end is off, I'd still submit that are three options: nukes (so, really not an option), invasion (a slightly less awful alternative than nukes) or blockade (also a shitty option, but at least it's conventional, and possible assuming the initial air/sea battle goes our way decisively--which is an open question to which I have no answer).

The topic raised by LJ and Nigel is standing up to the PRC. Only the US has the depth to do that, but it's a long boat ride across the Pacific. So, the real bottom line is: does the US spend what will be needed to face down the PRC or not? And are those voting "no" willing to live with the long term effects of that decision?

China is undercutting the world price for things like garlic by using prison and other forced labor.

China is the 2nd largest food exporter to the US, and that half the exports to China in 2014 were soybeans

And, thanks to Trump's trade wars, pretty much all of that soybean market is now taken by Brazil.

the real bottom line is: does the US spend what will be needed to face down the PRC or not? And are those voting "no" willing to live with the long term effects of that decision?

Do those voting "no" have a clue what those long term effects might be? Or are they in a Trump-style denial on the whole subject?

OTOH, if my seldom-requested judgment of how the US could gain leverage over the PRC in a way that would bring a shooting war to an end is off, I'd still submit that are three options

As I have had to explain to McKinney before, there is no way I underestimate what ruthlessness the PRC is capable of, and in the end some variation of this may be necessary. But, it would clearly be far preferable for this never to come to a shooting war, and it may be there are other ways to exert pressure on China which would avoid that necessity. I do not pretend to have the answer (although it would be hard to come up with more inept, inconsistent diplomacy than that exercised by the Trump regime, if it is not laughable even to use the word "diplomacy" where they are concerned), nor should the possible eventual necessity of a big stick be ignored (therefore hopefully making its use unnecessary), but clever people in place in various positions in the intelligence agencies and the foreign service who actually understand one's adversaries (and therefore what kind of pressure, or motivation, might work with them) would be a fine start.

Only the US has the depth to do that, but it's a long boat ride across the Pacific.

If only there were something where nations grouped together to create conditions where a nation like China might have to alter its policies short of war. I wish I could think of something, but I just can't.

Some wishing from some Reason writers.

• Reform the Clemency Process

• Get Out of Afghanistan

• Don't Call It 'Junk' Insurance—and Don't Restrict Its Sale

• Let Hongkongers Come to America

• Expand Your Marijuana Reform Ambitions

• Keep Playing Nice With Private Space Companies

• End Trump's Trade Wars

Rather than spurning allies, Biden should take a multilateral approach. Japan, Vietnam, and other major American trading partners share many of our concerns about the economic influence China exerts. It makes sense to pursue a regional trade deal that would lower tariffs for imports from non-China countries. That would give American businesses clear alternatives for overseas investment and force China to change if it wants to keep competing.

That was the basic idea behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama-era trade agreement that Trump tore up during his first week in office. The other nations involved in that deal went ahead without the United States, but America's participation would probably be welcomed, though some diplomacy might be necessary. Biden has said he would not rejoin the TPP as it was previously written but that he would leverage America's allies to hold China accountable for breaking international norms on trade. That's a good place to start.
A Practical Wish List for Joe Biden: Some doable libertarian ideas for the new president

What alternative term is suggested for Junk Insurance? That has some resemblance to truth in advertising. And reflects its true worth to most potential customers.

Seems like "junk" is a pretty accurate description for most of the people who end up buying it. Yes, there are circumstances where it is appropriate. But for those few cases, the buyers are sufficiently knowledgeable that they won't be put off by a name.

Given that Trump weaponized the TPP to leverage anger and that Trump hated the TPP then liked it

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/13/a-timeline-of-trumps-complicated-relationship-with-the-tpp/

Biden's approach makes sense. Also, because Warren and Sanders opposed the TPP, it is important to understand and include points that deal with their objections, though Sanders was quite outspoken in his opposition, praising Trump's withdrawal. So it might be really hard to square that circle.

OTOH, if my seldom-requested judgment of how the US could gain leverage over the PRC in a way that would bring a shooting war to an end is off, I'd still submit that are three options

what if we stopped buying stuff from them? or, you know, slapped a big tariff on it and let the magic of the market do its stuff?

not recommending, just asking.

if it came to a shooting war between the US and China, there would probably be a winner, and it would probably not be either the US or China.

I doubt China wants a shooting war with the US. With Xi, they have put aside their normal long game to see how hard and far they can push everyone else. China's military is a bit of a paper tiger anyway.

With Xi, they have put aside their normal long game to see how hard and far they can push everyone else.

As long as the US doesn't push back (and who else is strong enough?), they'll keep pushing. The US doesn't have to get close to anything close to a shooting war. Just get beyond Trump-style obviously empty bluster.

With over a decade of teaching students from China (including a few tense classes during the Tzuyu incident when I had a number of Chinese and South Korean students and one Taiwanese student in the same class), one thing I can guarantee is that people who are thinking through their strategic and diplomatic choices from a Western mindset are trying to apply chess logic to a go match.

This is one of those areas where I'm happy to defer to the experts, and one of those places where we can only hope that Biden has enough competent people left at the State Department to do the cultural lifting for him.

From a practical POV, would a theoretical food blockade of China even work, if done from the sea side only? I do not know how the Chinese relationship with Russia looks right now. I could at least imagine that Putin would see it as an opportunity (annoying the US, making a profit, improving the relationship with Xi (should it be bad at the moment) etc.).

Back to drummers for a moment, I really, really like Manu Katche's work with Peter Gabriel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRLjpXLEp1A

And in rather a different being, with Sting. This performance also has a special place in my heart. The original "All This Time" is a chilly, bitter reflection on futility, written not long after Sting's father died.

Teachers told the Romans built this place
They built a wall and a temple and an edge of the empire garrison town
They lived and they died
They prayed to their gods, but the stone gods did not make a sound
And their empire crumbles 'till all that was left
Were the stones the workmen found

It's long been a favorite of mine to listen to in times of grief, because it's got nothing but the truth. There's more and other truths, too - it's not the whole story - but it's as bullshit-free as anything I know.

But one of those other truths is that the heaviest storms of grief do settle. Not that it stops mattering, or that you ever stop missing those whom you loved, but it subsides. You integrate it, and becomes less a thing done to you than part of who you are and will be.

Which leads to this performance. The original came out in 1990. This was recorded at Sting's home in Tuscany in 2011. And here the grief is integrated. The music is here to remind us that yeah, life really does go on, and the very thing was a gaping wound is now also a celebration.

https://youtu.be/Q_OlaPBwfjY

Good stuff for bad times.

Very different vein, darn it. Autocorrect, what are you up to tonight?

Again, apologies if I am too aggressive with my reply, it is just that China is a lot closer to home for me.

No problem, lj, and I'm fully aware that it's a wholly different ballgame, if one is actually affected by these matters - I get that with discussions about the ME.

I'm just wary of the sabre rattling, the hypocrisy and narcissism of 'the west' and the unhelpful bluster (Biden called Xi "a thug" on prime TV).

No question that there are a lot of bad actors out there and I am the first to point out human rights abuses.

But 'we' have lost a lot of moral capital, especially over the past two decades, and we also have to face the reality that the global power structure is shifting away from us. So, assuming benign intentions on our part, our actual options are limited and we would be wise to play the long game.

Bruce Baugh:

"being" works in that context too.

Back to drummers for a moment, I really, really like Manu Katche's work with Peter Gabriel.

plus, Tony Levin rising out of the stage like the god he is.

Katche is a great drummer!

As an aside, and speaking of patents and copyrights, Sting still, to this day, apparently makes something like $2,000 a day from "Every Breath You Take". That song was released almost 40 years ago.

And a lot of that is from a sample of the guitar part that he didn't even write, that got used in a rap song. I'm thinking Andy Summers, guitarist for the Police, is kicking himself in the @ss right about now.

Always keep your publishing, kids!!

i read Summers' memoirs a couple of years back, and, wow, he has no love for Sting. basically says he could tell almost immediately how self-centered and ambitious Sting was.

likewise, in his memoirs, Chris Franz thinks David Byrne is a pretty rotten guy. but in his latest book, Bryne calls Franz his friend.

moral: bands are a good way to make lifetime enemies.

The new Macs with Apple's M1 use a RISC design that enables more low-level parallel processing than the CISC design of Intel and AMD processors.

Apple also put a number of dedicated special-purpose coprocessors on the M1 chip. It no longer matters how fast the ARM cores can run the current video codec algorithms: there's dedicated special-purpose hardware for that. It no longer matters how fast the ARM cores can run a variety of common signal processing algorithms: there's dedicated special-purpose DSP hardware. It no longer matters how fast the ARM cores can run common neural network code: there's dedicated NN processors. With the added advantage that if the user isn't running video, or compressed audio, or an AI application, those parts of the hardware can be completely powered down.

I am an old enough geek to remember when integrated circuit technology crossed the border between "How can we get enough transistors on the chip to do X?" to "We can put so many more transistors on the chip, what special features should we add?"

Well...

"The legislation says any interactive computer service provider—that means social media giants, small blogs, podcast hosting services, app stores, consumer review platforms, independent political forums, crowdfunding, and Patreon-style sites, dating apps, newsletter services, and much more—will lose Section 230 protection if they fail to report any known user activity that might be deemed "suspicious."

"Suspicious" content is defined as any post, private message, comment, tag, transaction, or "any other user-generated content or transmission" that government officials later determine "commits, facilitates, incites, promotes, or otherwise assists the commission of a major crime." Major crimes are defined as anything involving violence, domestic, or international terrorism, or a "serious drug offense."

For each suspicious post, services must submit a Suspicious Transmission Activity Report (STAR) within 30 days, providing the user's name, location, and other identifying information, as well as any relevant metadata."
'See Something, Say Something Online Act' Punishes Big Tech for Not Snitching: Plus: Oregon decriminalizes hard drugs, Kroger closes stores over hazard pay rule, and more...

I went to late elementary, junior high and early high school with Chris Franz.

Very nice guy. Played trombone, I think it was, in the marching band.

He recruited Byrne for the Talking Heads.

I loved The Police and if Stingless, no Police, but neither do I trust anyone who announces their own nickname with a warning about using anything-but henceforth.

Self-anointed nicknames kind of take the fun out of nicknaming, which has to come from elsewhere, your buds or your agent, and have an element of irony in its spot-on application.

Stan the Man did not one day show up in the dugout and announce his nickname to his teammates and his coaches.

If he had, his nickname would have soon become Stan the Asshole.

Blog handles are of course a different matter.

McCartney at one point called Lennon a maneuvering swine, while Lennon and Harrison called McCartney every other name, not including Hari Krishna.

Ringo was always Richie to the other three.

They loved each other.

Fame and fortune and power, in business, and the business of artistic creation tend to encourage the maneuvering swine in a person, the maneuvered stakes being so high.

And yes, always keep your publishing and don't sell it for a song to the professional maneuvering swine in suits.

All of the above band mates love one another.

I have a brother who hates me (but he hates everyone except our long-gone Dad; that's his story and the hard head is sticking to it) and I hate him, bad water inexplicably having passed under blown up bridges.

But I love him like a brother.

The music is the bottom line thing.

In the end, we have the music out of the crucibles of the artists' petty bullshit.

And so do they and they know it.

In a very late business meeting, McCartney pointed out to the other three, that yeah, he was a hard head, but when it came down to it, all he wanted was John, George, and Ringo in a studio making those singular glorious sounds and all else was pointless distraction.

Three weeks later, they were kaputnik.

See Something, Say Something Online Act' Punishes Big Tech for Not Snitching

So, small-scale blogging handled by one or a few individuals is gone. Lawyers, Guns & Money as an example. Enough comments where people say things that count as suspicious. Me, for example, there and here occasionally, with my assertions that a peaceful partition of the states is inevitable. (Is that sedition? Is it if I plan how to get 38 states to agree to amend the Constitution so it can happen?) Too many comments to guarantee that they will get scanned and the forms filled out and submitted in a timely fashion by the unpaid front page authors, plus the whole name and location requirement.

Long ago, when one of the things I did was write position papers on various technologies inside a giant telecom company, I said that (a) IP was going to win over ATM (asynchronous transfer mode, not the teller machines), (b) one of IP's strengths from the user perspective was anonymity, and (c) one of IP's great weaknesses from law enforcement's perspective was anonymity.

Self-anointed nicknames kind of take the fun out of nicknaming, which has to come from elsewhere, your buds or your agent, and have an element of irony in its spot-on application.

I had a nickname bestowed upon me in high school. Innocuous, but quickly used by essentially everyone.

Eating dinner at a friend's house once, his mom turned to me and said, "This is really embarrassing, but Tom (her son) and all of your friends only use your nickname and I've forgotten what your real name is."

When I went off to college, I had to learn to respond to "Hey, Mike!" again.

I promise not to squeal on anyone.

So, small-scale blogging handled by one or a few individuals is gone

well, it's still just a bill, not a law.

On the topic of Sting and his bandmates and songwriting credits...Stuart Copeland, in one of his documentaries for a solo project recounted an argument that he and Andy had with Sting over residuals (IIRC, during the reunion tour). At the height of the argument Stuart sarcastically says to Sting: "Andy and I want a villa, too."

To which Sting throws back: "It's not a villa, Stu, it's a palazzo."

plus, Tony Levin rising out of the stage like the god he is.

He really is amazing, and one of those folks - along with Steve Rhodes, rocking that Hawaiian shirt in that video - that pretty much everybody has a good word for, it seems.

I've had the new Liquid Tension Experiment album on a fair amount lately, and my cats seem fine with Levin's bass playing more loudly than I generally play music. :)

See Something, Say Something Online Act' Punishes Big Tech for Not Snitching

My first question would have to be: How is the host supposed to police it? I mean, maybe cleek has time to read all the comments on his blog. It might even be possible to do that here. But on something bigger? Gonna have to automate it somehow. (Or hire every unemployed, and every underemployed, individual in the country.)

And that's before you get to the elliptical expressions, obscure references, etc. that some of us use rather routinely. At that point you're talking one impressive AI system. Government intelligence agencies may be up to that; local message boards, not so much.

Of course, being mostly lawyers, not computer geeks, the members of Congress don't know. And likely don't care. And won't . . . until they discover that "Big Tech" has the resources, and lawyers, to skate around it. But their constituents are the ones getting burned.

All of that is before you consider that deeming something "suspicious", rather than protected political speech, is far easier with 20/20 hindsight. In short, it won't work. Can't work.

Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, it must be done...

In many areas of the United States, installing a wind or solar farm is now cheaper than simply buying fuel for an existing fossil fuel-based generator. And that's dramatically changing the electricity market in the US and requiring a lot of people to update prior predictions. That has motivated a group of researchers to take a new look at the costs and challenges of getting the entire US to carbon neutrality.

By building a model of the energy market for the entire US, the researchers explored what it will take to get the country to the point where its energy use has no net emissions in 2050—and they even looked at a scenario where emissions are negative. They found that, as you'd expect, the costs drop dramatically—to less than 1 percent of the GDP, even before counting the costs avoided by preventing the worst impacts of climate change. And, as an added bonus, we would pay less for our power.

but remember, Democrats want to cripple the US by switching away from fossil fuels.

In short, it won't work. Can't work.

that's what it sounds like to me, too.

i doubt it will pass, for that reason.

installing a wind or solar farm is now cheaper than simply buying fuel for an existing fossil fuel-based generator.

The generation system, sure. I suspect the critical factor will turn out to be batteries to supply times, specifically evenings, when those new power sources are short. Yes, batteries are getting better and cheaper. But they're still further behind than generation.

moral: bands are a good way to make lifetime enemies.

it's all fun and games until there's money on the table.

that's what i refuse to get good enough at it that anyone would pay me for it.

what/why/when/who/how all the English question words are the same, right?

A picture is worth a thousand words.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/01/pepper-spraying-children/

In other news, a perfect example today of a "cool" gambit by the Russian state, in the recently discussed Lincoln sense.

Navalny is sentenced to be imprisoned for two and a half years in a labour camp after a court hearing. The charge? He breached his parole conditions from a previous (framed) conviction. How? He was in hospital in Germany, having been poisoned with Novichok by the Russian state.

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