Archive for October, 2020

Attempt to censor Greenwald is a big deal

October 31, 2020



The Intercept’s attempted censorship of Glenn Greenwald is a symptom of the state of freedom of the press in the USA.

Greenwald wrote an article about how major broadcasters and publications refused to acknowledge new information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s ties to a corrupt businessman in Ukraine.  His editors at The Intercept refused to publish it unless he deleted information derogatory to Joe Biden.

This is a big deal because Greenwald joined The Intercept, a news web site bankrolled by a billionaire named Pierre Omidyar, because it promised him freedom from censorship. 

Greenwald originally was a civil liberties lawyer with a blog.  It became so popular that he was invited to join Salon and then The Guardian. to which he agreed only on condition of complete freedom to express his opinion, within the limits of libel law.  Omidyar’s FIrst Look Media promised him the same freedom.

His critics say it is wrong of him to criticize Joe Biden in the run-up to the election because it is all-important to defeat Donald Trump.  It is “not helpful to the left,” as one of his editors wrote.

Actually the New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s computer was not all that important in itself.  It only added circumstantial evidence to what was already known.  If not for the effort to suppress the article, it probably would be forgotten by now.


Greenwald originally gained favor with self-described leftists because of his writing about the George W. Bush administration’s attack on civil liberties.  He lost favor when he held the Barack Obama administration to the same standard.  He remains in disfavor because of his skepticism about the Russiagate conspiracy theory, even though he has been vindicated by the facts.

Other independent reporters also were marginalized.  Seymour Hersh was a top investigative reporter for the New York Times and then for the New Yorker magazine.  His Russiagate skepticism cost him that position.  His writings appeared in The Guardian for a time.  The last article of his that I read was in the English-language edition of a German newspaper.

Matt Taibbi is another Russiagate skeptic.  He backed out of an invitation to join The Intercept when it was first organized.  He recently started a new blog on the Substack platform, which Greenwald also has joined.

I don’t see Greenwald, Hersh or Taibbi as part of “the left,” whatever that may be.  I’ve never seen any indication that any of them has any particular ideology, except intolerance of tyranny, atrocities and high-level corruption and a keen nose for BS.

I’m not sure what “left” or “right” mean any more, beyond adherence to one of two political factions.  Evidently the current “right” position is that business monopolies such as Facebook and Twitter should not have the power to stifle opinions their executives don’t approve of, while the “left” position is that freedom of speech only applies to freedom from government censorship.


Some ultimate jack o’lanterns

October 30, 2020



I never knew pumpkin carving was a recognized art, but it is.  For background information and pictures of more pumpkins, click on I’ve Been Carving Pumpkins for Over 10 Years, Here Are 23 of My Favorite Monster Pumpkins by Christian Russell.


Glenn Greenwald resigns from The Intercept

October 29, 2020

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald has resigned from The Intercept, a news organization he co-founded in 2014, because of its refusal to publish an article he wrote about Hunter and Joe Biden.

Ironically, the original idea behind The Intercept was that journalists would be able to write without editorial censorship of content.

I’ve long admired Greenwald and have read his writings since he was just a lawyer with his own WordPress blog.  He is going back to being an individual blogger.  Here are the first three posts on his new blog, plus The Intercept’s response.


My Resignation From The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald.

Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored by The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald.

Emails With Intercept Editors Showing Censorship of My Joe Biden Article by Glenn Greenwald.

Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept by The Intercept.


Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From the Intercept by Matt Taibbi.  [Added 10/30/2020]  Taibbi, like Greenwald, has gone back to being an individual blogger, also using the Substack platform.

Glenn Greenwald Leaving The Intercept, Claiming He Was Censored by Katie Robertson for The New York Times [Added 10/30/2020]

The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine for MSFW Corp. [Added 10/30/2020]  A 2013 article about the billionaire who bankrolled Greenwald and The Intercept.

The Aftermath of My Move Back to Independent Journalism by Glenn Greenwald.  [Added 10/31/2020]  Greenwald already is among the top 10 Substack bloggers in terms of number of subscribers.  He took a big risk.  His former employer not only paid him a six-figure salary, but provided security to protect him from kidnapping and assassination attempts—a real danger for him because he lives in Brazil and has fearlessly criticized its authoritarian government.

Greenwald’s Intercept Resignation Exposes the Rot in All Mass Media by Caitlin Johnstone. [Added 10/31/2020]

The Media Has Not Ignored the Hunter Biden Story by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.  [Added 10/31/2020]

Hunter Biden’s easy access laptop was national security nightmare by Caroline Graham and Ian Gallagher for The Daily Mail in London.  [Added 11/1/2020]  Version on RedState.

Ebay Founder Pierre Omidyar Is Funding a Global Media Information War by Alexander Rubenstein and Max Blumenthal for Mint Press News.  [Added 11/1/2020]  A 2019 article about The Intercept’s owner.  This is bad stuff, but I doubt if Greenwald would have kept his independence if he had remained with The Guardian.

Glenn Greenwald Sparks Snowden Deja-Vu by Jack Hunter for The American Conservative.  [Added 11/1/2020]

Inside Glenn Greenwald’s Blowup With The Intercept by Peter Sterne for New York magazine.  [Added 11/1/2020]

Is this the year of the jackpot?

October 29, 2020

Living through the year 2020 reminded me of a science-fiction story by the late Robert A. Heinlein called “Year of the Jackpot.”

The viewpoint character was a mild-manner statistician named Potiphar Breen. He followed trends and cycles, and had come to the conclusion that all of the cycles he followed—social, political, economic, the weather, sports scores—were due to peak at the same time.

He headed for the hills with his girlfriend and was able to wait out the economic and political collapse and the Soviet invasion. But sunspots, too, come in cycles, and so the story ends with the two of them watching the sun go nova.

I feel as if I’m living in that story.  Each month something unexpected happens, something I never would have been able to predict the month before, but which, as I think about it, is the result of things that have been building up for years.

Climate scientists for years have been predicting an upswing in weather-related disasters as a result of global warming and, guess what, they’re already here.  I read an article about this year’s catastrophe’s in Scientific American on-line, which was by a reporter whose beat consists of writing about catastrophes.

Epidemiologists for years have been predicting a global pandemic, and now one is here.  Recessions keep getting worse.  Riots and protests, many seemingly without any clear object, sweep the world.

The thing that worries me is the thought that people 10 or 15 years from now will look back on this year, not as the year everything went to hell, but as one of the last good years.


The Year of the Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein in Galaxy Science Fiction (March 1952)

A Running List of Record-Breaking Natural DIsasters in 2020 by Andrea Thompson for Scientific American.

Historically dark mood clouds 2020 election by Marc Fisher for The Washington Post.

Why Is the World Going to Hell? by Jonathan Cook for Counterpunch.

Is 2020 the worst year of your life? Many Canadians, Americans say ‘yes’ by John Ackerman and Curtis Doering for News 1130 in Vancouver.

Here’s a Recap of 2020 So Far and It’s Painful to Read by Liucija Adomaite and Denis Tymulis for Bored Panda.  Painful and somewhat unfair, but funny.

The hidden powers of the Presidency

October 28, 2020

Source: BelConLawBlog.

The President of the United States has the potential powers of a dictator. Maybe “potential” is the wrong word. Here is the beginning of an article in the current issue of Harper’s magazine.

A few hours before the inauguration ceremony, the prospective president receives an elaborate and highly classified briefing on the means and procedures for blowing up the world with a nuclear attack, a rite of passage that a former official described as “a sobering moment.” Secret though it may be, we are at least aware that this introduction to apocalypse takes place.

At some point in the first term, however, experts surmise that an even more secret briefing occurs, one that has never been publicly acknowledged. In it, the new president learns how to blow up the Constitution. The session introduces “presidential emergency action documents,” or PEADs, orders that authorize a broad range of mortal assaults on our civil liberties. In the words of a rare declassified official description, the documents outline how to “implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations”—by imposing martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing control of the internet, imposing censorship, and incarcerating so-called subversives, among other repressive measures.

“We know about the nuclear briefcase that carries the launch codes,” Joel McCleary, a White House official in the Carter Administration, told me. “But over at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department there’s a list of all the so-called enemies of the state who would be rounded up in an emergency.  I’ve heard it called the ‘enemies briefcase.’ ”

These chilling directives have been silently proliferating since the dawn of the Cold War as an integral part of the hugely elaborate and expensive Continuity of Government (COG) program, a mechanism to preserve state authority (complete with well-provisioned underground bunkers for leaders) in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

Compiled without any authorization from Congress, the emergency provisions long escaped public discussion—that is, until Donald Trump started to brag about them.  “I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about,” he boasted in March, ominously echoing his interpretation of Article II of the Constitution, which, he has claimed, gives him “the right to do whatever I want as president.”

Source: Andrew Cockburn | Harper’s Magazine

These powers come from two sources. One consists of laws, going back to World War One, granting the President emergency powers and never rescinded. The other is the old doctrine that “in time of war, the laws of silent,” combined with the idea that the USA is a permanent state of war with no foreseeable end.


Countdown to Election 2020

October 27, 2020

Will the Election Be Close or Contested? What to Expect From Trump and Biden by Mark Niquette for Bloomberg.

Preparing for Electoral Unrest and a Right-Wing Power Grab: an analysis by Peter Gelderloos for Crimethinc.  In-depth analysis by an anarchist.

Americans Increasingly Believe Violence Is Justified If the Other Side Wins by Larry Diamond, Lee Drutman, Tod Lindberg, Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason for POLITICO.

What a 21st century civil war would look like

October 26, 2020

Patriot Prayer rally. Source: US Defense Watch.

I think there is a real possibility of civil war in the United States—not all-out war as in 1861-1865, but an intermittent, continuing conflict like The Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1968-1998.

Whatever the outcome of the Presidential election, the losing side will not accept it as legitimate.  Democrats will point to illegal purging of voting rolls and other tampering with the election process.  Republicans will point to slanting and censorship of the news by big media and high-tech companies to favor Biden.

Many Democrats think President Trump is a puppet installed by Vladimir Putin to undermine the U.S.  Many Republicans believe the Q-anon story of a secret struggle against a conspiracy of pedophiles.

I’m not going to argue the relative merits of these beliefs.  The point is that they are widely held.  Democratic leaders didn’t accept the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 victory.  They tried to block him from taking office by manipulating the Electoral College and then tried to impeach him on far-fetched grounds.

Along with this there are armed factions already in the streets—the revolutionary faction in the George Floyd protests and the armed right-wing militias.

Black Lives Matter originated as a non-violent protest movement.  But the conflict in Northern Ireland also originated with non-violent protests, conducted on behalf of the Catholic minority there.  The conflict didn’t stay non-violent because the Provisional IRA and the Protestant militias joined in.

One of the lessons of the Northern Ireland conflict is that when civil war breaks out, it is difficult or impossible for the government to put down both sides.  Inevitably, it lines up with one faction or another.

So could it be in the United States.  A Biden administration would tilt toward the Black Lives Matter faction.  A Trump administration would tip toward the right-wing militias.  Democratic and Republican mayors would have their own agendas, as would Homeland Security and state and local police. 

Things could get complicated, very quickly.   We see these kinds of alignments forming right now..

I of course hope that this doesn’t play out as I fear, or that, if it does, violent conflict soon dies down to the point where it can be controlled. 

But with a looming economic crisis, an ongoing pandemic and continuing climate-related crises, I fear the USA is headed for a tipping point, and I do not know what the results would be.

On Oct. 26, 1860, few Americans, North or South, expected or wanted a civil war.  A year later, they were fighting one.  I doubt that, in 1968, the people of North Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, wanted or expected decades of conflict.  But they were forced to choose sides, whether they wanted to or not.


A New Civil War: News & Opinion Aggregator.

Could America Split Up? by Damon Linker for The Week.

Is a New Civil War Possible? by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

Over half of voters expect violence, disagree on election legitimacy by Ledyard King for USA Today.

The Northern Ireland Conflict, 1968-1998 by John Dorney for The Irish Story.

Yes, I know COVID-19 is not really funny, but…

October 25, 2020

The real Hunter Biden scandal

October 24, 2020

The least curious people in the country right now appear to be the credentialed news media, a situation normally unique to tinpot authoritarian societies.

With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression Is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story on Reporting by Matt Taibbi.

Donald Trump’s big accomplishment

October 24, 2020

Trump’s Biggest Economic Legacy Isn’t About the Numbers by Patricia Cohen for the New York Times.  Hat tip to Steve from Texas.

From Obama to Trump

October 22, 2020

I came across this interview with Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and campaign strategist, on the Naked Capitalism web log today. 

It was done back in January.  I happened to turn it on and kept watching until the end.  It’s an hour long, another video that’s a little long to watch on a computer screen, but you can listen to it while doing something else, such as making and eating breakfast.

I don’t agree with everything Luntz had to say, he’s more inclined to give some people the benefit of the doubt than I am, but he is someone who gets around and who actually listens to people, and he had interesting things to say. 

I’m not sure the whole PBS Frontline series is worth watching,  but here are the links if you’re interested.

America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump, Part One.

America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump, Part Two.

The truth about the New Deal

October 21, 2020

A little long for something to watch on a computer screen, but worth watching even if you quit about the first 20 or 20 minutes.

[Added 10/21/2020]  The political scientist Thomas Ferguson is the foremost U.S. analyst of money in politics.  In his book, Golden Rule: the Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics, he said that Democrats and Republicans primarily represent competing business interests and only incidentally competing sets of voters.

Campaigning costs so much that nobody can run for high public office without the backing of monied interests or being extremely rich themselves.  So the there is an informal “money primary” before candidates put themselves before the voters in the official primaries.

But even the voter choice of competing business interests is partly an illusion, according to Ferguson.   In national elections, with rate exceptions, the candidate that spends the most money wins. 

For what it’s worth, Joe Biden at this moment is outspending Donald Trump, which he might not have been able to do if he had gone against Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the fossil fuel industry and other entrenched business interests.

Bernie Sanders, by turning to small donors, tried to create an alternative to funding from big-money interests.  Just because he took this approach, he was long treated as a fringe candidate by major newspapers.

Sanders and many other progressives look back to the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal as a time when government actually represented working people.  Ferguson, in this interview, says the truth is more complicated.

Unlike in Germany, France, Britain and many other European countries, labor unions in the United States were never powerful enough to have their own political party.  FDR’s New Deal was a coalition of business interests that benefited from free trade, such as the oil industry, and desired a revival of consumer spending more than they objected to social welfare spending.

The power of labor unions during the 1930s and 1940s came primarily from their success in organizing previously unorganized workers, Ferguson said.  The Wagner Act and other pro-labor laws helped, but would not have empowered labor by themselves.

The New Dealers, for all their concessions to racism and their other flaws and compromises, did enact programs of great and continuing benefit to all Americans, including African-Americans. 

But the alignment of political forces today is different from what it was in the 1930s, Ferguson noted.  For example, international economic competition was not important in the 1930s, but it is a vital issue today.  History may rhyme, but it doesn’t repeat.

Grilled chicken

October 19, 2020

Hat tip to Gene Zitver.

A bicycle ballet

October 17, 2020

Hat tip to

Viola Brand, born in Germany in 1994, has been training as a cyclist since she was six years old.

Ben Carlson’s three rules to live by

October 17, 2020

There are 3 rules that I live by:

(1) Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city.

(2) Never get behind a minivan in the drive-through lane.

(3) Never take personal finance advice from billionaires.

Source: A Wealth of Commom Sense

Ivan Illich on what’s wrong with the world

October 16, 2020

Ivan Illich (1926-2002) was a Catholic priest and philosopher famous in the 1970s for his criticisms of modern institutions, including compulsory education. modern medicine and most technology.

I read his Tools for Conviviality when it first came out in 1973.  He thought technology should be limited to what he called tools—devices such as sewing machines (my example, not his) that served the needs of households, rather than textile machinery in factories, to which human beings had to adapt themselves’  I thought his ideas interesting but impractical.

Now it seems that our high-tech civilization may not be sustainable, due to global warming, exhaustion of natural resources, and the fragility of complex supply chains, not to mention war and revolution.  So maybe Maybe Illich’s ideas are worth a second look.

On the recommendation of e-mail pen pals, I recently read THE RIVERS NORTH OF THE FUTURE: The Testament of Ivan Illich as told to David Cayley.  It contains a short biography of Illich and a series of interviews by Cayley, a writer and broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., in 1997 and 1999.

This is deep stuff, and I don’t think I fully understand it.  What follows is what I got out of the book, not a summary of what’s in the book.

Illich’s contention was that the modern world is a product of the corruption of Christianity.  The basic ideas of secular liberalism, such as the equal dignity and worth of all persons and the duty of the strong to protect the weak, originated in Christianity, but have become distorted by being torn from their Christian context.

Jesus taught that the two great commandments were to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself, Illich wrote.  To illustrate what he meant, he told the story of the Good Samaritan.

A member of a despised group, like a Palestinian Arab in Israel today, helped a stranger, a Jew, who had been beaten, robbed and left by the roadside.  Nobody would have said that the Samaritan was obligated to help. Two high-status members of the Jew’s own community had passed by on the other side.  But the stranger acted as his neighbor.

It was the custom among early Christians to set extra place at the table in case a hungry stranger came by in need of food and shelter.  The stranger could be Jesus–who showed us that God in the form of human flesh. 

Over time Christian villagers set aside separate buildings for the poor.  And then the church came to set rules about giving, such as tithing.  And now we have the modern, impersonal welfare bureaucracy.

So charity has become a matter of following rules and helping organizations.  There are individuals who would do what the Good Samaritan in the parable did, but they are rare and generally regarded as eccentric.

Illich said the corruption of Christianity was in the “criminalization of sin.”  Sin is a breaking of the relationship between a human and God, including the image of God manifested in another human being, he wrote.  But the church came to define sin as a breaking of certain rules.

But given human nature as it is, what would you expect?

Jesus told the people that Moses gave them laws “because of your hardness of heart”—meaning they were not capable of being guided by the law of love.  But are people today any different from what they were 2000 years ago?

Consider what Jesus expected of his Apostles.  Quit your job.  Leave your family.  Give away all your possessions to the poor. Don’t plan for the future; God will take care of you.

Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.  Love even your enemies.  Criticize yourself, not other people.  And if you pretty much do all these things, don’t pat yourself on the back.  Any repentant sinner is just as good as you are.

It is really something that the first generations of Christians were actually able to live at that level of intensity.

It’s not surprising to me that later generations developed a dialed-down version that ordinary people, even people as weak and selfish as I am, could accept.  Even so, in every century, there was a St Francis of Assisi or Dorothy Day who tried to live out the original teaching/


Biden, Harris and their hidden constituency

October 15, 2020

Joe BIden and Kamala Harris have turned their backs on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  Biden rejects Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.  Harris promised a Biden administration won’t ban fracking.  Biden is possibly more of a war hawk than Trump isSo is Harris.

Why would they refuse to pay even lip service to popular reforms?  I think it is because they are appealing to a different constitutency—-the un-elected parts of the American power structure, the permanent government, the deep state, the power elite, call them what you will.

These include Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence agencies, the news media, the corporate lobbyists and the big campaign donors. 

They’re fed up with Donald Trump’s antics.  They’d prefer someone more predictable, provided that person doesn’t threaten their power or wealth.  Biden and Harris fit that bill.

Trump is losing support because of his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.  I think he’s also hurt by his administration’s hamstringing of the Postal Service.  Many people depend on prompt mail delivery of medications and pension checks.

His only path to victory, as I see it now, is in Republican interference with the election process.  This includes purging of voter rolls of minority voters and students, making it difficult for minorities and students to vote and demanding that results be announced before all the votes are counted.

This isn’t new.  Such tactics provided the margin of victory for Trump in 2016 and for Bush in 2000 and, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast, for Bush in 2004 as well, not to mention whole lot of other Republican governors, senators and congressional representatives.

I think we’re  in for a repeat of the 2000 Florida recount crisis, except spread across many states.  In that crisis, the news media, the Supreme Court and other powers that be sided with George W. Bush.  But I don’t think the powers that be will side with Donald Trump.  Biden and Harris haven’t given them any reason to.


Rochester AFL-CIO Calls For General Strike if Trump Steals Election by Mike Elk for Payday Report.

How Could Everyday People Stop a Coup? by Enzo Lorenzo with Unity and Struggle, an anarchist collective. 

[Added Later] Why would anybody in the political establishment want to risk mass strikes and political demonstrations if they could keep their power without that risk by supporting Biden and Harris?

News about the Hunter Biden scandal

October 15, 2020

Shhh! Don’t Talk About Hunter Biden by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

Email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian biz man to dad by Emma Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge for the New York Post.

Notes on the U.S. medical care system

October 14, 2020

The following is pulled from a physician’s Twitter thread.


Click on ‘I Only Need to Stick Around four or five more years’ for Dr. Tabatabai’s complete Twitter thread.  Hat tip to Bored Panda.


The crazy logic of nuclear deterrence

October 13, 2020

The Soviet Union has come and gone, but the crazy logic of nuclear deterrence lives on.

The threat of nuclear weapons is the ultimate threat, but it is a threat only a madman would carry out.

So for the threat to be convincing. you have to convince your opponent you are a madman.

The best way to convince your opponent you are a madman is to actually be a madman/

The second best way is to act so much like a  madman that nobody can be sure whether you are or not.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un come to mind in this respect.

The risk is that your act is too successful, and your opponent thinks he has no choice but to strike first.

We’re lucky.  Over nearly 70 years, this has not happened.  But it only has to happen once.


A Game of Nuclear Chicken With Russia and China by Micheal Klare for TomDispatch.

In Russia, too, truth-telling can be a crime

October 12, 2020

] Historian Yuri Dmitriev at work (2008)

Oliver Rolin, writing in the New York Review of Books, told about  the Russian historian, Yuri Dmitriev and his effort to identify the remains of persons killed and thrown into mass graves during the Stalin era.

He told me how he had found his vocation as a researcher—a word that can be understood in several senses: in archives, but also on the ground, in the cemetery-forests of Karelia.

In 1989, he told me, a mechanical digger had unearthed some bones by chance.  Since no one, no authority, was prepared to take on the task of burying with dignity those remains, which he recognized as being of the victims of what is known there as “the repression” (repressia), he undertook to do so himself.  Dmitriev’s father had then revealed to him that his own father, Yuri’s grandfather, had been shot in 1938.

“Then,” Dmitriev told me, “I wanted to find out about the fate of those people.”  After several years’ digging in the FSB archive, he published The Karelian Lists of Remembrance in 2002, which, at the time, contained notes on 15,000 victims of the Terror.

“I was not allowed to photocopy.  I brought a dictaphone to record the names and then I wrote them out at home,” he said. “For four or five years, I went to bed with one word in my head: rastrelian—shot.  Then, I and two fellow researchers from the Memorial association, Irina Flighe and Veniamin Ioffe (and my dog Witch), discovered the Sandarmokh mass burial ground: hundreds of graves in the forest near Medvejegorsk, more than 7,000 so-called enemies of the people killed there with a bullet through the base of the skull at the end of the 1930s.”

Germans have bravely faced up to facts of the Nazi era, and we Americans are starting to face up to our history of slavery and repression of black people and our ethnic cleansing and dispossession of indigenous peoples

But Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not willing to face up to the truth about the Stalin terror.  The state’s response was to reailroad Dmitriev on trumped-up charges of sexually abusing his adopted daughter.

Not content to persecute and dishonor the man who discovered Sandarmokh, the Russian authorities are now trying to repeat the same lie the Soviet authorities told about Katyn, the forest in Poland where NKVD troops executed some 22,000 Poles, virtually the country’s entire officer corps and intelligentsia—an atrocity that for decades they blamed on the Nazis. 

Stalin’s heirs today claim that the dead lying there in Karelia were not victims of the Terror but Soviet prisoners of war executed during the Finnish occupation of the region at the beginning of World War II.  Historical revisionism, under Putin, knows no bounds.


Yuri Dmitriev: Historian of Stalin’s Gulag, Victim of Putin’s Repression by Olivier Rolin for The New York Review of Books.

The Dmitriev Affair: The Life’s Work and Trials of Yuri Dmitriev.

Russian court extends prison sentence for historian of Stalinist terror to 13 years by Clara Weiss for the World Socialist Web Site [Added 10/26/2020]

An alternative airline safety video

October 11, 2020

Animals that look like animated cartoons

October 10, 2020

Time for something a little lighter.

These are the four finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.


. (more…)

I’m still glad I’m not a young person today

October 9, 2020

A majority of young adults are living with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression by Richard Fry, Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn for Pew Research Center.

The pandemic has pushed nearly 30 million young adults to move in with their parents by Erica Pandey for Axios.  The pandemic is only part of the story, in my opinion.

Japan’s Shut-ins, Hikikomori, Are Living With Their Parents and Have No Jobs by Yoshiaki Nohara for Bloomberg Business Week.

What it will take to change the Democratic Party

October 8, 2020

Lawrence O’Donnell said in 2006 that you can’t influence a political party unless you’re capable of not voting for that party.  If a party doesn’t have to do anything to win your vote, it will not do anything.   This is still true.