…sign of the times [DOT 8/12/22]

no...the other one...

…you’d think…or at any rate, I’d thought…that maybe there’d be time to get to grips with that whole confabulated coup business from yesterday’s headlines

The group was apparently driven in ideology by the deep-state conspiracy theories of QAnon and the Reichsbürger (“empire citizens”) movement, which denies the right of modern Germany to exist. It was planning to renegotiate the country’s post-second world war settlement, insisting the “Deutsche Reich” still had legitimacy despite having ended with the Nazis’ defeat in 1945.
[…]
[Nancy Faeser, Germany’s interior minister,] said the government would respond against such plots with the “full force of the law”, adding: “The investigations provide a glimpse into the abyss of a terrorist threat from the Reichsbürger milieu.”

…something about a “bitter old man” & “crazy conspiracy theory views”

Peter Frank, Germany’s public prosecutor general, said the ringleaders of the group were being held in police custody. He confirmed reports that an armed wing of the group, which was meant to form the basis of a new German army and included former active members of the military, had planned to violently storm the German Bundestag or parliament.
[…]
The group, under the leadership of Heinrich XIII and a former commander of a paratrooper battalion, had been preparing for so-called “Day X”, on which about two dozen people were to storm the Reichstag building, home to the German parliament, and to handcuff and arrest MPs and parliamentary staff in an operation taking as its example the 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

After their takeover, the group had envisioned renegotiating the treaties Germany signed after the end of the second world war. “For now, the Russian Federation was exclusively to be the central contact for these negotiations,” prosecutors said.
[…]
Russia’s embassy in Berlin denied any Russian state involvement in the group. In a statement, it said: “Russian diplomatic and consulate offices in Germany have no contact to representatives of terrorist groups or other illegal units.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/07/german-police-raids-target-far-right-reich-citizens-movement

…I mean…that’s plenty nuts…& unpleasantly familiar-sounding

A Russian mercenary group that has gained international attention for its role in the war in Ukraine is also active in one of Africa’s poorest countries, using violence and extortion in an effort to corner its extremely lucrative diamond industry, according to a new report issued by Europe-based researchers.

Individuals linked to the Wagner Group, which is most infamous for its brutal tactics in eastern Ukraine, have set up a shell company in the Central African Republic (CAR) to secure and sell diamonds, say researchers from two groups, France-based All Eyes on Wagner and the London-based Dossier Center, sponsored by exiled Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and European Investigative Collaborations, a network of news organizations.

The report says that fighters linked to the Wagner Group are forcing the country’s impoverished miners and collectors to turn over their gems or sell them exclusively to the shell company, Diamville, and that the company trades in diamonds that violate the rules of the Kimberley Process, an international initiative that seeks to prevent the marketing of diamonds from conflict zones.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/06/wagner-group-mercenaries-africa-diamonds/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/06/dark-activities-of-russian-linked-oil-tankers-has-doubled-analysis-shows

…& besides

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/06/the-biodiversity-crisis-in-numbers-a-visual-guide-aoe

In some ways, this year’s UN climate summit held in Egypt was all about food. In the context of crop failures and food insecurity, due to extreme weather and dwindling diversity, as well as rising food prices exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the tight grip of corporate monopolies – Cop27 included the first ever day dedicated to food and climate.

Scientists are clear that the interconnected climate, environmental and food crises require bold transformative action to drastically reduce greenhouse gases and improve resilience. Food systems produce a third of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle ranching is the main driver of Amazon rainforest loss, while industrialized food production is the biggest threat to 86% of the world’s species at risk of extinction.

But at Cop27, as in the debate more broadly, corporate interests dominated. Campaigners and NGOs say the food industry’s fingerprints were all over the solutions being touted, including an array of technologies and incentives that they say will do little to cut big food’s huge climate footprint, reduce diet-related diseases or increase food security and climate resilience in the long term.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/07/false-food-solutions-experts-climate-cop27

…so…sure…it’s easy to get distracted

https://www.thedailybeast.com/elon-musk-fires-twitters-general-counsel-amid-hunter-biden-laptop-saga

A last-ditch effort to force through legislation that would weaken environmental protections and fast-track energy projects has failed.

Joe Manchin, the fossil fuel-friendly senator from West Virginia, had attempted to latch the controversial deregulation and permitting reforms to a must-pass defense bill – after failing to get his so-called “dirty deal” passed earlier this year.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/07/joe-manchin-legislation-energy-fast-track-democrats-defense-act

…but isn’t there plenty of other stuff that’s arguably more important that some half-assed failed coup?

…I mean…in a sane world…we’d have all the time on the world for the issue of voting rights & the usurpation of power…& in a sense I do have all the time in the world for elie mystal

…he very nearly makes this stuff fun

…but we’re talking about the 2020s up in here…so

…enter peru…possibly from stage left…optionally pursued by a bear…you know…for traditional purposes

Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo, has been removed from office and detained on charges of “rebellion” after he announced he would shutter congress and install a “government of exception” – just hours before he was due to face an impeachment vote.

…turns out pence’s semblance-of-a-spine moment was…a tad undercooked by comparison?

The public prosecutor’s office confirmed late on Wednesday that Castillo had been arrested and charged with allegedly “breaching constitutional order”, after he was accused of an attempted coup and seen fleeing the presidential palace.
[…]
The vote came after Castillo ordered a night-time curfew and the reorganisation of the judiciary and prosecutor’s office, which is investigating him for alleged corruption and influence trafficking – charges which he denies.

Castillo’s vice-president, Dina Boluarte, described the move as a coup attempt, and hours later was sworn in as the new president, becoming the first female head of state in Peru’s history.
[…]
The day of high drama put an end to Castillo’s tumultuous 17 months in power, which has already seen five cabinets, more than 80 ministers, six criminal investigations and two failed attempts to impeach him.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/07/peru-president-detained-pedro-castillo-coup

…there’s a somewhat-mediocre movie that takes its name from a phrase denoting a scenario in which viable nuclear weapons have been stolen that contains a line to the effect that “I don’t know what’s worse. That this happened. Or that we have a word for it.”…I guess the word is insurrection…or possibly coup…but they say things come in threes…so jan 6th…reichsmuppets…mr dumbfuck peru…that’s our hat-trick, right?

…I’m sure things will settle right down now we’ve got that out of our collective system…&

Colombia will end the year with at least 199 killings of social leaders and human rights defenders – the highest level recorded – due to attacks by illegal armed groups in areas tied to the drug trade, the country’s human rights ombudsman has said.

In the first eleven months of the year, 199 people were murdered, higher than the total number of social leaders and rights defenders killed in 2021 and 2020, when 145 people and 182 people were killed respectively, the ombudsman said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/07/colombia-murders-human-rights-defenders-record

..say…while you’re here

The crisis in the Holy Land is once again at “boiling point”, with blood being spilled on both sides. Tor Wennesland, the UN’s peace envoy, did not mince his words to the security council this week. The rising death toll in the West Bank, the worst since 2006, is roiling the waters. Since January, about 140 Palestinians have been killed in this territory, nearly all by Israeli forces. Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis have left 30 dead.
[…]
The proximate cause for violent extremists in Israel’s government is Benjamin Netanyahu. On trial for corruption – charges that Mr Netanyahu denies – he seems willing to pay any price to end the cases against him. In return for an assault on Israel’s justice system through new legislation advanced by his far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies, Mr Netanyahu appears to be reshaping government to their advantage – notably handing over virtually untrammelled powers in the occupied territories. He seeks to ride the radical wave surging through Jewish Israeli society. About 60% of such voters now consider themselves rightwing – up from 46% in 2019. Among young Israelis, support tops 70%.
[…]
Mr Netanyahu appears to be betting the world will blink first. His friends in the Gulf are sticking by him. The Biden administration says it will judge the new government by its policies, not its personalities. But the far-right march to their own drum. Mr Smotrich supports the annexation of the West Bank, the expansion of settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Mr Ben-Gvir plans a provocative ministerial “visit” to Haram al-Sharif, site of the third-holiest shrine in Islam, under the pretence that Israeli Jews are struggling for their religious rights. If such words become deeds, then a Palestinian uprising – a third intifada – won’t be far away. This is a dismal thought, but it seems to be where the unfortunate evolution of Israeli politics is heading.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/dec/07/the-guardian-view-on-israels-threat-within-rightwing-extremism-in-government

…can I interest you in buying a bridge that’s going begging?

A sister of Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has spoken out against his bloody crackdown on nationwide demonstrations, saying her brother’s “despotic caliphate” has brought nothing but suffering, according to a letter published by her exiled son.

The letter came a day after the country’s former president Mohammad Khatami also issued a rare statement to voice support for the protest movement, adding pressure on the regime from powerful political figures.

In her letter, Badri Hosseini Khamenei, who lives in Iran, called on the country’s feared Revolutionary Guards and “mercenaries” to lay down their weapons as soon as possible and “join the people”. She said she would herself join the rallies were it not for her poor health.
[…]
Badri Hosseini Khamenei comes from a side of the family that has had a fraught relationship with the regime since it took power in a 1979 revolution that overthrew the western-friendly Shah. Her husband, Ali Tehrani, lived for years in exile in Iraq and regularly criticised the Islamic republic in radio broadcasts. On his return in 1995, Tehrani spent 10 years in jail. He died in October this year.

“The crimes of this system, the suppression of any dissenting voice, the imprisonment of the most educated and the most caring youth of this land, the most severe punishments, and the large-scale executions began from the very beginning,” Khamenei said in her letter.
[…]
Meanwhile, Tehran has presented the protest movement as a security crisis and has accused “terrorists” of killing dozens of security force members. On Tuesday, authorities sentenced five people to death for allegedly killing a member of a paramilitary force affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, state media reported. Eleven others received prison sentences.
[…]
Iran regularly sentences people on charges related to espionage and has painted the protest movement as a western-backed plot. The UN office of the high commissioner for human rights says more than 300 people have been killed so far in the crackdown, including more than 40 children.

Wednesday marked the final day of a three-day nationwide strike called for by the protesters. In posts circulating on social media, demonstrators asked businesses to shutter their doors.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/07/iran-protests-five-sentenced-to-death-over-killing-of-paramilitary-member

…I…might be starting to see a pattern emerging

Are women getting angrier? [BBC]

…& speaking of strikes…of which there do seem to be a lot going around just at the minute

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/dec/07/new-york-times-strike-walkout

…I’m not looking to cross a picket line here…but I am going to quote one NYT article…from november, though

Donald Trump and his business empire are currently the subjects of no fewer than five major simultaneous investigations, a truly extraordinary challenge for anyone, let alone a former and possibly future president of the United States. These are complicated investigations, with long and winding paths to resolution. They involve scores of federal and state investigators and witnesses across the country, from politicians eager to shield themselves from scrutiny to employees turning on their colleagues to a former president who knows how to navigate — and manipulate — the legal system like no one else.

The public has very little visibility into how these investigations are proceeding day by day, as government officials quietly gather evidence and plan their next moves. But just a few days after Mr. Trump announced that he would seek the White House again in 2024, Attorney General Merrick Garland put the Justice Department’s two main investigations into the hands of a special counsel, Jack Smith. That development, in and of itself, will not halt those investigations, and the other inquiries would have moved forward regardless, but the presidential campaign could affect how prosecutors weigh their options, and his uniquely polarizing status could affect how judges and juries resolve any cases that make it to trial. Were he to win the election, he could put an end to any pending federal prosecutions or investigations once in office. Even at this stage, some potential scenarios are possible to discern, including the possibility — however improbable it may seem — that all of the investigations resolve in his favor, with few, if any, serious legal consequences. Based on interviews with experts and analysis of media reports, as well as of the law itself, here is a close look at some of the paths by which such an outcome could come to pass.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/11/17/opinion/trump-five-major-investigations-dozens-of-ways-out.html

…so…long story short…it boils down to some combination or permutation of approximately this

…see…now you can stay the right side of that picket line & everything while deciding if that’s grounds for pouring a stiff drink at this time of day

…I mean…they’ll let just about anyone skate under the right kind of extenuating circumstances

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/06/us-judge-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-khashoggi

…but…some deals are more artful than others

The new discovery could exacerbate the former president’s legal exposure after the FBI seized 103 documents marked classified at his Mar-a-Lago resort in August as part of the justice department’s criminal investigation into the possible unauthorized retention of national security information and obstruction of justice.

The presence of documents marked classified in a second location beyond Mar-a-Lago, earlier reported by the Washington Post, appears to confirm the justice department’s suspicions, communicated to Trump’s lawyers in October, that Trump possessed additional government records.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/07/trump-classified-documents-found

about which ms. wheeler has some thoughtsstill…before I get to getting to the tunes…given that it’s all feeling a bit

…it’s not all bad

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/06/renewables-to-be-main-source-of-electricity-generation-by-2025-iea.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/04/drough-resistant-crop-jabal-durum-wheat-food-diversity

…shit…maybe someone will figure out how to bring the dinosaurs back, even

The breakthrough in ancient DNA analysis pushes back the DNA record by 1m years to a time when the Arctic region was 11-19C warmer than the present day. The analysis reveals that the northern peninsula of Greenland, now a polar desert, once featured boreal forests of poplar and birch trees teeming with wildlife. The work offers clues to how species might adapt, or be genetically engineered, to survive the threat of rapid global heating.

Prof Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge and the University of Copenhagen, said: “A new chapter spanning 1m extra years of history has finally been opened and for the first time we can look directly at the DNA of a past ecosystem that far back in time.”
[…]
Willerslev and colleagues worked for 16 years on the project, which resulted in the DNA of 41 samples found hidden in clay and quartz being sequenced and identified. The ancient DNA samples were found buried deep in the Kap København Formation, a sediment deposit almost 100 metres thick that built up over 20,000 years. The sediment, tucked in the mouth of a fjord in the Arctic Ocean in Greenland’s northernmost point, was eventually preserved in ice or permafrost and lay undisturbed by humans for 2m years.

Extracting and analysing the DNA was a painstaking process that involved piecing together tiny fragments of genetic material that first needed to be detached from clay and quartz sediment. It was only the advent of a new generation of DNA sequencing techniques that allowed the scientists to identify and piece together extremely small and damaged fragments of DNA, through referencing extensive libraries of DNA collected from present-day animals, plants and microorganisms.

A picture emerged of forests populated by reindeer, hares, lemmings and mastodons, elephant-like ice age mammals that have previously only been found in North and Central America.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/dec/07/dna-from-2m-years-ago-reveals-lost-arctic-world

…so…ummm…that’s all right, then?

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20 Comments

  1. Here’s a primer on the NY Times’s long rocky history with labor relations:

    https://unherd.com/2022/02/how-the-new-york-times-betrays-its-workers/

    In a nutshell, it seems that AG Sulzberger, like his dad before him, are in tech bro mode and lost in a vague world where the nuts and bolts of business don’t matter. Workers are just pieces of meat that get slapped on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in plastic film, and it’s fine to serve them boneless one day, as ground meat another day, and sometimes breaded and fried and then frozen.

  2. I’ve been raised on bad Robert Ludlum novels to know that a crazed right wing German coup demanding the return of the Nazis makes some sort of “sense” in these fucked up 2020s, but a Hohenzollern (the last German Royal House) revival?

    Fuck that bullshit.  Fuck Nazis too.  And for some reason Russia is implicated?

    That’s the only thing I’m not surprised there. Who stands to benefit if NATO breaks down because of a crazed coup? Germany has been one of the bigger arms suppliers for Ukraine.

    • …well…russia said it was nothing to do with them…just like they did when the polonium trail ticked all the way to vlad’s desk…which was obviously a similarly massive-but-totally-innocent coincidence

      …but “somebody” certainly does seem to have made a habit these last few years of co-opting disaffected malcontents dumb enough to take that to be a plausible course of action…& one they believe they themselves can pull out of their ass

      …which is…what’s another word for funny?

  3. Speaking of right wing… Israel becoming more right wing… I wonder if the universe is a cruel practical joker.

    The Palestinian question will always be hanging over the State of Israel like Slavery did/does over the US (and the Native question hangs over Canada.) I don’t know what the answer is.

  4. I don’t get the MSM trying to make Pence a thing especially when we have other actual examples. Ass licking fools lacking any sort of moral compass/code/courage shouldn’t be praised.

    • They’re testing the waters to see if they can persuade MAGAs to move away from Trump. Trump is utterly toxic, every Republican official knows this, it’s been proven repeatedly through the midterms, and they are desperate to put forward some alternative that *might* work in 2024. But you’ve still got that 27% of batshit crazy MAGAs that now worship Trump and won’t accept any alternatives.

      I mean, it all hangs together if you feel, like I have come to feel, that the MSM are representing corporations. And corporations = Republicans. They are simply more subtle versions of Fox News.

      Honestly, it’s not bad strategy. You’ve got Fox News out pimping the crazy, and other media outlets going, hey, those guys are nuts, but let’s take another look at this Pence dude, shall we? Fox News is out in front creating a distraction, while the rest of MSM runs around behind trying to polish up a less insane right-wing schmuck.

    • Part of it is Marc Short, Pence’s once and probably future chief of staff, is incredibly plugged in as a source for the press. He is in the top tier, the kind of guy who gets calls returned the same day by Chuck Todd, Michael Schmidt and Chris Licht.

      The flip side is that the DC press corps has an extremely insular set of sources, and zero interest in counter narratives. So when someone like Marc Short tells them that he’s heard, off the record of course, that everyone thinks Pence is a star, who are they to argue?

  5. Speaking of bunk beds in the office, one of my close friends from university lived HBO’s “Silicon Valley” for several years with a start up of his own.  He got out (shoved out for petty reasons) but made like a bandit which is good for him.

    He told me a lot of the goings on.  If I had been there (and I’m glad I wasn’t) I would have punched several of them out. The one thing these limited brilliant hipster doofi kept telling my friend was “he was too old school” when it came to matters of business.

    One of their brilliant ideas was to turn several spare rooms of their Vancouver East Hastings adjacent HQ (which is basically a tent city slum right now) into “guest” rooms where their business guests could sleep in complete with bunk beds instead of putting them up in a decent hotel room in a safer part of Vancouver.

    I laughed till my friend insisted they weren’t joking.

      • If he’s not in jail he’ll get re-elected, no question. If he’s in jail there’s an 80% chance he’ll be re-elected. If he’s convicted but no jail time is imposed, he’ll get re-elected. If he’s caught in an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl, he’ll get re-elected. Teenage boy? Odds drop to 70%. But he’ll still be the frontrunner.

        This is Florida.

  6. THIS JUST IN: The Respect for Marriage Act (making interracial and same-sex marriage a federal right) just passed the House and iso n its way to Biden’s desk for signature.

    “The Respect for Marriage Act will help prevent right-wing extremists from upending the lives of loving couples, traumatizing kids across the country and turning back the clock on hard-won progress,” Pelosi said, adding, “it tears the bigoted, unconstitutional Defense of Marriage off the books for good.”

    From wikipedia:

    The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a United States federal lawpassed by the 104th United States Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

    🙁    I still chuckle when I remember Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in 2008, saying “I believe a marriage is between one man and one woman.” Or, one man, one woman, a campaign volunteer, a secretary, an intern, and others as the opportunities arise.

    • Good. Fuck the Supreme Court. Or most of them anyway.

      Now somebody go tell Clarence Thomas he’s going to have to get rid of his batshit crazy wife the old-fashioned way.

  7. …there’s a somewhat-mediocre movie that takes its name from a phrase denoting a scenario in which viable nuclear weapons have been stolen that contains a line to the effect that “I don’t know what’s worse. That this happened. Or that we have a word for it.”

    broken arrow right?

    somewhat mediocre is about right…but watching travolta get impaled by a nuke never gets old

    • …aye…that’ll be the one…dude’s been in some ropey flicks…but he reliable sure can chew scenery like a champ

      …a nuke is a big bang to go out with…but I guess I have a soft spot for “smoking aces” on account of ben affleck’s fate…so…I can see how that could be a point in its favor

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