Link dump January 2021

That's a misunderstanding. He didn't write about THOSE founding fathers. He wrote about the founding fathers of the Republicon fantasyland. The same fantasyland where racism is only directed against whites, waving Confederate battle flags and revering traitors is patriotic, tax cuts increase economic output and pay for themselves, where the Rich flee when their income is taxed properly, where the constitution is always on Republicons' side even if it says otherwise, where Jesus is the best but none of his teachings are preferred over Leviticus, where only Republicons can legitimately win elections, where liars are upright truth-tellers and an exogenous entity known as "the government" is the problem - not the Rich exploiting the rest of the country to such a degree that 80+% of the working people haven't had substantial real income growth in 30+ years.

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The whole Covid-19 vaccine distribution issue could be used by the European Union to create a strategic partnership with Africa (before the Chinese do). We should have a huge and well-publicized (hybrid online-real) conference with photo ops, press releases, press conferences and all and provide Africa with enough vaccines for the entire continent for the EU's purchasing prices, starting at a reasonable date (say, March 1st).

China could still jump in and attempt to deliver vaccines sooner, but then we could simply tell Africa that this urgency is thanks to our promise and make the African public(s) understand that we played China like a fiddle.

This would require some strategic thought among politicians or top bureaucrats, of course. So I'd be most astonished if it happened.

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  1. The US military budget is greater than any coalition of competitors. The known budget of US intelligence services is staggering even by that standard and dwarfs anything other powers invest into this field by far more with its ratio. I suspect that unlike other intelligence services, the ones from the US have a more active role in shaping events than in retrieving information. China might be in the same ballpark, but with lots of HUMINT, if the allegations of industrial espionage are true. Other than those two hogs, all the other services look like guinea pigs.
    This scandal in Denmark reveals that all cooperating allies help the US to keep each other in check and follow US policy. This will get interesting with the next Republican president after Biden.

    I have doubts about the possibility of strategic partnerships of Europe with former colonies that weren't settled with Europeans. South America, North America and Australia seem good choices for such policies, but for many Africans "Whites" are strange people engulfed by conspiracy and guilt narratives. It would be a nice gesture to help the African nations, but benefits to Europe from this act are doubtful.

    1. Last I heard was that Africans are actually more distrustful of other Africans (from other tribes, even if from the same country) than Europeans.

      They sure seem to understand that most European countries got their shit together a lot better and the Chinese investments appear to please the African elites more than the general populace (which gets few jobs even in large Chinese-run infrastructure projects).

  2. Why would anyone care about your opinion?

    I found that people who pay the least attention to facts (or proper use of them) talk a lot as if facts were somehow supportive of their opinions. The same applies to rational thinking. Many people claim to do it, yet few ever convinced me about it.

  3. It should be noted that during the 18th century it was common that the majority of children didn't make it to maturity. Death by disease was common, so a plague with 30% mortality rate was likely as unacceptable as today a plague with 2% mortality rate.

    The U.S. could have had up to 5 million COVID-19 dead if it had allowed the plague free reign, without masks and contact-reducing measures. That's utterly unacceptable, and a country that went all nuts for a decade about a 3,000 dead attack cannot be expected to tolerate the current approx. 3,000+ dead PER DAY caused by the pandemic.

  4. Different deaths align with different incentives. I bet that the healthcare system itself causes death in the thousands that could be averted by a reform, but it lacks the incentives. Numbers of death is just a value that can be used for other ends, although the pandemic makes the "war on terror" look ridiculous.