Earth to Mars

From FiveThirtyEight:

“By far and away, the most important [moment in space geopolitics] has to do with what happened at the end of the Cold War, when the U.S. brought Russia aboard the space station,” said W. Henry Lambright, professor of public administration, international affairs and political science at Syracuse University and author of “Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration.”..

The very creation of the ISSrequired multinational technology transfernegotiations that allowed the countries involved then-unprecedented access to and sharing of technology and research data. That was useful, and it brought the United States some benefits, Lambright said. But the ISS also created a new paradigm in which the U.S. needed to work with other countries in space, especially Russia, whom we now rely on to get to the ISS to begin with.

Recently, I was sitting in the bar at our hotel in Atlanta, waiting for the Wife and talking to an educator who worked for NASA.  She specialized in problematic managers.  I asked how you educate a psychopath and she said you can’t, and once identified they are removed.  Worse, she said are the narcissists, who are everywhere.  Rather than bedwetters, narcissism is a personal choice, subject to modification.

I moved on to my fave subject, and asked why the Russians make all our rocket engines, to the extent we can’t launch our own satellites without them.  She replied that NASA was focused on building on rocket engines for Mars.  Fortunately, my nachos arrived, I got them to go, and hurried back to the room.

Progress is the enemy of prosperity.  – John Michael Greer

Monday, I swapped out the ornamental cabbages which had gone to seed in the flower boxes at the store for Violas.  Wednesday, I swapped out the winter plants with Dianthus, leaving only the Pansies.  Thursday, I built another flower box in Liberty, so I could grow veggies there, and yesterday, I got the raised beds ready for lettuce.

Glenn Greenwald citing I.F. Stone in 1954:

If Communists are some supernatural breed of men, led by diabolic master minds in that distant Kremlin, engaged in a Satanic conspiracy to take over the world and enslave all mankind — and this is the thesis endlessly propounded by American liberals and conservatives alike, echoed night and day by every radio station and in every newspaper — the thesis no American dare any longer challenge without himself becoming suspect — then how to fight McCarthy?

If the public mind is to be conditioned for war, if it is being taught to take for granted the destruction of millions of human beings, few of them tainted with this dreadful ideological virus, all of them indeed presumably pleading for us to liberate them, how can we argue that it matters if a few possibly innocent men lose jobs or reputations because of McCarthy?

More recently, McCarthyism has been applied to Islam with similar effect.

From Glenn Greenwald:

Jewish groups had grown “uncomfortable” with Ellison’s candidacy (the ADL pronounced his past criticisms of Israel “disqualifying”), while whispers arose that the last thing the Democratic Party needed to win back Rust Belt voters was a black Muslim as the face of the party (even though the Detroit-born Ellison himself is from the Rust Belt).

Peace and democracy are doomed, along with some other things.

From Ryan Felton:

After a discombobulated 2016, in which Uber burned through more than $2 billion, amid findings that rider fares only cover roughly 40 percent of a ride, with the remainder subsidized by venture capitalists, it’s hard to imagine Kalanick could take the company public at its stunning current valuation of nearly $70 billion.

OTOH, neoliberalism is doing just fine.

From Bloomberg:

Policies supported by Republican congressional leaders to repeal and replace Obamacare could lead millions of people to lose their health coverage, according to a presentation given to state governors meeting Saturday in Washington.

The presentation, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News, estimates that the number of people covered by Obamacare through the individual insurance market could be slashed by as much as 51 percent in states that chose not to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare and by 30 percent in those that did expand the federal-state health program for the poor.

I’ll keep working on those flower boxes and raised beds.  Looks like they’ll come in handy.

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