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hedda_foil's Journal
hedda_foil's Journal
September 20, 2021

Peter Thiel Claimed Zuckerberg Agreed to Push 'State-Sanctioned Conservatism' Under Trump Deal, Book


During a meeting in Washington, D.C. in 2019, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg agreed to not fact-check political posts if the Trump administration would steer clear of any “heavy-handed regulations,” venture capitalist Peter Thiel told an associate, according to a new book. The associate alleged that at the meeting—which was also attended by Thiel, former President Trump, Jared Kushner, and their spouses—Zuckerberg essentially promised to champion “state-sanctioned conservatism,” The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power says. Zuckerberg denied the existence of a deal, saying that was “pretty ridiculous.”

There's an original article linked from The New Yorker of short piece here but I've used up my free articles for September.
September 12, 2021

The truth about Joe Manchin? He's a coal baron of the dirtiest kind. Literally.

There were a couple of articles about this last week but they were mostly ignored. Not this time, I hope.


Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Senators negotiating the terms of a $579 billion infrastructure plan chipped away at some of the issues that had been holding up an agreement but have yet to find a breakthrough on other differences that would seal an agreement and lead to a vote on legislation.

“If you’re sticking your head in the sand, and saying that fossil [fuel] has to be eliminated in America, and they want to get rid of it, and thinking that’s going to clean up the global climate, it won’t clean it up all,” Manchin told CNN after a private meeting with President Joe Biden and his fellow Senate Democrats. “If anything, it would be worse.”

Though Manchin’s motivations are often ascribed to the conservative, coal-friendly politics of West Virginia, it is also the case that the state’s senior senator is heavily invested in the industry — and owes much of his considerable fortune to it.

For decades, Manchin has profited from a series of coal companies that he founded during the 1980s. His son, Joe Manchin IV, has since assumed leadership roles in the firms, and the senator says his ownership is held in a blind trust. Yet between the time he joined the Senate and today, Manchin has personally grossed more than $4.5 million from those firms, according to financial disclosures. He also holds stock options in Enersystems Inc., the larger of the two firms, valued between $1 and $5 million.

Those two companies are Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., the latter of which was created by the rapid merging of two other firms, Manchin’s Transcon and Farmington Energy in 2005. Enersystems purchases low-quality waste coal from mines and resells it to power plants as fuel, while Farmington Resources provides “support activities for mining” and holds coal reserves in the Fairmont area. Over the decades, whether feeding tens of thousands of tons of dirty waste coal into the power plants in northern West Virginia or subjecting workers to unsafe conditions, Manchin’s family coal business has almost entirely avoided public scrutiny.

Also https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3x8bw/joe-manchin-senator-millions-coal-grant-town-west-virginia

Joe Manchin Makes $500K a Year From One of the Dirtiest Coal Plants in West Virginia
That’s more than twice his salary as a U.S. senator

Joe Manchin, the conservative Democrat from West Virginia who is the linchpin of his party’s climate agenda, made nearly $500,000 from one of the most polluting coal power plants in West Virginia last year alone.

According to his most recent financial disclosure, Manchin gained $492,000 last year due to his non-public shares in a coal company called Enersystems, which records show is a contractor for a power plant in the state’s north that burns waste coal.

Meanwhile, Manchin’s 2020 income for being a senator was $174,000. “He’s making more than twice as much selling coal as he is serving as a representative,” said Jim Kotcon, the conservation chair of the West Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club.

Due to impurities in the waste coal Grant Town Power Plant burns to generate electricity, it releases more sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide per unit of energy than any of the state’s coal plants, according to 2018 calculations from Kotcon.

“In terms of both of those pollutants,” Kotcon told VICE News, “it’s still the dirtiest plant operating in West Virginia today.”


Want more? https://www.google.com/search?q=joe+manchin+coal+mining&rlz=1C1CHZN_enUS956US956&oq=manchin+coal&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i512j0i22i30l2.6730j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
July 24, 2021

Why some experts recommend upgrading to N95 masks to help fight the delta variant


The debate over masks is heating up again, with increasing calls for all Americans, regardless of coronavirus vaccination status, to return to wearing face coverings in indoor public places to help thwart the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. But some experts say the recommendations should specify the kind of masks people should be using.

“Delta is so contagious that when we talk about masks, I don’t think we should just talk about masks,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said during a recent appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I think we should be talking about high-quality masks,” such as N95 respirators.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine and an infectious-disease expert at the University of California at San Francisco, expressed a similar sentiment: “We can’t say we’re going back to masks without discussing type of mask.”
Not all masks are created equal
The efficacy of a mask is based on its material and fit. Medical-grade respirators, such as N95 masks, can provide greater protection from infectious coronavirus particles than surgical masks or cloth masks, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech who studies airborne virus transmission. And because the delta variant is much more easily transmissible than previously circulating strains of the coronavirus, “we really need highly protective masks along with everything else,” Marr said. “Where a simple cloth mask was helpful before, it’s not helpful enough now,” particularly for people who remain unvaccinated.

May 15, 2021

Why Capitalism Didn't Free Americans -- It Exploited Them



It seems to me that Americans are becoming some of the least free people in the world. That will sound like a contentious, bewildering statement to many, especially Americans, so let’s examine it. Nobody — nobody — else in rich countries is trapped in barbaric decisions that essentially boil down to your money or your life, your life savings or your health, chemotherapy or little Johnny’s college fund. And yet it’s also the case that even many people in poorer countries, by now, don’t live perpetually hounded by debts they’ll struggle with their whole lives long, or having their kids shot at schools, or having to pay the equivalent of a middle-class career just to educate a child, and so on — the majority being poor in a poor society is a natural limitation, but the majority being poor in a rich one can only really be the outcome of socially normalized and culturally sanctioned mass exploitation.

Americans are free, largely, to choose between different flavours of capitalist exploitation — this form of poverty, that form of isolation, that kind of fear and anxiety. But they cannot choose, very much, lives free of those things to begin with. Which one is genuine freedom? They’re caught, like prey, in between capitalism’s pincers —because it pays them barely enough to subsist as producers, yet demands more from them as consumers, as borrowers, every year — and the result is a new kind of deprivation, poverty in a rich country, powerlessness in a powerful country, a wealthy land of the broke and hopeless. Hence, the majority of Americans, 80%, now live at the edge, perpetually — no matter what they do, how much they earn, however much they try to save, what they accomplish. But living at the edge of ruin every day of your life, no matter what you do, isn’t freedom. It’s something closer to peasantry.

So what is freedom? That’s the nub of the question. Now, American thought, which is a feeble and barely existent thing to begin with, frames freedom around the idea of “coercion.” Coercion is a child’s idea — or a patriarch’s — idea of freedom: “hey, bro, nobody’s holding a gun to your head!” Ah, but does someone have to hold a gun to your head to shrink away your freedom? Or can they do it without a gun? With threats, like taking away your means of making a living, or saving for the future, or obtaining medicine, that are every bit as powerful as a bullet? If they can, then “coercion” is a meaningless notion, and so a society built atop such a childish idea will never be a free one.
And yet we don’t have to think much further than a bully to see that a lack “coercion” isn’t a valid litmus test of freedom: I don’t need a gun to intimidate, bully, and make you do my bidding, if I can take away your livelihood, shelter, safety, make you watch your kids starve and your spouse suffer an illness. If I control your subsistence, in other words—and that way have power over your very survival — I will never a gun in the first place. That is why the American idea of freedom has failed — hence, Americans live something suspiciously like exploited neo-peasants, bullied by a new class of capitalist robber barons, and all that is said to be all that “freedom” is, the chance to choose between forms of exploitation . But no one in their right mind should accept such a upside-down definition of freedom, which is an abusers’ one to begin with, calling cruelty kindness.


American society is built upon an omnipresent, relentless, and constant form of compulsion — the loss of one’s subsistence. Underneath all the niceties and myths about America as the land of the “free”, there is the perpetual, looming threat of true disaster and catastrophe: that one might no longer be able to put bread on the table, afford medicine, have shelter, and so on. In short, American life is governed by the threat that one might lose the most basic elements of human subsistence altogether. And that threat never really wavers, or shrinks, much less vanishes. If anything, it seems to grow. American life is based upon society, culture, and the economy constantly threatening the survival of that very life.

... more...
April 9, 2021

Freedom!! Today is two weeks since my second Pfizer shot!

Gonna kick up my heels and go see the grands. I may even get REALLY get adventurous and visit the grocery store.

February 12, 2021

OMG, now they're replaying the angry remarks of Dems that don't feature "fight."

They're just filling the time they can't fill with anything concrete.

January 14, 2021

My daughter's stimulus check was scheduled to be mailed 1/6. Still not delivered. Anyone else?

Mine was deposited in my checking account but my daughter, who's been staying with me since March, hasn't received her check. The IRS site says it was supposed to be mailed on January 6. We're in the Chicago burbs. Has this been happening to others here? She's getting worried.


November 4, 2020

Why didn't Hillary's team file for recounts in MI, WI and PA in 2016?

DU would have been all over that at the time but the site was down for nearly 3 weeks. The margins in those states was razor thin. Why did they just let the pig claim them all.

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