Friday morning ambient

There’s more of a beat in some of the tracks than I tend to prefer, but it works well here. Some of the later tracks remind me a bit of the the old FSOL/Amorphous Androgynous stuff.

Eric Boehlert on the media’s Tuesday-night fantasy about Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans finally turning on Trump:

This is all part of a four-year Beltway media obsession with announcing the Republican Party is finally cutting ties with Trump- usually following an especially erratic and dangerous bout of behavior from him – and that the moment of “reckoning” has arrived. But it never does. The press has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and resources over the years to advance the idea that Republicans leaders can’t sleep at night because they’re so troubled by Trump’s actions. This allows journalists to depict today’s GOP as mainstream and normal. If key GOP players are despairing over Trump, that means the Republican Party operates within the confines of established American politics. But they’re not, and they don’t.

The GOP stampede towards the Trump exits remains a mirage because Trump accurately reflects where the party is today: Xenophobic, vulgar, unethical, and uninterested in telling the truth.

It’s not happening, and it’s never going to happen. They have stood by Trump and enabled him this far, and they have to keep going.

John Ehrenreich has a really good article up on Slate about why people believe in conspiracy theories and the real-world harm these beliefs cause:

Conspiracy theories arise in the context of fear, anxiety, mistrust, uncertainty, and feelings of powerlessness. For many Americans, recent years have provided many sources for these feelings. There’s been employment insecurity, stagnating wages, and thwarted social mobility. For some, technological leaps and social progress-expanding views of sexuality, and racial unrest-can feel destabilizing. Then 2020 brought a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, deep economic recession, widespread street protests, and a bitterly contested election. Any of these, taken alone, is enough to trigger anxiety, mistrust, and uncertainty. Americans are facing all of them simultaneously. For those who feel that everything is spinning out of control, a narrative that explains their feelings and encloses them within a safe community of believers comes as a soothing relief.

Not everyone deals with uncertainty by turning to a conspiracy theory, of course. So, who does? It’s not a matter of “ignorance” or “stupidity.” People with low levels of education are more likely than more-educated people to believe in conspiracy theories, but such theories are also common among the well-educated. For example, about half of Americans with a high school diploma or less education say the theory that powerful people intentionally planned the coronavirus outbreak is “probably” or “definitely” true. But 38 percent of those with some college experience but no degree, 24 percent of those with a college education, and 15 percent of those with postgraduate degrees also support the theory.

There are a ton of reasons people believe in conspiracy theories, but lack of education does not seem to be a primary factor. “Why are people so stupid to believe this stuff?” is not a helpful question to ask, nor is it useful to assert that we just need to teach critical thinking skills.

Heart and guts win out over the brain all the time, and that is something that a lot of us on the left are going to have to deal with.

Having just read the eleventy billionth article about how law enforcement agencies around the US Capitol seemed totally unprepared for the violent mob attack, I can say that the fairly obvious answer to the question of why more wasn’t done to stop the attack is that the people ostensibly in charge had no interest in stopping it.

Some of the best metal from last year

While I have come and gone from reading Popmatters regularly over the years, their metal reviews are consistently good.

The Best Metal Albums of 2020 list( is filled with excellent stuff. So far this morning, I have listened to Wayfarer’s A Romance With Violence( and Neptunian Maximalism’s Éons(, and both are very good albums.

I am feeling pretty glad I held off on writing that “Impeachment would be a waste of time and energy” post I was considering one week ago today.
28 Words

Weird. It’s almost like Nancy Pelosi has to work with a wide and diverse caucus that represents the entire country rather than your specific policy and tactical preferences.
29 Words

”A megacorp is not your dream job”:

A business doesn’t get a billion-dollar valuation (or… ugh… a trillion-dollar valuation) by having a productive team which takes good care of its employees, rewarding them with interesting projects, or quickly correcting toxic work environments. A business might get millions of dollars, at most, with that approach. The megacorps got their 10th figure with another strategy: ruthlessness. They create and exploit monopolies, and bribe regulators to look the other way. They acquire and dismantle competitors. They hire H1B’s and subject them to payroll fraud and workplace abuse, confident that they can’t quit without risking their visa. Megacorps are a faceless machine which is interested only in making as much money as possible with any resources at their disposal, among those being a budget which exceeds most national GDPs.

And yes, I’m sure your megacorp is different… they really do care about you. Keep telling yourself that, and by all means, keep posting on LinkedIn about how great they are.

Also, it’s not just companies with billion-dollar valuations.

Were the broader circumstances not so horrible, the Trump goons’ lightspeed pivot from “FUCK YEAH we’re takin’ our country back!” to “I don’t know, man—musta been Antifa” would be pretty hilarious.