Links 11/11/2022

‘Spectacular’ and bizarre ocean creatures (like stilt-walking fish) found living near deep-sea volcanoes LiveScience

Thought To Be Extinct for 80 Years – Scientists Rediscover a Unique Insect SciTech Daily

The Importance of Whiskers to an Animal Laughing Squid. Original paper from Mammal Review.


Strong words:

Plight of dissidents such as Alaa Abdel Fattah overshadows COP27 FT. Good job.

Sea levels might rise much faster than thought, data from Greenland suggest Space

COP27: Fossil fuel carbon emissions to hit all-time high Deutsche Welle

Drewry urges shippers to start planning for decarbonisation in shipping, warns of up to $14 billion in extra costs Hellenic Shipping News

COP 27 leaders urged to kick-start restoration of soil ecosystems Forest News


Totally committed to the bit:


U.S. set to face third Covid winter, this time without key tools and treatments STAT

* * *

How to Hide a Plague (video) Justin Feldmand, Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities. This lecture:

* * *

Viable SARS-CoV-2 detected in the air of hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients with early infection International Journal of Infectious Diseases. From the Abstract: “These results suggest that the detection of viable SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples is also associated with a multitude of factors other than patient’s viral load. These include patient’s behaviors such as coughing, sneezing, talking, and mask wearing, and environmental circumstances.” This is a very big deal. I recall (too lazy to find the link) that one of the earliest studies to show the likelihood of aerosol transmission showed SARS-CoV-2 RNA on a hospital windowsill. But this is not RNA; it’s live virus. CDC hospital infection control guidance is already demonstrably miserably inadequate, since it takes no account of the fact that #CovidIsAirborne, but this study should be the fire bell in the night for CDC to wake up and fix them. If they care about patients’ lives, of course — an open question.

Acute and postacute sequelae associated with SARS-CoV-2 reinfection Nature. From the Discussion: “In this study of 5,819,264 people, including 443,588 people with a first infection, 40,947 people who had reinfection and 5,334,729 noninfected controls, we showed that…. [c]ompared to noninfected controls, assessment of the cumulative risks of repeat infection showed that the risk and burden of all-cause mortality and the prespecified health outcomes increased in a graded fashion according to the number of infections (that is, risks were lowest in people with one infection, increased in people with two infections and were highest in people with three or more infections).” Ulp.

Universal Masking in School Works. New Data Shows How Well Time. Round-up on the NEJM study linked to yesterday.

* * *

Meissa posts early clinical data on nasal COVID-19 vaccine, providing support for role in breaking transmission chains Fierce Pharma. MV-014-212. n = 49. From Abstract of earlier Meissa study on non-human primates: “Intranasally delivered, live attenuated vaccines such as MV-014-212 entail low-cost manufacturing suitable for global deployment.”

The End of Evusheld The Atlantic


China shortens COVID quarantine times, eases flight curbs Reuters Commentary:

I’m open to the possibility that China knows something about fomites that we don’t, or that fomite transmission is more likely under Chinese conditions. That said, ignoring airborne transmission entirely…. is hardly a strategy of layered protection.”

Hong Kong gives arrivals freer rein to move around in latest relaxation of Covid travel curbs South China Morning Post. So awesome:

Magnet Maker Arrested for Sending DOD Drawings to China


As the ASEAN Summit 2022 begins, analysts say regional leaders must do more to solve the Myanmar crisis Globe_

The Myanmar military’s deadliest airstrikes Myanmar Now

The Koreas

US to buy S Korea artillery shells for Ukraine, adds $400m in aid Al Jazeera. Stripping the Asian cupboard bare for Ukraine, go Atlanticists!

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Moves Forward in South, With Little Resistance From Russia NYT. It’s quiet. Too quiet. More than fog-of-war quiet. Where is the enormous Blob-induced liberalgasm at a Russian withdrawal? Why hasn’t Zelensky green-screened his triumphant entry into Kherson at the head of a column of tanks? Where are the aerial photos of trapped Russian soldiers milling about at the Dnieper river crossings? It will be interesting to see what emerges by 5:00 today so the Sunday shouting heads have something to shout about.

Ukraine war: Russia pulling out of key city of Kherson – what it means for the conflict The Conversation

Russia Withdraws from Kherson, Surovikin Steadies Nerves, Promises Offensive (video) Alexander Mercouris, YouTube. Good on reaction to the Kherson withdrawal inside Russia (i.e., the reaction that matters to Putin).

On “orderly withdrawals.” A thread from October, still germane:

I don’t like the source much, or the source’s sourcing, but there’s still some good information here.

* * *

Top U.S. General Urges Diplomacy in Ukraine While Biden Advisers Resist NYT. Mothra (The Blob) vs. Godzilla (the Pentagon)? Commentary:

Russia’s Return to Grain Deal Is a Sign of Turkey’s Growing Influence Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

South America

From right to left:

A Clash Over a Census Reflects a Bolivia in Flux Americas Quarterly

Bolivian strike over census delay paralyzes agriculture export hub Reuters. “Lawmakers called for calm.”

Bolivia: The Insurrection of the Oligarchy Step by Step Internationalist 360°

Biden Administration

Texas Judge Strikes Down Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation NYT. From the opinion (PDF), footnote page 1:

Unless the mere machine is thrown off kilter by a “zealous law clerk,” of course — from the Federalist Society.

FTC Restores Rigorous Enforcement of Law Banning Unfair Methods of Competition (press release) FTC

How the FCC Shields Cellphone Companies From Safety Concerns ProPublica


Notable uncalled House races include Boebert, Katie Porter KXAN (Re Silc).

Trump Lost the Midterms. DeSantis Won. David Frum, The Atlantic. Opinion-havers are an important part of the DeSantis coalition (though I must say I’ve never seen “public opinion” congeal quite so rapidly, and around a short-bodied vulgarian like DeSantis, too, who has all the charisma and all the certainties of a chiseling exurban used car dealer).

More MAGA Than Ever The Atlantic (Re Silc). “It’s hard to overstate how radicalized and anarchic the base of the Republican Party remains.” Very much unlike the base of the Democrat Party, one might add.

The Bezzle

FTX assets frozen by Bahamas regulator as crypto exchange fights to survive FT. Hoo boy.

Crypto’s FTX Moment Shows Danger of Centralized Finance With No Central Bank WSJ

Untangling the knotty empire of Bankman-Fried and FTX FT. One of two attempts to create an org chart:

Obfuscatory much?

The Twitter

Elon Musk is putting Twitter at risk of billions in fines, warns company lawyer The Verge

Musk warns of Twitter bankruptcy as more senior executives quit Reuters

Why Twitter should be a public utility:

It’s not enough for Twitter to be unprofitable. It shouldn’t have profit as part of its mission; no public square could or should!


CDC Says ‘Do Not Eat Meat or Cheese From Any Deli Counter’ Unless It’s ‘Steaming Hot’ Barron’s. Comment: “Fascinating that @CDCgov @CDCDirector has much stronger/ more appropriate recs for a listeria outbreak that’s sickened less than 20 people than they do for a virus that’s killed & maimed millions.” Yes, “steaming hot” is indeed the word for CDC’s Covid communications.

California expected to partner with nonprofit Civica Rx to produce its own low-cost insulin, sources say NBC

Police State Watch

The FBI’s Transformation, from National Police to Domestic Spy Agency. Part One: “Disruption” Matt Taibbi, TK News. “Domestic spying without predicate.”

Dear Old Blighty

Too Poor for War Project Syndicate

Zeitgeist Watch

Separation Is The Largest Religion In The World Caitlin’s Newsletter

It’s Not Just You: NYC Has a Serious Dungeon Master Shortage Hellgate

Class Warfare

Prices rise because firms raise them:

TikTok’s Subcontractor in Colombia Under Investigation for Traumatic Work Time

Antivirals The Convivial Society. Interesting. Reminds me of one of Games People Play author Eric Berne’s “good games”: “They’ll be glad they knew me.”

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Antifa

    (melody borowed from I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine by Bob Dylan)

    I dreamed I saw the last of us
    What our dominion portends
    Kicking cans down our last mile of road
    And how our story ends

    Now I fear that we will walk that mile
    With all choices in our hands
    For I found us hiding underground
    Below stony desert sands

    No forests, lakes, or streams out here
    The sky is dark with dust
    Cyclone winds blow endlessly
    And strip the rocky crust

    But in places hidden here and there
    The jagged sand conceals
    Survivors living down below
    Hoping that our planet heals


    The green world we would wander
    Slowly died as we stood by
    The oceans are up in the air
    No rain falls from the sky

    Yet here a mother weeps in pain
    The last one to give birth
    Her tears will never reach the ground
    Or touch the planet Earth

    1. John Zelnicker

      Antifa – This is one of your most poetic songs, even though it’s kinda depressing. Especially he last stanza.

      doG help us all.

  2. Sibiryak

    Ukraine war: Russia pulling out of key city of Kherson – what it means for the conflict

    Whatever the truth of the matter, the decision is causing division back in Moscow. While some, including the influential chief of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, are willing to see the move as pragmatic, others – like Chechen leader Kadyrov , who called for a “great jihad” against the people of Ukraine – are likely to be less tolerant of the setback.

    Looks like the writer jumped the gun with that comment.

    1. lambert strether

      No, that’s not what it “looks like”:

      “After weighing all the pros and cons, General Surovikin made the difficult but right choice between senseless sacrifices for the sake of loud statements and saving the priceless lives of soldiers,” said Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader who has frequently urged a more aggressive approach to the war and has even called for the use of low-grade nuclear weapons

    2. The Rev Kev

      That retreat was supposed to have lasted for a week. Instead, the Russians are already gone. Nobody has picked up on that fact but to me that suggests highly professional forces.

      1. Stephen

        Exactly. That’s a great insight. If Ukraine could not even harry the retreat then Russia clearly has the strategic initiative in this war. Very similar to the retreat from near Kiev earlier in the conflict and “that” column that stayed for a while, kept intact and then simply pulled out when ordered to do so.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Indeed. The clear lack of enthusiasm to advance into empty area by the Ukrainians is telling that either the Ukrainians are at the end of their rope or the Russian defensive “fire pockets” have actually been as devastating traps as they’ve alleged to have been. Or both.

          So, soon-ish Russia will have half a million men positioned on the east side of Dniepr, while Ukraine probably has 200-250k at most, separated from their support base by half a dozen bridges and less and less functioning logistic.

          1. JTMcPhee

            The actual “Ukrainians” are very likely past the end of their rope, as Elensky and his “Combined West” masters call up the demographic dregs (happily including women, hat tip to wokeness and inclusion) of the actual citizens and residents of 404, the ones that have not already fled to EU states or Israel or the US, or been “reduced” by the Russian force of arms.

            But wait! A trumpet sounds! What is that we see in the distance? Hordes of US Airborne, Poles, French, ISIS and other NATOists creeping in to fill out the actual ranks of the actual NATO force that is and always has been the actual combatant opposing Russia in this no-one-can-afford-to-lose war!

            Hurrah! Now we will finally get past the awkward preliminaries, get the “native” military mopes out of the way (of course other than the neo-Nasi cohorts which have mostly spent the war killing civilians and shooting “fellow Ukrainians” who are “not sufficiently dedicated to the cause,”) and get to see which fraction of the world has the greater military organization and rear area support. And maybe the greater moral force, Sun Tzu’s “Moral Law,” on its side:

            1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

            2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

            3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

            4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

            5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

            7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

            8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

            9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness….

            We shall see, we shall see…

            Of course the neocons who actually control the use of US force in the world are completely invested in this conflict. And I, for one, do not sleep well knowing that among them is a knot of true believers who are happy with the idea that if they are losing badly enough in the conventional war space, will not hesitate to ensure that the Evil Rooskies and Recalcitrant Little Shithole Nations do not “win,” by pulling the nuclear trigger. Whereupon Russia’s “Perimeter” dead-hand Doomsday system will launch every remaining Russian nuke at all the fat targets of the “Free World…”

          2. Greg

            I’ve seen a couple of posts on Telegram so far, including the MoD update for the day, that Ukrainian forces are taking losses pushing through minefields towards Kherson city.

            Looks like that “defensive structure building” that was going on over the last few weeks wasn’t entirely a rouse.

      2. bidule

        This retreat has been conducted in horrible and very difficult conditions: a rainy and muddy autumn, over the fairly large Dniepr under the ennemy’s fire, with 100 000 civilians to protect and evacuate in the mix. I think very few armies (if any at all) would have been to achieve successfully such a movement on such a scale. Actually it is the contrary of what the medias are parroting all over the place: the Russian army did a demonstration of effectiveness and power — even being able to inflict heavy losses to Ukrainians, at minimal cost for itself. Not a failure for me, but the exact contrary: an exploit, which will probably be studied in the books.

        1. jsn

          Seems that way to me too.

          Suppose you’re Russia and, short term, say until the mud really freezes, you want to prevent the Ukrainians from destroying a huge hydro facility, flooding Kherson and draining the aqueduct serving Crimea, what would you do?

          I’d give Kherson to the Ukrainians.

          1. bidule

            Kherson was actually weakening the Russian army. They had a big problem, which could have turned into a real nightmare, and they solved that problem in an incredible way: they actually moved and relocated 100 000 persons in a middle of a war, whilst they had to repel the constant attacks of their ennemy.

            I do not remember of such a move in the history of wars (but I am not an historian).

            And this happened pretty smoothly. From a distance, it looks almost easy — but it certainly was not that easy at all. Think about catastrophic (climatic) events in our towns, where we struggle to help people leaving their homes, because we cannot find a place for them to rest and continue their lives. The Russian army just did it. They moved a whole city, and not a smallish one, in only three weeks.

            The only other example of such an stunning effort, which I can think of, is Tchernobyl. Whatever happens in the rest of the war, the Russian army did not only retreat in good order (which is never easy), it also took care of 100 000 men, women and children. So kudos to the Russian army. After all, they are not all incompetent, corrupted and drunk people.

      3. Tor User

        I would guess that the withdrawal was underway to some extent before the public announcement about it. There are a few twitter videos showing small amounts of equipment being moved out by ferry dating back to early in November.

        The amazing thing seems to be – based on Milley’s statement -that this wasn’t picked up by Western “intelligence”?

        The Russian seem to have done a very good job of withdrawing. There are some videos from last night showing Ukraine shelling some of the crossing points. It is unclear if that had much effect. The only thing left that could tarnish the withdrawal effort (in a fairly minimal way) is how much ammunition and equipment they left behind. Twitter videos so far, show some, but there are lots of places that have not been ‘cleared’.
        Remember that effort on the part of the Ukrainians was described as an “attritional offensive” from the start.

        I posted an article that discussed what that meant in the comments here:

        1. Tom Bradford

          I think it was Brian Berletic at The New Atlas who claimed that the Russian forces here were mostly paratroops and marines who by definition lack heavy weaponry – particularly tanks and supporting armour – which would explain why the defence was excellent but they never attempted any aggressive actions.

          If this was so withdrawing troops whose rational is to go into action with little more than they can carry, once they have screened the withdrawal of the artillery which would have been much close to the river crossings anyway, should have been relatively quick and straightforward.

          This would also have released Russia’s best-trained and aggressive attack forces to do their thing elsewhere.

  3. Wukchumni

    A Covid-19 outbreak on-board a cruise ship set to disembark in Sydney tomorrow has sparked concern.

    Princess Cruises has confirmed the outbreak, with 9 News reporting there are approximately 800 people on-board who have tested positive for Covid-19.

    “Reflective of the increase in community transmission, we too have seen more guests test positive for Covid-19 on the current voyage of Majestic Princess,” a Princess Cruises spokesperson said in a statement.

    “These guests are mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic and are isolating in their staterooms. All unimpacted guests are wearing masks and this will continue when they disembark in Sydney on 12 November.”

    Private transport has been arranged for guests who have tested positive to travel to isolation.

    There are currently 4600 people onboard the Majestic Princess – 3300 guests and 1300 crew.

    About 1 in 5 testing positive on a death ship, with 800 ‘isolating’ in the Lucky Country…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Was just hearing on the news tonight that there is a major spike in virus cases in Queensland and that the authorities are suggesting maybe that people should mask up. Not must but suggests that they wear masks. It’s hard to pretend that the pandemic is over when such rude stories appear in the media from time to time.

      1. eg

        The buzz about a possible return to masking has begun in Ontario too — of course, the Ford government will wait until it’s too late and then claim “huccudanode?”

        I never stopped wearing my mask — why bother getting out of the habit? After all, pandemics historically have lasted as long as a decade.

        1. Will

          To be fair, ol’ Dougie is very busy secretly meeting with the President of Hungary and ally of Orban

          and appointing a friend/major donor/former candidate to the Italian senate for Gorgia Meloni’s party to a regional police services board

          Orban and Meloni are far-right extremists you say? Well, you see Doug wants an Oscar

          (Naw, just kidding. Ford is a friendly fascist in waiting.)

          1. eg

            Maybe he’s consulting with Orban on next steps since his Bill 28 gambit went down in flames at the hands of a surprising show of solidarity by public and private sector unions last weekend.

      2. petal

        Sat across from the director of the cancer center on the bus this morning. He didn’t have a mask on, so I guess everything’s over and fine.

    2. IM Doc

      Ahhh, importing 800 fully vaccinated COVID positive cruisers into the country. How is that going to work?

      I remember the good old days not even a year ago when the tantrum was raging about allowing one COVID negative but unvaccinated tennis jock into the land.

      These are the types of things that occur when truth is not the number one priority in public health. As in telling the entire world your vaccines were 100% effective for transmission while knowing before they were released that was a lie. Apparently Pharma and government officials themselves knew this to be untrue. And yet made big affairs out of things like the tennis player.

      As Jesus himself said, “you shall know the truth and it will set you free”. Truth will come back to find you eventually.

      I am not sure the public health agencies anywhere in the world will survive this affair with even a shred of credibility left.

      1. Mikel

        I kept saying the shots should have been referred to as therapeutic drugs.
        IMO, that is the most honest discription of them.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Truth will come back to find you eventually? More likely truth will come back to you eventually and bite you on the a**.

        Our medical authorities are just as compromised as the ones you have in the States. And once you break trust, it is the work of a generation to get it back again. And it never had to be this way.

      3. Pat

        It would be a distressing if well deserved result, but the last few years have led me to realize that denial may be the most stubborn of human traits at least in most of the western world. In this country that is helped by the desire for easy answers and solutions and clear bad guys as with so much else. It may take wholesale death and disability to break through.
        In the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkel:

        All lies and jests
        Still a man hears what he wants to hear
        And disregards the rest

        1. flora


          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

          ― Upton Sinclair

      4. anon in so cal

        There were voices back in 2020 saying the vaccine likely did not prevent transmission.

        “December 2, 2020

        COVID-19 vaccines may not prevent spread of virus, so mask-wearing, other protections still critical

        Jake Ellison
        UW News

        Excitement and relief over news of vaccines that help prevent people from getting sick, winding up in the hospital or dying from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are warranted, says University of Washington’s Dr. Larry Corey. But, these messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines may not prevent people from getting infected or spreading the virus.

        1. IM Doc

          That may be so. But do we really need to link to the numerous reels of everyone from Biden to Bourla, to Fauci, to Walensky, to Maddow, promising the world that they would?

          And this is a classic example of those who felt differently than the narrative being completely blasted out by everyone else.

          I appreciate being given yet another example of groupthink in action for my students to ponder.

      1. Alice X

        Great! Thanks a lot. A girlfriend and I went to an Audubon sanctuary in mid lower Michigan last week. It is a great stopping off point for yon dino birds, but not for us. At least until we got home and blew up one of the phone pics I took, only to find many cranes in the background. We’d been focused on a huge swarm of red wing blackbirds in the foreground and completely missed the cranes.

  4. flora

    Glenn Greenwald. A twitter thread from September 2022.

    The regime of censorship being imposed on the internet – by a consortium of DC Dems, billionaire-funded “disinformation experts,” the US Security State, and liberal employees of media corporations – is dangerously intensifying in ways I believe are not adequately understood.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is good work by Greenwald so no wonder he had to move to Brazil. Funny thing that. A coupla months ago Putin said out loud that we in the west lived in an Empire of Lies. And most people did not have a clue what he was talking about.

      1. chris

        Yes, it is funny. A supposed basket case country that can quickly and effectively get it’s people to vote, and tally the votes, which produce an outcome unfavorable to the ruling party, AND it’s a country with better treatment of free speech than many. Brazil is the punchline but the USA is the joke :(

    1. flora

      adding: I think Glenn’s twt thread is a good companion piece to Taibbi’s linked article. Glenn’s twt is pinned close to the top of Glenn’s twt account. (in case it doesn’t show up here).

      “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

      ― Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

    2. Watt4Bob

      I hope I’m not out of line here, but your comment prompted me to visit his website where I found this article;

      Values and Character v. Political Identity

      Having been accused of being a ‘hater‘, by my own sister, because of a careless, off-hand comment, this post really resonated with me.

      It’s sad that our collective efforts to resist the rush towards a right-wing apocalypse is so encumbered with idpol zealotry.

      1. fresno dan

        thanks for that – great article
        (from the article) All of this, for obvious reasons, catapulted Daciolo into overnight political stardom: someone who denounced with great force and charisma the exploitation of workers by the corporate and oligarchical elite, not as an academic theorist like so many leftist leaders, but someone who lived that exploitation…..Daciolo is not someone play-acting as a defender of the “working class” but someone whose entire life was and is shaped by a working-class life. And he often expressed his defense of workers’ rights in religious terms, citing with great conviction the Gospels and other religious principles to justify the need to provide workers with a minimally decent standard of living. Imagining a more valuable gift to the left than he was virtually impossible.
        Roughly around the same time — in January of this year — my husband, the Congressman David Miranda, was growing increasingly disenchanted with his long-time party, PSOL: the same that had expelled Daciolo back in 2015 before my husband joined. He decided to leave PSOL to seek re-election this year. When leaving PSOL, David explained his reasons: dissatisfaction with the growing fixation on cultural and social justice issues at the expense of the working-class-based politics that drove him to enter politics; the growing intolerance among the cultural left for any dissent on newfound dogma regarding social issues; and his discomfort with the fact that PSOL — founded to oppose Lula and PT — was clearly positioning itself to support Lula in the first round of voting for the first time since it was created, rather than running its own candidate.
        But much of the Brazilian left was shocked, and more than a little outraged, when David began speaking positively about Daciolo and, especially, when he posted two different photos of them together on his social media accounts. But that indignant reaction from the left illustrated a major reason why David left his prior party: he knows meaningful politics are impossible if it is prohibited to work with or even form friendships with those who think differently. In particular, there is no way to claim to represent the interests of the working class if you simultaneously declare the social and religious values of working-class people to be so grotesque and hateful that even friendly and respectful interactions, let alone political alliances, are prohibited.
        To me, once virtue (and a virtue without acknowledging the fallability of human knowledge) becomes the point of the government, we no longer have a secular public life, but what is functionally a religious community, with excommunication the only outcome for heretics…

        1. wol

          Religious community indeed. Full article here:

          ‘In the fall of 2020, the Brooklyn Rail, a journal of arts and culture, hosted a Zoom event on the life and work of Philip Guston. It opened with both a land acknowledgment and a statement of solidarity with the racial-justice protests then in progress, one that included a litany of the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and ten other individuals. Aside from reminding me of a worship service, not least because of the practiced way the host read through his formulas, the gestures framed the whole occasion in an unmistakable way. We are gathered as a faith community, they said, but that faith is not art. Art is a value, but one that is subordinate to others.’

    1. nycTerrierist

      Similar reaction, felt sorry for the poor little pup’s future
      health problems, and the stress/grief for his/her humans

      1. CanCyn

        No worries Lambert, it is indeed an adorable puppy! I learn so much from you, it is good to be able to impart something new to you!

  5. Stephen


    As I am over 50, the English NHS has just invited me by text and email to take another COVID vaccine. Not really clear why I would do this. They say that efficacy “may” decline over time. To be candid, I am not convinced of efficacy (not even sure how they define it) in the first place so declining efficacy is possibly not a big deal.

    Feels like a Do Something measure.

    And yes, I did get vaccinated back in March 2020. With hindsight, I am not sure how smart a move that was but stopped following all the gory detail of vaccine data after last Christmas.

    They are also offering flu vaccines too. Not convinced by those either. I used to take it annually but stopped after I did some research on the topic.

    1. eg

      I’m a pincushion — 5th Covid and the latest flu shot. But I’ve never had a reaction bad enough to scare me off (although the 1st AZ shot was unpleasant for 36 hours commencing at T+12 hours).

      What I’d really like to get is a nasal vaccine, but there doesn’t appear to be one very close to approval in Canada.

      1. LifelongLib

        Ditto for me (U.S.), plus a pneumonia shot. The only side effect I’m fairly sure of was a period of fatigue after one of the Covid shots (Moderna). AFAIK I haven’t had Covid, but I live alone (well, with a dog) in a townhouse with windows open 24/7 (Hawaii) and I still mask when I shop etc which is as little as possible. Suspect my situation is rather unique though…

      2. jrkrideau

        With you I’m up to 5. Last one was with a flu shot. As a friend said, ” I don’t know why we don’t leak”.

        Reaction? Forgot about it as soon as I left the pharmacy. Bloody H. A week later I still have the bandaids on!

        Reactions seem to vary wildly. I tend to forget the bandaids, others report fever etc.

    2. curlydan

      I just got my 4th shot (Pfizer bivalent) yesterday. I was really torn about what to do. I saw my sample size=1 example of CDC Director Walensky who got her bivalent shot on September 22nd then got Covid a month later and was out for 2.5 weeks.

      But I know from 10 years of blood testing that my immune system is underpowered. I’m taking 4 out of town trips before the end of the year, so I said “I might need the anti-bodies and my last shot was almost a year ago” and just went and got it. I am a bit nervous. Each previouis shot has accompanied either sickness (once) or a fleeting odd/unpleasant reaction.

      I did not get the flu vaccine–didn’t want to push my immune system too hard at once.

    3. Paul O

      I wasn’t clear what to do either. But in the end took the fourth shot – Pfizer after a Modena booster and two doses of AZ. I guess only time may tell if it was worthwhile, useless, or worse than useless. I also took my first ever flu jab – about to turn 59. To be honest, I am unusually fit for my age and did it more out of some – possible misplaced – sense of social conscience.

      I had my first and so far only Covid infection back in March. I felt pretty damn rough for a week but recovered (to the point of running a comfortable 10k) in about 3 weeks. I think I recovered fully, as best I can tell (I’m an engineer, my job is technically challenging and often intense). How well it goes next time only time will inevitably tell (I maintain a now unhealthy attitude towards sweaty night clubs so I have to accept that inevitability at some point)

    4. Yves Smith

      I did get a flu shot this year….my first ever. Mind you, I am also the sort that argues with MDs over unnecessary testing.

      I never really saw the point (I’m robust for an old fart) but this is supposed to be a bad year for flu and they are more effective if you take them less often, like every 5 years or so.

      I am getting Varivax, a live (attenuated virus) for chicken pox. In kids, also protective v. shingles, not tested for that w/adults. Live vaccines strengthen your immune system so may provide marginal help re Covid.

      1. jrkrideau

        I never really saw the point
        I got my first shot when my brother-in-law was in chemo for cancer and his kids insisted. They were right. I just kept it up. Here in Ontario all it costs is 15–20 minutes of my time. My clinic is kitty-corner from the public library so it’s not even out of my way.

        The only danger is that the clinic has needle-wielding medical staff who burst in claiming that your tetanus shot is out of date or you need a shingles shot. I swear the chances of getting out un-perforated when you go in with a sprained ankle is close to zero.

  6. Wukchumni

    I must admit it has been a stellar week to be a DeFi voyeur, turns out they were all having mutual fun, er funds with one another in a classic:

    ‘You back my scratch and i’ll back yours…’

    1. Mikel

      So much about the crypto establishment has been revealed to be just like the current financial establishment: it has a centralized cabal of the finance and tech bros scratching each others back.

      1. Wukchumni

        Indeed, and it could lead to the much hoped for, some say cherished jubilee in that all fiat currencies are worth nothing, and thus there are no debts, a reset.

        The ensuing chaos could be biblical, truly a leveling of playing fields, and if labor is worth nothing in post-fiat terms as far as wage goes, what is the new normal when things eventually settle down?

        1. Mikel

          No, it wouldn’t lead to a level playing filed.

          There was a short lived TV series called Mr. Robot – I only sat thru the first season, parts of the second before it bored me. Some techies and their mentally struggling leader thought their ideas for a digital shut down would lead to a level playing field.
          It really did no such thing.
          The ones in charge and stepping on knecks where still in charge and stepping on knecks – with the benefit of the chaos caused.
          You know why? The back scratching relationships weren’t disrupted.
          The relationships of the elite are what have to be disrupted and disconnected.

          1. hunkerdown

            That story is outdated. Today, the relations among and with the powerful are pervasively mediated by the PMC-created digital world. The professional digerati’s wailing and gnashing about the mere potential of one social network’s hostility toward them is an advertisement of vulnerability.

            Crypto isn’t just an alternative token of value. Alternative tokens of value are also products of particular threads of social creativity. If this line of capitalist social creativity has hit a wall and its value tokens are denied, some part of capitalism may also be up for a reckoning.

            1. Mikel

              I was just thinking about the show because it struck me as presenting a group a that did the digitial disruption thing and yet the power structure remained. It was simply the image that W brought to mind.
              My argument is that a power structure is not, first and foremost, built from a currency. A longer discourse about how complicated it is to build a power structure can be found in something like “The Wretched of the Earth.”

            2. Mikel

              I don’t think it’s much of an alternative when it all essentially comes from the same breed that presented the previous system. It looks to me like the same type of people, with the same connections to each other, reshuffling the deck – no matter how it’s spun. Tech and finance bros scratching each others back.

            3. chris

              I agree with the position that some of the ideas in Mr. Robot are outdated, and I also agree that our current elite are a lot more fragile in political and economic terms than we assume. But it is absolutely correct that without some mass pushback, and coordinated action, a digital reset would accomplish little. Just like how people delayed news of emancipation to slaves, I can easily imagine a scrambled financial system with no proof of who owes what to whom still sending out debt collectors to poor people unaware that they don’t have to pay. Unless we get a cohort of class traitors or a true social unraveling things aren’t going to change just because the record keeping systems blow up.

              I have a small hope that because it is so obvious that the staement “debts which can’t be repaid won’t be repaid” is true we will see a jubilee promoted on its own merits. Absent any chaos. It is the right thing to do. Perhaps the outcome of the Ukrainian conflict will help more people come to see this as a better solution?

              1. Wukchumni

                The only thing that really differentiates them from us is exclusivity.

                Bezos has a 417 foot yacht, I cruise on a 940 foot long one.

                Illionaires drive a $10 million vintage Ferrari, I drive a truck.

                .01%’ers fly a Gulfstream VI, I fly a Boeing 737.

                All of these conveyances get there at about the same time, the only difference is exclusivity.

                They aren’t that different than us…

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Lost the Midterms. DeSantis Won”

    Trump needs to go into obscurity and take Hillary with him. He will be an albatross around the necks of your Republicans and for him, any election is always about him. But for DeSantis, he may have done very well in Florida much to Trump’s chagrin but would that success translate to the national level in 2024? From what I have seen, am not so sure but I could be wrong.

      1. Screwball

        We likely need a bus, plane, or train. I would make a list, but it’s too long and I don’t have time to look up all the names in DC and Langley.

    1. Nikkikat

      Beside the obvious set of two bad choices. I take Trump. DeSantis scares the hell out me. That dude could actually BE all the the things we were warned about after Trump was elected.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        This is the thing about all of that lot. Trump is an impulsive buffon but he has zero beliefs other than himself. The others are true believers and, because they keep quieter, the Dem establishment can get on board with them.

        1. fresno dan

          Dr. John Carpenter
          the lot of them – evil or moron…evil or moron…evil or moron…
          My first inclination is that the moron will hurt you less. But if the moron is steering the ship of state and your coming upon the shoals, at least the evil guy knows to steer away from the shoals.
          Still, an evil moron’s nefarious schemes probably won’t succeed – which now a days, is the best we can do…

          1. Wukchumni

            The devil you know is what you get with the recent old guard, and on account of things always being great or better in his public announcements, or gawd forbid should you smite the beast through words or deeds, there’s hell to pay for any sleight real or imagined with a single pair of vocal chords supplying the thrust.

            He’d be more interesting than Joey, although i’m not sure my delicate constitution could take four more years of it.

          2. John k

            I dunno. Trump pulled back from war with Iran at the last minute in spite of his big donor. And I think he recently talked of negotiation over Ukraine. Imo his sense of self preservation would avoid ww3, granted he was too incompetent to overcome deep/msm resistance to fully withdraw from afghan.
            De Santis is said to be smart, but our best and brightest are steering the ship pretty close to ww3… bad as he is, I’d rather have the foolish don… and would pick him over the dem warmongers, too.
            Oh, dog, if he’s the best we can get, we’re screwed.

      2. hunkerdown

        Trump wouldn’t play the menacing role the good-cop party wanted him to play. He ruined their game, destroying the “rational, reproducible” political order that partisan strategists sacrified years of their lives to build. Managers hate people who ruin their games.

    2. flora

      Wouldn’t surprise me if several important GOP congressmen and estab figures are very happy the T side in the internal GOP war lost. Wouldn’t even surprise me if they worked to undermine some of the T backed candidates. Politics ain’t beanbag. / ;)

    3. fresno dan

      seeing a lot of links posted on Instapundit, which used to be pro Trump, saying that Trump’s time has passed. The comments about Trump are 50-50, which is quite a decline from what used to be 90% for Trump. Trump never got a majority, and I don’t see him able to add supporters, and with 2 years to go, I just see his position weakening.

      1. John k

        He’s been written off before. He might play the peace/anti-inflation card. 2 years is a long time.
        And the wall, given the influx.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        If the Democrat party could shut their brie holes and stop making a federal case out of every little whiff of flatulence emanating from the Big Cheeto’s general direction, his position will surely weaken.

        But with nothing else to run on, the Democrat party just can’t help themselves. I’d love to see him fade into relative obscurity for a few years before his inevitable transformation into worm food, but the Pelosis of the world can’t afford to let him. It sure feels like Desantis would stomp the bejeesus out of anyone from the current list of potential 2024 Democrat presidential candidates.

      3. spud

        ROTFLOL!!! as predicted, trump derangement syndrome is in full swing. never mind the fact that this election was not about trump at all, it was about libertarian fundamentalist fanatics on the U.S. supreme court.

        what trump tried to do is drive out the country club republicans like mitch MCConnel, and he may have done that, and got pelosi to boot:)

        so as the economy deteriorates, and it is, i expect the demonization and scapegoating of the Je,ERR, i mean the maga people to intensify.

        this will make it much easier to starve them to death, drive them into the woods to die, and if that fails, the final solution.

        trump was no threat to america. the democrat party embraced nazisim in 1993, and the PMC class has their full support. that is the threat we face today!

    1. Wukchumni

      Heard more than a few crypto investors committed pseudo-cide, with many leaving defenestration emojis on their Twitter page, along with a terse note.

    2. anon in so cal

      FTX’s SBF apparently was a huge donor to the Biden campaign and funded “Guarding Against Pandemics,”
      which “was created to support a specific proposal by the Biden administration to allocate $30 billion in federal funding for the containment of future pandemic outbreaks.”

      “Sam Bankman-Fried is the principal funder of Guarding Against Pandemics. He made his fortune by creating the FTX crypto exchange and is worth over $26 billion as of October 2021. Bankman-Fried had not been a well-known political donor until 2020, when he donated $5 million to Future Forward USA, a left-leaning political action committee.”

  8. All Ice

    Re: Top U.S. General Urges Diplomacy in Ukraine While Biden Advisers Resist.
    In my view this reporting by the NY Times is of critical importance and totally unexpected especially after the Progressive caucus was forced just days ago to withdraw a request for diplomacy.

    Something very important seems to be brewing. Jake Sullivan and his counterpart talk. Russia evacuates and withdraws from Kherson city blowing up 4 bridges to thwart a UKR advance to the west side of the Dneiper. Russia continues to degrade the Ukr grid and advance in the Donesk. Poland demands WW2 reparations from Germany. German Chancellor Schulz and a delegation of German industrialists visit China which is Germany’s largest export market. There are other rumblings within the EU/NATO alliance.

    And now suddenly the NY Times reports Milley’s views. This is meaningful.

    1. Jen

      I seem to recall Larry Johnson saying a while back that the DOD uses the NYT to air their views. The timing is interesting.

    2. hunkerdown

      It means the election is over, that’s all, and the whole Ukrainian ’cause’ was an election-year religious sermon.

    3. John k

      Imo there’s been a dispute between the group that wants to pivot to China on the grounds that’s the biggest threat vs the visceral Russian haters, maybe the latter group are the older ones?
      And/or maybe pivot held up by the midterms, can’t lose ukraine until after that to avoid a red wave? If so, maybe it’s now acceptable to pivot, mil sees an opportunity, and the sooner the better so electorate has as much time as possible to forget another lost war.
      Otoh, war is so profitable… maybe taper support, not much left to send anyway… and anyway, house republicans look to block any more spending… but if eu sniffs a pivot, some will want to renew access to Russia energy. Maybe give up on the nutty price cap? Sanctions fatigue?
      Cracks maybe forming…

    4. VietnamVet

      I am sure hoping that this is the tide turning towards peace not a nuclear war. Since March, I’ve commented on the need for an armistice and a DMZ on the East Bank of the Dnieper River. Europe needs peace if Germany is to stay industrialized and avoid cutting down its old growth forests and digging up coal to stay warm and alive. Peace and Prosperity is in China’s best interests too.

      The dog fight between Neo-conservative, Nationalist, and Neo-liberal Western Profiteers has gone live. The question is if the Pentagon can keep them from blowing the world up and if the current Joint Chiefs can get the Ukraine Russia Armistice signed like Five-Star General Dwight Eisenhower did in Korea.

      1. Yves Smith

        Russia withdrew from a position that had become extremely difficult to keep supplied and was very vulnerable to having forces isolated and cut down. Ukraine had not directly attacked Kherson city until this week, when it made a series of attacks, all repulsed by Russia. Ukraine was hoping to take or at least enter Kherson city by the G20 (Nov 15-16). That is why the Ukraine officialdom is deflated by the Russian exit. This was about the PR, not actually taking terrain.

        I would not translate Russia having to extricate itself from a what had become a bad battlefield position (it wasn’t until Ukraine effectively blew the Antonovsky Bridge by taking out its long off ramp and then shelling the Kakhovka Dam) into meaning anything more.

        Colonel Douglas Macgregor, relying on insider contacts in addition to a very careful reading of all the media tidbits, said Sullivan made yet another threat. And reading the press carefully, it wasn’t even clear there was a live exchange! It could have been an exchange of written messages. As he pointed out, the current Zelensky demands are a “fuck you” to Russia and a negotiation-killer, by design. And the US is not going to roll back the economic sanctions. I hear none of the speculators even mentioning that as a term to be included in negotiations.

        Macgregor argued that Sullivan was believed to have threatened Russia, in code, with the West committing 100,000 troops if Russia escalated. So the Pentagon bleating in the NYT may just be to try to throw sand in the hawks’ gears. There is no way Biden, Blinken, or Sullivan are on board. The Pentagon has been trying to be the adult in the room, with only occasional success.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    Counterpunch is sharing a tweet in which Tulsi Gabbard endorsed Chuck Grassley.

    I really don’t know what to think about Gabbard. Not a fan of Chuck but as I tweeted earlier, retired Admiral Mike “CIA embed” Franken dragged down the entire D ticket in Iowa, costing them their last statewide official (the most senior state A.G. in the USA) and their last member of Congress (one would have thought Des Moines was a safe seat).

    And Grassley will probably do more to clean up the FBI in the next session of Congress than has been done by all sessions of Congress that came before combined. Meanwhile Counterpunch is doing a fundraiser and given their slack-jawed uncritical support of vaccines and their ferociously mindless opposition to Russia, I’m going to make an extra donation to Naked Capitalism instead.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      In the red tsunami that wasn’t, Senator Grassley was re-elected – he was born before the invention of the chocolate chip/’toll house’ cookie, I saw on Twitter. There’s a “Tried and True Toll House Recipes” cookbook still in print – a reprint of the 1948 edition – and I am tempted to buy a copy – in the 1950s I ate many meals prepared by my grandmother in a town about an hour’s drive from the ‘Toll House’ in Whitman, MA.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Turns out Iowa’s still got one statewide office holder, Rob Sands the Secretary of State. Not sure how excited I should be about his tweaking out a razor-thin margin of victory.

      Having a “blue dog”* governor, Minnesota managed to hang on to all its statewide officials. Blue Dogs make decent governors (plus it keeps them the $#@! out of Congress).

      1. Late Introvert

        I think the 2020 Iowa Cock-ups are coming home to roost for Iowa DemRats. That is when I registered Independent. Don’t let the door hit you on the back of your stupid heads.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Silly question: When, in the entire span of its existence, has the FBI ever been a “national police force,” except in the sense of “national police” in places like Saudi Arabia and Israel and Pinochet’s Chile? I’d say it’s truly wishful thinking that Grassley, who no doubt has lots of leverageable skeletons in his closet, or any other Member of Congress, will do jack-sh!t to “clean up the FBI,” where corruption and abuse runs in the blood of the institution and goes pretty much all the way to the bottom.

      FBI HQ is still in the “J. Edgar Hoover Building,” last I checked. Hard to extirpate that legacy…

      1. spud

        there is some agreement with baker here. but what he gets wrong is that the free trade treaties are in fact, free trade. most governments had little input into them, there were mostly written by the private sector, and would not allow any democratic input.

        so the rules are written and made by the private sector, free of any democratic control.

        would the private sector rig the rules, of course they would. after all, they were free to do so.

    4. Big River Bandido

      “I BELIEVE Michael Franken can defeat Chuck Grassley”. The signs in Davenport’s PMC neighborhoods on the east riverfront always made me laugh as an indicator of the householder’s lack of political judgement. I found it hilarious that the Iowa Democrat Party somehow thought running an *admiral* would play well in a state 800 miles from the nearest ocean.

      As for Axne…she was the last remaining Iowa “Democrat” in Congress…her sorry performance in office might have dragged Franken down, rather than the reverse. I know there are lots of lefties here. But the last several cycles make it pretty clear they won’t come out to support crap like this.

  10. Mikel

    Ukraine Moves Forward in South, With Little Resistance From Russia” NYT. It’s quiet. Too quiet.
    More than fog-of-war quiet. Where is the enormous Blob-induced liberalgasm at a Russian withdrawal?

    Maybe the Blob is busy with election narratives? And what is the likelihood that its ability to multi-task is hindered by the interruptions at Twitter?

      1. rowlf

        Neocons took over his blog after his health problems, including people that wanted the US to fight for their lost family treasures.

  11. Objective Ace

    >Twitter should be a public utility

    In theory–sure, but do we really expect the government to be a better arbiter of censure? We already know the Biden administration was pressuring Twitter to remove “misinformation” that turned out to be true. Imagine if they could just remove whatever displeased them with the “snap of a finger”

    1. KD

      No, because Twitter would be a “public forum” if the gov’t directly owned it (instead of controlling and managing it indirectly) and subject to the First Amendment, which would radically limit the government’s ability to censor, basically they could take down child porn posts and calls for terrorist strikes against US infrastructure, but none of the “hate speech” such as compilations of government statistics or citations to peer-reviewed journal articles that offend the libs. The current narrative is only maintained by selective misrepresentation of events combined with censorship of evidence or views which provide either context or nuance. The “lab leak” conspiracy theory would be a good case in point, or the Syrian gas attacks in 2017. In fact, if we were looking for a functional definition of “hate speech”, it would be content tending toward nuance.

      For our elites, life consists of a “true/false” test, in which authorities mystically reveal the answers, and our job is to obey and to root out the heretics and blasphemers peddling “disinformation” supposedly in the name of science, human rights or fighting autocracy, always some vague warmed-over abstraction. Its always a set of some distinguished academics, journalists or public intellectuals on all these hate lists, never Bubba’s posts on 4chan.

    2. hunkerdown

      The point of nationalization is that they no longer have a private property interest with which to act on their whiny PMC feelings. Next time, think those religious talking points a bit further through.

  12. Carolinian

    One really really hates to agree with The Atlantic but Trump should go away. Looking back his only real positive accomplishment was keeping Hillary from being president and for that we thank him. Perhaps one could argue that he could supply a sequel by keeping Biden from a second term. But that last is highly unlikely in any case and this recent election shows the degree to which Trump’s “charisma”–if it exists–is damaged goods. Which is to say he might not even beat Biden or one of his dubious substitutes.

    The country is in trouble and it’s time to get serious and stop playing revolving figureheads.

    1. schmoe

      The Peter Wehner Atlantic article has the usual selective history:

      “If the Republican Party does break with Trump now, it will be for only one reason, which is that he’s costing it power. Everything else he did—the relentless assault on truth, the unlimited corruption, the cruelty and incitements to violence, the lawlessness, his sheer depravity—was tolerable and even celebrated, so long as he was in power and viewed by Republicans as the path to more power.”
      – He is not aware of Karl Rove’s “we make our own facts” now that we are empire narrative or the lies regarding the Iraq invasion.
      – Any corruption allegations against Dick Cheney ever?
      – “Incitements to violence” Did Trump kill 700,000 people in Iraq? He did however try to start a war with Iran and was going to put (worse) starvation sanctions on the Houthis, so I guess that is a tie with “W”.

      Reading that article was as painful as watching a 60 Minutes segment on Russia or Syria.

      1. Carolinian

        I didn’t even read the article from Frum–why bother? Obviously corruption is very much bipartisan and Biden is doubtless worse in that way than Trump who, as Yves says, is mostly guilty of typical real estate fudging.

        But lesser evilism is no longer going to cut it as our problems, much of them caused by that corruption, keep getting worse. Trump simply doesn’t have the right personality to lead us out of this. I’ve always been willing to cut him some slack–don’t think he ever thought he would win in 2016–but now his talk is all grievance and revenge. He can change the talk and being a canny politician he may do that, but those four previous years show he lacks grit and courage when it comes to actual governing.

        1. flora

          T is showing signs of doing what Perot did, imo, after Perot lost in ’92. I like Perot in ’92. He was right on a lot of economic issues. After he lost, however, Perot turned a movement of voters unhappy with both parties and looking for change into an ego trip for himself, imo. A new party group that grew out of his ’92 run, which could have had an effect as a voting bloc like the later day Tea Party did for a short time, shattered in divisions (with a lot of help from the “usual suspects”, including the MSM). My 2 cents.

          an aside: T did stop the TPP and TPIP, those horrible treaty proposals. B is pushing full speed to get the WHO so-call pandemic treaty ratified in spring 2024. That proposed “treaty” is much worse than the other two treaties, in terms of a global power grab by an un-elected body – actually by one un-elected guy, by eliminating national sovereignty over healthcare decisions (imagine Bill Gates dictating public health for the world). It was stopped by several African countries voting it down earlier, but now it’s back from the dead for another try.

          1. Carolinian

            Guess for the Dems if Trump didn’t exist they’d have to create him. Perhaps they did create him since Hillary supposedly wanted him as her opponent to make her improbable ascent happen. We don’t want her any more either.

            Nevertheless ZH says he’s still going to announce and then go after DeSantis.

    2. jrkrideau

      . Looking back his only real positive accomplishment was keeping Hillary from being president
      I’d disagree. He managed to not get the USA into more disastrous wars. He even got the USA out of Afghanistan. The actual pull-out was under Biden but all the ground-work was his.

  13. johnherbiehancock

    re: twitter as a public property.

    You-know-who would hate the idea, but all their claims of censorship would be legally valid, and the government couldn’t just willy-nilly ban people and restrict content like a private sector (filled with spooks) can.

    1. Karl

      I believe the notion was Twitter as “public utility.” A federally chartered “utility commission” or “Corporation” might be better insulated against political pressure and more credible. Even then, safeguards would be necessary to ensure independence.

      The only self-governed Federal “public utilities” that I can think of are so-called Government Sponsored Entities (GSE’s) and Federal Corporations. These include Power Marketing Agencies (WAPA, BPA, etc.), TVA, the Post Office, etc. For the most part these seem to work quite well in the public interest.

      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be examples of what can happen to GSE’s when they succumb to political pressures (e.g. leading up to their collapse and de-listing after the 2008-9 GFC). Arguably another example is the partisan political meddling around USPS mail-in ballots by Trump’s appointee DeJoy in 2020, but ultimately this meddling failed due to lawsuits and Congressional interventions of various sorts. So safeguards against political machinations and capture by influential stakeholders would be needed.

  14. Henry Moon Pie

    How to Hide a Plague–

    Excellent talk from which I learned that most of these minimizing and distraction tactics have been used before by the same capitalist interests that always demand that pandemics be ignored for the sake of profits. Even anti-masking has a long history that includes San Francisco where the business association succeeded in its effort to nix a mask mandate because it would hurt tourism.

    It also includes a nice, step-by-step account of how “let ‘er rip” became normalized across two political parties.

  15. William Beyer

    Taibbi, bless his soul, writes about the FBI’s “transformation” as if he’d never heard of the Palmer raids, COINTELPRO, or 50 years of blackmail, extortion, and murder conspiracies by the guy whose name is still above their front door. Maybe Matt will backfill in future episodes…

    1. zagonostra

      Taibbi is a strange character. He used to do some deep dives on arcane financial issues and make them entertaining to read and easily digestible. And you’re right, he seems to be reporting and what everyone already knows. There are also some subjects he off-handling dismisses and will not go anywhere near. I forgot where I heard/saw him mockingly dismiss someone who asked him his opinion of WT7 as if he was crazy for even posing the question.

    2. curlydan

      He did mention them in the article: “The Hoover-era FBI plunged into such infamous excess via snooping programs like COINTELPRO — from trying to blackmail Martin Luther King, Jr. into suicide to opening intelligence files on as many as 500,000 Americans, including a list of 26,000 “to be rounded up in the event of a national emergency” — that Congress in 1975 was forced to intervene.”

    3. flora

      If you read the whole article you realize Matt is very aware of the FBI’s long history of ugly actions, Hoover’s blackmail tactics, COINTELPRO, and the 1970s Senate inquiry known as the Church commission which uncovered the rot and reformed the FBI’s worst practices. The point of his first part of this series is to show the FBI is ignoring the Church commission changes, the politicians aren’t reining them in, and the FBI is (or appears to be) regressing back to Hoover-level corrupt practices and politicized rot.

    1. Wukchumni

      Elvira, Mistress of the dark web?

      Relying only upon the local twitter feed whose talents weren’t usurped by Elon in the Coup d’ough!, i’m unaffected by news of the other Twitter and those abandoning it-thus denying Musk feathers for his nest, and it has the same feel as somebody telling me their bowling league average score.

  16. Wukchumni

    Weighed down by my camera gear and clearly not as fit as the pika crew farther up the trail, I stopped to catch my breath and wonder why I had agreed to go in search of plague in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

    That’s right, plague. The word normally conjures images of the Black Death of the mid-1300s, or maybe rats on a ship. You don’t normally think of small, cute, furry mammals that can contract and spread the deadly disease in a national park. It would never have occurred to me that plague could be found within the confines of this national park in Northern California, but it is here.

    That’s why on a mid-October morning I had agreed to join Jonathan Bowser, a biological technician working as a contractor for the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service, and his “pika crew” to learn about their research and field methods to study plague’s existence and effect in the park, with particular attention to its effect on pika.

    Pikas hang out in the highest altitude of 4 legs good, and I saw 3 of them this summer where humans dare up there.

    They’re in the rabbit family, the most unusual of beasties in the back of beyond.

  17. Wukchumni

    FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, announced on Friday it will file for bankruptcy, with its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, stepping down in the wake of a trading scandal that has embroiled the firm in regulatory inquiries.

    Bankman-Fried, as it turns out.

    It kind of reminds me of a similar scheme of much smaller fare only in the hundreds of millions that Bruce McNall pulled in the 1980’s and 90’s until things unraveled in the City of Angles.

    You never know what keeps a scam going until it falls apart and then everything is laid bare.

    I read that Sequoia Capital wrote off its entire $210 million investment in FTX, and I thought those guys were savvy Silicon Valley types, but a cool 1/5th of a billion, hoooo boy~

    1. hunkerdown

      How many angel investors can dance on the head of a qubit? Roughly 3000, if the average angel investment is on the order of $100k.

      I think a lot of this crypto investment is, in a subtler light, an investment in the “sound money” ideal and a shot across the bow of fiscal power.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its interesting how we largely did away with poison gas since WW1 as everybody was in agreement how horrible it was…

        Maybe a few other weapons have been termed verboten, but by and large anything goes now, whadya got?

        1. Carolinian

          I believe Churchill gassed the Iraqis after WW1. He was a real sweetheart when it came to defending his beloved empire and its interests.

          But then WW1 was all about empire too. Maybe empires are bad??

        2. jrkrideau

          Poison gas just does not work that well. Imagine a sudden gust of wind that blows it towards your troops rather than the foe.

      2. Tom Stone

        “If any question why we died, tell them, because our Fathers lied”
        My Namesake died at the Somme, age 22.

    1. All Ice

      The armistice was a only a cease fire. The subsequent Treaty of Versailles was the Peace Treaty that ended all wars? Joke?

      1. flora

        The young men who enlisted, the young men who went, the young men who believed the advertised promise of a war to end all wars and making the world safe for democracy are honorable and worth remembering. The tragedy of WWI, their tragedy is worth remembering.

        1. All Ice

          My ancestors fought on both sides in WW1 and served only because they were drafted and had no alternative. They and their families hoped they could emerge alive and in good enough shape to work and earn a livelihood.

          1. flora

            Thank you. I didn’t mean to leave out or seem to leave out those who were compelled against their better judgement. You are right.

        2. LifelongLib

          WW1 is largely forgotten in the U.S., but three of my mom’s uncles died as a direct or indirect result of it. Two were with the AEF in France (one was killed in combat, the other died a few years after the war from effects of being gassed), the third died in the flu epidemic c. 1919-20.

          AFAIK nobody in my family was harmed in WW2. It enabled my dad and uncles to go to college on the GI Bill so in a purely personal way it was beneficial. History is strange.

          1. flora

            Yes, it is largely forgotten in the U.S. or only seen as a precursor to WWII. But it was more important in its own right.

            It was the first European and then larger war fought when manufacturing mass production on an industrial scale existed. That included industrial mass production of war materiel. The then leaders – kings, generals, admirals, presidents, prime ministers were raised in an earlier generation where mass production on an industrial scale and mechanization didn’t really exist. Battles that 30-40 years earlier would have ended much sooner because of material exhaustion continued in WWI, and continued killing thousands. The leaders of the time didn’t understand what was happening, imo, or why it was happening or why the military actions of 30 years earlier no longer worked.
            Tragedy. A generation was led to the slaughter.

        3. GramSci

          Yes, “the young men who believed the advertised promise of a war to end all wars … their tragedy is worth remembering.”

          But Eugene Debs, for one, offered them a different route, which mostly only those of German descent followed.

          As Camus might have said, we are guilty, even if we are ignorant.

      2. JBird4049

        “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” General Ferdinand Foch

        Not a joke. More like wish fulfillment.

  18. diptherio

    Re: Mastodon

    Here’s an interesting post that showed up on my Masto feed just now, that really explains a lot about the reasons why Mastodon is the way it is, for better or worse.

    I see a lot of people emphasizing to new users that “mastodon is not twitter”, in a way that I suspect alienates those users while also being misleading.

    Mastodon and mastodon-like fediverse nodes (ex., pleroma, gnu social, etc) look and act almost exactly like twitter, very intentionally.

    To the degree there are technical differences, they are largely either scale-related (the fediverse was federated since long before mastodon was a twinkle in gargron’s eye, because centralized social media is only possible with stupid amounts of no-strings-attached VC money) or downstream from culture.

    Almost every technical decision that differs from twitter here is downstream from culture, and almost every technical decision that isn’t different from twitter is the result of the culture not yet having enough discourse to change it.

    What is the culture?

    The culture on the fediverse is formed from ex twitter users — people who left twitter in various waves at various stages. These waves are mostly people who felt like they didn’t fit in (or who felt actually unsafe) on twitter.

    The first wave predates mastodon by years, and was open-source / free-software / security / privacy / civil liberties people. Basically, the kind of guy who tries to get everybody he knows to use tor & kali linux. These folks felt like the proprietary nature of centralized social media software was an ethical problem, and that the centralization & ad-based monetization was a security risk.

    Later waves include: furries, LGBTQ people, and non-white people, all of whom faced systematic harassment on twitter; anarchists and communists, who don’t like the profit motive in general and were happy to move as soon as they were aware that something else was available; retrocomputing / slow-computing people, who felt that centralized social media produced an unhealthy and environmentally unsound relationship between people in social media; sociology-of-UX & software-utopianism people, who felt that centralized & profit-driven social media produced unhealthy relationships between the people it mediates.

    These categories overlap, and the more of these categories you fall into, the more likely you’ve actually been on the fediverse for a while. (For instance, I’m an anarchistic free-software guy with sympathies for slow-computing & software-utopianism, so all of the concerns other than systematic harassment have affected me personally, & I’ve got a lot of friends who have gotten systematic harassment too, so I’ve been on the fediverse for a good half-decade.)

    Anyway, despite the fact that the fediverse is populated mostly by people with strongly-felt objections to the way things work on twitter, these cultural concerns actually only rarely result in visible technical changes — and even then, they tend to be subtle. Emphasizing the technical differences is probably not helpful for onboarding new users, because new users are unlikely to encounter them on their own for weeks or months! To a new user, mastodon looks like twitter with a different color scheme.

    It is more useful, in my opinion, to emphasize to new users that the fediverse, in general, cares about the users that twitter was happy to subject to harassment & other forms of violation long before a Musk regime was on the radar. Then, when a user encounters a technical difference, they are primed to understand it as downstream from culture: they know that it’s somebody’s attempt to fix a social problem that was rampant on twitter, and every former twitter user is aware of the kinds of social problems that were rampant there.

  19. chris

    I think one of the benefits of the NC commentariat is the exposure to new ideas about important topics. I don’t read it as advice but certainly people are doing things that I’m not and when I find out about it I investigate and think about whether it would be good for me to do that thing too. In that spirit, I’m offering an update on my current regimen now that I’m two years post COVID and as far as I know, have yet to be reinfected.

    I’m currently taking supplements for vitamin C, D, and Zinc. I’m also taking nattokinase, turmeric, and on occasion, small doses of melatonin. I’m regularly using saline solution to moisten my nasal mucus. Im gargling with mouthwash that has viral killing ingredients three times a day. When I go to public places indoors I also use my diluted iodine based immune nasal spray. I still carry an N95 mask with me for extended times indoors or when I’m in a building with obvious signs of poor ventilation. This time of year that equates to seeing condensation forming in windows or glass. I have a well fit underarmor mask that I use for brief daily exposures to the outside world. I find it doesn’t give me as many problems with eye wear as other masks and it keeps my face warm without getting sweaty. I don’t let any facial hair growth go past 2 days so I can maintain a good seal. I’m still doing breathing exercises for lung capacity.

    I feel good. I’ve taken these past two years to really work on being healthier and getting into better shape. That way if I get sick again I’ll be building back up from a better place.

    I hope this helps anyone on here struggling with regaining the use of their body post COVID.

      1. chris

        Based on discussions with virologists, and my doctor, anything with sufficient hydrogen peroxide in it will act to kill virus in your mouth. It doesn’t take much. The stuff in most whitening mouth washes does just fine.

  20. JEHR

    Re: Antivirals

    What a wonderful reflection on what being “social” really means. I decided early on not to engage in any platform having to do with social media–not facebook, not twitter, not anagram, not tiktok, not youtube, not google, etc. I prefer the long read, the essay, the article of explanation, the novel, the cartoon, the anecdote, etc. I have not been disappointed in my choices.

    It is so pleasant to read someone else’s ideas about what “social” really means.

  21. tindrum

    The magnet thing is utter nonsense – Hitachi owns all of the patents on rare earth sintered magnets so it doesn’t matter where you buy them. “Manufacturing and magnetising must be done in the US”? Oh wow. Magnetising involves putting the material into a big coil and supplying lots of current, not exactly high tec. If those people go to prison for this then it is an absolute travesty.

    “Hitachi Metals owns more than 600 patents worldwide, including over 100 in the United States alone, that are important for the safe, efficient, commercial manufacture of sintered NdFeB magnets”

  22. semper loquitur

    The formidable Paul Austin Murphy on the use, and abuse, of quantum mechanics in Idealist philosophy and Spiritualism:

    Why the Advocates of Spirituality and Idealism Hijack the Words of Quantum Physicists

    Some readers might have noted the multitude of memes on social media posted by the advocates of spirituality, New Ageism and idealism which include the words of famous quantum physicists. So what’s behind this interest in these selected physicists?

    I think Murphy has most of it right, QM is bandied about by a lot of people because it’s so weird and hard to pin down. It’s an easy sack to stuff a lot of things into.

    I think he overextends himself in his critique of Kastrup’s writings, though. Kastrup doesn’t make “long and wild leaps”, he builds his arguments carefully, both in his layperson’s books and I assume in his PhD in Idealist metaphysics as well. Murphy has specific critiques of Kastrup that I have read through before and need to reread more closely:

    Murphy is a very smart guy and a skilled philosopher so it’s hard to spot holes in his arguments but I think they are there re: Kastrup. I would dearly love to read an exchange between the two; a lot of folks think they have Kastrup over a rail until they face him one on one.

  23. Darius

    I don’t have time to find it but a Naomi Wu Twitter thread from a few days ago said the disinfection fogging is an infectious disease protocol established before COVID. Chinese bureaucrats are going by the book and following outdated protocol. They got that box checked.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Chinese bureaucrats are going by the book and following outdated protocol.

      Seems familiar somehow. The virus is outsmarting the entire species, not just different political economies.

  24. anon in so cal

    Gilbert Doctorow on the possibility that Russia could use an electromagnetic pulse weapon in Ukraine.

    Doctorow starts at 2.14

    “Further to my remarks yesterday on this website pointing to Russian options to break any stalemate in the war on the ground by deploying a wholly new weapon system that could bring Ukrainian forces to their knees in a day with virtually no loss of life or destruction of cities, I was given the opportunity to expand on the point during this morning’s 10am edition of the ‘News Review’ program of Iran’s English language broadcasting service.

    One correction must be noted: the common abbreviation of Electromagnetic Pulse is EMP, whereas I inadvertently inverted the letters when I spoke.”

    1. jrkrideau

      I realise I am being pedantic but it would be nice to hear reporters like Johnny Miller actually pronounce Kherson (UKR : Херсо́н) correctly as Dr Doctorow does. It tends to decrease my confidence in Mr. Miller’s knowledge of the country.

      I am reminded of an old Hawaii 50 episode where an American nurse claimed to have worked in Toronto ( pronounced Tor-On-Toe) which no one who has lived in “Tirana” would ever say.

  25. Karl

    RE: U.S. to buy Artillery rounds from S. Korea (Al Jazeera)

    This seems pretty significant. A deal (not assured) requires non-trivial diplomatic effort to pull off because S. Korea has firmly refused to be a direct party to providing lethal arms to Ukraine.

    The fact that the U.S. is apparently willing to expend this effort (to say nothing of reducing the security of S. Korea by drawing-down its own artillery shell inventory) means the U.S. has indeed run out of 155mm shells. Also, in this war, 100K shells isn’t much. This may be just several week’s worth of supply.

    So, given the importance of artillery, what supplies does Ukraine have to work with to continue offensive operations? Perhaps this is another reason Willey is making noises about negotiations?

    Incidentally, S. Korea’s push back against the U.S. (its most important benefactor) seems to indicate how sensitive S. Korea is about its relationships with China, Russia and probably N. Korea. It may be a bell-weather for how other Asian “allies” are hedging their bets in the emerging multi-polar era.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The South Koreans are lying their faces off in that article. They are all in and have provided several weapons systems to the Ukrainians by shipping them to other countries first for transportation such as those drones that hit Crimea. In that article they say that they are not providing 155mm shells to the Ukrainians but what would be happening is that the US is giving their final reserve stocks of 155mm shells to the Ukrainians and replacing them with South Korean ones. I would not be surprised that when this war is over, there is a reckoning with South Korea by Russia with them proving North Koreans with a few weapons systems or sensors that will give the South Korean a headache. Still, kinda funny how people freaked out at the story of North Koreans providing artillery rounds to the Russians but it is OK for the South Koreans to do the same for the Ukrainians

    2. anon in so cal

      “If you are buying military equipment for North Korea, you are not a great power, and your war is not going well.

      –Michael McFaul

      (okay, North Korea, not South Korea, but still)

    3. Roland

      I think it’s more about a slush fund to bolster the pro-US faction in SK, than it is about a shortage of ammo.

  26. Karl

    RE: Musk says Twitter may be headed for bankruptcy

    Musk and co-investors paid $30B for Twitter. In the process, they loaded onto Twitter about $6B more debt (from ~$5B to $11B). Cash flow of $1.1B cannot pay even the interest of $1.2B.

    In Minsky parlance, this is classic Ponzi finance, where neither principal or interest can be covered by cash flow.

    With revenue declining fast, and massive layoffs, it will be interesting that kind of company will be left after the dust settles.

    Musk may well deploy the oft-used Trump path to riches: bankruptcy. Those new holders of $11B of Twitter debt may be in for a rough ride, mostly big banks–BofA, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas….

  27. John Beech

    Some seriously inexperienced people are commenting about business matters and prices, and their ignorance is being amplified by not just Twitter, but by this blog.

    Me? I say they’re basically talking out their hind ends. Strong words? Maybe, but anybody who has ‘ever’ signed the front of a paycheck will affirm you can raise prices to the moon if you like – but – as long as consumers can shop around and find a cheaper alternative (maybe using the internet to research it), then it won’t matter what you think the price of something is worth because your widgets won’t sell.

    A sale requires consent and as long as consumers consent, then a businessman’s obligation is to raise prices until products don’t sell in the quantities required to turn a profit. Why? Because a business’s first obligation to ‘itself’ is be profitable.

    The fundamental idea is to make money. A widget, a service, whatever . . . it doesn’t matter. And if your widget or service is too expensive, then you can bet your bottom dollar someone else will fill the demand for a lower price.

    It’s called supply and demand for a reason. Very few exceptions. Cable television and internet service providers are a rare avis in the business world, as are health care and drug providers. But the latter, especially only because of government interference in the market (due to corruption of public officials, e.g. Congress and campaign contributions) creating an unequal playing field (I’m looking at the years where drug companies couldn’t be negotiated with by Medicare, as an example).

    Anyway, to the whole theory inflation is due to companies overcharging, I say bunk!

  28. Pat

    Well it is all over for Twitter, Playbill has announced they are off it. Yes, the little magazine attached to your program information at Broadway and multiple other theater venues has found that Twitter is so befouled by Elon Musk they can no longer announce their online digital only content to theater nerds everywhere.

    I swear this situation is farce, drama, and theater of the absurd all at once.

    And Playbill’s bit is the most unselfish aware thing the theater community has done since Patti Lupone quit Equity for reasons of peak and insult after she was named in articles for calling out audience members for cell phone use. (Her overall reasons seemed to morph as the story kept playing on).

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