Links 11/18/2022

Vast illegal trade in turtle species is happening, despite global protections Canary

Repeated out-of-Africa expansions of Helicobacter pylori driven by replacement of deleterious mutations Nature

Fading Supply-Chain Problems Signal Season of Plenty for Holiday Shoppers WSJ

Black Friday surprise: Jeff Bezos tells people not to buy cars, refrigerators and other big-ticket items. Critics call him out. MarketWatch. Things Amazon doesn’t sell?

Masayoshi Son owes $4.7bn to SoftBank following tech rout FT. There seem to be rather a lot of owed billions floating around these days.


Policies for Adapting to the ‘New Normal’ of the Anthropocene Behavioral Scientist

Recommended Reading: Mass Response Nina Illingworth

5 ways to tackle greenwashing, according to UN experts World Economic Forum


Wishin’ Accomplished in NDM Chris Jones, University of Iowa. NDM = “Not Des Moines.”


Loads of Covid-19 Boosters Are Going Unused This Fall and Here’s Why WSJ


Foreigners join speculative China stocks frenzy FT. Commentary:

China debt: local government ‘land grabs’ raise concerns amid tumbling fiscal revenues South China Morning Post

‘We’re not ready’: threat of Covid exit wave stymies China’s reopening FT. Unless China accepts that #CovidIsAirborne, and acts on it, they will never be ready. As I showed in Links yesterday, they have not. (I would love to be wrong on this; readers?) Presser:

No mention of airborne transmission.

Terrible threading, but an interesting argument (and a sad post; the author loved their time in China, and still misses it):

“You would be hard pressed to find an issue where outside opinion had any material impact on China beyond short term.” Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over China, that our empire had become unmanageable.” Meanwhile:

Cambodia quietly trying to distance itself from China Asia Times. Swaying like bamboo (which hopefully the US is subtle enough to let them do).

Myanmar junta frees Australian economist, former UK envoy in mass amnesty Reuters


Iran must cooperate with uranium probe, says IAEA board resolution Reuters

US moves to shield Saudi crown prince in journalist killing AP. Oh.

Dear Old Blighty

The Big Society, Reheated Tribune

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine Won’t Ignite a Nuclear Scramble Foreign Affairs

Deep breaths: Article 5 will never be a flip switch for war Responsible Statecraft

A Missile Falls on NATO Territory. What Next? Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Interesting contortions.

John Mearsheimer on Putin’s Ambitions After Nine Months of War Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker

* * *

How Ukraine Blew Up a Key Russian Bridge NYT. Some remaining unknowns: How the truck bomb was triggered, and whether the driver was a suicide bomber or a mark for the Ukrainian intelligence services. Big gaps for a story with a headline that begins “How”….

‘We hit them with slingshots’: Ukraine’s ‘iron general’ shows his mettle FT. Zaluzhnyi hagiography. Beat sweetening? Zalensky about used up?

* * *

3 convicted in 2014 downing of Malaysian jet over Ukraine AP. Making no judgment on the verdict, but the entire story has been spook-adjacent from the beginning.

Biden Administration

Biden Administration Caves To Pressure On Student Debt Bankruptcy The Lever

Democrats en Déshabillé

Five takeaways as the Pelosi era ends The Hill

The Bezzle

The Psychopharmacology Of The FTX Crash Astral Codex Ten (Craig F).

Why Didn’t the Government Stop the Crypto Scam? Matt Stoller, BIG

Crypto dominoes fall in the wake of FTX’s collapse Axios


Hundreds of employees say no to being part of Elon Musk’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter The Verge. But:


I view this dogpile as two PMC moral panics potentiating each other, both with the objective of taking Twitter down: Blue Checks, because the sudden inability to drive a platform’s censorship of their political opponents offends their sensibilities (not to mention their allies in the intelligence community and the Democrat Party), and Twitter employees themselves, who implement the censorship, and, to be fair, are labor aristocrats who probably think they can get catered lunches and massages elsewhere in Silicon Valley (but maybe not), and also wish to prove themselves essential. (If they had a union, they’d strike, but they don’t, so we have the moral panics.) At a higher level, what we’re seeing is an exercise in PMC class power. Lost in the yammering and gloating is the “public square” function Twitter still performs, like hurricane warnings, as well as the accumulation of social capital by those who do not have Blue Checks, and are not Silicon Valley engineers. All that said, moral panics are bullsh*t, and you can’t reverse engineer the truth out of bullsh*t. So let’s wait. See the next link–

Twitter’s Slow and Painful End The Atlantic. “All three individuals I spoke with said the World Cup is a major stress test for the platform in the best of circumstances, requiring careful coordination from the site-reliability-engineering team to ensure that crucial services stay up.” So we have an inflection point coming up.

User reports indicate problems at Twitter Down Detector. For future reference.

* * *

Ticketmaster cancels public sale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour due to overwhelming demand CNN

Radicalize the Swifties Slate

* * *

Here’s Why Automaker Subscription Features Are Here To Stay, Even Though You Hate Them The Drive


Trends in inequalities in the prevalence of dementia in the United States PNAS. “The age-adjusted prevalence of dementia decreased from 12.2% in 2000 (95% CI, 11.7 to 12.7%) to 8.5% in 2016 (7.9 to 9.1%) in the 65+ population, a statistically significant decline of 3.7 percentage points or 30.1%.”

Several children hospitalized in growing measles outbreak affecting 7 Ohio daycares CBS

To beat Ebola in Uganda, fund what worked in Liberia Nature

Police State Watch

Handcuffs in Hallways: Hundreds of elementary students arrested at U.S. schools CBS

Sports Desk

Portugal Is Still All About Ronaldo, Even When It Shouldn’t Be Defector

Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the FIFA World Cup Digiday

‘Our dreams never came true.’ These men helped build Qatar’s World Cup, now they are struggling to survive. CNN

Zeitgeist Watch

Race for the bottom Overmatter

Imperial Collapse Watch

Russia, India, China, Iran: the Quad that really matters Pepe Escobar, The Burning Platform

Beyond Blame Boston Review (NL).

How loneliness is killing men BBC Science Focus

Associations between cognitive function and marital status in the U.S., South Africa, Mexico, and China Population Health

The Amazing Music Murals of North Carolina The Honest Broker

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (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. Louis Fyne

      on the flip side, all that labor needed to piece together a conventional powertrain is what allows any competent shop to repair one piece of a 150,000-mile powertrain and give it another 100,000 miles of life.

      As EV powertrains is more like a black box, the manufacturer has more power to control who/how repairs are done.

      Jury is still out how Teslas or Ford Lightnings with 120,000 miles fare.

      A conventional Toyota with 120,000 miles would become an affordable “new to me” car to someone and be in service for another 60,000+ miles with proper maintenance.

      Will EVs be the same? replacing an EV battery pack is not cheap, and is inevitable given the chemistry

      1. hunkerdown

        What of that hasn’t John Deere or Stellantis been doing with their fossil-powered machinery already?

        There is already a cottage industry of Louis Rossmanns doing board repair on ECUs for fossil-fueled vehicles, up against much the same proprietary information bottlenecks as with Apple. Electric drives drive plenty of growth potential for techs in that line of work. As a bonus they can take their skills home with them and help repair the parade of consumer electronics gear as they crap out.

        And I see nothing wrong with the “auto mechanic,” as a social institution, unlearning such cultural relics as carburetors to make room for a bit of the industrial electrician’s trade. It wouldn’t hurt to have vehicle techs doing something closer to the point of production, anyway.

      2. Carla

        My mate’s 1989 Toyota Camry served him for 18 years and 280,000 miles with not much but standard maintenance. Gave my 2007 Honda Civic to a relative back in 2013 and it’s still chugging along at 200,000 miles…

      3. Pengo

        People should refuse to buy any “subscription service” after they buy a car. i.e. Heated BMW seats. Try to get free heat and you might invalidate the warranty or fry the electronics. Just say no to overly complicated cars.
        “You will own nothing and you will be happy.”

      4. Adam Eran

        JFYI, manufacturing is just the tip of the iceberg. A typical internal combustion engine has 2,000+ parts. An electric motor has < 20. Lots of repair shops in decline is my prediction.

        …on the other hand body shops should do OK.

        As for replacing batteries, the prices of batteries are in decline, and I've seen a Youtube describing how to replace a Prius battery pack for $1500 or so…so there's that

    2. griffen

      I can and do drive significantly farther on a single tank of 87 unleaded gasoline, and in the event I begin to run short there are plenty of gas stations located along main driving corridors like I-85 and I-95 on the east coast and southeastern US. I am not sure quite yet that EV can state the same equivalent. And without the tax subsidies what is the real economic costs for the average Jane Doe or John Smith household to purchase an EV?

      Oh and there is a cold snap where our overnight low is dropping below 32F here in the southeastern US. Cold snaps cause frequent power outages, often due to tree limbs that reach out from above the power lines.

      Added but tangential. In recent years I spent a nice sum to repair the engine for a bad cylinder, and then overhauled the rack and power steering at or nearly about 200,000 miles on my 2008 Accord. Probably good for another 100,000 on it, if the interior does not disintegrate first, currently at 211,000.

        1. Wukchumni

          My first car I can remember was a blue 1966 Ford station wagon and we had an epic family roadtrip to Canada in 1972 with 2 adults and 6 kids jammed in tighter than current laws would allow as it was de facto child abuse, but I relent.

          The damned thing broke down every couple hundred miles it seemed like to me, and on the way back from up over things that my dad got fixed on the way up broke again.

          Maybe the wagon was good for 60k miles before it clapped out, and back in the day you would see broken down cars on the side of the road, the jalopies weren’t all that reliable.

          My 2010 Tacoma was just in the shop and had to replace a broken shock absorber as I must’ve been a wee bit hard on the beast off-road sometime in the last 180k miles.

          I feel as if another 180k miles isn’t out of the question, and by then i’ll be ready to make the switch to ion-drive vehicles which took over when the electric car fad faded quick.

          1. ambrit

            Not to worry. The ‘Zero Point’ power packs are just over the Event Horizon. I’m getting a big tingly feeling just thinking about it.

          2. John Zelnicker

            Wuk – From the old days:

            Found On the Road Dead.

            Fix Or Repair Daily.

            My first car was a 1960 Ford Galaxie. Bought it for a summer and sold it when I went back to school.

            I seem to remember that in the and 60’s and 70’s it was well known that American cars were only good for about 60-70,000 miles before crapping out in some expensive way. It’s why odometers only had 5 digits, plus tenths.

            When Japanese cars started becoming popular and eventually owners were reporting mileage well into 6 figures, I was amazed. Why couldn’t US carmakers do that?

        1. ambrit

          Haven’t you heard? It is now, officially, the “Status Quo Aristo.”
          [You will own nothing and thank us for it.] “Gee. Thanks for Nothing.”

          1. JBird4049

            I thought it was “you will own nothing and you will be happy.” Considering that this includes the thoughts in our head, it means that they truly want us to be programmed sheeple Brave New World style.

            Funny how 1984 and Brave New World are nightmare dystopias coming from two different directions, but with similar ends. One seeks to manage the people for their supposed benefit and the other for the Party’s will to power, but both destroy and then mold the individuality of the individual thus removing the ability to truly dream, think, feel, grow, or even adapt to anything different.

            However, while the elites of those novels seek power over others by destroying their humanity, they did not seek to destroy their own humanity debased as it might be; the elites in the current real world seem determined to destroy their own humanity in the process of fulfilling their will to power.

          2. griffen

            I like the Caddyshack version myself, but that’s personal preference. Scene below from the lunch / break after a front 9 at Bushwood.

            Spalding: I want a hamburger, no a cheeseburger…
            Judge Smails: You’ll get nothing and like it!

      1. Bsn

        True dat. But, how long can you stay in a closed garage with the engine running on your Accord? How long with a Leaf “running”?

        1. griffen

          Try it out and let us all know. I’m looking forward to your report. \sarc

          Actually a work friend had a Leaf, and I could see the economy of owning such a vehicle for distance commutes of a reasonable length, whereby a charging station is available at the work garage or similar. Reasonable length meaning 50 miles or so one way.

        1. JBird4049

          Back when I had a life, I could easily spend more than an hour during “rush hour” driving; then on special trips driving more than fifty miles one way, and I do not think that I am unusual, which begs the question of just how practical an all electric vehicle is for most people. If I was to get a desire to visit the Great Basin, which is a few hundred miles from me and has a whole lot of not much, or if I lived around the inner, low population periphery of California with its limited everything, the hybrid I drive seems a much more practical choice. If I had the money, I would convert it to a plug-in hybrid and also increase the battery size, but that would require spending as much as a small car would cost.

          But that is the whole problem with the “solutions” I read about for dealing with the whole carbon economy; they all seem either impractical generally or more specifically only good for the urban Blue areas. Much of the American population is spread out hundreds of miles away in the countryside. Further, it all seems to be a part of the same personal risk assessment (victim blaming, really) of Covid in that the solutions touted put the responsibility on those not only the least responsibility for the problems we all face, they are also the most politically powerless and the most economically vulnerable.

          Trying to force people to buy vehicles that are, unlike my old ’68 Bug, not easily maintained or repairable by the average shade tree mechanic (excepting the transmission). We could as a society rebuild and expand the old passenger train network that was destroyed for the benefit of GM. Same with the once vast urban passenger train and trolley systems. Even using the old steam technology of the 1940s, the diesels of the 1950s, and certainly the latests modern, updated, proposed designs for them would reduce the pollution and enable anyone to comfortable ride to most destinations within the. country within two days. That these designs could also be able to be converted to different fuels is also a plus.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      A few years back the South Koreans did some number crunching on this and didn’t like what they saw – basically carnage for a large ecosystem of auto component subcontractors, which is terrible news for lots of second tier ROK cities. It’s not just the engines – EV’s are fundamentally simpler devices. In many respects, putting lots of batteries in monstrously overengineered steel boxes makes little sense – EV’s open up the way to much lighter, simpler and potentially cheaper vehicles once scaling kicks in. BMW nearly embraced this with their i3 series but then got cold feet when they realized it could be bad news for profits.

      This may well be one reason why the Japanese and Koreans were slow to invest in EV manufacture, despite both countries being pretty close to idea for large scale EV usage. The Chinese are reaping the benefits – their car industry struggled to catch up mostly down to the difficulties they had in making IC engines competitive with the best alternatives, so they had more incentives to make the tech leap. Even if Chinese car brands don’t displace the competitors (which is likely, as Chinese companies are terrible at getting to grips with consumer taste), their component makers will.

      The big fear of car companies is that EV’s turn into commodities like TV’s or laptops – lots of generic brands all using a selection box of standard off-the-peg components with little reason for consumers to pay more for a brand name.

      1. CanCyn

        “ The big fear of car companies is that EV’s turn into commodities like TV’s or laptops – lots of generic brands all using a selection box of standard off-the-peg components with little reason for consumers to pay more for a brand name.”
        Interesting notion. If true, it means that car companies don’t seem to recognize the undeserved brand loyalty they currently enjoy. People have always seemed unreasonably wedded to a particular car company IMO. I find this to be especially true with trucks. You’re a Ford or a Dodge guy (sorry to be sexist but methinks it’s mostly guys) right? My husband worked with a guy who owned one hell of a lemon of a Dodge Caravan. Spent way too much money on repairs and time wrangling over warranties. When the time came to buy a new vehicle, he bought another Dodge. I couldn’t understand it then, don’t understand it now. Surely the car company marketing goons will come up with a way to make owning their brand better than a generic car.

        1. hunkerdown

          Large purchases are what pass for rites of adulthood in capitalist culture, and sellers are expected to provide a certain obsequiousness to match. In the 1950s, one could join a “mighty happy family” simply by buying one’s son a trumpet.

          Android phones do not occupy an extremely differentiated space in the West, despite Andy Rubin’s initial hopes to the contrary. (Chinese feature phones, on the other hand, are fun and wild. Phones in the shape of 100s cigarette boxes have cigarette storage, for example. There are also flip phones shaped like sports cars or bananas.) I think automakers do understand what a bag of wind the auto business is sitting on (they approve the ad budgets, after all), including the post-sale revenue stream from dealership service departments, heated seat tickets, screwing them on the trade-in, and other brand and tying rents. An automotive equivalent of the $40 Android tablet would cost-reduce the secret sauce tank out of the product and dump that whole revenue stream right down the storm drain.

        2. Lex

          I’m only loyal to Ford because they were still paying my grandmother a pension 40 years after my grandfather retired and even after he passed. And also it’s a check from ford that pays my brother’s mortgage and feeds my nieces and nephews. That loyalty only extends to new cars.

    1. Louiedog14

      Beautiful use of public space, and potentially quite an inspiration if you’re paying attention. The musical distance that Monk travelled from a place like Rocky Mount is rather astonishing.

      Mostly unrelated: A rather brilliant, but alas epically alcoholic musician I played with in New Orleans, would often refer to himself as Erroneous Drunk.

  1. The Rev Kev

    ‘…and Twitter employees themselves, who implement the censorship, and, to be fair, are labor aristocrats who probably think they can get catered lunches and massages elsewhere in Silicon Valley’

    Yeah, that might prove to be problematical for some of them- (3:45 mins)

      1. Mikel

        It can be thought of as breaking up a mindset or spreading it out to various industries. And I’m not referring to the ideas about workday perks.

  2. harald

    This weird conspiracy theory about Twitter is really too much.
    Like it’s just a bad and addictive website. It’s just 4chan for narcissists.
    The “PMC” are not really planning anything. They’re just pulling a Karen and complaining they had the rug pulled out from under them.

    If there’s anything that should be of concern to the future existence of Twitter, it’s that it’s now a prime target for hackers, and an increasingly growing number of class action lawsuits, and state lawyers from around the world, debt sharks, and professional grifters who want to get a payout claim to Elon’s wealth, because he obviously is quite capable of writing checks if nothing else.
    He’s going to have trouble hiring trustworthy people, and the people he does hire are probably going to take the money and run.

    1. Yves Smith

      Off base attacks on the site are a fast track to losing your comment privileges.

      Many celebrities and other big names have quit Twitter and urged others to do so, in an effort to trigger a big drop in readership. That did not happen but not for want of trying. More important, advertisers are being pressured to drop Twitter and some have. This is a direct attack on Twitter’s revenues. Both were orchestrated by people who believe Musk will stop censoring non-PMC views and will let Trump back on.

      Twitter has creaky to bad codebase (I believe it runs on Ruby) so pray tell why should it be more hack prone now? The brand name account impersonation was not hacking but some sort of rollback of new account rules that was not well thought out.

      I don’t see basis for suits. Twitter has Section 230 liability protection and in any event, defamation suits are extremely hard to win. You have to prove actual malice. Twitter being negligent and letting stupid/inaccurate tweets through does not = actual malice.

      1. none

        I believe the heavy-duty parts of the Ruby codebase have been gone for many years (is the fail whale still a thing?) and was replaced with Scala. I have a buddy who used to work there who told me this stuff, though I’ve forgotten. I might ask him again. He has been gone from there long enough to not have much view of the current madness though.

        Musk certainly did a footgun with the go hardcore thing, regardless of who is or isn’t gunning for him.

        1. Yves Smith

          Thanks for the correction, but doesn’t the general point hold, that if Twitter is supposedly oh so in danger if if isn’t babied code-wise (as opposed to moderation-wise) all the time, that the cod is pretty crappy?

          I agree Musk may have chased out a lot more people than he intended…but what if it turns out he can run Twitter with 15% of the former staff?

          1. hunkerdown

            Not strongly. Technical operations groups manage exceptions that code can’t fully handle, like global network outages, power hiccups, disk failures, DDoS, things that happen about daily at cloud scale, as well as capacity planning, provisioning, etc. where real money is laid out. Even if the code “handles” it at the public face, someone still has to identify and ride the responsible vendor(s) or person(s) until all the lights are green again.

            Sure, he can run Twitter on a skeleton crew, until something breaks. Then the question becomes, how quickly can available staff bring it back up? The revenue shift from advertising to subscription does take some of the edge off of that question.

          2. RoadDoggie

            I’m not sure about that. I think all code is “crappy” in that, with out constant attention, things fall apart. Same as a house or a car. I think it all has to be babied, not just Twitter. The cruft that comes from a constantly refractored application/mobile app/web app is just unbelievable. It’s all fragile. The more complicated, the more fragile. The whole “we are turning off microservices” thing was pretty funny to me for this reason. Sort of a live exercise in Backup and Disaster Recovery.

            If they stopped developing anything new, focused only on keeping the lights on, they could limp it along with way less engineers. Maybe half, but I don’t think 15% is feasible. But, vulnerabilities are constantly disclosed that necessitate patching. Not in twitter itself even, but in the servers and code libraries that twitter uses. in the OS’s of the phones that twitter runs on, etc etc. In Windows and iPhones and Androids and on and on.

            Every time you implement a security patch a good practice is massive amounts of testing, to ensure your system doesn’t have some unforeseen flaw that is dependent upon some random library that you didn’t know an engineer was using for their little module.

            I think the default setting of things that are complicated is “family-blogged” and keeping them un-“family-blogged” requires a massive amount of energy in the form of technology people. Infrastructure and cloud engineering, security, web app devs, mobile devs, the guy that controls the keycard system to the building, etc etc.

      2. Yves Smith

        Match for that straw?

        First, we do not pretend, like Twitter, to be a neutral platform. We state we are not a chat board. I suggest you read our site Policies. The clearly stated overarching rule is:

        You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

        -Harlan Ellison

        Second, and related, this site’s primary mission is promoting critical thinking. We have no compunction about moderating or banning people who engage in bad faith argumentation. That includes:

        1) Broken record: Repeating the same point over and over again, especially when it’s long been refuted. That includes taking an argument that was rebutted on one post and repeating the same argument on another post.

        2) Not reading the post: Evidently reacting only to the headline of a post, or not reading through to the end.

        3) Bad faith: Deploying any of a long list of rhetorical tricks that are all about winning, as opposed to conversing. As former debaters, Yves and Lambert know these tricks well. Don’t use them.

        The most common is straw manning, as in misrepresenting what a post or comment author said. That includes speaking on someone else’s behalf.

        4) Insulting your hosts and fellow commentors: These discussions take place in Naked Capitalism’s space. So don’t throw your drink in your host’s face, whether Yves, Lambert, or any poster.

        5) Rude and offensive language: Naked Capitalism is read by a wide audience, and if your comment includes offensive or inappropriate language, it may be deleted. For example, please avoid “bad language” that’s more than mildly vigorous – no body parts, please! – and avoid racist ranting.

        Other violations include but are not limited to ad hominem attacks, hogging bandwidth, assignments/demands (asking/telling post authors or site admins to Do Something other than fix typos or broken HTML), sock-puppeting yourself, link-whoring, thread-jacking, concern-trolling, jailbreaking, acting as a self-appointed moderator and/or complaining about moderation p

        Your comment is bad faith by depicting us as restricting comments rights based on “wrongthink”. We ban based on conduct, not content. However, it often happens that people who are losing arguments engage in more and more obvious bad faith behavior. For instance, we had a cypto defender offer wild falsehoods, like bitcoin is not crypto, bitcoin is hard asset, and bitcoin processing speeds are faster than fiat (they are actually 1000X slower than the comparatively kludgey Visa and Mastercard systems). I’m not about to allow touts to mislead readers with the objective of promoting an investment scheme, as in use the site for their commmerical purposes, and have to waste my time debunking such egregious fabrications, the finance version of creationism, so I did not publish the comment.

        habert engaged in name calling and Making Shit Up rather than rebutting Lambert’s argument. Twitter is not 4chan. It’s an useful resource for breaking news and communities like BLM before it was hijacked by Team Dem, Black twitter, the Covid aerosol theory experts, and it’s also helped establish other important experts like Anthony Leonardi. It can also have stupid and heated political arguments but those are easy to ignore.

        I consider Barry Ritholtz to be web standard. His rules are more forceful than ours:

        This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator. I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it

        That was from 2008, when the Internet was vastly more civil than now.

        1. orlbucfan

          I never registered on TWITter cos the semi- to il-literacy turned me off cold. I will keep it that way. I carefully read the rules and regulations of every site I’ve registered on, and do my best to follow them. Just basic common sense in my book.

      3. cfraenkel

        It’s more hack-prone because someone just fired 50% of the headcount. And then told the rest they’d be taking a 50% pay cut (twice the hours and never see their families). What a gold mine for social engineering.

        1. Gary Indiana

          This is what I wonder.
          Their Org Chart is completely broken now such that no one knows who to report to, with lots of spare login credentials sprinkled across unsecure networks and devices, with about 3k disgruntled former employees wandering around. Their security team probably doesn’t even have access to the building this weekend.
          Let alone Twitter might be one of the world’s biggest honeypot, with a lot of celebrity and politician and journalist DMs sitting there unencrypted, as well as some location data, advertiser data, and maybe even payment credentials.

          What hacker wouldn’t want the chance to be #theONE who #PwnedElon and sold off the cache for a pretty penny.

    2. hunkerdown

      “I don’t exist” -the PMC

      Conspiracy theory“, PMC denialism, and affective performance are rhetorical tactics used only by religious cranks and whiny aristocrats (and hegemonic PMC members, which are both).

      1. semper loquitur

        This sooo jives with the bleating protestations I’ve heard before from adherents of postmodernism that there is no such thing as postmodernism. It’s just this diffuse gas-cloud of ideas that bear little relation to one another, so the story goes. The meta-narrative that eschews meta-narratives.

        Meanwhile, the stunted mutations born of that mental cess-pit continue to flop, crawl, and slither into power. Here’s a video of a whistleblower who was in a graduate program in counseling at Antioch University:

        Pure identitarian drivel being promoted as an analytical framework. Divisive and damaging to the people who are seeking aid and to those who seek to provide it. But then that is the point.

        1. cfraenkel

          Postmodernism has a post-quantum existence. It both exists and doesn’t exist, collapsing it’s wave-state one way or the other based on the observer’s need to support or refute a position.
          (apologies to Schrodinger)

          1. semper loquitur

            This is great. In that vein, here is Paul Austin Murphy deconstructing the deconstruction techniques of the arch-deconstructionist Derrida:

            Jacques Derrida: Every Concept Deconstructs Itself


            Some choice bits:

            “That said, I have read (some of) Derrida’s papers/books and I’ve even written essays on them. The problem remains, however, is that I never felt that I understood what was being said. Perhaps that’s because — at least in some cases — nothing was being said.”


            “More broadly, Derrida had problems — in his later years especially — with the philosophical freedom deconstruction was supposed to allow. (Or was it? Or wasn’t it? Or both? Or neither? Or…?) Basically, Derrida clearly believed that at least some concepts did not deconstruct themselves.”

            and then

            “McCarthy believes that Deconstruction and/or post-structuralism attempted to “liberate the Other”. The problem is that there’s an indefinite number of Others. And many Others are also at mutual odds with each other. Yet surely only a shared language — the language that deconstruction rejected or deconstructed — can help liberate any given Other.”

            A carnival of the most grotesque confusions! A merry-go-round of meaningless meaning! But I believe this is postmodernism’s dire strength. As you point out, it can mean anything to anyone and when anything can mean anything, power will determine meaning. Such as in the proverbial claim that 2 + 2 = 5. That’s why arguing with a postmodernist is like arguing with a Jehovah’s Witness. Except less fruitfully. As least Jehovah’s Witnesses have a position…

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It’s just 4chan for narcissists.

      Pro tip: When launching an assault, make sure that you don’t put any easily disproved claims up front.

      For example, this is hardly narcissism:

      Yes, of course I have other examples.

      Nice try. Maybe polish your skills in a more forgiving environment, and then try again here?

      1. Dirty Harry

        Lambert, if you want to retort, it’s probably best not to cherrypick an example.
        Because one stray user, identifying herself with a real name, a phd, pronouns, and a “leftpoc” identifier, humble bragging into the social media abyss, definitely qualifies as narcissism.
        Try branching out to less forgiving environments, before assuming you can be so self righteous.

        1. griffen

          I would rarely do this but I have been coming to this site for years. Our site moderators do a tremendous job of cleaning up the chatter that might occasionally find a place here, and are generally abiding and patient of even some nonsensical thoughts.

          Heck even the best among us will get something wrong ever so often but also I get to my point. Our hosts and moderators are not here to accept assignments. They don’t need my defense but I am stating my support nonetheless.

          Back on topic I find all the hand wringing around the changes at Twitter quite comical. All those former employees I am certain were important and doing worthy duties. But a mere 2 to 3 weeks, and now the site is clinging to life because it was maybe not too serious about modern technology practices. Makes me question the value of those former employees. Real corporate life is not supposed to be a cake walk.

    1. digi_owl

      Yeah, i was going to say that it was a drunken bear brawl in the making.

      The one in the center of the pile seems to have gotten their fill already.

      1. Nikkikat

        Those bears do seem to really be enjoying themselves! They may have a very bad headache tomorrow. My grandfather used to make hard cider. Family reunions were a real hoot.

        1. digi_owl

          Yeah, when i needed pretty much the rest of the weekend to recover from a Friday night bender i knew i had gotten too old for such antics (haven’t touched a drop in decades).

        2. semper loquitur

          I knew a guy who worked at a cider mill years ago. Around Christmas he would show up with two water cooler jugs filled with fresh hard cider. Incredibly delicious and high-octane stuff. The parties lasted well into the morning; the hangovers lasted well into the next day…

          1. begob

            The fructose in cider contributes to fatty liver disease. A double whammy for the little filtration fella. I believe the cheaper products have their natural sugars removed before bottling and replaced with pure corn-syrup.

              1. begob

                Acetaldehyde concentration 50% higher than spirits. The traditional chaser is a shot of formaldehyde, oui? Eyes out on stalks, I tells ya.

    2. LawnDart

      Looks like they’re having a great time! And with Winter almost here, they’ll have some months to sleep it off– lucky bears!

    3. griffen

      If humans, okay mostly males, becoming inebriated adorn a pair of “beer goggles”, I wonder if the same applies to those bears? Well there goes Joey again, he is chasing after that female bear. She may look like a 9 after a few ciders, but come spring and Joey will understand that female bear is really a 3 at best. Joey just never learns!

  3. deedee

    On Policies for Adapting to the New Normal

    “Consider the rapid social change that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. With the passage of the Patriot Act and new travel restrictions set by the Transportation Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security (two agencies that did not exist before 9/11), social norms and values around privacy, freedom, and government control changed in ways that people would never have considered possible on September 10. ”

    Yes and much of that social change was bad.

    I’m afraid that we won’t get very far in dealing with the social change that is required unless we start using words like collapse and revolution. As human beings, we will just keep kicking the can down the road until we have to change.

    1. digi_owl

      Best i could tell, the patriot act was ready and waiting for a proper crisis to exploit.

      Certain other types of social change is harder to pull off, as TPTB do not desire it.

    2. ambrit

      The basic problem with “kicking the can down the road” is that, eventually, one runs out of road. Then it’s Survivalist Theatre slogging through the weeds. (“Weeds” can be defined in many ways: Eco Survivalism, Social Collapse Survivalism, shifts in the “In Group/ Out Group” balance and composition, etc.)
      Remember, as ‘originally’ described by the author Gibson, “The Jackpot” is a collection of ‘events’ that combine to produce the Paradigm Change. Consider it, if you will, as a ‘Constellation of Catastrophes.’

    1. John

      All sides of this argument seem to fear dissent from their views. I like to think that an argument that cannot defend itself without seeking to coerce those who disagree deserves to be consigned to the dust bin … and in the fullness of time most likely will be … but the damage it can cause in the meantime.

        1. ambrit

          As many authoritarians put it; “One funeral here, one funeral there, a mass grave here, a mass grave there, and soon we’re talking real carnage.”

  4. zagonostra

    >China Science

    Wow from Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth to the Tiangong, “Palace in the Sky.”

    I can still remember the excitement of the the first U.S. space shuttle when I was a younger man, having absorbed hundreds of scifi books as a teenager. And somehow, it’s only now that I find out about the existence of a Chinese space station. Of course I’ve come across headlines of the Chinese space program and back in August the Guardian published a piece on China overtaking the US in scientific research output. But even if I had come across the story before, it never really penetrated my thinking/worldview that China has launched and is operating a space station.

    Maybe it was the the 1986 Challenger tragedy that started my gradual disinterest in space exploration/news, or maybe the launching of satellites had just became routine. Of course Western controlled media does its part in steering headlines on technology to more consumer/Western areas of development. It seems that the general excitement of conquering “space the final frontier” has given way to despair that man’s atavistic impulses to war, profit, pollution, climate manipulation/degradation, poverty, perversions, etc… and not technological advances has muted my naïve and youthful enthusiasm of exploring the physical mysteries of the universe.

    1. digi_owl

      Probably why NASA finally got their SLS (Artemis) off the pad.

      Say hello to a new space race.

      Do wonder if the first human load Orion will land on the moon will be marines…

      1. jefemt

        If you did not catch the Teevee show Space Force with Steve Carrell , John Malkovich and others, it is a hoot.

      2. orlbucfan

        It will be fun to see what the PRC and their allies come up with that equals the James Webb Space Telescope.

          1. digi_owl

            I seem to recall reading that the National Reconnaissance Office had offered NASA some sats they had in storage, because they were about to be retired and could perhaps act as Hubble replacements.

  5. Steve H.

    Lambert, you’re filleting my melancholia with

    Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over China, that our empire had become unmanageable.”

    Zalensky about used up?

    offends their sensibilities

    Beyond Blame

    et al.

    Because it touches the melancholi, and doesn’t shy away or shine it on
    Tap, tap, tap, like jabs from a long boxer
    Snaps the head back, the eyes to blink, a breath
    And in a moment, a colloquy

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘The #Shenzhou-14 crew on board the orbiting Chinese Tiangong #space station completed their third spacewalk, a 5.5-hour walk, at 4:50 p.m. (Beijing Time) on Thursday, according to the China Manned Space Agency.’

    This is good news this and Polar Socialist was talking about this development in Links yesterday. Personally I do not care if the space station orbiting Earth is manned by Astronauts, Cosmonauts or Taikonauts so long as there is one manned. The ironic thing is that NASA banned Chinese Taikonauts from the International Space Station about a decade ago but in only several years time when the International Space Station is finally dropped into the Spacecraft Graveyard in the South Pacific, that it will be the Chinese-manned Tiangong Space Station left in orbit that will be carrying on the work-

    1. digi_owl

      “one manned”

      Sounds lonely, i’m game. /s

      And now i wonder i certain members of the PMC get offended by the term “manned”…

  7. Carolinian

    That article from The Drive is such a pile I made a rare trip to the author bio

    Rob holds a Bachelors in Computer Science, has eight industry certifications covering various areas of technology, and has ongoing postgraduate studies in cybersecurity at Purdue.

    Here’s suggesting Rob’s techno-utiopianism (utopia for Wall Street and computer science majors) is about twenty years out of date and in the future citizens will be carefully nursing their non subscription ICE vehicles rather than lining up to kowtow to yet another rentier landlord. As evidence one can point to Silicon Valley, littered with the corpses of companies that thought they could landlord their way to fame and fortune, whereas the real success stories did so via the old fashioned game of Monopoly. The public is unlikely to be fooled.

    The problem with the “intellectual property” business is that ideas are easy to steal and one wonders how long before those BMW owners start hacking their car firmware or simply pay somebody to hook their seat heaters to a switch. BMW owners, being rich, probably aren’t too likely to do this but the rest of us? Rob is pushing the Tesla model even as its business is looking increasingly dubious. But if it doesn’t work out he can always use that degree for a secure future at Twitter.

    1. ambrit

      Your end phrase, “..a secure future at Twitter.” had me thinking in terms of the classic ‘double whammy’ possible with the Public Private method as so applied.
      An example to ponder.
      Step One: Make seat belts mandatory in vehicles.
      Step Two: Make compliance with Step One the purview of Silicon Valley and the Automakers.
      Step Three: Make seat belts a Subscription Service.
      Step Four: Create a ‘Public Private Enforcement Service’ to insure compliance.
      This Social Mediation methodology can be applied to an infinite number of both “real” and “Meta” situations.
      Stay safe. Colour within the lines Consumers.

    2. vao

      one wonders how long before those BMW owners start hacking their car firmware

      My hunch: serious hacking of those software-laden cars will probably start amongst mafiosi, Mexican cartels and the like, with a substantial technical contribution from Ukrainian software engineers who already jailbroke DRM-protected John Deere tractors. People in outright illegal businesses have a tremendous incentive to disable anything that might make then identifiable, traceable or even controllable (think remote steering or shutting down of cars). And they have all the money necessary to buy the equipment and pay the specialists to, hum, cutomize their fleet of vehicles.

    3. J.

      Same thing is playing out right now with John Deere tractors. And you are correct, the price of used analog tractors is through the roof lately.

      1. ambrit

        Right about that. The prices of “gently used” analog tractors are still climbing here in the North American Deep South.

  8. ajc

    The bluecheck handwringing about twitter is extremely tiresome. To me, it’s mostly narcissists whining about the loss of their little worlds where they get to be king or queen. I feel like the site will improve if most of the bluechecks migrate to other social media. Of course many of them will go back to being small fish in unfamiliar ponds and are likely to return to twitter over time once the novelty of being a nobody wears off.

    1. Yves Smith

      I don’t spend much time on Twitter but I do go there maybe 1-2X a day to search on a topic, and so I encounter my feed and trending topics.

      I like the new Twitter much better than the old Twitter. The level of righteousness has dropped and I am finding more signal, at least on my feed. Have not done enough searches to see if those are better, worse, o more or less the same. But I definitely don’t fell like I am being assaulted by orthodoxy when I land there.

  9. Deschain

    How many people at Twitter are there to make sure ‘today Twitter works’ vs. ‘tomorrow Twitter is better than today Twitter’?

    I ask because most of the improvements at Google and Facebook over the last decade+ have been anything but. From a user experience perspective, might Twitter be better off without a lot of the coders?

    1. hunkerdown

      It would be better without all those opinions, to be sure. Coders could be redeployed to useful work where there is any to be done. Or they could be left on the beach for a minute. But don’t set them to writing frameworks, please. While it has been nice having all these convenient frameworks to paper over the awful W3C DOM eventing system, I’ll be happy for Web technology to freeze for 2-5 years at a time and not annually deprecate some basket of features on which my enterprise apps depend, just because some quarter-million-dollar perfectionist PMC has a feeling.

    2. cfraenkel

      What makes you blame the coders for UI makeovers? They most likely complained every step of the way. If you want to protect the user experience, you want to get rid of the marketing dept and their engagement metrics, and the finance folks that need exponential growth to fund their options.

  10. John

    Re: auto maker subscriptions – I for one have already started pushing back in my tiny little way. I just can’t accept any more control over my vehicle or encroachment on my peace by others automation. I have had remove telematics modules on 3 of vehicles over the years already. In my latest one I had to disable front and rear distance sensors. Even jumping the seat belt sensor so it doesn’t beep at me if I have groceries in the passenger seat. Next comes those horrible automatic windows that auto-down on one touch. Automation is synonymous with allowing others logic to control portions of your life and it is being embedded everywhere and they are jerks about you trying to remove it. Try asking your dealer where the telematics box is. They’re trying to infantilize everyone. Cruise control won’t even overtake the car in front of you anymore with a clear lane way into the future.

    1. dougie

      Rather than drive my wife’s 2022 VW Atlas to the store the other day, I spent 2 hours getting my old 1983 Dodge Ram truck starting again and took it instead. Not a computer chip on it. Impervious to EMP attacks, and with a full tank, it will have a range of about 200 miles, or until some fool with a gun takes it from me. LOL

        1. Carolinian

          No, you are a decade ahead of yourself. And re the above, telematics–i.e. Onstar–is to my knowledge still a subscription and therefore optional service although admittedly my car is a few years old. Putting electronics in cars is not a bad thing in itself and probably makes them more reliable. Today’s linked article is not about engineering but about money and how car companies can get their hands on more of it. Needless to say that when the heads of Detroit’s big three became financial engineers rather than car engineers is when things really started to go downhill. Think Pinto then and F 150 now. We are currently in the rather absurd situation where the few smaller cars that are produced are pushed to their maximum mpg not for the environment but to hold down the fleet average and allow more high profit gas guzzlers to be sold. Since I own one of those high mileage cars I’m happy with the result but the last thing we need is to encourage our large and necessary manufacturers to be even greedier.

          1. John

            The subscription is if you want to use certain features of the system. The hardware is always active for thier uses. They collect diagnostic data and can do over the air updates. The active cell modem is constantly connecting to towers leaving a hidden map of your travels in server logs. I would not be surprised if the govt has asked them to locate or disable vehicles in high value cases. They may be able to silently dial the car and listen on mute. All technically possible and my trust levels are at 0 with this bunch. Some insurance companies have talked of integrating with the telematics data to offer safe driver discounts. Ford ceo in an investor call bragged we know how fast your driving and where hinting at thoughts of selling the data. Hackers have broken figured out ways to break into car systems remotely see wired articles. A remote data link to your vehicle is just a horrible idea for something you need to function reliably and safely.

          2. Procopius

            Needless to say that when the heads of Detroit’s big three became financial engineers rather than car engineers is when things really started to go downhill.

            That was in 1960, when Robert McNamara was appointed CEO of Ford Motor Co. If you read Halberstom’s The Reckoning, you’ll see how the Big Three did it to themselves.

      1. Realist

        At a minimum, you’d need to keep a spare ignition coil in a faraday cage for it to be operable after an EMP.

        1. deleter

          I’m thinking you would also need a car old enough to have a mechanical ignition system with breaker points rather than electronic ignition, probably
          pre 1975.
          I’m a truck driver and I’ve only had one truck with any of those warning systems. It was a tailgating alarm that would go off constantly in metro traffic
          especially on cloverleafs at rush hour.
          All you could do was turn down the volume. Eventually you wouldn’t pay any attention to it. Always reminded me of
          The Blues Brothers when they’re looking at a Chicago apartment and the El is right outside the window.
          Blues Brother: How often does the train go by?
          Landlord: So often you won’t even notice it!

    2. Earthling

      Good to see this. Maybe I’m not the only one who feels imprisoned when some obnoxious buzzer insists I close my door on command, or buckle up when I am backing up a large vehicle at .001 miles per hour (and thus jumping in and out a few times). On a hot day with other stressors, it just adds that last lump of anxiety that nobody needs.

      If I had to drive the friend’s Prius with the loud backup beeper INSIDE THE CAR instead of outside where it MIGHT do some good, I would be looking for bridges to drive off. Rode in that car 20 miles with a beeper running because there was lumber in the back end.

      Fervently hoping there will be a lot of Generation Z mechanics who will know how to turn off all these insistent commands.

      1. Jen

        Drove up to Ontario with a friend in her RAV4 Hybrid in the middle of the snow storm. The car was extremely unhappy that all of its sensors were iced over. My friend’s job was to keep the car on the road. Mine was to push various touch screen buttons while we both yelled “SHUT UP!!!”

        I have a 2021 subaru crosstrek with a 6 speed manual transmission. Manual transmissions seem to be incompatible with most forms of automation, and they’ll pry this one out of my cold dead hands.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Yikes. I drive a very old car so I have no experience with the “innovations” John and Earthling are describing.

      Not to go all Pollyanna on anyone, but maybe the best thing would be if all these “features” were made subscription only. Not paying may be the easiest way to get rid of them.

      And then there’s this:

      This revenue [B2B] is achieved by partnering with a service that provides data brokering capabilities like BlackBerry’s IVY. Automakers can essentially sell the anonymized data collected from their vehicles to Tier 1 suppliers—think Bosch or Magna being able to learn about its components in real-time and for diagnostic purposes without ever having to physically touch one of its components again because the vehicle is connected and automatically supplying this telematic information to the OEM.

      A commenter on the article named Jingle Balls sees it this way:

      I am buying the vehicle. It is my property – its clearly defined as such in our legal codes in each state – because we are taxed on it in various ways in each state. I’m not leasing heated bathroom floors in my house (if I had them), I’m not leasing the right to use my own basement or 3rd garage.

      On the other hand, if OEMs want to collect data on my driving to, say, improve reliability of their parts in the same way GE and Rolls Royce collect real-time data on their jet engines from airlines, I’m all too happy to sell them a subscription to that data coming from my property.

      In the Walmart parking lot the other day, a guy tapped on our window. He handed us his card for his spare parts junkyard while he rattled off the parts of our car that could go kaput. Apparently he has a supply of spares. I’m keeping the card.

      1. ambrit

        As I mentioned elsewhere, there is the distinct possibility that a Public/Private Partnership could make some of the “subscriptions” mandatory to have the vehicle function at all. Think; a working ‘subscription’ seat belt that controls the ignition system of the engine. No seat belt engaged, which requires the subscription to actuate, no moving vehicle.
        The best part is that it could be “sold” to the public as a safety feature! What will ‘they’ think of next? (And how much is it going to cost?)
        Stay safe this winter!

  11. Kyle

    World Cup Commentary:

    “Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them…Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant, but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”
    Jerome Valcke, FIFA security general (2012)

    “After a discussion between host county authorities and FIFA…we have moved the focus of alcohol sales..”
    FIFA (2022)

    So Brazil – bend to us
    Qatar – we bend to you?

  12. OIFVet

    The article in The Drive about the subscription model really made me sick. “If it’s rolled out appropriately, I think [a subscription] lends itself to a very attractive model for a new generation,” Pritchard said.” IOW, the industry views the Millenials and whoever comes after them as nothing more than marks which have already been conditioned to the subscription model. Indeed, later in the article some Ferengi level a-hole dreams of moving away from the ownership model altogether. Yes, it’s about cars and not everyone needs to own a car, but who in their right financial mind would see subscription completely replacing the ownership model as anything other capital’s final solution, if I may borrow that phrase, for the proles stubborn insistence on earning enough money to own stuff too.

    Dunno, at 45 years of age I am indeed not in their target group but the fact is that it only increases my dislike for the technology-driven sociopathy whose desired endstate seems to be the return to feudal serfdom in the guise of freedom and convenience.

    1. mrsyk

      Here’s an idea. if a subscription fee is charged the service provided falls into the public utility bucket.

  13. notabanker

    “but 99.9% of the noise is mimetic panic, attention-grabbing, and meme-making with zero relation to reality.”

    So in other words, nothing has fundamentally changed Twitter.

  14. square coats

    A couple thoughts re: blame

    There’s quite a lot of research around impulsivility, compulsiveness, other related constructs. I wonder what it is that’s being measured in all this research and what these whats might have to do with free will. Especially all the attempts to quantify a what, does that entail that some of us have more free will than others? Also, for example, why do various interventions designed to decrease impulsivity work better for some and not others?

    The article discusses crime but doesn’t really get into “white collar” crime or the sort of crimes that might be committed by powerful state/actors. I’ve mulled over retributive vs. restorative justice a fair bit in the past but tbh it’s hard for me personally to scale my preference for restorative justice up beyond a vague threshold of weight of responsibility and number of lives ruined…

  15. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Yesterday in Chesham, a Buckinghamshire town of 20,000 people 25 miles west of London, 16 children were taken into emergency care as their parents are no longer able to support them and are suffering various forms of stress.

    These mass evacuations are not uncommon, but tend to take place around the turn of the year. Last Christmas eve, 40 odd children were taken into care from the county town of 60,000 people, Aylesbury.

    As carers are not immediately available, the children are often put up in local authority offices or even police stations. Local authority employees pay for food, clothing and toys from their own pockets.

    This period of Tory rule has seen a 400% increase in the number of children placed in care.

    The NC community won’t be surprised to hear that private equity owned intermediaries get involved once the children get placed in longer term care. Depending on age, health and siblings, which is no guarantee that families won’t be split, intermediaries can make from a few hundred to a few thousand a month per child, but pay the carer no more than 10%.

    Britain is broken.

    1. Questa Nota

      When and how will the ronin appear, those masterless samurai?
      After a PE recap, big dividend, acquisition gone wrong?
      And how are the lodgings around Runnymede these days? They could be in for a visit.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Iran must cooperate with uranium probe, says IAEA board resolution”

    I’ve heard that the Iranians are losing interest in this deal as it is going nowhere and other countries are trying to add more restrictions and the like while not being obliged to hold up their end of this deal. So these stories of traces of radioactive are deliberate so that if a deal is ever signed, that a whole new package of sanctions could be levied on Iran outside of the deal like happened the first time the deal was signed. And again the Iranians would be signed up to a deal that they would be required to fulfill while not getting the benefits of sanctions relief due to new sanctions. And that is why Iran’s attention is turning east. I will add a story I read but note that it is unverified. A few short years ago a team of inspectors from the IAEA went to one of a suspected site. An Iranian detector picked up a trace of radioactivity on one of the inspectors who excused themself to the toilet. When she got back, there was no more trace of radioactivity found on her. You can take this story for what it is worth.

  17. Michael

    New Yorker interview with Mersheimer shows his character and media control.

    Interviewer made me dislike him immediately. All preparation for the gotcha and a skewed version of the facts. When he said “oh, OK” to the Prof’s statement,
    “He did not make any comments of those sorts before February 24th.” I continued reading but skipped his questions.

    The average PMC lib saw it differently no doubt.

    1. Vit5o

      The way in which the interview was conducted and (especially) how it got published is disgusting. The clear attempt to injure Mersheimer’s reputation is going to work in the minds of many readers, but maybe not as much as the journalist hoped. He was such a douchebag that some people are going to look into Mersheimer’s lectures to get a better look at his arguments. (Well, I hope so, maybe I’m a bit delusional).

      1. curlydan

        yep, they should have written, “This interview has been edited to besmirch the character of someone we don’t like and who doesn’t agree with our magazine’s position.”

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Isaac Chotiner was beyond obnoxious and writing it up the way he did was a hack attack on Mearsheimer.

      He also blew a great chance to burnish some pro-Ukrainian talking points as Mearsheimer gave him several openings for talking up Ukraine but Chotiner was obsessed with talking down Russia.

      A thoroughly repulsive interview and a classic of its kind. One to clip’n’save for down the road when a friend tries to tell you how good The New Yorker is (was?).

      1. Wukchumni

        Oh, oh, oh (Oh, oh, oh)
        You’re nostalgic for the old New Yorker
        You should know the score by now (You should know by now)
        You’ve given up on the new New Yorker

        Remember New Yorkers like McPhee & Angell, ooh, ooh, ooh

        Music plays & movie reviews, everyone’s Big Apple news
        Makin’ neoliberalism and findin’ Obama
        There you are, lost in the shadows
        Searchin’ for substance (Searchin’ for someone)
        To set you free from being the blase New Yorker

        And, whoa
        Where did all those yesterdays go?
        When you still believed
        Life could really be like a Broadway show
        You were the star, when did it close?

        Oh, oh, oh (Oh, oh, oh)
        You’re nostalgic for the old New Yorker
        No one goes there anymore
        For the new New Yorker
        (Runnin’ pretty bad, nothing like the New Yorker of yore)

        Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977) HD

      2. begob

        Started to go downhill when it published the Elaine Benis cartoon of a pig at the complaints department: “I wish I was taller.”

      3. Diogenes

        Couldn’t agree more and made me stop and wonder about the edits which were made.

        Although (tangential point) I don’t think Mearshirmer did anything to burnish his realist credentials with the reference to the U.S. use of A-bombs at the end of WWII being about avoiding the need to invade mainland Japan. Apart from Truman and his most intimate advisors virtually none of the senior U.S. military brass (among who it’s hard to find a shrinking violet) thought it was a military necessity.

    3. bdy

      Painful read. Interviewer obviously has drunk the Kool-aid. It was a voice from that parallel universe where Mearsheimer and his like are killing Ukrainians by enabling Empire. Poor guy — as well spoken, informed and thoughtful as he obviously is — won’t sway anyone’s opinion here IMHO. Hostile interrogation will do that.

      Holding a heterodox view outside a supportive forum will do that. I’m reminded of how Rupert Sheldrake’s science has lost so much institutional rigor over time, or the difficulty Keen seems to have had with his project after the Aussies pulled out the rug of tenure. I worry that the Realist school will go the way of the nine eleven truth movement as we start shooting down Russians and Chinese in earnest.

      Also, big gratitude to NC, Yves, Lambert and many others for providing this heterodox-friendly forum for so many years against these sorts of headwinds.

    4. Karl

      I still subscribe (as I have for 40 years), but now I mostly scan it for the cartoons. The problem is, even the cartoons aren’t very funny any more.

      It is still quite useful as a barometer of PMC bias. And, as in this case, can be quite infuriating. I mean, The New Yorker! Where are the adults (editors) who are there to correct for systemic cognitive bias?

      Will burned readers force a post-Ukraine MSM reckoning?

      Like the post-Iraq NY Times? That rag was forced to institute a Public Editor, then several years later couldn’t abide the self-critique and shelved it.

  18. timbers

    Imperial Collapse Watch…..No doubt many have seen the exchange between Justin Trudeau and Xi Xijing. It’s amazing the leaders of world’s largest and most populous nations seemingly converge in their evaluations of the Collective West. These nations big and small alike may or may not be allies but their understanding of the games and agenda of the West appears to be increasing their common actions. Very impressed with their nuance. When Westerners like Nancy Pelosi travel to Taiwan and talk “shared values” or gardens vs jungles, I suspect many nations are instead hearing “American arrogance, racism, European colonialism, American imperialism.” And the West is totally clueless how they come across.

    1. Lex

      Indeed. I’m calling it the Brutus Effect, because a nation capable of resisting the west finally stood up to it. But I also think the change we’re seeing isn’t so much new as recently noticed. Russia has a serious reputation in the world as an honest and trustworthy power. Putin’s response to a question about the Brazilian elections was telling. He pointed out that Russia had good relations with Brazil when Lula was in power before and that Russia has no problem working with leftist governments. I can’t speak with much confidence on China but I think there are similarities (probably moreso outside of Asia). So maybe the rest of the world now sees a situation where they’re more able to say what they’ve long heard when the West talks because there are now alternatives.

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”…the exchange between Justin Trudeau and Xi Xijing.”

      As a Canadian voter, I like to think that I understand Trudeau a bit. His one and only goal is to attain his long-cherished majority in Parliament so that he can become a virtual dictator, since in that event everything is and will be run out of the Prime Minister’s Office. The minority opposition in the House of Commons can oppose all it likes; it will have no effect at all in the face of Trudeau’s unassailable majority. That’s the way the Canadian parliamentary system works.

      So in this quest for power most of what he says and does on the international stage is gauged for the domestic electorate. He will say or do anything that he thinks will get him more votes at home. He is willing to abandon statesmanship in favor of popularity with Canadian voters.

      This monomaniacal obsession with a majority government in Canada will not play well on the international stage, and neither will the prickly arrogance he inherited from his father (an ex-PM). The exchange between him and Xi Xijing seems to be a clear illustration of this.

      1. Michael King

        Fellow Canadian here. Trudeau’s behaviour when he led his only majority government (2015 – 2019) was often heavy-handed. The Judy Wilson-Rayboud/SNC Lavalin affair is but one example. Don’t worry MM! I think it likely that he will lose his job come the next election, if he runs. I’m 69 and I’ve never seen such widespread visceral hatred for a Canadian politician. The prevailing political winds are blowing rightward. Isn’t it cool that we get to eat Thanksgiving turkey before our American friends? SCTV forever!

  19. jackiebass63

    I own a Toyota Venza that has several features that are free for a while and then become subscription services.They are near expiring and I am bombarded with subscribe emails. The price is around $10 a month for each feature. To me that is way too expensive for features I can do without.I will not pay per month for a feature so they will expire.I believe this will come back to bite the companies doing this. If people don’t pay to play this will fail. Unfortunately the companies will figure out another scheme to scam you out of your money. All of this is to make more money and not make the car better.

    1. Carolinian

      Meanwhile in H’wood some streaming subscription services are going down the tubes. A lot of people like the idea of owning their movies and putting them on the shelf.

      To be sure the studios traditionally depended on owning the delivery mechanism up to including owning the theaters themselves until the Paramount decree. Now even the independently owned theaters are under threat.

      In short there’s always this power struggle between makers and consumers. In a time of “demand destruction” advantage the latter.

    2. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

      I drive a 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Its features are limited to an automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and an AM radio. The radio doesn’t work. I enjoy my car immensely on the rare occasions I drive it. I don’t miss AC, and it got up to 112 at my house this last summer. It also gets cold in my part of the USA in the winter, and I would miss my heater, if that can be included as a feature.

      I’ve had cars with lots of features in the past, I don’t miss them, and I definitely don’t miss working on those cars. Of course, who works on their own cars these days, except poor mopes like me?

      1. ambrit

        There are more and more “mopes that work on cars” around as the prices charged for “Dealership” and “Credentialed Mechanic” repair work rise. People in general are losing their discretionary income, and the first expenses to “go over the side” are usually the ‘high dollar’ goods and services. The auto companies are going down that all too predictable road of fleecing their customers where the end game is bankruptcy.
        Any serious ‘populist’ politico will advocate for a public clawback provision for executive Golden Parachute benefits.

  20. Safety First

    So the Twitter thing…

    …while I will not dispute issues like PMCs (even though I dislike the term itself, as these people aren’t a proper “class” in old-school terminology), blue checks, censorship, or anything of the kind – let me also give a couple of additional perspectives.

    From the LBO side, and this was a (somewhat strange) LBO, Elon is doing exactly what happens 98% of the time when a deal closes – a bunch of people get fired to immediately juice “adjusted EBITDA” from the future “cost savings” (in quotes, because sometimes firing someone or outsourcing a job actually costs you in the long run). Literally every deck for a large PE LBO that I have ever read had this point. And in Twitter’s case, it is doubly vital, because if you look at its pre-LBO financials – and I have only done so for all of 10 seconds, because, frankly, I do not care that much to spend the time – it’s a $1 billion EBITDA vs. $1 billion of capex story, so it isn’t generating any cash flow out of the gate, and now Elon has piled on at least ~$900 million of annual debt service. [Some site said $1.7 billion, but I’m just doing $12.5 billion in loans times 7% and round up.]

    Since Twitter is a software company, one presumes most of that capex was spent on various software development projects. So of course Elon is going to come in and a) fire a bunch of developers, b) shut down a bunch of projects (to keep Twitter afloat today vs. a better tomorrow), and c) demand everyone who is left works double shifts for same pay (his “work harder” midnight email).


    Now you have to look at this from the IT guys’, gals’, and anything in between’s side. It isn’t just that Twitter developers are “privileged” – I am sure some might be, but the majority are no different from IT people at other companies. And that means, many already feel they are overworked (and, to be fair, many actually are); most already have an independent slash anti-authority streak; and most believe, often quite rightly, that there is demand for their skills elsewhere (because in the US there is still an IT skilled labour shortage). So step one, you come in and fire 50% of the devs without explaining that you are doing it to save the business given its new debt expense. Step two, you send out a midnight email saying work harder or quit. I do not know how an average auto-worker would respond to this – I guess they would probably grit their teeth and keep the job for their families’ sake or some such – but the average IT person, and this is my personal take, would say – sayonara, baby. Unless they a) had visa issues or some such, or b) weren’t a Twitter employee to begin with, and, by the way, this is an important point – half of Google’s HQ developer staff are third party consultants, so who knows where Twitter is on this.

    Which raises a ton of long-range questions about how various countries are going to get their IT people under control and beaten into the ground like other worker types. But for now, every decision Elon has made viz. his new workforce appears to me to be necessary from a strictly financial perspective, but completely wrong from a management standpoint. In a business where your business literally is human capital, because unless Twitter followed industry best practices on code base management and documentation, which I somehow doubt based on comments from at least one of their (now fired) senior developers, bringing in new people to manage existing code is going to be a very drawn out and costly exercise. Again – not exactly like in the automaking business, which I guess is Elon’s only reference point.

    1. Jason Boxman

      I’d think with infrastructure as complex as Twitter, they’re using an entirely bespoke configuration. Perhaps they have excellent internal documentation, but too often internal engineering documentation is scattered across a variety of data sources, source code, wiki pages, Markdown files in repos, internal documentation files, people’s memory, Slack threads, and saved emails.

      So good luck with that if you whack entire teams.

    2. Yves Smith

      When you look at the various departments that Musk was whacking, tons were NOT IT. I worked with a top trading firm that ran absolutely cutting edge tech. Proprietary software. Ran enormous trading volumes, typically 5% of NYSE stock trading to hedge their options book. And it did not have any customers, so no customer or advertising staff.

      <10% of their staff was IT. I would guesstimate that Twitter has 20% of its people in IT as the very very tops.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “‘We hit them with slingshots’: Ukraine’s ‘iron general’ shows his mettle”

    It’s strange that article. Is this a trial balloon to suggest that this General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi could be Zelensky’s successor? There are lots of factors unmentioned in this puff piece however. Like how NATO is giving him satellite imagery of where all the Russians are and their bases. It neglects to mention the punisher battalions behind regular Ukrainian army formations that kill those reluctant to fight. Just yesterday five soldiers were murdered by them. And most of all it does not ask him what he will do when some three-hundred thousand Russians come online soon. Then, as Wellington said of Napoleon, they will know the length of him. I did find an unusual line in his Wikipedia page-

    ‘In 2014 he graduated from the Ivan Cherniakhovskyi National Defense University of Ukraine. As the best graduate of the operational and strategic level of training, he was awarded the Transitional Sword of the Queen of Great Britain’

    To me that sounds…odd.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve remained neutral during the war as I knew truth or consequences would make me subject to torture in ferreting out false leads, but I have to say despite the obvious David & Goliath simile from the iron general, a trebuchet with $50 bags of zinc Pennies will put the hurt on somebody bad if you’re on the receiving end of newfound funds.

    2. NotThisAgain

      I find it fascinating how quickly Russia went from a pathetic third-rate army that was running out of ammunition and giving up territory to a Goliath fighting David and managing to wipe out whichever portions of the Ukrainian power system it likes at will, all without ever having replenished its ammo or winning a battle in between.

      It’s almost like I am being fed a narrative or something…

  22. The Rev Kev

    “How Ukraine Blew Up a Key Russian Bridge”

    ‘Some remaining unknowns: How the truck bomb was triggered, and whether the driver was a suicide bomber or a mark for the Ukrainian intelligence services.’

    Since the driver left behind four kids, I would say that he was an unfortunate dupe and had no clue what he was transporting. And I note that the truck-bomb exploded on the outer road span which is now being rapidly replaced. If he was a suicide bomber, he would have steered the truck to the central lane which was also closer to the railway line. I would guess that whoever set that bomb off from a distance, that they may have been aiming to explode that truck when it was on that span but when they saw the fuel-laden train there, it was too tempting a target not to explode then. I might also mention that a bunch of these Ukrainian-inspired Nazis has been arrested in Italy before they had a chance to carry out their own terror attacks. So who is to say that other groups may not employ the same truck-bomb & duped driver tactic to the same effect in western countries?

  23. Wukchumni

    Black Friday surprise: Jeff Bezos tells people not to buy cars, refrigerators and other big-ticket items. Critics call him out. MarketWatch.
    Lack Friday isn’t the same if you don’t buy a car…

    Pet peeve dept:

    Automakers really push the purchase yourself or a loved one a new car for xmas angle and i’m not buying it, sorry.

  24. Questa Nota

    Loneliness in men, a subject that has been under-reported for years. Ask any minister, priest, rabbi, shrink or lay counselor and they will tell you the same thing. Loneliness in men is ever-present and worsening. The safety nets don’t accommodate that subgroup as well as they do others, and the, um, target audience isn’t as receptive to help, so a more protracted problem.

    There are so many more factors besides the tendency of men to avoid help, ranging from all that balance sheet right-sizing in the 1990s to never recovering from, pick an event like Dot Com Bubble, GFC, you name it, to rejection from family and friends due to having the wrong views or just by virtue of being men. All that cancellation in today’s world included the standard SWM demonizations, and didn’t spare many tagged by proximity, either.
    The snark line would be About time, suck it up, see what we went through for, well, since time immemorial. That gets clickbait time, a little ripple and then 72 hours later back to life as usual.

    A more thoughtful approach would look at each person as an individual and then as a member of groups and find out their situation and who they are and what they need. Look in on neighbors, contact family members you haven’t seen or talked with in a while, interact with people on the street, reach out to former classmates. Each one has a story about their human journey. Many of those stories will include being ghosted routinely pretty much everywhere, being rendered redundant, ignored in networking where your option value expired, job applications unacknowledged, opportunities foreclosed, fabric ripped, torn, spindled and mutilated. Maybe you know a few?

    1. Karl

      As an older SWM I thank you for this thoughtful post.

      Loneliness is often accompanied by anger or at least a hit to self-worth. This has political implications. Older SWMs correlate with MAGA tendencies. We shouldn’t leave out females. Older frequent-church-going rural SWMs and SWFs are Trump’s biggest demographic.

      So much loneliness and anger by those feeling disposessed is easily exploited by demagogues and, if sufficiently wide and deep, a prelude to fascism.

      After the mid-terms I heard a lot of my friends are saying “we dodged a bullet” “Democracy won” and “Trump is gone.” I tell these well-intentioned, well-educated members of the PMC that, unless more attention is paid, Trump will return with greater force in 2024. He has an uncanny talent for triggering this demographic.

      Sorry for steering your post to what I see as the political implications….

      1. LifelongLib

        A little while ago I made a comment (in somewhat different words) that a political party that truly represented the less well-off in the U.S. would have more born-again Christians than atheists, more small-business owners than socialists, more believers in “traditional marriage” than feminists. I questioned (based on other comments here on NC) whether the ‘Left’ would be willing to support such a party even on purely economic issues. What little response I got questioned whether such a party would support the less well-off. My point was, they ARE the less well-off.

  25. Lexx

    ‘The Big Society, Reheated’

    Okay, it could have just been my reading of the article and the language used, but am I supposed to feel sorry for charities here? All of them, or maybe just the small ones who are most dependent on small donations?

    I thought helping those who can’t always help themselves was the purpose of charities, especially the faith-based ones, for whom every crisis is an opportunity to their ministry. There’s also all those tax-deductible dollars to be washed for the rich, plus the social status/power/influence for half a power couple of running one. Where’s the downside, I wondered, and yet I had to strangle a sniffle for those poor beleaguered organizations.

    Did the author really write that the volunteers give up their time, rather than contribute their time?

    volunteer: ‘a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.’ Again, it’s why they’re there.

    I’ll be thinking of this article the next time I pick up the local rag, to see the photos of the rich in town partying down in some downtown restaurant, sipping champagne and giving away their money to a worthy (tax deductible) cause. Awwww, come on! That’s just more work giving away food and shelter! Cut the do-gooder minions some slack. They would also like to be home with their families over the holidays. Millionaries, everywhere they go they create jobs and “opportunites”.

    1. Revenant

      You were supposed to take umbrage at the way grassroots cooperation is coopted and neutered by Big Charity because it represents political organisation and by the way Big Charity has made a bargain with the Devil, taking UK government money to replace state services with Lady Bountiful and the Deserving Poor….

  26. Mikel

    Michael Pettis: “This is why I don’t think it makes much sense for Chinese regulators to encourage Chinese integration into global financial markets. China isn’t savings constrained, and the inflows do not represent fundamental investors allocating money to their most productive uses…

    I have to chuckle at the last part. Especially considering how over a decade of zero to sub-zero interest rates on money was used blowing ridiculous asset bubbles in the USA.


    1. NotThisAgain

      I believe that Michael Pettis was/is quite critical about the money blowing huge asset bubbles in the US as well.

      His overall point (if I understand him correctly) is that money inflows for any country are only desirable if they can fund productive investment. Once a country has more money than useful things to do with it, inflows become harmful and distortionary. Although some sectors (e.g. finance and/or import sector) may benefit, other sectors (e.g. manufacturing and/or export sector) have to absorb a loss to offset those benefits, and the overall economy suffers a net loss.

      If his model is correct, then it follows that China–which has plenty of domestic capital and a dearth of useful things that it is willing to spend it on (since it doesn’t want to rebalance by transferring money from net savers to net consumers)–derives no benefit from integrating into the global financial markets. In fact, the only impact of net integration would be to create larger imbalances–bubbles first as hot money rushes in, and then crashes as the same hot money rushes out

  27. Yves Smith

    You are very much off base. First, we do not pretend, like Twitter, to be a neutral platform. I suggest you read our site Policies. The clearly stated overarching rule is:

    You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

    -Harlan Ellison

    Second, this site’s primary mission is promoting critical thinking. We have no compunction about moderating or banning people who engage in bad faith argumentation. That includes:

    1) Broken record: Repeating the same point over and over again, especially when it’s long been refuted. That includes taking an argument that was rebutted on one post and repeating the same argument on another post.

    2) Not reading the post: Evidently reacting only to the headline of a post, or not reading through to the end.

    3) Bad faith: Deploying any of a long list of rhetorical tricks that are all about winning, as opposed to conversing. As former debaters, Yves and Lambert know these tricks well. Don’t use them.

    The most common is straw manning, as in misrepresenting what a post or comment author said. That includes speaking on someone else’s behalf.

    4) Insulting your hosts and fellow commentors: These discussions take place in Naked Capitalism’s space. So don’t throw your drink in your host’s face, whether Yves, Lambert, or any poster.

    5) Rude and offensive language: Naked Capitalism is read by a wide audience, and if your comment includes offensive or inappropriate language, it may be deleted. For example, please avoid “bad language” that’s more than mildly vigorous – no body parts, please! – and avoid racist ranting.

    Other violations include but are not limited to ad hominem attacks, hogging bandwidth, assignments/demands (asking/telling post authors or site admins to Do Something other than fix typos or broken HTML), sock-puppeting yourself, link-whoring, thread-jacking, concern-trolling, jailbreaking, acting as a self-appointed moderator and/or complaining about moderation p

    Your comment is bad faith by depicting us as restricting comments rights based on “wrongthink”. We ban based on conduct, not content. However, it often happens that people who are losing arguments engage in more and more obvious bad faith behavior. For instance, we had a cypto defender offer wild falsehoods, like bitcoin is not crypto, bitcoin is hard asset, and bitcoin processing speeds are faster than fiat (they are actually 1000X slower than the comparatively kludgey Visa and Mastercard systems). I’m not about to allow tout to mislead readers and have to waste my time debunking such egregious fabrications, the finance version of creationism, so I did not publish the comment.

    habert engaged in name calling and Making Shit Up rather than rebutting Lambert’s argument. Twitter is not 4chan. It’s an invaluable resource for breaking news and communities like BLM before it was hijacked by Team Dem, Black twitter, the Covid aerosol theory experts, and it’s also helped establish other important experts like Anthony Leonardi. It can also have stupid and heated political arguments but those are easy to ignore.

    I consider Barry Ritholtz to be web standard. His rules are more forceful than ours:

    This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator. I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it

    That was from 2008, when the Internet was vastly more civil than now.

  28. Lex

    “American Democracy is majestic – but it is fragile,” the Speaker said. “Many of us here have witnessed its fragility firsthand – tragically, in this Chamber. And so, Democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm.” (from The Hill article on Pelosi)

    May I ask why it is fragile? Does someone deeply involved in the democracy like Pelosi have any responsibility for that fragility? And as an aside, “forces that wish it harm” is such an ominous and fascistic formulation. I’d argue that it’s hardly majestic but maybe that’s because I’ve long lived in places where our national bird is common and know that it’s mostly just a vulture in a nice suit … much like the majestic nation it represents. (I have seen bald eagles taking fish, but mostly one sees bald eagles eating road kill.)

  29. Lex

    re: The Drive article, there’s a lot to unpack in that. (full disclosure, I drive an equipped with everything possible in 2019 Ford Ranger that I don’t pay for) When the author talks about how big data could identify weather and set climate controls, he’s shilling for big data. My truck processes the exterior temperature and sets the climate controls whether I start it from the seat, the fob or the app. The heated seats and windshield come on any time the temp is below 35. Connectivity and big data is not necessary for this pretty cool convenience.

    To some extent, building cars with all the options makes sense on the manufacturing side because of scale, so the argument that how subscriptions are presented is important. Frankly, the ability to buy the base model and then upgrade to heated seats later is a good selling point. Though the option to just buy rather than subscribe would be far better. But there are issues with this that are physical and only becoming evident now. For example, Ford took navigation out of all its vehicles because of chip supply issues. So the glorious future of fully equipped with after sale subscriptions might not work as well as the author assumes.

    The OEMs hate the dealerships as much as customers. OEMs don’t own the dealerships and only have limited control over them. And the dealerships have a deserved reputation of screwing over customers with the OEMs having to shoulder the blame. Last year Ford had to pay my wife $4,500 in reimbursements because one dealership forgot to tighten a bolt and then two more dealerships refused to even look at the car for almost 9 weeks even though the “repair” was literally a 10 minute bolt tightening. The $4,500 doesn’t include Ford footing the bill for putting the car on a carrier and moving it 100 miles to a different dealership. The only reason it was resolved was that she has access to the super secret employee customer service. None of the three dealerships involved made any effort to handle the situation, but who gets blamed in those situations? The OEM because its their sign out front. She likely would have sworn off Ford if not for my brother being an employee and her crush on the Bronco.

  30. Wukchumni

    Headed off to the Colorado River in a bit and the hot springs in my 1 day residency of Arizona will come in handy with a suggested outside low of 38 degrees meets 104-which is quite pleasant when you’re soaking, its the getting out part and walking down a slot canyon a quarter of a mile back to your warm sleeping bag that is the tricky part.

    On the other hand, waking up, making coffee in a thermal cup to go and walking up in the wee hours to seek the treasure should be great as it warms up to sunny skies and 64 degrees on the paddle out.

    Some of our group is headed to Valley of Fire state park after the kayak (i’ll be in a canoe easily identifiable by my Daniel Boone headgear) trip which is a good remedy if sin city repulses you, only an hour away from the strip, its a magical place full of 2,500 year old petroglyphs, natural arches and quite the variance of things from petrified logs to labyrinths of canyons that are fun to get lost in.

    Circling the belly of the beast in our 3 day tour-3 day tour, and only seeing it for the first time driving west on Interstate 15, we look on at what must surely be the first big American city to go out of business on account of climate change?

    The most commonly seen billboards in the Pavlovegas city limits en route will be attorneys looking to represent you for some wrong only they can right.

  31. Pengo

    —How loneliness is killing men BBC Science Focus

    Lonely men are better consumers and most importantly, are less of a threat to the Elite.
    There’s been a deliberate dismanteling of non profitable social experiences not only for money, but as an insurance policy.

    For example, five guys who have known each other for years, who get together to commiserate and compare notes on effects of the economy on them, on their family, their jobs, and who hunt and own high powered deer rifles, those guys are a major potential threat to the parasites sucking the life out of our country.

    Sitting at home alone and watching their sports subscription TV and advertising as they sit and watch the game, and dissipate any emotional energy on meaningless ball statistics, those men are no threat. Couple that with a smart phone they can bury their face in to check sports stats and buy shit when away from home, and thus not notice the details of the world around them, and you have a perfect manner to debilitate any resistance.

    1. Karl

      I don’t buy your unsupported assertions.

      Not sure if lonely men are no threat; or even that they are better consumers.

      Those men vote and may do other things, like join the next MAGA insurrection.

      Whereas, the more social (less lonely) guy may say “hey, I’m bored, want to go to an insurrection and knock some heads?” Then a friend in the group might say, “What, and miss the Steelers game?” I think groups probably tend to moderate the more extreme tendencies of the few. They also provide a bit of a safety valve.

      Lonely guys are arguably more of a threat because they don’t have a friend who will give them honest feedback. Like, “bro, you want to get arrested?”

  32. Greg

    This little line in the most recent Russia ministry of defense briefing is worth a second look (I searched for “nuclear” in the links and comments and didn’t find it, apologies if this is a repost).

    Cached link because the actual page is a 403 here in NZ (forbidden! verboten! achtung!)

    “On 17 November, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a concentrated strike, using high-precision long-range air-, sea- and ground-based weapons, at the facilities of military control, defence industry, as well as related fuel and energy infrastructure of Ukraine.

    The goals of the strike have been reached.

    All the missiles have accurately stricken the assigned facilities.

    The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.

    I’ll try and untangle which of the sites hit yesterday this is referring to, but it may not be possible.

    1. hunkerdown

      RuMoD’s web server is especially paranoid lately, and understandably so. 403s happen from time to time.

  33. fresno dan

    About twitter – I thought Josh Brown summed it up fairly well

    So all the apocalyptic talk about the death of Twitter is understandable given the current situation.
    But it’s all wrong.
    Twitter will be fine.
    It’s not going anywhere. No matter how nasty the platform gets, or how racially charged the discussions become, or how performatively offended the power users are, it won’t matter.
    Because Twitter is cigarettes.

    I’m done with Twitter, deleting my account (of course – where else do you BROADCAST HOW BAD TWITTER IS AND YOU WILL LEAVE Twitter….BUT ON TWITTER??? where will you virture broadcast but on Twitter?)
    No you’re not. You might take yourself offline, but your username will still be waiting for you upon your return.
    OK, I’m staying, but only because democracy dies in darkness and leaving is exactly what these fascists want us to do. So I’m doing my part and staying right here!
    Lady, it’s nicotine. You’re addicted. You think in tweet format. … Your constant usage of the platform has actually rearranged the way your whole train of thought works. Some days the interactions you have on the app are the only validation you’re going to get.

    I might switch to Instagram or TikTok.
    No you won’t because the thing that made you a hit on Twitter doesn’t translate to IG or TikTok. You’re witty and sharp and well-informed and opinionated, that’s how you built a following on Twitter. But you’re also ugly and can’t dance, so you’re not going to replicate your success here in either of those places.

    I can stop anytime.
    No you can’t. You can announce that you’re stopping. You’re not stopping. Because you don’t have anything that can replace it. (You know those people who always argue and hate each other, but can’t LEAVE each other…yup, twitter)

  34. fresno dan
    And that same year, officers handcuffed and screamed at a 5-year-old who had wandered away from school.
    There are many more cases of young children arrested in school — cases that don’t make headlines, according to a CBS News analysis of the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
    More than 700 children were arrested in U.S. elementary schools during the 2017-2018 school year alone, according to CBS News’ analysis.
    If that doesn’t prove this country has a screw loose, nothing would

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      No frickin’ kidding, fresno.

      The person who should have been in handcuffs and “screamed at” was the person getting paid to “teach” him.

      jeezus h. christ. A five-year-old.

  35. Jason Boxman

    The End of Vaccines at ‘Warp Speed’

    The failure to fund development of intranasal vaccinates in the United States continues.

    Two years ago, India’s Bharat Biotech, a leading vaccine manufacturer, jumped on a promising early study of a nasal vaccine designed at Washington University in St. Louis and negotiated to make and test doses. India recently approved the vaccine based on data that Bharat has presented to American government scientists, but not released publicly.

    The vaccine has progressed more slowly in the United States. Only last month did a smaller American company, Ocugen, secure the rights to it.

    The team behind the vaccine “made multiple overtures to almost all of the major vaccine players and there wasn’t any buy-in,” said Dr. David T. Curiel, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis who invented the vaccine with a colleague, Dr. Michael Diamond. Dr. Curiel said that the White House had long been calling for vaccine development funding. But, he said, “The Orwellian aspect has been trying to find specifically where those funds are.”

  36. Jason Boxman

    We’re still twisting in the wind on Novavax as second booster. And surprise, the shots don’t prevent transmission.

    Will Covid Boosters Prevent Another Wave? Scientists Aren’t So Sure.

    The Biden administration may have no choice but to promote boosters given the lifting of other precautions, Dr. Chapman said. But most people make decisions based on what others in their social network do, or what their political and community leaders recommend, not on esoteric scientific data, she noted.

    “We should not spend a lot of political capital trying to get people to get this bivalent booster, because the benefits are limited,” she added. “It’s more important to get folks who never got the initial vaccine series vaccinated than to get people like me to get their fifth shot.”

    The Biden administration may have better luck persuading people to get boosters if other vaccines, such as Novavax or J.&J., were available for that purpose, she added. That may be particularly true for people who have hesitated to get a booster shot because they have had a strong reaction to an mRNA vaccine.

    Even from a scientific perspective, it may make more sense to diversify the body’s antibody response with different vaccines than to continue to roll out versions of the mRNA vaccines, some experts said.

    Dr. Marks said the F.D.A. may recommend Novavax as a second booster after reviewing the data. Until then, that vaccine is authorized only as a first booster for people who are unwilling to, or cannot, get an mRNA vaccine.

    That rule “is completely ridiculous,” Dr. Moore said. “If the F.D.A.’s goal is to increase vaccine uptake and boost immunity in the American population, why is it putting restrictions like this?”

    (bold me)

  37. Karl

    RE: ‘We hit them with slingshots’… Zalensky about used up?

    I’ve seen some recent public appearances by Zelensky. He seems so calm as he describes loss of 40% of his electric power infrastructure while snow accumulates on Kiev.

    Is this just the well-practiced poise of a good leader? Or does Zelensky know that he has his family’s downside covered? The departure plan, the mansions in Italy and Florida, the offshore bank accounts….

    “Bags packed, ready to go, standing at the airline gate, I hate to wake you up to say goodbye….” or “I left my heart in Kiev…” may be tunes to start singing to.

  38. Tom Bradford

    Would like to indulge myself by commenting on these matters but:

    1. I know nothing about Twitter and nothing I hear about it suggests I need to change that.

    2. Bought a small Toyota something, new, back in 2015. It currently has 2,236 km on the clock as I live in a small town where everything is within walking distance, so it’s only used if I need to consult a medical specialist out of town. It has symbols on the instrument panel and switches on the dash for I know not what, but it gets me from A to B if I put it in gear and use the steering wheel, accelerator and brake as I’ve done with every other car I’ve had over the last 50 years so they appear not to be necessary to the vehicle’s core purpose and are nothing more than gimmicks. They seem to be technology for car salesmen’s sake.

    3. I have no male ‘friends’ in the sense of Peter Griffin’s circle in the Clam, and my Y chromosome seems perfectly content with the situation. I have music, books, YouTube with its fascinating, bottomless fount of discussion to evaluate or in-depth look at the most esoteric subjects, and my favourite video games to keep the mind sharp. I would regard sitting in a pub with a bunch of mates ‘chewing the fat’, ie gossiping, an utterly predictable waste of time.

    4. Another of the above divertions from ‘loneliness’ is catching up with James O’Brien’s brilliant rants on contemporary affairs on lbc, from 12,000 miles and twelve hours away. In one recent one * he asked, in despair, how politicians like Suella Braverman et al could honestly serve in Cabinet under Liz Truss and then Rishi Sunak despite their ‘politics’ being utterly at odds, and in Braverman’s case having been sacked, and he asked listeners to ring in and explain. In a comment to the FTX story above, Wakchumi gave what I would suggest is the true answer with his reference to ” fantasy worlds, not beholden to rules & social mores as happens in real life.” In politics as in big business and, alas, elsewhere those unwritten rules and previously generally-accepted social mores no longer have any power. You don’t do what decency and respect for those rules and mores that once underpinned society ask of you, but just what you can get away with. And so society, lacking its glue, falls apart and that rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.


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