Links 11/20/2022

Spending Time in the Forest or the Field: Investigations on Stress Perception and Psychological Well-Being—A Randomized Cross-Over Trial in Highly Sensitive Persons Environmental Research and Public Health. Conclusion: “Both stays in the forest and in the field result in improved emotional well-being measured with a POMS questionnaire. CSP-14 total scores and especially feelings of security and vitality were better after staying in the forest compared to staying on a field. The intensity of these effects is probably modified by the season and the weather.”

The Log from the Sea of Cortez: John Steinbeck’s Forgotten Masterpiece on How to Think and the Art of Seeing the Pattern Beyond the Particular The Marginalian

Climate

COP27 summit agrees on landmark climate ‘loss and damage’ fund, but does little to encourage rapid cuts to fossil fuel use CNN. Waiting for the straw to make that sucking sound, I suppose.

What was decided at Cop27 climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh? Climate Change News

COP27: China’s climate envoy says expects cooperation with U.S. to continue Reuters

* * *

Leak at Pennsylvania gas storage well spewing methane AP

In the Photic Zone LRB. Coral reefs

#COVID19

The BQ.1.1 variant story Eric Topol, Ground Truths. “This is the first time in the pandemic that a variant with clearcut, marked immune evasion has not induced a major new wave…. For further context, all of this is happening with minimal mitigation, such as the very low use of masks or avoidance of indoor gatherings. No less in colder weather, heading into winter.”

SARS 10 years later: How are survivors faring now? Global News

China?

Man, 87, is China’s first Covid death since Shanghai wave as outbreak spirals South China Morning Post. One death, a headline?

Chinese government reportedly helps the world’s biggest iPhone-maker fill in labor shortages by recruiting Communist Party members and veterans Business Insider

US imports from China falling faster than from other countries Freight Waves

The Koreas

Walking Seoul (part 1) Chris Arnade Walks the World

Winning the Majority: A New U.S. Bargain with the Global South Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Is it time to abandon decolonisation? African Arguments, Royal African Society

Dear Old Blighty

Rishi Sunak’s government reportedly ‘considering Swiss-style relationship with EU’ Independent. Hilarity ensues.

European Disunion

Italy’s new firebrand PM launches blistering diatribe saying immigration from Africa would STOP if countries like France halted exploitation of continent’s valuable resources Daily Mail (BC).

Are we really prisoners of geography? Guardian

New Not-So-Cold War

The oldest version of this rumor I can find:

Another rumor:

Ukraine to begin voluntary evacuation from Kherson: Deputy PM Al Jazeera

Ukraine launched the missile that hit Poland (video) Douglas Macgregor, YouTube. The headline is deceptive, since Macgregor believes the firing was accidental. But there’s plenty more bracing material.

* * *

West ‘pushing’ Kiev toward talks – ex-Russian president RT

Eurozone edges away from risk of deep winter recession FT

Ukraine’s 15,000-Mile Lifeline NYT. Rail.

* * *

How (Not) to Interpret Russian Political Talk Shows Moscow Times. Note the source, but it’s an interesting topic. Readers?

What It’s Like Inside the Penal Colony Brittney Griner Was Sent to in Russia Vice (Re Silc).

Brazil’s reclusive Bolsonaro has a skin infection, ‘cannot wear pants’ Agence France Presse

Biden Administration

The Consumer Protection Bureau’s Union Is Pushing for Better Pay, Fewer Pay Gaps Government Executive

The Supremes

Former Anti-Abortion Leader Alleges Another Supreme Court Breach NYT

2022

John Fetterman and Social Media: How His Campaign Built a Winning Strategy Teen Vogue. Nice explanation of the crudité episode. I’ve been saying that Fetterman’s social media director could write their own ticket; now we’ll see. Now watch a bunch of Democrats try to replicate Fetterman’s social media success without Fetterman’s “every county” strategy (which IMNSHO was the basis of it all). We’ll see about that too. Oddly, or not, no coverage in the majors like Politico, WaPo, the Times, the WSJ….

2024

Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel named in the Trump investigations CNN. The 1/6 committee didn’t come up with enough for Garland just to indict?

EXCLUSIVE: A shocking voicemail, shared bank accounts, dodgy partners and whistleblowers: DailyMail.com breaks down the jaw-dropping evidence as GOP targets ‘chairman of the board’ Joe Biden – and could lead to possible impeachment Daily Mail

The Bezzle

New FTX chief says crypto group will pursue reorganisation or sale FT

‘A Complete Failure of Corporate Controls’: What Investors and Accountants Missed in FTX’s Audits Francine McKenna, CoinDesk

ASX grip on clearing shaken by blockchain disaster Australian Financial Review

Thread on support groups for FTX victims:

One applauds the resilience. Nevertheless.

Cryptexodus: A running list of crypto execs who’ve quit since May Banking Dive

* * *

Sam Bankman-Fried vs. The Match King A Wealth of Common Sense. “The problem is he wasn’t allocating capital very well.” I thought that was what capitalists were supposed to do? See generally under “Silicon Valley.”

Trust and Justice Joe Costello, Life in the 21st Century

While Crypto Bro Scammed Clients, Reporters Scammed Readers FAIR

Glamour The Reformed Broker

* * *

Bird brain Oversharing. E-scooters tank.

Tech

Elon Musk reinstates Trump’s Twitter account The Hill. Dracula has risen from the grave:

Twitter Was Influential in the Pandemic. Are We Better for It? NYT

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Call Of Duty Is a Government Psyop: These Documents Prove It Mint Press

Beware Psiphon, CIA tech tool to assist, fuel global protests PressTV

Police State Watch

The Rise and Fall of a Celebrity Police Dog The Marshall Project

Our Famously Free Press

No, New York Times, You Don’t “Deserve Better” Than Donald Trump (excerpt) Matt Taibbi, TK News. A magisterial takedown in response to this Times example of something everybody has. From below the fold:

By “a tiny bit flat-footed” [Times editor Dean] Baquet meant his paper was unprepared for Mueller to come up empty because it had ceased to be a news organization willing to embrace guilt, innocence, or whatever the hell the truth was, and instead became a political operation agitating on behalf of “our readers who want Donald Trump to go away.” It openly rooted for one particular outcome and ignored the other possibility, causing the paper to publish one mistaken or clearly biased story after the other.

These ranged from the infamous “Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence” story to the transparent government PR headline, “F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims” to stories proclaiming the “Nunes memo” about FBI malfeasance to be a mere partisan effort at “defending President Trump from Mr. Mueller’s investigation.” As later revealed in the report of Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the Nunes memo was correct in virtually all its parts. Yet the Times didn’t investigate that story or dozens of others properly, because it was and is now a political organ, not a newspaper.

They also played dirty. They accused people of serious offenses without calling for comment, dragged people under public suspicion based on un-checkable assertions of anonymous officials, and fixed errors late if at all. If new events punched holes in earlier reports, they rarely copped to it. This was all part of a new unwritten rule, that coloring outside the lines was permitted, because Trump.

Repetitious, but worth repeating. It’s as if the (hegemonic) PMC, when they were shocked into class consciousness by Trump’s victory in 2016, declared “a state of exception,” isn’t it?

Zeitgeist Watch

Making history: Shen the Tyrannosaurus rex ‘in all its ferocious glory’ Christies (JD). “On 30 November 2022, the first ever T. rex skeleton to be offered in Asia will appear as a highlight of the 20th/21st Century Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in Hong Kong.”

If it ain’t baroque:

Ron Rice obituary.

How the humanities lost their prestige FT

Class Warfare

How Unions Work for the Economy Steven Greenhouse, The Century Foundation

When your boss becomes your banker FT

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

256 comments

  1. vao

    To me, the photos of the oceanfront mansion of Hawaiian Tropic founder Ron Rice look very much like computer-generated images taken from a 3-D virtual world: a motley assemblage of garish objects, all seemingly of stone, glass, or metal (easy texturing!), bathing in artificial light (makes shading easier!), dazzlingly reflecting each other (ray-tracing galore!), placed for effect within an architecture whose logic is more reminiscent of video-games than an actual dwelling. Honestly, I still have the feeling these could be CGI output instead of actual photographs.

    If this is the kind of environment that tycoons find appealing, then perhaps I should not be surprised that they are so fond of artificial reality and metaverse-like applications.

    Reply
    1. digi_owl

      Conspicuous consumption as a certain someone coined it back during the gilded age.

      Back in the day they built palaces for Jesus, these days they build palaces for Id.

      Reply
        1. digi_owl

          “Proof-of-labor-exploitation”

          Nice one. And also extra amusing given that all them *coins are based on “proof-of-xyz”, where it is mostly about who spent the most on electrcity etc.

          Reply
    2. mrsyk

      Looking at those photos made me feel like I was in shopping in a department store targeting an overly wealthy under-read clientele.

      Reply
      1. eg

        My reaction when I toured Graceland was to realize that this was the manifestation of what luxury must have been for a dirt poor southern boy.

        Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mel Brooks told a story about his first agent who had become a head of a studio and won the job by selling a Mel Brooks comedy western about a black sheriff without running the idea by Brooks or even representing him at the time.

      Mel visited the studio head in his office, and everything was red. Everything. Mel went into detail. That particular office, not the red era, might even be the inspiration for Mr Burns office. Its cavernous too.. The studio boss said there was a designer and he wasn’t listening and simply agreed. He left it as a reminder to always listen.

      Reply
    4. Sailor Bud

      Seriously makes me desire a world of kings again, if I’m to accept liege lords at all, as I’m forced to in this grand world. They at least once had some taste, when things were more agrarian. The capitalist variety is as trashy as the Snickers wrappers they invented and that now adorn the ground everywhere, along with all their other nastiness.

      I do hope Humanity figures it out. Elon Musk is doing his part, in displaying his oceanic banality (for such a genius), but you’ve got a hammerhead public that still worships the rich & famous to the point of cheers.

      How does anyone cheer a politician or magnate in 2022? Or anyone? They have to be my biggest enemies now – the cheering and adoring public.. Perhaps the greatest single thing the neutered and weak ‘Left’ can accomplish is to castigate, like crazy, the worship of anyone, anymore, anywhere.

      Just how hideous is ‘Can I have your autograph?’ I think it’s about as gross as these images are. Whatever. These are some of the most shocking images I’ve ever seen. Pictures of destroyed Detroit homes are on an equal plane with the tastes of the richest, in my view.

      Reply
      1. digi_owl

        Perhaps, if the king was the direct ruler of the surrounding land.

        But as kingdoms grew, they often developed the same issues as absentee landlords etc.

        That is perhaps the base issue of today’s PMC world, that the rulers are off doing who knows what while some PMC is left with the instructions of collecting rent.

        Reply
  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the British government considering a Swiss style arrangement, which the EU would like to move from and renew under an overarching agreement, the arrival of Sunak, Hunt and, as Treasury adviser, Osborne, has led to a reassessment of relations. Two near miss black outs in September, which led the UK being bailed out by Belgium at eye gouging prices, also concentrated the mind of Truss. Charles III has also accepted an invitation to visit France after his coronation and is encouraging a thaw. The Tories are worried about their blue wall and want to wrong foot Starmer. Some Tories also want to put the ERG in their box. In short, this proposal may go somewhere.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      I should have added that some long standing Brexiteers think Sunak is not a true believer, but has / had to pretend due to his immigrant background.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      They have a tiny problem of course in that the EU is trying to wind their way back from a Swiss style deal with Switzerland. Only very small countries like Norway get genuinely favourable deals and the Swiss overplayed their hand for years.

      Todays Observer seems to suggest that the Tories have gone into political hibernation as they realise there is no real alternative but slugging things through with Sunak at the helm and hoping circumstances in their favour swing things before the next elections. I wonder if the fire of the Brexiters has finally gone out.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        You’re right about CH and Norway.

        This said, the political masters like Macron and even von der Leyen are hinting at flexibility, so there’s some hope for the UK.

        You mention Norway. The Monday before the 2019 general election, Corbyn met Barnier to discuss a Norway plus deal. Talks had progressed over the summer and autumn. Starmer, Sturgeon and Swinson helped torpedo that deal.

        It’s interesting how Brexiteers avant la lettre like former Murdoch shill Andrew Neil and former Ukipper George Eustis are distancing themselves from what their 30 odd year activism accomplished.

        Reply
        1. David

          I’ve been waiting for something like this, although it couldn’t happen until those associated with Brexit, notably Johnson, had passed on. The reality is that, for all that the British exasperated Brussels for so long, it was a matter of realpolitik that they were a big and important player in Europe, and some way had to be found to try to accommodate them. That’s why the EU was always, finally, prepared to go the extra mile with deadlines and such, as a number of us argued they would, not out of love, but out of necessity. Ironically, given the current fashion for dissing Britain, Europe has always regarded it as a massively important partner, and behaved accordingly. So I think the time is now right for the first tentative attempts at a rapprochement. Europe is not the issue it once was, and Britain is going to have to work with the EU and vice versa to clear up the shambles that will follow the Ukraine war. Indeed, I really wonder if there’s that much domestic mileage left in Brexit at all. I’m beginning to think that the Tories’ only real hope of survival is facing down the ERG once and for all.

          Reply
          1. Stephen

            I think that is right.

            In my view, Brexit as a “populist” issue was always a rebellion by people who feel left behind by a de-industrialised economy. Similar in origin to MAGA and the Yellow Vests but with a different specific lightning rod.

            The EU as an institution is totally venal but there again so is the U.K. government. No one seems to be speaking for the “ordinary” citizen.

            The question for me is how do we get away from a banker and finance dominated state.

            Reply
              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you, Synoia.

                Even with tax incentives, which I don’t disagree with, as a bankster, I can tell you they are still not interested or have the technical expertise.

                Reply
            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Stephen.

              As a bankster and former bankster lobbyist, a few white and white collar banksters in prison and / or on a scaffold at Bank or Canary Wharf would help.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                The idea is like something out of an old black and white pirate film. The gallows at Canary Wharf.
                The City, being somewhat of an institution in itself, could, perhaps, implement the idea on their own. I make no pretensions to knowing the geography of London in detail, but there must be some reasonably open space within The City in which a sufficiently capacious gallows could be erected. Make the capitol offenses financial ones and thus within the purview of The City Magistrates. For the more cynical among us, make those The City Merchant Princes.

                Reply
          2. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you and well said, David.

            You are particular correct to focus on realpolitik, necessity and the need to clear up after Ukraine. That was one of the drivers, well before Ukraine, for going the extra mile after extra mile with Johnson, but to no avail.

            Britain, rightly or wrongly, has some credit in the bank resulting from its support for Ukraine, especially with the Baltic basin.

            Johnson has his Jacobites, but that movement won’t last as long as the Stuart camp. The ERG split over his candidacy last month.

            Quietly and away from Westminster, British officials and military professionals have been getting on with matters, including joint exercises and the exchange of officers, from subaltern to general rank.

            Reply
        2. JW

          Its taken years for CH/EU to negotiate their bilaterals. The UK economy is nothing like CH.
          There is an ‘oven ready’ solution. EFTA plus Schengen. The idea that UK can control its borders any better on its own is a pile of smelly stuff.

          Reply
      2. spud

        if the fire went out, look out U.K., you are now greece and italy. the U.K. is to small to go it alone in todays world, nor should it.

        but there will be those who will find a way to stay sovereign, yet buy and sell to others.

        the U.K. has to find a way to reverse the incredible damage wrought by free trade fanatics.

        it will be a long slow painful process, requiring real leadership, and there is none right now.

        if they fall down on the job, its time to admit they are nothing more now than a colony.

        this will not be the first time in world history that this has happened, nor will it be the last either.

        Reply
  3. Ignacio

    RE: The BQ.1.1 variant story Eric Topol, Ground Truths. “This is the first time in the pandemic that a variant with clearcut, marked immune evasion has not induced a major new wave…. For further context, all of this is happening with minimal mitigation, such as the very low use of masks or avoidance of indoor gatherings. No less in colder weather, heading into winter.”

    That was such an interesting article for me. Thank you for linking it. The importance of this it is describing how the evolutionary pathways of the new pathogen are changing with time. SARS CoV 2 is still “exploring” paths to evade our immune systems but it seems to have come to a situation in which new evaders might come with trade-offs on other properties, possibly such as pathogenicity (Omicron variants can be deemed as the most pathogenic ever described) and now, as the article states “this is the first time in the pandemic that a variant with clear cut, marked immune evasion, has not induced a major new wave” and this is indeed good news. Though, whether a new variant arises with such clear cut evading properties and ability to cause a major new wave cannot be ruled out, and there are certainly new variants in the pipeline, this looks increasingly more difficult from the perspective of the virus. It might be that next winter wave will have a complex mixture of variants and it can be larger than some wavelets seen this year, but it is quite probable that not to the extent of the latest winter wave. SARS CoV2 has not infinite capabilities in this sense. If this trend in viral population dynamics becomes stable for a while it will be a big major change in its epidemics.

    Regarding population dynamics there is another interesting development. SARS CoV 2 had all these years displaced flu and other viruses and these are now coming back and will leave less room for SARS CoV 2 to repeat the gigantic waves we have been used to. Flu and RSV might come with some vengeance of course since we have lost immune memory on these but that is unavoidable.

    There is yet another thing that bothers me about SARS CoV 2 which is its ability to meddle with the immune system that is the root of most clinical complications with Covid. It is not “another cold”. Not yet by any mean. This property, like immune evasion, comes at a cost to the virus at it might be possible that with time new variants start to loose some of these properties when they compete with the rest of respiratory virus for a place each year and they need to be fastest in replication, fastest in virus release… I hope this occurs and then we could be starting to talk about it as another cold virus. It could be indeed the way other human CoVs have evolved. Couldn’t it be? At least i hope for it.

    Reply
    1. vao

      SARS CoV 2 had all these years displaced flu and other viruses and these are now coming back and will leave less room for SARS CoV 2 to repeat the gigantic waves we have been used to.

      Are you saying that one cannot be infected by Covid-19 and the flu simultaneously? Can you explain why not? I would think that once a virus has debilitated the organism via a first infection, other opportunistic infections have an even easier time to penetrate the immune defenses.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        The room for simultaneous infection is small. It can occur, of course, but this will never be of epidemiological importance as one infection and the reactions it triggers make it more difficult a second entry for a while.

        Reply
        1. vao

          … for a while.

          If the length of that defense against secondary viral infections is proportional to the level of immune cells/antibodies against the first one, then I suppose that the secondary infection becomes again possible at normal rates when the immune reaction has abated.

          With SARS Cov-2, immunity (or rather resistence) was lasting from 6 months to a year in the initial phase of the pandemic. As new variants emerged, the duration of that immunity was lowered down to about 6 months, then 4, then 3. I do not know what are the current figures, but immunity seems to wane quite fast now (if one can talk about immunity at all). Fast enough so that one could be infected with Covid-19 and then just a few months later by flu, since the flu season is long enough for that to happen.

          Is my reasoning correct, or are there effects of a first respiratory viral infection that protect against other respiratory viruses in the medium to long-term?

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            I am talking basically about innate immune responses that include production of secretions that make it very difficult a second entry. SARS CoV 2 directed antibodies will do nothing to prevent other viruses but there will be lot’s of defence involved cells around (macrophagues, dendritic cells etc.) and a non-welcoming environment so to speak.

            Reply
              1. Ignacio

                What this suggests is that Covid infection has potential to leave you more vulnerable to repeated infections (by SARS CoV 2 or others), well after you have passed Covid. This paper is from 2021 and it would be good to check if this holds the same with the new variants. My best guess is that it somehow holds given the frequency of repeated Covid infections seen in 2022. This is one of the bad consequences of SARS CoV 2 meddling with our immune systems.

                Reply
                1. vao

                  So the current absence of wave for BQ-1.1 might just be a deceptive lull.

                  SARS Cov 2 is quietly chipping away at immune defences and perhaps, in a couple of years, not only will people whose immune system has been exhausted by repeated bouts of Covid-19 be finally overwhelmed by a new variant, they may also, in short order, become severely ill with flu, pneumonia, RSV or whatever.

                  Reply
                2. kareninca

                  Ignacio, do you have an opinion of the (in press, accepted manuscript) that just came on in Cell on Nov. 10th, by Benjamin Estep and Charles Kuhlmann (etc.) concerning umbilical cord blood? It looks very, very worrisome to me. I apologize in advance if this is too early a stage of a paper to take seriously; I think it is advanced enough but I’m not sure.

                  Reply
                  1. Ignacio

                    I have just read the abstract. I really don’t know what is the medical impact of the use of such stem cells from the umbilical cord so I cannot give an opinion on the importance of the finding.

                    Reply
                    1. kareninca

                      Thank you for looking at it. My impression was that those progenitor cells were of importance to newborns and infants as a way of warding off illness. If that is true, and both covid infection and vaccination deplete them greatly, there could be a lot of newborns with an inability to do so. I guess we’ll see. Right now there are a lot of newborns and infants who are getting sicker than usual.

    2. Kevin Smith

      Like all viruses, BQ.1.1 simply exists to reproduce. This relatively non-virulent variant will have a better chance to reproduce because we will be less interested in countermeasures for it, because it is less of a threat to us.

      I expect other non-virulent variants to survive and thrive, and have a reproductive advantage, to the extent that they do not bring themselves to our attention, or piss us off in some way.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        We aren’t doing countermeasures worth squat now.

        And the period when the SARS-2 virus is contagious is way way way before any patient death, so whether people die in the end or not does not matter much, short of say a 10% fatality rate as with SARS-1, which do lead people to get serious about isolation and strict quarantines and contact tracing.

        Reply
    3. ajc

      Meanwhile the ER s in Ontario have 45 hour wait times. The large hospital system my mom works at in Oklahoma doesn’t have adult ICU beds because they are filled with sick kids, you know, the people repeatedly mass infected with ‘mild’ omicron.

      Almost everyone is in a pathological state of denial about covid and the danger of infection, which was never the acute phase (ie the driver of seasonal surges). The evidence is that repeated infection by SARS-CoV-2 catastrophically destroys immune systems, and that the lack of a wave without mitigations is even more frightening than there being one. The virus is not less pathogenic by any means.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        I think here you are confusing “pathogenic” (ability to cause disease, a quantitative trait) with “virulent”, a qualitative trait to describe the severity of disease. What you say is that repeated infections can be more virulent than the previous.

        Reply
      2. Jason Boxman

        Yes, this was my thought as well. If there’s no wave, perhaps that’s because we let almost a million people a day get infected for months and months over the summer in the US. It isn’t clear what good actually comes from this, except a flatter or nonexistent wave in the immediate future. “Immunity” still wanes. If we miss this wave, we’ll catch the next one.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          If the decay of immunities is real and sustained, the continuous, relatively flat, “nearly a million a day” infection rate should turn into a sustained upward curve on the mortality rate over the next several years.

          Am I missing something?

          Stay healthy.

          Reply
          1. Jason Boxman

            I don’t know how it ultimately plays out. If the evidence that infections cause organ damage, among other things, is true, then perhaps we get excess deaths due to this.

            It’s a shame we aren’t conducting routine random population sampling to determine just what is happening to people. It’s all such a blackhole.

            I personally expect to see an increasing number of people involuntarily unemployed or early retiring due to long-COVID. And we’re already seeing evidence of large numbers of people that have long-COVID for months and months effecting workforce participation. (And quality of life!)

            A more detailed story will emerge in the coming years and decades, too little too late to make much difference to those alive today. And yet we know what mitigations work, today, and instead the elite are “done with” the Pandemic, and we all suffer as a result. Insanity.

            Reply
    4. Roger Blakely

      I think that BQ.1 is causing a wave of infections. It’s not a major wave, but it is a wave. What we aren’t seeing is a major wave of hospitalizations and deaths.

      There are reasons why it is easy for ordinary people not to see it as a wave.

      1. People are no longer going to public health testing centers. They are using at-home rapid anitgen tests.
      2. COVID-19 has a variety of symptoms that people don’t recognize as COVID-19. They blame their illness on something else.
      3. People have COVID-19, but the tests aren’t picking up SARS-CoV-2 in the nose.
      4. The people who run things are desperate to get back to normal. The media is not interested in highlighting the wave.
      5. Virtually all Americans want to remain in denial about a disease that is killing 10,000 Americans per month.

      All that being said, SARS-CoV-2 continues to do damage to many organs and the immune system. For that reason I continue to live under lockdown. Last week the Los Angeles Department of Public Health announced that it wants everyone to be wearing masks in all indoor public settings. I don’t get out of bed without wearing my respirator.

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        “The people who run things are desperate to get back to normal…”

        “Normal” disappeared about 200 school shootings ago.

        Reply
          1. Henry Moon Pie

            It means:

            1) still spending; and

            2) still reporting for work.

            Whatever people have to do to meet those two “requirements” is included in “normal,” even if it’s completely crazy like sending little children into a virus-infested school.

            Reply
      2. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, if you check the Walgreens tracker, the ongoing 25+% positivity rate is kind of extraordinary. This ought to be a crisis, but instead it’s been north of 25% for the entire summer without a peep from anyone in the Establishment. Sadly, enduring evidence of how stupid this policy is will only be truly apparent in the coming decades, when pervasive disability in the overall population will be impossible to ignore, given the scale.

        Stay safe out there!

        Reply
      3. Lois

        Yeah this “no wave” talk is something I doubt, as people are either not testing for COVID at all, or doing home tests that don’t get reported. I think it is a “hidden wave” now that all tracking has been torn down.

        My three children are in high school. Where masks are nowhere to be found, and there’s no real rules that prevent parents from sending sick kids to school.

        In the last week I’d say HALF of the kids were absent due to illness. My three each got something one after the other. I tested for COVID repeatedly but got negative results. There’s just massive amounts of viruses going around, and our immune systems don’t seem to be in great shape.

        Reply
    5. Jason Boxman

      But the bad news continues to be really strikingly bad.

      Not so fast. As Daniele Focosi reminded us this week, the SARS-CoV-2 mutation rate has increased by 30% in the past year. There still could be room within Omicron, and especially the XBB recombinants, to pose a significant threat. Moreover, there’s the dismal prospect of a whole new family of variants to emerge (e.g. Sigma) that are distinct from the mutation cascade we’ve seen from Omicron for over a year.

      Another concern is that BQ.1.1 is going to cause some trouble. It has blown through Evusheld protection, a vital help for immunocompromised people, and left us without a monoclonal antibody treatment that works for people at high-risk not responding to (or unable to take) Paxlovid. Sadly. we see no new monoclonal on the short term horizon to take their place, even though so many very broad neutralizing antibodies (with potential of being variant-proof) have been identified in many academic labs.

      There’s a ways for this to run, and we give it every possible opportunity to do so with reckless abandon. Because this is the stupidest timeline, I don’t expect lucky outcomes.

      And of course liberal Democrats have left disadvantaged groups to twist in the winds. How very enlightened of them. Such virtue. But it didn’t matter at the ballot box, so there’s that at least.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        709,493 —almost 1 million Americans—have died from Covid since Biden took office. That was through Sept 2022. How many more since then?

        Imagine if the GOP had run on Covid or the US war against Russia in Ukraine?

        Reply
    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > That was such an interesting article for me. Thank you for linking it.

      [lambert blushes modestly]. Topol varies, but I thought this one was good.

      I am but a humble tapewatcher, but I have a pretty good record calling the turns, and so far I haven’t called this one. Of course, Thanksgiving may give the virus the boost it needs, so we have to wait and see. On the other hand, it’s hard to see how we could be stupider and lazier than we have already been.

      Reply
    7. Jason Boxman

      And it looks like Walgreens is up a full 1% today. Seems early to say that we won’t have a wave. Let’s check back in after Thanksgiving, methinks.

      Reply
    8. will rodgers horse

      all of us should be hoping for it!
      “which is its ability to meddle with the immune system ”
      that part has me lying awake at night. So much we don’t know.
      Is this virus something akin to HIV in that regard? Time will tell.

      Reply
  4. CanCyn

    Re Trump returns to Twitter. A friend was bemoaning Musk’s Twitter takeover and the then possible return of Trump, I, with the usual proviso of ”I’m no lover of Trump”, defended his re-instating of Trump and others. I said that a private platform has no business censoring anyone and that you don’t have to read Trump’s tweets. Crickets.
    The other day someone in the commentary talked about how on September 10 we never could have imagined the surveillance and restrictions enacted under the Patriot Act (didn’t dear old Joe B have a hand in authoring that legislation? Hasn’t he bragged about it, including having it ready to go for just such an incident as 9/11?). Taking off our shoes and body scans at the airport. No liquids carried in… really? How is it that we seem to have blithely accepted all that and now welcome, defend and indeed desire censorship? I shudder to imagine what will come next with digital identical and currencies.

    Reply
    1. flora

      El Gato Malo (bad catittude) has a particularly good and long rant on these topics.
      https://boriquagato.substack.com/p/war-on-everything

      My immediate take away from reading it is that moving democratically regulated accountability controls into unaccountable hands has bad results. Always. Sort of like moving money from banks or S&Ls into unaccountable cryptos. Unaccountable bad things happen. Things one never ever expected when listening to the pitchmen.

      Reply
      1. GramSci

        Meh. bad cattitude’s rant starts out with gusto but before long the wheels start to come off and eventually it completely runs off the rails.

        Becoming single issue voters against the “technocratic bureaucracy” might be a plausible strategy if bad cat could define the term. Unfortunately I don’t see how smashing “technocratic bureaucracy” under any straightforward definition would stop (or even try to stop) e.g. bill gates from buying up the world’s arable land.

        I read bad cat as just another “libertarian” of the sort that opposes a Maximum Wage.

        Reply
    2. digi_owl

      Generational shifts.

      2001 is 20 years ago. Kids barely born in the 90s grew up under WOT conditions and uniform worship that had not been seen since WW2.

      Reply
    3. Odysseus

      I said that a private platform has no business censoring anyone and that you don’t have to read Trump’s tweets.

      That’s literally exactly backwards. No private platform owes you access if you cannot be a productive participant. Trump’s history of outright lies shows that he cannot be, so let him stew in his own sewer.

      Reply
      1. CanCyn

        I see what you mean, no privately owned ‘club’ is obliged to serve anyone they don’t wish to. You’re right, but that idea too defends Musk’s re-instatement of Trump – it is his platform, Musk can do what he wants. We don’t have to subscribe or read Trump or anyone else’s Tweets. I would suggest that Twitter was overstepping and making judgements about misinformation, lies and propaganda that I don’t want an organization like that to make. Hence my leap to government restrictions and surveillance. I was talking censorship in the bigger sense of the word and the fact that PMC and woke-ist types support banning people like Trump from Twitter is enough to make me think it shouldn’t happen. I said in response to another post about the usefulness of Twitter that I am ever grateful to our NC hosts for wading through Twitter to find interesting, alarming and entertaining Tweets and threads so I don’t have to.

        Reply
        1. BLAKEFELIX

          Musk has the right to reinstate Trump, but people seem to forget that what he got banned for wasn’t being an idiot or a dick although he was being both, but for egging on Jan 6th. Americans have freedom of speech but not freedom of inciting riots or insurrection, and if Trump wasn’t over that line he was close enough that Twitter got uncomfortable. There’s a difference between censoring the Babalon Bee for jokes and cutting the mike when someone is arguably using it to commit treason, with a credible chance of overthrowing the US government. It was amateurish and ineffectual, but the only thing that stopped it was the spine of congressional democrats, and that’s a thin reed to rely on IMO…

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            He didn’t do so via Twitter. He did so at his speech.

            And we had readers who were there. They said it was cheerful and goofy, like a frat party. No one had guns, no one had a manifesto, they all left after they took selfies and some trophies.

            I think to the extent Trump was trying to mix anything up, he assumed the Capitol Police would beat up the protestors and he/they’d get sympathy that way. We wrote a very long post on how their performance was utterly incompetent.

            Reply
      2. Janeway

        If outright lies were the measuring stick, there might be a dozen twitter accounts that would satisfy your position. The main ‘news’ outlets tell more lies in a month than carnival barker Trump ever did. At least with Trump you know he’s going for the entertainment value, news media not so much . . .

        Reply
      3. flora

        The question is whether the govt should be arm-twisting – threats of more regulation of private platforms – unless said platforms moderate their content in the direction of govt/congressional wishes, making that arrangement an indirect govt suppression of speech.

        Reply
        1. CanCyn

          This exactly Flora! We should not be championing restriction of speech just because we think Trump or anyone else is an idiot. In Canada we have a hate speech law and I used to think that people like Holocaust deniers needed to be sanctioned under such a law. I no longer feel that way. Frankly I’d rather have the hate and stupidity out in the open, not hiding and spreading in the dark. Sanctioning or cancelling someone doesn’t change their thinking. I am a librarian and librarians have long been champions of freedom of speech, my temporary belief in our hate speech law aside. Many years ago there was a guy and his wife (Bernardo and Homolka if you’re curious about true crime kind of things) who kidnapped, tortured and murdered two young girls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahafey. A newspaper reporter wrote a book about it after the couple had been caught and convicted. The public library in Leslie’s hometown was challenged for putting the book on the shelf. I always thought it was very brave of the chief Librarian to fight the challenge. Many people, including some of her own staff didn’t want the book around. My stance then was that no one was forcing anyone to read it. That’s my stance now about the BS everywhere. Use some critical thinking and just avoid whatever BS isn’t enlightening or thought provoking in a good way. Or follow the way of Amfortas and dig beneath the BS to the find common ground with people whose views you don’t share. It occurs as I write this that Musk has called Twitter a commons, so in spite of its private ownership, he shouldn’t be banning anyone.

          Reply
          1. marym

            Re: “called it a commons”

            He’s said a few not entirely consistent things: that he would prioritize visibility for his new $8 version of blue checks; de-prioritize visibility for (presumably some definition of) hate/negative tweets; and form a moderation council. He took a twitter poll and says that’s his reason for re-instating Trump; and re-instated a few other controversial accounts without polling. It remains to be seen what he decides his criteria will be for allowing, promoting, or demoting speech; and what the impact of that mix will have on his business interests, and in the world at large.

            Reply
            1. CanCyn

              Yeah, he reminds of Trump re his inconsistencies and downright contradictory statements. I am not defending Musk any more than I would defend Trump. It feels like we’re always being forced to choose the lesser of two evils or something to be against not something to be for. But I am for free speech, even if it is crap that I don’t want to hear. There are many, many other problems with Musk, Twitter and the world at large. Someone called it a crisis crisis. Too much to worry about all at one time.

              Reply
      4. spud

        Odysseus, but the internet is on the airways of the people, and crosses land owned by the people, and crosses state lines owned by the people.

        twitter owes the people, and must abide by the bill of rights.

        elon musk drove the fascist nafta democrats out of twitter, restoring “THOMAS JEFFERSONS” bill of rights

        https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/26169-i-know-no-safe-depository-of-the-ultimate-powers-of

        “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

        ― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

        https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights/what-does-it-say

        amendment one,

        The First Amendment provides several rights protections: to express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems. It also protects the right to religious beliefs and practices. It prevents the government from creating or favoring a religion.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Please don’t exaggerate.

          The First Amendment applies to public speech, as in the town square. You have the right to set up your soapbox (your pamphlet, these days a website) and not have the government censor that speech.

          Twitter is a private company.

          Where this gets messy is Twitter (and Facebook) unlike a pamphleteer or newspaper company, which publishes it own content, only publishes user-provided content. They claim a Section 230 exemption from liability for what their users say, even though it also gives them sweeping rights over user content (by contrast, a newspaper that publishes letter to the editor or comments is liable).

          The Musk position is that Twitter’s like a town square and therefore he should hew to a strong form First Amendment policy.

          Reply
          1. spud

            gas, telephone and electric companies are subject to regulation because they use the peoples land and air.

            if a telephone company was to inject themselves into a conversation and censor it, all hell would break loose.

            https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/telephone-common-carrier

            Telephone common carrier regulation favored openness to content, but that rule was laid down long before there was a distinction be- tween telephone company and service provider.

            —-

            https://dailyjustnow.com/en/does-the-government-control-the-airwaves-118735/

            Radio and television broadcasters must obtain a license from the government because, according to American law, the public owns the airwaves. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issues these licenses and is in charge of regulating the airwaves.
            —-

            the internet uses the airwaves, and uses wires that are laid on state/federal property, and cross state lines.

            so twitter exists because we allow twitter to exist. and twitter should be ruled a common carrier.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Most interstate commerce is not regulated. The Feds do not take the view that incidental use of Federal property is a basis for regulation. The US auctioned spectrum. Please tell me how much in the way of cell phone regulation there is with respect to content. Ditto TV. Decency and public access rules went out the window a long time back.

              As you surely know, internet companies are not common carriers. Verizon made a point of cutting copper lines, with the excuse of maintenance costs, to get out of having its DSL service over copper be subject to be subject to common carrier rules.

              Please stop this line of argument. Twitter does not license spectrum and does not deliver connectivity services. It provides its services over pipe other people run.

              Reply
              1. spud

                https://billofrightsinstitute.org/e-lessons/should-the-government-regulate-the-internet

                “Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISP’s) ought to treat all internet traffic equally and not intercede between users and their internet destinations. Net neutrality policies were officially implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015. Through this, the FCC classified the internet as a regulated utility under the 1934 Telecommunications Act.”

                so it looks like what i said should be, already is. so what the nafta democrats did to trump on twitter, may have been against the law.

                “Advocates of net neutrality argued that ISP’s would throttle (diminish) the speed at which users could access certain websites, unless net neutrality was implemented. Usually, these websites consume a large amount of bandwidth. Advocates also claimed that ISP’s would eventually charge fees to websites in return for unencumbered user access to those sites. Skeptics of net neutrality argue that the government is poorly suited to regulate such a vast and changing communications tool. Further, providing internet access is a costly business for ISP’s, and businesses who provide and innovate valuable services should be reworded for their work. Net neutrality, in their view, harms economic prosperity and the free flow of information.”

                “When it was created, what was the mission of the FCC?

                Answer: It was created to regulate telephone and radio communications. As new methods of communication were pioneered by entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers, the FCC expanded its regulatory responsibilities to include television, cable, and satellite communications. Originally, its main mission was to provide equal and affordable access for all people to communications services, and ensure the viability of the nation’s communications networks.”

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  I said to stop making tendentious and irrelevant arguments. The section you cited refers to ISPs. Twitter is NOT an ISP.

                  You are now way into the terrain of trying to win an argument you’ve lost and are making your case in bad faith. This is a violation of house rule. You are treading on thin ice.

                  Reply
  5. fresno dan

    No, New York Times, You Don’t “Deserve Better” Than Donald Trump (excerpt) Matt Taibbi,
    By “a tiny bit flat-footed” [Times editor Dean] Baquet meant his paper was unprepared for Mueller to come up empty because it had ceased to be a news organization willing to embrace guilt, innocence, or whatever the hell the truth was, and instead became a political operation agitating on behalf of “our readers who want Donald Trump to go away.”
    ================================================
    I would disagree. The Times is not a political organization, but a religious cult. Russian collusion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, and sanctified relics (i.e., Steele dossier) At least some of Jim Jones followers’ scales fell from their eyes. How many of the Times cool aid drinkers have actually been deprogrammed and confessed that they believed in the strictures of a religion concocted by pseudo ministers?

    Reply
    1. Lex

      Agree. I remember the jokes about millennials losing their parents to Fox News. I was raised in a pretty left-wing, generally anti-authoritarian manner (by Boomers). I’ve lost my parents to NPR and the NYT. They know I’ve lived in Russia, followed the region closely before and after that time, that I’m far more deeply read on the area and its history than them. I’m simply wrong about everything because it’s not what NPR/NYT says. Religious is the right way to describe it.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”

        In fighting the Right, the Left became what it despised and recreated the institutions that it despised. Contemporary life is a daily battle between two sizable sects of True Believers, with us unfortunate agnostics stuck in the middle, disliked and abhorred by both sects. At least that’s the reality in the so-called West. The result is that the cult leaders and their trusted minions get to extend their grip on power, while their rank and file followers wage war on the other camp that can have no winner. It’s a bleak reality.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          OIFVet
          https://nypost.com/2022/11/19/bill-barr-says-doj-has-enough-evidence-to-indict-trump/
          Former Attorney General Bill Barr says he thinks the federal government has enough evidence to indict former President Donald Trump.
          ….
          “If the Department of Justice can show that these were indeed very sensitive documents, which I think they probably were, and also show that the president consciously was involved in misleading the department, deceiving the government, and playing games after he had received the subpoena for the documents, those are serious charges,” Barr said.
          =========================================
          Contemporary life is a daily battle between two sizable sects of True Believers, with us unfortunate agnostics stuck in the middle… So, so true. I can’t stand Trump, but is there evidence and facts that Trump meaningfully colluded with Russia, which is an extremely serious charge? I have posted all sorts of references that the Trump administration was tougher on Russia in fact than the Obama administration (and by the way, I think Trump being tough with Russia is a bad thing – it says something about America today how facts and logic play such a SMALL part of our public discourse).
          Now, Barr saying that there could actually be something to the Mar-a-lago documents is interesting, because no one can accuse Barr of being an anti Trumper. But I would be very interested in what makes such documents “sensitive.” And again, the fact that I don’t think Trump committed any crime regarding Russia doesn’t mean Trump couldn’t have done other crimes – I can wait and see. But color me skeptical – how many media headlines have stated the walls are closing in. Yeah, and only have another 1,000 miles to go…

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            I’d accuse Barr of being an anti-Trumper. I don’t think Trump appointed Barr because they were best pals. I think he is similar to most of Trump’s appointees – Trump definitely did not have an encyclopedic understanding of all the DC players before taking office, but he did align with the Republican party and so he listened to Republican advisors. That’s how Bolton got picked – someone told Trump to appoint him. It’s also why I wasn’t all that worried about the appointment – I figured once he showed his true colors, Trump, keeping in his Apprentice character, would fire him, which he did.

            Barr is a long time Republican fixer and I doubt Trump really understood that when he appointed him. He wasn’t there to uncover the fraud of Russiagate – he was installed as AG to bury it.

            Reply
            1. pjay

              This is exactly right, though I would not call Barr a “Republican” fixer, but rather a “deep state” fixer. Limited hangouts, coverups, and scapegoating minor players to protect the big boys in some of the most important scandals of recent history.

              As soon as Trump appointed him I knew what would happen. Trump is a cluless, if noisy, minnow in a tank of vicious sharks.

              Reply
          2. anon in so cal

            Bill Barr was a former CIA lawyer and part of the Bush establishment.

            Barr is part of the swamp and absolutely anti-Trump.

            Trump chose or wound up with lots of deep state ghouls, either due to not cleaning house, bad advice, ignorance, etc.

            Gina Haspel, for example, tricked him with photos of dead ducks, getting T to expel Russian diplomats.

            Reply
      2. BeliTsari

        I’m a 70, blue-collar white-trash jagoff who’s lived mostly amongst people VERY unlike me. I’d not been even REMOTELY prepared for the sneeringly brainwashed hive-minded speciously obsequiousness of Manhattan’s retired yuppies & PMC. It’s so much worse than when Fox & that other half of Comcast told the ‘Baggers, Obama were cummin fer too fetch up they GUNZ! It’s living in an “I am Legend Meets the Body Snatchers” vs “They Live/ Idiocracy” remake, each and every day. This is almost humerous, as “brain-fog” & perfectly appropriate senile dementia & 60yrs’ avid drug abuse meld with unresolved childhood trauma, EST, STDs, decades of assertive/ mindfulness therapy & human potential movement to calcify premedibular forebrain bundle tau protein clusters as reinforced smugness?

        https://www.normanfinkelstein.com/look-whose-expertise-and-wisdom-hip-hyper-woke-jon-stewart-draws-on/

        Reply
        1. caucus99percenter

          What a role reversal the passage of time can bring!

          Ironically, now Jon Stewart is the embarrassment whose sycophantic political kabuki is hurting America, while Tucker Carlson is upholding the best traditions of independent-minded citizens challenging the venality and mendacity of their government.

          Reply
          1. Glen

            Wow, THAT was incredible. To hear Rice take about Russia’s illegal invasion, and Clinton talk about China’s leadership ignoring “the legitimate aspirations of young people”. I don’t think they live in a bubble, they have their own [family blogging] unreal country.

            Well maybe they do, they are EXTREMELY wealthy, and they certainly don’t live in the America I live in. Plus they seem to be delusional in what they think they’ve done to the world and their country.

            Will Rice every admit that W was an incompetent son of the elites that invaded countries on a lie, and turned the Middle East into a dumpster fire making everybody less safe? That the Clinton’s furtherance of deregulation ended up WRECKING the American middle and working class (creating the “next threat” China), that trying to expand NATO right up to the borders of a nuclear power has raised the specter of nuclear war?

            And they wonder how Trump got elected? Trump repeatedly popped that bubble they live in.

            Reply
      3. Skip Intro

        I’ve also lost people to NYT/MSNBC. The ‘state of exception’ is a reality, and the gaslit true believers ready for their queen to coast to victory in 2016 were so disrupted, that the shock-therapy effect (see “Shock Doctrine” Naomi Klein) was applied to transform lefty democrats who saw through the WMD deception to suddenly believe the same neocons about Russiagate. The war with Russia was supposed to start in 2018, but the deplorable and undemocratic US voters chose wrong. Susan Sarandon was Putin’s greatest creation.

        Reply
        1. BeliTsari

          It’s odd, that a Goldwater Girl neocons & reactionary neoConfederate racists who took our party, get to co-opt yet another splendid concept, “woke” from people, they indentured, incarcerated, extracted from, & now “essentialed” to death? Why can’t these lizards STEAL apt phrases like, “they can’t EVEN be bothered” to hire talented & astute LIARS, like that OTHER Republican Party? That, Hills, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Warner, Biden, Harris are CALLED Democrats; we’ve had NO candidate to vote for that Israel, UK, al Saud & now “Ukrainian” oilgarchs can’t CRUSH, while sneering dead-eyed zombie yuppies are re-re-reinfecting us into cascading PASC circulatory damage, they’ll call psychosomatic malingering, since our “retirement” consists of indentured virtual share-cropping, between ever more virulent immune escaping variants, until…

          https://mobile.twitter.com/luckytran/status/1592738788534407168

          Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps one reason our current institutions have such a defensive crouch is that many of them are run by children of the status quo with Times publisher Sulzberger being a prime example. Former editor Bennett says the current behavior of the paper is all about defending the brand and its financial underpinnings with–he didn’t say this– “journalistic integrity” being something to put up in the show window. These legacies act like old school class conscious aristocrats because that’s what they are. Perhaps the weakness of Trump when it comes to governing rather than talking stems from the same source: “born on third base, thought he hit a triple.”

      So if lucky sperm is the key to your success why would you be in favor of social monbility? Reform is for chumps.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        I agree that “legacies” are at the heart of our most serious problems: second and third generation PMCs networked into jobs they have no clue how to do.

        In the ’90s I thought narcissists would be the big problem going forward but narcissists don’t tend to hire more narcissists. Overly networked crony hires replicate like Tribbles and engage in lemming-like herd behavior. This could have been disastrous had not the DNC had so many border collies ready to deploy, keeping the Tribbles/lemmings focused on Trump’s alleged crimes (not the real crimes, that could be awkward).

        As in the Babylon Bee video linked to in comments above, the Tribble-lemmings are going to find it very hard to transition to actual employment when they lack the vocabulary to talk about actual work and doing specific tasks.

        Reply
        1. BlakeFelix

          Haha, I like overly networked crony hires replicating like Tribbles. The turn of phrase, I mean, not the actual happening…

          Reply
    3. Ignacio

      Religious cult humm… I’d rather using the term caste as suggested by David. It is a caste thing and not everyone is predisposed to this kind of cult equally. You have to belong, or believe you somehow belong to the professional managerial caste, I believe, to fall into NYT’s cult. Then you can argue that the NYT is engaged on a cult to defend the political interests of this caste or even a particular subset of this caste, maybe.

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I would go further. It’s not at all clear what the (unique) political interests of this “class” are. To the extent they are the same interests as capital(ists), I see no evidence that it isn’t (politicians bought and paid for by) capital calling the shots. And I see no evidence that our political system prioritizes the interests of this group over the interests of capital, even if one could identify areas in which their interests diverge. For example, one could imagine that the PMC would have a strong interest in a competent state bureaucracy whereas capital might prefer a weak/incompetent state bureaucracy (except where needed to protect the interests of capital). Even were this the case (I’m skeptical), it would seem that the interests of capital rule.

        I find the argument that the NY Times serves the interests of the PMC over and above capital ridiculous. Same for the Democrat Party. At best, the PMC is the Democratic face of capital. Two parties, one system.

        Reply
        1. hunkerdown

          Have you or have you not read the Ehrenreich paper that addresses many of your complaints? In particular, Ehrenreich cites the antagonistic relations the PMC has with both labor and capital, and their particular specialization in reproducing capitalism, in support of the class nature of the PMC.

          Reply
          1. Left in Wisconsin

            I have and I believe that most analysts here are completely missing what the Ehrenreichs were trying to say, mainly because they adopt a much narrower definition of PMC than the E’s do. The whole starting point of those (2) papers was the observation that much of the New Left was not of the traditional private-sector (manual) working class but were in occupations like teaching and nursing. It is a broad notion of “reproducing capitalism” by teaching the young, keeping people healthy, etc. that they are talking about, not middle management or the leadership of the non-profit sector. And the main point they were trying to make is that people in these positions have a different relationship to capital than the traditional working class, not that they are all toadies who are the enemies of working people.

            In the Ehrenreich-ian (expansive) view of the PMC, there is no future for the left without attracting a significant fraction of this class to our side, but this is distinctly possible. In the contemporary interpretation, which I would argue shares virtually nothing with the Ehrenreich interpretation, PMC is simply short-hand for apparatchik, with no class interests that I can see that aren’t completely in line with the people they work for.

            To give one example, if you do union work, you see that many/most private sector union members are deeply suspicious of public sector unions because their interests are not directly the same. But it’s hardly the case that those interests can’t be aligned, just that it is not inevitable.

            Reply
    4. semper loquitur

      The NYTs is also filled with careerist types who have no idea what journalism is supposed to be about or at least don’t care. A friend worked for them a few years back, on a temporary basis. He called them the “do-mores”, people who are always eager for an extra assignment as a means to pad their resume. It sounded like “box checking” to me.

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine launched the missile that hit Poland”

    I heard a video with Scott Ritter the other day who is of the opinion that that missile was deliberately fired into Poland. He suggested that the method was for that battery to light up a point over Poland, fire off that missile, and then let if fall like a ballistic missile. It was sheer bad luck that it killed two people when it landed. It might not have been done so by Zelensky and Co. but could have been done by lower ranked officers or even the officers commanding that S-300. He did say another thing that was of interest. He said that all the Ukrainians have to do is to go around those S-300 battery command posts and download the information from the night of the attack to see who fired what where. I have not heard any other person mentioning this suggestion which is kinda odd.

    Reply
    1. Stephen

      It feels a bit like the Nordstream 2 thing from the perspective that no one in the west / Ukraine really wants to dig properly into precisely what happened and how in any form of way that needs to be made public.

      Just like NS2 one suspects that it will be quietly forgotten, given that the truth is unlikely to be helpful to “the narrative”.

      Douglas McGregor’s view that it was a pure accident might be true and I would never dismiss his opinions lightly. But Larry Johnson made the comment that it Poland is in the wrong direction if you are firing an air defence missile. Maybe it is a “boomerang” system. But, as I recall history, the British did accidentally bomb Switzerland in WW2 but not Ireland. Wrong direction too.

      Reply
      1. LawnDart

        Maybe not-so “accidental.” An alternative view:

        …they observed that the Allies wanted to stop German shipments to Italy over the Swiss rail system and the Swiss repeatedly rejected these demands. The 1944 bombing of Schaffhausen included destruction of the rail line and rail station (Schaffhausen, coincidentally, also lost a major watch-making and precision instruments factory that some feared was supplying precision equipment to Germany). Basel’s and Noirmont’s damage was also to the railway, and in Zurich the main destruction was to the neighborhood and homes around the Zurich rail center.

        http://www.revisionist.net/bombing-neutrals.html

        Reply
        1. communistmole

          The official version is still “es war ein tragischer Irrtum“ – “it was a tragic mistake”. This is even the title of a book by Martin Wipf, a local historian who has published a few books on the subject.

          Switzerland’s brave resistance to Nazism is one of the well cherished national legends, which is why the discussions about the ‘looted gold’ caused a national crisis in the 90s.

          If you want to see some pictures of Schaffhausen: there are several websites about it, e.g.
          http://www.schaffhausen-foto-archiv.ch/bombardierung-1.html

          Reply
  7. timbers

    Douglas MacGregor – “That’s the first thing you do…you take out the power grid…”

    Medvedev…added that “if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.”

    Dima at Military Summary noted this yesterday – “According to unconfirmed sources, Russia has given Ukraine an ultimatum. Either return to the negotiating table by the end of November, or Ukraine’s entire electricity grid will be decimated.”

    What is my point? Hope Putin does not negotiate away Russia’s likely impending victory. IMO, Russia should insist on unconditional Ukraine withdrawal of the 4 Oblasts now part of Russia and also Mykolayiv and Odessa to be surrendered and joined to Russia. Ukraine must agree no foreign troops be allowed in Ukraine and that Ukraine will never be allowed to join any organization hostile to Russia such as NATO or European Union, sign treaty recognizing the 6 Oblasts and Crimea are now Russia, and must never be allowed nuclear weapons.

    If Ukraine does not completely agree to this for any reason, Russia should heed MacGregor’s point and proceed.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Since Poroshenko admitted that he signed Misk Accords in bad faith, there’s really nothing Ukraine can do to appear agreement capable. Nor can the European countries act as guarantors of any agreement, provided how lackluster was their role within the Misk framework.

      If Russia doesn’t find a way to transfer power in Ukraine to other groups than ethno-nationalists and oligarchs (and external powers, krhm, krhm), there will be a new war in the future. Also transforming the russophobic power block in EU to something more pro-EU would go a long way towards future security arrangements that could actually work.

      Reply
      1. All Ice

        “Poroshenko admitted that he signed Minsk Accords in bad faith”

        In my humble opinion Russia has no intention of trusting any proposed agreement that Ukr/US/NATO offers.

        Negotiation is no longer possible because US/NATO crossed too many red lines in whitewashing and propping up Ukraine/Zelensky and demonizing Russia, Putin and his government. If there is any truth to these rumors, Russia would be merely trying to soften any remaining reservations to Russia’s conduct of the war among the nations that are friendly to Russia or neutral. I doubt the rumors are true.

        Reply
      2. timbers

        Good point regarding the West being non agreement capable. In which case…Russia should offer negotiation w/o specifying terms, for the benefit of showing her friends she is being reasonable yet knowing Ukraine will reject and if Ukraine doe not reject, Russia
        Simply says terms could not be reached – and follows MacGregor words and what Russia wants to do.

        Reply
      3. Ignacio

        Where you meaning to write something like ” turning the russophobic power block in EU to something less anti Russian?”

        This said i think you touch here an important question. Will the EU be turn irreversibly into a Russia hater supranational organization?

        Reply
      4. David

        There’s a fundamental difference between negotiating about doing something in the future, and negotiating about accepting the situation as it is (or as you can’t stop it from becoming.) The first is about promises, and I don’t think that the Russians would accept promises either from Ukraine or the West. The second amounts to the West muscling Zelensky to concede defeat now, in return for the re-establishment of something like normality. The Russians would stop at an agreed point, but retain the capability to go further if the deal was broken. Ukrainian infrastructure could begin to be repaired, and refugees could return home.

        I don’t actually think that a revived Ukraine is too much of a problem. I can see considerable political violence within the country but, even if an extreme nationalist government came to power, it would be largely impotent because its toys would have been destroyed. I really don’t think there’s an appetite in the West for another years-long programme to rebuild a Ukrainian capability to where it was at the beginning of the year, bearing in mind that the universal assumption was a quick Russian defeat, the end of Putin etc. Nobody’s going to fall for that again.

        Reply
        1. OIFVet

          “Nobody’s going to fall for that again.”

          Assuming the current misleadership of the West is capable of learning, a dubious assumption given recent history. Just in this short century countless treasury and weapons were sunk in Syria, Lybia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. Economic and proxy wars were unleashed on Venezuela and Yemen. Regime-change operations in Central and South America. Poking the dragon over Taiwan. Trying to provoke a color revolution in Iran. If anything, I would say that the pace of getting into misadventures is picking up.

          That said, I certainly hope you are correct.

          Reply
          1. Polar Socialist

            Yes. We can hope that the recent arrests in Italy are waking the misleadership to understand that having an Azov-type terrorists in control of an European country is actually a Bad Thing.

            Too close to home, one could say.

            Reply
          2. David

            Well, if every contingent of US soldiers for years had had to land at Bagram under heavy fire, if Iraq had launched missiles against European population centres, if US warships were sunk off the coast of Venezuela … that sort of thing. The fact that Russia will be able to kinetically frustrate any attempt to rebuild Ukrainian forces is going to dawn on western governments eventually. I don’t rule out a few hard-liners trying to fund “guerrilla” groups in the East, but I’m sure the Russians will be able to deal with that, not to mention being able to carry out reprisal attacks. At some point, the West will have to accept that the Russians have escalation dominance.

            Reply
            1. Late Introvert

              Thanks. I have little expertise in the matter, but a very live nerve in my gut and your analysis feels correct to me. The way the NATO West has shifted tone since the midterms would have a suitable soundtrack music moment if this were a Hollywood/CIA film.

              Reply
    2. Sibiryak

      Medvedev: “…Ukraine’s collapse

      That would be better translated as “Ukraine’s break-up “.

      Original Russian: “Ведь если не признать реалии распада Украины “

      Reply
    3. John k

      Seems to me these are hopeful western rumors. First, neither the Ukraine or the west is agreement capable, as putin/lavrov noted. Second, Kherson is part of Russia, must wait for winter to free it. Third, crimea can’t be protected without Odessa, and that’s one of the 4 Russian speaking oblasts remaining to be liberated. Plus the rest of Ukraine must be under Russian control, so can’t be independent after it’s over. What imo is not necessary are peace talks and negotiations… who is there to negotiate with given the first point?
      If anything, perhaps some posturing re the global south, but I doubt even that because that would be a bit of a lie, and Russia seems to take pains to avoid that. Otoh, various members of the west are tired of the war plus winter is coming while tptb share Miley’s analysis, and/or the faction dying to pivot to Taiwan is gaining ground.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        That is my take too. The first story was in the WaPo. It was explicit that Zelensky had been told that he needed to look less inflexible about negotiating but not change his position. Somehow commentators overlooked the second part of the instructions. The second was the WSJ revelation that Sullivan had been communicating with two Russian officials for an unspecified amount of time. That was interpreted as working on a deal, as opposed to bare minimum keeping channels open. Recall also that Russia reported (before this story) that Russia had been getting regular “Don’t you dare use nukes” threat when Russia had threatened nothing of the kind, and Russia interpreted these communiques as an escalation threat, not de-escalation. Douglas Macgregor had insider intel on Sullivan’s most recent communique and he said Sullivan made a coded or overt threat about deploying US/NATO troops.

        The Milley “Ukraine should negotiate while it’s ahead” advice to the White House and leaked to the NYT (and he would not have leaked it if he had won that discussion) was walked back and then some by Milley. Looks like he was made to eat crow in public.

        Re the Burns meeting in Istanbul, it was announced before and insiders claimed after no discussion of Ukraine.

        Reply
  8. griffen

    Republicans and the investigation of PC-Gate or Laptop-Gate. Well I will keep the popcorn ready, I do not have great hope at any attempts for impeachment ( this assumes evidence already in hand or available through bank and SARS reports ). Given the state of this country, one half will rip the other for looking into the Bidens and even attempting to pierce some shroud of “more righteous than thee” that apparently the POTUS now possesses. Joe Biden is not above the law, my humble opinion.

    Hunter is a dirtbag but that’s not a real secret.

    Reply
      1. griffen

        Perish the thought! We are in safer hands with Joey from Scranton at the controls. And that is stretching the bounds of what can be considered “safe hands”.

        Reply
      2. Petter

        My wife keeps asking, “ where is Kamala?” She, my wife that is, scans the MSM and it seems like Kamala has disappeared.

        Reply
      3. semper loquitur

        Seriously, a “brain-dead man’s switch”. She’s like the Russian Perimeter system but less socially apt. I know I would have second thoughts about removing Biden if it meant Giggles the Token Clown were then to assume power.

        Reply
    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      The photos of Biden granddaughter Naomi’s wedding that I have seen include the young couple with her grandparents – but I have not seen anything in which the bride’s father is featured. One supposes one knows why.

      Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      The choice of Kamala Harris as VP was brilliant, Most VP’s are chosen for their value as life insurance, but KH goes beyond that.
      There’s no question about her venality, but there are big questions about her controllability.
      Her only significant political base is her donors, once she’s in power that power dynamic changes dramatically in ways that would allow her personality to flower like an exotic bloom.
      A corpse flower comes to mind.

      Reply
      1. semper loquitur

        There would be no hesitation. The last vestiges of any sense of the real stakes of war with Russia that lay in the last vestiges of Biden’s mind would no longer hold sway. We would definitely see American troops fighting on the ground in Uganda…

        Reply
    3. Questa Nota

      The Daily Mail, doing the job that American papers no longer will do. When some tabloid brings receipts, then the game is almost up.

      I look forward to the eventual mea culpa editorials, although the actual words mea culpa will probably be nowhere to be found due to various reasons and sensitivities. By the time those editorials appear, the masthead perps will be in their dotage, enjoying beverages somewhere.

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine to begin voluntary evacuation from Kherson: Deputy PM”

    Of course not all will be allowed to evacuate from Kherson. Now that the Ukrainians have occupied Kherson, recruiters have been moving through the city to issue call-up papers to all those patriotic Ukrainian men who stayed in Kherson as the Russians left. Give them a real chance to prove their patriotism.

    That article mentions the first train in nine months to travel from Kyiv to Kherson and that was called the “Train to Victory.” They made a big thing about this on the TV news and showed a girl wrapped in a Ukrainian flag waiting to meet someone at the train station. I should have checked to see whether it was an electric or diesel locomotive.

    Just in passing. Banksy went to the Ukraine and left several works of his mural street art to support the cause or something. He was then surprised to learn that the Ukraine is a corrupt country and hustlers are now selling pieces of his artwork online by the piece-

    ‘“Ukrainian vandals started selling pieces of my artwork without my permission on eBay,” the anonymous Bristol street artist said in an Instagram post on Saturday. “I gave you art, and this is how you repay me.”

    The post included an apparent screenshot of an eBay listing offering fragments of a Banksy mural in the rubble of Borodyanka, northwest of Kiev, for $50 each. The ad notes that the price is negotiable and suggests that buyers may “transfer money and tell me which piece you want to repay $200.” ‘

    https://www.rt.com/news/566849-banksy-scolds-ukrainian-vandals-over-stolen-artwork/

    Reply
    1. caucus99percenter

      People determined to make a virtuous gesture can be so naïve — and this applies 100% to myself when I’m in one of my more do-gooder-ish moods and phases.

      Reply
    2. semper loquitur

      Anecdote: Years ago, Banksy came to NYC and painted a small piece on a wall somewhere in one of the less savory neighborhoods. When people heard of it, the began to travel uptown to see it. When they got to the site, they discovered some of the neighborhood “entrepreneurs” had covered it up with something and were demanding ten bucks or so to view it.

      Reply
      1. mrsyk

        I can confirm reading about this in one of the local rags at the time. During this same period, Banksy left one of his works on the doorstep of one of the Housing Works thrift shops, set up a table on 59th st and sold pieces of his work to anyone walking by, all unaware that art commanding five and six figure prices were being hawked for under a hundred bucks, and, my favorite, he commanded a strange and ominous delivery truck described by some as a mobile garden, but to me (I was lucky enough to see it in person) appeared to be bringing livestock to a slaughterhouse.

        Reply
  10. Stephen

    “What It’s Like Inside the Penal Colony Brittney Griner Was Sent to in Russia.”

    I love these articles that describe specific conditions in another country; in this case women’s prisons.

    The whole thing is, of course, written as though Russian prisons are another world and uniquely bad. However, what they describe sounds very similar to how US and many other prison systems are also described. Even down to the historical comment about this specific prison’s origins as a labour camp and the use of prisoners to control other prisoners. The author has presumably not heard of southern prison farms and trustees.

    We are meant to take away a spurious insight I guess that Russian prisons are uniquely bad. Don’t question. Don’t reflect. We are perfect. No human rights violations at home either. Only the other side does that.

    Reply
    1. mrsyk

      “She could also be made to do farm work, as much of the food used at the facility is produced by the prisoners themselves…”, this strikes me as being different and better than US prisons.

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        Perhaps the US would drop the issue if Russia gives the prison and penal colonies food contracts to Sysco. Though from purely humane standpoint such a development would add to the inmates’ misery.

        Reply
      2. Tom Stone

        Quite a few County Jails have farms and/or nurseries as part of their facilities.
        This is both to reduce costs for food and to teach inmates skills as part of the rehabilitation process.
        Jails and prisons are ugly in every sense of the word and they have a distinctive smell, just as high school locker rooms do.
        Giving someone locked up in those cages a chance to be outside and working in the earth is no small thing.

        Reply
    2. rob

      or how about ,
      how many red state southern prisons have women/mothers/daughters/etc. (and others) on THE SAME charges….. pot/thc/cannabis…… while wall street and many other states use cannabis as a way to make money… sorta legally at the same time, in the same country.
      no hypocrisy there…
      There are probably women in every state still in a prison somewhere, for these charges, and the red states/non legal pot states are STILL charging people for these crimes while in legal states, it is like a different world. Who needs russia, as an example of stupidity and unfairness, when we have plenty of that at home in the US.

      Reply
      1. Delmonico

        If you steal enough you get to go to this federal prison:

        There is also a full-time Hasidic chaplain, noted The Forward, as well as kosher vending machines, the freedom to wear zizit and Shabbat services. Whereas a gentile might be allowed a furlough on Christmas, the men of Otisville may leave the premises for Passover and a mikveh — a ritual bath — in nearby Ellenville or Middletown. The chaplain, Rabbi Avrohom Richter, is the director of Chabad of Howard Beach, and has the political clout to call in a favor of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
        https://www.insidehook.com/article/news-opinion/inside-otisville-michael-cohen-medium-security-prison-new-york

        Get wise:
        Frequent flyers have been doing it for years. After all, kosher food tastes better.

        Gentile prisoners have caught on to what they have to do to exchange mundane fare for a decadent spread. The new trend is to pass for Jewish to legally order a meal as close to gourmet as it gets behind bars.

        Even prison gang members are now going Kosher so they can partake in private dining with other gang members and quietly make plans around the meal table. Kosher meal subscribers are seated together for religious reasons.
        https://federalcriminaldefenseattorney.com/jewish-kosher-prison-meals/

        Reply
    3. Petter

      Russian prisons are really bad. Check out the Pussy Riot prisoners telling of their experiences in prison (easily searchable.)
      We all know, or think we know, the worst of the worst US prison conditions.

      Reply
    1. griffen

      I was thinking about a corollary, perhaps from stage or film. Then it finally hit me.

      The Three Stooges. “Hello. Hello. Hello!”

      Reply
  11. Carla

    Re: SARS 10 years later: How are survivors faring now?

    This article is dated 2013 without editorial comment. We’re about ready for “SARS 20 years later: How are survivors faring now?”

    Of the 8,500 people who were infected with the original SARS worldwide, I wonder how many, if any, are still alive. Definitely time for an update.

    Reply
  12. digi_owl

    “Are we really prisoners of geography? Guardian”

    Anyone else found this a bit too long winded for its own good?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I read it when it was first published and found it…. Unreadable. Maybe my brain wasn’t functioning very well, but I couldn’t really understand the point except that maybe geopolitics is complicated and defies simple theorising and modelling, but thats hardly a novel insight.

      Reply
      1. John

        I decided the point, never stated directly, was that geopolitics is passé. I happen to disagree. The broad concept has as much relevance today and it did in 1904 when Mackinder wrote. If you consider Mahan and Spykman along with Mackinder, the idea of the influence of geography and the necessity to consider the advantages and restraints it imposes become clear.

        The Cold War imposed a rigid framework for 45 years, but the increasingly fluid state of world affairs, I submit, argues for considering carefully the role of geography. The USA from 1992 on refused to take seriously the long standing Russian sensitivity to the North European Plain as an invasion highway and its desire to have a buffer. A neutral Ukraine was that buffer once the Warsaw Pact dissolved and NATO (The USA) edged its way eastward. NATO/USA pressed on. Q.E.D.

        Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “What It’s Like Inside the Penal Colony Brittney Griner Was Sent to in Russia”

    Maybe Griner could have a visit from Maria Butina who could interview her. You know – to swap notes and compare their experiences. It’s only a matter of time till Brittney Griner gets swapped for some Russian prisoner in the west so Butina may have to hurry. Then again, she is a a member of the State Duma so perhaps does not have the time. Hey, maybe when she gets back Griner could make a run for the House of Reps.

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I read that letter and she had a rough experience though she made friendships with the other women there. I would be just interested if those two could swap notes is all.

        Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The rumor is DC is demanding a 2 for 1 swap and offering one of those “Putin allies” of msm fervor. Moscow certainly doesn’t seem to care.

      Like Iran negotiations, Biden can’t take a tie. He and the fp elite can’t conceive of not winning.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Griner is just the “celebrity” prisoner. The other prisoner that would be swapped for just one Russian prisoner is actually a spook that got caught with the goods on him. They really want that spook back again so Griner is just someone that Biden can boast about to his base and have her be the distract from the freed spook.

        Reply
  14. Daryl

    > New FTX chief says crypto group will pursue reorganisation or sale FT

    Fascinating to me that this is considered an option. Did Madoff’s fund pursue reorganization or sale? What’s left after you pull the rug out from a (very complicated) Ponzi scheme?

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      “Re-organisation”: lots of descriptions describe something that wasn’t organized to begin with.
      “Sale”: selling what has been looted.

      The cryptic logic of the crypto world.
      Maybe it’s like selling a script or treatment…except for fraud instead of for making a movie?

      Reply
  15. Lex

    Ukrainian sources are essentially convinced that there’s a deal between the US and Russia which Zelensky is being forced into. It raises a couple of questions, including what sort of politically impossible situation that would put Zelensky in, what the deal could include since any deal acceptable to the west is likely unacceptable to Russia and vice versa and more when you get into the details. When Russia talks about negotiations publicly you can argue it’s saying “agree to our terms or we’ll continue down this path of destruction” but that’s very different than a deal worked out between Russia and the US.

    There’s a serious issue for the west in this. If they are pushing for a deal or making one behind Ukraine’s back they run a real risk of being the ones who stabbed Ukrainian nationalists in the back. A western world wide network of white supremacist, extremist groups that are trained, armed, experienced and pissed off at western governments for stabbing them in the back seems like a messy case of blowback in the making. I think we can safely assume that nobody in DC or London has considered this scenario.

    Reply
    1. Judith

      Reminds me of the jihadis that Carter et al created in Afghanistan. The CIA thrives on creating chaos, so creating yet more armed extremists is by design.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Carter and the CIA in Afghanistan? Please, that’s nothing.

        IIRC, the United States has a started an average of one war, coup, or assassination of a head of state each year since the end of the Second World War. This does not including the various wars, coups, “police actions, annexations, and assassinations done outside the continental United States since the illegal annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 1890s to the start of the Second World War.

        Blowback such as the attack on Congress and the attempted assassination of President Truman, the assassinations and kidnapping of American officials in the 1960s, 70s, and 90s in direct response to the American government’s actions, never you mind the genocides, massive destruction, and often large waves of refugees from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, and the Congo?

        Shoot, this is all just from the top of my head. I could easily expand this list of American caused atrocities into the rest of the Earth excepting the Soviet Union and mostly the Warsaw Pact, plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Scandinavia, and the continent of Antarctica. It would just take some light reading and I really would have to root around the UK and France, but then they did their own dirty work. But really, I could. Terrorism and blowback is as American as apple pie.

        And usually for the benefit of corporations. Not always, but close, plus the amorphous threat of communism.

        The reasons why we have not gotten more blowback inside the continental United States is partly luck, plus distance, and the very chaos created making hitting directly back difficult.

        Reply
    2. Stephen

      At some point, a Ukraine versus west bust up feels very possible.

      I even wonder if (eventually) many Ukrainians will realise that “the west played them”.

      The Russians and Chechens had a bitter war but right now seem predominantly to be in a state of rapprochement.

      Odder things have happened in history than an eventual Ukraine Russia alliance.

      May take a long time though. But not impossible.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        It seems inevitable that unless Russia is ruthless/genocidal in hunting down and eliminating every last OUN-equivalent idiot for decades to come, there will be some version of angry Ukrainians blaming “The West” for their “avoidable” loss to Russia.

        Reply
    3. Phenix

      I view the Ukraine’s latest failed attempt to escalate this into WWIII in the same vein.

      This is also a fight between the State Department and Pentagon. It’s a sad day that I trust the Pentagon more than any other part of government.

      Reply
    4. digi_owl

      Or they have considered it, but see the channel and north Atlantic as enough of a moat for it to be “acceptable”.

      Keep in mind that 9/11 was perhaps the first time since WW2 that blowback actually reached US shores in a meaningful way. And the reaction was to turn two nations into hellholes for 20 years under the banner of bringing “freedom and democracy”.

      Reply
    5. Greg

      Re: origin of the “deal or lose grid” rumour

      For those who don’t follow the war closely, I feel it’s worth mentioning that the “warmonitors” account is loony-bin tier as an information source. Repeatedly posts absolutely barmy takes from Ukrainian propaganda mills, hasn’t originated anything useful that I’ve seen.

      Reply
  16. KD

    How (Not) to Interpret Russian Political Talk Shows

    Reading this article just makes me happy to live in a democracy with a free press, where instead of the polyphonic voices of autocracy, I can read or hear the same CIA-talking points no matter where I look.

    Reply
      1. Polar Socialist

        Well, I did bother to dig a bit deeper and it turns out Moscow Times’ sources are Bellingcat and Anonymous. So not perhaps the most authoritative available.

        Anyway, according to this exposé there are indications that a person from Russian government is quite frequently in contact with Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media trying to find out what is and is not legal in Russian media and also gives media companies tips on who they could interview or to whom they could turn to regarding certain issues.

        Almost like doing the thing that governments are supposed, or at least assumed, to do. And yet the article even itself takes note that media often does not follow these tips and seems to have total independence in selecting it’s topics and guests. And that the biggest driver regarding those is indeed ratings.

        Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Walking Seoul”

    I have no idea what it would be like living in Seoul but personally I would miss beautiful places and buildings, not that we are doing much of that in the west lately. I did find something though in looking into Seoul. There is a livestream called ‘Walking tour Korea 🔴 Never Sleeps Seoul Gangnam Night Street Walk’ and was immediately struck by one thing. Damn near everyone is wearing masks in that livestream and I mean damn near everyone. There Is Another Alternative-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHIApygKGT8

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Seoul has some very beautiful areas although most of the historic streets have been swept away. The past 10 years they’ve invested in some very nice linear parks and greenways and in typical Korean style, once they do something, they usually do it very well. Parts of the old railway to North Korea have been turned into a really gorgeous park, they’ve even turned old highway overpasses into parks (and did a better job than New York’s HighLine). It’s most famous new park though, the Cheonggyecheon Stream, is in my opinion really badly designed, although to be fair, it was their first big attempt.

      With the exception of Busan, most Korean cities are pretty grim to walk or cycle through. The interesting bits are connected with vast stretches of grim late 20th Century urban renewal, and all that means. There are also some characterful but pretty grim fragments of the older mid 20th century stuff, familiar to anyone who likes K-drama or K movies as the Directors love to focus on them. But most of their cities are pretty forgettable. Anyone wanting an urban experience should go to Busan, which survived the Japanese and the USAF and has a lot of character and variety.

      Reply
      1. Lex

        I lived between Seoul and Incheon (Gimpo) which had the barrenness of Seoul in a lot of ways but at the time was tucked up against ritual Korea and close enough to the west coast islands that escape was relatively easy. One thing korea has going for it is (was?) a commitment to old beliefs that mountains are sacred and aren’t developed. So even in Seoul there are pockets of nature. I also agree that there are some pretty cool places to walk around in Seoul. In the end it’s not unlike most modern mega cities in being sterile and unwalkable. Comparing them to European cities built before cars isn’t really fair. If Amsterdam had been essentially built from the 50’s to now it wouldn’t be walkable either.

        Reply
        1. chuck roast

          I spent some time in Seoul-city in the early 60’s. There were still a few bullet holes around from the war, and everything was a crammed-in one story. I remember there being one 3-story building in town. Three years of war and a half-century of brutal Japanese exploitation and despoliation did a major number on the entire country. Urban areas were paved, but there was only one paved inter-urban road…from Seoul-city to Pusan-ni. The place was fought over twice during the war. Whatever their urban environment, I’m happy to see them at peace…in a manner of speaking.

          Reply
          1. Jeff W

            “There were still a few bullet holes around from the war, and everything was a crammed-in one story. I remember there being one 3-story building in town.”

            Ha-Joon Chang points out that, before the early 1960s, South Korea’s income was less than half that of Ghana’s.

            Someone I know was in Seoul as a teenager (with her parents who were on some sort of teaching gig) in the early 1970s and she said there were still oxen walking around in the street.

            Reply
        2. hk

          One nice thing about Seoulbis that it is surrounded by mountains: even if the city center (and, well,about 90-95% of the city) might be overbuilt and crowded, mountains (even fairly rugged ones) are within city limits. (Although there’s always annual bruhaha about illegal restaurant operations in the mountains.)

          Reply
      2. Revenant

        Busan is great. I really enjoyed being a backpacker there for a week. The wooded mountains behind it are really walkable and still have historic temples.

        Seoul seemed plenty walkable. I walked from the royal palace down to the US base and the war museum (Itaewon?). Big and functional though but nothing unfamiliar after Beijing and Moscow.

        Reply
      3. c_heale

        They are busy trying to gentrify/commercialize all the old areas in Seoul. Since house prices are falling now, hopefully this will stop.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Could be because those Asian countries are a lot more crowded than mine or yours. We even ride around in metal boxes with climate control.

      Although things are changing. This past autumn it seemed like my town was having a downtown street festival almost every weekend. It was as though they were deliberately crowding together to mentally purge all that Covid isolation–hardly any masks.

      It wasn’t that long ago that our downtown was always empty and would have included tumbleweeds if the South had tumbleweeds. Car culture is definitely showing some decline with many malls having the tumbleweeds.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Winning the Majority: A New U.S. Bargain with the Global South ”

    I got as far as reading the Executive Summary but it is enough and knew that I did not have to read any further. Read for yourself but every single one of those five main points in it is something that Washington will never do or countenance. It would require them to do a total 180 but seeing how they have not done so the past nine months but have in fact only ever doubled down again and again, I think that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. These points are totally unrealistic and will never happen with the present establishment. To save you the trip, here are those five points-

    ‘• Accept the reality of the Global South’s new nonalignment, resist the temptation to view the region primarily through the lens of the “strategic competition,” and recognize that the expulsion or containment of Russia and China is unrealistic. Shift away from a strategy centered on secondary sanctions, which could counterproductively push states closer to Beijing or Moscow. 

    • Discard the “democracy v. autocracy” and “rules-based order” rhetoric. It lacks credibility and damages U.S. equities in the Global South. Democracy–promotion might be more successful if the United States follows a policy of doing no harm and leading by example.

    • Steer the inevitable competition with China and Russia in the Global South away from bloc–formation and militarization and toward economic and technological arenas that can potentially trigger virtuous cycles.

    • Lead with incentivization and integration. Large transfers of public funds are unrealistic in the current domestic U.S. environment, but playing the role of a catalyst is possible. Act more as partner than patron with respect to the Global South’s middle powers, some of whom are increasingly sites of supply chains and innovation.

    • Strengthen the G20 and expand its representation of Africa, for better coordinating solutions to global challenges such as climate change, food security, global health, and finance.’

    Reply
    1. Karl

      I agree, but I think it’s interesting as a marker of a new direction of thought among serious Foreign Policy thinkers. The Quincy Institute has some heavy hitters.

      Remember Kenan’s memorandum on containment? Sometimes just articulating what’s “in the wind” can make a bit difference. I think this executive summary could be the start of something like that. “The Establishment” is going to need some flotation devices (new ways of thinking) thrown their way when the tsunami (realization of US/NATO limits in a multi-polar world) is close enough it can no longer be ignored. At least I hope so.

      The Global South will only benefit from having multi-hegemon competition for influence. The U.S. has traditionally embraced competition in principle, ever since Wilson’s “Open Door.” Then the neocons took over in the ’90’s, who thought U.S. hegemonic monopoly would be wonderful for the world. Boy, did we forget history when we went that way.

      Reply
    2. Kouros

      With those points the US cannot sell security and defense and weapons and thus there is little left for the US to sell to the Global South…

      Reply
  19. Tom Stone

    I’d love to see some of the ‘Due Diligence” those VC firms did before giving SBF more than $1,000,000,000 in total.
    “Don’t worry Honey, Suzanne researched it”
    130 companies, no accounting department and no central record of the bank accounts, or who had signing authority and that’s just for a start.
    The smartest guys on the planet, Masters of the Financial Universe, the boys that eat sharks for breakfast handed over $1 Billion plus to Sam the Afro Boy because he promised high returns and “Virtually no Risk”,
    Because blockchain!!!
    Hilarious, and it’s getting better by the day.

    Reply
    1. mrsyk

      Below link for Sequoia Capital. I’m amazed that this is still on their website. Sequoia’s partners Alfred Lin and Michelle Bailhe might have some ‘splainin’ to do. Or might not. I can’t for even one minute believe these people didn’t know that FTX’s business model was a Ponzi scheme. Links to there bio-sketches on the lower left.

      Reply
      1. Candyman

        There are a few comments on FTX being a “Ponzi scheme”. It was not – a Ponzi scheme is where you simulate high returns by giving new investor’s money to older investors. That is not how FTX worked, FTX was a crypto exchange where customers could buy, sell and hold crypto assets. The problem was the “hold” part – instead of safe custody of customer assets, FTX took them and gave them to the “sister” trading firm Alameda who lost them in bad trades.

        This is not to deny that FTX/Alameda was a very, very poorly run company, and perhaps an intentionally fraudulent one, but in any case the fraud was not conducted in the manner of a Ponzi scheme.

        Reply
        1. mrsyk

          True enough. I will confess to lazy phrasing. But I will stand by my point. I swam these waters some years back. I’ve been in a number of due diligence meetings. I’ve participated when Blackstone conducted due diligence on the boutique firm that I was employed at. The people I met were very sharp. They did not play. Every counter party, every service provider, custody, broker dealers, independent auditors were examined carefully, etc etc etc. They were averse to services supplied by subsidiaries or providers without track records. This was the rule. Every serious potential investor was like this. This was all in the Naughties so perhaps the process has changed, or rather perhaps risk assessments have changed. SBF’s smiling face can still be found on their website. Someone needs to tell me how this all came to be.

          Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. that sort is edging into some medieval dancing on a pinhead pseudophilosophy…but with the backing of Power.
      its the latter that makes it dangerous.
      McKaskill and Moldbug, wrestling in neon jello for the pleasure of the overlords.
      to wit:” the upshot of all this discussion would be a final, ideal system, which the statesmen-philosophers of tomorrow could impose on their unwilling subjects with a clear conscience.”

      didn’t i see this on one of those WEF powerpoint slides?….

      and! dude’s an Oxford Proff?…is he even out of highschool?
      lol.

      Reply
    2. semper loquitur

      “In 2012, when Bankman-Fried was still a student at MIT, MacAskill persuaded him that the thing to do, if he really wanted to do good, was to get rich first himself, and then improve the world.”

      This is the rotten nut of it. Strip-mine resources and opportunity from the world today in order to make for a better tomorrow. Lament the victims who don’t yet exist while ignoring the suffering on your doorstep.

      This all strikes me as a kind of meta-Wokeness in that there is a “virtual victim” being held up for display. An abstraction that is the locus of a lot of concern-trolling and hand-waving, a lot of high moralizing and richly satisfying righteousness. As a bonus, it’s even more convenient for the Ineff-truist than the Wokel.

      The Wokel actually has living people that it must simultaneously glorify whilst ignoring their actual suffering. How many hungry people has Robin DiAngelo fed with her “up it’s own a$$” racist verbiage? How many stable jobs has Kendi X delivered to his “community”?

      But the MacAskill’s of the world don’t have to worry about all that distasteful mob. Their Eternal Victims don’t even exist. For all they know, a chunky asteroid could be tumbling towards us that makes all of their musings moot. A clean heart and clean hands!

      Reply
  20. Randall Cooper

    I do wish that Naked Capitalism would re-think links that are behind paywalls. While I understand that Matt Taibbi deserves to make a living and that people should pay for the privilege of reading his work, I don’t understand why NC feels obliged to publish links to his paywalled site. On and off, I have made contributions to NC over the years, and I expect that Yves et. al. also need to be paid for their work. But NC doesn’t make it a requirement of reading anything and everything on their site.

    Regardless, at a minimum, I’d suggest that NC note when the links are behind paywalls. This would save readers who don’t want to pay the annoyance of clicking through, only to find themselves with nothing to read.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I appreciate your support but you don’t seem to understand what you are asking for.

      We now have 55 links a day, up from 25-35. There is plenty to sample from here. If you ask me to have to say which are paywalled, you will get 5 fewer Links a day. That is how time stressed I am. Lambert doesn’t even hat tip link providers.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lambert doesn’t even hat tip link providers.

        I put link provider initials in parentheses after the link. I don’t use handles because I don’t mentally map handles to email (probably a good thing).

        I also very rarely put Links in that I am unable to open, using any of a variety of techniques. I link to Taibbi because he is that good (and I quoted a portion below the fold). I don’t want to be recommending material I have never read!

        Reply
      2. Randall Cooper

        Thanks for the explanation. I get it. And I appreciated Lambert saying that he doesn’t link what he hasn’t read (which, I suppose, means that he pays for Taibbi). That all said, I will continue to be grateful for NC, and will continue to pay for it to thrive.

        Perhaps it is not incidental that I don’t agree with Lambert’s assessment of Taibbi (he’s yet one more fairly classic liberal in a sea of same…which is fine…just not extraordinary).

        Finally, I’m not one who needs 55 links a day. In fact, I think it’s too many. I like NC, but there are plenty of other things I also like to read. Even retired, I’m amazed at how much time I spend perusing all this stuff. Between NC and scheerpost alone, there’s overload. God forbid I should want to have a look at the Literary Hub daily. So don’t stress…cut back…quality does have some value against quantity.

        Reply
    2. Mikel

      With FT and some others, posting the exact title in search can often lead to non-firewalled prints of the same article.
      Hope that helps.

      Reply
      1. hunkerdown

        Be careful, archive.today sites have been observed sending pings to a counterterrorism school in San Francisco. archive.org does not appear to be affiliated with that network and should be okay to use.

        Reply
  21. CitizenSissy

    Re: Fetterman: His social media campaign was creative and fantastic, but IMHO the reason he won is that over an extended period he repeatedly visited every county and engaged with voters in even the most ruby-red Pennsylvania counties. People very much appreciate that effort, and this went a long way to neutralizing the boatload of Republican dark money and Oz’s personal fortune dumped into attack ads. Do people even pay attention to political ads anymore? Data points are useful, but overrated.

    I’ll contrast the Conor Lamb primary campaign: I live in a Philly suburb that went D plus double digits for Biden. The Lamb campaign had a busy TV and online presence, but very little outreach to Democratic voters, other than a last-minute meet the candidate, for which I received the text the night before. He’s a great congressman with an exemplary biography, but the lack of any in-person effort hurt.

    Reply
    1. Left in Wisconsin

      The “visit every county in the state” strategy has been de riguer in Wisconsin at least since Scott Walker (which is a good thing). But I think Dems would be deluding themselves to think visiting a place once or twice during a campaign while otherwise exuding a complete lack of interest in such places would make much difference. Same with HRC not visiting Wisconsin in 2016. Everything about her exuded a lack of interest/contempt for flyover and it’s hard for me to see that a couple of visits would change that dynamic. In fact, I would be kind of disappointed if it did.

      If it worked for Fetterman, it is because many voters in all those counties could see and hear Fetterman and conclude that he was a person that actually cared about them. Mandela Barnes seems like a very nice person, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he actually was more interested in the well-being of rural WI than most Dems, but one couldn’t escape the feeling that, were he not running for statewide office, he wouldn’t otherwise ever have set foot in most of out-state WI. And that’s after four years as Lt. Gov.

      What Fetterman gets that most Dems don’t is how successful the Repubs have been in convincing the outstate citizenry that Dems really hate them – with of course plenty of Dem material to work with.

      Reply
      1. CitizenSissy

        Bingo: that’s why making the effort to show up is so important. The really godawful attack ads aren’t going to land if a candidate shows up in your area on a consistent basis, even if he/she’s your political opponent. Fetterman didn’t win red counties, but lost with smaller margins.

        Reply
  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Italian “far-right” PM Meloni’s comments on immigration

    Just checked the Weather Channel and they didn’t list temps in hell, but there has to be some hockey going on if Western leaders are saying things like this.

    About damn time. I have listened for years, nay decades to politicians trying to figure out what to do about the problems of mass immigration. Should we limit it, should we have open borders, how will we accommodate people when they get to the US, should we have sanctuary cities, etc., and never once have I seen a politician at the city, state or federal level address the root causes of mass migration – your basic Four Horseman stuff: war, famine, etc. – or say out loud who’s in the saddle whipping those horses into a frenzy. If the West doesn’t want to so many immigrants, maybe stop impoverishing, polluting, exploiting, and turning other people’s countries to rubble for the sake of Western imperialism which is exactly what forces people to flee. Seems like a no brainer, and yet we have people like Larry Summers saying it only makes good economic sense to turn “3rd world” countries into the garbage dumps for the West. If there is a Stygian hockey league, one can only hope that Summers, once he sloughs his mortal coil, will be a maskless goalie with no defense, facing slapshots from an infinite number of Zdeno Charas for all eternity. But I digress.

    Don’t know much about Meloni yet, and it’s quite possible she’s trying to score points against France when Italy shares plenty of blame itself, but at last she saying these things out loud. If this is what “far-right fascism” looks like in the 21st century, then maybe we should give it a try. I look forward to the day when people can move to another country because they want to, because they’re curious about other people, and want to learn more about the world. Not because some Western [family blog]er has ruined their country for fun and profit. Enough with capitalism already.

    Reply
    1. Mikel

      And France didn’t even make a pithy comeback asking when Meloni and crew would renounce Mussolini’s invasions of Africa?

      “…but there has to be some hockey going on if Western leaders are saying things like this…”
      Going to need more popcorn.

      “If the West doesn’t want to so many immigrants, maybe stop impoverishing, polluting, exploiting, and turning other people’s countries to rubble for the sake of Western imperialism which is exactly what forces people to flee…”
      The elephant in the room along with the fact that the West can’t do any of it without help from those trying to maintain a certain status in the exploited countries.

      Reply
    2. korual

      Meloni going on TV and discussing the CFA Franc and imperialism. Who saw that coming? Next she’ll be suggesting dropping sanctions on energy imports!

      Reply
      1. Revenant

        It’s good woke judo. Champion the immigrant… AT HOME against the interests of your geopolitical rivals. West Africa equals French energy policy (uranium plus natgas and a little oil). No need to even mention Russia….

        Reply
    3. Kouros

      Hungary said in the past the the immigration from the Middle East and Africa is due to US led wars while the Ukrainian immigration is also due to US unwillingness to negotiate a security architecture with the Russians… Preeety out there that pariah state and its leadership. And talking with John Mearsheimer, no less…

      Reply
    1. Kouros

      IAEA General director only dared to say that “Whomever is shelling the plant better stop”. Didn’t have the mandate (and guts) to say that Ukrainians should stop from shelling.

      Reply
  23. Mikel

    “While Crypto Bro Scammed Clients, Reporters Scammed Readers” FAIR

    The media is heavily populated with an elite that is heavily invested in promoting and maintaining an archetype to represent “innovation” and ” the future.”

    Reply
  24. semper loquitur

    Vonnegut Event: Home Cooking with Chester Cheetah

    Cheetos Dusters Allows People to Add Cheeto Dust to Food Fav’s Within Seconds

    Just in time for Thanksgiving, Cheetos is releasing its new Cheetos Duster, perfect for those wanting to add a little cheesiness to their turkey. … In recent years, Cheetos have been incorporated into various foods, going viral thanks to culinary TikTokers showing off their creations. For those innovators looking to advance these recipes, the Duster is the ideal tool.

    https://balleralert.com/profiles/blogs/cheetos-dusters-allows-people-to-add-cheeto-dust-to-food-favs-within-seconds/

    Reply
  25. Eureka Springs

    This is a disaster. The first FCC broadband map is out. Why would anyone release this? Shouldn’t all who did be fired? I’ve tried navigation on two browsers (firefox and safari) with no success on any feature. I’ve had to search other pages to even get an idea what the features are supposed to be. Wondering if other NCers in remote poorly served locations are experiencing difficulties?

    The map

    How to Use the FCC’s National Broadband Map

    Reply
    1. flora

      It sort of works… painfully slowly. I mean slowwww, type something and go get a cup of coffee and come back slow. At least on my system. Which is hilarious for an FCC map of broadband availability.

      Reply
  26. semper loquitur

    Reflections on the strange things one finds in the trash:

    I love to stop and rifle through “Free!” boxes on the street. I’ve found incredible books and lots of really cool, useful things that way. In the basement of my apartment building, there is a kind of inadvertent “Free!” box situation, it’s a table where people toss non-“garbage” stuff for the supers to throw away. Stuff that doesn’t fit neatly into the recycling bins schema of paper v. plastic/metal.

    I am always on the lookout for additions to this table. I’ve found masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, a Sheffield pocket knife, a bunch of really nice pots and pans, tools, all kinds of stuff. Phone chargers, a perfectly good camera tripod as well as one of those mini-tripods, and assorted electronics doo-dads. It drives my partner nuts but I refuse to let something useful go to waste.

    But the other day I found something that kind of gave me pause. It was a pack of “C” cell batteries. Unopened, good until 2030. Probably run you around 15 bucks or so.

    Now, to be clear, the people who put such things in the basement are not putting them there for others to find. You have to dig around behind the recycling bins to get to this stuff. So what that means is someone tossed out perfectly good batteries.

    It’s a small thing, I know, but I think it’s symbolically huge. Literally wasted energy. No one bothered to put them into the foyer where people put stuff for other people to find and use. They were just tossed out.

    Reply
    1. MaryLand

      I have seen this behavior in people I know personally. It seems to stem from a desire to feel wealthy. Like “My time is so valuable I can’t be bothered with letting someone else use my discards.” Seems to be an attempt at propping up their self-worth.

      Reply
      1. semper loquitur

        Yeah, I think you nailed it. It’s a kind of conspicuous consumption by wasteful discarding. I have friends who do related things. They buy things, expensive things, then use them in ways that almost guarantee that they get wrecked. One couple I know loves to dress up their table with really ritzy tablecloths and place-mats. For casual dinners amongst friends. Fine if you want to dress up your table for appearance but do we really need to eat pizza over linen and the like?

        They are not wealthy by any means, they can afford it but it’s still a luxury. When I once balked at using such nice things for such mundane purposes, they laughed it off and said they would just buy a new one of whatever got stained. It’s ritualized consumption, they are telling themselves that they can afford to be wasteful and feel better about themselves for it.

        Reply
        1. MaryLand

          The laughing off stains because they can just buy new is another tell. I offered stain removal advice for their children’s clothes to the same people I mentioned above. Yeah, they laughed it off and refused to have their baby wear a bib because they would just buy new. Sad for our planet, but it’s a need for conspicuous consumption as was written about by Thorstein Veblen in his 1899 book “Theory of the Leisure Class.” Our PMC are in the same vein.

          Reply
          1. semper loquitur

            You should see the mountain of abandoned children’s toys and equipment in our basement. It’s a common site on the sidewalks as well. At least there there is a chance that someone will use it. There are walkers, baby-backpacks, clothing, you name it rotting away downstairs…

            Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      In high density Somerville, the most interesting things I found were a wax sealed bottle of Vermont Maple syrup, which was delicious, and the bottle is great and I’ve kept that, and two full size acrylic plastic salt and pepper grinders, full of salt and pepper, which I promptly took and still use. Also a RevereWare copper bottom pot, but sadly warped, and I got rid of it.

      Certainly my favorite finds.

      Reply
      1. semper loquitur

        After the Ukraine war broke out, I found two bottles of vodka abandoned on the street. Who throws out booze?! Quitting drinking? You have to know someone who isn’t! It wasn’t even Russian, rather it was Polish vodka. I took it home and infused it with lemon, honey, and cinnamon.

        Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      yup.
      ive built most of the structures, fences and assorted implements on my place with stuff folks threw away.
      i go to the dump before i go to the hardware store.

      Reply
  27. JustAnotherVolunteer

    The map works for me – safari on an iPad. Also works with Brave. There is a slight lag in loading but the detailed local info is accurate for my options.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      Thank you. I tested late last night. Home wifi was just strong enough to stream netflix (probably 2mb). Turned that all off before navigating FCC map on my mac mini and still had troubles described.

      Reply
  28. Eureka Springs

    Adding on more point. They appear to be testing wifi as well. Does this mean wifi is and will be further funded by the big bill and accepted as high speed? Bad idea if so. As for testing moble wifi the following instructions from How to use link above suggest crooked outcomes.

    The Mobile Broadband Map shows the 3G, 4G, and 5G coverage of each mobile provider for the area displayed. The coverage areas reflect where consumers should be able to connect to the mobile network when outdoors or in a moving vehicle; they do not show indoor coverage. The map also allows you to compare mobile wireless coverage reported by wireless different mobile providers.

    How many people only have a phone to access the internet? Must be an enormous number. Shouldn’t the most difficult circumstances reflect the best speeds available? Certainly one should not have to step outside in order get a working signal at all. If I try to navigate the net on phone inside my home it usually wont work at all, nor a call, or simple text. It barely works if I step out to one “sweet spot” about 70 steps from my front door, hold my phone up high with two fingers, no grasping with whole hand. Is the ATT – Verizon – Tmobile owned FCC suggesting all mobile users should consider this acceptable? Should kids have to do their homework out in the cold rain and snow? Should Mom have to apply for zoom work (which wouldn’t work at all) under such conditions?

    Get fiber to every home already on an electric or the old phone line grid. Good routers can handle phones and such from there. None of the bill money should go to wifi, imo.

    Reply
  29. YOTJ

    I’m confused about Eric Topol’s discussion of the lack of a new wave. It seems well established that vaccines only moderately affect transmission, and only for a few months; at the same time, booster uptake is slower every time. So how could vaccination be significantly creating a “wall”? At the same time, the latest variants are very immune evasive, which would seem to indicate that prior infection as well as vaccination would not create a strong wall. I guess there’s still the idea that t-cells are enhanced, but there’s also the data indicating that prior infection weakens the immune system. Overall, it’s hard to see how there’s a convincing explanation provided. It seems much more likely that there’s less testing and less reporting of it, and that vaccination and prior infection are indeed reducing the severity of the infections, so while there’s likely a wave of infection, there’s only a ripple of hospitalizations/deaths. I’d love to hear other readers’ thoughts on this, because there’s a big difference between a wave of infections but few deaths (with potential for long covid, increased health events, and mutation) and no wave.

    Reply
    1. will rodgers horse

      I think you rightly call out several possibilities at work, none of which are very clear imo.
      a few things seems relatively certain; there are way fewer acute deaths due to covid these days;there is huge under diagnosis and reporting going on; the vaccine uptake has fallen dramatically as have NPI’s; a large percent of the population has now HAD covid.
      the rest is mere speculation

      Reply
    1. semper loquitur

      “A deputy seized alcohol from the truck and entered it as evidence at the Logan County Sheriff’s Office, according to the report.”

      Huh? Evidence of what? That nothing was going to be done?

      Reply
  30. Adam1

    I grew up in the 70’s & ‘80 learning Russian media inly produced propaganda. After reading the UK Daily Mails article on Hinter Biden’s laptop & Matt Taibis article on the NYTs I can only sadly laugh at our grand improvements over the soviets.

    Reply
    1. Polar Socialist

      Yes, but when asked, IAEA representative said it’s still impossible to say who shot those surrendered Russians… /s

      Reply
  31. Mikel

    https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/other/eu-says-eurozone-set-to-fall-into-recession-this-winter/ar-AA13ZpKg/

    EU says eurozone set to fall into recession this winter
    11 Nov

    Eurozone edges away from risk of deep winter recession FT
    or
    https://todayuknews.com/economy/eurozone-edges-away-from-risk-of-deep-winter-recession/

    You have to chuckle at narrative economics.
    Guess that volatility has to manufactured or traders?

    Spoiler alert: the only thing transitory about inflation is the definition headline to headline.

    Reply
  32. semper loquitur

    re: How the Humanities lost their humanity

    Lot’s of none sense running around in this article. Let’s start with the last statement:

    “It isn’t the importance of scientific knowledge that gets a private genius to talk, but its incorruptibility.”

    It this naivete, willful ignorance, or good old fashioned $tupidity? Incorruptibility? Is this guy unaware of the enormous amount of money that corporations throw into the sciences to get the results they want:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/public-universities-get-an-education-in-private-industry/521379/

    Is Dow paying for science that demonstrates the carcinogenic nature of it’s products? How long does the grant last that proves that? Science as it is practiced is as corruptible as any other area of human endeavor into which wealth and power has extruded it’s talons. Don’t get me started on the really, really big money behind the scientificization of maiming children for profit.

    The author’s claim also demonstrates a decided lack of understanding about scientific claims. Incorruptible? Why? The implication is that when you are dealing with The Truth! there is no wiggle room, no way to fudge.

    But, in fact, all scientific theories are to some extent or another fudges. They all contain assumptions, gray areas, kludges. They have to, as any modeling project does. Unless one can claim omnipotent powers of observation and analysis, any claim about the natural world is by necessity incomplete. Throw into that mix avarice or ambition or what have you, and the claim of the incorruptibility of science undergoes a phase-change back into the mental flatulence from which it solidified.

    “An arts-trained elite was no great liability when the state spent 5 per cent of national output. When that share is getting on for half, the case for office-holders of a more technical ken rather makes itself.”

    Right, because losing touch with what makes one human will help you to spend the enormous aggregated wealth of society much more wisely!

    “If it does, the humanities will have themselves to blame for their relative demotion. ….The rest of the reputational hit has come from our educationally narrow rulers.”

    So because a couple of m0r0ns, malleable putty in the hands of the powers that be, made it into office, the humanities are at fault. What does the author suggest the humanities should do in the future? Try to weed out the psychopaths early? Shunt them off to the business departments where they belong? Drivel. At least in the US, we know Biden finished in the upper half of his class and Kamala knows her hip-hop.

    “That more balanced life of the mind could come back into fashion.”

    Nothing in this article speaks to any sort of balanced “life of the mind”. It’s a big dump on the humanities, confusing the Woke (ultist’s machinations with the thing itself. If there were any balance, the author would be advocating for expanding the educational experience to insure that broader minds would arise. There is nothing here about that. In fact:

    “A liberal arts education was once the price of admission into polite society. Don’t assume that will hold true a generation from now. There is too much reputational wear and tear to contend with.”

    Yep, nothing to be done, I guess. Once the humanities “reputational wear and tear” set in, it’s all a wash. Nothing to be done but let the engineers decide who gets to live and die:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/noelsharkey/2018/11/08/should-a-self-driving-car-kill-its-passengers/?sh=5336330012ec

    I am probably asking too much of a Financial Times columnist, to be honest. They have a product to sell to their bosses. It’s the inevitability of the degradation of the human condition, in lock-step with the demands of private wealth and power.

    Reply
  33. Karl

    How can Ukraine get more funding in the lame duck Congress?

    There’s a huge time crunch and lots of cross-currents ahead for this lame duck session. Some interesting dates to keep in mind: December 6: runoff in Georgia. December 16: spending package (including Defense authorization) must become law to avoid government shutdown. January 3: New Congress in session. Democrats also want to raise the Debt Ceiling in the lame duck Congress to avoid ugly debates on spending when R’s take control of the House, which R’s are salivating to start.

    Lame duck cross currents include extending the Child Tax Credit. E.g., why should America’s kids go to the back of the line behind Ukraine?

    I don’t think Congress will do anything to roil the political waters before December 6. This leaves ten days afterward to get Ukraine funded, or if they extend the deadline, maybe three weeks.

    Between now and December 16, if Ukraine’s position does not radically improve in some way, more military aid may seem pointless. Bad timing too, with General Winter and more Russian missiles clobbering Ukraine. This may explain the apparent growing pressure on Zelensky to “do something” to make more $$ in the 2023 budget saleable. Refusal to meaningfully negotiate makes the sale so much harder. The operative word is “meaningfully.” May not be possible if Ukraine is not agreement capable.

    The next 3-4 weeks will be interesting.

    Reply
    1. Kouros

      The thing is that those 330 kV transformers are more expensive and hard to get than unobtanium. Same with those diesel engines with wide gauge. The Congress, lame or not, cannot vote them into existence, its not like those items are like fiat currency…

      Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        But they can quickly fund their MIC donors with kick-backs. You betcha.

        I am still tickled that one of the recent DemRats Party stooges was so butt-hurt that people were calling them “war mongers”.

        Reply
        1. caucus99percenter

          An eye-opener for me: the video of Bernie Sanders, after being heckled for voting aye on billions for war-mongering, walking up to a peace activist and growling, “Who’s paying you?”

          Reply
  34. LawnDart

    Analogious potentials unlimited:

    Why some feces float and others sink

    A team of researchers at the Mayo Clinic has solved the mystery of why some people find their bowel movements floating while others find theirs sinking to the bottom of the toilet bowl…

    https://phys.org/news/2022-11-feces.html

    Spolier: gut biomes that produce gas are responsible for this effect.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Well that was well worth the several hundred thousands of dollars spent and all resources expended then. Science marches on.

      Reply
    2. howseth

      “Prior to the 1970s, scientists believed that fecal matter either sank or floated depending on the amount of fat it contained. Experiments showed that not to be the case.”

      Well, there it is – I, like – I suppose many millions of other defecaters – never doubted – the ‘fat in the turd theory of flotation’. Seemed so obviously true
      Microbes!

      Reply

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