Links 12/10/2022

Kelvin-Helmholtz: Rare wave clouds amaze sky-watchers in Wyoming BBC (resilc)

Hubble Detects Ghostly Glow Surrounding Our Solar System PhysOg

Mars May Have Active Volcanoes, Adding New Promise To Search for Extraterrestrial Life Time

Researchers Link Aspartame Sweetener To Anxiety Science (furzy)


Key Partner in Covax Will End Support for Middle-Income Nations New York Times


Study: COVID-19 rapid home tests not highly sensitive for Omicron CIDRAP


China preparing for bad outcomes:


We’re living in virus hell Washington Post. Lambert: “They brought this entirely on themselves…”


Crews race to contain biggest oil spill in Keystone pipeline history: Mystery breach sends 14,000 barrels of crude gushing over Kansas countryside Daily Mail

What US Leadership Can Do for Nature Project Syndicate (David L)

Nature-based solutions can generate 20 million new jobs with right policies: UN report Anadolu Agency

Colgate’s 9 Billion Toothpaste Tubes Defy Effort To Recycle Them Bloomberg

An Indian spiritual leader is urging the world to ‘save soil.’ Experts say he’s not helping. Grist


The semiconductor industry and the China challenge Asia Times. Kevin W: “Part 2 at

China banks throw $460bn credit lifeline to real estate sector Nikkei

China to Cooperate With Gulf Nations on Nuclear Energy and Space, Xi Says New York Times

China to use Shanghai exchange for yuan energy deals with Gulf nations – Xi Reuters

Old Blighty

A crisis in a crisis: How charity workers are struggling to make ends meet openDemocracy

There’s a better Brexit strategy available to Labour Chris Grey

German Government Deficit to Hit 4.5% in 2023 – Spiegel Reuters


Greece’s Varoufakis brings his anti-establishment party to Italy Politico

Napoleon’s Art of Warfare Big Serge

New Not-So-Cold War

L’affaire Merkel nails the coffin in any hope for a peace deal (not that we had any, we thought expectations were wildly out of line). Alexander Mercouris argued yesterday, and I agree, that Merkel was not playing Putin from the outset. But she came to appreciate the fierce opposition of the US and fell in line.

‘Minsk II Was Agreed On To Arm Ukraine’ – Did Merkel Really Say That? Moon of Alabama. Even if the Mercouris/Moon takes are correct, they don’t exculpate Merkel and Germany. She refused to uphold a signed deal when the wind blew the other way.

That Sends Shockwaves… Andrei Martyanov. Important.

Paul Whelan: US and Russia to explore more prisoner swaps BBC

The Americans Started the US War with Russia CounterPunch (resilc)

In Ukraine, they announced damage to about half of critical infrastructure Teller Report

Modi to Skip Annual Putin Summit Over Ukraine Nuke Threats Bloomberg. Note Putin has made no such treat. That was Liz Truss. The West kept accusing Russia when Russia had not changed doctrine, which was that the use of nukes was defensive. However, this shows the dangers of trying to debunk something, that it often winds up reinforcing the disputed proposition. For instance, studies found that press attempts to disprove the claim that Saddam Hussein worked with Osama bin Laden in 9/11 wound up reinforcing the idea, merely by putting their names in same paragraph. The visual proximity supported the idea that they were connected.

Russia offers India cooperation on lease and construction of heavy-tonnage vessels TASS

Iran, Russia, China Hold Joint Naval Drill Amid Growing Ties Radio Free Europe


The Other Giant Crisis Hanging Over the Islamic Republic of Iran Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Guess which Fortune 500 brands and govt agencies share data with Twitter? The Register

The Legal System Is Completely Unprepared for Apple AirTag Stalking Vice

Imperial Collapse Watch

New spending bill squanders billions on dysfunctional weapons programs Responsible Statecraft


Judge declines to hold Trump and his legal team in contempt of court over classified documents: reports Business Insider

Kyrsten Sinema Switches to Independent, but Stays Close to Democrats Charles Pierce, Esquire (furzy)

“She is scared about her reelection”: Kyrsten Sinema ditches Democrats and registers as independent Salon

Our No Longer Free Press

This tweeet may sound like an exaggeration but consider: on YouTube, the Duran boys make a point of not using the words Nazi or Hitler or Bucha apparently because they risk being demonetized.

To quote famed short seller David Einhorn: “No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worse”:

Supply Chain/Inflation

The Bezzle

Sam Bankman-Fried Agrees to Testify Before House Committee New York Times (Kevin W)

I Accidentally Got SBF To Admit to Fraud Coffeezilla, YouTube. In case you missed it, good and not overlong weekend fare.

Want to own Twitter’s kitchen equipment or office chairs? Here’s your chance MarketWatch

FCC Orders Telecoms To Block Scammers Targeting Student Loan Forgiveness Seekers Gizmodo

Understanding Absolute Vs. Comparative Advantage & Why It Matters Ian Welsh

Class Warfare

UK government mounts state offensive against striking workers Defend Democracy

A third of New Zealand’s Navy ships are docked over lack of crew Defense News

Tackling inequality from the demand side Steve Waldman

Antidote du jour (William B):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Sugar Mountain by Neil Young)

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    It’s so awfully hard to care
    About every Frau and Herr
    When our goals are iron clad
    Moscow first then Stalingrad

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    Each Ukrainian exile
    Wants to live in Western style
    We’ll soon have ten million more
    Fleeing from our proxy war

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    It’s a sad state of affairs
    When our sanctions go nowheres
    Moscow still has not collapsed
    Russia’s growing on the maps

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    Here’s Zelensky on the phone
    He wants another long range drone
    While our industry’s a mess
    Or it’s off to the U.S.

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    Oh to live in lovely Brussels
    We make the rules in our own Brigadoon
    We deal in daydreams champagne and moonbeams
    Just to think about the peasants makes us swoon
    The peasants make us swoon

    1. deplorado

      Lovely work, but could you please make these into a booklet, it is hard to collect them one by one :)

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ran Neuner
    Fire up the FTX exchange.
    Issue a new FTT token.
    Distribute the token to creditors/depositors.
    Accrue 100% of profits to token holders.
    It will be the biggest exchange in the world and users will be made more than whole.’

    So I had to look up who this Ran Neuner charterer is and found the following – ‘Ran Neuner is the founder and former CEO of The Creative Counsel Group. The company which he co-founded grew to become the largest sales and marketing agency in Africa. He sold this business to the Publicis Groupe in 2015 for what was recorded as the biggest business transaction in Africa’

    Yeah with all due regard, at this stage FTX should not be trusted with even the contents of a piggy bank. This idea of Neuner’s is too much like that scene from “Trading Places” where this guy is demanding that the brokers be brought back in and the machines turned back on again- (10 secs)

    1. griffen

      Hey look, we are not scammers. I swear, for real, this time you can like trust and be certain your new, newer crypto token will survive and advance as a going concern. See we will get that idiot, investor running SoftBank to invest yet again! \sarc

      Love anything that works for the analogy with the Duke brothers.

    2. Aaron

      For a brief time in 2021 I was watching some of Ran’s youtube videos on Crypto. It became quickly apparent that he is a huge shill and brings in money offering hopium to un-savvy retail investors. He doesn’t live in reality and inflates everything to make a dollar.
      He was a host that brought SBF in for an interview that Coffeezilla crashed, leading to the Coffeezilla expose linked above.

  3. zagonostra

    >Hassan Mafi – The level of censorship in the US is second to none.

    Whatever is being uncovered in the Twittersphere I would speculate that if there were a similar dynamic playing out in the Ytube/Google world, it would pale in comparison.

    Ever since the Ytube “thumb down” option went away (though the signs were there previously) it was obvious that what George Carlin referred to as the “owners of the country” don’t want you to know what other people are thinking/feeling. They want to control the sluices of information lest the levy break.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Interesting point that. Twitter is spilling its guts at the moment in how it censored people and helped swing a Presidential election to the candidate of their choice. And this is only possible because Elon Musk purchased Twitter. You think that if we crowdfunded him, he could be convinced to buy Google/YouTube as well? I wonder what is in their secret files.

      1. griffen

        Crowdfunding for billionaire’s pursuit to begin to privatize major technology, surely that has a bit of an Orwellian tinge possibly*? Not to throw stones, mind you. Might just be me, kinda strikes me as a satirical thought.

        Google will reveal all sorts of detail. Jane and Jack were attending their evening meal, just prior to seeing the Broadway hit Hamilton. Afterwards they hitched a ride back using their Uber application; they opted to go for the premium ride experience!

        *Or instead more of a future world. Weyland Corporation, building new worlds and such.

        1. LifelongLib

          Was major technology ever public though? I’m old enough to remember pre-internet when people with unusual interests communicated (at best) through the U.S. mail, otherwise via streetcorner pamphlets or screeds tacked to telephone poles. You sure didn’t see their stuff on TV or in the newspapers…

      2. Carolinian

        I have a theory that Google really was “don’t be evil” in the beginning but as they grew into a giant cash machine they decided they had to kowtow to Washington in order to ward off regulation. After all there’s no advantage to Google’s core business in excluding people. They want everyone’s eyeballs glued to the web, 24/7.

        In other words it’s D.C.–where power is the business model–that sees these huge communication companies as an opportunity for manipulating the public.

        1. Mikel

          Maybe YouTube is a “draw the perceived enemy into the limelight” operation. Monitor what content draws people in. Surveillance.
          And Twitter is a “filter out the perceived enemy” operation. Demonize, marginalize, and exclude.

        2. DLM

          “Censor according to our rules or else we’ll break you up.”

          same idea as “if you print that story, your newspaper will lose its seat on Air Force One” circa 1995.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And be excluded from the White House press pool. It’s an exclusive club – which is why it drove them nuts when Trump in 2016 let in all sorts of reporters from different media into it.

        3. digi_owl

          Ads corrupt, basically.

          I am more and more convinced that the one reason the web degraded as it has, is that a system for paying via the ISP was never established. This unlike on the phone network where certain numbers carry an extra fee that is then collected by your local telco.

      3. YankeeFrank

        No way Musk can amass the funds to buy google, and I don’t think ytube is for sale as an independent entity, even if he wanted to. Twitter is the main town square for the intelligentsia and what Musk is doing with the aid of intrepid reporters like Matt Taibbi et al is going to open them all up to intense scrutiny from the incoming Republican house if the R’s have any sense (a serious question). The biased, silly and arbitrary behavior exposed in last night’s tweet storm by Taibbi linked above (being followed up today and tomorrow by further reports) and clear showing of intense cooperation/pressure with/from the feds on all of this are clear first amendment violations on an unprecedented scale.

        We should also be getting more reporting on the way much needed push back against the failed and unscientific covid regime was suppressed and led to extremely damaging lockdowns and suppresson of early treatment protocols etc. This news will continue to trickle out for some time — Taibbi stated they have only just begun to examine the huge trove of internals docs, slack channel comms, etc. and this will be a major blow to the “freedom of censorship” putsch.

        The Ukraine news censorship will hopefully also receive some attention — banning of opposing voices like Scott Ritter, Garland Nixon and others has enabled a news blanket that will hopefully also be shattered with Russia’s coming victory.

        1. digi_owl

          As best i can tell, the story of Twitter goes something like this:

          Early on it focuses on forwarding SMS. This is embraced by journalists and like to notify each other about potentially interesting events.

          This then leads others that wants to get in contact or keep pace with said journalists adopt the platform as well.

          But the excrement really hits the fan when Yahoo buys Tumblr, leading many of its users to decamp for Twitter. A few years later you see Twitter implement a official “retweet with comment” feature, that basically mimics the basic behavior of Tumblr “comments”.

          And as best i can tell, Tumblr was for years a humanities playground where fringe ideas were given “legitimacy”.

        2. Tom Doak

          I fear that almost no one actually cares about the First Amendment anymore.

          When did this happen? Probably the asylum of Julian Assange.

      4. Val

        The election swinging here was accomplished through mail-in ballots with no signature matching, by direct order of the secretary of state. Ballots were then transmogrified into a digital file (aka a buttigieg transformation). This process has now been codified for all future theatrics here, sold to the “electorate” as convenience.

    2. Lex

      Sometimes I go looking for information (usually historical) which I know exists. A Google search even when delineated carefully will bring back essentially nothing. A huge number of hits for things that are tangential or just plain outside the search. Then I switch to Yandex and the information I’m looking for pops up with in the first page or two of search results, including in English. I’ve done side-by-side searches and the results are amazing and disturbing.

      We’ve been led to believe that the world’s information is at our fingertips but it isn’t. I’m not necessarily saying that the Google search results are established for information control. Based on my experience it may well be that Google is now built to sell us things or make sure its media partners get the eyeballs (which is selling us things).

      1. Bsn

        Yes Lex, Yandex is good, Brave is good (both, at least for now) and then it gets less and less “good”. Also, people should think of using Utube via TOR. It’s a good step in the direction wherein gaggle won’t know it’s you. Imagine what listening to specific songs or films implies about one’s leanings. “Don’t Put Me Down ‘Cause I’m Brown”, “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”, the band NWA, or the recent film “Died Suddenly” about blood clots induced by vaccines. Is this person a left wing radical? A right wind nut case? The more data points the better the picture. In fact Spotify has recently focused on selling the listening logs of it’s subscribers – it’s more profitable than the actual service it provides. The more off the net, the better.

      2. Michaelmas

        Google is now worthless.

        Well, except for maps.

        Even there I’m in London currently and it does really badly with an old city that’s not laid out in a grid like a US city; it’s twice directed me into cul-de-sacs. London cabbies with the Knowledge are not going to be threatened, I’d say, which is interesting in this age of the presumed ascendancy of AI.

        1. C.O.

          Google seems to be good for maps in certain countries and large cities. Where I live, if I had blindly followed the google maps directions one day on my way to view an apartment to rent, I would have walked onto a major highway and likely not be typing this today. Via my experience friends and acquaintances began apprising me of the ways “crowd contributors” plus automatic route tracing can go very, very wrong and be extremely difficult to get fixed. It sounds like an issue especially affecting what google considers smaller markets, where the “crowd” is not as big to start with and the automatic route tracing can screw up badly because information about traffic direction on major streets is wrong. The city I was looking for apartments in is somewhat infamous for its one-ways, and yes, that highway, which ploughed through the original street grid, probably making route tracing even worse than usual.

      3. jrkrideau

        Opera is a bit better than Google or Duck Duck Go but Yandex seems to hit a lot of sources these other browsers are ‘avoiding’.

        It cannot be censorship, just different search algorithms. Wanna buy a bridge?

  4. Chris Cosmos

    I listened to Mercouris’ webcast on Merkel’s confession and found his notion that she was lying in the recent interview she gave. I do not see a reason for her to lie and more reason for her to tell the truth at this point in her life. It was clear to me that the actions taken at the time regarding the Minsk process were always intended to do precisely what Merkel intended–or I should say what Washington intended since all major Euro leaders are under the thumb of Washington not because they are necessarily forced to join the USA’s crusade against Russia but because all leaders (save one) want a return of the Roman Empire in which the USA was always a bit half-hearted about pursuing.

    After 9/11 the US government created a genuine movement to institute the “rules-based order” which was consciously something that was not “international law” which was a fairly loose system of rules that were vague and unenforceable offered not real order of the type the West desired. Consistent rules with a clear locus of enforcement (Washington) was what most of the oligarchs and government officials wanted. Without rules of the road it was very hard to enforce anything good or bad. Once the Europeans saw that the USA, after 9/11, was determined to act as the new-Rome European ruling elites fell in line. If Washington ran wars incompetently the Europeans would help run those wars better if the USA would stick to the crux of the issue–how to control rogue nations or wall of the West from those countries and alliances.

    Today the new Empire has showed it is serious about solidly establishing the Empire even if the rest of the world opposese it. The combined power of the Anglo-sphere and continental Europe with the inclusion of Japan and South Korea is formidable even if it “loses” the Ukraine conflict. The alliance is solid. Opposition in Europe to this project is nil because it includes right and left. The right gets its longed for militarism and the use of force in domestic and international affairs (a version of fascism for them) and the left gets it gay-pride/wokeness/environmental agendas at center stage. The mainstream media outlets usually controlled by the new and much improved version of Operation Mockingbird are reliable allies and the people, particularly in Germany seem happy to be told what to do and what to think–thus everyone is happy except those of us who see a neo-feudal future for our grandchildren (in my case).

    Merkel, I believe, has always been in on this project of USA uber alles..

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      How is the American Empire like the Roman Empire? I do not understand why the European Elites should want to be underlings in an American Empire. I do not grasp how thinking of the American Empire as a new Rome aids analysis of the current situation in the world.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Elite education. Places like Harvard (not limited to) are fantastic to brainwash.

        The EU has an odd combination of promise but infancy. So many are Americanized. They simply don’t see it. They aren’t the EU but American approved.

        Besides the granskids of people with relatives in 1930s Germany, imagine drinking and getting laid in places like Cville and Chapel Hill. Who is the good guy? Its not that much more complex.

        1. Savita


          ‘Besides the granskids of people with relatives in 1930s Germany, imagine drinking and getting laid in places like Cville and Chapel Hill. Who is the good guy? Its not that much more complex.’

          What does this mean??? We started with Merkel + designs upon a new Roman Empire. I don’t know where you ended up

          (sigh. It’s okay. I regularly get bewildered by particular non sequitur sentences thrown in by commentators . It’s just all the US-centric slang and references. ‘Benjamins’. ‘theres no there there, that Oakland, there, thing’ and et cetera.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I am an American and I am often confused by the non-sequiturs and slang, u.s. and other. I have particular trouble understanding cutting edge phone and web-slang and the increasingly frequent uninitiated acronyms. I have many times failed to recognize unlabeled sarcasm.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I haven’t been to Europe lately so I can’t comment on resistance but I do know that nothing came out of the yellow vest movement in France that made much difference. The same people are in power and the same policies are being implemented. As far as Germany is concerned my impression is that most people just want stability, comfort, security and they trust the authorities since the authorities have given most of Europe rational social democracies. I don’t see anything changing much in the near term unless things get worse than I expect. Modern governments know how to deal with dissent far better than in the past.

    2. eg

      With apologies to Voltaire, the International Rules-based Order is neither international, rules-based, nor an order — it’s Calvinball …

  5. flora

    re: the Twitter Files

    Trying to decide –

    is this more like Watergate: led by a political candidate and his team/party to mess with what Americans could read in the newspapers prior to election

    or more like COINTELPRO: led by the FBI and DHS to spy on and mess with the information Americans could share on a public platform prior to election

    or a hybrid of both?

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s more like Silicon Valley deciding when and where the First Amendment applies because they know better than most people.

      1. flora

        I don’t think that’s quite right. SV creates new products/communication tools to sell the world. Govts and govt agencies and political parties do the weaponizing. This goes back to the old landline telephone days. This seems worse in so many ways.

        1. Carolinian

          Right. There is the CT that Google was a Deep State project from the getgo since SV and Stanford were closely tied to the MIC. I don’t believe that, and being a bit of a techno nerd myself I think techie enthusiasm doesn’t need sinister origins. The appeal of the personal computer revolution was always about empowering individuals, not Big Brother.

          And it did since we are sitting here freely talking about it and probably wouldn’t be without the web. The current struggle is about the country’s old line incumbents trying to put the genie back in the bottle. Life was so much simpler when they got to do all the talking.

          Plus, power corrupts. Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley comedy show on HBO was all about the regions confusing ethics.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            I haven’t done much research on the topic, but as I recall, Google very early on received funding from DARPA., the scientific research arm of the War Department. I don’t know if that’s prima facie evidence (I don’t think it necessarily is) of its integration into the security state from inception, but it certainly is integrated now.

            1. Carolinian

              Yes but I’d say you’d need more evidence to prove anything. DARPA funds lots of technology research like robot cars etc. Most of our current electronic technology originally started out as some kind of defense project.

            2. Savita

              One of the founders of Google was invited to meet with Obama for private discussions, some incredible amount of times, like 20 or 30. This on the record. This article reports 427 meetings in total


              So, sinister, organised, well funded. Yes. Google is that thing you are suggesting. Once it reached a certain stage of its development the public owners became merely actors.

          2. Lachlan

            Oh but the powers that he love the internet, they don’t have quite as much control over it as legacy media but despite that it’s far, far, far more effective for their purposes. Just look at Q-anon and the capability of hey have to astroturf Reddit with thousands of bots.

            They love the internet. They use it well.

    2. griffen

      I vote for the combo / hybrid. What this ongoing saga might reveal is the level of censorship that was indeed taking place prior to the “most important election of your life” in 2020. It may also reveal how little some may care, as in look at how or why they were censoring persons and stories that we do not like or wish to follow at all. I think Taibbi may wear a few scars from this, more than Weiss, as in “look who they serve at the feet of” kind of nonsense. The nature of the Twitter senior employees, based on what I see thus far, is more Animal Farm but that’s my initial take. Twitter employees in the past sure seemed to like their life in the bubble world of Twitter.

      Hypothetical PMC class reaction…”I mean, who really cares about the Hunter Biden laptop in 2022? Get with the times and just let it go, that is such a non story.” Now on the other hand if the story is about Jared, Don or Eric or Ivanka, by all means we must not censor anything about the Trumpian things because they are evil and not worthy of redemption. Heavy on the \sarc

      1. flora

        Interesting question at this point: FBI spies on Congressmen and Senators and lied to Senate committees. Who controls who? (Protecting the agency budgets?)

      2. flora

        I remember that T on the 2020 campaign trail said he’d clean up the intel swamp. (He made the same pledge in the 2016 campaign and after election made some efforts in that direction, efforts quickly thwarted by said swamp.) It was a little noted pledge in 2020 but not forgotten by said swamp creatures. Me thinks they took it very seriously as a threat to their jobs.

        TRUMP’S HIT LIST Trump ‘will fire FBI boss Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel & Defense Secretary Mark Esper if he wins election’

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          I’ve often thought as incompetent as he is and as insincere as the pledge likely was, just the fact that he said it, out loud, as part of a highly publicized mainstream presidential campaign, made him a threat. And to head off any “whatabout…” I’m aware Trump and his crew approach these things from an opposite, through the looking glass side. But just the fact that you had a non-fringe, major party candidate saying anything like this…well, we all know Schumer’s “six ways to Sunday” quote and how every other Repub and Dem live by it.

          Also, I vote hybrid/combo with a dash of something new we haven’t ever run into yet.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > I vote hybrid/combo with a dash of something new we haven’t ever run into yet.

            Whoever would have thought that the FBI was a finishing school for Silicon Valley? To me, that tweet shows a really astonishing concentration of spooks in one firm. (Yasha Levine probably knows better than me, though — Surveillance Valley.(

            1. Objective Ace

              Not just spooks, but experienced spooks with ~ 20 yrs of experience. These werent just people bouncing around to which ever job would pay them the most

        2. anon in so cal

          T was targeted since the campaign trail in 2016 when he proposed peace, diplomacy, trade with Russia and an end to the US regime change attempt in Syria. His unexpected 2016 win set the Ukraine project back by 4 years and the nat sec state was determined not to allow a repeat.

          Trump did end CIA Timber Sycamore but failed to clean house and was repeatedly tricked and conned. Remember Gina Haspel and the dead ducks? Or Yovanovitch and NSC staffers Vindman and Fiona Hill and the Kerch Strait incident?

  6. Lexx

    ‘We’re living in virus hell’

    ‘This did not make me feel better, exactly, because no one wants to live through the Middle Ages Redux, but it did help me take it less personally — to know that ours was not the only family felled by a ceaseless barrage of plagues, that this wasn’t an indictment of our personal hygiene or a sign that we’d been cursed by a witch.’

    There are different categories of ‘hygiene’. When we talk about personal hygiene it usually refers to the personal grooming of our exteriors, e.g. taking a shower, brushing teeth and flossing, etc. ‘Food hygiene’ is about the proper storage and cooking of food to avoid sickening or poisoning ourselves and others. The rules of food preservation are some serious food hygiene. There is a relationship that lends itself to wellness between the two.

    Our understanding of personal hygiene needs to make a shift to include the health of that tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, and everything we chuck in to drink, masticate, or swallow whole, because everything has some effect once bumping along in the digestive tract, like viruses…

    … that are muzzled over on the sidelines after an exhausting string of symptoms but maybe not subdued for long and certainly not gone! Our immune systems have beasts by the tails they’ve never seen before. “Subdued” is not the same as winning. It’s more like a break between rounds. The coach in the corner needs to alter his/her strategy for a competition not entirely in evidence, the hidden battle on an internal field. That normal parents are trying to return to is an armistice…

    … ‘an agreement for the cessation of active hostilities between two or more belligerents’, and maybe the new kids on the block get to keep some of the real estate they’ve been occupying. I believe they’re seeking to dig in permanently and become solid citizens.

    Some of the old peacekeepers have been greatly diminished or killed off by generations of antibiotic use.

      1. t

        Same. I react the same way when some smugly insists that privacy is dead and we should get over it. You can assess a situation and look for solutions, or you can push an agenda – someone uses phrases like immunity debt and I know what their up to.

      2. wendigo

        Problem is “immunity debt” is misunderstood.

        Its real meaning is that had enough people been exposed and died last year less people would die this year.

        1. Objective Ace

          I’ve thought this too. While its true that many Covid deniers are propagating the idea to return to normal, denying “immunity debt” entirely seems wrongheaded.

          I would actually go one step further then “had enough people been exposed and died last year less people would die this year”. Getting cowpox, for example, protects one from getting measles–a much more severe and deadly disease. So theres at least some niche examples where immunity debt, as defined by covid deniers, exists and can lead to worse outcomes. Our job is to demonstrate why Covid is different, not to deny “immunity debt” entirely

          1. C.O.

            Er, cowpox protects against measles? As I recall Edward Jenner is popularly credited with demonstrating that milkmaids were protected against smallpox by infection with cowpox.

            I understand why measles would stick in the mind though, because measles apparently wipes out immune system memory should a person come down with it and survive the experience. I ended up getting a run down on this from my doctor’s office when they called me in for a measles vaccine update due to the failing effectiveness of the vaccine my age cohort got when we were kids.

            Neither of these examples illustrate mythical “immunity debt.” Having all the people vulnerable to a particular pathogen die so that it can’t spread anymore in the broad population won’t work so well with a rapidly evolving virus. I’m not sure it even works in the context of any other pathogen, unless and until an effective quarantine regime is in place.

            Here in Canada, there is growing evidence of post-covid infection immune dysregulation such that repiratory infections are making children especially sick in greater numbers than is typical. But so-called public health officials like Bonnie Henry are trying to fob this all off as “immunity debt” instead. But hey, they are going to start formally announcing how many children died of influenza each week in BC now.


            Confirmed child flu deaths to be posted weekly, says Henry

            1. Objective Ace

              Sorry — cowpox protects against small pox.. not sure where my mind was. thanks for the correction

              Agreed, this example isnt relevant to Covid, since Covid evolves so rapidly (and other reasons I believe) but it is an example of the “mythical ‘immunity debt'”

  7. The Rev Kev

    ‘Putin – about Merkel’s words about cheating with the Minsk agreements:”To be honest, it was absolutely unexpected for me. It’s disappointing. Trust almost dropped to 0. How to negotiate? About what? And is it possible to negotiate with them? Where are the guarantees? ” ‘

    The man has a point. How do you negotiate with people with whom you have zero trust and who treat written agreements as meaning nothing, even if endorsed by the UN Security Council? Russia may have some trust with certain European nations but as a group have given up on them and as a result are now turning east. Will it be that the only agreements made are those that confirm to facts on the ground? Certainly there is no point in going ahead with any Arms Treaties as you know that any agreement will be gamed like the last one that was cancelled. Look at Russia and Turkei. Does Putin trust Erdogan? Not really as that guy has a history. But Russia knows that Türkiye will keep agreements that they make when it is both their interests to do so. With the collective west, not so much. And that makes the world that more dangerous because some people think that gaming trust is good in the long term. Hint – it’s not.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s also not a good look to anyone outside the G7. The “new look Europe” is still the old Europe. Don’t make deals with the white devils, especially now that the don’t offer anything except a protection racket. The SCO and BRICS applications aren’t accidents.

      Borrell’s line about the garden and jungle come into play. Do you make deals with animals? No. This is the attitude clearly on display. You can see it with Biden’s attitude towards Iran. He wasn’t turd polishing at that time, so he tried to get an additional win instead of simply undoing the work of the “worst president Evah!”

      1. Stephen

        That’s right. Ask Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux or King Cetshwayo of the Zulus whether the west keeps its promises. Zero change and the Global South fully understand it.

        I think that Putin may have felt he could trust Merkel, given her background, more than the rest.

        Why would he make any deal now?

        1. Bsn

          Yes, so many examples of lies and broken treaties. And, the global south has always thought this but had no recourse except to hold a tin cup to the IMF and others. It’s night and day different now. The global south feels it has a couple big brothers to help them against the playground bully – USA. Now they can stand up a bit and have some back up. I have a sliver of hope in the future, at least on this subject. The climate, surveillance, old age creeping in ….. I am less optimistic there

    2. John k

      Imo merkel statement serves 2 purposes: first, it covers her ass in the current Russia is evil wave, claiming she was anti Russia all along. However, like kissinger and Milley she sees the real end game, Russia will crush Ukraine and dictate terms, so showing nobody in the west can be trusted leaves Russia with only the option of defeating Ukraine so badly that the west has no hope of re-starting the war at a future date.
      Imo putin is likely aware of her motives, but playing the injured, trusting guy, plays very well with row, who will be patient with the slow progress.
      And who knows… she is now positioned as sufficiently anti-Russian she might make a political comeback if/when at the next election the the pop decide Germany is on the wrong path.
      There will be no negotiations over Ukraine, but if the German pop shifts and merkel claws back into power, putin/merkel might be able to reach agreements on trade and even security. Whatever Germans think about Russia, they can’t be pleased by the pipes blowing up.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar


        I discovered that the egrets are part of a series by Moises Levy called Fishermen, taken in Mexico.

        The egrets seem to believe (and I’d agree with them) that they are part of the scene, maybe in charge of the scene.

        Here, along the Mighty Po, there were quite a few garzette this summer (little egrets). They are a charismatic bird indeed.

  8. Jason Boxman

    Now if only the FCC would block the constant Medicare phone spammers that keep calling me every day!

    Similarly, the widespread and largely legal use of spoofed local numbers means users are more likely to actually answer their phone. (Or in other cases, simply revert others into mass ignoring all of their calls out of fear).

    All my incoming spams are spoofed local numbers. I get dozens a day on my VZ # and starting to get them on my GV # again as well.

    The telephone infrastructure in the United States is basically useless at this point. Failed state.

    1. Questa Nota

      Be glad if you live outside of California. We got those Medicare calls and constant television ads. The latter were the only ones pushing the pharma ads aside. At least with Medicare the December 7 end date provided some relief.

      The joy of being a Cali resident is to be besieged with spam calls several times a day from unknown or fake numbers, all pushing the same Department of Energy Savings has millions for solar nonsense. That might have some end date but isn’t apparent at present. The robo message says to press 9 if you don’t want calls. Yeah, good luck with that. You will still get the calls, just from another number, as blocking land line calls does no good with spoofers. Next step will be to cut the cord, somewhat harder for seniors.

      Other states may have their own Fresh Hells of robo-pestering, but the land of fruits and nuts really makes it into an art form.

      Thanks, Sacramento pols and lobbyists. :/

      1. Laura in So Cal

        Yup…I’ve gotten that call from at least a dozen different numbers. It goes in waves and blocking the numbers will give you relief for a few days.

        These days we only answer the phone when we know the number.

        1. Joe Renter

          How about getting a spam call with your own number coming through. That takes the cake. Part of the broken society.

    2. Bsn

      My approach, since I only have a land line, is to have an umpire’s whistle handy. I’ve been answering directly (instead of the answering machine – still a cassette BTW) more of late because of things I’m trying to accomplish and if I do say “hello” and it’s them, I blow the whistle on them. Not pleasant I’m sure. Poor grunt workers.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Oh, that’s a shame. Depending on their handset, you could probably cause some actual hearing damage. I’d rather that be reserved for the owners of these operations, though.

  9. Louis Fyne

    if the grand scheme of things, minor…but still an eye opener: one dozen conventional large eggs are >$5 in my area.

    Making per gram of protein eggs now more expensive than chicken breast cuts.

    1. griffen

      Went to the local grocery yesterday, southeastern US. The store brand version of a dozen eggs was up to $3.15 roughly, up over the last month. The half dozen carton has gone up as well, roughly $1.80 up to $2.10.

      And remarkably the average price of 87 octane gasoline is well below $3, I think on average $2.75 to $2.85. The local Quik Trip is the largest prominent branded gas station.

    2. IM Doc

      We have about 20-40 hens at any one time.

      We feed them our table scraps ( very carefully selected to not give them anything poison – ie citrus, avocados or any kind of pits ). They eat their own egg shells – it keeps the calcium and phosphorus cycle going – and they inhale any kinds of guts or offal. They eat bugs and insects all day every day in the summer. They LOVE seafood scraps – like shrimp shells and fish bones. Our chickens have a large area where they can run around without impediment. The kids and I keep the coop clean every week – and the straw and their droppings make for just amazing compost. We “borrow” our neighbor’s roosters for a few weeks/months in the spring to replenish our numbers.

      For about the work of 4-6 hours a week, we generate about 10-12 dozen eggs a week in the winter and much more than that in the summer – up to 15-18 dozen. We have all the eggs we can handle and we keep our neighbors in eggs all around us. We cycle through the hens every 2-3 years. The old ones make for amazing meat.

      We live in a rural area now. But we did this even when we lived in the big city – although at a much smaller scale.

      All the eggs and chicken meat we can eat for about 4 hours a work a week. And we supply all of our neighbors with all the eggs they can eat. Two of whom are widows. The joy my kids get in bringing the eggs to these little old ladies is worth its weight in gold. I will take that trade anyday. And we know that what we are eating is not adulterated with hormones or antibiotics.

      Hens are almost noise free. They keep the insects way down. And if cared for properly, make no smell. The fact that cities around this country are banning backyard hens is just absolutely absurd. Especially with the prices as they are now.

      1. Jen

        I have six hens. In addition to providing me with eggs, and acting as organic garbage disposals, they keep the area around my house free of ticks, and they are endlessly entertaining.

      2. Carla

        Our older NE Ohio suburb allows hens — up to four at a time, no roosters. No slaughtering allowed. You have to pay $50 for a conditional use permit. It hasn’t caused problems that I know of, except hens often escape their yards and wander around the neighborhood. Also we have a LOT of wildlife, including many reports of coyotes, and chickens are often killed.

        At the grocery store, egg prices are up 50%.

      3. griffen

        Anecdotal from a brother who lives in city limits, Greensboro NC. Neighbor behind his home had chickens once upon a time. A few red foxes apparently became an issue for the locals. Chickens are there no longer. Not really sure about the red foxes, but I am presuming a smaller fox breed would do well if the locals were offering a free meal.

    3. Alice X

      I just paid $6 for a head of green leaf lettuce, up $2 in a week. It was a beautiful large head of organic, but yeesh! It’s not like you can make it last by using less. Yesterday I received notice from SS on my increase for next year, but crikey, that had already been wipe out by last August.

      1. semper loquitur

        I was in a bodega about two weeks ago waiting for my falafel wrap. A guy came in and stepped up to the sandwich counter. He exclaimed in confusion and asked the guy why it was two dollars for lettuce on a sandwich. Lettuce is usually free or super cheap to add.

        The man behind the counter told him that a case of lettuce was up to 140$. I’m not sure what they went for before but for a topping that is usually free it had to be significant. The guy demurred on the lettuce.

        1. Carolinian

          Where I live bagged salad is up 50-100 percent but with spotty availability. Everything is up, but certain things are up a lot more than others. It seems to depend on supply. With eggs a big chicken epidemic has done away with much of the supply.

          But where I live we had static grocery prices for quite a few years. Perhaps some kind of bubble has finally burst.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Napoleon’s Art of Warfare”

    A really good article this and I bet that the first four parts are equally good. It should be mentioned that Napoleon also gave though to logistics. The wagon wheels of the French Bourbon Army numbered in their dozen so Napoleon standardized them in a much smaller number so to make it easy to manufacture, supply and repair them when on campaign. And he thought long term as well. With memories of what it is like to be in an army marching under a hot sun, he ordered that trees be planted along both sides of the main roads in France so that down the track, the troops would march under shade and would not be so exhausted. But when one of his Generals objected and said that it would take twenty years to bring to fruition, said that then we had better get started.

    1. jrkrideau

      Excellent article but it is bataillon carré not “bataillon carre”. Goggle will translate bataillon carre as square battalion but “carre” means something like “edge”.

      Sorry, but four years of French plus ten years of living in Québec affected me.

    2. hk

      Yes. Given Napoleon’s careful attention to logistics (including his disastrous Russia campaign), the cartoon version of how he failed in Russia really misleads people. The reality is that logistics are hard, snd logistics when campaigning in places like Russia, even harder. Even a master of logistics like Napoleon failed. But the cartoon version suggests to people just bringing along a knapsack full of food and a jacket would have been enough.

    3. Jason Boxman

      The solution, as always, was to use the speed and ambiguity of the corps system to force a battle. Napoleon flew ahead, advancing to the town of Austerlitz in direct proximity to the enemy coalition’s staging areas – but because the corps arrived one at a time, his force appeared weaker than it was, drawing the enemy in with feigned weakness. Napoleon further dramatized the notion that he was weak and fearful of battle by requesting negotiations and making a show of trepidation and hesitancy with the Russian envoy.

      What’s interesting is that he also used subterfuge to take Malta, an impregnable fortress, earlier in his career before his coup, and took it without a shot fired.

  11. Jason Boxman

    A Rural Hospital’s Excruciating Choice: $3.2 Million a Year or Inpatient Care?

    For 46 million Americans, rural hospitals are a lifeline, yet an increasing number of them are closing. The federal government is trying to resuscitate them with a new program that offers a huge infusion of cash to ease their financial strain. But it comes with a bewildering condition: They must end all inpatient care.


    “On one hand, you have a massive incentive, a ‘Wow!’ kind of deal that feels impossible to turn down,” said Harold Miller, the president of the nonprofit Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. “But it’s based on this longstanding myth that they’ve been forced to deliver inpatient services — not that their communities need those services to survive.”

    More insanity.

    Now, labor expenses per patient are up more than a third, and payment rates are lagging. Over 600 rural hospitals — 30 percent of the total — are at risk of shuttering. More than 200 could close within three years, according to a study by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. In 10 states, at least 40 percent of rural hospitals are in danger: In Kansas, 16 could close within three years; in Mississippi, 24.

    When rural hospitals close, it is medically and economically devastating for communities. They have supported one in every 12 rural jobs and contributed to about $220 billion in economic activity per year, according to the American Hospital Association. A community’s population typically shrinks soon thereafter.

    So why not run these as a public trust? No profits required. Why does essential infrastructure need to ‘pay for’ itself somehow? What a rotten society.

    1. Louis Fyne

      the idea that rural Americans, particularly MAGA types, are Ayn Randian, libertarian fundamentalists are urban pundits’ projections.

      If someone reached out to them and offered a FDR-ian solution, ears will open up.

      But Dems don’t even try…marriage of convenience between Dems, GOP, and the health care lobby

      1. Objective Ace

        the idea that rural Americans, particularly MAGA types, are Ayn Randian, libertarian fundamentalists are urban pundits’ projections.

        To be fair, that how my rural neighbors describe themselves. Not by mentioning Ayn Randian, just “socialism=bad”. Granted, when I engage with them, they are quick to support public roads, fire protection, even many “socialized” goods we dont actually have like medical and dental care for children who may have been unfortunate enough to be born to parents who cant afford it… its not clear to me if they realize the inconsistencies in their logic even after I point it out. Theyve simply heard “socialism=bad” too many times. (or alternatively theyve seen government butcher so many opportunities like Obamacare)

        1. Jason Boxman

          Although my dentist out here, rural, studied in the military and now in private practice, probably in his late 50s or 60s, bemoaned the people that he sees sometimes coming in that tried and failed to perform their own tooth extractions. I suggested dentistry as a universal benefit, he politely disagreed.

          So it definitely depends on how you pay your bills.

          1. Objective Ace

            Unless you specifically mention children, most of my neighbors would probably agree with your dentist. “Fairness” is an important concept. Its easy to see how its not a child’s fault when their parents cannot afford proper health/dental care. What isnt as easy to see is the role luck/fairness plays in adults being able (or needing) to afford these benefits.

        2. digi_owl

          That is down to generations of media linking everything “bad” to “socialism”.

          As old man Sinclair pointed out, Americans will take socialism in name but not in deed. And he proved it by first running on a declared socialist ticket, and then another that offered the same policies but without mentioning the term socialism. The second run got him far more votes than the first, even though the policies where the same.

      2. digi_owl

        Ding. they may have their reservations against certain urban antics, but they understand mutual aid. If you want them on your side, aim for the wallets first.

    2. IM Doc

      As a medical historian – I often go back to the past to see if there are any answers to our problems today.

      And indeed there is an answer to this problem. I think it would be very wise of us to see how our forebears did things. Maybe we do not have to do exactly what they did, but the pattern is there.

      This man was a Lebanese immigrant. He laid out a pattern that brought affordable health care to a large percentage of almost an entire one of our states. And it worked well for decades. Of course, once the insurance companies realized that it was working and affecting their profit margins the whole thing was scrapped. But those “community” hospitals continue all over that state – and are indeed probably some of the “rural” hospitals being discussed in this piece.

      The idea of a “medical cooperative” was a concept at least some of our grandparents thought was a winner. And they showed that it worked for decades. It served the needs of these small communities in an incredibly efficient way and it was very affordable. Way less of a problem than our high deductible plans today. But it was socialism and there was no money to be made, so it was scrapped on the junkheap of history.

      There are some incredible books out there that have been written about Dr. Shadid and his ideas. It would be so wise of our medical leaders to read them. But again, they are too busy bringing diversity and equity to the medical world and bowing the knee before Big Pharma and Big Insurance to even give a thought to the plight of millions of rural Americans.

      1. KLG

        I have introduced Dr. Shadid to our rural medical students! He makes the eyes of our better students sparkle. While the barriers are large, we continue to chip away.

      2. Questa Nota

        Thanks for the reference to Dr. Shadid, I will research and read more.
        Is there any medical school curriculum that includes his themes, or medical industry structure or options? Or is that more likely to be in some joint degree program such as MD/MPH or MD/MBA or?
        How is Ivan Illich perceived in the medical profession?

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        Thank you for your comments. I read and think about every one.

        As for the topic of this thread — I now live in a very rural area. The quality of local hospital care is as big a factor in my choices for where I will purchase a home as the quality of local schools were, when I looked for a house as the father of a young family.

        This suggests — to me — a conflict between the interests of national Elites and the interests of local Elites. Local Elites gain much of their power and profits through controlling local real estate.

  12. William S

    I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism for over a decade as part of my daily news feed, but lately this site seems to be devolving from an independent blog into a new front-end for Twitter. I hope this trend doesn’t continue.

    After the Twitter takeover, Mastodon has been experiencing a growth spurt, so perhaps we could see more links to non-corporate platforms like this in the future.

    If you’re looking for nature pics you can explore the Wildlife and AnimalPhotography feeds on Mastodon.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Mastodon has been suggested here repeatedly in recent weeks, and the only reason I even know of its existence is because it has been mentioned here long before that,

      I don’t think anybody is shilling for twitter here. I don’t think there are very many Musk fanbois here – in fact quite the opposite.

      There are a lot of people, like myself, who care about the truth. If the US government is using private companies to do the censorship it can’t do on its own, I want to hear about it. If Elon Musk is the one to let the cat out of the bag, so be it. I will continue to not spend a dime of my personal wealth, what little there is of it, on any of Musk’s ventures, same as I do with those of Bezos or the Walton family, etc., in the hopes that others might follow suit and these billionaires will cease to exist as such. It’s possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

      Perhaps a closer reading of the articles and comments here would alleve your concerns. I do like your idea of linking more to the non-tech giant sites when possible. I don’t know much about who controls Rumble, but when I have listened to Merouris or the Duran lately, I’ve been doing so through Rumble rather than youtube. For example –

      1. William S

        My comment was not referencing the story about Musk’s “revelations”. Of course people in power want to control the narrative. And there is nothing wrong with the owners of Twitter controlling the content of their site as they see fit.

        People are going to congregate. The job for lefties is to make sure they do so in public spaces rather than privately owned enclosures. Avoiding sites like Facebook and Twitter are low hanging fruit; it’s super easy to not engage and send traffic there. But somehow even that low bar can’t be managed by too many so-called leftists. When the left is lazy the capitalists will be happy to put in the effort to capture the audience.

        ActivityPub enables a federated network where anyone can setup an entry point to it. Some journalistic organizations, such as Yorkshire Bylines have created their own Mastodon instance to help grow a public, online social space.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Thanks for clarifying. And I do agree with your sentiment. I was pretty appalled when twitter first came out and I began seeing TV news start referring to what anonymous people were saying on twitter during their broadcasts rather than doing actual reporting. It’s just grown from there to the point where politicians and others who do have power over the likes of you and me use it to communicate their messages on a regular basis.

          So now it’s a medium you have to check to see what these people are saying, whether you like it or not. Personally, I don’t like it. I often find the format confusing and can’t tell who’s saying what to whom. But when presidents are using it to communicate, it’s difficult to ignore. As much as I might prefer the British system where the PM has to face often hostile MPs, or the Russian situation where the leader can sit down for hours with the media and expound at length intelligently on various topics, that isn’t what we get here in the USA. The clowns we have can barely do a ten minute press conference anymore. Too hard to keep the lies straight and control the message in real time when people start asking too many questions.

          I’m a little encouraged to see people calling for a return to the blogs, although I’m not particularly sanguine that it will actually happen. I much preferred that version of the interwebs myself and it’s the reason I participate here and haven’t been tempted by the low hanging fruit of social media.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > So now it’s a medium you have to check to see what these people are saying, whether you like it or not.

            Yep. I’ve tried Mastodon. I have yet to see it’s worth investing time. I suppose I can either be a principled leftie, or deliver the news to readers, no matter the form it comes in. Worth noting that the SBF story blew up on Twitter, which did well with it (despite not asking the main question: Where did SBF stash his personal loan?) Ditto ChatGPT, which isn’t such a blockbuster of a story, but is very interesting.

            I used to be a big proponent of federated information spaces (since people have incompletely commensurate ontologies, federating them — as opposed to imposing one big one — is the only humane solution). I am now persuaded by experience that Twitter’s universal address space is far superior to a federated model (despite all the cray cray that comes with it, spooks and loonies alike). So I don’t accept that Mastodon is better than Twitter. I think it’s worse.

            One answer would have been Twitter employees unionizing and proposing employee ownership. Unlikely, given Silicon Valley’s ideological bent.

            A second, better answer would be public ownership. Of course, conservatives won’t propose that out of ideology, nor will liberals because they want either to retain their ability to censor political opponents or for Twitter to fail.

        2. anon in so cal

          It was more than “the owners of Twitter controlling the content of their site as they see fit.”

          The Democratic Party was using Twitter as an election interference tool:

          “It was Yoel Roth, meeting with FBI weekly, and his little censorship minions absolutely degraded Twitter into little more than a full-on Democratic Party activist machine, all while lying to the public about its function. This was a massive public fraud and 2020 election interference:”

          (and, yes, this is from Twitter)

          I’m unfamiliar with Mastodon. Is it easy to use?

          Is this a fair comment?

          ““Shilling for Mastodon — one thing I love is that it supports tagging posts with CW (Content Warning), and thus hide the post under a short description. And the culture on Mastodon (at least on my instance) is to mark & hide posts that are triggering — e.g., politics,” one new Mastodon user tweeted.”

          In an interview with Time, Mastodon’s founder said the service, through its brand messaging and stance against hate speech, has attracted moderators and users with similar values.

    2. Not Again

      I guess it would be almost impossible to have an entire day when I don’t have to read the words “Twitter”, “Trump” or “Musk” but I can hope.

      I have never understood why anyone cares what “Twitter says”. It’s The National Enquirer for people who think they are famous but aren’t.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > I have never understood why anyone cares what “Twitter says”. It’s The National Enquirer for people who think they are famous but aren’t.

        Witty, but false. The aerosol community never would have come together or have been able to make their voices heard without Twitter. (They might have been able to in the days of the blogosphere, but that was 2003-2006). I’m sure the same is true for other scientific communities, and groups around topics like Long Covid.

        Adding, I do think your statement is true for that subset of Twitter opinion-havers who left for Mastodon because they weren’t receiving what they considered the deference due to them on Twitter.

      2. Aumua

        Elon is controlling the national discussion quite effectively, IMO. If you will notice, he is not releasing any kind of raw information to the public, for us to go over and find what we will. He is doling out specific sections of the info to which he has access to his hand picked minions, in order to tell one side of a specific story, a story that undoubtedly has many sides to it. It’s not that there’s nothing important there, or no legitimate problem to be discussed. It’s just that Musk is controlling the parameters of the discussion, and also the pace at which his revelations are released. He’s got us all on the hook.

    3. Bazarov

      If links and watercooler are any indication, the editors of this website use Twitter extensively in that embedded tweets make up a sizable proportion of those two news aggregations. It makes sense, therefore, that they would be interested in the Twitter scandals.

      I’ve been reading Naked Capitalism daily for about as long as you have, and I also am not at all interested in the Twitter story. But let’s not pretend that other people aren’t. For awhile, there was tons of coverage of the January 6th stuff on this site, too, as part of its general “democrats bad” slant. I wasn’t much interested in that either, as it seemed like preaching to the choir or beating a dead horse to me. However, I realize it’s a story a lot of readers *are* interested in and that it therefore warrants attention.

      What am I here for? The fantastic coverage of the economy, China, the “green” hallucinations, the Ukraine War, and the comments.

      It’s a simple matter to skip over the uninteresting or repetitive material.

      1. Don

        I don’t think that there is evidence that NC has a “democrats bad” slant in the sense that there is any notion that Democrats overall are worse than the Republican alternative, but there is an broad (though not unanimous) presumption here that “Democrats/Hillary/Obama/Biden are every bit as bad.

        That’s an important, and unfortunately, rare, insight, and one of the many reasons I am here.

        I suspect that you have a “democrats/liberals better” slant which, although it can seem relatively benign, shows its toxicity when, say, criticisms of Obama are taken to be expressions of support for Trump, or Justin Trudeau is given a pass for being the biggest cheerleader of NATO’s calamitous war against Russia, in part, so he can win the Ukrainian-Canadian vote and finally get his majority government.

        1. Bazarov

          Why would you suspect that? I despise the democrats.

          The democrats are so obviously risible that I find the “democrats bad” reporting to be “beating a dead horse” and “preaching to the choir”–it’s obvious to me (and I think most readers of NC) that the democrats are awful. I think it’s boring stuff to go over again and again. I can’t bring myself to be very interested in their corruption. It’s the party’s natural state.

        2. Michael King

          May I remind readers that Justin Trudeau led a majority government from October 15, 2015 until October 21, 2019. Thank you.

    4. flora

      Imo, Taibbi & Weiss are breaking one of the biggest news stories in ages. Real reporting. Musk put a requirement* on them to report it first on twtr. If that’s where it’s reported I’m happy to read it there.

      * (Which requirement is no worse, imo, that someone talking to the press with the requirement it be reported without attribution, aka “off the record.” No worse that Snowden’s ask from Greenwald before disclosing what he knew about intel agencies’ illegal spying on Americans.)

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        I’m not so sure it’s the same: a media business owner insisting that a journalist use his short-form vehicle for long-form investigative reportage on a story has very different interest and power dynamics at work than an isolated source insisting on anonymity.

        That debate aside, I think Musk and Taibbi (who didn’t seem to have a choice if he wanted the story) made a tactical error by publishing on Twitter. While the #McResistance didn’t need any excuses to attack the story when they didn’t ignore it, it gave them a bigger target and a wider avenue for distraction.

        1. flora

          I disagree about it being a mistake to publish on Twtr. It reaches a huge audience there, much larger that a paywalled substack. (There will be following-on stories on substact but the original first reports are on Twtr.) Your remark “bigger target and wider avenue” for attack implies a bigger and wider audience on the the Twtr platform than other platforms.

        2. t

          Terrible idea. And MT didn’t help his case with the substack explaining busy and rushed and tired and working around the clock.

          Leaning toward the idea that this is a case of dumb guy (Musk) being clever enough to throw a party to make friends.

          All the fired Twitter workers would have been a better source. If Musk was really transparent, then we wouldn’t need a story, we’d have access.

          Analytics on banned accounts, thr analytics used by marketing firms and consultants every freaking day, would be a better source and have been used by reporters.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > All the fired Twitter workers would have been a better source.

            Than documents in the form of emails? When the firings were highly politicized? As were the workers themselves?

          2. Carolinian

            Whatever Musk is he’s not dumb.

            And Taibbi seems, if anything, a reluctant warrior in our class war. He’s doing what journalists used to do–breaking a major story.

    5. digi_owl

      The basic thing is that Twitter has become the push notifications platform of the press.

      Whenever an article or similar is published, both official outlet accounts and journalist “personal” accounts will be automatically pushing out tweets that will show up as a notification on the phones of everyone subscribed to them.

      And this has been Twitter’s thing from day one, as the earliest implementation used mass SMS as its notification channel.

  13. All Ice

    I just did a search of FTX to see what the price of its stock is. To my surprise the search shows it is a private company. In other words its stock is not publicly traded.

    Since a publicly traded company is marked to market its understandable that if the price of the stock doubles the market cap doubles. BUT without mark to market to artificially boost its value, how did FTX become worth $32 billion just a short time ago? Who placed that kind of value on this private ponzi scheme and what was their rationale, if any?

    It appears to me that those who were engaged in falsely hyping the value of FTX are co-conspirators. Without a valid basis to value FTS at $32 billion, such assertion is fraudulent. Sam appears not to have been in this by himself but to have co-conspititors in the financial press or on Wall St.

    1. earthling

      Good point, and a prime example of why we have securities laws in the first place. Modern “Private equity” is a scourge on the system.

      If a company is large, and not a family firm, it needs to trade in public, and file its data with the SEC.

      The good news is maybe a generation of well-to-do fools, er “qualified investors” will stop pumping their millions into the Private Equity scam pools. Or maybe they still won’t get it, and any slick talker will continue to gather in their fleece.

    2. cnchal

      As soon as you slipped from using the word “price” to “value”, you conned yourself.

      Using the word “value”, typically one appends the letters a, b, l, and e in their mind, when “price” is what you are writing about.

      The “value” I get from the FTX fraud is seeing Mr Wonderful go apoplectic at getting Mattelled.

      To watch the rich have their greed bite them in the ass is Schadenfreud writ large.

      When stawk market volatility is high, Wall Street is very happy, and it’s correctly called “price action” and not “value action”.

      Price is what one pays, a number. Value is what one gets. FTX’s value is as a cautionary tale, it’s price is less than zero.

      This is how the con works. Two real estate agents sell houses to each other at ever higher prices, making the neighbors think the “price” of their house has increased.

      Vulture Capital works the same way.

      1. eg

        A Wiser’s slow clap to you for the Mr Wonderful/Mattel call-back blast, good sirrah!

        And yes, I see tape painting …

    3. lyman alpha blob

      From what I can understand, the majority of these coins were not released to the public for purchase but held by the issuer. The smaller percentage that were available to the public did increase in price, often by insiders bidding it up amongst themselves, giving the illusion that there was a real bull market for the coins, until some sucker came along and put down real money. Then the privately held coins are marked to market and used to get loans of real money. Different exchanges held each others’ crypto as “assets”.

      I believe it’s in that Coffeezilla clip in links today that he points out how this is all basically fraud. He tells SBF that SBF had to know that what he was claiming as the market value of these coins was bunk and that if he ever tried to unload the crypto “assets” that FTX was holding, the price would immediately crater because there was never nearly enough real demand for this crap to begin with.

      It’s all just creating fake money out of thin air. Or making luxurious fabric from invisible thread, until someone has the temerity to mention that emperor’s [family blog] is hanging out, flapping in the wind.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        There’s a long and detailed interview with Coffeezilla on Lex Fridman’s YouTube channel; he comes off as a sincere, decent and very knowledgeable guy. While he’s not a “It’s All Going To Zero” type of crypto skeptic (similar to Cas Piancy and Bennet Tomlin at Crypto Critics Corner, which is also excellent), he’s got a good nose for fraud. He apparently initially trained as a chemical engineer, but is a far better journalist than his purported betters at places like the NY Times.

    4. Candyman

      For privately funded companies like FTX the valuation is generally established at funding rounds and based on a negotiation between current shareholders and new investors. For FTX, this was their latest funding round in Jan ’22, where funds Temasek and Softbank invested $400M at a negotiated $31.6B valuation, resulting in them obtaining ($400M/$32B) = 1.25% of the company. So this valuation is not “fraud”, it is the valuation that these investors place on it, whatever their rationale.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        It is very possible that whatever “value” the investors and FTX agreed upon was based on fraudulent claims by SBF. Some idiot thought Juicero had “value” too.

      2. All Ice

        Candyman thanks for your reply but everything is still very muddy.

        The $400 million hyped FTX to $8 billion on the basis of something different than 1.25% of FTX ownership. Perhaps it was the mirage of future regulation.

        Specifically, at that time, the hype was
        “The FTX US team is laying the groundwork to become the dominant trading platform in the United States for all things crypto: spot trading, derivatives, and NFTs,” Kyle Samani, managing partner at VC fund Multicoin Capital, told CoinDesk.

        With last year’s acquisition of Ledger Holdings Inc. now closed, FTX US, a Chicago-based firm, is well-positioned to expand its product line into derivatives, a closely regulated market in the U.S.

        President Brett Harrison said in a statement he felt “confident that FTX US will emerge as the leading U.S.-regulated crypto spot and derivatives exchange.” He did not respond to texts.”

        This explains value at that time the way Sam explains why billions of dollars are gone from FTX today and where they are hiding. But I don’t expect different from a scam enterprise.

        The U.S. arm of cryptocurrency exchange FTX has raised $400 million from investors including SoftBank and Temasek, giving it a valuation of $8 billion.”

        1. griffen

          Just a comment worth noting. The most popular of cryptocurrency available in the US, Bitcoin, hit a ceiling price of 60,000 or perhaps above 60,000. As of yesterday afternoon my recall is the pricing is roughly 16,500 to 17,500 more or less within this range.

          That is a significant indication of what happened. The bubble went poof and all the crypto tokens of “value” went vanishing into thin air. When the thing that was previously super valued no longer has any such value, this is when things like the FTX corporation are revealed to be both a scam on the investing public and the unwitting participants. Some of whom should really know better after all, such as the above referenced “Mr Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary who is washing his sorrows away as $15 million went poof as well. That number is what he quoted on a CNBC interview recently.

          As for FTX specifically, there are numerous parallel companies worth making reference to, as venture capital and angel investing propped them up long before such a company would be made viable for US equity markets via an IPO. Theranos, one most immediate example comes to mind. Privately held by mostly private venture funds and wealthy family offices, in the broadest of terms. Sometimes the next best new thing is nothing at all.


    That Virus Hell Article…

    First as tragedy, then as farce.

    We went from telling cancer patients to skip their chemo to buzzfeed style articles about entire extended families catching Covid concurrent with a bunch of other diseases and how omg is that is.

  15. Not Again

    Paul Whelan: US and Russia to explore more prisoner swaps BBC

    So far, America has gotten back their guy who starts fights with cops in bars (Reed) and a pothead from Phoenix in return for a Russian drug dealer and a Russian arms merchant. Still awaiting the “release” of our spy who was dishonorably discharged from the Marines for grand larceny.

    When are we going to have that ticker-tape parade for “America’s finest”? And wouldn’t the world be better off if these people were still in prison?

    1. Mildred Montana

      With an eye on the 2024 summer Olympics, Team USA has made a crucial trade: A Russian arms dealer for basketball player Brittney Griner. Said a USOC official, “That gun-runner was never going to help us. If we are to win gold in Paris, we needed Brittney.”

      1. Questa Nota

        Double-duty for Griner, with stops in South Carolina likely?
        Given the DNC attempted Primary move away from Iowa toward SC, with the Clyburn – Holder team practicing daily, the other big 2024 game must loom very large.
        Multi-tasking, not too much to ask what you can do for your country party of new media stars. /s

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      He was a penny ante arms merchant. Tens of millions. I could do that in Ukraine in a quarter, with the hard part being staying alive, not doing the business.

      Speculation is that he was a Russian spook with the arms dealing as cover. That is why the US thought it could get a 2:1 trade.

  16. Mildred Montana

    Not sure if this has been mentioned at NC. If so, apologies for the duplication. (scroll through the article for lots of photos)

    Average monthly apartment rent in San Francisco — $3400. Accommodation at Twitter headquarters — free. Available to “hardcore” Twitter employees only. No guests, no drugs, no partiers please.

  17. Lex

    I get B’s context to Merkel and I trust him on this because he’s German so his reading of the actual statement will always have nuance unavailable to me. My take on the context is that she saw it as an opportunity to strengthen Ukraine, which is not necessarily the same as preparing it for war.

    However, if she’s lying that actually makes it worse in the global context. And since she didn’t have to say anything at all, we need to ask why she said it. (She could have said she was duped by evil Putin, that always works.) because as Yves points out saying this now makes a negotiated settlement in Ukraine even harder if not impossible. It supports the Russian narrative everywhere else in the world. Now it’s not Russia saying it tried to solve this diplomatically but now needs to solve it militarily. Now it’s Germany saying there was never any diplomatic hope because Germany (and by extension the US) were lying from the beginning, lying when the US voted for 2202 at the UNSC. And going forward, exactly why should any nation trust the Germans? They now know from one of its most powerful leaders that Germany just lies.

    It’s conspiratorial but, man, does it look like Merkel’s retirement hobbies include undermining the German government and the western alliance. Because again, she didn’t have to say this and had better options for legacy crafting.

    1. square coats

      I saw comments on Twitter proposing that this was Merkel’s “parting gift to Putin”, as it does reinforce the narrative of events he’s been arguing (and of course others as well).

      I do find it curious. It brings to mind something a friend mentioned to me maybe a year ago that some trip Merkel made to Russia regarding I think the lead-up to Minsk 2 was done on the drop of a dime and in absolute secrecy from the u.s., however I can’t remember better than that what he was talking about.

      1. square coats

        (Past the edit window, realizing my parenthetical was grammatically imprecise, I meant to just be saying off-handedly that other people have been arguing the same/similar narrative as Putin, not that Merkel’s comments reinforce other narratives as well.)

  18. Mikel

    “Sam Bankman-Fried Agrees to Testify Before House Committee” New York Times

    I’d rather criminal investigations be completed first. I think it’s a mistake to try to rush through any legislation around regulation based on a committee’s findings.
    Could it be possible for loopholes to be provided before any and all criminal investigation is complete?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I agree, and would rather see no regulation of this “industry” at all. Regulating it gives it legitimacy. Kill it with fire.

      1. semper loquitur

        My Brave browser opens up with an ad for a veritable rainbow of crypto coins. All easily linked to my Brave “wallet”. Lots of cartoons mascots and such to attract the Gen Z crowd.

          1. semper loquitur

            Totally. There are super heros of crypto, a samurai, lots of manga style stuff. The other day it was cartoon foxes, dressed like conquistadors, burying treasure in the ground while one was on the lookout. There are also crypto games to play…I mean besides crypto itself.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Trading crypto is everywhere. SoFi offers it. Firstrade, a long time discount broker offers it. It’s infected everything. Seeing it alongside stocks gives it ildeserved legitimacy.

      2. Mikel

        If congress persists and insists, I’ve suggested there is already a regulatory framework for crypto: gaming commissions.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That I could accept. As long as we stop pretending there is any “value” in crypto or that it’s doing anything useful for society, and those getting into are aware that the house always wins.

      3. Objective Ace

        I would like to see:

        1) Taxes required on any gains
        2) An explicit acknowledgement that there will be no bailout/FDIC type insurance on these types of “products”

        If you just ignore it, the problem can become so big that a (not very compelling) argument could be made that its TBTF. And it doesnt matter if the argument is compelling if the people pushing it stand to gain a lot of money and have therefore been lobbying the government.. which it certainly looks like what SBF was trying to do

  19. Stephen

    This series of Douglas Macgregor interviews with Michael Vlahos is worth watching.

    Two posted so far. Face to face from the Army and Navy Club.

    Unusually, for an American he praises Field Marshall Montgomery and sees Surovikin’s strategy as very similar.

    More expansive than other interviews though and gets into broader geo politics. Covers Britain’s vassal status and even discusses Corelli Barnett’s historiography of our decline as a great power. I am not usually a fan of Barnett but Colonel MacGregor uses his quotes well and is clearly very well read. The interviewer is well informed too.

    Fascinating that on geo politics genuinely socialist and deeply conservative commentators can clearly make common cause.

    1. begob

      Thanks for the links – your first is to part II, but links to part I in the summary. Is that a barber’s shop in the background? Can’t figure out those two heads of hair on top of the blue-backed chairs. Ukrainian microphones supplied by Austin Powers?

  20. A1

    I found the Ian Welsh article on comparative advantage meaningless. Comparative advantage is well studied and defined and Mr. Welsh tries to expand the definition by muddying the waters. Super commenter Bruce Wilder then adds even more mud with a couple of long comments that make the topic even more confusing.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Super commenter Bruce Wilder — I did not see any indication that Bruce Wilder was a super commenter — a designation I have only seen on technical sites addressing things like engineering questions. Reading Bruce Wilder’s comments to Welsh’s essay, I saw little that could lend super commenter status to Wilder other than the length and — to me — desultory range of his pair of comments.

      After reading Welsh’s essay I was confused whether he was discussing strategy with respect to warfare or economics. Most of Welsh’s examples were from warfare, but the term comparative advantage conjures too many ghosts from my own very limited studies of economics.

      My touchstone for strategy of all sorts tends to be Kenichi Ohmae’s “Mind of the Strategist”. For me, the most compelling lesson from Ohmae’s book was that a competitor did not require the kind of unassailable advantage Ohmae felt Americans seemed to require. All that was required was an advantage and the will and capacity to exploit that advantage. What might be called absolute, comparative, or advantage of some other label or labels, is not important. Possessing an advantage is important — and effectively using that advantage is important. I suppose that might — with some stretch — fit Wilder’s notions of “superior organization”.

      Neither Welsh’s essay nor super commenter Wilder’s comments — though interesting — impressed me as especially penetrating or illuminating of the structure and nature of strategy in any particular realm. They did remind me I should read Ohmae’s book again.

  21. Stephen

    Germany’s Night of the Pen Knives.

    Sounds a little like a German version of January 6.

    The west in the 2020s does seem to be living 1920s Weimar.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      “The West in the 2020s does seem to be living 1920s Weimar.”

      Minus a militant and strong Left …

  22. NorD94

    this goes back to yesterdays 2PM watercooler and the “Trump Policy Book” link.

    I think you need to connect the “Trump Policy Book” to earlier articles about Trump’s “Schedule F” changes. This would let Trump (if he wins 2024) or other GOP-Prez re-classify and fire members of the “deep state swamp” like mid/upper level Justice Dept, FBI, IRS, EPA, and other career bureaucrats. Then replace the swamp dwellers with pre-vetted true believers.

    (from July 2022) A radical plan for Trump’s second term

    (yesterdays link) Donald Trump allies aim to capture his philosophy in policy book

    1. Lambert Strether

      > I think you need to connect the “Trump Policy Book” to earlier articles about Trump’s “Schedule F” changes. This would let Trump (if he wins 2024) or other GOP-Prez re-classify and fire members of the “deep state swamp” like mid/upper level Justice Dept, FBI, IRS, EPA, and other career bureaucrats. Then replace the swamp dwellers with pre-vetted true believers.

      Thank you. This is insightful. Does make you wonder if the Never Trumpers are thinking on that level. I doubt it. In particular, one doubts that DeSantis is, given the universal approbation given to him by both party establishments. Since I’ve taken a dislike to the fellow, I hope he goes the way of Jebbie.

      1. Questa Nota

        The true believers in both parties know how to work the present system, and they have their allies in place. Along comes someone upsetting apple carts and breaking rice bowls, or cancelling brunch reservations, and those true believers get testy. Then they call in lobbyist and bureaucrat markers and notify handlers to do whatever it takes to keep that gravy, vegan, gluten-free, paleo or whatever you’d like, flowing. Constituent considerations, not so much.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        DeSantis is a weenie. GOP voters want a “fighter”. He’s a Jeb. Shrub could play the part of reformed drunk.

    2. hunkerdown

      Good. Anything that destroys the professional-managerial class is a blessing to actual people who don’t believe in myths or LARP. The Blue Puritans can stop whining about the spoils system when they destroy all their political machines. Maybe.

  23. Questa Nota

    The Twitter story about the Fortune 500 made me visualize a four quadrant model.

    ……………………… Fortune 500 sharing …….. Fortune 500 no sharing
    Twitter shares…… consumers are screwed…. consumers are screwed
    Twitter doesn’t…. consumers are screwed…. consumers are screwed

    In the present environment, it takes extra effort to deal with the censorship noted by Hassan Mafi and the omnivorous collection by Twitter, Fortune 500 et al.

  24. Mikel

    “…As we emerge from our caves after that long hibernation, our goblin-selves lurk somewhere deep inside us, beckoning us back home to vibe out…”

    “Long hibernation” my a – -.
    It’s been nearly two years since people started running quite freely based on shots they convinced themselves were sterilizing vaccines.

    Reading these articles one would think the USA had the same policies as China and for as long.

    Something may indeed be wrong, but it isn’t some long continuing pandemic restrictions they’ve filled their heads with.

    If anything, the acting out is an impulse to deny systemic failure. It’s masking all those creeping feelings that all the fake smiles in the world can’t hide.

    1. Jason Boxman

      This was pre vaccines as well. In Somerville, Davis Square, every place was as packed as it could be in December 2020. When I came to Raleigh, every parking lot I saw was packed.

      For many the Pandemic ended, if there even was one, back in May or July 2020. Insane.

      So yeah who knows what these restrictions even were. So oppressive.

      1. Basil Pesto

        For many the Pandemic ended, if there even was one, back in May or July 2020. Insane.

        And not surprising really. Until fairly deep into 2020 you had many prominent figures in the USA (all heavily censored and oppressed, of course) claiming that SARS2 was no worse than the flu, including, for god’s sake, John Iohannidis, and thereby turning this word historical crisis into yet another vapid culture war pissing contest. Why restrict anything for the sake of crushing a mere flu?

        This non-strategy has been gradually exported to the rest of the world over the subsequent two years.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > But what is truly important, is that the fake smiles will be visible.

        Of course it is. That’s an important way your upper-grade PMC — college administrators, and so forth* — extracts social capital from their network (very much including their subordinates).

        NOTE * I imagine this goes for megachurch pastors too, out there in American Gentry Land.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I have a feeling the humour may be temporary. In a few months the clip might not be all that funny.

      It is funny enough for now. There are many Amish near where I live here in the u..s. In a few years we may be ordering our vehicles and vehicle power from them.

  25. show_me

    Out of curiosity I searched for ‘creating crypto coin” and came across this (amongst many others)

    I found it mind boggling in particular this …
    “It’s important to understand that most cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value and no governmental institution backing them. Their monetary value comes from the people empowering them. When it comes to people that invest in crypto, there are at least two kinds: investors and speculators.

    Investors are usually in it for the long run. They either buy the coin or token in its ICO stages or buy-in along the way. Investors help raise the value by keeping the currency for extended periods and acquiring products and services.   ”

    (emphasis theirs)
    I kind of admired the people who put the page together for seemingly endless vacuous drivel.

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