Links 12/13/2022

NASA’s Orion Moon capsule splashes down! Here’s what’s next Nature

China Focus: Chang’e-5 samples suggest exploitable water resources on the moon China Daily

Into the bankingverse with Nvidia FT. The deck: “What is dead may never die.”


Revealed: Inside Antarctica’s brutal, lingering noise war on marine life (Part One) Daily Maverick. Part Two.

Brazil, the World’s Biggest Beef Exporter, Is Turning Away From Meat Bloomberg


Longitudinal transcriptional analysis of peripheral blood leukocytes in COVID-19 convalescent donors Journal of Translational Medicine. From the Abstract: “Persistent alterations in inflammatory pathways and T-cell activation/exhaustion markers for months after active infection may help shed light on the pathophysiology of a prolonged post-viral syndrome observed following recovery from COVID-19 infection.” See here.

We Might Have Long Covid All Wrong TNR. The deck: “Some post-Covid symptoms may be produced by the brain. Does that make them any less real?” Of course not.

* * *

DIY for healthier holiday air Editorial Board, Star-Tribune (WB).

The now infamous but not very helpful N95 trial (Loeb 2022) First 10em (dougiedd). Been waiting for a takedown on this one.

COVID treatments and prevention are still improving – so the longer you can avoid it the better The Conversation

OSHA moves ahead with permanent COVID-19 standards for health workers Health Care Dive. The rule is not yet published.

You May Be Early, but You’re Not Wrong: A Covid Reading List OK Doomer. Familar framing…


How (Un)Popular Is Covid-Zero? China Data Lab, UC San Diego (methodology). Handy chart:

Data before protests; publication after.

China’s Protests Electrify the Global Diaspora Foreign Policy

In China’s Diaspora, Visions of a Different Homeland China File


Sacked Myanmar Workers Appeal to Adidas after Junta Breaks Factory Strike Irrawaddy

Purchase of Tomahawk missiles mentioned in Japan’s draft security documents NHK World


The Promise and the Politics of Rewilding India The New Yorker

Wonder why youngsters are getting heart attacks after hitting the gym? Expert shares cautions to follow when working out Hindustan Times. Normalization and minimization are global(ist?).

European Disunion

Serbia ready to send troops to Kosovo if request to KOFR approved: MoD Al Mayadeen

EU Parliament ‘under attack’ as Qatar corruption scandal grows Politico

Ukraine war leaves Germany’s ruling coalition in ‘permanent crisis mode’ FT

Dear Old Blighty

UK ministers blamed for blocking possible rail strikes deal FT. The deck: “Government prevented higher pay offer and added tougher conditions on working practices.” Exactly because a win for the rail workers would be a win for all workers.

Rail strikes could go on ‘indefinitely’, warns union boss Mick Lynch Independent

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukraine SitRep – Catastrophic Losses, Failing Wonder Weapons, NATO Escalation Moon of Alabama

Military briefing: escalating air war depletes Ukraine’s weapons stockpile FT

US quietly announces new Ukraine command with 3-star general Responsible Statecraft

Ukraine armistice coming into view Asia Times.

Odessa falls and Ukraine becomes a landlocked country (video) Douglas Macgregor, YouTube. Interviewed by Dr. Michael Vlahos. So far as I can tell, the headline is clickbait. But the interview is certainly an interesting ramble through elite thinking about international relations, strategy, and war. Grab two cups of coffee.

Five Wars in One New Left Review

Peru’s new leader offers early election as seven die in protests Reuters. Ah, that useful word “leader.”

Supporters of Defeated Brazilian President Bolsonaro Clash With Police WSJ

Biden Administration

Congress Prepares One-Week CR as Lawmakers Announce Progress Toward Full-Year Funding Deal Government Executive

More than 1,500 migrants wade across the Rio Grande into El Paso in one day Texas Tribune

Newsom slams Republicans for blocking immigration reform on visit to Mexican border LA Times

Intelligence Community

Hundreds of Oath Keepers Have Worked for DHS, Leaked List Shows POGO

2020 Post Mortem

A Plot To Overturn An American Election Talking Points Memo. Documents leak from the January 6 Select Committee.

The Bezzle

Their silence is deafening: Stars including Gisele and Tom, Larry David and Shaquille O’Neal who took SBF’s cash to advertise his doomed FTX crypto exchange say nothing as he’s arrested and charged Daily Mail. Not to mention those in the press who took SBF’s money, too. Or the parties.


K-pop: The rise of the virtual girl bands BBC. Pretty soon the AIs will generate impossible dance moves that fans will try to imitate on Tik-Tok, injuring themselves.

Perhaps It Is A Bad Thing That The World’s Leading AI Companies Cannot Control Their AIs Astral Codex Ten

Our Famously Free Press

More trouble:

Musk’s Twitter disbands its Trust and Safety advisory group AP

Former top Twitter official forced to leave home due to threats amid ‘Twitter Files’ release CNN. Says “a person familiar with the matter.”


How Low-Paid Parents Navigate The Complex Financial Landscape Of Benefits Cliffs And Disincentive Deserts Health Affairs. How Well-Paid Professionals Create The Complex Financial Landscape Of Benefits Cliffs And Disincentive Deserts.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why The Age of American Progress Ended The Atlantic. A lot going on in this one.

NYC public libraries say proposed budget cuts may ‘push us over the edge’ Gothamist

Class Warfare

As Investors Buy More Homes Around the Obama Presidential Center Gentrification Worries Soar Illinois Answers Project. Class > race. Unsurprisingly.

The Persistence of Race Science Undark. Home page for a collection.

Billionaire James Dyson says letting people work from home is ‘staggeringly self-defeating’ and will cause friction between employers and employees Business Insider

The paradox of light goes beyond wave-particle duality Big Think. We don’t really know very much.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

Another bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    <em(melody borrowed from KOKOMO by the Beach Boys)

    There’s Belgrade, Pantschowa, ooh I wanna bomb ’em
    And Vranje, Kraljevo, land some missiles on ’em
    Nisava, Leskovac,
    The Stone Age gonna come back
    Uzice . . .

    Ukraine is moving too slow
    Let’s go fight for Kosovo
    That’s where we wanna go
    To get away from Kiev
    The Serbs have made a stand
    Time for us to take command
    They’ll be sorry they tried
    We’ll turn the Balkans into no man’s land
    Down in Kosovo

    There’s Belgrade, Pantschowa, ooh I wanna bomb ’em
    And Vranje, Kraljevo, land some missiles on ’em
    Nisava, Leskovac,
    The Stone Age gonna come back
    Fight for Kosovo
    We’ll make a pass
    Then watch the buildings glow
    It’s such a lovely show
    Way down in Kosovo

    Putin can squeak we’re makin’ him look weak

    We have the expertise
    Exploiting ethnic rivalries
    We’ll give Belgrade a black eye
    Take out their ‘lectricity
    We’ll have a splendid fight
    They can’t handle NATO’s might
    Whatever Putin may try
    We’ll poke the bear in his other eye
    Way down in Kosovo

    That dreamy look in your eye
    Give me a tropical contact high

    There’s Belgrade, Pantschowa, ooh I wanna bomb ’em
    And Vranje, Kraljevo, land some missiles on ’em
    Nisava, Leskovac,
    The Stone Age gonna come back
    Down in Kosovo
    We’ll make a pass
    Then watch the buildings glow
    It’s such a lovely show
    Way down in Kosovo

    Like ’99 it’s gonna go just fine

    Everybody knows an ethnic mess like Kosovo
    We’ll hit the Serbs again with the old fastball
    Go down to Kosovo

    There’s Belgrade, Pantschowa, ooh I wanna bomb ’em
    And Vranje, Kraljevo, land some missiles on ’em
    Nisava, Leskovac,
    The Stone Age gonna come back
    Down in Kosovo
    We’ll make a pass
    Then watch the buildings glow
    It’s such a lovely show
    Way down in Kosovo

    There’s Belgrade, Pantschowa, ooh I wanna bomb ’em
    And Vranje, Kraljevo, land some missiles on ’em
    Nisava, Leskovac . . .

  2. griffen

    Investors buying more of the homes in Chicago and particularly surrounding the Obama Center. Well I am shocked that investors would do such a thing! \sarc

    oh and it’s not just there. The stories are or have been written about locations such as Durham, NC, just by example. I’m thinking investors in real estate may finally have the opportunity they seek; competition for single family buyers surely slowed during 2022 as mortgage rates have soared.

    1. Wukchumni

      I looked at some of the real estate listings around Obama’s Flak Tower and it seems the interest is more about possible job opportunities…

      ‘Ack-Ack quick on this mid century charmer where you can laugh about the price of oil as you walk to your ‘Rocket 88′ job a few flights up after a short walk from the periphery. A Panzerfaustian bargain, Location-Location-Location.’

      1. chris

        I’ve received multiple letters from my mortgage company asking me to refinance. In each one they have miscalculated the possible savings, because they take the new interest rate (which is now double my current fixed loan rate) and then figure out the difference in payments. So even though there is no way I can save any money by refinancing now, they take the difference between my current payments and a new payment with a higher rate and assert that’s a savings because… it has to be. They can’t even create marketing materials which consider a negative sign.

        I suspect a large crash is coming soon. This insanity is worse than anything I saw in 2006 or 2007.

        1. Mikel

          And as if insurance and services for home maintenance, among other expenses around home mortgage ownership , haven’t been on the rise.

          Did the company push the “Fed pivot” line as well?

    2. timbers

      No worries. There is still some 8 or 9 trillion-ish Fed QE floating around and it can find it’s way as free money for the super rich to gobble up single family homes as investments towards building USA into a rentier nation, but when parked in banks who are stuffed to the gills in excess cash with QE, they then park it at the Fed and earn a handsome positive interest on it. Paid for by you and me and taxpayers, amongst others. And that part, too, can find it’s way to investors who may want to gobble up single family homes.

      Chicago has some fun architecture from the perspective of home ownership. There are large neighborhoods of modest solid bungalow homes with impressive brick work some of which being handsome and elaborate in craftsmanship showing some effort to arrange pleasing exterior patterns for visual enhancement. And many of these blocks of homes have respectable back alleys to accommodate cars and garages for families. Apparently the craftsmen in Chicago were skilled when the now old homes were built. Many have renovated to modern tastes while maintaining the handsome if modest exteriors.

    3. IM Doc

      I got a big fancy mailer this week with Barack and Michelle holding hands looking at Chicago from the other side of Lake Michigan ( I guess that is right – I am unfamiliar with the actual geography).

      Begging for money, names on special list, etc.

      And then I saw the picture of the proposed building. What an eyesore that is going to be. Just hideously ugly architecture. So so typical of our modern selves. It will likely come a close second in ugliness to the Clinton Library. To any true Southerner, that one appears to be a double wide trailer extending out over the Arkansas River. A true Southerner thinks to themselves, “how appropriate!” upon first view. Talk about an eyesore. At least it is worth a good laugh.

      These elite and their limitless hubris. Just compare these monstrosities to the Truman or even Bush I libraries and one shakes their head.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That is why Wukchumni has alluded to them resembling Berlin’s WW2 flak towers that are still standing. It will probably be the only Presidential Libray that will not actually house the Presidential library papers themselves. Grifters gotta grift.

        1. barefoot charley

          Speaking of grifters, I learned here in NC about Obama’s original financial supporters: South Side real estate magnates. I’m a native Hyde Parker though long gone, and no one in Chicago seems cognizant that the same interests that got him a discounted mansion will get their returns precisely from gentrification. When retired ‘community organizer’ Obama refused to even acknowledge community organizers to discuss his temple plans, he gave away the game. Their goal would be to empower the existing community; his goal is to clear them out for greater real estate returns. It’s dispiriting that people still talk about protecting against gentrification, since gentrification is the only community and tax development play that old cities have left. The only people against gentrification are, er, the people, and the people don’t count.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Charter school development, which Obama supported from the beginning, is also a real estate play, since inside operators buy buildings which they rent to the “non-profit” charters at very high rates. Obama was on the charter school/privatization bandwagon very early, and his eight years in office were one unending attack on public education, swelled by the emergence of similar types, such as Cory Booker and Hakeem Jeffries.

            As Pascal Robert, a contributor to Black Agenda Report and a host of the This Is Revolution podcast, frequently says, Obama was a petri-dish creation of the Overclass, which used Identitarianism and the rhetoric/imagery of racial uplift to produce this shapeshifting political Trojan Horse. That precious urban parkland was sacrificed for this shallow hustler to build his Ozymandias complex, and that it compounds the hustle by not even being a “Presidential Library” (a scam in it’s own right), is just beyond the beyonds, and says much of what we need to know about the Democrats and this country.

            1. JBird4049

              Bland, ugly, soulless, and megalomaniacal all at once. Thousands of years of architectural history to use and this is what they created.

              Hello, America.

      2. Asr

        I got the same mailer. Scrawled “Use the 60 million you got from Netflix to build your own library” across the request for money and sent it back in the postage paid enveloped included with it.

      3. lambert strether

        I think Obama’s mailer deserves to be immortalized. Can some kind reader send me photos? Thank you!

        (Not you, IM Doc, if you’re too busy.)

        1. IM Doc

          I shredded the mailer almost immediately – I will never give them another dime – and I certainly do not want my name on any list celebrating them. Furthermore, giving one cent to support that monstrosity of a building is just not going to happen. I view my past significant support of them as one of the worst decisions in my life.

          However – I have found the photo – on another website –

          And this one showing off the new building that is being built. These photos were displayed prominently in the mailer as well.

          1. juno mas

            The “photos” in the promotion material are actually 3D design simulations. It is amazing how plant materials (trees, shrubs, etc.) are being used to soften (obscure) the hard lines of bad architectural design. This is becoming standard fare “eyewash” to sell projects.

            When viewed after project completion the installed plant materials will take 10-20 years to mask the building design. . . and will not appear nearly as lush as depicted. Landscape plants take fertile soils, lots of water and maintenance, in the urban setting.

      4. E Chi

        The picture is south of Downtown, and South of Museum Campus, probably around 55th. Near his old UofC neoliberal stomper grounds.

  3. chris

    If you want a really weird sense of what the hell is going on, read the Moon Of Alabama summary of the current situation in Ukraine. And then read the Guardian’s latest. The headline says it all. “Russia’s faltering war…”

    I wasn’t alive back when Kremlinology was a big deal. If this is the level of analysis it was used to support then I can’t believe these people were ever taken seriously.

    1. jsn

      That’s how you get blindsided by the collapse of the USSR.

      They cleaned out the Stasi and KGB files, it would have been a huge public service if the same had happened here.

      Instead, we’re now ruled by the folks who had no idea the Soviet collapse was on its way.

    2. Raymond Sim

      I think it was every bit as farcical back then, perhaps even worse.

      Sometime, roughly mid-70’s I think, we made an Orwell-worthy lurch from fearing them because their inhumane dictatorial system gave them potentially insuperable advantages, to disdaining their incompetence and inefficiency, lacking as they did the all-improving influence of the Invisible Hand.

          1. ambrit

            I wander if “Arliss” wrote his or her or it’s high grade laptop off of their Langley Expense Account?

    3. Stephen

      I was taught in the mid 80s by an American Oxford Sovietologist who is still active as some form of think tank guru.

      He told us that the Soviet totalitarianism was far more complete than Hitler’s had been and never once gave any inkling of a possible collapse. Nor did any of the literature that we read.

      These are the same people who now make their relatively comfortable careers telling us what a threat Putin is.

  4. Tardigrade

    Twitter Files Part 5

    So glad to learn no one at DHS, FBI, CISA etc., had anything to do with shutting down the Trump twitter account. Just undertaken a handful of powerful people at a private company. Moving along now, since there is nothing to see here. And a big thank you to Bill Barr, Ms. Weiss’ content partner.

    1. hunkerdown

      PMC disinformation is not generally well received among this commentariat. The mythology of regular order, expressed in the petulant form “if it didn’t happen by regular order you have no right to accuse my faith” fallacy has been thoroughly debunked. Save your apologetics for Sunday church and read a book:

        1. hunkerdown

          They’re really pushing Poe, if so. Petulant defensive sarcasm is a characteristic pose in PMC political kabuki.

          Now, had they gone all the way over the top and called it a proper nothingburger, I’d have had a dry smile and moved along.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Zelensky is unhappy with Musk’s Twitter right now. A Ukrainian official complained ‘War in Ukraine’ disappearance from Twitter trends. Radical curtailment of tweets mentioning ru-aggression coverage. Users aren’t allowed to register or log into accounts with Ukrainian phone number.’

      Of course it may be that anything to do with the Ukraine has been amplified all year but since Musk took over, it has been dialed back to what is actually is but who can tell. But there certainly is a lot of bad blood between the Ukrainian regime and Musk right now-

      1. Aumua

        All I see in my stream is critical of the whole thing, but that’s generally because the people I follow are.

    1. Steve H.

      That’s a great clip.

      I was thinking it was getting into the Christmas spirit. But Matthew 14 doesn’t mention the rooster tail. John Keel suggested that was a rope under the surface, but all these creatures are on calm water, where waves do not cause accidental disruptions in the surface tension which supports them. Water truly is a miracle.

    2. Wukchumni

      We do a flatwater kayak trip on the Colorado River every weekend before Thanksgiving, been doing it for at least 10 years now, and one of the highlights is the aquatic bird life on ample display 33 miles from the Vegas Strip as the crow flies.

      Its fairly placid current is perfect for migrating par avian. We usually see thousands of birds in a couple days on the river and it runs the gamut in terms of variety.

      Western Grebes are one of my favorites-an abundance of them, with that rushing ceremony quite something to observe at water level, wow!

      Or even watching Mallards landing on what looks like an imaginary aircraft carrier, their webbed feet splayed out so as to perform a quick stop on the water upon arrival.

      Not 3 weeks ago though, maybe I saw 75 birds of all types in total on the river, wonder why the rapture of non raptors?

      1. MT_Wild

        Anywhere near Havasu? Worked there for several years collecting disease samples from feral pigs and waterfowl.

        Was amazed how that stretch of river was so under appreciated. Bit if your first stop is a drive through in down town Needles, it might get you to just hop back on the interstate.

          1. 430MLK

            Thanks for the link, Wukchumi; I sent to a friend in Las Cruces who does overnight paddles of regional waterways. (The Southwest is so yuge, “nearby” waterways seems an incorrect adjective to use in this case.)

            Myself, I’ve got a December 30-31 canoe trip planned with a friend or 2 for the KY River. No hot-springs, twice the length on flat-water, and much colder air temperatures. But with the leaves down, the palisades around here are beautiful this time of year. And with winter set in, the river promises to be seasonally empty of humans.

    3. juno mas

      Well, the dancing grebes are quite the laugh, but the antidote “White Heron” (as idicated in the “via” link) is actually a White Egret.

        1. Keith Newman

          Omigod Lambert!!
          Hilarious albeit blasphemous against Edith Piaf!
          (Your blasphemy resonates because her iconic song – Je ne regrette rien – has been played several times in the lobby of the Cuban resort where I am staying at the moment)

          1. ambrit

            Oh No Keith! You’re not “doing time” at Camp Delta are you? Give us an address where to send the cartons of smokes bro.

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    The TPM Meadows series (and there are other articles) is a document dump–and there’s plenty of splatter melodrama.

    The difficulty with the many various U.S. scandals for some time is that no one dares appoint a special prosecutor, no one makes criminal referrals, and no one is tried for the crimes. By no one, I mean especially the Congress. Does anyone recall who was convicted of anything in the Iran-Contra-Fandango? And that was a better investigation than more recent ones.

    I clicked through to the article about Scott Perry.

    It seems that we have multiple scandals going on all at the same time. Quelle surprise. What is this tidbit?

    ‘“This whole situation was seen coming a hundred miles away and they did nothing,” Perry wrote, adding, “And Gina is still running around on the Hill covering for the Brits who helped quarterback this entire operation.” Perry’s message is seemingly a reference to a massive cover-up being orchestrated by Trump CIA director Gina Haspel and the United Kingdom.’

    And yet: There will be no investigations leading to punishment.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I couldn’t get past the introductory paragraphs. This had me laughing so hard I had to stop –

      “The Meadows texts illustrate in moment-to-moment detail an authoritarian effort to undermine the will of the people and upend the American democratic system as we know it. ”

      – because as everybody knows, the preferred weapon of authoritarians plotting to take over a government by violent coup is the text message.

      Show me some gunz or shut the [family blog] up about Jan 6.

      1. Carolinian

        Text messages and Viking hats. While the article isn’t by Josh Marshall himself I stopped reading TPM about the time he “reluctantly” decided the invasion of Iraq was necessary. The site itself is a blast from the wheezy past for some of us.

        Without a doubt Trump displayed all his personality flaws in the aftermath of the last election but then he also provoked the same in his opponents. Which one might argue is his one great talent. His consipiracy theory about 2020 is no crazier than theirs not to mention the Russiagate that preceded it. If Trump had done all the things he said he was going to do once in office then the 2020 election wouldn’t have been close enough to be disputed. Instead he spent all his time preening and tweeting along with some despicable things like trying to overthrow Venezuela’s government. We need more than a gadfly president.

      2. marym

        The texts in the next post aren’t about the riot. The topics included lawsuits, raising money for a defense fund, discussing whether state legislatures can intervene, and objecting to certification during the electoral vote counting.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          So in other words, they were trying to find some legal technicality they might be able to use to convince enough people that their arguments were valid. The horror, the horror….

          I’m so old I can remember when Hillary Clinton ran the idea of getting electors to switch sides up the flagpole all the way back in 2016. Seemed pretty stupid when her people suggested it, and equally stupid when Trump tried something similar. Somehow though, nobody tried to portray Clinton’s effort as a coup, or an authoritarian takeover. Because it wasn’t.

    2. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Oliver North was initially convicted re Iran Contra. However, as Wikipedia tells us

      North formulated the second part of the plan, which was to divert proceeds from the arms sales to support the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua, sales which had been specifically prohibited under the Boland Amendment. North was granted limited immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying before Congress about the scheme. He was initially convicted on three felony charges, but the convictions were vacated and reversed and all charges against him dismissed in 1991.

      1. Questa Nota

        Good old Ollie North, recycled quickly into patriotic big thinker and defender of all that is great and good, after his brush with criminal notoriety. His was a voice too powerful to silence, and the networks saw within him a beacon of viewer ad money light and reason. /s

        There weren’t that many people inducing a quick channel change back in the day, or evening, but North was one of them. He and his handlers were ahead of the amnesia curve, or arc if you prefer.

        1. Karl

          I thought his personal assistant, Fawn Hall, added some eye candy to the story. As I recall, she seemed as smart and professional as she was telegenic. Nowadays she could have turned all of that into a lucrative contract with Fox News.

    3. Wukchumni

      Suffering through the missives, it was if a not so funny Keystone Kops were going to run roughshod over everything to preserve the union they had with the teetotalitarian leader, in lieu of new light before the not for long knaves.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Musk’s Twitter disbands its Trust and Safety advisory group”

    Iran’s Morality police cop a lot of flak, rightly so because they go around acting like a bunch of entitled d*** telling people what they can and can’t do. But isn’t that what this Trust and Safety advisory group actually was – America’s Morality police? Well, at the very least Twitter’s Morality Police. They were volunteers advising what to do with tweets but has been revealed by the Twitter Files, just what were they advising? Certainly tweets to do with child sexual abuse – which Musk himself pointed out – were never a priority so just what were they doing? I can understand Musk wanting to bring all this in-house where people would be accountable for what they do. As the Trust and Safety advisory group were volunteers, the most that you could do was to let them go – so long as you could prove it justified.

    1. hunkerdown

      Shoulda happened on Day One, but huzzah!

      The Trust and Safety group appeared to be a convocation of PMC (I think that’s the correct collective noun for a fatuous priesthood?). “Alex Holmes” quoted in the article appears to be a therapist for “self-identified men and boys”, which is a controversial property to declare and enforce as a worldwide norm. “Patricia Cartes”, a PMC who defines herself as the embodiment of “Trust and Safety”, has moved onto the next NGO grift, the “anti-bullying” Cybersmile Foundation.

      > “He doesn’t really care as much about what experts think,” she said.

      The destruction of PMC social property is a beautiful thing and the crying is even better. Let “moral experts” be seen and never heard again.

      1. semper loquitur

        “Cybersmile Foundation”

        Wow, that name is bizarre. From the site:

        “We work with globally recognized brands, celebrities, academics, creatives and influencers to facilitate a truly diverse and inclusive internet. Our mission is for an online environment where everybody feels free to express themselves without fear of judgment and ridicule – where we can all communicate and connect with each other without being harassed, intimidated and abused.”

        Wouldn’t it be fun if a bunch of people suddenly contacted them, people who identify as white binary cis hetero-Christian Trump supporters, to report being harassed and bullied? Betcha they’re too busy. Maybe helping Yoel Roth to find a place to crash.

        1. hunkerdown

          Unless “yourself” has material interests. Global brands and other neoliberal ideologues don’t like that. Diverse and inclusive, yes, but equitable is a bridge too far. Pure idealism only!

          That would make fun television, but not good enough for pay-per-view. I’d want WSWS, other “incompatible Left”, and the anarchists of r/antiwork to come out and demand total restitution. Break the frame, end the game.

    1. Screwball

      Seconded. I’m getting a kick out of this story. It’s fun to see what went on behind the scenes. I don’t know how many parts are left, or what they might be about, but I’m looking forward to them. I think there are some coming on COVID and Fauci, which should be highly entertaining, and hopefully telling.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have my hopes up for anything significant to come out of it (like most everything else). Many already think it’s a ‘nothingburger” which I’m sure will be one of the main narratives going forward. The spin might be as entertaining as the files themselves. At some point I expect the Russians to be blamed, if they haven’t already. They are really out to get ole Joe don’t ya know. :-)

      Crazy times

      1. hunkerdown

        Crazy times are kairotic times.

        Or, “When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro.”

        Everyone long popcorn?

    1. flora

      Interesting timing. From the article:

      Before his arrest was announced, Bankman-Fried had been expected to testify virtually before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday [today], but his attorneys told CNBC that he will not appear.

      1. The Rev Kev

        He’s not being placed in the Security Housing Unit in Lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center – aka Guantanamo of New York – by any chance, is he? J.E. gave the place a down-rating.

        1. Wukchumni

          The poor thing, imagine going cold turkey on League of Legends, with the upside being that prison garb doesn’t look a whole lot different than his typical wardrobe.

          I was getting goosebumps in anticipation of him providing awkward moments testifying, but say it isn’t so, Sam.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        According to a “reporter” on cnbc, “legal experts” she’d been talking to “suggested” that the “feds and doj” did not want to give sbf any more opportunity to “poison the jury pool” by “testifying” before congress.

        As if a poisoned, deranged jury pool hasn’t been their best friend in all things Trump for years now.

        maxine waters is, reportedly, verklempt at the prospect of not being able to grill the second biggest democrat party donor after soros on the rampant fraud he committed getting the money he so generously gave to her beloved party.

        I’ll just bet she is. But, we’re a nation of laws and “justice” must be done.

        1. Michael

          SBF “Stop, I’m not a pinata!!” or the Pillsbury doughboy or the Michelin Man or, or or…

          [SBF] willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other to commit offenses against the United States by engaging in violations of federal law involving the making, receiving, and reporting of a contribution, donation, or expenditure, in violation of Title 52, United States Code, Sections 30109(d) (1) (A) & (0).

          1. Michael

            Part duh

            SBF] did defraud the United States, and an agency thereof, by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of a department and agency of the United States through deceitful and dishonest means, to wit, the Federal Election Commission’s function to administer federal law concerning source and amount restrictions in federal elections…

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Dunno if they’ll get away with epstein-ing the guy, but I’d imagine they need some time to jawbone this as a dastardly but garden-variety financial scam, while memory holing the ukrainian and democrat party parts.

            My money’s on a sealed / heavily redacted “plea deal,” with Club Fed as a reward for keeping his mouth clamped shut. Ala ghislaine maxwell.

          2. cnchal

            Yet, that still does not explain why the Justice Department would not want to hear a full account from Bankman-Fried before effectively shutting him down as a criminal defendant. This is the first time that I can recall where the prosecutors, rather than defense counsel, moved effectively to muzzle a defendant.

            Don’t you dare call it a conspiracy. There is no such thing according to the professional liars, cheaters and stealers, and if anyone appends the word theory behind conspiracy, officially you are wearing a tinfoil hat.

            1. Yves Smith

              SBF has been interviewed by far more expert parties, namely Coffeezilla. SBF is very adept at evasion so IMHO there is no way the Congresscritters would have gotten anything new and useful out of him.

              1. flora

                True. But lying in public, lying in a twt space, lying to the press are not federal crimes. Lying to Congress is a federal crime…at least on paper.

          3. Yves Smith

            One theory: The DoJ did not want to look like it had set out to embarrass Congresscritters who defended SBF in the hearing, particularly if the indictment came not too long after the hearing.

          4. lyman alpha blob

            Not sure I agree with Turley on this one. SBF does like to talk, so it’s always possible he had some fresh new beans to spill to Congress, but I’m really wondering what else there is to tell at this point given the extensive interviews that are all publicly available that he can’t stop granting.

            And, Turley only cites his contributions to Democrats as a reason the Biden administration might not have wanted him to testify, however as SBF has already freely admitted, he gave just as much money to Republicans too, so presumably that would have come up in any hearing, making both sides look fairly bad. Or both sides would have lobbed softballs so as not to incriminate themselves too much in going along with the grift.

            There might be reasons for SBF to be Epstein-ed by the powers that be, but he ought to be a lot more scared of those in the Vegas gambling community he bilked out of lots of real money.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “More than 1,500 migrants wade across the Rio Grande into El Paso in one day”

    There may be more to this story than meets the eye. So you had this guy from Fox (I know, I know) send out a tweet with video saying-

    ‘Before this mass of migrants crossed, Mexican police escorted nearly 20 buses full of migrants into Ciudad Juarez, the MX city across from El Paso, and released them at multiple NGOs. The migrants then walked from the NGOs to the river, & crossed illegally into El Paso.’

    Further down is video from aboard one of the buses and another showing them start to cross. And in another tweet, you can see the mass of people actually crossing-

    ‘BREAKING: A huge migrant caravan of over 1,000 people crossed illegally into El Paso, TX last night, making it the largest single group we have ever seen. The city of El Paso reports Border Patrol now has over 5,000 in custody & has released hundreds to city streets.’

    I’ve got no real dog in this fight but I have to say this it is a remarkable sight. At least they are a useful barometer. if you ever see these people start to cross the border but heading south instead, then you know that there is trouble brewing.

  8. farmboy

    2 items caught my attention this morning:
    “QATAR + MERS + SarsCoV2 + no masks = template switching activated for a highly contagious recombinant with a 35% kill rate and no treatment.
    MERS is highly suspected in the most recent high profile sudden deaths in QATAR. Fans and players are now flying home coughing globally…” @cwrequine

    vaccine to reduce on farm methane

    1. Basil Pesto

      re: MERS, she’s sort of full of it. Is a MERS/SARS2 recombinant a theoretical risk? yes. Is it probable or even likely in Qatar right now? Don’t think so. Is there any evidence beyond the merely circumstantial (world cup’s in Qatar and Qatar has MERS and people in Qatar are sick and a few have died) to implicate MERS in the deaths of Wahl and the other two journalists who have died in Qatar? nope, not as yet.

      If a SARS2/MERS recombinant happens, it happens – global policy is certainly not geared to preventing anything like that from happening. But thinly evidenced alarmism of this sort runs a cry-wolf risk, I think.

      1. bdy

        One person’s fear mongering is another’s precaution. The possibility (remote or otherwise) that SARS contagiousness might hook up with MERS morbidity sure looks like fat-tailed risk to me. Without sounding at all alarmist, the paper you linked “strongly recommend(s) extra-precautionary measures to avoid MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 merging into a novel coronavirus.” Who knows whether such measures were taken at Qatar, but my take is the tournament happened on time by the seat-of-pants, with the lion’s share of attention going to mass construction.

        Given that people are literally dropping dead
        in their seats, it doesn’t seem alarmist to suggest precautions like a couple weeks off at home for WC returnees. A big hurdle, IMHO, is how few people in power are willing to suggest that sort of thing is reasonable.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I don’t even really disagree with you but what’s the point in sounding the precautionary note when the world cup is already happening and Qatar has already been flooded with journalists and tourists? If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, and with “public health” now being what it is, nothing will be done to stop it. And if it doesn’t happen, you’ll have a chorus of the worst people in the world saying “ha, remember when all those doomer bedwetters were saying the world cup was a MERS/SARS2 recombinant event?!”. it’s a tactical mistake, imo.

          Given that people are literally dropping dead
          in their seats, it doesn’t seem alarmist to suggest precautions like a couple weeks off at home for WC returnees.

          The problem, though, is the confounder of the out of control SARS2 pandemic, and the fact that sickness and deaths of this sort are happening all over the world. If it was a MERS outbreak there would presumably be a lot more than three dead thus far. There’s just no evidence that what we’re seeing is MERS beyond the circumstantial. No testing. General public won’t be any more precautionary than they are already about a risk like this until there is some sort of empirical confirmation – and the most likely to he concerned about a MERS recombinant outbreak are likely to be taking Covid precautions anyway. I just don’t think this open speculation by non-experts who have been deeply and understandably troubled by the events of the last three years and who now find themselves with sizeable online audiences is very helpful to anyone. Which, again, is not to say the risks of MERS aren’t real.

  9. Wukchumni

    Their silence is deafening: Stars including Gisele and Tom, Larry David and Shaquille O’Neal who took SBF’s cash to advertise his doomed FTX crypto exchange say nothing as he’s arrested and charged Daily Mail.
    Apparently SB-F got them all on a conference call late yesterday and explained his current strategy:

    ‘I’m in.’

    1. Carolinian

      I thought the most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm was downright smarmy and never finished watching. Could be time for LD to retire to the links.

    2. MT_Wild

      My assumption is that they are listening to their legal teams advice and remaining silent.

      Also really intrigued to see if the Tom Brady “strategic divorce” tin foil hat theory plays out.

    3. griffen

      Pity poor TB12 Wife and also a Brazilian supermodel files for divorce, his magical talent is not flourishing behind the ragged offensive line and the Bucs are indeed leading but their category is the tallest midget of the NFC South.

      Maybe a rethink of retirement and unretirement is in the plans for this next offseason. Along with his decision to maybe move to the booth. But no more endorsement deals for crypto!

      1. orlbucfan

        Hopefully, MethusalehTB12 leaves next year, and central FL will be rid of him. He’s too old and washed up for NFL football.

        1. Mildred Montana

          I cannot understand why opposing defensive coaches don’t blitz Brady more than they do. Attentive NFL fans have noticed how painfully slow he is when he is forced to evade the pass-rush or run.

          My armchair strategy against him would be to blitz, blitz, blitz and cover the short dump passes. If he gets lucky and burns you with the occasional long pass while under intense pressure, well so be it, he got lucky, and luck, like everything else, runs out.

          Disclaimer: I have never coached football—at any level. My comment might be one reason why.

          1. griffen

            The memo is out, according to how the NFL officiates games where specific players at the position of starting quarterback might actually become hurt or in despair of being hurt. So, the opposing defense will tend to knock you around if your Joe Schmoe but if Tom Brady receives a papercut from a defensive player then it’s 15 yards!!

            I am joking but also not joking. The NFL does have form in prior instances.

  10. .Tom

    > Odessa falls and Ukraine becomes a landlocked country (video) Douglas Macgregor, YouTube. Interviewed by Dr. Michael Vlahos.

    This looks like the same interview that has been mentioned in Links in recent days and is linked in the MoonOfAlabama post a few links up today in which it is segmented into three parts. The first part is very interesting, talking about the war so far, what’s going on now and what they suspects is going to happen next. Macgregor presents his assessment of how RF started with one strategy and had to change it and is preparing for something different.

    In the second part Vlahos does rather more anti-blue ranting (as though team red would do any better) although it is still interesting to hear what Macgregor says. I didn’t get so much out of the third part.

    Still, good to know there are some people in DC that know what’s really happening as well as how to interpret it and that they are allowed, for now, to talk about it on Youtube.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine armistice coming into view”

    No, there’s not. There will be no armistice. It’s a fight to the end. Zelensky just came out with a statement saying that there will be no negotiations until the Russian military leaves all of their territory, the Donbass & Crimea included. More to the point, Washington/Brussels has demonstrated no interest in any negotiations as in at all. This being the case, Russia will create facts on the ground and they have about 15 Divisions about to come online that will make it so. Millions may flee to the EU but after all that the EU has done to Russia this year alone, they will figure that that will be the EU’s problem to deal with. Is that unfair on the people of the EU? Bit divided on that as most of them were all aboard the everybody-hate-Russia train this year. So why is this all so?

    The boys at the Duran have a theory that has been bothering me since I heard it. Julian Assange pointed out how Afghanistan was nothing more than a huge money-laundering operation for decades where billions would flow from so many countries only to be washed and to flow out that country to all sorts of connected parties. Well the Taliban shut down that lucrative money op and now the Ukraine is the new one. But here is the trap. The US alone has sent, what, $120 billion to the Ukraine this year alone? Corporations and connected individual are making money hand over fit. Both the Democrats and Republicans used FTX to wash money back to their coffers as one example. Same story with the EU. And think of all those IMF loans to the Ukraine. So who here imagines that the collective west will willingly shut that down? No, they will fight to the last Ukrainian to keep that money flowing because of all those lovely billions. So the war will go on to the bitter end, no matter how much they will escalate it.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, my first reaction to all of this at the onset of the SMO is this is a huge arms bazaar for western multinational arms companies, and a weapons test ground like Spain in the 1930s. What a disaster for everyone else, though. So no surprise that the US has no interest in negotiations for peace. I only hope this doesn’t precipitate a nuclear war at some point.

  12. farmboy

    Now I’m a convert…”Here it is! The first ever Comcast bill negotiated 100% with A.I and LLMs.

    ChatGPT bot talks to Comcast Chat to save one of our engineers $120 a year on their Internet bill.

    Will be publicly available soon and work on online forms, chat and email.”

    1. LawnDart

      For those of us who don’t have people, “my people will talk to your people” no longer seems like a barrier to entry.

      Chat-bots arguing over matters is totally going to launch an arms-race: can you imagine them getting into law or politics? Grab popcorn, the bottle, or a gun? Hmm…

  13. Rob Urie

    Susan Watkins’ piece (above), Five Wars in One, is very good, but some of the distinctions she makes seem less distinct when considered more broadly.

    For instance, would the Ukrainian government have exacerbated internal divisions in Ukraine had the US not brought it to power and been supporting it militarily and strategically?

    This is related to the question of whether or not Russia’s ‘imperialist’ inclinations would exist if the US hadn’t spent several decades hemming it in militarily— and was currently on its doorstep?

    The point: the US has been very skilled at creating crises and then pointing to the crises it creates to justify creating all new crises.

    This hasn’t worked very well for the rest of the world.

    And that is why most of the people of the world live in nations that by and large take Russia’s ‘side’ in the current conflict, a point made by Watkins as well.

    1. pjay

      There is a lot of good information in that article, but as you imply, there is still too much false equivalence in placing blame for me. She also seems to buy the Western propaganda that US military power is superior (they just haven’t used much of it yet) and that the Russia, though entrenched, is stretched thin and struggling.

      For a much better take, one that Rob will not cite himself, I strongly recommend this one:

      1. Old Sovietologist

        I’m not sure I can take the author seriously when they start a paragraph with Putin’s War.

        A left position should be the following:

        “Russia is an independent capitalist state, not an imperialist one – it doesn’t match any of Lenin’s Five criteria for imperialism · It is fighting a war to defend that independence against US imperialism, which has spent 30 years trying to use Ukraine as a proxy to encircle, break up and loot Russia’s resources and exploit its labour

        We support Russia’s self-defence, not out of love for Putin/the Russian state in particular, but because if US imperialism succeeds in that end this would be an objective step backwards in Russia – from independence under a national-bourgeoisie; to dependence under a comprador ruling-class.

        We also support the right of oppressed nations to self-determine – in Ukraine there is an oppressed Russian nation that has been fighting for 8 years to secede from Ukraine and Russia is objectively progressive to support that.

        Look at the anti-war elements in Russia – almost entirely western-backed, liberal bourgeoisie/middle-class elements. Meanwhile the Communist Party – a workers’ party – supports the war effort, and has been even more aggressive than Putin in pushing for it”.

        Tells you all you need to know really. Anything else is well meaning petty bourgeois radicalism.

        1. Daniil Adamov

          While they certainly would have liked to “use Ukraine as a proxy to encircle, break up and loot Russia’s resources and exploit its labour”, I do not see how this could ever have succeeded (and therefore cannot accept that part of your argument, at least). How precisely would Ukraine have helped them do that? It is a terribly dysfunctional country in the midst of a civil war. Even if it had been resolved and even if Ukraine had joined NATO, it would not even have put NATO on Russia’s border – simply because NATO was already there, thanks to the Baltic States. Having NATO forces in Ukraine would have helped stage a ground invasion – assuming NATO has the capabilities and the political will and the complete disregard for Russia’s nuclear arsenal for one. I do not see any evidence of those assumptions being correct, and plenty for the opposite, considering how the conflict has unfolded thus far. If this is the best they can do after we give them the best excuse they could wish for, then I do not think there was ever a real threat.

          1. tevhatch

            The theory is replacing Putin will automatically bring about Yeltsin the 2nd, and reboot the neo-liberal destruction by empowering US dependent oligarchy. That’s the theory, but I call it a wishful thinking hypothesis, which is popular because testing it promises more money for the MIC-IMATT, particularly the IMATT.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              I agree that this is wishful thinking, but even before it gets to that stage, how on Earth does taking over Ukraine bring them closer to replacing Putin?

              1. tevhatch

                The Russian people would do it on their behalf, if he lost that is, as he will become a pariah. Sorry, I should have been more litteral.

          2. ilpalazzo

            Does keeping western looters out of Belarus count? AFAIR It still retains state ownership of most of its “legacy” industry, has universal public pension fund etc. and last coup attempt, in which Ukraine played an important role looked way too close to success for my liking.

            1. Daniil Adamov

              Ukraine was never in any position to threaten Belarus militarily either, and Belarus itself is of no greater importance to 21st century Russian security than Ukraine.

              I’d agree that a coup or similar elite malfunction is a much more realistic threat – both to Russia and to Belarus. But does NATO control over Ukraine substantially increase those risks? I think the main risks are domestic, arising from internal elite politics, and insofar as foreign actors can aggravate them, Britain and the US are much more dangerous than Ukraine. They could use Ukraine to do their dirty work in that regard, but they could just as easily use Latvia or Poland or the emigres.

              1. Polar Socialist

                Technically yes. And both Latvia or Poland have been used for all kinds of “dirty work”. Yet neither has been a “red line” to cross.

                I do find it plausible that The West was using Ukraine to force Russia to react in a way that would justify the “sanctions from hell”, which were supposed to crash the Russian economy and bring a regime change.

                1. Daniil Adamov

                  I also find that plausible. In that case, the first part of their plan (provoking us into attacking) has worked and the second has not. Perhaps it will some day, but so far I see no sign of it.

                  On the other hand, suppose we hadn’t attacked? I am not sure Putin would have paid any price that he has not already paid for years by letting the Donbass get shelled. In which case the spectre of the existential threat from NATO via Ukraine retreats, or so it seems to me.

        2. Aumua

          Ok but what about leftist Ukrainians? Do we support them too, against the Russian capitalists and Ukrainian nazis?

  14. Lexx

    ‘Why the Age of American Progress Ended’

    ‘The vaccine was so immediately and obviously successful that it proved self-recommending. By 1800, vaccinations had spread rapidly through Europe, in large part because so many elites supported them. The kings of Denmark, Spain, and Prussia personally promoted the vaccine. The pope called it “a precious discovery” that ought to restore the public’s faith in God.’

    Oh, you know that had to be some interesting conversations in the manors born. Which of their children did they offer up first? Heirs or spares? Sons or daughters? On balance which of their children did they figure they could most afford to lose? If they started with that child and the child died or was disfigured, did they stop there or try to vaccinate the second least valuable child? ‘Henry! You’re up at bat, roll up your sleeve.’

    By ‘personally promoted’ do they mean gave it some court air time or offered themselves up as guinea pigs? How personal was it?

    It would put an immediate end to the sibling argument ‘Father/mother liked you best!’. You would know exactly how you rated in their affections. Clarifying to know where you stand from an early age.

    1. Stephen

      As a child I learned the received view of Jenner as a hero.

      The controversy over the Covid vaccines caused me to research dissident views though. Apparently, vaccinated patients died. For example, the 1810 Medical Observer in the UK referenced 97 fatal cases after vaccination. Other doctors even failed to replicate his results. In the 1870s we had epidemics despite the vaccination program. Rebellions against compulsory vaccination were also a big topic. In 1884 a major protest took place in Leicester. The city then stopped vaccinating and chose isolation of patients instead. No evidence that its mortality rate was then higher than other cities. UK vaccination rates actually even fell from 90% in 1872 to 40% in 1909 and to 18% by 1946 but smallpox deaths were virtually zero by the two later dates. Apparently, Scarlet Fever declined too at the same time and no one ever created a workable vaccine! Apparently, one was eventually formulated in the 1920s but it killed student nurses who were pushed to take it. Dissidents tend io argue that better public health and the investment in sewers and sanitation was by far the biggest cause of both the incidence of smallpox declining and its mortality rate going down too in the early twentieth century, prior to antibiotics. The article repeats the accepted narrative though.

      More broadly, I tend to be aligned with Michael Hudson’s take on why western prosperity is not improving and why inequality is widening. The way to make money is increasingly to engage in rent seeking activity and that does not require innovation that benefits society. It is a major misallocation of resources but not an explanation that the article considers particularly.

      1. tevhatch

        1st generation Smallpox vaccine was pretty nasty, and quarantine is pretty effective if the will exists. While Smallpox is highly contagious, transmission required close contact and occurred after the onset of the rash. Not so Polio, or MMR. However, the story of the Americas, North and South would be very different if the 1st Nations/Native Americans had recourse to (MMR and) Smallpox vaccines.

  15. John Steinbach

    I waded through the New Left Review piece “5 Wars In One”. It looks at Ukraine through the lens of WWII with a distinct anti-Russian slant. One give away is the constant personification of Russian policy as “Putin Putin Putin”, as opposed to “the Biden Administration.” Other examples include “Russian new imperialist war of conquest or partition;” “Kremlin myth of anti-fascist mobilization” by break-away republics; “Maidan popular uprising;” “The annexation of Crimea was by no means the worst of Putins deeds…” You get the point. The author predicts a stalemate & implies a Russian defeat.

    Compare this New “Left” drivel with McGregor’s straight talk.

  16. Lexx

    ‘Billionaire James Dyson says letting people work from home is ‘staggeringly self-defeating’ and will cause friction between employers and employees’

    ‘In August, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon pushed back against remote work, saying that it “slows down honesty and decision making.”‘

    Decision-making definitely, but honesty? I wasn’t aware honesty had a speed to it? Why doesn’t he just say he doesn’t trust his employees to give a day’s work for a day’s wages unless managers can keep constant tabs on them? That their interest in their work force is proprietary?

    A work force that’s constantly being told (even indirectly) that their bosses see them as untrustworthy tends to feel defensive. ‘Staggeringly self-defeating’ that.

    1. Questa Nota

      Quote from an actual company president, when discussing choice of low versus high cube walls, and choosing the former.

      How can you tell if they are working?

        1. Karl

          CEO mistrust of employees putting in a full days’ “remote work” may be projection–i.e. they aren’t either. But perhaps it’s true. Maybe no one is working as productively working remotely now as they were pre-Covid. Could this be another cause of the inflation we’re experiencing?

          Of course, everyone in the trenches and middle management (who supervise the “evaluations” for HR middle management) will say that remote works great. But what if that’s wrong? Maybe, as remote work gets extended over time, employees figure out ways to cut corners more and more? Surely the “learning curve” on getting better and better at being lazy (and multi-tasking work and “fun stuff”) over time suggests this might be true?

          As for Jamie Dimon, remote work has completely trashed his (and every banks) commercial mortgage portfolio. Urban rent of commercial space is down. Urban core business is down. City government revenues are down. Etc. Etc. Widespread remote work creates asymmetric benefits (workers win) and costs (capital and business lose). It’s not clear to me what future the city has if so many office workers continue to work remotely.

          If management really wanted to observe a remote worker as well as an onsite cubicle dweller, tech solutions already exist. E.g. get the cyber-security dept. to count every employee’s keyboard keystrokes every minute of the workday on the company network. This capability exists now.

    2. Laughingsong

      Here is the thing that really torques my hide about all these CEOs and managers decrying WFH:

      pretty much EVERY manager I have had since, oh, the early 90s, never REALLY came out and looked very long, or hung around with us long enough to really even know what we did all day. Every one of them managed through “metrics” – either entries in a journal, or a ticketing or project management system, or derivations thereof (like Tableau dashboards and spreadsheets). Just two days ago my present manager said that if the work we did hadn’t been entered into our ticketing system (a system geared towards incidents and customer requests for assistance, not for cataloguing daily work or projects), then it didn’t happen.

      So what if the $%^*&(*$ difference where we are?!?! What the heck has them so . . . upset?

      1. CanCyn

        Gotta agree. If a manager doesn’t know if his employees are getting their work done or not, either the manager doesn’t know what the work consists of or it is time to assess what the hell everyone is doing. Adding, pretty much all of my working life I and most of my colleagues spent a lot of time wondering what all the bigwigs did all day whether they were in the building or not.

  17. semper loquitur

    I just took the car in for some work. While chatting with the delightful young lady behind the counter, we got to talking about how expensive everything has become. Especially cars. She told me that her shop was paying 89$ for a 10lb. tank of r134a refrigerant. Now it’s up to 300$.

  18. B flat

    I’d be interested in links to the Dana Rivers trial, since Rivers’ defense is insanity. How could that affect the activist efforts to mainstream transness as a sort of lifestyle choice that includes cross dressing rather than its former designation as a psychological disorder. Kara Dansky has kept up with the case. Crickets from the rest of media.

  19. garden breads

    re: fans injuring themselves attempting AI generated dance moves. Vocaloid holographic performers have been around a long time and numerous individuals and groups have done human voice and dance covers of Hatsune Miku, Luka and the other stars. One wouldn’t think any human could sing that fast (just try a few bars of “PoPiPo”) or do those angular ridiculous range of motion movements – but people do. Waggaki Bad has done high quality vocal/instrumental covers but not the dance moves. So far virtual groups have obeyed physical reality unlike say the nonsense if a Marvel movie.

  20. Wukchumni

    On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Covid that came from an office party

    On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Two home test kits that came back positive
    …and Covid that came from an office party

    On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Three onset symptoms
    …two test kits that came back positive
    …and Covid that came from an office party

    On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Four calling in sick
    …three onset symptoms
    …two test kits that came back positive
    …and Covid that came from an office party

    On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Five days of quarantine
    …four calling in sick
    …three onset symptoms
    …two test kits that came back positive
    …and Covid that came from an office party

    On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

    Six stricken a’laying
    …five days of quarantine
    …four calling in sick
    …three onset symptoms
    …two test kits that came back positive
    …and Covid that came from an office party

  21. skippy

    The stuff uncovered in the Twitter whistleblower report is much crazier than anything in the “Twitter files” but it’s much less politically/tribally salient so it got no attention. Going to do a thread on some of the craziest things, in no particular order.

    That’s all I have the energy for tonight, I highly recommend reading the full report. PDF here:…

    This does present a question about how the information about twitter is being handled by some in my view. The indictment is much larger/broader than the issue of speech or such … the entire structure and administration of such a massive company with such deep roots in the collective social mind just for starters …

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Most, if not all, of our billionaires are control freaks. If you’re among the lucky assigned to further expand their ever-growing piles of gold, they want you inserted into the chain of command they created with them at the pinnacle. That way, you will learn of their commands as close to instantaneously as possible.

    This need to control extends even to Nature. I swear it offends our billionaires’ sensibilities that all those birds are living in the trees rent free. And Nature is so horribly inefficient, don’t you know? Take those bees. We learned here at NC just the other day that bees like to play. Playing on the job! Disgraceful. Bill Gates will fix ’em. Harvard’s helping him make robot bees that will put all those loafing bees out of a job. And Bill will personally approve the software for each and every one of those mechanical bees. (Wait until they go blue screen just at pollinating time.)

    1. Victor Moses

      Henry Moon Pie – you’ve totally nailed it. It’s all about control. If using the metrics that these guys get paid on – most publicly traded companies did really well during the pandemic despite WFH being the norm. I’m not saying WFH was the reason for that rather than the avalanche of QE but WFH doesn’t seem to have hurt the bottom line for the biggest corporations.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?“

      Winston thought. “By making him suffer”, he said.

      “Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation.

      George Orwell – “1984

  23. Lexx

    The photo of the egret is lovely… in fact all the photos of birds lately. What are the sources, Lambert? I would like to watercolor today’s if I can find a copy.

  24. Savita

    SBF was apparently going to testify

    The alleged draft he allegedly planned
    published on Forbes

    I can’t even look at a photo of him, its unbearable. His eyes,
    the sociopathy is so apparent to me. the stimulants he was using surely are a component of that.
    It’s equitable to something like a serial killer to me, the dysfunction i see there.

    The quality exhibited or imbued via the eyes are easier to sense if not looking directly into someones eyes but ‘around’ and ‘about’ them. In this case I dont need to try, it is so palpable.

  25. Korual

    Paradox Of Light article.

    Even physicists seem to forget that the speed of light is a physical constant, not just a mathematical constant like pi. It is not just a number but the very fabric of the universe, as they say. So what is it? Speed is distance divided by time so we are talking about light in spacetime. A better word for it would therefore be illumination.

    Then if it is physical, what is the speed of light squared, of which energy and matter are merely relative? It is illumination of illumination, hence we have the source of psyche in panpsychism. Relativity tells us that spacetime, energy and matter are all less fundamental than illumination.

  26. The Rev Kev

    Something for the end of the day. If you have seen illustrations or movies about dinosaurs, then you have probably seen a Stegosaurus. Here is a link so that you can jog your memories-

    This was a four-legged dinosaur with plates running along it’s back and at the end of it’s tail were four long spikes that it could swing against predators. That part of this dinosaur is called a Thagomizer. How it got that name is another story altogether…

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