Links 12/3/2022

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‘A gentle calm’: France’s streets once again echo to sound of working horses Guardian (resilc). Very handsome horse. But my father grew up in Long Island during the Depression. He’d sometimes visit NYC and hated it. A big reason was the still-extensive use of horses with delivery wagons and the resulting stench.

World’s oldest recorded tortoise prepares for 190th birthday party Guardian (Kevin W)

Dolphins Shrug Off Hot Sauce–Spiked Nets Hakai (resilc)

Historic photos celebrate 100 years of Superior National Forest plan Quetico Superior Wilderness News (Chuck L)

Farts say more about your health than you think — now, scientists are listening Inverse (Dr. Kevin)

US sees surge in children under five hospitalized for respiratory viruses Guardian (resilc)

Germany: RSV infection wave overloads children’s hospitals DW (resilc)

How heaven became a place among the stars aeon (Anthony L)

A Path to Freedom Commonweal. Anthony L: “It is sad when art needs a “defence”, and so all defences are sadder.”




Chartbook #177 Beijing’s tragic COVID dilemma Adam Tooze (resilc)

China fights lockdown protests by targeting smartphones DW (resilc)


Forced Labor, Child Miners, Payment in Drugs—Clean Energy Supply Chain Has Issues Mother Jones (resilc)

The dirty road to clean energy: how China’s electric vehicle boom is ravaging the environment Rest of World

The quest for low carbon steel Asia Times

Old Blighty

The reality of Brexit is biting hard. Poor people are suffering most – and now everyone can see it Guardian

Indonesia set to penalise sex outside marriage in overhaul of criminal code Reuters. Resilc: “Mass arrests in Bali for expats then?”

New Not-So-Cold War

Telephone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Kremlin. Ouch.

Russia demands annexations recognised before talks BBC. I read this as Russian top officials tired of wasting time on lectures and bizarre peace feelers (see Scholz above, the Kremlin readout does not dignify Scholz pressing Putin to withdraw troops).

Newsbits On Ukraine – Swamp Trenches, Short Training, Out Of Ammo Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

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EU reaches deal to impose $60 cap on Russian oil exports Financial Times

Russia: price cap is ‘dangerous’ and will not curb demand for our oil Reuters

Switzerland may ban EVs to avoid blackouts – Der Spiegel RT (Kevin W)

OPEC and Russia to Meet as Global Forces Weigh on Oil Market New York Times

Power Prices Scream Higher In Europe As Wind Power Slumps OilPrice (resilc)

Germans Turn to Heat Pumps to Replace Gas Furnaces New York Times. Resilc: “They are made from and run on stardust, just like Teslazzzzzzz.”

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Zelensky Looks To Ban Christian Denomination With Ties to Moscow (Kevin W)


Fascism: Israeli Style CounterPunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘NO’: Grad Students Analyze, Hack, and Remove Under-Desk Surveillance Devices Designed to Track Them Vice (furzy)

CIA’s Venture Capital Wing In-Q-Tel Partners With Trust Lab Startup Intercept

Imperial Collapse Watch

NATO Exists To Solve The Problems Created By NATO’s Existence Caitlin Johnstone

Our No Longer Free Press


The Rorschach test of media reactions:

Twitter suppressed stories based on requests from both Dems and GOP in 2020, but it favored liberals: Report Fox

‘This will be awesome’: Musk leaks Twitter’s Hunter Biden files Politico. Subhead: “The tech billionaire’s latest move will likely ingratiate him further with conservatives — and plunge the social media platform deeper into political controversy.”

Released Twitter emails show how employees debated how to handle 2020 New York Post Hunter Biden story CNN

Lambert on the story:

Taibbi’s reporting — mostly internal email from Twitter — shows that the Biden campaign leveraged Democrat assets in the Twitter moderation team to suppress a news story from The New York Post that would have hurt their candidate in the closing days of the campaign.

If that’s not rigging an election, then what is it?

And an NC regular:

The suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story is well known by now (except among the Hillary Diehards, who, I’ll admit, make up about 20 percent of the “adult” population, or so).

The internal problems with censorship at Twitter also are well known. In a sense, Taibbi isn’t surprising anyone.

Yet the comments are atrocious. They are an argument against Twitter and its supposed free flow of information. The comments are a lot of half-baked opinions by people with too many unexamined opinions. This is dialogue?

Mainstream Media Slain in Canada Matt Taibbi (Chuck L)

Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Under Elon Musk Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find New York Times

Police State Watch

Texas school staffers accused of locking up boy until he ate his own feces New York Post (resilc)

Florida sheriff announces old-time punishments like disfigurement are back for school kids Boing Boing (resilc)

Inflation/Supply Chain

People are turning to fish heads, protein shakes, and unsold food apps to save money on groceries Business Insider

Payback And Back Pay Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Summers Says Fed Will Need to Boost Rates More Than Markets Expect Bloomberg

SpaceX Wins FCC Approval to Launch 7,500 Starlink Satellites BNN Bloomberg

The Bezzle

Tesla finally delivers first electric Semi to Pepsi after years of delay ars technica (resilc)

Why they clapped for Sam Bankman-Fried The Reformed Broker

Class Warfare

New York Times could go dark next Thursday after 1,000 journalists pledged to walk out for 24 hours if their pay bump demands aren’t met Daily Mail (BC)

Trader Joe’s workers upset about new work schedule policy: ‘a veiled threat’ Guardian (resilc)

Betrayal Steve Waldman. On the rail cramdown.

Full List of Senators Who Voted Against Giving Rail Workers Paid Sick Leave New Republic

82-year-old woman arrested for unpaid trash bills in Alabama WLTX (resilc)

Antidote du jour (John M):

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  1. Antifa

    THAT’S IT!
    (melody borrowed from Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection)


    Thousand tanks in his ranks plus five hundred more
    When he rolls we’ll be in our holes so weary and sore
    In the stench of our trench we’ll hide from the flames
    Livin’ through this bally-hoo is our only aim

    Soldiers of Ukraine have long since given our best
    Gonna quit as soon as Russia rolls to the west
    That’s It!

    General Surovikin’s a mastermind who always wins a fight
    Look to the left he comes from the right
    Lookin’ ahead he comes from behind

    General Surovikin’s a mastermind who always wins a fight
    Look to the left he comes from the right
    Lookin’ ahead he comes from behind


    He stopped the trains with bombs and planes precision hits
    We’ll decide where to hide when he launches his blitz
    On our own in a battle zone we can die where we stand
    Or wave a rag surrender flag and quit on demand

    A thousand tanks in his ranks plus about five hundred more
    All the dead run through my head I’m done with this war


    General Surovikin’s a mastermind who always wins a fight
    Look to the left he comes from the right
    Lookin’ ahead he comes from behind

  2. Wukchumni

    Farts say more about your health than you think — now, scientists are listening Inverse
    I was hoping for more flatulence and less diarrhea, but it was mostly in regards to the latter in run on sentences-the article.

    I’m world class @ high altitude (buy a bag of potato chips down in Godzone and drive it up to 7k feet and it’s about ready to explode-imagine some people’s gas works?) and once had an OPEC negotiator who’d backpacked into the Sierra in an attempt to take me on as a client state based on my prodigious output, just below Guyana’s yearly total-he related.

    1. Mildred Montana

      >Farts say more about your health than you think

      Don’t know much about “fart-ology” except this: If your gaseous expulsions, if your effusive effluvia, if your chili-chatterings start to smell like roses, that’s not normal. See a doctor—and fast.

  3. Another Scott

    I see lists like the one in the New Republic and think it doesn’t matter how they voted when everyone knew it wouldn’t pass. It allows the anti-worker Democrats to say they stand with the working class but when it really matters, they’ll sell out the workers so corporate executives and hedge funds get their way.
    When I see liberals shaming Republicans for voting against something when there is a Democratic President, we need to remember that if Joe Biden vetoed a bill without the paid sick-time, then the railroads wouldn’t have won.

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s morality theater. It’s feelings training for Puritan life.

      What it is not, is a means for decision-making in the citizen’s interest.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      Another Scott: What struck me as particularly odd over at The New Republic is listing them by their given names. It’s just one more sign of the clownification of the U S of A

      We are now in first-name America. Hi, I’m Tom. I’ll be your senator this evening. Can I upsell an expensive cocktail on you? Would you like a proxy war in Ukraine with your bespoke prawns à gogo?

      It’s unserious all the way around–except that real people are being deeply harmed.

    3. Oh

      The people who read/comment on NC know fully well the games the Democrats and Republicans play. They always tell the voters that the other party is worse, so vote for us. That’s why this country is fast swirling the drain. It’s time the others know that they’re being taken for a ride. Each of us need to tell the readers/watchers of mass media how badly they’re being fooled.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine war: Russia demands annexations recognised before talks”

    For the past few weeks it has become obvious that the Russians are preparing to drop the hammer on the Ukrainian military. They will not let this war spin out for the next ten or twenty years but end it soon through force of arms. Shoulda figured that the Russians are also preparing to drop the hammer on the collective west too with shaping what follows afterwards. And it seems that the baseline is that the collective west recognizes those four Oblasts as now part of the Russian Federation – as well as Crimea. The west is still playing games by pretending that the Ukrainians are in charge of negotiations and that nothing will happen until Russian forces leave Ukrainian territory, which also includes the Crimea, and how Putin has to step down. Yes, people are entitled to their delusions but sooner or later reality rears it’s ugly head and slaps those delusions down. What follows will be interesting. The west has shown itself as incapable of fulfilling any agreements reached and that grain deal agreed upon a few months ago demonstrated this. So I guess that the Russians will just settle for facts on the ground and go on to deal with other countries that they can negotiate with. But the western media will have a fit.

    1. timbers

      Scholz is breath takingly delusional. Hard as it is to believe such a thing, he appears to not even be aware that he has no power, that his Green co-governors and the US not only will never permit him to alter German trajectory towards Russia but are even now planning similar exclusion of China because she, too, does not “share values” with Germany.

      Ditto Marcon, a total disgrace. Who cares he gives good speeches. He is vain and contributes nothing constructive. We already have Obama no need for another one.

      From the perspective of Russia, the leaders in the West must look like a vast wasteland desert devoid of any independence of Washington and empty shells in place of brains.

      1. ambrit

        What worries me about this is the question; just how delusional and desperate are the Neo-cons in Washington liable to become? The evidence points to them believing that a nuclear war can be “won.” The Russians have plainly pointed out that if they are attacked that way, they will not be at all shy about replying in kind, and at a higher level.
        We’re keeping our potassium iodide tablets where we can get to them quickly.

        1. Lunker Walleye

          Just a couple of hours to offIT afb so think I’ll just run out into the street in case of nuclear incoming.

        2. Retired carpenter

          re: “We’re keeping our potassium iodide tablets where we can get to them quickly”
          IMO if there is a full scale nuclear exchange the survivors will envy the dead.
          Retired carpenter

          1. ambrit

            Retired plumber here and I fully endorse your sentiment. However, I suggest that some number of Pro Terran humans must survive, even if only to rain H— down upon the Oligarchs when said Oligarchs come on out from their “Designer Bunquers(TM).”
            A Post Modern version of Miller Jr’s book; “A Canon For Kagan.”
            Of particular import:

            1. Procopius

              A couple of years ago, I read that “scientists” had made a “study” that determined just 20 nuclear weapons, exploding on one day, would be enough to cause a nuclear winter that would last several years. Since there are several thousand assorted sizes waiting to be used, I don’t think it matters that Putin is likely to just rely on his hypersonic missiles with conventional warheads. I don’t really believe 20 would be enough, but I worry that maybe 100 would.

              1. ambrit

                True enough. I wonder just what today’s Neo-cons consider the minimum required number of first strike targets to achieve “Victory.” That is why I still consider “Dr. Strangelove” to be one of the best anti-war films in circulation.

        3. Skip Intro

          I think they may have come to a use-it-or-lose-it realization within the empire’s command bubble, hence going all-in to start wars with Russia and China now, rather than wait as they grow stronger, and the empire weakens. Not good.

      2. Polar Socialist

        You pretty much hit the nail in the head (emphasis mine):

        To follow up on whether we are being cut off from European diplomacy, we must first look into whether European diplomacy is still there, and if so, what is it like these days. So far, what we are hearing the key European diplomats say are Josep Borrell-like statements which he keeps repeating like a mantra since the outset of the special military operation that this war must be won by Ukraine “on the battlefield.” This is what a European diplomat is saying.

        When President of France Emmanuel Macron announced a meeting as part of the European Political Community that he is promoting, he said that Russia and Belarus would not be invited to join it. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock put forward yet another new goal: to build European security not with Russia, but against it.

        If such statements are what European diplomacy is all about, I don’t think we need to be part of it. We should wait for rational people to show up there. Being vocal about the importance of ensuring Ukraine’s victory, President of the European Council Charles Michel insists that this must be done because Ukraine is striving for European values, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is claiming that it is already defending and promoting European values, freedom and democracy. Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said something along these lines as well.

        European diplomacy talking about the importance of helping Ukraine which upholds “European values” means only one thing: European diplomats are in the dark about multiple facts of what is really going on in Ukraine. They appear to be unaware of the fact that long before the special military operation began, the Russian Orthodox Church had been destroyed for years on end in violation of the rules of civilised life; ethnic minorities were unable to use their native languages in all aspects of everyday life without exception (later, European minorities were taken off that list, but Russian remained); Russian-language media was banned, and not only the media owned by Russian nationals and Russian organisations, but also Ukrainian-owned media outlets that broadcast in the Russian language; political opposition; political parties were banned; leaders of political organisations were arrested, and openly Nazi practices were enshrined in Ukrainian laws.

        If, as it continues to use grand rhetoric to call upon everyone to defend Ukraine that is upholding European values, European diplomacy indeed is aware of what that country is in fact “promoting,” we do not want to be part of such diplomacy.

        We will push to have this “diplomacy” end as soon as possible, and for the people who are pursuing hate-crazed policies in violation of the UN Charter, multiple conventions, and international humanitarian law to step down.

        Sergey Lavrov 1 December 2022

        1. Kouros

          If it wasn’t clear, it should be. Now the whole of Europe, spearheaded by Ukraine and the US want to implement Generalplan Ost 2.0 on Russia.

          We have seen how the first attempt turned out.

          1. ambrit

            If we consider Napoleon’s campaign “in the East” as Generalplan Ost 1.0, then Operation Barbarossa was Generalplan Ost 2.0 and today’s Plan Ukraine is Generalplan Ost 3.0. I’m not sure where the Swedish campaigns of the 1600s and later 1700s fit in.
            Russia has a long history of fighting off “outsiders” trying to ‘muscle in’ on their territory.

            1. Kouros

              Napoleon’s and the period’s modus operandi was definitely not geared at killing entire populations. Somebody was needed to work the land. Whereas the Germans planned to kill the Russians via overwork and starvation or straight out killing.

              Ukrainians are going for 1. forced assimilation; 2. pushing people to emigrate; 3. kill the unielding cockroaches…

              Russian POWs got castrated under the tender mercies of Ukrainian medics…

      3. OIFVet

        I am having a hard time deciding who the most objectionable living German is: frau[d] von der Leyen, Scholz, or Baerbock. Each one of them is highly objectionable in their own unique ways. Frankly, nothing good happens when German gimps are allowed to think that they are running the Old Continent. Who can blame Putin for not wanting to deal with America’s gimps, German or otherwise?

        No offense to the German commentariat or the German people as a whole.

        1. Irrational

          Always appreciate your comments.
          You forgot to add Habeck to your list> Professional Green with a literature degree and no clue about the economy, energy or climate – all of which he is in charge of as a minister.
          Tough choice between the four of them.

          1. OIFVet

            Thank you, Irrational. I did forget Habeck, you are absolutely right to include him on this list of gimp infamy.

            Frankly, the rest of the EU members have their own gimp lists. I despair for Europe’s future, dark, cold and poor decades await us.

        2. Swamp Yankee

          I think this is frankly correct, OIFVet. I am very, very leery of giving Germany political control of Europe. I know figures in Paris, London, Rome, Moscow, Warsaw, Washington, Brussels, Athens, Madrid,and elsewhere likely have similar views.

          There have been three attempts at German hegemony (WWI, WW2, and I’d argue, the post-2008 perma-crisis in the EU), and none were good for Europe and the world. The destruction of Greece post-2008 shows what German hegemony looks like even when restrained by laws, trade, and all the other accoutrements of EU liberalism.

          But I think we have less to worry about in that regard since the invasion of Ukraine. Germany without an energy source is not a hegemon.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Germany lost when those pipelines were blown up – but she was not allowed to talk about who actually did it. Can you imagine when America was attacked at Pearl Harbour back in ’41, how nobody would be allowed to come out and say who attacked them and the identity of those planes was and remains a mystery?

              1. caucus99percenter

                Quite a few people think that is exactly the situation re 9/11 — “Cui bono?”-based discussion not being allowed in mainstream discourse, to not be canceled one must at least pretend to defer to the official story, no matter what.

              2. Skip Intro

                Precisely. I’m still thinking those pipelines were US hostages that ensured Germany’s compliance with self-destructive sanctions. Now 3 of the 4 hostages have been shot, and the willingness of the German gov’t to dismantle its industry is strengthened to the point that they are also rattling scabbards at China.

            2. OIFVet

              Hayek was Austrian. But you do bring up a good point about certain Austrian influences on Germany.

              Edit: meant for Skippy below

          1. OIFVet

            Germany’s biggest stupidity is that it repeatedly ignores Bismarck’s wisdom about not fighting and screwing Russia. Even more stupid is doing just that on someone else’s behalf.

            Truly, German tragedy is never-ending because Germany always manages to put people in power who ensure its perpetuation. Mark my words, Germany will be the next ‘Sick man of Europe’ and that’s not a good thing for both Germany and Europe.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Alexander Mercouris was saying in his latest video that there is a story how Scholz went to Putin with an elaborate peace plan which would include things like Russia giving Transnistria to Moldova in exchange for the Ukraine recognizing Crimea and Russia being permitted to have a land bridge going from Russia to Crimea. You only propose such terms when Russia is losing so it comes of as really bizarre if true.

      4. spud

        timbers, there should be no confusion at all why the west gets a Sholtz,

        “As Polanyi would put it, the trade agreements are nothing more than the takeover of the political sphere by the economic sphere. In fact, since the XIX century such has been the totalitarian dream of the corporate sector, as Rockefeller expressed it in the very first quotation. Only with complete control of the political sphere will capitalism be free from limits imposed for instance by labor and environmental protection laws. Let’s not be mistaken about it: the REAL aim of all those supporting the trade agreements is to transform the WHOLE of society into a single market where democracy and elected governments will have no meaning anymore. Instead, an elite corporate technocracy will become the real masters of the world. As Polanyi put it:

        « After the abolition of the political democratic sphere, economic life alone remains ; capitalism as organised in the different sectors of industry becomes the whole of society. It is the fascist solution. » As a society we are more than half way already into the ‘fascist solution’. In today’s world the concentration of wealth and the consequent inequality has reached unprecedented levels. According to a study by OXFAM, the combined wealth of 1% of the world population is already more than the combined wealth of the remaining 99% In this context, as Polanyi saw it, democracy would naturally promote a more equal distribution of the world’s wealth and even prevent inequality reaching such levels.

        But the ‘fascist solution’, the war waged on democracy by the 1% has been going on for a long time and has already taken over much of the political discourse of the western world, successfully preventing democracy from actually working. Examples abound. It is important to remember for instance the reaction of the EU and much of the mainstream press when the people of Greece democratically voted NO to the austerity measures imposed by the Troika. I cannot think of a better example of the economic sphere taking control of the political sphere as Polanyi put it than what happened in Greece.”

        we can’t escape from this till we gut free trade.

        1. caucus99percenter

          In the case of the European Union, should “gutting free trade” mean rescinding only a subset of EU official doctrine’s “four freedoms” — or all of them?

          1. Free movement of goods

          2. Free movement of people

          3. Free movement of services

          4. Free movement of capital

          Which are the destructive ones? Or is every one of them, even implemented singly, ultimately detrimental? Conventional politics has the Right tending to focus on #2, the Left on #4.

    2. Mikel

      There will still be the fall out, in various parts of the world, to deal with from the Ukraine being a kind of Eastern European School of the Americas training ground.

    3. Anon

      It’s easy to forget that the forever wars did not have any cogent objectives, because the objective was grift. The intention was never to win and wind down but to perpetuate ‘defense’ spending (and make a mess of the place).

      Clearly Russia’s MIC is not directing this conflict, so we will witness war for victory, as opposed to for its own sake.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Historic photos celebrate centennial of Superior National Forest recreation plan”

    You know what would be really cool to do with those photos shown in that article? To go to those same places that Arthur Carhart photographed and then to take a photo showing how it looks now. You see that in books and they will bear the title ‘Now & Then.’ Did that on an old battlefield once and found that by lining up modern features with what is shown in an old photograph, that you could get withing roughly a meter or two of where the original photograph was taken. That’s a strange feeling the first time that you do that. Also, where there were things like canoes in those old photos, line up modern craft too.

    1. begob

      I guess the original photo has to have an emotional charge in order to get that strange feeling from its recreation – so an old battlefield makes sense. I wonder what effect you’d get if you worked on old photos from the family album, so you end up in the same spot as your parent when you were just a twinkle in the eye.

  6. timbers

    New Not-So-Cold War

    A topic not covered much, is recent elections in Taiwan. It appears the opposition party which has at least a legacy position of being more deferential towards the mainland, scored huge wins in local elections. I’ve seeing confusing accounts in MSM its “because corruption scandals” and local issues.

    Maybe they can invite Nancy Pelosi for another visit just before the next election, to help them take more elective offices? They could through an ice cream party for her.

    It would seem many in Taiwan know enough of what happened in Ukraine and understand they are being “led down the primrose path” and don’t want to fight “to the last Taiwanese” against China the same way the US is “fighting to the last Ukrainian” against Russia.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Duran did a video on this a coupla days ago and apparently voters did a demolition job on the ruling party. And as you surmised, the people there have seen what is being done to the Ukraine and do not want to be turned into the Ukraine of the Pacific. It may be that if Washington demands that either Taiwan choose the west or choose China, that the voters may go with the later as being far less destructive. It may be too that they are wondering why a military organization that has its base in the North Atlantic like in its name finds it necessary to say that now they are going to come into the Pacific- (16:06 mins)

      1. timbers

        The New Atlas touched on this and Brian Berletic says if Taiwan appears it will elect the party that wants peace with China, Washington neocons will just double down by staging something that derails their election into national office or subverts them in some way if they do win.

        I agree with him. After all, Ukraine voted for peace and economic cooperation with Russia by a huge margin when they elected Zelensky. We all know how that worked out.

        No reverse gear.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Zelensky reversing gear was not the result of the US pressuring him. It was the Banderite goons. They’ve beaten up politicians to the point they needed to be hospitalized and they reportedly threatened him.

      2. Kouros

        If Taiwan votes with China, then it is likely to see an NS1 & NS2 “sabotage” on Taiwan’s TSMC facilities… But this time everyone will know exactly who the culprit is…

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Its a bad idea to read anything about China (or anything else) in the Taiwan elections this year. Taiwanese voting is very much bloc based, and tends to swing like a pendulum, with local elections invariably being used as a means for voters to express dislike of whatever the national government is doing at the time. The current left leaning government has always been weaker locally than the KMT which has a formidable (and very corrupt) machine in some big cities and towns – all that really happened was that the KMT took back a number of local governments that have traditionally been their powerbase but they lost in a surge of left/green voting the last time. Essentially, it was a reversion to the mean election.

      Also, while the KMT is sometimes described as ‘pro-China’, this isn’t really the case. They are basically a status quo party, they will support whatever their funders tell them to support. There are two pro-China parties in Taiwan (one hard left wing, one hard right wing), the Labor party and PGPB, and both are rounding errors in any vote, although the latter tends to align with the KMT.

      So far as I’m aware, the election was almost entirely held on local bread and butter issues. The issue of independence or reunification is a constant background hum to Taiwan life and has been for decades, they didn’t get as excited as everyone else did over the past year and it has a fairly minimal impact on voting swings.

      1. caucus99percenter

        Except that DPP leader and Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen was trying “to frame the election — technically a local affair to choose city mayors, councilors and county chiefs — as a way to send a message against Beijing’s rising bellicosity toward the island.” (CNN)

        So at the very least, voters rejected the idea that they needed to “send a message” to Beijing.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          CNN is not a reliable source for Taiwanese politics to put it mildly. There are plenty of better English language sources, such as this one.

          Wen tried to make it a referendum based on her undoubted national popularity (not just the China issue, also her very good handling of Covid and good economic performance), but a combination of badly chosen mayoral candidates and voters seemingly determined to focus on local issues made that a bad option. The parallel failure to lower the voting age from 20 to 18 strongly indicates that like many local elections, this was an older more conservative electorate showing their muscle by turning out. This is precisely where the KMT show their strengths.

          1. caucus99percenter

            My choice was deliberate. CNN is a reliable mouthpiece for spreading U.S. Deep State narratives. My reasoning: as a proxy for “the Blob,” CNN conceding that Taiwan’s voters may not want the cross-straits conflict that Washington wants amounts to what lawyers call an “admission against interest.”

  7. fresno dan

    Remember the kerfuffle a few years ago about taking a knee at American football games? In the right wing press there were many articles, with many comments, about how the NFL would lose so many fans that it would collapse. Not that I think the price of something equates to the value of something, but the price of sports teams, including football, is through the roof. Babe Ruth got paid a little more than the president – if LeBron James got paid a little more than Biden, he would be considered 3rd world poverty stricken by NBA standards…
    Teams were once considered poor, unpredictable investments. Today they’re among the most coveted assets in the world. What changed?
    On Wednesday, September 21, Robert Sarver, the embattled owner of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, announced that he would be looking into selling his teams…. Today Forbes estimates the value of the Suns at $2.7 billion. Others, however, think the Suns’ final selling price could be as high as $4.5 billion. Sarver purchased a controlling interest in the Suns at a valuation of $401 million, in 2004.
    Over the past 40 years or so, every single team in all four of the United States’ major sports has increased exponentially in value—inexorably through all manner of catastrophe, and at an average rate that far outpaces that of both inflation and the S&P 500.

    Today pro sports teams rank among the most reliably lucrative, rabidly coveted investment opportunities there are. They’ve proved practically impervious to the busts, recessions, foreclosure crises, and plagues that have at the very least stalled growth in other industries. From 1996 to 2004, the average NFL team appreciated 321 percent (the S&P 500, by comparison, appreciated by 97 percent)
    There’s one more piece of the puzzle, however. It’s not just visibility or the promise of celebrity that makes the prospect of owning a pro team so seductive. Like any luxury asset, perhaps the preeminent feature of owning a pro franchise—the real reason they confer status and prestige—is that so few people can own one.

      1. fresno dan

        Owners like Steve Ballmer can take the kinds of deductions on team assets — everything from media deals to player contracts — that industrialists take on factory equipment. That helps them pay lower tax rates than players and even stadium workers.
        so, for the sake of tax weaseling, workers are considered machines (and treated worse – but I digress). Somehow, I always knew it…

    1. Wukchumni

      The LA Rams sold for $19 million in 1972, and would fetch $6-7 billion today, close to 350x the purchase price 50 years ago.

  8. GramSci

    Re: 82 year old woman arrested over trash bill

    St. Clair adds: “The woman, who was handcuffed and jailed, owed $77.80.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      That was so shameful that. No leeway in procedures but they had to cuff her. What was she going to do? Beat them up? Go on the run? Old people can have all sorts of problems & idiosyncrasies and a social worker would have been better sent or a local community organization. I mean she was 82 years old so she was born about 1920 and was a young woman during World war 2. But in the deep twilight years of her life, she was handcuffed and probably put in the back of a cruiser? Did they take her prints too as well as take mug shots? Gach, some stories are so stupid.

      1. chris

        Not to worry Reverend. In the Bloomberg article above, Larry Summers tells us that sooner or later the savings of the US consumer will run out and the interest rates and other factors driving old women to not be able to pay their trash collection bills will magically disappear. I’m so glad to learn that the reason we’re all suffering is because some people have EXCESS SAVINGS. Why, I can hear my friends now, “No Mr. President, I don’t even miss that $600. Please, give it to Ukraine…”

      2. Utah

        Not to be pedantic, but 82 means she was born in 1940. Unfortunately we’re in the timeline where now is 2022.

        She shouldn’t have been treated like this. Especially over a bill of $78. Don’t they have programs to help the elderly pay their utility bills?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for the correction. I was just imagining what she must have seen over her long life, only to end up in the back of a police cruiser and now probably a police record.

    2. fresno dan

      Americans simply refuse to see that we live in a police state. Testiment to advertising jingles like land of the free and home of the brave

      1. jsn

        That’s what I was thinking as I read Tooze’s piece on China.

        Our “democratic” government is so demonstrably less interested in doing anything whatsoever, say a few days sick leave free testing in the midst of pandemic, than the CCP.

        And while their cops may be numerous, they’re not murdering a thousand people a year as a matter of course, or at least not that I’ve heard. Chinese human rights violations seem pail in comparison to the US Prison Industrial Complex, or the Medical Industrial Complex for that matter. Things sure are bad over there.

        1. Objective Ace

          China just does it differently – see the Xinjiang internment camps and Ungyur genocide. They absolutely kill and terrorize thousands of people a year as well.. not that China should be the baseline we compare ourselves to tho

          1. caucus99percenter

            > Xinjiang internment camps and Ungyur genocide

            Is there any real proof of this though, or are such assertions just part of a long-term U.S. Deep State info-war plan to discredit and destabilize China? With some Epoch Times (= Falun Gong) propaganda thrown in for good measure?

            How much is truth, how much is agnotology?

            1. jrkrideau

              how much is agnotology?
              Probably most of it. Ask yourself, where are the refugee camps? No masses fleeing over the borders? Oh.

              China had a serious terrorist situation with Uighur jihadi/separatists including at least one attack at the Kunming Railway Station, 2000km from Ürümqi in Yunnan in South West China. and the authorities clearly cracked down hard. I expect, by Canadian standards, there have been violations of human rights. Ürümqi reportedly has more CCTV cameras than London.

              Claims of genocide look ridiculous. They seem to have been popularized by some German religious nutter whose divinely given mission is to free China from communist oppression. I do not think he knows Chinese let alone Uyghur.

              Combine this with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Uyghur separatist movement headquartered in Istanbul since before WWII and you have an interesting mix.

              Xinjiang province is a key transportation corridor for China’s Belt and Road initiative so the USA has every reason to want to do anything it can to stir up troubles.

              So presto, genocide!

          2. Enzyme

            I’ve got decades as an expat in China including several trips to Urumuqi under my belt to call you out on these two sentences of trash-talk nonsense. Please share what you know first-hand because you really got nothing factual on offer here except evidence-free anti-China propaganda.

            Saying “China does it differently than us” with “internment camps” – what does that even mean compared to the US’ massive punitive carceral state. Jihadi deprogramming activities in Xinjiang have practically eliminated domestic terrorism in China, formerly a consistent bane in Xinjiang and across the country. Only the ignorant would be hand-wringing in concert with spooks pissed about being deprived of potential domestic terrorist “assets” who could otherwise bleed China.

            Not buying the “Ungyur (sic) genocide” for a moment because I’ve seen with my own eyes about how alleged suppression of Uighur language is a blatant lie, it’s on public signage all over the city. It’s a calm place and I never saw anyone Uighur or otherwise getting hassled by authorities while I was there. Also any flood of refugees certain to result from genocidal policy there is non-existent.

            Absolutely zero evidence provided about Chinese cops’ purported reign of terror. Lived long periods in both US and China, no comparison in police aggression and brutality between the armed-to-the-teeth and belligerent US hyper-enforcement cops compared to laid-back mainland Chinese counterparts, most of whom are not even carrying firearms.

        2. Kouros

          I was going to comment on Tooze. I find him extremely ideological and dogmatic. He truly seems to believe in the autocracy vs democracy trope and writes about that in almost all of his postings.

          What do they say about pay and not seeing things in front of your eyes…?

          1. t

            His “Ones and Tooze” podcast yesterday on the same subject was much better than his writing n the subject — much more nuanced and cautious.

    3. Rob

      The Police handcuffed her because that is police dept policy for all arrests, whether an 82 yr old grandma or a 22 yr old boxing champion. We do not allow vassals to think for themselves because their bosses may have to account for a poor decision.

        1. ambrit

          Not being able to “pay her way.” The basic procedural rule of Neo-liberalism is that “Everyone Must Carry Their Weight” or, ‘naturally,’ Rule #2 is invoked.

          1. fresno dan

            Not being able to “pay her way.
            As you and I both know, that only applies to the 99%.
            As my post on sports teams points out:
            Several other important things happened in the 1980s and ’90s to drive up the price of pro teams. We can categorize these happenings into three general buckets: corporate welfare, commodification, and culture. First, the former. Team owners stand today as some of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare around. Most notably, team owners are rather routinely allowed to bully state and city governments into giving them huge public subsidies, which they often use to construct shiny new stadiums—though sometimes the subsidies serve only to further enrich team owners personally, either by funneling money directly into their pocket (in the form of “relocation fees”), or by allowing team owners to play in and profit from publicly funded stadiums without having to pay much of anything in rent.
            To paraphrase Stalin, owe $77.80 and you are a criminal, be given billion dollar stadiums, you owe nothing…

            1. ambrit

              Oh yes. We had a grift here in Mississippi a decade or so ago where Taiwanese “money men” were given open ended permanent residence visas in return for investing in a solar panel factory that, strangely enough, was never built. The state also threw in some tax breaks to sweeten the deal. We were supposed to have gotten some construction and factory jobs out of the deal. The last I read, those visas were never cancelled, even though the “project” went bust.
              Don’t get me going about the Brett Favre scam. (I’m sure that you have similar situations over there.)
              Favre scheme:

        2. Objective Ace

          I would guess something tantamount to “trespassing”. The city probably put a lien or something on her house and was/is in the process of taking possession.

          While I’m sympathetic, at a certain point from the cities point of view – what are you supposed to do if someone refuses to pay a tax/bill for service? If you have a law/rule on the books – which includes taxation – you need to be prepared to use violence to enforce it. The issue here is that the amount is so low it makes me question if they tried any other means to collect before resorting to violence

          1. CarlH

            Refuses to pay or can’t pay? Why did you word it that way? Either way, we are ruled by Harkonnens.

            1. Objective Ace

              I worded it that way because “refuses to pay” covers someone refusing to pay when they have the means to and when someone refuses to pay when they do not have the means to.

              I’m not going to argue that our society is great–I for one would welcome UBI, but I’m just objectively describing the world we live in. If your going to demand taxes from people who do not have the means to pay them this is the logical conclusion if someone doesnt voluntarily make themselves homeless

          2. The Rev Kev

            Now there is a point. For the sake of that 78 bucks, how much was spent in police time and resources arresting her? None of that stuff is free and you would have to work out the wages of the police involved both arresting her and those involved back at the station. Add in processing here and setting up files and the like and it could very easily run into a few thousand bucks. All for the sake of that 78 bucks. If there are future court appearances involved, then the sky is the limit.

            1. Wukchumni

              My trash service lies about where the stuff in the green bin goes, in theory it gets turned into compost, but they pick it up the same day as regular trash and it all goes into the same truck, and while no laws were broken, there ought to be a law against mockology efforts, book em’ Danno!

          3. JBird4049

            >>>The issue here is that the amount is so low it makes me question if they tried any other means to collect before resorting to violence.

            At least they did not use SWAT on her. Yes, in places like Missouri and Florida, SWAT has been used for unpaid utilities and police (without the SWAT) have arrested people for (real, no kidding) overdue library fines.

            What can be especially awful, aside from the terrorized children, is that it is usually standard procedure for SWAT to shoot all the dogs they can. Even the crated ones.

            It is kind of funny, in a grim way, to read or hear the police or city official try to justify the actions on the rare times it does make the news.

            I really wonder just where common sense, forget human decency, has gone in many places.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    How heaven became a place. Aeon.

    Natch, the professor tries to link to Plato, political conservative who didn’t like Diogenes stepping on his fancy carpets. Yet the Greek concept of the afterlife was complicated–and rather beautiful.

    It involved crossing from the world of memory to a refreshment or emptying of memory. It involved a child of both earth and the stars making a journey and needing directions:

    From an Orphic tablet–engraved on gold–found in a Greek-speaking area of Southern Italy, back when Southern Italy was Magna Grecia. Maybe 200 BC?

    Translation (2016) (which I take from the Wikipedia entry “Petelia Gold Tablet”:

    You will find a spring on your left in Hades’ halls
    and by it the cypress with its luminous sheen.
    Do not go near this spring or drink its water.
    You will find another, cold water flowing from Memory’s lake;
    its guardians stand before it.
    Say: ‘I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven,
    but descended from Heaven; you yourselves know this.
    I am parched with thirst and dying: quickly, give me
    the cool water flowing from Memory’s lake.’
    And they will give you water from the sacred spring
    and then you will join the heroes at their rites.
    This [is the …. of Memo]ry: [on the point of] death
    ] write this [
    ] the darkness folding [you] within it.[3]

    [[Hades, the all-seeing. Also known as Plouton, the rich one, because in the end, Hades gets everything, no matter how much his brothers Zeus and Poseidon try to prevent it.]]

    Also: Zelenskyy trying to ban the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. I am thinking of the gold on an iconostasis, another vision of heaven. But Zelenskyy is a vulgarian, doing the bidding of those nicenazis in the Right Sector.

    1. anahuna

      Beautiful. Thank you for that.

      “Emptying or refreshing of memory.” Or first emptying, then refreshing?

      Tantalizing, the missing word or words toward the end.

    2. Martin Oline

      Thank you DJG for this contribution. I wonder if “unknown parties will now strip these churches of everything they can take. Life in Monaco is not cheap.

  10. notabanker

    The big story behind the twitter release may be Elon legitimizing Taibbi in the anti-msm crowd, which is growing and bipartisan. CNN’s butt hurt response says it all. They are immediately trying to de-legitimize him.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Elon Musk legitimizing Matt Taibbi? Next thing you know Aaron Maté, Glenn Greenwald, Vanessa Beeley & Eva Bartlett will become the main go-to sources of the real news on Twitter.

    2. chris

      Having had discussions with True Blue people in the DC/NoVA area about the entire laptop story for the past two years, I can tell you it is the quickest way to cause them to have a physical response to cognitive dissonance.

      1.) If the story was and remains a “nothing burger” why was it so viciously repressed everywhere?

      2.) Because the story was true, and still was treated as “disinfo”, what else is true and is treated as disinformation by the MSM?

      3.) If you believe that people in government lied to protect us from the truth of this, what else are they lying about to protect us from?

      4.) Do we need a government to lie to us?

      It’s eerie watching the supposedly cultured and well spoken people I know who have multiple graduate degrees and are intelligent be unable to do more than curse when you ask them simple questions like that.

      1. Screwball

        To my true blue friends the word of the day is; denial. There is still nothing to see here, but Musk (who they already hated) has been moved up the hate ladder a couple of rungs, and now Taibbi is even more hated after he went off the deep end a while back (according to them). Some wondered why the GOP was so interested in seeing pictures of Hunters package (insinuating they are creeps) but most are just appalled someone would print this awful stuff about the Biden’s. Because, you know, it isn’t true.

        But I expected that. These are the same people who blamed the republicans for the rail strike deal just passed that did jack squat for the workers. I imagine at some point, the old standby, Putin/Russia will be blamed as well.

        I still have a hard time comprehending how these so called “highly intelligent” people can be so ignorant, shallow, gullible, and at the same time think they are so morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us serfs.

        If there were only a magic mirror to put in their face that would make them see how “family blog” ridiculous they act and sound. It is truly amazing.

        I also expect this story to go away like so many others. Into the dustbin of history without anything of significance to occur. “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

        1. CarlH

          They would claim the magic mirror must have been constructed by Musk, possibly with plans provided for it by Putin, and thus their reflection was disinformation and therefore irrelevant. Then they might report you to those who “know better”.

        2. Kouros

          The magic mirror exists, but it is Snow Queen’s magic mirror, all in small shards spread in the eyes of these people, altering their “vision”…

      2. fresno dan

        Clare Daly
        After 11th anniversary of #Gaddafi’s death during #NATO’s assault on #Libya – all in the name of freedom, democracy & human rights – we’d do well to remember what happened next: terror, death, lawlessness, rape, poverty, starvation. Libya riven by conflict. That’s NATO’s legacy.
        The whole thing about the Hunter Biden episode is that it so perfectly shows the nexus between profiteering and war. The same people who CAN’T see and WON’T look at the humanitarian disaster that was the US overthrow of Gaddafi are exactly the same people who don’t want to know that the Ukraine war is contrived for US money making. Not to be too tin foiley, but our main stream media idolizes 50 CIA spooks and lackeys who say Hunter was Russian disinformation and undermines any attempt at free speech that would subvert the narrative.

      3. GramSci

        I’m here in Outer Pentagonia seeing the same sorry spectacle, Chris. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    3. pjay

      The Democrat/”liberal” faction of the Establishment will certainly use the Musk collaboration to delegitimize Taibbi and ignore or repress his actual message. They do the same thing to Greenwald for appearing on Tucker Carlson. And to be honest both Musk and Carlson are very suspect as defenders of objective, *non-partisan* Truth on many issues. But as Greenwald has pointed out many times, what are the other options to being completely silenced?

      1. jsn

        I agree, but the MSM is so aggressively degrading it’s own currency, it can’t keep this up for too much longer (yes, I know stupidity can be much more persistent than I want to believe!).

        The Taibbi post is a great Tweet portrait if the Hegemonic PMC, however, demonstrating so many ways “values and norms” can supersede laws to sustain power.

        1. Mildred Montana

          >”…the MSM is so aggressively degrading it’s own currency…”

          Last night I watched a CNN segment on “Hunter Biden’s Laptop”. At least that was what it said at the bottom of the screen and that’s why I put the words in quotes (and why I watched it).

          Turned out to be a talking-head turkey shoot of Twitter. No mention of Hunter or his laptop.

        2. The Rev Kev

          ‘demonstrating so many ways “values and norms” can supersede laws to sustain power.’

          You know, there is a parallel to that on the world stage where you have the west insisting on a ‘rules-based order’ that is supposed to supersede international law under the treaties of the United Nations.

      2. Basil Pesto

        But as Greenwald has pointed out many times, what are the other options to being completely silenced?

        In this particular instance, there was no danger of him being silenced. The story was provided to him by Musk. There isn’t really much of a “story”; it’s just raw material with a fairly lacklustre gloss of editorialisation applied to it after the fact by Taibbi. In a twitter thread.

        Musk could have just dumped the leaks onto a server for the public’s free perusal and for journalists to have-at and write up as they saw fit. Many instances of this happening in the last 15 years, beyond wikileaks. Instead he decided to launder the leaks through a hand-picked journalist, and Taibbi agreed to do it – which I frankly find rather astonishing.

        For my part, I’m unsubscribing, as I find the journalistic conduct suspect. One of the common epithets directed at mediocre MSM journalists is that they are “stenographers”. Well, quite. As a final humiliation, Musk insisted that Taibbi do the story as on his shiny brand new toy, completely unsuited to the job at hand, and, again, rather astonishingly, he agreed! Jesus, it’s not My Lai, have some dignity, man.

        There’s a penalty-kick self-hypocrisy check to be run here (from soccer: if a penalty decision goes against/for your player, before you start shrieking/gloating, how would you feel if that same decision went for/against your team up the other end?). If, say, Maggie Haberman, or Bob Woodward, ran an exclusive story for one of the world’s most malign oligarchs to do them a favour, and did it on the oligarch’s newly acquired media platform as some childish-precondition, then, even if the story had factual merit, would the journalists not be up for considerable rebuke by all but their most devoted acolytes?

        Musk seems to be flavour of the month because he caused a “blue tick” freak out. Who cares? This is just team sports. This seems to be forgotten but I feel like it’s worth remembering: Musk is a massive prick, an SBF-esque grifting bezzle-friendly manchild of long standing (albeit one who, yes, does make real things), and, let’s not forget, one of the most disingenuous people on the planet, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t take his claims about preserving whatever at face value.

        The “twitter files” may yet yield more notable and worthwhile info, but it didn’t have to be done this way, which begs the question, why do it? From the journalist’s point of view I mean. “It’s the story”, for me, is not especially convincing. “Because it suits Matt Taibbi’s material interests albeit at the expense of a chunk of his integrity” seems more plausible (and his defense, so far, is lame beyond belief). I used to give him the benefit of the doubt when Levine and Ames would make snide asides about him and his careerism but I increasingly believe they might have been on to something. This, coupled with some other trends in his work in the last little while which I’ve discussed before, and he’s lost quite a bit of trust from me, though I’m sure he’ll continue to do good work here and there. But, speaking strictly personally, this is a big disappointment.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > why do it? From the journalist’s point of view I mean

          Because — follow me closely here — it’s a good story. (Sadly, I don’t have time to disentangle the rest of your comment, all of which is mere assertion anyhow.) The story in Taibbi’s tweetstorm is that Democrats in the Biden campaign and the Twitter content moderation team allowed the strength of their group loyalties as Democrats to outweigh their institutional roles, and because slots at Twitter corporate were dominated by Democrats, the Democrats got much better service than Republicans. This is new, and backed by the email. If you don’t think that’s an important story, there’s not much I can do to help you. And if you think that having a political campaign driving the content moderation decisions of a major platform — the platform for “journalists” — is a good thing for “our democracy,” even a democracy as tattered as ours, there’s not much I can do to help you there, either.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Ah, but I very deliberately didn’t comment on the importance of the story. In part because, as Skip Intro alludes to, there might be even juicier twitter goss coming down the pipeline (although I suspect they will be in the vein of confirming things that have long been reasonably suspected). Maybe Bari Weiss will finally have her Bob Woodward moment.

            I will confess that I’m not personally convinced that the laptop thing is as “unique and explosive” as Taibbi puffs it as, although perhaps that’s because I’m at a foreign remove from US politics. I thought this chicanery had been more or less established two years ago. It feels as if someone were to promise a revelatory bombshell about an Airborne Transmission cover-up at the WHO in tomorrow’s newspaper: well, okay, thanks for filling in the detail, but we already knew there was an Airborne cover-up, because there was an Airborne cover-up.

            Are the broad strokes of the story important (although the thread establishes that the actual White House as well, not just the opposition campaign, had a direct line to Twitter vis a vis content moderation, though I have no doubt that staff favoured Dems) in the way you describe? I suppose. And I have no doubt that the “leaks” will contain much new, concrete detail (truly revelatory information? I’m less sure). Note that I am absolutely not arguing “this story is not and cannot be of any importance because of the way it has been reported and because of who is reporting it” (my snark in the first paragraph notwithstanding) because that would of course be fallacious.

            But this is not the issue to me. The issue is one of journalistic integrity and ethics, which isn’t something that can be handwaved away with “because it’s a good story”, I don’t think (I equivocate because perhaps there is a hypothetical bombshell story that would appeal to my interests that would lead me to handwave similar conduct in another context). I *like* to think that if I were a journalist and Elon Musk came up to me and made me an offer under these conditions, I would say, if I was in a polite mood, “thanks, but no thanks”. Perhaps that’s uncharitable. Maybe I would feel differently if I was quasi-self-publishing and I had kids that I had to put through college, or if morons had spent the last few years accusing me of being a Russian stooge and a rapist. Who knows?

            (Parenthetical: Musk apparently said on a Twitter Spaces chat that he delegated the leaks to Taibbi and Bari Weiss because he was too busy with the engineering side of twitter. That’s obvious bullshit. Put the data – sorry, leaks – on a server. Taibbi and countless other journalists could then read it and write it up however they please. But again, that’s less advantageous to those specific journalist’s material interests. And before I’m accused of personal attack here, the phenomenon of journalists acting in their own material/class interests, while doing so tangentially or overtly in service of a powerful overclass is one that is discussed and critiqued regularly and vigorously on NC. I don’t see why Taibbi should be immune to such criticism regardless of the importance or not of the story in question, when the “story of the story”, as it were, frankly stinks.)

            But my comment was purely subjective: Simply, as a result of his conduct he really has lost a lot of my trust for the reasons I have outlined, regardless of the specifics of this story, and I don’t really think you can help me there, either. I think it is bad. Before this story I didn’t trust the Dems or Republicans, didn’t trust that twitter as a media organisation was independent in any meaningful sense of the word (truly, what next? the BBC isn’t actually editorially impartial? The New York Times really does contain All The News That’s Fit To Print?), didn’t trust Elon Musk, and now I don’t wholly trust Matt Taibbi. That’s a shame, personally, and I hope he can earn it back. But I’m increasingly sceptical on that front, too.

            1. Lambert Strether

              If you’re going to make a charge involving journalistic ethics, you need treat the charge as serious and make it stick. I’ve been through this bowl of mush twice, and I haven’t encountered a sharp object yet. All I see is an imputed obligation for a reporter’s sources to be above reproach, and a second imputed obligation for a reporter’s data to be put online. Both are simply made up out of whole cloth by you, for this special occasion.

        2. Skip Intro

          If Musk didn’t use these revelations to promote Twitter, he would be negligent. I expect we will see more. In particular, the pro-Ukraine-war bot army intrigues me. The Graphika study has pointed to it roughly.

          1. Basil Pesto

            If Musk didn’t use these revelations to promote Twitter, he would be negligent.

            Okay, but

            1) I don’t care. No journalist has to indulge him, and I’m not currently convinced that any journalist should indulge him. Unless perhaps you want to make the argument that Elon Musk is a whistleblower (that’s actually not sarcasm, the argument is there to be made). But not all whistleblowers have the luxury of insisting their leaks, which they just happened upon as the result of a 40 billion dollar media purchase, have to be exclusively reported on the media outlet that they just paid 40 billion dollars for, as a publicity stunt (and it is a publicity stunt, because twitter threads are manifestly not suited to long-form reporting. Remember that Musk has been promoting “extended tweets” – embedded long-form writing enclosed within a single tweet – as a feature for a few weeks now. Maybe that’ll be ready to roll by the time the last story generated from the leaks is written up and ready to be published. Synergy!).

            2) Again, he could have dumped that information on a server; even hosted it on twitter dot com; even dumped the screencaps in a massive twitter thread from an account called “The Twitter Files”. Again, many cases of such in the last 15 years, and it seems an approach that would be the most appropriate, in order to keep that oligarch’s editorial slant out of it as much as possible while still sharing information that is genuinely in the public interest. But there was no chance of that happening as people like Musk are seldom so magnanimous; there are advantages for him to be sought here qua oligarch that merely dumping the information for all journalists and the public to make sense of simultaneously would not provide him with (of course, I am sure Taibbi will say that Musk had no editorial input in his tweets. And I’m sure that’s true. But, this is all rather well-trodden ground in media criticism). So, of course, you’re right, what Musk has done absolutely is not negligent from Elon Musk’s point of view, but, per 1) I’m not sure why I (or any journalist that I’m supposed to have confidence in) should give a damn, especially when it’s probably the whole point.

            And even if he had dumped it on a completely different website, the #content generated by it and ensuing discussion surely would have driven a huge spike of engagement on twitter. Perhaps he thinks laundering the data through hand-picked journalists in long twitter threads would drive even more engagement. Perhaps he’s right. But again, see 1).

            Apologies for my parenthetical writing etc.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Have you ever attempted original reporting? I can pretty much guarantee from your comments the answer is no.

              Most stories do not come from diligent gumshoes doing FOIA or mining public data. They come from sources. The job of the reporter is to see if he can verify what the source is telling him and if there is something the source has omitted out of ignorance of having an axe to grind.

              I have run stories from single sources where they provided sufficient documentary evidence. It is hardly uncommon for a source to provide documents but not allow their republication. The WSJ and New York Times regularly refer to documents they have been allowed to view but did not reproduce. For instance, just tonight the Wall Street Journal said it had seen FTX financial statements that showed 95% of its profits came from outside the US. They didn’t put those docs on line. And last I checked, the Journal was a card-carrying journalistic enterprise, witness its regular exclusive stories and its busting of Elizabeth Holmes.

              Taibbi is operating much the same way Greenwald did with Snowden…except Greenwald in the end got clear possession of the Snowden files, and then turned them over to Omidyar where they then went into a black hole. Oh, and Greenwald (maybe because then he was affiliated with the Guardian) also cleared everything they published with the Feds. I don’t see Taibbi showing any such deference to Team DNC.

              Your real beef is that Taibbi has Musk as his major source. You need to get over that.

              The story would have been adequately substantiated based on the extensive Twitter dumps alone but Taibbi also spoke to Twitter employees.

              In addition, you completely ignore the substantial value added of Taibbi reading all that shit and deciding which bits were important and how to use them tell a simple story for a broad audience.

    4. Eclair

      Gah! I am so tired of these ceaseless arguments: the Democrats did this (No! Disinformation!); the Republicans did that (No! Fake News!)

      In the spring of 2014, I ran across a little news article announcing that Hunter Biden, son of the US VP, had been appointed to the board of Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma. Paid of course ($24K per month?), for his immense experience and knowledge of both Eastern Europe and the fossil fuel industry. Sure.

      So, I tended to believe in the laptop thing. Being as that’s what gormless offspring of powerful political parents tend to do. Regardless of party affiliation. (I even remember Jimmy Carter’s gormless brother, rewarded for his immense knowledge of Libya.) And all the Trumpkins, of course, but the Republicans seem to do corruption in a more dignified manner.

      Now we’re going to descend into a maelstorm of vile vituperation pro and con Elon Musk and Taibbi. And the rail workers get forced back to work with one day of sick time, applied for 30 days in advance. What a country!

      1. Tom Stone

        $50 K per Month, the standard allowance for the crotchfruit of the powerful ( See Chelsea Clinton and many others )

    5. flora

      Thanks to NC for posting the links. High “highly virtuous” ™ PMC crowd seem quite outraged these twts are being reported. Popcorn time. / ;)

      I think Taibbi is releasing a second bunch of twts either today or sometime this weekend. Can’t wait.

      (If Musk required Taibbi to write up the story on twtr itself as a condition – this is just supposition on my part – that’s genius marketing by Musk to attract viewers to twtr itself. / ha )

      1. chris

        That is a good point. It’s another one of those instances where people didn’t think about what they were building and how it would be used when their friends were no longer in control. I hope the Twitter files on this stupid laptop story and so much else get broadcast as wide as possible until the Democrat party is destroyed in the mind of the voting public. Burn it down!

  11. Wukchumni

    ‘This will be awesome’: Musk leaks Twitter’s Hunter Biden files Politico.

    Movie pitch: ‘Gulp Fiction’

    Everything in the movie centers around a mysterious laptop, the contents of which are unknown, but thought to contain Joe Biden’s soul or it’s an ersatz Pandoras Box, or quite possibly NFT’s of the diamonds stolen in Reservoir Dogs..

    The only time you ever see people smoking is in movies, so Hunter is a natural-a latter day Marlboro Man putting the hurt on a dozen cancer sticks a day. His sidekick is of course the spirit of Beau, gone too soon-as we are constantly reminded by his father.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, how about turning it into an Indian Jones film? I can see it now – “Indiana Jones and the Laptop of Mystery.” So in order to save America, Indy has to sneak into the Ukrainian war zone to retrieve a laptop hidden in Podgoretsky Castle and guarded by fanatical Azov storm troopers. Bonus points because he has to fight against Nazis again. Unknown to him is that Big Z is trying to resurrect the spirit of Stepan Bandera to rule Europe. But can he trust the FBI agents that sent him on this mission? Can he trust the pretty female CNN reporter that is helping him look for this laptop?

          1. Tom Stone

            When the most recent R Hunter Laptop surfaced it contained a Vid of R Hunter complaining to a hooker that a “Couple of Russian Drug Dealers” had stolen his previous laptop…there are three (!) laptops floating around with embarassing information on them.
            And Ashley’s Diary as well.

        1. semper loquitur

          He’s wondering what the big deal is. Hunter’s has had a million lap dances. Only one ever produced a problem and apparently she is easy for Mumblin’ Joe and Shrill Jill to ignore.

      1. Wukchumni

        From what i’ve seen of Hunter in action, maybe a ‘Basketball Jones’ film is more up his alley, er court?

    2. Lambert Strether

      > ‘This will be awesome’: Musk

      Somehow, an election rigging story has come to be about Hunter Biden dick pix, based on the hellscape* of my Twitter feed. Does anybody have time to explain how this happened? Did somebody deke Elon into saying something stupid? Because the New York Post story was about the big guy’s dealings in Ukraine, not Hunter’s colorful lifestyle, and if there was any mention of dick pix in Taibbi’s thread, I missed it.

      NOTE * I think the Twitter exodus is composed disproportionately of liberal goodthinkers and opinion-havers. They’re the ones who are always whinging that Twitter is a hellscape. They can leave for Mastodon, alright, but “wherever you go, there you are.”

      1. Pat

        Why am I having flashes of Deja Vue? Oh it couldn’t be that about a year and a half ago a clear case of corruption and government negligence that resulted in numerous dead grandparents morphed into an inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment case. Sure there was a resignation, but the machine Dem AG botched the criminal case, the personnel picked by the “disgraced” governor remained in office and candidates approved by the state DNC that had been run by him for years almost all got in. About the only real victory was he launched his redemption tour too soon, and the public told him to stay retired.

        Whenever it gets too close for comfort it suddenly becomes about some lesser issue, usually something sexual. As those tweets reveal, our elected officials are fine with censoring the truth as long as it benefits the right person(s). ( And it might have been Democrats this time, but do you really think most of the top Republicans think any differently?)

      2. Bob Tetrault has a de-legitimizing essay on the laptop/Taibbi/twitter-twat thread. Worth a read.

        1. Zephyrum

          From Matty Taibbi’s Dick Pics

          Given his long history of apologizing for Russia, Matt Taibbi is a terrible choice to explain the back story behind Twitter’s (stupid) decision to prevent a shoddy NY Post story on “Hunter Biden’s” “laptop” from going viral. He’s an even worse choice to complain about the takedown of leaked Hunter Biden dick pics.

          Worth reading if you want the usual, tired, ad hominem laden Liberal-Democrat narrative I suppose, but I already get plenty of that from the MSM and the chattering classes with whom I interact daily.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            She either has some serious reading comprehension issues or is just a complete disingenuous hack at this point. Taibbi writes very clearly and the constant “misundertanding” of his positions by the rest of the media has to be deliberate.

            Taibbi reported the other day that he mentioned in a debate with Malcolm Gladwell that Cronkite was the most trusted man in America in his day and that wouldn’t be said of a news anchor today, a completely valid and fairly anodyne point, and Gladwell twisted it in an to attempt to tar Taibbi as a whitey lover who pined for the 1950s.

            Torching straw men is all these supposed “intellectuals” have left.

            1. pjay

              Exactly right in the case of Wheeler. I haven’t read her tripe for many years, but against my better judgement I checked out this post. The dishonesty and distortion regarding Taibbi’s position on Russia/Putin, the actual facts of Russiagate, and everything else is stunning – and that’s saying something given all the crap out there. “Disingenuous hack” is too kind. Given the verifiable facts it is either literally “derangement” or blatant lying for the powers that be.

            2. Tet Vet

              I kept thinking about what Adlai Stevenson once said: These are the conclusions on which I base my facts.

        2. Lambert Strether

          That Wheeler also decided to become an FBI informant tells you everything you need to know about the merger of Democrats, the press, and the intelligence community. It’s sad (really. Both Patrick Fitzgerald and Bob Mueller turned out to be dry holes. So she has form. And couldn’t carry Taibbi’s ****-*****).

          Adding, who initiated the dick pix pile-on? UPDATE See below.

          1. Revenant


            Come on, Lambert, give a Limey a break! I think I have a prodigious grasp of slang and profanity on both sides of the pond but I am at a loss what she is carrying here! Something-water? (Carrying water, gofer description). Something-balls? hardly worth bowdlerising. I can think of plenty very rude things that don’t fit but this cryptic clue has me stumped. Could we have a couple of letters to get us going, please?

        3. flora

          Sad what’s happened to Empty Wheel. I used to read there often. Then…. I don’t know what happened but something seems to have, uh, re-oriented the editorial outlook.

          1. Procopius

            It happened back in 2017, when she decided there was no evidence the Russians hacked the election, but she decided to believe her “friends,” with access to classified information she couldn’t tell us about. Since then, she’s been implausible. Lots of people believe her, though.

            1. Pat

              She was great at giving a legal overview of things prior to the 2016 election. If I had been less far along in my realization that being absorbed into the Borg was likely, I would have been less likely to write her off.

              I admit to missing old school Empty Wheel in the last months of the Mueller “investigation”, particularly his getting his hat handed to him in court when he made a bet that he could indict a Russian hacking group without evidence and then they unexpectedly mounted a defense. At her peak, that would have been one hell of a dissection. Instead…crickets and pablum.

        4. GramSci

          What caught my eye was mtwheel quoting, with amused derision:

          “I recall one spokesperson suggesting the Hunter Biden content may publish via “something like wordpress” or “wikileaks-styled” website.”

          Scroll to the bottom and you find:

          “This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.”

          Akismet is a wordpress plugin.

        5. MichaeC

          That read was a leap into madness. (And so it seems to me, are a lot of the comments I’ve been reading here, to my surprise and dismay.)

          Sad and bizarre. I tried to parse each paragraph, each sentence in fact, to eliminate the invective and yet it made no sense, other than a juvenile bullying I hate you, I hate you screed.

          I imagine ( hope) Taibbi is taking it in stride and letting this formerly credible nincompoop make a fool of themself until the air clears.

          Once it’s clear that we’ve lost v Russia in Ukraine, and that Biden (and his D overlords ( I’m looking at you Bill Hillary and Barry) and that this fool Marcy is carrying the last gallon of water for this team, is as empty as those Trumpy fools stomping the Capital nobody ( outside of the PMC) is going to care about Hunters average, non porn star dick pics.

          Why are we (commentariat) falling into that trap of wasting time trying to confirm/deny that Taibbi was obsessing re Hunters dick?

          The contrast between who’s.lost their game between Marcy or Taibbi couldn’t be clearer.

      3. semper loquitur

        The cognitive dissonance by some of the Twits below Taibbi’s entries is wonder. One theme that pops up is that the laptop didn’t belong to the President and is therefore completely unproblematic. Because no laptop ever held evidence about someone besides the owner of the laptop, in the history of laptops. Perhaps we could call this the Jean-Pierre defense?

      4. Janie

        Lambert, re laptop: can’t find it now, but several weeks ago Garland Nixon posted a YouTube interview with the owner of the repair shop and another guest (Larry Johnson?). Quite informative about the shop owner’s efforts to interest somebody, anybody in the laptop.

      5. lambert strether

        OK, now I understand. It’s Taibbi’s Tweet #8. In that screen shot of an email, the URLs the Biden campaign asked to be suppressed are said to be Chinese-language dick pix of Hunter Biden.

        In PR terms, it’s a bit of an own goal by Taibbi (though presumably he has other examples).

        Nevertheless, it’s a (distinctly dogpile-worthy) distraction since:

        1) Why is the Biden campaign adding on to something for which there is surely a Twitter moderation process in place already?

        2) It’s the networking between the Biden campaign and Twitter content moderation that’s the point at issue, since that’s how

        3) the Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop came to be suppressed, since

        4) that’s a “rigging event” by Democrats in election 2020 (for which they have form; see the Iowa caucus).

        Anyhow, the narrative has now congealed in time for the Sunday talk shows — good job, liberal Democrat goodthinkers! — and so I assume we will have coverage from the Times and the Post to look forward to tomorrow [breathes sigh of relief; I didn’t know what to think].

        1. Martin Oline

          I don’t know, the MSM has a serious delay problem in figuring out exactly what the “narrative” is going to be. This could be because they are waiting for multiple agencies and editors to get to them the approved story. Every time some shocking or damaging news breaks the unified response is quite slow. They may not have agreed on it by Sunday morning.

        2. Lunker Walleye

          4) “rigging event”

          For this I loathe the D’s and nearly become ill each time I am reminded of it. How could you have stood for Bernie at the IA Caucus and still think the D’s are playing with a clean deck? And the cover for this was Russiagate and all the other bullsh$it that entailed. No wonder IA is now red.

  12. fresno dan

    Samuel Sinyangwe
    Police killed at least 1,054 people through November 27, 2022. Police are killing people at higher rates in 2022 than *any year on record* in the United States.
    I am so glad liberal democrats are in charge in our cities and Federal government so this problem of police violence can be addressed….OH, wait…

    1. JBird4049

      So, we are on track for 1150 deaths, not including the injured and the crippled, and isn’t that nice?

      As usual, about ten to fifteen percent are not even armed with a stick with many of those deemed armed are carrying weapons like sticks, rocks, water pistols, pen knives. In their car driving away (cars are labeled weapons) Mind you, the weapon does not have to be in your hand for you to be considered armed. It only has to be somewhere in your presence. The police must protect themselves… from something.

      1. fresno dan

        The police must protect themselves… from something.
        Cell phones. Because with their pistol grips, and long barrels, they look EXACTLY like guns…
        Oh yeah, AND if your black…
        Sanders isn’t nearly the first Black man to be killed while holding a cell phone: There was 29-year-old Flint Farmer; 22-year-old Stephon Clarke; and most recently, 47-year-old Andre Hill. Over the last several years, cops have repeatedly said they confused cell phones for guns even though more than 96 percent of Americans own one. But because of the low standards set for police who make the split-second decision to use deadly force, they’ve often walked away from these shootings unscathed.

  13. Carolinian

    If that’s not rigging an election, then what is it?

    But, but where’s the Putin? It’s okay when we do it. This will be inscribed over whatever Pearly Gates the elites eventually wind up at.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Under Elon Musk Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find”

    In some ways, this article reads like elections that I have read about. So a party that was in power for many years is finally thrown out because they have become so ossified, that they can’t get out of their own way. The new party takes power whereupon the old party and their trained seals in the media demand that the new party immediately dump their policies and adopt a different one – which coincidentally is the same one that the old party had. Same here. Musk got control of Twitter and the same people that benefited from the old Twitter bring up all sorts of reasons and excuses to bring back the old staff and the old way of doing things – which benefits them by coincidence.

    1. semper loquitur

      Don’t forget, Rev, words can be actual violence per the BlueChecks. Their cherished eternal victims must be scrambling for their therapists’ phone numbers. (If they can afford therapy, that is, the Blue Checks generally aren’t big on material benefits.) By their lights, we are looking at the advent of the Fourth Reich via Twitter. Maybe the Fourth and a Half! Not just a bunch of childish trolls saying stupid things for the thrill of it.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I’m probably being too cynical, but anti-semitism becoming The Current Thing never felt organic to me. (I mean, we’re receiving the Azovs on Capitol Hill….). Somebody reminded me the other day of Nooners’ “it would be irresponsible not to speculate,” and as it was written, so it shall be… Meaning that one might speculate the blame cannons were being dragged to the front and entrenched for The Assault On Twitter precisely for this moment.

      1. fresno dan

        you can certainly find anti-semitic remarks prior to the “recent” batch by Ye.
        Van Lathan Jr., a former TMZ employee, who confronted West during his 2018 interview at their offices in which West said slavery “sounds like a choice,” recently claimed on a podcast that West also made antisemitic comments during their conversation that the outlet did not release publicly. **That’s why Lathan said his current comments didn’t surprise him.
        Ye has made statements about Jewish power in the past, including remarks in 2013 alleging that Jewish people are more well-connected than Black people and therefore have an unfair advantage. These were denounced by the ADL and later defended by Farrakhan, who stated that Ye “told the truth” and “said nothing wrong.” During a concert shortly after the 2013 controversy, Ye reportedly stated: “I talked to Farrakhan the other night, he told me not to apologize. I ain’t finna apologize.”
        1st, I do not think anti semitism is a good thing. But one can’t help but get the impression that all anti semites aren’t created equal, e.g., Azovs apparently either aren’t too anti semitic or really don’t mean what they say. And whatever Kanye West (aka YE) said or associated with back in 2013 wasn’t worth too much disapprobation – at least back than. So, is disappprobation now a days a function of Twitter and the expectation for everyone of importance (and most importantly, the self important) to publically state their disapprobation of the current bad person??? OR was the disapprobation withheld back then because there was no Twitter? Or because Kanye was making too much money?
        ** Why not? I would not be surprised if a slew of people now reveal conversations with Ye where Ye made anti semitic comments…

        1. GramSci

          In the US, on-the-make Black people and on-the-make Jewish people are contenders for the title of Most Oppressed People Ever. Now and then, when it’s adequately funded, the competition breaks out into open gang warfare.

        2. Daniil Adamov

          Kanye West is also vaguely in the orbit of America’s favourite Antichrist (sure, they quarrel sometimes, but they had some unacceptably positive interactions as well). I think that’s a big part of the difference from 2013.

  15. Carolinian

    Re surveillance–I love maps and a favorite program is called OsmAnd or “open street maps android.” The funny thing is that when using this app on a tablet or device that doesn’t have GPS it still knows exactly where I am and without being connected to the internet. It does this not with cell towers or some such but via the “BSSID” or beacon that all wifi access points broadcast (as long as their owner leaves it on for the public or themselves). Google isn’t even shy about how they do this and will ask if you also want Bluetooth access beacons to track you. All of which is to say the wifi or bluetooth radios in your device don’t have to be connected to still be receiving those beacons. Since practically everyone nowdays has a smartphone Google or Apple can in theory be tracking your every move. If you are not online their devices could still store your movements until you are.

    If knowledge is power they have a lot of it. Trust us, they say. Hmmmm….

    1. Wukchumni

      I never take a smartphone with me in the back of beyond, although whomever i’m hiking with that day undoubtedly has one on their person.

      Guess there’s guilt by association and I feel sure that the plowers that be in Big Eavesdrop… Utah, are wise to me and watching my each and every move vis a vis others, little do I know.

      1. Carolinian

        Unless there’s wifi in the high Sierra they aren’t tracking you that way. Google knows the names of all these home wifi networks because their Streetview cars record them together with their coordinates. Is your cabin on Streetview?

        I’m not sure Google etc have access to cell tower data. That’s more a cop thing.

      2. BMW DOG

        As I get older I think it is smart to carry the phone as if I crash on my motorcycle or fall down and break a hip in the back country, no one will find me until next hunting season.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes, somebody always has one, often there’ll be a couple of them. I generally never hike alone much these days and its more fun to walk your walk with others.

    2. Bsn

      They don’t get much from me – smart (in fact any) phone-less. We do have a land line. One can get along pretty well without a phone aka tracking device. And maps, yea! Remember Roseanne Barr? I’m sure she’s still around but I love this one about maps: “Men read maps better than women because only men can understand the concept of an inch equaling a hundred miles.”

    3. Carolinian

      Just to add that on Android you can supposedly turn off “Location” and the tracking that goes with it. May be true?

      1. Mikel

        I think a step further has to be taken. All the location settings on each app on the phone have to be reviewed.

        1. Carolinian

          In my fairly recent version of Android there’s a master toggle under Settings/Location and then a subtoggle for “Wi-Fi scanning” that probably ought to also be turned off. While apps have to establish their own permission from you to use your location–GPS or otherwise–the master toggle will probably do the trick.

          My point in the above comment was not that these controls don’t exist but rather that the vast majority of users likely don’t know they exist. Indeed I lad to myself look up how it gets your location with Wi-Fi reception allegedly turned off. As for the same questions re Apple someone else will have to comment.

          1. caucus99percenter

            As Nietzsche foresaw, stare into the Appbyss long enough and you’ll find the App is staring back at you…

    4. Slowlycooking

      Works the other way around as well. In some airports they use that same data to track peoples routes through the airport, and then identify the individuals based on their proximity to a point of sale where a boarding pass is scanned. All to keep you safe and optimize your consumption…nothing nefarious of course.

  16. John Beech

    So now President Xi is a monster for wanting to maintain Zero COVID, eh?

    Well, pardon me for having an opposing view but my wife has lost two 1st cousins to this scourge and I have lost a friend of 20 years, which makes me less than sympathetic to the view we should let ‘er rip and save the economy, instead.

    It’s my view, had the PMC not had their conniption when Trump shut down air travel, ‘and’ if we had acted in concert and shut down for two-three weeks, we could have nipped this in the bud before it took hold. Of course, that would have required a bigger man that Trump, and for that matter, for the whole mechanism to work as intended (looking at you CDC, Faucci et al)

    Thus, it’s my further view this would be a perfect time for back channel communications between Presidents and an offer of our mRNA vaccines. This is bigger than money. It’s in time of troubles that real friendships are forged.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I’m not sure why China would want experimental Western mRNA vaccines when their widespread use in the West has led to outcomes far worse than what China has suffered.

      Also, I’m sure the Chinese a would be quite justifiably wary of ‘Greeks bearing gifts’.

    2. IM Doc

      Can you explain to me how our mRNA vaccines which are completely non-sterilizing and within weeks have negative vaccine efficacy would help China?

      I am hearing this all over the place. That if we just simply give the Chinese our vaccines, all will be well.

      Can someone please explain to me in non Big pharma infused propaganda exactly how this would do a thing to stop the spread in China? Again, how are non sterilizing vaccines that cause the vaccinated to be more likely to be infected within weeks going to help in any way? Other than make our pundits and court jesters happy?

      1. Eclair

        First the English sold the Chinese opium and got rich. Now the US will sell them non sterilizing vaccines and get rich.

        1. ambrit

          The American clipper ships also plied the opium trade, with return cargos of tea and higher value small items.
          The exploitation of China was an International project then, and still is. Back then, China waged some Opium Wars and an outbreak of Righteous Fist action to try and break the West’s pernicious influence in the Orient. Today, China is poised to hold the West to account. The old saying that ‘Payback is a B—-‘ applies in spades. Here we have two hundred years of accumulated Payback about to be presented for payment.

      2. Pat

        Thank you. I was trying to wrap my head around the notion and not getting it. I appreciate confirmation that it was illogical. I mean they already have their own ineffective vaccine, no need to spend billions on ours (because you know that even with a discount, the needed doses would rack up huge profits for Pfizer and Moderna)

        I just have to remember that the voices which started this are not interested in the health of China but are interested in keeping the economic status quo without interruption except for an increase in Pharma profits.

  17. noonspecial

    Re: Business Insider link

    From link: Waitrose executive director, James Bailey, said that “the events of the last year have created a difficult backdrop for many people and like all supermarkets we’ve had to judge the mood and react. We’re seeing some big changes.”’s article on global food companies sheds a little light (add snarcy tears here) on how some of them are judging the mood and reacting. Sad to read about the plight and woes for folks at Nestle and Associated British Foods:

    “Nestlé reported half-year profits of £4.5bn, a 11% fall from the same period last year. But the firm has paid out £8.5bn to shareholders in the form of share buybacks this year, while raising prices by up to 7.5% on its products…A Nestlé spokesperson told openDemocracy: “We are absorbing costs to the tune of billions of dollars as reflected in the notable decline of our gross profit margin.”

    As to ABF, the article reads: “…a spokesperson for ABF, which reported £399m profits from its grocery division for the year, said, “As a result, we have unfortunately had no choice but to increase prices to retailers and, despite this, the margin in our grocery business is clearly down. Businesses have no choice but to pass costs on where they can…”

  18. Mildred Montana

    >World’s oldest recorded tortoise prepares for 190th birthday party Guardian

    Feel-good link of the day! Happy Birthday Jonathan and here’s to another 190.

    1. Wukchumni

      If you leave your hair’m for a day, do they think you’ve been gone for 6 or 7 days in dog & cat years terms?

      ‘Tortoise years’ in the case of Jonathon, turns the terms around.

    2. Milton

      Always loved the giant tortoises exhibit at the SD Zoo. I image how they’ve lterally seen it all. Most of ’em having witnessed skies with no flight machines–at all–to air and space travel today. I hold a special place in my heart for living sentinels–Bristlecone Pines, Stromatolites, and these lumbering creatures. I just hope humans can exit in a manner that will leave these species to continue on. After a couple of million years of having to endure hominids, they deserve some quiet time.

  19. Mikel

    Why they clapped for Sam Bankman-Fried The Reformed Broker

    “…They had just witnessed more than an hour of lies, obfuscations, ass-coverings and subject-changings as delivered by one of the most talented con artists in American history….”

    One of the most over entitled and enabled con artists. A long list of individuals and institutions need to go down with the SBF ship.
    He is a prominent member of an institution of hype and fraud.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Betrayal Steve Waldman. On the rail cramdown.

    Pretty compelling analysis of the “economics” of the railroad industry in this glorious country, defender and guarantor of human rights for all mankind (as long as they’re “stakeholders”):

    The dispute is over how railworkers are treated. Which, in a word, is like shit. For decades, the rail industry has been achieving “efficiencies” by in large part by dumping nonfinancial costs onto its workforce. It’s great when productivity increases because of some new invention: A construction firm buys a steam shovel, and becomes genuinely more efficient. It accomplishes the same work with fewer workers. But it’s a different thing entirely when the same firm buys a whip, and then is able to accomplish the same work with fewer workers by beating the crap out of those desperate enough to remain. Both get scored as “productivity increases” by statisticians, but the second one is a regressive transfer from workers to shareholders, not a real efficiency gain. Railroads’ vaunted “precision-scheduled railroading” is the whip rather than the steam shovel. It puts ever fewer workers on ever longer trains, magnifying the responsibility and hazard each worker must bear. Railworkers are on call to be dragged from home for days or weeks 75% of their lives, and harshly penalized if life supervenes and they can’t show up. You try living that way.

    Whips and Pinkertons. I could be wrong, but I sense a theme here.

  21. Bsn

    Reading the article about Germany’s (and many other highly vaxed populations) RSV surge, I wonder if a surge is evident in India (Uttar Pradesh), Southern Mexico, large swathes of Africa – places with a low vax percentage? Anyone know or wonder?

    1. Objective Ace

      Good question, looking at it from a different perspective though: the RSV surge in hospitals is primarily in infants.. what is the rate of infant vaccination take-up? I was under the impression it was very low. (Maybe more vaccinated adults getting it would lead to more infants getting it?)

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      GM is dismissive of trying to conclude anything re India based on its terrible data, and the same applies to Africa. Not sure re Southern Mexico. Via e-mail:

      As a reminder, in UP they were dumping bodies in rivers for lack of firewood to cremate them during the Delta surge. So much for their great success.

      If you don’t test and/or you don’t report, there will be no cases.

      Compare Vietnam on one hand, to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan on the other.

      And watch out how they will do it in China now.

      India as a whole is reporting triple digit cases and single-digit deaths at the moment. A country of 1.4B people. This is beyond laughable.

  22. Daniil Adamov

    The Taibbi thing is certainly interesting from a mechanics perspective. I can’t see it changing many people’s opinions with regards to this story, Twitter, MSM, etc. It’s too easy to say that none of this is technically illegal, and therefore is of no concern, at least for good people.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        That’s the thing, I think for a lot of people this really is alright. At least while it’s done by people they view as being on their side, of course. It’s not flagrant enough to break through the party line trenches. No laws broken (right?), just some people asking for favours and getting them, all in the name of stopping evil and upholding goodness.

      2. Tom Stone

        Don’t forget the “Plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer” which was timed very well by the Feebs

        1. The Rev Kev

          The thing that I remember most about that “plot” is that at one point the conspirators were gathered in a van and it turned out that most of them were actually working for the feds.

  23. Bsn

    Here is a non paywalled recording of a Canadian Monk debate regarding the MSM. The premise: Be it resolved: “The mainstream media is dying and that’s OK”

    I thought I’d found the recording of Matt Taibbi’s recent debate …… but it’s is from 4-2021. Still germane me thinks. Matt is involved in this one. Can’t wait to hear the more recent version. Ciao!

    1. Mildred Montana

      Re: the more recent debate with Malcolm Gladwell

      Malcolm Gladwell is an MSM hack. I’ve read a couple of his books and been amazed that a writer can been taken (promoted?) as being oh-so profound while stating the oh-so obvious, in 400 pages of book-selling words.

      1. Pat

        Prior to the lockdown, his name could sell out talks and lectures at the 92nd Street Y. More than once, people were upset when they realized he was the interviewer not the interviewee, he had that much of a fan base. Never got it myself as I thought he was an okay interviewer, but didn’t have much of substance to offer as the subject.

  24. LilD

    The release of will probably mark Nov 30, 2022 as the tipping point. The amount of power available to users is incredible.
    As a scientist I’m impressed. I wrote a deep learning paper in 1992 that is still widely cited and worked on chatbots in the 90s. This is so far beyond what I expected to see in my lifetime…
    As an artist I’m excited about the opportunities to enhance creativity.
    As a cynic, it will primarily end up being used to deliver advertising …
    I will probably be spending half my days on chatAI and Dall-E

    in about 15 minutes I was able to generate some pretty good song lyrics. Not to Wuk standards but they rhyme, scan and make semantic sense

    E.g. “Rewrite friend of the devil about Vladimir Putin”

    Here are some potential lyrics that could be used in a song about Vladimir Putin, rewritten in a similar structure to the lyrics from “Friend of the Devil”:

    Verse 1:
    I woke up this morning,
    Feelin’ kind of blue,
    I had a dream last night
    That Putin came for me too.

    Verse 2:
    I was walkin’ down the street,
    With no particular place to go,
    When I saw a man comin’
    With a face I didn’t know.

    He said, “Son, let me tell you,
    I’m Vladimir Putin,
    And I’ve come to make a deal,
    To take you under my rule.”

    Verse 3:
    I tried to run, but he was fast,
    And before I knew it,
    I was caught in his grasp.

    Verse 4:
    He led me down a dark and winding road,
    To a place where no one goes,
    And there he made his offer,
    To make me one of his own.

    He said, “Son, let me tell you,
    I’m Vladimir Putin,
    And I’ve come to make a deal,
    To take you under my rule.”

    I thought about his offer,
    And what it would mean,
    To serve under Putin,
    And join his regime.

    Verse 5:
    But then I thought of all the things,
    I’d have to give up and lose,
    And I knew I couldn’t do it,
    I had to find another way to choose.

    So I turned to Putin,
    And I said, “No, I won’t go,
    I won’t be your servant,
    I’ll find my own way home.”

    I walked away from Putin,
    And I left him standing there,
    I made my own way back,
    And I’ve been free ever since.


    if any new technology can be used to exploit the poor, such exploitation will occur rapidly.

    I do seriously believe that the new thing to learn is “prompt engineering” .

    garbage in – garbage out still applies..

    1. Daryl

      It’s rather fascinating, and seemingly out of nowhere. Who knows where it’ll all lead, the only outcome I suspect I can count on is that corporations, governments &etc will use it irresponsibly and without a care for the wider implications of the whole thing.

    2. Lambert Strether

      I’m glad your paper was a success, but I hate this technology with the hatred of a million burning suns. There is no possible way it will be anything other than a net negative, given our political economy.

      I’d love to play with OpenAI, but’s it’s demanding to harvest my phone number, so, no. Kill it with fire.

      1. LilD

        so sorry
        So much wonderful science and knowledge and art and yet it all ends up back with Thucidydes

        the strong exploit the weak when they can and the weak endure what they must

        I really am sorry… got funded in the 1980s to work on robotics idealizing that results would lead to productivity, instead, all went to the DoD… deep learning stuff idealized as leading again to helpful, productive technologies yet it ended up driving eyeballs to advertisers. Just being a smart hippie and getting cool stuff done is not sufficient. I’m sorry I didn’t vote harder.

    3. Kouros

      This is my problem with AI, comes with embedded biases. That example of feeding some subreddits to an AI to teach it to engage in dialogue…

    4. Acacia

      As a cynic, it will primarily end up being used to deliver advertising

      Only a truly exceptional computer scientist could fail to see where this is going. Delivering ads… cynical? Seems rather lacking in imagination, to say the least.

      This tech can and will be used by state actors to drive millions of bots on social media to enforce official narratives, attack and silence dissenters using sophisticated AI-driven trolling, to gaslight and manipulate the thinking of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. No amount of “ethics in AI” hand-wringing will stop this.

      Hats off to all the CS geniuses who are working on the state of the art in state oppression — your science is truly cutting edge !

  25. Boomheist

    The other day I pulled Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States from my bookshelf, a book now over 40 years old (!) and began reading it again. It is absolutely uncanny how the many earlier fights in this country, and region, extending all the way back to 1619, read as if they applied to today, especially the fights between labor and capital, and elements of Manifest Destiny, under which we still labor (“exceptional nation’). I would bet Zinn’s book would be banned in many, perhaps, most school systems in the country today. Yet, everyone should read this book again.

  26. Wukchumni

    ‘A gentle calm’: France’s streets once again echo to sound of working horses Guardian (resilc). Very handsome horse. But my father grew up in Long Island during the Depression. He’d sometimes visit NYC and hated it. A big reason was the still-extensive use of horses with delivery wagons and the resulting stench.

    We must have 300 horses in tiny town and yet you rarely see any of them being ridden or used as working horses.

    I don’t get it, but horsey people seem to enjoy their company, one ranch I pass by frequently has a dozen of all different ages, never seen a rider on any of them.

    3 years ago they named a stretch of Hwy 198 and the Generals Highway in Sequoia NP after Colonel Young- the first black superintendent of a National Park here in 1903, and I attended the ceremony and afterwards had a nice conversation with a Buffalo Soldier re-enactor about horses, and i’d watched some 1950’s cowboys & indians film the night before with many hundreds of riders in mass coordination @ full gallop and mentioned it, and he was about my age, and related ‘Hey, I ride horses-but no way-no how could I find hundreds of riders of my ability-little girls don’t want a pony now, they want a smartphone!’

    1. The Rev Kev

      They made a film here in Oz back in the 80s called “The Light Horseman” and all the riders you see in that film were nearly all ordinary people with their horses – with not all of them male. My wife knew some of them- (11:48 mins)

      And recently I gave a link showing how a lot of the Rohirrim riders in The Lord of the Rings were actually girls with false beards.

  27. Jason Boxman

    Daily I feel as if I live in some kind of netherworld hell. In America we’re enthusiastically destroying an entire generation of kids with COVID and sidecar respiratory viruses. This literally makes no sense. It’s unfathomable. The political class is consumed by some kind of deadly shared delusion.

    The United States is a suicide pact that all citizens are a party to. If ever there was a society hell bent on complete self immolation, it is America.

    “We see that Covid affects every single organ system in your body,” Patel said. “Most kids at this point have had Covid, so that could have, unfortunately, also weakened their immune systems. But it’s too early to tell.”

    Why. Why is this? What the f**k is wrong with this country?

  28. francis bacon

    Critics of the film “Died Suddenly” (so far, with over 11 million views in 2 weeks, on Rumble) include Eric Burnett, MD, who says there’s nothing to see here, in Died Suddenly, these are just regular post-mortem blood clots

    Here is Dr Ryan Cole’s response to Dr Eric Burnett:

    Eric Burnett, MD is an internist, not a pathologist, nor mortician. The arrogance of inferring that a mortician, a professional, beyond his experience, cannot make a valid observation beyond his own naïveté, is the epitome of hubris. He has likely seen one or two autopsies in his entire career. He has not seen, observed, nor described countless post mortem clots.

    A gelatinous saddle embolus is “apples to oranges” compared to these post “clot shot” death clots. He has never embalmed a body. He is entirely and exceedingly out of his lane. Post mortem, rubbery clots are as rare as hen’s teeth. He is likely covering his “gene injection” pushing ass.

    Morticians did not have trouble cannulating and embalming bodies prior to the jabs. He is acting as a bloviating, pharma, financial and hospital administrator defending shill, having zero experience, nor idea of what he speaks.

    Something is overwhelmingly wrong with the “clot shot.” If he were half awake, his conjecture would not be reflecting  the myopic view of the inside of his inexperienced anus.

    With a modicum of humility, he might acknowledge alarming rates of excess deaths in the hyper injected, young and healthy and see the actual harm of failed gene based experimental injections, that have maimed and killed hundreds of thousands to millions.

    Having performed countless career autopsies, examined dozens of these novel clots, extensively explored the spike protein clotting mechanisms, diagnosed over 500,000 patients through the microscope, in my extensive career, I invite my colleague, Dr. Burnett, and any colleague, from around the world, to sit at my microscope, and observe the truth, and set aside their purchased pride. The cells don’t lie!!!

    Honor the dead who speak loudly. Stop fantasizing that you can ever vaccinate ahead of an always mutating coronavirus, especially with a “variant expired” investigational gene product.
    Honor your oath to “first do no harm,” instead of hiding behind an uninformed ego, shaded with harmfully naïve, humanity destroying pride.

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