Links 11/30/2023

What we can learn from the ancient art of wayfinding BBC

Why Chanos Failed Russell Clark. The deck: “Is Short Selling A Dead Industry?”

GM Plans $10 Billion Stock Buyback in Bid to Assuage Investors WSJ

Genetics and Life Insurance – Time for Their Relationship to be Tested Again Actuaries Digital


The good and bad news on climate change Martin Wolf, FT

California & Florida Rank In Top 5 States Impacted By Climate-Related Natural Disasters The Brockovich Report


Where are our leaders? John Snow Project

Denmark reports Mycoplasma pneumonia epidemic Center for Infectious Research and Policy


China jobs: How much employment pressure is the world’s second-largest economy facing? Channel News Asia

China’s Nov factory activity likely contracted for second month Hellenic Shipping News

Xi Jinping calls legal backing on foreign affairs an ‘urgent task’ for China South China Morning Post

Moderna begins work on China mRNA manufacturing site Channel News Asia

The World’s Largest Buyer of U.S. Debt Isn’t Going Away WSJ

Marginal Nation: Bestselling Author’s New Novel Warns of Grim Future for Japan Nippon


Time to start planning postwar future of Myanmar’s military Nikkei Asia. Why this dude thinks “the international community” has any standing in this matter is beyond me. “Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?” –Dr. Samuel Johnson


An Indian official plotted to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader in New York, US prosecutors say AP

India forms committee to look into security concerns raised by US Channel News Asia

The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge Asian Review of Books


Humanitarian pause extended in Gaza Strip for Thursday Anadolu Agency

Intel: Unclear how big a threat next Turkey flotilla is Jerusalem Post. Not a lot of coverage of the “1000 boats.” That’s a lot. I would have expected photos and TikToks to be all over the Twitter. They’re not.

* * *

The Hamas Attack and Israel’s War in Gaza Council for Global Cooperation

Hamas is not as popular in Gaza as it seems. But Israel’s tactics will ensure their survival Forward

* * *

New Footage Shows Latest Hamas Kill Against Israeli Armour Military Watch

Opinion: Why does Israel have so many Palestinians in detention and available to swap? LA Times

* * *

US Embassy in Azerbaijan cancels alumni meeting after being labeled “a gathering of agents” JAM News

New Not-So-Cold War

Will the Ukraine war end in a peace treaty? Gilbert Doctorow, Armageddon Newsletter. The final paragraph:

Russia has no need of a peace treaty if it succeeds in taking back Kharkov and Kherson, and, in a somewhat more distant time frame, captures Odessa and the Black Sea littoral all the way to Transnistria. This scenario is entirely possible. By pushing back Ukraine in this way, Russia will look after its own security needs sufficiently. Rump Ukraine will be a failed state that can be allowed to join the European Union, where it will be seeking vast financial support for decades. Rump Ukraine can even be allowed to join NATO, which from the Russian perspective, could provide some discipline and forestall attempts to implement insane revanchist provocations that Kiev, left to its own devices, might plan.

Haas and Kupchan divided the process of convincing Kyiv into stages (Google translation) Nezavisimaya Gazeta

A Containment Strategy for Ukraine Foreign Affairs. Mere cope.

Biden’s role in Ukraine peace is clear now Responsible Statecraft

Free Agents? Branko Marcetic, New Left Review

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at the Primakov Readings International Forum, Moscow, November 27 2023 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

* * *

Protest at Polish-Ukrainian border escalates as farmers join in BNE Intellinews

Slovak hauliers decide to carry out threats to block Ukrainian border Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

The Nord Stream Lies Just Keep Coming Consortium News

Russia’s Powerful Invisible Defenses Around Sevastopol Rendered Visible Naval News

Ukraine aid’s best-kept secret: Most of the money stays in the U.S.A. WaPo

Russia to require foreigners to sign ‘loyalty agreement’ Al Jazeera

Biden Administration

White House Christmas tree winched back into place after being blown over by high winds Sky News

Spook Country

CTIL Files #1: US And UK Military Contractors Created Sweeping Plan For Global Censorship In 2018, New Documents Show Public. Grab a cup of coffee, because the origin story of the Censorship Industrial complex is important. One of life’s little ironies (and please read the article and don’t just focus on this quote; I have to get this on the record because nobody else will):

But one person involved, Bonnie Smalley, replied over LinkedIn, saying, “all i can comment on is that i joined cti league [CTIL] which is unaffiliated with any govt orgs because i wanted to combat the inject bleach[1] nonsense online during covid…. i can assure you that we had nothing to do with the govt though.”

NOTE [1] Trump did not, in fact, advocate injecting bleach or anything like it, as I show from the transcript here. So spook Smalley either fell for disformation propagated by a Democrat dogpile, or she’s lying. Or both!

Digital Watch

Extracting Training Data from ChatGPT Milad Nasr, Nicholas Carlini, et al. Github:

We have just released a paper that allows us to extract several megabytes of ChatGPT’s training data for about two hundred dollars. (Language models, like ChatGPT, are trained on data taken from the public internet. Our attack shows that, by querying the model, we can actually extract some of the exact data it was trained on.) We estimate that it would be possible to extract ~a gigabyte of ChatGPT’s training dataset from the model by spending more money querying the model.

“Undigested chunks” comes to mind. Also, “outright theft.”

* * *

AI Turned These Memes Into Videos and It’s the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Seen Gizmodo. The deck: “As usual, AI takes the brilliant cultural output of human beings and turns it into abominable slop.”

Critical tipping point: AI- and human-generated online contents are considered similarly credible (press release) Mainz University of Applied Sciences and Johannes Gutenberg University. Bullshit works because it is credible.

* * *

The Ideologies of Silicon Valley (PDF) Crooked Timber

In Continued Defense Of Effective Altruism Slate Star Codex (DC).

* * *

AI won’t take your job, might shrink your wages, European Central Bank reckons The Register

It’s All Bullshit The Baffler


Bulk of Consumers Continue to Back Antitrust Cases Against Big Tech Morning Consult

The Case for Ambulance Chasing Lawyers Matt Stoller, BIG

B-a-a-a-d Banks

Bukele’s Bitcoin Mess and the U.S.-Backed Bank That Enabled It Foreign Policy

Why Banks Are Suddenly Closing Down Customer Accounts NYT


Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100 AP. Commentary:

Posterity will ne’er survey / a Nobler grave than this”:

The eulogies pour in:

Charlie Munger, who was Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire, dies at 99 Reuters

How Warren Buffett Privately Traded in Stocks That Berkshire Hathaway Was Buying and Selling ProPublica

Zeitgeist Watch

More Americans than ever think US headed in wrong direction as Congress’ approval near rock bottom: survey FOX

Class Warfare

UAW will try to organize workers at all US nonunion factories after winning new contracts in Detroit AP

The resurgence of union power is bigger than money Indiana Capital Chronicle

Revealed: how top PR firm uses ‘trust barometer’ to promote world’s autocrats Guardian

Ethics has no foundation Aeon

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Rhythm of the Rain by The Cascades)

    Zion cannot coexist with Palestine
    Zionists won’t step across that line
    The whole world’s truly tired of this bloody hell
    And plans for Greater Israel

    Zionists want pieces of their neighbor states
    Syria and Lebanon to start
    Some Jordan then some Egypt to repopulate
    Ethnic cleansing a la carte

    No one else believes that this is fair
    To steal your neighbor’s land because you will not share
    Two billion Arabs have no plans to go down this way

    Some scripture that was written in the Age of Bronze
    Doesn’t mean you can lay claim
    To property by mystical phenomenons
    But that’s the Zionista game

    (musical interlude)

    Israel won’t make it if they stay this course
    Terror is the blowback from the use of force
    Killing little children is a thing no one can endorse

    Zion cannot coexist with Palestine
    Zionists won’t step across that line
    The whole world’s truly tired of this bloody hell
    And plans for Greater Israel

    They’re asking for a world of pain
    They will scatter, they will scatter
    Ohhhh, they are asking, they are asking for a world of pain
    They will scatter, they will scatter
    Ohhhh . . .

  2. The Rev Kev

    Henry Kissinger – ‘The eulogies pour in’

    Lots of warm, cuddly memories of this man. Like the time that he thanked service people & veterans for their service by saying-

    ‘Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy’

    What a guy. I hope that he has to spend the rest of eternity locked in the Oval Office with Richard Nixon.

    1. ambrit

      Someone at State better put a stake through his heart so he doesn’t ‘rise’ again to haunt the living.

      1. jsn

        Keep an eye on Hillary: I’m pretty sure he’s been trying to transubstantiate into her for a while, he could tear through the skin any time now.

    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev. Ahhh, never speak ill of the dead, sez I.

      One wonders, though, at the quality of U.S. secretaries of state. Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, John “Nice Hair” Kerry, Madeleine Albright. “Banality of Evil” Blinken, eh.

      Yet I will propose something dantesco:

      May they be put together
      in the same circle of the Inferno,
      Henry and Madeleine,
      spending eternity counting the dead babies
      of Iraq and Cambodia that they found themselves
      compelled to murder.

      While the kids, the thousands of kids, are in Paradiso, being served tasty meals by angels for once in their lives.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It has been reckoned that old Henry was responsible for the deaths of about three million people around the world. That is a sea of blood-

        Never speak ill of the dead? No longer a believer in that. A quick story here. There was this outback town here in Oz that had a custom. When the hearse left the funeral parlour and drove slowly by the town pub, the people inside would come out and raise a beer mug to them. So the hearse would drive around that small town and go by that pub again. They would keep doing that as long as people would come outside. Sometimes that hearse drove round and round many times before they could finally drive to the cemetery. But if that person was a real sob, then a quick drive by the pub without anybody coming out and they would go straight out to the cemetery. That would be Henry.

        1. Alice X

          But if that person was a real sob, then a quick drive by the pub without anybody coming out and they would go straight out to the cemetery. That would be Henry.

          Ah, but there’s the rub, there are others like him, who truly liked him and they’re still about.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And the control of the narrative remains strong, even after they die. A coupla years ago John McCain went toes up and he was given a humongous official funeral. But then came…nothing. Usually when somebody of his stature dies then soon you have articles appearing that show what they were really like and books get released talking about that person’s history including all the ugly bits. But none of that seems to have happened and instead there was this, well, silence as far as John McCain was concerned. So I am thinking that this is the new norm and the same will happen for example with George Bush when he goes toes up. So it will be interesting to watch the narrative unfold around Henry in the coming weeks.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Is there anything nice to say about McCain?

              Bill Clinton essentially became a nobody until Kerry lost and it looked like he would be the next president’s spouse. Reagan received a bunch of “accolades” over the years, but the uniparty blew it’s load on that. What can they talk about with these people?

              Their accomplishments are meaningless or horrid. I saw a Kissing bio on msdnc this morning. They tried to stretch his life, but his time in the Nixon White House amounted to a sentence and “some people accused him of war crimes.” The rest was drivel. His time in the White House is why he’s being mentioned. Now the foreign policy elite are anti-China, Kissinger’s one good accomplishment won’t be mentioned.

            2. mago

              Knowing that this remark will not pass moderation because of a previous comment regarding another blogger, I will nonetheless proceed and note that in my bad boy kitchen days we said “tits up”, not “toes up”.

          2. anahuna

            Even before HRC announced her 2016 candidacy, a friend mentioned the possibility to me. I surprised him and even myself by uttering a loud, guttural UGH. That response was sealed and ratified a few months later, when I happened to be listening to a radio interview with her. The interviewer asked about Kissinger. “Oh, Henry’s a friend of mine,” she simpered, the warmth in her voice unmistakable.

            It later emerged that she and Bill habitually vacationed with the Kissingers around Christmas every year.

            1. Es s Ce tera

              I’d be interested in whether HRC believes Kissinger to have made mistakes, to have made the wrong decisions, most especially on the bombing of Cambodia.

              You don’t bomb the innocent population of a noncombatant country unless you believe the people to be inferior and inconsequential. I think HRC is one of those who falls comfortably into this school of thought.

            2. ambrit

              “It later emerged that she and Bill habitually vacationed with the Kissingers around Christmas every year.”
              On Epstein’s Island? Or out at Epstein’s ‘Bunny Ranch?’ Probably both.

              1. Jabura Basaidai

                C – that may be an interesting opportunity for The Husk to save face by ditching Harris the Cackler and stay on the top of the ticket by making folks concerned about his age mollified somewhat by having good hair as a VP choice – but really think it is too late for the dems to pull their keester out of the fire, if The Husk is their candidate we will see Drumpf as the next moron in chief – also been reading that a lot of legislators are abandoning ship and not going to run for office again which is not an optimistic thing in general – the lug nuts on the wheels of this empire are beginning to loosen considerably – this seems pretty obvious to most of us here – and it is beginning to become clearer to the rest – i’m just crossing my fingers we don’t get a WWIII and whistling past the graveyard on that possibility – don’t think it makes a difference who they get to run with The Husk, if he’s on the ticket the dems lose –

          3. pjay

            I’ve been waiting a hell of a long time for this. I’ll be raising a glass, but unlike Rev Kev’s example, it will be because the world is *finally* rid of his presence. Still waiting for Cheney.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              In no particular order I have a list of names of people I have followed over the years, and not as a fan. Not wishing them ill, just looking forward to crossing them off my ever shorter list.

              Bill Gates
              The Koch Brothers (twofer)
              Dick Cheney
              Jeff Bezos

              Henry Kissinger
              Donald Rumsfeld
              Richard Nixon
              the inventor of disco

                  1. Jabura Basaidai

                    Lawrence Welk! OMG – that had me belly laughing so hard my daughter asked if i was alright – thank you very much – still chuckling – and a one and a two…… – my first instrument was an accordion –

                    1. Mark Gisleson

                      You have my deepest sympathy. I had cousins who were forced to play the accordion. It never brought them happiness.

                      When my parents would go out on a Saturday night, the older woman who’d come over would insist we watch Lawrence Welk. Picture three very unhappy boys not old enough to appreciate the Lennon Sisters but old enough to know how square Lawrence Welk was.

              1. nippersdad

                One of the Kochs bought the farm a few years ago, so you can at least cross off the brothers part. You are half way there with that group!

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m pretty certain speak I’ll of the dead simply refers to spreading salacious rumors or making accusations when they can’t defend themselves. Kissinger’s vile nature is known. This is about not letting his acolytes sanctify the man the way they did for McCain and also for exposing people who praise Kissinger and know who he is. Samantha Power for example.

        3. Craig H.

          There is no way you can have that job and the death count would be zero. His suck up supporters will argue until you are exhausted that he was a net benefit to the human race. Seymour Hersh’s treatment is readable, mean spirited, and has great gossip. It isn’t continuously in print but right now it is.

          The Price of Power: Henry Kissinger in the Nixon White House

          I culled my copy a long time ago but there are dozens of (unattributed and attributed) quotations illustrating Kissinger’s indifference to, for example, countless dead Nigerian Civil War casualties. Such variables were never entered into his calculations. Per Hersch’s book.

        4. Omicron

          When I was a post-doc at MIT, Henry Kissinger (then a Harvard prof) was known as a fourth-rate practitioner of a tenth-rate discipline (political science). Or maybe the other way round, I forget. But the math is the same….

        5. Not Qualified to Comment

          The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interrèd with their bones.

          – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

      2. Pat

        I don’t hold with the “do not speak ill of the dead trope” except where I know the family. Calling out a deceased SOB in front of grieving loved ones who are often pretty okay people just isn’t right.
        But Kissinger is infamous, I do not know the family, and if they don’t know his real history by now it is time they learned.
        Hanging out in hell with the world’s greatest sociopaths strikes me as a start. And I don’t just mean just the Americans (although I do think having to spend day after day with the insipid Condi, Hillary and Blinken would be painful.) There is a certain justice for me in Kissinger spending eternity with the stars of the Third Reich. They were so helpful to his deflection of his true character.

        I do wish someone with artistic ability would work up a wall of chains in hell with the likes of Pol Pot, Tikka Khan, Goebbels, Himmler…welcoming Henry to his incarceration.

        1. earthling

          That’s too good for him, giving him status in hell to rub noses with the vip ‘stars’ of anything. An eternity of being an ignored non-entity would be much more suitable.

          1. Pat

            Maybe, but I am imagining them dirty, in rags, covered in sores. Oh and that occasionally some of their victims get to visit. Dressed well and comfortably, clearly in health, they get to dump in the garbage that the chained “VIPs” get to fight over to eat.

            But ignored and in pain works as well. (Fire or ice, I don’t care.)

        2. cyclist

          I seem to recall a great cover on an issue of The New Statesman (back when it was printed on newsprint) with a lurid cartoon of Henry the K wielding a blood-dripping cleaver. It might have been an issue with a review of Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (1979) by William Shawcross. Odd that Shawcross later became a Tory government official who later thought he was too hard on Kissinger.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      I can only imagine the “anti-semitic” fury with which the adl will attack Rolling Stone for its far less than “warm and cuddly” obituary, linked in the community notes under its tweet, particularly in view of the bloodthirstiness in Gaza the adl is currently justifying as israel’s “right to self defense.” From Rolling Stone:

      Every single person who died in Vietnam between autumn 1968 and the Fall of Saigon — and all who died in Laos and Cambodia, where Nixon and Kissinger secretly expanded the war within months of taking office, as well as all who died in the aftermath, like the Cambodian genocide their destabilization set into motion — died because of Henry Kissinger. We will never know what might have been, the question Kissinger’s apologists, and those in the U.S. foreign policy elite who imagine themselves standing in Kissinger’s shoes, insist upon when explaining away his crimes. We can only know what actually happened. What actually happened was that Kissinger materially sabotaged the only chance for an end to the war in 1968 as a hedged bet to ensure he would achieve power in Nixon’s administration or Humphrey’s. A true tally will probably never be known of everyone who died so Kissinger could be national security adviser.

      I wish I could say that the adl had the good graces not to beat this literally dead horse, but it would seem that some hubris knows no bounds.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          d_o it obscures all the other wars/regime change the USA responsible for, so the obsession continues and is encouraged –

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Maybe if more people were “obsessed” with that war, they wouldn’t let themselves get suckered into fighting it over and over again while their own country crumbles around them.

            “Lessons learned” and all that.

            1. Henry Moon Pie

              I’m with you, Katniss. Boomers were raised on WW II war movies along with Cowboys vs. Indians. It’s almost as if we were being prepped for one Vietnam after another. But the reality of that war turned out to be far different from the “good guys win” BS of all that Hollywood. And it turned out that not only were we losing, but we weren’t the good guys by a mile.

              It was a lesson it seemed for a while that we might have learned, but Reagan began the rehabilitation of John Wayne America, and Bush II finished the job.

              Given that we keep forgetting the lessons of Vietnam, we apparently need to keep hearing about it.

            2. Jabura Basaidai

              good point – unfortunately the obsession doesn’t seem to be awareness of the mistake, just chattering about what it was like – nobody of my generation seems to be taking to the streets ‘en masse’ – different time, different instigators – not sure what will light the fuse this time, maybe Gaza? – but the lack of a coordinated rage against the machine may in fact be the control of the mass media, manufactured consent and other concerns made to seem more important – there is so much white noise today – walked into my favorite bakery to get a loaf of bread and there were others standing around waiting for other things, ages from late teens to early 40’s and all had their phones out and something was really important for all of them on each phone – kinda sad to me – KE you are a critical thinker, not a common attribute these days in N. America –

          2. digi_owl

            More like it gives raison d’etre among the beltway “intelligentsia” to keep doing wars, to prove that ‘merica still has tha mojo.

            After all, it was not really until Vietnam that USA had to tuck tail and run.

            Sure, there was a minor setback in the Philippines during WW2. But MacArthur in the end got to preside over the surrender and subjugation of Japan.

            And Korea is still officially a ceasefire stalemate all these decades later.

        2. Tom Stone

          One of my neighbors came back from ‘Nam shredded.
          It took him three years to die and it destroyed his parents.
          I’m supposed to “Let Go” of that and forgive what my Government did?

          1. Jabura Basaidai

            of my friends still with us that bathed in the blood one is dealing with lewy bodies dementia from agent orange – the other is a Marine still fighting psychologic distress – too many came back like John Prine’s Sam Stone, saw it up close and personal – war is the racket that Major General Smedley Butler called it – never let it go and never forgive – to acquiesce is to extinguish awareness and buy into the lie –

      1. Charger01

        Amber a’Lee Frost of Chapo Trap House fame has a obit for Kissinger ready for several years. Pity I don’t use twitter/x and won’t see until it’s reposted.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Glad to see Rolling Stone calling it like it is on this one at least. They really do have nothing good to say about him at all, and they lead with it in the headline –

        Spencer Ackerman in no Hunter S Thompson though. Thompson really knew how to kick man when he was down, and six feet underground. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a complete version of Thompson’s eulogy of Nixon from Rolling Stone. Best I can come up with is this paywalled link from the Atlantic –

        Some of the better excerpts can be found here –

        This bit goes for Kissinger as well as it did for Nixon –

        “If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.”

        1. Lexx

          … and the ashes sprinkled liberally on the heap of turds and piss in the stinkiest Porto-potty in the backwaters of a national park that never gets cleaned due to budget cuts.’ Too late for Dick but there’s still time for Henry.,

          Naturally reaching for a quote we went for the same one, still relevant and hilarious. Thanks for the reminder. Where’s Hunter when we need him?

        2. pjay

          I read the Ackerman obit in RS. It is pretty scathing, fittingly so. Some of his comments in passing reminded me of the limits of liberal consciousness. But Kissinger is an acceptable target for liberal outrage, and one who deserves all the criticism one can heap on him. So Ackerman was using his skills for good in this case.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Thank you! And Hunter S did throw in a little about Kissinger while skewering Tricky Dick –

              “It would be easy to forget and forgive Henry Kissinger of his crimes, just as he forgave Nixon. Yes, we could do that — but it would be wrong. Kissinger is a slippery little devil, a world-class hustler with a thick German accent and a very keen eye for weak spots at the top of the power structure. Nixon was one of those, and Super K exploited him mercilessly, all the way to the end.

              Kissinger made the Gang of Four complete: Agnew, Hoover, Kissinger and Nixon. A group photo of these perverts would say all we need to know about the Age of Nixon.”

      3. Mikel

        Some commenters on Huffpo were upset about their article and home page:
        “The Beltway Butcher: War Criminal Kissinger Dead at 100”

        1. anahuna

          The photographs in that article were priceless. A gallery of smiling pols and celebrities cozying up to Henry K.

          1. anahuna

            Oops. Photos are also in Huff Post, but in a different article: “Henry Kissinger Was A War Criminal, But Presidents And Celebrities Smiled With Him.”

        2. pjay

          It always impressed me how Kissinger was an absolute insider darling of the Establishment while Nixon was always the outsider pariah, even though Kissinger was intimately involved in many of Nixon’s worst actions.

          It’s also quite funny to read these scathing obituaries in the likes of Huffington Post and Rolling Stone – faint echoes of the past that remind readers of how far they’ve fallen. Apparently Kissinger is still an acceptable target for the compatible “left” today. Or maybe these obits were written 20 years ago and just dusted off when they could *finally* be published.

          1. JBird4049

            Henry Kissinger was an extremely intelligent, morally deficient, self serving, professional a—kisser, smoozer, and manipulator par excellence, which requires being something of a people person.

            While Richard Nixon was just as intelligent and likely domestically more politically savvy, he was not a people person and therefore lacked some of Kissinger’s abilities, which made it harder for him to get back into the club. Also, Kissinger had decades more to slither back into the club.

            And Kissinger was less of a war hawk than the current bunch of children, but he was a hawk that got millions dead for no good reason. What this says about our current leadership is scary.

    4. Wukchumni

      May it be possible that foreign hire
      Could out of thee extract one spark of evil
      That might annoy my finger? ’Tis so strange
      That, though the truth of it stands off as gross
      As black and white, my eye will scarcely see it.
      Treason and murder ever kept together,
      As two yoke-devils sworn to either’s purpose.~ Henry V


      1. lyman alpha blob

        It’s quite possible that Putin is simply trying to show the world how the forgotten (by the US) art of diplomacy is supposed to work.

      2. Maxwell Johnston

        Re Putin’s comments/condolences:

        Today’s comments on NC are running hard against Henry the Kiss, so being contrarian as usual I’ll politely point out that:

        a. Henry the Kiss and Nixon extracted their country from the war in Vietnam (a war which they did not start but inherited)

        b. They established diplomatic and trade relations with China

        c. They improved relations with the USSR (detente, ABM treaty, SALT treaty)

        I find it remarkable that even though Henry the Kiss was in robust health post-1976, no subsequent presidential administration brought him on board (not even 4 republicans: Reagan, Bush1, Bush2, Trump). I guess Henry the Kiss was too much of a realist diplomat for modern USA tastes. He was no saint (and the Nobel prize was a pre-Obama abomination), but compared with the current flock of USA/EU ‘diplomats’ (admittedly a low bar) he was an intellectual titan.

        1. pjay

          I would go along with b and c; I think they were important actions and in fact created some significant enemies on the right for both Nixon and Kissinger (perhaps the reason he held no formal position in subsequent Republican administrations).

          But I would give them no credit for Vietnam. They sabotaged Johnson’s Peace Talks to prevent an “October Surprise” in 1968; massively expanded the war into Laos and Cambodia; continued the bombing of North Vietnam, etc., extending the suffering for no good reason. Their actions in Latin America are similarly despicable, and not just in Chile. I had a friend and colleague who was imprisoned and tortured as a student as part of Operation Condor. He later became an academic and an expert on the role of the US in Latin America during those years. In my view they were precursors to the fascist-enabling policies of the Reagan administration. There were also the surveillance and civil rights violations of the Nixon administration which were pushed by Kissinger as well.

          I think the biggest problem many have with Kissinger, which is emphasized in these critical obituaries, is his absolute *amorality*. He was a “realist” in the sense that his moves were non-ideological; if he felt it benefited US interests to support fascists and bomb peasants, then no problem. If those interests were aided by seeking detente with China or the USSR, that was fine too. No regrets! No apparent conscience either. And, most aggravatingly, *no f**king personal consequences* for any of his actions!

          1. Maxwell Johnston

            Re (a) getting out of Vietnam: the bottom line is that they did get the USA out within Nixon’s first term, although it wasn’t pretty. Compare & contrast with Afghanistan (20 years over 4 presidents, and an utterly botched withdrawal when it finally happened) or even Iraq (USA troops are still there and in neighboring Syria and are still coming under fire 20 years after Bush2 declared ‘mission accomplished’). Note that the USA did not re-enter Vietnam in 1975 when it was clear that South Vietnam was going down; Kissinger was still very much in power then and perhaps he deserves some credit for warning Gerald Ford not to get involved.

            As for Latin America, the USA has a long and sordid history of interference there, so I don’t see that what Kissinger got up to was anything different from his predecessors or successors. Operation Condor was 1975-83 or so, but Kissinger was gone by early 1977; surely Jimmy Carter and Cyrus Vance bear more responsibility for that ugly episode than Kissinger does.

            As for “no ******* personal consequences”: I’m not aware of any USA power figures who have faced personal consequences for their foreign policy actions. Why single out Kissinger, especially since Vietnam itself has long since rebuilt and moved on? I would think that Obama and Bush2 and Clinton have plenty to answer for, as we are still living with the direct results of their actions.

            Forced to choose between’s Kissinger’s amoralism or the moralism that has pervaded so much of USA foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson (of which Blinken is the latest example), I prefer the former. It’s a tough choice, but ultimately I think people like Kissinger cause less damage than people like Blinken. Something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

            1. Duke of Prunes

              Wow, you convinced me… not so much that Harry’s a fine man (I know, not your intention), but that he’s not so much worse than many of the other turds floating in the same sewer.

            2. Anon

              It’s interesting that you credit Nixon and Kissinger for pulling out of the war, instead of the cumulative failure of the war itself (incomparable in scale to either Iraq or Afghanistan truly), the oil crisis, domestic dissent (Pentagon Papers?) and gold standard complexities, forcing their hands.

              HK was amoral, but still ideological, and while you see his actions as less damaging, that’s only because he was harming those beyond your sight. A most convenient perspective.

        2. eg

          Kissinger was a horrible person, but he is representative of a time when American diplomacy and strategy were still effective — before the “unipolar moment” ate its brains.

          1. Anon

            This is dense. He represents the time American diplomacy ceased being diplomatic (or became more honest), and the “strategy” became effective only at creating misery. He represents a time when USAmerica could no longer justify its hegemony and instead of innovating and competing, chose to suffocate its contemporaries. His explicit aim was the unipolar moment you deride, so clearly there is something wrong with your exceptionalist premise.

            It’s the longing for “the good old days” that tells me so many of us just do not grasp why things are so bad now, and given the ability, we will make the same mistakes all over again.

            1. margie

              That there was “a time when American diplomacy and strategy were still effective” is made out to be a wholly ‘exceptionalist premise’ is itself dense.

              1. Anon

                You are entitled to your opinion, but without justification, it is not very useful. You also misrepresent my statements, which were (charitably) limited to Kissinger’s reign onward. One does not describe his machinations, and their parasitic outcomes as “diplomacy”, any more than one could describe our military’s functions as “defense”. Whenever the glory days of American diplomacy were, Kissinger and his ilk had nothing to do with them.

                Cancer is very effective, just not at diplomacy.

              2. Anon

                Forgive me, I am perhaps biased, as I am descended from one of the places he destabilized mercilessly in the interest of American power. I concede he treated with great powers effectively (albeit he dealt in obvious, easily agreed upon issues, nuclear war bad); but one does not judge a man by how deftly he avoids big sticks, rather by how he wields them.

    5. Tom Stone

      Now Rev, a threesome with HRC and Maddow for eternity, in a swimming pool full of banana slugs seems more appropriate for Henry the K.
      Charlie Munger is gone too, in only one day the world became a better place.

    6. Randy

      This news is bittersweet.

      With a person as malevolently evil as Kissinger one would logically hope he lives only a relatively short life. But it can be a better outcome if he lives to 100 and experiences all the afflictions that happen to people after they reach 90. My mother lived to 96 and after she reached age 88 or so she said. “You don’t want to live this long, it’s not fun.”

      Given a choice of a quick death for Henry at a young age or Henry lingering from 90 to 100 with unpleasant old age issues I hope and would prefer that he was uncomfortable and unhappy at a bare minimum for his final years.

  3. ChrisFromGA

    Greased AI

    (Sing to tune of greased lightning From the film “Grease”)

    Well this code is automatic !
    It’s kleptocratic!
    It’s graft-o-matic!
    Well it’s greased AI, man!

    We’ll cut some overhead, grifters and get a 40-handle NAS, oh yeah
    (Keep talking, woah, keep talking)
    A common sense cut off and chrome plated fraud, oh yeah
    (I’ll bag the money, I’ll kill to get the money)
    With no guard rails on the floor, they’ll be waitin’ at the door
    You know this sheet is leet, we’ll be smoking down the street, for greased AI


    Go greased AI, you’re burning down the Sand Hill mile!
    Greased AI, go greased AI!
    Go greased AI, greed’s never going out of style
    Greased AI, go greased AI!
    You are supreme
    VCs’ll scream
    For greased AI

    We’ll get a modified Perl script with some neural network fins,oh yeah
    A Jerry-rigged dashboard with some duel-ML twins, oh yeah
    With new chatbots, hype, and stocks
    We’ll can customer service jocks
    You known this ain’t just bragging
    She’s a real pumpster wagon!
    Greased AI!


    Go greased AI, you’re burning down the Sand Hill mile!
    Greased AI, go greased AI!
    Go greased AI, greed’s never going out of style
    Greased AI, go greased AI!
    You are supreme
    VCs’ll scream
    For greased AI

    Greased AI

  4. Lexx

    ‘Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100’

    First headline I saw this morning… it’s going to be a good day; the trials of humanity feel a little more bearable now. No one that evil should ever live that long. Staying alive to 100 may be his most depressing accomplishment. Mortality took way too long to claim Henry.

          1. undercurrent

            Don’t bother sending the booties to Gaza, either. It will be the rare baby there to have two good feet to need them. Send them off to John Fetterman, instead; he can lace them together, and twirl them in front of a group of anti-war vets.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        That article is scathing. In challenging the current, towering power of the adl, Rolling Stone has thrown caution, and possibly its continuing existence, to the wind.

        1. Lexx

          The term ‘useful idiot’ comes to mind… if only the Rolling Stone mattered enough to squash. Administrations need criticism, especially from toothless critics. It’s all farce to pretend they’re offended by what the magazine or its’ readers think; it humanizes them and that’s useful.

      2. Carolinian

        A war criminal without a doubt but Ackerman does bury the lead.

        In that regard, Kissinger was singular but was by no means unique. Kissinger built upon foundations constructed by Henry Morgenthau, Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, the Dulles brothers, the Bundy brothers, JFK — you could go back to Albert Thayer Mahan and Teddy Roosevelt if you wanted; or James Monroe; or, depending on how fundamental you think empire is to America, 1619. He and Nixon chose to escalate in Vietnam and pursue the destruction of Cambodia. But the Pentagon Papers showed that the Vietnam War was the result of compounding decisions made in the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. The Vietnamese guerilla and justice minister Truong Nhu Tang writes in his Viet Cong Memoir that Kissinger, whose intellect he praises, “inherited a conceptual framework from his American and French predecessors … that led him to disaster.”

        So was Kissinger the organ grinder or the monkey?

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          just another monkey but a very good one – beginning with the Barabary Wars in 1801 when Jefferson sent the Marines to the shores of Tripoli, the USA has been continually involved in conflicts around the world – so much for the intent of the “founding fathers” of minding their own business – the empire has been good business since the inception of this country – my 2¢ –

          1. JBird4049

            I think that putting the Barbary Wars as the start of the American Empire is a mistake.

            One-fifth of the federal government’s budget was for paying off the four Barbary States to not capture American merchants and enslave their crews, which they did anyways. Those states at the time were over six centuries old criminal organizations using theft, murder, kidnapping, ransoms, and slavery to support themselves. The United States essentially built a new navy and had two wars to stop this happening to them and IIRC, found it cheaper to do so. It was not an intervention. It was protecting Americans from being robbed, kidnapped, and enslaved.

            Blame the United States for all the evil it has done, but do not assume that the United States is always the bad guy.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Agreed. The Barbary States were running a sort of mafia protection racket as in ‘Nice trade ships and crews that you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them.’ The Royal Navy might have been able to do it but they were fully involved in the war against Napoleon and did not have the resources to spare to take these pirates on.

            2. Jabura Basaidai

              ‘…but do not assume that the United States is always the bad guy’ – maybe just the attitude of euro white guys? – always like the feedback, a learning process that is enjoyable – y’all have a better grasp of history than moi – just difficult to find when we were on the right side of history – just ask the indigenous folks that inhabited this place before our ancestor arrived –

              1. JBird4049

                >>>maybe just the attitude of euro white guys?

                Does the truth change when a person’s appearance changes? Or does the past change with newer history?

                Anyways, until the eighteenth century, if you include all of Europe from Iceland to the Urals, maybe adding Nova Scotia as well, it was the Europeans who were the greatest victims of the slave trade. Look at the probable entomology of the word slave=slav.

                The Russian Empire began its expansion as a way to push back against the centuries of annual slave raids from the coast of the Black Sea for slaves to sell to the Ottoman Empire. IIRC, Moscow was pillaged at least twice by these raiders. The raids went far north into Lithuania and west into western Poland.

                This aside from the Ottomans depopulating parts of East Africa just as the Europeans were to do for West Africa.

                Evil is not an ethnic or racial thing. It is a human thing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I take satisfaction in thinking how the world looked for Henry in his last years. All that work separating China and Russia but now all gone to waste as the Neocons have pushed those countries firmly together into an alliance. All that work to protect Israel only to see them blow themselves up in the past coupla weeks. All the alliances he worked on to build up & strengthen the US on the world stage only to see it thrown way by the likes of Nuland, Blinken and Sullivan. And then to see NATO revealed as a paper tiger in front of the world as yet another humiliation. The world order that he spent his life working on, all turned to ashes. At least he lived long enough to see this all unfold.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        excellent point RK – and considering the towering ego of the SOB it must have been painful – just wish it had been a painful, slow-acting cancer that took him down – oh well, ding dong the witch is dead –

      2. Es s Ce tera

        All those deaths he justified as a means to an end only to see those justifications fall apart, rendering those deaths, in the end, truly unnecessary and pointless.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        Well observed, RK. Henry’s and my reaction to that crumbling would be just the opposite:

        Don’t change before the Empire falls.
        You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

        Grace Slick, “Greasy Heart

      4. Valerie in Australia

        I’ve been thinking “ding, dong the witch is dead” but now I wish the evil ruler had lived a little longer to see everything he created well and truly destroyed.

    2. petal

      I saw the headline last night before bed, and then couldn’t stop smiling even though I was exhausted.

      1. elissa3

        Yeah, was in a shit mood all day and then, like a miracle the moon rose and I popped a cork. Almost want to become religious so I can believe in a hell.

    3. JTMcPhee

      How old is Cheney, again? A spry 82?

      Will there be state funerals for these Fokkers? Assuming that the technology increasing longevity but only for the worst of us fails to preserve these and other like piles of excrement.

  5. Anon

    Re: Genetics and Life Insurance

    When your actuaries are super-human intelligences (and not just actuaries) capable of drawing reliable inference from innocuous data points… at that point, when you can more or less predict the future, “Insurance” as a business becomes superfluous. If you remove ALL the risk from enterprise (arguably a defining motive of our culture/philosophy), you eliminate the justification for profit, and necessarily approach totalitarianism… at what point does the Marxism kick in?

    1. Reply

      Actuary interns, hah, or others, could reconstruct family trees using search engines and other online resources. That could serve as a DNA-lite proxy for longevity measures when underwriting life insurance.

      See for yourself how much information is out there and how hard it is to try to preserve any semblance of privacy. That is an undertaking.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “The Nord Stream Lies Just Keep Coming”

    You could use this story as a sort of intelligence test. If somebody believes that the Ukraine totally did it and the US had nothing to do with it at all, then they automatically fail. They will believe anything. You can confirm this by asking them to change two $10 notes for a $5 note for you. I really have only this video clip to answer people like that with, not that they will understand- (1:02 mins)

  7. Superduperdave

    >GM Plans $10 Billion Stock Buyback in Bid to Assuage Investors — WSJ

    Er, where’d they get the money for that? From those taxpayer-funded electric vehicle credits, maybe? $7,500 per car is a pretty nice subsidy…

    1. cfraenkel

      Money?!? How 20th century. No one uses money anymore, they just pile on more debt to make the financials look worse so they can pay people less. (except for the Cxx though, *they* walk on water and are worth every penny)

  8. zagonostra

    I was curious about the history of the Khazars since it intersects with both Ukraine and Israel and so I’ve been reading Arthur Koestler’s “The thirteenth Tribe,” a book I never heard of even though I’ve read a least a half a dozen books by Koestler. That link title of “Where are our leaders?” and Kissinger’s long overdue death made me think of below:

    “The period of the king’s rule is forty years. If he exceeds this time by a single day, his subjects and attendants kill him, saying “His reasoning is already dimmed, and his insight confused”.”

    Istakhri has a different version of it:

    When they wish to enthrone this Kagan, they put a silken cord round his neck and tighten it until he begins
    to choke. Then they ask him: “How long doest thou intend to rule?” If he does not die before that year, he is killed when he reaches it.

    1. Alice X

      While the Kazar theories have held sway with some, I would like to read of other descriptions of the routes of the Jewish diaspora, and the phenotype variations between the Ashkenazim, Sephardim and Mizrahim.

      1. Feral Finster

        Exactly. The idea that modern European Jews are somehow crypto-Khazars flies in the face of all available evidence, not to mention is used to whitewash antisemitism (although why it’s okay to hate “Khazars” and not Jews or other ethnic groups is usually left unsaid.

        1. nippersdad

          OK, don’t know much about this, but weren’t the Khazars a Turkic group centered on the Black Sea that converted to Judaism around the eighth century? They were not a part of the original Jewish Diaspora to begin with, but somehow got caught up in it in later centuries. The question that I have always had is how they can be denominated as Semites when they clearly have Caucasian roots.

          If one must insist upon the Holocaust museum’s definition of anti-semitism, something that clearly implies a genetic basis in its’ very title, shouldn’t it at a minimum recognize that most of the Ashkenazi are not actual Semites? But then that definition also cancels about a billion Muslims as well. It has many problems. But it strikes me as an unforced error to continue to use such a faulty definition of a religion to begin with.

  9. doug

    Why is the term AI used rather than ‘computer programs’?
    eg Computer programs deny health claims…
    Who decided there was ‘intelligence’?

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Good questions!

      I suspect that something like 75% of “AI” will turn out to be rehashed things like neural nets, machine learning, or other concepts that have been around for years.

      Slap a fresh coat of hype on ‘em, label it AI, and sell it to the investors.

      And a not unsubstantial portion will be fraud per se. You know, a bunch of scripts tied together with duct tape, and branded as AI.

      Should it be called intelligence? Maybe more like “next gen American Greed episode content provider?”

      Not as catchy.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        AI is ho-hum to me but impossible to deny – its a solution without a problem and the powers that be are trying to figure out how best to monetize it – it has been utilized in the automation of industry and the assembly line for a long time, but got a real goose in the ass as language/voice recognition came of age and got pasted onto it – again, a solution in search of a problem, except to eliminate jobs – the bruha about Sam Altman kinda reinforces that kerfuffle about monetizing AI – its movement into healthcare is just plain dangerous – human intelligence is flawed with cognitive error, but i would rather deal with a flawed human than a machine – i’m so stuck in my ways in that regard i won’t answer machine voice prompts when calling somewhere waiting until i get a human voice – but plagiarism software, as Chomsky calls it, is a very appropriate description –

      2. Polar Socialist

        I can tell you that 100% of the “AI” is rehashed things, it just that only a few years back the computers became powerful enough to handle the massive amounts of data (mostly the GPU development – those a really good at doing simple operations on a lot of data in parallel). The principles are decades old.

        But just like with anything else in the data engineering and analysis, GIGO rules over everything.

      3. cfraenkel

        The term “AI” is a goal, a category/shorthand/commonly understood generalization for humans to use in talking about it. “AI” has been used to talk about many generations of capabilities – from early efforts in symbolic logic, to playing checkers, to playing chess, to neural nets, to todays transformer driven Large Language Models.

        Each successive level has seemed like magic (in that particular domain space) at the time. (the code completion ability of the current generation is remarkable. They reportedly let talented engineers complete work 10x faster. They also let untalented programmers make 10x bigger disasters.)

      4. El Slobbo

        It’s da marketing department. Just like running everything on someone else’s machine is called “cloud”. Sounds nice but confuses the issue.

    2. Mikel

      In my comments about such systems, I don’t adopt SillyCon’s nomenclature. I use “algorithms”, “the algos”, “automation”, etc. And I use “programming” and “computer program”.

    3. Polar Socialist

      It’s not as much a ‘computer program’, but a regression model trained with specific data to do simple classifications on similar data. Nothing you couldn’t do by hand, given enough time (and persistence).

      Actually, quite close to how people form their prejudices…

    4. turtle

      Good question that made me think. The answer I came up with is that it gives many people a way to absolve their responsibility for bad decisions. “The ‘AI’ said it has to be this way. Who’s going to argue with the all-powerful AI?”

      “AI”, in contrast with “computer program” takes a lot of agency away from humans and gives it to computers, at least the illusion of this. Everyone knows that computer programs are prone to failure, with “bugs” being commonly known. The failures of “AI” aren’t as well-known yet, so it has more of an air of superiority and infallibility.

      By the way, this very short skit encapsulates what I’m trying to say fairly well (“Computer says no” from Little Britain):

  10. The Rev Kev

    ‘It’s All Bullshit”

    Once again the 1999 film “Office Space” nails it. After reading this article, the following scene sounds like a prediction of how working at Google would turn out – and Google was only founded the year before this film came out- (3:39 mins)

  11. Sutter Cane

    The Baffler article “It’s All Bullshit” reminds me of the classic business text “Conduct Expected for the 21st Century” by William Lareau. Big tech talked about being innovative but ended up just as beholden to the unwritten rules of organizations and human nature as their low tech predecessors.

    1. Mikel

      “they are willing to try “a whole bunch of stuff in the hopes that a few efforts will pay off” for the rest of their failed projects. Many will fail but those that succeed are supposed to rake in so much cash that they pay for the failures…”

      That’s not even innovative. The music biz amd movie biz had that formula for the longest. But that’s SillyCon’s go to for profits – ripping off the arts.

  12. diptherio

    The Slate Star Codex piece is pretty embarrassing. He counts paying the Peterson Institute to give “economic development” advice to India as a charitable endeavor, lol. One of the other projects he cites was giving some NGO $2.8M to set up an office in Ethiopia to track the outcomes of other NGO projects. Maximum bang for buck, that is not. Alexander may have some psych insights, but his economics is atrocious.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “California & Florida Rank In Top 5 States Impacted By Climate-Related Natural Disasters”

    Disney would never allow it! Those two States are where their major theme parks are located and cannot be let go. So they will convince the Feds to save the area around Orlando and let everything south of Tampa go under while in California they will convince the State to build a huge cofferdam around their entire Park. The Mouse has spoken.

    1. k

      We’re probably not too far away from states like Florida and California handing over their naming rights for yearly cash influx (like today’s ballparks).

      California would be known as West Disney
      Florida could be South Disney.

    2. NYMutza

      Where I live the taxpayers are being pressured to spend tens of billions of dollars to protect real estate owned by tech titans such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Of course Disney will also receive taxpayer money to protect its properties.

    3. Kouros

      I am not sure if they will be having the chops in the future. Their latest productions are far from being blockbusters. Maybe ust busters…

  14. Mike

    Re: Will the Ukraine war end in a peace treaty? (Doctorow)

    Beguiling thought, but the idea that the West will allow such a development without draining the last punishing strike against Russia is a sad half-thought. Russia getting to the Odessa/Kharkov front can, and probably will, invite the most energetic involvement of the recidivist European countries. We have already seen troops-for-hire on the ground, and know how NATO is directing all Ukrainian responses and attacks. It is just a matter of the panicky and gravel-headed politicians in the US and Europe to propagandize a Russian invasion of Europe to allow greater force to be used. Yes, we have depleted what little in arms we had, and they have not been effective, but desperation breeds a step up in weaponry, and insanity allows such steps. The economic war is not over, to add another angle.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The economic war may not be over, but the threat is no more branded Starbucks. Russia is a near autarky with resources and and domestic defense industry. The US was and ready losing the Global South when Biden decided going all in for genocide was bold leadership.

      The Russian on the street sees the US as an occupier. The economic war is against Europe now.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The establishment is refusing to give up their illusions. If you read other articles you will see examples of this magical thinking. Not only are they convinced that the war has years to run, they think that the west will tell China to order Russia to back off and end this war for them. If the Ukraine collapses like Afghanistan did, I do not know how they will react. At the very least the West has spent about half a trillion dollars on Project Ukraine which would only be justified if the Russian government collapsed and a western sock puppet be made President. Then Russian resources could be sold out to western corporations and maybe leading to the breakup of Russia. Well that is not going to happen but all those bills will have to be paid and it will take decades to do so. Looks like 2024 is shaping up to be a humdinger of a year for not just the Ukraine but so many other regions. Time to stock up on popcorn.

    3. Aurelien

      I didn’t find Doctorow’s piece particularly convincing. I can imagine a rump Ukraine in the EU as a kind of poison pill, not least because much of the population would simply up and leave. But with the best will in the world that would take years (Brexit in reverse, but worse.) But a rump Ukraine in NATO would be a massive political defeat for Russia after all the casualties it has suffered, and I don’t think it’s remotely likely. The problem (and this is why I don’t think a peace treaty is possible) is that for Ukraine to formally renounce NATO membership would require changing the Constitution, which would require (I believe) a two-thirds positive vote. Thus, the one thing the Russians really want is the one thing it’s most difficult for Ukraine to give (This seems to have been the rock on which the 2022 negotiations ultimately foundered, and why the Ukrainians went along with western promises.) In any event, a political declaration, or even some eventual treaty, would by itself guarantee nothing. I think the Russians will be content with possession of the field, and having the ability to strike at what’s left of Ukraine any time they want, with the West being powerless to stop them. Needless to say, the Russians will make it pretty clear that there will be no application for membership by Kiev.

    4. Pascal: Betting Man

      Until Putin rotates out some troops from the frontline, he isn’t planning to go anywhere. His first-wave mobilized troops have been on the front since at least November 2022 without leave. There are no signs another mobilization spooling up. Gil Doctorow is nothing if not emphatic there is parity between Russia and US forces. So he should expect Russian troops receive roughly the same preparation, training and instruction of hard-earned techniques before a new operation. Even if the ranks are full of Muzhiks who need not rest their psyche with R&R, it’s necessary to leave the trench to integrate fresh troops and renewed motivation.

      Stasis on the front is not the worst condition from the perspective of Putin’s regime security; discontent is either bottled up at the front or waiting at home, worrying about the troops. These two elements are politically (and literally) volatile when combined but inert for now. Putin naturally deals with crises by grappling and riposting. Testing reflexes, locking-up, push here, pull there, then a hip-toss, chain-reacting only when the center of gravity is fluid. Avdiivka turned out to be a brick wall built out of loitering munitions and non-negotiable Western commitment. Putin will keep smacking this annexed junction with weary conscripts, even suffering the worst losses of the war, but Putin won’t take the inside step unless Ukraine is caught out of position.

      Putin’s position is that Ukrainians are merely Russians who forgot they were Russians while not accommodating Russia’s every whim into their government. Another peace treaty would, again, codify Ukrainian national aspirations, as the 1991 treaty codified Ukraine’s borders. Look how Russian honored their commitment to that sovereignty. Before the treaty ink dries, Russia would again require accommodations, more security assurances. When Putin finds a border, he crosses it. When he sees a government, he destabilizes it. What he doesn’t do is draw his borders with thick white lines.

      1. nippersdad

        You lost me at parity of forces. A lot of that looks like wishful thinking in the face of facts on the ground. Putin has the full backing of his country with an eighty percent approval rating. The only friction we have seen is from those who think he has been too cautious in regaining territory that was Russia’s for three hundred years. Russia’s economy is rising, he is having no difficulty producing arms, he is having no difficulty raising troops and most of the world is on his side.

        Putin has been telegraphing his unhappiness with NATO expansion since 2006, and the only wars they have been in since then were defensive actions on their borders like that in Ukraine. That speaks to his not having expansionist desires, and only doing so when his back is against the wall. All the rest is just propaganda and projection.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I read what Lavrov said Russia’s aims were in today’s links and nowhere does he talk about expanding Russia’s borders, in fact he says there don’t want to do anything of the kind. I’ve seen similar statements from him, Putin and other Russian officials for years now. I also saw the US poke the Russians back in 2008 in Georgia and they repelled the offenders and Georgia is still it’s own sovereign state.

        I’d wager you are wrong.

      3. OnceWere

        That last paragraph is the purest projection I’ve read in a while. Perhaps you could give some examples of the “whims” that Russia demands in its interactions with foreign countries beyond the single non-negotiable one : don’t enter into military alliance with and bring to our border the most aggressive and blood-soaked country of the modern age – i.e. the United States – a country where many people at the highest levels of government openly proclaim their determination to maintain total and permanent world domination and their desire to neutralize all potential rival powers by whatever means necessary.

        As far as sovereignty goes, it’s true that Russia made a commitment to respect Ukrainian sovereignty but so did the United States – a commitment they violated when they overturned the Ukrainian government in a coup. I have no doubt that, if you could go back in time and inform the Ukrainians of the early 90s of the Russian invasion of 2022, that they would refuse to sign the Budapest memorandum or to give up their nuclear weapons. But I’m also pretty sure that, if you did the same in 2014 and informed them of the circumstances of the coup, that the same would apply.

    5. Kouros

      It is hard to make that argument though. If ukraine doesnt surrender, Russia crossing the Dniepr is really not the same as Russia crossing the border of Poland, Finland, Baltic states, Romania, Hungary, etc…

      If actual troops of these countries will be found or will be shown to have been officially sent into Ukraine, Russia can do some show off: publicized in advance to the entire world that due to NATO transgression, they will target, for demonstration, actual decision centers in the countries of interest.

  15. Watt4Bob

    As concerns the anti-dis-information complex;

    CTIL’s ultimate goal, said the whistleblower, ”was to become part of the federal government. In our weekly meetings, they made it clear that they were building these organizations within the federal government, and if you built the first iteration, we could secure a job for you.”

    So, it’s a jobs program.

    Why are you against people working?

    Would you rather they go on welfare?*

    *This is a classic bit of Mayor Richard Dailey’s schtick when questioned by TV reporters about why it took two supervisors and five workers to paint a fire hydrant in Chicago.

    I consider this to be confirmation of the basic orientation of the PMC’s ‘natural‘ inclinations.

    1. IMOR

      Plan violated about 17 Federal personnel laws and a couple fraud statutes. So while it would not have been too violative of hiring norms /s, it IS striking to see a group of techie censorship fascists not only self-identify as but proclaim fifth column subversive cell status as a selling/recruitment point. Tactical genius at work!

  16. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Ethics Has No Foundation

    That was a very longwinded way of saying what the poet says much more succinctly –

    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    The world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
    Doesn’t make any sense.


    1. Kouros

      The Golden Rule will stil shine. It seems that even higher level animals have a notion about that. Plus all those mirror neurons we have. I cannot think of a stronger foundation than that.

  17. The Rev Kev

    Ruh roh! More blowback from the war on Gaza but this time for Germany-

    ‘German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was kept waiting for almost 30 minutes in a plane passenger exit in the searing heat of Doha on Wednesday, before Qatari Foreign Minister Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi finally arrived to receive him, German media have reported.

    State outlet Deutsche Welle (DW), accompanying Steinmeier’s delegation, said the official preparations for the president’s arrival in Qatar had appeared to be in place. The red carpet had been rolled out and the guard of honor was ready, but no official was there to welcome the German president as he stood, arms folded, at the top of the ramp. Despite the delay, Steinmeier’s meeting with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani later proceeded according to schedule, DW’

  18. communistmole

    Covid news from Europe. In Switzerland, some hospitals (Basel and Zurich; each of the 26 cantons has its own policy in this idiotic country) have reintroduced mandatory masks due to rising Covid numbers.

  19. Pat

    I don’t know what I think about Munger dying. He might just be an old school investor, which may be better than private equity but is not necessarily admirable overall. What I do know is that more and more I think Buffett has ridden two vaguely populists quotes to have a public image of being more worker friendly than he and his companies are. It wasn’t like his train holdings were bucking the other companies and working for better safety measures during the recent strike or the aftermath of so many derailments.
    You cannot seem to look into some labor problem or business issue without coming up with a Berkshire Hathaway mention in the eighth or later paragraph or buried somewhere else.
    I could be wrong, maybe Berkshire Hathaway’s companies are so great we just aren’t hearing about most of them, just some outliers. But I am really getting the feeling that Warren was just one of those folksy people who point out the obvious without any intention of addressing any of the wrongs they speak about, all because the system works for them as is.

    1. ThirtyOne

      “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.”
      Tom Lehrer

      “Good widdance to bad wubbish”
      Elmer Fudd

  20. Lee


    Photographer’s final photo? Well, at least it’s a masterpiece as well as further proof that grizzlies are best admired from afar.

    1. Alice X

      I recall having read of some of Lewis & Clark’s team saying that their curiosity about the grizzlies was quickly satisfied.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        reminded me of the antidote a few days ago of the Grizz and the mirror – extremely nimble for such a large creature and quick to attack and defend – yeah i bet their curiosity was quickly satisfied –

      2. ChrisPacific

        I read an account of their trip that covered their experience with grizzlies. ‘Curiosity’ means that they spent considerable effort on trying to shoot and kill them, just to see if they could (this was apparently standard behavior at the time when encountering new and unknown fauna). The answer was yes, but not without a lot of difficulty and danger.

    2. pjay

      I thought the same thing. Great picture, but not one you’d want to face in person. I assume the photographer had a very *long* range telephoto lens.

  21. Feral Finster

    Very interesting. If authentic, who leaked this conversation and how did they get it?

    My admitted SWAG is that this is fake, created by Zelenskii in order to provide a pretext to crack down on political enemies (Poroshenko and Akhmetov have long been targets) and the military.

      1. Feral Finster

        A purported conversation between Poroshenko and Akhmetov concerning getting rid of Zelenskii and using the military to do so.

  22. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “CTIL Files #1…”
    When I ran across this statement in the in the middle of this link I had to pause and look carefully in an effort to determine whether it represented the opinion of the link’s author or an opinion from the document being critiqued.
    “In every incident mentioned, the victims of misinformation were on the political Left, and they included Barack Obama, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton, and Emmanuel Macron.”
    I am still not sure. I am also not sure who could still regard any of the named politicians part of the political Left. Looking over the entire set of material in the link I tried to arrive at some broad view of what the article claimed to be going on.

    Other oddiments:
    “In the spring of 2020, CTIL began tracking and reporting disfavored content on social media, such as anti-lockdown narratives like “all jobs are essential,” “we won’t stay home,” and “open America now.” — As if DHS and CTIL favored the lockdown, which is not something I would have thought the case.

    I took a closer look at the figures showing CTIL[?] slide or document charts … they did not appear to contain anything substantial.

    Terp the main deepthoat[?]: “You’re not trying to get people to believe lies most of the time. Most of the time, you’re trying to change their belief sets. And in fact, really, uh, deeper than that, you’re trying to change, to shift their internal narratives… the set of stories that are your baseline for your culture. So that might be the baseline for your culture as an American.”
    How is this different than stuff you could pull out of a business school text on advertising?

    Out of curiosity I tried to find out more about who and what pays for the “Public” website. A bunch of journalists founded this website according to the About page and it is paid for by “subscribers”:
    “We are and will always be transparent about our revenues. We are entirely subscriber-funded. We have no outside investors and currently host no advertising. We are entirely owned by founder Michael Shellenberger and have no outside investors.”
    The ‘Team’ picture of this Michael Shellenberger shows a relatively young guy on vacation somewhere that looks like Mediterranean country in Europe. His bona fides include a remarkable career in journalism and a few ‘interesting’ national best-selling books.
    From the Amazon write-up for his book on the environment, “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All”:
    “Despite decades of news media attention, many remain ignorant of basic facts. Carbon emissions peaked and have been declining in most developed nations for over a decade. Deaths from extreme weather, even in poor nations, declined 80 percent over the last four decades. And the risk of Earth warming to very high temperatures is increasingly unlikely thanks to slowing population growth and abundant natural gas.”

    Maybe I have been on a high salt diet too long but “Public” smells funny to me.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      What they are doing is probably not all that different from what business schools teach about advertising. The difference is the government isn’t supposed to be in the business of propagandizing, censoring and lying to its citizens.

      That being said, I’m still a little skeptical about Shellenberger myself. He worked on the Twitter files with Matt Taibbi, which is the first time I’d ever heard of him. When I saw him interviewed, he came across as pretty naive. He seems very new to this idea that governments lie to people, and like a lot of people who pick up on new ideas, he now comes across as a bit of a zealot on the issue. Taibbi in comparison is an old pro and much more restrained.

      I’m aware of but haven’t delved into his environmental views, but what I do know about them strikes me as concerning.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      These are people Matt Taibbi works with. I canceled my Public sub recently over Shellenberger’s reflexive Zionist response to 10-7, but this is very legit reporting. Everything they’re revealing is 100% consistent with Twittergate and the rest of the emerging picture.

      Neoliberals are closet f-words in bed with neocons who like to dress up as f-words. Both parties have been hijacked by these second-rate effing f-words and as a result there’s nothing liberal or conservative about our governance, just ongoing state of kleptocracy.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Where will he be buried? i wish to piss on this grave.

      I do not really accept talking ill of the dead even, somewhat, for Kissinger, but for this, you might have to stand in line. Some evil must be remembered.

  23. Philomena

    Banks Are Suddenly Closing Down Customer Accounts

    If they do that to us, we go to the nearest branch and demand our deposits in CASH. If they demur, call the sheriff and and shut the branch down until the money is in hand.

    BTW, is it just me, or is this country going into an economic depression? Every working person that I speak to in central California, from grocery clerks, to Amazon drivers, real estate salespeople, everyone is struggling and can barely afford the basics, let alone luxeries, nor vacations, nor savings. That trend spells doom for Biden Harris reelection.

    I hate them, so to help that along, we’re not going to buy anything but food and gas until the election. What we might truly need, we can buy used, or borrow and replace a year from now.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The u.s. is not going into a depression. Only the lower 99% have anything to worry about. The important people are doing just fine, and if there is a downturn — they will find plenty of buying opportunities for investment and better living.

    2. neutrino23

      The economy seems to be humming along just fine. The markets are crowded. Tradespeople are all quite busy. Just try to get an electrician, plumber or someone to work on tiling.

      People always gripe about things. It’s all I’ve ever hear since I was a little squirt.

      1. ACPAL

        I’ve been trying to get some remodeling done for over a year and can’t get anyone to even give me an estimate. The general contractors say they can’t get enough tradesmen. I looked into getting my electrician’s license here in Idaho and it’s a 3-4 year hurdle working for a journeyman plus classroom studies. No wonder it’s hard to find a licensed tradesman, there are a lot of easier ways to get a job and with the economy so wobbly who wants to invest that much time and money into a career that may not exist in five years?

        Yes, the appearance is that the economy is doing well especially if you look at the “official” unemployment rate but they never tell you the percentage of employable people earning a living wage. Yes, people are spending money but credit card balances are rising rapidly and why not? The “official” inflation rate is low but nobody who’s been to the store lately believes that crap so why not spend the money now, it’ll be worthless soon enough. I spent enough time working as a statistician to smell BS from a mile away. Our economy is not in good shape, the government just puts a nice coat of whitewash on it.

        1. ACPAL

          Saying it another way, the current tradesmen are aging out. When they started back in the 50’s and 60’s they could expect steady work with good pay and a good retirement. The last few decades has seen the construction business go in booms and bust, the wages not keeping up, and little chance for a real retirement. Therefore there’s little incentive for younger people to go into the trades. One can look at the difficulty in finding tradesmen as a sign that the economy is booming when in fact the number of tradesmen is shrinking faster than the economy is contracting.

  24. Jeanine A

    This was what I commented in the Effective Altruism post:

    I am new to the stack and I came in blind. I mean this sincerely, I am floored. I came down to the comment section to have a gander at the laughs everyone had a this clever bit of subtle, satire only to find an earnest, good faith discussion. I’m going have to reread this.

  25. Watt4Bob

    The drummer for my first band had been in the Peace Corp, assigned to an island in the South Pacific, maybe in the Fiji Islands, I don’t recall exactly.

    He was an avid fisherman and was surprised to see that almost no one on the island fished anymore, the roads were littered with empty tin cans from fish products imported from Japan, but considering the number of Japanese factory ships visible from the island, possibly caught right off shore.

    Anyway, there was a small group of indigenous sailor/navigators on the island, and he became friends with them, and that’s who he hung around with.

    These were the only people retaining the skill to sail the open ocean.

    These navigators spent their time building ocean going canoes, replicas of the canoes they used for exploration/migration.

    When they finished building a canoe, they’d sail it across the open ocean, 1200-1500 miles to Hawaii where they would sell the canoe to a wealthy Japanese collector.

    They used no navigational tools, pure wayfinding.

    They’d hang out in Hawaii having a good time until they were out of money and then they’d go home and start another canoe.

    All these guys had dolphins tattoos running up the outside of their legs, in a line from ankle to hip, the number of dolphins indicated the number of voyages they’d completed.

    The top-dogs had dolphins from ankle to hip.

    They called my buddy Karl ‘Ray-One’ which means “from above”.

    Everyone on the island was either born there, came by boat, or as Karl had, came by plane, so “from above”.

    1. Joe Renter

      Nice story Bob. I had a surfing buddy in high school that had a nice dolphin tat just up from his ankle. I admired it, as this was not the norm in the early 70’s.

    2. The Rev Kev

      If those Polynesian explorers had been European explorers, we would be celebrating the Great Age of Exploration in the Pacific. Those Polynesians did a helluva job and spread their culture far and wide and it should be that their accomplishments are celebrated and acknowledged in the history books.

      1. caucus99percenter

        In 1994, the BBC did a 5-part series, Nomads of the Wind. Didn’t draw much attention.

        The Powers That Be don’t like self-confident, educated Polynesians with strong cultural identities, because they immediately start asking inconvenient questions such as, “Why are Tahiti and New Caledonia still colonial outposts of France? Why is Hawai‘i still a colonial outpost of the United States?” and agitating for independence.

  26. JBird4049

    >>>Why Banks Are Suddenly Closing Down Customer Accounts NYT

    From the article, it appears that “the computer” is the bad guy. Aside from the banks denying agency in their own actions as well as secret, unchallengeable criteria leading to secret, unchallengeable decisions, I can find similar situations elsewhere.

    If you want some verification, do some research on how judges, the police, and federal agencies like the TSA use computer programs decide what you are, how you will be treated, and what you can do and generally with it being unchallengeable by most people. From babies being marked as dangerous or suspect individuals by the TSA because of one their relatives, not necessarily their parents, having connections to another suspected individual. Police deciding that individuals are gang members by where they live, judges going by the files and computer determinations of the police to decide guilt and judgement while using another judicial program to help decide sentencing. Public assistance such as qualifications for SNAP, housing, medicare, and income? What about credit worthiness, loans, and insurance as well as healthcare decisions?

    The less money you have, the more your life is ruled by algorithmic biases written in (secret) code, perhaps lightly moderated by (secrete) individuals using unguessable reasoning often based on false and uncorrectable, unchallengeable information. Much of this could easily be repaired if all the information, all the processes, and all the individuals involved were transparent, understandable, and correctable, but that would require a loss of power as well as an increase in exposure and accountability or responsibility, not to mention a great increase in financial costs.

    These are the reasons why Congress has gutted all the congressional agencies and fired the personal office staff it used to have that helped members of Congress to legislate and generally oversee the government. Congress no longer has the ability, and it no longer wants to have the responsibility to do its job. Members of Congress, really their staffs and the appropriate committees, no longer go over the budget section by section, line by line. With the legislation, often it is the lobbyists who write individual pieces of legislation in whole or in part. The budget itself has become a series of continuing funding resolutions and supplemental funding bills done with hardly any scrutiny or changes. All this allows the congresscritters to get their paychecks, benefits, bribesdonations, and retirement sinecures with less effort and much less embarrassing scrutiny.

    Various of these governments, such as the war department and the security agencies are loaded with pork and profitably used to destroy entire countries, cities, and neighborhoods while not protecting anyone or anything excepting the paychecks of its employees. Other parts, such as the CDC, FDA, SSA, USDA, and OSHA and any similar agencies at lower levels are constantly being denied or stripped of resources. If there are any increases in funding, it goes to expensive, inefficient private contractors who have personal connections (bribed) with government officials.

    This bring us back to the banks Citi, Chase, and B of A. They have automated their processes and made them both opaque and unaccountable to both avoid troublesome responsibility and to increase profits. It is the same reason why you cannot contact a human either with a business or a government agency.

    Does anyone not believe a similar process is happening elsewhere down through the various levels of American government, federal, state, county, and city?

  27. XXYY

    Extracting Training Data from ChatGPT Milad Nasr, Nicholas Carlini, et al. Github

    I remember someone making the points a little ways back that (a) you can get an AI to write software code for you, meaning (b) AIs are being trained on vast quantities of human written software, and (c) it was possible by supplying the right prompts to extract other people’s software from the training set verbatim, which is a tremendous security and IP problem.

    This piece lends some more evidence to that idea.

    This is probably the most interesting facet of the technology to date, and the most likely real world application.

  28. viscaelpaviscaelvi

    @Naval News article about GPS jamming.

    “Russia is known to use GPS jamming to protect key sites. It has been used to protect President Putin’s stays at the luxurious Residence at Cape Idokopas, popularly known as “Putin’s Palace”.”
    “These missiles had to fly through the infamous S-400 missile umbrella as well as local air defenses.”

    I mean… Maybe I am just aging badly and becoming disgruntled with the world and grumpy all that stuff that I thought funny because it only happened to other people. I usually go through the news with a thick skin coat on, try to avoid crude images and videos and get regular doses of my antidotes, which are not animals, but rather human.

    And then I get to this article about something as technical and anodyne as GPS jamming, and relax my defenses (ha ha, pun intended), because this is entirely technical, right? and surely enough, the guy needs throws in those absolutely unnecessary bold pieces of text (luxurious, because we need to keep in mind that Putin is an oligarch; and even better, “popularly known as Putin’s palace”… FFS, it must be known as Putin’s palace in Washington or London or somewhere like that, I am sure of that, but a fuckwit writing about GPS jamming… really?)
    And what about “the infamous S-400”? How can possibly an air-defense system be infamous? Maybe because it is Russian and it works?

    These people just can’t even write a technical blurb about their (assumed) areas of expertise without throwing in some bits of ideological garbage. I know that this is not news to the NC readers, but this mixing of ideological bias is everywhere and finding it in unexpected places —as opposed to, for instance, a Timothy Snyder vomit into which one dives only after having breathed deep a few times— is just beyond me.

    There is no solution to it. Either we accept that more people than just our dear elites are fucked, or we retreat into a private sphere where the echoes of the outside world are dampened by layers of gin and tonics and bike riding. I am still for the first option, but I am not sure that I am not going to fall back into the second, easier one, pretty soon.

    Have a nice day.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that the word that they are looking to describe the new journalism is ‘stenography.’ Why write press stories when the White House will gladly hand out press briefings?

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