Does the world’s richest adolescent really want Twitter?

Gig economy (neoliberal wet dream)

Bezzle

Francesca Maglione, “Trump Lawyer Sticks Uber With $91 Million Arbitration Bill for ‘Reverse Bias’ Claims,” Bloomberg, April 19, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-19/trump-lawyer-sticks-uber-with-astronomical-arbitration-bill


Twitter

William Cohan thinks Elon Musk can succeed in buying Twitter. That is, if he really wants it.[1] And this, I gather, is a significant part of the problem. He might have a man’s body, but his mind is really still that of an unpredictable adolescent, and buying Twitter doesn’t make it more likely he’ll get laid (yes, I know he’s married or something like married), so nobody really knows what he wants.

William D. Cohan, “How Elon Can Get That $40B,” Puck News, April 20, 2022, https://puck.news/how-elon-can-get-that-40b/


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

I am desperately tired of COVID-19 mitigation measures. Desperately. But my exhaustion is not a proper rationale for policy.

I think the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has erred in failing to separate the science from the politics in its pronouncements.[2] And it simply is not yet safe to return to ‘normal.’ Too many people remain vulnerable for a number of reasons—the return to ‘normal’ places them at undue risk.

But worse than that, the failure to fight that judge’s ruling striking down the CDC rule requiring masks on public transportation[3] would have been a political capitulation to the worst forces in our society.

That said, I am not optimistic about the prospects for a now-promised appeal.[4] As I understand it, the case goes to what I understand to be the conservative-leaning[5] 11th Circuit.[6] The prospects hardly seem brighter at the U.S. Supreme Court.

I think this is a lost cause.

Michael Balsamo, “Justice Department to appeal order voiding travel mask mandate,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-04-20/justice-dept-to-appeal-order-voiding-travel-mask-mandate


Ukraine

A coup[7] or popular uprising[8] remain wildly improbable.[9] The sense I have is that those expressing doubts, privately, for fear of repercussions,[10] are not among the hard-liners Vladimir Putin has surrounded himself with.[11] They are not in a position to seize power.

Almost eight weeks after Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine, with military losses mounting and Russia facing unprecedented international isolation, a small but growing number of senior Kremlin insiders are quietly questioning his decision to go to war. . . .

So far, these people see no chance the Russian president will change course and no prospect of any challenge to him at home. More and more reliant on a narrowing circle of hardline advisers, Putin has dismissed attempts by other officials to warn him of the crippling economic and political cost, they said.

Some said they increasingly share the fear voiced by U.S. intelligence officials that Putin could turn to a limited use of nuclear weapons if faced with failure in a campaign he views as his historic mission. . . .

The president remains confident that the public is behind him, with Russians ready to endure years of sacrifice for his vision of national greatness, they said. With the help of tough capital controls, the ruble has recovered most of its initial losses and while inflation has spiked, economic disruption remains relatively limited so far.[12]

The Bloomberg article[13] seems to me a little inconsistent. If we speak of a “historic mission,” can this be limited to Ukraine, let alone the Donbas region? Yet, we speak of the Donbas now as if it alone is Putin’s goal. Count me very much among skeptics who doubt this is the case.[14]

Bojan Pancevski and Georgi Kantchev, “Russia Warns It Could Station Nuclear Forces in Europe if Finland, Sweden Join NATO,” Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-warns-it-could-station-nuclear-forces-in-europe-if-finland-sweden-join-nato-11649958396

Dan Lamothe et al., “Russia says flagship missile cruiser has sunk after explosion off coast of Ukraine,” Washington Post, April 14, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/14/ukraine-russian-missile-cruiser-moskva-warship/

David E. Sanger, Helene Cooper, and Anton Troianovski, “Girding for New Battle, Russia Warns U.S. on Advanced Weapons for Ukraine,” New York Times, April 15, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/15/world/europe/ukraine-russia-us-weapons-warning.html

Karen DeYoung and Michael Birnbaum, “U.S., allies plan for long-term isolation of Russia,” Washington Post, April 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/04/16/us-nato-isolate-russia/

Juri Rescheto, “Who’s next? Lithuanians prepare for potential Russian aggression,” Deutschewelle, April 16, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/whos-next-lithuanians-prepare-for-potential-russian-aggression/a-61496290

Agence France-Presse, “Russian ultimatum to Ukraine forces in Mariupol expires,” Radio Television Luxembourg, April 17, 2022, https://today.rtl.lu/news/world/a/1899789.html

Catherine Lucey, “Biden’s Claim of Russian Genocide in Ukraine Adds to Pressure Campaign,” Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-claim-of-russian-genocide-in-ukraine-adds-to-pressure-campaign-11650187802

Shayan Sardarizadeh and Leo Sands, “Ukraine war: Dramatic images appear to show sinking Russian warship Moskva,” British Broadcasting Corporation, April 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61141118

Jeanne Whalen, “Russian Orthodox leader backs war in Ukraine, divides faith,” Washington Post, April 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/18/russian-orthodox-church-ukraine-war/

Lorenzo Tondo, Luke Harding, and Isobel Koshiw, “Russia takes Donbas town but Ukrainian frontline ‘still holding,’” Guardian, April 19, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/19/ukraine-war-battle-for-donbas-has-begun-russia-launches-offensive

Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation

Bloomberg, “Russia Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable ICBM in Warning to U.S. Allies,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/russia-stages-test-of-nuclear-missile-in-warning-to-u-s-allies


  1. [1]William D. Cohan, “How Elon Can Get That $40B,” Puck News, April 20, 2022, https://puck.news/how-elon-can-get-that-40b/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Doctors need to act like doctors,” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/30/centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention-doctors-need-to-act-like-doctors/
  3. [3]Tierney Sneed, “CDC mask mandate for travelers no longer in effect following judge’s ruling, official says,” CNN, April 18, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/18/politics/cdc-mask-mandate-ruling/index.html
  4. [4]Michael Balsamo, “Justice Department to appeal order voiding travel mask mandate,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-04-20/justice-dept-to-appeal-order-voiding-travel-mask-mandate
  5. [5]Bloomberg Law, “Trump Pick Confirmed, Boosts 11th Cir. Conservative Lean (1),” February 11, 2020, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/trump-pick-confirmed-boosting-11th-circuits-conservative-lean
  6. [6]United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, “About the Court,” n.d., https://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/about-court
  7. [7]Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Julia Ioffe, “Europe’s 9/11,” Puck News, March 3, 2022, https://puck.news/europes-9-11/; Paul Nuki, “Why Vladimir Putin may stay in power longer than we think,” Telegraph, March 8, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/03/08/vladimir-putin-may-stay-power-longer-think/
  8. [8]Julia Ioffe, “Inside Russia’s Media Black Hole,” Puck News, March 10, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-russias-media-black-hole/; Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/; Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine
  9. [9]Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation
  10. [10]Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation
  11. [11]Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Julia Ioffe, “Europe’s 9/11,” Puck News, March 3, 2022, https://puck.news/europes-9-11/; Paul Nuki, “Why Vladimir Putin may stay in power longer than we think,” Telegraph, March 8, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/03/08/vladimir-putin-may-stay-power-longer-think/
  12. [12]Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation
  13. [13]Bloomberg, “Kremlin Insiders Alarmed Over Growing Toll of Putin’s War in Ukraine,” April 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-20/putin-s-war-in-ukraine-has-russian-elites-fearing-global-isolation
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

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