Silvio Berlusconi is dead. Long live Silvio Berlusconi


Fig. 1. Photograph by Joachim F. Thurn, August 1991, Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F089030-0003, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.

Frances D’Emelio and Colleen Barry, “Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian leader tarnished by multiple scandals, dies at 86,” Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2023,

Ishaan Tharoor, “Silvio Berlusconi’s political style lives on,” Washington Post, June 13, 2023,



Commercial real estate

Fig. 2. “The iconic Crescent stands as recognizable landmark in the upscale neighborhood of Uptown, Dallas.” Photograph by Dallasedits [pseud.], July 5, 2016, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Kate King, “Hotel Owners Start to Write Off San Francisco as Business Nosedives,” Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2023,

Caroline O’Donovan, “Workers want to stay remote, prompting an office real estate crisis,” Washington Post, June 12, 2023,

Kevin Truong and Noah Baustin, “Westfield Gives Up Downtown San Francisco Mall,” San Francisco Standard, June 12, 2023,

Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and Credit Suisse, 2023

Fig. 3. “The monument sign in front of the parking lot of the Silicon Valley Bank headquarters at 3003 West Tasman Drive, Santa Clara, California.” Photograph by Minh Nguyen, March 13, 2023, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

You know the ideology is strong when the Federal Reserve is still figuring out what was apparent months ago, that its interest rate rises, meant to discipline workers but not price-gouging corporations,[1] imperil banks[2] and fail to address actual causes of inflation—supply chain issues exacerbated by the Ukraine War and COVID-19 pandemic.[3]

Nick Timiraos, “Jerome Powell’s Big Problem Just Got Even More Complicated,” Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2023,


Fig. 4. The spectre of Death, in the form of a large skeleton, rises with the smoke and flames of the burning Asch Building during the Triangle fire, as people jump and fall to their death. Artist unknown, from International Ladies Garment Workers Union Photographs (1885-1985) at The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

Recently, my 13-year-old began to question why she must attend school and study subjects that don’t interest her. How can I tell her she must go into school each day, when two years ago she was told to stay at home for her own safety? How can I tell her that without education she may not get a “good” job when – after my own experience – I’m no longer sure what a “good job” should look like. Is it one that nets a higher income? Or that offers personal fulfilment? And with AI on the horizon, will the jobs she might be interested in even exist in five years’ time?Plus, how can she look to the future at all when we’re racing towards a climate emergency and war is raging close to home?[4]

At minimum, a “good job” conforms to Article 7 of the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

    (a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

      (i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

      (ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

    (b) Safe and healthy working conditions;

    (c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

    (d ) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays[5]

And I desperately wish that privileged people would stop writing shit like this:

I learned that no job is more important than your mental health; that money, while desirable, doesn’t solve all problems. Moving to France – where property prices are lower – gave me financial breathing space, and I was able to build a freelance career. The payoff has been amazing – I now do what I enjoy, set my own hours and never experience the “Sunday night dread” that used to poison the last hours of my weekend.[6]

People who can worry about their mental health are privileged. People who can say “money, while desirable, doesn’t solve all problems”[7] are privileged. People who can move to France are privileged.

Gillian Harvey, “The ‘work hard and you’ll get a good job’ mantra is no longer true – so what do I tell my kids?” Guardian, June 12, 2023,

(dis)United Kingdom

Prime minister

Fig. 5. President Reagan on the South Lawn during the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. U.S. Government photograph, November 16, 1988, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Paul Dallison, “Boris Johnson quits as member of parliament with blast at Partygate probe,” Politico, June 9, 2023,

Michael Savage and Toby Helm, “Furious Tories turn against Boris Johnson after ‘bias’ outburst,” Guardian, June 10, 2023,

Jim Pickard, “Johnson’s angry exit from parliament poses fresh dilemmas for Sunak,” Financial Times, June 11, 2023,

Pippa Crerar and Kiran Stacey, “Rishi Sunak would block Boris Johnson comeback as Tory MP, sources say,” Guardian, June 12, 2023,

Polly Toynbee, “This is Starmer’s moment. Thatcherism has collapsed, and the Tories are at each other’s throats,” Guardian, June 12, 2023,


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Fig. 6. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The court hasn’t even been called to order, but what do I see? Chaos.

Jon Sale, a prominent Florida defense attorney who worked on the Watergate prosecution team and turned down the opportunity to join Trump’s defense team last year, said that the pros and cons of representing Trump are obvious.

“Without engaging in hyperbole, it’s arguably the biggest case in the world,” said Sale. “But the cons are illustrated by three of his four lawyers quitting in the last few weeks. He needs a good Florida lawyer with an impeccable reputation who is very experienced in this.”

The club of former Trump lawyers has a deep bench, highlighting the challenges his legal team is likely to face in the months ahead. Trump is known as a difficult client — he eschews legal advice, sometimes issues public threats to engage in illegal activity and frequently skips out on his legal bills.

One veteran South Florida defense attorney, Philip Reizenstein, said there’s an “incalculable value” for Trump’s team in having a well-respected local attorney who is familiar to the judge and who knows the judge’s preferences and habits. “No experienced lawyer handles a case out of town without a good local counsel,” he said.[8]

The lawyers making an appearance with [Donald] Trump on Tuesday will be the top former federal prosecutor Todd Blanche and the former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump’s co-defendant, his valet Walt Nauta, will be represented by Stanley Woodward.

Trump and his legal team spent the afternoon before his arraignment interviewing potential lawyers but the interviews did not result in any joining the team in time for Trump’s initial court appearance scheduled for 3pm ET on Tuesday after several attorneys declined to take him as a client.

Trump has also seemingly been unable to find a specialist national security lawyer, eligible to possess a security clearance, to help him navigate the Espionage Act charges. . . .

After interviewing a slate of potential lawyers at his Trump Doral resort, the former president settled on having Kise appearing as the local counsel admitted to the southern district of Florida as a one-off, with Blanche being sponsored by him to appear pro hac vice, one of the people said. . . .

Trump is said to still be searching for a lawyer in the mold of Roy Cohn, the ruthless New York fixer who defended and mentored him before he was later disbarred — and the fear of potentially being asked to take similar actions has been a persistent issue.

That fear has loomed large for numerous lawyers Trump’s advisers have contacted, the people said, in particular after Trump might have made Evan Corcoran, another former lawyer who withdrew from his defense in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, into a witness against him.[9]

Those calls [for Aileen Cannon to recuse herself] are entirely justified: As government integrity and ethics experts Norm Eisen, Richard Painter, and Fred Wertheimer wrote Monday in Slate, Cannon’s “prior, fundamentally erroneous approach casts a shadow over the proceedings,” and has given “reasonable observers of this case” cause to “question her impartiality.” That approach included a decision last year to grant Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, which would have brought the case to a standstill. It was widely-criticized as a “genuinely unprecedented decision,” as former George W. Bush Homeland Security official Paul Rosenzweig told the New York Times last year, and an affront to the separation of powers.

“In the tank for Trump hardly describes it,” constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe wrote at the time.

Her decision was ultimately shot down by a conservative appeals court, with three judge panel — two of whom were also Trump appointees — ruling that Cannon “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.” “The law is clear,” the appeals panel wrote. “We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations. And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations.”[10]

Jacqueline Alemany et al., “Trump lawyers meeting with Justice Dept. on classified documents case,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023,

Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner, “Trump-funded studies disputing election fraud are focus in two probes,” Washington Post, June 5, 2023,

Rozina Sabur, “Flood at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort raises suspicions in classified documents case,” Telegraph, June 5, 2023,

Chris Walker, “Trump’s Lawyers Have 2-Hour Meeting With DOJ Over Mar-a-Lago Documents Case,” Truthout, June 5, 2023,

Casey Newton, “The platforms give up on 2020 lies,” Platformer, June 6, 2023,

Spencer S. Hsu et al., “Trump special counsel shifts focus of possible indictment to S. Florida,” Washington Post, June 7, 2023,

Alex Isenstadt and Kyle Cheney, “Trump notified that he is the target of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Politico, June 7, 2023,

Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump charged in classified documents case, second indictment in months,” Washington Post, June 8, 2023,

Marc Caputo, “‘Prosecuting Politicians is Hard Here’: Why South Florida is a Tough Place for DOJ to Try Trump,” Messenger, June 8, 2023,

Ankush Khardori, “The Chaos Inside Trump’s Legal Team,” New York, June 8, 2023,

Hugo Lowell, “Donald Trump charged with illegal retention of classified documents,” Guardian, June 8, 2023,

Stefania Palma, “Donald Trump says he has been indicted on federal charges in documents probe,” Financial Times, June 8, 2023,

Gabriel J. Chin, “Trump indictment unsealed – a criminal law scholar explains what the charges mean, and what prosecutors will now need to prove,” Conversation, June 9, 2023,

Joseph Ferguson and Thomas A. Durkin, “Trump charged under Espionage Act – which covers a lot more crimes than just spying,” Conversation, June 9, 2023,

Alan Feuer, “Trump-Appointed Judge Is Said to Be Handling Documents Case,” New York Times, June 9, 2023,

David Gilbert, “‘We Need to Start Killing’: Trump’s Far-Right Supporters Are Threatening Civil War,” Vice, June 9, 2023,

Ankush Khardori, “The ‘Lock Him Up’ Election,” New York, June 9, 2023,

Tom Nichols, “Trump’s Indictment Reveals a National-Security Nightmare,” Atlantic, June 9, 2023,

Jennifer Rubin, “Merrick Garland and Jack Smith come through: Trump will face justice,” Washington Post, June 9, 2023,

Jonathan Turley, “Trying Trump: Scandal May Be His Element — But This Time May Be Different,” Messenger, June 9, 2023,

Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and C. Ryan Barber, “Trump Charged Over Willful Retention of Classified Information, Obstruction,” Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2023,

Marc Fisher, “Trump’s path to indictment: ‘Isn’t it better if there are no documents?’” Washington Post, June 10, 2023,

Michael S. Schmidt et al., “Trump Supporters’ Violent Rhetoric in His Defense Disturbs Experts,” New York Times, June 10, 2023,

Kyle Cheney, “He devised a fringe legal theory to try to keep Trump in power. Now he’s on the verge of being disbarred,” Forbes, June 11, 2023,

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “On the Trump/Nauta Indictment,” Patreon, June 11, 2023,

Marina Pitofsky, “Barr ‘shocked’ by Trump indictment details: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,’” USA Today, June 11, 2023,

Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023,

David Aaron, “How Much Prison Time Does Former President Trump Face? Applying the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,” Just Security, June 12, 2023,

Isaac Chotiner, “Will the Judge in Trump’s Case Recuse Herself—or Be Forced To?” New Yorker, June 12, 2023,

Spencer S. Hsu et al., “Trump scrambles to find lawyer before first federal court appearance,” Washington Post, June 12, 2023,

Molly Jong-Fast, “Even a Damning Federal Case Can’t Break the GOP’s Devotion to Donald Trump,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2023,

Eric Lutz, “Judge Aileen Cannon Could Blow Up Trump Documents Case,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2023,

Nick Madigan, Verónica Zaragovia, and Richard Fausset, “Floridians Would Make Up Trump’s Jury Pool. Here’s What Some Are Saying,” New York Times, June 12, 2023,

Hugo Lowell, “Trump finds no new lawyers for court appearance in Mar-a-Lago case,” Guardian, June 13, 2023,

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2023

Fig. 7. Photograph credited to Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, date inconsistent with title but given as November 9, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell, “McCarthy, Republican lawmakers reach deal to end House floor standoff for now,” Washington Post, June 13, 2023,




Fig. 8. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[11] fair use.

It was about a month ago that U.S. intelligence suggested that Vladimir Putin was exhausting his troops and weaponry in Ukraine.[12] Now Putin admits he’s short of weapons.[13]

A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, published in April, found that Western sanctions were preventing Russia from bringing in the components needed to manufacture advanced weaponry. “While the quality of the military equipment used by the Ukrainian army continues to improve thanks to the Western aid, the quality of Russia’s weapons continues to degrade,” the analysis concluded.[14]

This doesn’t sound anything like a war that Ukraine can’t possibly win. The question here, really, is of western, especially U.S., support.[15]

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin admits Russia doesn’t have enough weapons and drones,” Politico, June 13, 2023,

  1. [1]Francesco Canepa, “ECB confronts a cold reality: companies are cashing in on inflation,” Reuters, March 2, 2023,; William Horobin and Carolynn Look, “Lagarde Says ECB ‘Absolutely’ Must Avoid Second-Round Effects,” Bloomberg, September 16, 2022,; Justin Lahart, “Giving Labor Less of the American Pie,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2023,; Nick Timiraos, “Fed’s Jerome Powell Braces for Longer Inflation Fight Amid Hiring Surge,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2023,
  2. [2]Victoria Guida and Sam Sutton, “‘There’s going to be more’: How Washington is bracing for bank fallout,” Politico, March 12, 2023,
  3. [3]Paul Hannon, “Why Is Inflation So Sticky? It Could Be Corporate Profits,” Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2023,; Nouriel Roubini, “‘Most U.S. banks are technically near insolvency, and hundreds are already fully insolvent,’ Roubini says,” MarketWatch, April 1, 2023,
  4. [4]Gillian Harvey, “The ‘work hard and you’ll get a good job’ mantra is no longer true – so what do I tell my kids?” Guardian, June 12, 2023,
  5. [5]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, United Nations, General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI),
  6. [6]Gillian Harvey, “The ‘work hard and you’ll get a good job’ mantra is no longer true – so what do I tell my kids?” Guardian, June 12, 2023,
  7. [7]Gillian Harvey, “The ‘work hard and you’ll get a good job’ mantra is no longer true – so what do I tell my kids?” Guardian, June 12, 2023,
  8. [8]Spencer S. Hsu et al., “Trump scrambles to find lawyer before first federal court appearance,” Washington Post, June 12, 2023,
  9. [9]Hugo Lowell, “Trump finds no new lawyers for court appearance in Mar-a-Lago case,” Guardian, June 13, 2023,
  10. [10]Eric Lutz, “Judge Aileen Cannon Could Blow Up Trump Documents Case,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2023,
  11. [11]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022,
  12. [12]Patrick Tucker, “Without A New Draft, Russian Offensive Operations Are Over, US Intel Chiefs Say,” Defense One, May 4, 2023,
  13. [13]Gabriel Gavin, “Putin admits Russia doesn’t have enough weapons and drones,” Politico, June 13, 2023,
  14. [14]Gabriel Gavin, “Putin admits Russia doesn’t have enough weapons and drones,” Politico, June 13, 2023,
  15. [15]Julia Ioffe, “Peace & Gossip in Munich,” Puck, February 21, 2023,

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