Showing posts with label trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trump. Show all posts

Saturday, April 01, 2023

1: Trump

Zelensky invites China’s Xi to visit Ukraine
How Should Gwyneth Paltrow Dress for Court? At the celebrity ski trial of the century, Ms. Paltrow can’t deny her own profile, but she can’t fully lean into it either. .......... and streaming on the Law & Crime network, a new style subgenre that ought henceforth to be known as courtcore. ........ but is more broadly about celebrity — and the place it occupies in our mental and cultural landscape. ....... Ms. Paltrow claims that Mr. Sanderson skied into her and is countersuing for $1 and legal fees. ......... Ms. Paltrow’s lawyers have suggested that Mr. Sanderson is trying to exploit her high profile, perhaps in the hopes she will settle the suit to avoid the public humiliation of having to show up in court (or describe, as she did, the “strange grunting noises” made by someone allegedly crashing into her back with his skis between her legs). ........ “She can’t dress down too much or she’ll be criticized, but she can’t dress up too much or she’ll be criticized.” ........ She can’t be too much of an entitled, out-of-touch rich person, and she can’t be too woo-woo about “her truth.” She can’t deny her own profile, but she can’t lean into it. She can’t risk playing into the many stereotypes that already exist in the public mind about who she is and what her value system may be. ....... Ms. Paltrow, however, has carefully walked the fine line between obviously rich and successful but respectful of both the venue and the location. ....... (also a reusable water bottle). Some commentators have suggested that Ms. Paltrow is using the opportunity to shill for her company, Goop, identifying various items as from its clothing line or for sale on the site. ............ a woman who defied the Hollywood odds and achieved financial independence by building a direct-to-consumer brand on the basis of … vagina-scented candles ........ Jen Shufro, another resident, noted that it was rare to “see Chanel and Louis Vuitton” or other recognizable luxury brands. By eschewing the blingy logos in favor of stealth-wealth style, Ms. Paltrow is playing to the local crowd........ In a city that is used to the sudden appearance of famous faces — Park City has been home to the Sundance Film Festival since 1985 .......... the sentiment in Park City at least seems to be leaning toward Ms. Paltrow. Which suggests that when it comes to image-making in court, “know your audience” is as much a legal maxim as a Hollywood one.
Ultramassive black hole discovered by UK astronomers Durham University scientists say black hole about 30 billion times the mass of the Sun is first to be found with gravitational lensing ........ An ultramassive black hole about 30bn times the mass of the Sun ........ and on the upper limit of how large we believe black holes can theoretically become ......... Ultramassive black holes are the most massive objects in the universe, at between 10bn and 40bn times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers believe they can be found at the centre of all large galaxies, such as the Milky Way. ....... Ultramassive black holes are rare and elusive, and their origins are unclear. Some believe they were formed from the extreme merger of massive galaxies billions of years ago when the universe was still young. ........ “Most of the biggest black holes that we know about are in an active state, where matter pulled in close to the black hole heats up and releases energy in the form of light, X-rays and other radiation”

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Trump, Musk, Mexico

How the House of Trump Was Built Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” ......... “a narcissistic drama seeker who covered a fragile ego with a bullying impulse.” ........ Trump relished fights with Republicans more than with Democrats, Haberman explains, because he prefers battles over “interpersonal dynamics such as loyalty and respect” over ideology or policy, of which he cares little and knows less. ......... the political establishment dealt with Trump the only way it knew how — with lots and lots of paper. ....... From Trump’s perspective, the Mueller investigation constituted the “ultimate showdown” against his deep-state enemies, Baker and Glasser write, meaning “the Democrats, the F.B.I., the intelligence agencies, the news media, the State Department, the Pentagon, the career civil service, the establishment writ large, fellow Republicans who had never fully accepted him. In other words, Washington.” ......... Not even the Constitution fazes Trump, whose recent call for the document’s “termination” is the ultimate battle against paper. ......... “These folks don’t get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me,” he declared. “It strengthens me.” Trump always tries to turn paper fights into personality fights and then rallies people to defend him. For Trump, personality beats paper, and the support of his people beats everything. ......... “The psychological state of the world’s most powerful man was a source of never-ending speculation, commentary and concern in a way that simply had no parallel in American history” ........ the son of a Trump Organization executive who recalls the first time the future president fired off a tweet on his own, without staff help. “He later compared the moment to the scene in the movie ‘Jurassic Park,’ ” Haberman writes, “when dinosaurs realize they can open doors themselves.” Apparently the secret to writing a Trump best seller is to compare him to an angry, carnivorous beast that terrifies little kids. ......... Even an assault on the Capitol is acceptable if the opponents arrayed against them are not just wrong but wicked. .......... Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-friendly Republican House member from Georgia who has minimized the Capitol riot as “Witch Hunt 2.0,” is one of Draper’s main examples. First Greene blamed the violence of Jan. 6 on antifa infiltrators, and later she excused it because the Declaration of Independence encouraged the people to overthrow tyrants. She has taken her statements even further of late, telling a Republican gathering in New York that if she and Steve Bannon had organized the attack on the Capitol, it would have succeeded, and it would have been armed. She later dismissed the remark as a “sarcastic joke,” but Draper emphasizes how even “her most outlandish rhetoric has become G.O.P. talking points.” ......... the “emotional kinetics” that would compel so many people to gather in Washington on a single day and commit violence upon the seat of American democracy. ......... He changed America by revealing it.

What’s the Key to Understanding Donald J. Trump? Start With Queens. “Confidence Man,” Maggie Haberman’s biography of the former president, argues that it’s essential to grasp New York’s steamy, histrionic folkways. . Trump has called her “a crooked H[illary] flunky” and “an unprofessional hack” while giving her endless interviews, including three for this book. ....... Haberman’s thesis is that you can’t really understand Donald Trump unless you’re familiar with the steamy, histrionic folkways of New York’s political and construction tribes. She devotes nearly half her book to his life before the presidency. “The dynamics that defined New York City in the 1980s stayed with Trump for decades,” Haberman writes. “He often seemed frozen in time there.” ........ Trump’s use of phrases like “the Blacks” and “the gays” brings back memories of my grandmother denigrating “the Irish” who lived next door. ........ “I can invite anyone for dinner,” Trump said after his inauguration in 2017. But he remained an outer-borough brat, intimidated by elites. As president, he threw tantrums when he thought people were lecturing or talking down to him. In an infamous meeting with the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon, “Trump knew that he was being told something he did not fully comprehend,” Haberman writes, “and instead of acknowledging that, he shouted down the teachers.” .......... Sharpton expressed admiration for Trump’s manner: “If Trump had been born Black, he would have been [the boxing promoter] Don King. … Because both of them — everything was transactional.” .......... He traversed the commercial arc of the past 40 years — moving from (failed) business mogul to celebrity to “brand,” just as American free enterprise moved from the production of steel, to casino games on Wall Street, to celebrity “influencers” on reality TV. .........

He wasn’t a very good businessman, but he played one on “The Apprentice,” which was how most Americans met him.

.......... An Iowa man explained his reason for supporting Trump: “I watched him run his business.” ......... Trump found his true calling when he started selling his name to foreigners who wanted to put it on buildings. He peddled products like Trump wine and Trump Steaks, and scams like Trump University, to a gullible public seeking gilt by association. .......... numerous occasions when Trump lacked the stomach to sack staffers face to face ............ Trump resorted to an old New York modus, backstabbing and rumor-mongering and humiliation, to get Kelly to resign. ......... Trump “enjoyed the chaos of [his staff] fighting with one another” ......... He learned how to stay one step ahead of the sheriff. This was, and remains, his greatest skill. ........ Trump accepted a $20 million Super PAC contribution from the billionaire Sheldon Adelson to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. ......... Trump understood that the best defense was, at times, to be offensive. ........... He knew he could stiff his lawyers and the small businesspeople who were his subcontractors. “Do you know how much publicity these people get for having me as a client?” ......... he deployed words with a litigator’s precision ....... He has created a brutish new standard for American politics, and put a terrible dent in our democracy. .......... We will be very lucky, indeed, if he doesn’t prove our downfall.

Americans Are Realizing Tesla Isn’t the Only Electric Car many of the best electric wheels on the market today are not made by Musk........ The new competition makes Musk’s recent role as the town crier for the red-pilled online right especially puzzling and, for his car company, perilous. ........ perceptions of Tesla have been falling steadily since May, shortly after Musk began his bid for Twitter; between October and November, the period when Musk took ownership of Twitter, sentiment among Democrats toward Tesla plummeted, while favorability among Republicans rose slightly. ....... Tesla’s sales and profits remain strong, its production capacity keeps ramping up, and it’s likely to benefit greatly from clean-vehicle tax credits passed in the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed in August. But its success could get sidelined by Musk’s tweets. ........ “I don’t care if you’re selling pizza or popcorn or whatever you sell — getting into politics with customers never wins” ........... With such great alternatives that carry none of Musk’s political baggage, why does he keep acting as if customers had no choice — as if he were the only game in town? ......... At its towering peak, last fall, Musk’s car company hit a stock market valuation of more than a trillion dollars, greater than the combined value of the five largest automakers in the world. Tesla looked unstoppable. .......... Then, inexplicably, Musk turned to Twitter and pushed Tesla off a cliff. This year, as he sold tens of billions of dollars of Tesla shares to finance the Twitter deal and seemed to stake his reputation on taming the squabbles roiling one of the most divisive places online, Tesla’s shares plummeted by more than 60 percent. Its slump is deeper than that of most of its rivals and far more than that of the S&P 500, which is down about 19 percent for the year. ....... Unlike just about every other carmaker, Tesla spends almost nothing on advertising. Musk is and has long been the company’s sole marketer and chief evangelist, the main force driving the world’s desire to buy Teslas. And so any alteration in his cultural standing will affect the company’s standing, too. His time running Twitter has been “a massive brand destruction for Musk and for Tesla” .........

As Remote Workers Flock to Mexico City, Airbnb and Housing Prices Soar American and Europeans are using Airbnb to find long-term rentals in Mexico’s capital, pushing housing costs higher and, critics say, forcing out local residents. .......... The flow of foreigners has yet to slow down, causing housing costs to rise, displacing residents and upending the fabric of neighborhoods. ........ Some units soon appeared on Airbnb — at rates more than four times the monthly rent — and new neighbors, mostly speaking English, now fill the hallways. ......... the kind of comfort a salary paid in dollars or euros can afford. ......... landlords taking advantage of record demand for long-term stays on platforms like Airbnb ....... threatening to make large swaths of the city, where the average monthly salary is $220, unaffordable to many locals. ........ remote workers are leading to the “forced displacement of families.” ......... English speakers pour out of cafes and, on Sundays, cantinas are packed with young people in sports jerseys, the televisions switched from soccer to American football. ........ The tour includes preparing tamales from handpicked ingredients and floating along the neighborhood’s famous network of ancient canals. .

Twitter Users Report Widespread Service Interruptions The issues surfaced several days after Elon Musk said he had shut down one of the company’s major data centers. .

Sunday, June 12, 2022

12: Cryptocrash, Trump

‘Trump Was at the Center’: Jan. 6 Hearing Lays Out Case in Vivid Detail an attempted coup orchestrated by Mr. Trump that culminated in the deadly assault on the Capitol ........ Mr. Trump endorsed the hanging of his own vice president as a mob of his supporters descended on Congress. They also said they had evidence that members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. ......... the full story of a remarkable assault on U.S. democracy, orchestrated by a sitting president, that led to a deadly riot, an impeachment and a crisis of confidence in the political system. .........

“Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy”

......... “And ultimately, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy.” ......... The prime-time hearing featured dramatic video of the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group, leading the assault on the Capitol, and the emotional testimony of a Capitol Police officer who suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of the mob. ......... “What I saw was a war scene,” the officer, Caroline Edwards, one of the more than 150 officers injured in the rampage, testified. “I saw officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up.” She added: “I was slipping on people’s blood. It was carnage. It was chaos.” .......... The committee is publicly telling the story of how a sitting president undertook unprecedented efforts to overturn a democratic election, testing the guardrails of American democracy at every turn. Mr. Trump and his allies challenged President Biden’s victory in the courts, at state houses and, finally, in the streets. ........... President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to convince huge portions of the U.S. population that fraud had stolen the election.” ......... “Our democracy remains in danger,” Mr. Thompson said. “Jan. 6 and the lies that led to insurrection have put two and a half centuries of constitutional democracy at risk. The world is watching what we do here.” ............. when Mr. Trump learned of the mob’s threats to hang Vice President Mike Pence, he said, “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” and added that Mr. Pence “deserves it.” ......... Members of the panel see themselves as carrying out a critical function, much as fact-finding committees did in investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Watergate scandal in 1973 and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. ........... outlined how Mr. Trump had been told repeatedly that there was no election fraud, he added, “Don’t believe me?” ......... Trump “lit the fuse” for the riot with his lie of a stolen election. .......... Mr. Trump did nothing to stop the violence for more than three hours while the assault was underway. ....... The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and accumulated more than 140,000 documents. It has a staff of about 45 employees, including more than a dozen former federal prosecutors and two former U.S. attorneys, and has spent millions on its work.

The Fight to Survive Russia’s Onslaught in Eastern Ukraine The war has become, as one Ukrainian soldier put it, a game of “artillery Ping-Pong.” ........ Russia’s war in Ukraine is not the same conflict that it was earlier this spring. The Russian Army’s initial campaign, in February and March, was a three-front invasion with little coherence or military logic. Ukrainian troops mounted small-unit ambushes and used rocket-propelled grenades, antitank weapons, and drones to destroy Russian troop formations and armor. Viral videos show their direct strikes, with tanks disappearing in flame and smoke. Now the Russian military has regrouped its forces for a more targeted assault in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, drawing on its advantages in artillery and airpower.......... “Russia is making fitful but incremental gains, and Ukraine’s position in the Donbas is more precarious than it once seemed.” I spent several days in the Donbas recently, where a number of officers and enlisted soldiers told me that Ukrainian infantry rarely see the enemy. Rather, battles are often fought at distances of ten miles or more. The war has become, as one soldier told me, a game of “artillery Ping-Pong.” ........... Lately, he had heard what he thought was a new artillery system in the field—it sounded “like the wild roar of a dinosaur,” he said. ........ “If before they simply marched in large columns, now they have started to actually fight,” he said. The Russian Army has split its forces into smaller groups, which it uses, along with a sizable fleet of drones, to identify and target Ukrainian positions, hitting them with artillery and air strikes. When a particular zone or village has effectively been levelled, ground troops—a mixture of regular Russian soldiers, Wagner mercenaries, and fighters mobilized from the Russia-backed separatist territories in Donetsk and Luhansk, Tarnavsky said—move in to try to seize the rubble. ............ Russia has had, by his count, a five-to-one manpower advantage. Tarnavsky also estimated that Russia has an advantage of up to seven-to-one in artillery batteries and a similarly large stockpile of munitions. ........ Russian forces can rely on wave after wave of indiscriminate fire from large-calibre artillery, along with missile and air strikes, to soften Ukraine’s defenses, inflicting large casualties before they advance. .......... Russia’s disproportionate reliance on heavy weaponry. ...... individual Ukrainian artillery systems targeted by Iskander missiles, which cost an estimated five million dollars a shot. “That’s a very expensive pleasure,” he said. “You have to be very rich, or very desperate.” ......... Zelensky, has said that as many as a hundred soldiers are killed each day, and five hundred wounded ......... mass mobilization efforts and an influx of volunteers have doubled the ranks of the armed forces since February ............ “A lot of regular military personnel have been killed,” he said. “They are replaced by doctors and mechanics. We have manpower, but much of this core”—those with combat experience who could lead and motivate new recruits—“is either dead or wounded.” .......... “The shelling simply never ends, they are firing at you for days on end—it’s exhausting, and starts to eat at you,” Greek said.

“It feels as if they are trying to smash into atoms every Ukrainian soldier and every inch of Ukrainian land in the Donbas.”

............. After that, Greek said, “They simply went crazy.” Russian aircraft flew four sorties over Derekh’s position, and the artillery fire was unceasing. A guided missile, likely launched by a Russian fighter jet, hit Derekh’s dugout. He was killed instantly. “You can be brave and experienced and know what to do in every situation,” Greek said. “But Fortuna also decides a lot.” According to Greek, counting the dead and wounded, the unit has lost around forty per cent of its combat strength. .......... their morale and fighting spirit seemed high, but nearly all of them expressed a sense of helplessness in the face of unrelenting shelling ......... these days, Russian units tend to pull back at first contact, then let artillery batteries positioned behind them pummel Ukrainian forces at long range. ........ Shells from a 152-millimetre artillery gun started to land around him—large-calibre munitions meant to destroy armored vehicles and groupings of infantry. Vladislav described the experience of finding himself under a cloud of fiery metal. “It starts with a loud whistle and you feel something fly past. Then comes the explosion, followed by the blast wave. Last is the shrapnel, which swarms through the air like flies: thpht thpht thpht,” he said, mimicking the sound. “All you want to do is hide, not breathe, dig deeper in the ground.” The earth heaved and branches snapped as shrapnel ripped through the forest. A tree fell and covered Vladislav in his trench. The blast knocked him unconscious. ........... Vladislav told me he was eager and ready for battle, but not this kind. “When a person is shooting at you, you have a clear idea of how to fight back, of where to direct your adrenaline,” he said. “But when a piece of metal is flying at you, you don’t know where the enemy is and how to survive. I’m a rifleman, I have no weapon to defend myself from that.” .......... Can Russia grind down Ukrainian forces and continue its metre-by-metre advance faster than Ukraine can receive substantial numbers of Western artillery systems and munitions? ......... more powerful artillery, they said, and U.S.-made Excalibur munitions, which are guided by G.P.S. for improved accuracy. ........ The ground was covered with body parts: arms, legs, a child with his head blown off. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Honcharenko said, “and frankly, it would have been better if I never did.” ........... “They have a goal to capture a certain territory, and let’s say they manage to do that, but to what end?” He went on, “They don’t care about what they’re capturing, what will be left for them to occupy. It will be impossible to rebuild what they are destroying. They will end up with some empty fields dotted with ruins.” .......... “Let me give you my professional opinion as mayor: if we don’t get heavy weapons in two or three weeks, we’re fucked.”