the Last News Roundup
and now our watch is ended
This is, quite likely, the penultimate post for the Newslettr here on Substack.
I no longer find this platform fit-for-purpose. The emails are more a constraint than a useful engagement tool. Substack Notes is a wasteland. The various color-styles (as seen on my recent Letter from Burning Man, written elsewhere) don’t work here. Substack still does not have a “never send immediately” safety option for their publication UI. And the consumer UI is overflowing with “pushes” to increase engagement (that is: [paid] subscriptions); pushes that are morphing from annoying to manipulative.
This is not a situation that calls for complaining; it is a situation that calls for leaving.
There will be one more post, after this one: a Letter to the Future.
but first, for the last time, some of the recent news:
Prigozhin Exploded: So one of my arguments that the situation with the “Wagner revolt” was a ruse was that it seemed obvious Prigozhin would be dead before the end of the year if it was not a ruse.
Now Prigozhin is dead from a plane crash.
I still struggle to understand. Did he not know he was signing his death warrant? Or did he walk into the valley of death with eyes open?
Coup in Gabon: Not all coups are created equal. The coup in Niger (from 26-JUL) is still a topic of uncertainty. The coup in Gabon (from 30-AUG) was a fait accompli as soon as it happened.
Nobody could claim that it was a loss for democracy that second-generation autocrat Ali Bongo was removed from power after winning a third 7-year term in an election widely described as illegitimate. And, unlike in Niger, there does not appear to be any regime change associated with the coup; the government will still have (roughly) the same people and the same foreign policy.
The End of Artsakh: Azerbaijan decisively won an armed conflict against Armenia in 2020, and Russia is too distracted to intervene in the region. So it was no surprise that Azerbaijan’s recent military action was met with grim acceptance rather than military resistance.
The autonomous government in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh) will soon be a thing of the past. The Armenian-ethnicity residents of the region will have two options: assimilate or migrate.
GOP Thunderdome, Episode Two: There will be another GOP presidential primary debate on Wednesday. Trump, once again, will not be there.
Of the seven candidates who will be on stage, only two seem to have a path to victory over the Donald: Chris Christie and Nikki Haley.
As far as the others: Tim Scott quotes the Bible far too often, and Mike Pence will never be forgiven by the GOP base. Ron DeSantis’s incompetencies are already well-known. Doug Burgum shouldn’t even be on stage. And as for Da Vek … no comment.
Cycling Drama: Professional cycling is a factory for drama. It is a team sport, so there is a middle ground between “honest competition” and “pre-scripted storylines”.
The situation in the Vuelta a Espana (where Jumbo-Visma had the top three riders, and decided internally in what order they should finish) comes a bit too close to pre-scripted for my liking. But it was good for the memes. #GCKuss
Carbon Credits are a Fraud: This isn’t news to me, but now I can attribute it to “Power Technology”: almost all Carbon Credit programs are frauds. Of the 50 large programs studied, 39 are “likely junk”, 8 are “problematic”, and the remaining three are so opaque that, while no exact assessment could be given, it is safe to assume they are also junk.
Carbon credits are a fraud. The agents of Carthage who say your organization should buy them are scammers and criminals. Just Say No.
Minimal Awareness: CNN ran a story recently entitled El Paso Walmart shooter agrees to pay more than $5.5 million in restitution in federal case. Except the shooter doesn’t have $5 million. And because he is already serving 90 life sentences in prison, he never will have that money.
Somehow, CNN doesn’t think it relevant to consider that in their coverage.
I Bless The Rains in Northern Nevada: As some of you may have heard, it rained at Burning Man this year. First, there was the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary (which also managed to hit LA during an earthquake). Then, two days of a cold, slow, sporadic rain during the event.
That shouldn’t have been national news, but apparently it was an incredibly slow news week. For a more accurate and comprehensive take than you may have seen in the media, please read my Letter from Burning Man.
Awkward Temporal Adjectives: The New College of Florida (est. 1960) has been a topic of controversy ever since Ron DeSantis replaced the board-of-trustees with a Chris Rufo-fronted group. While a lot of people are crying foul, I think it is a good thing. Let them build their Mecca while you build yours.
So, when NCF finds they are short on dorms and has to put students in a hotel a few miles away, that is an indictment of the failures of Rufo’s strategy. When the DOJ accuses them of “violating civil rights law” by removing gender-neutral bathrooms, that is the Biden administration weaponizing the law (in a bad way).
There is more news. There is definitely more problematic news coverage. But that is no longer my problem.