Flight: 26 October 2023

Richard Murff
3 min readOct 26, 2023

The House of Representatives managed elect Mike Johnson of Louisiana as House Speaker after dicking around for three weeks where they didn’t vote for Jim Jordan three times and two other guys bailed before the vote.

Meanwhile, China hammered out some 12 cooperation and trade deals with Columbia, a key regional US ally. The two countries changed their relationship status to “strategic partnership.” One step below “in it to win it.” Columbia is one of ten South American countries to have recently upgraded relations with Beijing. Aggravating for the US, the deals secure strategic commodities for China, but likely won’t to the its economy much immediate good.

Israel has agreed to Washington’s request to delay its ill-advised ground invasion of Gaza — for now. The pause is to get air-defense systems in place to protect US troops in the region when all hell breaks loose across 20% of the planet when said invasion does happen. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has exchanged fire with Hezbollah in Lebanon and destroyed some “military infrastructure” in Syria.

Iran, to put in bluntly, is horny for war. Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq have fired on US troops stationed there. Whether these are under direction of Tehran, or they are just losing control of their excitable proxies in the sand is unclear. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said he doesn’t really care, the US is holding Iran responsible. Or words to that effect. It raises the question: What does Iran actually want out of this?

The world isn’t finished going to hell in a handbasket — this time between two countries you’ve heard of but can’t pronounce. One’s an ally of Turkey, a member of NATO, and the other allied to Russia. But that’s not the confusing part.

Still, banks are doing well enough: Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander all reported stronger-than-expected results for the Q3. High interest rates help. Santander reported a Q3 net-profit up 20% from the same period last year. Deutsche Bank said that it is looking at its highest annual revenue in seven years.

Sam Bankman-Fried isn’t doing so well. SBF is expected to take the stand today and Friday in his own defense. It’s a bold strategy, and probably a Hail Mary as he’s had a rough three weeks where nearly everyone he worked or slept with at FTX and Alameda Research have pointed the finger at him. Normally, this is the sort of legal maneuver that gets people thrown under the jail, but SBF is not a normal person. He’s always portrayed himself as a likably autistic super-genius. Or for sci-fi fans, a sort of cuddly mentat — a human computer — but that was always a little too Hollywood to be really believable. And the fraud he’s accused of committing with investor money is a vividly human crime. So good luck with that, Sam.

Richard Murff is the founder of 4717 Insights. For more on the world, how it got here and a stiff drink, head to the 4717. Murff is the author of Pothole of the Gods: On Holy War, Fake News & other Ill-Advised Ideas, Drunk as Lords, and the upcoming Horrible Political Jokes in Ukraine.



Richard Murff

Founder of the 4717 Author of Haint Punch, and Pothole of the Gods. Good egg