Links 10/12/2023

Small-scale magnetism leads to large-scale solar atmosphere From NASA/ESA Solar Orbiter. But I’m really here for the photos:

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse will slice across Americas on Saturday with millions along path AP


The global costs of extreme weather that are attributable to climate change Nature

How not to feed a hungry planet Climate & Capitalism


One Of The Biggest Ways We Can Create A Future Free of Contamination The Brockovich Report


Cold virus may set the stage for Long COVID (press release) NIH. “The findings suggest that PASC [obfuscatory jargon for Long Covid] may arise from a phenomenon known as immune imprinting. This refers to how a person’s history of previous infections can affect their immune response to new infections.” Of course, non-pharmaceutical interventions like better ventilation, filtration, and masking work against all viruses. I suppose that’s why we don’t do them.

Do Pandemics Ever End? NEJM


China bans new offshore brokerage accounts in capital control move Reuters

EU to investigate Chinese steel and aluminium sectors, with tariffs looming, in deal with US South China Morning Post

Goldman Sachs sues Malaysia as 1MDB settlement dispute escalates South China Morning Post

Couchfish Day 372: Four Fingers For The Gods CouchFish


The mystery of the Adani coal imports that quietly doubled in value FT

What the Government’s Powers to Allot Coal Blocks to Lone Bidders Mean The Wire

Kashmiri Saffron: The Red Gold Underneath The Purple Madras Courier


Israel’s new unity government pledges to change ‘strategic reality’ in Gaza FT

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken lands in Israel Reuters

‘Israel Is Going to Have to Make Some Tough Calls’: There’s No Clear Way Out of the Hostage Crisis Politico

* * *

Grim prospects if Israel launches ground assault on Gaza France24.

Israeli Ground Forces Get Cold Feet? + Ukraine War Updates Simplicius the Thinkers(s). Interesting speculations.

* * *

How Hamas uses tunnels in Gaza to target Israel FirstPost. (“Think of the Gaza Strip as one layer for civilians, and another for Hamas.”) Bakhmut: 16.1mi²; Mariupol: 64.09 mi²; Gaza: 140.9 mi².

A Cartography of the Unknowable: Technology, Territory and Subterranean Agencies in Israel’s Management of the Gaza Tunnels Geopolitics. Jargon generator probably overheated during the writing, but still worth a read if you can translate. “The soil’s ability to obfuscate techniques through which data can be gathered, analysed and used to predict future threats profoundly alters the calculus through which the political logic of risk operates in a fundamental way.”

* * *

A Dive into IDF’s Vulnerabilities in Light of the Recent Assault RealClearDefense

The Israeli Military Wasn’t Ready for This Andrew Exum, The Atlantic. Exum was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East:

More worrying, and more structural, are the complacency and lack of discipline that not only cost Israel in the opening stages of this new war but will likely continue to do so. I spent almost three years in Lebanon in the mid-2000s and wrote a doctoral dissertation on Hezbollah’s evolution as a fighting force. The few Hezbollah fighters I met in those days struck me, for the most part, as motivated, well trained, and disciplined. Those who fought in the 2006 war with Israel retained a certain amount of wary respect for the U.S. military but held their Israeli adversaries in contempt. They had seen Israeli soldiers in action—and had not been impressed…..

[T]he country’s semiprofessional military relies heavily on conscripts and reservists, which places it at a disadvantage in many respects. Full-time, professional militaries can dedicate themselves to rehearsing collective tasks that high-intensity combat situations often require: reacting to ambushes, conducting raids, incorporating artillery and airpower into maneuvers. Conscript militaries, by contrast, are forever bringing on and training new people. The turnover is often too high to allow units to develop proficiency in the most complicated military tasks…. Israel’s conventional forces, moreover, seem to spend less time rehearsing combined arms operations than they do policing the occupied territories….

Discipline is another issue: In 2006, Hezbollah was able to locate Israeli positions by intercepting Israeli reservists calling home on their mobile phones.

* * *

Muslim and Arab sports stars hold summit over Israel-Hamas war as players clash Mirror Sport

They’re Repeating The Word ‘Unprovoked’ Again, This Time In Defense Of Israel Caitlin Johnstone

Forest Against the Trees The Baffler

Beyond Moral Condemnation Boston Review

There is no proof Palestinian fighters ‘beheaded’ babies. The only source is a radical settler Mondoweiss

* * *

The Israel-Hamas War Could Upend Global Energy Security Foreign Policy

European Disunion

A Coming Colour Revolution in Slovakia? Al Mayadeen. I don’t buy color revolutions in Asia; I don’t think we’re competent to do more than nibble round the edges. But in Eastern Europe, we have form.

Dear Old Blighty

Covid Inquiry: 6 Shocking Moments You May Have Missed HuffPo

New Not-So-Cold War

U.S. Announces New Military Aid for Ukraine as Obstacles Mount WSJ

ISW analyses surge in Russian attacks near Avdiivka Ukrainska Pravda

Zelenskiy pledged not to attack nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, says IAEA chief Guardian

Zelenskyy plans to visit Israel Ukrainska Pravda

Massive capital flight from Russia in 2022 left by four main channels BNE Intellinews

* * *

Conflict in the Caucasus may not be over Responsible Statecraft

Finland police investigate undersea gas pipeline leak as possible sabotage AP

‘Civilisation State’: Theory and Practice Valdai Discussion Club

Supply Chain

September U.S. Container Import Volumes Increase, Breaking from Traditional Fall Decline Hellenic Shipping News

The Bezzle

Crypto Is Still the Wild West Almost a Year After FTX Collapse WSJ

Caroline Ellison’s Revenge MSN

Digital Watch

Exclusive: Booz Allen aims to bring AI to government offices Axios

Congressional Democrats push Biden to codify AI Bill of Rights in executive order FedScoop

* * *

Inside the deadly instant loan app scam that blackmails with nudes BBC

Our Famously Free Press

Social media traffic to top news sites craters Axios

Zeitgeist Watch

‘I never lived a life I didn’t want to live’: Sly Stone on addiction, ageing and changing music for ever Guardian

Don’t Confuse Me With Facts. Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World

Imperial Collapse Watch

Sweeping Aside All Competition: F-35 Continues to Take Europe By Storm With New Clients and Localised Production Military Watch

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Defanged (review) Eric Foner, London Review of Books. Martin Luther King.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Most Americans favor maximum age limits for federal elected officials, Supreme Court justices Pew Research Center

Class Warfare

Workers at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville join UAW strike WDRB

Ancient Honey-and-Vinegar Combo Could Actually Treat Infected Wounds Scientific American

Family Ties Science. The deck: “Giant family trees based on ancient DNA from thousands of people are revealing prehistoric politics and social structure.”

The Deep Link Equating Math Proofs and Computer Programs Quanta. Important and, for Quanta, quite readable.

In Defense of Hope Margaret Killjoy, Birds Before the Storm

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. The Rev Kev

    “Zelenskiy pledged not to attack nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, says IAEA chief”

    Zelensky also ran for office on a peace platform so that is something to remember. And in a recent interview, Ukrainian intelligence chief Budanov admitted to at least three attacks on that plant in order to seize it, all of which failed. I can only imagine what would have happened if they had succeeded-

    With this “pledge” it sounds like Rafael Grossi is trying to give cover and respectability to Zelensky. Until the next assault that is.

    1. Skip Intro

      You can’t trust these pledges, that’s for sure. Biden pledged to whack Nordstream if Russia entered Ukraine, and we know he didn’t do that.

    2. Lefty Godot

      It’s almost like the takeaway should be the opposite of what he says. That’s if you put it through the corporate-to-normal speak translator, I mean. Maybe he’s reminding us that Kiev has a mini “Samson option” of their own.

    3. SG

      Zelensky also ran for office on a peace platform

      Putin, however, seems to have had other ideas. Whatever you think of Zelensky, the Ukraine in general, NATO, the United States, or Russia’s claims about the “special action”, there’s absolutely no dispute about whose troops crossed whose borders.

      1. Detroit Dan

        There was a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine, followed by a civil war, and 8 years later by Russian assistance to one side in the civil war. The U.S. and other NATO countries supported the coup and provided military support to the anti-Russian side long before Russia intervened. Beyond that, the Ukraine dog was wagged by a tail of Russian-hating Nazis. All this took place in lands that had been Russian for hundreds of years before the CIA-Nazi involvement. #unprovoked

  2. Petter

    IDF – sounds like they’re mostly made up of “new guys.”
    New guys are not only more likely to get themselves killed but get you, if you’ve “been in the shit,” get YOU killed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe more trained more to be prison and outpost guards rather than soldiers. The US Army found itself in the same boat after years of fighting insurgents in Iraq and had to retrain to act as an actual combat force afterwards.

      1. JTMcPhee

        But not anything close to being a force fit to participate in peer to peer industrial war with, say, Russia. Not even able to meet, let alone defeat in a war of attrition, the “camel jockies” and “black pajamas,” under “leaders” like Petraeus and Milley. And backed by chicken hawks like Lindsey Graham and Biden.

        Any bets on how the 82nd or 101st Divisions would stack up against the Russian army, or even the forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics?

        Thank goodness we USians have nukes! Though not so sure if MAD works any more, given the Russian air defense tools and their own scary weapons like SARMAT and Status-6.

        We are a stupid people, apparently.

        1. skippy

          The 82nd is airborne is trained to be – shock troops – even if transported to the front in mechanized fashion e.g. they are not trained for prolonged and persistent engagement with a battlefield and defensive positions of the Russians and what can be brought to bare against them in a deep defensive position with many layers.

          101st of which I was one for a little bit is air mobile e.g. air cavalry in training and totally unsuited for the same reasons I note above.

          Whilst both might field soldiers and O class that is a cut above some others in abilities they all train for specific scenarios in combat and can’t just be just plugged and played into any given situation.

          The Russians have on the other hand have been training for just such a event in dealing with a NATO threat e.g. everything is set up and geared for it. So now its just about waiting to see how much NATO want to throw at it and slowly reduce its capacity to conduct offensive operations.

    2. Louis Fyne

      IDF and its reservists are largely conscripts….nothing good or bad inherently.

      here is the trouble…Bibi is saying loud and clear that literally this is a war of extermination for Hamas.

      Reasonable to say that Hamas fighters run the whole gamut from 100% radical to 100% am just fighting for my dead father. (Hamas is NOT one monolith—-rather like a franchise, some branches are centrally controlled, others have more autonomy)

      Saying that this is a war of destruction only radicalizes every Hamas fighter to fight to the death.

      This is bad news for any secular western army. See how fanatical waffle S S (spam filter) fought in spring 1945, knowing that they will lose

      The IDF rank-and-file median is not as religious as the median orthodox settlement.

      This fight to the death will be horrific.

      by accident or design, this invasion will be Hamas’s :Samsin Option”: Hamas is going to take down the IDF with them as the walls of Gaza City tumble.

        1. ISL

          As Hamas spent a year prepping for the incursion, it is illogical to assume they did not prep supplies for fighters.

          and second, tunnels tunnels tunnels (crossing the Egyptian border).

          1. hk

            I’d have to imagine the smuggling operation is pretty enormous and will get even bigger as the situation gets worse for the civilians: I have trouble imagining Egypt sticking its neck out too far for sake of Israel in general and especially if Gazans are too obviously suffering. If Egypt and other Arab/Muslim nations openly start shipping in food and medicine across the border, Israel will face an even worse lose-lose situation.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Biden and Israel are thinking that all those people in Gaza could go over to Egypt allowing Israel to seize the Gaza strip which they were kicked out of back in 2005. Only thing is, I don’t think that they have asked Egypt. Egypt would never be able to absorb 2 million people as their economy has problems enough. Add in the radicals among the Gazans and that idea is dead on delivery. Jordon won’t take them either as Israel has in the past wanted the Palestinians to go there to live so that Israel can claim that they finally have their own State but Jordan said hell no. I really want to ask people like Netanyahu what their end game is with the Palestinians. How are they going to fit in with Israel going forward. Does he even know?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Given Netanyahu has been a player for a while, he definitely saw Bill Clinton swoop in for a photo-op at the end of the Oslo Accords and just kind of shrug as Barak wouldn’t make deals and Netanyahu broke deals. Then Obama was Obama.

                Shrub was on his own crusade and Sharon was there. And I think Sharon knew Israel can’t be a pariah state in the long term. It’s not big enough to try that. Trump just kind of agreed with Kushner, the Jewish guy Trump knows besides Howard Stern.

                Netanyahu regardless of what he is, probably a grifter, isn’t the kind of guy who can bend the nationalists as much as he is their voice. Biden’s diplomacy has mostly been threats, and he has done nothing but keep the embassy in Jerusalem until the month on Israel/Palestine.

                I don’t think it’s Netanyahu as much as the nationalists know Biden won’t pressure Netanyahu, hence the gifted will only face nationalists at home with a US President too stupid to not undo a Trump decision. Both US Senators from Florida are republicans. Team Blue can’t even justify their politics as a cruel triangulation.

                1. Offtrail

                  Gaza in inhabited mostly by the descendents of Palestinians who were run out of their homes by Israel in 1948. They have already been deprived of their land.

          2. Lefty Godot

            But were they prepping for something of this scale, provoking the scale of response they’ll be seeing? It’s not clear (since no reporters are talking to them) whether this was originally more limited and focused on hostage-taking for a prisoner exchange, and then got out of hand because the initial stage progressed way faster than expected. Or if they always expected a large scale operation. The whole desert rave thing sounds like something that couldn’t have been planned for in advance because the organizers gave no advance notice of the location.

            1. Louis Fyne

              that scenario certainly is plausible and intriguing: Hamas expected a standard raid, but with IDF incompetence, Hamas infiltration teams did much more carnage than expected by Hamas commanders.

              I doubt that there was a Hamas bunker with a running, real-time ticker of Israeli deaths during the operation.

              And this scenario would fit fell w/other big battles of the past—-both sides fighting at a time/manner that neither planned ahead for.

          3. SG

            I don’t know, ISL. Hamas has run things in Gaza since the 2006 elections, but it seemingly didn’t occur to them that attacking a country on which you depend for food, water, and electricity might have unfortunate consequences. This doesn’t speak well for their long-range planning, at least about anything other than killing Israelis. Of course, it might have more to do with the fact that Hamas leadership is insulated from the deprivations of ordinary Gazans, since they’re safe and sound in Qatar.

            1. caucus99percenter

              I agree, Hamas is being as oblivious about depending on the tender mercies of their captors for life support as those Warsaw Ghetto Uprising organizers were about their captors back in 1943.

              1. The Rev Kev

                One suspects based on current behaviour that the captors for both the Warsaw Ghetto and Gaza never had good intentions to those people trapped there. There was never going to be any mercy, not in 1943 and certainly not in 2023.

        2. Kouros

          Aparently Russia is in talks with Turkey and Egypt to organize some naval relief convois with humanitarian help under the protection of Russian Navy and Rusian Air Force…

      1. SG

        All the Israelis I know (and I know quite a few) are secular. Nearly all of them are peaceniks – they want an end to the settlements and a negotiated agreement resulting in a sovereign Palestinian state. There isn’t a Likudnik among them.

        Many of them have friends or relatives who died or were captured in the attacks.

        Every single one of them wants Hamas eradicated now.

        Maybe my sample isn’t representative, but I don’t think motivation in the IDF is going to be an issue, (at least for the next few months). And if I were Haniyeh, I don’t think I’d be too confident in my personal safety (even in Qatar).

        1. Piotr Berman

          Your sample is surely not representative. The votes for Likud and more extreme allies were not fabricated. As Netanyahu couple seems disagreeable, several parties split from Likud, forming perhaps half of the “opposition”. The main differences are how to treat Jews like Hasidim who prefer to study Torah and avoid service in the military. Should they get stipends for studying Torah? Should they be exempted from conscription?

          I can imagine visiting an American university department and not meet anyone who up-front admits to be Republican (although some of them are, gasp, Republicans).

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      From Scott Ritter via The Automatic Earth today:

      This is a military [israeli] that, with a few exceptions found in the elite reconnaissance units of the IDF, has grown accustomed to a peacetime ritual more akin to the life of a corrections officer than soldier. The IDF has become experts at arresting children, beating up women, and murdering unarmed men. Digging a competent enemy out of the rubble of a destroyed city, especially when they have prepared and organized for such a battle, is deadly work.

      Knowing nothing about military organization and readiness, I’d say this sounds like an entirely legitimate assessment and a mistake that armchair chicken hawk tough talkers have no problem repeatedly making.

      “Finish them.” (n. haley) “Level the place.” (l. graham)

        1. flora

          an aside: after reading many of Barbara Tuchman’s wonderful histories including The Proud Tower, The Zimmerman Telegram, and The Guns of August about the run-up to WWI, it’s easy to see that the European colonial powers back then, having only fought nearly unarmed colonial uprisings in the previous 20-30 years, thought a European continental war training their guns on each other would be a similar walk in the park.

          Idiocy is not confined to our modern age. / oy

      1. Louis Fyne

        the best one is: “Be careful!” to Iran from Biden. (the Islamic Shia revolution hasn’t survived for almost 50 years by being impulsive)

        such eloquence from all our politicians.

        1. SG

          It’s a reasonable admonition. Lunatic Likud back-benchers notwithstanding, the odds of Israel going nuclear in Gaza are infinitesimal. The odds of a few Jerichos being launched at Tehran in response to direct Iranian involvement are somewhat higher. Not something I’d personally like to contemplate.

          I sorta think everyone needs to “be careful” right about now.

    4. nippersdad

      In an interview with Ritter that I watched yesterday, he expressed a level of disgust with the IDF that just looked visceral. He said that they were very good at bullying unarmed Palestinians and relieving them of their possessions, but as a military force were just basically cowards. He holds no truck with them at all.

      1. marku52

        The Iranian PM and MBS spoke on the phone about the need for Arab unity in the face of Israeli genocide.

        Amazing. The FP geniuses at Fort BIden have driven both Russia and China, and Iran and SA together.

        A feat of incompetence for the ages….

  3. zagonostra

    >Defanged (review) Eric Foner, London Review of Books. Martin Luther King.

    The author’s states toward the end of the article that “It is still more lamentable …because of recent laws barring the teaching of ‘devisive’ subjects, the history of racism…is being driven out of American classrooms.”

    The same could just as easily be said about the author and his eschewing any mention of William Pepper and the 1999 jury case that established the U.S. gov’t was involved the assassination of MLK. It is safe to talk about the evils of racism, but once you dig into some of the “murders most foul” conducted by people in power and gov’t, then we have to step gingerly or avoid all together.

    Following Ray’s death, Pepper represented the King family in a wrongful death lawsuit, “King family vs. Loyd Jowers and other unknown co-conspirators”. During a trial that lasted four weeks, Pepper produced over seventy witnesses. Jowers, testifying by deposition, stated that James Earl Ray was a scapegoat and not involved in the assassination. Jowers testified that Memphis police officer Earl Clark fired the fatal shots. On December 8, 1999, the Memphis jury found Jowers responsible, and also found that the assassination plot included “governmental agencies.” The jury took less than an hour to find in favor of the King family…

  4. JB

    Sorry for the Reddit link, but a great example of bias in the language used in reporting:

    Original link:

    I don’t normally have time to watch Glenn Greenwald’s show, but did for the first time yesterday as he covered the EU censorship threat against Twitter/Musk – and he did an excellent job highlighting how extreme and authoritarian these new EU-wide laws are, and how it is a back-door method of bringing censorship onto major platforms in the US, through the EU (as tech companies will choose to implement the rules platform-wide, as the alternative is balkanizing their platform at great cost).

    Transcript (unfortunately requires a subscription, but summary has some info):


    It’s an important development in censorship in the West. Maybe Glenn would allow a crosspost – or maybe a non-sub transcript (be handy if Locals could make links temporarily public, or allow subscribers to ‘share’ locked articles like Pando Daily used to when Ames and all were there).

  5. mrsyk

    About those “tough calls” Israel is going to have to make, I love the framing, thanks Politico. I’m picturing somber men (maybe a token woman) wringing their hands and intently discussing how best to recover all the hostages alive…. Just kidding, raze it to the ground, gotta show those “animals” whose boss.
    You reap what you sow.
    (There’s a load of sarcasm here. I’m not promoting bombing Gaza)

    1. Louis Fyne

      It is looking like Biden’s I saw beheaded babies” is like Iraq yellowcake, someone’s assertion.

      No one else in the White House is affirming, on record, that they saw those pictures too.

      Senior moment fueling WW3?

      This is insane as there are so many documented Israeli civilian killings (including documented baby deaths)—nothing is gained by taking the rhetoric up to 11 except boxing the West into a quagmire.

      I guess a shot baby is just white noise, but a beheaded baby? breaking news!

      1. mrsyk

        A source who regrettably must remain unnamed because they are not authorized to comment stated that babies would prefer to remain neutral and avoid the sh#tshows their elders repeatedly stir up.

        1. Louis Fyne

          One baby taking a 7.62 mm round is a sight that I never want to see.

          but that happened and would be headline news at any time before social media, yet the media’s bloodlust wants even more

            1. mrsyk

              The JLCurtis is an embarassment. Apparently, humanity is only for those who deserve it, apply twisted metrics here.

            2. Sibiriak

              Bloodlust, indeed.

              The most effective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination.

              We cannot pity those we have wronged, nor can we be indifferent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt.

              –Eric Hoffer, “The True Believer”

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘US officials have backtracked after President Joe Biden claimed to have seen “confirmed pictures” of Palestinian militants “beheading children” in Israel, explaining that he had seen no images and was merely relaying claims from the Israeli government and media reports.

        While Biden declared in an address to Jewish leaders on Wednesday that he was shocked by photos depicting brutal acts against Israeli babies, a White House spokesperson later told the Washington Post that officials were unaware of the pictures the president claimed to have seen. They added that they had no independent confirmation of reports that children were beheaded during a Hamas attack on Israel last weekend, despite Biden’s claim of having seen “confirmed” images.’

        This is as stupid as the time that Trump launched sanctions against Russia because he was shown photos of dead ducks and children in hospital that had been poisoned, supposedly by Novochok.

        1. Piotr Berman

          Except that Trump was actually shown mis-attributed pictures (presumably, ducks were dead, but not in Salisbury, and children could be sick…).

      3. Lex

        The White House is already in “The President didn’t actually mean what the President said” mode. They’re actually saying that Biden didn’t see the pictures he claims he saw and was taking it from either an Israeli spokesperson or Netanyahu himself.

        We’ve got the president of the United States shuffling into WWIII and nobody seems willing to say, “Sir, this is a Baskin Robbins.”

        1. t

          And as with yellowcake or WMDs, we’re also just pretending that if we can confirm something that we’ve alleged might lead to or mean one very specific thing, then we have no options at all. Looking for the golden ticket.

      1. mrsyk

        In sobriety, isn’t that “mosque storming” the catalyst that set this whole stupid chapter in motion?

        1. Samuel Conner

          It may have been the trigger, but it’s apparent that the operation was long prepared. If it was the trigger, the correlation with the solar calendar date of the beginning of the ’73 war may be fortuitous, unless the mosque stormers were intending to provoke a response of some kind and picked the date of their action accordingly.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The settlers have been running rampant for a while, but Israelite were supposed to make pilgrimages to the Temple during Sukkot, the Jewish holiday at the time, a non solar calendar. I imagine an element of authorities allowing the storming was knowing Biden is a nut who was trapped in amother foreign policy disaster and wouldn’t squeeze Tel Aviv. Biden kept the embassy in Jerusalem, another Trump policy.

            I feel like this sent a message that Biden won’t threaten to cut the Israelis off which is what Carter threatened at Camp David along with a promise to tell Moscow Egypt was going to rejoin the Soviet sphere. All the talk was bluster. It took like 30 minutes to work out an agreement once Carter did that. The religious nutters know this, so they wield more relative power over Netanyahu.

    2. SG

      I think a lot of the “tough calls” will be about how to take care of the Hamas leadership in Qatar quietly without souring relations with the UAE.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that link as it was really cool. Can you imagine being a professional astronomer at this time and spending your nights at one of the big telescopes on cold nights while trying to piece together the basics of the size of the universe? It must have made for quite a lifestyle.

      On a funny note, it was said at the time to never play pool with any of those guys for money. On cloudy nights they spent so much time playing pool waiting for the skies to clear and they got really good at it to the point that they would have made really good pool hustlers.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        If you’d like to imagine what it was like, here’s a short novel on the topic – Sublunar

        The nose on the cover is astronomer Tycho Brahe’s fake one, and the title refers to the goings-on beneath the lunar sphere, ie the motions of Brahe’s entourage on the ground as opposed to heavenly bodies. Brahe didn’t even have a telescope to work with, and had to settle for sextants and other instruments of his own design.

        This is a fictional account, and spends a lot of time on drunkenness, vomiting, buggery, and all-around debauchery – what’s not to like?!?

        Despite the fiction, it does make one ponder exactly what “science” is, and how to draw the line between real scientific achievement and a pseudo-science like alchemy. Isaac Newton, to name just one example, was a practitioner of both. Will our current interpretation of the structure of the universe one day be relegated to the scientific dustbin alongside Ptolemy’s? If the history of science is any guide, it quite likely will.

        Side note: the same author liked to above has a similar fictional novel on the life of Pliny the Elder which is also a great read.

        1. LifelongLib

          A scientific hypothesis has to be rigorously tested by scientific methods, but the inspiration for a hypothesis can come from anywhere. If Newton had not had various occult interests (as above, so below) the idea of (say) universal gravitation might not have occurred to him. Without those “pseudo-science” sources of inspiration (whatever we think now about their actual value) Newton might not have accomplished much of anything.

  6. flora

    This is a must watch, imo, at least the first 30 minutes. The best explanation of what is happening in Israel and the background on how things have come to this pass at this time.

    From the Duran. utube. long.

    Extremist Politics in Israel and Ukraine – Alastair Crooke, Alexander Mercouris and Glenn Diesen

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Crooke is making the case that the rot is pervasive. He’s convinced me. Israel, Ukraine, out-of-control Western healthcare, corporate power, the Duopoly: it’s all part of the Blob and nothing gets fixed until we get rid of the Blob.

      1. flora

        An aside, and this may not make sense, but when I think of what the post-post-WWII generations in politics have done in the West, the Clintons and Blairs and their followers-on, I think in simple terms about the dangers of the 3rd generation inheriting a family business. And I wonder now if the danger of the third-generation-inheritors is the same in Western govts and including Isr. The timing is about right. Yes, this may be a completely off-base comparison. Go figure.

        1. LifelongLib

          I’m a boomer, but was still a teenager when the Powell Memorandum was written (1971) and U.S. wages peaked (1975). Rolling back the New Deal was a long term project that can’t be blamed on a particular generation.

          1. SG

            Thanks, LL. As a Boomer myself, I’m a little tired of being blamed for things that happened when I was in high school (Powell Memorandum), or going to college while working a minimum wage job (Peak US wages). My first few years of full-time employment were marked by double-digit inflation, double-digit mortgage rates, the abolition of defined-benefit pension plans, and the imposition of insurance co-pays and preauthorizations. I suspect a lot of people here had similar experiences.

            Rule #1 and Rule #2 have been in play for a very long time, indeed. The people who wanted to do away with the New Deal have been diligently working at it for decades.

        2. flora

          Much much shorter: a great uncle lies in the Flanders Fields of WWI in France and another younger uncle lies in the American Cemetery in Manila Philippines from WWII. I am not interested in idiotic politicians miscalculations.

          1. flora

            adding: if you say, “oh, those were good wars”, and I don’t disagree, I’d ask you what things or precepts exactly makes a “good” war?

            1. LifelongLib

              A lot of what Hitler did (other than the Holocaust) was stuff that the Kaiser or Weimar might have done in similar circumstances. Ditto for Stalin and the Czar. But having guys like Hitler and Stalin in the mix makes it very difficult to tell what are just “normal” disagreements between nations and what are the result of bizarre ideology/personality — and make it easy to pretend that one is the other and vice-versa.

  7. eg

    Yesterday at dinner, completely unprompted, my 18 year old son asked me whether or not I had seen in the news about Gaza. When I responded with a cautious, “yes, it’s terrible” he proceeded to complain that all the media was pro-Israel despite the fact that “they stole the land years ago.”

    I have no idea where he got that perspective — we almost never discuss current events (for years now he’s mocked me for watching TVO’s “The Agenda” and for my constant reading; he is an indifferent student at best) so he certainly didn’t pick it up from me. He even had to ask my wife and I where Israel is on a map.

    So there must be other sources of news and opinion available to young people out there. In his case I suspect TikTok or Instagram.

    I told him, “get used to it — the media does this sort of thing all the time.”

    1. zagonostra

      Along the same line, I’ve had relatives comment on the beheading of “40 babies” who never pay attention to current politics. I’m glad NC posted the link to the Mondoweiss article which identifies source of story, also I see the WH back tracking on Biden’s comments on supposed beheading this morning…yeah my daughter gets alternative MSM views onTikTok and Instagram, along with a lot of dross.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I noticed on the TV news here in Oz a bit of a backing off in how rabid they were. I think that it is because they have realized that the Israelis have cut off all food and water to Gaza and they do not want to be associated with that stance in the coming days. Maybe it sunk in that these are actual war crimes which can get some people a trip the The Hague. I even noticed that when they started their coverage about Israeli strikes in Gaza, that the very first scene they showed was a white phosphorus attack on the port at Gaza which happens to be – you guessed it – a war crime.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I also suspect polls have been put out, and elements of western elites are learning 73 was a long time ago. Then “dead” and “killed”, “human animals”, and anything in the last 50 years would indicate the conquered people are gnats compared to the Israelis.

        The Ackerman threat not to hire anyone who signed the letter from Harvard students is likely an indication youth support (ie millenials, maybe even Gen x) for Israel is likely not as high as people think. Oldsters besides infotainment are stuck on inertia, but like eg’s anecdote notes, kids aren’t going to accept the usual suspects screaming in unison.

        1. Allison

          JPost ran a number of articles around the same time as the one you posted (June 2021).

          Israel and Evangelicals – a complex relationship:

          In “How will pro-Israel Evangelicals react to the post-Bibi era?” they attempt to make the case that US Evangelicals might have to be edged towards Natalfi Bennet because they’re not as familiar with him as Netanyahu. It won’t be an issue though, because ultimately:

          “Such trust can be developed because, above all, Evangelicals love and support Israel unconditionally.”

          I don’t see any difference between Netanyahu and Bennett myself – they are both unconditionally committed to “Eretz Israel” no matter what. If that is true of the Evangelicals, as the article says it is, then a change of master won’t affect the underlying psychology of said unconditional commitment.

          The only thing that would affect it is if someone came in and began working towards meaningful detente. Natalfi Bennett is not Yitzhak Rabin, and let’s please remember that Rabin was himself a proponent of the same “Eretz Israel” and Oded Yinon’s plan for achieving it. In his last Knesset speech,

          “Rabin spoke of a Palestinian entity that would be “less than a state,” stressing that Israel “will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines” and that Israel’s security border “will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.” He also embraced a “united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze’ev” and called for final status border changes that would see Israel annex “Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other communities.”

          Defense Minister Benny Gantz echoed such thinking at last month’s Munich Security Conference. Proposing a “two-entity solution,” Gantz argued that the ubiquitous two-state phrase contains “the illusion of [a return to] 1967 with the border lines, etc.; things that cannot happen.”

          So Rabin, Gantz, Bennett, Netanyahu – pick a name, doesn’t matter – they all ultimately fervently believe in the same end goal.

    3. Louis Fyne

      in my opinion, in the US, the Lindsay Graham reaction of: the US needs to be involved in a Mideast war is a boomer generational thing.

      People under-40 are more secular than ever, more likely to view the Mideast as: both sides are similar shades of awful, and “war is a racket.” even among conservatives.

      This Mideast war is not going to solve the Pentaon’s recruitment problem.

      Only an economic depression will

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘This Mideast war is not going to solve the Pentagon’s recruitment problem.’

        Good point that. Somebody should check to see if recruitment numbers drop off over the next several weeks.

        1. eg

          Let’s start the Draft with the offspring of billionaires and work our way down the income and wealth distributions — then let’s see how much enthusiasm remains for foreign adventurism among our elected representatives …

      2. Carolinian

        For those of us who have been hanging around awhile I’ll say this discussion at NC would be different even a few years back. It’s perhaps surprising how much sympathy the Palestinians are getting and how little defense the Israelis.

        As for stealing the land, Ben-Gurion supposedly said he was an atheist but he definitely believed that God gave Palestine to the Jewish people. Always with the jokes (“shoot and cry”) to elide the contradictions.

      3. Jabura Basaidai

        hey! – i’m a boomer who thinks Graham should have his tongue cut out – where is the anti-war movement now? – and a good thing to bring up Major General Smedley Butler’s perspective, “War is a Racket” – but keep losing one-time friends as i fail to join a silo – and as far as recruitment, the ex-military folks i know would actively discourage their offspring joining – have heard rumors SNAP necessary for some families – outside jobs to make ends meet – all things necessary to inspire esprit de corps(NOT!) – don’t even think an economic depression would do it – the acceleration of the unraveling is displaying worldwide unrest – the genie is out of the bottle – and here we are –

    4. Daryl

      In my circles (techbros) I have noticed a flood of pro-Israel propaganda. The babies claim swept through and has not been refuted afterwards after it became clear that it was a complete fabrication. Similar to what happened with Ukraine, but somehow more despicable — we are watching genocide get cheered on, covered up and even outright supported by western society.

      1. Wukchumni

        Turns out it was a 40 ounce bottle of Olde English 800 where the screw off top was taken off, a tragic misunderstanding.

      2. ThirtyOne

        I ran across a post by showing a picture of a burned infant corpse on a medical examination table, no attribution for the picture was given. In the thread a couple of replies claimed an AI image analyzer identified the image as AI generated. The thread goes on, but I really dislike toxic twitter.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli Ground Forces Get Cold Feet? + Ukraine War Updates ”

    That post mentions Ursula von der Leyen, She went on Twitter and said-

    ‘Ursula von der Leyen
    Today, Hamas terrorists have struck at the heart of Israel capturing and killing innocent women and children.
    Israel has the right to defend itself – today and in the days to come.
    The European Union stands with Israel’

    But Clare Daly was having none of that and replied-

    ‘Clare Daly
    Who do you think you are? You’re unelected, and have no authority to determine EU foreign policy, which is set by @EUCouncil
    . Europe does NOT “stand with Israel.” We stand for peace. You do not speak for us. If you’ve nothing constructive to say, and you clearly don’t, shut up.’

  9. Lexx

    ‘They’re Repeating The Word ‘Unprovoked’ Again, This Time In Defense Of Israel’

    If you’re always playing the victim – another word for ‘innocent’ – can you also be ‘provocative’? The problem is in how we humans frame that role. You can’t be both innocent and guilty in any court of law or public opinion; it’s black and white. Israel isn’t saying ‘we’re innocent’ directly, they’re saying ‘we’re not guilty of provoking an attack because you can’t prove we are, therefore we’re innocent’. Who will testify otherwise and in what court? Who would take up the case for the Palestinians? They’ve silenced the witnesses.

    1. NN Cassandra

      What is even more fascinating is that in this case Israel is the clear occupier and Palestinians the occupied people. I wonder why no one from the West steps up and suggests the whole Israel/Palestine mess could be easily resolved and peace restored if Netanyahu retreated with his army back to the original 1947 borders.

  10. Alex

    Re Forest Against the Trees

    I personally know an Armenian family who lost their house and everything they planted in a small village after the war in Karabakh 3 years ago. I also personally know the descendants of people who lost everything they had 70 years ago in various Middle Eastern cities and moved to Israel. I was in Vyborg and Kaliningrad stripped of their original inhabitants also 70-80 years ago and remember the weird feeling there. One just has to wonder why none of these stories ever get into the Western media

    1. Reply

      Freedom of the Press, or press, or press or ‘press’ or even “press” is slippery in this Looking Glass world where words mean what someone wants them to mean.

      Control of, or influence upon, media is so subtle and pervasive that the occasional slip-up gets ignored or explained away.

      The First Amendment seems prescient and quaint at the same time now. It takes more effort to seek out and validate alternative sources, even using old school techniques like short wave radio, pamphlets, samizdat or other seeming relics of the Cold War.

    2. Polar Socialist

      Just an nuance, but technically Vyborg was not “stripped” of it’s original inhabitants – they just left. Neither the Finns or the Soviets cared much about the population when drafting the peace treaty.

      When it finally occurred to the parties to deal with the matter of the population, it turned out only 1-2% of the population had remained and Molotov dryly noted that the issue was obviously moot.

      1. Alex

        That’s true, every case is somewhat different.

        I was in Vyborg in the good old times when half of St Petersburg went shopping to Finland on weekends and the Finns went in the opposite direction. For their benefit the directions at the Vyborg’s train station were also written in Finnish.

        Somehow there is very little appetite in Finland for reclaiming lost lands – or in Russia, for that matter, for incorporating Finland back into Russia. Even after the Winter war and the Finnish participation in the siege of Leningrad.

      2. Berny3

        My grandfather’s family lived in Vyborg, and the story I heard from his children was that the Finns knew they were going to lose their homes and decided to leave before it got ugly. However, as they left, they burned the houses and other structures, and destroyed whatever crops were in the fields.

  11. mrsyk

    In other news, El Pais has a recent article on fraud in the world of scientific publications worth read. Spanish university administrator and colleagues linked to ‘factory’ producing fraudulent scientific studies. the lede, The engineer Rubén González Crespo, one of the most cited researchers in the world, and other academics in Spain claim to be victims of a sketchy Indian professor. Together they have 16 retracted papers NC linked to the referenced unmark article this past June 24, Links.

    Why don’t Americans trust scientists?

  12. Darthbobber

    Read the tunnel piece, which I note ends with the italicized notice “with input from agencies”.

    I’ll go down this rabbit hole, since it seems to be a topic of the day for the hasbarists. (this is the 3rd place I’ve run into substantially the same take, each time emphasizing similar points).

    One thing it does is to encourage people to see what Israel is obviously doing above ground (detonating massive HE and thermobaric bombs on civilian targets) as REALLY having a military purpose below ground.

    And we get the obligatory reference to Hamas preferring to locate it’s entrances near schools, hospitals and mosques to avoid detection by the IDF. (Source: the IDF). So clearly when they hit such targets it’s entirely because of this.

    This fails the laugh test, as there’s no magical cloaking technology deployed by schools, hospitals, and mosques that defeats the actual means of surveillance (aerial, satellite, and informers) used by the IDF and it’s backers) any differently than some other building.

    While there clearly are tunnels, I’m inclined to doubt that there’s a network anything like as extensive as the more hyperbolic “experts” hypothesize. I recall that during the silly season leading up to Iraq War 2.0 there was a period when a massive network under Baghdad was offered as the real location of the massive ongoing WMD program and this was offered as an obvious explanation of why the inspectors weren’t finding anything up above. It even featured in one of Tony Auth’s more regrettable cartoons, with sinister looking rag heads chortling down below while the inspectors above looked all befuddled.

    You’d think from the writeup that scarcely a month went by without gunmen bursting out of a tunnel in the midst of a settlement, but in fact there seem to have been 3 or 4 incidents over the course of 2 decades. And I think only one of those actually involved the bursting out of “gunmen”.

    Really massive underground construction isn’t all that easy to hide from the level of surveillance known to exist.

    Lastly: from Iwo Jima to Vietnam to Mariupol it has proved possible to attack underground networks with ground troops without suffering prohibitive casualties. (the Chechens in Mariupol had already cleared large sections before the Russians decided to seal off the remainder and wait out the remaining defenders) It’s slow, painstaking, and scary, but it’s not undoable. (Unless, of course, one is so casualty averse that going through the civilians to obliterate everything is preferable).

    1. hk

      “Unless, of course, one is so casualty averse that going through the civilians to obliterate everything is preferable.”

      I wonder if all the talk is to justify doing this, rather than reflection of actual worry about “real tunnels.”

  13. Tom Stone

    I’ve been following the Biden Corruption scandals since Hunter’s laptop surfaced and the biggest takeaway I have is that the US DOJ/FBI has not just been in bed with the Democratic Party/ Biden’s they have been sharing a toothbrush.
    The Fibbies have known the laptop was legit for 4 years and the violations of the FARA act revealed are blatant and the payments from foreign entities have been well documented.
    Including persons and entities with close connections to the CPC and PLA (Ye Jiangmin and CEFC)
    The blob was fully aware of the corruption when Brandon got the nomination and they were and are fine with it.
    The 2024 “Election” will be just as much theatre as the last two until Newsome becomes the latest hooker to inhabit the crib at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  14. MaryLand

    This could be a rough holiday season for retailers. Out of curiosity I checked a couple of online deal sites during the recent Amazon deals days. (I didn’t buy anything!) I thought it was significant that among the usual consumer goods and lower level luxuries were things that were needed just for basic living. I saw cans of soup, yes soup, as hot deals. There were $10 pairs of pants in thin woven fabric styled like sweatpants. Men’s underwear and toilet paper also were featured deals. I guess between having little money and being aware of the world situation those necessities are extra necessary. It might be a lean Christmas, but underwear and TP could show up under the tree. And cans of soup for stocking stuffers!

  15. Camelotkidd

    Sometimes an Orwell quote says it all. “Everyone believes in the atrocities of the enemy and disbelieves in those of his own side, without ever bothering to examine the evidence.”

    1. caucus99percenter

      Even when the world catches the U.S. dead to rights committing an atrocity — like the time when, for instance, U.S. forces shot up the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz — Washington just reverts to its fallback position of plausible deniability. “It was an honest mistake somewhere in the chain of command. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, we would never do such a thing intentionally.”

    2. eg

      Swift had it sussed first in Gulliver’s Travels with the tale of the war between the Little Endians and Big Endians …

      1. witters

        God, I love that man.

        When the Dean died he funded two things: the first public lavatories in Dublin, and the first mental asylum in Ireland.

  16. jrkrideau

    A Cartography of the Unknowable

    I have heard stories of academics in the social sciences being told not to write so plainly but this is amazing.

  17. panurge

    “Israeli Ground Forces Get Cold Feet? + Ukraine War Updates ”

    If true, it is rather worrying so many armies are converging over there: Greece, Syria, Jordan, NATO planes from UK and NL, not to mention the 2 carrier groups…. Turkiye has become so unreliable that Cyprus was preferred instead? While they are at, it maybe the guys occupying eastern Syria need restocking as well…

    “The entire empire is mobilizing;”, yikes.

  18. Wukchumni

    Three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Bakersfield has adopted new rules saying it will not enforce future health orders related to masks, vaccines and social distancing.

    In a 3-1 vote Wednesday, the City Council took the unusual step of approving a resolution, not an ordinance, to not enforce COVID-19-related mandates. Council members Eric Arias, Bob Smith and Manpreet Kaur were absent.

    The resolution states that following “injustices in the form of overreaching government imposed mandates during the pandemic,” the city will not enforce any COVID-19-related mandate or impose penalties where it has jurisdiction. This includes future requirements for masks, dining restrictions and vaccines.

  19. playon

    Social media traffic –

    Twitter/X just this week started removing headlines from posts, which definitely has a negative effect. If you want to post a news story it is extremely frustrating to see no headline on the post, only a photo. I’m not sure what the purpose of this is?

  20. Willow

    Lets be very clear about the Israel/Hamas conflict. The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is the third most holy Islamic mosque. It is under guardianship of the King of Saudi Arabia. The Ultra-Orthodox desecration of the site is against all Muslims, Sunni & Shia alike. Desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque is both root cause and trigger of current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Understanding this provides insight that the Hamas conflict is an outcome of global Muslim anger not the source of the anger. Which means Israel/Hamas conflict is a small part of what could be a much greater conflict (and Iran is not the central player) that has been brewing over Israel’s takeover of Jerusalem’s Islamic holy sites (fundamentally existential) rather than the Palestinian issue by itself (humanitarian/political).

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