Links 11/11/2023

The Secrets of Cat Evolution Have Finally Been Revealed ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

Effort bias: Why we overvalue fraternities, exclusive clubs, and Taylor Swift tickets Big Think (Micael T)

Retro walking — or going backward — is good for you, experts say CNN (furzy)

Cutting of Entrapped Metal Penile Ring With Diamond Cutting Disk and Mozart Improbable. Micael T: “Sex and engineering may be the way to boost vocational training?”

Doctors Complete First Successful Face and Whole-Eye Transplant Scientific American


Aussies urged to wear masks in lead-up to Christmas as Covid cases skyrocket


Pakistan is planting lots of mangrove forests – so why are some upset? NPR (David L)

Alarm Bells Sounded For Greenland’s Ice Sheet, After The Collapse of 3 Ice Shelves ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

One Huge Contradiction Is Undoing Our Best Climate Efforts Atlantic

Sand Mafias Battle for the New Gold Natilus (Micael T)

The First Small-Scale Nuclear Plant in the US Died Before It Could Live Wired (Kevin W)

India and Pakistan choked by heavy smog, forcing closure of schools, markets, parks ABC Australia (Kevin W)

Indonesia Floats Southeast Asia’s Biggest Solar Plant For 50,000 Homes Interesting Engineering

California Home to First Direct Air Capture Carbon Removal Facility in the US Bloomberg (David L)

What does a Jordan Peterson conference say about the future of climate change? Apparently we’re headed towards ‘human flourishing’ Guardian (Kevin W)


Nvidia’s Great Wall of GPUs: China’s Hoarding Spree Toms Hardware

Old Blighty

UK regulator details plans to police online behavior RT (Kevin W)

Rishi Sunak faces Tory civil war as he holds off sacking Suella Braverman Guardian (Kevin W)

Fallout From Catastrophic Ukraine Depleted Uranium Explosion Reached England Sputnik (Kevin W)


Disease, Thirst and Hunger Spread In Gaza / How Erdogan Could Help Ian Welsh (Micael T)

Macron calls on Israel to stop killing Gaza’s women and babies BBC. Lead story.

Blinken says ‘far too many Palestinians have been killed’ in Gaza Anadolu Agency. The handwaving is offensive.

* * *

‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 35: Tanks besiege Gaza City hospitals as Israel ramps up attacks on medical centers Mondoweiss

Putting this link here even though it has commentary on Russia too: SITREP 11/10/23: Israeli Economy Buckles, Russia Breaks Through in Avdeevka Simpilicius the Thinker

Note the contrast between Simplicius in his take on how well (not) the IDF is doing in clearing Gaza so far with Jacab Dreizin. Simplicius contends that the IDF has hardly deployed infantry and therefore has not engaged Hamas much; Dreizin says the IDF has so much drone cover they don’t need to expose infantry. From a day ago and with a Daily-Mail-on-steroids headline starting with: Israel makes broad move inland from Gaza coast, widely reported to be in immediate vicinity of 3 hospitals ranging from Shifa in “central” Gaza City to the Nasser

A Few Notes On The War On Palestine Moon of Alabama. Kevin W: “Check out the Craig Murray tweet.”

* * *

‘Nowhere and no one is safe’ in Gaza, WHO chief tells Security Council News.UN. BC: “Includes summaries of various national positions.”

Mossad, CIA chiefs discuss Gaza hostage deal at Qatar talks France 24 (furzy)

* * *

Biden’s ‘personal attachment to Israel’ fuels its massacres in Gaza Aaron Mate

New Not-So-Cold War

Transcript of 7 November interview with WION on Putin’s likely successor Gilbert Doctorow (Chuck L)

Russia may downgrade diplomatic relations with US, senior diplomat says TASS (guurst)

Moody’s cuts U.S. outlook to negative, citing deficits and political polarization CNBC (furzy)


Secularism in Iran aeon (Micael T)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

BC is very unhappy with the surveillance implications of this device. Twitter fortunately on balance not enthusiastic:

How a Tiny Pacific Island Became the Global Capital of Cybercrime MIT Technology Review

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why Do We Let Israel And Ukraine Wag The US Dog? Responsible Statecraft

Crisis Update: How -Isms Make War Moneycircus (Micael T)

‘Terrorist’ economy: Washington is prepared to create a new financial disaster for the whole world RT. Kevin W: “Misleading title.” Moi: More than that. There is no evidence that the Treasury market is in trouble in this piece (as in sloppy auctions). 5% for long-dated bonds hardly anomalous by historical standards and the Fed is not done with its tightening operation. The Chinese have shifted from buying Treasuries to slightly higher Agencies. SAMA, Saudi Arabia’s central bank, has cut Treasury holdings….as its sovereign wealth fund has been buying them bigly. That is not to say there might not be trouble in Treasury auctions, but the various factoids don’t establish that.


Jill Stein launches a long-shot Green Party presidential campaign, bringing back memories of 2016 Associated Press. Kevin W: “Didn’t she burn up a lot of Green Party funds after Trump won in 2016 trying to challenge him with recounts on behalf of Hillary?”

To help 2024 voters, Meta says it will begin labeling political ads that use AI-generated imagery Associated Press (Kevin W)

Shutdown Drama

US House Republicans plan shutdown-averting measure amid credit warning Reuters (furzy)

House Republicans Clash Over Spending Days Ahead of Shutdown Deadline New York Times (furzy)

GOP divisions force Mike Johnson to punt on spending bills Axios (Kevin W)

GOP Clown Car

A List of Times Republicans Said Things Worse Than Rashida Tlaib—but Weren’t Censured New Republic (furzy)

Mike Johnson Flies Christian Nationalist ‘Appeal to Heaven’ Flag Rolling Stone (furzy)

Democrats en déshabillé

F.B.I. Seizes Eric Adams’s Phones as Campaign Investigation Intensifies New York Times

How McConnell helped engineer Manchin’s exit Politico (Kevin W)

Our No Longer Free Press

Jezebel Will Shut Down, Parent Company Announces New York Time (Dr. Kevin)

Forget the S&P 500. Pay attention to the S&P 493 Economist (Dr. Kevin)

The Bezzle

Elon Musk told SpaceX workers not to wear safety clothes because he doesn’t like bright colors: report Business Insider (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Something is amiss in Iowa Art Cullen (Chuck L). More important than anodyne headline suggests.

Citi fined $25.9M for discriminating against Armenian Americans after government probe Yahoo (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “How a tiny Pacific Island became the global capital of cybercrime”

    Not really a problem this when you stop to think about it. As no significant land is more than two meters (6.6 feet) above high water of ordinary tides, that means with rising sea levels that this will be a self-liquidating problem. As Australia has just signed a deal to take in the entire population of Tuvalu as sea levels rise, I am sure that we can take in the 1,500 people that live on Tokelau as well. Then maybe Joost Zuurbier and his entire operation can move to another Pacific island. How about Bikini Atoll?

  2. notabanker

    Thought I’d throw this into the link pile. Scotty can be a bit obnoxious and opinionated, but he’s also worked on cars, including modern ones, for over 50 years. Has some interesting takes on expensive EV’s, Cruise robo cars and the new cybertruck. Hard to argue against him.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Still grinning. Like listening to Popular Mechanic’s Gus the Mechanic go on a James Howard Kunstler rant.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Cutting of Entrapped Metal Penile Ring With Diamond Cutting Disk and Mozart”

    Not so unusual a problem this and happens from time to time. I have an book called “The Making of a Surgeon” by William A. Nolen and in it he talked about his time in the genitourinary services. He said that they kept a ‘trophy board’ which had on display a variety of metal rings or tubes into which men had stuck their old fellas only to discover later that they could not remove them and needed medical help to do so. One drunken couple outdid themselves when the woman jammed a plastic stirring rod into her partner’s flaccid member to provide it with ‘backbone’ but which not only sobered him up immediately but jammed there forcing him to come to the GU ward. And when did these events all happen? About fifty or sixty years ago.

    1. KLG

      I read that book when thinking about medical school, for about three days. It was all the rage with premeds back in the day. According to a former medical student who recently finished a residency in urology, the urology service at the large teaching hospital still keeps a display of such trophies. One of which is the car from a Monopoly game. Ouch. Some astonishing things get stuck up there.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        YIKES!! that vid made me squirm and tighten my sphincter – a Dr friend who when an ER doc always had tales of weird stuff people put up their nether region, never had one of these tales to tell –

        1. ChrisFromGA

          I agree; that image is going to require eye bleach. Intentional infliction of emotional distress!
          Well, I did knowingly choose to encounter the risk.

          My favorite stories are from the ER workers who have to remove certain objects inserted into patients butts. I wonder if they give them back to the patients? Prizes for largest object?

          1. Playon

            A friend’s brother worked in the ER of a Seattle hospital and had stories – would you believe a flashlight?

              1. ambrit

                My favourite is from my Mom’s friend of many years who was a RN at a big hospital in South Florida. Her best one was the night some very freaked out guys bought their friend in to the ER with the top of a coatrack stuck in a very fundamental part of his anatomy. Dremel tool to the rescue! She said that the ER crew couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of the poor fellow being lifted out of the back of a station wagon, two to carry him and the third to hold the base of the coatrack.
                Her most common “entanglement” was teens with tangled braces.
                Then there was the case of the piezoelectric lighted butt plug. It seems the item kept slipping out, so the idiot applied some super glue. Hilarity ensued.

      2. Michael Fiorillo

        I’m going to really date myself here, but back in the brief counter-cultural/hippie era of “underground newspapers” – the East Village Other, San Fransisco Oracle, – there was a sex advice columnist who went by the nom de plume of Dr. HIPpocrates, and my pubescent brain soaked up many such stories (many of which, oww, I think/hope were contrived) from his column. I also remember a quasi-fanciful piece in the ’70’s Village Voice where the doctors were helpless, and it was the maintenance guy with a bolt cutter who got the job done…

        1. ambrit

          I always perused the back pages of Dad’s copies of Screw Magazine. (Why do parents think that they can hide anything from the kids?)
          There really was a Velvet Underground, and not just the band.

          1. KLG

            Does it make me a bad person to remember who Al Goldstein was? The rack behind the counter of the newsstand (RIP, where I bought my first copies of Dissent, Working Papers for a New Society-Bob Kuttner IIRC, Partisan Review, The Public Interest, Democracy-Sheldon Wolin, and National Lampoon’s High School Yearbook) a half-block from the main entrance of my university stocked Screw Magazine and a host of “lesser,” more ephemeral titles…

            1. Allysin Chaynes

              Al Goldstein said in an interview towards the end of his life that he wished he had learned how to love a woman. I recently read “Randy West” of Up and Cummers fame say much the same thing.

              West (now largely retired and living in Las Vegas) was one of the guys who gets the girls into the porn industry when they’re still naive about the whole thing. Eventually they end up “spit out the bottom” of said industry, as Jerry Seinfeld said in his typical gleefully callous way (Seinfeld was referencing actresses in general).

            2. B24S

              Not at all. At the time we were all witnesses, if not actors. I sold Screw (only occasionally, it wasn’t really in high demand) while I was a manager at the New Yorker Bookstore news-stand while still in high school, in the late ’60s, when the Zap Comics bust went down. I wasn’t on shift, thankfully.

              Around the corner was the guy my friends dealt weed for. You’d go up to his apt. and he’d be playing cards with the cops. Not just patrolmen, Looies and Caps.

    2. playon

      Several years ago I was chatting with the nurse during a prostate exam and she regaled me with a horror story about a guy who waited too long to have a ring removed… he ended up losing his ah membership as it were. She said it was one of the worst things she had seen.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      when wife and i were first goin out, i talked her into wandering on the mountain out back nekkid(yeah)…and i brushed against a mesquite branch, of course, and got a little tip of thorn stuck on the side of mr johnson.
      various drawing salves failed…as did duct tape(!!), and it didnt seem to be infected anyway…so why bother the doctor,lol.
      20 years later, the by then long-encysted thorn tip(perhaps 1/64″) worked its way to the surface, and i was forced to deal with it.
      my doctor buddy laughed uproariously, and local anesthesia(!!!) and a sharp scalpel, and it was gone.
      still…nurse holding said member very still was one thing…doctor buddy with a frelling knife was another thing entirely.
      the moral(?) of the tale?…be careful runnin around nekkid in thorn country.

    4. B24S

      I did NOT look at that video.

      My son, the soon-to-be-RN, is currently an ER Tech, and his older brother is a PA in a different ER. They get to deal with all sorts of “interesting” things. If they ask if you’d like to see an x-ray, the correct answer is NO!!

      A few years ago the Tech was christened “Frodo, The Ring Bearer”, by his fellow staff, after helping a patient out of a, uhh, jam. I believe it was titanium, and took well over an hour to cut. He had to work slowly, as the metal got rather warm during the procedure. And no Muzak to hum along with, just the moans of pain.

  4. notabanker

    The translate functions of that humane AI, (what a horrible name), is pretty nifty star trek stuff. That would be extremely handy traveling overseas. I’ve used a tablet to do the same, but it’s clunky and limited. Too bad you have to trade your digital identity and biometrics to use it.

    1. QuarterBack

      Is it just me, or did the presenters have the demeanor of Bond villains? I couldn’t help but laugh when he said “make me sound more excited”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Their demeanor is probably due to the fact that both are ex-Apple engineers. Did a bit of checking and found that these two – Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno – are actually a married couple but I felt that the performance of that device is what you would expect in a laboratory setting and under an artificial setting. Is it worth it? At $700 a pop and about $300 a year for a subscription? For some people it would be and it would not be so intrusive as those old Google Glasses for example. But if they ever developed a working service where you could shout into it. ‘Scotty, beam me up!’, I might be even tempted myself-

        1. ian

          The first thing I thought on watching (only about 2 minutes of) the video was “This is the Google Glass of 2023″… let’s see if it’s as successful as that

      2. XXYY

        The sad part was that the “excited” version sounded exactly the same. Someone should break the news to this guy that you don’t sound excited by just saying “I’m excited” in a bored sounding voice.

        I suspect the origin story for this device was that when this dude was 8 years old, he got tired of everyone saying “you need to sound more excited” every time he gave a speech in school.

        “Someday I’m going to invent a little box I can carry around with me that will make me sound more excited,” our 8 year old protagonist groused.

    2. MaryLand

      Not too different from current hearing aids that act as digital assistants. Of course without the display in the hand.

  5. ambrit

    Sign of the Times Department.
    Weaseling around YT, I noticed an ad, located atop the right hand column highlighting “employment opportunities” in the Border Patrol. Pictured is a twenty something black woman in uniform. The blurb mentions “…up to $20K in recruitment incentives.”
    The psychology of advertising is endlessly fascinating.
    My question is, why now?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’d be asking myself if the purpose of an expanding Border patrol would be to keep people out – or to keep people in.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>I’d be asking myself if the purpose of an expanding Border patrol would be to keep people out – or to keep people in.

        It could be in anticipation of the future. The Border Patrol can use the 100 mile wide border zone to search almost anyone. While there are some limitations due to the tattered remnants of the Fourth Amendment, and it is not just the Border Patrol, it is the most likely to be the one who will do everything from asking questions at a surprise checkpoint tens of miles from the border to strip searching, cavity surveying, x-ray taking search because “reasons.”

        Even the most corrupt and powerful local police and DAs will have their case tossed by almost any court, no matter how “law and order” friendly, at any level for doing what the BP routinely does. Of course, if the BP and the local police are in a “task force,” the sins of the local police tend to get washed away.

        This is just a theory with nothing in words to back it up, but when I look at the actions of the law, both by the courts and the many, many police agencies, it hangs together. It rather like how the DEA, ATF, and lately the FBI, tend to use civil asset forfeitures as cash grabs from anyone who has money, jewelry, or any expensive easily disposed of property, but do not have enough connections or sheer wealth to fight back; usually, the victims are not charged with any crimes, which means all the legal cost of entire, often labyrinthine, multi year process of proving their property actually “innocent” of any crimes worthy of their seizure is on them. The searches tend to be of travelers or other convenient, likely, high value, targets.

        And yes, state governments like California also have aggressive programs for the seizures of ostensibly abandoned safe deposit boxes. And then there is the seizure or excess use of inherited wealth of the disabled under SSI being “managed” by local and state agencies… Really, it is different from the various municipal, state, and federal agencies, but the more I look, the more grifting I see, and almost always upon those disadvantaged in someway, either to replace revenue after tax cuts or just straight up robbery.

        1. ambrit

          I saw recently that the State Supreme Court in Indiana ruled that people suing for return of their “seized” assets are now able to demand jury trials. Previously, civil asset return cases were judge trials, about as crooked an arrangement as you could think of.
          See, Steve Lehto:
          “Power corrupts. Financial power corrupts eternally.”

    2. griffen

      Maybe the incentives are necessary, particularly in those deep south Texas border cities where the summer temps are going to roast you where you stand. I’d be leery of the fine print on such “incentives” though…sounds a bit good to be true perhaps.

      Alas, maybe it can serve as a bedrock for the start of a career. I saw something recently for the South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources, espousing a starting salary above $50,000. I think that was posted for like a state park ranger or a similar role. Beats the Waffle House as job options go.

      1. Tom Doak

        Certainly requires a college degree or maybe even a graduate degree to apply to the Dept of Natural Resources, so they are just trying to help rationalize all of the students racking up debt.

      2. Wukchumni

        Walked into the Panda Express in Visalia and on the front door was a plea for plebes making $20 an hour, and $100k + bonuses for a GM, and they are the epitome of fast food when it comes to hot plate cuisine on the quick.

        ‘I’ll have the #8, Kung Pao Pay’

        1. tegnost

          40,000 a year puts you in which aca tranche…no doubt those worker raises are going to be clawed back through other means….the more you make, the more we take, until you reach the corporate promised land at which point you no longer have to pay for anything!
          I don’t have any evidence of this happening, but I feel it must be.

      3. Lex

        I won’t speak for SC, but in Michigan the barriers to entry for most state jobs is exceedingly high. I applied to the lowest level position at the department of transportation management and budget (they do all the state construction and demolition). 13 years of high level experience in the field and two DTMB project managers who’ve worked with me recommending me. Didn’t get an interview because I had the wrong college degree. (Obtained in 1997)

        1. LifelongLib

          I’m a retired state government employee (not Michigan). FWIW back in the day when I was applying for state jobs I was advised to describe my education and experience using the terms in the job descriptions. The applications would initially be reviewed by personnel clerks with no knowledge of the actual jobs, so they were looking for applications that appeared (based on wording) to match the job requirements. If you got through that part of the process you would hopefully be interviewed eventually by people with who actually knew about the work.

    3. flora

      Why now? Wonder how many long time Border Patrol agents are burned out (and fed up) with the open border de facto policy and are quitting or retiring in numbers? Or maybe they’re retiring because they’ve reached the retire-with-pension age, (usual after 20 years of service for military, LE, and fireman service, I think). The neoliberal mantra “Make govt small enough to drown in a bathtub” has left many many govt agencies shorthanded for years. A wave of retirements always seems to the agency heads by surprise. No younger people in the existing pipeline, in the interest of financial efficiency, don’t’cha know; older longtime employees can always be loaded with more work that new, younger hires once did. / ;)

    4. Lee

      From my home town:

      “The City of Alameda (California) is paying out the largest recruitment incentive that we’re aware of at MakeMyMove. In order to staff the Alameda Police Department, the city is paying new Lateral, Academy Graduate, and Entry Level Police Officers up to $75,000 in signing bonus while funds are available.”

  6. timbers

    F.B.I. Seizes Eric Adams’s Phones as Campaign Investigation Intensifies New York Times

    Wonder if other Mayors and officials who have publicly criticized Biden on immigration will also be “seized” by FBI. It’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw this headline last night.

    Maybe Trump should ask Adams to be his VP running mate. Might throw a lot sand into the wheels of “justice”.

    1. griffen

      Some of this reads like the plot to the Tom Cruise film “Jack Reacher”…foreign construction firm moves into town and starts muscling in on contracts and makes the local leadership “happily available to help” via bribes and blackmail.

      A construction firm with Turkish origins…the parodies write themselves.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I’d expect a general/NSA advisor to have Turkish connections but a former top cop/NYC mayor?!

    2. Pat

      Acccck. I am mezza mezza on Trump. Like him better than Biden and Hillary but that is an incredibly low bar. None should be anywhere near the White House, even as a guest. Much as I feel for Adams having lost the protection of the Democratic Party, he really is as corrupt or even more so then Clinton but actually makes her look competent. If we have to have Trump please save us from Adams as a running mate.

      And I don’t know how he triggered the “investigation”, but I would bet he is being used as a warning for the other politicians who are facing migrant overload. The thing is without tangible and significant help from the federal government and Joe Biden it doesn’t matter what they say or do. It is still going to damage or kneecap Biden in those areas.

      1. tegnost

        Two friday news dumps in a row leaves me wondering whats up. Above mentioned a warning to other mayors so maybe it’s that…it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I dunno. So many cans kicked down so many roads for so long. We’re going to see a lot of resignations and indictments in the coming months, many of them simply to distract us from still worse scandals.

          The levels of corruption in both parties right now is breathtaking.

          1. Screwball

            The levels of corruption in both parties right now is breathtaking.

            I couldn’t agree more. I think it was yesterday, the new Speaker made a statement along the lines of “not enough” evidence to impeach Biden. Is there really not enough evidence, or not enough votes? They said they didn’t have any democrat votes. Did they really expect any? I wouldn’t. So why bother?

            As much as I would like to see all the evidence come to light, and the chips fall where they may with Biden’s corruption – I never once thought it would happen. IMO, the corruption and money laundering out of and through Ukraine over the last X amount of years is probably enough to put half of DC behind bars for years – both parties included – if we had a nation that cared about the rules of law. But we don’t.

            Like everything else out of the DC cesspool, this is just another in a long line of BS and theater. These people suck beyond the wildest dreams of even cynics like me.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              You’re misunderstanding what Johnson is and has been saying: they don’t have the evidence because the Biden administration is illegally stonewalling requests and subpoenas for documents Republicans know exist thanks to very high quality whistleblowers in the IRS.

              During Watergate it seemed like nothing would ever dislodge Nixon. Then suddenly he was gone. (But first they had to nudge Agnew out of the way ; )

              1. ambrit

                The Agnew reference is on point. I actually met him on a field trip to Washington many years ago. Not officially, but in a hallway, him and his Secret Service crew and me with some out of town school kids. The man was a good politician, make no mistake about it.
                So, what formerly ‘overlooked’ peccadillo of Kamala’s will be resurrected to force her to resign?

      2. Es s Cetera

        None should be anywhere near the White House, even as a guest.

        I would take that further, there shouldn’t be a White House at all. We’re not likely to see anyone worthy of power, ever, and all will inevitably abuse it.

        An alternative could be a digital direct democracy. Would be good for ending all wars too.

        1. ambrit

          Nothing digital can be secured completely.
          The nation is too big for Town Meeting style direct democracy. Perhaps some form of Anarcho-Syndicalism.

        2. Es s Cetera

          Yes, I agree anything digital can be gamed, one of the reasons why I had high hopes for blockchain before it got hijacked as a currency/stonk…

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Fear not, Adams’ criticism of Biden and federal immigration policy is the least of his worries: the guy is compromised down to the soles of his feet, and is in way over his head as an executive, spending his days attending third tier ceremonial events, one of which he had just left when the Feds jacked him on then street. He’s Jimmy Walker, minus the wit.

      Let’s also recall how Adams got into the Mayor’s office: Scott Stringer, the Comptroller and a decent (by debased contemporary standards) liberal/progressive was Me Tooed on flimsy evidence and forced out of the Democratic primary race, and the liberal/left vote was split by the presence of faux progressive ringer candidate – a landlord and charter school operator – Diane Morales.

    4. flora

      And I thought Nixon’s “enemies list” was bad. / ;)

      Tucker’s latest. Whether or not you agree with what this guy did, this delayed prosecution has a distinct political odor, imo.

      Ep. 38 The First Amendment is done. Douglass Mackey is about to go to prison for mocking Hillary Clinton on the internet. We talked to him right before his sentencing. Remember as you watch that this could be you.

      1. anahuna

        I actually watched that all the way through yesterday. Tucker kept characterizing Mackey’s internet activities as just “passing along jokes.” But something about that guy set off all sorts of warning signals. Expressionless face. Flat, emotionless delivery. And other less identifiable pings.

        Tucker kept going on about his being jailed for 10 years. Turned out it was 7 months, and he’s appealing. So I did a bit of searching to find out what he was actually accused of. He and the unnamed witness created websites imitating HRC official websites and targeted specifically at Black and Latino voters, instructing them that they didn’t have to vote in person, they could text in their votes to a number given on the website. At least a hundred did use that text number.

        Yes, the late timing of the prosecution and its motives can be questioned. Please, though, let’s not accept his and Tucker’s take on what Mackey actually did.

          1. Gertrude

            It’s not just another point of view, flora. It’s calling out a blatant lie by Carlson. This is a factual correction, not a different opinion.

              1. anahuna

                One link:


                1. Walter

                  Watched the interview, felt somewhat sympathetic to Mackey, but with many questions about the specifics. The image seemed to be awfully good if you were trying fool people into fake-voting, not so good as a joke. Mackey disclaimed knowledge of the origin of the picture, or of other “conspirators.” Mackey claimed the prosecution could find no one whose vote had actually been subverted. Carlson was obnoxious (his job).

                  I read the press release linked, pretty brief. Mackey had lots of followers, posted this picture, and another putatively aimed at latinx people. He made posts about limiting black turnout. 4900 people actually texted the number—Who? Hapless Clinton voters who got fooled, or fellow jokesters? Or somebody else? Is anything known about these callers, any FBI interviews? If Mackey was obviously pro-Trump, how did he influence so many Clintonites? Perhaps the Twitter algorithm presented this tweet, but none of his others, to large numbers of Clinton supporters? Hmm…

                  This quote gets/bugs me: “As proven at trial, between September 2016 and November 2016, Mackey conspired with other influential Twitter users and with members of private online groups to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages that encouraged supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to “vote” via text message or social media…” I’m too lazy, old and tired to go through the whole transcript. Maybe it is “proven at trial.” Maybe it ain’t. Thanks for the link, though.

                  Sorry for long blather. Why do I never have anything but questions? I think I’ll go beg one.

              2. Gertrude

                Yves, what tone you are inferring from my simple post?

                One can listen to the “Tucker” clip that has already been linked to above and readily confirm, as anahuna correctly stated, that “Tucker kept going on about his being jailed for 10 years.”

                anahuna then said, “Turned out it was 7 months.”

                Simply putting this Mackey guys name into a search engine yields many enlightening results. Here is that evidence:


                anahuna then goes into more detail about what actually transpired. Here are a couple links from the above duckduckgo search that are relevant, one from and another from the NYT:



                This is just a cursory examination of the evidence presented, and already “Tucker” et al are mammoth liars.

                Incidentally, I am fiercely independent, so my looking for the truth here is not because I have any love for HRC or the democrats. I do not.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  The point is our standard is to provide links or other supporting evidence (quotes from books). They were not provided until I made a challenge. No evidence = mere assertion.

                  You effectively said that flora take the comment on faith or do homework the person making the claim should have done. You initially doubled down on an unsubstantiated assertion in getting sharp with flora. The onus is on the person making the claim to support it. Flora was CORRECTLY depicting the statement as made as opinion. You getting sharp (and you did) with her about that was not warranted.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Mackey is an economic researcher. They tend to be flat and emotionaless simply as a matter of professionalism. Also admits to being guilty of having a “dry” sense of humor. Deeper into the interview Carlson loosens him up and he interacts very normally and laughs normally.

          Carlson includes a clip of HRC grossly misrepresenting Mackey’s actions, mischaracterizing this schlub as an algo mastermind. #grotesque

          Arrested by FBI agents who would not tell him what he was charged with over four years after his “crime.”

          Carlson clearly states “you could spend ten years in prison.” Later Carlson says “face ten years in prison.”

          Please post your other links as nothing in the interview gave me concern. Your conclusions obviously are based on other sources of information. Please share them as I love to read about First Amendment issues.

        2. Es s Cetera

          I’m sorry but I have to say you’re in very dangerous territory if expressionless face, flat emotionless delivery, sets off “pings” for you. People do have performance anxiety, mental health issues, or may have speech impediments, may be on the spectrum, etc., or in this case may have had a legal team advising him to be super cautious in his responses.

          Every thing else you’ve said is valid, but that bit really worries me…

          1. anahuna

            Sigh. I confess that I tend to rely on intuitive responses. They work well for me. When I try to come up with some”objective” equivalent, I run into trouble, as I clearly did this time.

            So, forget the”expressionless” stuff and just assume that I smelled something “off” about Mackey.

            In case you’re wondering, I don’t automatically discount Tucker. He’s sometimes quite useful and gleefully energetic in sniffing out hypocrisies. To my eye and ear, this wasn’t one of those times.

      2. SG

        Umm, according to the DOJ website, Mackey a/k/a “Ricky Vaughan” is going to prison for this:

        [O]n November 1, 2016, in or around the same time that Mackey was sending tweets suggesting the importance of limiting “black turnout,” the defendant tweeted an image depicting an African American woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign. The ad stated: “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925,” and “Vote for Hillary and be a part of history.” The fine print at the bottom of the deceptive image stated: “Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by Hillary For President 2016.” The tweet included the typed hashtag “#ImWithHer,” a slogan frequently used by Hillary Clinton. On or about and before Election Day 2016, thousands of unique telephone numbers texted “Hillary” or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which had been used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by Mackey and his co-conspirators.

        This is not quite the same as “mocking Hillary Clinton on the internet”. It is, in fact, election fraud. I suppose one might argue that Bernie Madoff’s fictitious financial statements were an exercise of his First Amendment rights, too.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          One of my most embarrassing Twitter moments came after I groused about people abusing Sam Elliot with fake quotes. I discovered that no one took them seriously and that it was obvious that I didn’t either. That was about ten years ago.

          The fake notice originated on 4Chan or Reddit I forget which. It was a joke. Mackey posted their joke on Twitter where the context was less obvious. Four years later he gets arrested.

          Nothing is election fraud if there’s no reasonable expectation of anyone taking it seriously. Not speaking to you directly here SG, but generically Democrats have lost their sense of humor. It seems to have disappeared right about the time the neocons climbed aboard. No one connected with the party should want anything to do with these kangaroo court conspiracy theories.

          If you didn’t watch the video, a guy Mackey has never met who was more active on the original site was pressed by FBI agents and snitched on Mackey as the whatever exactly it is he is supposed to be. Virtual snitches are now for reals.

          Politically speaking, there’s more than a whiff of AI logic to all of this flim-flammery with maybe some overtones of mimsey borogoves and a hint of someone being jabberwocked.

  7. griffen

    Walking backwards…maybe so on flat terrain and the treadmill in a home or gym setting. “If you fall outside, it’s less dangerous.” Hard to take such a statement at face value without laughing my arse off so early this Saturday. \sarc

    Walking backward outside might work except if you are on an actual trail with small rocks and pebbles to slip on, falling leaves during autumn also, and then all those nasty roots from surrounding trees which could wreak some real havoc on the joints. Yeah it’s perfectly safe to walk backwards.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m good with conventional forward motion when putting one leg in front of the other and then alternating.

      I’ve yet to see somebody retreating to the front in the backwards of beyond, as its difficult for the lay of the land is anything but straight and narrow, its downright crooked often.

      Walking backwards on some trails might be a bit hazardous, for instance on the way to Hamilton Lake in Sequoia NP there are numerous sheer drops of say 400 to 700 feet were you to stray off the beaten path.

      Plus, you’d look like a dork.

    2. Craig H.

      Flat smooth level clean path is an absolute requirement. Even then if you haven’t practiced it a few times you will have to learn how to walk straight.

      It is a great movement with all those caveats.

      Knees over toes guy on youtube has video of his 60 year old mom pulling a weight sled backwards. In the center of a spacious and fully unoccupied gym.

      1. SG

        Many boxers turn around and jog backwards occasionally during their roadwork to help build agility and balance.

    3. Lexx

      We’re really built for forward motion. More room is allowed for in tailoring to account for this fact. More room at the front of the armhole than the back.

      However, we do a lot sitting and our backsides atrophy with age and lack of mobility. Walking backwards works those muscles.

      Nay nay to the treadmill though. I’ve tried it and it didn’t go well… unless you have guardrails to catch your balance. Ours didn’t. It’s actually easier outside and I highly recommend leaning into steep inclines. Go slowly emphasizing each lunge and you’ll get more out of it. I was in better shape when we lived at the top of one of most steeply graded streets in the city.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      During my 3 days in RASP (Ranger Assessment Selection Program), one of the exercises we had to do involved running backwards up a hill while carrying another soldier on our shoulders.

      I couldn’t believe I did it as well as I did. But I guess when Charlie’s shooting at you and you’re trying to rescue your wounded battle buddy, High Ground is essential.

    5. Amfortas the Hippie

      hell. this sounds like the whole “breadcrusts give you cancer” nonsense(my brother hasnt had bread with crust for years).
      …what are they selling?
      sporty shades with rearview mirrors?
      or some high tech version thereof?

      i’m, of course, doing good to walk forward.

  8. The Rev Kev

    ‘Korobochka (コロボ) 🇦🇺✝️🇷🇺
    Hezbollah is really burning down all the monitoring stations, leaving the border completely open. Two decades of construction, 10s of billions of dollars, completely gone.’

    I think that Bibi is going to have to ask old Joe for another $18 billion. Remember the hundreds of billions thrown the Ukraine’s way the past two years without any accountability at all? Going by the disastrous effects on the Israeli economy as reported by Simplicius the Thinker, I really do think that the same will have to happen for Israel as well and they too will need a coupla hundred billion from Uncle Sam in the next year or so. You read it here first. That $18 billion was just a initial down payment.

    1. Wukchumni

      Once again the Bizarro World parallels to the collapse of the USSR & a far away ally are in play here…

      Isn’t this tantamount to the Berlin Wall being being breached back in 1989?

      With the difference being that the Berlin Wall kept people in and the Gaza Wall kept people out~

      1. tegnost

        Just wait until the us working class, of all heritage, start emigrating to the steppes for the job opportunities, freedom, and gmo free bread…We’re gonna need a bigger wall…

    2. .Tom

      What is Simplicius saying here:

      … there are certainly factions within the deepstate that are likely pushing for the situation to escalate, particularly because their top-echelon financial cabal globalist overlords demand for them to incite a major global war in order to reset the spiraling monetary system.

      There’s a lot in there that’s completely glossed over. I am unfamiliar with this idea. Who specifically are these top-echelon financial cabal globalist overlords? Does Warren Buffet want a world war to reset the spiraling monetary system? How does a major global war reset a monetary system? How can that reset me managed so as to favor the cabal? I have so many questions.

        1. SG

          I will confess to being a little oversensitive about this right about now, but to my ears it sounds more like one of those old antisemitic dogwhistles that have been circulating since Amschel Rothschild was selling fabric in the Frankfurt ghetto. I’m surprised he didn’t use the phrase “rootless cosmopolitans” while he was at it.

          1. ambrit

            Ah, I do remember the “Rothschild World Conspiracy” CT very well. It was, and probably still is big in New Orleans. Most there will bundle it in with Nelson Rockefeller and the “Trilateral Commission.”
            I view the continual “Evil J—s” theme as a diversion of attention away from the more basic ‘class’ issue.
            Growing up in my teens on Miami Beach, I noted the large ‘tranche’ of poor J–s. Lots of older widows and couples scratching a meagre living off of various sources. The richer J–s treated even their fellow co-religionists as “marks” for various schemes and tricks. It became apparent that the real “problem” was class, not race or ethnicity.
            I can see the phrase “rootless cosmopolitans” being used to describe the Gazans soon.
            There is nothing more dangerous than a religious fanatic. Any religion.
            Stay safe.

    3. Gregorio

      I wonder if we’ll also hep Israel pay for their subsidized university educations and health care?
      Just because we can’t have nice things doesn’t mean we can’t help our friends have them.

  9. pjay

    – ‘Why Do We Let Israel And Ukraine Wag The US Dog?’ – Responsible Statecraft

    Anyone who does not acknowledge the Ukraine war as part of the long-term US/NATO project to sever the growing ties between Russia and Europe and destabilize/Balkanize Russia itself, a project that simply picked up steam after the collapse of the Soviet Union, does not deserve to be taken seriously. Anyone who does not understand how the West nurtured the forces of anti-Russian hatred both in Ukraine and in the diaspora since WWII for this very moment in history does not warrant our attention in any “responsible” discussion of policy. Wagging the dog? Bulls**t! Is the Ukraine destroying itself in this process? Of course, but we don’t give a s**t any more than we cared about the destruction of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. We used the forces of Ukrainian “nationalism” like we used the jihadists against the Russians in Afghanistan.

    Israel is a different creature. We have been using each other since the 1960s. But the “Israel lobby” has developed multi-leveled means to influence US policy, to the point where there seems to be no real resistance. Here a “wagging the dog” metaphor makes more sense. As the article points out, we could demand the genocide end tomorrow if we had the political will. We don’t. Let’s study why that is.

    1. tegnost

      yesterday ray mcgovern said something to the effect that if israel were the 51st state they’d only have 2 senators. Now they have 100…

    2. Eclair

      Yeah, pjay, ‘we could demand the genocide end tomorrow if we had the political will. We don’t. Let’s study why that is.’

      Could be that the US policy of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and sporadic racial violence, has been so successful. We’re Number One! Or we were, for a brief shining moment. And we are still a force to be reckoned with, boo hah, bring on those naval carrier groups! And keep those WMD-packed C-17 Globemasters flying eastward!

      The Seattle DSA is organizing a demonstration this afternoon in Westlake Center downtown, calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to US military aid to Israel. Have not been to a mass demonstration since pre-Covid and the huge march by the striking nursing staff of Swedish Hospital. That had repercussions.

      1. Joe Renter

        Right on! For years the the Pro Palestine supports have been down in West Lake center. Usually on the weekends.
        I spent a couple weeks there during “Occupy”.
        My gut turns knowing what is happing in the ME right now.

    3. Tom Stone

      I found volume 1 of Whitney Webb’s book “One Nation under Blackmail” enlightening when it comes to US support for Israel.
      Highly recommended.

      1. .Tom

        Webb is great. But I admit that reading books like that is very difficult for me. So much detail, so many names, so hard to fit it all together in my mind.

    4. Feral Finster

      Finally, someone who makes sense.
      Russia and China are not natural allies, in the sense that each has what the other wants and can best get via cooperation.
      Russia and Germany are natural allies. The United States has invested a great deal of effort in ensuring that this alliance does not come to fruition.

    5. Procopius

      It was pointed out by David Halberstam, in The Best and The Brightest that politicians in Washington thought Ngo Dinh Diem was their client, i.e. they had power over him. In fact, as hard as they tried to “rein him in,” he had immense power over the United States. The same has been true of every weak politician the U.S. has supported. Once we’ve publicly supported them we are terrified of losing credibility if we “backtrack.” Netyanhu publicly displayed his contempt for Obama, and I have to agree with him. I wonder if Putin has the same problem with Lukashenko.

    1. griffen

      Yes I’d concur. Almost as warming to the mind and heart as hearing in 2022 when CA Rep. Nancy Pelosi read from the book of Matthew…”when I was hungry and needing shelter in America, you sent money to Ukraine…” I am sincerely joking about Nancy though! \sarc

      That short anecdote sounds like a common sense sort of thing, and Hepburn learned a valuable lesson from her parents that day. Common sense not being what it once was, however. Just ask the American children not on Medicaid anymore, thanks to Joe Biden.

    2. marcel

      Read a book many years ago that said there is a verse in the Koran that says moreorless: “what you give is won forever; what you keep for yourself is lost forever”. That verse, and the rest of the book, learned me the “art of giving”, and I can’t count the smiles I’ve received since that day. Practicing is even better than reading.

      1. Cancyn

        Reminds me of a story of a Buddhist nun who wanted to get rid or most of her possessions and once she’d gotten rid of books, dishes, clothes, etc. she was having trouble dealing with her art and more prized possessions. She’d given away one ceramic piece to a dear friend, then her house burned down and everything else was lost. The only beloved piece still in existence was something she’d given away.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Her father certainly had a lot of grace. He gave that guy and his family that money in a way that did not look like charity but the father knew. He probably never forget to the end of his days. Much respect.

    4. Jeff W

      From the tweet:

      “Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.”

      That act of kindness probably meant far more to the father than his family actually seeing the circus, too, I bet.

      1. Randall Flagg

        Regardless of how or where the story originates, to me the important part is the anonymity between the fathers and how it remained that way.
        I remember a conversation from years ago with a client I was building a house for.
        She mentioned that in her religion TRUE charity is given anonymously. It takes the ego out of the act.
        I think about that when I read in the news about the new wing on a hospital being named after so and so, or drive by the latest new building going up on the Ivy League campus here. Is the donor stroking their own ego having their name plastered up on its side ( I know, I know, possibly buying entrance to the school for their child)?
        By the way, there IS a building on the campus with the name “Anonymous “ on it. I always smile when I see that one.

        1. Wukchumni

          We keep about a year’s worth of canned, bottled and dry foods, and initially its an insurance policy against the Great Pumpkin showing up-or some other malady, and then it turns into an anonymous gift for the community as the use-by dates get close or go past by a few months.

          I’ve made 3 trips to the First National Foodbank of Three Rivers in the past week, disgorging goodies to those in need of sustenance through a clever deposit slot on the C-Train there.

    5. Brian Beijer

      Yes, it reminded me of a time when the average person was cut from a different cloth than what they are today. A time when people thought in advance as to how to give someone a gift without needing to take credit. A time when people fought, I mean really fought, and were willing to die for what they believed was right. I remember learning in my early 30s about the battle for some town near Chattanooga during the Depression. It was a real battle between the citizens who were tired of the corruption and economic inequality against the police and even military. As this was a town near where I grew up, I remember thinking, “Wow! Here’s an example of everyday people who decided enough was enough, and they did something about it”. I was never informed by any history teacher nor any adult of anything like that happening, not even by my grandparents who lived through the Depression. It’s as though, at some point, most of scoiety agreed that it was better if everyone decided that to “go along to get along” was the better way. And now, we have the end result of that.
      I don’t want to over-romanticize the “average person” during that time. Although my grandmother was an amazingly accepting person who didn’t care one wit about one’s race or sexuality, my grandfather was the type who could walk past a black person hanging in a tree and not have a second thought about it. Strangely, as the house they bought in the 40s slowly became an all African-American neighborhood, my grandfather continued to be a respected neighbor. Even the literal gang members next door were polite to him as he eventually “updated” his racial terminology in the 2000s. By that I mean he updated it to the terminology used in the early 1960s. He was the original Archie Bunker.
      By the way, I searched and searched Google for the name of the town in that battle, but it seems that even mentioning real battles during the Depression has been Googled away.

      1. Jen G.

        I found something about a ‘Battle of Athens’ in 1946, where WWII veterans and others from the towns of Athens and Etowah in Tennessee rebelled against the ‘political machine’ of Paul Cantrell, a minion of E.H. Crump, who controlled the state from Memphis. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘McMinn County War.’
        Cantrell was a state senator and a sheriff at times, who along with his deputy, engaged in massive voting shenanigans and electoral fraud. They also implemented a fee system that involved random ticketing for things like drunkenness, by pinching random tourists and people unlucky enough to be passing through. That’s just the surface, definitely worth reading about in full.

      2. digi_owl

        What is lacking is community. Back then people traveled less, several generations lived within the same municipal region, and they gathered at church or whatever at regular intervals. Thus they knew they were not alone, if one of them struggled there would be help.

        Ever since the whole Arab Spring thing, and how much western media keep claiming that it was Facebook et al that caused it, i can’t help myself think that Facebook is not a enabler, it it a pacifier. It allows people to “engage” without leaving their home or office.

        Because i swear events in say Egypts only really kicked off after the government cut access to the net. Because now people had to step outside and actually talk to their neighbors etc to learn what was going on.

        Lately i have seen articles about “third spaces”, particularly for men, where one can gather without it being directly related to family or work.

        And thinking back, the enlightenment rose out of such a third space, the coffee house. Where mostly men would gather far into the night to talk and read.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Funny you should mention coffee houses. I have a scifi story that talks about them and how they changed our civilization, more specifically coffee. ‘Coffee created modern capitalism; coffee created political discourse; it caused the Enlightenment, the American and French revolutions, more. Coffee destroyed the world that existed before its introduction.’

          With coffee houses, political discourse was taking place AWAY from elites who could not control it. For the price of a cup of coffee, anybody get set forth an opinion or a line of thought – anybody. They could talk about the news, spread new information, have new ideas considered, especially by dissenters. They became the garden beds of not only the American revolution but also the French one. Coffee houses gave us Voltaire.

          Coffee houses became the place where merchants and businessmen met and talked. ‘In London a coffee house called Johnathan’s became so popular with stock brokers that in time it became members only and changed its name to the London Stock Exchange. Edmund Lloyd’s Coffee House became Lloyd’s of England and created the global insurance market.’ Lloyds List, the first daily paper, was produced in Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House. Political parties, insurance companies and the scientific symposium were also born in coffee houses.

          1. digi_owl

            I was aware of Loyd’s, and why they to this day have a somewhat idiosyncratic system for insurance.

            And there are a whole lot of amusing history about them coffee houses. Like the wife that curses one such place for taking away her husband. Because rather than coming home to her after having had a few beers, he is gone all night discussing all manner of topics because that devils brew keeps him and the rest awake and alert.

  10. KLG

    Art Cullen’s description of rural Iowa is the inevitable consequence of neoliberal industrialization of agriculture. Nothing to see here, move along: “Who owns Iowa? Koch Enterprises and Bayer.” Not much different anywhere else where (most of) our food is grown.

  11. Quentin

    ‘We can forgive [the Arabs] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with [the Arabs] when they love their children more than they hate us…’

    Golda Meir

    May good old Golda rest in the peace she and her successors denied the people of Palestine.

    Her statement is a bitter complement to the White House having the balls to say too many civilians have been killed. Someone needs to ask Blinken, Kirby and the rest of the old boy’s gang run by the thug Joe Biden how much would be just enough or too little?

    Blinken’s reference to Jewish heritage when he went to Israeli to show US support was disgusting: he went as the representative of the USA not as an abrasive cheerleader for Israeli’s activities.

    1. NN Cassandra

      I think this sort of reasoning, where Hamas knew that Israel will do exactly what it’s doing, thus it’s all Hamas fault and it shows how barbaric they are compared to “us”, has flaw. Namely, it works only if one accepts that Israel and West are total psychos who can’t control themselves, one provocation and they, like clockwork, will unleash ethnic cleansing with solid attempt at genocide and don’t even ask if what they are doing may not be self-destructive, especially when they are just following Hamas script and apparently proud of that. Just totally compulsory move to the point where everyone is expected to know this is what they will do, and so the onus for it is on the others.

      It then becomes interesting question, if they really are such easily triggered war psychos, what strategy to choose to defeat such adversary when you are just insurgency?

      1. Feral Finster

        I doubt that there is anything so planned, simply a desperation move by people with nothing left to lose.

  12. Rolf

    This struck me, from Aaron Maté’s piece:

    While embarrassing for Biden, [US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs] Leaf’s admission [that the official casualty figure from Gaza is likely an undercount] will assuredly have no impact on his support for Israel, or on his self-image. According to the New York Times, aides to the president now report that he “believes history will remember him for how he defended democracy against forces of chaos, terror and dictatorship.”

    I continue to be amazed at the absurdity of our president’s delusions. Breathtaking, but it seems not uncommon within inner circle. Apparently “defending democracy” requires the incineration of children. These people are ghouls.

    1. Neutrino

      This part of the Biden movie makes me want to fast-forward to those family subpoena testimonies. Hunter, Jim and a supporting cast getting their star turns, only to be ignored by CNN and the rest. Not many cue cards for them to read so they will have to stick with the one about taking the Fifth.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      According to the New York Times, aides to the president now report that he “believes history will remember him for how he defended democracy against forces of chaos, terror and dictatorship.”

      These are the rantings of a man in the throes of increasingly severe dementia. If he did say that, does he even know he’s supposed to be talking about israel at all, or is he just mindlessly repeating the vague, meaningless political speak that remains in what’s left of his brain, and has sustained his “career” for 50 years?

      It’s long past time for the people of this country to recognize that the united states of amerrica is leaderless and adrift. The ideological inmates have taken over the asylum. The so-called congress cannot see past its need to express sufficient fealty to israel in order to keep its jobs, and the vaunted, so-called “justice” department has gone mia.

      netanyahu welcomes this profound and undeniable weakness, and is taking advantage to accomplish his lifelong dream of Palestinian extermination and perhaps save himself in the process. I have no doubt other world leaders see the weakness too and are capitalizing on it. I can only imagine the opportunity they envision when they hear “serious” talk of a biden “reelection.”

      The urgent, overwhelming need for americans to believe that nothing has changed, and this country still functions as they have always been led to believe it does, will be its undoing. The “convenience” of blaming all bad things on Trump has overtaken our good, common sense, and blinded “us” to our reality.

      I cannot help but believe that “our” denial does not bode well for the future of this once great and promising country.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Indeed. Biden’s brain may be addled to the point where he no longer recalls what day of the week it is, but let’s take a look at those two “democratic” regimes he’s defending:

        (1) Ukraine: literally just cancelled elections. Imprisons it’s citizens for speaking Russian or sends them to the front for speaking Hungarian.

        (2) Israel: has a President who is under indictment and only able to remain free by staying in power. Sends helicopters to gun down civilians in Gaza and possibly their own citizens in the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre and response.

        The lack of ability to reflect and apply logic here is simply stunning. But I don’t blame dementia; look at over half of Congress essentially saying the same thing. It’s a mass derangement episode.

        1. Daryl

          > (1) Ukraine: literally just cancelled elections. Imprisons it’s citizens for speaking Russian or sends them to the front for speaking Hungarian.

          Yeesh, I had missed that little gem. Says “now is not the right time for elections.”

          “Now is not the right time” is also a favorite phrase of politicians over here discussing why now is not the right time to do something sensible.

      2. digi_owl

        That and entering adulthood in a time of plenty and in a nation isolated from anything happening in the world. Him, and the rest of DC, has lived in a massive echo chamber their whole lives. But now the post-war windfall has been spent and then some, but they still live as if they have the biggest and most badass army in the world and an unlimited line of credit.

  13. Louis Fyne

    Nvidia’s Great Wall of GPUs: China’s Hoarding Spree Toms Hardware

    my understanding is that the hoarding is only a stopgap.

    US sanctions has been a spark that is driving Chinese tech self-reliance. (self-aware) Chinese developers are not counting on access to Nvidia’s CUDA architecture in the future.

    Nvidia designs the best graphics/data center chips but the gap with its Chinese co,petitors is closing rapidly.

    a twitter acct i like to follow re. chinese domestic tech

  14. Louis Fyne

    –‐-Simplicius in his take on how well (not) the IDF is doing in clearing Gaza so far with…? –‐-

    amazing how we live in a time when anonymous accounts with classical-era-homages or anime avatars provide as good or better punditry than the “credentialed” experts.

  15. Wukchumni

    Why Do We Let Israel And Ukraine Wag The US Dog? Responsible Statecraft

    Damned straight!

    Why not the Bahamas & Saint Pierre and Miquelon instead?

    It’d be simple to get to the battlefields and transportation would be so easy even Mayor Pete could handle logistics.

  16. .human

    Catastrophic Ukraine Depleted Uranium Explosion Reached England

    Actual blowback! I’d laugh if it weren’t so apocryphal.

    1. Kouros

      This is what you meant?

      (of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I think it’s meant in the original sense of “private”, “non-canonical”. As in not accepted by the authorities as part of the official narrative, and thus available only outside of the canon – in the privacy.

        Actually, I’ve never before have seen (or heard) it used to depict doubtful authenticity.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Here’s an example:

          “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Not only is this famous Everett Dirksen quote probably apocryphal. Dirksen’s own Republican Party has …

          Here “probably apocryphal” is shorthand for something along the lines of, “Dirksen probably never said those exact words; rather, they were misattributed to him by others after his death.”

    2. digi_owl

      Second time now a explosion in Ukraine has spread radioactive crap over Europe.

      Maybe Putin is right saying they can’t be trusted with anything radioactive.

  17. Carolinian

    re wag the dog–what if the dog turns out to be a Chihuahua. Simplicius:

    Firstly, there are factions in the gov’t which are likely split on what to do. The Zionist/Neocons of course will throw their considerable weight around and make sure the U.S. military is backing Israel at the least defensively, to create a shield around them ‘just in case’.

    I’ve already opined before that all this may be a bluff, however there are certainly factions within the deepstate that are likely pushing for the situation to escalate, particularly because their top-echelon financial cabal globalist overlords demand for them to incite a major global war in order to reset the spiraling monetary system. But those voices would still technically be the minority and for the most part drowned out by the vast fear presently being conveyed from the bowels of the entire establishment. For the most part, much of the force posture may simply be brought about by pressure to act within an understood role, so as not to appear weak—but in reality, much of the U.S. establishment fears potential escalations.

    One suspects this is right. Indian Punchline claimed the US is about to attack Iran due to the arrival of a US nuclear sub in the theater but the Bidenistas seem to be more rightly described as in deer/headlights mode. The plan is there is no plan.

    At least I hope that’s true. In fact we should extend our passivity to not being involved at all and letting someone else fuel the Israeli war machine (once it was France–they flew Mirage fighters).

      1. Carolinian

        The Responsible Statecraft link is making the same point as Simplicius. Biden even attended an Israeli cabinet meeting as though he was only there as the Minister for War Supplies. If current thinking by our DC elites holds that it’s “all about the PR” then a huge PR disaster is unfolding for the US as well as Israel.

        And I’m a passionate dog lover but think the dogs themselves may be happier when bred to back up their wolf derived DNA. But perhaps that’s taking anthropomorphizing too far.

        1. digi_owl

          The whole of western politics has been all PR and marketing since the days of Clinton and Blair. Supposedly they used marketing techniques like focus groups to figure out their campaign slogans.

      2. Don

        I don’t know, the only dogs that our (Bengal) cat has ever backed off from are chihuahuas, and they are the only dogs brave enough to try to nip him. Pitbulls, dobermans, huskies, German shepherds, all just lie down submissively — or cross the road. (He doesn’t hurt them though, just the occasional no-claws whack upside the head if they’re too rambunctious — he likes big dogs.)

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ben Ehrenreich
    Still unable to digest the fact that Israeli snipers were purposefully targeting children in the ICU of a hospital today. Looking through the sight and pulling the trigger, again and again and again.

    Not really surprising this. Think about the reports the past two years or so of Israeli snipers deliberately shooting people in the ankles and knees to turn them into permanent cripples or shooting medical staff. About a decade ago it came out that sniper graduates were being awarded a t-shirt for completing their course. It featured a pregnant Palestinian woman with cross-hairs over where the baby is and the text below it read ‘1 Shot 2 Kills.’ Lots of other Israeli units were being awarded this t-shirt as well-

    The most moral army in the world my a**. To modify a Vietnam war-era chant ‘Hey, Hey, IDF; How many kids did you kill today?’

    1. JBird4049

      I have read some sick stuff especially with Vietnam as the American military is prone to such things, but this is just vile. Nice to see how effective Israel’s own propaganda has been on itself.

      But I do not recall any official approval or program for the selective shooting of civilians especially of the old, young, sick, and female during World War Two or Vietnam by anyone. I am sure it was done by individuals against civilians often with unofficial approval of officers in the field especially in Vietnam, but the openness of the Israelis with cruelty is very disturbing. Again, there are always war crimes and the dehumanization of the victims is damn near universal, but such blatant, smug, and open sadism, not really a thing I have seen before. It brings an extra level of horror and shame, does it not?

      I guess some people have decided to look into that abyss without fear or even a thought of becoming it, which will lead to not only their own destruction, but of many others as well.

      1. Feral Finster

        Of course this is standard Israeli practice. They will continue, unless and until they get consequences for such crimes.

        So what does anyone propose to do about it?

        1. ambrit

          Start with a full oil embargo. Most of Israel’s oil comes through Turkey, so it’s a win-win for Erdogan to do it.

        2. i just don't like the gravy

          I prefer to live without radioactive particulate everywhere. I will leave the tough choices to somebody else.

    2. Tom Stone

      American Police have been trained by Israeli’s for years, remember the crackdown on “Occupy”?
      Straight out of the Israeli playbook.
      Aerostats with all the latest gear ( Gorgon Stare, etc) were deployed during the Floyd protests, their capability to perform persistent full spectrum area wide surveillance is impressive.

  19. Lex

    The fog of war in Gaza is too thick to make out much or separate fact from fiction. It’s all indirect analysis. The conclusions that can be drawn, however, are unfavorable for the IDF. It is clearly losing men and equipment at a rate it isn’t prepared to absorb, even if the official loss reports from the IDF are 100% accurate (I suspect they are not). The lines of IDF “control” in Gaza haven’t moved much, and they’re not really entrenched in the urban areas of Gaza City. Sending a few tanks and APCs into central Gaza is not establishing control of those positions.

    Even if we discount a fair portion of the Hamas videos that have been released, the context is relevant. An IDF armored vehicle drives along a street or stops; Hamas fighters manage to get within 100m via an alley, courtyard or from within the ruins of a building; and then fire an RPG. The range makes the RPG more effective than it might otherwise be. And it doesn’t even need to necessarily destroy the vehicle or kill its occupants to be effective. This is an insurgency against a conscript army (mostly). Developing fear and uncertainty for the IDF soldiers is a fairly powerful weapon. And it appears to be working because there’s little indication that the IDF is deploying infantry units alongside those armored vehicles.

    The IDF has to be casualty averse and the same strike with 15-20 infantry troops near the vehicle is a recipe for killed and wounded, with difficulty of extraction. But you can’t clear a building or hold it with tanks. Drones are an advantage, but they won’t have the same effect in Gaza as they have in Ukraine.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Yes, we do know that Israel has been losing commanders, which means either that they are getting battered on the streets or that Hamas is good at identifying command positions.

      We do know that IDF is pulling older Merkava 3s from storage which could mean they’re getting battered or they’re expecting an escalation soon.

      We do know that IDF soldiers leaving their vehicles will get fired upon immediately by small arms fire which could explain why we don’t see any unmounted. One wonders, though, how does one locate and destroy a tunnel system while staying inside those bulky anti-tank targets. As Simplicius states, if Hamas had Kornets like Hezbollah does, Israel would have lost this war already.

      1. vao

        either they are getting battered on the streets or Hamas is good at identifying command positions.

        Or a third possibility: the Israeli grunts are so totally out of their depth in the kind of operation they are involved in Gaza that the IDF is forced to put experienced officers right on the front line to keep cohesion and ensure a minimum of tactical sensibleness at the lower echelons. Which of course puts them in the firing line with an unusually high probability.

        This being said, I am not so sure things are going that disastrously for the IDF. The Israeli forces seem to be progressing slowly, but that might indicate they are proceeding methodically (even if that means destroying everything in their path before advancing). In a sense, I suppose Israel is betting on the civilians breaking down before the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other assorted militias are defeated, and thus achieving victory indirectly. This fits with the very targeted bombing of hospitals, bakeries, water distribution points, energy supply, etc.

        1. Kouros

          It seems then that the Israeli commanders are braver than the Ukrainian commanders, who don’t know and are not known by their troops…

          1. Polar Socialist

            I do recall the late Uri Avnery writing on several occasions how the IDF officer corps was (and is) suffering from extreme toxic masculinity – the Israeli version of machismo that has often lead to stupid decisions and needless killing and dying.

            1. The Rev Kev

              That extreme toxic masculinity went right up to the top. I read an Israeli complaint a few years ago how very senior Israeli officers regarded the female members of their staff as part of their ‘harem.’

    2. R.S.

      Jacob provides a somewhat strange argument that
      …[HAMAS] videos of attacks on Israeli hardware have NOT included video of RPG launches from INSIDE buildings (at least, undamaged buildings), likely means buildings … have all been cleared …, AND anyone who enters them is surveilled and bombed almost instantly

      To me, it’s that HAMAS just got some basic training. The afterblast from an RPG7 booster is not that bad, but it’s not a joke, esp. when firing from inside a closed space.

      It doesn’t mean the IDF are doing particularly badly, they just got involved in an urban combat, which tends to be nasty. I gather their tactic is to exploit the huge disparity in weapons and numbers. HAMAS apparently has some mortars, probably a number of ATGMs, but that’s it.

    3. Louis Fyne

      the latest Hamas video release is wild…fighters (who don’t,look like the Hamas 1st tier troops) getting within 20 meters of IDF tanks and disappearing into alleys.

      standard disclaimer: we are seeing curated footage, anecdote not data.

      But the IDF cannot win in Gaza with standard western, conventional military doctrine

  20. Will

    With MoA claiming an air strike deep within Lebanon by the Israeli Air Force,

    this recent interview with the senior foreign affairs reporter at HuffPo is maybe a comedic palate cleanser. Goes into some detail on what’s going on within the US administration namely how its all being run by a small circle within the White House lead by Biden. Apparently, the president feels comfortable personally crafting policy because he is a Middle East expert. Or at least believes himself to be.

    To be fair, this is only one of three theories for why policy experts from State and elsewhere are being ignored. The others are that (1) the Middle East was not a priority and so the usual infrastructure for dealing with the area was never put in place, and (2) moral outrage regarding Oct 7 is overriding everything. All of this at about 3:50 of the interview. The rest is similarly grim hilarious.

  21. flora

    re: Something is amiss in Iowa – Art Cullen

    The Koch bros political action committe Americans For Prosperity (AFP) – the rabidly anti-tax, anti-regulation outfit moved in on Iowa 15 years ago and got a foothold in the statehouse with its supported political state candidates. This is the result. Same thing happened in Colorado 20 years ago. The Coloradans got tired of failing public schools, bad infrastructure and no state services and the Koch AFP-backed candidates started losing elections. Colorado kicked them out, as they say. It’s happened in other states where the AFP promise a glorious future withlow/no taxes and low/no regulations, and privatizing the state’s Medicaid programs. What the states get is what Colorado got and what Iowa has now. Iowa voters will kick them out eventually. People actually want good schools for their kids and good roads, and a decent Medicaid and public health service. Who knew? Seems to take somewhere between 8-12 years after the AFP pols (in both parties) start ruling the statehouse for the kick-out to begin. Here’s hoping Iowa is beginning the kick-out.

    1. flora

      Personally, I’d rename Americans For Property to something like ‘Snake Oil From Billionaires’, or to ‘Billionaires For Billionaire Prosperity’, in the interest of truth in advertising. / ;)

      What happen in Colorado, in Kansas, and now in Iowa is instructive.

      1. flora

        Adding (and now I’ll stop): people got tired of watching the statehouse run by ALEC statehouse politician passing ALEC’s “model legislation” bills using the clever trick of gut-and-go: pass a reasonable bill, send back to committee for refinement, where the committee deletes all the passed bill’s language and substitutes the language of a “model legislation” while keeping the passed bill’s title and number intact.

        Here’s the most recent info on the Iowa statehouse pols who are members of or associated with ALEC.
        List is approx 10 years old; ALEC stopped publishing its membership and model bills a few years ago when regular people became aware of what it was/is doing.

        (I’ve taken up enough bandwidth. It’s an important topic: all states statehouses are targeted by AFP.)

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Go long, it’s a good topic.

          My last campaign my first time around was for a candidate trying to stop Terry Branstad from becoming Governor of Iowa.

          Current Gov. Reynolds was his running mate and Iowa is still paying for that 1982 Republican win which ironically was greatly aided by two Des Moines Register columnists who monomaniacally hyped Branstad’s challenger’s personal state tax returns (no errors but the Democrat’s husband had used shelters to lower their taxes which inflamed the Register columnists who refused to let the issue go, referencing it over 80 times in the five months leading up to the election).

          Same Des Moines Register that busted its butt to block Bernie in ’16 and ’20. Just sayin’.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Iowa native who moved back to Davenport 3 years ago, after 30 years in the East. From your keyboard to Dog’s ears, but I am not hopeful about a “kick-out”, mainly for the same reason I find national politics so hopeless: the only potential opposition, the Democrats, are completely fake.

      When I hear people complain about IA governor Kim Reynolds, I have to remind them that in 2018 when she first ran, the Democrats put up against her the CEO of a Des Moines insurance company — founded by his grandfather, natch — who was also president of an NYC financial firm. On a purely political level, just looking at the numbers, this was destined to fail. There aren’t enough PMCs in Iowa to elect a candidate like that, not on the Democrat line at least. Most voters Democrats have to appeal to are down-to-earth people: teachers, service workers, farmers. Still some professionals and some industry left, but not enough to control an election.

      And as for optics, this was a bloody stupid choice. Iowa governors have mostly been home-grown, and (like everywhere else) mostly lawyers who went into the legislature. Few Iowans ever go to prep school or work in New York law firms. They didn’t inherit the presidency of their grandfather’s insurance company or the department store chain it owned.

      Bad enough for the Democrats to choose a candidate from Des Moines, which is Iowans’ favorite whipping boy just as NYC is considered by many upstate. But an insurance and financial exec on top of that? Not even New Yorkers love bankers or insurance execs — but at least there’s a critical mass of them and their supporters that they can appeal to each other for votes. Iowans? They probably hate banks and insurance companies even more than the average American, but don’t try and tell that to the national Democrats who are always sticking their noses into local politics with disastrous results. And after the familyblog-up with the designed-to-fail caucus app of 2020 and the follow-up acts by the DNC, Democrats have probably forfeited Iowa for the next generation. Certainly, I won’t be voting for any of them.

      If there’s going to be a kicking-out, it will have to be outsiders kicking out the legacy parties.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I’m thinking write-ins more and more. Skip the ridiculous hurdles and just campaign directly for people to commit to learning how to properly spell your name and where it goes on their ballot.

        Given sufficient numbers of write-in ballots, they would have to count them (they currently don’t and that’s a huge scandal in and of itself). Best thing is that dissidents in both parties could use write-ins to rein in their power crazed leadership. You can still vote for your party with a write-in vote. They get the vote IF they choose to count the write-ins.

        It also slows down voting increasing the demand for more (harder to cheat) polling places.

        Elections should be hard work for everyone if we expect to get good results.

        P.S. Painted a campaign office with Fred once back in the day. He had great stories about NYC jazz clubs which I loved hearing but yeah, what you said.

      2. Late Introvert

        Agree with everything here. The last Democratic governor to win was useless and now sits on Corporate Boards for the ethanol industry.

        I registered independent after the 2016 Iowa Cauc-ups and will not vote Dem’rat again in my lifetime. There used to be a few sane GOP pols but Kim Reynolds primaried them all.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      all such endeavors were spawned in texas.
      and it shows, if one but cares to look.
      but i see no sign at all of the perps being kicked out.
      mostly because nobody bothers to pay attention…let alone vote…save for Party True Believers(deus volt!)…whom are generally over 65 and well off enough not to notice the downsides to these bad ideas.
      also doesnt help that the “other party”…(ie: dems, out of power for 25 years)…is focused on abortion and various idpol nonsense…and are wholly on board with the war and rapine.

      1. flora

        The Dem party is now wholly owned by the so-called FIRE sector, imo; Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, aka the financialized economy. So of course the Dem estab have to talk about idpol or something other than the real world not-financialize and Main Street economy. They sold out there a long time ago./ ;)

        In Iowa the city of DesMoines is the heart of Iowa’s financialized industry: finance, insurance, and real estate.

  22. The Rev Kev

    ‘S.L. Kanthan
    🔥Brilliant move by China to work with Taliban in opening up strategic Wakhan corridor for trade!
    This 200×10-mile mountainous path links Xinjiang to Afghanistan — also part of Ancient Silk Road!
    Plus, this means direct path from Iran to China.
    Trade, connectivity, peace and prosperity!’

    Can you imagine doing such a trip? I mean, starting in China, traveling into Afghanistan via this corridor and then going all the way to Iran? It would be the trip of a lifetime and I can only imagine the people and the cultures that you would meet. Just looking at images of Xinjiang alone shows incredible vistas. A van. If you were to do such a trip, you would want to do it in a van.

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend was on as it turned out, the last chance trip for an American to truly overland from Kathmandu to Istanbul, in 1978.

      He did a slide show of his trip winding through Afghanistan & Iran. I remember they were holed up in Kashmir for a couple weeks on account of border tension or something like that. He rather enjoyed the idyll there.

    2. Polar Socialist

      My late step-father-in-law did pretty much something like that in the late 60’s. With some friends and a van they drove from Greece to Pakistan trough Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. Could be they were doing a travelogue for radio the first time, but he did return there several times.

    3. .human

      Yes, Rev. Thinking about that piece from a few days ago of the current lack of wonder. Such travels would be wondrous and something sorely lacking in this ” modern” world.

    4. Biologist

      Had a quick look at the map, the border follows mostly the high mountain ridges. Can’t really see how one would cross that border…

      I once travelled, mostly by train, from Europe via pre-Maidan Ukraine, southern Russia (Volgograd!) and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan (Samarkand!) and Kyrgyzstan. Then crossed into China (Xinjiang, Kashgar) over the Tian Shan mountains. Trip of a lifetime indeed! But I must try it in a van next time!

    5. Socal Rhino

      In similar vein, I just watched a terrific documentary about two guys who rode their motorcycles from Cologne to the Himalayas. Titled “Himalaya Calling.”

    6. Bsn

      And we were there for 20 years! We could have built that and made it a toll road. China would be paying us. But instead, we left many tractors, bulldozers and backhoes for the Chinese and Afghans to use – to build it! We just paid our house taxes :-(

    7. jrkrideau

      If you were to do such a trip, you would want to do it in a van.
      A van? No no, a bicycle lets you experience the countryside around you much better.

    8. digi_owl

      Over the years a pair of Norwegian comedians have done various trips like that all over the world. Their first was back in 2012, driving an old firetruck from Oslo to Mongolia as a donation.

      In 2018 they took a boat trip from St. Petersburg to Istanbul, trying to follow the same rivers that the Vikings may have used. During that they kinda ended up on the local news in Belarus thanks to getting their boat stuck while trying to navigate a particularly shallow and narrow section.

      Their latest trip, trying to go from Spain to North Korea, ended up being cut short thanks to the SMO in Ukraine kicking off.

  23. Eric Anderson

    I would like to watch the Youmna ElSayed post. But alas, refuse to link to that website. No way. No how.
    Am I alone in this?

      1. Eric Anderson

        Both, yes. Especially since it began not letting me in w/an ad blocker.
        Socially equitable mousetraps exist. Problem is, sheep don’t beat a path to their door.
        Surveillance capitalism: Winning!

        1. Alice X

          I have ad blocker+ and privacy badger. I get an alert on youtube occasionally that they don’t allow the blocker, I just click the X mark and the alert goes away, but my ab+ is still on.

      1. JBird4049

        Seeing the civilian bodies, even blurred, actually left to rot away and be food for the birds on the open freeway was a nice gut punch.

        It is nice to see our “allies” being so civilized, following the rules based order, and laws of war.

        Forget regular ghouls. We are ruled by the Nazgûl. I do wonder to whom they sold their souls to in exchange for power. It feels like the most plausible explanation.

        1. flora

          Goya’s etched prints from his ‘The Disasters of War’ series about the Spanish Civil War are the only thing that comes close to describing. Understand the prints you’re shown online from the Goya’s series are the “nicer” images and are nothing compared to the full series of prints, which include the most awful images imaginable left out of the online presentations.

            1. Steve H.

              The Disasters of War.

              > The first 47 focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811 – 12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and opposed both state and religious reform.

          1. JBird4049

            From what I have read, dying from thirst is a very unpleasant way to die. More so than hunger.

            Three days to die horribly from thirst.
            Two or three weeks from starvation.
            Although all those Palestinians already look very skinny.
            (In both situations, seeing your family dying as well.)
            Or in an instant with your family.

            I can see the woman’s point.

  24. griffen

    Mike Johnson flies three different flags outside his Congressional office, and one flag has it’s roots to the first days of what would become the US Revolutionary War. A pretty well summarized article, which could go in multiple directions but hues to the theme about why, or how, this flag has come to symbolize an evangelical Christian movement over the past 15 to 25 years. I find a lot of this to be in the crazypants territory, having been raised in a strictly fundamental (not Southern) Baptist environment for both church and education (all the way through completing a bachelor’s degree, I must add). I fear that many, perhaps, of these hard core believers actually want the Rapture Ready index to inch higher each year and are quite active in pressing the buttons to make it happen.

    “It’s the end of the world as we know it…It’s the end of the world as we know it…” as sung by REM.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Remember Southern Baptists split from the other Baptists over the issue of slavery. Even their LaHaye rapture nonsense is basically a story about Jefus protecting the whites and few special people who will get to fight it out against the forces of hell for the chance to serve whitey in heaven.

    2. Wukchumni

      A big part of the prosperity gospel is a shelf fulfilling prophecy…

      I was really hoping that his middle name was Evan, so I could call him ‘Mike Evan’ in homage to the previous Speaker, but Mike isn’t even his first name as it turns out, another fakir in our midst.

      He’s the perfekt fall guy for the Red Scare, a bible thumper’s bible thumper who wants to get it done with the Rapture, er the shutdown of the Federal Government.

      1. Socal Rhino

        It might be useful to recognize that strands of protestant christianity having in common things some find objectionable (prosperity gospel, Rapture) doesn’t mean they are interchangeable or come from the same place. By analogy, the US may have issues with Palestinians and Iran, but that doesn’t make Iran Arabic.

        The apostolic traditions being focused on the early believers depicted in the Acts of the Apostles, and the flag pointing back to the revolutionary origin of this country, I can see the affinity in symbolism.

        What catches my eye is the association of Johnson with Dominionists. As I understand them, they are Christian Nationalists and would be theocrats.

        1. Wukchumni

          You really hope that Joe & Kamala aren’t on the same small plane on a campaign swing through Iowa near Clear Lake, Mike being 2nd in line for the holy grail.

          1. Socal Rhino

            I don’t know. Unlike some Bernie enthusiasts who thought that capturing the White House in itself would be a game changer, the theocratic nationalists seem to be following the Federal Society game plan of infiltrating the power centers at every level. Actually probably a lot of overlap between the two groups.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      Whatever happens with Speaker Johnson, it wouldn’t hurt to note that he got in because he was the only plausibly honest man in a room full of thieves and collaborators. Despite his religious beliefs I have to think that the majority of the Republican base is thrilled by his ascension.

      Keep paying attention to what Johnson says vs what happens. Media will call out lots of Johnson defeats but I suspect at the end of this session he’ll have gotten everything passed that he could have possibly passed. I also suspect he loves having everyone pay attention to his religion while he busily goes about advancing his agenda which, at present, is to bring down Joe Biden.

      The enemy of my enemy is entitled to their personal space. At least for now.

    1. Louis Fyne

      i’ve always wondered if old school wool blankets were better than cotton/polyester-filled duvees for sleeping air quality.

      (whether cuz of dust mites or wool fibers v cotton, polyester)

      1. Bsn

        Well, at least they don’t “out gas” from the formaldahide. Bought a new bed recently and ran out of baking soda and Sunshine trying to get rid of the toxic odours.

  25. s.n

    Hezbollah’s Next Move
    Suleiman Mourad
    09 November 2023

    If the situation in Gaza deteriorates to the point that Iran shelves its negotiations with the US, the Gulf states sour on Israel, and Hezbollah’s base becomes convinced that the party is not doing enough, then this could be a trigger for Hezbollah to escalate. Likewise, if Israel decides to target civilians in Lebanon and causes major casualties, Nasrallah cannot be expected to stand by. For Hezbollah, military intervention is always a political strategy rooted in the arithmetic of gains and losses and the complex field of allies and interests. Its next move will not be decided by Iranian influence or Islamist ideology, but by the demands of pragmatism.

    1. Feral Finster

      Whom do they think they’re kidding?

      Iran and the Gulfie tyrannies are desperate not to get involved.

  26. Jason Boxman

    More COVID horror. This came up here at least a year ago in a medium? Post. So it’s not news, but worth repeating because of the seriousness.

    Antibody-mediated spike activation promotes cell-cell transmission of SARS-CoV-2

    It is a new study.

    Received: May 12, 2023; Accepted: October 30, 2023; Published: November 10, 2023

  27. Tom Stone

    I wrote my Rep Mike Thompson the other day condemning the Genocide taking place in Gaza and recieved what I consider a typical response.
    Mike has introduced a bill condemning HAMAS and assured me that he backs Israel unequivocally in their murder of Civilians.
    I’m a little slow sometimes and have difficulty in discerning the factors that make Genocide a good thing…
    perhaps if AIPAC sent some $ my way it would help.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      At least you got a response. My letter to my local Congresscrook seems to have gone into the bit bucket.

    2. Lefty Godot

      Ha ha! I got something like that from Elizabeth Warren when I wrote her to say I didn’t want us to get involved in any way or shape with Ukraine’s troubles, since Ukraine had no strategic value to us and was far from anyplace that did have such. So of course the letter that came back said how she would be standing 100% behind Ukraine’s brave battle against Russian aggression. Just the opposite of what I was asking.

      They should just send a generic email back saying, “We don’t care what you think. And there is nothing you can do about it!” That would be more honest and more accurate.

  28. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    Calls for a Waratorium were all for naught in the holey land, only up to 12 eyes for every lost Israeli eye now, they must pay!

    Our family went to Prague around the turn of the century and i’m walking with my dad and he points out a frankly nondescript wall 150 feet away and nonchalantly tells me that’s the wall where 10 people from Prague were lined up against and shot if a member of the Wehrmacht was murdered.

    He was 14 when the goosesteppers came in without knocking and 20 when they made their farewells. Nothing in my life even came close to resembling what he must have witnessed, but now I get an odd replay with the ersatz fascists.

  29. Jason Boxman

    From How McConnell helped engineer Manchin’s exit

    “I want to thank Joe because I think he and Kyrsten actually saved the institution. I think that’s the most important thing that’s happened in the last couple years,” McConnell said. “So I think for those who care about the institution, that’s his most important legacy.”

    No surprise from McConnell, that the purpose of “the institution” is to deny material benefits to the working class and stymie social progress.

  30. Geoffrey Dewan

    “Blinken says ‘far too many Palestinians have been killed’ in Gaza”

    Hey, Tony….Leaves one with the question of what would the “right” amount of Palestinians to be killed?

  31. Wukchumni

    For the benefit of money hiding
    There will be a bubbly time on financial trampoline

    The Winklevoss will be there
    Late of being an olympic rowing pair-what a scene!

    Over reason and value, hype and doubters
    Lastly through in lieu of real F.I.R.E.!
    In this way cryptocurrency will challenge the world!

    The celebrated money charade.
    Performs the feat online at this date

    The investors will dance and sing
    As 0’s & 1’s fly through the cloud don’t be late

    Cryptocaves assure the public
    Their mining production is second to none
    And of course Satoshi Nakomoto dances the waltz!

    The price began at a few bucks-5 or 6
    When Mr. Nakomoto performed his tricks without a sound

    And then the market will demonstrate
    Ten martingales it’ll undertake to confound & astound!

    Having been some years in preparation
    A bubble time is guaranteed for all
    And for now Bitcoin is an invisible thrill

    Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite. by the Beatles

  32. Carolinian

    From Kit Klarenberg–King Charles and Israel

    and appears to have had a paw in the expulsion of Australian prime minister

    In 2020, after a four-year-long legal battle, the Australian government released correspondence exposing how Queen Elizabeth II was instrumental in the ouster of Canberra’s radical left-wing premier, Gough Whitlam, in November 1975. The papers showed that then-Prince Charles was a core conspirator in the coup, coordinating directly with Britain’s governor John Kerr – who dismissed the Prime Minister – before, during and after.

    I’ve just been watching The Crown season five. Despite the cast change it’s better than I expected but seems to be trying to upgrade Charles’ image after previous seasons did the opposite (and he complained about it). A theme of the show has always been the dubious relevance of the crown to modern life and now it’s looking even more dubious.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>A theme of the show has always been the dubious relevance of the crown to modern life and now it’s looking even more dubious.

      I think that a monarchy is a poor form of government, but to be fair, it is often the quality of the individuals in an institution and not what kind of institution it is.

      Just look at the failing governments of Western Civilization right now. Regardless of the structures, it is failure almost everywhere.

    1. Daryl

      I’ll be headed to SF next week (for reasons unrelated to the big conference), though had I realized what was going on, perhaps I wouldn’t have signed up. It’ll be interested to see what “cleaned up” SF looks like, though I will probably avoid the city.

  33. XXYY

    Blinken says ‘far too many Palestinians have been killed’ in Gaza

    What would have been the right number in Blinken’s mind, I wonder. Evidently you get a free pass on some killed Palestinians, but then it becomes excessive.

    Maybe 100 dead Palestinians per dead Israeli is the Blinken Ratio ™?

  34. Tom Stone

    I went to a memorial service today and was the only one of @ 40 wearing a mask.
    Two people asked me why, and my answer was “Because I believe in science”
    One asked “How so” and we had a short conversation that may have been productive, the other person responded with “Asshole” and walked away.
    At some point reasonably soon a whole lot of people are going to drop dead in a big hurry for “Mysterious” reasons.

  35. Jason Boxman

    I’ve been curious when we’ll see Pandemic attrition in product and service quality. I ordered a carbon steel pan, arrived rusted. It was plain, so whoever packaged it somehow didn’t notice or didn’t care.

    Another report, both a brand new electric stove, oven doesn’t get hot. Broken. New sink. Leaks.

    What else, more vital, might be broken out there? Labor shortages? Labor damage? Combination?

    I wonder how long this will persist.

  36. Amfortas the Hippie

    adjacent to one of the links:

    “Completing the transition to a new paradigm of moral agency requires not a revival of moribund discourse but a real ‘revolution in values’. Moral China is an exercise in imagining the substance of this revolution. The 21st-century state has ceded responsibility for the livelihood of its citizens, meaning that Chinese people today have to fend for themselves as individuals and are ‘left to their own devices’. This has been accompanied by a levelling of values, now almost solely centred on the mundane concerns of prosperity, enjoyment and security. Ci describes this as ‘populism with respect to values’—a populism that is ‘substantive’, because ‘thoroughgoing’, but lacking any credible procedures for registering and affirming popular preferences. This ‘desublimation’ of values—from collective future to individual prosperity—has in turn given rise to a novel idea of ‘equality of agency’ (quite compatible with wide quantitative inequalities in income), of a partially negative kind: equality among ‘atomistic individuals who are at once (potential) bourgeois subjects and subject to the alienating, competitive capitalist order’. Indeed, the widespread resentment at corruption is itself evidence of the hold of ‘qualitative equality, of people as equal agents and choosers’ in the Chinese social imaginary. Mass resentment represents a transformation of subjectivity: people take themselves to be entitled to a certain respect.footnote17

    The official refusal to ‘valorize’ the new system of values prevents the emergent bourgeoisified subject from becoming itself. Yet for Ci, the route out of this unsatisfactory limbo does not run through unqualified emulation of the Western model. Both freedom and democracy are, in Ci’s thought, ‘contested concepts’—spaces of experiment rather than finished artefacts to be imported wholesale from the West. Indeed Western iterations of freedom can be a species of false consciousness: an official value which helps to enforce conformity by enabling people to overrate the extent of their own autonomy—‘concealing relations of domination’ and the degree to which peoples’ lives are in fact externally determined. Liberal political regimes are good at creating the (real) conditions under which freedom and agency are plausible illusions. The hallmark of a liberal society, Ci writes, is the ‘seamless conjunction’ of ‘the experience of freedom’ and the ‘practice of conformity’.”

    im gnawing this bone after a lot of homegrown…which will entail a re-reading.
    seems pretty profound, for now,lol.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      gnawing slowly:
      “As a principled realist, Ci maintains that sweeping the Party aside is not an option: the ccp remains the only ‘mature’ political force in China and it clearly retains sufficient unity and cohesion to ‘keep potentially fatal factionalism at bay and to maintain the deterrence effect of June 4 against any similar uprising.’footnote28 Given the balance of forces, any direct confrontation would be doomed to defeat. Democratization, in Ci’s ‘realistic utopia’, would be spearheaded by a judicious ccp. The ground would first need to be prepared by social-justice reforms to alleviate economic inequality, which ‘with its divisiveness and unceasing production of resentment, is clearly inimical to any reasonably healthy democratic development’.”

      to be clear…i cant tell whats propaganda or not any more, re; china.

      ive got a decent handle of their almost 4000 year history…and a limited overview of their mythopoesis over that time.
      but things like this ive only recently been coming across.
      i have zero credible anecdata about actually being there.
      (save from nuggets from Plutoniumkun, et al.)
      add further caveats amountin to socratic perplexity,lol.

      sounds to the holy fool like they’re trying to figure out where we went wrong…and frelling learn from it.

      1. Michaelmas

        I struggled to make much of that NLR article too.

        China resources (drawing on actual Chinese sources in China) I keep an eye on: —

        ‘This web site is devoted to the subject of intellectual life in contemporary China, and more particularly to the writings of establishment intellectuals. What you will find here are essentially translations of Chinese texts that my collaborators and I consider important. ‘

        ‘There are five tones in Mandarin Chinese. When it comes to coverage of China, Sixth Tone believes there is room for other voices that go beyond buzzwords and headlines to tell the uncommon stories of common people.Through fresh takes on trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating contributions, Sixth Tone covers issues from the perspectives of those most intimately involved to highlight the nuances and complexities of today’s China.

        ‘We are a team of writers, editors, and researchers from within China and abroad. We belong to Shanghai United Media Group.’

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          thank you, Michaelmas.
          my eventual erudition(all things being relative) is (potentially)your fault

    2. Kouros

      I find the descriptions of the Huron confederacy and similar way of organizations a better foundation for freedom and “quasi democracy?”. Even if not real/true, the representation of North American native societies (most of them) in The Dawn of Everything is the most compelling equalitarian social structure, with everyone allowed to bloom and realize..

  37. Wukchumni

    Effort bias: Why we overvalue fraternities, exclusive clubs, and Taylor Swift tickets Big Think
    Its really all about exclusivity, take an Illionaire for instance…

    They drive a couple million $ Ferrari, I drive a Tacoma with 198k miles on the odometer, we both get stuck in traffic on the 405 going nowhere fast, together.

    They fly in a Gulfstream G650, I fly on a 767. They get to their destination hours before me.

    They have a 417 foot yacht that has more staff working on it than guests, i’m on a 940 foot long cruise ship I share with 4,183 other people and 1,200 staff.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      …and i sat out here in the middle of nowhere and didnt think of them at all….

      may we all get to that place.

      because thats what its gonna take…mass turning of backs…deprive them of their narcissistic supply…
      may we be able to ignore them, one fine day.

      shantih. shantih.

        1. Allison

          Indeed. Lev Davidovich Bronstein (“Trotsky”) was quite the warmonger. Here is something he is not just “supposed to have said” but actually did say, in his speech in Petrograd in December, 1917:

          “We must turn her (Russia) into a desert populated by white Negroes upon whom we shall inflict such a tyranny as none of the most dreadful despots of the East have ever dreamt of. The only difference is that this tyranny will not come from the right, but from the left, and will not be white, but red, in the literal sense of that word, for we shall shed such streams of blood that all the losses of human lives in Capitalist wars will shrink and pale before them.

          The biggest bankers on the other side of the Atlantic will work in very close collaboration with us. If we win the Revolution, crush Russia, we shall consolidate the power of Zionism on her funereal remains and become such a force that the whole world will go down on its knees before it. We will show what real power is. Using terror, blood-baths, we will reduce the Russian intelligentsia to a complete idiocy, to a bestial condition. . . .

          And meanwhile, our youth in leather jackets—the sons of
          watchmakers from Odessa and Orsha, Gomel and Vinnitsa—oh how magnificently, how rapturously they are able to hate everything Russian! With what enjoyment they are annihilating the Russian intelligentsia—officers, engineers, teachers, priests, generals, academicians, writers.”

          These monstrous statements can be found in Aron Simanovich’s published memoirs, among other places. Simanovich is best known as Grigori Rasputin’s good friend and personal secretary.

  38. Swamp Yankee

    Re: sand. It’s not just the developing world where this is an issue. Right here in SE Massachusetts, home to massive glacial sand deposits and a huge cranberry farming industry that is trying to make up for decades of falling berry prices, you have massive sand mines (a small amount of sand is required for cranberry agriculture) operating under the pretense of agriculture. It’s big business, though, and while there is significant community pushback, the problem is that the cranberry latifundists/sand miners and trucking companies control local political structures in the Towns concerned. For instance, a Town’s Earth Removal Committee will be made up of … wait for it …. excavation and trucking company owners and cranberry bog owners (read: sand miners and real estate speculators).

    The cranberry industry has great PR, but they are an extractive local oligarchy.

    Sand is at 400% of its price four decades (or so) ago, when I last checked in Spring 2022. It may even be a little higher than that now.

    Nevertheless, it affects our commons because sand cleans and filters water for the giant Plymouth-Carver sole source aquifer that underlies the southern half of Plymouth County, Mass.

    There is a lot of good activism being done on this front, but it’s certainly an uphill struggle against an entrenched power structure.

  39. Jason Boxman

    I don’t know if anyone keeps track, but today is Pandemic day 1,338.

    This was the beginning of the end of public health in the United States. While Trump and Republicans fought public health measures at the onset, certainly with an assist from Ratface Andy, it took liberal Democrats, Joe Biden, and Walensky, to cement among the liberal consciousness that public health is actually about individual choice and personal responsibility and that virtue signaling concern for protecting the vulnerable is effective, just, and moral public health policy. It’s been the Biden administration that’s systematically dismantled all public health reporting and any sense of urgency, carrying out Trump’s directive to, as the media paraphrased him saying, stop testing and as if magic, the virus will disappear.

    This, ladies and gentleman, is our Democrats.

    Stay safe out there.

    There’s a theme going around on COVID Twitter, people posting selfies of themselves wearing N95+ masks, in solidarity. There are still some people out there that don’t accept that official narrative from our political elite that there’s nothing going on.

    1. .Tom

      I just tested positive. My first time, I think. Unsure what to do about it except try not to give it to anyone else.

      1. Jason Boxman

        One possibility is the FLCCC treatment protocol, which includes among other things the drug that shall not be named. It’s available w/o a prescription from pharmacies in TN, for what it’s worth. Whenever I finally get infected, this is the protocol I’m going to follow.

        I hope you have a speedy and uneventful recovery!

  40. The Rev Kev

    Former NATO Secretary General-turned-Kiev security adviser, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has a brilliant idea to end the Ukrainian war. He says that the Ukraine should become a member of NATO as soon as possible within it’s de-facto border. I guess that he is talking about where the front-line is at the moment. Then the threat of an Article 5 intervention would force Russia to wind down its military operation saying-

    ‘The absolute credibility of Article 5 guarantees would deter Russia from mounting attacks inside the Ukrainian territory inside NATO and so free up Ukrainian forces to go to the frontline.’

    He also says that we need a new European security architecture in which Ukraine is in the heart of NATO. He also in some ways the proposal is similar to imposing a no-fly zone on Russia so that it could not fly over Ukrainian territory or send missiles into Ukrainian towns. This guy is pure genius. /sarc

    1. hk

      Well, if the only “territory” belonging to the NATO-recognized “Ukraine” will be some office in London or Miami, I’d imagine it would be easy to put it under NATO protection seeing as that it’d be already in a NATO country.

    2. digi_owl

      Wonder how many members would go nope if article 5 was actually invoked against an enemy like Russia. It was far easier for them to agree after 9/11, given that the enemy was unlikely to be anyone that could maintain an industrial war and their military capacity had not suffered decades of attrition and neolib rot yet.

    1. digi_owl

      It helps to have a young lady (and not disclose that she is the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador!) go crying before congress.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine what would have happened if during her testimony at that Congressional Human Rights Caucus, that somebody jumped out and shouted out ‘Hey, I know that girl. She’s not a nurse. She’s the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador!’ Probably security would have piled on that person and the news media would have never mentioned it in their reporting. I have wondered once or twice just how many people in that room knew exactly who she was. During the invasion she was living in Washington DC and not in Kuwait and apparently CIA personnel coached Nayirah for her performance. She’s be nearing fifty about now.

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