Links 11/13/2023

Mummified baboons point to the direction of the fabled land of Punt Ars Technica

BC Hydro scrambles to tranquilize and remove bears hibernating in Site C dam flood zone before waters rise The Narwhal

Hiking Sacred Peaks: Spiritual Act Or Desecration? NOEMA

Scientists propose using the Sun’s gravity to beam energy between stars — and maybe power interstellar civilization ZME Science

Transporting Earth-based microbes could enable Moon farming one day Interesting Engineering


Sorry, Billionaires. Space Won’t Be Our Climate Haven Atmos

Well-designed cities can withstand 21st-century weather extremes Interesting Engineering


Grand Princess cruise ship hit by double Covid and gastro outbreaks docks in Adelaide Guardian

Covid virus that killed 8,000 cats in Cyprus spreads to UK GBN. Different from Covid-19.

How open-source drug discovery could help us in the next pandemic MIT Technology Review


Another gunky, toxic season for Utah waters High Country News

The Lucky Country

McBride Trial Tests Australian Justice Consortium News


Ruto’s Climate Contradictions and the Green Growth Lie The Elephant


Hunger and Unemployment in Modi’s Amrit Kaal The Wire

India, US Stryker AFV Deal Bludgeons ‘Make In India’ Initiative; Massive Setback For Mahindra & Tata Group Eurasian Times

‘The best part is everything is shared’: World’s biggest family living under one roof in India The Straits Times

The Koreas

US, Japan, South Korea defence chiefs to share North Korea missile data in December Channel News Asia


Can the Biden-Xi Summit Chart the Course to a Stabilized China-US Economic Relationship? The Diplomat

The haunting of modern China Aeon

European Disunion

Portuguese prosecutors reportedly mistranscribed wiretaps that implicated PM in corruption scandal Euronews


‘We’re Rolling Out Nakba 2023,’ Israeli Minister Says on Northern Gaza Strip Evacuation Haaretz

Israel maintains siege on Gaza hospitals as clashes rage The Cradle

Special interview with Khaled Barakat: Gaza demands end of genocide, not ‘ceasefire’ MR Online


US carries out two air strikes against Iran-aligned groups in Syria, official says Reuters


Jake Sullivan Says Israel Should Follow ‘Rules of War’ But Won’t Judge If They Are Antiwar

‘Can You Hear the Screams?’ Physician Says Western Leaders Complicit in Israeli Attacks on Gaza Hospitals Scheerpost

Europe’s Socialist Leaders Condemn Hamas, Support Israel’s Right to Defend Itself Haaretz


“We Cannot Cross Until We Carry Each Other” Jewish Currents


New Not-So-Cold War

Ukrainian troops face shortages in conflict with Russia: WSJ report Al Mayadeen

Ukraine to Putin: You cut our power, we kneecap your biggest economic driver Politico

Ties fray between Ukraine and western spy agencies The Times

Why is the West moving to replace Zelensky? Asia Times

Russia Cannot Be Defeated On Battlefield; Time For US & Ukraine To Understand & Move On: Kremlin EurAsian Times

NATO’s Top New Air Defence System on Russian Borders May Face Deployment Delays Due to Israel-Gaza War Military Watch Magazine


US seeks to thwart Russia’s ambition to become a major LNG exporter Financial Times

Russia says it won’t ditch plans to boost LNG output due to US sanctions Hellenic Shipping News

Exporting US Fracked Gas Is Far Worse for the Climate Than Coal, Study Finds Truthout

Russian businesses reaping benefits from Western exodus – Bloomberg RT

O Canada

Why Canada is Paying Over $600 Million For Each F-35 Stealth Fighter – And Potentially Much More Military Watch Magazine

‘Nazigate’ Has Been Quickly Forgotten, But Scholars Warn Its Underlying Causes Remain The Maple

B-a-a-a-a-d Banks

Fed: Supervisory problems on the rise for banks of all sizes American Banker

A new book to read: Busting the Bankers’ Club University of California Press

From a Sahm recession to global downturn Michael Roberts blog


A Trump-Biden Rematch Is the Election We Need New York Times

Biden on the brink: Democrats start to panic about whether the president is a surefire 2024 winner Washington Examiner


‘Travesty in darkness’: Trump backs drive to televise his D.C. election subversion trial Politico


‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley, who served more than 2 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, now wants to run for Congress Insider

Realignment and Legitimacy

Elective Affinities New Left Review


Army Ammunition Plant Is Tied to Mass Shootings Across the U.S. New York Times


AI-powered headphones let users choose what they hear Interesting Engineering

Is artificial intelligence all that intelligent? AI influencers worry about wishful thinking GeekWire


How digital twins may enable personalised health treatment Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Digital “Retrobait” Trades on Your Present Unhappiness to Collect Your Data Jacobin

Sports Desk

Is the NFL making progress in tackling its concussion crisis? Ars Technica


Feds Say Airlines Are Somehow Getting Worse As Complaints Double In 2023 Jalopnik


For Teen Girls, Rare Psychiatric Disorders Spread Like Viruses on Social Media Mad in America

Feral Hog Watch

Polish city appeals to residents to stop feeding wild boars as urban population booms Notes from Poland

Class Warfare

Capitalism Isn’t Just Buying and Selling Things. It’s a System of Domination Jacobin

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “AI-powered headphones let users choose what they hear”

    These AI-powered headphones suffered a recent setback when one of their street testers was hit and run over by a truck. Witnesses reported that several people were shouting at him to watch out for that speeding truck but unfortunately the AI-powered headphones were cancelling out all human voices & truck noises as the tester was listening to the birds at the time.

    1. mrsyk

      “AI-powered headphones let users choose what they hear”…..” Just after a word from our sponsors”….
      My noise cancelling headphones plug into my stereo which, miraculously, plays what I choose to hear.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        the numerous speakers i have strung through the trees on my side of the place…using old fashioned analog, mono, copper wire…and plugged into the laptop/ancient stereo by the bed…also allow me to hear what i want to hear…as well as hearing birds, squirrels, and whatnot.
        i can also simultaneously hear and identify whatever vehicle happens to come down the dirt road.

        except for the laptop, this system cost me nothing…speakers and stereo were free for the taking…intercepted on way to dump…the wire is mostly old cast off extension cords…also from the dump.
        the zero cost issue is likely the most grievous sin.

        1. mrsyk

          My beloved ancient stereo was collected off the street or at the dump. The only downfall to being an analog freak is that records file up (like books. go figure.).

        2. Mark Gisleson

          Just the opposite. Digital stereo and weather permitting I love to open the windows and listen to strange music that somehow blends with the sounds of traffic and nature to the point where I’m not sure which is which. And yes, I have used Lambert’s bird recordings to mess with my local birds : )

          1. Paleobotanist

            I use Lambert’s bird recordings to mess with my cats’ heads. It drives them wild, looking for the birdie. The dirty looks when they figure it out are priceless…

    2. Ignacio

      If one feels the need to hear music while walking running biking through busy streets the bone fit headphones can be helpful.

      1. .Tom

        That’s what I prefer but I listen to my stories and pods. I very much dislike the feeling of being isolated from the outdoor environment that comes from any IEMs, buds or over/around the ear phones. I’m often walking dogs and in our very busy sidewalks and streets I like to maintain situational awareness.

      2. JCC

        Yes on these. The wisest investment I’ve made for books-on-tape, music, etc. when on my morning walk. And another added benefit is my ears don’t get wet inside from sweat on hot days.

    3. furnace

      I’m pretty sure I can choose what I hear with non-AI-powered headphones. Just need to choose the song to play, which was never that much of an inconvenience, frankly.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        Cameron has long hankered to return to government and specified this post. In 2018 or 2019, he told hacks at the Cheltenham jump racing festival that he was expletive deleted bored and specified the foreign office. There was much laughter across the channel.

        Sunak owes Cameron. Sunak joined the Tories when Cameron encouraged people from all sorts of backgrounds, including Carole Vorderman, his wife’s cousin Kirstie Allsopp, lingerie and PPE magnate Michelle Mone, high street retail magnate and, ahem, more, Philip Green and fashion designer Mary Portas, to join and either advise the party / government or stand for parliament. Sunak expressed interest in standing and had to be parachuted into a safe seat. He applied for Richmond, Yorkshire, but lost to a local candidate. The local party was overruled. As it happens, Crispin Odey seed funded the investment firms co-owned by Rees-Mogg, Somerset, and Sunak, Theleme. Rees-Mogg’s aristocratic wife and in laws are the biggest landowners in Sunak’s constituency. Their influence helped, too.

        1. ambrit

          “The local party was overruled.”
          As was the American electorate en mass by the Supreme Court here in 2000?
          How does that work? Else, who shall escape whipping?
          Stay safe.

  2. i just dont like the gravy

    My Polish comrades, please continue to feed the boars! House them in your homes! Provide them provisions and munitions!

    If we are lucky the wild boars will close formation and mount an attack on Ukraine.

      1. JohnA

        More likely depleted uranium contaminated boars these days, not only in Ukraine, but also in England now.

      2. Craig H.

        When somebody posted that link yesterday my first thought was that was the healthiest family of boars I have ever seen. They look like they just got out of the boar beauty parlor.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Come on, have we learned nothing from the Russo-Ukraine war?!?!? You can’t operate in those massed, tight formations. Too vulnerable to artillery and drones. The boars need to spread out to be more effective.

      Surely, we can put together a NATO training exercise that will have them ready to face Russia after like 2 weeks!?!?!?

    2. ambrit

      As an added bonus, said boars can be ‘processed’ into kielbasa. (Or, some can be sent to our Tory friends in Albion, for ‘instructive’ purposes.)
      New drinking game. A large format photograph of the Members of Parliament. Find the wankers!

  3. albrt

    The continuing Story of Genocide Joe
    (to the tune of the Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill by the Beatles)

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    What did you blow
    up Genocide Joe?

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    What did you blow
    up Genocide Joe?

    Vladimir Putin got uppity with Jo-oe
    Joe’s friends in Ukraine said they’d like to have a go-o
    A million dead Ukrainians is an investment don’t you kno-ow
    And the dying Ukrainians sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    What did you blow
    up Genocide Joe?


    Joe’s friend Bibi said I think today’s the da-ay
    To ethnic cleanse the terrorists and make the Arabs pa-ay
    Too bad for terrorist children who are standing in the wa-ay
    And the dying children sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    What did you blow
    up Genocide Joe?


    “Who’s next?” said Joe and slowly put his aviator glasses o-on
    Joe’s friends looked nervous, especially in Taiwa-an
    Lloyd Austin put his head down and turned back to the Pentago-on
    The dying children sing

    Hey, Genocide Joe
    What did you blow
    up Genocide Joe?

    [Repeat ad infinitum]

    h/t Ian Welsh for the Genocide Joe moniker.

    1. griffen

      And here I thought I had actually taken the red pill instead…drats, the blue pill and I’m back to the Matrix…\ sarc

      1. Jake

        I was only half way through the first coffee when I saw 12/23 and about shamily blogged my pants. Like seeing the black cat twice.

        1. anahuna

          Episode of missing time? All readers have been abducted simultaneously, in anticipation of the Rapture

    2. Randall Flagg

      And here I am now realizing I still have the upcoming thanksgiving family gatherings to attend…
      What a tease that wrong date is.

  4. CanCyn

    Re For Teen Girls, Rare Psychiatric Disorders Spread Like Viruses on Social Media Mad in America… am I alone in reading this and being reminded of the proliferation of youngsters with gender dysphoria?

    1. mrsyk

      including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, autism, mysophobia (an extreme fear of dirt and germs) and agoraphobia (a fear of leaving the house).”. My first question, are these teens imagining or recognizing these symptoms in themselves. All five of these disorders have strong environmental drivers. ADHD, depression, and autism have all been enjoying increases of occurrence in teens.

      1. CanCyn

        It is the sudden spike in cases and the social media influence that are the concerns for me. A while back I read about a woman who thought she was gender dysphoric in her teens, actually had a mastectomy at 17! In her 20s she had regrets and decided that she really is a woman. She said that looking back she can see that she was heavily influenced by social media and had liked the idea of being part of a special, marginalized community. It helped explain and support her teenage angst.

      2. t

        A little of both, probably. From a distance, Ihard to distinguish between a cry for help and a demand to make everything all about me. And I suppose there are tweets and teens hoping a diagnosis will make people leave them alone.

        Crazy Ex Girlfriend has a great song about a diagnosis.

        1. mrsyk

          A little of both Yeah. I’m quick to take offense to articles that delegitimize the great despair that the young must face when calculating odds of any kind of future.

          1. CanCyn

            Mrysk – I am sympathetic to our youth too. I have no doubt that their mental health problems are real. Just worry about they’re going to get help if their being so badly influenced by what they’re watching on tic toc

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      OK, this situation is just bizarre.

      Despite being so rare, though, especially in kids, social media has exploded with a DID [multiple personality disorder] community, including a group called “plurals” who glamorize and sexualize the diagnosis, according to the researchers…

      “There has been a recognition of vast online ‘neurodivergence’ ecosystem in which classical mental illness symptoms and diagnoses are viewed less as mental health concerns that require professional attention, but rather as consumer identities or character traits that make individuals sharper and more interesting than others around them,” the researchers write.

      “Glamorizing and sexualizing” MENTAL ILLNESS. Every time I think I’ve heard it all…

      1. artemis

        We did this in the sixties, all the girls wanted to be gaunt and suicidal, wearing our existential despair as a mark of hipness. If you weren’t hopelessly neurotic you just weren’t cool.

    3. .Tom

      The tendency of older generations to blame everything they don’t understand about adolescent behavior on the internet is just so yawn-inducing. Sure it can accelerate communication and fashions but maybe there are more interesting ways to look at it. What about the demand-side of psychiatric disorders. Let’s say teens and adolescents are desperate, lonely, fearful for the future, feel they have no real options for political expression or action and never will, fear that expressing themselves in any manner could potentially lead to cancellation. So they need sympathetic attention and pity. Become a victim, why not? And who could blame them? I can’t. Well, maybe I could but it would be on a case-by-case basis :P

  5. Victor Sciamarelli

    On Gaza, and in the interest of mitigating any Thanksgiving dinner stress test, I think the phrase, “Israel has a right to defend itself” is dangerously misunderstood. Though its meaning appears obvious, on the contrary, it is a form of psy-ops.
    “Israel has a right to defend itself” implies something is happening “To” Israel. That is, Israel is never the aggressor but the victim. In the words of Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, “Israel is the only occupier in history that represents itself as the victim.” Gideon Levy – 2015 speech and still relevant.
    For most informed readers and writers, it is impossible to accept that Israel is the victim even in the current war. Yet, the powers that be don’t care about an informed minority who they can dismiss with anti-Semitic, siding with Hamas, or supporting terrorists slurs.
    Unfortunately, most people are not so well informed because the msm, the politicians, the executive branch, and Israelis elites, by repeating the “Right to defend itself” phrase and sprinkling their comments with memories of the Holocaust and historic prejudice against Jews, have been able to achieve the inconceivable; Israelis are victims. You won’t hear everybody has a right to defend themselves because it sends the wrong message.
    Israel has a modern army, navy, air force, and ICBM missiles that can deliver nuclear warheads to every European capital, and likely as far as Beijing. And as it is determined to create a greater Israel, maintaining Israel as victim is absurd and dangerous. The US policy of unconditional and unlimited support for Israel, based on its victim status and moral obligation to defend it, is a recipe for catastrophe.
    Thus, if you want to avoid a Thanksgiving dust-up, first establish who is the real victim in this mess.

    1. zagonostra

      Unfortunately, most people are not so well informed because the msm

      I would amend to state that most “U.S. citizens are not so well informed,” indeed they are purposely misinformed. If you see clips of mass protest from around the world, the “Israel has a right to defend itself” doesn’t have any purchase on dissuading people to condemn the slaughter of civilians.

      Also having already burnt some friendships with friends who are justifying Israeli’s violence based on some “dispositional” biblical references , I’ll be very very careful on this topic over Thanksgiving.

      1. Victor Sciamarelli

        I agree with you. The demonstrations in the rest of the world are encouraging. Moreover, most of the rest of the world has supported a just solution for both parties; not occupation and illegal settlements.
        Unfortunately, Netanyahu and his government care nothing about the rest of the world, nor do they care about most Americans including American Jews. They only care about what the US government thinks, and as long as it continues its unconditional support, the Palestinians are doomed.
        As to “biblical references” I think you’ll agree, basing your nation and foreign policy on superstition is not a good idea.
        Gideon Levy asked former Israel prime minister Ehud Barak, “What would have happened if you had been born a Palestinian? Barak said, “He would have joined a terror organization.”

    2. NN Cassandra

      Usually it suffices to ask if Palestinians have the right to defend themselves, or if they had this right any time in the last 75 years. For maximum effect demand simple Yes/No answer, as is done in the case with Israel.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Take it one step further and ask if Palestinians “should be able to protect their borders from Israeli encirclement”???

        After all, if you want to be taken seriously as a nation, you need secure, protected borders?!?!?

        1. anahuna

          That’s all good advice. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I have already made the mistake of sending an email to s friend in London with some documentation of the current horrors and Israel’s sense of an absolute right to commit them.

          She sent this in reply:

          “My friend who works for World Health and the UN in Angola just called. His solution is for the Settlers to be pushed back into Israel, and all the Gazians to re settle in the West Bank and for Gaza to be empty, policed for their own safety by Israel. It’s an idea that could work.”

          “Empty, policed for their own safety” — hard to believe the extent of the delusions here.

    3. vao

      For a long time, there were relentless invocations to “Israel’s right to existence”. After the second intifada, we were pummelled with summons about “the right of Israel to security”. Now we are constantly hearing about the “right of Israel to defend itself”.

      Interestingly, Palestine never seems entitled to any rights.

      1. Cristobal

        Does Israel have the right to existence. My answer is an unequivocal NO! No nation had the right to existence. The right to eistence is granted not by some god (who in his previous reincarnation as a land speculator gifted a certain tract of land to a certain people now long gone) but by a nation´s neighbors. This ¨Right to Existence¨ is granted as long as the nation in question behaves itself in the neighborhood. It would be better understood as the right to Coexistence.

        1. Offtrail

          Nations are created and go out of existence all the time. Look at the relatively recent examples of the latter in the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

            1. juno mas

              No it wasn’t. It was bigger than that: a federal union of fifteen national republics. It had a central government. It was a transcontinental group that occupied probably 20% of the land in the Northern hemisphere.

    4. DJG, Reality Czar

      Victor Sciamarelli: I’d go further and set aside the “victim” analysis. Recently, as you know, Naked Capitalism has linked to two interviews published at Moon of Alabama. Moon of Alabama published Englished versions of interviews with Dominique de Villepin, former prime minister of France.

      What I found enlightening is how de Villepin would dismiss questions of blame, victimhood, and source of aggression with: Those are topics for historians to write about. I am a diplomat. I want to bring about ceasefires and negotiations.

      Anglo-American discourse being imbued with Calvinism is always looking for the saved and the sinners.

      Here in Italy, the distinction that some try to maintain between “aggressore” (Russia) and “aggredito” (plucky Nazi-problem Ukraine) has also been dismissed by a number of serious critics of current policy. Looking at history starting in, ohhhh, 2013, one sees that Kyiv sure looks like an aggressore, eh? (I am also thinking of Pope Francesco’s famous remark about “NATO baying at the gates of Moscow.”)

      So over the cranberry-ginger relish and stuffing, I’d put it as: Assigning blame only makes the assigner of blame feel pure. That doesn’t get people to a negotiating table (because negotiations are by nature “impure” and full of mistakes and compromises). What is to be done for the sake of peace?

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        To add: I’d also throw the “rights” talk out the window. It’s an Americanism. I tend to doubt that “nations” have rights, any more than corporations should have rights. Only real human beings have rights.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          How do you trace Manichaeism from 3rd CE Parthia to the Land of the Free? Not many here have been able to read Syriac.

          Maybe the common features of Gnosticism and Manichaeism are what you’re noting. There’s plenty of Gnosticism in these parts, but that comes by way of Christianity, Mary Baker Eddy, etc.

          1. Morincotto

            All the absolute evil vs absolute good, pre-determined saved vs damned, People of God vs Synagoge of Satan stuff in all of western thinking exclusively comes from Christianity, actual Manichaeism has never had any influence whatsoever.

            The only reason the term was kept around (despite almost nobody even knowing what it means and where it comes front) was so that Churches could opportunistically use a scapegoat in the rare cases when someone from time to time called them on the deadly, war and genocide promoting mental poison they were spewing.

            In that case they could then Claim that they actually had been totally misunderstood, their teachings perhaps distorted somehow.

            After they had successfully gotten the hate and murder that very much had been their goal.

            Ideologies like american or generally western exceptionalism are rooted in christianity, pure and simple, poor old, in actuality long forgotten Manichaeism is completely blameless.

            Perhaps in some specific strains more than others, but if you want to go to the root of it you will find it in Paul (and possibly in Jesus, depending on how trustworthy a source the gospels actually are), not with Mani of all people.

            And no strain of Christianity is free of Paul’s poison.

          2. Harold

            It doesn’t seem strange to me to consider severely ascetic sects like Calvinism, as embodying a kind of Manichean outlook, along with Jansenism, and Hassidism.

            According to Carl Zha and Nadeem Ahmad, in their review of Central Asian history on the War Nerd podcast, Manicheaism, a form of dualism, is a tendency present in nearly all religions. Manichaeism sees the Material World as bad and the Spirit World of Light as good, with the two locked in an eternal struggle. This is contrary to the major religions which hold that matter, having been created by God, is good, as it says in the Bible.

            In the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church tended to label all competing sects as Manichean. Supposedly, in their view, the heresies entered Europe by way of Bulgaria. Interestingly, Wikipedia’s entry on Manichaeism notes that there are presently Manichean sects in various regions of China that communicate via social media.

            1. Morincotto

              Christianity has from day one identified the world, the flesh, matter as evil, everything else is lies and excuses.

              Only after death begins the life that is truly worth living and Satan is the God of this world.

              It was Paul, not Mani, who taught the Western world to think this way.

              All the hatred of the human body, the glorification of death, the idea of the flesh as prison and grave, of the world as something that one needs to escape from, something in which’s total destruction we should glory, Paul, not Mani, all of it.

              It just so happened that as Jesus didn’t come back, after a couple centuries the church for pragmatic reasons had to come to an arrangement with the hated world that it had wanted to see destroyed so incredibly badly.

              So it turned around and claimed contrary to history that it actually was pro world (even though real life still started only after death, the world really still was evil and worthless and should be destroyed and still Satan’s dominion, one just didn’t openly focus on that as much anymore), claiming that what was really it’s own traditional position was some sort of largely fictional, in it’s meager historical core completely forgotten heresy.

              The truth is, for none of the symptoms associated with “manichaeism” and maladies underlying them anything was needed but the epistels of Paul.

              Most religions starting during or after the so called axial age are on some level hostile to the world and to physical existence and want to in some way very much get rid of it, Christianity is No exception, certainly it IS much more radically anti universe than Judaism or Islam.

              Eventually some strains of Christianity that perhaps can genuinely called life-affirming did develop, but that took a very, very long time.

              But it is probably unavoidable that something like that happens, especially when a religion becomes a society wide majority teaching.

              If actual, historical Manichaeism, the poor scapegoat, ever Had become that, it would have taken the same path and made it’s peace with the world of matter (and quite possibly might have turned out more humane and peaceful and actually pro life than Christianity, speculating, sure, but certainly possible) for the same pragmatic reasons.

              1. Harold

                Manichaeism is quite influenced by Zoroastrianism, another dualistic religion, as was Judaism after the Persian exile, as outlined by Norman Cohn in his fascinating book Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: the Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith (1995). This is where Paul likely got it. Cohn points out that the Sumerian and Babylonian religions were also dualistic, with the temporal ruler engaged in a perpetual struggle with the supernatural Chaos Monster.

                1. Morincotto

                  Insofar as Zoroastrianism did have an influence, it had itvia Christianity, not directly or via historical Manichaeism.

                  Christianity was mostly fully formed by the time of Mani and it influenced Manichaeism more than the other way round.

                  Yes, Zoroastrism influenced Christianity in significant ways via Judaism, but that is exactly why Christianity itself was already born with the Zoroastrian influence fully baked in, it didn’t need Manichaeism for that.

                  It should be said though that Part of what Made Christianity pernicious was the mixture of dualist elements, the anti flesh, anti world theology (that, to be fair, also from the very start incorporated some platonist elements, the Judaism of the time of Jesus and Paul definitely had been pretty strongly affected by greek philosophy as well) AND the apparently Ur jewish Idea of divine predestination that combined with the moral dualism to produce the idea of those created purely for damnation.

                  This concept was decidedly not part of Zoroastrianism.

                  Indeed, similar to Buddhism or Hinduism in this regard, Zoroastrianism, at least in it’s original form, did not know eternal damnation at all, it’s hell in a way more akin to christian purgatory.

                  Zoroastrianism also didn’t focus on much on grace or getting into heaven based on faith, there was much more focus on actual behavior with far less if any of the convenient, less demanding shortcuts that Christianity provided.

                  Lacking the allimportant gocus on pure belief, right thinking and thus thoughtcrime, Zoroastrianism never seems to have developed a penchant for thought policing remotely comparable to Christianity.

                  Because unlike Christianity it actually took the idea of free will seriously, it never emphasized pre-determination and never really developed the idea of entire peoples being possibly inherently evil and by their very nature deserving of destruction and (eternal) damnation and because it went much further in clearly dividing the supernatural sphere between good and evil, it Made the “mistake” of truly projecting everything horrible, monstrous, cruel and destructive on it’s Devil figure Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, leaving a creator god that had lost it’s intimidation factor.

                  For while Christianity took the division into a camp of evil demons and good angels and if anything radicalized that division in the mortal sphere in ways beyond anything Zoroastrianism ever had done, behind the moralizing and gaslighting rhetoric IT actually retained for it’s deity much of the terrifying cruelty, vindictiveness and unpredictable capriciousness that Zoroastrianism had really much more completely concentrated in it’s archdemon.

                  Zoroastrian angels don’t go around turning people into pillars of salt, they don’t slay firstborn sons or bring pestilence, just as Ahura Mazda doesn’t bragg about being the creator and master of horrific monsters.

                  Angra Mainyu has a true monopoly on all such and much more nastiness in a way the watered down christian Devil never had.

                  All these factors contributed to Christianity outcompeting Zoroastrianism while absorbing all it’s many innovative concepts in a form it twisted to suit it’s own needs.

                  Being better at intimidation and more flexible in it’s morality worked in it’s favor greatly.

                  But I’d say this special tension that arose from the obvious, indeed glaring contradictions like that of a God who supposedly was (like Ahura Mazda) perfectly good, wise, just and loving and yet at the same time in many regards cruel enough to make Angra Mainyu blush also was a plus despite common sense perhaps suggesting it should mot have been.

                  I think it really was the original orwellian new speak or double think.

                  We believe because it is absurd.

              2. Polar Socialist

                I always though it was more about the Christianity being a persecuted, underground and fragmented movement of mostly poor people for the first 300 or so years of it’s existence. It’s teaching was mouth to mouth (still having sermons!) about escapism and salvation for the strata of antique society that had much of nothing else.

                When it was allowed in fourth century, and especially when it became state religion it very naturally organized, unified and secularized itself in order to survive. All those tithes were not going to collect themselves, all those basilicas were not going to build themselves and certainly all those bishops, priests, deacons and acolytes were not going to rank, nominate and teach themselves.

                Besides, at the time most of Christendom was of the Eastern philosophy (and well mixed with Judaism, Islam and Hinduism), where the evil is not a thing on it’s own but merely a deviation from the God’s path. According to the Eastern church thinkers, God has created everything and everything God creates is Good, so Evil doesn’t actually exist.

                I think it was the Franks who needed somewhat more drastic religion and the Popes they supported were willing to deliver.

      2. Ignacio

        “Anglo-American discourse being imbued with Calvinism is always looking for the saved and the sinners”

        I tend to think this is not a geographical or cultural thing, neither exclusive of some particular countries. The blame game is in my opinion a favourite of the extreme conservatives and fascists and possibly more often seen among the elder people. Last weekend there were fairly large demonstrations in Spain against the amnesty offered by Sanchez to Junts per Cat to facilitate the formation of a new Government presided by Sanchez. Someone told me, this is exactly like the anti-war protests. I replied, no it isn’t. In one case you are wanting to save lives, avoid killings (a positive) in the second case is exactly the opposite: you want people imprisoned. Clearly a negative feeling there.

        The people demonstrating there were mostly VOX and extreme People’s Party acolytes and from what I saw they were overwhelmingly above 60 years old.

        If it is true this is Anglo-American in origin it has very much permeated the EU which is now excessively prone to sanctions (part of the blame game indeed) but I see it also within “progressive” branches very much obsessed with fines and sanctions that most of the times are impractical borderline to idiotic.

        An epidemic of Calvinism in the Collective West?

      3. It's About Colonialism

        This seems like something of a strawman. I can’t off the top of my head recall any purely moralistic framing of the Palestinian issue (which isn’t to say that such framing doesn’t exist at all). I always see it framed in terms of colonialism. Now that often does come with a couching in terms of justice and morality, but you could dispense with all of that language and the core points about the objective harm of colonialism would remain.

        And more broadly I would reject the entire notion that talk of morality and justice are somehow uniquely Christian, Calvinist or otherwise. For the sake of argument, in the western world all such notions may ultimately stem from Christianity (though I don’t actually believe that, and I have no idea how you would set about demonstrating it even if it were true), but every culture has some notion of good and bad, and notions of justice come up constantly (one I’m quite familiar with is Japan, where talk of ‘justice’ comes up constantly. It’s even something of a cliche, the character who is constantly talking about and driven by a desire for ‘justice’. The exact lines delineating this moral certitude may differ from western notions, but they do exist). ‘Our side good, the other evil’, and notions of some fundamental, metaphysical unfairness seem to be universal concepts that exist in societies with zero connect to either Christianity or Manichaeism.

    5. Nikkikat

      Thanks for your comment Victor. This “has a right to defend itself” nonsense has been driving me crazy. You are correct I think as it does set them up as a victim. And there are no ongoing attacks that would explain still using the term.

    6. Alice X

      I posted this yesterday, but as it showed up late I’ll do so again:

      Norman Finkelstein on Gaza, with Aaron Mate – LIVE AT AVE C

      It’s long but I watched the whole thing. Before Oct 7 the world had all but forgotten about the Palestinian’s plight. Now as we watch the carnage and suffering it is front and center like maybe never before. How can one look away when so many innocent lives are being erased? What sort of world will it be when Israel has leveled Gaza and pushed the survivors out?

      1. Madeline Avery

        Thank you Alice X.

        We have a problem.

        Why are the Norman Finkelsteins and Max Blumenthals and Aaron Mates being trotted out again and again and again as experts to speak on behalf of Palestinians and Arabs?

        Can we hear more from the people themselves?

        Also, it’s interesting to note that Norman et al never go far enough when it comes to the power of Israel and Zionism inside the US and around the world.

        So, for example, they will not talk about FARA and the fact that Israel should have to register as an agent of a foreign power.

        They will touch on AIPAC, but they don’t get into the true extent of “the lobby.” The Zionist Power Configuration, to use James Petras’ term, is much more than a lobby. The sick, supremacist ideology known as Zionism – which led to the Israeli “state” – includes the ADL and B’Nai Brith as primary drivers. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is a powerful coordinating entity. They never talk about these all-important pieces of the puzzle.

        Why don’t any of the aforementioned heroes – and these people are seen as heroes by way too many people – just read the comments following one of their talks or interviews…why don’t they do a deeper dive into the wellspring of Zionist/Jewish supremacist ideology and how it powers all of this?

        1. Alice X

          >Can we hear more from the people themselves?

          ‘Do We Feel The Pain Or Do We Just Die At Once?’ She says she would rather die from bombardment than from thirst.

          Democracy Now has daily interviews with Gazans. I’m watching now as the two largest hospitals cease operation, Israeli snipers have killed nurses, a leading doctor dies in a bombing and thirteen preemies are taken from no longer functioning incubators, for lack of fuel, in a desperate effort to save them. An image I cannot unsee.

          You might want to look into Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry.

          1. Madeline Avery

            Hi Alice X. I have read Norman Finkelstein’s “The Holocaust Industry.” Thank you.

            Here are some typical comments from the Mate/Finkelstein link you provided:

            “Norman Finkelstein is a treasure. He has had everything taken from him for his views and is still fearless after decades of abuse. Cheers”

            “Glad Norman Finkelstein is getting more opportunities to speak publicly.”

            “I had the pleasure of interviewing Norman Finkelstein a few times, and he is the best analyst on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on God’s Earth.”

            I’m not sure what criteria is being used to qualify Norm as “the best analyst on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on God’s earth.” I understand the comment is not to be taken literally (I guess, though I sometimes wonder with hero-worshippers), but the point is we see this way too often.

            Steven Salaita is an actual Palestinian who lost everything and drives a bus now. Norman Finkelstein’s speaking engagements may have fallen off until more recently, but he was still a well-known quantity. And frankly, it’s not supposed to be about Norm Finkelstein, or any one individual. It’s about the larger principle, and that gets lost in the hero-worship of these people.


            I stopped watching DemocracyNow and will not go back to it. Amy Goodman lost my trust long before I read Helen Buyinski’s excellent piece on Pacifica. Amy Goodman got her job there because her very wealthy father gave a huge endowment to the always struggling Pacifica.

            Based on interviews with multiple persons from various backgrounds who worked with her over the years, Amy does not come off well at all. In fact, she’s a mental basket case. I do not agree with all of Buyinski’s politics, but this an excellent, in-depth piece:


            If DemocracyNow were the only source for the content you are watching, I would have to break down and plant myself in front of Amy Goodman again. Fortunately, that is not the case.

            I don’t think anything will be done to address Israel/FARA and the depths of organized Zionism/Jewish supremacism so long as the narrative is being led largely by the organized Jewish community. Which it still is, unfortunately.

            If that makes me an “anti-semite” so be it.

            1. pjay

              So based on your last statement, you *are* accusing these guys of carrying out a limited hangout because they are Jewish. OK then.

              So they are part of “THE organized Jewish community”?? Does that include both Finkelstein and Dershowitz? Secular lefties like Mate and ultra orthodox Zionists? ADL and Jewish Voice for Peace?

              I don’t know about making you an anti-semite, but this does exhibit the same divide-and-rule effects as accusing all whites of racism and the incapacity to speak about or understand race. It also casts aspersions on some of the most important sources of *Palestinian* viewpoints in the US media – something you are claiming to support – as inauthentic or dishonest. My only question is whether or not this is your intention.

              1. Madeline Avery

                A limited hangout? Good god.

                I am obviously not accusing Aaron, Max Norm and the ADL of being in cahoots together. What I am saying is that they don’t go far enough in calling out these orgs.

                Grant Smith at IRMEP has no problem calling out the power of the ADL and B’Nai Brith. And the folks at Washington Report on Middle East Affairs having no problem digging a lot deeper into this labyrinthian nightmare than Max and Norman have ever dared to go.

                Incidentally, I put “anti-semite” in quotes because it isn’t a charge I take seriously. So I’m not concerned with what you may or may not think about where I line up on the “anti-semitism” meter.

                It also casts aspersions on some of the most important sources of *Palestinian* viewpoints in the US media – something you are claiming to support – as inauthentic or dishonest.

                Palestinians aren’t speaking for Jews in the US. Why are “some of the most important viewpoints on Palestinians” coming from Jews?

                Again, I didn’t say they are dishonest or inauthentic per se. I said that they don’t go nearly far enough.

                What are your feelings on FARA and Jewish/Zionist orgs not having to play by the same rules as others? Any Palestinian, Arab or Muslim group will be monitored to high hell for everything under the sun. Not so the Jewish/Zionist orgs. This is utter BS, frankly.

                1. Yves Smith

                  You seem to forget that Finkelstein lost his academic appointment as a result of his work. Do you expect him to reduce himself to penury? John Mearsheimer has managed to survive in academia and he speaks in careful formulas.

                  You also forget that Muslims have 1/4 the representation in the US of Jews, are on the whole much more recent arrivals, and only a fraction are Palestinians. There are vastly people in the US who have family in Israel and are getting direct reports, v. Americans who have family in the West Bank or Gaza.

                  Finally, you are unlikely to be a good judge of where you fit on the bias spectrum. Most people hold an unduly high opinion of themselves and therefore see themselves as unbiased or only slightly biased. The Harvard Implicit test, which registers implicit bias (and test taker results do not change even after someone understands how the test works) finds otherwise.

                  On that front, res ipsa loquitur.

                  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

                    My goodness, that IAT looks interesting!* Thanks for the pointer!

                    *and somewhat time consuming, but potentially worth it…

              2. Madeline Avery

                I replied to you but it hasn’t been posted and I don’t know that it will be. I also replied to Feral Finster below. These conversations are important.

            2. Alice X

              I knew of both Steven Salaita and Helen Buyinski (Helen of desTroy). Thank you for reminding me of them.

              I’m cautious when evaluating someone’s effort or faculties through others’ comments. I try earnestly to take matters on a factual basis as best I can discern.

              1. Madeline Avery

                I try earnestly to take matters on a factual basis as best I can discern

                I do as well. Thank you.

                1. Alice X

                  I was aware of and lamented Salaita’s unhiring by UoIl at the time.
                  I was reminded of Finkelstein’s own situation:

                  Dershowitz–Finkelstein affair

                  Meanwhile as various axes are ground, the Gazans are without water, food, fuel or healthcare and are being bombed incessantly, by American bombs.

            3. Anon

              Respectfully Madeline, at the end of the video, I wasn’t thinking “Norm, what a guy!”… I find it disturbing that in the midst of all this suffering, you find time for an attack on authority, not based on their merit (a long and well documented record), but based on the exuberance of a commentariat (not even this one!)? Messi must suck now that he has all these fans. You could even be right, but read the room: obscure Palestinian university professor doesn’t have the platform, and Mate/Finkelstein are still saying a sizable portion of what you allegedly want to hear. Don’t kill the good for the perfect.

              1. Harold

                It’s ironic that because of Finkelstein’s recent presence on the web, that anyone should consider him a voice of the establishment. Finkelstein’s history is that of a precarious existence, despite having published many well-researched, highly regarded books. He has been literally persecuted in academia because of his outspoken views and also subjected to frivolous, harassing lawsuits. As far as Palestine, he has championed the Palestinian cause for decades, has spent many summers there, and has a profound and thorough knowledge of the situation .

                1. Anon

                  I’m familiar with Finkelstein’s background, and have absolutely zero reason to doubt him; but I saw Jon Stewart hand out medals to nazis at Disney World, so who knows anymore, you know? *conspiracy voice* Some of them are tricky. /lol

        2. pjay

          This is a puzzling comment. Blumenthal has written at least two books based on his own time in Palestine and his many interviews, interactions, and work *with Palestinians*. The Grayzone segments often feature Palestinian voices. They have covered various aspects of the Israel lobby for many years, though given its pervasiveness (as you emphasize) it is unlikely that they have covered every element. And as Alice X notes, it is strange to accuse Finkelstein of not going “far enough” given that he has written whole books debunking various aspects of the Israel lobby and its massive propaganda machine, and has discussed the sources of “Zionist/Jewish supremacist ideology” many times.

          All of those you mention are Jewish. Are you accusing them of some sort of limited hangout operation because of this? I’m genuinely confused by your comment.

        3. Jonhoops

          Madeline Avery’s comment is a little strange. She seem to be supporting Palestine, but it really seems more like a stealth attack on Finkelestien,Blumenthal and Mate.

          Language like “trot out” and then casting aspersions on the people who regard them as heroes seems a little suss.

          What is your agenda, Madeline Avery?

        4. Feral Finster

          “We have a problem.

          Why are the Norman Finkelsteins and Max Blumenthals and Aaron Mates being trotted out again and again and again as experts to speak on behalf of Palestinians and Arabs?

          Can we hear more from the people themselves?”

          Because a Palestinian spokesman will be dismissed out of hand.

          However, a Jew pointing out Israeli crimes is automatically deemed more credible. This has nothing to do with “Jewish control fo the MSM” or similar crackpot stuff. It’s the same reason that a suspected mobster who says he is an honest businessman is laughed off, but if he admits to committing criminal acts one should probably take him seriously.

          1. Madeline Avery

            Jewish control fo the MSM” or similar crackpot stuff.

            Oh? Well, let’s take your previous comment, apply it here, and see what we come up with.

            This is your comment:

            “Because a Palestinian spokesman will be dismissed out of hand.

            However, a Jew pointing out Israeli crimes is automatically deemed more credible.”

            Let’s get a Jewish perspective on that crackpot media control thing, shall we?

            Joel Stein wrote an article for the LA Times back in 2008 entitled “Who runs Hollywood? C’mon” After going through the obvious control that has been written about proudly by other Jewish authors and commentators down through time, Stein ends by declaring:

            “I appreciate Foxman’s concerns. And maybe my life spent in a New Jersey-New York/Bay Area-L.A. pro-Semitic cocoon has left me naive. But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.”


            That’s chutzpah.

            Stein’s list of leading Hollywood studio executives parallels that of the mainstream and most of the alternative media universe. And of course finance as well. This is what led him to end with that paragraph naming all these powerful societal entities, all of which are almost entirely controlled by those of the Jewish persuasion.

            We can go through the names now, if you’d like. I’m game.

            1. Yves Smith

              I worked on Wall Street. It is most assuredly NOT controlled by Jews, although many Jews continue hold influential senior positions. Historically, there were Jewish firms (Goldman, Salomon, Lehman) and WASP firms (Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, First Boston, Kidder Peabody, Brown Brothers Harriman, Paine Webber). Oh, and Catholics were a very strong clique in retail brokerage, witness Merrill Lynch and the status of Joe Kennedy. Goldman quit being a Jewish-dominated firm with the ascension of Christian Scientist Hank Paulson as CEO. Salomon was acquired by the non-Jewish Citigroup. Etc.

              Rupert Murdoch, who can lay claim to being the most important and disruptive figure in media, is not Jewish.

              And your lone source is generalizing from Hollywood into fields where he has no expertise.

              1. Madeline Avery

                Rupert Murdoch, who can lay claim to being the most important and disruptive figure in media, is not Jewish

                It has been reported by a number of sources over the years that Murdoch is in fact Jewish. His mother’s name was Elizabeth Joy Greene and Rupert was raised orthodox Jewish. Keith Rupert decided to use the name Rupert, which was the name of his Jewish maternal grandfather.

                Rupert is a member of the the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), and the New York-based Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. He was on the ADL dinner committee with Mortimer Zuckerman and Henry Kissinger. He gives lots and lots of money to all these organizations, particularly the UJA.

                Rupert is good friends with the butcher of Lebanon Ariel Sharon. He is also very friendly with Frank Lowy and Larry Silverstein, both of whom were directly involved in the events of September 11, 2001.

                On April 29, 2001 Rupert said at a spring fund-raiser for the Museum of Jewish Heritage “I have always believed in the future of Israel and the goals of the international Jewish community.”

                I wonder, what exactly are the goals of the “international Jewish community?”


                1. Yves Smith

                  Murdoch is not Jewish. Neither his father nor mother were Jewish (see her bio here: From Wikipedia:

                  Keith Rupert Murdoch was born on 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, the second of four children of Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) and Dame Elisabeth (née Greene; 1909–2012).[21][22]: 9  He is of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. His parents were also born in Melbourne. His father was a war correspondent and later a regional newspaper magnate owning two newspapers in Adelaide and a radio station in a remote mining town, and chairman of the Herald and Weekly Times publishing company.[5][23]: 16 [24] Murdoch had three sisters: Helen (1929–2004), Anne (born 1935) and Janet (born 1939).[25]: 47  His Scottish-born paternal grandfather, Patrick John Murdoch, was a Presbyterian minister.

                  Media expert Michael Wolff explains long form how Murdoch has chosen to ally with Jews:

                  But you seem to think that anyone who is loyal to pet Jewish causes and hang with Jews must be Jewish. Help me. More proof of your bigotry.

                  I am done with your Making Shit Up. I trust you will find your happiness on the Internet. Elsewhere.

    7. Carolinian

      Contra Levy Hitler rose to power by depicting Germany as a victim and of course his invasion of Poland followed a dastardly cross border attack by the Poles (actually Germans dressed in Polish uniforms). Adolf probably learned his craft by studying the British who made up all that stuff about babies on bayonets. Earlier they had described their imperial role as a “burden” taken on by white people for the good of mankind.

      By this standard Israel’s actions are par for the course but not a good course. Their true defense is to point to England, America and all the others and say “we’re no worse than you” and in this they may be right. Or alternately it’s Israel and its fellow rogues gallery who are completely wrong as the world struggles with bigger problems than who owns Palestine. The warmonger mentality should be expunged from all countries.

    8. Darthbobber

      From Uri Avnery, back at the time of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres:
      “I will tell you something about the Holocaust. It would be nice to believe that people who have undergone suffering have been purified by suffering. But it’s the opposite, it makes them worse. It corrupts. There is something in suffering that creates a kind of egoism. Herzog [the Israeli president at the time] was speaking at the site of the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen but he spoke only about the Jews. How could he not mention that others – many others – had suffered there? Sick people, when they are in pain, cannot speak about anyone but themselves. And when such monstrous things have happened to your people, you feel nothing can be compared to it. You get a moral “power of attorney”, a permit to do anything you want – because nothing can compare to what has happened to us. This is a moral immunity which is very clearly felt in Israel.”

      In later years, he often riffed on this in terms of the ingrained belief that “we are always the victims, and we are the only victims.”

      1. Carolinian

        He was a great writer and one of my favorites. One should always emphasize that there are Israelis who have tried to take the sane course. Maestro Daniel Barenboim would be another.

      2. JBird4049

        Severe suffering often drive people insane and the narcissism is just one of the symptoms. Going through suffering can also be purifying or strengthening, but that is because of the right kind of rebuilding from destruction suffering can inflict. The right kind of rebuilding is like physical or mental therapy. Hard, hard exhausting work, that even when successful can seem to take forever. Few individuals, and fewer groups, can do the work without outside help.

        No, some of the Jewish Israelis and the Palestinians are like victims of abuse who have taking the apparently easier path of letting their injuries scar over and used the pain to hurt, scar, and cripple others, who are often personally innocent of any crimes, and these new victims complete the cycle by their own infliction of suffering on new innocents.

        What makes this even more horrifying, maybe depressing is a better term, is that there are people, “leaders” who these cycle of suffering to strengthen their position. There are many such in both Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, Ukraine, the UK, and yes, the United States. These people want to stay in power with the welfare of their people, subjects really, being of no importance, and so they repeatedly use this evil cycle to maintain their power and destroy any attempts to interrupt the cycle.

        1. Darthbobber

          I certainly wouldn’t turn to Azaziah for an appraisal of Avnery. And his snotty “real name” bit there at the beginning reminds me of those who made a point of calling Trotsky Bronstein.

          1. Darthbobber

            Fwiw, Avnery joined the Irgun in 1938 at age 15, and left it in 1942 at age 19, because he disagreed with it’s assassination campaign.

            As to Azaziah, the linked piece is largely a diatribe, of a piece with his other attacks on the Rothschild’s, the international Judeo-Masonic conspiracy, and the Israeli “false flag” of 9/11. All that’s missing is a reference to the Protocols.

        2. Carolinian

          It’s been awhile since he passed but as I recall he never denied being part of the Israeli founding conflict. People can change and counties too.

        3. pjay

          Thanks Madeline. I’ve been trying to figure out just where your strange comments are coming from. But by citing Jonathan Azaziah you give yourself away. From the viewpoint of a paranoid anti-Semite, I can see why even the strongest criticisms of Israel by a Blumenthal or Finkelstein would be dismissed. They’re Jews! No matter what they might say, they are contaminated by their ethnicity.

          There are so many fake accusations of “anti-Semitism” leveled to silence legitimate critics of Israel. People like Azaziah actually help the propagandists by giving them fuel for their charges. I have to assume you are either a useful idiot or your are actually trying to seed this discussion with this racist crap to de-legitimate our comments. Either way, no sale.

  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Conor.

    Readers may be hearing of the return of David Cameron to the British government.

    I will leave it to former officials Anonymous 2 and David / Aurelien to consider the implications of having a senior minister in the upper house and unable to answer questions in the more important lower house. Since Lord Carrington’s resignation in 1982, there was an understanding, no more than that, that senior ministers should sit in the lower house.

    Cameron has long hankered to return to government and specified this post. In 2018 or 2019, he told hacks at the Cheltenham jump racing festival that he was expletive deleted bored and specified the foreign office. There was much laughter across the channel.

    Sunak owes Cameron. Sunak joined the Tories when Cameron encouraged people from all sorts of backgrounds, including Carole Vorderman, his wife’s cousin Kirstie Allsopp, lingerie and PPE magnate Michelle Mone, high street retail magnate and, ahem, more, Philip Green and fashion designer Mary Portas, to join and either advise the party / government or stand for parliament. Sunak expressed interest in standing and had to be parachuted into a safe seat. He applied for Richmond, Yorkshire, but lost to a local candidate. The local party was overruled. As it happens, Crispin Odey seed funded the investment firms co-owned by Rees-Mogg, Somerset, and Sunak, Theleme. Rees-Mogg’s aristocratic wife and in laws are the biggest landowners in Sunak’s constituency. Their influence helped, too.

    1. Ignacio

      IMO, the most da##ing fact is that Cameron, after resigning, changed to the business of lobbying for a company that under Cameron’s counsel… just folded! Revolving doors and parachutes all over again. Shouldn’t it be repulsing doors?

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Europe’s Socialist Leaders Condemn Hamas Brutality, Support Israel’s Right to Defend Itself”

    ‘European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Ministers from Spain, Denmark, Romania, and Malta, issued a joint statement supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and urging Hamas to release the Israeli hostages it kidnapped to the Gaza Strip.’

    Scholz is a Socialist? Really? And Pedro Sánchez who just done a deal with Catalans to stay in power. He is a Socialist as well? I think that people calling themselves Socialists in Europe is a lot like politicians in the US calling themselves progressives or leftists. It really means the opposite. Come to think of it, didn’t Nancy Pelosi once call herself the biggest progressive in Congress?

    1. Feral Finster

      Why does any of this surprise you?

      An American snaps his fingers and a European’s knees gratefully hit the floor.

    2. Ignacio

      If one wants to tell the truth, better tell the whole truth. Sanchez condemns the attack by Hamas but favours a two state solution and says that Israel has the right to defend itself within –something as ambiguous as– the international laws on human rights. Among other things he ruled out the evacuation of Palestines from Gaza as Israel wanted. Members of the current Spanish government denouncing Israel’s brutality have been unsurprisingly characterized as anti-semitic by Israel’s ambassador. This would have been, for me, a good reason to boot the ambassador to his country with a couple of nice words. That’s why I could never be a diplomat.

      1. Ignacio

        I would instead complain how this so-called “socialists” have turned a blind eye to the fact they are supporting, here and there, fascist Governments. The normalization of fascists that Lambert Strether has made us recall in so many occasions. Machiavellic Socialists?

        1. JBird4049

          Machiavellian is a good suggestion, but the term implies intelligence that they likely do not have. The words cunningly sycophantic Socialists seems to be betters. Unfortunately, I do not know of any english word that combines both terms.

  8. edgui

    Israel’s ambassador to Colombia, Gali Dagan, assured in a recent interview, that the news of the beheading of children by Hammas was real:

    “I saw those images. The White House said they commented on it, but [Biden] did not see them. There are many images that we don’t publish out of respect for the families of the victims. There are images of a woman who was on the floor with a gunshot to the head (…) her uterus was cut with the baby outside decapitated while the baby was still attached to the mom.”

    This is the same guy who two days ago, in the middle of the siege of Gaza, said that there was no shortage of food there. Lie after lie, with the approval of the media.

    Even with a progressive government, Colombia’s nickname as the Israel of Latin America is not surprising. The turn of helmsman that Gustavo Petro’s government proposed for the country pits a broken ship against a sea of propaganda and misinformation. If this is what international coverage is like, you can’t even imagine the local coverage.

    1. Feral Finster

      Of course Dagan is lying shamelessly. “We have this really super secret evidence but you can’t see it” was one of the rationalizations used for the Second War On Iraq. They were lying then as well.

      However, nobody of influence and authority will dare call Dagan on it.

      1. Roger

        “Babies thrown out of incubators” was the propaganda excuse used to rescue the medieval monarchy of Kuwait in Iraq 1. Just imagine if the US had left well alone. The other monarchies may well have felt pressured to better share some of their wealth and power with their peoples and the people of Iraq would still be living in a modern secular state with fully functioning infrastructure, healthcare, safe streets etc. with an authoritarian government, and a million of them at least would still be alive. Iraq would also still be a reliable US ally and an enemy of Iran.

        1. Feral Finster

          Of course. But since those who are responsible for these abominations and more will never face consequences, they only will continue.

      2. undercurrent

        More than likely the Joe Biden crowd believes Dagan with every last drop of Palestinian blood, and if Beau was still around, man, he’d believe him too, and not fall for any of that Arab malarkey.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Marco D’Eramo: Elective Affinities. Worth your while.

    The gist of it: There is no major difference between Trump and Biden worth noting, because the overwhelming reality is that they are in the service of the corporate class and big bourgeoisie. It’s a class issue, regazz’.

    So: In a few months, we will be hearing plenty of the yoozh: Vote the lesser of two evils. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. But if both are equally as disastrous, as Marco D’Eramo explains in great detail, the question is this, darlin’: What is to be done?

    We are seeing some campaigns that aren’t going well: Cornel West is nowhere to be seen, now that Peter Daou wrecked his campaign. I haven’t seen much of Marianne Williamson, after the expected scandals about staffing.

    RFKJr is in a thoroughly ambiguous position: I have already posited that he is a nostalgia candidate, harkening back to the good ole days of His Uncle and His Dad, when water wasn’t polluted and foreign policy was Good versus Evil. I see no political / economic program.

    Jill Stein is back in the race. I voted for her twice. I am likely to vote for her again. It isn’t a protest vote. I agree with her positions.

    The Libertarian Party has an attractive president in Angela McArdle, who, unfortunately for all of us, came out of their Mises Caucus and went to Biola U (a fundi college). At least she isn’t the stereotypical white boy foaming at the mouth about taxes.

    What is to be done?

    1. Acacia

      Seems to me that the first thing is to somehow persuade people of Marco D’Eramo’s basic claim: that there really isn’t much difference between Biden and Trump, and that the two parties are both owned by the same class of people, etc.

      Many people I know, at least, still believe what their preferred mass media outlet tells them, i.e., that there is some kind of yuuuge difference between Democrats and the GOP, and the fate of the US and probably the entire universe depends on voting the “right” way. They really seem to believe the blackmail that a vote for a third party is basically a vote for Trump.

      I wish I could just send them a link to Marco D’Eramo, but I doubt this or even a dozen similar articles can undo decades of imbibing the kool-aid.

      1. JBird4049

        >>>that there is some kind of yuuuge difference between Democrats and the GOP,

        There are some very real differences, especially within the parties, but both mainstream parties and the various factions that are within, between, and across the political parties all agree on the Washington Consensus. It it the Neoliberal platform of small government, low taxes, little regulation, unregulated open borders, and near totally free market capitalism.

        I do mean all of them with only the extent extremism being debated. The Professional Managerial Class who are the original Neoliberals, the Christian Nationalist, socially Ultra Conservative Libertarian Republicans, socially Ultra Pseudo-Liberal, Pseudo-Leftist Democrats, the War and Security State Faction, and others.

        Donald Trump is his own faction, but I think, guess really, that the Christian Nationalists want to have and use him. The scary part is that I think much of the political establishment has burned their creditability with Trump. Since Trump is probably both vindictive and amoral, not immoral, as well as not being supportive of the pro-war, all the time person, his choice of allies will be limited. Then there are Biden, Harris, and Newsom, and all of them are equally incompetent in their own ways and likely hooked into the PMC-Intelligence-Big Finance faction.

        Fun, no? Honestly, we’re just fraked. A Christian Nationalist Theocracy, a Big Brother Perma-War Party, maybe if we are “lucky,” we get another four years of the PMC-Intelligence-Big Finance faction under Newsom. He is an extremely corrupt Lizard with good hair, but he does have some slight competence unlike Harris and some mental competence unlike Biden.

        However, just to emphasize the point, the Neoliberal Consensus of the past forty years is unlikely to be changes. It is only who will be in charge of the central government and what their favorite forms of insanity and torture will be.

        I do not really drink anymore, but there days and weeks, when it is very tempting.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          Bill Clinton’s favorite professor at Georgetown, Carroll Quigley, wrote “….the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in details of procedure, priority, or method.” –
          and those policies are enforced by the best Congress money can buy – just a clown car of insanity imho – wish i could find a reason to care – the Husk just looks increasingly weird these days – his stiff gate with hands plastered to his side – always squinting – impossible to speak extemporaneously – and when he does he usually inserts some nonsense – Drumpf is a grifting clown – if…..if i vote it will probably be for Cornell and not because he has an ice cubes chance in hell but that he always speaks truth to power – my state race holds more interest and passion for me – my 2¢

    2. KLG

      Ding Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner…
      “At least she isn’t the stereotypical white boy foaming at the mouth about taxes.”

    3. Socal Rhino

      I think recent activities by organized labor are far more meaningful than any vote for President will be.

    4. Feral Finster

      Team D and Team R both are bourgeois parties, but they are in service of different bourgeois factions.

      Team D is the political manifestation of PMC class consciousness, with minorities as junior partners.
      Team R is Local Gentry doing politics, with white Evangelicals as their junior partners.

      n.b. I remain sore with Jill stein for promoting an early wave of Russiagate insanity.

      1. Cassandra

        > I remain sore with Jill stein for promoting an early wave of Russiagate insanity.

        I feel your pain. I am considering a write-in for Eugene V Debs. Before anyone protests, “But he’s dead!” please observe the current occupant of the White House.

    5. Roland

      There’s a big difference between Trump and Biden.

      Biden: War.
      Trump: Peace.

      Look at what Trump says about the Ukraine, and compare his remarks to those of any other prominent candidate of either major party.

      Look at what Trump said about the Iraq War (“A Big, Fat Mistake!“), and compare that remark to anything ever uttered by Biden, H. Clinton, or Obama.

      Trump has been the only post-Cold War US president who did not add to the number of wars his country was fighting.

      The difference is big. The difference is obvious. The difference is important. Do not deceive yourself.

      Why do you think the imperial establishment is doing everything they possibly can to prevent Trump from regaining office? Except assassination, so far.

      I’m a proletarian and a leftist, but the question of peace and war overrides my class interests. Do not kid yourself that global wars and chaos are somehow going to benefit the proletarians. That’s a completely specious sort of utilitarianism.

      If were an American, I would vote Trump, Trump, and nothing but Trump. I would take Donald Trump, and ram all that orange-haired awfulness straight down the throats of the oligarchy. Straight down the Blob’s throat. Straight down the PMC’s throat. Straight down the MSM’s throat. Straight down the WEF’s throat. Straight down NATO’s throat.

      Give the warmongers the President Trump that they deserve. That’s the correct proletarian line.

  10. griffen

    Federal Reserve report, supervisory problems on the rise. Oh noes, will no one think of the bank executives children? Will the bank executives hold themselves accountable, or just punish the lesser levels with morale depleting moves like delayed raises, no bonus, or dare I suggest employee attrition and layoffs. I wait with eager anticipation, on the edge of my armchair.

    Banking risk and return is (typically) cyclical…so ergo with higher interest rates (at long last, after ZIRP for too long) do we see a dark tunnel heading into 2024? Citigroup is still around, so we know the priorities of our regulators on the biggest but not precisely the best of institutions. And for all the venom rightly directed at someone like Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase has been more adept than Citigroup at avoiding undue, near-catastrophic levels of risk.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine to Putin: You cut our power, we kneecap your biggest economic driver”

    ‘ “It would only be fair,” Galushchenko says of attacking Russian oil and gas in response to possible attacks against Ukraine’s grid this winter.’

    I have no idea what Galushchenko is talking about. The Ukraine has been sending sabotage teams into the Russian Federation for the past two years now and just a coupla days ago they derailed a goods train. They try attacks against things like power relay stations and have even had a go at a nuke plant. A lot of these teams get caught or die in shoot-outs so this gives Russia even more grounds to bring down the entire Ukrainian State-

    1. ilsm

      Galushchenko must be long on oil.

      Does he think he can do more ‘damage’ than any one of the entries in the war on Hamas?

      1. Feral Finster

        Galushchenko doubtless is hoping for longer ranged ATACMS, Tomahawk missiles and the like.

        Since the West ignores Russian red line after red line, he is likely to get his wish, regardless of the condition of the Ukrainian grid.

    2. timbers

      I DO know what they are talking about. Well maybe I think. Goes like this: We Western MSM types KNOW Ukraine took out Nordstream (and Russia did nothing in response), so We KNOW the West has Carte Blanche to take well just about any Russia energy export infrastructure adversely impacting US corporate profits. Alex C at Duran noted the super effective guy who orchestrated the Meidan has taken up destroying Russia energy export destruction. The US has blown up Russian energy pipeline right in Russian territory in the past, and not responded, and Russia has continued that policy of non response with Nordstream. So…more blown up Russian pipelines and destroyed related infrastructure?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Tony Blair? Sure, why not? Who better to put in charge of an ongoing war crime than an actual war criminal. As for Netanyahu, he is quite correct. I mean, look at all the atrocities committed by the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Palestinian) and all the war crimes that they committed back in WW2. So for Netanyahu, it is only a matter of payback – or so he will say.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Rev.

        Blair is a client of and adviser to JP Morgan, banker to the Israeli government and account banker for the royalties from gas fields off Gaza. The Palestinian authority can’t spend much of the money, so it’s deposited at JP Morgan and used by the bank.

        As an Aussie, you may have come across Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, formerly Mark Friedberg. It was Blair’s suggestion some two decades ago that the Israeli government use these more presentable types instead of swarthier types with impenetrable accents. Some are British and American. There’s a French woman serving in the IDF as spokeswoman.

        Regev / Friedberg and the Grauniad’s Yonatan Freedland have been friends since childhood.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thank you Colonel. I’m pretty sure I recognize that Mark Regev from years ago when he was a spokesman for the Israelis explaining how the latest war crime was not really a war crime at all but did not know that he came from Oz. He was constantly on the news giving open air interviews explaining the Israeli position. On the TV I have not seen the Israeli Ambassador that much but the Zionist Federation of Australia is certainly making their presence known going after anybody that criticize Israel.

      2. Trees&Trunks

        Oh he is even more credentialed than just a war criminal, Blair is also a paedophile connected to the Israelis’ Epstein-network.
        Israel starts to look like a sewage for all scum on earth: genocide-loving Zionists, US government, EU-misleadership, war criminals and paedophiles. Nice place.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Jake Sullivan Says Israel Should Follow ‘Rules of War’ But Won’t Judge If They Are”

    That’s Jake the Snake for you. Always ready to rigidly define areas of doubt and uncertainty. As I once said before, most countries sign up for the Geneva Convention but Israeli regards it more as a Geneva Checklist.

    1. Snailslime

      Kinda similar to what Teddy Roosevelt said about the Indians.

      Not saying that the ONLY good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian but….

  13. Wukchumni

    Nice walk to Panther Gap yesterday, about half of it on a few inches of crunchy snow, winter is coming.

    The bark beetles seemed to level out at 7,000 feet in their upper pine limits in the main bout back in the 2012-16 drought when 130 million trees became newlydeads rather all of the sudden, and being in the catbird seat @ 6,900 feet, I got to watch trees pass away up close & personal, not your usual suspect that dies in the forest and isn’t really forgotten as nobody got a chance to know it.

    The one memorable tree was a 4 & 1/2 foot wide 210 feet tall Lodgepole over by a friend’s cabin, it really stood out. I get a call and its my friend and he sez come over, I want to show you something…

    So I saunter over and at about 20 feet up the Lodgepole is emitting a stream of water the width of a #2 pencil and I cup my hands and taste a little, seems ok.

    A couple days later the baum is stone cold dead, the beetles had compromised the vascular ability to push water upwards and the tree was effectively writing a going away note for yours truly as I sipped it’s tears.

    Maybe 115 trees around and within the community died just like that~

    Back to the hike…

    You have no view to speak of in the 3 & 1/2 miles to Panther Gap, and then a panorama opens up and the Great Western Divide in the distance sparkles with snow that more closely resembles pixy dust, a just reward.

    The telltale signs of the beetles being back on tour was sadly evident all over the place from 7,000 to 8,500 feet, the trees dying from the top down as is their custom.

    We spent about 5 minutes looking for one of the fab forum laying waste in a David vs Goliath gig, and finally found an angry 1/8th inch we rudely interrupted from its appointed rounds.

    Vaguely out of the diseased upright standing citizen we heard tunes such as ‘I Saw it Standing There’, ‘The End’ ‘Ax Naturally’ & ‘Within You Without You’.

      1. Wukchumni

        ha ha


        We were on the very trail where a couple of fellows in 1955 had an encounter with a Venusian who communicated telepathically and later on a spaceship was seen over Moose Lake in Sequoia NP.

        We didn’t see bupkis.

        Here the trail became wide and clear. Upon looking up ahead for about one-quarter of a mile, the majestic Panther Gap was in view. The panoramic vista was slightly obscured by a few large pine trees. At this point, the gentlemen closely observed the trail, taking note that they were still quite alone.

        Kenneth Arnold was deeply moved when Oscar told him that, “Right here an event of destiny was to take place in both Ken’s and my life.” At this juncture, it should be noted that Kenneth was also the first name of Mr. Haladay, Oscar’s fishing companion. And then Oscar continued, “It will forever be branded with clarity into our memories.”

        1. caucus99percenter

          I was going to spare you and everyone some even worse tune titles, but they wanted in on the timeline…

          Core Region Wood, All You Need Is Larvae, Pupa-Bark Writher, I Wanna Hole Your Camb (-ium) …

  14. Maxwell Johnston

    ‘US seeks to thwart Russia’s ambition to become a major LNG exporter’ — FT

    A little bit late for that. Russia already is a major LNG exporter (number 4 as per this source):,amounted%20to%206.8%20metric%20tons.

    Given the dubious success of all the previous anti-Russia sanctions, one has to wonder how well these new ones will fare. But USA (number 2 exporter on above list) should certainly benefit.

  15. Ken Murphy

    Thank you for the space links.

    The article on regolith is obvious. I’ve long advocated the shipping of humus to the Moon to mix with the soil for plant growth purposes. Far too many folks who should know better try to do the “let’s grow plants in simulant” science fair project, when the point of the simulant is to be an engineering and technical tool, not a biological one. Regolith simulant is similar to lunar regolith chemically at a gross scale, but lacks the trace elements distributed through the lunar regolith by aeons of “gardening” via impacts at all scales.

    The second article is an exercise in reductio ad absurdum hyperbolic grandstanding. No large quantities of humans are going to be moving off-planet until we get a space elevator. The Moon is not going to be growing vast crops to feed the starving masses. Heavy polluting industry is not going to just spring out into space leaving Earth a sylvan paradise.
    A space elevator is a technically feasible thing, though I think we need research in space for some of the breakthroughs that would make it technically capable and that we should build a practice one out at the Moon before getting all ambitious and building one right away at Earth.
    The trace elements in the lunar regolith noted above, coupled with the concept of terroir, opens the possibility that plants grown in 1/6th G in a trace element rich soil will unlock new flavors and savors in foodstuffs grown there. Thus, like the spices of old, early food exports from the Moon are likely to be small-batch exotic foodstuffs. This is postulated in part on things like the roses taken to space that manifested new and different essential oils that were later used in perfumes.
    Moving heavy industry off-Earth has to start somewhere. All of the elements and compounds and chemicals that exist on the surface of planet Earth also exist, in abundance, in the Solar system. ‘Cept for the weird man-made ones. We’re getting to the point where we’re having to process increasingly large quantities of increasingly marginal supplies to get the things we need for our technological civilization. Sourcing more of this stuff off-Earth is not a bad idea in the long run.

    Not giving ourselves the option of off-Earth exploration and development -is- a bad idea.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The article about beaming energy between stars was a little vague – I’m going to chalk that one up to the not uncommon phenomenon of science writers not really understanding what the scientists are getting at.

      Because why would you need to set up some vast infrastructure to beam energy between solar systems!?!? Given that these are solar systems we’re talking about, they do each have their own sun, so why the need to beam energy to one solar system when there’s already plenty of energy being produced at each end?

      Now if they’re talking about using a concentrated beam to push an interstellar vehicle that uses a lightsail or some similar technology to a distant destination, that would make a lot more sense.

      1. Kouros

        That was the premise of the “Three Body Problem” trilogy, this is how the aliens found Earth and led to Solar System destruction into a two dimensional space… The final is quite gruesome…

  16. Jason Boxman

    The turkey sausage today was mold green, when I looked; I’d bought a pack that was 3 weeks expired. I’m having meat that’s past expiration or rots after I buy more frequently in the past two years. Maybe I just wasn’t looking before?

    1. Big River Bandido

      I suspect the “supply chain disruptions” of 2021-21 have become permanent and systemic. It takes longer for food to reach the store where you purchase it, leaving less time before it spoils.

      We all have to shop like Britons now. 2-3 daily trips “to market”.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        those disruptions made a problem that was already there worse.
        in my brief stint as produce manager at the local supermarket(when my legs and back were giving out, so i didnt last long due to the tiny walk in…unstack everything, every time i needed something)…i would often finish my chores, and volunteer to do some muck work.
        muck work never got done, because the pay was too low, and management(“suits) were a$$holes.
        so i was cleaning the hot dog/sausage/bacon cooler….and actually looking at the dates of all the product i was pulling out so as to get to the surfaces inside to clean.
        this chore had apparently not been done in a decade,lol…the hot dogs were prolly fine(!!!)…but man…some of that bacon, still in its sealed package…had all manner of stuff growing on it.
        and remember…i volunteered for this…because i didn’t like just standing around.
        and otherwise…obviously…it wouldnt have been done.
        who knows how many customers were sickened over that decade….

      2. Revenant

        I am not sure what concept of British shopping has been popularised in the US or through what cultural import. Masterpiece theatre? Harry Potter? Mrs Dalloway “doing the messages” in Bloomsbury?

        Anyway, for decades we have had supermarkets and suburbs and all bit the most urban populations have done a “weekly shop”, Friday night for the waged, before it gets spent by the wageearner at the pub, and later in the weekend for the salaried and in the daytime for the retired or those who don’t have to work.

        Online shopping has upended this slightly, now anybody can shop anytime, and basket sizes are down and frequencies are up but the weekly shop still dominates, I believe.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Apologies. There’s a popular (mis?)conception on this side of the pond that city dwellers in the UK have tiny refrigerators and go to market before each meal. This in contrast to Americans, who buy a pay period’s worth of groceries on payday and put it in huge refrigerators and freezers.

    2. ambrit

      You are not alone. On the few occasions we consume beef, I patronize a local small butcher shop that sources locally. We recently held an impromptu taste test. “Regular” chicken legs versus “organic” chicken legs. Neither began to emit in the visible light spectrum, and both tasted the same. Our main worry today is bacterial contamination. You seem to be ahead of us in that regard.
      Stay safe.

      1. JohnA

        The organic chicken legs should surely be from a chicken that was free to range and killed at a higher age to allow the flavour to develop, rather than be despatched in a matter of just a few weeks because profits etc..
        As a general rule, they need to be cooked for longer at a lower temperature. Plus there would have been a huge difference in the strength of the leg bone because the free range organic one had been able to use its legs to walk around freely as opposed to the caged chickens crammed into cages with no room to move around.
        If you could not taste the difference, it was because the organic one had not been cooked in a way that would have meant you could taste the difference.

    3. playon

      We regularly shop at the Grocery Outlet chain and there are some great deals to be had there, especially for gourmet/specialty items which are marked way down. I often see food there that is past the expiry date and I wonder how they get away with doing that — I would assume it is not legal? Not a big deal if you’re buying something preserved such as a salami sausage but for other stuff it could be dodgy. Another example of the crapification of American life…

  17. Insouciant Iowan

    Can the Biden-Xi Summit Chart the Course to a Stabilized China-US Economic Relationship?

    Betteridge’s Law: Nope!

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Isn’t the term “summit” a bit hyperbolic? My understanding is that Xi is in SF to talk with tech executives and the whole Biden thing might be little more than a cup of coffee.

      In addition to the Betteridge Law, it seems like a deliberate attempt to prop up markets.

      1. Wukchumni

        My assumption of how the summit will go…

        Biden: Gee willikers, forget all the malarkey in the past, it isn’t as if we manufacture much of anything in terms of what people buy off the shelf. No divorce please.

        Xi: Why’d he call me ‘willikers’?

        1. ChrisFromGA

          Good one! I just hope this “summit” doesn’t become a he-said, Xi-said kinda thing.

          Biden: “Great talk with Chairman Xi, we agreed that Bibi rocks, Putin is evil, and bombing hospitals is no big deal”

          Xi: What? All I remember is Joe talking about his dog and how glad he is that Manchin is gone.

    2. Feral Finster

      Even if Biden or his handlers wanted improved relations, Team R would pounce if Biden took even the most tentative steps in that direction.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Biden on the brink: Democrats start to panic about whether the president is a surefire 2024 winner”

    The time to panic was after they managed to get old Joe elected back in 2020 and realized that they had nobody in the wings that could safely take over after him. The slot of Vice President was an ideal post to have such a person ready to take over but instead they placed Kamala Harris there. Now, having wasted the past three years, the situation remains the same but old Joe is even more older and more addled and they only have themselves to blame. About the only region left in the world that he has not helped blow up is Antarctica but he still has twelve months left to do that. Maybe in years to come, future historians will refer to 2024 as The Year the Chickens Came Home to Roost.

    1. GlassHammer

      Two things:

      1. Boomers are still a huge voting block and the last thing they will acknowledge are the “limitations of age”.

      2. It’s entirely possible that this election cycle will hinge on the issue of abortion and little else.

      1. Adam

        I’m sure the Democrats hope this will be true, but it’s more likely to be a case of ‘it is all about the economy’.

        1. GlassHammer

          I had initially thought inflation would end this thing before it started (it’s making most of us miserable) but the more recent election results make me think reproductive rights are taking center stage this election season.

          We will see how things go, one crisis can always rise/fall in priority over another.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Those were state elections. Abortion is now a state issue and won’t have much salience in federal races.

        1. albrt

          Abortion will certainly be raised as an issue by the candidates at the federal level, but I think you are right about the real action moving to the states.

          There does not appear to be much reason for Ohioans to turn out and vote for federal democrats next year, especially since the majority of Ohioans seem to be comfortable electing a republican majority to the Ohio legislature while attempting to take direct control on the abortion issue.

      3. Lefty Godot

        Maybe, but don’t be surprised if there isn’t a unpublicized movement to boycott the election. There has never in my lifetime been a choice between two such loathsome candidates presented to the public as a fait accompli, so if 2024 is not the time to employ that tactic, I don’t know when would be.

        1. Big River Bandido

          2016 had equally loathesome candidates. If there is a candidate worse than Genocide Joe it would be Hillary Clinton.

    2. Joe Renter

      I would say you nailed that one. Living in this point in time is stranger than fiction. I honestly am hoping it all gets sorted out before my next incarnation. Is that wishful thinking?

    3. John k

      She was an easy pick for Biden; he was willing to gamble her demonstrated lack of voter appeal (not winning a single delegate in 2020) against her access to bank money imo she was the best financed candidate for the dem nom.) Personally I’d be delighted if she retired to grace bank boards with her charm and wit.

      1. Feral Finster

        Kamala did and does exactly what she was intended to do, act as a fundraiser and insurance policy that ticks the right idpol boxes.

    4. Michael

      So the elder Bush was the last VP to ascend the throne.
      Not counting LBJ or G. Ford of course
      Before that Truman

      1. Neutrino

        If you can stand more detail about HW, read about his NAFTA and other behind the scenes legacy actions.
        Explains many recent trends including that giant sucking sound noted by Perot.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Just logging off for the night but before I do. I see that Thanksgiving is coming up in Americaland in about *checks internet* 10 days time and there has been mention of it in comments. For those inclined to do cooking, I have come up with the recipe for a local treat – Pavolva. It might be something that you might want to experiment with as a desert for your post-Thanksgiving meal, provided that full bellies let you get close enough to the table. :) Call it a novelty treat. Enjoy!

    1. earthling

      Well that’s kind, but most of those involved in cooking T-dinners have learned by hard experience that preparing some refreshingly different dessert will result in revolt by the relatives. It’s the one day of the year that pie rules, whichever ones your family traditionally has. And can’t blame people in this crazy world for clinging to a few traditions.

      1. Adam

        Wife and I recently test cooked 4 different desserts since we were so bored of the traditional ones. We’ll be going with 2 of them for the holiday and hopefully we won’t be burned at the steak. :-)

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        I’m a literal retired Chef, FFS.
        but it simply must be all the boring dried up corporate turkey, cranberry sauce, and a bunch of “horse divorce” that mom insists on that go to the chickens after a few days.
        and frelling ham…
        the one time wife and i and the boys hosted thanksgiving, i made goose and duck lasagne and an italian seafood thing(that i made up from whole cloth)…with fresh strawberries in black pepper and balsamic for dessert.
        it was wonderful,lol.
        and everybody whined about the lack of turkey, etc.

        and brother and his golden horde always…always…bring the damned flu for thanksgiving.

        1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

          The “horse divorce” can be some of the best parts, though! Heck with the chickens!

    2. nippersmom

      Sounds delicious! I will probably not make this for Thanksgiving, but will add it to my list of recipes to try.

      For American bakers, corn flour is the what we know as corn starch.

    3. Wukchumni

      Having indulged in both Kiwi & Aussie Pavs, who am I to judge which was better, other than both tasted delish~

  20. chuck roast

    Grand Princess cruise ship hit by double Covid and gastro outbreaks…

    Well, here in our lovely city by the sea the Diamond Princess drops anchor in the bay every single day between mid-September and mid November. They don’t spend any money because they are cheapskates, which is why they are on a “cruise” in the first place. They get three squares a day, but they manage to clean out the coffee shops. Even though they are out in the bay they tower over the city, and the passengers clog the sidewalks. None of them wear masks. That figures…if any of them had a clue they wouldn’t go near one of the plague-ships. But the city gets $10/passenger even if they don’t get off the ship. Around 30,000 bucks/day in the local coffers. Health and livability be damned on this island…mammon provides.

  21. Feral Finster

    Of course Nakhba 2023 was always the plan, even before October 7. All that was needed was a pretext, and October 7 provided just that.

    The question is – what does anyone propose to do about it? Neither Israel nor its American enablers, nor for that matter, America’s European lackeys, could give a [familyblog] that Israel emulates Nazi rhetoric and actions.

    Moral arguments are wasted on sociopaths. Force is the only language that they understand, although they understand this language quite well.

  22. Feral Finster

    “Exporting US Fracked Gas Is Far Worse for the Climate Than Coal, Study Finds Truthout”

    Of course it is. Nobody of influence and authority in Europe cares about the environment. the moment climate concerns become inconvenient.

    If, for example, Russian LNG were to be discovered to be uniquely prone to carbon dioxide emissions, Europoliticians would be wringing their hands and rending their garments to end this menace once and for all. But since Master demands that they purchase American LNG at great expense, limited supply and greater emissions, well, the emissions don’t really matter, because, you see, reasons.

    1. vao

      In Germany, the shift from piped gas to LNG has been accompanied by the idea of setting up the new infrastructure to be multi-purpose, i.e. being able to transport and store natural gas, hydrogen, and ammoniac.

      In the latter case, studies indicate that, all considered, the whole chain of producing, transporting, and consuming ammoniac could result in emission of greenhouse gases that are superior to using coal for the same amount of energy. Besides, ammoniac is nastily corrosive, requires to be cooled down at high pressure, and would therefore require considerably more robust tanks, pipelines, and pumps. But the German government appears to be enthusiastic about this way to deliver “green hydrogen”.

  23. Kouros

    Two interesting links:

    It was a military raid, and a very succesful one at that.

    “If the United States is a declining power and China’s rise inevitable in the Indo-Pacific; if Russia regards itself as a global power and is determined to bury the US-dominated rules-based order; if the defeat of the US and NATO in the Ukraine war has become a fait accompli; if Canada was encouraged by the US to fret and fume over alleged Indian involvement in Nijjar’s killing; if Israel’s bloodbath in Gaza is actually genocide — well, India’s policymakers haven’t heard any of this. That is the message coming out of the US-Indian 2+2 foreign and defence ministers meeting in New Delhi on November 10. “

  24. Willow

    An observation about idea/hype of developing race-specific biological weapons. It’s not possible to lock a pathogen to a specific racial trait that won’t evolve to include others. While the target race may be impacted hardest at beginning eventually pathogen will evolve and spreads to others. (A race specific pathogen would likely compromise achieving a preferred localised spread with rapid burnout). Which means that even if you have a vaccine to the original strain: non-target mandatory compliance is unlikely, vaccines will progressively lose effectiveness as new strains arise, and behavioural impacts on (friendly) non-target groups could be just as bad.

  25. Mag Levant

    Interesting post:

    The April understanding that was imposed by Hezbollah on #Israel in 1996. Civilian for civilian – and how this affects the escalation of the Lebanese front in the current war :

    Context :
    In 1996, Southern Lebanon was still occupied by #Israel. There was no Iron dome nor missile shelters. Whenever Hezbollah did operations on Israeli positions, Israel would strike civilians in revenge. Hezbollah then started hitting settlers in northern Palestine with Katyusha missiles in return to Israels killing of civilians. This led to the 1996 Grapes of Wrath War. Israel failed its objective of eliminating Hezbollah, and Hezbollah imposed the April agreement : Israel will stop striking civilians and Hezbollah too. This allowed Hezbollah to increase its operations on Israeli positions in Lebanon without repercussions on civilians, and 4 years later Lebanon was liberated in may 25th 2000.

    In 2012, Hezbollah announced that it obtained the capabilities to precision strike any building in Israel with precision. This means that if Israel strikes civilian buildings like it is doing in #Gaza, it will be responded with the same massacres on civilians in Tel Aviv.

    What it means today :
    This means that Hezbollah can escalate in the northern front with confidence(as it is doing everyday) because it’s very costly for Israel to wage war on civilians in Lebanon. Israel is forced to wage a real men to men battle. Any escalation will be on military positions with increased importance, but not a full-scale war on civilians like in #Gaza.

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