Links 12/11/2023

Looking for honey? This African bird will heed your call and take you there NPR

Mercury may have a ‘potentially habitable’ region below its surface, salty glaciers suggest Live Science

Misery Has Company, But Recession Is a No-Show John Authers, Bloomberg


COP28: Where Fossil Fuel Industries Go to Gloat Dissident Voice

‘Small minority’ of nations blocking progress on fossil fuels at COP28, says at-risk Vanuatu France24

Phasing out fossil fuels is key to COP28 success, says UN’s Guterres Reuters

At UN climate talks, cameras are everywhere. Many belong to Emirati company with a murky history Chicago Tribune


CDC rift with Cal/OSHA over when to use N95 masks could put California health workers at risk again San Francisco Chronicle. When HICPAC’s guidance guts protection in hospitals, the workplace will follow.

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Experiences of Canadians with long-term symptoms following COVID-19 Statistics Canada. Commentary:

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Virological characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 JN.1 variant (preprint; PDF) bioRxiv. From the Abstract: “The SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.86 lineage, first identified in August 2023, is 32 phylogenetically distinct from the currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 Omicron 33 XBB lineages, including EG.5.1 and HK.3. Comparing to XBB and BA.2, BA.2.86 34 carries more than 30 mutations in the spike (S) protein, indicating a high 35 potential for immune evasion.” And from the Text: “These results suggest that JN.1 may soon become the dominant lineage 59 worldwide. Indeed, by the end of November 2023, JN.1 has already overtaken 60 HK.3 in France and Spain.”

Post-COVID exercise intolerance is associated with capillary alterations and immune dysregulations in skeletal muscles Acta Neuropathologica Communications. N = 11. From the Abstract: “We present an in-depth analysis of skeletal muscle biopsies obtained from eleven patients suffering from enduring fatigue and post-exertional malaise after an infection with SARS-CoV-2. Compared to two independent historical control cohorts, patients with post-COVID exertion intolerance had fewer capillaries, thicker capillary basement membranes and increased numbers of CD169+ macrophages. … We hypothesize that the initial viral infection may have caused immune-mediated structural changes of the microvasculature, potentially explaining the exercise-dependent fatigue and muscle pain.”

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George Clooney Directed The Boys in the Boat From iPad amid COVID Outbreak: ‘I Was Really Sick’ (Exclusive) People. Moar celebrities. Yet another celebrity:

Out of time Adam Kucharski. Understanding the Unseen


China’s economy has a ‘steep hill to climb’ despite positive export surprise, HSBC says Hellenic Shipping News

China’s Top Leadership Pledges Stronger Focus on Growth Next Year Caixin Global

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China Stocks’ Premium Over HK Peers Climbs to Highest in Year Bloomberg

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Yan Xuetong says telling truth from falsehood is top priority for students of international relations Pekingnology. Let me know how that works out.

Xi to visit Vietnam for first time in 6 years as China, US compete for influence in Southeast Asian nation South China Morning Post. Good. Let the bamboo sway in the breeze. That’s exactly what our foreign policy establishment should be aiming for.


For Myanmar’s generals, energy crisis threatens shaky grip on power Al Jazeera


Secret Indian Memo Ordered “Concrete Measures” Against Hardeep Singh Nijjar Two Months Before His Assassination in Canada The Intercept


All of 2024 likely to be spent in ‘war mode’ against Hamas, IDF says YNet News. “[O]n the ground, the army is amazed every day by how strong Hamas is. It is a real army (…) that was established 50 minutes from Tel Aviv over the past years.”

Jordan’s foreign minister says Israel aiming ‘to empty Gaza of its people’ and Israel cannot carry out ‘collective punishment’ of people in Gaza: Lavrov Al Jazeera

Houthis widen ship targets Splash 247

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Israel-Hamas war: ‘For the moment, Netanyahu strongly rejects the two-state solution’ Le Monde (Furzy Mouse).

By Trying to Humiliate Gaza to Its Core, Israel Is the One Being Humiliated Haaretz

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US skips congressional review to approve emergency sale of tank shells to Israel Reuters


Dear Old Blighty

Labour’s Wes Streeting just used the winter crisis to argue AGAINST more NHS funding Canary. “Labour” supports NHS privatization. A big tip of the hat to the spooks, the press, the Israeli embassy, and Parliamentary Labour for defenestating Corbyn and installing these ghouls.

Britain slipping back to social divide of Victorian era (press release) Centre for Social Justice

European Disunion

Western democracies face crisis of confidence ahead of big votes, poll shows Politico

Lauterbach urges people to take precautionary measures during Advent because of Corona (Google translation) Der Spiegel. The deck: “Masks, no Christmas parties indoors, home office: The Minister of Health warns of a new corona wave and everyone should increase protective measures.”

Georgia sews EU flag of record size JAM News

The Untold Story of Vienna’s Global Influence Foreign Policy

New Not-So-Cold War

Ukrainians question Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s ‘rose-tinted’ speeches FT

Ukraine’s Percolating Hatred of America Matt Bivens, The 100 Days

Zelenskyy to make last ditch trip to D.C. to meet Biden and push Congress for aid Politico

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The Shortest Path to Victory in Ukraine Goes Through Crimea Foreign Policy

‘We Only Need Some Metal Things’ George Packer, The Atlantic

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The Majority Never Had It So Good Russia.Post. Interesting. Anybody know the word for “deplorables” in Russian?

Incompetent Russia Hilariously Fails to Prevent Ukraine from Losing. The New Kremlin Stooge

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How Ukrainian civilians fought Russia’s occupation in Kherson for months CBS

455 Ukrainian cities and towns have no power due to weather, hostilities, and technical issues Pravda

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Gonzalo Lira:

Dueling “Community Note,” one of which cites to “The New Voice of Ukraine.” Dudes, come on.

Brookfield chides US bank regulator for ‘secret’ auction of housing loans FT


FTC opens inquiry of Chevron-Hess merger, marking second review this week of major oil industry deal AP. I’ve gotta say, even if Biden isn’t running on — indeed, seems to be actively suppressing — his anti-trust record, it actually distinguishes him from Trump, and might lead some to give consideration to the idea of actually voting for him.

Bending Spoons, The Parent Company That Now Owns – And Laid Off The Staff Of – Filmic Daring Fireball. “Apps seemingly don’t thrive after acquisition by Bending Spoons — instead, they get bled dry.” Another one for Stoller.

Digital Watch

The Curse of Recursion: Training on Generated Data Makes Models Forget (preprint) arXiv. I’ve been muttering about AI autocoprophagy for some time. Now there’s a study. From the Abstract:

What will happen to GPT-{n} once LLMs contribute much of the language found online? We find that use of model-generated content in training causes irreversible defects in the resulting models, where tails of the original content distribution disappear. We refer to this effect as Model Collapse and show that it can occur in Variational Autoencoders, Gaussian Mixture Models and LLMs. We build theoretical intuition behind the phenomenon and portray its ubiquity amongst all learned generative models. We demonstrate that it has to be taken seriously if we [who?] are to sustain the benefits of training from large-scale data scraped [stolen] from the web. Indeed, the value of data collected about genuine human interactions with systems will be increasingly valuable in the presence of content generated by LLMs in data crawled from the Internet.”

I love the idea of collecting data about “genuine human” “interactions” with “systems.” Techie to Normie: “Everything you do will be tracked, now please interact for me in a totally genuine manner.” Do these brain geniuses read what they write? The power trip is the same as “I want to see your smile.”

Is AI leading to a reproducibility crisis in science? Nature. Not “leading to.” “Amplifying,” perhaps; see KLG here.

Popular Retailers Accused Of Using AI To Illegally Record Customers Banning-Beaumont CA Patch

AI Is the Y2K Crisis, Only This Time It’s Real Peggy Noonan

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Tesla drivers run Autopilot where it’s not intended — with deadly consequences WaPo


Quebec adopts sweeping health-care reform bill CBC. “Santé Québec will become the sole employer.”

Groves of Academe

The College Presidents Were Right About Campus Antisemitism Schools should regulate conduct, not speech. Jonathan Chait, New York Intelligencer


Persona Grata New Left Review. Kissinger.

Zeitgeist Watch

The Age of Doom Infinite Scroll. Slightly wrong quote from Louis CK at the end.

Guillotine Watch

Fraud, Lies, Exploitation and Eugenic Fantasies Truthdig

Class Warfare

Inside an alleged Amazon union-busting campaign in Kentucky: ‘They want to scare us’ ABC

Book Review – A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness The Inquisitive Biologist

Time and Space the Miyazaki Way Animation Obsessive

Learning to comfort well Orlando Sentinel

Antidote du jour (KatieBird):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. griffen

    I feel a bit like the mythical character the Grinch…perhaps my heart shrunk this morning. Seeing someone as accomplished as Mr. Clooney becomes infected, apparently after a close knit dinner where others were also catching and testing positive for Covid, makes one wonder. Granted this all occurred during 2022, so in hindsight maybe the precautions were already tossed into the wind.

    Maybe I’m more of an Ebenezer Scrooge on second thought. Added, I am relieved this isn’t a film on the rowing prowess of the Winkelvoss twins.

    1. communistmole

      At the moment his smug face can be seen constantly in Nestlé advertising again, which is why I can’t help but take a little Schadenfreude. And that goes for Piers Morgan too.

      1. Pat

        The only advertisement I have seen for the movie has as its focus a close up of that face interspersed with an occasional mini clip from the movie as he intones about its importance.
        Unfortunately he is also apparently trying to use working while sick to also sell it. If long Covid reallly did engage in schadenfreud, he would be too sick to work from now on. We aren’t even that lucky with this disease.

  2. The Rev Kev

    ‘AIPAC | Text ISRAEL to 24722 | #StandWithIsrael
    Thank you @SenSanders
    for your strong opposition to a permanent ceasefire with Hamas.’

    After signing up for Russiagate and the Ukraine must win against Russia campaign, he has now allied himself on the side of Genocide Joe and AIPAC. I used the nitter version of this tweet to read the comments to see how what he had to say went down-

    The comments about Bernie were nothing less than brutal – as they should have been. I think that it is only a matter of time until he takes the stage somewhere and gets booed by the audience.

    1. Feral Finster

      “I think that it is only a matter of time until he takes the stage somewhere and gets booed by the audience.”

      As well he should be,

      1. Michael Hudson

        That is what it means to be a Social Democrat.
        Shades of the Renegade Kautsky in WW I, jumping on the German war bandwagon.

        I’m told by his early recruiter that he was a social democrat already in 1962 when he joined the Shachtmanites (I’m sorry to say). Traumatized by Stalinism to defend his new constituency.

    2. Pat

      I actually saw the interview yesterday. he appears much more feeble than I have seen before. It was painful to watch him. After starting relatively strong decrying what was happening and calling for the US to support the UN resolution, ceasefire and humanitarian requests, he backtracked to the usual Israel must support itself against Hamas as soon as asked if he supported a permanent ceasefire looking even more defeated.
      I would be surprised if he doesn’t know that day is coming.

    3. Es ce tera

      Is it that he’s about to retire and is finally letting the mask down, showing his true beliefs, or has he always been in favor of purging Palestinians and we’ve been blinkered, or does it seem like he’s been recently compromised?

      1. Yves Smith

        See Scott Ritter. He’s been working on this project for ~30 years.

        And it is also incorrect to attribute the “recent” behavior to Netanyahu, although he did succeed in thwarting the two-state solution when it might have been possible. As Alastair Crooke has repeatedly described, the Mizrahim, basically the African Jews who were long the underclass in Israel, got majority representation in the Knesset about a year ago. They are more hard line than Netanyahu (Netanyahu checked them on a couple of recent actions, so he really is acting as a moderating force). So it’s a mistake to act as if the removal of Netanyahu will make things better. If anything, it will make them even less tractable.

        1. Jabura Basaidai

          Yves – there was link to Ritter’s substack last month that was excellent and eye-opening for me – i had previously only looked at it as a tragedy that began in 1948 – when in fact the zionist movement had been firmly entrenched by the late 19th-early 20th century – for those that missed the Ritter link 10/13/23 and also Yasha Levine’s substack link 12/5/23 to gain a better knowledge of zionism – as i’ve mentioned often previously, all zionists are jews but not all jews are zionist –

          if you think that removing Netanyahu will solve anything you are delusional – just listen to this terribly disgusting human being justify his theft of a Palestinian home

          1. Yves Smith

            We linked to the Ritter post you flagged as soon as it ran and referred to it repeatedly in comments. We also put the Yasha Levine post in Links and called attention to it.

            I have NEVER NEVER NEVER said removing Netanyahu would make a difference. The comment above explicitly says the reverse. I take extreme umbrage at being straw manned. Do that again and your comment will not be approved.

            1. Jabura Basaidai

              OMG!!! the “you” was never meant to indicate you, it was the impersonal “you” to indicate anybody else and was actually meant to be in complete agreement with your statement – holy crap! – i think i will never use “you” again – in fact completely afraid to ever comment again – this is an onerous feeling you have laid upon me with this misinterpretation of what was meant and accusation of intent – i wondered why it went into “M” for so long – the time stamp says 6:30PM but i actually checked at 11PM before going to bed to see if it had exited “M” and hadn’t – totally intimidated now – please accept an apology for being so ignorant – goodbye all –

                1. Jabura Basaidai

                  ok – still unnerved but will pass – hope you(gulp) checked out the twitter link i provided of an israeli settler justifying stealing a Palestinian home – might dispute there is any moderating force – not today – hope your niagra nose ceases soon –

    4. Randall Flagg

      Unfortunately to inform all of this, but Bernie will be in office and remain so representing the Green Mountain State until oh, I don’t know, it literally becomes another “Weekend at Bernie’s” situation.'s

      This guy could kick a baby in the middle of downtown Burlington on Church Street and the voters of Vermont would be fine with it as long as he keeps spouting what he does. That goes double for Welch and Beca Ballint too. Never seen 3 people better situated in having a job for life in this State.

      I’m sure Bernie’s constituent services is great but honestly many of us wonder what he has actually gotten done one the years. It’s too bad the average Vermonters financial situation could not have mirrored that of Bernies over all these years.

  3. griffen

    Two full weeks of shopping days left before it’s Christmas Day. Mr. Zelensky of Ukraine has a list of goodies, so he will visit the White House and sit on Saint Joe’s lap and ask for more of those Red Ryder bb pellet guns. More please, more now and more next year !!

    Contrary to the press secretary as her quote in the article, I think a few Americans are left wondering where this money is really going and when it is ending. Are American hearts two sizes too small, or just do we stand back and wonder what can be cared for at home perhaps with $60 billion of more funding. That’s a lot of funding that could say, I dunno, put a dent in at least one problem perhaps.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am afraid that it is more than just $60 billion that they want. They have started to demand another $400 billion as well as 17 million shells to eject the Russians from their territory. The only way that they would be able to get that much of the later is to buy them off Russia and North Korea. Think they’ll sell?

      Zelensky is flying in from Argentina where he was at the inauguration of President Milie and no doubt to buy up a few properties in Buenos Aires.

    2. Quentin

      Ukraine and its Zelensky are the living proof of the adage: ‘Flattery gets you everywhere’. Cute guy that Volodymyr character, magician and thief wrapped into one. Recall what Netanyahu once said about the USA: something in the sense of those USAians are easy to wrap around your little vinger…con.

    3. Pat

      Someone I know who is apolitical but is feeling the pinch was in the middle of complaining about how everyone wants more money and people don’t have it suddenly got more sad than angry. They were deeply bothered by the families they are seeing selling small items and food they made on the street. They are now very worried about the migrants. No, sending million after million to Ukraine and Israel does not sit well.

      This is only one person. But I would bet people like him are in every corner of the country even if the problem or problems that trigger the “we got problems here, why is our government more interested about other countries” response may change. And that that will only grow.

      1. griffen

        Maybe we should have an ad campaign greenlit with a lilting accompaniment from Sarah McLachlan….to point out the obvious that varied people here in America are having a rough go of it. Anecdotal, I saw a local news outlet report the local Salvation Army is running low on bell ringers this year. I believe it was Asheville, in western NC

        Shameless plus for Canadian musical acts. Sarah performs a duet with Barenaked Ladies on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” which makes for a remarkable holiday song.

    4. .human

      It’s too easy for the funds to be accountable if spent at home. This way it moves covertly from pocket to pocket, as intended.

      1. Procopius

        The funds mostly are spent in the U.S. Why do you think they are not? I don’t know if they are still shipping pallets of $100 bills, but most of those get stolen before they are used to buy anything.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “All of 2024 likely to be spent in ‘war mode’ against Hamas, IDF says”

    I don’t think that the Israelis have a whole year to just keep on attacking & killing civilians in front of the whole world. Regardless, even in peace time the Israelis are very secretive about when any of their troops are killed and this war is no exception. They are breaking their teeth fighting Hamas who turned out be very motivated and trained and are losing people all the time. Here is an article just talking about their wounded and crippled after only two monyhs-

    I notice on the news the propaganda ramping up. The Israelis round up any male civilians that they can find, strip them down to their skivvies and then announce that they are all captive Hamas soldiers so progress! And then they make a plea for the “rest” of Hamas to come out and surrender themselves.

    1. Polar Socialist

      According to that article we’re to believe that IDF’s killed to wounded ratio in Gaza is 1:12. Considering it’s way better than any army ever in the history of warfare I guess the med-evac of IDF is due to some serious respect.

      If it was anything like the US forces in Afghanistan, IDF’s casualties would be approaching 2000 dead by now. Just saying…

      1. The Rev Kev

        We may never know how many Israeli dead there are in this war. Before the war started there was an article talking about how Israelis killed in action would be reported as falling from a ladder or being in a car crash or something similar much to the amusement of the opposing forces. I believe that the BBC is trying to track Russian deaths in the Ukraine by social media posts and obituaries in Russian newspapers and the like so I do not see what something similar could not be done for Israel. Netanyahu on the news tonight was claiming only about 400 deaths or so which I do not believe for a moment. Your figure sound more right.

        1. bwilli123

          Via Twitter
          Journalist Ariel Shimon, expelled from Yedioth Ahronoth, says:
          “Why does the government not announce the true number of deaths, injuries, and losses in equipment and vehicles that Gaza incurred.
          The real number is three times greater than that. More than 250 soldiers and officers were 100% blinded, and more than 500 vehicles were destroyed between them. A wheeled vehicle, an artillery, an armored vehicle, a bulldozer, a Hummer, and the number of wounded was 7,000 soldiers, including 3,700 permanently disabled. The real number of deaths is 3,850 soldiers and officers. …”

        2. vao

          Officially, Israel has had 433 military and 59 police personnel killed and 1539 wounded since 2023-10-07. These figures are consistent with an usual ratio of fatalities/wounded.

          However, there are a number of oddities:

          1) The middleeasteye article you refer to reports figures of at least 5000 Israel military wounded.

          2) As bwilli123 below reports, there are rumours of at least 7000 wounded and 3850 fatalities.

          3) The official announcements of military personnel killed in action has an exceedingly high proportion of officers and sergeants — and very, very few corporals and privates. Something does not look quite right there.

          4) A Haaretz article indicates that the official Israeli casualties figures do not seem to include those of “special reconnaissance fighters and members of SWAT units, the police, Border Police, Shin Bet and emergency and rescue units like Magen David Adom”, in other words “security establishment personnel who do not belong to the military”.

          And the last point immediately reminded me of another dirty colonial war — the one that South Africa waged in Namibia and Angola against the SWAPO, and its Cuban and Angolan allies. The South African government regularly reported the fatalities of the SADF (including those blacks members of the SADF), and overall South Africa appeared to have limited its losses fairly effectively in what was a very hard fought war (especially when facing the Cubans).

          After Namibia became independent, some researchers looked into the matter in detail. Poring over obituaries and other records, they discovered that, yes, the SADF fatalities had been meticulously published, but not those of special forces, auxiliary units, and South West African constabulary. The actual tally of losses was thus more than 3 times higher.

          Perhaps the Israeli government today, just like the South African government then, is relying upon statistical and classification tricks to hide the butcher’s bill from its populace.

          1. Yak Patty

            “#3 The official announcements of military personnel killed in action has an exceedingly high proportion of officers and sergeants — and very, very few corporals and privates. ” — This is the style of Israeli fighting. In a squad, the commanding officer is the first through the door when clearing a house. The commanding officer is in the very first tank in a column. The commanding officer is SEEN by the other soldiers, his posture and movements are copied down the line. The commanding officer is older and his children can walk on their own. The enemy will always come face-to-face with the best soldier possible.

            The names, pictures, and units of dead Israeli soldiers are published in the newspaper everyday. No other nation voraciously consumes news like Israel. It’s a small country; everyone knows everyone.

          2. hk

            I know nothing about the situation, but I am skeptical about claims of massive Israeli casualties, for much the same reason Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, especially early last year were ludicrous.

            Israel enjoys total superiority in heavy arms and relies heavily on them to shape the battlefield (and quite a bit more.). I fully expect that Hamas can at times successfully ambush Israeli forces if the latter are not careful and don’t doubt that they have had a few successes, but I don’t think IDF is launching too many vulnerable assaults/raids/patrols. Very likely, they saturate their chosen terrain by air and artillery bombardment and advance methodically with well trained spearheads heavily supported by supporting arms–like the Russians actually. While their casualties may be fairly heavy (especially among the elite troops), the figures on the high end just don’t seem believable.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Actually I can well believe high Israeli casualties. Here is a Moon of Alabama article talking about it-


              Through US supplies & equipment they can pound the crap out of civilian areas but Hamas are underground which means that they have to be dug out. You send in tanks unsupported and bad things happen in an urban environment, especially one reduced to rubble. Tanks don’t hold territory in any case. For that you need infantry and lots of it.

              And if you have an army mostly made up of conscripts who are constantly told that they are the best in the world, then they can get cocky. And when you put them against highly-trained soldiers looking for revenge for the deaths of so many of their family and friends. I would guess that all those casualties are true as Hamas do hit and run tactics and they have been known to do stand up fights with Israeli special forces. But there is no way Netanyahu would level with his fellow Israelis on their losses as he is too worried about his political career.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PS.

        The kill ratios have been narrowing over decades. Game on, eh?!

        A generation ago, a British army officer said that “the IDF was a third rate force honed on fourth rate opposition”. He’s not the only military professional, US and UK, to think that.

        My family is Roman Catholic. Many have gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and returned outraged at the behaviour of the “colonists from Brooklyn”, armed, whether in or out of uniform, and harassing people, even preventing children from going to school. Is that to impress the girls or something?

      3. MT_Wild

        Seems like they could maintain a low KIA rate due to proximity to medical care. The wound ed may die later in the hospital, but they were not “killed in combat”.

        Will be interesting to track Isreali calls for medical supplies, blood drives, etc.

        Red this article yesterday at War on the Rocks. Interesting to hear how unprepared we are for what some in the U.S. military think is coming down the pike.

        1. ron paul rEVOLution

          >A near-peer adversary will have access to far more complicated means to restrict movement, from tactical nuclear weapons that could make certain areas of the battlefield inaccessible, to concentric and overlapping fields of antiaircraft or theater ballistic missile systems.

          The casual and matter-of-fact way war planners consider the use of nuclear weapons actually being a possibility in future conflicts is chilling. And over what? The right of Americans to determine who gets AI chips from TSMC? The right of former Soviet states to force their Russian populations to stick around and be second-class citizens? We’re going to fight and get nuked over that?

      4. Feral Finster

        I understand that trauma care has improved greatly in recent decades, such that the murder rate would be some five times higher than it currently is, absent such improvements.

        Sort of like how opioid deaths would presumably be much higher than they are, absent Narcan.

        1. MT_Wild

          That’s a really interesting point I haven’t heard anyone make before. Be interesting to see what the murder rate would actually be if it was backwards adjusted For improvements and access to trauma care.

        2. LifelongLib

          I’ve read that the number of homicides in an area is a poor proxy for overall violent crime there, since as you point out it varies with other things such as trauma care. Various areas can have the same amounts of violent crime and drastically different homicide rates because of the quality of their medical systems.

    2. The Inconvenient Palestinian

      So I guess that means that Nettenyahu can evade criminal charges for another year?

      1. Carolinian

        Indeed. It is all about him after all.

        Some of us remember that when years ago Likud finally took over the Israeli govt and US supporters were saying that they would, finally, be less slavish in their support of the Zionist cause.

        Of course that didn’t happen although many Jewish people in this country are at last starting to object. And low and behold Jewish Voices for Peace is being accused by the usual suspects of being anti-Semitic!

        This is about power–and in Bibi’s case corruption–defending itself using any available rationale. And since the arguments are weak censorship must be promoted to avoid debate.

    3. Verifyfirst

      I noticed today all the pro-Palestinian tweeters I follow have been disappeared from my Twitter feed. Seriously, every single one!

      Israel will do everything possible to contain information from coming out of Gaza, for as long as possible, for obvious reasons. The Gaza health authority is reporting 50,000 Palestinians officially wounded, in addition to the 17,000 officially dead. The real numbers will be much higher, once they come out. It will be obvious to the world this is a deliberate, systematic massacre against 2 million defenseless civilians, who unlike in most war zones, cannot even flee the area.

      The behavior of Israel is so far beyond the pale, I am hopeful it will prove to have dropped the veil from peoples eyes, as it has mine, and Israel will now forever forfeit it’s “victim” card, and be on the way to pariah status, ala apartheid South Africa.

      Of course in a world in profound denial, where covid is over and climate change is not happening, perhaps I expect too much.

      1. Greg

        I saw a few comments embedded as images in other accounts I follow that said basically they’d been shut down after Musk went to Israel. Embedded as images because the accounts that posted them were ruthlessly suppressed, and embedded links would be squashed similarly.

        That could explain the absence from timelines.

    4. ilsm

      IDF will declare Hamas done in, after an inflated body count.

      The result will be same as US’ declaration about the VC after Tet 1968.

      Soon both Zelenski and Bibi will get order slips instead of shells from the collective west.

      Or they can camp out like the U.S. in Syria over ISIS.

      1. hk

        Well, it is true that VC was largely finished after Tet: most of Vietnamese communist forces “native” to the South were lost and had to be replaced by Northern troops who were not so familar with the local conditions and much less effective. But it does illustrate the fallacy of simply defeating “Hamas”: even if most of current Hamas fighters can be wiped out (huge if), there will be more who will replace them even if less effectively.

        What bothers me about this is that Israelis are aware of this, so they are not averse to wiping out all Palestinians, which many Israeli leaders have not been hiding.

        1. The Rev Kev

          The story goes that the North let the Viet Cong get crunched in the Tet attacks as when they won the war, there would not be much of a local opposition left to Northern rule in the south. I think that Stalin too halted his armies from going into Warsaw during the uprising for the very same reason.

  5. zagonostra

    >Fraud, Lies, Exploitation and Eugenic Fantasies Truthdig

    The EA [“Effective Altruism” community has long been accused of hostility toward women. In a Time article published last February about the “toxic culture of sexual harassment and abuse” within EA,…its subculture of polyamory and its overlap with tech-bro dominated ‘rationalist’ groups have combined to create an environment in which sexual misconduct can be tolerated, excused, or rationalized away…”

    The EA movement cares a lot about PR and marketing. They put a great deal of thought into shaping their public image, and for a time, the big PR push seemed to be working. But it didn’t take long for the lies, chicanery and scandals to catch up, damaging the “brand name” of EA and longtermism, perhaps irreparably.

    What a crock of nonsense (stronger word comes to mind). When I think of “Fraud, Lies, Exploitation” what comes to mind, is NOT the “Effective Altruism community’s” PR and marketing challenges. Rather, the Fraud, Lies, and murderous exploitation of the oligarchs controlling the murderous proxy war in Ukraine, the ongoing genocide in Gaza, the eviscerations of the economy, the debt peonage of young folks, the crumbling U.S. infrastructure, corruption of Congress, the suicidal militarism of a rabid and declining imperialistic hegemon, and so on…much to choose from.

    There is an interesting confluence emerging from the headlines’ metadata in the past couple of days. Jimmy Dore had a live podcast with over 20k on WTC7/911, Tucker/Elon/Alex Jones are stirring up the alt-news ecosystem. Something is afoot, I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think the author in this article has a clue. The timing of “Fraud/Lies/Exploitation” that is being exposed as never before has some significance, I just don’t know what it is.

  6. John Beech

    Dr. Swanson’s word regarding comfort come at a good time. Moved my mom in with us a few months ago. Lived alone a long time, she’s 87 y/o and suffering from dementia. It’s been a struggle to deal with her. Me, especially, after the 100th time of her asking what the pepper grinder on the dining room table is and I snap and say something ugly, like. ‘It’s the same thing as when you asked yesterday, mom.’ She goes quiet and I know I’ve done the wrong thing but it’s so frustrating to deal with because while her short term memory is the shit, her long term memory is decently OK so she seems ‘normal’, but of course, isn’t. And then there are bouts of feeling depressed and lonely. Her brother and sisters have preceded her and she complains about why this is and how she’s ready to go and for me to please help her. So I give her a hug and tell her I love her and she hangs on for dear life. Add to it, grown daughter moved back home a couple years ago bringing her noisy brood, the incessant din often occasioning me to continue working rather than come home (husband violated the 10th commandment and coveted his neighbor’s wife, her best friend). So life becomes complicated just when I was beginning to think of accepting an offer for the business, so I could finally kick back, and relax and think of myself for a change. Ain’t happening. So the article, lifted from Swanson’s book, comes at a good time. Think I’ll go give her another hug. Thanks Lambert, well done.

    1. Socrates Pythagoras

      My mother has pretty advanced Alzheimer’s Syndrome, and she is on a short loop for repeating everything. I try really hard to treat everything she says as though it’s the first time I’ve heard it because in her mind it’s the first time she’s said it. That helps her feelings and my blood pressure. Maybe it will work for you as well.

      This is a hard thing to watch happen to a loved one. Condolences to you and your family.

    1. Carolinian

      Apparently Tucker and now Musk are making a thing about Z imprisoning a US citizen. Radio silence from the Bidenistas.

  7. JohnA

    Re The Shortest Path to Victory in Ukraine Goes Through Crimea – Foreign Policy

    This ludicrous article lays bare the fundamental underlying reason for US meddling – to takeover the naval base in Crimea and kick the Russian fleet out of the Black Sea and make it a Nato lake.

    Leaving aside how heavily fortified Crimea and the naval base are, the local population is overwhelmingly pro-Russia, as shown not only by the 2014 referendum, but also at the time the USSR was dissolved. Nor would Ukraine trying to starve Crimea by cutting off access to water post Maiden, have exactly won hearts and minds there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know what the two senior fellows were smoking when they wrote this but whatever it was, it must have been good stuff.

    2. Robert Gray

      ‘Ludicrous’ is exactly right. Reading it, I had a flashback — to Comical Ali in that famous interview insisting that Iraq was vanquishing the infidel invaders, whilst over his shoulder far in the distance American tanks could be seen advancing into Baghdad. I was just thinking yesterday how those of us who have been laughing for almost two years at all the pants-on-fire US propaganda would soon have the satisfaction of laughing ‘best’, i.e., ‘last’. But articles such as this make it clear that that day may still be a while in coming.

    3. Feral Finster

      Neither Kiev nor Washington cares in the least what the population of Crimea thinks, and both are prepared to suppress dissent using whatever means are available, if they get the chance.

    4. Kouros

      And funny enough, nobody mentions anything about the precedent created with Kosovo in 1999… Made Russian action defensible in the international court of law… The memory hole runs deep for the “rules based order” crowd…

      But since this means just that “might makes right”, Russia has taken up the challenge and US and vassals have been measured, weighted, and found wanting…

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the link about the Labour health spokesman, no one should be surprised by what he says.

    Readers should read and weep.

    The odd, or perhaps not so odd as we are talking about the Labour Party and its trade union funders here, is no one dares say so on the air waves, even if the disclosures are publicly available in the parliamentary register of interests. Please note that many, if not most, donations or douceurs, as the Foreign Office calls them, are not declared. It’s quite amazing to see medical professionals complain on air, but not say what’s causing the problem.

    The same scoundrels are in the pay of the zionist lobby. Since his Cambridge days, Streeting, who has London gangland links and is Mandelson’s protege and more, has used his zionist associates to attack opponents.

    Just as Soviet spies and Tory politicians were identified, groomed and provided with stepping stones at and from Cambridge, so was Streeting. He worked for lawyer Helena Kennedy and lobbyist Stonewall on gay matters after university. That experience qualified Streeting to become a public sector “reform” consultant at Price Waterhouse Coopers. At that time, some former Labour ministers joined PWC and other firms seeking to profit from healthcare. What is interesting is Linked In for the likes of Streeting and his sponsors like Patricia Hewitt, no stranger to Stonewall’s agenda along with her friend Harriet Harman, has been edited to hide their links, stepping stones and (long standing) agendas.

    Early this year, Streeting, considered a future PM by George Osborne, gave an interview to a Tory rag. He said he wanted to become PM, made no secret of it, and planned to run for the Labour leadership on a left wing platform and, upon election, tack right. He made no secret of his strategy. As I wrote, this is the Labour Party we are talking about. it’s likely to happen. We have been warned. Unfortunately, there are slow learners in the labour movement. It’s no wonder we are f’ed!

  9. Roger Blakely

    CDC rift with Cal/OSHA over when to use N95 masks could put California health workers at risk again San Francisco Chronicle.

    What needs to become common sense is that sensitive individuals will need to wear respirators for the rest of their lives. Not everybody is sensitive to SARS-CoV-2. Most people only get sick when there is a transition from one variant to another. Right now people are getting sick because we are transitioning from XBB to BA.2.86 and JN.1. Some of them are even testing positive for COVID-19 using nasal swabs and rapid antigen tests.

    I, on the other hand, am someone who is devastated by the slightest exposure to SARS-CoV-2. I must wear a respirator all of the time.

    What is not true is that SARS-CoV-2 went away. People are still inhaling SARS-CoV-2 even if it does not bother them.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “455 Ukrainian cities and towns have no power due to weather, hostilities, and technical issues”

    I can imagine what some of those “technical issues” might be. It could be that the technicians that know how to do this work are being seized, drafted and set to the eastern front. But more to the point, the west gave the Ukraine a giant dollop of money to repair and strengthen the electrical grid last year. But wouldn’t you know it? All that money just disappeared – poof! – just like magic. So it was never properly fixed.

    1. Polar Socialist

      455 is kinda meaningless number if one doesn’t know how many cities and town there are in Ukraine. The number seems to be somewhere around 900-1000 (couldn’t find the exact number). And many of those are in Luhansk and Donetsk, being industrial/urbanized areas.

      In other words, about half of Ukraine has to get by with generators, gas canisters and firewood.

    2. The Inconvenient Palestinian

      I don’t obviously have the “correct” answer to this, but please recognize that the lead times for any large piece of power equipment are minimum 18 months.

      Don’t get me wrong–I am sure that the Ukrainians decided to keep the money to save the agony of waiting for delivery, but “properly” fixing this problem over a year is absolutely impossible under any circumstances.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Ukraine power grid was built by Russia, using Russian technology and equipment.
        Just ask the evil Putin to expedite the required transformers, be sure to ask really politely tho.

  11. divadab

    Re: Bernie Sanders – Bernie continues to disappoint – ever the loyal sheepdog for the corrupt scum who run the Democrat party. And now helping the ongoing genocide, the final solution being inflicted on Palestine by Israel. The disappointment is worse since he presents himself as virtuous – we expect this stuff from the likes of the utterly compromised Lindsey Graham and Hillary Clinton, for example, but it’s worse when it comes from the Sainted.

    1. zagonostra

      Bernie Sanders tops the list for disappointment with Tulsi second and RFK Jr. running a close third. Right now only Dr. Shiva is addressing all the points that need to be addressed, not that he has a chance in this electoral “system.”

  12. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Bending Spoons

    To be fair, it’s all right there in the name. Is Uri Geller on the board?

    1. ambrit

      Given the barely concealed disdain for the company embedded in the article, i must wonder who the “Bending Spoons” management ‘rubbed the wrong way.’

  13. Mikel

    “What will happen to GPT-{n} once LLMs contribute much of the language found online? We find that use of model-generated content in training causes irreversible defects in the resulting models, where tails of the original content distribution disappear…”

    Wait a minute, they’re just figuring out what so many learned by playing telephone in grade school?

    1. synoia

      GiGo probably rules.

      We humans spend a lot of efforts and time on teaching Children right from wrong and fact over over fiction, and the complexity of life sorting jokes from fact.

      It appears ludicrous that an AI can perform such without mistakes, especially when much time is spent on statements that are deliberately ambiguous or need a context to be accurate.

      Generally it take a serious accident and much investigation to find truce – especially when our beloved leaders lie and dissemble much of the time.

    2. cfraenkel

      The significance is how quickly these folks went out, demonstrated it, and published. ‘We’ all suspected this was the case, now we know. And only a year or so into the hype cycle. Take it as a leading indicator of the AI bubble popping. (and compare to the bitcoin bubble, which took close to a decade to pop)

  14. t

    In case any one was wondering but didn’t have time to read the link: ““I was really sick,” Clooney, 62, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview this weekend. “It was my first time getting COVID.”

    So that’s at least twice.

    1. Lee

      If he keeps catching Covid, and if life imitates art, he may end up becoming in life the dim-witted movie star he played in the film Hail Caesar.

  15. flora

    Al Gore at COP28. ( Wonder if he thinks Gonzalo’s arrest is a good thing. )

    Listen carefully. He says Democracy is under threat because citizens are no longer all getting the same print news (propaganda)

    Algorithms (that governments can’t control) are threatening democracy.

    (Reading NC is a “threat to democracy”? Who knew? / ;)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is a perfect example of why this man let Shrub get close enough to steal the election. He can’t blame the msm, so he’s going to punch down. Even his own “loss” was full of just deranged coverage in the saint ed msm. All these years later, and he’s still that twerp who picked Lieberman as his running mate to win Florida as if the home state nonsense mattered in a partisan environment and the US post 1840 and definitely 1880.

      1. Socrates Pythagoras

        If he HAD been duly concerned about the home state nonsense, he would have won the election outright and the Supreme Court would have never been brought into play. Imagine how different our world would be. Probably a President Hillary, no Obama for starts.

        As it stands he lost his “home state” TN, and the rest we know about.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary became viable because of two losses in a row and very conservative congress. She didn’t try to go to Arkansas or Illinois. She parachuted into a safe seat. She’s not a fighter. Her senate record reinforces this. Even her 2016 lane depended on Obama shutting down potential legislation and simply bring such a lousy president an alternative was needed. Even if she was the nominee, she would lose to McCain or Romney.

          The home state nonsense is that voters would receive utility from one of their own.

          1. Socrates Pythagoras

            Sorry, I missed your point. So it sounds like the voters in TN saw through that nonsense too, hence no vote for Gore.

            In truth, he was never really viewed as being “from” TN. I think he was also damaged by the Lewinsky affair. Those two things together gave a lot of voters a convenient excuse not to vote for him. That, and the fact that he talks down to people like they are 5 years old.

    2. The Rev Kev

      When he says that people rely on a ‘shared base of knowledge’, does he mean that people should believe in ‘the current narrative’?

    3. flora

      adding: blogging and substacking and other independent writing online forums seems to me very like the rise of the printing press (technology imported from China and refined) in the 15-16-17th centuries in Europe. The power centers *hated* the rise of the printing press, its use by commoners, and its capacity to create widely circulated texts and cartoons and “forbidden materials” to the common people. Presses were smashed. Press owners were imprisoned or worse. Those who printed copies of the Bible translated into the common language from the Latin were burned at the stake for promoting heresies. (Think of the power center that last one challenged.) etc. Al Gore sounds like a guy who would have been OK with smashing independent printing presses back in the day. / my 2 cents.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Al Gore sounds like a guy who would have been OK with smashing independent printing presses back in the day.’

        True. But he would have done it only for our own good.

        Gawd, no wonder South Park mocks him so hard.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Almost certainly, Gore’s father was a great man associated with everything that we can consider good during his time in office. With Jr, we got “reinventing government” and support for third way initiatives like DOMA. He was Bill’s point man for shuttering government offices and turning services over to contractors to “save money.” (Gore helped create some of the worst traffic in the world) Tipper, his ex wife, was always at the forefront of censorship, so this is natural for Gore.

        The law school drop out was gifted a Senate seat (house first) and sat around making the country a worst place.

    4. Feral Finster

      Was it not taught to us from old that freedom of the press belongs only to those who can afford to own one?

      Not only that, but as anyone in the Good Old Days knew, independent news was a risky proposition, especially if you were going to publish things that the local establishment didn’t like seeing in print.

      Forgetting the cash outlay, a printing press requires specialized technical skill to operate. Not only that, but getting content, distribution networks and revenue sources ain’t easy, yo. Start annoying the Town Fathers and watch your sources clam up, and your distribution and advertising suddenly disappear.

      So, unless you were both independently wealthy and had the time and desire to tork people off with your very expensive hobby, best to keep your observations to yourself and your friends. “Community standards” and all that. Conservatives love to talk about them, but that’s what they boiled down to.

      This all changed with the personal computer hooked up to the internet. Now, any toolio with WiFi and WordPress can go into the publishing business for free and get to publishing just as fast as he can type. Not only that, but he can enjoy worldwide distribution and advertising support, all totally anonymous.

      Needless to say, this is intolerable for those people who want to maintain the status quo. Hence the push to corral the internet into safe, controllable, easily monitored fora.

  16. ChrisFromGA

    Golfer Jon Rahm defected from the PGA tour to Saudi-funded LIV golf. He gets $300M in guaranteed money, all he has to do is show up and not say anything bad about the Saudis.

    We often hear pro athletes (and others) use the excuse of “I was just doing it for my family” when they sellout.

    Nobody ever says that sticking with something that represents tradition, and values like “you earn what your play on the field merits” vs. taking the easy money teaches kids that there are things in life more valuable than money, and that money represents hard work.

    It’s no wonder we have a citizenry looking for free stuff.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      It just shows how much the PGA Tour was stealing from these fellas.
      Much the same as the NFL, NBA, MLB are doing.

  17. jsn

    Oh Peggy.

    “I found this argument, which AI enthusiasts always make, more a rationale than a thought. If China took to hunting children for sport, would we do it? (Someone reading this in Silicon Valley, please say no.)”, and if Israel did it? (Someone in MSM, please say no.)

    The obvious is the most invisible to ideology.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Science girl
    Dec 7
    Because every heart can feel affection’

    What can you say. We humans are pack-bonders – and it doesn’t even have to be with our own species. It is one of our greatest strengths and seeing people bond with giant bear and lions just confirms this.

    1. MT_Wild

      We had a Jersey heifer named Moodini for her ability to escape from her pasture.

      She loved playing soccer and would aslo fetch. Up until the video I thought she may have been the only cow to take up football. Now I know better.

    2. CaliDan

      Had two pigs during childhood––young adults at the time, like three-hundred pounds each. Their pen, which I cleaned, opened into the pasture where they would roam and play during room service. One evening after I finished putting the proverbial chocolate on their pillow, I turned around and to my surprise they were nowhere to be seen. I searched and searched until I finally decided to brave the one thicket of tall grasses that my dad never mowed. Of course, they were both in there, lying down in wait. And as soon as I parted the grass and spied them they, with a giddiness I’ve only seen in some dogs, leapt up and swirled around that pasture for close to half an hour. The next time I cleaned the pen the same thing. The time after that, they switched up their hiding spot, this time behind the barn. Anyway, this happened time and time again. I’d turn around so they could hide (might as well have counted to thirty, to boot), I’d go find them, after which they’d rampage with joy until they tuckered themselves out.

      Haven’t been a fan of the word ‘livestock’ since.

      1. Kouros

        My mather in law’s dog, a giant yorkshire terrier hides things and then pushes the old lady to find them for a game…

  19. EMC

    Russian “deplorables” article. He’s describing (derisively) a dacha community that has been incorporated into a large city, which would be the result of urban growth. For those who don’t know, dachas are a cultural phenomenon which goes back to imperial days, communities of cottages with very small plots of land (think large yard) outside of the cities where mostly the elite could go in the summer to grow vegetables and generally get away from the cities. The Soviets continued due to the need for food, and dachas were granted not just to the elites, but to others deemed to be making contributions to society, such as scientists as professors. They were just cabins, gardens and maybe a banya, never intended to be lived in. Post Soviet, some have been rebuilt into permanent dwellings, because people had the land, and, like many people elsewhere, like the lifestyle. Yes, it would have taken a number of years for infrastructure to reach a dacha community.

    Nothing deplorable about it.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Dachas are a well know phenomena in Belarus, Estonia and Nordic countries, too.

      And indeed nothing deplorable about it.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I think Lambert was using the term less as a pejorative and more as a cultural signifier, in the same sense that some people adopted it as a badge of honor after HRC used the term to try and erase them.

      I didn’t see too much derision in the article. He was describing the common outlook in that community and explaining why it made sense to them. He disagrees, but acknowledges that all the reasons for his disagreement are largely irrelevant or unimportant to these people. A lot of the dynamics he describes sound very much like the ones in play between the US elites and flyover country. I also noticed one major difference: Russia apparently pays its military very well, to the point where it becomes an engine of social mobility.

  20. Vicky Cookies

    While I think it’s beneficial to appoint more aggressive anti-trust enforcement personnel, I think we might pull back before crediting Biden with being a (secret, as you mention) champion of the consumer, the petite-bourgiousie and their competitiveness, and the little guy generally.

    My skepticism is from first, that this has not been emphasized as a firm position, which you have justly repeated. Second, I would like to see a better win/loss record, and real market effects. I understand there has been a significant drop in mergers this year, but I don’t know that we can put that all at the feet of an FTC which is trying to recover from having its’ teeth pulled. Call me when they jail the CEOs of Google, Kroger/Albertsons, Microsoft, &c.

    My reading of Stoller’s BIG tells me the obstacles to effective regulatory enforcement are legion: many judges are, at best, unsympathetic to anti-trust; corporate lawyers are better-resourced than their opponents; and, whether regulatory capture has been accomplished by the merger-happy due to personnel or due to pro-merger ideology being hegemonic among the ruling class, the anti-trust crowd near power seems ~200 years behind with regard to the strength and conviction of their critique.

    If we want a fairer market society through reforms, and if we want true checks and balances to power, these checks could be more adversarial. Just as Internal Affairs could be staffed by police abolitionists, my reformist solution to monopolizing crooks’ impunity would be to appoint bitter, angry Marxists to the FTC.

    Better still, replace the Sherman Anti-Trust act with the General Sherman Anti-trust act, and push these monopolists to the sea, burning as you go.

    1. Adam

      I would add that at the same time Biden is appointing monopoly friendly judges who are guaranteed to stop any efforts by these few trust busters (along with the Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Trump judges), and has shown that he is perfectly willing to continue to ignore and even support many other monopolies in most other business sectors. And at the same time his ignoring the power of the billionaire/imperial class will mean the problem never will be resolved. It seems to me to be another Democrat scam, which they excel at, while cashing in at the Washington DC corruption store.

      1. jsn

        Yep, it looks like a new development in the Democrat “Lucy with the football” routine.

        I sort of feel for Matt because he keeps falling for this.

      2. britzklieg

        “It seems to me to be another Democrat scam.”

        Bingo. And as I commented yesterday, it’s 40 years too late and the damage is irreparable. Even if the Dems and Biden are sincerely concerned (they’re not), nothing can fix what has already been purposely torn asunder.

    2. earthling

      I’ve been keeping up with Stoller’s monitoring of antitrust. And have been shocked Biden did anything useful in this area. So shocked I really suspect the whole thing is just to jerk the chains of the giant global corporations, enough to harvest giant bags of money from them to have enforcers quietly back off. Because nothing this administration has done has been good for working people.

  21. J

    On today’s (and yesterday’s) antidote du jour:

    Is this silly hat week? Please tell me that this
    is silly hat week!

  22. Carolinian

    Re Tesla–Musk adopts a kind of NRA defense by saying Teslas don’t kill other innocent victims, the drivers of Teslas using Autopilot kill other innocent victims. While the second amendment may give gun makers a shield for this that doesn’t apply to cars and the government should indeed lower the boom on Musk’s most irresponsible initiative. He sells Autopilot to make money and market his very expensive product. There’s no social or practical justification if it can be abused in ways that endanger more than the driver.

    You’d think this would be a no brainer.

  23. Alice X

    At least 18,000 killed already. Half of Gazans are starving, literally. The deaths are going the escalate dramatically, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands? We are failing them!

    1. zagonostra

      It’s not surprising that “We are failing them” but where in the heck is the Middle Eastern countries. So far only Yemen has actually done anything. Turkey’s Erdogan talks a good game but they still are doing business as usual with Israel. Palestinian Semites are being slaughtered and physically humiliated where are their brethren in the area?

      1. jsn

        As best as I can tell, this has always been the case with settler colonialism.

        Vociferously condemned from a safe distance, sharply criticized from those adjacent, passively resisted by those absorbing side effects (refugees & blowback), and very rarely acted against when it matters by anyone.

        Those with the least to lose, in this instance the Houthis, are generally the most decisive actors, necessity having a more developed relationship with their “collective action problem”.

    2. Danpaco

      Unless middle eastern countries are willing to break the Israeli military blockade that surrounds Gaza there isn’t much that can be done except wait for diplomacy.
      They could try sanctions or pull an ambassador but at the end of the day that’s all they can do.
      Then Israel can continue the rhetorical BS that all Arab countries continually abandon the Palestinians.

  24. Tom Stone

    I read Hunter’s indictment and there’s no mention at all of FARA violations.
    Which seems odd because his laptop records multiple instances where he was acting as the agent for foreign interests in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico…
    I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.

  25. Screwball

    I read this so you didn’t have to. A peek into our future. From yesterday and NBC news;

    She’s with him: Hillary Clinton steps out as a key player in Biden’s re-election effort

    Couple of beauties from this dreck;

    Clinton’s role is only expected to grow in the new year, but for now, she is filling a space that at a later point in the campaign season former President Barack Obama will join. Obama’s habit is to plunge in closer to Election Day — a reality that rankles some Democratic strategists who say the party sorely needs him right now.

    “I don’t know of a couple that could be any more helpful to President Biden than the Clintons,” said Tom Daschle, a former Senate Democratic leader. “They have an enormous level of support and admiration within the Democratic Party.”

    “You’ve had politicians over the years say that every election is the most important election in our lifetimes,” Daschle continued. “This is literally the most important election in all of American history. The stakes have never been this high. Everyone feels the need to do their part to ensure that we get through the next 14 months.”

    bold mine

    An Obama spokesman suggested that the former president’s objective is not simply to campaign for its own sake, but to choose moments and spots that maximize the chance of reaching voters.

    “Our strategy will be based on driving impact,” said Eric Schultz, a senior Obama adviser. “We place a huge emphasis on finding creative ways to reach new audiences, especially tools that can be directly tied to voter mobilization or volunteer activations. We are deliberate in picking our moments because our objective is to move the needle.”

    As the calendar turns to 2024, Biden’s team will continue to push for high-level surrogates to make the case that democracy is on the line with Trump on the ballot. Biden’s allies say there’s no excuse for any top Democrat to stay out of the fray.

    Nothing like having Queen Hillary and St. Obama in your corner for the most important election in HISTORY don’t you know. The King and Queen riding in to save the $hit show known as the Biden administration.

    I hope barf bags are on sale.

    1. ambrit

      “I hope barf bags are on sale.”
      DNC branded barf bags.
      One of the “consultants” from the Cthulhu Campaign suggests that said ‘barf bags’ should go on over the head, and be tied tightly around the neck.
      Don’t even get me started on “DNC Depends.” “Just in time for the election season!”

      1. Screwball

        LOL! No doubt.

        I had to read that just to get a feel…a feel that Hillary is like a coiled snake waiting for the chance to push Joe over the edge so she can… you know… get on with what she so much wants and deserves.

        I really don’t see how they can keep going with Joe. His polls numbers are not good, how long can they keep trying to hide his age issues, and pretend there are none? The economy, in spite of all their gaslighting, isn’t very good, and appears to be getting worse. Someone needs to replace him, but who?????

        It probably doesn’t matter because I think Hillary thinks it’s hers to have, no matter what anyone else thinks. If this IS the case one would love to hear those conversations. Would they allow to run her again? How much power does she have over the party? Enough to make her the nominee even after losing to Orange Hitler once? I guess we’ll find out.

        I can think of about a half dozen they could replace him with, and none are very appealing, and that’s being way to kind. If Clinton would get back in, my TVs would be off for the next 4 years. Fingers – chalkboard.

        1. Harlem Herbie

          Yet he keeps bragging about how great “Bidenomics” are.

          You can vote every single day before and until the election by refusing to support his “Bidenconomy.” Mulple family members have agreed to buy nothing but food as Christmas presents. After that, it’ll be shop at goodwill for what you really need. Cash only, since credit card numbers, and ongoing debt are a measure of economic progress.

          Give some of your savings to our homeless brothers you recognize from high school, not the drifting junkies from somewhere else.

          Think of all the seldom used stuff in your home that you donate to thrift stores or gift to people who then wouldn’t participate in the “Bidenconomy.”

          1. jhallc

            If you have a ReStore nearby it’s also a good place to find items to repurpose and gift. I plan to use the old hardwood from some used furniture cabinets to build items for my daughters house.

      1. Screwball

        As the old saying goes; I need two of them, one to **** in and one to cover it up with.

        True story; My X got Hillary’s book for Christmas – Hillary Clinton – What Happened? She showed it to me and said, hey look! I said, you don’t need to read it, the answer is right on the cover. That didn’t go over so well.

    2. Feral Finster

      I struggle to imagine any kind of swing voter, or even a Kool Aid Chugging Team D Loyalist who can’t be bothered to vote, who will suddenly be all fired up to go to the polls to vote for Biden because HRC is leading the charge!

      I mean, how many people are out there who would not vote for Biden but would vote for HRC?

      More likely, HRC is trying to get her face out there, just in case, you know, Biden should stumble and fall or something.

      1. Screwball

        More likely, HRC is trying to get her face out there, just in case, you know, Biden should stumble and fall or something.

        I think this is exactly what is going on. It’s “still” her turn.
        Speaking of Kool Aid Chugging Team D Loyalist, which is another description of someone falling down drunk on blue BS – a hot Christmas item according to one of those people – new book – both fascinating and scary, they say.

        Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy Hardcover – Brian Stelter.

        I think that’s the same Brian Stelter who’s CNN (or MSNBC) show had higher ratings when he was on vacation. While I don’t dismiss that Fox News lies, these same Kool Aid chuggers have their panties in a twist because Fox lies – thinks CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo and NPR are paragons of virtue and truth (along with all democrats).

        Brian Stelter? Really? Someone just broke the breathalyzer machine. I honestly can’t believe people buy these things.

        1. Feral Finster

          Lady Macbeth gonna Lady Macbeth. She can’t just retire to a nice Lowland castle somewhere, putter about the garden and spoil her wee grandbairns.

          With a sociopath, take away The Will To Power and there is literally nothing else there. Once you pull off the mask,there is a vacuum behind it.

    3. Jason Boxman

      I got a creative way to reach voters right here for ya, Schultz: Cough up that $600 that Biden owes everyone!

    4. Karl

      My guess is the Clinton machine is getting in gear in case Biden drops out, which is looking more and more probable. He may release his delegates just in time to make it a brokered convention. Who they choose would depend on the candidate anointed the previous month at the Republican convention.

      Biden dropping out is the only thing that will save Democrats from disaster, imho.

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        That depends on who would then be dropped in. Would a Harris or Clinton transplant gain more votes than Biden?

  26. Daniil Adamov

    “Anybody know the word for “deplorables” in Russian?”

    There is no strict equivalent. “Deplorables” is a colourfully exotic Anglo-Saxon touch. However, there is a wealth of local options that serve a similar function: popular ones include sovok (literally dustpan, but obviously evoking the Soviet Union with connotations of obsolescence and Communistic idiocy, could be applied to anything from institutions to individuals; plural is sovki), bydlo (an old word for cattle, shared with other Slavic languages; “cowple”, I suppose, dumb, primitive, brainless, easily led, the unwashed masses, hoi polloi) and the more recent vatnik (a warm wool-padded jacket of the sort used by the Soviet Army, also seen as deeply sovok and unglamourous, and recently attached to “the majority” who are seen to love Putin and hate the West; plural vatniki).

    By Russian liberal standards the author of that post is both extremely lucid and noticeably compassionate. (90s nostalgia is actually a thing in some circles.) I definitely know what he means about the emigres and the good people in Moscow. That said, he is wrong to evoke the German example – not because we are the good guys, but because the Germans had to suffer a conclusive military defeat and foreign occupation, and I don’t think that’s in the cards. Even the best case scenario for our enemies is an internal collapse of some sort, not a thorough conquest like what the Germans suffered. Modern societies have exhibited other ways to deal with the memory of controversial warfare which seem like closer analogues for what we are likely to get. In America, if I am not mistaken, there was a wave of anti-war sentiment after Vietnam, but afterwards it was securely left behind in the past – not so much overturned as quietly shelved. Critical anti-war voices in Israel are even more securely marginalised. We might end up somewhere in between.

    1. hk

      To be honest, I tend to think that anti-war sentiments like that of Germany (and to a lesser degree, Japan) are rare even after defeats. Neither 1815 nor 1870 broke the French hawkishness, although the realization of their weakness did cause them to change their approach to warfare. 1865 did not cause the former Confederates to rethink their side. And these are the guys who lost catastrophically.

      To be honest, I always thought Russians had an interesting perspective, even about World War 2. I might be overreading things, but the way a lot of Russian mass media depicted WW2, as far as I know, with a lot of focus on shared suffering and forbearance, seemed different from the Western depiction which tends to get a bit over the top (how evil our enemies are..not so much on the shared suffering).

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Yes, pretty much. Germany did not just suffer a defeat (that happened in WWI and it also did not produce mass penitence). In WW2 it was defeated utterly, placed under foreign occupation and subjected to re-education (possibly not very successful in itself but a fact). That is not a remotely typical outcome, yet some treat it like a model everyone else can be expected to follow…

        Re: WW2, I would expect it to be different from America, but maybe less so from Britain? The Blitz, while very mild compared to what we got, seems like a major part of their historical memory, with solidarity and shared suffering as a major theme.

  27. Feral Finster

    Re: Sanders – AIPAC is sure to thank St. Bernie as a way to neuter criticism from the Left (see, St. Bernie is good with genocide and ethnic cleansing, so you need to get with the program or your risk criticizing your sacred cow) but still, if anyone still doesn’t get that the Senator from Vermont is a fraud….

    1. Jason Boxman

      To be fair, Sanders was never known to be awesome on foreign policy. The appeal was always his recognition that extractive capitalism is destructive to the working class, well, “working families” in his campaign, because even his campaigns erased me as a single person. Sigh.

  28. Ghost in the Machine

    The Age of Doom Infinite Scroll. Slightly wrong quote from Louis CK at the end.

    The elite of the collapsing Soviet empire also cocooned themselves in a bubble of ‘objective statistics.’ Believe economists or your lying eyes.

    I am not sure what climate science he is referring to but I see a lot of alarmed debate in that community. A few scientists are sanguine but many are falling into despair. And history to date has shown that the predictions have been overly optimistic. And if he is referring to the ‘science’ of Nordhaus….good lord

    1. Jabura Basaidai

      i read it and wondered what planet the author was on, especially when he went after “climate change” – the ‘numbers’ are so good why is everyone bellyaching? – a tone-deaf article –

    2. c_heale

      There is enough carbon in the atmosphere now that a 3 degree rise is going to happen. That will end our current ‘civilisation’ in short order.

      1. Jabura Basaidai

        as Carlin succinctly put it, we are a closed end cul-de-sac and are about to say bye-bye – i’m just trying to enjoy what’s left for as long as possible and never fear challenging stupidity – as Albert Einstein stated, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” he was also against zionism –

  29. Jason Boxman

    The public health messaging on COVID has been a debacle from day 1. So people are living like it is 2019 because, simply, most people are blissfully unaware that getting infected with SARS2 puts you in the running for long COVID, that you can get it repeatedly, even after having had a month or two prior, and that it causes various types of clinical and subclinical damage such that you’re at increased risk for dementia, strokes, heart attacks, and so on. I think loss of taste is maybe the only thing that ever entered the public consciousness.

    So it’s little surprise that people get infected repeatedly; few are aware of the extreme danger of an infection, and there’s some combination of either believing its always been a hoax, that COVID shots are protective and ensure only “mild” infections, that infections are actually a net positive and build the immune system, that there is no alternative in any case.

    I don’t know if this can ever be sorted, before a substantial portion of the population is disabled to some degree. We need honest, direct, forceful messaging that SARS2 causes serious damage even in “mild” cases. Other infections can present as mild, too, until the underlying damage finally manifests. Polio paralyzed some people long after infection; chicken pox attacks people again in old age.

    It’s bizarre to see every day the world operates as if the fundamental nature of our reality has not changed.

  30. marym

    > Dueling community notes

    At least the links in the notes and further links in the sources they cite give readers something more to use to evaluate the issue, based on the degree of credibility they give to the sources.

    I watched the interview with Lira’s father. He said his son has a lawyer who doesn’t speak English, and the US embassy isn’t doing anything. Maybe it’s fair for Tucker and Musk to assume without citing any sources that his son is being tortured (or that the situation amounts to torture) but he doesn’t seem to have a way of knowing any details, and didn’t say he did.

    Unsurprisingly he was very critical of Zelensky, Biden, and US support for Ukraine in general. However, he also said (~16:53) the 50’s through early 70’s was the best time in the US because we were a fantastic country that wasn’t making wars and supporting dictators. He cited himself as a source for that, but there were probably some fathers of sons in those years who would disagree.

  31. Willow

    Erdoğan visits Greece.
    Putin visits Saudi Arabia.
    Xi to visit Vietnam.

    Visits to key adversaries to keep them from getting involved in any US clash? Erdoğan’s visit to Greece looked a lot like sorting out the house/neighbourhood before a coming storm.

    1. Roger

      Vietnam has very good relations with China, in no way an adversary. Same with Russia and Saudi Arabia. No idea about Erdogan and Greece,

      1. Willow

        Disputes over South China Sea claims would suggest otherwise.

        . In 1974, the Chinese seized the Paracels from Vietnam, killing more than 70 Vietnamese troops.
        . In 1988, the two sides clashed in the Spratlys, with Vietnam again coming off worse, losing about 60 sailors.
        . Unverified claims that the Chinese navy sabotaged two Vietnamese exploration operations in late 2012 led to large anti-China protests on Vietnam’s streets.
        . In May 2014, the introduction by China of a drilling rig into waters near the Paracel Islands led to multiple collisions between Vietnamese and Chinese ships.

        Main reason Vietnam hasn’t been more active in contesting the claims is because it doesn’t want to be dragged into any US/China conflict. Sucking it up & playing nice doesn’t mean friendly relations.

  32. thump

    re: Britain slipping back to social divide of Victorian era.

    While concern for inequality and name of organization, Center for Social Justice, sounds lefty, the discussion seems more like an excuse to be against provision against public goods, such as measures to prevent Covid spread, or welfare for disability. No mention of degradation of NHS, for example.

    1. c_heale

      According to Wikipedia it’s an “independent centre right think tank” founded by two conservative politicians, a businessman, and a conservative blogger. I expect any solutions it advocates will advocate “market” solutions.

  33. Willow

    Yemen is creating, in effect, a rerun of the Suez Crisis. While Houthi aren’t blocking shipping to and from the Suez, with West maintaining sea control, the sporadic attacks are going to send insurance costs through the roof. Sink enough ships and transiting (on the way to) the Suez Canal will become too expensive. Europe in particular will be in for a lot more economic pain with its trade with Asia disrupted.

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