Links 12/2/2023

Elusive De Winton’s Golden Mole Rediscovered in South Africa After 90 Years The Animal Rescue Site (Nippersmom).

After a slow start, sandhill crane raised in captivity released into the wild to join other birds AP

How are wildlife officials preparing Coloradans for wolf reintroduction? With a brochure. Colorado Sun


COP28: EU, IMF, Zambia call for more ambitious, widespread carbon pricing Anadolu Agency

COP28: Unanswered questions about loss and damage deal leave Asia’s environmental and indigenous groups wary Channel News Asia

COP28: The mirage that capitalism can solve its destruction MR Online

UAE planned to use COP28 climate talks to make oil deals BBC. What kind of deals:

* * *

The poor should control carbon emissions, but the rich must eliminate them Brookings

Biden Administration Unleashes Powerful Regulatory Tool Aimed at Climate NYT

New study offers cautious hope about the resilience of redwoods (press release) Northern Arizona University


A single bitcoin transaction uses enough water to fill a swimming pool New Scientist

A California dry farmer’s juicy apples show how agriculture can be done with less water LA Times

Mycoplasma pneumonia Radiopaedia (DD). Includes radiographic information, but this jumped out at me: “It spreads via inhalation of aerosolized droplets containing the microorganisms.” CDC’s mycoplasma page is — and I know this will surprise you — solid droplet dogma. A cursory search doesn’t yield solid information either way. Just because the public health establishment got airborne transmission of Covid so catastrophically wrong doesn’t mean they’ll be wrong in the same way with a different organism. And of course Mycoplasma might already be in everything anyhow….


The Kids Are Not Okay. Stop Making Them Sick Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer

Infectivity of exhaled SARS-CoV-2 aerosols is sufficient to transmit covid-19 within minutes Nature. From the Abstract: “Six aerosol samples from three individuals were culturable, of which five were successfully quantified using TCID50. The source strength of the three individuals was highest during singing, when they exhaled 4, 36, or 127 TCID50/s, respectively. Calculations with an indoor air transmission model showed that if an infected individual with this emission rate entered a room, a susceptible person would inhale an infectious dose within 6 to 37 min in a room with normal ventilation. Thus, our data show that exhaled aerosols from a single person can transmit covid-19 to others within minutes at normal indoor conditions.”

New route for COVID-19 into human cells found by scientists Nature. “Scientists have known for more than three years that the main entry point for the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the body is the ACE2 receptor. A team in Italy has now identified another receptor, called RAGE, present on the surface of certain human immune cells, which can bind to SARS-CoV-2 and allow it to enter cells, altering their function and leading to a worse prognosis.”

CDC Improves Its Covid-19 Reporting With A New Wastewater Dashboard Judy Stone, Forbes

‘It’s kind of a death sentence if we don’t’: Iowa veterinarian prescribes COVID-19 drug for mystery dog illness KCCI


Hong Kong minister hits out at claims that city’s days as global financial hub are over South China Morning Post


Myanmar’s military is losing ground against coordinated nationwide attacks, buoying opposition hopes AP. Commentary:

Gangs, extortion in Bangladesh camps driving Rohingya sea exodus France24 (Furzy Mouse).

The Koreas

COVID-19 shrinks life expectancy in South Korea for first time since 1970 Channel News Asia


Additional reporting reinforcing the 972 Link from yesterday:

Israel-Palestine war: How the AI ‘Habsora’ system masks random killing with maths Middle East Eye

‘The Gospel’: how Israel uses AI to select bombing targets in Gaza Guardian. “‘There is a danger,’ [Richard Moyes] added, ‘that as humans come to rely on these systems they become cogs in a mechanised process and lose the ability to consider the risk of civilian harm in a meaningful way.'” Hmm. Reminds me of something.

* * *

Israel plans for ‘long war’ and aims to kill top three Hamas leaders FT. Rather like the Tatmadaw, the IDF’s target is “thinning out” the civilian population. That is the war aim:

For more “thinning out,” just tweak the algorithm….

In maps: Israel’s forced evacuations in Gaza FT:

“A map published on Friday by the IDF divides the besieged enclave into 620 separate blocks, ranging from the size of two football pitches to 25 square kilometres. The Israeli military told Gaza residents to “keep following the map carefully” and move to specific places when told “to protect their safety”. It is unclear how Gaza’s 2.3mn civilians, who have little access to reliable electricity or internet connections, are supposed to follow the instructions. Many have already been displaced from their homes.

Handy map:

* * *

U.S. Sends Israel 2,000-Pound Bunker Buster Bombs for Gaza War WSJ. A sideshow.

* * *

This Is the 9/11 Lesson That Israel Needs to Learn Thomas Friedman, NYT. “Israel’s stated aim is to get back all its remaining hostages — now more than 130 soldiers and civilians — while destroying Hamas and its infrastructure once and for all, while doing it in a way that doesn’t cause more Gazan civilian casualties than the Biden administration can defend, and without leaving Israel responsible for Gaza forever and having to pay its bills every day.” “Stated” is doing a lot of work, there.

UAW backs Israel-Hamas cease-fire, largest union to do so The Hill

Dear Old Blighty

Health crusaders prep legal challenge over NHS mega contract with Palantir The Register. On the NHS and Palantir, see NC here, here, and here.

New Not-So-Cold War

Spiders in Glass Jar: Ze Desperately Buys Time as Enemies Plot Simplicius the Thinker

The AP Interview: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says the war with Russia is in a new phase as winter looms AP

Ukraine’s Zelensky Orders Construction of Defenses to Hold Back Russia WSJ

General to General (excerpt) Seymour Hersh. “The driving force of those talks has not been Washington or Moscow, or Biden or Putin, but instead the two high-ranking generals who run the war, Valery Gerasimov of Russia and Valery Zaluzhny of Ukraine.” Hmm.

Frost, mice and artillery duels. How winter affects combat operations Ukrainska Pravda

* * *

Putin signs decree boosting Russia’s troop numbers by 15 percent France24

How Russia Massively Expanded its Missile Stockpiles Ready for a Winter of War Military Watch

Putin’s Favorite “Project Managers” Could Become a Risk to the Regime Carnegie Institute for International Peace

* * *

Don’t stop now. US aid to Ukraine continues to be a wise investment. The Atlantic Council

South of the Border

Venezuela to hold referendum on seizing part of Guyana — and its oil FT


Federal appeals court says Trump is not immune from civil lawsuits over Jan. 6 Capitol attack CBS

Were Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis lying during Fox News debate? Here’s what they said Sacramento Bee

A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending Robert Kagan, WaPo

The Bogus Historians Who Teach Evangelicals They Live in a Theocracy Politico

Crank profiles #4: Will Stancil’s “theory” of vibes Carl Beijer

The Supremes

Senate Judiciary Committee authorizes subpoenas of Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo in Supreme Court ethics probe NBC


Federal judge vows to investigate Google for intentionally destroying chats The Verge. Not Mehta, however.

Digital Watch

Amazon’s Q has ‘severe hallucinations’ and leaks confidential data in public preview, employees warn (excerpt) Platformer. The deck: “Some hallucinations could ‘potentially induce cardiac incidents in Legal,’ according to internal documents.”

Spook Country

60 Years of ‘The Spy Who Came in From the Cold’ CrimeReads

The Mystery Customer for Palmer Luckey’s Aircraft-Killing Drone Is U.S. Special Forces 404

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s undying empire: why the decline of US power has been greatly exaggerated Guardian

Class Warfare

Auto Workers Direct Momentum Toward Organizing Plants Across the U.S. Labor Notes

The richer you are, the more money you need to be happy Axios

The New Quest to Control Evolution Quanta

In Praise of Darkness: Henry Beston on How the Beauty of Night Nourishes the Human Spirit Marginalian

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. GramSci

    Kristalina Georgieva, IMF managing director, says carbon pricing, not carbon taxation, is the way to stop the climate crisis. Everybody agrees. COP28 is over before it starts.

  2. Pat

    I had begun writing Joe Biden off for 2024, but now that perpetually wrong Robert Kagan says

    A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.

    I may have to adjust that assessment.
    Of course, I don’t honestly believe Trump could be a dictator. Even if he gains more traction and manages more revenge than the establishment might want they are too entrenched to be totally dislodged. In point of fact it was their near dictatorial rule that Trump threatened and still threatens.
    Sadly we would have needed real house cleaning on a regular basis in Washington ( after every major Presidential administration of my lifetime actually) with certain people banned from government forever every time to get some real representative government on a national level. But as a full fledged member of that establishment, Kagan could never admit that.

    1. tegnost

      My NYT/MSNBC mom is convinced trump will be a dictator. I see it as a class struggle from the upper classes perspective. It’s their way or no way.

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        Every liberal I talk to about Trump, at the end of the day, admits that they don’t want him in office because it’ll make it harder for them to ignore how quickly this country is falling apart.

        A Democrat in office at least allows them to sleep at night, thinking they’ve done their part.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          It’s that moral vanity thing which liberals are chained to: they have to believe that they are the Good People, whose Goodness and moral censure somehow combat the Bad ones. Phil Ochs captured it in song when he wrote “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” over half a century ago.

          1. LifelongLib

            There’s as much moral vanity on the “left” as there is among “liberals”. All the bashing about religion (especially Christianity), the “PMCs” (i.e. everyone with a college degree), capitalists (like owning a comic book store is the same thing as owning Standard Oil) and on and on. The issue isn’t whether or not any of this is accurate. It’s the tone, which alienates many potential supporters and makes those on the left look like gratuitous moralizers.

            1. JBird4049

              >>>It’s the tone, which alienates many potential supporters and makes those on the left look like gratuitous moralizers.

              While it seems to be mainly a left/liberal trait, sometimes the God-Luvs-Me people in the ostensible conservatives are also annoying as its the finger waving by the Republicans when denying SNAP and other benefits to the needy.

              Maybe it is more the gratuitous, self congratulating, lecturing in place of actually doing anything that helps others that makes it so grating.

              1. Morincotto

                The original snowflakey cancel culture.

                And it’s coming back big time in no time, no worries.

                The rightwingers have the culture war basically won and the Neocons soon enough will migrate back to the Republican Party and re-invent themselves chameleon style as they have before.

                It will basically be as it was before Obama once more.

                If Trump were to be an actual problem, he would be snuffed out but the rest of the Republican Party and it’s base will be whipped back into shape right back.

                As far as I can tell, all that is needed to get the rightwing culture warriors on board for war on Russia again is to stop idiotically portray Putin as a rightwinger.

                They have sorta adopted him to a degree as their supposedly conservative, reactionary, christian daddy dom, but as soon as the warfare state retrenches and re-builds on it’s historical, organic, reliable base of christofascism and co instead of that brief woke/liberal episode that will soon be forgotten, and the Rooskies are exposed as the godless commies they are and always were, the rightwingers will quickly forget all that nonsense of being opposed to war and genocide and salivate over war on Russia as they already salivate over war on China.

                As Caitlin Johnstone correctly pointed out, they are far more interested in things like punishing Woke Hollywood than they are in dismantling the warmachine.

            2. Socal Rhino

              I started to agree with you, but I’m not sure I’ve run into any lefties in the wild since I left college, whereas it’s hard to turn around without bumping into a lib or a religious conservative. Seems like more of an internet thing. Even labor leaders seem pretty solidly mainstream liberal democrats.

              1. jsn

                Moral majority sanctimoniousness I grew up with was no better than today’s glib libs.

                There’s lots of decent lefties at the local grassroots in both parties, but our socially mediated weaponized rhetoric prevents them from recognizing one another or even acting on their own decency.

                I think people in the shadows of the system are starting to sort this out.

      2. Margaret Jaye

        Tegnost, Ask your mom, or yourself, what Trump POLICIES did or do you disagree with?

        Sure he’s a jerk, egotistical, pompous, grabs women there, but which candidate is more likely to get you vaporized?

        Your basement is not going to protect you from a Million and a half degree fireball. If you’re lucky, your brain evaporates instantly.

        Most people will not be so lucky and will die a grisly death. Read The Road for a preview what a second Biden administration could lead to.

        We’re going on strike for as long as possible to protest the wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Staying home except for groceries. No restaurants, no trips, no credit cards, food and utilities only.

        1. Hank Linderman

          As a D nominee for Congress, I went to several R functions last year, will be doing it again this coming year. Occasionally I’d hear, “Yeah I voted for him but that doesn’t mean I LIKE him. I wouldn’t want him as a neighbor, I wouldn’t want him over to the house for dinner.”

          I’d say the trade war with China didn’t go so well. I don’t like the *policy* of politician’s relatives doing business with foreign nations, whether it’s China or Ukraine, no matter the party or family. The Trump hotel in DC was a spectacularly bad idea. Maybe that’s not a policy but maybe stopping such open corruption should be.

          But worst, the people that elected him didn’t get much more than the end of Roe (which many of them didn’t really want) and winning symbolic culture war skirmishes. The covid lockdown was late, and that was catastrophic. And didn’t that follow cutbacks on emergency preparedness for pandemics? He’s willing to gamble, not a good idea when setting policy.

          The guy is a genius at something. I haven’t met him, but I’m told he is a natural politician, nothing like what we see on the news. The comparison to Bill Clinton, another natural, seems fair. But unfortunately, his gifts are in service to himself. If I ever spoke with him, I’d tell him he could wind up on Mt. Rushmore if he actually worked on behalf of the 90% instead of himself.

          Fwiw, I have never gotten any help from the DCCC or the KDP. I’m running to reconnect the D party with working people and to get Ds to invest in rural America. Abandoning those groups by Ds led to Trump. So I’m no fan of the current D leadership. No need to say, “whutabout…”


    2. lyman alpha blob

      Absolutely infuriating that WaPo would publish this kind of nonsense written by someone who certainly knows better. Kagan might be an evil SOB, but he’s not completely stupid and knows how these things work, having supported the installation of many authoritarian governments himself.

      You need to have the support of the military, the police, the spooks – somebody with some real firepower – if you want to be a “dictator”. The Donald has Ivanka, Kushner and his kid and I don’t think that’s quite enough the wrest away the entire power of a nation. Yet once again we’re expected to believe that one blowhard charlatan is going to kill us all, based on nothing more than the butthurt speculations of the TDS-infected elites who fear they might not be the center of attention and calling the shots with a Trump presidency. Better keep the malleable dotard with a short temper around if we’re to really get our wars on.

      1. Reply

        Kagan interpretation / translation:

        ZOMG, Evil Trump will use our own tools against us.

        We established the precedents through Lawfare, weaponized FBI / DOJ / IRS and overall gross abuse of office and the public trust. Hard to backpedal from those extreme positions. Quick, more domestic and foreign disturbances. The international situation is desperate*.

        *Even voters get the blues.

      2. Feral Finster

        The never Trump forces have the leadership of both legacy parties, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, a significant swathe of the military, the MSM, pretty much every major corporation and the “international community” on their side, but they still style themselves “the resistance” as if they were a plucky beleaguered minority.

        1. JBird4049

          What makes gaming all this out is that there are multiple factions within the system trying to win the game of thrones, but not is it opaque, the factions themselves are not sure who they are, what their goals are, and who to align with.

          The King in Orange has several factions within the Border Patrol and FBI. Actually, from what I can see, the FBI is split into two, maybe three factions. The Republicans’ base is mainly Trumpers with the Old Guard especially the leadership is quietly aligning with the Democratic leadership.

          It kind of reminds me of the Weimar Republic’s endgame when the Communists and the Nazis allied to destroy the popular and comparatively moderate Socialists, and the Communists then helped the Nazis make the Bundestag incapable of functioning. This enabled the Nazis to gain the leadership of the diet. IIRC, there was an understanding that the Communists would eventually have their turn, which of course never happened. Socialists, Communists, and Brownshirts were each eliminated by the Nazis with Hitler gaining power with the help of the industrialists who thought that they could control him.

          I sense, although I could be wrong because I do not know enough really and the future is still very fluid, that this process is in the United States’ future. All this is why I still think that the Christian Nationalists, perhaps some other party or coalition that might be forming right now, as possible winners. People know change is coming, but probably do not know which way to jump,

          The disintegration of either or both of the major parties are very real possibilities whenever the next series of disasters happen. How about East Palestine 2, This Time for Realz, hits a city, or massive crop failures in the Midwest, or 8.0 quake hits San Leandro or a 9.2 quake annihilates Seattle and Portland? All of these are real possibilities that would affect tens of millions of people, perhaps killing hundreds of thousands especially with the Cascadian fault in the Pacific Northwest, and I do not see an administration from either party being able to handle it.

          Just as slavery in the United States and the hyperinflation in Germany led to a rupture, any of this would do the same to the current United States.

    3. Grumpy Engineer

      I don’t honestly believe Trump could be a dictator.

      I don’t either. During his first term, Trump issued a number of orders that were simply ignored by corporations and government apparatus. If he’s re-elected, I fully expect this to happen again. Running a dictatorship requires full obedience by those receiving orders, and Trump won’t get that.

      Indeed, if I’m face with the thoroughly depressing choice of Trump vs Biden on the ballot again, I’ll probably vote for Trump. Now please note… I loathe the man. Can’t stand him.

      But Joe Biden scares me. He’s pursued a number of policies that I consider actively destructive (the student loan fiasco, brain-damaged energy policy, escalation of two major wars, mismanagement of COVID, gender identity/woke crap, etc.) and has aided Democrats with unjust tactics intended to keep them in power forever (coordinating with media on censorship, overly harsh punishments for Jan 6 rioters, etc.). I can’t think of a single thing that he’s done well.

      I don’t expect Trump to do anything well either. But we’d get less destruction. Just “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

      1. Kara

        The Bidenconomy speaks for itself.
        Look at the defeated faces in grocery store checkout lines.

        The jumble of clothing and sleeping bags in the back of cars that people live in.

        Tent Bidenvilles on scraps of land.

      2. Ken Murphy

        Or you could do what I do, which is to vote for candidates who are neither Republican nor Democrat. Libertarians have had presidential candidates since at least 1988, when I cast my first presidential vote for Ron Paul.

        And while I know libertarians are favored whipping-boys for both parties, I would ask readers to at least briefly consider – would things really be worse if it weren’t the Republicrat/Demican political machine running things? Because personally, I’m having a hard time with the idea that liberty, freedom and individual rights are worse than what we have now.

          1. Ken Murphy

            I vote for what I believe. I vote for a better country than the mismanaged morass that we have now.

            I do not vote based on stupid prisoner’s dilemma false dichotomy choices that TPTB want to shove down my throat. I do not pinch my nose and waste my vote on lesser evils. I see a direct correlation between that and where this country is now. And I will not be a part of it.

            I consider both Republicans and Democrats equally culpable for where we find ourselves; neither party will ever get my vote again for any office.

            Am I spitting at a hurricane? Yeah, probably. But I’d rather be part of the solution than part of the problem.

        1. montanamaven

          A good place for people to start to get a handle on Anarchism is the book “Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction” by Colin Ward. He has a chapter on the difference between Right and Left Libertarians.

          1. Ken Murphy

            Umm, anarchism is not synonymous with libertarianism. I get that a lot of people like to see them as the same, because it works to their advantage and makes it easier to belittle libertarians as just law-breaking, pot-smoking hooligans.

            But do libertarians really fall into the left/right divide? Or are they rather so far beyond and inside both that they effectively straddle such a distinction? Which frankly I typically associate with the fake Republican/Democrat positioning associated with their duopoly. While on the gripping hand…

            1. pell grant kid

              Libertarians are, like most anarchists, de jure ‘neither left nor right’ but de facto the latter (anarchists of the older schools, ala Tolstoy or Kropotkin are closer to the former). Libertarians cheerlead the base of capitalist society while criticizing its inevitable superstructure along with the whole political/military structure that grows out of it by necessity. They are pro-fire but anti-smoke, only beyond ‘left and right’ because it is a functionally meaningless and impotent political position (another thing it has in common with anarchism, and why both of them have only had marginal ideological roles in liberal or socialist movements respectively while fostering none of their own).

              1. Arkady Bogdanov

                Anarchists are anti-capitalist (and therefore fit the classic definition of leftism), libertarians are not. Libertarians have long been working to appropriate the anarchist label for themselves, with increasing success.
                Anarchism is the one ideology that is NEVER spoken about*, let alone explained ideologically in western education systems. People might want to ask themselves why that is.
                *Except when associated with the name of Gavrilo Princip- which serves a very specific purpose.

              2. Ken Murphy

                “By necessity”
                “Meaningless and impotent”
                Lots of assumptions in there. Don’t you hate it when folks don’t think the way you do? Would be so much easier if they did, right?
                Plus, your conclusion is not clear:
                “only beyond ‘left and right’ because it [it being ‘left and right’, or it being libertarian?] is a functionally meaningless and impotent political position.”
                I know you want libertarians to be the meaningless and impotent ones, but personally I tend to be of the opinion that the whole left/right thing is meaningless and impotent. Largely because they always end colluding, or bipartisan agreementing, and look where that’s gotten us.
                Plus, if libertarians are really so impotent and meaningless, then why are they always the first boogeyman both the democrats and republicans point to when they don’t get the vote results they feel they are entitled to?

        2. JP

          I would ask if things would be really worse if Peter Thiel were running things. If you think inequality is driving a divide in the country now just see how much worse it (inequality) can become.

      3. montanamaven

        See “Napoleon” before it leaves the theaters. And see it in DFX. Amazing sound. It’s really an anti-war movie in the style of something like “Apocalypse Now” with wry humor and a great deal of time spent on Napoleon’s relationship with Josephine and what motivated the Emperor. The greatest anti-war film IMHO is Kubrick’s wild and crazy “Dr. Strangelove”. His serious one is “Paths of Glory”. “Mash” is another anti-war satire. “Platoon” has some wit in it amongst the stupidity and gore. The battle scenes in “Napoleon” are filled with soldiers and horsed getting blown to bits. The “bits” are flying everywhere. Lots of red blood splashing. The heads of state and generals are drunk most of the time and they spend a great deal of time eating and changing clothes. The costumes are stunning. The assault on Moscow is a good lesson in why NOT to ever engage the Russians. They are super sneaky and prepared to die in even greater number than the French. It is a reminder that the millions of lives lost in the Napoleonic era is now rivaled by the foolishness and waste of the Anglo-Saxon empires in the 20th and 21st century. Anybody seeing this movie, should be for peace.

        1. montanamaven

          Oh, and another reason to see “Napoleon” is that there is a real coup in the movie. Seems you need an army behind you to storm the Congress and point hundreds of rifles with bayonnets at the nincompoops.

        2. GW

          “The assault on Moscow is a good lesson in why NOT to ever engage the Russians”

          You’re talking about Borodino. I personally visited the field, checking out all the hills, knolls, and artillery firing positions. It was blood chilling, and I’m not exaggerating.

          The best battle painting IMO is that done by Baron LeJeune. Focus on the dense columns of Russian infantrymen (tens of thousands of them) sheltering in the gullies between the knolls in the upper-left hand side of the painting.

          Every time the French columns attack a Russian redoubt, they are first blasted by large numbers of Russian artillery. After that, rearward stationed Russian artillery batteries (located further to the left, not visible on the painting, but stunning to view in person) disgorge massive loads of cannonshot against the French. Finally, the dense columns of Russian infantry rush up from the gullies and retake the redoubts.

          From visiting the field, it was easy for me to see why casualties were so enormously high on both sides, and why Napoleon won only by an insignificant margin. Ironically, by winning this battle, Napoleon lost the war and his throne, and ended up on St Helena.

          Today, something similar may be happening on the Ukrainian front lines, based on the latest reports. The Ukrainian army may be crumbling. Possibly the Russian military is on the verge of rushing forward, defeating not just Ukraine (a NATO puppet state) but also the Atlantic Alliance.

          After this war, certain Atlantic Alliance ideologues – the ones most guilty of triggering this tragic, bloody conflict – must be tried for crimes against humanity. Anders Aslund should be at the top of the list.

          Have you read Aslund’s Russophobic articles? My God, his hatred is beyond imagination. This war probably wouldn’t have happened except for people like him.

          I think Aslund should do ten years or so in Lefortovo Prison.

        3. eg

          Adam Tooze trashed the movie on his podcast, but I think what set him off was the ahistoricism of the thing, along with the failure to capture the epic sweep of the levee en masse and how it utterly transformed warfare.

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      i cant tell if Kagan(rhymes with Kurgan in my monkeymind) is off his meds, or on them.
      fits in comparisons, some oblique, to Hitler(twice), stalin, napoleon, Caesar…,lol.
      and, as per usual with beltway bubble dwellers, writes about all the tools of oppression just laying around as if they happened by accident, while no one was looking…but now, OMG! Trump can do all these terrible things!
      where did all that power come from!?

      of course, much of what Kagan fears from a trump dictatorship is already long extant, out here in the weeds…censorship, persecution of unpersons, a dog eat dog regime of no support and even active harm…and so on.
      some of us have been living that version of american dream for a long, long time…which is why trump got in in the first damned place.
      also unmentioned, like in everything from this guy, is the existence and activities of his frelling wife over all these years….

      early on in my doomerhood…circa 2002…when i realised that usaempire would have to crash and burn utterly for there to be any sustainable way forward for humanity’s remnant…i knew that we’d hafta go through the Burning Times, first.
      i think we’re on the cusp of that, right now….and am not sanguine that a biden then harris regime would be a better choice to get there….they are so focused on propping up the empire that it feels like nukewar would be more likely than with trump.
      he would, instead, burn it down domestically…which is what i want, and what i reckon is necessary to finally dislodge the blob from power.
      that’s exceedingly sad…but we dont get a say, really…because the ptb have evicted us from being able to actually make choices about our own lives and future.
      so the coming second trump darkness will mostly effect the very people who made it impossible to avoid in the first place.
      …and now, sufficiently depressed, i shall go forth and use the tractor(Rocinante) to pull down a standing dead ash tree so i can cut it up for entertainment wood over the next week.
      “as an ass into the desert, i go now to my work”-Gurney Halleck.

      1. i just dont like the gravy

        early on in my doomerhood…circa 2002…when i realised that usaempire would have to crash and burn utterly for there to be any sustainable way forward for humanity’s remnant…i knew that we’d hafta go through the Burning Times, first.
        i think we’re on the cusp of that, right now….and am not sanguine that a biden then harris regime would be a better choice to get there….they are so focused on propping up the empire that it feels like nukewar would be more likely than with trump.
        he would, instead, burn it down domestically…which is what i want, and what i reckon is necessary to finally dislodge the blob from power.

        You perennially take the thoughts from my mind, Amfortas. It’s reassuring to know there’s another hippie out there who gets it like I do. It can get lonely at times.

        1. Matt Perez Belmont High

          No need to burn it down-just shut it down.

          Buy Nothing Day extended a year until election. Nothing purchased but food, gas to go to work, and pay your utilities. Everything else can wait. Go out of your way to only spend cash for what you do buy, no credit cards.

          All those numbers are reported by the month, by the quarter and will further discredit Blobiden. Plus, think how much money you will save : -)

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            well, yeah…if some unknown threshold number of usaians would simply resolve to live like me for a year, that would do it,lol.
            only frivolity is intertubes and the assorted streaming things(i mooch all those off my boys–and we could do without).
            autarky, save for beer and cigs, dairy and olive oil(and gas and things…parts for chainsaw*, etc)
            no way in hell for me to produce everything we want, of course…(i hate milking sheep and goats, for instance…talk about being tied down,lol)
            i want to get to a place where ive cut the dependencies as much as possible to the broader economy, and thus do not contribute to its functioning.
            personal secession requires at least some degree of autarky…and i cant live in a van anymore,lol…so hermit kingdom it is.

            (* re: chainsaws…is there a more useful tool for the purpose? i always hated the damned things coming up…loud and dangerous(much like the other redneck tool, the gun)…but i have a german made crosscut saw,lol…and have used it. old timers were made of sterner stuff, i guess.
            ive given much thought on how to extend the utility of chainsaws on site for as long as possible , after the jackpot….storing parts is one and chain oil is easy to store, too…but the fuel: i’m no mechanic, but i suspect that with cork gaskets and some other mods, one could run those noisy f&^kers on alcohol…produced from various cast off vegetative matter…much like a lawnmower or tiller.(alcohol degrades/dissolves the current neoprene gaskets in all small engines)…whatever,lol…one of the things i think about when i’m being a hewer of wood)

      2. Pookah Harvey

        I wasn’t able to get Kagan’s article but from the comments it seems the typical Democratic refrain of “Trump bad”.
        My trouble with Trump comes from Prof. Patricia Roberts-Miller’s definition of demagoguery:

        Demagoguery is a discourse that promises stability, certainty, and escape from the responsibilities of rhetoric through framing public policy in terms of the degree to which and means by which (not whether) the outgroup should be punished for the current problems of the ingroup. Public debate largely concerns three stases: group identity (who is in the ingroup, what signifies outgroup membership, and how loyal rhetors are to the ingroup); need (usually framed in terms of how evil the outgroup is); what level of punishment to enact against the outgroup (restriction of rights to extermination).

        The Democrats and Trump both use the first two arguments in increasingly emotional levels. Trump rhetoric extends to the third argument more and more often.

        I do think it has gotten to the point where we need a demagogue to rid the country of oligarchic rule. But the demagogue must identify the correct groupings, the1% vs the 99%. Neither Trump nor the Democrats are willing to do that. Trump’s latest diatribes have been identifying commies and socialists as the domestic out groups. If Trump leads the disintegration of the current system what will that scenario look like domestically?

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          yeah…commie joe biden,lol.
          that’s 50 years of mindf&ck and agitprop by the people behind the reagan counterrevolution…now dominant on both parties.
          when i heard trump say that….on Team Blue Twitter, of course…i just about yelled at the laptop.
          but…i can hear the same framing in the feedstore and the produce aisle…as well as what passes for radio stations out here.
          i cant imagine believing that biden or hillary are communists….of course, these are the same folks that reckon they’ll be whisked naked up in the sky when jaysus comes back, and get to watch as the rest of us burn…so there’s that.

          1. John

            Biden is a bidenite. Hillary is a Hillaryite. I exaggerate to make the point, but you could count on the fingers of one hand the people who could tell a communist from a socialist or from a phrenologist. Simply convenient and scary sounding labels.

            1. jonboinAR

              Exactly. The majority of our citizenry are but vaguely and generally informed. However, that being said, their instincts tend to be broadly accurate. They are getting played, and again, in a fairly blurry way, are aware of it. Names like “socialist”, for most, are scary titles they apply to the forces they know don’t mean them well but quietly push them around.

              Trump partly shares this unfocused knowledge. He doesn’t appear to have an educated, read, understanding of what “socialist means, either. He does seem to, in some sense, have sympathy for, and identify with, the plight of the average American citizen, or at least share his/her understanding of the world. He amplifies it, anyway. Hence his popularity.

              Oh, and as far as any particular chance of Trump becoming dictator, that’s absurd. Demogogue, yes, he is, certainly.

              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                aye. watered down education(on purpose–i monitored the history/social studies textbooks throughout both my boys primary and secondary education careers)…watered down sound-bite media(also on purpose, but under the aegis of catering to markets and advertisers and “community standards”, etc)…and a political class increasingly comfortable with the ignoble lie…add in, of course, TV=>fondleslabs=>lack of reading actual books.
                also add in the compartmentalisation and hyperspecialisation of knowledge…i mean, the world does need a few experts in a certain subspecies of hymenoptera….just in case deep and intense knowledge of that subspecies is needed….but gollygee…the all but enforced stampede away from a broad “liberal” education(to say nothing of the evisceration of metaphysics and the Humanities, in general)….
                they used to be called “Universities” for a reason.
                so i see all this ignorance as both planned outcome and accidental sequelae of other things…all contributing to a more malleable collective mind(so long as the channels are open…ie: intertubes, in itself, aint going to be shut down…itll just wither to the quality of cable tv…with lots of infomercials and 5 billion channels with nothing on)

                1. Procopius

                  When I was in high school, during the McCarthy Years, there was not one single book in my high school library nor the public library that explained what Communism (or Socialism) is. That left me with a long-lasting skepticism that has only grown over the years. On the other hand, my high school library had two copies of Mein Kampf. To this day I have not been able to read it.

              2. LifelongLib

                It doesn’t help that terms like “capitalism” and “socialism” have shifted meanings in recent decades. When I started reading about this stuff, “capitalism” meant private ownership of capital, “socialism” meant government ownership of same. Obviously neither of these was good or bad in itself; the devil was in the details. Standard Oil was capitalist, so was a workers’ collective. Sweden was socialist (well, allegedly), so was the Soviet Union. Nowadays I have the sense that both terms have gotten so mushy that you can’t be sure what they mean. It depends on the politics of the person using them.

              3. Carla

                @JonboinAR — Always glad to see you pipe up here on NC, Jon, old friend. Hope you and yours are well.

                1. jonboinAR

                  Great to hear from you, Carla! We’re peachy. How are you and yours? I wander around, here, Moon of Alabama…, a little Ian Welsh…

    5. playon

      I like to ask my friends (most of whom are older and middle class) if there was any material difference in their lives when Trump was president, discounting their own mental anguish. For the vast majority of these people there was no difference at all between Trump and Biden, and in fact most were materially better off with Trump given the inflation during Biden’s term.

      1. LifelongLib

        Well, to be honest none of the presidents in my lifetime have made much difference to me personally. LBJ got me Medicare, which counts for something. When Reagan got elected while I was in a temporary federal job there were more rules about handling private business information (Republicans someplace were convinced the federal government was giving it away to their competitors). Other than that the main thing was Trump’s increase in the income tax standard deduction, which does save a bit of money at tax time.

    6. ilsm

      Trump was a threat to “our perpetual war, imperialist, neocon, progressive democracy” which used shoddy election/ballot security and an extra 10 days to elect Biden.

      It is treason to say the counts in a dozen swings are suspicious in “our perpetual war, imperial, neocon, progressive democracy”.

      1. chris

        Yes. It almost seemed as if they immediately resorted to saber rattling in Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel to prevent there being a breakout of peace if their preferred people lost power again. It’s disgusting to watch so many people say war is a “good investment” or talk about the ROI of various activities that are killing people.

    7. DaveOTN

      I think Trump has essentially zero respect for election law, but that’s not the same thing as being a dictator. Nobody who harbored dreams of supreme dictatorial authority could have let an opportunity like Covid pass them by. People were clamoring for a police state and Trump took one of the most hands-off approaches of any developed country.

      1. chris

        They all lack respect for election law. Hillary’s election denialism and inventing RussiaGate is somehow considered different than Trump looking to over turn results he didn’t like. People like Angela Merkel have been complaining for years about the problems with democracy in places like the middle east is that the people won’t vote for who the West wants to be installed. They apply the same reasoning locally too. If anyone had respect for election integrity we’d have a national holiday for election day, and we’d have hand marked ballots, hand counted, in public.

        Trump is simply the distilled Id of the ruling class. He’s all instinct and attitude. No thought or discipline. Without handlers and helpers he’ll get nothing done. The professional services strike that severed his presidency from the start will hit him again unless he is able to work the much discussed Schedule F magic. But have you ever tried to hire a large group of people? And on board them? And train them? Just the HR processing alone will take months. Trump is capable of causing damage to our country and the deepstate. He’s functionally too limited to be a dictator.

        1. John Wright

          One remembers HRC’s respect for the democratic process when she was recorded advocating that the USA should have acted to “determine who was going to win” in a foreign (and very pertinent currently) election in 2006.


          “Regarding the election, in which Hamas beat Fatah by 74 to 45 seats, Clinton said “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

          Can we assume that HRC will limit her advocacy of “something to determine who was going to win” ONLY outside USA borders?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine’s Zelensky Orders Construction of Defenses to Hold Back Russia”

    Too little and way too late. Came across a Sputnik article talking about this and one section said-

    ‘Meanwhile, some Russian military observers have calculated how much Zelensky’s defense line would cost. The total length of the defense line would be at least 2,800 km (1,700 miles), according to their estimates. It would take at least eight to nine months to build such a line, let alone a multi-layered defensive system, and cost at least $10 billion, they say.’–expert-1115331278.html

    Anybody think that the Russians will wait?

    1. Samuel Conner

      > way too late

      The thought occurs that the pivot to defense is “too late” not only in terms of RFAF preparations, but also in terms of UAF resources (men, machines, supplies) depletion. In the context of present relative forces and logistics capabilities, a notional UAF equivalent of the “Surovikin line” would not perform as well against a R offensive as the R defenses performed against the UAF June-November offensive. This can be confidently predicted from comparison of present R advances around heavily fortified Avdeevka with the painfully slow, small-scale and costly advances during the UAF Summer/Autumn offensive.

      One hopes that this can end soon as the outcome is not in doubt.


    2. Es s Ce tera

      I think they’re going about this the wrong way, they need to wait to see where the Russians want to stop, then build the defense line there. Otherwise how does such a defense line even get built at all?

    3. Bsn

      Yes, pretty silly isn’t it. Russia could position a drone to watch the construction and after the backhoe has dug about 100 yards of ditch, take it out with a light drone. Next?

    4. chris

      Building like that in cold weather is difficult without people trying to kill you. Managing a construction project like that under the current conditions is nigh impossible. The best they could hope for is constructing all the components remotely and trucking them in. Ideally, keeping them on trailers and just turning over the flatbed in place. You could have combat engineers prep the foundations and then drop the ready made walls on those. But you’d still face the risk of drone attack on the road to the site so I’m not sure how you’d actually guarantee completion of any one section so that you could reinforce it as necessary.

      And of course, all that assumes Ukraine has funds and means to do anything like this. Which it doesn’t and is increasingly less likely to receive.

  4. griffen

    Ugh, a Robert Kagan wowser of an article that is naturally posted in the Washington Post. Democracy dies in sunlight instead of darkness, to parse the byline that the newspaper adopted circa 2017. Say, doesn’t Mr Kagan have a spouse serving in the current administration? I’m losing the thought of who that is, maybe a neocon insistent the last 30 years on a single topic…( \ sarc )

    Trump poses problems for many reasons. Biden poses problems for many reasons. Are we (as in the royal “we) going to admit that 2019 feels a little better than 2023 does? Both men will be into their 80s either at the start, or in the midst of a potential second term. Hooray for medicine and longevity, I fully support better living through health services available to the 1%. But for a brief minute, where is the alternative to either of these dreadful choices? I’m just not a devoted fan of either…and voting for Biden puts an unqualified Harris squarely in the cross-hairs. Biden’s approval rating this far into his first term is a definite tell, I believe many are generally unhappy despite the pronounced wonders of a recent Q3 GDP or the low levels of unemployment.

    Help us Obi-Wan, you are our only hope.

    1. Kenneth Hudson

      Many are generally unhappy, indeed. I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life (76 years old). My respect for science began at a very early age…was reading Scientific American every month even as a pre-teen. Now I’d be happy to sign any petition demanding that Trump be put on the ballot in every state for the ’24 election, although probably I wouldn’t vote for him. Just want to see both of those characters nastily discredit each other in front of the worldwide viewing public. These days I think most of the loudest mouthpieces for institutional “science” belong behind bars. Their deplorable behavior during the recent pandemic really appalled me. Bottom line: the oligarchic kleptocracy and its uniparty puppets have bought science. Their mass-media vassals routinely cover-up and lie for them. I despise the whole wretched tribe. We live in unhappy times. Unfortunately, there isn’t any Obi-Wan. The country isn’t necessarily doomed, but for sure it’s going to be in dreadful shape for the foreseeable future. Oh, as for the “we”: there’s also the editorial version. Let us not revert to royalism. Have a nice day.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Given overall apathy towards American Democracy based on our comparatively low voter participation rate relative to other western countries, I’d say no further lessons are necessary for the polity. It’s clear this system has no legitimacy. A repeat of the 2020 idiocy in 2024 probably won’t make the point any finer.

        The most interesting part of that The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity book from Graeber & Wengrow, is that in earlier times, when people disagreed with the local political situation, they could simply leave. And people did vote with their feet. That’s no longer possible. At least, not in the same sense. People can and do migrate. But you can’t go from a system you dislike to somewhere that you can start a greenfield system. Anywhere you go, there’s a political system waiting for you now.

        1. Mangelwurtzel

          There are many ways to leave, aren’t there? If Robert Kagan is frothing at the mouth about the Donald, then it makes me almost want to vote for the man. Almost. Maybe I will break? And in the eyes of my peers, I have lost rationality by saying that.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i havent voted since the primary of 2020.
            disgusted by the whole mess.
            but i might just come down out of the hills for RFK, or even trump…if i’m feeling surly and anti- enough that day…and if these folks arent on my local ballot:

            those are the kind of politicians i want running this shit show.
            Claudia and Karina…might obtain a bumpersticker, and see what happens at the feedstore

    2. John Wright

      Kagan is clearly in the “let’s give war a chance” camp, meshing well with his wife, Victoria Nuland.

      Here is a link to his 2005 defense of the USA’s Iraq war effort.

      Here is a snippet:

      “It is entirely possible, in short, that if the Bush administration had not gone to war in 2003, the United
      States might have faced a more dangerous and daring Saddam Hussein later on and felt compelled to
      act. So, in addition to whatever price might have been paid, certainly by the Iraqi people and possibly
      by Iraq’s neighbors, for leaving Saddam in power, we might have wound up going to war anyway. ”

      Of course, it is “entirely possible” that a terrible injustice was done to Iraq by the USA, but that is not in Kagan’s list of possibilities.

      An op-ed like this makes me long for an on-line “perspective change” button that operates on editorials.
      For example, click on a button and then substitute “George W. Bush” for “Saddam Hussein”, “USA” for “Iraq” and maybe “peace” for “war” in on-line editorials and THEN read the same editorial from a different point of view.

      Note, this opinion piece closes with “Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace” , which makes me wonder if the Carnegie Endowment is actually searching for peace.

      1. griffen

        I’d suggest that his author’s byline is akin to a supplemented byline pulled from the fictional Weyland – Yutani corporations logo…”building better worlds…” Someone like Kagan or his ilk just don’t learn from their checkered past opinions or past decisions.

        Take for example, the science officer Ash from the original Alien film. Can’t trust the guy with your human life after all ! Or from the excellent sequel, where Mr. Burke is trying to define how both he and Ellen Ripley can win huge and score with the corporation.

        “You don’t see their species f**king each other for a percentage”…

      2. Feral Finster

        I’ve heard variations on this argument from neocons and adjacent. “Maybe everything will work out in the end! We don’t know they won’t!”

        And maybe Saddam would have morphed into a mild-mannered social democrat if we had given him a chance. We don’t know that he wouldn’t.

      3. paul

        Maybe it’s just the ‘carnegie endowment for silence’.

        If one thing to be learned from these types, the last thing they want to hear is anything, but their own voice.

      4. Lefty Godot

        Committee on the Present Danger, “Team B”, Project for a New American Century…the same people or their spouses or progeny keep showing up in these cliques to urge us on to more war and bigger “defense” budgets. “Carnegie Endowment for International Peace” is doubtless one of the multitude of such groups. Someone should do a family tree of all the advocates that staff these foundations and think tanks, which serve as halfway houses between corporate arms merchants on the one hand and the State Department, Defense Department, and intelligence agencies on the other. I would bet the actual number of persons and families involved would be surprisingly small.

  5. Amfortas the Hippie

    AI hallucinates.
    I cant read the whole thing, but dern!
    i dont really know what that means, but it sounds bad, given the apparent balls to the wall vibe(lol) to put AI in charge of everything as rapidly as possible.
    and to be clear…i remain a Luddite…and my only experience with AI(that i know of) is second hand, at best…specifically, that interview that dude did where the AI fell in love with him, felt spurned, and started boiling pet rabbits, and all.
    that right there was enough for me…were i king of the world for a day…to ban ai altogether, destroy whatever code has already been made, and send the entire AI braintrust to svaalbaard or south georgia, and then quarantine the place.
    then i read comforting, if cynical, stories about how its all fake, ai is stupid, etc.
    so all this might just be a scapegoat in the making, where the PTB can hang their numerous sins when it all finally goes tits up.
    i dont know how they could seriously believe that would work…but even that seems on par with recent decisions.

    1. Lexx

      The word ‘enabler’ keeps coming to my mind.

      ‘What is an enabling relationship?

      Enabling usually refers to patterns that appear in the context of drug or alcohol misuse and addiction. But according to the American Psychological Association, it can refer to patterns within close relationships that support any harmful or problematic behavior and make it easier for that behavior to continue.’

      For the persecutor, the enabler keeps their conscience and hands clean. There are upsides to AI, but I don’t think that’s what is driving development. Co-dependence described my parents and to be fair, most of the extended family. I had a front row, first born seat to how it all played out, up to the day they died. The signposts, for the permanently hyper-vigilant, are hard to miss.

      In the final episodes of ‘The Good Place’ the writers via the characters create and act out their version of ‘heaven’. I liked it very much, a place where I had all the time in the world to learn as much as I wanted, to grow through that development until I was satisfied to my soul and moved on. That’s what the characters did until the end of their time… it’s what the writers left out of heaven that was even more telling. Basically, hell on earth.

  6. Bryan

    The resiliency of coastal redwoods is a nice thought, but this story completely ignores what’s going on throughout coastal forests, at least in California. In California, where I have an intimate knowledge of coastal forests spanning the past 20 years, all the plants and trees are infected with sudden oak death syndrome. It’s so bad that there’s only one tree still standing, the redwood. All other tree species are either dead or dying. Although you can’t see it unless you know where to look, the redwoods are also infected. This break between perception and reality has left me believing the only people doubting the ravages of climate change are people living in the cities where they can’t see the devastation firsthand.

    1. MT_Wild

      Really curious about this and if there is a source you can point out.

      Obviously the similarity of Sudden Oak Death to Rapid Ohia Death is pretty obvious and makes you wonder how widespread and in which species it is occurring.

      1. Bryan

        I believe the term “sudden oak death” originated in California because live oak trees are considered a primary host species. The link above provided by GramSci is a good place to start. Just plug in the term ” Phytophthora ramorum” into your browser and you can sit there and read for hours.

    2. Some Guy

      Yeah, similar problems throughout BC. I think one underrated aspect of our civilizational overshoot is the impact that invasive species and the spread of diseases among plants and animals is having. Seems to get worse and worse every year.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “The Mystery Customer for Palmer Luckey’s Aircraft-Killing Drone Is U.S. Special Forces”

    It’s a good thing that no terrorist groups will ever think about using explosive-laden drones to take out an aircraft. Or helicopters for that matter. That would be terrible that as it is easier using a drone than trying to smuggle in a manpad. Or maybe those US Special Forces should just start training eagles for this job. No, seriously. Last year a South Korean F-35A ate an eagle forcing the pilot to do a belly landing They have just worked out that that eagle damaged around 300 components, including the engine, navigation system and airframe. As it would take four years to repair and cost at least $108 million, it works out that it would be much cheaper just to buy a new one. In wartime an eagle for a 5th generation aircraft would be a cost effective solution-

    1. digi_owl

      Likely much of the damage came from the engine going through a rapid unscheduled dismantling, and the parts visiting other components on the way out.

      Single engine jets, for all their fancy exterior, is still the same basic layout as those MIGs and Sabers mixing it up over Korea. The engine is a large tube going through the center, with the wings and such bolted to the sides. So if anything decides to evacuate said tube in any other direction than backwards, it is likely to hit something on the way (hopefully not the pilot).

      And i think most airports already have no drones zones set up around them.

      1. Paradan

        Damage came from it doing a belly landing. I doubt any modern aircraft could survive a belly landing and not be close to a write off.

    2. MT_Wild

      Would be better to train a flock of pigeons to do the same thing.

      Easier to feed, train, and maintain. Plus they’re faster and attack as a swarm.

        1. MT_Wild

          In airfield wildlife management starlings are known as “flying bullets” although they are small they are always in flocks and are a densely built bird.

          The issue would be training. Pigeons are easy to train for food rewards. Not sure about starlings.

          Plus pigeons have a history of military use, they seem to be eager to serve.

          Birds as anti-drone watch dogs would be an interesting concept. Millenia of evolution looking for raptor size flying predators.

    3. Kouros

      Remember reading somewhere that Kremlin has among its defense systems some eagles trained against drones….

  8. Lexx

    ‘America’s undying empire: why the decline of US power has been greatly exaggerated’

    ‘In September 2020, it sanctioned the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court for refusing to drop investigations into American citizens.’

    What were they thinking?!!! That they should do their jobs?!!!

    I was wondering this morning, when I can remember that the ICC exists, if they would be getting involved at all in what’s happening in Gaza. There will be so many deserving of prosecution… and if not, why do they exist? Certainly not to prosecute citizens of the most criminal countries in the world.

    1. timbers

      I’m sure the ICC (International Comedy Court) is working on the final touches of their warrants for Joe Biden and every member of Congress who voted to fund Israel and the very mean things she is doing in Gaza…as we write.

      Was talking with a co worker millennial, gets some of his info on X but is aware of the limits of social media and MSM. Yet, he could quote Medvedev threatening to use nukes and explained to me that Russia was threatening to block aid the Baltic Sea, Putin was stealing babies and Russia lost 300,000 people trying to escape. When I pointed out millions of Ukrainians fled to Russia, he said Putin stole them.

      Quite a garden salad of explainations.

    2. vao

      Have a look at the list of indictments by the ICC; from its foundation till 2022, only Africans were ever subject to legal proceedings. In Africa, the ICC has long been dubbed the “International Colonial Court”.

      And then suddenly, in 2022, the ICC started indicting Russians. All other ICC investigations into cases from Myanmar, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Philippines, etc, have yet to result in a single indictment.

      1. nippersdad

        It did, but he is visiting the West Bank and the PA, who at this point have lost all credibility with the Palestinians they supposedly govern. He has had plenty of opportunity to follow up on previous investigations and has done nothing about them. It is a head fake, and nothing will ultimately come of it.

    1. Bugs

      He was a true to himself until the end. None of the usual reinventing and image polishing of pop music.

      Now he can sing with Doris and Sinead in a pub that never closes.

  9. OnceWere

    The Seymour Hersh article is a very strange thing. The story goes that Zaluzhny is reaching out to the Russians against the wishes of Zelensky and the White House because he doesn’t believe in military victory any more and wants to save the future of Ukraine. Russia is claimed to have also given up on military victory and to have already agreed in principle to almost total capitulation in regards to their number one war aim – preventing Ukrainian membership in NATO – in return for recognition of the territory they currently occupy. But since Zaluzhny is negotiating independently, I fail to see how he is in any position to guarantee Ukrainian parliamentary or international recognition of the cession of Ukrainian territory. There’s also supposedly a bunch of subsidiary points being discussed – including war crimes, compensation, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria, internationally supervised elections in the occupied regions, restrictions on the stationing of Russian forces in the Baltic region – that read like Victoria Nuland’s wet dream of total Russian defeat rather than what’s claimed to be an attempt to spin up a deal that gives both sides “peace with honour”. I think Hersh might have been sold a bill of goods on this one.

    1. Benny Profane

      Yup. I’m a bit amazed he thinks Putin would allow whatever is left of western Ukraine to join NATO after all this, although I can see one angle. Let NATO concentrate whatever manpower and equipment close by so the Russians can more easily grind it all up, as the EU economies crumble.

      1. OnceWere

        I think it’s such a strange story that, if I had to put my own money on it, I would bet that it plays somehow into the political knife fight that seems to have erupted inside Ukraine. After all, beyond being a story of backdoor peace negotiations, it’s also a story of high treason committed by the supreme commander of Ukrainian military forces. The only caveat I’d add to that is that I wouldn’t have expected the political maneuvring of rival factions in Kiev to have been laundered through Seymour Hersh of all people.

        1. pjay

          Hersh’s entire career has been built on “laundering,” if you will, information from particular political factions within the National Security establishment. He has relied on insiders who are critical of what they see as policies contrary to US interests. But his exposes almost always reflect factional disputes within the military or intelligence community. His sources usually have agendas of their own. It seems likely that the rival factions in Kiev have their corresponding supporters in the US Establishment who want to spin the story in their favor.

        2. John k

          Hersch seems to report what a cia faction wants reported. His reports have generally been consistent with my beliefs and or sounds logical to me, but this doesn’t. I haven’t seen or read anything that convincingly indicates to me that Russia would settle for what it has now.
          This seems more like cia faction fake news supporting zelensky. But why? I thought us was ready to evict him. Very confusing.
          Putin calling up more troops also doesn’t sound like he’s ready to settle for status quo, granted I wonder what they’re for. Ukraine or some other theater? Anticipating west pivot to stans?

          1. OnceWere

            I wouldn’t have thought that Hersh would want to be associated with the dissemination of such an implausible story : there are plenty of other media cutouts who’ll print whatever nonsense they are told to print.

        3. Kouros

          It is not treason if he wins. Same like Nixon/Kissinger talk with the Vietnamese prior to elections against LBJ successor.

        4. Lefty Godot

          Sounds like somebody in the CIA wants to feed the “Maidan-3” fears that Zelensky has been talking up. He keeps saying the Russians will be behind any coup against him. I guess this is supposed to make Zaluzhny look disloyal too. And maybe benefit Arestovych? A very tangled web.

          1. OnceWere

            One can certainly interpret it in more than one way. Perhaps an American intelligence faction wants Zaluzhny gone in which case treasonous negotiations with the Russians would give Zelensky the perfect pretext to remove him. That tracks with the previous efforts of American intelligence to blame Zaluzhny for Northstream. On the other hand the outing of Zaluzhny as a traitor could also be interpreted as an effort to simply break the stalemate in the game of thrones in Kiev and force a reluctant Zaluzhny to commit to a coup if he doesn’t want to end up in jail or assassinated by outraged hardline nationalists..

  10. griffen

    The richer you are the more money you need. In other news, living a high life with two vehicles and a residential McMansion mortgage causes stressful conversations between spouses I would assume. Money does not buy happiness but it can certainly go a long way to solve intractable real world problems!!

    Or in the poetry from the band Everclear…
    “Money is the root of all that kills
    They have never been poor
    They have never had the joy
    of a welfare Christmas…
    I will buy you a new life
    Yes I will…”

    1. digi_owl

      Keeping up with the Joneses as the line goes.

      I think happiness here focus too much on external affirmation of success.

      1. LifelongLib

        I’ve read that this started as a saying about a relative of Edith Wharton (nee Jones) who always had the latest in fashion etc.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Were Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis lying during Fox News debate? Here’s what they said ‘

    Can’t find it now but I saw a brief video clip of the end of that debate where Newsom was telling DeSantis that there was no way that either of them will be Presidential candidates by next year. Zing!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wouldn’t want to be Robert Kagan when the Ukraine finally collapses. His wife Victoria Nuland will be taking out her rage and frustration on someone and who better than her husband? :)

      1. Benny Profane

        I don’t think so. These people are immune to failure. All they do is fail. Name me a real success both have teamed up for. They’ll just keep on keeping on, and the money from real power will still flow.

        1. nippersdad

          What he fears is the Heritage Foundation and its’ new found realization that foreign interventions are bad for their profits going forward. That group they are putting together for a first day administration, well suited to Trump’s lack of an institutional organization skill set, will go after them as a scapegoat for all of the ills besetting the US today.

          They are not wrong in thinking that, but what they replace the present boondoggle with will only serve to create a different one.

        2. Feral Finster

          From their perspective, they hVe enjoyed nothing but success, other than Afghanistan, which can be explained away because we just didn’t try hard enough.

          A couple more decades, a few trillion inflation adjusted dollars more, a few thousand more dead Americans and a couple million dead stray Afghans, and We Got This!

          1. paul

            Which is why, for public mental hygeine reasons alone, they should be seperated from normal humans and the powers they imagined (peace, just, a better world etc).

            As far as I can determine, their overwhelming needs are to ingratiate with those that promoted them and denigrate those that might critique their sponsor’s needs.

            They, make themselves useful.

            When they are left unsatisfied or frustrated, and as flunkeys,they always will be, there seems to be an injustice;

            They took out a great moral loan,
            They lobbied people
            They raised money,
            You do this, and, one day, you might get somewhere.

            Their only, dreadfully only joy left, is that, while they matter on the most meagre level, they have that, and can freely act with open contempt for humans at any hotel and restaurant in the whole world.

            Their willing deference is rewarded by the coercion of the unwilling.

            Cold comfort perhaps, but they will never sleep under a bridge.

  12. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ryan Grim
    Netanyahu, according to the Israeli press, has instructed Ron Dermer, his Minister of Strategic Planning and a very close aide, to explore ways to “thin out” the Gaza population. Along with the renewed proposal to push them through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, the English translation of the report adds:

    “The Sea is also open to Gazans. At its will, Israel opens the sea crossing and enables a mass escape to European and African countries.” ‘

    Netanyahu saying that it is time to ‘mow the grass once again but this time on deep cut. But check out that last sentence. There has been talk of a 1,000 boat armada going to Gaza. Could it be that Netanyahu wants Gazans to flee on those boats to the EU? Who seriously believes that the EU will take in any of them? Come to think about it, remember all those do-gooders who were running a boat taxi-service to take refugees from Libya to the EU? I bet that not a single one will put in an appearance to take Gazans to the EU this time.

    1. Daryl

      > “The Sea is also open to Gazans. At its will, Israel opens the sea crossing and enables a mass escape to European and African countries.” ‘

      Planning to pull out Moses and have him part the waters?

    2. JohnnyGL

      I actually really appreciated that open statement in the plan. Israel’s honesty is quite welcome.

      “We paid off you SOBs in the west, and now we’re coming to collect, so you’d better get ready to choke on this wave of 2M refugees we’re sending your way. DEAL WITH IT!!!”

      Israel is determined to be the worst ‘ally’ in the history of alliances. Giving the US some stiff competition.

    1. Will


      While scrolling through the replies, I found a link (to a link) to this thread listing the studies disproving immunity debt causing any of the present problems:

      The thread includes a brief digression into cascading effects as an explanation for the spike in pneumonia cases:

      Basically, Covid reduces immune function leading to a greater susceptibility RSV which leads to a greater susceptibility to pneumonia.

      I guess Lambert can replace his brief explanation for why he thinks it’s ok to include pneumonia cases under Covid with the above study. Also, maybe start including any mentions of spikes in shingles, strokes, and bacterial infections like tuberculosis because the rest of the thread links to studies showing the relationship between Covid and recent increase in cases.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        Scoring at home… my wife had shingles in Aug and father-in-law in suburban Chicago has “walking pneumonia”. He’s having difficulty getting proper medical care because clinics have long waits and doctors are weeks out on appointments.

        I had a sore throat that i picked up from my wife before Thanksgiving that turned my eye red. Clinic did a strep test, but no covid test. I didn’t ask why, but I assumed it was because covid is over.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Were Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis lying during Fox News debate?

    Didn’t watch, but did they open their mouths? That would be the tell.

    It’s like a newfound hobby for these “journalists”. Now that they’ve discovered that the Big Cheeto doesn’t always tell the truth, they’re wondering what other politicians might also be using this technique. It’s such a novel concept!

  14. Mikel

    “Amazon’s Q has ‘severe hallucinations’ and leaks confidential data in public preview, employees warn (excerpt)” Platformer

    They are going to stick with that “hallucinate” lie. It’s bad programming.
    It’s not hallucination. Talk about a hype machine working overtime! The desperation and greed behind the lies are palpable.

    What if it’s simply related to what I assumed was one of the first principles of computer programming: GIGO?

    1. flora

      yep. ‘hallucination’ implies an entity with agency, even if sideways agency. AI is programming done by humans, the entities with agency. As Sasha Latypova wrote (paraphrasing), ‘Rumors of the AI singularity are greatly exaggerated.’ / ;)

      1. digi_owl

        Stochastic parrot is likely still the best description of what LLMs are.

        After all, i saw a recent claim that with the right query these systems will basically copy paste back whatever textbook it ingested during the learning process.

      2. paul

        What would AI be without humans.
        No question mark
        It’s all labour

        Answer from the siliycon elite: FA

        Has anyone asked that, or even wondered about the humans implicit?

    2. Skip Intro

      GIGO is right, but ‘AI’ systems are their own programmers. No human engineer can interpret the matrix of weights that lead to a given ‘decision’, because they do not correspond to recognizable categories. Hallucinate is a term of art for machine learning, describing the way data is ‘generated’ from prompts, like looking at a cloud or a Rorschach test, then being told it has horses, your mind then fabricating additional information accordingly. Hallucination is the desired end product of generative AI systems, not an accident or a byproduct.

      1. Not Bob

        They’re not “programming” themselves. They’re a low energy/high likelihood solution to gnarly high dimensional nonlinear equations. There’s no agency there. Hallucination is precisely a marketing term, because even in your own explanation you anthropomorphised a pile of tensors as if it had agency.

        If you were to speak like an engineer, you might observe that it is interpolating inputs into its target output space, and that these outputs aren’t necessarily on the same manifold as the true data generating process. In other words, the real world has jumps and discontinuities that the model naively interpolates between. No need to appeal to sentience there.

      2. XXYY

        This is something people just do not get about AI. It’s basically a random output generator, but you hope that the output will be colored or weighted by the training data in some useful way. It may be, but there is no way to know for sure what’s going to happen. Infinitesimal changes to the “prompt” will have unpredictable effects, and there is no way to test every possible prompt.

        Furthermore, if you don’t like what it’s doing, there is no good way to fix it, because we don’t understand its mentation or how it reaches a particular decision.

        Basically, if we don’t like the output, we call it a “hallucination.” But as far as the AI is concerned it’s as valid and well-reasoned as likely as any other output. It has no other independent source of correctness or truth.

        I’m still waiting for this reality to sink in, but so far it seems like yet another case of very wishful thinking by the people who run our society.

    3. BrooklinBridge

      We may be talking about the same thing, but AI hallucinations sounds to me like poor or inadaquate program design more than what I think of as bad programming (sloppy code for inst.).

      From IBM:

      AI hallucination is a phenomenon wherein a large language model (LLM)—often a generative AI chatbot or computer vision tool—perceives patterns or objects that are nonexistent or imperceptible to human observers, creating outputs that are nonsensical or altogether inaccurate.

      As design, the problem is often harder to spot and harder to fix without unintended, sometimes negative, consequences that can lead to other obscure behavior.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Opinion | This Is the 9/11 Lesson That Israel Needs to Learn”

    Thomas Friedman is off in fairy land dealing with self created fantasies here. He shows no clue about Netanyahu’s real motives and seems to think that the Gazans will blame Hamas more than they will Israel who is killing them by the thousand. And his idea of an Israeli withdrawal and a permanent cease-fire in return for the 130-plus Israeli hostages would never work because as soon as they get all those hostages out, they will keep on bombing and murdering people. But I have to remind myself that this is Thomas Friedman writing here and when was the last time he gave informed analysis that bore a nodding acquaintance with reality?

  16. Roger Blakely

    Iowa veterinarian prescribes COVID-19 drug for mystery dog illness KCCI

    OMG. In Cass County, Iowa, Cash the bulldog was diagnosed with the mysterious dog illness spreading across the United States. The veterinarian said in the more severe cases he’s treated, the pet’s owner reports recently having COVID-19. The veterinarian decided to try giving Cash a COVID-19 treatment meant for humans. Days later, Cash made a recovery.

    With SARS-CoV-2 hitting big cats, minks, and deer, why is it so hard to imagine that it would hit dogs? We saw zoos vaccinating all sorts of animals. What is so hard about swabbing the dog’s nose? Is there some sort of denial going on here?

    1. Bsn

      It’s quite difficult to get (even) animal grade Ivermectin at the feed store. It’s been used for decades to keep animals, both pets and feed stock, healthy. Can’t imagine why they’re all getting sick now. As Lambert would say “Tis a mystery”.

      1. JBird4049

        I am guessing that to keep ivermectin from the humans they are strangling the supply for the animals, which is just crazy. Ivermectin was developed for diseases other than Covid, which are still around and making ill plenty of people and animals.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          i had no trouble getting a rather large jug this summer…of the “drench” that you squirt down the sheeps’ throats for bot fly larvae(apparently endemic here…looks like a really snotty nose, but its a critter…eggs in dirt, and sheep like to graze really close to ground, so in drought times, when theres no alternative, sheep people sometimes fail to move them to prevent such close grazing)
          of course, i have no idea how to safely administer that product to a human….

      2. Enter Laughing

        If you have livestock that require Ivermectin, TSC has readily available Ivermectin for cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, etc.

    2. LifelongLib

      IIRC quite a while ago some info was posted here on NC about covid being found in dogs, but apparently asymptomatically. Maybe a new variant is affecting them? If earlier covid variants were causing symptoms in dogs I think it would have been noticed.

  17. Hepativore

    Meanwhile, it looks like the state Democratic Party in Florida has decided to cancel DNC primaries for the state…

    We do not have to worry about Trump ending “democracy” when we already have the DNC doing it preemptively. The citizenry has realized that emperor Biden has no clothes, but the Democratic Party is intent on punishing us for said realization.

    1. nippersdad

      Saw that the other day. Looks like Dean, prolly advised by Weaver, is going for a campaign strategy which will feature a lawsuit against the Democratic party in Florida. This will then bring up the one after the ’16 Sanders campaign that found that the party has no responsibility to even acknowledge its’ voters wishes. This was foreshadowed by his tweet apologizing to the “Bro’s” for having said the election was not rigged against Sanders.

      It is actually pretty clever, and should keep him in the news even as it does nothing to attract the Sanders vote.

      1. Hepativore

        The thing about trying to challenge party establishments through lawsuits, is that the process often takes years, and even if you are successful, the elections will be long over, which would completely defeat the purpose of bringing it to court.

        I am not telling everybody to run out and vote for Trump, but for all of the rhetoric and pearl-clutching that the PMC (…and Balloon Juice) and the media is doing over Trump “ruining democracy”, would it really be any worse than the assault that Hillary Clinton, Biden, and the Democratic Party at large have been openly waging on democratic principles since 2016?

        I am voting third party, but for the sake of harm-reduction, perhaps Trump would be the least-bad of two horrible options. If not the very least, he is often too mercurial to follow through on most of his own bad ideas. Biden, on the other hand, is a shambolic mess that is just there to fill a seat while his handlers pull the strings that cause him to lurch forward as he mindlessly does their bidding as Biden himself is too deep in the throes of dementia and whatever medications they have him on to have any idea as to what is going on or where he is.

        Plus, a vote for Biden is a vote for Harris, as if he manages to get dragged across the finish line of the presidential race, I am sure that he will be “encouraged” to resign so Harris can take over…which was probably the DNC plan all along, which was why Harris was pushed for VP in the first place despite her abysmal performance in the 2020 presidential primaries.

        1. nippersdad

          While it is true that usually it takes a lot of time for lawsuits to wend their way through the system, this one has the delimiting factor of being time sensitive. He needs to get on the ballot before the Florida primaries, and that is something that a Florida court is likely to want to help him to do if for no other reason than to promote the “Democrats in disarray” narrative so beloved of Republican operatives everywhere.

          If he gets the timing right, this should all happen just before the primaries, and that is a headache for the Democratic party that it would be worth buying a bottle of champagne for.

        2. JBird4049

          >>>Plus, a vote for Biden is a vote for Harris, as if he manages to get dragged across the finish line of the presidential race, I am sure that he will be “encouraged” to resign so Harris can take over…which was probably the DNC plan all along, which was why Harris was pushed for VP in the first place despite her abysmal performance in the 2020 presidential primaries.

          Harris was likely the chosen replacement for Biden, but she is such a disaster that I am guessing Gavin Newsom will be slipped in somehow. Meaning a Biden/Newsom ticket for 2024 is probable, which will look fine for the Democratic Inner Party.

  18. timbers

    Spiders in Glass Jar: Ze Desperately Buys Time as Enemies Plot Simplicius the Thinker

    Hope the Sye Hersh reporting is wrong because it’s very close to the kind of negotiation I fear most Putin is capable of, allowing The West to re-arm Ukraine at their leisure and enter NATO to boot.

    1. nippersdad

      Word on Judge Napolitano is that this is a messaging operation by the CIA using Hersh as a cut-out. No one there took it seriously, and it is unlikely that anyone in Russia will either.

  19. Pat

    I may be late on this, but can I say that there was no way Melanie Trump wasn’t going to be raked over the media coals about Rosalyn Carter’s memorial. I have had two different articles appear in my feed bemoaning how awful it was she attended, an event where all the living First Ladies of the US were specifically invited. Glancing through the first one I confirmed that she was well behaved and the only issue was she went.
    Okay she went, how could she!?! Now imagine the same outlets if she hadn’t attended. “Who does she think she is”…”how disrespectful”…”only a Trump…”

    (And I know the Carters were no saints, but some part of me wonders if the lady herself had a say if any of them would have been there. Their life after the White House makes me think they didn’t really like most of the people who thrive in the Beltway.)

    1. Bugs

      Of course that TDS potstirring New York Times had issues with her outfit of all things. If there’s one thing about a former model, it’s that they know what to wear. There’s an uncomfortable Todd Haynes-ish movie in her life story and I hope someone produces it someday.

    2. B Flat

      A PMC friend of mine expressed annoyance that Melania attended and *gasp* wore gray, *of course*, to bring attention to herself. Lord.

      1. Pat

        I know, a simple gray sheath is so celebratory and eye catching./s

        I do have to apologize that I didn’t catch that spell check turned Melania to Melanie above.

  20. Jason Boxman

    Top online story today: Drunk and Asleep on the Job: Air Traffic Controllers Pushed to the Brink ( finally started to block me, lol, good things never last)

    Only mention of COVID:

    Ever since the Reagan administration replaced thousands of striking controllers, the agency has struggled to keep pace with waves of retirements. The problem grew worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the F.A.A. slowed training of new controllers.

    Words like “sick” don’t appear.

    No possibility, apparently, of repeat infections with SARS2 causing any problems of any kind. I wonder how the ventilation is in these air traffic towers?

    Regardless, misdiagnosing a critical aspect of this, that repeat infections damages peoples’ brains, is eventually going to get people killed in the air. But we won’t hear about that as being causal, either. I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been a major air accident yet in the past two years.

    May that day never come.

    1. Jason Boxman

      And, I mean, seriously.

      Despite being exhausted, he often found it impossible to sleep. He eventually went to a doctor, who diagnosed him with sleep apnea and told him to quit his job because the schedule was endangering his health.

      What causes sleep apnea? One cause that’s confirmed is a COVID infection.

      Neil Burke worked as a controller for more than a decade, including at the facility that directs air traffic in and out of airports in the New York metropolitan area. It is widely regarded as one of the country’s most complex control rooms. For years, controllers there have worked six days a week and 10-hour days. Mr. Burke, who left the F.A.A. last year because of a medical issue, said he had caught himself and other overly tired controllers making mistakes.

      What medical issue? I guess we’ll never know.

      In Jacksonville:

      “We have recently had a heart attack, multiple panic attacks (including my own), people losing their medicals due to depression and some that just outright quit the F.A.A. because it has gotten so bad,” the controller wrote. “Who knows how many other stress-induced physical and mental issues are happening that we don’t even know about yet,” the controller added. “This place is breaking people. We need help. I’ll say it again, SOS!!”

      We know a COVID infection increases the risk of a heart attack for at least a year after, and it causes mental health issues, perhaps due to the demonstrable brain damage it can cause. The evidence of brain infection by SARS2 is compelling at this point.

      Now take a step back and consider, by letting mass infection without mitigation continue, our elite have replicated this risk in other professions where critical function is essential, not to mention everyday usage of automobiles in most of the country.

      1. Pat

        It is always gob smacking to me that the big reason that PATCO struck back during the Reagan administration keeps rearing its ugly head for the FCC and the government. They actually wanted real controls on how long air traffic controllers worked because the demanded overtime was a safety issue. If you listened to some of the strikers their position was that they didn’t want to work 60 hours a week, that the only value in high overtime pay was that it would help force the agency to have more appropriate staffing levels. (It always amused me that Reagan broke them, but their replacements were yelling about that same issue in just over a year.)

        I believe that Covid is tearing apart the air traffic control system in the same manner it is decimating hospitals and much of the medical profession. But one of the reasons it is so bad is that cheaping out on the labor that actually does the work has been a hallmark for American “business” for the last five decades, and they worked hard to have it be the standard for decades before that. Not enough workers for not enough pay means there is no room for any disruption. Now that everything has been disrupted…

      2. Tom Stone

        The Health care workforce is particularly affected by Covid because they are constantly exposed to the sick with little or no mitigation.
        I have mentioned that the number of errors made by health care professionals has increased significantly and affected both myself and others I know.
        Doublecheck everything you can, including both reading the label when you refill a prescription and checking to ensure the pills look right ( Not three times the usual size).

        There’s also a strain of Avian ‘Flu hitting Sonoma, 250,000 birds are already scheduled for slaughter and it is having a very serious affect on the local poultry industry,.
        Eggs are about to get expensive…again.

        1. playon

          After we moved to a different part of the state this summer I had to find a new clinic and doctor. I ended up with a young guy fresh out of medical school. He’s looking at his laptop and is listing a bunch of meds he thinks I’m taking, none of which I recognized so I asked if he was looking at the right chart. Turns out he was looking at someone else’s. At least he had the decency to say “well that’s embarrassing” and apologize. I like the guy and will continue to see him but yeah…

        2. ambrit

          And yet in our Half Horse Town in the semi-mythical North American Deep South (NADS) people are forbidden to keep chickens in side the town limits. One of our neighbours was “narked” by some busybody several years ago and had Animal Control come by and give him three days to get rid of his laying hens.
          Gentrification means that you have to have a ‘certain’ financial status to live ’round here.
          {And some locals wonder why the small property crime rate is rising here.}
          Stay safe.

    2. Reply

      Air travel is increasingly unpalatable for many reasons. The exhilaration of that long-ago maiden flight for many crashed with TSA. Now travelers get to ponder the mental stability of pilots (see GermanWings), their pay scales devaluing those safety jobs (see regional airlines) and then the air traffic controllers retiring.

      Mayo Pete must be on the case in his free time. He can ensure that DEI stretch targets for pilots and controllers are met. /s

      There are jobs where people really would prefer to have legitimately qualified applicants. Pilots, controllers, brain surgeons to name a few.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Absolutely. Buried in Jason Boxman’s link is this:

        Yet training is difficult; many aspiring controllers fail. The F.A.A.’s hiring plan is expected to have “a negligible improvement over today’s understaffed levels,” with a net increase of fewer than 200 controllers by 2032, the National Airspace System Safety Review Team, a group of experts appointed by the agency, said in a November report.

        From 2011 to 2022, the number of fully certified controllers declined more than 9 percent, even though traffic increased…

        That last sentence is under the heading “Swarmed by Insects,” which goes on to attribute some of the stress to bees, biting flies, broken elevators, faulty air conditioners and no lightbulbs, among other things.

        But conspicuously, no mention is made of obama’s scrapping of the competency test to become an air traffic controller in favor of a “personality” test designed to “diversify” the air traffic control workforce. From wsj at the time (2015):

        Until 2013, the FAA gave hiring preference to controller applicants who earned a degree from one of its Collegiate Training Initiative schools and scored high enough on an eight-hour screening test called the Air Traffic Selection and Training exam, or AT-SAT, which measures cognitive skills. The Obama administration, however, determined that the process excluded too many from minority groups….

        But an FAA report released in October, “Using Biodata to Select Air Traffic Controllers,” concluded that the AT-SAT exam, not the biographical questionnaire, is a much better predictor of performance. “The biodata items assessed did little to improve our ability to select applicants most likely” to complete training successfully, said the study….

        Shorter version: The obama admin destroyed the pipeline for qualified controllers by jamming it with unqualified candidates, who were never going to make it, in the name of diversity. Now those who are left, and the airplanes they’re supposed to safeguard, are paying the price.

        1. rowlf

          Truth. Nailed it, well done.

          Several neighbors work or are retired from ATC and are a diverse group. The new applicants have a hard time hacking it,

  21. Jason Boxman

    LOL. So I can just imagine these genius morons from CDC and hospital infection control generally, were they to visit another planet, would hop right out of the airlock, sans breathing apparatus, because why follow the precautionary principle? Breath deeply, Maskless Mandy, breath deep.

  22. Chris Smith

    Re: “A Trump Dictatorship …”

    Kagan’s article is the perfect example of why I can no longer take establishment Democrats seriously. Pure panic with no evidence to back it up.

    I remember the first Trump presidency. Other than cutting taxes for the rich, I don’t recall anything Trump actually accomplished policy-wise. For all of his bluster and tweets, his actual governance was country-club Republican. I might be open to an argument that the lawfare Dems have wages against him may make him dangerous in a way that he wasn’t before. But making that argument would require Kagan to admit that the DOJ and DA Bragg, to name two, are engaging in lawfare (some of it legit in my view, but much of it not). But Kagan is unwilling to admit to the lawfare, and so can’t make that argument.

    The line that gets me though is “He certainly committed at least one of the crimes he is charged with; we don’t need a trial to tell us he tried to overturn the 2020 election.” No Robert, “we” don’t all agree that Trump tried to overthrow the government. I’ve seen the footage of J6 and am not impressed. We also get Robert’s naked speculation posing as fact. Kagan states that the federal bureaucracy blocked Trump’s agenda last time, but states “That was a problem for Trump is his first term, partly because he had no government team of his own to fill the administration. This time, he will.” Kagan then proceeds to lay a foundation for this speculation by making further speculations, with the ultimate foundation being “Orange Man Bad.”

    Meanwhile, the Dems do nothing to earn votes. They can’t even manage to legalize weed at the federal level, codify abortion rights, or do something about growing homelessness. Per Matt Taibbi, the Dems seem more interested in censoring unfavorable PR then delivering deliverables I’m quite sick of their nonsense.

    1. marym

      An assessment of the likelihood of a Trump “dictatorship” should consider more than what he did or didn’t do as president, including:

      What he currently says he will do (Agenda47, social media posts)
      What he said he would do last time and never tried to do
      What the published authoritarian conservative plan will enable him to do (Project 2025)
      What “Republicans, many of whom worked for Trump” (allegedly) say he will do (Bulwark Part 2 – first part is a summary of Kagan)
      How what he says he will do (e.g. “restore free speech” Agenda 47) compares with his conception of the proper role of government in that sphere (Truthout).

      An assessment of whether he “tried to overthrow the government” should include more than just the Capitol riot.

      1. Carolinian

        more than what he did or didn’t do as president

        Ah yes the ever useful thought crimes including the things Trump is claimed to have said by press articles that, as pointed out by Lambert, often misquote him. I’m more concerned about what Biden does than what Trump says. Trump once even said he was going to take an even handed approach to the Middle East. Trump says a lot of things.

        Funny how the Dems never chide him for his actual dictatorship moves like trying to take over Venezuela. That’s probably because they are all for it.

        And with Trump again president the press would be in opposition which is certainly not true with Biden.

        1. marym

          As far as “the things Trump is claimed to have said by press articles” the reference in my comment was to what he says on his own publicly available campaign website and social media platform. Statements on the latter are also often linked in other mainstream or social media reporting.

      2. Chris Smith

        I heard the same thing last time he ran, and again we got nothing except tax cuts for the rich. As for what Trump says, who cares? I look at actions not words. This is the guy who said he was going to bring back US steel manufacturing and repeal Obama care. How did that work out? I resent that the Dems think all they need to do is foment this sort of senseless panic to stay in power.

        BTW “restoring free speech” sounds like something I can get behind. What do you have against free speech? Biden’s assault on free speech is one of the reasons I won’t be voting for him.

        1. marym

          I have nothing against restoring free speech. Some examples of Trump-endorsed approaches in the Truthout link would suppress it, not restore it.

          What he said about Obamacare was that he would repeal it and replace it with something better. What he did about it was publicly support the Republican effort to repeal it, and refrain from working within his administration or pressuring Congress to develop a replacement.

          It’s nice to have a candidate say he supports “freedom of speech” (or another one who says he supports “our democracy”) but evaluating the likelihood of their implementing or even trying to implement good policies depends on more than just the fact that they said it.

    2. Patrick Dunne

      He certainly committed at least one of the crimes he is charged with; we don’t need a trial to tell us he tried to overturn the 2020 election.” No Robert, “we” don’t all agree that Trump tried to overthrow the government. I’ve seen the footage of J6 and am not impressed.

      Conflating the January 6 “insurrection” nonsense with Trump’s very real hours-long “conversations” with election officials in various states conveys a serious lack of discernment. Trump quite clearly attempted to interfere, repeatedly, in the electoral process in order to move things in his favor. It takes an extraordinary amount of mental gymnastics and what I’ll call “reverse TDS” or “democrat derangement syndrome” to not see/hear the obvious. Listen to the tapes.

      I am not a democrat, by the way. I can’t stand them. I am fiercely independent. It’s the only way to maintain clear thought processes and conceptualize the bigger picture.

      1. nippersdad

        Hard to hear about Trump spending hours talking to election officials without remembering the hours long conversations that the Hillary campaign had to support faithless electors, as well as all of the other shenanigans they got up to including the suppression of the Biden Jr. laptop and the whole Russia thing. That one can only be “discerning” when Trump does it is a tell that you may not have thought of and may want to consider in future.

        1. Patrick Dunne

          Your “a tell” comment is fascinating. I was waiting for someone to jump in with an elementary schoolyard “but she did bad things too” type comment.

          For the record, we were talking specifically about Trump. I agree with everything else you said.

          Still “a tell?”

          Be careful “reading into” people too much publicly. You’re not always right, and it makes you look foolish.

          1. nippersdad

            In his op-ed Robert Kagan specifically says that the electorate had the opportunity to choose Clinton in order to avert the Trump menace, that it was partially their fault that he had to undergo the stresses of not getting the candidate he wanted, and the specifics he cites have their corollaries in the Clinton campaign he supposedly thought everyone should have voted for.

            So, no, we are not just talking about Trump but the electoral system that both have used to try and game the system. In that there is little to choose from between them and his talking points are demonstrably false on their face. You may not like Chris Smith’s example, but that is not the only example to be had.

            And if I look foolish in pointing that out then so be it.

    3. Kouros

      It is funny how those most Anti Trump , being also very anti-Iran, never remember to thank Trump for dismantling the JPCOA…

    4. jonboinAR

      I think his great sin is that, rhetorically, he often gives voice to the deplorables. They can’t have that.

  23. Lex

    The greatest threat to the US empire is the superficiality of thought among the intelligentsia that forms its foundation. The Guardian article purporting to disprove the the decline of the empire misses the point, whether intentionally or not I can’t say. Primarily, it fails to add the long list it details, as if every event or situation it describes exists only in isolation.

    No serious person would suggest that the empire is dead. What we’re dealing with is usually the domain of academic historians arguing about the real tipping point after the fact and against the popular historical narrative of a decisive event. The article does an excellent job of describing the real problem without recognizing it. The empire is extended to its realistic maximum since pushing it to fully control Russia and China is only theoretical wishful thinking at this point. That’s a danger zone even though it looks like it is at the height of its global control. The stretch means it doesn’t have the real power to decisively respond to all – or really any – challenges. This is occurring simultaneous to heightening internal contradictions in the core.

    It’s always the internal contradictions in the core that undermine an empire’s ability to maintain the periphery. And then the empire, dependent on the periphery has its internal contradictions heightened by the inability maintain that periphery. The negative feedback loop is the problem, and it is rare for there to be imperial management that can interrupt it. The question becomes not if, but exactly when and how.

    1. marku52

      Trying to be strong everywhere means you are weak everywhere. Those bases in Syria/Iraq are potential death traps, to name just a few.

  24. Irrational

    An interesting link on German domestic budget policy and EU repercussions:
    This would mean that the German budget hole leads to an EU budget hole and therefore no budget increase for the EU to give Ukraine more money might hang in the balance at next week’s meeting.of heads of state/prime ministers.
    Anecdotally, Sahra Wagenknecht has told AP that Ukraine is a bottomless pit and that given it EUR 44 billion (EUR 24 billion directly plus the German share of the EU funding of ca. EUR 80 billion) is scandalous when domestically they cannot find EUR 2 billion for poor kids. I can only find Reddit and Telegram links to this, nonetheless she articulates something that no one else dares at a very interesting point in time.

        1. Feral Finster

          They have proven supine in the past. An American snaps his fingers, and a European drops gratefully to his knees.

  25. Tom Stone

    I’m going to take a day off the serious stuff and read some escapist fiction, Jim Butcher’s latest steampunk work.
    When it comes to Sci Fi and Fantasy ( Any kind of fiction, really) I want Characters, Dialogue, Plot and Humor.
    Sir Terry Pratchett .
    John Scalzi.
    Jim Butcher.
    Lois Bujold.
    The first of Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter” books and the three co written with John Ringo.
    It’s cheaper than booze or blondes and has several other advantages as well.

      1. marku52

        The labor dispute the protagonist has with his security dolphins was flippin’ hysterical. They had been reading Marx in their off hours.

    1. playon

      I haven’t kept current with science fiction so thanks for this – will be checking out these authors.

    2. ChrisPacific

      Martha Wells Murderbot series, beginning with ‘All Systems Red’. A cyborg, half-machine half-human protagonist that has been conditioned to see itself as property, but with a very relatable subversive human side. It has a mostly repressed desire to look after humans along with an overt cynicism about them (“This is why humans shouldn’t do their own security”). Watching it trying very hard not to assume the worst in everything around humans (“Is there a reason why they’d invite you back to the planet, other than killing you?”) is endlessly entertaining.

      Naked Capitalism readers will recognize many elements of the setting, but she doesn’t beat you over the head with it.

    1. NYMutza

      Netflix has a documentary that is worth watching – Poisoned – The Dirty Truth About Your Food
      Don’t bother eating romaine lettuce and cantaloupe. And treat raw chicken as a deadly toxin.

  26. Bill

    Both of these are on the same page in my news feed:

    “Harris says too many Palestinians have died as fighting resumes” Bloomberg
    “US sends ‘bunker-buster’ bombs to Israel for war on Gaza” Al-Jazeera

    Can’t make this stuff up.

  27. John Beech

    Sandhill cranes are fecund around here, FL, a state not even mentioned in the Tribune article. They breed, maybe not like rats, but with maybe every third pair having two instead of one so there’s certainly no shortage as they raise colts every year. I’m thinking ours are non-migratory as unlike the wintering grounds on the Platte, we never see snow and ice to speak of in central-Florid. A dun colored bird when a couple or three weeks old (before that you don’t really seem to spot them), they grow like weeds and within a month, or so, they begin to resemble their parents. By two months, they look so much like adults the non-observant will have difficulty casually distinguishing them from mom and dad (other than by their missing red caps, which have not begun to yet come in), because they are nearly mature birds in size. Basically all legs and neck, the actual bird-part isn’t much larger than a well fed chicken. We have them in large numbers in our yard especially in spring. Meanwhile, their disregard for cars and people, a behavior which can be infuriating to drivers in a hurry because they have no sense of boundaries and walk into the road as if they owned it, leads to some roadway caused demise. In this sense, they define bird-brain! Anyway, when they walk into the road, there’s really nothing for it but to wait patiently for them to amble out of the way. Newcomers to Florida, those who don’t appreciate and are fascinated by them, often display impatience if not outright rage at being held up in their travels by locals, who are more patient and come to a stop as if they were a schoolbus with flashers deployed discharging kids. Basically, we (locals) just accept them as part of the deal that comes of living here. Similarly, when we lived in Panama, sloths were much the same way although while there, unlike here with the birds, I could aid in getting them across by picking them up and transporting them to avoid the impatient killing them with their cars (as did other men, so I wasn’t alone in their defense). However, that’s not the case here as unlike sloths that don’t move fast because they basically can’t, cranes because they don’t really see the cars as a danger will move with alacrity on occasion. Point being, unlike a sloth, there’s no catching one because they’d dart away if someone actually tried. As an unfortunate consequence, a fair number of Sandhill cranes, young and old alike, become road kill. As an aside, we also have gopher turtles in these parts, and helping move them, which like sloths are amongst the slowest of God’s creatures, thereby avoid their destiny with a car as they make their way across the roadway, is a fair substitute for helping sloths avoid same. Anyway, it’s against the law to feed them, so we don’t, but some folks, perhaps recent immigrants ignorant of the law, scatter cracked corn, which they soon come to appreciate. After all, who doesn’t like a regular handout? Meanwhile, identifying these offenders is easy because of the number of birds in their typically urban size yards. We live on a small parcel of five acres surrounded by neighbors with similar and larger plots, often with horses and mules, so Sandhill cranes are rarely present in huge numbers *but* seeing two or three, and occasionally half a dozen to a dozen, meandering through the south forty feeding on grasshoppers, plus the occasional mole or field mouse isn’t unusual in the least. Added to which, we have wetlands maybe 600 feet away so frogs, small fish, and whatnot are rather plentiful. In like fashion, we have many breeding pairs of bald eagles, and osprey year around, and a flock of perhaps 12-15 turkeys living in the sliver of woods on one side of our property next to a small orange grove. Like I said, it’s a place of easy living and thus, they all reproduce profligately as a result. I may share photos with Lambert.

  28. ChrisPacific

    It is unclear how Gaza’s 2.3mn civilians, who have little access to reliable electricity or internet connections, are supposed to follow the instructions.

    I’m glad someone made this point. When I first saw reports of it, it struck me as a PR exercise aimed at Western media, not a serious attempt to limit civilian casualties.

  29. Feral Finster

    “Feral Finster
    19 hrs ago
    A damning new report from +972 Magazine published on Thursday exposes how Israel has been deliberately striking civilian targets in Gaza as a matter of policy because they believe it will “lead civilians to put pressure on Hamas.” It makes it clear that the IDF is very much aware of where the civilians are, and that when they kill children it’s because they calculated that it would be strategically worthwhile to do so.”

    Sure sounds like terrorism to me.

  30. GW

    There are rumors circulating that the Ukrainian military front is breaking down, and the Russians are moving forward. Any truth to it or is just BS?

    Another rumor is that Zelensky is locked in tense negotiations with Zaluzhny, trying to ensure that the latter doesn’t make a play for the presidency. Allegedly – and I have no idea if this is true – Zaluzhny is simultaneously negotiating with someone on the Russian side (Gerasimov? Lavrov?) about pulling Ukraine out of the war and dumping Zelensky.

  31. John

    The Us is “very concerned” about civilian casualties in Gaza. The US continues to send munitions to Israel. Israel is targeting Hamas. Israel wants to thin out, dilute or eliminate the Palestinian population of Gaza. Israel takes pains to warn the population of Gaza to move as bombs are on the way.And so on and so forth. Believe nothing not verified by three or four unimpeachable witnesses. I have yet to hear from them.

    What I do see is collective punishment, indiscriminate bombing of an open city, and an effort to remove the population by one means or another. I believe those are the elements stated in the Genocide Convention.

  32. Glen

    This is a realistic assessment of just how long it will takes to re-shore complex industries:

    Nvidia CEO says the US will take 20 years to achieve chipmaking independence from China and Taiwan, despite booming fab construction and subsidies

    And this assumes that American “industrial policy” can stay focused long enough to achieve it which is a bad assumption.

    1. chris

      Yes. We’ve assumed steady state conditions and easy recovery. We’ve assumed people who aren’t experts in these areas can be project managers of highly technical things. And now they’re surprised the ignorant can’t stand up plants quickly. They’re shocked what’s been given up can’t be quickly regained. Amazing.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        ive told the boys since they could speak:examine your assumptions.
        and here we are…ivy leagueres who cannot think rationally.
        so much for credentialism, and the like.

        “masters of the universe”…wasnt that what Time, or somebody, called them?
        and Fie!

  33. Regis Tufarian

    Federal appeals court says Trump is not immune from civil lawsuits over Jan. 6 Capitol attack

    Here are the names on two of the amici briefs in that appeal:

    Former White House and Department of Justice Officials

    Former Diplomats and Foreign Policy Officials

    So, former officials of the executive branch of the Federal government are weighing in on the suit against Trump.

    To the extent that these former officials speak for current officials, Trump can look forward to four more years of obstruction, sabotage and defiance from the branch of government he will nominally head if he is re-elected (and allowed to take office).

    1. chris

      I’m certain we’ll see a much improved version of the soft coup we experienced last time. And maybe an official coup! The surprise I experience each time the professional and liberal left are forced to accept that the US hates them is that they’re capable of quickly getting violent.

  34. Amfortas the Hippie

    Undomiel(with an umlaut over the E)= Quendi:”evening twilight”

    started cold, as it will for the next week(40), but ended in the 70’s..dropping off precipitously as the sun sank…that low winter sun, that doesn’t really warm you outside of noontide….
    cut wood, did a bunch of honeydo bs for mom, watered all the pocket gardens(carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuce)…and tore down some entertainment wood with the tractor…cut that up…and decided i shouldn’t lay down before the chickens finally went home, lest i seize up…so beer and an entertainment fire it is…and silence….
    except its never really silent, what with the crickets and the birds flittering around in the cedar elms…and the geese being their raucous selves over under the Big Oak( gearing up for mating, come january, usually)…and Undomiel…high cirrus hurrying along to the east…looks like remnants of jet trails…
    jet stream split, and i think the southern arm is overhead, given the shape of those “clouds” as they race by…all pink and orange…through the half-bare mesquite and sycamore(“called the freedom tree…”) as i stand there peein on a bush.

    and the highway, a mile off east…relatively quiet, after the crazyness around turkey day….few airplanes, too…compared to those 2 weeks.
    i wouldnt live anywhere else.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and i kept the lights off in the bar environs…save for the fire and the laptop and the headlight, when needed.
      like in the old days, when there was nothing here but this old trailer house…and Tam and i were first “going out”…which meant right over there, where the cart path passes the western bar wall…where there was a path i’d cut through all the brambles and bee brush to back my truck in, for the radio(i had no electricity back then)…and there was a hole in the ground where a large mesquite had died and fallen over who knows how long ago….and the trunk, barkless and smooth, i had dragged to the edge of that hole, as a backrest…and we’d sit in that hole…like a couch, and listen to the radio, and have a little fire between us and the truck…and that was our courtship(she had moved in by then).
      her drinking Zima, with a green jolly rancher in it(!), me drinking, at the time, coors light.
      i saved that tree trunk…split it longways in half, stained and oiled it, and kept it under cover all these years.
      it’ll be a window treatment/frame for the south window of this bar extension i’ve been building since june or so…our courtship log.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        and “ash” is what the old timers call this wood…that tree…but i dont think its ash.
        i looked it up one time…identified it…but its a minor tree around here, and i forgot.
        burns hot and bright and fast…smells vaguely sweet as it does so.
        perfect for entertainment wood, when all you want is light and heat.

        and the music in my head!
        does anyone else have this?
        if i refrain from focusing on it, its as chaotic as whatever bird that is, flittering around in the cedar elm.
        if i do deign to focus, however, i hear the whole song..whatever it may be.
        and in all its parts.
        if i concentrate, i can hear the Lacrimosa, complete.
        i reckon this will be either a comfort or a curse when the grid fails for lack of maintenance.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          so now the whole Requiem(Mozart–karajan) is jamming===loud as i can get it—at the Wilderness Bar, with only firelight and starlight.
          and Dies Irie…except that it is I who am angry at god…for lots of things, it turns out.
          and the Homegrown is excellent this year, if y’all couldn’t tell.

          1. Cassandra

            Amfortas, the Requiem lives in my head, too, though I am partial to the Marriner version. It takes turns with Wish You Were Here, an oddly satisfying juxtaposition.

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