Links 4/17/2024

Total solar eclipse 2024: what dazzled scientists Nature

What’s left of the 2024 solar eclipse lives in our hearts

The shadow of war darkens on the global economy FT


UC Irvine researchers shine light on rapid changes in Arctic and boreal ecosystems (press release) University of California, Irvine


Economic and Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic Sustainability. A special issue.

US COVID-origins hearing puts scientific journals in the hot seat Nature

Population Spread Brought Influenza Along with It Nippon. Starting from 1510….


China reforms its unloved state-owned enterprises to win back investors FT

On China’s “social credit”:

Japan’s Alliance with the U.S. Has Just Gone Global RAND


Gandhi to Stalin: India’s disparate opposition Channel News Asia

Behind India’s Manipur conflict: A tale of drugs, armed groups and politics Al Jazeera


Saying What Can’t Be Said: Israel Has Been Defeated – a Total Defeat Haaretz. “[W]hat’s ‘uncomfortable’ is the most dangerous thing for our security and our future here, that being addicted to feeling good is itself what’s dangerous.” There’s a lot of that going around.

Hamas says no deal without Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, return of displaced Anadolu Agency

* * *

Iran says if Israel attacks again, response will be ‘within seconds’ Anadolu Agency

Why so many of us were wrong about missile defense Noah Smith, Noahpinion. I’m reluctant to accept triumphalism about Israeli missile defense, even assuming that reported numbers are accurate. Israel and its allies had at least a week of “When will Iran attack?” to prepare, plus five hours warning.

* * *

Leaked NYT Gaza Memo Tells Journalists To Avoid Words “Genocide,” “Ethnic Cleansing,” And “Occupied Territory” The Intercept

The University of Southern California cancels its Muslim valedictorian’s commencement speech, citing safety concerns CNN

Anti-Israel agitators shut down traffic, disrupt cities all across US in demand for Gaza cease-fire FOX

New Not-So-Cold War

Western fear of escalation will hand Putin an historic victory in Ukraine The Atlantic Council

Why Ukraine is losing the war Politico

Ukraine Is Ready for Painful Concessions Foreign Policy

Coming to Terms Harpers. For example:

“You the one with the high card, you should speak your mind.”

* * *

Zelenskyy says Ukraine ‘ran out of missiles’ during defense of power plant Anadolu Agency

Looking for a Fight NYT. In the trenches with the mercs.

* * *

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy signs new army draft law to boost conscription Al Jazeera. One more Zelensky Unit to go.

Why President Zelensky Is Purging His Inner Circle Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Kiev admits it has no control over weapons distributed to ordinary citizens InfoBrics

* * *

Why Russia Doesn’t Want War Between Israel and Iran RAND

Russia to grow faster than all advanced economies says IMF BBC. “Advanced” toward what, then?

Global Elections

India’s mammoth elections: Nearly a billion voters, 44 polling days France24

India election 2024: Which are the main political parties in the fray? Al Jazeera

Inside the formidable grassroots operation of India’s BJP FT

The taxman cometh for India’s weakened opposition as Modi eyes election victory France24

* * *

South Korea elections positive for LNG, renewables; bad for coal, nuclear S&P Global

* * *

Spotting the deepfakes in this year of elections: how AI detection tools work and where they fail Reuters

Biden Administration

Messy intel fight comes to Senate with Friday deadline Politico. Well, it’s only the Fourth Amendment at stake.

Speaker Johnson says it’s U.S.’s ‘biblical admonition’ to help Israel FOX. Big if true.

Johnson takes plunge on Ukraine aid in face of ouster threat The Hill. On both Section 702 and Ukraine, Johnson seems to have become more compliant after the spooks opened the kimono. But whatever it was he saw, we (by definition) cannot see. We call that “our democracy.”

Tesla laying off more than 10% of staff globally as sales fall Reuters

Digital Watch

What’s up with AI lately? Let’s start with soaring costs, public anger, regulations… The Register. The deck: “‘Obtaining genuine consent for training data collection is especially challenging’ industry sages say.” Shorter: AI “founders” are all thieves.

Investors are growing increasingly weary of AI TechCrunch. Commentary:

Stupid money about to slosh out?

MKBHDs For Everything Stratechery

Sports Desk

“A famous win built on patience” (sound up):

A betting scandal rocked Iowa sports. Then the case went sideways. WaPo

The Supremes

Supreme Court’s Shadow Docket Gets a Radical Makeover Bloomberg

Lawmakers seek disavowal of Supreme Court’s racist ‘Insular Cases’ that limited rights of people in U.S. territories NBC

Police State Watch

Judge awards $23.5 million to undercover St. Louis officer beaten by colleagues during protest AP


The Farce of Diplomatic Assurances Craig Murray

Baltimore Key Bridge Collapse

FBI opens criminal investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse: Report The Hill


Boeing whistleblower says 787 fleet should be grounded The Hill

United Airlines says Boeing blowout cost it $200m BBC. That’s $50 million per bolt.

Feral Hog Watch

Hogzilla or Jaws? Wild Pigs Kill More People Than Sharks, Shocking Research Reveals Farm Journal

Class Warfare

America’s Manufacturing Renaissance Will Create Few Good Jobs Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate

Many Patients Don’t Survive End-Stage Poverty NYT

A People’s Bank at the Post Office JSTOR Daily

A New Remedy for Bad-Faith Bargaining? On Labor

The Declining Mental Health Of The Young And The Global Disappearance Of The Hump Shape In Age In Unhappiness NEBR

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. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Summer Day Reflection Song  by Donovan)

    Wall Street’s living off your rent
    Blessed by every President
    Private equity’s supreme
    Congress skimming off the scheme
    Our collapse has just begun

    Every worker carries debt
    With no real safety net
    Running later on the rent
    Who knows where the paycheck went?
    Our collapse has just begun

    (musical interlude)

    Zombie bank balance sheets
    Paper assets for elites
    Built on hollowed out receipts
    As the truth hits the streets
    Our collapse has just begun

    When all mortgages go tilt
    And you lose what you have built
    City streets are burning zones
    ‘Neath the skull and femur bones
    Our collapse has just begun

    Every asset will change hands
    For derivative demands
    There’ll be little left to buy
    Make new friends or you will die
    Our collapse has just begun

    Suburban dreams you lived for
    You’re not safe there anymore
    Find high walls to get behind
    To be safe from your own kind
    Our collapse has just begun

    1. John k

      A bleak look. We could use a little fundamental change, so why elect somebody who promises mone?

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Speaker Johnson says it’s U.S.’s ‘biblical admonition’ to help Israel”

    The US should ask Speaker Johnson if the bible says that he can also help, you know, ordinary Americans as well in his spare time. After Israel, the Ukraine and Taiwan of course. Knew something like this was going to happen when just after being elected speaker, Johnson was swearing fealty to Israel instead of to the US. There was something so off about his little performance here.

    1. Matthew

      Of course not, being poor actually helps you get into heaven. Our reward will come in the next life next to his golden throne.

      1. begob

        Being poor may help, but being rich guarantees your spot. Hopefully enough spots for all (warranty void in Tennessee).

      2. Retired Carpenter

        re: Our reward will come in the next life next to his golden throne
        You reminded me of Joe Hill’s song “The Preacher and the Slave“. Here is the chorus:
        You will eat bye and bye
        In that glorious land above the sky
        Work and pray , live on hay
        You’ll get pie in the sky when you die!
        I like the interpretation by the late Utah Phillips:

    2. zagonostra

      On Judge Napolitano’s podcast with regulars Col. Douglas MacGregor, the latter said that “Israel has more influence on Congress” than Biden. His other guest, Scott Ritter, Jeffery Sachs, Mearsheimer, Larry Wilkerson, Max Blumenthal, and other guest that I respect, have said the same thing. If these men are to be trusted and all it garners is not even a “blink” from the viewer, then what does that say? Is an erroneous and contrived religious belief being used to reconcile the irreconcilable?

      Speaker Johnson is just one manifestation of the control that the Judge’s guest have plainly laid out. It is not surprising. What is surprising, is the degree to which the U.S. population has learned to “doublethink.” There was a reference in Orwell’s 1984 which I just recently finished, to “necessary stupidity.” It reminded me of Nicholas of Cusa’s “learned ignorance.” That Congress has put Israel’s interest in a primary position to that of the U.S. can only be reconciled with some kind of “necessary stupidity that the mass of people have internalized.

      1. nippersdad

        This struck me as being very 1984ish:

        “Why we should all support the countering anti-semitism act”

        “The bill’s multipronged offensive hits antisemitism from multiple angles. It establishes a national coordinator and interagency task force that would centralize efforts in a way that forestalls bureaucratic drift. Regular agency reporting requirements and a mandated annual threat assessment enforce accountability.”

        What could possibly go wrong with AIPAC writing our civll rights legislation?

          1. The Rev Kev

            AIPAC is having a lot of success in winding back the First Amendment in many States. Maybe soon there will be a Federal law making it illegal to criticize Israel as being hate speech or something.

      2. Carolinian

        We’ve jumped from the My Kevin frying pan into the Speaker Johnson fire. Paging Wuk.

        But it should be emphasized that the TINA is among the elites. People all over the country are upset about Gaza and protesting as well but the media tries to ignore them. And indifference to Ukraine is equally widespread. It’s not the “mass” that are the problem, at least when it comes to this.

        And honestly the only explanation for the resurgence of Trump is deep dissatisfaction with Biden’s authoritarianism. What we are seeing is a US establishment losing control domestically and overseas and in a panic.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve been herding up 5 perfect red heifers for what I assume is a 4-H project here in Godzone…

          Johnson’s kind of a throwaway Pol, nobody had ever heard of him before and if he went away, it isn’t as if you’d keep track of him.

          That said, anyday now I expect Clark Kent to doff his glasses and rip open that dress shirt to reveal a SC logo (Super Christian) as he leaps tall buildings in one bound, or what some call a lectern.

          ‘Truth, Justice, and the evang way!’

        2. Feral Finster

          “And indifference to Ukraine is equally widespread.”

          Indifference is the key here. As long as the masses are indifferent (which they are), the war will go on, and the United States will escalate as necessary to keep it going, unless and until lots of Americans start coming home in body bags.

    3. Mark Gisleson

      Still see nothing to deter me from my belief that Johnson is a brilliant actor (most prosecutors are) and that he’s heightening the contradictions with his visible clumsiness. I strongly suspect that when push comes to shove, he will allow himself to be ousted at a time when getting legislation through the House will be critical. As we’ve already seen, nothing much happens when the Speaker’s chair is vacant.

      Johnson knows this isn’t about him and like most true believers is willing to be a lightning rod for his faith. The question is whether he does this as a witness to End Times, or as a Doubting Thomas insisting the world see just what is going on. Either way, he’s more of a player than a putz in my reckoning.

      1. EMC

        I am still reserving judgement on Johnson. Splitting the bills – as he did with the budget – is, well, appropriate. And he has successfully delayed these votes for six months now, which has been consequential particularly in Ukraine. He seems to be a bit of a master at stalling tactics.

        1. undercurrent

          Some people might add that Johnson is only imitating his Lord. Jesus has been stalling His return for several thousand years, and counting. Generations of the faithful have lived and died, absolutely certain that Jesus was on his way in their lifetime. Oh wait, only the Father (and john hagee) knows that time and day, and He’s sitting on it, waiting for just the right time to throw that card down. Hagee’s sitting on something else, making a personal fortune from it.

    4. Pat

      As an American citizen I have two very big issues with Speaker Johnson on this. First is the one you point out, that his first responsibility should be to the citizens of this country. Second is that the Bible should be irrelevant especially about a country that didn’t exist when it was created or even when it’s major translations into English were made. I know it is an inconvenient fact for the speaker that by design we have no state religion and that a highly significant portion of this country’s citizens follow a non Christian religion or have no religion at all and this government is supposed to represent them as well.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        I do not understand why putting another country above America is not considered treason.

        At the very least, Johnson and others like him (Haley, Schumer) should be registered as foreign agents and have their bank accounts closely monitored by the FBI for signs of overt bribery.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I have friends who tell me that to say anything critical of Israel is to invite the outpouring of Divine punishment on oneself. Their biblical textual justification for this is a text in, I think, Genesis 12 that records a promise to Abraham.

          For these people, subordination of US interests to the interests (for some definition thereof) of Israel may be thought of as a form of patriotism to the US, since in their view it brings Divine blessing and avoids Divine cursing on US.

          I think the cognitive dissonance that they are likely to experience in coming months and years will be quite troubling.

          1. Pat

            And most of the rest of the Bible chips away at that over and over. And that is God’s supposed promise not man’s. Personally I think that is important because if you look at most of what the New Testament says God wants from men, well you really have to twist yourself into pretzels to reconcile the two. I realize that it only applies to the Christians, but they might want to remember how often Christ rejected and contradicted the human interpretations of God’s word during his time.

            But then I gave up on all organized religion once I got how interpreted it is. Humans love to rewrite…

            1. Samuel Conner

              > And most of the rest of the Bible chips away at that over and over.

              When I mention OT prophetic criticisms of Israel and Judea, my interlocutors get offended and retreat behind their “don’t speak ill of Abraham’s descendants or God will punish you” rhetoric.

              And that’s before one gets to the 8th and 6th century BC military catastrophes in the Northern and Southern kingdoms and the respective exilings of their populations.

              And then there are the catastrophes of the 1st and 2nd century AD wars with Rome. That’s where we get “Palestine”; it’s the name the Romans applied to the region after they erased the prior regional name, Judea.

              One wonders whether the cycle of violence can be interrupted this time.

              1. steppenwolf fetchit

                The Talibangelicals and the Rapturaniacs and the Armageddonites are working their hardest to see to it that the cycle of violence will be totally fulfilled this time.

                They are not supporting “Israel” in general. They are supporting the right and hard right side of Israeli culture and politics in particular. Some of them may just be motivated by ” securing God’s blessing” by ” supporting God’s people”. But the Raturaniacs and Armageddonites are definitely motivated by their desire to see the right and hard right wing in “Greater Likudistan” maneuver Israel into a total war which the ” Biblical Prophecy Fulfillment Seekers” hope can be turned into the worldwide nuclear war which will bring Christ back to rule from his Throne of Righteousness for a Thousand Years. And all the Jews will be killed and sent to Hell for having rejected their Lord and Savior the first time. The fervent hope for which would seem inconsistent coming from people who ” support Israel” till one realizes that they only ” support Israel” as a means to the end which they really support, which is Armageddon, destruction of this world, and Christ’s Triumphant Return to Rule over the World to Come.

                We should be clear on what the Rapturaniacs and Armageddonites are really seeking and why they support what they support. We should be willing to face that fact in just the same way that the Haaretz article referrenced above advises Israelis to accept the fact of their ongoing defeat path.

                1. steppenwolf fetchit

                  An old memory supporting this theory floated to the top of my mind the way a submerged log may suddenly rise to the surface of a swamp.

                  When Ariel Sharon of Israel had his stroke, Reverend Pat Robertson who I believe is one of the Rapturaniacs and maybe an Armageddonite as well said that Sharon’s stroke was God’s punishment on Sharon for having unilaterally de-occupied Gaza, thereby ” dividing the Land”. And that “dividing the Land” would delay the fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy, Rapture, Armageddon, etc.
                  And since Robertson supports causing Rapture, Armageddon, etc. under cover of pretending to “support” Israel, he was very upset by that withdrawal. The CUFIsts and etc. regard Israel as the tool. Rapturegeddon is the goal and Rapturegeddon is what they support when they “support” Israel.

                  And what do you know . . . my memory was correct. Here is the link.

                  Of course various people got offended and Robertson had to pretend to apologize.

                  I think that as supporting Israel loses favor within the Democratic Party, and supporting Israel becomes a strictly Republican Party mission, that AIPAC will begin losing relevance. It will of course fight hard for its continued money, power and relevance. But it will lose out over time to CUFI, which will be the basis for a new type of ” Israel Lobby”.

                  1. James Payette

                    It is obvious to me that Sharon removed the israeli settlers in Gaza so that the IDF could do indiscriminate bombing and murder of Palestinians without having to worry about their safety

        2. Benny Profane

          “I do not understand why putting another country above America is not considered treason.”

          I do not understand why an American president can be accused of doing this and actually impeached for supposedly doing it, but it’s plain as day with statements like this from Johnson and many other politicians proclaiming support for Israel constantly isn’t considered at least dereliction of duty. What’s been the argument for the past six months in both houses and the media? Reduced health costs? Education relief? Youth health care? Nope. More war money for two countries thousands of miles away.

        3. spud

          everyone wants to be bill clinton. he was a master at selling out his country. he moved his bribe taking mechanism to canada, away from prying eyes, and called it the clinton foundation.

            1. spud


              “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation

              Frank Giustra, a mining financier and philanthropist, has donated tens of millions of dollars to the charitable foundation run by former President Bill Clinton.Credit…Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

              By Mike McIntire and Jo Becker

              April 29, 2015

              Aides to former President Bill Clinton helped start a Canadian charity that effectively shielded the identities of donors who gave more than $33 million that went to his foundation, despite a pledge of transparency when Hillary Rodham Clinton became secretary of state.

              The nonprofit, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), operates in parallel to a Clinton Foundation project called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which is expressly covered by an agreement Mrs. Clinton signed to make all donors public while she led the State Department. However, the foundation maintains that the Canadian partnership is not bound by that agreement and that under Canadian law contributors’ names cannot be made public.

              The foundation cited that restriction last weekend in explaining why it did not disclose $2.35 million in donations from the chairman of Uranium One, the subject of an article in The New York Times last week. The article examined how company executives and shareholders had sold a majority stake in the company — and with it a significant portion of American uranium reserves — to an arm of the Russian government in a deal that required the approval of the United States government.”

            2. spud


              1,100 donors to a Canadian charity tied to Clinton Foundation remain secret
              By Rosalind S. Helderman
              Tom Hamburger
              April 28, 2015 at 7:58 p.m. EDT

              “A charity affiliated with the Clinton Foundation failed to reveal the identities of its 1,100 donors, creating a broad exception to the foundation’s promise to disclose funding sources as part of an ethics agreement with the Obama administration.

              The number of undisclosed contributors to the charity, the Canada-based Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, signals a larger zone of secrecy around foundation donors than was previously known.

              Details of the organization’s fundraising were disclosed this week by a spokeswoman for the Canadian group’s founder, mining magnate Frank Giustra.

              The Canadian group has received attention in recent days as a potential avenue for anonymous Clinton Foundation donations from foreign business executives, including some who had interests before the U.S. government while Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state.”

        4. steppenwolf fetchit

          Because that’s not how the Constitution very narrowly and strictly defines treason. If we are being Constitutional about it.

          If Johnson/Haley/Schumer/etc. are getting money and instruction from the Israeli Government specifically then they should be registered as its foreign agents. If they are not getting specific money and specific instructions from the Israeli government specifically, then are they legally definable as foreign agents? Perhaps we need to revive concepts like feltravs and symps ( fellow travelers and sympathisers).

        5. Feral Finster

          “I do not understand why putting another country above America is not considered treason.”

          Because the Constitution says otherwise. That said, during the russiagate fiasco, we were duly assured that “treason” means whatever TPTB need it to mean at the moment.

        6. Jeff W

          Others have rightly pointed to the Constitution. Here’s the text of Article III, Section 3, Clause 1:

          Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

          The two conditions stated are, arguably, a bit narrower than “putting another country above America” and, by the express terms of the US Constitution, constitute the only grounds for treason.

          1. juno mas

            Well, I consider Israel’s genocide to be the enemy. And Johnson seems to be giving them my tax dollars to sustain what the ICJ believes to be an illegal war. That’s Aid and Comfort.

    5. DJG, Reality Czar

      The Rev Kev: I reproduce the quote that His Exalted Redeemedness Mike Johnson gave:

      “I’m going to state something that you all know – at this critical moment, the United States must show unwavering strength and support for Israel…We have to make certain that the entire world understands that Israel is not alone and God is going to bless the nation that blesses Israel,” Johnson said. “We understand that that’s our role. It’s also our biblical admonition. This is something that’s an article of faith for us. It also happens to be great foreign policy.”

      These events all seem like something out of a novel by Sinclair Lewis, except that flesh-and-blood people are going to be really hurt and wounded so that Johnson’s craptastic biblical exegesis remains untouched.

      It’s the continuing crisis of monotheism, with nuclear weapons.

      1. The Rev Kev

        In Oz we would use three words to reply to Johnson. Unfortunately two of them are unpublishable here on NC.

    6. FreeMarketApologist

      “Speaker Johnson, unable to come up with a rational reason, calls upon magic tricks and make believe to justify continued barbarisms.”

      There, fixed it for ya.

    7. Feral Finster

      Some folks here who expected Johnson to exhibit more backbone.

      I knew he’d fold, the only question was when and at what cost.

  3. VTDigger

    Surreal blog post from Blob-creature Noah Smith. Does he not know the amazing, invincible, all-powerful USN just got defeated by…Yemen? What newsphere are these people trapped in?

    1. Roland

      It is gradually becoming apparent that ballistic missile defense systems have achieved some level of effectiveness. You don’t have to be some sort of gushing wunderwaffen fanboi to realize that this might prove to a significant development in world military affairs.

      It would be far better for everybody, of course, if BMD was futile, since effective BMD (even if but marginally effective) is very destabilising. BMD works best in conjunction with a “first strike” strategy, although a weaker opponent, knowing this, might decide that their best chance is to attack as best as they can, before they get struck. Effective BMD virtually guarantees the outbreak of a future nuclear war of some sort.

      But what can we do? It’s been about 20 years since the USA unilaterally abrogated the ABM Treaty. There is a complete bipartisan consensus on making a bid for strategic nuclear superiority, with a true first-strike capability. I don’t know if that’s an achievable goal. But I do know that they want to try. It seems like their decades of costly effort have not been entirely fruitless.

    2. scott s.

      AFAIK, one merchant ship, outside of USN protection, has been hit by Yemen. For you that amounts to defeat of USN?

      Simplicius claims “a U.S. Arleigh Burke warship firing upwards of 70+ SM-3 missiles” at the Iranian attack.

      I’m not sure that many SM-3 missiles even exist? Haven’t seen any other claims that Aegis BMD was involved in this. Maybe SM-6 instead?

  4. Tom67

    No credit score in China: my wife (who is Kasakh) was there last summer. You can´t even get toilet paper in a public toilet without face recognition. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. China is after all a country were not so long ago the head of the Danwei (local work unit) had to know when the women in his unit and the wives of workers had their periods and whether they used contraception and what kind of contraception. If you like privacy China is definately no country for you.

    1. bonks

      This is frankly one of the worst lies I have ever seen on the Internet. And I have been living in China for almost ten years.

      That face recognition toilet paper only exists in maaaaybe 1 out of 100 public toilets in a poor city and that’s to deter greedy hands from emptying the entire roll for themselves. You can come back again to get more some time later. I have only seen it twice in my decade of life here.

      Also your info about needing to keep track of female bodies sounds thirty years out of date. I’m the owner and manager of a “danwei”myself in case you think i’m pulling crap out of my arse.

      1. bonks

        And no there’s no such thing as social credit score for private citizens in China akin to black mirror. It’s only for businesses and business owners.

        1. Tom67

          Just asked my wife again. You only got toilet paper in public places in Beijing with face recognition. Not in one place – everywhere. You might live in China but evidently in some foreigners special housing. I did study Chinese in China and later lived until Covid in Central Asia. I worked in the tourist business and had lot´s of conversations with tour guides who travelled with groups through China. Not Westerners but Central Asians of various Nationalities. Suffice to say the contract of the party with the people was we provide the goodies and you shut up. If the grievances got to great there was an outpouring of protest and the party corrected course. In the last few years though the all seeing eye has become so pervasive that all protest is napped in the bud. And that although the economic situation of many people has considerably worsened there is much less protest. Mark my words: China is like a boiling pot with a lid that is pressed harder and harder. There will be mass protests in the near future and they will be more severe than the countrywide “white paper protests” that ended the Corona measures in late 2022.

          1. CA

            “Mark my words: China is like a boiling pot with a lid that is pressed harder and harder. There will be mass protests in the near future…”

            Of course, the whole point of these ridiculous comments is to disparage China. No matter; China is faring remarkably well, and remarkably well in tourism both in-country and from abroad.

            Also, please, “mark the words” from the Edelman Trust Index for 2024 which tell us that Chinese institutions are the most trusted of any of the 112 countries surveyed


            1. Tom67

              I am sure anybody in Stalins Russia or Hitlers Germany would have professed to totally trust in the institutions. That is not to say that China is as bad as Russia or Germany in the Thirties. It is just to say that it is ridiulous to suppose that people tell the truth in countries where distrust could land you in jail or lower our social credit score. And by the way to anybody reading these lines: the credit scores in China affect mostly those with something to lose. That is people who can afford to take a bullet train or plane to somewhere. For that is what you can´t do if your score is to low. But it doesn´t affect a person who couldn´t afford this in the first place. In the GDR you could also live quite freely if you were content to be a gardener or a coal shoveler. In the (ethnic Chinese) countryside (but not in the minority areas) there are no credit scores. In fact the party has lost largely lost control there.

          2. CA


            Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

            I look forward to this survey every year – the Edelman Trust Barometer

            ( )

            – because I find it’s so revealing of what’s happening in the world.

            Trust is the glue that binds societies together. When trust is gone, society collapses. Because with trust comes legitimacy, and without legitimacy, a political system is… well, illegitimate. And illegitimate governments walk an ever tighter rope, they’re on borrowed time.

            What we’ve been seeing for a few years now is trust falling fast in Western or West-adjacent countries ( the UK is now the lowest trust society in the survey, followed by Japan, and with South Korea, Germany and the U.S. not far behind ).

            At the same time trust levels in many powerful global South countries is sky high, with China leading the pack…


            3:44 AM · Apr 8, 2024

      2. CA

        “This is frankly one of the worst lies I have ever seen on the Internet. And I have been living in China for almost ten years….”

        Surely so. Thank you so much.

    2. Alice X

      ~If you like privacy China is definately no country for you.

      With the new FISA amendment neither is the US.

      1. cfraenkel

        Heh – that’s making a big assumption that the new FISA amendment changes anything…. vs papering over existing practice.

    3. Joker

      In North Korea, you can´t get toilet paper in a public toilet without ass recognition. Since they are lagging in advanced software/hardware, it’s not yet fully computerized and mostly done manually.

      If you like privacy, then you are not reading this on the toilet.

  5. JohnnyGL

    Clips from ‘the wire’ always make for a better morning. Still the greatest tv series ever created. It edges out ‘breaking bad’.

    1. begob

      I watched both for the first time last year. The Wire is totally engaging, but Breaking Bad still follows me around.

    2. lambert strether

      The clip is a metaphor for “coming to terms.” Omar is Russia, Proposition Joe is the United States (“out of time”). Not all the details match, of course, but the power relation is clear enough.

      1. CanCyn

        Understood Lambert. Sorry to take your clip and just focus on the show. Reality is a little tough to bear these days.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No harm, no foul. I just wanted to make sure I was clear for all readers. And I rather like the idea of Russia as Omar (“…. you best not miss”).

    3. CanCyn

      Maybe I never gave Breaking Bad a fair chance but I couldn’t engage with it at all. Wired is truly a classic. An all time favourite. Michael K. Williams Omar is hands down one of the best, if not the best characters on TV ever.

      1. Benny Profane

        Cmon. When that bathtub fell through the ceiling in episode 2 of season 1 of BB, I was hooked.

        1. Wukchumni

          We didn’t watch Breaking Bad when it aired originally, as the few tweakers we knew were oddly similar to human battering rams, everything they touched went to shit. How could a TV show about meth be all that?

          Fast forward 5 years and we take the plunge, and its about meth, but hits on everything you can imagine in the process. Keep in mind Walter White needs what $125k cash for his cancer treatments, where’s a high school teacher gonna come up with that kinda dough?

          Maybe if he gets the treatment free in a normal country instead, he never gets mixed up with the ‘Meskin drug cartels, but I doubt it.

          Think its time to watch it again, in entirety.

          Breaking Bad | Negro y Azul (The Heisenberg Song)

    1. griffen

      Ah the dumpster fire is becoming a worthy contender, not yet up there with the “this is fine” room on fire meme but getting closer!

      I wonder if the laid off employees tears help to bolster and encourage the bold Tesla investors, prominently of course Cathie Wood but I’d include fund maven Ron Baron as well.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Why so many of us were wrong about missile defense”

    I thought that this guy was being sarcastic writing this post but it seems that he was serious after reading through. Sorry but missile defense is done. Hypersonic missiles alone killed it and trying to have it is a fool’s errand no matter how many hundreds of billions you throw at the MIC to solve it. Take a look at what just happened in Israel. Scott Ritter was on Jimmy Dore giving the hard word and he said that one of the Israeli air bases that house those F-35s is the most protected one on the planet. They have state-of-the-art equipment from both the Americans and the Israelis for the detection and destruction of incoming missiles and saw the missiles taking off in Iran. There may be no better protected place anywhere and yet 5 of the 7 missiles that were targeting this base hit home and on target. The best bit? Iran were using up their older missiles and did not even use their more modern ones nor their hypersonic missiles either- (32:03 mins)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Since an attack on Iran is out of the question, they have to be seen “doing something” to placate people and going the sanctions route is the easiest way. It is a way of defusing the situation. Does not matter that, like Russia, that there is not much left to sanction but people will see that Iran is being “punished.”

    1. Samuel Conner

      IMO missile defense is not so much “done” as “at the dawn of a new era of costly expenditure on R&D.” They’ll be putting billions into directed energy weaponry and optical tracking of targets.

      The alternative would be to work toward actual peace, but where is the profit in that?

      1. Louis Fyne

        From a purely scientific POV, I hope to be alive if/when a real directed energy weappn debuts.

        As that is *alot* of power to deliver at a multi-mach widget in a few seconds. Certainly won’t be a “green” system, lol.

        wonder how they`ll overcome all those constraints without some massive breakthroughs

    2. Benny Profane

      Along with missile defense, tank warfare is done, and certainly most forms of naval battle, and furgetabout close use of air power in the early stages of conflict. The Chinese are the victors in both of these conflicts, furiously taking notes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Certainly the age of the aircraft-carrier is about over. You can still use them to punish defenseless countries but once they acquire missiles it is game over, man, game over. Still no sign of any carriers in the Red Sea.

          1. digi_owl

            Already back between the world wars one knew that the big surface ships were floating targets. The one big exception at the time was the carrier, as it was the one doing the targeting. The Falklands War just proved that carriers had been superseded by anti-ship missiles.

            But sending a carrier group still have symbolic weight, in that it shows that the power it belongs to is aware and watching.

            And being able to build them also demonstrates the industrial capacity of the nation.

            This in the same way that the space race was as much about demonstrating technological proves. If one could send something to the moon, one could similarly send something, like a nuke, to anywhere on earth.

            1. Polar Socialist

              Well, if you’re about to send your blue sea fleet in harm’s way, you might want to have them scouts buzzing around looking for the enemy activity and them interceptors overhead to, well, intercept the said anti-ship missiles. Considering the quite short legs on any fighter sized aircraft, a carrier can be a handy asset to have as part of your blue sea fleet.

              What you quite don’t need are the helicopter hangars on every vessel bigger than a rowing boat. They’re very anti-stealth, filled with stuff that can ignite and just make your hull much bigger a target than it needs to be.

          2. Patrick Donnelly

            Exocets … yes, you are right.

            Also a submarine needlessly slaughtered an old cruiser.

            Think of say 25 container ships, fitted with 100 containers each, each of which have 5 missiles or drones, for defence but mainly attack, with a crew of 5 per vessel.

            Likewise, commercial passenger jets with drones and missiles strapped thereto, making in flight air fuelling unnecessary.

            Crew and therefore casualty rate can easily be buried, sorry, on page 21

            1. The Rev Kev

              ‘Also a submarine needlessly slaughtered an old cruiser.’

              Not many people are aware of it but that cruiser – the General Belgrano – started life as an American cruiser, the USS Phoenix. She was a survivor of the Pearl Harbour attack and went on to earn 9 battle stars for World War II service in the Pacific. She was sold to the Argentinians in 1951 along with a sister ship – the USS Boise – and both were renamed.



      2. eg

        In the prevailing ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) environment all capital intensive military vehicles — surface ships, airframes, and mechanized assault vehicles (tanks and APCs) are increasingly little more than expensive targets for ever cheaper and more accurate missiles and drones.

        This Brave New World is looking more and more like Crecy, and the West the French nobility …

      3. Captain Obvious

        Talk about tanks being obsolete have been going on for 100+ years. Instead of disappearing, they have been evolving. Survival of the fittest.

        1. Antifa

          The glitch with tanks are two — you can see them easily, and there are expensively-trained soldiers inside.

          Take the soldiers out, put AI inside, and make tanks smaller, fast, and legion. Like swarms of drones. Like locusts.

          We’ll see these appearing in coming years. Oh, and they deal with street protests just as efficiently.

          1. Polar Socialist

            The size of the tank is mostly defined by it’s main armament, the rest – including the crew – is there only to get that gun where it needs to be to do it’s job. Taking the crew out of a Russian tank won’t save that much space or weight nor can the AI clean up the optical sensors – which the recent experiences in the muddy/dusty fields of Ukraine have shown to be very prone to be blinded by muck.

            A crewless tank would likely be more expensive than a crewed one at this point of development. And it would still require maintenance crew to work on it daily. Oddly enough, on the modern battlefield that crew would be more safe inside of, say, armored vehicle…

    3. Pat

      I didn’t read it, but this whole thing has been reminding me of the reports about the tests of Reagan’s Star Wars boondoggle back in the day. They went great and everybody was happy until people looked at them closely and saw that they had to be fixed within an inch of their lives and still missed a good number of missiles. When you need help from multiple nations, have weeks of anticipation and are warned hours before anything launches, it isn’t a real test. What happens when you have less than five minutes warning and are going to be on the phone getting connected to the necessary commander from the other countries as the first wave hits.
      And Iran just let Israel know that the warning was a one time thing. If the Israelis are foolish enough to test them, that less than five minutes is what will happen. Average Israelis better hope that their leaders are as aware that their successful missile defense is about as real as the buildings on a Hollywood backlot.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Average Israelis” sure seem to be as vicious and deranged as their “leaders,” despite the protests calling for new elections and stuff. I doubt even now that most Israelis feel any flagging of the Zionist zeal to “get the job done,” or sufficiently fear the apparent reality that the techno shields like Iron Dome and David’s Sling and Patriot, and open Uncle Sucker checkbook, no longer protect their self-proclaimed special-people asses from the hatred they have so arrogantly aroused and dismissed and tried so futilely to suppress.

        “Money can’t buy you love,” y’know? The Big I looks more and more like a parasitic worm being expelled by the body politic.

        1. Feral Finster

          The average frustrated Israeli knows that the window of unquestioning unconditional unlimited American support may be closing. So Israel had better get the US stuck in any wars it wants fought now while it still can.

    4. edgui

      I guess moral superiority goes hand in hand with technological superiority. Israel has built its important role in the Middle East on the synergy between its “innocent dominance” and its cutting edge military technology. Now, both factors are clearly faltering and seem to be getting worse. In such circumstances, a confrontation with Iran can only be postponed.

    5. Skinner_Was_Right

      The Noah Smith article looks like a house of cards resting on at least two unexamined and rickety-seeming assumptions:

      1. that something like a shootdown rate is particularly meaningful in the context of a cheap slow-moving drone swarm whose role is to draw fire and provide cover for higher-value strike assets (do we call it a successful shootdown when a heat-seeking antiaircraft missile destroys a decoy flare?); and more fundamentally,

      2. that early reports of what Iranian missiles were or weren’t shot down can be taken even remotely at face value, especially since Israel’s claim of a 99% shootdown rate is directly contradicted even by U.S. assessments that at least 9 missiles struck their targets at the two Negev airbases, let alone by any further less-flattering details that might start to come out in dribs and drabs after the dust settles. (Could there by any significance to the fact that we’ve still heard pretty much zilch from Western/Israeli sources about that intelligence base in the Golan?)

      For what it’s worth, the Iranians are obviously motivated right now to play along with the potential deescalatory off-ramp of letting Israel declare their missile defense a “victory,” but I wonder if they’ll start to release more information about the results of the strikes from their end if/when Israel decides to ramp up the escalations instead.

  7. zagonostra

    Johnson seems to have become more compliant after the spooks opened the kimono. But whatever it was he saw, we (by definition) cannot see. We call that “our democracy.”

    I’m trying to get a my head around of how this is permissible/possible. I’ve recently started exploring the work of Carl Schmitt, specifically his book The Concept of the Political that seems to be promising.

    According to Schmitt, “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception” and, although the sovereign “stands outside the normally valid legal system, he nevertheless belongs to it”. Sovereignty is more than the technical: it is the personal privilege of the ruler Schmitt states: “significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts

    1. CarlH

      There is a great podcast partially built around the idea of American Exceptionalism, appropriately called American Exception. It is a deep, deep dive into the permanent state and it’s misadventures throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

  8. Benny Profane

    It’s unfortunate that young woman’s valedictorian’s speech was pre censored, but I’m a bit shocked that she had a minor in resistance to genocide. Really? Resistance to genocide? And the same school that offers that is preventing her from speaking? Good Lord.

    1. digi_owl

      Makes me think of the internet joke from around 2008, about the barista with a minor in basket weaving.

  9. Samuel Conner

    > “Advanced” toward what, then?

    One is tempted to pick from terms within the semantic field of “advanced” (in certain contexts, such as “age”). “Mature”, “senescent”, “decrepit”, and “senile” all come to mind.

    1. Neutrino

      Advanced toward the rear, sometimes called strategic retreat, or even live to fight, or something, another day?

  10. Acacia

    Re: Syraqistan

    Palestine speaks for everyone

    Against those who would separate good and bad Palestinians resisting occupation and onslaught, Jodi Dean writes in defence of the radical universal emancipation embodied in the Palestinian cause.

    For the publication of this essay, author Jodi Dean has been targeted by her school, Hobart and Smith College, and relieved of teaching duties pending an “investigation” of her conduct.

    Darker days ahead for “academic freedom”.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing whistleblower says 787 fleet should be grounded”

    ‘The letter outlined problems with the production of the company’s 787 and 777 jets, saying specifically that sections of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner are improperly fastened together and could break after thousands of trips.’

    If it hits turbulence, will the front fall off? But a jet liner encountering turbulence is a chance in a million of course. Hopefully it was built so that the front doesn’t fall off- (2:08 mins)

  12. Jason Boxman

    From Johnson takes plunge on Ukraine aid in face of ouster threat

    So I guess Greene is auditioning to join The Squad, all bark, no bite.

    While publicly denouncing Johnson for breaking his promises, particularly on the border, Greene also emphasized that she’s treading carefully as she considers whether to force her ouster resolution to the floor — a decision that’s been complicated by Trump’s glowing review of the Speaker.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I think it is more complex than that.

      As of 11AM Wednesday there is still no bill text. That’s a problem – the House is going on recess next week and members have travel plans. The 72 hour rule means we’re now looking at Saturday for any votes. Tick, tock.

      My take is that Johnson doesn’t have the votes to pass anything. If he puts concessions in to appease the Freedom Caucus (spending offsets, policy riders) then the Dems revolt. He can’t pass Ukraine aid without Dems, and the threat of the MTV blocks him from working with mostly democrats.

      I smell another debacle.

    2. bassmule

      And here I was thinking we’d get through a morning without mentioning Bad Orange Man. Answering the question: What comes after the golden sneakers? The Prison Jumpsuit Action Figure. Biden, Obama, and RBG figures also available (no prison duds for them, though)!

    1. t

      When someone has MD and similar certs in their twitter bio, you can save a lot of time by checking to see if that’s accurate.

      1. flora

        All I know about Makis is that he’s a Canadian physician. I don’t know how Canada appends the MD credential. In the UK, I believe physicians are credentialed as GPs – general practitioners. Only UK GPs who’ve done PhD research and been awarded their doctorate are awarded the MD designation. I believe the UK MDs think it funny that all US medical doctors are awarded the MD designation. Sort of like credential inflation. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

        This is a bit of trivia for today. / ;)

        1. Revenant

          Not correct AFAIK.

          All doctors who obtain Bachelor of Medicine (preclinical) and clinical qualifications are entitled to the honorific Dr. We don’t use MD in the UK. Nor do we make any distinction between physician or internist in common parlance, they are all doctors.

          Those who subsequently qualify as surgeons (Membership of Royal College of Surgeons) are entitled to revert to Mrs or Mr (perpetuating the physician vs barber-surgeon distinct of mediaeval times!). Members of the Royal College of General Practitioners or of various Physician Colleges remain Dr’s. None of these is required to hold a PhD. They distinguish themselves by their postnominals MRCGP, MRCS, MRCOGS, MRCOS etc.

          Clinical academic research doctors tend to style themselves MD PhD. Germans would call themselves Doctor Doctor….

  13. eg

    Regarding the Project Syndicate piece on an American manufacturing renaissance, I responded with the following: The point of increased productivity is to release workers for other tasks. It’s no reason NOT to “reshore” manufacturing operations for various strategic and innovation related reasons. And SOME good paying manufacturing jobs are clearly better than none. While I have immense respect for Rodrik’s work, I don’t agree with the tone of this particular contribution, and take real issue with its title (though I realize this is likely the work of the editorial board).

    1. spud

      Rodrik simply does not understand. if automation will take more of the tasks humans do. see elon musk when he thought automation was the key to get rid of the deplorable parasites, he backed off quite a bit.

      then of course if the machines are designed, manufactured, installed and maintained by the parasitical deplorables, employment actually increases.

      because not only now that the factory where the machines are installed have a supply chain, the factory that makes the machines now has a supply chain, and the maintenance of the machines now has a supply chain.

      the trick is to have strong unions, free education, free medical, free retirement, strong labor laws, as well as a strong minimum wage, and above all, protectionism.

      most economists still can’t figure it out, and are stunned at how well russia is doing.

  14. Alan Roxdale

    Saying What Can’t Be Said: Israel Has Been Defeated – a Total Defeat Haaretz.

    Utter hyperbole.
    The idea that the world’s 4th largest military, in the process of conducting the largest genocide of the 21st century, facing only small arms resistance from a tunnel based militia , has somehow been “defeated” even as the Palestinian death count rises is ridiculous. Israel remains in the driving seat of the whole region. Even after these Iranian retaliatory strikes, again it is Israel who decides when and how the conflict is to be escalated, and even which armies, allied and otherwise, shall enter into it. Netenyahu’s grip is on the reigns of chaos.

    Ask the Palestinians starving in Gaza whether Israel has been defeated.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, the 4th largest military in the world has not been able to defeat Hamas after seven months which means that Hamas are winning. Israeli casualties are highly classified but they appear to be very high. Hezbollah has forced the evacuation of 100,000 to 200,000 people in northern Israel and the IDF has not what it takes to invade Lebanon and let them go home. And now Iran has pulled down Israel’s pants before the whole world and showed them that they can hit them at their own leisure and there is nothing that Israel can do about this. Worse yet, mere and more people are seeing Israel for the Nazi state that it is and nobody will forget that. Starving helpless civilians is not a military definition of success but one of weakness. And last I saw, Ben Gurion airport is full of people waving second passports to get out. But yeah, Israel is still winning. /sarc

      1. Alice X

        And with all those second passport people leaving, the Zionist Entity will be left to the certifiable crazies.

        Meanwhile, untold numbers of Palestinians have been murdered, maimed, shocked and left to return to the rubble that is their former homes. How long will the world let this go on, was a question Michael Rattner asked years ago.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I would guess that a lot of those second passport people would be Settlers who are by definition the crazies. New York can expect to see a lot of them arriving through JFK. Thomas Paine would have called them ‘sunshine patriots.’

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            Is there a way to actually know how many of the militant movement settlers are in fact leaving?

            I had thought the second passport people were the various techno-skilled middle and upper middle classes who would be easily hirable elsewhere. Am I wrong to have thought so?

      2. Mikel

        But it’s Israel/US/UK/France/Jordan – and flip a coin Saudi Arabia – that has to be defeated in this particular conflict.
        That’s a list off the top of my head.

        1. The Rev Kev

          They have already suffered a strategic defeat. In spite of their combined military power and plenty of warning, they could not stop that Iranian attack. Iran has now established deterrence dominance over Israel and the rest of this gang. And Saudi Arabia has already made their peace with Iran some time ago.

    1. t

      Good odds. So many species in crisis and hogs are having a population explosion. Enjoy the free feeder corn!

  15. yep

    Why so many of us were wrong about missile defense Noah Smith

    For the same reason many of you were wrong about everything else.

    I have no idea who this guy is, but he is clueless. The icing on the cake is posting video of LazerPig as an expert opinion.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Noah is a good proxy for the appropriate things to say at a 4:30p DC wine reception.

      Epitomy of “New-speak” + Ministry of Truth + Ministry of Plenty

  16. Joker

    Western fear of escalation will hand Putin an historic victory in Ukraine The Atlantic Council

    Mykola Bielieskov is a research fellow at the National Institute for Strategic Studies and a senior analyst at Ukrainian NGO “Come Back Alive.” The views expressed in this article are the author’s personal position and do not reflect the opinions or views of NISS or Come Back Alive.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Ukrainian NGO with name “Come Back Alive”. :) I bet it amputates legs of soildiers on the frontline, because it’s the only way for them to come back alive.

    Mykola wants to prolong the war, so that more can be sent to the frontline, in order for more of them to come back alive.

    1. Belle

      Any connection with Robert Young Pelton, of World’s Most Dangerous places fame? I think he had an organization of that name. (If so, he’s majorly gone downhill. If not, he should sue.)

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Ukraine Is Ready for Painful Concessions”

    Groan. This is Foreign Policy talking about Zelensky maybe agreeing to the Istanbul agreement from two years ago. So a frozen conflict where the Ukraine would temporarily agree to the loss of only the Donbass. If ‘the West has agreed neither to impose a no-fly zone nor to send ground troops’ it is because they realize that getting into a shooting war with a nuclear power is never a good idea. Unless you work for Foreign Policy that is. Zelensky wants security guarantees from NATO nations: the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, and Turkey but these are the same nations that Russia has zero faith in after their constant betrayals. Even Zelensky is agreement incapable as just last month there was to be a Turkiya brokered agreement to open up trade routes in the Black Sea only for the Ukraine to pull out at the last moment-

    1. digi_owl

      I seem to recall all talk about no-fly zone was dropped once a Pentagon general told Congress point blank what imposing such a zone would require. In particular that it would demand direct air combat between US and Russian pilots.

      All in all, the basic problem is that present day politicians seem to have zero clue about logistics.

          1. yep

            Not jets themselves, as much as the escalation that would follow. US Aiirforce is dumb enough to think that they coud easily defeat Russians (Tom Cruise style), but smart enough to know that it would escalate quickly. After they “win” the dogfight and head back to base, Russian missiles could reach their airports/carries before them. Then nukes would fly. That’s why the whole proxy war thing, in the first place.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      The headline caught my eye, so I took the bait and started reading. About halfway through, I was filled with astonishment and optimism that maybe, just maybe, there was a near-term chance of ending the fighting in UKR. And then I scrolled up and checked the date…..30 March 2022. Sigh. Back to reality.

  18. Alice X

    So, I dwell on a statement I recall Netanyahu making sometime ago (years) that if Israel was ever overwhelmed in a conventional war, it would go crazy. I took that to be a veiled threat that they would use nukes. They have already gone crazy, but what would the world look like if as a response to a massive attack (as in retaliation) from say, Iran and perhaps Hezbollah, they nuked Tehran, for instance?

    Thought experiments are perilous, but I heard him say it, and there seems to be no shortage of crazies in his midst. I’ve been having a major sad for six months.

      1. Paleobotanist

        In so far as I recall, Golda Meir threatened to nuke European capitols if they did not rearm Israel during one of the wars.

      2. ambrit

        By irradiating the Saudi oil fields, the ghost of Israel will damage the “perfidious West” economically. Imagine a world economy that loses the Middle East oil fields. That would be Netanyahu’s revenge.

      3. Lee

        The Samson Option, as described in your link, includes such wild and crazy ideas as follows:

        Some have written about the “Samson Option” as a retaliation strategy. In 2002, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece by Louisiana State University professor David Perlmutter which the American Jewish author Ron Rosenbaum writes “goes so far as to justify” a Samson Option approach:[32]

        Israel has been building nuclear weapons for 30 years. The Jews understand what passive and powerless acceptance of doom has meant for them in the past, and they have ensured against it. Masada was not an example to follow—it hurt the Romans not a whit, but Samson in Gaza? What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens? For the first time in history, a people facing extermination while the world either cackles or looks away—unlike the Armenians, Tibetans, World War II European Jews or Rwandans—have the power to destroy the world. The ultimate justice?[33]

        Rosenbaum writes in his 2012 book How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III that, in his opinion, in the “aftermath of a second Holocaust”, Israel could “bring down the pillars of the world (attack Moscow and European capitals for instance)” as well as the “holy places of Islam.” He writes that “abandonment of proportionality is the essence” of the Samson Option.

        Destroying the world as the ultimate justice? If this is indeed the mindset of those now in charge of the Zionist entity perhaps an international coalition of nuclear powers might wish to consider the Sigourney Option:

        1. steppenwolf fetchit

          Which would leave the land too radioactive for any Palestine to return to . . .

      1. Louis Fyne

        Nixon is an Talleyrand-ian elder statesman compared to the monkeys in charge of the developed world right now

        1. Alice X

          Oh brother! I nearly gag every time I think of Nixon as paragon for anyone or thing. But I’ve done it in the last ten or even twenty years. Gasp…

          1. LifelongLib

            Yup, “conservative” Nixon supported national health care and a guaranteed income, “racist” George Wallace wanted to expand Medicare and Social Security. Times sure have changed.

  19. TomDority

    Random thought.
    Their ought to be enough work that pays enough so humans can be workers and consumers – despite it being in contravention of the current usage of the term ‘efficiency’. All the effort to automate for the sake of efficiency and eliminating the human component- labor, wage, etc. – well it’s just self defeating and, seems to me, a response to the tax abetted and legislated economic ecosystem/rentier system whereby the overhead costs have escalated through financial speculation to the point where income no longer keeps up with outgo for the majority of ‘advanced economies’ participants.
    Because the human engineered economic ecosystem is catastrophic to the real environment and human potential, it is well within the capabilities for humans to engineer the ‘advanced economy’ to the benefit the habitability for the planet.
    It is also within our abilities to let this human engineered catastrophe proceed, as it appears to be going, (despite the efforts of many to change course) to a stripped and limited ecosystem, less diverse, less specie diverse, less resilient — many fewer humans and many less free humans — of course, the planet does not give an eff – some may view this as good and some bad.
    Why should I care?…. I just do because so much better can be… not just for me but for the future.
    Just because some As$*&&^s can come up with lame excuses or name calling like Smurfs or the ultimate selfish, narcissistic jingle IBGYBG to justify the shear stupidity of their financial genius, don’t make em oracles. Unfortunately, both political parties are under the undue influence of bigly money and are tended at the bar of these financial genius.
    Just thinking – are humans (me included, as I don’t wish to distance myself from the rest or avoid responsibility through rant) intelligent enough to figure a way through – we are in for a rough ride – I just hope that the human passengers stop all the infighting, arguing and immature possessiveness – to get around to the truly important and unavoidable issues at hand …
    End rant – my apologies

  20. Ghost in the Machine

    US COVID-origins hearing puts scientific journals in the hot seat Nature

    Given the content of the freedom-of-information-requested Fauci emails, this is a dishonest and self-serving commentary by Nature. The republicans are correct in this case. However, given their catastrophic, hypocritical, and pretty much evil dishonesty regarding climate science, you can understand why most on the left will dismiss this. It is clear the republicans only care because of politics. But, for me, it is astonishing that the scientific community did this to humanity and discussion is pretty successfully being squelched. Saying that as a scientist myself.

  21. Big River Bandido

    Reading about one group of corrupt adults investigating college athletes in Iowa, and about another group of corrupt adults coming up with any excuse possible to prevent a Muslim student from speaking.

    American higher ed is a steaming pile.

  22. Mikel

    “Coming To Terms” – Harpers

    “…In a war of attrition, the odds are on Russia’s side. After a brief wobble, Putin has reconsolidated his grip on power. According to our information, fundamental to his success has been that while many Russian elites did not want the war, they are now determined not to lose it…”

    “…But Russia’s stumbles early in the war prompted doubts about his competence among Russian nationalists, and few within elite circles—¬and especially the business elites—in Moscow and St. Petersburg are happy about the complete break in relations with the West produced by the invasion…”

    “…Russia is now highly dependent on imports from China for the kind of technology that it used to get from Europe. This is something that the Russian elites have long feared and have embraced only because of what they have come to see as implacable Western hostility…”

    With passages like that, maybe the article should have been called “Coming To Terms With the Help of Russia’s Elite.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trying to work out which of the five stages of grief that they are in at the moment-


      I’d say they are going from Anger to Bargaining.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      I have regarded Nordhaus as a kinder gentler kind of global warming denialist; somewhat perfumed as a global warming dismissalist or deminimizer. Am I wrong about that?

      I note this article calls for so-called tort “reform” among other things. Tort “reform” is one of the hardy perennials pursued by the Freedom-To-Pollute classes and their supporters.

  23. Tommy S

    Thanks for the dog video. I’d forgotten about that Rugby announcer that did all those shorts during covid first year. Just great. if you go to you tubes. and look up rugby media you will get them all. Nick Heath?

  24. Tom Stone

    The recent anti genocide protests that shut down the Golden Gate Bridge and Hwy 80 in Oakland are certain to have gotten the attention of the Dim establishment.
    So have the reactions of Silicon Valley to possibly losing the Chinese Market due to the belligerence of the Biden Administration.
    Kamala Harris may not have any Morals, Scruples, or Principles but she does not have a death wish and no coat tails to hang on to is better than coat tails that are on fire.
    The discussions about how to get rid of Genocide Joe smoothly to avoid losing both houses of Congress and the Presidency must be getting more urgent by the day.
    On a positive note, the SS is tired of being a chew toy for Commander and would be ulikely to look too closely at the circumstances were Joe to slip on a flight of stairs.
    When Harris starts looking good the situation is FUBAR, but that’s where we are.

  25. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Shorter: AI “founders” are all thieves.

    I believe that’s called primitive accumulation.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I’m an AI “founder”, and I have never used any data without consent nor have I stolen any of it. Then again, in my line of work everything is based on consent of the data subject.

        1. CA

          I’m an AI “founder”

          [ Excellent and exciting; realization of the promises is just beginning. ]

  26. juno mas

    RE: Not So Cold War Links

    All the articles under this heading are some form of delusional, altered-experience. Each in its own way projects false hopes. Counter to what is espoused: Ukraine is not a democracy, while Russia is; it is Ukraine, not Russia that is sending troops into sure Kill Zones; Russia will not negotiate any reconciliation with the West (it is over!); the US never had the capability to supply enough armament to empower the Uke’s to defeat a much more complete, full spectrum Russian military (fighting a land war with Russia is abject stupidity). YMMV.

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