Links 5/29/2024

Posted on by

Laugh it out: Can humor ease tension in polarizing times? MPR (Chuck L)

Something Strange Happens to Wolves Infected by an Infamous Mind-Altering Parasite ScienceAlert (Chuck L)

Charles Taylor’s Sublime Shortcomings Chronicle of Higher Education (Anthony L)

Here Be Monstrous Architects: On Joshua Comaroff and Ong Ker-Shing’s “Horror in Architecture” Los Angeles Review of Books (Anthony L)

A Teacher Did All He Could to Keep Kids Off Phones. He’s Quitting in Frustration. Wall Street Journal (Paul R)

Farmworkers Face High-Risk Exposures to Bird Flu, but Testing Isn’t Reaching Them KFF Health News


New COVID-19 subvariants become the dominant strains in Canada CTV

COVID-19 related neurological manifestations in Parkinson’s disease: has ferroptosis been a suspect? Nature


IMF raises China growth forecast but warns on industrial policy Financial Times

Expulsions of Chinese Students Spread Confusion From Yale to UVA Bloomberg

Blacklisted Chinese Companies Rebrand as American to Dodge Crackdown Wall Street Journal


Global Sales of Polluting SUVs Hit Record High in 2023, Data Shows Guardian

Lawyers To Plastic Makers: Prepare For ‘Astronomical’ PFAS Lawsuits New York Times

Ditch Brightly Colored Plastic, Anti-Waste Researchers Tell Firms Guardian. This has been know for, wellie, probably since attempts to recycle plastic began. So why a stink now, and why act as if this is a novel issue? I have long been upset when supposedly eco-friendly brands use plastic containers, and worse one that are neither white nor clear.

Crippling’ drought in Zambia threatens hunger for millions, says minister Guardian. Similar reports in other pubs for Morocco, Zimbabwe; Kenya crops afflicted by floods.

Pakistan temperatures cross 52 C in heatwave Reuters

European Disunion

How the far right is winning over young Europeans Financial Times

State foundation to help vulnerable young people – gave attractive apartments to employees’ children Hem&Hyra (Micael T)

The hashtag #JeChieDansLaSeineLe23Juin is a hit on X: Hidalgo is going to swim in the Seine, and Macron could join her! 4-4-2. (Micael T)


Israeli and Egyptian Forces Exchange Fire on Border Amid Air Strikes on Rafah Refugee Camp Military Watch

Col. Douglas Macgregor: Escalation at Israel’s Borders Judge Napolitano, YouTube. Macgregor argues this is a Big Deal and states Egyptians on the street are resigned to war.

Israel-Hamas war: No ‘major ground operation’ in Rafah — US DW. If you believe this, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. There are reports of tanks in Rafah: Gaza live: Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah as death toll mounts Middle East Eye

The Rafah Tent Massacre Daniel Larison

Spying, hacking and intimidation: Israel’s nine-year ‘war’ on the ICC exposed Guardian. For those who actually read the footnotes in the South Africa case with the ICJ, South Africa had first sent multiple diplomatic notes to the ICC asking it to get out of bed with respect to war crimes in Gaza. Then it filed the ICJ case and used the petitioning to the ICC as part of its proof that Israel had been put on notice of the existence of a controversy. Now we know why the ICC was initially unresponsive.

Surveillance and interference: Israel’s covert war on the ICC exposed 972 (guurst). From the partner in the ICC investigation.

Former UN envoy writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell amid 36,000 Palestinian civilian deaths Anadolu Agency. As in our very own Nikki Haley.

How Israeli prison doctors assist in the torture of Palestinian detainees Mondoweiss

New Not-So-Cold War

Alexander Mercouris said on Tuesday that these systems were designed to be modular and the initial damage reports looked to be exaggerated, that it would be back in full service in a few hours at the very outside. And more telling, he described how there were no signs of alarm among Russian officials, like cancelled meetings, emergency meetings, or Putin going back to Moscow. But these are defensive assets, not part of the SMO:

Increasingly Effective Russian Electronic Warfare Turning the Tide on the Frontlines – Reports Military Watch

PATRICK LAWRENCE: US Endgame in Ukraine — War Without End, Amen Consortium News (Kevin W)

What Ukraine Hawks Miss About the War American Conservative

The Caucuses

Georgia’s EU Aspirations Jeopardized by Controversial New Law RFE/RL. Bwahaha.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Masters of War: In search of the new world order in Munich Harpers (Anthony L)

These Factors Could Be Behind The Military’s Shockingly High Suicide Rates ScienceAlert (Chuck L)


RFK Jr. super PAC chair to publish tell-all memoir by mother of Hunter Biden’s child CNBC. Doubt this will make any difference with voters but will drive Team Biden nuts.


Judge Cannon denies special counsel request to bar Trump from making statements about law enforcement ABC

At Trump Trial, De Niro Nails De Niro Matt Taibbi


US Immigration: How many people are coming to the US and where are they coming from?​ Angry Bear

Coalition that wants the state to dissolve FirstEnergy to gather at Statehouse to apply pressure WOSU (Carla R). Local activism!!

Wall Street Moves To Fastest Settlement of Trades in a Century Bloomberg


Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT New York Times. (Anthony L, note published 2023)

The Bezzle

The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America, April 2024 Update. Biggest Price Drops from 2022 Peak in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

Liberalism As a Way of Life Damon Linker. Anthony L: “O my God, I worship only YOU”

All the privileged must have prizes Times Higher Education (Anthony L)

You can force employees to come back to the office, but not the good ones! RTE (Paul R)

David Graeber’s Magic Words Compact Magazine

Antidote du jour. Art S: “My very small pond has not been blessed with anything larger than water beetles for several years. This spring; a frog!”

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Antifa

    (melody borrowed from Anticipation  by Carly Simon)

    TV . . .
    Is where the talking heads sit up and chew their cud
    Cud . . .
    Is what they hand these fools to say every day
    Its all chunder . . .
    Spewed with feeling by these cows
    ‘What’s the worst disaster that’s going on today?’

    Disinformation they regurgitate
    It’s dumb and degrading

    Show-and-Tell to . . .
    People thinking you will tell the truth
    Troglodytes . . .
    With a Bachelor’s degree
    How they lie . . .
    And the worst lie heard is ‘We are right’
    Your brain is shrinking in the blue light of the screen

    Disinformation they regurgitate
    It’s dumb and degrading

    Aficionados . . .
    Of the rite of tar and feathers
    A composite . . .
    To amuse and to amaze
    Tell us lies . . .
    On the telly like a cow
    Some day you’ll ride the rail instead of graze

    You lie because it pays . . .
    Some day you’ll ride the rail instead of graze
    Talking points a catchy phrase . . .
    White bread and mayonnaise . . .
    Our leaders win your praise . . .
    You lie because it pays . . .

    1. Bugs

      This was one of Carly Simon’s best compositions and the lead song from the eponymous album. Funny thing is how this rather high status, sophisticated and beautiful woman was constantly so overwhelmed by the males she was dealing with that she had to write hit songs explaining her angst around each of them. ‘Anticipation’ is about a scheduled first date with Cat Stevens that she’s had set up in London. Frankly, Cat Stevens was sort-of talented, dark, tall and pretty but in the end no big deal.

      Her next album, No Secrets, is her best (omg the cover) and features her greatest song, You’re So Vain. No one’s quite sure who that song is about but this verse/chorus sequence is timeless:

      Son of a gun
      You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht
      Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
      Your scarf it was apricot
      You had one eye in the mirror, as you watched yourself gavotte
      And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
      They’d be your partner and
      You’re so vain
      You probably think this song is about you
      You’re so vain (you’re so vain)
      I bet you think this song is about you
      Don’t you, don’t you?
      You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
      Well you said that we made such a pretty pair and that you would never leave
      But you gave away the things you loved
      And one of them was me
      I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee and
      You’re so vain

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli and Egyptian Forces Exchange Fire on Border Amid Air Strikes on Rafah Refugee Camp”

    There is another version of events here-

    ‘According to Reuters, citing Egyptian security sources, a soldier stationed on a watchtower had reacted to seeing an armored vehicle carrying Israeli troops crossing a boundary line near the border in a pursuit and killing several Palestinians. The soldier opened fire and Israeli forces fired back, killing him, the sources said. This resulted in an exchange of gunfire between the sides, with several Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian wounded in the clash.’

    I have read elsewhere that the Egyptian government is not making friends with their people. The family of the dead Egyptian soldier complained that when they buried their son, it was not done as a military funeral and no official attended. So the Egyptian government wants to push the whole shooting incident aside which I suspect will only encourage the Israelis to do more on the border.

    1. Emma

      We’re still in The Time of the Great Finding Out. What will happen when we move onto The Time of Action?

    1. Randall Flagg

      Agreed. Also looks like a rendition of how our leadership in the USA practices diplomacy all across the globe.

    2. griffen

      Now I’m jealous of that animal, looks like a fun time and some worthwhile exercises too. Guess I’ll settle for the occasional weekend hike of a trail instead. Which reminds me, I think a National Trails Day is arriving soon on the calendar.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Don’t know why the poster was down on that Panda. It is obviously showing initiative and adaptability to something new in it’s life. And it is actually experimenting which it which is a sign of intelligence. Plus it looks fun.

      1. jhallc

        Who here hasn’t ever twisted themselves up on a swing just to so they could spin and get dizzy… be honest :)

  3. digi_owl

    “Wall Street Moves To Fastest Settlement of Trades in a Century Bloomberg”

    So a second round of roaring 20s?

      1. Mikel

        Notice that the timing coincides with the rise in options trading – especially those with short term expiration dates.

  4. digi_owl

    So either US wants to mask a launch from an asset in the gulf, or want to avoid having an independent onlooker when Israel do something flagrant in the area?

  5. Emma

    Tucker Carlson just posted a very long talk with Jeff Sachs that’s well worth the time (helps if you’re used to listening at 2x). I’ve already heard a lot of the pieces but this interview really weaves everything together and brings in more insight about his interactions with high officialdom.

    I’m still a little surprised that he continues to be surprised at European subservience to American demands when he just witnessed what happened to Fico and the threat against the Georgian PM. Funny that Tucker got ahead of him and said “if guys with guns are in your house, do you have free will”. I would have added that the guys with guns also have your pin number for your bank account and kompromat that ensures you’ll never get another good job again.

    1. Alice X

      Thanks, I like Sachs. 2x works w/ Kamala and maybe others, but I just stick with 1x. I know it’s tedious. The arrow keys can be your friend.

      1. Emma

        I trained myself up with years of podcast listening while doing household chores. I actually prefer 2.6x speed, but Rumble and YouTube both throttle the speed at 2x. Listening to live talks at 1x speed feels really slow.

        1. Alice X

          Well, I’ve trained myself playing my instruments for almost all of my 75 years, so much so, that I can play whatever, especially the violin and still focus on a video. Unfortunately my hearing is compromised now, so I stick with 1x.

    2. anahuna

      Thanks from me, too. I watched that yesterday. As you say, much was familiar, but he put it all together and added telling details.

      And congratulations to Tucker, who mostly listened and stayed of the way..

      1. Emma

        I noticed that too! Tucker’s body language was so different from the Putin interview. It was really a bravura performance by Sachs, especially with how he closed the interview with the Russian sub story. But for the grace of God…

    3. Mikel

      After listening, I thought about Ukraine and bioresearch on deadly pathogens. Deadly pathogens in the hands of a failed state and all the bad actors (literally and figuratively) within it.

      1. Emma

        The only true mass “biodefense” is a robust and trusted public health system that can smoothly run quarantine, mass testing, and lockdowns. So basically, the world aside from China is doomed and it’s probably 50:50 for China.

        Maybe this is China’s secret plan to take over the World. Lock itself up during the next pandemic and watch the rest of the world fully stupid itself to death.

          1. Emma

            They arrested the spread when the deaths were at some 80,000. That is nothing compared to what came afterwards elsewhere. What’s more worrying was that they never got beyond strict lockdowns and mass testing to deal with COVID. They could have worked on masking and airflow during the two extra years that they bought themselves, but instead they just kinda gave up like everybody else and pretended that COVID wasn’t a problem anymore.

    4. Mikel

      Col. Douglas Macgregor: Escalation at Israel’s Borders Judge Napolitano, YouTube.

      Looking at his presentation map called “North Sout Transit Corridor”…
      May as well label the blue line the “Sanctions Corridor.”

  6. digi_owl

    “How the far right is winning over young Europeans Financial Times”

    Dancing around the real issues once more from what i can tell.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “At Trump Trial, De Niro Nails De Niro”

    It wasn’t just has-been actor Robert DeNiro there but for company he brought along two January 6th cops as well. And this was all with the cooperation of the Biden campaign because they thought that it would be a good look. In New York? Maybe. Elsewhere probably not so much-

    The Trump supporters nearby let their feeling be known.

    1. griffen

      What’s the phrase of turn, never interrupt your opponent from making a mistake. An accomplished actor like DeNiro I’m sure has the same or comparable worries and concerns as a family of four in the Midwest or the Deep South.

      Surely the cost of eggs and insurance are an applicable issue in NYC or in Hollywood! “Look at this Instacart receipt! Tip included!”. Hey at least Bette Midler and Rob Reiner were not included.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem is less DeNiro than the “creatives” who cooked this up.

        “This will steady our numbers with the anti-semites.” -White House strategerist

        Now that I’ve written it, this is probably why Rob Reiner and Bette Midler weren’t there.

    2. Carolinian

      Highly recommend the Taibbi excerpt. Truman Capote raised Dick Cavett’s ire when he said “all actors are stupid” but he may have been clairvoyant when it came to the not yet on the scene DeNiro.

      They are paid to be good at pretending, not thinking.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I suppose that is the working definition of an actor. Somebody that is paid to pretend to be another person, again and again. Doesn’t mean that their thoughts are worth any more than anybody else’s as they can be very flawed individuals. The Critical Drinker has said that social media has been a disaster for actors as now ordinary people are being exposed constantly to who exactly they are whereas in earlier times, it would be only at movie opening and controlled interviews.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Alfred Hitchcock once had to deal with a method actor who kept on demanding from Hitchcock his motivation for the role that he was playing with the different scenes. When it got too much, Hitchcock shouted to the actor that his motivation was his pay packet.

          1. digi_owl

            “stop acting and act” was one outburst between actors i seem to recall reading about.

            1. ambrit

              Dustin Hoffman related that once when he was working with Olivier he had the following exchange:

              “How did your week go, dear boy,” Olivier said.

              Hoffman told him that he had filmed a scene in which his character was supposed to have been up for three days straight.

              “So what did you do?” Olivier asked.

              “Well, I stayed up for three days and three nights.”

              Laurence Olivier then uttered this famous line, “Why don’t you just try acting?”

              1. Pat

                The version I heard had this after Hoffman ran around the park to be exhausted and sweaty for a scene taking place after he had been chased. Oh and it had the added “it’s so much easier”. Either version is a classic.

                Intelligent or not, the narcissism necessary to survive the entertainment business can help even those that should know better to flaunt their relational ignorance for all to see. That keeping number 1on the call sheet calm and happy is usually at least one person’s job divorces them from reality even more.

              2. elissa3

                I have a vague recollection of Gore Vidal shocking a talk show host, I think it was Cavett, with the observation that Olivier, and by extension many great actors did not have superior intellects. One can play a genius or mastermind without being one in real life. Kinda obvious, but the very good ones can make us forget this distinction.

                1. Carolinian

                  No I think you are thinking of Cavett and Capote. Cavett (married to an actress) then said “what about Olivier” and Capote the provocateur made a dismissive remark. Capote used to go on talk shows and boast about his supposed 180 IQ. ???

                  What Vidal said was that movie stars tend to be short people with big (literally) heads.Their face is their fortune.

        2. nycTerrierist

          Leo Bloom: Actors are not animals! They’re human beings!

          Max Bialystock: They are? Have you ever eaten with one?

        3. Carolinian

          Hitchcock said what he really meant was that actors should be treated like cattle. He was a kidder.

      2. pjay

        Actors performing political theater. Reality TV stars running for office. WWF kayfabe antics and public relations stunts in lieu of actual political campaigns. That is the state of electoral politics in the US today. Strictly for entertainment purposes only.

        DeNiro’s “first responders” posse was straight from central casting. I find it hilarious that the Democrats would evoke this tough-guy “constituency.” I would bet Trump’s support among actual rank-and-file first responders dwarfs that of his opponent.

        1. Pat

          The thing that is even more hysterical is that Trump is pretty popular with most of the first responders in NYC. Biden not so much.

  8. digi_owl

    So from what i am reading, what Huawei and SiCarrier is doing is akin to a multi-exposure photo. And if they get the alignment wrong on any of the exposures the while wafer is wasted. And given the sizes we are talking about, it will not take much to get it wrong.

    1. MicaT

      And they have developed products 10 years ahead of what the US govt said they could do.
      They will only get better, faster, less waste and higher efficiency and cheaper.

      I was reading that the new Huawei AI chip is faster and more powerful than the NVidia one. Yes costs more but it’s outselling the NV one by a lot.

    2. Glen

      I still think the key driver in having a company “advance” technology is that the company leadership wants to advance technology, not just do enough to have massive stock by backs and cash out. This is why CHIPS will fail, the government is rewarding the exact same leadership that has been loosing the technology race with more money. A lack of funding has never been the problem; the leadership has been the problem, but they are being rewarded instead of replaced.

  9. Pilar

    Interesting about Kabila and his in involvement with ICC and Bendouda. At the time, Mer Security an Israeli surveillance company was representing him as a lobbyist in Washington and had bought in others for his representation including Bob Dole.

    1. Ernie

      ” . . . bought in others . . .” is a delightful, and no doubt accurate, turn of phrase.

  10. Carolinian

    Re Haley–here’s hoping that Trump’s recent friendly noises about Haley (who he once called Birdbrain) are merely a pitch to get more money out of Miriam Adelson. Our former guv needs to sink back into the obscurity from which she came.

    1. Benny Profane

      She’ll be back in a WH cabinet post or maybe the UN again. She’s not going away. The Dems love her too.

          1. urdsama

            Trump’s also known for being petty and vindictive.

            Guess it all depends on what he’s annoyed about…

      1. inchbyinch

        Haley appeals to all the political entities because she wants to kill the same people they want to kill. Now’s the time to split heads, not hairs.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Georgia’s EU Aspirations Jeopardized by Controversial New Law”

    I don’t think that is quite the threat that the EU thinks that it is. Being in the EU is like living under the mafia and the EU has already been using mafia tactics against Georgia. Countries like Hungary have complained that the EU that they joined up with is not the present EU as they have become more authoritarian and more belligerent. That individual country’s finances actually belong to the EU. Right now the EU is steering Europe on a path heading for a lot of rocks and shoals so being bound into this organization is not something that would be wise to do. Maybe all leadership positions for the EU should be elected ones and make the organization more democratic but until then…

    1. digi_owl

      Likely the split over EU is the same as elsewhere, the mobile middle and higher class wants in, the immobile lower class do not.

    2. Gregorio

      I wanted to find out what the numerical result of the parliamentary vote to override the president’s veto was, using Google I had to scroll down a long ways before I could find out that the vote was 84-1. Most of the stuff I had to wade through to find that information consisted of similar or the exact same scripted wording.

  12. Michaelmas

    Re: ‘Masters of War: In search of the new world order in Munich; by Thomas Meaney in HARPERS.

    Great piece that everyone should read and, unfortunately, be depressed by.

    Because another title for the piece would be ‘The New Donkeys.’ Though that’s probably too kind.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Just finished reading that long article. All I can say is that conference is nothing less than a nest of vipers and when you see names like David Petraeus and Niall Ferguson, that only confirms it. But Harpers really needs better fact checkers when it says-

      ‘There were at least thirty thousand Ukrainian soldiers dead in a country with a manpower shortage, and as much as ten times as many Russian troops killed or wounded, though their numbers were much easier to replenish.’

      If that was only remotely true those numbers, then the Ukraine would be winning. But when I think on the reporting on this conference, I can only say it would advance the cause of world peace if that conference got a visit from Mr. Kinzhal.

      1. Michaelmas

        The Rev Kev: Harpers really needs better fact checkers….

        Firstly, where would those fact checkers go to find out the facts? Granted, the BBC actually sent people into Russia to visit records offices and graveyards, and could only establish about 50,000 Russian fatalities in combat. With that stipulated, it’s a war and both sides are issuing propaganda.

        Secondly, the Russian ‘meatwave’ is now so much part of the Narrative and what are normal people supposed to do — question everything? Even when, as in this case, it clearly doesn’t make sense given the Russian preponderance in artillery and other standoff ordnance.

        Personally, when I was very young, I had occasion to learn that any common-agreed human story about a situation might have no relationship to the reality. But it was an unpleasant experience — I could have died — and most people can’t live with that sort of outlook.

        The Rev Kev: I can only say it would advance the cause of world peace if that conference got a visit from Mr. Kinzhal.

        No. Because then there would be attribution. What would be better would be the release of some biological agent, because one great thing about bioweapons is that attribution is difficult to impossible.

        Nations like the US and Israel are living in the past, with their constant recourse to overt military aggression and threats of mass-murder. They are so vulnerable and the advance of biogenetic technologies makes extraordinary things possible. I think, for example, about someone spreading a binary inoculary at Davos.

        1. Hickory

          Yes, it would definitely be great if people questioned everything, especially propaganda. If it’s important to know kill counts in a war, then either figure out a good estimate or acknowledge you can’t make an estimate. Pretending to believe falsehoods in order to fit in is a common behavior that allows terrible abuses to continue.

          1. Michaelmas

            Hickory: Pretending to believe falsehoods in order to fit in is a common behavior that allows terrible abuses to continue.

            Of course. But human beings frequently become angry and attack someone who tells them the truth. To understand why, you should understand the nature of the human species.

            If modern humans are compared to our ancestors, we exhibit a number of phenotypic traits found only in domesticated animal species. Just the four most obvious ones are smaller teeth, shorter faces, reduced sex differences, and smaller brains. Furthermore, our behaviors—our low rate of face-to-face aggression and high capability for cooperation compared to non-domesticated species—are also more typical of pets and cattle.


            Smaller brains? Yes: the median human brain has decreased in volume by two-hundred cubic centimeters over the last 10,000 years. If a further two-hundred cubic centimeters’ shinkage were to occur, humanity would again have the IQ of Homo erectus, genus Homo’s earliest member two million years ago, who preceded Homo heidelbergensis, the precursor of Homo neanderthalis and sapiens.


            In fact, it’s not hard to figure out why. But nobody wants to.

            Domestication syndrome in humans starts really taking off in the last 5,000 to 3,000 years with the end of the neolithic (hunter-gatherer nomadism) and the rise of sedentism, which meant agriculture, larger settled societies and — as someone controls the granary in such societies — inequality, slavery, and war.

            So if human beings exhibit domestication syndrome — and we do — the question becomes whose ‘companion animal’ were we? And the answer, fairly clearly, is psychopaths.

            To bring this full circle, does this knowledge about human nature this make you feel angry and do you refuse to accept it, despite the evidence? Well, that’s how most people feel about being forced to deviate from the herd’s propaganda and face any unpleasant truth.

        2. Ignacio

          If you can stomach the usual PMC-ish language here is the executive summary of the 2024 report from the MSC. They call it the “Lose-lose?”

          In sum “autocracies vs democracies” or something like that. The “open” rules based order being challenged everywhere. (Yes they call it “open rules”). Oh, and of course the new mantra: de-risking.

          1. Michaelmas

            Better attribution than retribution…

            Without attribution there can’t be retribution, in case I wasn’t clear. No one can carry out retribution for a biological attack if they can’t attribute responsibility to whoever carried out that attack.**

            Forex: was COVID developed in a lab? If in a lab, was it a dumb gain-of-function experiment that escape or was its release an intentional weaponization of the pathogen? Was the US or China responsible, or both?

            Or could it have been some other party altogether, such as some activist branch of the ZPG or Voluntary Human Extinction movements? Or some state like North Korea which realized that the US population, given the horror of the US healthcare system, was especially vulnerable? (As indeed it was, with 4 percent of the global population but 16 percent of global deaths.)

            And so on.

            **Granted, retribution without attribution is possible if an actor wants to carry out a Samson Option-style retribution and fire ICBMs at every country on the planet

      2. Chris Cosmos

        The reality is that some in the media are beginning to toy around the edges of the Overton Window–if the author colored outside the lines too much his piece would have been rejected. There is no advantage to establishing “the facts” in our post-rational age (which will not change for a long time for structural reasons). Everything, it seems, is some kind of propaganda even among those who I agree with.

        I don’t know about you but my experience of talking about “politics” with friends has become impossible and I avoid it as much as I can–besides it is pointless and almost always goes nowhere.

        1. flora

          We are not post-rational. Something is post-rational for its own reasons, (irony alert). But we ourselves are not post-rational. / ;)

  13. ChrisFromGA

    So, just so I understand, Netanyahu bombs a refugee camp again in Rafah, which decapitates a child, and the Biden admin says that this doesn’t qualify as a “red line.” These sort of rationalizations and linguistic torture make me wonder just how these people live with themselves. I hope a few more good people in the State dept (assuming there are any left) tender their resignations soon.

    Oh, and US munitions were used in the deadly strike:

    Screaming LIARS at the top of my lungs at the TV just doesn’t help.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I know how it works in Washington–they are immune to what you and I might consider “morality” because their job (and they usually view it as a game–particularly if they succeed) demands certain qualities. To put it another way, they’ve made a deal with the Devil symbolically–they will do “whatever it takes” to get their way. Those who don’t adopt that form of morality will quickly exit the game particularly in this era. It’s like trying to play basketball without dribbling–mendacity is a requirement–if you don’t lie you don’t play.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Fellow Chris – It seems like a variant of Gresham’s law … bad money drives out good money.

        In this case, bad people drive out the good ones. On the one hand, I felt a small bit of hope reading about the resignations from the Biden Administration over the Gaza genocide. But on the other hand, you have to look at the practical aspect – some voices for sanity are gone, now. Leaving only the sociopaths running the show.

    2. JBird4049

      >>>Screaming LIARS at the top of my lungs at the TV just doesn’t help.

      You have got that right.

      I don’t believe in Hell, but some days I just about pray for one.

  14. Clueless Joe

    The article about wolves is very interesting. When learning about how toxoplasmosis affects mice, I suspected it was about changing chemicals and that kind of stuff so that their sense of fear would drop and they would become more daring – of course, a process pushed at an extreme since they’re the cat’s food and main target (and reproduction agent), effects being lighter on other species. Which made me wonder if it had any impact on humans – said impacts being some heightened risk-taking and similar attitudes, as well as love of cat obviously. Or, to put it more bluntly, I’ve been wondering for some time if the Age of sail, exploration and great discoveries, with crazy conquerors going to the other side of the world to plunder and carve kingdoms, and then the rise of capitalism and risky business, had slightly been influenced by the wider spread of the little felines across Europe.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Wolves infected with Toxoplasma gondii show much more risky behaviour? You wonder if this is also true of teenage boys who we know have poor risk/reward judgement issues. :)

      1. JustTheFacts

        In France, one gets a blood test when marrying. If you don’t have toxoplasma yet, you’re told to go get it before having children, since catching it while pregnant is bad for the fetus. You get it from eating less than well done meat. Amusingly, it’s also been associated with France’s more aggressive driving style.

  15. Balan Aroxdale

    Laugh it out: Can humor ease tension in polarizing times? MPR (Chuck L)

    The cancelling of comedians and comedy over the last ~15 years has in no small part lead us down our present road of political decay. Absurd umbrellas lose their appeal under gales of laughter.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Said before that with our elites that you can shout at them, yell at them criticize them but they will not care as so many of them are sociopaths. But one thing that they cannot and will not tolerate is being mocked and laughed at. That is something that they really hate and some of them fly off the handle when it happens. As an example, I note that the present Prime Minister of Oz is a political hack and kinda lame but when some websites were mocking him and making memes about him, he went ballistic and tried to get the social media corporations to shut them down.

    2. t

      OTOH, no better time to be a woman in comedy. Which has led to more hacks making money, but better a few females in the sea of hacks. And now they can make jokes about abortion by using the word, instead of referencing a trip to Tijuana.

  16. Mikel

    “A Teacher Did All He Could to Keep Kids Off Phones. He’s Quitting in Frustration”

    …In Rutherford’s last month at Sahuaro High, he has challenged his students to a digital detox…
    …The students’ embrace of the detox challenge has given Rutherford hope, and some regret about leaving…

    The guy needs to keep on stepping out of the door. They just don’t want to lose the teacher that let’s them get away with being on their phone in class.
    Find students and leave those zombies behind.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “What Ukraine Hawks Miss About the War”

    ‘Hakeem Jeffries offers a convenient if less than erudite counterargument that mixes equal parts gambler’s and sunk cost fallacies: Kiev has been able to hold off Russian forces for more than two years, so they must be able to do it indefinitely.’

    That is like saying in WW2 ‘Tokyo has been able to hold off US Navy forces for more than two years, so they must be able to do it indefinitely.’

    So how did that work out?

    1. Alice X

      Along that line, the Byzantines held off the Turks, and before them, the Arabs for centuries. They didn’t do so well with the Venetians who came in through the back door, though.

      1. hk

        Lincoln couldn’t take Richmond, just a few miles away, for 4 years! He has failed utterly, strategically, operationally, and tactically! Lincoln’s army is the second best army in Virginia!

        1. ambrit

          Until Grant showed up and demonstrated the principle that, as Stalin is supposed to have put it later, in a different war: “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

    2. OnceWere

      Well, Japan still had a population of 70 million people in 1945 – plenty of more bodies to throw into the meatgrinder. If only Japan had had friends like Ukraine does – friends prepared to underwrite with weapons, funds & propaganda a fight to the last Japanese person capable of picking up a gun – then they absolutely could have held off the United States for a few more years.

      1. scott s.

        Maybe the US, but considering the Russian campaign in Manchukuo, while Russia lacked the amphibious capability the US had by then, I would have expected them to overrun Korea and be ready to cross the channel into Kyushu from Busan.

        1. Late Introvert

          This thread is why I keep reading the NC comments every day. Dark humor and history too!

    3. Ignacio

      Yes, the typical exercise of invalid but “convenient” logic that makes us go on or double down with stupid decisions. Now I believe the final outcome will be either 1) a very reduced Lvov centred US vassal state like the Baltics or 2) a less reduced Ukraine centred in Kyiv with Black sea access and a Russian friendly regime. In both cases the atlanticists will try their best to keep the conflict open.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t know if Taleb called it the turkey fallacy, but this is how he described it:

      The turkey, based on his number of observations, has the greatest confidence the farmer is his friend the day before Thanksgiving.

      1. Willow

        Maybe a good description of difference between ‘robust’ and ‘anti-fragile’. Ukraine maybe robust in being able to hold off the Russians but at some point even a robust sword breaks with too much use. Russia on the other hand is anti-fragile because it evolves stronger & more efficient with more use.

        1. skippy

          Disagree Willow …

          Russia has had this in the bag from day one. It has treadled the needle before the rest of the non Western world vs the Western PR, whilst gearing up Mfg and securing the most critical areas. Then it has positioned itself grind down Ukrainian troops and gear until they are weakened and then push. Russian Mfg of critical weapons and well trained troop numbers surpasses the entire West as a whole. Who could figure after decades of Military adventurism coming home to roost until some like the U.K. start jaw boning before an election about national service.

          Zman losing the plot is a big tell but, then he is an actor …

          1. steppenwolf fetchit

            I wonder if Russia ever will make a ” big push”, or whether it will choose to just attrit, attrit, attrit and attrit some more . . . until Ukraine has nothing left to be attrited of.

            Maybe Russia will push just enough to keep attritable Ukrainians upset and determined to keep fighting until there are no attritableUkrainians left to fight and nothing left for them to fight with.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I noticed two separate little news this week. First was about Lavrov mentioning that after demilitarization of Ukraine it’s possible to let people decide which country they want to belong to.

        The second was some Ukrainian military propagandist being extremely annoyed that Ukrainians are returning to use Russian in their everyday interactions…

        1. Ignacio

          Thank you P.S. I believe the first little news piece makes Big Serge’s map more interesting. I initially thought it might have to do mostly with possible military achievements, but now it looks like a possible distribution in accordance with the statement by Lavrov on people deciding by themselves.

          1. juliania

            One of Putin’s earliest speeches during the first part of the special military operation in Ukraine emphasized that in all of Ukraine’s history the decisions about its status has always been decided by leaders of other countries and not by the people themselves. That was always an important part of the changes which have been underway. Russia didn’t want or need extra territory.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          If Ukraine gets so demilitarized that it even ends up being utterly de-guerillafied as well, then the RussiaGov might very well feel that such an end-state Ukraine might be worth risking letting the Donbassian Provinces referrendize about which country they want to be part of.

          1. yep

            People in Donbassian Provinces (i.e. DNR and LNR) love Russia more than those in Moscow.

    5. Mikel

      What everybody misses about war:

      It’s like saying no one was fully prepared so there was no way the global war outbursts could happen.

    6. inchbyinch

      Well Rev, you know, and I know, but does Hakeem know? BTW, after reading your post, something inside my head couldn’t stop saying, Hakeem stops, he shoots, he scores! A mind is a terrible thing to have to listen to. I can hardly take mine seriously anymore. Maybe time to part ways.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Mats Nilsson
    “Ukrainians have now attacked a second critical Russian nuclear strategic early warning radar at Orsk.

    The fact that Blinken and his national security team have provided a “go ahead” to the Ukrainian government to attack Russian sites outside of Ukraine, means that either Blinken has recklessly told Ukrainians they can engage in such acts that would have a potentially catastrophic consequence for the United States, and the entire planet.’

    Yeah, I don’t believe that this was the work of the Ukrainians at all but NATO with the US taking the lead. In a tweet linked here today is Putin talking about this aspect-

    These are NATO weapons relying on US space reconnaissance data that is coordinated and planned out in the west. Why does the Biden White House think it a good idea to try to blind the Russians to a possible nuclear attack? I can only think that it is seen as a way to put Putin under pressure to freeze the war or something. Yes, it is reckless beyond belief but that is the thinking of the Biden White House right now. They would rather risk a thermonuclear war than lose in the Ukraine as it would make them look bad.

    1. Martin Oline

      I think it is likely not the work of NATO or the US but Israel. These radar arrays cover the area from Israel to eastern Iran. We will know if there is an attack on Iran by Israel in the near future. The political class there have already been accused of genocide. What have they got to lose? Above my pay grade? You bet, but time will tell, but don’t take my word for it.
      Helmer’s piece that Yves linked to today has this quote from a retired Russian officer about the radar strikes “Where the command control of these launch sites is, we do not know but it might well not be in Ukraine” and a veteran US officer opines “What we’re seeing — with Israel, too,” according to this source, “is years of impunity resulting in an epic, murderous tantrum that’s having the opposite of its intended effect. It’s certainly not beyond either of them to play nuclear chicken.”

      1. digi_owl

        Or the news comes that there has been a “nuclear accident” in Iran, as USA claim they detected no launch when it happened and the Russians were blind. The only joker then would be for China to reveal a global tracking capability and show that it was an Israeli missile.

    2. ilsm

      Early warning radars (EWR) are a bit of misnomer. At range/distance these radars “see” objects moving at high altitude due to curvature of earth. The EWR can then compute ballistics and estimate a target zone for intercept or civil defense.

      Launches are usually the domain of satellite surveillance looking down. The “system” then cues EWR.

      All that said, the pictures show slight damage, does not look like the steel structure which holds a number of receive transmit modules is degrades.

      NATO is playing a prisoner game, like that theory RAND used to justify trillion in mutual assured destruction.

      The imperialism in Washington is becoming dangerous.

      In that case given resupply of receive transmit parts the sites would be full up in short time.

      1. digi_owl

        Really need to get someone into the White House that has functioning self preservation before it all gets blown to bits.

  19. t

    Oh boo. There might have been a beach day when I wanted to read a trashy book about Hunter Biden. But if Skyhorse is publishing it, they probably won’t even let the poor woman read “her” book before publication let alone contribute fun stories.
    Best just spend that day on my phone, scrolling through TMZ, who don’t ever get any facts wrong as far as I can tell.

  20. Tom Stone

    It looks like I will actually be able to see a specialist about my hip, a referral that was supposed to happen last October.
    The letter I recieved directed me to call the referral center and had a # and extension to call.
    Which I did.
    After being cut off five times I was finally able to leave my # and contact info on a voicemail.
    Total time on the phone 1 Hour 23 Minutes.
    Total time to leave the message, 30 Seconds.

    1. Lefty Godot

      I hope you get that callback. 50% of the time when I leave my name and number, no one ever calls back. A few times someone will call back weeks later.

  21. Mikel

    “The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America, April 2024 Update. Biggest Price Drops from 2022 Peak in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas” Wolf Richter

    I’m waiting for the Richter and his housing market mavens to discuss the return of 0% down payment mortgages:

    Grab your popcorn.

  22. Mikel

    Col. Douglas Macgregor: Escalation at Israel’s Borders Judge Napolitano, YouTube.

    Looking at his presentation map called “North Sout Transit Corridor”…
    May as well label the blue line the “Sanctions Corridor.”

    1. .Tom

      I was sad that this was paywalled too. I met John Summers about 10 years ago at an event in Somerville when he was editing The Baffler (and it was still really good) and he seemed very nice. Joanne McNeil gave a hilarious presentation and Noam Chomsky was in a conversation with someone.

      I first read Graeber around that time in the Baffler and read Debt and many others of his books and articles. He influenced my political thinking more than any other writer. I was aware since the late 80s that my values made me an anarchist but I couldn’t find a way to reconcile that with my situation or any practical theory of change until I read Dawn of Everything. The feeling of loss on learning of his sudden and early death was extraordinary and I can only understand that as an indication of how much reading his works have changed me.

      Compact has a promo to get your first month for $2.97. I bought it now.

  23. R.S.

    > Former UN envoy writes ‘finish them’ on Israeli shell amid 36,000 Palestinian civilian deaths

    It was also reported that the same Nikki not only signed a shell or two, but made some very serious allegations. No proofs required, because trust me I’m … who?
    Hamas’s attack on October 7 “was orchestrated by Iran. It was helped with Russian intelligence. And it was fueled by money from China. Don’t deny that,” Haley claimed, without offering proof to back up her allegations.

    “China’s been funding Iran the entire time. Russia’s intelligence helped them know where everything was. Iran helped get them trained. So this isn’t Hamas. These are all murderers and accomplices. If we really mean it’s never going to happen again, we have to be honest and truthful with ourselves [about] who did this,” she said.

    1. CarlH

      She really is a raving lunatic. The sooner she and her sponsors are gone from the political scene the better.

  24. R.S.

    Re: Georgia and NGO transparency laws

    AFAIR two decades ago a certain Polish sociologist already coined a very good expression: “Non-Governmental Administrative System”. Those NGOs are in fact parts of the EU system, kinda its non-transparent arm. Hence the tantrum.

  25. Jorge

    About the Noam Chomsky article on ChatGPT: if there is anyone qualified to talk about overpromising and undelivering computer-based AI, it’s MIT professor Noam Chomsky. They started selling this junk to the Pentagon in the 1950s!

    1. Late Introvert

      I think the Hasbara is starting to fail, I sure hope so. The scales are falling from eyes all over the world, and even here in Amnerika.

Comments are closed.