Links 6/16/2024

Saturn’s Ocean Moon Enceladus Is Able to Support Life JSTOR Daily

What Retail Apocalypse? Shopping Centers Are Making a Comeback. NYT

Boston Should Rename Its Airport for Bill Russell The Atlantic

Fathers Day



Billion-Dollar Thunderstorms in Florida? Thanks, Climate Change Bloomberg

The ‘extraordinary’ record-breaking data that has climate experts baffled SBS

Swiss Re says industry failed to estimate impact of extreme weather FT

Opinion: It’s a perfect firestorm for home insurance Denver Post


India’s weak hydropower output may fuel higher coal reliance amid surging demand S&P Global

Panama Canal Averts Shipping Crisis With Its Water Plan gCaptain

Water shortage in Armenia: Causes and how to prevent desertification JAM News


L.A. County COVID cases, hospitalizations rise amid FLiRT variants summer uptick LA Times

Bird flu traces emerge in Austin sewage, far from dairy farms Bloomberg

CDC A(H5N1) Bird Flu Response Update: Population Immunity to A(H5N1) clade Viruses Avian Flu Diary


Xi Jinping claimed US wants China to attack Taiwan FT. Commentary:

Sleepwalking Toward War Foreign Affairs

Evergrande liquidation law firm probing PwC, others for potential claims, sources say Channel News Asia

Philippines files UN claim to extended continental shelf in South China Sea Channel News Asia


Author Arundhati Roy set to be tried under anti-terror law for Kashmir comments India Today


Undeterred Houthi attacks squeeze international trade Axios

Israeli army says eight soldiers killed in armoured vehicle in southern Gaza France24

Netanyahu and the IDF Top Brass Fight Over Gaza Cease-fire While Spiraling Towards Total War With Hezbollah Haaretz

What Benny Gantz’s resignation means for Israeli policy and politics Brookings Institution

* * *

Zionism as textbook barbarism Carl Beijer

Enormous Shifts in Consciousness New York Review of Books

* * *

House Republican Claims Every GOP Colleague Has an ‘AIPAC Babysitter’ Pressuring Them to Cast Pro-Israel Votes Mediaite

Democrats debate a Bibi blowoff Politico

New Not-So-Cold War

Meeting with Foreign Ministry senior officials President of Russia

Putin offers Ukraine ceasefire, freezing current frontline BNE Intellinews

Russia, China absent as world leaders meet for Ukraine peace conference Al Jazeera

Ukraine-Russia Peace Is as Elusive as Ever. But in 2022 They Were Talking. NYT. Commentary:

* * *

After Twenty-Seven Months of War, Ukraine Needs Peace (PDF) Magyar Külügyi Intézet. ” The West must be careful in its handling of the situation, as a frustrated Ukraine, with a militant society potentially disillusioned and even resentful towards the West, is not something the West, particularly the EU, is prepared for.”

Zelensky to present peace plan to Russia once agreed by international community France24

Why Ukraine Isn’t Ready for Peace Talks Bloomberg. Commentary:

Morality Is the Enemy of Peace Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

Azov Brigade commander thanks US for authorising use of US-supplied weapons – video Ukrainska Pravda

European Disunion

The roar from below The New Statesman (DC).

The stakes are high in Macron’s gamble FT

Chartbook 293 “Nope!” or the political void at the heart of Europe’s supposed safe haven – Germany after the European elections. Adam Tooze, Chartbook

Dear Old Blighty

Tory party CEO is director at cancer care firm benefiting from NHS waiting lists Guardian

Analysis: Why more than half of ASEAN states are set to miss Ukraine’s peace summit in Switzerland Channel News Asia

Soufh of the Border

How Venezuela’s Threats Are Restructuring China-Guyana Relations The Diplomat

Global Elections

Democracy Will Not Come through Compromise and Fear Tricontinental


Biden’s Love for His Son Is Beautiful — and It Hits Home for Me NYT. Commentary:

$800,000 wire transfer from billionaire donor to US Chamber raises curtain on dark money The Hill

The Supremes

The Origins of the Major Questions Doctrine (PDF) U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 24-008. From the Abstract: “Rather than upholding separation of powers principles or agency adherence to the text of its authorizing statute, the Supreme Court’s benzene decision is best characterized as a judicial power grab at the expense of both agency expertise and the democratically elected branches of government. The paper concludes by showing how the Supreme Court’s missteps in the benzene case – exaggeration of economic costs, ignoring statutory constraints on agency discretion, and deferring to unqualified experts – have continued to plague the Supreme Court’s ‘major questions’ decisions, and provides suggestions for how the courts and agencies can avoid these problems.”

Police State Watch

More States Restricting ‘Excited Delirium’ as Cause of Death in Police Custody The Marshall Project

Digital Watch

New Wi-Fi Takeover Attack—All Windows Users Warned To Update Now Forbes

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GPT-4 has passed the Turing test, researchers claim Live Science. Commentary:

ChatGPT is bullshit (PDF) Ethics and Information Technology. AI = BS (NC, January 2023).

The Great AI Retrenchment has begun Marcus on AI


The Conspiracy to Game the Medical Literature (excerpt) Matt Bivens, The 100 Days

Zeitgeist Watch

The upside of feeling dissatisfied with the world: How to work your “weltschmerz” The Big Think

Liberalism As a Way of Life Notes from the Middle Ground

Class Warfare

No Strike Yet: American Airlines Flight Attendants Reveal Details From D.C. Negotiations View from the Wing

My colleague is not “human”: Will working with robots make you act more indifferently? Journal of Business Research

The Supreme Court Ruling in the Starbucks Case Proves the Law Won’t Save Labor NYT

Antidote du jour (Mark Kent):

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. The Rev Kev

    “Zelensky to present peace plan to Russia once agreed by international community”

    Of course Zelensky wants to present his 10-point plan as the agreed peace plan but it probably won’t happen. Just to get those 90 odd countries to attend the Swiss conference, Zelensky had to choose the mildest of the 10 points to negotiate about. Cannot see him persuading those countries to accept the other 7 as even countries like Kenya are already pushing back. Zelensky was bitter that Biden is hanging out with Hollywood stars like George Clooney rather than attend his conference so Kamala turned up with $1.5 billion to placate him. He should be able to buy some nice homes with all that money.

    1. Irrational

      You are kicking us off in fine form this morning, Rev.
      Just to add: Kamala apparently left early..

      1. The Rev Kev

        True story here. New Zealand is attending but they did not send their Prime Minister or their Foreign Minister. They sent their Prisons Minister. Funny that. Australia sent a Minister too but in this case we sent our Government Services Minister. What else can you say as Zelensky is organizing this conference? ‘Zelensky, you’re doing a heck of a job.’

        1. Irrational

          Nice. Denmark sent their PM, of course. Par for the course with all those F16s and whatever else they promised.

      2. Neutrino

        Stayed just long enough for a soupçon of diplomatic gravitas. Gotta build that profile, exit quickly before any outburst of word salad or cackling. Thus the result of newish focus groups?
        Challenge: find one person in the foreign policy world who respects her.

    2. Polar Socialist

      It’s really weird how Zelensky is proposing his peace plan to everyone else but Russia. It’s equally weird that when Putin states Ukraine has to yield the four provinces before any negotiations can begin, it’s reported as him being willing to “freeze the conflict along the line of contact”.

      It may be newsworthy, though, that according to the Duma Chairman, Vyacheslav Volodin, some Ukrainian Rada members are already discussing about the Russian offer, which is good, since Russia considers Rada as the negotiating partner, not the expired president. His deputy, Pyotr Tolstoy, warned that this is the last offer for peace negotiations Russia makes – the next one will be about the terms of Ukrainian capitulation.

      1. ilsm

        Is Z playing piano for the audience?

        Do the Duma matter with Nguyen Kao Selenski heading the US’ puppetry in Kiev?

        Putin must ask “who do I I talk to?”

        Maybe after elections. in rump Kievstan

    3. JW

      According to swiss info there were ‘over 50′ western’ government representatives, the figure of 90 in total was made up of quite a few people from such as EU, NATO and other bodies. A handful of African and S American and ASEAN countries attended.
      The following did not sign the final declaration; Armenia, Bahrain, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Libya, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Suriname, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Armenia is an interesting one. Mexico continues to sit on the fence. Turkey is the main attendee not on that list which will disappoint the Russians. All the others are either Brics+ or prospective members. There must have been half the countries in the UN that did not attend.
      Its a fail for US/NATO/EU and Ukraine.

  2. Ignacio

    The joke. Sh#t! It took me for a while to get it and then lot’s of ugly sounding words. Nothing against the English, the French, the Spanish or the German. D@mn it!

    1. Stephen V

      I once was at a Restaurant in Montreal with 2 Swiss French friends. We waited and waited for water. When it finally arrived I exclaimed “Voi-leau !” They were utterly stone-faced. God knows how many other crimes I’ve unknowingly committed against the French language…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Funny that pun. But after spending some time in Switzerland, I have to say that the Swiss are not famous for their sense of humour.

      2. jrkrideau

        As an anglophone Canadian who speaks good “survival level” French as an instructor once told me, I consider the ” stone-faced” response to have been very restrained assuming they even understood “Voi-leau !”

        I’d assume they just thought it was such bad French that they should politely not comment on it. I, a 45 year old male, managed to claim I was pregnant once when I meant to say I had gained some weight.

        And we will not go into the difference between a Master”s Degree and a Mistress.

      3. Victor Sciamarelli

        Why did the Frenchman eat only one egg for breakfast? Because one egg is un oeuf.

  3. Ignacio

    Philippines files UN claim to extended continental shelf in South China Sea Channel News Asia
    Here we go. This seems to me as looking for excuses for confrontation. It also suggests me that the Philippines is following the advice of the US. By all means! If this goes on to certain point the Law of Sea might be the next victim (after ICJ) of this push for confrontation, being the UNCLOS much more important than the ICJ. The article itself is scant on information and misleading with its latest paragraph. In a strict geographic sense there is no extra continental shelf to be claimed.

    1. Emma

      I’m going to be optimistic and say that this means the Americans have been unable to push the Taiwanese further, so they’re turning to the more “to the last body” ready Philippines to act as proxy against the Chinese.

      If I understand the recent scholarship on the history of SCS boundaries correctly, the Chinese historical claims over the bulk of the area are extremely strong compared to Vietnamese and Filipino claims. And China has sufficient sway in the UN to ensure a fair hearing.

      In fact an UN led final determination on the South China Sea boundaries might be the best solution to the whole situation. Ideally the region should be managed collectively by all by the bordering countries to minimize military presence beyond policing needs against piracy and poaching, and ensure that the area is not overfished or over exploited by mining concerns.

      1. CA

        Neither the United States nor China are part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS. The heavy continual US military presence in the South China Sea and the US policy of China “containment” surely means the Chinese will not participate in any UNCLOS discussion on the South China Sea. China will act fairly and diplomatically, but will maintain all its historic South China Sea rights.

      2. CA

        Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

        This is a fascinating study for those interested in the South China Sea disputes:

        Dylan Beatty, a professor in the Geography department at University of Hawaii, researched ancient maps to analyze the territorial evolution of the Philippines and in particular to understand whether official territorial claims by the Filipino government over the Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands were backed by these maps.

        He demonstrates that the maps overwhelmingly do not support Filipino territorial claims, even those maps used by officials of the Philippines’ Supreme Court as purportedly backing the claims.

        Beatty looked at over 50 of maps taken from a June 2014 lecture by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio at the Institute for Maritime and Ocean Affairs. The lecture was aimed at “debunking China’s cartographic claims to the disputed area” but Beatty concludes that ironically “multiple historic maps in Carpio’s exhibition appear to undermine modern Philippine claims in the South China Sea”…

        12:13 AM · May 10, 2024

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli army says eight soldiers killed in armoured vehicle in southern Gaza”

    I’m beginning to suspect that the TV news that I watch has it own AIPAC minder, even though we do not have AIPAC in Oz. When they talked about the 8 soldiers killed in Gaza, they said that they were killed by an explosion – and that was it. No explanation. ‘Tis a mystery. They may as well have said that they were all struck by lightning. The report that I read said that Hamas had nailed an IDF armoured D9 bulldozer with a locally-made Al-Yassin RPG leading to deaths and injuries. An IDF Namer APC was sent into evacuate them so Hamas ambushed that one as well with a Al-Yassin RPG. But saying that Hamas scored a tactical victory in the MSM is just one step too far.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Our AIPAC minders here in the US make sure that a fake, fraudulent ceasefire proposal that has no chance of being accepted by either side stays in a constant zombie state. That way the perpetrators of genocide get a pass while the IDF continues to slaughter kids.

      Meanwhile the Houthis continue to punch far above their weight class. It’s been five months at least now since the US sent ships to defend the Spice Flow and guess what? They’re failing.

      In both Gaza and Ukraine the puppet masters don’t want peace. The difference is in Gaza they want to deceive us into thinking that they do.

      1. hk

        I honestly wonder if that is true, or, at least, if AIPAC is united behind that. I’m convinced, for example, that Netanyahu willale mincemeat of that alleged proposal when he speaks before Congress. Will AIPAC be (united) against the Prime Minister of Israel (whose policy is, if not the man himself, hugely supported by the Israeli public)? I suspect that, Biden, inadvertently, might have done his country (assuming US really is his country) big favor by splitting AIPAC.

    2. Louis Fyne

      “explosion” makes it sound like a lucky shot, an Act of God—then you see the helmet cam (propaganda) video made by Hamas and you see that (a) it was an intricate operation made by a sophisticated (but atomized, decentralized) force, and (b) the IDF is over its head, just like the US in the Vietnamese hinterland

      and on a per capita basis 8 IDF = more than 300 US dead. Hamas may be taking even more horrorific losses, but welp…Israel (govt and people) radicalized 1MM new Hamas recruits since Oct.

    3. Emma

      This gets extensively covered in Electronic Intifata’s Wednesday live streams. Many cases where the resistance releases videos that show near certainty of IDF fatalities but the Israelis report nothing. Then we hear about the IDF amputee couple who met recovering in a hospital together or the troop of Israeli soldiers who were grievously injured by Palestinian hornets or that Dahiya Doctrine general with a dead son and nephew during the opening weeks of action. Jon Elmer says that in many cases, the frontline troops come out of the Druze and poorer Mizrahi communities, so the families get paid off to stay quiet and minimize the impact on morale. Still, something like 90 percent of Jewish Israelis admit that they’re losing the war. It’s just blood lust for them now.

      The other piece of casualty counts is that Hezbollah’s doctrine has been tit for tat, which translates to exacting roughly equal casualties on IDF in response to IDF inflicted casualties. Given that Hezbollah has proudly announced the martyrdom of hundreds of their men, that presumably translates to hundreds of IDF casualties so far.

      1. F

        …something like 90 percent of Jewish Israelis admit that they’re losing the war.
        Do you have a current source for that assertion?

    4. GC54

      Well, TV news could have said “they died” without further elaboration, so there’s that.

  5. timbers

    Putin offers Ukraine ceasefire, freezing current frontline BNE Intellinews

    Funny, that’s not how I understood things listening to Alexander Mercouris summary of the Kremlin’s English translation of Putin’s proposal. Not a freeze but a permanent and total end of conflict starting with Ukraine officially notifying Russia that it is immediately withdrawing all it’s forces from the 4 Oblasts, that notification required so that Russian forces can be instructed to facilitate safe passage of Ukraine forces for such withdrawal. Other conditions also required of course such as complete eradication of Nasi officials in military and government, full civil rights for Russian language culture religion, no NATO, reduced sized miliary of Ukraine forces.

    But “knowledgeable sources” know otherwise, that Putin is weak and realizes his gas station with Nukes is running out of missiles:

    “Putin is also ready for a ceasefire – to freeze the war,” a senior Russian source with knowledge of high-level Kremlin conversations told Reuters.”

    Thank you, CIA knowledgeable sources.

    1. artemis

      I listened to that part of the video and in fact Putin specifically rejected a freeze or cease fire, which would only serve as cover for Ukraine to regroup for a fresh offensive. His terms were clear, and as he said they were terms Ukraine had already agreed to in Türkiye before western powers blew up that agreement.

    2. Wisker

      The proposal absolutely makes Russia look weak–certainly to the West if not overall–and simultaneously I can only assume Putin knows it will be rejected.

      My conclusion is that this proposal is intended primarily for the consumption of:
      – neutral and Russia-friendly countries for whom Russia needs to show an interest in negotiations
      – the Russian public, who generally support negotiations (according to Levada at any rate)

      1. Yves Smith

        No, this does not look weak to the West. Russia is asking for more territory than it now holds, as in all of Lugansk, Zaporzhizhia and Kherson oblasts. It does not hold all of any of them. The ask includes getting Kherson city, which straddles the mouth of the Dnieper, and Zaporzhizhia city (750,000 population). It also includes something which is anathema to the US, Ukraine renouncing it will evah join NATO.

        This looks weak only compared to the trajectory of the war (particularly Russian ability to complete electric supply destruction, not even where things stand now in terms of territory held. Putin is asking for MORE than Russia has, not at all a normal gambit in peace talks. The person making the offer usually makes concessions. Please tell me what concessions Putin is making.

        1. Polar Socialist

          A slight correction: Russia controls 94% of Lugansk oblast and the rest is basically on the gray zone. It’s Donetsk oblast where Ukraine still controls cities like Kramatorsk and Slavyansk.

          It’s my understanding that Russia won’t even enter any negotiations before Ukraine acknowledges the referendums in the four oblasts – and thus the loss of the same. That cleared and after Verkhovna Rada decides who can legally negotiate for Ukraine, the starting point would be the Istanbul agreement: neutrality, de-nazification, limited army, respect of human right etc.

        2. hk

          Plus, let’s not forget, Russia is dictating who the legitimate government of Ukraine is. This is about as “weak” as the peace offer to Finland in 1944. A demand for “honorable” surrender. But there’s no Mannerheim today.

        3. Wisker

          It looks like Putin is asking for what he is incapable of winning on the battlefield, for which the West will hold him in contempt. Regardless of Putin’s formulation of ‘minimum conditions’, this is negotiation–won’t the West naturally assume this is an opening ask and Putin expects to get whittled down?

          While Russia settled on a war of attrition, the goal is–at some point–to convert enemy weakness into territorial gains or political capitulation(?). A war that achieves neither territorial nor political control is a stalemate. That’s what it looks like to the West… and I’d hazard it looks that way to most of the world, and even a fair number of Russians.

          Putin is conceding the largest army in Europe* (other than Russia’s) within spitting distance of Russian cities Ukraine has already attacked with nary a buffer zone to be seen. Putin’s noises about a broader security framework were mild and not expressed as a condition. Putin implies Ukraine is still(!) going to get security guarantees “practically equivalent” to NATO membership.

          If Putin takes seriously Ukraine’s solemn word with regard to “de-Nazification”, rights for Russian-speakers, or demilitarization then I have a bridge to sell him. Without significant territorial control or massive political concessions from Ukraine, how will Russia monitor and enforce compliance with any of these things? Thanks to those “security guarantees” it won’t.

          So what then? Convert attrition into gains–either territorial or political. If Russia is too weak to do it on the frontline, then finish the electricity war and deindustrialize Ukraine. At minimum, make the Russian conditions enforceable.

          Since my hypothesis is that this talk from Putin is only for show, I expect–like Vucic–that this is what Russia will do.

          BTW, I don’t think the extra territorial gains are any sort of boon to Russia in and of themselves. The “territory” that matters is the Black Sea and in that respect only an enforceable neutrality for Ukraine counts.

          * I’m not sure what I missed from the Istanbul talks. Putin says the military numbers were ‘agreed on’ but the leaked papers still showed the parties far apart(?) Regardless, Russia’s ‘acceptable numbers’ for Ukraine’s army were absurdly generous for what is arguably a ‘terrorist state’ on your border.

          1. Yves Smith

            With all due respect, you really do not understand where this war is or how Russia is conducting it.

            Russia is in no hurry, unlike you.

            Russia defeated the Great Ukraine Summer counteroffensive with its hands tied behind its back. Ukraine did not even get to Russia’s first fortified line.

            First, going deliberately allows it to rotate troops, keeping them effective, and minimize deaths, which greatly helps with enlistments, which are running at about 40,000 a month.

            Second, Ukraine is foolishly operating on a “hold every inch no matter what the cost” strategy, the same one that earned Hitler much criticism from military historians. This plays PERFECTLY into Russia’s preferred strategy of attrition. Ukraine has been throwing men and machines into Russian forces at the line of contact. This allows Russia to methodically destroy them while having very short supply lines back to Russia. It also is useful in the “don’t make sudden moves around crazy people” department.

            Third, Russia has moved from “active defense” to pressuring Ukraine on multiple points at once on the extended line of contact, forcing Ukraine to move what it has left of its reserves around as fire-fighters, exhausting them. Most units are at 50%, some even only 30%, of their original size. It opened up a new front in Kharkiv and advanced relatively fast, even with Russia being in no hurry, due to the lack of any real defenses there, freaking out Western officials. Oh, and that further extends the already too-long-for-Ukraine-to-manage contact line.

            Michael Brenner points out here ( that Russia is still suffering far fewer deaths and casualties (~five Ukrainians for every Russian) even now that Russia is on an offensive posture. It is unheard of for the party in the offensive to lose fewer people. That alone is testament to how close to over Ukraine fighting ability it.

            Fourth, you seem to have forgotten about the electrical war, which Russia can dial up and probably will pretty pronto. Did you miss Ukraine has already lost 50% of its generating capacity?

            Fifth, not only has Russia badly attritted Ukraine forces (they are now shanghaiing old men and young boys, giving them barely any training before sending them to the front lines) but they have have also severely depleted weapons stocks all across NATO.

            Sixth, Russian signal jamming is even crippling Starlink.

            I could go on.

            I suggest you start consulting better informed sources.

          2. cousinAdam

            Our always humble but esteemed hostess hardly needs any help on this rebuttal but it’s hard to resist ‘piling on’ a wee bit. “ this is negotiation–won’t the West naturally assume this is an opening ask and Putin expects to get whittled down?” A rule since playground days still holds true – “don’t assume! It makes an a-s-s out of u- m- e !” IOW, this is not ‘negotiation’. There will be no ‘whittle down’. As for de-nazification, Michael Hudson, Karlof1, and my ‘umble’ self have each independently suggested that Israelis – especially those previously from Russia- might be considering an ‘expeditious exodus’ from the Zionist Entity and would be ideally suited and likely well-motivated to repopulate the severely depleted oblasts of western Ukraine- Ashkenazi Jews (including my paternal forbears) are ancestrally from the general region, after all. And especially given recent events since Al-Aqsa flood they might be of great assistance and ‘enthusiastic’ in assisting with de-nazification (remember “Never again!”?). Galicia and locales are probably beyond redemption (a “project” for Poland, mayhaps?)

          3. lambert strether

            > territory

            Like Grant, Lincoln, and Sherman (but not Lee, McClellan, Zelensky, the Pentagon, or NATO and its Atlanticist toadies), the Russian leadership understands that the strategic goal is the destruction of the enemy’s forces, and not territory. When the enemy’s forces are destroyed, the territorial gains come en passant. (I say “forces” to include the infrastructure Russia is much better able to destroy than the Union was, e.g. electrical power).

          4. sleeplessintokyo

            if this is the best our state dept propagandists can come up with I fear for our country

    3. Kouros

      I read the speech. There is no word of freezing the conflict.

      Also, some news outlet mentioned that Putin was not even that adamant about keeping all Zapaorojia and Kherson, just a solid corridor to Crimea. Putin never said that in his speech as a proposal. What this is all about is discussions had with a senior western official in March/April 2022, when he was asked if Russia will return Kherson and Zaporojie to Ukraine.

      Twists and turns.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘Devon ☀️
    Need to get this flag for my office
    ‘We do this not because it is easy, but because we thought that it would be easy.’

    This definitely sounds like a riff off a quote from John F. Kennedy-

    ‘We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’

    These days it is all about the path of least resistance.

    1. griffen

      I rather like that, it’s almost akin to any quote or phrasing from the ever relevant to office work and the cubicle life, Office Space.

      Sounds like a possible tagline for Boeing Corp. We’ve built planes that fly for 100 years, let’s try some new out of the box thinking around here for once! Or in the case of the automobile, the classic Ford Pinto anecdotes. Buy a new Pinto, get a bonus coffin with your order…\sarc

        1. griffen

          Going to hell at 55 mph, just stay off my car’s bumper lest it becomes a fiery advertisement or self immolation example of the mighty auto industry !

          You know come to think of it, I’ll see a lot of older cars from the mid to late 80’s but the ones from earlier are either vintage or restored ’70s muscle cars. Not too many Chrysler Cordobas, Escorts or Chevettes I would suppose meet any criteria to deserve the vintage, or collectible, tag!

    2. JBird4049

      >>‘We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’

      All through elementary, middle, and high school, and my first college degree, this is was a common quote. It was sure to bring to bring a bit of pride to us. One of my earliest memories is the freaking Eagle landing on the Moon.

      We went from that to being the pathetic, grifting, loser “Empire” of today. A nation of vampire squids. So, when I see or hear that quote today, I get a sick, queasy lump in my throat.

  7. Carolinian

    Re shopping center comeback article

    Properties that survived the purge signed up tenants that would draw more shoppers and give them more reason to linger. That meant more restaurants and venues that promote recreational experiences, like ax throwing and, more recently, pickleball. It also meant less space for traditional retailers that weren’t performing as well, like bookstores and apparel brands.

    So they are really pickleball centers or maybe food court centers.A rare recent trip to our local mall suggests that the food court–once thought of as a way to keep people onsite to shop–does indeed survive and perhaps even thrive but the movie theater has left, Sears long gone, the Dicks has become a mattress store, Penny’s hanging in as well as Dillards, almost all of the traditional specialty stores that attracted traffic replaced by redundant look alike shoe stores. In Mesa, AZ their striking and a bit more prosperous mall shows the same trend.

    Bottom line: this NYT story seems to issue from the same people who say Biden has it in the bag.

      1. Roger Blakely

        This quote from the article describes me this weekend: “It is also linked to the fact that when you are depressed you look down at your shoes and decide they aren’t good enough quality so buy more expensive replacements.”

        This article about shopping malls caught my eye this morning. I can tell you what investors and traders have been thinking this month. XRT (retail) is down. XLY (consumer discretionary) is down. XLP (consumer staples) is down.

        1. Maggie Johnstone

          “XRT (retail) is down. XLY (consumer discretionary) is down. XLP (consumer staples) is down.”

          Besides people simply having no money to spend, are you aware of the organized boycott of discretionary spending mounted by Genocide Joe Gaza critics as well as pro-Trump activists?

          The goal is to punitively help weaken what’s left of the Biden Economy.
          Politics and economics can make strange bedfellows.

        2. Jokerstein

          Meh, The Doors had this back in early 1970:

          Now if you’re sad and you’re feeling blue
          Go out and buy a brand new pair of shoes

          Maggie M’Gill.

          Of course, you also need to go down to Tangy Town.

    1. griffen

      It’s a lot of space if they should ever knock part or all of it down. I saw a recent local headline about the mall being sold ( but not the land, apparently ). I think the article indicates that OneSpartanburg has some long term plans , possibly an open air amphitheater? Heck maybe they’ll get a two tier Top Golf location too… 2035 (!)

      IDK maybe these ideas are just that, idea set in the far future or some kinda hyped ideas. I’m only ever driving by that mall but do not actually go in to shop or even waste some hours.

      1. Carolinian

        There’s grass growing out of the cracks in the pkg lot. It doesn’t seem healthy at all.

        I’m sure there are “destination malls” that still thrive but like the article says the book stores and small clothing shops are going under nationally and not just locally.

        1. lambert strether

          > There’s grass growing out of the cracks

          Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair

    2. Tom Pfotzer

      For years I’ve expected the former shopping malls to evolve into facilities that represent the next evolutionary step up from Farmers’ Markets.

      The stores would be made smaller, and have shorter-term leases; that would facilitate the rapid evolution of store-offerings, reduce the risk of failure (no long-term lease, smaller footprint) and reduce the barriers to entry (less build-out before moving in, lower lease commitment)

      There would be some investment in common elements serving all participating vendors, including warehouse space and recreation areas (like the pickleball, but extended to include things like boule).

      The facility might also include production facilities like commercial kitchens, commissaries, greenhouses, and possibly some light manufacturing (using local or recycled inputs). The participating businesses may not be locally owned, but that would of course be a desirable trend to encourage.

      Those malls are on major highways; they’ve got good physical access to the local communities.

      Their original role has been superseded by Amazon and Walmart. They need a new fundamental purpose, and being the linchpin of the local economy may be a viable new purpose.

      1. Belle

        One local mall was bought out by a local community college about two decades ago. Two anchor buildings are standing, with one used for college classes from universities in and around our area, and one now used for a headquarters for the local EMS. (One got torn down, after some work, after the utilities were found to be routed through there…) The mall’s former storefronts include government agencies (Election office, employment office), some nonprofits, a restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and a few businesses.

    3. Belle

      My local mall has lower traffic and some vacant storefronts, plus a vacant (mostly) Sears, though it does have a TransformCo thing in the window. They have several restaurants, in addition to the ones in the food court. JCPenney is still hanging on, and the other chains are doing okay.
      They are planning to put in a Miniso, a Chinese knockoff of a Japanese discount chain.
      A few months ago, there was a scare when some kids popped balloons, which lead to a mass shooting alert. (No word on if the kids were caught.)

  8. ambrit

    I don’t know enough to be certain, but in reference to the Windows Operating System “panic,” our new desktop unit with the embedded Win 10 OS spontaneously updated in the middle of last night. This is not usual for us. Something is going on behind the scenes.

    1. Carolinian

      Assuming, that is, you are using a version of Windows that still receives security updates. Anyone using an end-of-life version of Windows without an extended service contract is recommended to update to a supported version as soon as possible by Kikta. “If patching immediately isn’t feasible, you must use endpoint detection to monitor for suspicious activity related to this vulnerability. Due to its unique nature, it is unlikely to be visible to network-level detection methods,”Kikta said, adding “the risk of running outdated software cannot be overstated.”

      In other news the Ford motor company said that a critical engine explosion vulnerability had been discovered and owners of older cars no longer supported with replacement parts should buy a new car immediately (if Ford was run by Microsoft).

      I long ago stopped using MS when bouncing around the town’s wifi hotspots and switched to Linux for not so paranoid as it turns out security reasons. This seems less of a concern in the HTTPS era but count on Gatesworld to be the hacker gift that keeps on giving.

    2. .Tom

      Windows does that unless you intervene to prevent it. A lot of software works the same including macos, browsers, all phone software. Not unusual and not new.

      1. The Rev Kev

        But they do it in the middle of the night when most people are asleep. It happened here to ambrit and Amfortas said that it has also happened to him in a comment some time ago.

      2. juno mas

        Yes, in Win10 you go to “Upddate/Security”, Advanced Options and select “no” to ALL of your choices. Microsoft will send you online updates, but you can control which to install.

        The June update ocurred on the 12th. I assume the WiFi patch was included. Rarely use a public Wifi access point.

    3. scott s.

      Took a look at my Win10 Home update settings. Just the standard June monthly update pending (comes out on Tues — 11 Jun this month). On settings you can click on the “pause for 7 days” button; every click adds another week. Also set the “active hours” to control when updates get installed.

  9. John Merryman

    I was predicting that blowback into Europe when this all started and I’m way up here in the cheap seats.
    Drones in crime and terrorism are here to stay.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats debate a Bibi blowoff”

    All these Democrats are stressing out trying to plan on what they are going to do while Bibi is giving his speech in Congress but I don’t see the problem. They’re Democrats. They could all go out to brunch! That title did make me think of something else. An invitation has been extended to Bibi to give a speech to Congress but in doing so, he now has leverage over them. He could make some private demands (like wanting napalm stocks shipped to Israel) and unless they are filled, then maybe he won’t be able to address Congress after all and insinuating in public that it is the US government’s fault.

    1. pjay

      – “That title did make me think of something else.”

      LOL! Indeed it did!

      Having just seen clips of AOC’s fear-mongering livestream about the epidemic of “antisemitism” on “the left,” I’m sure that she and most of her fellow “progressives” are sweating bullets trying to figure out how to walk this tightrope of expressing their displeasure at yet another Congressional Netanyahu ass-kissing session without actually doing anything offensive to those who count.

      Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh to keep from crying, or smashing things.

    2. Victor Sciamarelli

      The Dems seem at a loss as what to do when Bibi arrives. Some of the Republicans did not hesitate shouting “lies” during Biden’s SOTU speech, or shout the name “Laken Riley” who was murdered by an immigrant, or yell out “Tell Hunter to pay his taxes” or wear a t-shirt with Trumps picture on it.
      It is a disgrace that Netanyahu, an international criminal, is speaking before the Congress. The Dems could interrupt him at every sentence, hold up permanent cease fire now signs, or stop the genocide signs, then insist the Israel Lobby call the police and have the DP members arrested. Then again, Michelle instructed us, “we Dems take the hight road.”

    1. bobert

      Thanks for the link. It’s a great story but to hear Boghossian talk about the stranglehold grievance studies holds over academia is disheartening. And it’s not just the humanities, I’ve heard tell of STEM departments being infected as well.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Putin peace terms slammed at Ukraine summit”

    Alex Christoforou had something interesting to say. He said that within minutes of Putin delivering Russia’s proposals, that all the usual suspects were absolutely refusing to consider them. That meant Zelensky, Lloyd Austin, Stoltenberg, Scholz, Macron and all the rest of them. So Alex was saying that the smarter thing to do was to state publicly that they will take a day or so to consider Russia’s terms and then come up with their own proposals (not Zelensky’s 10-point plan). It is called ‘negotiating’ and maybe, just maybe, there might be some agreement between them. Instead the Collective West shut down those proposals which means that they will only be satisfied with the Ukraine defeating Russia. I think that the real aim is to have as many Russians killed and equipment destroyed as possible even if it means that the Ukraine itself is totally wrecked for generations. But they probably tell themselves that it is just one bunch of slavs fighting another so no skin off their noses.

  12. Joker

    Biden’s Love for His Son Is Beautiful — and It Hits Home for Me NYT. Commentary:

    Biden’s love for his son is immense, and comparable only to his hate towards everyone else.

    1. chris

      I am quite tired of hearing about Joe Biden’s love for his sons, like he is some doting father and they are some young men on adventures. Hunter Biden is 54 years old, an addict of various kinds, and by all accounts, an awful person. Beau Biden died at 46, of brain cancer. And yet Biden backed, and continues to back, draconian drug laws. He also proposed restricting prices on only some cancer drugs, for people using Medicare.

      This empathy BS is so immense. Biden loves his family. Great. He bends all the rules for his family. Sure. But to have these NYT people think his feelings are a sign of anything good or wholesome…

      Like you said, just because he loves his boys doesn’t mean he likes the rest of us plebes!

  13. Carolinian

    Patrick Lawrence has thoughts on the Europe elections.

    Also Alastair Crooke.

    Crooke traces our “illiberal” era back to David Rockefeller

    The ‘godfather’ to the further pivot to totalitarianism (apart from David Rockefeller), was his protégé (and later, Klaus Schwab’s ‘indispensable adviser’), Maurice Strong. William Engdahl has written how “circles directly tied to David Rockefeller and Strong in the 1970s birthed a dazzling array of élite (private-invitation) organizations and think tanks”.

    “These included the neo-Malthusian Club of Rome; the MIT-authored study: ‘Limits to Growth’, and the Trilateral Commission”.

    The Trilateral Commission however, was the secretive heart to the matrix. “When Carter took office in January 1976, his Cabinet was drawn almost entirely from the ranks of Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission – to such an astonishing degree that some Washington insiders called it the ‘Rockefeller Presidency’”, Engdahl writes.

    Michael Smith once wrote that New Yorkers referred to the newly built Twin Towers as David and Nelson. Could the tentacles of John D. and his spawn be extending from the 19th century into the 21st?

    1. pjay

      I think this is an important historical insight on Crooke’s part. Most people ignore the Ford administration as one in which nothing much happened but Nixon’s pardon. In reality it was a crucial transition period. The neocons, led by – guess who — Rumsfeld and Cheney, were able to oust the Rockefeller faction, institute the ‘Team B’ Soviet scare to counter the CIA “moderates” (under Bush as CIA director) and generally start the ball rolling to Reagan, the Bushes, and all hell breaking loose with the 1975 “Halloween massacre”. With the “Yankees” displaced in this Game of Thrones, the Rockefeller faction proceeded to select the next *Democratic* nominee, train him, and use their resources to get him elected. Carter became the first neoliberal President, and like all subsequent neolib Democrats, his administration was embedded with Democrat neocons; Brzezinski, the Trilateral chair, being a key example. It’s been a neocon-neolib duopoly ever since.

      The one quibble I have with Crooke is his suggestion that the Trilateral actions were “secretive”. It really wasn’t that secret. It was widely reported even in a few mainstream sources. I remember reading about it in real time as an undergrad who was just starting to wake up politically. Of course these events take on much greater importance with hindsight about their terrible consequences later on.

      1. bertl

        Was. But George Galloway and Nigel Farage should make more of Starmer’s past membership of this dubious entity.

  14. Roger Blakely

    RE: L.A. County COVID cases, hospitalizations rise amid FLiRT variants summer uptick LA Times

    I’m taking the subway into Los Angeles today. First I take the KP.1.1 train into Downtown. I get off at the 7th Street Metro Station and get on the H5N1 train.

  15. jefemt

    Biden threatens to throw tik tok influencer phone. I have started to view every claim about Biden of late.

    First, ‘drifting away and guided back by Meloni’. From my view, he looks around, is uninterested, turns around and gives a thumbs up to the performing military group behind him.

    Threatening to throw phone of tik tok. What he said is, I know that you want to get a story, and I trust you about as far as I can throw your phone (camer these days)… and I have a good arm.

    My point is this: view ANY mud sling against Biden and /or Trump yourself. There is a LOT of headline bait, a lot of garbage, and as it comes at the speed of light, too much. Be vigilant.

    Yes, we see ya. Gawddam- that was awful(ly) funny… shared broadly- fathers day excuse to reach out. Thank you!

    1. LawnDart

      I would agree with your sentiment.

      While I wish upon that pig the fires of hell, making-up shit can undercut the legitimate reasons he should feed the flames– using obvious exaggerations or fabrications will only serve to strengthen the resolve of his supporters, and aren’t worth the cheap laugh.

      The truth hits hard enough. Can anyone read this transcript of Biden’s interview with Time and come away honestly believing that he’s competent, let alone not seriously whacked in the head?

      He manages to turn word-salad into soupy cole-slaw, for christ’s sake.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        That Biden v Tik Tok guy video is making the rounds, and nobody seems to be pointing out that he can’t even get his bullying correct anymore.

        By bragging about his good arm, he’s telling the guy he trusts him greatly, when clearly his intention was the opposite.

        That taunt normally goes something like” I trust you about as far as I can throw you” or maybe “throw your mother”, etc., meaning not far and not much trust.

        The man’s brain is cooked.

        1. Terry Flynn

          Like others, I loathe the guy but don’t want to criticise him for things that are “not an issue” or “framed weirdly”.

          Getting the taunt wrong seemed to me to be akin to the “I could care less” statement that is becoming ubiquitous but gets an automatic dislike from me to any YouTube video containing it.

          I admit I’m shouting at clouds but at least I know it and there are much more robust reasons to question Biden than this example.

          1. hk

            One doesn’t need to dislike Biden to infer from this that there are serious problems with him though, stuff that should make him ineligible for presidency (where’s 25th amendment when you really need one?)

          2. lyman alpha blob

            It’s more the cumulative effect. If it was just this one verbal gaffe, I don’t think anyone would notice. The threats though are disturbing, and have been a hallmark throughout his political career, even before he lost his marbles.

            And kudos for shouting at the clouds. Standards do need to be maintained. Several years ago it was “irregardless” making the rounds and making my ears hurt, but that one seems to have died down.

            1. Terry Flynn

              Yeah I can get on board with the “cumulative effect” criticism so thanks for pointing that out.

              And thanks for indulging a middle aged man who feels a lot older ;)

    2. IMOR

      The ‘G7’ video shows a man in degraded condition who takes forever to put on his sunglasses and cannot step or turn without the utmost caution. It happens to be of a man whose job does not allow him to be ‘uninterested’ in the context / at such events. Observer does not need to evaluate the reaction or impute/infer the motives of Meloni and Macron to conclude that it was an inadequate set of responses by someone somehow impaired who is 81 years of age.
      On to the next video!
      Or any of the couple dozen earlier really sad ones.
      Who around here is going by or suggesting others stop at the clickbait headline?

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > There is a LOT of headline bait, a lot of garbage, and as it comes at the speed of light, too much. Be vigilant.

      I agree! My take on this one, however, was Biden’s character. Watch that video and look at the set of his mouth (which is easy to do, given the cropping). My read this that the man is vicioua clear through. His dogs bite people for that reason; they follow their master.

    4. kareninca

      Are you kidding??? I watched that video, enlarged, about ten times. Biden wanders off and has to be pulled back. Look at the expressions on the faces of the other leaders; they know what is up. Each plays his or her role. Trudeau looks, sees what is happening, and remembers that it is for him to look forward and pretend he didn’t see. The only person who genuine seems oblivious is the German guy, but who knows.

      I showed this to my 99 year old father in law; we watched it together. He could see each social detail, too.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Analysis: Why more than half of ASEAN states are set to miss Ukraine’s peace summit in Switzerland”

    Maybe it is because those countries know that nobody will listen to them and that the only reason that they are there is to make up the numbers. But seriously, the ASEAN nations have their own fish to fry and are being weirded out by the western obsession with the Ukraine right now. Maybe too they realize that when the Ukraine sinks out of sight, that the west will go on with their new obsession – with China.

    1. CA

      The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a political and economic agreement among the nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

    2. nippersdad

      “Maybe it is because those countries know that nobody will listen to them and that the only reason that they are there is to make up the numbers.”

      Reminds me of that movie In the loop, where they called them “room meat”. That movie has a lot of parallels to what is going on now. The more things change…

    3. ChrisPacific

      The lead from an AP article on it:

      Dozens of world leaders converged on a Swiss resort Saturday to discuss how to bring peace to war-ravaged Ukraine, though any hopes of a real breakthrough were muted by the absence of Russia.

      In other news, my local football team’s match against FIFA world champions Argentina ended in a walkover victory for us, after the Argentinians failed to show up.

  17. KLG

    Great link on Matt Bivens on the opioid crisis. “Evidence-Based Medicine” in action. Personal story if you will indulge me for a minute. I had one experience with fentanyl that was telling. When I had a procedure done prior to chemotherapy, the anesthesia was a combination of Versed and fentanyl. When I woke up I was as high as the proverbial kite, felt like Superman, and was obviously feeling no pain. That came later but could be ignored when not managed with one ibuprofen tablet at a time for a couple of days. Before this little operation, I did not know that combination was the usual anesthesia for this. I was probably too nervous to ask questions. When I went in for the port to be removed I insisted on lidocaine only. The PA who did these procedures argued that I’d feel better with the usual cocktail and would not hear and feel, without pain, what was going on. No doubt. But I now understand the insidious allure of fentanyl and other opioids in place of traditional opiates. Sorry for the implied drama, but if Satan existed he would appear on Earth in the form of these drugs.

    1. Yves Smith

      This is a huge pet peeve of mine.

      For many procedures, knocking the patient out is for the convenience of the doctor or worse, upselling. Lidocaine gets you plenty numb. You don’t feel any pain. You might feel some weird pressure if they root around.

      I regularly argue with doctors to use only lidocaine. I had to reject one because her hospital insisted on general anesthesia for a procedure that is regularly done all over the world only with local.

      1. gk

        Dentists used to use nitreous oxide. I had it for a tooth extraction, and I can still remember some of the hallucinations after 50 years.

        1. Jams O'Donnell

          “I can still remember some of the hallucinations after 50 years.”

          Good or bad memories?

          1. gk

            Not really either. Just weird. And two animals with antlers fighting, presumably at the moment he pulled the tooth.

        2. Lefty Godot

          Nitrous distorts my time perception hugely, in kind of a psychedelic way. So it makes the pain not feel like a continuous thing I can’t escape from but discrete packets that happen and then go away. Hard to explain, but knowing the pain is happening, has been happening, and is going to continue happening makes it much more unbearable than having it be a disconnected phenomenon in a “timeless present”. Unfortunately, novocaine just doesn’t work, other than at making my face rubbery and numb. Minor to no help for nerve pain. Every new dentist says, “It must be how your previous dentist administered it.” Nah. Never works.

          1. Wukchumni

            My DDS novocaine’d me up and then asked what sort of music i’d like to hear as I waited for the rubbery face to kick in, and I replied…

            ‘Comfortably Numb’ and he laughed as he cued it up on repeat~

      2. jrkrideau

        I had an operation on my hand several years ago. After getting over the shock of the surgeon using a marker to designate the area of the operation I was offered a local anesthetic and a general one.

        Which to chose? I was told they were about the same but with the general I’d likely be vomiting for a few hours. I went with the local!

        BTW, the surgeon on my humble hand has been absolutely brilliant in a real emergency. I had not realized just how good she was until I heard a CBC program that mentioned her.

    2. anahuna

      Fentanyl is the newest and most dangerous, it seems, but the effects are not dissimilar to earlier drugs. Over 50 years ago, a doctor friend of my then husband responded to a request for something to stop persistent diarrhea with a prescription. I took one pill and I went flying into a state of bliss. What was that? I asked when I came down. Turned out it was a synthetic morphine — Dilaudid perhaps.

      I never took another –too stubborn to reach for bliss that way– but ever since I’ve understood why it is so easy to get hooked on any form of opiates.

      (I do read, though (most recently in Three Shades of Blue), that the first time is the best and the experience is increasingly unrepeatable.)

      1. JBird4049

        On people who are in pain not getting addicted, anyone who read what happened to wounded veterans after the end of the American Civil War would realize that was nonsense, but reading about pain treatment and addiction during the whole of the 19th century would. The information is readily available in history textbooks often for the general public; this is not to mention the more esoteric history books that most people understandably avoid. A general history of medicine would do, I think.

        That the drug pushers such as the Sackler family got away with such lies is disturbing beyond the psychopathic corruption. If the information is available, but nobody bothers to read, does it still exist even though a search through a library card catalog, physical or digital, would likely show or at least strongly suggest the information?

        Or are people being too strongly siloed into their professional knowledge? The more educated (or credentialed) a person is, the more ignorant he becomes?

        1. gk

          Ned Keen (in Britten’s Peter Grimes): “If the old dear takes much more laudanum [a popular opiate]. She’ll land herself one day in Bedlam!”. It was that widely known. Long day’s journey into night makes the same point.

    3. bayoustjohndavid

      I really wish Bivens hadn’t made a reference to “the respected Cochrane Review” (in his discussion of Paxlovid).

      I’m not going to dismiss everything that I see from the Cochrane Review because of the mask study. Well actually, I’ll ignore anything from them that I don’t have the time & interest to look at very carefully.

      And I really hate it when commenters write “he said (or quoted) x, so the whole article is worthless,” but I really wish he hadn’t written that.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Undeterred Houthi attacks squeeze international trade”

    They are still hitting ships trying to make the run through the Red Sea. The Tutor, a Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated bulk cargo carrier was hit on June 12 and has been abandoned by its crew and is now sinking. The Verbena, a Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated bulk cargo carrier that was struck on June 13, has now sunk in the Gulf of Aden after being set ablaze-–crew-abandoned-ship

    Are these ships still getting insurance or is the tab being picked up quietly on the side?

    1. hk

      I wonder what the Verbena was “really” carrying. Sounds like awfully big risk just for some timber.

      1. CA

        “If Russia does not agree to our terms for a peace…”

        Reading the G7 remarks of Prime Minister Meloni, I can find no such quote or paraphrase. Also, there was no such ultimatum delivered by the G7.

          1. sarmaT

            Now we know that copies news from Telegram, just like everyone else. :)

            In the Telegram video, the guy doing simultaneous interpretation to Russian is not very good at it, and he messes up. Subtitles are back-to-English of what he mumbles, and not what she said in English.

            I guess it’s another case of ”The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” turning into ”The vodka is good, but the meat is rotten”.

          1. sarmaT

            Now we know that copies news from Telegram, just like everyone else. :)

            In the Telegram video, the guy doing simultaneous interpretation to Russian is not very good at it, and he messes up. Subtitles are back-to-English of what he mumbles, and not what she said in English.

            I guess it’s another case of ”The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” turning into ”The vodka is good, but the meat is rotten”.

  19. Ron Singer

    What Retail Apocalypse? Shopping Centers Are Making a Comeback.

    Private equity is fattening up the geese. One must be patient.

    In the future all restaurants will be Taco Bell and all retailers will be Amazon.

  20. brook trout

    an acquaintance is having fun with ChatGPT using it to create haiku for corporate situations. Example: create a haiku about a meeting without an agenda

    Voices drift, unclear.
    Time slips through unfocused minds–
    Purpose lost in haze.

    Another of my favorites in dealing with sales departments:

    Endless chatter flows,
    Obscure deals, vague promises–
    Trust fades, patience wanes.

    A corporate convention:

    Suits in quiet rooms,
    Buzzwords dance through the silence–
    Ideas wrapped in ties.

    Perhaps he’s found the best use. . . .

    1. Giovanni Barca

      I feel dreadful about myself for thinking and saying so but those Haiku are really good.

  21. thump

    re: Benny Gantz’s resignation, see also this in 972 magazine, with similar gists, but more blunt. Final paragraphs:

    Gallant and Gantz’s proposals for Palestinian rule are not serious, and cannot be accepted by any respected Palestinian, Arab, or international body. But they are enough to challenge the preferences of Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Ben Gvir for eternal limbo, to provoke their unholy rage, and to undermine the stability of the government.

    Gantz and Gallant’s statements also express an unconscious admission that Israel currently faces only two real possibilities. The first is a settlement that recognizes Gaza as an integral part of any Palestinian political entity, which would involve the return of the PA and the establishment of a united Palestinian government. The alternative is a war of attrition, which the messianic right hopes will end with the expulsion or annihilation of the Palestinians, but which will more likely end just as the First Lebanon War did: an Israel withdrawal under sustained military pressure and the entrenchment of a skilled guerrilla force on Israel’s border.

  22. Tom Stone

    I do hope we get the debate and that Trump says something along the lines of “I may be old but I don’t poop my pants in public”.
    Joe’s meltdown would be the best reality TV EVER!

    1. nippersdad

      “So your son finally met your crime bill, eh?” Hilarity ensues.

      That would pretty much be the only reason to watch them. I may have to break the forty year tradition of avoiding them like the plague just to see his reactions.

      1. Skip Intro

        Being able to lead the free world with your Depends™ full shows tremendous determination and strength of character. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Being able to lead the free world with your Depends™

          This is exactly the kind of witty bullshit that Democrats (I’m not saying you belong to any party) have been yukking it up with for every twenty years and the result? No good electoral outcomes at all. I did a lot of this in the Bush era; it has no effect other than making me a worse person and a worse writer. Now the Republicans, bless their hearts, seem to be picking up the same tactic. Best of luck to them.

          I don’t run with this meme because I don’t know if it’s true. For one thing, it’s digital evidence, which isn’t evidence; for another, there’s nothing to say that whatever glitch hit Biden at that moment was this particular glitch. YMMV, and obviously does.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I do hope we get the debate and that Trump says something along the lines of “I may be old but I don’t poop my pants in public”.

      I don’t.

      1. Carolinian

        Plus where’s the proof that Trump doesn’t poop his pants? He’s no spring chicken either.

        With Biden it’s all the crap that comes out the other end we should worry about. He seems to be an almost pathological liar or, charitably, fantasist–just the sort of person you’d want with the nuclear football.

      2. Yves Smith

        Biden no longer has the brains and never had the gravitas to pull it off, but it would open up the opportunity to deploy my favorite line from The Lives of Others:

        To think that men like you once ran a country.

      3. Benny Profane

        “Never trust a fart. Never pass up a drink. Never ignore an erection.”
        (Walter Cronkite’s rules for old men)

        1. britzklieg

          Ha!. That one goes into my ever-expanding quote file, for sure. Taking a humorous approach to the infirmities of aging can be as poignant as the Bard’s 7 stages of man. All the world’s a stage!

  23. brian wilder

    “Xi Jinping claimed US wants China to attack Taiwan”
    juxtaposed with
    “Sleepwalking toward war”

    The latter, a headline from Foreign Affairs, is a reference to Christopher Clark’s book, which attempted to obscure if not refute the Fischer thesis that Germany had embarked on an aggressive, expansionist foreign policy in reaction to social democratic gains, and was determined to start a war in 1914, the events in Sarajevo simply triggering an opportunity. Clark’s “everybody (and nobody in particular)” is-to-blame narrative has plenty of evidence to back it, though none to refute the Fischer thesis.

    “The Narrative” has become such an important aspect of our manipulated, propaganda-soaked politics, I just wonder whether future historians will ever have an opportunity to sort out our own time of madness.

    I have a hard time accepting that the authoritarians, Xi and Putin, are “the good guys” or that China, the world’s oldest empire pressing against some of the farthest frontiers it has ever had, should be trusted to somehow not be expansionist or not to seek global domination. But, maybe, that’s because I am old enough to have imbibed the mid-20th century narrative of the “good war” with my mother’s milk.

    1. Darthbobber

      My problem with Fischer’s thesis is that he applies his criticism solely to Germany, and ignores the (obvious on its face) French revanchism. All French governments since the Franco-Prussian war had as their central foreign policy aim the replay of that war under conditions more favorable to France.(a goal central to their rapprochement with Britain and Russia. Whatever the Germans wanted (and even Fischer doesn’t claim that they sought a full-scale Great Power war, just that they were willing to risk it), the French DID want a general war if it could be had under favorable conditions, and they believed (mistakenly) that the conditions were favorable. Again, the evidence of that was so on the surface that it requires no sophisticated research project to substantiate.

      On a lesser note, he also takes liberties with the timeline. Bethmann-Hollweg’s statement of German war aims is used as evidence of German prewar policy, but it wasn-t drafted until well after the war had broken out and at point when German victory looked to be within sight.

      He also ignores the equally or more sweeping war aims (and secret treaties) of the British, French, and Russians, though those were in the pubic realm and would seem to be no less relevant than the German ones.

      In any case, every great power in Europe had long been willing to risk general war under favorable conditions if their key interests were involved. None of them, of course, expected anything like the sort of war that one turned out to be. Even as the festivities got under way, what all parties EXPECTED was a war of maneuver lasting several months, followed by picking the bones of the defeated party. And if that was what they had gotten, there would have been no century plus debate about guilt and responsibility.

      1. Anonymous 2

        Yes, I have long found Fischer unpersuasive.

        As I recall, the Kaiser, when he heard of the Archduke’s assassination, broke short his cruise on his yacht saying that he needed to go back to Germany to make sure war did not break out. Either he did not mean it and was just saying it for the history books, which I find implausible, or he did, in which case I think Fischer’s argument falls down. Were there some in Germany who wanted war? Sure, but that was the case in all of the major European countries.

        1. LifelongLib

          Growing up in the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s I imbibed the notion that Germany was responsible for both world wars, but always thought it was sort of a historical default view. Ashamed to admit that until today I had never heard of Fischer or his thesis. Obviously I don’t know enough to have an opinion worth listening to, but it does seem to me that when you’ve got five or six major players blaming just one of them for the outcome of the game is implausible.

        2. XP

          John Röhl’s monumental biography of Wilhelm II shows him continually preoccupied with the inevitability and necessity of war, from at least the time he became Kaiser, some 25 years before the Great War. He saw Germany as surrounded and threatened by various powers, hemmed in and unable to expand to her rightful size. Though just who would be with Germany against whom was a moveable feast. If it was sleepwalking it was one very long, quarter-century, somnambulistic stroll, and I’d agree Germany did not walk alone.

          As an aside, Wilhelm II’s behavior makes him look very much like Donald Trump 125 years before Trump (though Wilhelm, fittingly for the late 19thC/early 20thC was more the ‘hysteric’ than the narcissist).

          As a further aside, the last two volumes of the Röhl biography, even at 1100 pages per volume, are quite wonderful (I’d call them Proustian if I knew what that meant).

    2. hk

      There hadn’t been a war that wasn’t “good” to those who waged it: Operation Barbarossa was a good war to the Germans (who, I believe, called it a “crusade” like that of the Teutonic Knights–another “good” war from a bygone era.

      To me, the story is simple: we don’t need to have a grand long term scheme for neighboring countries or, eh, “disputed territories,” to have disputes (unless you think Lincoln’s unprovoked invasion of Virginia was the first act of 20-21st American global empire or something. /S). There’s nothing “moral” in it for us outsiders to be involved over. The best we can do is to minimize the spillover outside and the way we are meddling under color of morality ain’t it.

    3. Jeff V

      The History Cafe has an interesting podcast on the actions of the British Government in the lead up to World War One. According to them, the Government was very keen on having a war, and carefully misled Parliament to make sure they got one.

      It’s lucky for us they’d never behave that way today.

  24. Ron Singer

    When do we get to talk about Project 2025? Or is that a bad question?

    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
    – H. L. Mencken

      1. Carolinian

        I took a whirl at it the other day. It doesn’t seem to be much more than a Heritage wish list. Maybe it’s their fundraising season.

        The diff between Trump and Biden is that Biden does crazy stuff in secret and then denies it whereas Trump says crazy stuff or whatever his audience wants to hear and then does very little. Still even his rhetorical support for the Gaza slaughter is fairly repulsive. Perhaps he doesn’t know who is audience really is or should be.

        But when it comes to that particular issue we don’t seem to have many election choices.

        1. James Payette

          Check out the little known independent Presidential candidate Shiva Ayyurdurai for his views on Gaza.

      2. griffen

        Reading from the details but not overly in depth when mentioned on a WC during the week, it all combines to convey the notions of a purity test or loyalty test to be considered as fully and duly task oriented to serve under a second Trump administration. Lot of vomit inducing could be had I am certain, should I choose to dig into their plans more. IDK, but my perspective is that such political actors and their funding sources should be more widely known. I’d label this aspect after noted tax critic Grover Norquist; never on any ballot but wielded influence on those so called “small government” Republicans.

        Maybe the start of the potential revenge tour, should it occur, will be a little less fraught circa January 2025. Trump’s gonna have to govern a little bit better if that is even a feasible suggestion to make ( yeah I’m stretching but hear me out ). Tax cuts are scheduled to change or end, and he’s likely looking at a split Congress; the US economy may well hit a rough spell during his first year, should those cuts which passed in 2017 expire. I’d have to confirm the timing but I thought those cuts would expire, I’m guessing December 2025.

    1. Ron Singer

      The election denial is starting five months early.

      It actually started a bit before the 2020 elections and has never subsided since.

      Canada has been refusing US political refugees in anticipation of the 2024 US elections, just so you know. Not that it will matter. What you can expect, from 2025 on, is a mashup of the worse elements of 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, and the Spanish Inquisition, pretty much everywhere.

      After that, things get worse. You don’t want to know about it.

    2. Screwball

      From the article via;

      “What Trump and his acolytes are running on is an authoritarian playbook,” said Patrick Gaspard, the chief executive of the CAP Action Fund, the political arm of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. He added, “So now we have to democracy-proof our actual institutions and the values that we share.”

      Bold mine.

      These people are wonderful, saving our democracy and all. This is after all, the most important election EVER!

      Funny, I don’t think I share the same “values” I’ve seen in the last few years from these people if it includes the censorship, wars (supporting genocide), Russiagate, imperialism (soon to be wars), open borders, endless spending, ignoring homelessness, COVID, inflation, infrastructure, and persecution of political opponents (as well as rigged primaries), including kangaroo courts, and crooked judges. These “values” are the farthest thing from saving democracy, IMO.

      And wasn’t it Neera Tanden, senior staffer to her Highness Hillary the president of this Think Tank, or whatever it is? Founded by John Podesta – where have I heard that name? Swamp creature extraordinaire.

      No, thanks, but no thanks. You people, and the scum you support can take a real long walk on a real short pier. IOW – FO.

      1. griffen

        I really want to be alive in 2026 when VP Harris becomes the President for the remainder of a potential Biden second term. Let’s face the facts on the ground, that’s a veritable and real possibility.

        I couldn’t trust any of the three leading candidates for our highest office this year. And I really can’t trust a mass media complex that is so highly aligned to report each utterance from tge Republican but spare us all the occasional unintelligible utterances and flubs from the Democrat. War is good, Trump is bad, Bidenomics is good, Trump economics was awful….write your own spin I suppose. Vomit.

  25. CA

    “I have a hard time accepting that the authoritarians, Xi and…”

    This is simply offensive name-calling.

    “I have a hard time accepting … that China, the world’s oldest empire pressing against some of the farthest frontiers it has ever had, should be trusted to somehow not be expansionist or not to seek global domination.”

    This is nonsense, simply meant to be offensive.

  26. zagonostra

    >Morality Is the Enemy of Peace Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy

    In short: Moral claims transform divisible and potentially solvable disputes into indivisible and much less tractable conflicts…Russia’s justification for the war increasingly rests on moral assertions of its own…Unfortunately, framing this conflict in moral terms makes it harder to reach a peace settlement, because anything short of total victory inevitably invites a powerful backlash.

    The conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine will end with agreements that won’t satisfy anyone completely.

    FP could n0t have framed the issue any worse if they tried. It IS the capacity for morality that allows you to identify good and evil. Morality is NOT the enemy, far from it, not mine at least. Even Leo Strauss, in criticizing Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies says there is no getting around demarcating what is good from bad, calling it an “Open Society” doesn’t exempt you, morally, in calling out what is and is not the “Good Society.” All political philosophies are necessarily stuck with this “moral” imperative, even nihilistic and Zionist ones.

    Maybe the problem is with FP trying to obfuscate the issue by claiming that there is such a thing as a “completely victory.” There is no such thing once that first innocent dies. But there is a wrong and right, and history will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the West, particularly, transnational elites who determine policy in spite of rejection of them by their populace.

  27. Maggie Johnstone

    “$800,000 wire transfer from billionaire donor to US Chamber raises curtain on dark money”

    How about everyone knows about it blatant corruption?

    “in recent years, as Newsom’s political star ascended, records show his wife’s nonprofit received more than $800,000 from a dozen corporations that regularly lobby state government on matters affecting their financial bottom lines. In 2015, the year Newsom announced he would run for governor, The Representation Project’s contributions increased by 30% to almost $1.6 million.”

  28. Jason Boxman

    From Stoller:

    So to look at Trump, I decided to listen to three recent speeches, and compare them to what he said in 2016 and what he did on antitrust and trade while in office.

    What I found was surprising. In 2016, he feuded incessantly with corporate America, telling a story about big business as part of the corrupt establishment trying to outsource jobs and replace American workers with cheap labor. His post-Presidential years have seen a different figure. He just doesn’t talk about corporate America very much anymore. Something has changed, and I’m going to try and identify that change and understand its significance.

    Probably doesn’t bode well for continuing anti-trust, the only good thing that Biden administration has done. Small comfort to those dead from COVID, or disabled. But something, at least.

  29. Jason Boxman

    From he Starbucks Decision Shows Labor Law Won’t Rescue Fired Workers.

    The outcome is predictable: the most conservative Supreme Court in decades eroded another legal protection of workers’ right to organize. In response, the labor movement must re-evaluate the source of our power; the law will not save us.

    U.S. labor law contains no penalties for firing workers in retaliation for organizing — only remedies. If the courts rule that a worker was unlawfully fired, they are entitled to reinstatement and back pay, minus their interim earnings. In practice, the court process can take years and workers frequently receive significantly reduced back pay.

    Not really a surprise. Labor has been disadvantaged since the Wagner Act brought statist intervention into what is a private matter between workers and capital. And who controls the state? Capital, not labor. So who has the advantage here? Definitely not labor.

    The workers at the heart of the Supreme Court case, who became known as the Memphis Seven, launched their campaign on Jan. 17, 2022 — Martin Luther King’s Birthday. Nikki, a shift supervisor at the Tennessee store, called me that day. She told me she had caught Covid at work and brought it home to her daughter. Unionizing would allow her to advocate for better health and safety conditions, as we had done earlier that month at the Buffalo store where I worked, going on strike in order to be able to self-isolate after exposure to the virus.

    And remember Biden prevented OSHA from implementing real safety in workplaces, because liability. How many others were harmed and are being harmed every day by Biden’s rejection of an ongoing Pandemic that, like gravity, everyone is free to ignore, but nonetheless suffer the consequences from doing so.

  30. Ron Singer

    “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

    – William O. Douglas

    1. griffen

      You just know, I’m reading the phrasing that you quote but I’m inclined to ask a brazen line of questions. What is that you are then going to imply or infer? Trump must be vanquished or else,we invoke the apocalypse?

      I’ll try. Is Joe Biden the defender of “Democracy” or “Our Democracy”… hypothetically I think that is some level of forthright BS. We’re veering into Animal Farm territory….where some pigs are more superlative than us other pigs. Or using the very words of Rep. Nancy Pelosi we’re gonna pass new laws and only then let people read it. Or Barack Obama’s claim that as it turns out “he is really good at killing people.”. These are the elected people we should trust instead?

      I’m not a philosopher by any stretch, for the record.

  31. Willow

    > Xi Jinping claimed US wants China to attack Taiwan

    Pentagon has been trying to bait China into conflict for a long time. Ukraine was supposed to trial run how to destabilise Russia and have it break up into small controllable countries. With China being next. Backfired badly. Russia and China are now closer than ever, making China more confident. China economically has become stronger as Russia sanctions deliver cheap resources and energy while European manufacturing crashes leaving China as the sole global tier 1 manufacturer.

    If only US had leveraged its Nobel economic brain trust to make the sanctions on Russia work? /s

    1. CA

      How thoughtless the US sanctions regime has been is reflected by years long sanctions against Zimbabwe to support UK sanctions on Zimbabwe. The UK long colonized Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, with land ownership a critical colonist prize. After independence was won, Zimbabwe would eventually need broad land reform. That however meant taking land from UK settlers, and that was fought by the UK with sanctions supported by the US.

  32. Cetzer

    2031: GPT9 has passed the Turing’s Test especially difficult Sex Variant.
    10 experienced prostitutes couldn’t discern if the remotely controlled puppet they were servicing (for a good cause) was operated by GPT9 or a computer geek. Strangely enough, GPT9 can now be beaten at chess by any intermediate human player, even the Cetzer has a fighting chance…

  33. Wukchumni

    Marmot Cong have been busy @ work in Mineral King, for four have taken rides in the engine compartment this young summer, obviously they can’t afford Uber, is the local consensus.

    That said on our walk to beautiful White Chief Canyon today, didn’t see any Cong, nor heard their distinctive pig-whistle.

    We took the usual precaution of laying out a 10×20 foot tarp on the ground, drive on the tarp and get your stuff out for the walk, as your ride is now gonna be a car burrito when you bungy tie up said tarp to dissuade the Marmot Cong, Hey! no free rides buddy.

  34. Lefty Godot

    Black Mountain Analysis says there will (probably) not be a nuclear war over Ukraine, but there will be a general European war a couple of years down the road–Nuclear War Ahead? Hard to imagine European youth rushing to sign up for this. Meanwhile Russia will take its lumps from NATO strikes on its territory (thinly disguised as Ukrainian strikes), because it will win the war in less than a year’s time anyway.

    More than a few of the oligarchs who pull all the strings must live in Europe, so I really wonder why they want to burn down the wonderful “garden” that they spent so much time cultivating.

    Unrelated: Bill Russell is up there in my holy trinity of Boston sports (with Bobby Orr and Luis Tiant), but renaming the airport after him seems like another pointless gesture. Why is the PMC so obsessed with renaming and rewording things? Is it just as a way of avoiding substantive action?

      1. Lefty Godot

        Ah, yes, Spaceman and the Buffalo Heads! Then there was Bill Walton of the Deadheads, I mean Celtics.

  35. Wukchumni

    If you search for feeble-mindedness
    It isn’t hard to find
    You can have the leader you need to replace
    But if you look for truthfulness
    You might just as well be blind
    It always seems to be so hard to give

    Senility is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty about your condition is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

    I can always find someone
    To say they sympathize with Israel
    If I wear my Hasbara press card out on my sleeve
    But I don’t want some soulless face
    To tell me pretty lies
    All I want is someone to believe

    Senility is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty about your condition is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

    I can find a Veep
    I can find #47, make the leap
    You can have security until the bitter end
    Anyone can comfort me
    With promises again
    I know, I know

    Senility is such a lonely word
    Everyone is so untrue
    Honesty about your condition is hardly ever heard
    And mostly what I need from you

    Honesty, by Billy Joel

  36. The Rev Kev

    So Rod Stewart was giving a concert in Leipzig, Germany and wanted to show his continued support for the Ukraine. He dedicated his song “Rhythm of My Heart” to the Ukrainian people and military, shouted a profane insult against Putin and began to sing. He had on the Ukrainian colors, including a yellow shirt and a jacket with blue sequins and a massive slideshow behind him also included images of the Ukrainian flag, Zelensky and the country’s troops. He got jeered and whistled at, probably to his surprise. The former East Germans were not buying his spiel. Would you believe that Stewart once said ‘If the Ukrainians lose, it’s the end of civilization as we know it. It’s all over.’

    I think that I will dedicate my own song to Rod Stewart- (3:14 mins)

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