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[gambarimashou] Please leave feedback if downvoting - a new comment, or upvote an existing one

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What kinds of penalties are on the table for Netanyahu's corruption trials?


I’ve been waiting for something meaty as an update. There’s been a lot of progress/change since my last post so I think it’s worth writing a longer follow up.


  • A tenuous but promising "humanitarian ceasefire" (emphasis mine, I'm not sure if ceasefire is the right word here) - is actively being negotiated this week; ball is currently in Hamas' court and so far they're holding out for a full stop to the war, which Israel says is off the table
  • IDF is running out of (surface) targets to destroy. Estimates are at 50-61% of the surface of Gaza is destroyed as of Tuesday this week. IDF is suggesting their last major step will take combat into Rafah, a last ditch safe area, currently cramped with 1m+ refugees/civilians
  • A hospital based assassination of 3 militants by Israeli operatives in the West bank this week is seen as an escalation and significant change in the rules of combat
  • Aid into Gaza is stopped temporarily; the UNRWA scandal/funding cut signals future aid will go in through other or new organizations
  • There is intense, aggressive, worldwide pressure on Netanyahu to sign a ceasefire

I'm not sure how to interpret this when it comes to IDF objectives and the length of the war. FWIW, Israeli polls still estimate the war as lasting 2+ more months (67.9%), 4+ months (45.9%)

Ceasefire/Humanitarian relief negotiation

Seemed to be making rapid progress going into this week, and now appears slowed (though ongoing). Hamas was expected to respond earlier today, but has not yet responded officially. They've given positive signs, but so far they seem to be holding out on or rejecting some of the key provisions, in ways which would make Israel unlikely to agree. Israel seems to have agreed to everything except for a longterm/permanent/literal ceasefire or end to the war - which Hamas is pushing for. Indirect negotiations are ongoing (diplomats and spy agencies formed and maintain an indirect connection via Cairo earlier this week). These are the same spy agencies (Mossad, Egypt, Quatar) and international leaders who put together the proposal last weekend in Paris. Many details aren't public - so far, it seems the proposal follows previous proposals and suggests a 3 stage return to peace (with each stage lasting 4-6 weeks?):

  • First stage would have Israel allowing up to 300 supply trucks in per day via the Egyptian side of the border, and Hamas releasing injured, minor and senior prisoners, with release of TBD captives held by Israel
  • Second stage would see Hamas releasing IDF members (including remaining women captives), release of TBD captives held by Israel, reconnections with Israeli infrastructure for power and communication into the region and some aid being allowed to also come in via the Israeli side of the border
  • Third stage would see exchange of corpses held by both sides, release of TBD captives by Israel, and other provisions not yet made public

Known details that are up in the air:

  • Order, type of, and number of prisoners to be released by each side. Hamas is still holding at most 100-136 live captives and at least 5 corpses, Israel is holding

As of Februar[y] 2024 Israel holds 2,084 sentenced prisoners, 2,752 remand detainees and 3,484 administrative detainees held without trial. Israel also holds 606 people as "unlawful combatants". https://hamoked.org/prisoners-charts.php

  • Amount, source and kind of aid to be allowed in and at which stage. Crucially, basic infrastructure is only meant to be reconnected/rebuilt in stage 2 (which I assume means indirect means of communication will be re-established between Israel/Hamas without a need for Egyptian intermediaries)
  • Length of the process (estimates are in the 6-18 weeks range)
  • When/whether/how Hamas leadership will be allowed to (or required to) leave Gaza
  • How much of a cessation of hostilities will actually take place. Israel strongly signals this is a humanitarian deal, not a literal or longterm ceasefire, a statement backed by the US and others.
  • What guarantees will be provided by the US, France, Egypt, and Qatar to ensure that both sides adhere to the agreement

The Israeli war cabinet met on Monday/Tuesday to discuss, but officially the ball is in Hamas' court:

Versions of the phased ceasefire framework have been under discussion since late December, but Israel did not sign onto the concept until David Barnea, the Mossad chief, met his U.S. and Egyptian counterparts and Sheikh Mohammed [ruler of Dubai] in Paris on Sunday.

Egyptian sources said Qatar, Egypt and Jordan would guarantee that Hamas adheres to any agreement, while the U.S. and France would do the same on the Israeli side. Reuters was unable to establish what assurances the guarantors would be able to offer. https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/gaza-ceasefire-plan-hostage-release-awaits-hamas-response-2024-01-30/

Some war status/stats

  • 50-61% of all surface buildings in Gaza have been demolished / destroyed. See BBC Verify
  • Rafah is holding around 1m refugees, and has been declared to be as the next (last) target for a major offensive by Israel. The potential cost(s) in human life and otherwise, if armed combat or bombing spreads into the area, are staggering. The area has seen heavy flooding, and will see more, as heavy winter rains come in this month
  • The IDF admitted to flooding some Hamas underground rooms and tunnels with seawater. This has been an open secret for a while now. As a consequence, it's likely that clean water and electricity will remain in critical short supply in the region for the foreseeable future (water pipes/power lines have been rerouted or connected through the same tunnels)
  • Conservative/trustworthy estimattes for total casualties in Gaza are around 30000, on the low end. Approximately 9000 of those are Palestinian combatants or militants, and around 400 or so are Israeli combatants (IDF, ShinBet, police). Around 1000 are Israeli civilians, and the majority of the rest of the 20000 or so Palestinian civilian casualties are under 18. Many Palestinians are marked as missing, so final numbers may turn out to be significantly higher.

JENIN, West Bank, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Israeli commandos disguised as medical workers and Muslim women burst into a hospital in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and killed three Palestinian militants, one of them lying paralysed in bed, witnesses and authorities said. https://www.reuters.com/world/this-is-moment-israeli-commandos-disguised-palestinians-walked-into-jenin-2024-01-30/

This kind of operation is unheard of on Israel/WestBank soil, and seen as an escalation and changing of the rules of combat by Palestinians. Up until now targeted attacks / assassinations have used drones or other explosives. Direct action by specialists, especially inside a hospital, is seen as an escalation


UNRWA - the organization providing aid into Gaza - has lost all funding and support from the west on IDF allegations it hired terrorists. Supporting countries (including Germany, France, US and Canada) are looking at alternative methods for providing aid into the territory. Canada has committed an additional 40m in support funding as of January 30th, to be transferred into Gaza + the west bank through non-UNRWA organizations like WHO and WFP. This may not be that big of a change or escalation in the grand scheme of things - western governments have been regularly sending aid without the support of local orgs over the last decade (instead preferring to regularly send money directly to trusted or proven Fatah aligned individuals or other known non-militants on the ground).

For reference, UNRWA employs as many as 30000 people, almost all (99%+) of them local Palestinians, and around 13000 or those based in Gaza. It and has always, and also recently, gone to great lengths to cooperate with IDF in making sure it has no involvement with militants. They've fired everyone mentioned in the scandal, and promised to cooperate and/or prosecute them to the maximum allowable by law. Also, IMHO 190 suspected participants in the October 7 attack is a much lower than expected number given the size of the organization. Based on the background incidence of extremist militants in Gaza, I would have expected the number to be 10x higher than that, at the lower end. So the shut down seems politically or extraneously motivated, more so than driven by practical concerns. Likely there is pressure to replace UNRWA with a foreign controlled body (maybe even going as far as putting a peacekeeping force in place?) for channeling foreign aid into Gaza, since (I'm speculating here) future aid into the region will be tied to enforcement systems or guarantees backing the ongoing humanitarian deal negotiations. The optimist in me wants this to be an opportunity for a return or recreation of something like the NORDBAT peacekeeper batalion in Bosnia

Netanyahu pressure

There is intense international pressure on Netanyahu to stop the civilian casualties and humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The (symbolic/toothless) ICJ preliminary injunction against Israel asking the country to actively prevent genocidal acts as well as prosecute incitement to genocide will be followed up with an Israeli report on progress on these dimensions by end of February.

Equally symbolic but stinging sanctions from US , UK, EU and Canada against Israeli settlers involved in recent violence in the west bank are likely not immediately materially effective, but written in a way which makes them easy to escalate.

Some other international pressure is maybe more relevant and practical - lots is on the table in the larger region; US pressure on Israel includes material steps towards Syrian recognition of the Israeli state and Russian pressure mulls a withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria. Many smaller symbolic acts constantly happening all over the world - eg. Israel's ambassador to Belgium taken to task once a Belgian building in Gaza was bombed.

The involvement of Mossad in the Hamas negotiations is a mixed signal. Obviously, a deal would go through or involve them, since no direct means of communication exist between Israel and Hamas. At the same time, there were rumblings that Netanyahu lost Mossad support last year, and a deal which defangs the case for the IDF invasion completely (Hamas leaders moved out of Gaza + all Israeli captives returned) is seen by some as another step in the same direction.

ACX mentions support as high as 32% for Netanyahu, in a more recent poll than the 15% one from my last post, when he given as an alternative between existing folk who are known choices for the PM role. Gantz (48%) and Eisenkot (45%) both poll as preferred options over Netanyahu (32%) as PM. They form the bulk of his current ruling coalition, as members of the National Unity party. So there could be several options for forming a more centrist coalition if an election were to run now, if National Unity were to give in to the temptation and defect from Netanyahu's coalition ("Israeli Likud lawmaker appears to call on party to replace Netanyahu").

Netanyahu's consideration of the deal with Hamas is alienating some of his more extremist supporters, who are threatening to leave his coalition if he makes a deal without their consent:

Ben-Gvir and another ultranationalist coalition partner, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism party, have chafed at their exclusion from the war cabinet.

In response or protest over the deal, some of the more extreme ministers staged a conference promoting resettlement of Gaza with Israeli citizens. This step was extremely unpopular with everyone, and might be another sign the extremists are being dropped from the ruling coalition (and consequently an election being held):

Benny Gantz, a centrist member of the war cabinet, said on Monday the attendance by government and coalition members hurt Israel's standing abroad and would compromise efforts to bring about a hostage release. Opposition chair and former Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid called the convention delusional and dangerous in a televised statement in the Knesset.

Corruption Trial

As of January 20th, the pace of hearings in Netanyahu's corruption trial is up to 3 days a week. They were cut down to 2 per week last year, on account of the Hamas war (and Netanyahu was excused from attending), and were meant to go back to full speed by February 1st. So 3 days per week are a compromise.

The departure of star attorneys Ben Zur + daughter from the case is being downplayed (https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-netanyahus-defense-attorney-in-case-4000-to-step-down-1001468883) by everyone and makes sense on paper. The timing seems weird, and some speculate is related to potential defence witnesses that will be called up (Ben Zur is an attorney to many folk in Netanyahu’s camp, and has many potential conflicts of interest with future defense witnesses; he will leave once the prosecution finishes calling up witnesses).

Estimates put the trial as concluding around June of this year. Predictions are for a likely conviction

I can't find information on what the potential is for penalties to Netanyahu if convicted (anyone know or have a good source?). I assume a prison term of something like 2-10 years is on the table, given similar cases in the past. I don't know how to evaluate the chances for one or more guilty verdicts or the range of potential penalties

In 24 hours, we're basically talking about Trump tweeting out:

As of TODAY, Ukraine is and always will be, a NATO ally of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Any attack on Ukraine will be an ATTACK ON THE USA and will be responded to accordingly by the United States and our allies!

Which I'd give slightly better than 2/3 odds of ending the war on the spot, given that the other 1/3 is "significant portions of Europe are glassed." If Trump did something like that, obviously it would be illegal on multiple fronts, but calling his bluff would be costly that there is a good chance Putin would back down before anyone can tell Trump that isn't how NATO works.

I see a non 0 chance of it actually literally going down exactly like this (or close enough).

Only with slightly higher odds of Europe getting glassed. I suspect tensions on the leadership side in Russia are running higher than most people believe, and, I suspect they have more limited access to effective methods for de-stressing and de-tensioning than most.

So my odds on [at least one person on the Russian side, capable of triggering this kind of event when stressed is running high enough on adrenaline or uppers or sleep deprivation to cause a catastrophic chain of events] are higher than 1/3

Also, I started laughing when I read this far into your post, am still chuckle-laughing, and I can't seem to stop. You made my day. Thank you!

The original statement was:

Israel is aggressively preventing any kind of aid from going into the region, when it thinks it might be used in support of the war

So I think both my original, and your take are 100% true - I don't believe there is a contradiction. Even if I steelman your point, I don't see a contradiction. Say, for the sake of exercise (this extremely simplified and abstracted, so don't take cheap shots against the simplification; I think is close enough to reality get my point across though):

  • Assume 90% of all trucks are allowed to pass and 10% are held back since they might be used to support the war. I'm trying to steelman your point - daily numbers vary widely, and seem to average 20% held back (again, I'm steelmanning your point here so using IDF numbers for 80 trucks through on average, when 100 are required)
  • Assume that the algorithm for holding them back is correct (there are multiple eye witness accounts, including eg. the BBC interviewed US senators visiting the crossing). That is, a truck that is held back is held for a while, and not allowed to return to its origin or be reusedd
  • The war has been going 100 days
  • It takes around 100 trucks a day to supply gaza

Assuming (for illustration; this is a model of what's going on that helps make the problem visible. The truth is different, but not in ways which invalidate this logic) 100 trucks try to cross each day, that's 10 held back each day, and held back trucks are never released - that would be around 1000 trucks stuck at the border by now. 1000 trucks is more than 50% of the entire trucking capacity for Egypt. Looks like Egypt has ballpark 1850 trucks available for all transportation needs in the country

Now try doing something like the above with the real numbers and estimates, and the more complicated truth of what's actually happening with trucks @ border. You should be able to more easily see the problem

So I think that all of the following statements could (trivially) be all be true at the same time (exercise for the reader to figure out if they are):

  • occasionally a significant number of trucks pass (maybe hundreds in total are allowed in at a time, every once in a while, possibly after they've had time to be more thoroughly inspected and risky materials have been removed or something)
  • only a relatively small % of trucks are stopped each day, on the chance they carry weaponisable material. Average 20%
  • the aggregate # of trucks making it through is high, but not nearly enough to prevent catastrophe
  • truck access is lumpy enough to cause catastrophe even if both the average and aggregate numbers are significantly increased ("on average, sufficient fuel is available to operate a hospital generator" is not exactly the same as "sufficient fuel makes it through each day")
  • the algorithm used to decide how many trucks pass aggressively prevents access
  • No need for anyone to (intentionally) be doing anything cruel or evil. None of this requires bad actors, on either side of the fence - it's sufficient to assume moloch

If you assume this is Moloch at work, you'll quickly see that the issue can be addressed as a coordination problem. So there are multiple very very easy ways to make the algorithm less aggressive or more effectively work within its limits - for example:

  • the "Berlin Algorithm": trucks which are denied entry could be sent back to origin (instead of detained, creating bottlenecks), where dangerous materials can be removed
  • more clear information, in advance, about what might cause a truck to be turned around
  • more conservative decisions on the side of the folk loading the trucks. Or more consistency - eg. put all the solar panels on one truck, that way only solar panels get turned around (and not, say, a truck full of food that also carries a solar panel)
  • completely unload the trucks that have been denied, near the border. That way they can go back for more materials (and not be a bottle neck). Once certain materials are accepted in, re-load them into trucks

I like the direct quotes; it feels a bit more honest - reporting on the source separately from the analysis, or something like that

Thanks! Any comments on the general style of the post? I was aiming for more conversational, and leaving the references in the links. Though I'm considering switching in general to more of @Soriek's style and including direct quotes from the references (eg from an npr link above )

Domestic politics may play a role in how Netanyahu wages the war in Gaza.

Israel's military has appointed a team to investigate the security failures that resulted in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, and Netanyahu is expected to face questions about his own responsibility. Netanyahu's corruption trial will convene at a quicker pace beginning this month, and polls show his government has lost between a third and a fourth of its public support during the war.

"If it was up to Netanyahu, this would continue for quite some time," says Reuven Hazan, who teaches politics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "For Netanyahu to end the war in Gaza, even with a victory, means he has to start dealing with the political issues at home and the legal issues, which he does not want to."

All signs point to Israel continuing the war until at least the middle of 2024. Eg. the budget that was approved last week includes an additional 50bn shekels (on top of the 30 bn approved for the war in a previous 2023-24 war budget), which most folk assume mean 4-6 more months of war. Israel is debating and negotiating, this week, what that means in terms of goals and how the rest of the war will be fought. Updates likely to come this weekend or sometime next week, after Blinken completes his tour and finishes speaking with all the local leaders

Their stated objective is to eradicate all traces and operational capabilities for Hamas. That's a very nebulous goal - the armed portion of Hamas has somewhere around 20-25k members according to CIA's factbook. The organization is fragmented, though - and the political arm may have hundreds of thousands of supporters. Support for the palestinian side of the war, if not explicitly Hamas, has spread into the West bank, and there have been some brutal IDF operations there too. Especially the younger population in the west bank is becoming more and more restless, so there's a chance there will be further operations and escalation. Some estimates for the number of small arms and other weapons in the Gaza strip are as high as 400-500k, with many other tribes or armed groups potentially supporting Hamas, and participating in the war. So it seems like the IDF has enough plausible deniability, budget, and rope, to continue for an arbitrarily long period of time and with a wide range of potential activities. It will likely take a significant amount of combined internal and international pressure comes to bear before they are forced to call the war over and stop.

As far as specific goals - at the very least, there seems to be a systematic search for and dismantling of large underground facilities and tunnels, that Hamas and other organizations have built up over 20+ years. The IDF seems to be following a pattern of brutal bomb, drone attack, underground and urban combat, killing thousands of soldiers (most recent estimates are at 10000+ dead or captured combatants, and with close to 2000 of those listed as captured). It's impossible to estimate what percentage of the underground facilities have been destroyed so far, or how many are left - no one seems to know for sure how many there are or where to find them all. It seems likely that Israel is leaning heavily on captives and on its intelligence resources to, in real time, systematically scan each area, find and then eradicate the operational and military facilities - including any in the west bank. Estimates have something like 30-40% of all above ground buildings in Gaza destroyed, so far.

As far as political pressure to stop - conservative estimates are at a minimum of around 15000 palestinian civilians dead, with more than half the fatalities being under 18. There seems to be recent, rapidly increasing pressure on Israel to stop the ground offensive. While the US and others are not calling for an explicit cease fire, they are more and more aggressively calling for a stop to the civilian death toll. EU based pressure is complex, but follows similar broad strokes as US pressure - initially starting as pressure towards a ceasefire or end to civilian casualties. For the last 10-15 years, EU has been the primary source of aid to cover the cost of housing and infrastructure in Gaza (including significant funding for Israeli owned construction firms and companies to do the work). Billions of dollars' worth of infrastructure, built via primarily EU provided foreign aid, is being levelled by the IDF, and that part of the narrative seems to be getting more air time in the EU than in the US. Also, with Turkey/Israel relations worsening and attacks from Hezbollah/Lebanon in the north of Israel intensifying, news in the EU is seeing more talk about avoiding an escalation of the conflict than what's coming from the US. For context, Turkey could have been a candidate for brokering some sort of peace or path towards an end of the war, after the Egyptian led negotiations collapsed - but that seems less likely to happen now.

Also related to political pressure - Israel is aggressively preventing any kind of aid from going into the region, when it thinks it might be used in support of the war. They have been using an algorithm I think of as "detain on first transgression" at the border. At the first sign that a truck carries something that could theoretically be used to manufacture weapons or support war infrastructure (eg a single large pipe that could be an ingredient in a rocket, or a solar panel stored on the roof of the truck), the entire truck is sidelined or detained. This approach is extremely unpopular internationally and there has been constant pressure on the Israeli government to allow more aid in.

While there is overwhelming support, internally, for Israel to continue the war until the destruction of Hamas (polling at close to 90%), it's unclear what that means in practice, and internal pressure to stop the civilian casualties is mounting. Pre-war protests included slogans demanding a stop to the subjugation of the palestinian people; some are starting to question whether the war is just about destroying Hamas in the current format and at this point.

Israel's government is debating how to respond to all of this pressure, both internally and with foreign diplomats, this week. Blinken and others are in the region right now, meeting and acting as messengers and go betweens between all involved. The initial Israeli position seems to be that they've mostly achieved their objectives in the North, and aid and reconstruction can start there. In the south, their initial pitch seems to be to continue for as long as necessary, implicitly attempting to do the same thing(s) as in the North, but potentially slower, more methodically, and with fewer casualties and brutality. Specifics and final details are still up in the air and likely won't be updated publicly until, at the earliest, this weekend, but probably next week.

Related - South Africa presented it's case that Israel is engaged in genocide against Palestinians today, with rebuttals scheduled for tomorrow. While very visible and having a lot of public attention and interest, it's unclear what, if anything, directly practical can come of this lawsuit. ICJ lawsuits are not enforceable, and any consequent political pressure is likely to come after some of the decision making has finished.

For additional context - Israel was at a turning point internally before the war started, with some calling the state close to civil war. PM Netaniahu is facing criminal charges, and the trial is on hold while the war is going on. Support for him to keep his job post war is polling at around 15%. Many government decision makers, including the PM, are seen have a vested interest in continuing the war for as long as possible

Funny, I have the diametrically opposite interpretation of potential consequences.

Throwing someone in jail because they committed a crime - that sounds like punishing an individual for their actions (which, while unpopular, I would predict would be more acceptable to Trump supporter). So I would not expect any kind of violent unrest - just some moaning etc....

While, if a candidate is prevented from showing up on a ballot despite popular support? I predict that would be interpreted more like attempting to penalize a large swathe of the electorate for their political leanings and sensibilities (as opposed to penalizing an individual). And I would expect that interpretation to galvanize folk, whether or not they'd vote for the individual, and lead to protests and potential violence

I'm not sure I fully understand the potential consequences for this decision - like, what are the odds that this decision will lead to some extremely bad outside side effects (like eg. armed protests, insurrections, civil war)?

I'm sketching this out, feel free to iron man, something like there are significant write-in ballots, they don't get counted, and as a consequence, the US sees organized armed revolt?

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like trying to prevent a populist candidate from running via technicalities is not the most effective option?

It looks like the corruption scandals aren’t fully unwound, and the PS (the ruling socialist party, technically centre-left) have been consistently losing support in the polls (wikipedia), possibly losing as much as half of their seats. These seats seem to be moving, evenly split, towards the centre right and far right parties.

So I expect the trend there will continue. Which means all signs are pointing towards a coalition government being formed between the PSD centre right party and Chega! (Enough!) - the far right populists, who are considered to be a hate group by some.

Chega! had just one seat in its inaugural year (2019), went to 12 seats in 2022 (~7%), and is currently on track to likely double that in the next election. They support things like chemical castration and death penalty for certain crimes, and members have expressed views that some interpret as racist (primarily focused on Islamic and Roma immigrants).

The March timeline for the election is calculated to maximize chances to defuse some of their support. Most of the support for the PD and SPD has come from their consensus on some very careful management of the economy - eliminating debt etc…

And the hopes are that, especially as tax season comes around, the impact of their work, especially on the middle class, will be felt. Ideally this will help either the PD gain some votes back, or the SPD pull support back away from Chega!. It’s very unlikely the PD and SPD will ally with each other. So while neither wants to be forced into negotiations with Chega!, it might be the party that ends up in the lead will be forced to do so. Chega!s views are unsavoury to most of the population, unpopular within the greater EU, and, due to their more extreme views, any coalition with them is likely to be unstable.

Personally, I’m skeptical that any plans to defuse Chega! will succeed by enough margin to protect against having to deal with them. The two main parties are both centrist, and seen as not differentiated enough in some quarters. At the same time, the recent corruption scandals play directly into Chega!'s rhetoric. So there's a combination of a (perceived) lack of differentiated alternatives, mixed with it being usually almost a given these days that populist support will switch towards the right end when faced with scandals (so that’s my strong prior).

Not only that, but Chega! is also consistently seen as the “cooler, edgier” party by younger voters (ones that are just now getting or have recently gained the right to vote), and the other parties can’t seem to put a dent in that impression. That's despite their youth group being significantly more extreme in their messaging. (Portuguese youth tend to vote on the right, historically speaking, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Portuguese_legislative_election#Electorate - ie for the right leaning parties PSD+CH+IL)

I get that the domain name seems click-baity on first pass.

I'm not sure what objective would mean in this context, though. It could be improved if it was run as a community site (and the community section of it is very informative), and it does have a transparency statement: https://nomadgate.com/transparency/


Despite the surprise resignation of its president earlier in Nov, and the imminent snap election - Portugal’s government approved its 2024 budget on Nov 29. This budget ends (via a transition plan) Portugal's Non Habitual Resident tax regime.

The regime provided very advantageous tax treatments to digital nomads (20% income tax) and retirees (10% tax on retirement plan withdrawals), for a maximum of 10 continuous years. Ending the program appears to be a well supported popular/populist decision. That's despite the programme seeming to have been hailed as a success by most. I've seen some unconfirmed claims that more than 50% of folk who entered under the program have moved to Portugal permanently.

Anyone know how impactful this in general on the functioning of their government? Specifically, I'm wondering if this could cause the NHR tax benefits (https://globalnomad.guide/nhr-no-more-portugals-tax-regime-redesign-impact-on-remote-workers/) vote (supposedly part of their budget vote Nov 29?) to be delayed

In my experience, the non-english speaking Wikipedia(s) have historically been much more politically biased (in ways which aren't announced or marked visibly) than the english speaking wikipedias.

Often the translations to english for some foreign language articles seem (to me) to either remove or explicitly mark a lot of the bias and disputed content in the original. Translations into other languages often seem to introduce some biases or one sided phrasing, that don't exist in the English language versions, and which remain unmarked or unresolved for long periods of time.

I've always attributed this to much smaller staff of regular and well trained contributors for the non english speaking pages.

I can anecdotally confirm that this is starting to regularly not be the case for pages which are politically relevant in the english speaking world.

For the most high traffic pages, the bias seems to be in check. It's either removed, turned balanced, or marked as controversial or biased.

But high traffic pages are a small % of the totality of Wikipedia. It looks to me like many pages which have political relevance in the english speaking world (especially in US and the UK), but have middling or low traffic, have been captured by one or the other side of each specific local debate. Such pages seem to me to present unlabelled disputed and biased views for a much longer period of time than they seemed to, say, 10+ years ago. I'm not sure if there's a way to systematically measure this, and do a historic study (the data is available!)

Could this be explained along basic economic lines or trends?

Eg. (taking a stab at this, but likely other folk here are much better at it than me):

The skills and patterns for getting to the top of social media sites are now well understood and cheap/easily bought (you can take effective courses that will train you). So we're starting to see an over-supply of attractive people who are good at engineering their way to the top of the algorithm for any given niche, and an under-supply of niches that are still lucrative.

These same attractive people are prospecting for new niches, and then zero-sum competing with each other for dominance of each given niche.

If this were true, I'd expect, in the short term, as these specific niches are being prospected, that a small fraction of the folk dominating each niche to have some legitimacy - they're folk who know their niche, and then picked up the social media dominance skills as secondary. The rest followed some other path, that led to them having a social media skills and now shopping around for which niche they can best exploit or dominate, or something along those lines.

In the longer term, as each niche becomes more and more extremely competitive, I'd expect the low value add folk to gradually get side lined or marginalized, and the folk who actually have something to contribute to start dominating. Likely through any of several methods - though I suspect actually having or gaining the skills and talent necessary to produce original content won't be one of them, since probably the best way to dominate a niche is to become an opinionated and effective aggregator as opposed to becoming an original content creator.

Does anyone have examples of iron-manned or otherwise thoughtful or non-reductive response(s) or counterpoints to Corey Doctorow's definitions for Liberalist/Conservatist ideologies?


The longstanding, lately ended conservative love-affair with spy agencies has its roots in ideology:

  • Rule of the few over the many (Robin);
  • “In-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect” (Wilhot);
  • “Human rights aren’t more important than property rights because property rights are human rights” (Brust).

The theory of schimzogenesis gives us a perfectly good ideology of leftism: pluralism, equality before the law, human rights over property rights.

(at the bottom of) https://doctorow.medium.com/schizmogenesis-755bbb6a8515