Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 17, 2017

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2017-46

Due to this week's network problems at my home you were offered too few posts. Most of the research I do is naturally online. So while I probably could have posted I lacked the material to write up decent pieces. I was told that my regular network and phone connections will be back by Monday afternoon. We'll see ...

Dec 12 - U.S. Surrenders On Syria - Resistance Turns Eyes On Israel

A New Yorker piece by a borg journalist suggests that the U.S. political heave mind has for now given up on regime change in Syria. The military junta in the White House still seems to disagree with that, but might be coming around. There will for sure be no clear-cut change, but a gradual move away from the senseless occupation of north-east Syria. Meanwhile the first truck convoy from Iran reached Syria by road. This new supply line will give the Israeli military some serious headaches.

Dec 14 - "Russian Influence" - $0.97 That Changed The Fate Of Britain

The "Russian influence" nonsense is dying a slow death for lack of any evidence that there is any "Russian influence" campaign. The subject is now changing to "Chinese influence". The Rothschild organ The Economist has a title story about that nefarious "Chinese influence" and laments its alleged attempts to move public opinion to its favor. That is of course something "the west" would never even do! To prove that this is a well coordinated campaign the U.S. Council of Foreign Relations adds a piece of its own on "Chinese Influence" . Australia just kicked out a minister for allegedly being to frendly with something Chinese. Trump's new strategic guidance for the military will emphasize China as the new potential enemy. This is a stupid move that will only solidify the Russian-Chinese partnership and further isolate the U.S.

Dec 15 - Haley Fails To Make Case About Yemeni Missiles - Ignores Saudi War Crimes

Haley tried to give her best Colin Powell imitation but failed. Defense Secretary Mattis has said that there will be no military move against Iran. Thus some sanity prevails on the issue. But only in the U.S.. Some Saudi organization put out a funny comic movie (vid) about a Saudi attack on Iran. In it the Saudis defeat the Iranian navy, air- and missile forces. They invade Iran, capture IRGC General Suleimani and are welcome by the people in Tehran with sweets and flowers. Clown prince MbS is overseeing the operation. It is hilarious fiction.

But why do the Saudi grunts talk in English?

Please use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b on December 17, 2017 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

Comments
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I'm very impressed by the reactions from the Muslim world to the Trump declaration regarding Jerusalem. Of them all, Nasrallah's speech of six days ago is the most compelling to me.

Fort Russ can be linked from here and has the transcript: Nasrallah: Trump! We are determined to liberate Jerusalem and all of Palestine. The Saker has the video as well, but can't be linked here. It's worth watching just to see the passion in Nasrallah. It's on Vimeo (apparently censored at YouTube): Hassan Nasrallah: we are about to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and all of Palestine

Maybe this is old news here, but I'm still absorbing the implications of all this, and wondering about the future. Nasrallah says essentially that all the Muslim world must now act to restore Palestine to its stolen sovereignty, and to destroy the imposter and occupier state of Israel.

It would go against all previous history of Nasrallah to consider this as simple rhetoric. So, I find myself a little stunned to think that we are actually at this point. That the Middle East will in fact eject the invader. This seems like such a big thing on the world stage, an epic milestone in history, perhaps about to come about over the next few years.

I would expect warriors to engage with Israel, and the nations of the world to begin a lot of talk. Out of the talk will come justice for Palestine one day, in some form. The inhabitants of Israel will not be destroyed, but they will have to negotiate a way to live in peace with their neighbors, or go elsewhere. The current state of Israel will be destroyed as a sovereign state. It will have to continue as a different kind of entity in order to remain on some of the land it currently occupies. All of this will be established through the words. But it will be the warriors who will force it to become manifest.

Any thoughts as to the gravity of this red line, and what it indicates for the future?

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 17, 2017 1:13:56 PM | 1

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is the undoubted Middle East man of the year, but his great impact stems more from his failures than his successes.

...but you all knew that already. However, here's something that flew under the radar:

LAHT: The lower house of the Mexican Congress approved on Friday a controversial bill institutionalizing a role for the armed forces in law enforcement.

...and perhaps this:

LAHT: Maduro's press office reports that new agreements were signed between Rosneft and PDVSA. Those agreements were signed by Sechin and Venezuela's state owned oil company PDVSA head Major General Manuel Quevedo. Quevedo is also Minister of Oil and Mining.

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 17, 2017 1:38:14 PM | 2

@2 grieved.. i think it is way too early to tell, but the links at sst's latest post offer some pointers...

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2017 2:31:40 PM | 3

@ Grieved, #2

IDF has 350 nukes. They have an enormously powerful air force. Without help from anyone, they could whip all the Arabs who would fight.

All the Muslims who might want to fight (Iran, Hezbollah, Syrians) is another issue. They would be immolating themselves attacking IDF.

And as for Syria, if it tries to join in some war, the ISIS dead will rise again. US has Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders and thousands of fighters at al-Hasaka and in Iraq, rescued from Raqqa and Deir ez Zor to launch against Syria any time.

I just don't see this sweeping war going well against the IDF. It's like the Palestinians throwing rocks.

Also, Russia hasn't bled to take its position in the ME and stand aside and watch everything go to hell.

The reality is hard for everyone who prays for justice. Getting to two states requires first, the end to Bibi and Likud. Then some rational bargaining and a huge development of the economics of the two-states.

Natural Gas is huge and the Palestinians have a piece. Russia can make it happen.
But economics takes stability not more war.

The Arab-Muslim dream of defeating IDF is quite illusionary.
The Shiia and Syrians needed Russia to help in Syria.

Where and with what will this military victory come?

I have no doubt it would be wonderful to see the IDF get its comeuppance. But no one is going to win by attacking them.

Better to hope they attack somewhere and get humiliated like in 2006.

The beauty of what we see lately is that they dream of being the regional hegemon and they can't project power beyond a few hundred meters pass their purloined borders. They are a gelding hegemon.

Russia has the correct answer for the ME. Diplomacy and economic development.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 17, 2017 4:20:38 PM | 4

@5 rr.. good post.. i agree with you..

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2017 4:23:54 PM | 5

T he key to Western Asia - as the Persians refer to it - is the 'one belt , one road'Eurasian Chinese construct . Short of nuclear catastrophe the long term must see Israel and others fall into line with this overarching reality.

Posted by: ashley albanese | Dec 17, 2017 4:33:34 PM | 6

@ Grieved (2) and @ Red Rider (5),

The key bit from the SST post linked above by james:

"However, now Israel will be incapable of identifying any Iranian shipment on the new ground route, as it will be used by thousands of Iraq and Syrian companies on daily basis in the upcoming months. Experts believe that this will give Hezbollah and the SAA a huge advantage over Israel and will allow Iran to increase its supplies to its allies."

I don't think that Iran or Hizbullah or Syria plans on overtly attacking Israel. The benefit to the land route is primarily defensive and strategic. Iran and Hizbullah can now strengthen Lebanese and Syrian defenses without Israel having a clear sense of either the quantity or type of equipment being shipped. This means that IDF will be much less likely to stage any kind of land invasion (or even sustained air campaign) as Israel, like the US, only likes to get involved in conflicts it can dominate by conventional means. If the last foray into Lebanon didn't go so well, the next is likely to go even worse, and so is that much less likely to happen at all. If I were Netanahu, I would be trying to find any way I could to get the US to disrupt this land route, as its continued existence effectively rules out Israel's ability to disrupt Hizbullah in Lebanon in any meaningful way. I would try to engineer some kind of military "event" to occur on the least defended section of the land route that could be blamed on either Irananian or Syrian forces, with the hopes that I could then pressure the US to run a few bombing sorties over the area, presumably under the cover of protecting Syrian freedom fighters from Assad, or protecting US troops from Iranian aggression etc. We'll see how long this land route stays open and functional. My guess is that Israel and/or US will act within weeks to disrupt it.

As for Red Rider on the IDF nuclear arsenal, that's a correct point but in my view a moot one. I don't see either the US or Russia or China allowing any conflict in the area to go nuclear because all three powers have too many interests in the area that would be irretrievably harmed by such an event. Indeed, it would be very difficult to keep a nuclear attack from immediately triggering WWIII, and nobody in Russia or the US really wants that, no matter how some US figures bluster on about Russia.

My sense is that part of the reason Iran was willing to give up its nuclear program was that it calculated (rightly in my view) that competing interests of the major powers (US, Russia, China) in the region essentially insure that no conflicts in the area will be allowed to use more than conventional ordinances. Just a thought.

Posted by: WJ | Dec 17, 2017 4:45:30 PM | 7

@ Red Ryder | 5

IDF has 350 nukes. They have an enormously powerful air force. Without help from anyone, they could whip all the Arabs who would fight.

IDF couldnt kick ass of few thousand Hezb soldiers, and the power disparity is even lesser now than in 2006. And no, Israel wouldnt use nukes, that would be a suicide move.

And as for Syria, if it tries to join in some war, the ISIS dead will rise again.

Israel will continue to use terrorists against its enemies, no need for "rise again", it will never stop. Unless status quo changes, i.e. with decline of US protection clout and increasing pressure from other countries and UN, Israel will be forced to behave. It wont happen in the next couple of years, but in the next couple of decades - definitely.

I just don't see this sweeping war going well against the IDF. It's like the Palestinians throwing rocks.

No need for all out war, motivated and trained guerrilla can do that just fine. Hezbollah did it, time will come for Golan, maybe even soon. Syria is really pissed at Israel for all the terror and bombing, just they have a bigger fish to fry at the moment.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 17, 2017 5:46:46 PM | 8

@ WJ | 8

My sense is that part of the reason Iran was willing to give up its nuclear program was that it calculated (rightly in my view) that competing interests of the major powers (US, Russia, China) in the region essentially insure that no conflicts in the area will be allowed to use more than conventional ordinances. Just a thought.

Iran never gave up civilian nuclear program, and never had military one (if they had, they would have made nukes decades ago). Its in their doctrine, remember when Iraq with US used chemical WMD against Iran? Iran had every right in the World to retaliate with the same WMD, they inherited it from Shah, yet they refused to do so. Iran abhors WMD's, and instead developed World class conventional weapons and strategies to defeat anyone who would be stupid enough to attack now.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 17, 2017 5:55:44 PM | 9

@1 Manifest Destiny never ended, either.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 17, 2017 6:01:06 PM | 10

Agree IDF illusionary other ME interest rule:FOG (fracking oil and gas) unknown Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon.
Fog rules..

Posted by: fudmier | Dec 17, 2017 6:01:59 PM | 11

More on the "historic" general strike in Israel, Israel paralized by the largest movilization in many years:

Striking workers paralyze Israel in the largest mobilization known in many years

That nobody in the "alt-media", and even the "Russian official alt-media", is reporting about this, could give us an idea on the "confluence of interests" of some actors. We have only seen some people who have come to try to diminish the impact of the event....

The striking workers have paralyzed Israel. Government offices, banks, schools, clinics, the main airport remained closed for the largest strike in the country in many years of the workers of the pharmaceutical multinational Teva, who protest the massive layoffs.

The strike was called by the Histadrut union when last week Teva announced that it would cut a quarter of its work force as part of a grand reorganization plan to save the monopoly.

The strike is the largest labor action in the country in several years, affecting almost the entire public sector. Banks, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, post offices, government offices, the Knesset (parliament), ports, airports, the public utility, health services, universities, local municipalities and regional councils are closed.

Although most schools are already on Hanukkah holidays, they will also close several museums that are normally very popular during the holidays, including the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Eretz Israel Museum and the Jewish People's Museum in Tel Aviv.

The multinational obtained huge tax benefits from the State that will not be returned and, despite its failure, the bosses of the company still enjoy high wages and high-end cars.

The Marker newspaper announces that the US pharmaceutical market is over for Teva. The world market for pharmaceutical companies is divided into giant companies with enormous financial capabilities, on the one hand, and small niche companies, on the other, while Teva was in the middle.

The company owes 35,000 million dollars and has lost 70 percent of its market value. It will probably disappear as an independent capital. As Marx explained, capital will be centralized. The shares of Teva will be purchased by third parties or will cease to exist completely after merging with another company, or it will become a small niche company, without international capital.

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 6:39:07 PM | 12

All--The discussion about the future circumstances of the Zionist Abomination is why I asked if they would nuke themselves to keep Palestine for themselves? One aspect most know but isn't being discussed is that the Palestinians have their own Bomb--The Population/Demographic Bomb--which is why all civil/civic rights are denied them--they now could actually out vote the Zionists and place themselves in power--IF--they got the opportunity. The Palestinian Bomb is the reason why the Zionists continue applying Hitler's Final Solution tactics as they have since 1945.

IMO, Syria, Hezbollah, then--at some distance--Iran primary goal is to liberate the Northern occupied territories of the Golan and Sheba farms which will politically weaken the Zionists or worse depending on how hard IDF resists. And in this case, there's no right of self defense to invoke. If this action is to occur, it will only be after Syria and Iraq clear out all US terrorists and its embassies from their territory--I see absolutely no reason for any Southwest Asian nation to have diplomatic relations with the Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 17, 2017 6:41:50 PM | 13

#Saudi Arabia has bombed a wedding procession today killing at least twelve women in #Yemen. The West and its media look elsewhere.

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/942364677551640576

#Saudi Arabia has massacred more than 70 people in #Yemen since Wednesday. Hospitals, markets, residential areas. Nothing resists the beast. https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960925000579 ...

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941951661911703552

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 7:09:32 PM | 14

The Kirya complex, in Rabin Camp, Tel Aviv, is the Pentagon Headquarters that commands the re-conversion of #ISIS https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuartel_General_de_las_Fuerzas_de_Defensa_de_Israel ...

https://twitter.com/gabirelezkurdia/status/941275599359889408

A peshmerga commander of the KDP confirms the creation of the terrorist group White Flags composed of extremist Islamist Kurds and members of the dismembered ISIS, which has already performed in the Kirkuk area of Iraq.

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941654186168602624

Dedicated to those media and their mercenary and manipulative freelances to the imperialist service: since 2013, the CIA's weapons were transferred to ISIS through their beloved and whitewashed "moderate rebels". #Syria

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941657195917307904

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 7:16:44 PM | 15

YouTube and Google have eliminated the account of @descifraguerra for broadcasting a video about the truth of Palestine. All my support and rejection of this censorship. Here they explain it 👇

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941392277863305217

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 7:18:50 PM | 16

Bombings by the Saudi coalition repeatedly attacked a hospital in Hodeidah province, Yemen, killing patients and doctors. This hospital was the only one that assisted thousands of Yemenis in that area.

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941653485765955585

Military aircraft kill at least 12 civilians in the province of Sa'ada, #Yemen. It does not matter when you read this. It also gives a damn to the media and news.

https://twitter.com/pechosboys/status/941662259960565762

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 7:24:58 PM | 17

The speech by Nasrallah is a marked departure from his previous position and statements. One thing Nasrallah has demonstrated over the years is that he does not respond emotionally or rashly to provocation. so why the shift?

Until now the goal of Hezbollah had been to restore Lebanese territory, confront Israeli aggression and provide support to other movements (like the Palestinians) who attempted to stand up for their own land/existence rights. This position has allowed them to legitimize their existence to the rest of Lebanon.

Until now (albeit indirectly), Nasrallah had been content to (like the Palestinians already did formally) recognize Israel's right to exist - much like Iran - and to wait for history to take care of the State - which they both saw as an 'aberration'.

This speech marks a huge shift away from that position towards confrontation with an explicit goal of destroying the Israeli state.

What would the reasons be for such a shift?

1) A shift in demographics where the Shia now make up a majority in Lebanon?
2) A reaction to the willingness of Sunni leadership to betray fundamental Arab interests for personal financial gain? (like the Saudi - Israel alliance against the Shia). This opens the door for Hezbollah to build on its' appeal to Sunnis and build resentment against the Saudis.
3) Acquisition of some kind of effective anti-air defense?
4) Other as yet opaque plots by Israel for the region?

Whatever the reasons and motivations, this speech marks a fundamental turning point for both Nasrallah and Hezbollah - not to mention future conflict, peace negotiations, and Israeli security.


Posted by: les7 | Dec 17, 2017 7:30:51 PM | 18

@ les7 | Dec 17, 2017 7:30:51 PM | 19

Only wanted to point out one thing about your assertion:

A reaction to the willingness of Sunni leadership to betray fundamental Arab interests for personal financial gain?

We must not conflate Wahabbi leadership, that would be the king/-s of KSA with Sunni leadership that would be Al Azhar great mufti, who recently called to the Sunni Islamic world to fight ISIS and takfiri terrorism. I posted the news at another thread.
That was really the main shift in the last times, one that could lead to the definitive union of the whole Islamic world against so called "islamic extremist terrorism" which has nothing to do with Islam and much with the West and its geopolitical interests in the ME.

Of course, Hezbollah, once recognized as legitimate political actor in Lebanon by its parliamentary share gained in fair elections which permit it fight for the rights of the a huge part of Lebanese society whose interest represents, has no interest in war nor in violence in general, as soon as Israel remains within its borders, but, of course, they will not allow any provokation coming from the south, and the declaration on Jerusalem was a huge one.

Posted by: elsi | Dec 17, 2017 7:54:27 PM | 19

bill priestap seems to have an important role to play in the unfolding witch hunt on trump russia connections staring in july 2016..

Posted by: james | Dec 17, 2017 8:40:52 PM | 20

Bugger off with your shortened urls you sad suck.

Posted by: Plod | Dec 17, 2017 9:02:49 PM | 21

I got a chuckle out of this zerohedge 'bolt and wire cutters' Russian sanctions article. Particularly the threatening image of Putin.

Posted by: Forest | Dec 17, 2017 9:46:56 PM | 22

Politico, unloads on the Obama Administration again ...

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook
https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/

The last time Politico did this they got huge coverage from FOX, CNN, DRUDGE (where I got this link) and other outlets, their last story bashed Obama's pardon of Iranian prisoners. In any case, the article is very lengthy and breathlessly informs us about how Hezbollah is behind every evil under the sun including Drug Trafficking, Terrorism, ...

I did find a few things interesting ...
1. They documented about $1B a year in money laundering, I bet this is a tiny fraction of the drug business.
2. The DEA unit insists they were stymied by the Obama Administration, this will get the most attention. Quite frankly, in the turf war, I'd rather have the FBI/DEA win out over the CIA look below ...


The “cops” from the FBI and DEA wanted to build criminal cases, throw Hezbollah operatives in prison and get them to turn on each other. That stoked resentment among the “spooks” at the CIA and National Security Agency, who for 25 years had gathered intelligence, sometimes through the painstaking process of having agents infiltrate Hezbollah, and then occasionally launching assassinations and cyberattacks to block imminent threats.

At least the FBI/DEA builds tangible cases, the CIA just kills people on suspicion, oh, and the article bragged about how we killed the leader of Hezbollah in 2007 while calling them terrorists 100 times.

3. They killed a bank in Lebanon that was doing projects in Beirut because obviously they were getting illicit Hezbollah drug money. They probably were doing money laundering but I'm not convinced that it was all from drugs. I wouldn't kill banks in poor countries in Lebanon just because I suspect they have bad clients. Do we do that to our banks in the U.S.?

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 17, 2017 10:18:51 PM | 23

I don't know if everyone has seen this "fake news" from the NYT

"Look At That Thing!" - The NYT Reveals The Pentagon's Mysterious UFO Program

If it is not fake news then it is the first admittance by TPTB that there are aliens visiting our world that are perhaps smarter than us....and smart enough not to contact us and become infected by our hubristic ways......so why isn't it a bigger deal than the NYT article?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 12:19:55 AM | 24

Red Ryder | Dec 17, 2017 4:20:38 PM | 5
IDF has 350 nukes. They have an enormously powerful air force. Without help from anyone, they could whip all the Arabs who would fight.
All the Muslims who might want to fight (Iran, Hezbollah, Syrians) is another issue. They would be immolating themselves attacking IDF.

I can't see how Israel could very well use nukes in such a relatively small geographical area; they'd be committing suicide using a fraction of those nukes.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 12:22:12 AM | 25

Oh the horror; Russian children top the world literacy rankings.

https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-tops-world-literacy-ranking-us-eu-leaders-and-media-call-foul/ri21963

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 12:48:45 AM | 26

Mwh, what's radioactive ME so long as you can pump fuel through it?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 18, 2017 1:01:57 AM | 27

Many horrible things are going on in the ME. Perhaps we should spend some time recognizing that the Israelis are killing Palestinians yet again in the nation of Palestine. This has been going on for so long that it is difficult to even acknowledge that it is happening. This is one of the latest atrocities: man in wheel chair killed by Israeli sniper. Poor guy ended up in the wheel chair because an Israeli helicopter gun ship blew away his legs three years ago when he was trying to put up a Palestinian flag on the Gaza border. Somehow he continued to resist but an Israeli sniper decided to finally kill him. We should acknowledge his sacrifice.

Posted by: Toivos | Dec 18, 2017 1:34:38 AM | 28

@Elsi...on the following post brought to the Open Thread:

"I think it is otherwise, that Netanyahu was corraled by the continuous protests as well as by the opposition at the Knesset and The Orange Dotard came in his rescue with the issue of Jerusalem so as to provoke Arab rage and that way the justify a war with Iran. When you are in trouble, as both Israel and the USA are, a good war could change all, or not, since wars are of unpredictable consequences, as has been porved by the Syrian war, but when you are at the edge of the abyss you do not even have the option of considering possible undesired outcomes, simply, there is no time left.....

And what do you have to say about the inherent complicity of the so-called US population who whatever barbarity its government could do,included the declaration of Jerusalem as undivisible capital of Israel, remains at its sitting-room waiting for the "second coming" for things in the world to be fixed, instead of going out in demonstration agaisnt warmongers in power?

Finally, my lost posts have appeared, and so, you will be able to learn another thing you yourself can do while the Israeli people becomes conscious of its own lack of future while things remain in the same path."

Don't you see the irony of Israelis consciously faking outrage at Nuttyahoo, while 'unconsciously' accepting the booty stolen from Palestinians?

Posted by: nudge | Dec 18, 2017 1:53:27 AM | 29

so any speculations as to when the orange turd is gonna blow up North Korea for shits n giggles?

Posted by: Sabine | Dec 18, 2017 3:24:36 AM | 30


Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 12:48:45 AM | 27

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2017, 4:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 11:10am

Came across this articles earlier SCMP (South China Post) Hong Kong
slips to third place in reading literacy ranking, behind Russia and
Singapore

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/2123138/hong-kong-slips-third-place-reading-literacy-ranking-overtaken-russia

"In the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)
2016, released this week, the city was ranked third, with an average
score of 569, behind Russia with 581 and Singapore with 576.

The city’s average score for the latest ranking is two points lower
than for the previous edition in 2011, in which Hong Kong was placed
first."

There is another ranking Pisa tests: Singapore top in global education rankings: "Singapore, named as the top rated country for maths and science, is in first place in all the Pisa test subjects, ahead of school systems across Asia, Europe, Australasia and North and South America."

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-38212070

Posted by: OJS | Dec 18, 2017 3:31:29 AM | 31

OJS | Dec 18, 2017 3:31:29 AM | 32
I for one, was not surprised in the least; looking at history, the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, have an impressively long history in science, math, music, and literature; ranking at the top in all.
The U.S.'s educational system, across all grade levels including university, has been steadily degrading for the last 60 years at the very least.
The broken educational system is one, very important aspect, of a dying empire/society.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 4:47:58 AM | 33

Posted by: Toivos | Dec 18, 2017 1:34:38 AM

Abu Thuraya, a courageous man who had his legs blown off a couple of years back is the name of the Palestinian you refer to. The guardian calls him a ' wheelchair user', a particularly anodyne description for someone so outstandingly brave. He was murdered because his reaction to oppression scared the shit outta the israeli scum.

Those who imagine the zionists will reach for their nukes when the inevitable happens and the people of the ME move to recover all the lands stolen from them, need to pay heed to Abu Thuraya and the cowardly way the zionists tried to deal with him.

These fat amerikanized jews are far too self indulgent to pull a Masada style scenario, even the 'devout' the Hasidic types who are too busy preying and screwing to work, so they live off the public tit in jews only New York state housing authority complexes, (if welfare queens exist, they are hasidic) put their own needs even before their childrens' as recent trials for incest and pedophilia by hasidic jews have revealed.

As for the liberal zionists who give big to 'the cause', look no further than the hollywood scandals: Weinstein bros, Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner, Louis CK or, further back to Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, does anyone really imagine the types who eagerly groom, exploit and destroy children just for a vessel to drain their ball sacs into, would ever decide to blow themselves up because some older equally corrupt fella reckons that is what the mythical sky pilot demands?

It won't ever happen - as zionist power and influence shrivels, the imprecations for assistance reach fever pitch and ME islamic/xtian (Notice how the Bethlehem xtians have told Mike Pemce to piss off- no publicity for the pretend evangelist since his boss pulled the Jerusalem stunt) ME citizens find solidarity, the zionist state will be defanged and declawed - not by the locals, by the former allies who see nothing but trouble from the chance however remote, that a loony toons zionist may get close to the button.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 18, 2017 6:37:01 AM | 34

@ psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 12:19:55 AM | 25
Didn't you notice that the linked articel on zerohedge does not contain any real substantial new informaton? Just that they have a place for looking for UFOs. But not any real result until now. So the story remains like it was in the last decades. Dream stuff.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 18, 2017 7:07:34 AM | 35

@ psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 12:19:55 AM | 25
Didn't you notice that the article there does not show any new content? They have a place to look for UFOs. So what? Some people think there might be UFOs out there. This is worth an article?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 18, 2017 7:10:59 AM | 36

Here we go again,

Trump new Security Strategy Doc: China and Russia top threats to America
https://www.fxstreet.com/news/trump-strategy-doc-china-russia-are-determined-to-make-economies-less-free-and-less-fair-201712181034

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 18, 2017 7:16:16 AM | 37

President al-Assad: War on terrorism will only end when the last terrorist in Syria is eliminated

we certainly believe that anything is better than Geneva, because Geneva hasn’t achieved anything after three years,” he added.
...
All those who work under the command of any foreign country in their own country and against their army and people are traitors, quite simply, regardless of their names, and that is our evaluation of the groups that work for the Americans in Syria,” the President said.
....
Regarding France, President al-Assad said “Since the beginning, France has been the spearhead of supporting terrorism in Syria. France’s hands are covered in Syrian blood and it has no right to evaluate any peace conference. Those who support terrorism do not have the right to talk about peace, let alone the right to interfere in the Syrian affairs. All there statements mean nothing to us and have no value.”

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 18, 2017 9:24:50 AM | 38

Iraq War Families Campaign Group has exhousted their legal options against Tony Bl;air et al. Read more https://view.publitas.com/iraq-war-families-campaign-group/legal-opinion-re-iraq-inquiry-report/page/1

Posted by: TJ | Dec 18, 2017 9:45:24 AM | 39

The arrogance of this article is stunning ...
"Russia, N. Korea Eye Bitcoin for Money Laundering, Putting It on a Crash Course with Regulators"
https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/12/russia-n-korea-eye-bitcoin-money-laundering-putting-it-crash-course-regulators/144598/?oref=d-river

I'm not a fan of N. Korea but the tone of this article is unbelievable. Basically, how dare any country try to bypass the Almighty U.S. treasury department's sanctions and engage in commerce without us being able to penalize them. Don't they know that we have the final say over all global commercial transactions?

Why is it 'money laundering' just because someone wants to bypass the U.S. dollar to escape the long reach of the U.S. Treasury Dept? It's only money laundering if a U.S. business does so in violation of U.S. law.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 18, 2017 9:46:22 AM | 40


https://www.rt.com/news/413041-us-canada-weapons-sales-ukraine/

The US approved $500 million in “defensive lethal assistance” to Ukraine on Wednesday as Trump signed into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) drafted by Congress in late November. Canada joined with the US in this move.

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 18, 2017 9:52:45 AM | 41

#41
The NDAA is an authorization, not an appropriation which is still forthcoming and must conform to sequestration limits.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2017 9:57:28 AM | 42

news report
U.S. President Donald Trump is set to present a new national security strategy that will take a hard line with China and Russia, saying the two countries are trying to “shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests.”

Russia and China couldn't ask for better publicity at a time when US failures abound and its authority is questioned everywhere, and governments are considering new alliances antithetical to U.S. values and interests.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2017 11:19:37 AM | 43

Israel's Nuclear Weapons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

Read it and you will see they have tactical weapons in various forms that would stop any mass attack on land or sea.

The only war Israel loses is a war they begin such as 2006.

Ironically, most aggressors are now losers of wars. Things have changed since WWII.
The mighty and powerful could not defeat nations that fight back.
Korea, Vietnam, Angola, Syria, Afghanistan are prime examples.
Regional "nations", like Hezbollah are also victors when attacked.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 18, 2017 12:29:02 PM | 44

@30 sorry to say you are oversimplifying and your venom here does not help; its more screw-loose BS:

And what do you have to say about the inherent complicity of the so-called US population who whatever barbarity its government could do,included the declaration of Jerusalem as undivisible capital of Israel, remains at its sitting-room waiting for the "second coming" for things in the world to be fixed, instead of going out in demonstration agaisnt warmongers in power?

One of the unfortunate results of a government gone to shit is the way the people in that particular country are blamed with the sort of drivel posted above. If you lived in the US you might know better. It is somewhat like asking why didn't the people in the Soviet Union revolt against their government.

You need to be rich enough, stabilized, and well-informed to do what you're asking here. This is not the case. The propaganda is so thick it'll frost your brain into non-service; secondly if you don't have money you get to not giving a damn or so confused and annoyed over all the lies, which now extend from every direction, there's little to be done except get yourself in front of a load of marshalls with your signs and your protest--in short, intensify the anger and the rancor.

America is being shamed by its current government system, entirely corrupted, through and through--you're blaming the wrong people. Give your message to those reduced to begging on the streets and at the supermarkets or sleeping homeless and see what they have to say.

Posted by: Sid2 | Dec 18, 2017 12:35:29 PM | 45

Agree with Sid2 at comment 45. The destruction of the middle class via the offshoring of the US industrial base, the great income disparity with a few hundred families owning most of the wealth in the US, this means that today virtually everyone I know is struggling. I am past retirement age, but still working 2 jobs, because my daughters (who are all working, too) need help and the only way to provide it is to continue to work. The dollar has lost virtually all of its value . . . food prices have gone through the roof, so has rent, so most people are up to their ears in debt, including students . . . thus not so many hear anything but the 24/7 propaganda on their way to their second job. Schools do as George Carlin once said, they produce obedient workers, not free thinkers. It is very sad to see what has become of the US during my lifetime. However, my attempts to relearn history tell me that most of what I learned in school was also propaganda (except pure sciences, of course) . . . it seems to me that has been the case since at least the beginning of the 20th century.

My main concern today is that we are about to lose the ability to access "alternative" (to the official state) information via the net. If that occurs, then what? Is there any hope of even having this sort of dialogue? Or do we just wind up in a nuclear war that destroys all?

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 18, 2017 1:32:30 PM | 46

@27 v arnold.. that link is hilarious, even if they are not trying to be funny! thanks for that..

@40 cc.. i see wikileaks is working to do the same... the us empire ain't gonna like any of that..

@45 sid2... i would like to 2nd your bang on commentary..

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 1:36:21 PM | 47

@ Perimetr | Dec 18, 2017 1:32:30 PM | 46

Sorry, but there is nobody else to blame for your downfall but yourself. Rest of the World is sick of your arrogance (caused by your ignorance), your self appointed entitlement / right to spend half of the World's resources, your constant self promotion (delusion) as a " beacon of democracy and human rights ". You have been spending beyond your means for decades, using your worthless money to pillage rest of the World ... so time has come for you to stop it, and the only way to do that is hard lending!

Posted by: ex-sa | Dec 18, 2017 1:50:52 PM | 48

Don Bacon / 43

Indeed, good point, but dont underestimate the sick neocons in EVERY EU capital, they love when Trump bash Russia.

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 18, 2017 2:26:45 PM | 49

trump on now talking about building up the military.. jesus, these fuckers never learn..

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 2:28:45 PM | 50

Well said, sid2 and perimetr.

If our humanity isn't reduced to a marauding-nomadic flavor in the coming years, we can assume that the American-led empire has been destroyed, the neocon-protestant-zionist movement will be the subject of much ire from a resurgent Catholic church, and Russia and China will have picked up the baton and donned the mantle that everyone can deface once we all realize that the rats escaped just in time and caught a returning Chinese-cargo vessel loaded with Nikes that we couldn't pay for no more.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 18, 2017 2:35:52 PM | 51

@48 shows complete lack of understanding, oversimplification, smearing and demonizing of the wrong people. If you think the ordinary masses have control of the situation and are parading exceptionalism and the rest of the neocon policies you are badly and sadly deluded. Wake up and stop generalizing.

Posted by: Sid2 | Dec 18, 2017 5:21:02 PM | 52

from the National Security Strategy

China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people... .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2017 5:21:18 PM | 53

@Perimetr | Dec 18, 2017 1:32:30 PM | 46

Monsieur, that is a depresing situation you are describing here, that of a worker who gets into poverty even when having a job or two, which is something very similar, if not plainly equal, to "slavery", if you have not noticed. Then you have also workers who do not manage to have a "health insurance", or those who suffer "energetic poverty", not being able to pay for heatting or enlighting their homes, even during their working life or then at retirement after having working the whole life.... But not only, you have besides that young people become indebted since their tender teens to then never being able to have their own home, not to mention to form their own family, in a distopian world which keeps them dependant from their aging parents for...ever?....Soon people will not inherit money or anything of value except debts... may be we are already there, aren´t we?....

This may be, perhaps, the first time in history when people who have a job continue being poor, that is "the measure of the swamp"...
Some would say that today we have many "devices" and "superfluous things" which could be deemed "luxuries", but then you have that is precisely "employers", the "educational system" and "The System" in itself which force us to have all this since they at the top require always more from us, "mobility of job" and "full time location", for to have a job and make a living, and so, you need a car if you work far from your home, lest you will pass your sleep time going or coming from home to job and viceversa....I have already heard of people who, in spite of working at supposedly more or less well payed jobs, like teachers, are living into their cars in the US....

This "still" is not happening in Europe, because we "still" enjoy the "remnants of the welfare state", achieved precisely by no other reason than the counterweight it possed the existence of a succesful socialist system at the other side of the "iron wall", and so, I hope we will "fight with teeth and nails" to defend our right to have a decent and comfortable life whenever we go to work everyday, every year, till we are old enough to not do it....

What I wonder is, if the reality there in the US is such depressing, why in the Earth you elected an oligarch to fix things instead of trying to fix them by yourself as has been always the destiny of all the workers in the world....Ah, yes, I know, that you did not consider yourself a worker, but "middle class"... Yes, I have heard that here too....That was the ilusion "The System" took a great trouble to mark with wrought iron in your head to veil your senses and sight so that you departed from the common fight of all the workers in the world, and considering yourself a "winner", worthy of the podium in the fictional Olympus capitalism is, you could be able to forget about "solidarity" with your peers when they were having a bad time...."Divide and conquer" they at the top call it...and it is their main "strategy" in "class war"....Because this is a war...and never ended to be...

Sorry to say, but this is called "Capitalism", and your government took a great trouble during the last decades to discredit and erase from the surface of Earth everything, and everybody, with could sound "socialist" or "communist", so that you would not have neither anywhere to look, nor anybody to hear, to compare....But, well, this is called "deideologization", and not only every government along your nation´s short history, but also your current administration, and its mercenary army of commenters/bloggers in the so called "US alt-media", took the great trouble to talk against "ideologies" and even "democracy", and "equate communism with fascism"... No other thing I have read during all these last 4 years...., so that you got to believe that a billionaire could anytime "drain the swamp", resulting any benefit for you.....This is why I feel a deep "contempt and disgust"( "profundo desprecio y asco", in Spanish, in case of any doubt or tendence to soften the meaning... ) for everybody who have taken part in this "scam", and I could tell you a bunch of names, real and nicknames....Some of them were already commenting some weeks ago about the "resurgence and good health of communism" , in spite of all....The little man who has previously confessed to have been all his "deplorable" life and continue being an "anti-communist agent" ( in spite of having played before the "communist friend", most probably as another way to achieve more mercenary income by delating "his preys" achieved by this way... ) sounded quite scared and worried, indeed...

This is why you do not need to worry about the dissapearance of internet communication, since comrades of all ages in the surface of Earth have managed to meet, talk and organize ( from, at least, the times of Jesus around the so fighted for, Jerusalem ) to fight the "beast of fascism" which is given birth by "capitalism" when in their final pregnant fase, "Imperialism", the shit is high enough to hit the fan.... A beast that only brings misery, poverty, slavery and perpetual war, except for those of mercenary unscrupulous condition, those who will sell their mothers into slavery for the single goal of just rising hardly their heads over the "swamp", since this is how they feel well, when shit reaches everywhere and everybody, and they feel, finally, like "kings of the shit"...( well, some of them have grudges for having lost a remote aristocratic past because of the "communists", and the thing is to be "king of something", no wonder it could be the very shit )...You know, "they love their privileges".....

Thus, may be it is time to stop losing our time at "blogs", which could well only serve the "purpose" of locating dissent to get it blacklisted, and start contacting our peers and our neighbours ( socialists or not ) to start thinking "what is to be done", since any fake-tanned billionaire keen on touching women without permission and hitting a little ball with a stick in fields better cared than most of the population of his damned country, without anything resembling a scruple, will do such a work for you, since it is against its very nature....

Sorry to be so cinic, but I fear this is the "state of affairs" in planet Earth right now.

A well administered dose of reality did never do any harm to anybody, as every of your beloved and sacrified mothers will corroborate anytime you give them the opportunity.....

Posted by: elsi | Dec 18, 2017 5:42:20 PM | 54

@35 Yes slowly but surely, Zionism is toast..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 18, 2017 6:11:05 PM | 55

The average American probably doesn't care two shakes about the status of Jerusalem. Americans like most people in the world care about their daily lives and their families and their two or three jobs and that's enough.
What the average American doesn't know and isn't told is that the US isn't the greatest country in the world as claimed, and that average Americans suffer more than their counterparts in other advanced countries, in many ways.
These include health care shortcomings which result in high infant and maternal mortality and a shorter life, longer work-year, high suicide, gun violence and incarceration, lowest median wealth, poor education, more militarization, lack of political choices (two look-alike parties), people living in poverty and rampant homelessness, corruption and lack of objective information sources, and poor public transportation all resulting in low life satisfaction.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2017 6:30:22 PM | 56

WRT the Nikki Haley show-and-tell I was listening to the armscontrolwonk podcast and actually heard Jeffrey Lewis - a man constantly in awe of his own cleverness - pointing out the importance of *various bits of mangled rocketry before ending it on a note of caution i.e. the "rocket" that was on display is obviously cobbled together from the parts of TWO rockets, and if the Saudis aren't above cobbling together evidence then maybe... juuuuuuust maybe..... they also aren't above dropping a few juicy rocket bits from the Syrian battlefield into that pile.

I was staggered. Never before had I heard Jeffrey Lewis voice any doubt over the veracity of whatever "rocket porn" is presented to him for his obligatory masturbatory response.

Or, put another way, the presence of even the shadow of a doubt in the mind of Jeffrey Lewis means that the evidence as-produced is near-certain to be deliberate misinformation.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Dec 18, 2017 6:31:44 PM | 57

Don Bacon | Dec 18, 2017 5:21:18 PM | 53

But of course--it's a Big Lie Strategy exclusively for Big Lie Empire. And it's said there're no ideological differences existing between post-communist Russia and the Outlaw US Empire. Just compare the ideal driving BRI/EAEU with the current GOP plan to further immiserate the Metropole's Proles. Lets break out the Victory Gin and cabbage an celebrate the wisdom of those telling the scribes what words to write for Trump to speak.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18, 2017 6:39:10 PM | 58

@ elsi who writes about the System, Capitalism and Imperialism

While I agree with much of what you write I suggest to you and others that those concepts you write of are fig leaf cover for the real tenets of the West form of social organization which are private finance with usury and private property with inheritance.

If society were to decide to make all the tools of finance functions of a public utility, eliminate usury and set limits on ongoing ownership of property, I posit that all/most of the bad incentives driving our current social system would be eliminated and we would have the opportunity to forge other ways of organizing ourselves....other than slaves.

I also argue strongly that attacking individuals or groups is futile whereas attacking the tools that others use to control our society are fair game and defensible from a firm foundation unlike persona/group attacks.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 6:47:35 PM | 59

Don't you see the irony of Israelis consciously faking outrage at Nuttyahoo, while 'unconsciously' accepting the booty stolen from Palestinians?

Posted by: nudge | Dec 18, 2017 1:53:27 AM | 30

No, I do not, since I do not believe it is fake anytime when working people goes out in the streets in demonstrations when their jobs are in danger and thus their way of making a living.
And I do not, because the claims of them, Israeli workers, are exactly the same as ours here in Spain, but not only, they are the same of all workers around the world where we have had the fatality of having a far-right government in charge, say, unending bubbles of whatever, ( real states, banking, you name it...), increasingly lower wages and lesser services at our dispossal, as well as increasingly higuer taxes and prices for every item of first necessity. To this add the widespread corruption of our governments, which include not only the shameful bribes they receive from the same big corporations they subsidize with our taxes, but also, do not know doing anything except driving us to war, as another way to please big corporations and foreign countries for to take additional bribes.

Even in the supposed scenery of the Israel working people were not conscious of what is falling over them by the "Jerusalem declaration" and by continuing the same path on warmongering, that I do not belive even for a moment, then, I repeat you again and fro last time, "me daría con un canto en los dientes" if they would manage to overthrown that government for corruption and mismanagement. The thing is getting rid of "The Bibi", his Sara and his party of demential thugs, like "The Lieberman", for starters, to put a stop at this race, and then, we will do think something to "enlighten" the Israeli people after that by whatever means...Seyyed Nasrallah does what he can by broadcasting his speeches till their very homes...learn a bit from a wise man....

Consider it, if you want, like the case of "Al Capone" ( and never better comparison..), that you are not able to grab him for his worst crimes?, then grab him for tax evasion....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikBZK-sG2A8


And, btw, your intend of discrediting a legitimate and well justified workers protest shout volumes about your ideological background... Even Putin at his last annual Q&A had some words for to talk against "Occupy Wall Street", which I do not deny could be infiltrated by far-right counteractivists payed by the oligarchs ( as every leftist movement in the world have been, is and will be... ) but had for sure people inside really wanting to fight and fighting against the excesses of capitalism of which Putin have no word to say about....Whatever so as to discredit and demonize any kind of dissent, protest, claim for legitimate human rights, which could lead to waste their oligarchic wonderland...

Posted by: elsi | Dec 18, 2017 7:36:18 PM | 60

james | Dec 18, 2017 1:36:21 PM | 47

Yes, wasn't it. I think the humour was intentional to make the point.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 7:41:58 PM | 61

elsi | Dec 18, 2017 7:36:18 PM | 60

You make salient points; however, you're addressing a society that largely doesn't understand the word, responsibility.
At its root, it points to the ability to respond.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 7:58:58 PM | 62

"@ elsi who writes about the System, Capitalism and Imperialism

"While I agree with much of what you write I suggest to you and others that those concepts you write of are fig leaf cover for the real tenets of the West form of social organization which are private finance with usury and private property with inheritance..."

259 What you say is unexceptionable. And I'd be surprised if elsi does not agree with you. Private property and usury are the central features of capitalism and thus imperialism.
Generally speaking there was very little private property in land before capitalism, most peasant systems operate on the basis that land should belong to the tiller.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18, 2017 8:05:04 PM | 63

@63 bevin... i think the term was the ''commons''.. capitalism takes what belongs to everyone and turn it into what belongs to only a few (the ones who hired lawyers, lol) ... it accelerated the past 100 years, and especially the last 50 to where we are today.. nothing is 'commons' anymore, or very, very little.. all is private and owned by a few.. sad kettle of fish really... the legal system has embedded it in some sort of permanent way where a person is doing something illegal if they go against this set up...

the folks working common ground who share what they had... it belonged to the community... i have encouraged others to check out charles eisenstiens work... he wrote a book called sacred economics that some might enjoy reading.. you can read it and his other works online for free..

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 8:13:20 PM | 64

@64 I assume you are talking about 'commons' as defined by British law.

It's more accurate to talk about 'rights of commons' since all land is owned by some person or corporation....in other words all land is private.

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/common-lands/

I don't know how property ownership works in Canada but a simple test would be to see what happens if you stop paying taxes on the property.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 8:35:08 PM | 65

@65 dh.. prior to stinkin british empire crap /law - i believe it was the term used..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 8:51:49 PM | 66

@66 Stinkin british empire crap started with the Norman Conquest when all land became the property of the crown. Dukes, earls etc. held land as long as they owed allegiance.to the crown. Smaller units called manors granted grazing rights to commoners.

George III ceded certain property rights to Parliament and a lot of land became public in name but administered by the government. I think that’s how it works in Commonwealth countries where lot of crown land has become national parks.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 8:59:23 PM | 67

One of the reasons the european imperialists cut such a huge swathe through the 'colonies' was that when the whitefellas purchased land the 'vendors' had no idea of what they were getting into. The very notion of private property as applied to land in particular was alien to them. Even those who understood they were ceding that right to clearance and tilling failed to comprehend that the land would be lost for good, that it wouldn't be returned back to the locals when as per usual the whitefellas got bored and moved on to something else. As for resale european capitalism with its attendant moneylending which made land speculation the blight on all humans that it is today, well that was a totally incomprehensible notion.
Yet it persists, as I've pointed out too many times even in those intances where indigenous people have been able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their land was stolen without knowledge much less recompense, the great 'land returns' have only applied to government owned lands. Anything in private ownership is retained by the theives or whomsoever they sold it to, despite the knowledge it was stolen being widespread at the time the sale was made.
Ask the Tūhoe
Yet if I go to Craigslist and find a great motor vehicle or boat going cheap which later turns out to be stolen, the jacks will be round in a flash to separate me from my wrongly obtained goods even if I was naive enough to believe that owner really only wanted 200 bucks for his '67 Mustang... maybe he liked me.
Not so if yer an unwhite and some sleazy bank has loaned money to the thief who stole yer property.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 18, 2017 9:32:03 PM | 68

@67 That's kind of like what the Normans did to the Anglo Saxons in 1066. That's when all land became the property of the crown. Dukes, earls etc. held land as long as they owed allegiance to the crown. Smaller units called manors granted grazing rights to commoners.

Nowaday land is public in name but administered by the government. I think that’s how it works in Commonwealth countries where a lot of crown land has become national parks.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 9:40:11 PM | 69

There are lands that are not privately owned but publicly owned, and managed by the people's system of governance. The National Parks of the US are one example.

But the Commons are really more notable for their system of land management than for their ultimate nexus of ownership. This is where they shine, and exceed other systems. Despite the deep-rooted meme about the "Tragedy of the Commons", in fact a commons is the most successful way to manage land and keep its productivity within its carrying capacity - exactly the opposite of the doom pronounced in the "Tragedy".

I used to have good links for all this, good places to start. There's a lot of information online and in books about the commons - and ironically I'd have to spend more time than I have to sort out the best ones from scratch. Commons are extant systems around the world, not just curiosities of history. Modern ventures using the principles of the commons exist, and while some have endured for centuries, others have been started new in recent decades. The system works well. Cooperation rather than competition - it increases yield every time. No wonder it's been given such a bad reputation.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 18, 2017 9:46:55 PM | 70

dh and others... here in canada - there was much that was crown land, but that has been constantly eroded by private corporations and politicians in the pay of the same corporations, to remove land from the crown and put it into private ownership - private ownership being the way of neoliberalism and of course the best way to generate more money for some.. it is really about converting any common anything belonging to everyone into money.. in order to do that it has to be privatized... otherwise - our national parks aren't worth shit to an economist who only understands something when it is in a dollar figure..

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 9:55:41 PM | 71

@69 "Modern ventures using the principles of the commons exist,"

Do you have any examples? Seems the trend has been towards larger agricultural units in the name of productivity and efficiency. Of course that's why we have horrific companies like Monsanto deciding what we should eat.

The reaction to that has been a corresponding increase in organic produce, farmers markets etc. which tend to be more expensive.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:00:58 PM | 72

don't mind me.. i guess i am a scottish highland reprobate that has never reformed, even though my family has been here in canada over 300 years..

Posted by: james | Dec 18, 2017 10:02:57 PM | 73

@ 70 It's only really private though as long as the taxes are paid. Same with all property taxes. Tax revenues are what the government wants.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:04:41 PM | 74

dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:04:41 PM | 73

True, but, there are still countries that do not tax property upon which a home is built.
One can still "own" their home tax free.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 10:17:58 PM | 75

I've made this point before, so please forgive any repetition.

William Irwin Thompson has made the case in his wonderful book, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, that the greatest achievement of the female of our species - the original scientist, doctor, teacher and spiritual guide - was to so well classify the plants of the natural world that agriculture could develop, and nomadic gathering could cease.

With the storage of food, wealth came into being, and the evidence of mass violence began in the anthropological record of humans. Men took over and made violence the cost of ownership, women were cast from the sacred mysteries and became chattel. Everything that bothers us today stems from this root.

Not that we have to go back to that root in order to fix the current situation. But it's worth knowing the scale of the sin that we inhabit. This is a patriarchal world we live in, and the patriarchy has allowed competition to vanquish cooperation.

In more modern terms, the struggle of this world remains a struggle of the poor to live in peace, while the rich plunder them. The planet gives an abundance far beyond our needs, and the rulers are consumed with greed for all of it, and hatred for the poor, who are allowed to live only to gather the bounty of life, and to be robbed of it.

The poor can try to kill the rich, but the rich have lots of time, and spend all of it watching for this very danger. The only other option seems to be to go around the rich, to make them irrelevant and to protect our earnings from their theft. We could have public money, as psychohistorian so rightly tells us, but we'll need a working government of some kind to do that - in the US, a state-level government is sufficient, as the Bank of North Dakota shows us, and as Ellen Brown continually preaches and somehow is still alive. Or perhaps we can create our own money anyway - this is the revolutionary promise of the blockchain, that brings its own governance and invokes the principles of the Commons for management.

There is no one answer that fits all needs, but I would insist in all cases that the paradigm of "the powerful rich stealing from the powerless poor" will always be the ruling dynamic to account for, in all proposals.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 18, 2017 10:20:41 PM | 76

@74 I don't know which countries you are talking about but I know places where squatters shacks get periodically bulldozed.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:23:26 PM | 77

RR @ 5 said:"Russia has the correct answer for the ME. Diplomacy and economic development."

Agreed, will the empire let it happen without killing thousands or more? The corporate 4th Reich must have it's market share.

Many good posts, thanks all..

bevin, welcome back, its been a while..

Posted by: ben | Dec 18, 2017 10:42:15 PM | 78

dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:23:26 PM | 76

Thailand is one of the countries; there are actually quite a few others;
https://nomadcapitalist.com/2014/05/27/countries-with-no-property-taxes-really-home/

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 10:43:15 PM | 79

@78 That's great. Let's hope they don't decide to change the law or find other ways to tax their citizens. What's a bottle of Singha beer cost these days?

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:50:07 PM | 80

@75 more...

So, based on the dynamic of all struggles being the same, that of "the powerful rich stealing from the powerless poor", it becomes easier to see that what we call "capitalism" under any name is just a piece of propaganda to cover the crime of theft, and what we call "socialism", under any of its names, is an attempt to return to cooperation and negate the damage caused by competition, which has devolved into a race to see who can steal the most first.

I view the existence of the state of Israel as a perfect example of this same plunder, by the way. All coming from the same causes, and all amenable to the same solutions, whatever they may be.

The solutions to all of the struggles lie in striving to substitute peaceful agreements for surrender treaties. To institute cooperation and coexistence under the equality of law, rather than the alliances of realpolitik until the wind changes as it always does. This is why I admire Russia so much, for its constant striving to bring peace between willing participants rather than simply to conquer others through warfare. And we have seen that this works.

I don't think that the nations of the Middle East will drive the Israeli inhabitants from the land, but they will drive Israel from its possession of the land. They will force a cooperation rather than a competition. And the Israelis will either soften to this or die or leave. But some will remain, and will have to coexist, on the terms of the original inhabitants whose land was stolen. And it won't go nuclear, but it will become hell to live in Israel.

And if this is not possible in this place and in this plane of activity then nothing is possible, in any place or any plane of activity. If it is not possible for the poor to live in peace and protect themselves from the predation of the rich in their very land holdings then it is not possible for the poor to have money free of the tithe to the banker, that age-old money-changer.

So the struggle is universal, as the socialists say. There is no difference between private finance that charges interest yet delivers nothing in return, and stolen land held by force of arms and with no recompense paid. It's all plunder, and it's been going on for a long time, and continues unabated, and wherever it is checked and turned back, is a victory in the struggle. Be it Palestine or the new Bank of a US State.

These are exciting times.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 18, 2017 11:02:49 PM | 81

Slightly off topic but did anybody notice Trump's tweet following the train derailment in Seattle?

"The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly," tweeted Trump. "Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!"

That should resonate with his base.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18, 2017 11:20:42 PM | 82

@ Grieved with nice comment # 75 and thanks or the H/T

Grieved
"
....With the storage of food, wealth came into being, and the evidence of mass violence began in the anthropological record of humans. Men took over and made violence the cost of ownership, women were cast from the sacred mysteries and became chattel. Everything that bothers us today stems from this root.....
......This is a patriarchal world we live in, and the patriarchy has allowed competition to vanquish cooperation.......
"
That competition was the root of private finance and property ownership and the underlying frontier outlet for population growth has not evolved commensurately. I read somewhere long ago that about 7% of the population actually own the land they live on...anyone have any current data? Not all cultures in the past/nor present agree with the private property and inheritance concept which can be separated from the private/public finance issue mostly.

IMO, blockchain types of "currency" won't work until/unless you have computers/networks that are secure.....and those being tried currently will potentially fail for that reason.

I keep coming back to want to change the basic incentives that private finance and usury force on society along with the enforcement of the patriarchy meme that Grieved outlined in his comment above. We need to evolve a government or range of governments that balance the cooperative and competitive components of our socio-economic system to the benefit of the masses instead of the few.....not all cultures will support the same mix but if all have public finance base, it will insure development and management issues are ALWAYS handled as sovereign nation issues and not influenced by a small historically entitled collection of families.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 11:31:18 PM | 83

dh | Dec 18, 2017 10:50:07 PM | 79

Singha is about $2.50 USD (฿80) for a 630 ml. bottle.
A bowl of spicy noodle soup is still under $1 USD and fried basil, rice, and chicken or pork about the same.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 11:39:43 PM | 84

74, 78;

Re (74)
"... there are still countries that do not tax property upon which a home is built. One can still "own" their home tax free."

And re (78)
"Thailand is one of the countries;"


So, Thailand IS one of those countries, IFF one has Thai citizenship:

"Foreigners cannot own land, except in some very exceptional cases for very long and well established foreigners. (A foreigner can own a house but not the land under the house.)" Source

And becoming a Thai citizen takes 8-10 years, minimum:
Source

Posted by: Herk | Dec 18, 2017 11:49:50 PM | 85

psychohistorian | Dec 18, 2017 11:31:18 PM | 82
....With the storage of food, wealth came into being, and the evidence of mass violence began in the anthropological record of humans. Men took over and made violence the cost of ownership, women were cast from the sacred mysteries and became chattel. Everything that bothers us today stems from this root.....

You need to qualify that; when the first "western" colonists arrived, the eastern native nations had vast graneries of stored food. There was none of the western violence as a result of their wealth.
The violence that did commence came wholly from the colonist's in their genocide against the native nations; eventually across the entire continent. Howard Zinn covers that quite thoroughly in his wonderful book. Oliver Stone and Peter Kusnick have a great documentary as well.
The violence you address is wholly a construct of the western world.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 11:52:59 PM | 86

Herk | Dec 18, 2017 11:49:50 PM | 84
True, non-Thai's cannot own land; even a condo has to be above the ground level.
I am extremely fortunate to have a Thai wife (just passed our 13th anniversary) and "she" bought a house for us to live within.
I own nothing here, quite literally, and love that freedom.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 12:01:10 AM | 87

Addendum: my name is registered to the house; but that in no way gives me ownership.
The advantage is in my renewing my residency on an anual basis.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 12:03:55 AM | 88

I went looking for some good links as introduction to The Commons.

A good place to start is On The Commons. Jay Walljasper, one of the founders, has a book called All That We Share, which is a great primer on the subject of the modern relevance of the commons. You'll find it linked on the home page.

Also associated with them is David Bollier, author of Think Like a Commoner - that link goes to the home website.

Skimming through the first link I found two articles that jumped out at me. One is by Bollier and talks about his collaboration with international law and humans right scholar, Weston Burns, who showed him how human rights and the commons are siblings, joined. This makes complete sense practically intuitively, and crystallizes for me the joining of rich-poor plunder in both money and land that I was musing about earlier.

The other article offered an estimate of the value of the commons in the US: How Much is the Commons Worth? - In the US alone, almost as much as all private wealth. The calculations are of ecosystem contribution to the economy combined with cultural and community contributions. It concludes:

...there are two important differences between our common and private wealth:

• Our private wealth is superbly organized (property rights, corporations, lobbyists, etc.) to expand at the expense of common wealth. By contrast, our common wealth is poorly organized and extremely vulnerable to private takings.

• Our private wealth, owned mostly by a small minority, pays cash dividends to its owners. Our common wealth, owned by everyone, does not (save for the Alaska Permanent Fund).

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 19, 2017 12:04:50 AM | 89

@62 V. Arnold.

Did you surrender your American citizenship when you moved to Thailand or are you an American citizen living in Thailand?

Anybody can run away from a problem.

On behalf of Antifa, BLM, my anarchist friends, and every other swinging dick "living" in America" that is fighting the power, I'm offended. There are many here struggling to right the wrongs which you seem to relish. If you still have your American citizenship, that makes you a hypocrite. If you surrendered your citizenship, that makes you something even more distasteful(to me anyway) and more closely related to the problems that plagues not only America but the world. The "me first" mentality.

Your blanket statement that we Americans don't understand responsibility illustrates a complete lack of understanding of American society.

So tell me V. Arnold, what would you suggest we do to fix our country?

Move to Thailand?

I do look forward to your response.

b4real

Posted by: b4real | Dec 19, 2017 12:34:04 AM | 90

V. Arnold | Dec 18, 2017 11:52:59 PM | 85

Yes, I assumed your situation was about as you describe it. Sounds most fortunate. Congratulations. 13 is a good number. I'm from the "States" as well; in Thailand 7 years; married for 6.

Posted by: Herk | Dec 19, 2017 12:39:46 AM | 91

So here is a description of how the English Commons evolved through enclosures from David McNally - Monsters of the Market_ Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism
"
It is often forgotten that capitalism fully emerges only where older, communal forms of economic life have disintegrated, or, more accurately perhaps, where they have been dissected. For capitalism to develop, customary ties between people and the land must be severed, and communal obligations among people disrupted. Throughout most of recorded history, the majority of human beings have lived as peasants, organised into family-units whose members work the land collectively (usually along patriarchal lines) and share resources within the community. Access to land in such societies generally required the performance of services for powerful lords and masters. But, on such terms, such access was usually heritable. Peasants thus typically possessed land as their primary means of producing the goods of life, and often enjoyed access to common lands open to nearly all members of the village-community. The subsistence of people in such rural societies was largely secured, therefore, without recourse to the market. Because almost every household held land, and usually had access to communal lands as well, they could directly procure the foodstuffs, fuel and materials necessary for survival (barring drought or violent appropriation of their produce). While people might go to the market to sell surplus-goods and acquire specific items, their survival did not depend upon market transactions.
Capitalism, by contrast, is a society of systematic market-dependence, one in which survival depends upon individuals finding a buyer for a good or service (usually labour) that they offer on the market. What distinguishes capitalism, therefore, is not the existence of markets, but the unique imperatives of market-compulsion in which owners and labourers have no means of reproducing themselves other than by selling and buying.50 And, for the majority of people, such compulsion arises only where they have been detached from direct access to the means of life of the sort provided by family-plots and common lands. Once the majority is so subjected to markets, including the market in labour, people become both regular sellers (of their labour-power) and regular buyers (of the subsistence-goods they require). Capitalists, too, become market-dependent; they purchase their means of production (labour, raw materials, tools and machines) on the market, just as they sell there the goods whose production they supervise. Although the market-experience is radically different for each group – a potential source of profit for the capitalist and a constant site of exploitation for the worker – it is the central regulator of social-economic life for both.
The rise of such a market-system required the destruction of the older village-economy, whose death knell was sounded with the widespread enclosure of land, particularly common lands, and the extinction of the open-field system. At the most basic level, enclosure involved a spatial reorganisation of land-ownership and use. The traditional feudal economy had been organised around the lord’s manor with most land in the hands of peasants who held leases (usually as either freeholders or copyholders, whose terms and obligations were outlined in manor-documents), and were obliged to pay rents and services to their lord. Family-holdings were often geographically dispersed (a given owner possessing scattered strips of land) and much land was organised as open fields available to the entire village-community after harvest and in fallow seasons. In addition to open fields, the manorial economy contained common fields, forests and ‘wastes’ where any inhabitant could graze livestock; hunt; fish; pick fruit, berries and herbs; glean grain; gather wood (for both building materials and fuel) as well as peat, coal and stones; and pick bulrushes that could be woven into mats, baskets, seats for chairs, or used for bedding. These rights of the community (or of most of its members) were regulated by an assembly of cultivators – either the manor-court or a gather- ing of the village-community.51
The reader may have noticed that I have used the word ‘held’ rather than ‘owned’ in my description of peasant-possession of land. Under classical feudal law, all land belonged to the king of the realm. Individuals, including lords, had rights to use land only if they rendered proper service to their superiors. Rights to property were thus conditional; the idea of absolute private property simply had no place in such a society. Indeed, historians have been unable to find a clear definition of ‘property’ in English legal writings prior to the eighteenth century.52 Nevertheless, long leases, which were typical in the period 1450–1700, gave peasant-households a stability of possession, and their common rights gave them an enduring sense of community-membership. Moreover, because privately-held fields were generally open, and sometimes subject to a variety of communal rights, the peasant-economy was both public and shared.
The early enclosure-movement initiated a long process by which common rights and the open-field economy were displaced by capitalist forms of private property. Not that any of this could have been clear at the outset to those wealthy tenant-freeholders in search of larger farms, or lords look- ing for higher rents, each of whom began to concentrate and enclose land. Yet, in facilitating the construction of spatially unified properties bounded by hedges and fences, the first enclosures began the dissolution of communal rights. Spatial concentration of land may have made possible the application of new techniques – which were often cost-effective only if applied on a relatively large scale – but it also went hand in hand with its social concentration, as poor peasants were bought out (often when land was demanded as debt- payment), defrauded of land (in cases where there were no written records of their tenancies), or forced out by jacked up rents or entry-fees when leases expired. In arranging local enclosures to the benefit of wealthy tenants, lords deepened divisions within the village-community, exacerbating the disparity between rich and poor peasants, and weakening the capacities of communities to resist collectively. As some of the earliest enclosers, rich tenants or yeomen also undermined their poorest neighbours, for whom enclosure was frequently disastrous.
"

He goes on to detail the enclosure movement from 1500 on in detail as this quote shows
"
The scale of the transformation that occurred over one hundred and fifty years was staggering: whereas peasants had occupied two thirds of all lands at the Restoration (1660), they held a mere ten percent by the end of the next century.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 19, 2017 12:48:50 AM | 92

Herk | Dec 19, 2017 12:39:46 AM | 90
Yes, I assumed your situation was about as you describe it. Sounds most fortunate. Congratulations. 13 is a good number. I'm from the "States" as well; in Thailand 7 years; married for 6.

Congrats, the average stay is 5 years.
I've been here for 15 years and will be buried, erm no, burned here.
Where are you? Ratchaburi (not the city) for me, in a fairly rural setting.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 12:50:31 AM | 93

b4real | Dec 19, 2017 12:34:04 AM | 89

I have nothing to offer you.
I'm sorry for you though; so buried in your belief system; blinded by magical thinking ideologies.
Non-existant critical thinking skills.
Good luck with that

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 12:56:11 AM | 94

@ 93 V. Arnold

I expected more style in your response.

Nothing to offer?

Yet you provided me with a semi-insulting psycho-analysis and fake sympathy.

I am not so blinded by my magical ideologies that I can't recognize an asshole when I read one.

How's that for critical thinking?

Be good.

b4real

Posted by: b4real | Dec 19, 2017 1:40:40 AM | 95

Fuck AT&T and smartass phones.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 19, 2017 2:15:02 AM | 96

V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 12:50:31 AM | 92

I'm in my wife's home village of Wiang Wai (population ~800), which is about 6 km west of Fang, Jangwat Chiang Mai. Rural as well. I'm all-in here till the end as well.


Posted by: Herk | Dec 19, 2017 2:18:20 AM | 97

Who killed the Circus?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswd34

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 19, 2017 2:19:23 AM | 98

On another subject, Trump issued a national security report on Monday and directly below is the quote about it from a China article linked further below.

"
The report refers to China and Russia as "revisionist powers," listing them as "competitors" seeking to alter the status quo that favors the U.S.
"

Think about what exactly that status quo is. The status quo that the revisionist powers are seeking to alter is the Western world of private finance.....I am anxious to read further parsing of this report.

The link

Trump's national security strategy stresses competition, economic security

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 19, 2017 2:19:59 AM | 99

Herk | Dec 19, 2017 2:18:20 AM | 96

You must be freezing your butt off right now.
We hit a balmy 18°c this morning. ;-)

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 19, 2017 2:34:32 AM | 100

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