Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 11, 2016

Open Thread 2016-03

(While I am busy ...)

Your news & views ...


Posted by b on January 11, 2016 at 18:31 UTC | Permalink

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O Bomba, Where Art Thou?

"Fcuk the EU"; "Screw the World"; and pass me the "Wall St Bullsh_t"

This drone clone clown has left millions in constant sorrow...!

Hold ya breath, hold ya nose, and hold onto ya wallet.

With China dumping usd$, Russian Ruble oil trades and Saudi selling the Aramco oil farm to soak up a few $trillion (and keep demand for usd$ up) the state of the Union is looking pretty sick. Yes, teach ya kids to code computers -- hey they might catch up to India's 20-year head start on 1/10th of the wages.

On with the show...

(You can tell it's fade out stage left as they up the grey in his hairline... he'll be white by Xmas'16)

Next please!

Posted by: x | Jan 13 2016 12:12 utc | 101

Chipnik 99

*Is Hersh being naive in thinking that ISIS is not controlled by the Pentagon and its friends?

*s Hersh being naive in not thinking that ISIS is being run by Mossad?

*Is Hersh being naive in thinking that the Muslim Brotherhood is not run by the CIA and its friends?)

*Is Hersh being naive in thinking that the CIA does not run al Qaida?)


Posted by: denk | Jan 13 2016 15:53 utc | 102

chipnik 100

apparently it all depends on the occasion.
state of union is the annual murkkan chest beating fuck fest, when it comes to pork barrel time, it'd be a completely different tune. !

it seems only yesterday that we were told....
*china/russia is closing the technology gap fast, pentagon needs another couple of trillions to maintain our military superiority*


Posted by: denk | Jan 13 2016 16:53 utc | 103

jfl at 91. Yes, Orwell. What I was pointing to is that the 1% are defined in financial (income, assets) terms. While they wield influence by buying pols and others, they are dependent on the system as a whole, while are a part of it of course, yet they are parasites, scammers, who rely on the whole network, and a certain degree of stability, or let’s say predictability that permits some kind of strategic thinking, manipulation, planning. The network only exists because of the 20% who participate in it whole-heartedly, uphold it, make it function. Without the ‘other’ 20% or more (trickle-down of monetarised power-relations) the 1% are toast.

Lone Wolf, yes, arduous, here is one paper PDF.eng (from Swiss analysts) that makes a stab at analysing corporate control, hard work with uncertain results.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 13 2016 17:14 utc | 104

This thread is about dead, anyway response to Jackrabbit 83.

Greenwald makes the case that terr0r!st attacks are ‘blow-back’

Ha ha. (Didn’t read Greenwald.) This is the usual Democrat hand-wringing nonsensical excuse, the meme is, we have been so bad and so nasty it it natural, normal to expect a riposte (“blow-back.”) Thereby, agression (bombing, murder, war, countlesss dead, etc.) are thrown into a frame of the bully husband with the passive-agressive wife; there will something to pay, somehow, if you repress, control and attack, expect some sh•t to come down the pipe.

This framework neatly sidesteps the primary agression, which is left in the shade, and thus legitimised..taken for granted. It also judges the counter-attack (if any, and astonishingly not much has come down) as a pin-prick which one should understand, tolerate, but nevertheless act against! (Jimmy, son, or Alicia, wife, is ‘acting up.’ I need to get a grip on that..!)

What mendacity.

The attitude also serves to leave international politics out of the picture entirely, it is a dumbing-down move.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 13 2016 18:03 utc | 105

Robert Parry on What Hillary Knew about Libya. Sad, sad reading.


Posted by: jawbone | Jan 13 2016 20:52 utc | 106

Here is a BBC article about agnotology (manufacturing of ignorance)

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 14 2016 1:13 utc | 107

psychohistorian | Jan 13, 2016 8:13:51 PM | 109

Thank you for the new word (agnotology) and the great link.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 14 2016 1:33 utc | 108

@V. Arnold@110

Thank you for the new word (agnotology) and the great link.

I second that. Great get, psychohistorian, a new word for my collection.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 14 2016 2:45 utc | 109

The long-form live performance of The Downward Spiral in Banderastan continues apace.

New Cold War reproduces, as an "FYI" a Bloomberg News item. They're concerned,. watching as the Ukraine flirts with suicide. They begin by citing the recent dust-ups in the Cabinet and the august Rada, and continue by noting attempts by interested oligarchs in derailing investigation into corruption. Not to mention sqabbling over the budget (everyone's favorite legislative pastime!), a possible no-confidence vote, and an attempt to impeach the prosecutor-general.

They remind one and all that Biden urged unity, and "that In a joint statement, Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and parliament Speaker Volodymyr Hroisman blamed 'corrupt oligarchs' for instigating an 'anti-government, hysterical and anti-state campaign....' [adding] togetherness is needed for 'successful changes' in Ukraine."

Isn't that special?

But the important thing is that everyone's money is safe, for now.

“We expect parliament will pass the budget, the IMF program will continue with minor delays and the coalition will remain intact in the next six months,” strategist Vadim Khramov said in a research note.

Even if lawmakers do what’s necessary for Ukraine to receive its next slice of aid, there are still issues that promise to remain unsettling in 2016....

“It’s obvious that rifts within the governing coalition are becoming a hindrance to policy making,” Eurasia Group analyst Alex Brideau said in an e-mailed note. “The likelihood Yatsenyuk stays in office means that these battles will likely intensify in early 2016.”

NCW also has an interesting account of increasing corruption and its socio-political implications.

According to Transparency International, Ukraine is now the most corrupt country in Europe.... If corruption is Ukraine’s number one security threat... why would Ukraine’s reformist leaders not throw all they’ve got on combating this threat, rather than spending millions of dollars on fighting the home-rule activists in Donbas under the banner of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation (ATO)”?

The ATO is ruinous for the economy, destructive of society and counterproductive for the task of national unity it allegedly serves... Then why destroy the country you were sworn to protect?... Because the war brings profits to those in power on a scale no other activity may be able to bring. The war demands extraordinary expenses, and their very scale and extraordinary character disguises thievery and misappropriation of funds.

The war devalues assets that can be bought cheaply after it ends. The war devastates the land that can be sold with profit to the right person with little, if any, local objection....

Unfortunately, this sort of logic, and not the logic of the national interest or national unity seems to be behind Kiev’s procrastination with implementation of the Minsk agreements. The European Union would be well advised to add the sixth requirement to its list of conditions that must be met before the visa free-regime with Ukraine will have been enacted – the requirement of full cessation of hostilities in Donbas and full implementation of the Minsk agreements on decentralized, multicultural and ethnically and ideologically tolerant Ukraine.

"Ethnically and ideologically tolerant." As the Beach Boys once sang, Wouldn't it be nice? I'm sure Nuland will be serving cookies again at the next drum circle.

If I might chime in on the late, great David Bowie. "Fame" and "Young Americans" were part of the soundtrack of my youth, but I liked his Fripp/Eno years the best. "Heroes" perhaps his best song, "Scary Monsters" perhaps the best overall album. Love the guitar work on Teenage Wildlife. While I never liked Tin Machine, I respected him for doing it.

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 14 2016 3:11 utc | 110

Oops, too busy DJ'ing, forgot the link on corruption. Mikhail Molchanov says Ukraine’s corruption is at a crossroads

Posted by: rufus magister | Jan 14 2016 3:14 utc | 111

@30 cont'd 'The same stuff is being played across Europe and North America, custom fit for local conditions.'

'Racist' Charlie Hebdo Once More Mocks 3-Year-Old Aylan Kurdi

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is under fire once again for mocking three-year-old drowned Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, this time depicting him as a would-be rapist in Cologne, Germany.

This is the French version. Note the similarity in the Hebdo graphic described above and the quote from the USraeli Hilltopper @56.

During Hanukkah, Shekhtman was a guest at a Jewish wedding at which a group of young men danced while waving guns in the air. One thrust a knife through a photograph of Ali Saad Dawabsheh, the infant killed in the Duma fire. Video footage of the wedding was leaked to the press, causing mainstream Israelis to recoil at the radicalism in their midst. Shekhtman said he did not see the man stabbing the photo. But the idea did not scandalize him.

“It doesn’t bother me. I don’t know if the father threw stones or if he didn’t, or if the baby would have thrown stones or wouldn’t have if he lived till the age of 15 or 20. Come on, it’s a picture.”

The British version is the retreat across the Channel and the threatened withdrawal from the EU. The American is all over the place, Trump is a good example : Muslims, and Mexicans. It's a full court press, Neolibraconia-wide, telling us people who our 'real' enemies are ... not the 1%.

@105 noirette

guest77 linked that article some while back. I re-posted it, and now I'm glad I did, it's gone from its original perch. I extracted the figures for easy reference together with the table of the 'Top 50 control-holders' below the figures. Sort it by 'Cumulative Network control' in descending order ... and note who's on first.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 14 2016 6:32 utc | 112

Mike Whitney has a short piece at counterpunch, featuring a picture worth a thousend words, describing our present position on the graph of the global race to the bottom.

Prabhat Patnaik has a piece of 5,157 words at monthly review describing the same picture. I've combined the two, reposting Capitalism and Its Current Crisis together with Mike's picture, which came from Richard Koo, The ‘struggle between markets and central banks has only just begun’, Business Insider, which is behind a paywall. Mike implies and Prabhat makes explicit just what he has and we have to 'look forward to'.

In the context of crisis-induced mass unemployment, the corporate-financial oligarchies that rule many countries actively promote divisive, fascist, and semi-fascist movements, so that while the shell of democracy is preserved, their own rule is not threatened by any concerted class action. And the governments formed by such elements, even when they do not move immediately towards the imposition of a fascist state as in the case of classical fascism, move nonetheless towards a “fascification” of the society and the polity that constitutes a negation of democracy. In third-world societies such fascification not only continues but even increases the scope for “primitive accumulation of capital” at the expense of petty producers (which also ensures that the world labor reserves are not exhausted).

But that is not all. Since such fascism invites retaliation in the form of counter-fascistic movements, as in the case of Hindu supremacism in India, which is starting to encourage a Muslim fundamentalist response, the net result is social disintegration. This disintegration is the denouement of the current globalization in societies like mine, and no doubt in many others. It is important, of course, to struggle against this, but at the current juncture, when there are no international workers’ movements, let alone any international peasant movements, and hence no prospects for any synchronized transcendence of capitalist globalization, any such struggles must necessarily be informed by an agenda of “delinking” from capitalist globalization.

This delinking should entail capital controls, management of foreign trade, and an expansion of the domestic market through the protection and encouragement of petty production, including peasant agriculture; through larger welfare expenditure by the state; and through a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income.

Note that the prescription in Prabhat's last paragraph is the exact opposite of the Obama-Neolibraconia prescription : trickle up, austerity, big monsanto ag, exported jobs, the TPP | TTIP | TsIA, and 'free trade'. In short, it payes to forget everything you once were taught about economics - neoconomics - and imagine all real plans for recovery taking place only after the 'smart money' has brought not 'just' the entire system to earth but their own airy selves along with it.

What's the sound of one grillion imaginary dollars falling to earth? We'll all be better off caught holding 'stuff' than promissory anything ... even the greenbacks once promised.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 12:44 utc | 114

Switzerland Plans to Seize Money from Refugees

Refugees arriving in the Alpine nation will have to turn over any assets they possess worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs (US$997), according to an information sheet for refugees states, as cited by Reuters.

Being landlocked is apparently no impediment to pirates.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 23:21 utc | 115

Spotlight: Chinese president's Middle East tour goes far beyond oil

For years, China's non-interference policy regarding Middle East issues, though appreciated by the Arab world, have been criticized by some Westerners as an excuse for "staying aloof" the hotspot region.

The truth, however, is that the importance and complexity of the situation there allows neither premature decisions nor hasty action.

"It takes adequate consideration, research and sound judgment" for China to form policies adapted to the rapid changes in the Middle East, said Wu Bingbing, head of the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Culture Studies at Peking University.

Just ahead of Xi's visit, China published its Arab Policy Paper, reaffirming the strategic significance that Beijing attaches to the region.

It is China's long-held diplomatic principle to consolidate and deepen China-Arab traditional friendship, read the paper, the first of its kind issued by the Chinese government.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 1:10 utc | 116

Part II China's Arab Policy

1. China supports the Middle East peace process and the establishment of an independent state of Palestine with full sovereignty, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

2. China supports the Arab League and its member states' efforts to this end.

3. We adhere to political solution to regional hot spot issues, and support the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free and WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

4. We support positive efforts made by Arab states in strengthening unity, curbing the spread of extremist thoughts and fighting terrorism.

5. China respects choices made by the Arab people, and supports Arab states in exploring their own development paths suited to their national conditions.

6. We hope to enhance the sharing of governance experience with Arab states.

Haven't heard 1. in ages, right on!

Glad to hear 3. 'nuclear free zone', Israel won't like that either

Number 4. yes! KSA and Turkey won't like that one, although KSA has just declared it's the leader of a new anti-terrorist coaliton ... got that one from the USA, terrorist state number 1.

I guess you have to be Chinese to understand 6.

Great stuff ... in the words department.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 1:39 utc | 117

Part III Strengthen China-Arab Cooperation in an All-around Manner, 2.9 Financial Cooperation

1. We support the establishment of branches in each other's countries by qualified financial institutions from both sides, and multi-sector operation cooperation, as well as strengthened exchanges and cooperation between regulators.

2. We will strengthen monetary cooperation between central banks, discuss the expansion of cross-border currency clearing and currency swap arrangements, and increase financing insurance support.

3. We will strengthen coordination and cooperation in international financial organizations and mechanisms, improve and reform the international financial system, and increase the voice and representation of developing countries.

4. China welcomes the Arab countries to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and their active role in it.

Two, three, and four ought to be a source of heartburn in Washington DC, and two and three ought to be a source of interest and enthusiasm not just in the Arab States.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 2:07 utc | 118

Part III Strengthen China-Arab Cooperation in an All-around Manner, 4.1 Exchanges Among Civilizations and Religious

1. We will promote dialogue between civilizations and promote exchanges between different religions.

2. We will
 a. build bilateral and multilateral platforms for religious exchanges,
 b. advocate religious harmony and tolerance,
 c. explore cooperation on eradicating extremism, and
 d. jointly contain the breeding and expansion of extremism.

Xi's upcoming tour features Egypt, KSA, and Iran. Interesting to see the reception 2c and 2d get in KSA.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 2:26 utc | 119

Part III Strengthen China-Arab Cooperation in an All-around Manner

5.2 Military Cooperation

We will deepen China-Arab military cooperation and exchange. We will strengthen exchange of visits of military officials, expand military personnel exchange, deepen cooperationon on weapons, equipment and various specialized technologies, and carry out joint military exercises. We will continue to support the development of national defence and military forces of Arab States to maintain peace and security of the region .

5.3 Anti-terrorism Cooperation

We resolutely oppose and condemn all forms of terrorism, and oppose coupling terrorism with any specific ethnic group or religion as well as double standards. We support the efforts of Arab States in countering terrorism and support their counter-terrorism capacity building. The Chinese side believes that counter-terrorism needs comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and root causes, and counter-terrorism operations should comply with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international norms, and respect sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries.

China is ready to strengthen anti-terrorism exchanges and cooperation with Arab countries to establish a long-term security cooperation mechanism, strengthen policy dialogue and intelligence information exchange, and carry out technical cooperation and personnel training to jointly address the threat of international and regional terrorism.

Yeah. Weapons for sale. Anti-terrorism. All pretty vague and underdefined.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 3:07 utc | 120

Seems like the Chinese could have thought of a better title than 'China-Arab Policy' ... maybe the Iranians can hrlp them with that.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 16 2016 3:09 utc | 121

Please remember Jan Palach, 16 January 1969.

Posted by: Cz2 | Jan 16 2016 21:12 utc | 122

How the Mighty (faux-democratic) have fallen...

My "news" outlet is telling me that The French are out en masse in sympathy with Charlie Hebdo's right to be self-indulgently Racist/ Xenophobic (with impunity) and in a manner which would delight "Israel."
One wonders how many French people truly believe that Liberté, égalité, fraternité, is so old-fashioned that it needs up-dating to Liberty, scatology, gullibility?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 17 2016 6:10 utc | 123

The Islamic Cult, who call themselves ISIS, well explained.

"One phrase from Saudi clerics could begin the end of Islamic State"

Posted by: x | Jan 17 2016 9:55 utc | 124

An odor in the air, a strong scent of Gulf-of-Tonkin pervades the NYE Cologne reporting - all migrant, all the time - bent upon curtailing any questioning of MSM (including RT) reporting. One would think there were ONLY 'migrants' that night in Cologne's square where the refugees would not likely make up 0.05% of the city's population, if that. But the persistent repetition reinforces the meme desired - migrants=bad-always. It is hardly believable that any large congregation of drink-taken crowds rudely celebrating the change of year that some wayward activities occur. Given most assault does actually go unreported, it is hard to understand the sharp and narrow focus on only reports of 'migrant assault, mayhem, rape and rapine' as has been the drumbeat of all media (as well as social media) since. What was the equivalent statistic for untoward occurrence in Times Square where there were no 'migrants' but an equivalent concentration of celebrants? Why weren't those statistics also played up in the media? How cherry-picked were those reports given for public consumption? What is the agenda being played? Why the herd-ish acceptance of such narrative. It is an ill wind that blows in such manner.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 17 2016 9:58 utc | 125

There was some discussion with Jack Rabbit and Jack Straw of the US Democratic primary election, polluting another thread, for which I apologize.

The issue was my stating that I would vote against the Hill and for the Bern in the upcoming Democrat primary, with the two Jacks pointing out that a vote for the Bern was ... a vote for the Bern. I said no ... it's a voter against the Hill ... it's only the primary.

But I think they were right. Why not apply the same strategy in the primary as in the general election : only vote FOR someone and not AGAINST someone else? So I will write-in a vote in the Democrat primary ... tending toward Tulsi Gabbard [D-HI-2] at the moment. She is a Democrat and was the cosponsor of H.R.4108, along with Austin Scott [R-GA-8] originally, joined by Thomas Massie, [R-KY-4], and Walter B. Jones, Jr. [R-NC-3] in December ...

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities, or to the National Security Council or its staff may not be obligated or expended to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, stipends, construction of training and associated facilities, and sustainment, to any element of the Syrian opposition or to any other Syrian group or individual seeking to overthrow the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, unless, after the date of the enactment of this Act, funds are specifically authorized to be appropriated and appropriated by law for such purpose.

... there are not many decent Democrats to choose among, and choosing instead from a universe of two unsuitable candidates would not be very creative on my part.

There is the issue of what happens to write-in votes in the US. I believe it is up to the individual states ... I know that writing in a vote in Louisiana, for instance, is an 'illegal' act ... I know that in Texas, where I vote, only votes for 'approved' write-ins are counted. Certainly most write-ins ... those for uncorrupted candidates ... are not counted. This, of course, is symptomatic of the corrupted election system in the US. I strongly advocate an Open election amendment as remedy. In the meantime the only meaningful votes we can make are write-ins that will, in most cases, be tallied as 'spoiled' ballots. So the tally to watch is the only meaningful one : 'spoiled'.

The remedy lies in direct democracy : organizing each of our ~175,000 voting precincts nationwide, holding our own repeated, primary elections to determine suitable candidates who can earn majority support, and voting those candidates in the 'official' general elections. Then, when we have managed to win elections, calling a general strike until our elected candidates are seated. The rubber has to meet the road at some point, and this seems a workable plan to me.

When we have gained control of our representative government we may then make the Open election amendment a part of our constitution, and further amend the constitution to formally enable direct democracy for those occasaions when our representatives have become corrupt or have just done the wrong thing, and to try, as well, to sever the umbilical cord running from economics to politics with regard to our representative government.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 17 2016 22:21 utc | 126

First time in history

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 18 2016 20:12 utc | 127

@124, why him? Sounds like another dupe of the US State Dept: Overthrow your Soviet masters and you will experience a new dawn of Freedom and Democracy. Does anyone still fall for that bunkum?

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 18 2016 20:24 utc | 128

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