Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 28, 2017

Open Thread 2017-47

Sorry, the post I was working on didn't pan out. You will have to talk to yourself.

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 28, 2017 at 18:58 UTC | Permalink


Finally an opportunity comes to offer B and MoA commenters a nice little Christmas present, courtesy of ZeroHedge who have in the past reposted some of B's articles on their site.

True, ZH reposted this priceless gift from Caitlin Johnstone's own site but she seems to have given her permission for the reposting.

Why priceless? - well who doesn't want to see the ever smug Luke Harding and his idiotic and baseless arguments about Russian intrigue and inteference in US and European politics taken down in a well-deserved thrashing by Aaron Mate?

Priceless to read the transcript and priceless to watch.

What Happens When A Russiagate Skeptic Debates A Professional Russiagater

Posted by: Jen | Dec 28 2017 19:49 utc | 1

On December 18, it was reported that Putin thanked Trump for intelligence that helped to thwart a terrorist act in St. Petersburg. Wonder if there's any connection to today's bomb.

Posted by: spudski | Dec 28 2017 20:13 utc | 2

@spudski | Dec 28, 2017 3:13:26 PM | 2

Of course there is, and also there has been another bomb at a police station in Turkey

Posted by: elsi | Dec 28 2017 20:22 utc | 3

Spudski @ 2, Elsi @ 3: There is always a possibility that two separate bomb attacks had been planned in St Petersburg, and they need not be linked. St Petersburg happens to be a large enough city that two isolated attacks are possible. Unless and until there is more information (fat chance, I know) about the thwarted attack and the attack that occurred, we can't jump to conclusions.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 28 2017 21:10 utc | 4

well the heat is on to destabilize a number of 'prime' countries, so any suspect is possible..

Posted by: james | Dec 28 2017 21:25 utc | 5

Here is the latest from ZH on Syria

Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

The take-away quote
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria. Speaking to Interfax news agency, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the legitimate Syrian government.

Concerning a prior statement by US Defense Secretary James Matisse voicing the intent for US troops to stay in Syria until achieving progress in a political settlement, Lavrov pointed out that such statement is “surprising” because it means that Washington reserves the right to determine such progress and wants to maintain control over parts of Syrian territory in order to achieve the result it wants.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 28 2017 22:03 utc | 6

@Jen | Dec 28, 2017 4:10:15 PM | 4

Well, it took also the "casuality" that the Russian Syrian base of Hmeimim was attacked by missiles launched by terrorists today...Of course, not only St. Petersburg, but the world is wide and huge...but, eventhough, I think that all these "terrorist attacks" are the current insistence by Russian officials on US troops leaving Syria asap....

Posted by: elsi | Dec 28 2017 22:50 utc | 7

@ elsi | Dec 28, 2017 5:50:04 PM | 7

Well, I fear that where I put "eventhough", fitted better "nevertheless", so sorry, this happens to me when I did not translate my post before posting...

Posted by: elsi | Dec 28 2017 22:52 utc | 8

A factoid of some interest:

High-speed rail. (km)

China: 19,000
Japan: 2,664
France: 2,036
Turkey: 1,420
UK: 1,377
Russia: 645
US: 28

Also of interest is the graph depicting Renewable Power Capacity and Generation shown at the top of these two links: China compared with United States, roughly 500K MW versus 200K MW, respectively.

If presented with just these data, which nation would you judge more advanced and forward thinking?

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 28 2017 22:59 utc | 9

The US has been working on new cruise missles which will be able to communicate with each other and swarm in on its targets.

These new missiles would be delivered by the retired SR-71's successor, the SR-72, which is capable of mach-6 speeds and could potentially reach any target around the world is 60 minutes.

One expert even claims to have spotted it last month in Texas.

Posted by: Tacitus | Dec 28 2017 23:10 utc | 10

Karlof: That number of 28km does not look very "exceptional", but admittedly better than 17 miles.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 28 2017 23:15 utc | 11

Bart @11--

Actually, it's quite exceptional, reflecting the level of pigheaded elite thinking as they don't use trains for traveling so don't give a damn. Pretty much the same with renewable energy generation when one looks at the shapes of those graphs. The Exceptional nation looking exceptionally poor.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 28 2017 23:35 utc | 12

hey but we can take out everybody else's high speed rail systems with swarming cruise missiles!

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 29 2017 0:17 utc | 13

Out of interest, did any more information emerge regarding the failed American cruise missile attack on the Syrian airbase? What went wrong for the americans and what did the Russians actually do to deflect the full force of the strike?

Posted by: adamski | Dec 29 2017 0:43 utc | 14

The hypersonic and network missile weapons are both listed as being 5yrs away from deployment. If one was spotted in Texas, likely an early prototype.

Both are feasible, the Russians have both type of weapons now in testing, not a hypersonic jet but hypersonic missiles and networking.
Even if you are skeptical about the Russians being able to deploy the submarine on time, the hypersonic component is real and will be deployed on surface ships and they have missile networking technology as well but I don't have the details. I read that on Saker and I tend to trust his analysis.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 29 2017 1:14 utc | 15

Tacitus @10

60 minutes? That's like watching grass grow...Blown into little pieces in 45 minutes.

Posted by: kgw | Dec 29 2017 1:18 utc | 16

@14 adamski, apparently the russian radar stopped 2 of the 3.. the third one went off track and landed somewhere else.. quote from russia of relevance..

“What causes the concern is that terrorists are getting new armaments, which empower them to carry out such attacks. The question is where the terrorists are getting these weapons from,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Posted by: james | Dec 29 2017 1:32 utc | 17

Sometime ZH has news that is portrayed more in a propaganda manner than other times or authors...whatever. That said the link and quotes below show how the ME rhetoric is marching along

US And Israel Reach "Secret Plan" To Counter Iran

The beginning quote
One month after we reported that Israel would take the unprecedented step of sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia as the two countries ramped up efforts to curb what they perceive as "Iranian expansion" in the region, on Thursday Israel's Channel 10 reported that Israel has also pivoted to the US and reached a similar plan to counter Iranian activity in the Middle East. As Axios adds, U.S. and Israeli officials said the joint understandings were reached in "a secret meeting" between senior Israeli and U.S. delegations at the White House on December 12th.
The end quote
Meanwhile, apparently unconcerned by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis that has formed to contain his nation, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump would fail in his hardened stance towards Iran, saying Tehran is stronger than during the time of Ronald Reagan.

"Reagan was more powerful and smarter than Trump, and he was a better actor in making threats, and he also moved against us and they shot down our plane," Khamenei said in a speech carried on state television.

For now, the Iranian's Trump-tautning has remained unanswered. The problem is that if Iran continues to dare the US, and its new regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, now that there is a regional axis meant to "contain" Iran by any means necessary, it won't take much for the US, and especially Israel, to respond accordingly.

Beat those drums! Beat those drums! There must be a war for Trump to be a Real US President and cover for the posturing of the other two "new"(grin) regional allies.

My hope is that instead of a war, Trump gets to oversee the US default on the national debt, which he has some experience with personally. That would be the precipitation event for the new Bretton Woods agreement about global finance going forward.

What is the next chapter in this story and is everyone fearful enough yet?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 29 2017 1:43 utc | 18

Tacitus @10:

Not surprised about the Blackbird's successor. The biggest problem with satellites is how predictable their flight path is. I can't wait for the Chinese to reveal more info on their Dark Sword UAV. I suspect they won't until the SR-72 makes it's public debut. No doubts the Russians are working on a similar project.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 29 2017 1:55 utc | 19

Jen @ 1: Thanks for the link. TRNN is one of the better informers, with complete in-depth coverage you can't get from the MS corporate media..

Posted by: ben | Dec 29 2017 2:19 utc | 20

Talking to myself works so great.

Thanks b!

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 4:34 utc | 22

Segment from the Thom Hartmann show. Interview with Richard D. Wolff economist.

Worth a listen..

Hope the link works..

Posted by: ben | Dec 29 2017 4:58 utc | 23

Scott Bennett --“Solving the US-Russian relations impasse” (recent)

Posted by: x | Dec 29 2017 8:36 utc | 24

Who Are The Leading State Sponsors of Terrorism?

For many, that has not been a serious question for a very long time. The answer reveals, that the umpire has only two possible exit strategies. One is that start WW3 and the other one is actually not a strategy - only an exit from the world.

Pretty much everybody is no longer wearing clothes. The naked truth is for all decent people to see. The implosion is underway and can no longer be averted. The only question that remains is how many lives will be lost/wasted and how many can be saved.

The more desperate the establishment grows, the more rabid it will turn. For those, for whom cannot be what can't be, devastating times lie ahead. The polarization of the planet has reached a new dimension.

And yes, I am convinced that the inability to post and glitches when typing have nothing to do with b. or this website, but everything to do with the manipulation of the internet and all it's users.

USS America is sinking. No iceberg was needed.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 29 2017 9:40 utc | 25

re 9 karlof

There's something wrong with your HS rail line figures. Britain doesn't have 1377 km. It's more like 137.7. The wiki article has a very generous definition of high-speed, including ordinary lines which happen to be used by quasi-high-speed trains.

Mind you, I still think there's something very bizarre about the new "high-speed" line on which the Tacoma accident occurred the other day, and which includes a 30 mph (50 kph) curve. How do you build a brand new "high-speed" line, and still expect trains to slow down to 30 mph? An 80 mph curve is about the severest you could expect.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 29 2017 9:45 utc | 26

Are you feeling different about climate change now?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 9:48 utc | 27

Karlof1 @ 9: It must be said that there's a bit more to installing high-speed rail than having the technology and engineering skills (though it's possible that the US no longer has the industrial capacity and the skills), public demand and the economy and finances that would support it. Most countries in your list that have over 1,000 km of high-speed rail already laid tend to be densely populated in compact territories. On the whole their climates tend to be temperate so maintaining the lines is not too costly. Their politics vary though Japan and France tend to be very centralised in their decision-making and in Turkey President Erdogan has long promoted infrastructure development (and his son and son-in-law have fingers in several pies including the construction industry) since he first became a politician in the early 2000s.

China as a whole is an exception but if you ignore its thinly populated western half with the extreme continental climates and the Himalayas then the rest of the country is very densely populated and becoming more urban, allowing for high-speed rail between cities and between metropolitan areas. Centralised decision-making at high levels in government and the fact that many if not most Chinese politicians boast scientific, engineering and technical qualifications mean that infrastructure development gets higher priority than it would under governments where most politicians are lawyers (as they are in most Western countries). The Chinese government may well have a vision of progress that in capitalist countries would be laughed out or snickered at in parliamentary chambers or business conference rooms.

The US and Russia are not very good candidates for high-speed rail development because distances are too great between most cities, the populations are not dense enough and local economies don't generate enough income to justify the costs of laying out track. These costs have to include maintenance in areas that suffer from climatic and temperature extremes. For many areas in those countries, air travel is probably the cheapest and fastest option.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 29 2017 10:02 utc | 28

Wasn't that why we went with ICBMs?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 10:16 utc | 29

Jen | Dec 29, 2017 5:02:22 AM | 28
The US and Russia are not very good candidates for high-speed rail development because distances are too great between most cities, the populations are not dense enough and local economies don't generate enough income to justify the costs of laying out track. These costs have to include maintenance in areas that suffer from climatic and temperature extremes. For many areas in those countries, air travel is probably the cheapest and fastest option.

With all due respect; those reasons are precisely why HS rail is so important.
It must be remembered that HS rail doesn't just transport people; more importantly it transports goods.
And quickly, at far less cost than air or semi-trucks.
China's BRI and Russia's arctic route will dramatically, radically, change international trade forever.
Mahan, Spykman, and MacKinder knew this more than a century ago; and now; it's being realized with their vision and the BRI.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 29 2017 10:20 utc | 30

Jen@1 thank you so much I had a fabulous laugh at the dissembling, diverting, dishonesty of Luke Harding in the flesh. I kept thinking he was giving us all the reasons why Hillary Clinton was the colluder with russians. Speaking fees for the old man, mega millions donated to her foundation, kompramat via Uranium One dealings and the list goes on. Harding has a stronger argument for prosecuting Clinton than he has for Russian collusion to elect Trump.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 29 2017 10:27 utc | 31

I am so grateful to 'adults in the room' who never cease reminding us never to connect any dots unless and until our lords and masters give us permission to do so.

Posted by: paul | Dec 29 2017 10:37 utc | 32

You've been parted ;)

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 10:42 utc | 33

Jen / 1

Luke Harding gets exposed for the fraud he really is and in such a way then!
If b has time I think he should make a post just about that interview/harding because he seems to fool alot of people with these claims he is making.

Posted by: Anonynmous | Dec 29 2017 11:16 utc | 34

paul | Dec 29, 2017 5:37:37 AM | 32
I am so grateful to 'adults in the room' who never cease reminding us never to connect any dots unless and until our lords and masters give us permission to do so.


Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 29 2017 11:19 utc | 35

Whae ia that... Ganip Ganop?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 11:24 utc | 36

I aways liked the blind keyboard too.

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 11:26 utc | 37

Good morning, with Tarkan,....just dedicated to Erdogan yesterday to see if he can show less embittered by forgotting about "Assad must go", looting and invading, liberate all the communists and labour actvists he keeps jailed, and definitively join OBOR and Eastern "partners"....Today dedicated to poor ToivoS:

Posted by: elsi | Dec 29 2017 11:41 utc | 38

@2, spudski,

Sarcasm-much ?

An alternate view of Putin thanking the CIA for your consideration:

If the Kremlin hacked/tapped/bugged/infiltrated the CIA or a relevant third-party and discovered the terrorist plot that way, might they not
signal to the CIA that Russia knows what the CIA is up to?

In other words, Putin was being sarcastic when he thanked the CIA.

The CIA knows very well that they did not intentionally alert the Kremlin to the terrorist plot, so the CIA now has to ask, "how was this leaked and by whom?". The CIA had (*perhaps*) told Israel, Saudi Arabia and MI6 of the imminent attack, and *before* the Kremlin learned about it, so now the CIA has to question the wisdom of sharing information with those parties.

Maybe Israel didn't accidentally leak the information to the Kremlin, but used it for a quid pro quo.

Putin's "thank you" was one move in the great chess game?

Also, did the CIA merely have knowledge of the terrorist plot or did they participate at some level?

One more ... terrorist groups must now rethink whether they can trust their CIA masters.

Posted by: librul | Dec 29 2017 11:45 utc | 39

@librul | Dec 29, 2017 6:45:10 AM | 39

The CIA knows very well that they did not intentionally alert the Kremlin to the terrorist plot, so the CIA now has to ask, "how was this leaked and by whom?"

A "mole", obviously....

Posted by: elsi | Dec 29 2017 12:01 utc | 40

I was still on that stupid questions game.

Statement: Two Love?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 29 2017 12:17 utc | 41

Thanks Jen and V.Arnold for the dispute on HS-rail.Let's see if the Chinese succeed in connecting their industrial centers with Paris,Madrid and the channel by HS-rail.They have started the project already.Some transit countries appreciate the project others say the wouldn't benefit.

Posted by: Theo | Dec 29 2017 14:06 utc | 42

@ 42

My screen isn't big enough.

Posted by: Clio | Dec 29 2017 14:10 utc | 43

Who is QAnon?

"November 13, 2017: Q Threatens Lynn de Rothschild -- Followed by Deadly Plane Crash at Rothschild Estate

Just four days after Q's clue, this headline:

Telegraph: Aylesbury mid-air crash: Four dead as plane and helicopter wreckage lands near Rothschild manor house (here)
December 11, 2017: Q Threatens George Soros -- Soros disappears?
As of the date of this TomatoBubble article, December 27, there have been no tweets from "GS" (an avid twitterer!) for 32 days, and counting. (here)

December 12, 2017: Q States That Doug Jones Will Win Alabama Election and a Vote Fraud Investigation Will Follow


Some of the latest Q-anon posts are that Eric Schmidt resigned because he is connected to money laundering at the Clinton Foundation and many more "Happenings". A lot of it is turning out to be true.

You can pick your favorite podcaster or go to 4chan just search QAnon.

Here is Lionel:

Posted by: Heros | Dec 29 2017 15:53 utc | 44

Re: On Luke Harding interview, give the guy who exposed him some credit if you have Twitter,

Its is people like him, b etc that makes the big work these days researching and exposing the corruption of this world.

Posted by: Anonynmous | Dec 29 2017 16:03 utc | 45

Sharyl Attkisson could only enumerate ten instances that US Spy Agencies "ran amok" with privacy violations.

Hell Sharyl, come on over and watch ten more today. I'll give you a front row seat.

Posted by: John | Dec 29 2017 16:35 utc | 46

..the SR-72, which is capable of mach-6 speeds and could potentially reach any target around the world is 60 minutes.
Posted by: Tacitus | Dec 28, 2017 6:10:21 PM | 10

Mach 6 = 4500mph.
So it would take 160 minutes to reach a target 12,000 miles away...
Aside from the fact that cruise missiles can already be programmed to swarm on an individual target, what sort of nincompoops would allow cruise missiles to natter to each other en route to a surprise attack?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 29 2017 16:36 utc | 47

Jen @28--

Hmmm.... The geography of the US East coast would be greatly served by high speed rail and is where the only such line in the nation exists. I grew up in California next to Sacramento and was always curious why no high speed rail connected the South with the Center and North--the earthquake excuse doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Once upon a time, US interurban railway mileage was #1 but was allowed/helped to die in favor of automobiles and suburbia. The long conversational threads on this topic at the now retired Oil Drum blog were very informative and still exist in an archival state.

The main point being made by those twin examples is to expose part of the degeneracy present within the Outlaw US Empire versus the industrious Can Do motivation shown elsewhere. Zuesse in his series of articles aimed at proving the existence of a dictatorship within the Outlaw US Empire provides evidence of widespread, longstanding citizen policy preferences being totally ignored in favor of elite only beneficial policies--something Nader and Public Citizen have long beefed about. If you look at the Duopoly's underlying aim with the policies being adopted, the goal is to destroy what little socioeconomic safety net that currently exists and thus turn the clock back to the 1890s--a direction Trump has vocally supported. His MAGA is just another one of too many Big Lies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 29 2017 16:43 utc | 48

Anonymous @ 46

I did watch the Luke Harding interview, largely as a result of Caitlin Johnstone, who I have enormous respect for. However, I do not do Twitter. Incidentally, Julian Assange of all people, brilliantly exposed Luke Harding (and the Guardian) in 2015. You can smell the sense of betrayal.

Posted by: Tony_0pmoc | Dec 29 2017 17:31 utc | 49

librul | Dec 29, 2017 6:45:10 AM | 39

Now that is an interesting speculation, unlikely but possible. The CIA certainly tries to use Jihadists and provides them with supplies but it is a bit much to think they run their various cells at that level.

Elsi, thanks for the present, that was funny.

Posted by: Toivos | Dec 29 2017 17:54 utc | 50

"Dr. Scott Bennett, formerly of the U.S. Army 11th Psychological Operations Battalion, attempted to blow the whistle by contacting the commercially-controlled media and writing to US politicians after being sacked from his job as terrorist finance investigator"

As a result, he was jailed for 2 years, and tortured by The US Government. During this time, he actually wrote a book, whilst in prison on a typewriter, the contents of which were smuggled out.

This is a recent European TV Interview. It is brilliant historical and current analysis. It starts slow and then gets exceedingly interesting with stunning conclusions which affect you.

"Interview with a Military Whistleblower. Russian - American Relations"

Posted by: Tony_0pmoc | Dec 29 2017 17:54 utc | 51

The simple reason that high speed rail won't come to the US is the strength of the automotive lobby, with its record of killing streetcars and trolleys in former years as described here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 29 2017 18:18 utc | 52

High Speed Trains:

Germany and France were the first two Nations
to put high speed into service. Although, 'high
speed' was considered to be around 200km/h (125mph)
of travel speed. After the installation of a dual
rail network were regular trains and HS trains could
share tracks, speeds increased.
France and Germany, TGV and ICE were in a stiff competition
to claim which system was the best in Europe, much like
the competition between the Western and Eastern British
rail lines that gave birth to the Flying Scotsman.
China bought the German system and it is very successful
after initial difficulties.
The Japanese bullet trains were already in service in
the 1960's developed, but Europe wanted their own systems
because of differences in track design.
There is no alternative to HS train mass transit. In
combination with renewable energy, these trains are
second to no other mode of transportation.
When HS trains are compared to airplanes, people
always forget the getting to and from the airport,
not even to speak about the security procedures,
that some corporations would like to install at
HS terminals, but so far, you can just hop on a
train in Hamburg and arrive in Munich without the
hassle of airport procedures like having to be
there hours before boarding and taking off.
While airplanes still have higher travel speeds,
the travel time is already longer due to these
It is a treat to travel at 200mph sitting in a
real restaurant versus eating the garbage served on
airplanes. One can walk around and has comfortable
chairs with lots of space.
And fast internet...

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 29 2017 18:21 utc | 53

@karlof1 #49

Yes, I linked to the Zuesse article in question
and consider it to be second to none in it's
explaining in a concise fashion that the U.S.
is a 'democracy' without any say of the citizenry.
The videos are also brilliant in visualizing that.

Agent Orange tweeted today that there is no global
warming. Fossil Fuel Corporations can also not benefit
from HS trains compared to mass gas guzzling.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 29 2017 18:32 utc | 54

Regarding dictators, compare the backgrounds (education, family life, etc) of President Xi and President Trump which have a profound effect on their policies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 29 2017 18:48 utc | 55

The guardian is kaput,except for the nature photos.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 29 2017 18:51 utc | 56

@48 Hoarsewhisperer
"Mach 6 = 4500mph.
So it would take 160 minutes to reach a target 12,000 miles away..."

Nitpicking here, but not exactly - the Mach ratio is dependent on air density (which varies with temperature/altitude). Also, there are some significant benefits to be gained flying along the direction of wind.

That being said - at ~5km altitude temperatures are roughly -16C, so Mach 6 would be a little slower at about 4200 mph. Dunno where the previous figure of 60 minutes came from.

Posted by: ragehead | Dec 29 2017 18:54 utc | 57

ragehead says:

the Mach ratio is dependent on air density

so is it faster to Shijiazhuang or by train?

Posted by: john | Dec 29 2017 19:25 utc | 58

@John #59

Good one. You actually gave me a good laugh
in times of too little joy.
I was also under the impression that 'Mach'
referred to the actual speed - no matter how
much calories it takes to achieve it. :-)

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Dec 29 2017 19:37 utc | 59

Karlof1 @ 49: The point you make in your comment about how HS rail operates in the US at present actually supports what I said @ 28. Populations are more dense along the coasts of the US than they are inland. Climates are more temperate in these areas as well and the economies of these areas generate more income because they have ports for international trade. Thus they have an assured future as well - we'll always need international trade - which is what inland areas (the Rockies, the Prairies, even some parts of the Midwest in the Mississippi River system area - and do we really want HS rail lines to run along the Mississippi and duplicate travel routes when faster and cheaper water-based options could and should exist?) might not necessarily have.

In those parts of the US where prisons and the military are the mainstay of the local economy and the only people working are off overseas on tours of duty, the people who run prisons and prisoners working in prison factories - so everyone else is on welfare - you will not find much passenger demand for HS rail.

So while the argument for HS rail in the East Coast and West Coast regions for the US might be strong, linking these coastal areas with HS rail on purely demographic and economic reasoning founders. For the time being, air travel may still be a cheaper option even with the inconveniences passengers put up with. There is no reason to assume that HS rail travel within the US will be less hassle-free: the security and the bureaucracy associated with ensuring safe travel can be transferred from one system to the other.

What is required for HS rail to work between New York and Los Angeles is the political will and vision beyond economics and demographics. The real question is whether that will and vision exist at US Federal and State government level.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 29 2017 19:41 utc | 60

Finian Cunningham looks back 10 years to review Putin's remarks at the 2007 Munich Security Conference.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, I've argued that the $1 Trillion+ spent on furthering the Outlaw US Empire is an unwanted endeavor by the majority of the USA's citizenry, who want that money spent on improving the nation's General Welfare--a sentiment confirmed via annual polling. Extremely desperate measures were employed by the 1% to further entrench their hegemony at home and abroad as they finally employed the 1960s planned Operation Northwoods to cement their position. It's unknown how many national leaders at the time saw 911 for what it was, but I'll presume Russia, China, Iran, DPRK, Hezbollah, and the Zionist Abomination all did; and considering the current state-of-the-world, they're the only ones who matter. So, it's of little wonder that except for the latter those nations form the core of the Multipolar Resistance. How many will fight for a dying Empire that does nothing for them; how many Proles actually exist to heed the call to arms? I'd like to think very few; unfortunately, I think I'll be provided an answer before I die.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 29 2017 22:18 utc | 61

Dunno where the previous figure of 60 minutes came from.
Posted by: ragehead | Dec 29, 2017 1:54:53 PM | 58

Me either.
But 60 minutes for an insinuated "anywhere in the world" was clearly wrong for Mach 6. My guess is that 60 minutes is a function of Maximum Range, given the fuel consumption factor of 'hypersonic' transport gizmos - and the fact that if it's not expendable then the need to retain fuel to get to, and land at, a suitable landing strip would impose its own limitations.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 30 2017 5:53 utc | 62

karloff, yes, this qu. of high speed rail vs /other/ is fascinating and v. important from an energy pov, see energy cost passenger/per km. I was going to make some comments partly in the line of ‘it all depends’, see Jen 28, but also V. Arnold 30.

For ex. the country I live in Switz. has no high speed rail except for French and German that enter the lower flatter parts at no more than 200km/hour. Because the country is steep up n down, minuscule, distances between cities is tiny in world terms, the ‘regular, traditional, old fashioned’ train - tram - boat - public transport circuit is superb, who needs to invest in ‘faster’?

I agree though from an energy pov, as that seemed to be implied, that rail / fast rail transport would be good for the US. However, having from a capitalistic-cum-individualistic stance promulgated the car-n road-asphalt which uses oil- culture, and being run by entrenched corporate interests, change is unlikely.

US infrastructure, now crumbling, decrepit (overall stats v. poor or worse..) and highly dangerous in parts, is built on a particular societal model, based on rent-seeking and even new profit-making (e.g. Uber > car.) Imho the model, aka car, car, truck, truck, plane, oil oil fracking, roads, tolls,… also arose and flowered because of its flexibility and thus the possibilities of control, in terms of inclusion and exclusion which can be implemented with a signature and little financial or other consequence.

E.g. no roads/ bad roads/ no permits/ no parking etc./ to X place, district. E.g. aviation cos. can shut down fly routes in 5 mins thus affecting poor travellers / commuters…yuge power.

By contrast, high-speed rail implies social consensus, coherent long term goals, 10, 25-year plans, focus on a type of ‘common good’, an investment in a ‘future’ as opposed to short-term gouging or control of opponents, competitors, undesirables.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 30 2017 13:16 utc | 63

As in all the cases in MENA it was CIA concocted neoliberal turn in local ruling elites that was a prelude to regime change springs. Remember Quaddafi family , Mubarak, Hussein and Assad families were pals of western elites just before they were overthrown or attempt was made to do so.
Now in Iran we are learning the real price Persian people must pay for so called nuke agreement, neoliberalization, a rent a slave to the west operation that is ongoing that serves Iranian economic political elites like Revolutionary Guard against clergy who lost appeal with youth for peddling status quo so their cushy ruling position is preserved no matter how desperate situation of young has become.

As I write many young IRG cronies study or apply to neoliberal economic meccas such as LSE and CSE competing to become CIA agents and slave managers consumed with greed leaving not only 1979 socialist revolution but even Islamic counter revolution in rear view mirror.

Posted by: Kalen | Dec 30 2017 21:28 utc | 64

I have two links from ZH that I want to share

The first is a clear indicator that the US is as guilty as SA of war crimes in Yemen
Houthi Forces Capture US Navy Spy Drone Off Yemen Coast

The second speaks to what could happen on and after January 18th when China opens its futures market in oil denominated in the Yuan. China tried this back in 1993 and backed out after only a year but recently they passed the US as the leading oil importer so this is now important to them strategically.
Petro-Yuan Looms - How China Will Shake Up The Oil Futures Market

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 4 2018 7:11 utc | 65

“On 1 December 2010 the Potgieter family was killed on their farm in the Free State Province. Attie Potgieter (40) was stabbed 151 times, while his wife, Wilna (36), and daughter, Wilmien (2), witnessed the killing. Thereafter, little Wilmien was executed in front of her mother and thrown in a box. A note, written in Sotho on a piece of cardboard saying ‘We have killed them. We are coming back’, was found on the gate of the farm.”

This is NOT an exception, this is an average example of torture meted out on a daily basis.
The media bias is unquestionable and overwhelming.
b, please evaluate this ongoing genocide and specifically the media aspect?
Thank you

Posted by: david | Jan 4 2018 9:32 utc | 66

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