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December 26, 2018

Open Thread 2018-70

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 26, 2018 at 7:57 UTC | Permalink

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@47 karlof1

Sorry your Canthama material didn't get published yet, I would have liked to read that. Sorry you're in the queue. I suspect b is sleeping through his night for a while longer yet.

Your Pieraccini link came through, so thanks for that. Reading it now.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 27 2018 3:36 utc | 101

Then, somewhere his articles started arguing against the "alt media", and I have noticed a thing about arguing against anyone, that it drops the realism of your analysis considerably. I don't know why. Perhaps it's something to do with...
Posted by: Grieved | Dec 26, 2018 4:35:41 PM | 69

Try this...
In the early '70s sales rep training strenuously cautioned against smearing competitors and/or their products. The logic behind it was that being better than something that's no good is nothing to brag about; whereas having a product better than something 'quite good' is.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 27 2018 3:58 utc | 102

@94 psychohistorian

Looks like you might be around, wanted to catch you - this not about your comment but about China.

I'm reading Jeff Brown currently. I was so distressed by the lack of knowledge here in this forum regarding China that I actually bought a couple of his books. I've now read China is Communist, Dammit! and I've started on China Rising.

Brown says in one paragraph from the first book that China's banks are all state-owned and that China prints its own money. Sadly, I have no further collateral than that one paragraph, out of his whole book. But it's a start. I must dig deeper.

The subtitle of the China Rising book is: "Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations". There is an ancient Chinese strategy of war called "Killing with a borrowed sword". Brown explains in great depth the history and thought that has gone into China's borrowing of certain capitalist methods, on a temporary basis, in order to ramp up production to the level where it can command its economy along exclusively socialist principles.

China is ancient and with a long mind. The Communist Party is firmly in control, and the people are happy under the Heavenly Mandate that keeps order and tranquillity in the land, so China will not forget what it is doing. It has borrowed a sword from the west in order to become invincible from the west. But this is by no means its destination. China is communist. There is no private real estate in China. Every millimeter is owned by the people through the state. China aims for the happy distribution of the wealth created by the workers.

China has no desire to rip its people off to benefit bankers. It allows billionaires to arise, and they all know they exist by the grant of the state, and that if the state decides the situation is too lop-sided, the billionaires will be reduced. Deng truly did say that "To become rich is glorious..." but the second part of the sentence which the west always leaves out is, "...and all the people must share in it."

China's goal is for moderate prosperity for all of its people, as a baseline that it will never again sink below. And its policies towards this end are working.

I'll share more things in the next year, as I learn more of the truth about China.

But I thought you'd be happy to hear these things.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 27 2018 4:02 utc | 103


Thank you for correcting the BS.

It's not surprising that a few commenters want to hijack the conversation on the day after Israel launches missiles with the hope of Syria mistakenly shooting down a passenger airliner.

Just another day at MoA.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 27 2018 4:11 utc | 104

Blackwater: "We are coming"


Posted by: Domza | Dec 27 2018 4:24 utc | 105

S @ 85 began with;"Putin is not "controlled by oligarchs"."

How about heavily influenced? IMO, it's somewhere between that and controlled. To assume Mr. Putin has total autonomy, could be the height naivety.

Posted by: ben | Dec 27 2018 4:32 utc | 106

@76 karlof1

Agreed, the Pieraccini article is one of his best. He's a deep thinker, with a longer horizon and memory than many other commentators, and I think he's pulled many, many of the threads together in this analysis.

We've seen some commentary and sentiment to the effect that Trump is moving finally along his stated plan to get out of the ME, but Pieraccini calls it as being only for the election. I agree with this. Trump wants to win and he needs to start now to do it, because it takes two years to win, and this is also crucial to build a defense from the Democrats along the way.

However, just because Trump is perhaps "only" looking at election doesn't mean that nothing is revealed about policy in the Middle East. What he has shown is that even a weak President can still affect foreign policy, and also that the neocon dream means nothing compared with domestic political realities - if the two come into sharp relief, as they now do, then the illegitimate and parasitic neocon force must yield.

If Trump survives his domestic battles, I suspect that neocon policy has been dealt a glancing blow that it will never quite recover from. Not that it's down by any means, but diminished a little, put in its place a little. Or so we can hope. Much remains to happen yet, and we shall see.


The US is what Jeff Brown calls the colonial spawn of the western tip (Europe) of Eurasia, all of which together have been consumed in racist and genocidal, imperial plunder of the whole world for 500 years. This kind of mindset is not going to vaporize overnight. The actions of one president are an insect bite in comparison. A dozen presidents maybe, one after another, with all the other influences of the world included over that time. And there's still the old money families at the root of it.

I begin to believe we must be looking at decades, perhaps almost a century, for this global anomaly to die away completely. But this is the Asian Century. Heaven itself, perhaps, sends its force against the old empires.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 27 2018 5:14 utc | 107

@85 S... thanks for your posts... where are you coming by that info? is that from you collected over the course of time, or?

@ jr... okay re trump, lol... i hear what you are saying...

@ 101 grieved... i am sorry, but this rose coloured glass outlook on china is misplaced... here where i live - in the greater vancouver area, the chinese are buying up real estate and businesses like nobodies biz... as to what is happening in china - the ones who can are getting out, or have created other options for themselves... the one's who can't are dealing with high levels of pollution, while being marked on their social actions on a social scoring card that is being used to either allow, or disallow them from doing any number of things.... i would like to think china is going to be some great redemption for the craziness that capitalism has given us, but i think this idea is really misplaced... again - thanks for your post @69 which everyone ought to read...

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 5:26 utc | 108

Grieved @ 69 Well said.

Bowles @ 10 "I figure that Putin/Russia is playing a decidedly dangerous 'game' in trying to keep Israel on its side, whilst trying to defend its interests in the Middle East. . . .And what, exactly is Russia' keeping its powder dry', for? A full scale attack by Israel?"

The Israeli internal political dialogue (Israeli Labor at loss, abandoned by voters)
is in an uproar coincident with the defeat of their Yinon plan. I suggest you consider reframing your understanding of Israel--maybe along the lines of something currently unthinkable to you given whatever your current premises are, and see what comes up. Re Russia's actions in re Israel: consider something analogous to "don't interfere with your enemy while it's making a mistake." This ain't beanbag. The Russians have demonstrated they know that all too well, especially following their IL-20 losses and the civilian planes apparently landing in Syria at the time of the 25 Dec attack.

@74 Well said. Thanks for your contributions.

karlof1 @ 76 Thanks for the link to Pieraccini.

jackrabbit @83 "The 2020 election is not a pressing concern at this time." I beg to differ. The candidates and parties differ as well. The whole Demo action in the House of Reps will be focused on the 2020 election from 3 Jan '19. Let the heightened assault on Trump begin!!

S @85 Brilliant observation re oligarchs vs. billionaires.

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 27 2018 5:42 utc | 109

If Trump survives his domestic battles, I suspect that neocon policy has been dealt a glancing blow that it will never quite recover from.

Lemme tell you what con artist Trump is up to. He's setting up a military wall to contain Iran via U.S. forces in Western Iraq, and this is for starters 'cause he didn't tear up the Iran deal for nothing. Whatever forces he draws from Afghanistan and Syria will in the meantime be training, resting and gearing up for another front. Then he's got the Saudis lined up to finance the reconstruction of Syria, in essence acting once again as patrons of all rebel forces in Syria. In other words, building up a Sunni Wahhabi opposition and strongholds again, while he continues to support the Saudis war on Yemen and eventual takeover there.

Also, by pretending a U.S. exit from Syria, and a drawdown in Afghanistan he baits Democrats into a war and regime change narrative position so that he can run the opposite narrative straight through 2020 and once again steal away Sanders' supporters and keep libertarians. He's setting a trap and strategy for a 2020 victory. He needs support from the Left to pull off another victory.

Then once that victory is in the bag, he's going to go after Iran full throttle, pretending he's Gen. MacArthur reincarnated and there you have it -- the Neocon goal is still in play and nothing, NOTHING has changed but the strategy -- he's going after Iran. You just don't get his game. He tore up that deal with Iran for a reason and put Pompeo and Bolton in for that same reason. Now he's not in a rush to appoint a new SOD, because whoever he appoints will be a hawk, but he'll delay the appointment cause needs to maintain some ambiguity for now. This whole Syria exit thing is a trap, BAIT and distraction and everyone's lining up just like he intended. Trump is a master manipulator and that's why he was chosen to lead the Empire right now.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 6:22 utc | 110


Perhaps control is too strong a word, although I used it in a relative sense to compare with US. I certainly think they influence Russia and Putins actions suggest as much.

As for oligarchs, they have money and money buys influence. Putin did boot out one faction of oligarchs and was supported by a competing faction who benefit from less competition. Perhaps an uneasy truce but they have influence. Russia like China and US have a very unequal distribution of wealth. Thats what neoliberalism is all about, so these leaders pretend to be populists, nationalists or socialists, sometimes all of the above, but they all serve the ruling elites of which they may or may not be a member of themselves.

As for most Russian Jews being Chabad, I think you have that wrong. Most Russian Jews are not orthodox. Chabad actually originated in Russia but did not return until Putin did in 1990. It was a minority sect in Russia. Jewish community was quite upset over that at the time but a couple of the oligarchs supporting Putin were Chabad supporter and the Russian Jewish Congress which was displaced was backed by a competing oligarch .

Posted by: Pft | Dec 27 2018 7:13 utc | 111


Your comment is full of amazing and pragmatic insight. While I understand Putin may be between a rock and a hard place right now, I view his oligarchy attachment with skepticism and even cynicism and will venture to say that it is also his Achilles' heel. It is that blind spot that Israel i.e. Zionists use to get their way.

Forgive the waxing religious, but you can't serve two masters, i.e. one's loyalty must be undivided. I mean, either he's with the majority of Russian people or the Oligarchy, which represent the Zionist hook.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 7:30 utc | 112


The party is the state. All those billionaires are all party members. The party is an exclusive club and only 6% of the population are members. Those state owned companies are all headed by party members, as are many of the top privately owned local companies

3% of Chinas parliament (NPC) are billionaires. The top 153 have a net worth of 650 billion

As for China being Socialist I would say it more closely resembles Fascist. Hitler improved his countrys economy as well and called his party National Socialists. Labels are overrated I guess.

Also, China being able to print its own money is good. But why do they need to tax the people for social insurance. They are in a great position to provide “medicare” for all. Instead their social welfare system looks like the US system with less efficiency.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 27 2018 7:34 utc | 113

The U.S. has used hard and soft power with an iron fist to acquire its Empire status. For now, Trump is using soft power i.e. financial tyranny more aggressively than any preceding President, Iran being his number one target, followed by China.

Iran can't do much to fight this tyranny alone without China and Russia's help, but what Trump is doing to China based on hyper-insecurity and imperial hubris will have serious blowback.

The author of this article that appeared in Vanity Fair in 2014, but is more relevant than ever China's Rise already viewed China as the world's No. 1 economic power at that time and Trump should be heeding his warning, but instead he's going the Neocon route: the Empire cannnot share power, have any challenge to its authority or even a counter balance either militarily or economically. This is not only an imperial mindset it's a Neocon standard.

If Trump uses economic tyranny with more force than his predecessors, you think he's going to hold back on the Yinon objective to neutralize Iran? This is why I laugh at those who think that Trump is not establishment. He's the Chosen of the 1%.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 9:04 utc | 114

If we are questioning the greater good of Russia's influence because Israel successfully fired 2 rockets out of 50 at Syria and hit a warehouse full of confiscated ISIS munitions on Christmas, well... I guess we're living in paradise, because if that's the worst news of the day, things are going very well. Who remembers when Deir Ezzor was beseiged? Or the Al Kindi Hospital. Damn those were heavy days man... let Israel play its cowardly tricks. A mosquito will still bite the buffalo. It can't change its nature.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Dec 27 2018 9:12 utc | 115

Why Mattis’ Exit Is A Defining Moment In US Foreign Policy


An important analysis!

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 9:52 utc | 116


Sorry you are in denial too, Putin have helped Israel on EVERY, note that word, EVERY request they have made regards to Syria and Iran.

And of course Putin is a zionist, tell me one russian president that have helped Israel this much past 30, 40, 50 years? You cant.

Vladimir Putin is the closest thing to a friend Israel has ever had in Moscow

I would appreciate if you stop with the slurs, keep the debate civil.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 27 2018 9:57 utc | 117


"And the global Lobby messes with every democracy. I've been writing for a long time that Putin is at the mercy of Zionists; Oligarchs, rabbis, Russian name it. His power is Zio-compromised."

Indeed, here are an article exposing Putin's pro zionist views:

There are no rational explanations for Putin’s extraordinary attitude toward Jews, which some have gone as far as to describe as being motivated by philo-Semitism.

Which in turn declares Putin's attitude to Iran and Syria. Its all about the security for Israel.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 27 2018 10:09 utc | 118

I don't doubt that the US would like to overthrow the Iranian government but how likely is it that the US will actually attack?

Iran poses a number of problems for the US. Iran would be one of the biggest, most populous countries that the US has ever attacked. It would also be one where the US preparation (undermining the enemies forces, preparing an insurgency) would be much less effective then in previous conflicts. The US would also be hard-pressed to find convincing justification for such an attack (meaning that international support will be lacking or lukewarm at best). Also, Iranian military are likely to as well prepared as they could possibly be,

Despite the bellicose leadership, the US military and public don't seem to be ready for what could easily turn out to be what would be the biggest military conflict for the US since the Korean War.

It is obvious that an attack on Iran would be over-reach by the US and would illustrate (more than any other conflict) the limitations of US power. Using Iraq as a base for such an attack also has problems as there would almost certainly be an increase in hostility towards US from the Iraqi battle-hardened militias; US troops in Iraq could turn out to be caught in a trap and their presence could easily become unsustainable.

For these reasons the US is likely to settle to opt for a policy of containment, and isolating Iran, rather than direct attack; it would be the smarter thing to do.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 27 2018 11:11 utc | 119

@Noirette | Dec 26, 2018 3:01:02 PM | 59

(MaBuS = MBS I suppose)

The antichrist will be named Mabus, according to Nostradamus.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 27 2018 11:37 utc | 120

ADKC | Dec 27, 2018 6:11:50 AM | 119

I agree, the US has been beating the war drums for over a decade, with continual 'rumours' of invasion that came to nought. Attacking Iran is synonomous with attacking Russia! But they need the continual demonization in order to justify ever more stringent sanctions.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 12:32 utc | 121

@james #108: Yes, bits and pieces collected over time.

Posted by: S | Dec 27 2018 13:26 utc | 122

@Pft #111

1. I still insist we use the word "billionaire" to refer to Russian ultra-rich. Some of them may turn into oligarchs in the future, but currently they are not oligarchs, as they are not making decisions regarding the strategy of the country. The strategy is chosen by Putin based on data provided by the intelligence services, the military, and the government/the central bank.

I'll give you one example. The billionaires were not consulted on the return of Crimea. When they learned about the decision from the news, almost all of them were against it. Timchenko, one of "Putin's billionaires", straight up refused to build the Crimean bridge. (In the end, after much deliberation, Rothenberg brothers agreed to take up the job.) If Russian billionaires really did control Putin, Crimea would not have returned to Russia.

Compare this to Ukraine, where the oligarchs do exist. Most of them decided it would be better for Ukraine to join the EU. Economic calculations showed the opposite, but it did not matter. The oligarchs owned all TV channels, radio stations, news websites, as well as politicians, and they pushed pro-Maidan propaganda 24/7. You know the result.

2. Putin did not "boot out one faction of oligarchs", he booted out all of them. First, he demanded that all large media companies are transferred to state ownership (hence the war on Gusinsky and Berezovsky who initially refused to do that). Then, a few years later, he demanded that the billionaires abstain from any political activity, including sponsorship of political parties (hence the war on Khodorkovsky who not only refused to do that, but planned to sell Yukos to Americans and use the money to buy all MPs and become President himself). You say "money buys influence". Well, it's not easy to do that when all large media companies are owned by the state and you can't sponsor political parties (unless asked to do so by the Presidential Administration).

Putin was not "supported by a competing faction who benefit from less competition". The "competing faction" did not exist when he came to power. Timchenko, Kovalchuk, and others were nobodies in the 90s. Putin made them billionaires through various schemes. They did not create Putin; Putin created them.

3. Russia does have large income/wealth inequality and it's toxic to society. There seems to be a threshold in income above which rich people start losing empathy for ordinary people. The economic inequality isn't just an ethical problem, but also an economic one: ordinary people simply do not have enough money to buy goods and services. Personally, I believe it's the biggest impediment to Russia's economic growth. Of course, it's connected to corruption/nepotism.

4. I did not say "most Russian Jews are Chabad", I said most Russian orthodox Jewish communities ("parishes") are Chabad. At least according to the figures I saw. Please note that 28 years have passed since 1990. Also note that Chabad is extremely active in engaging non-religious Jews. So it's plausible that they have grown their numbers to become the biggest orthodox Jewish sect in Russia.

Posted by: S | Dec 27 2018 13:27 utc | 123

Standard psyop.
Blaming Putin for what he didn't do ?
He did blocked S300 transfer to Iran and Syria but did that make him a zionist ?
He is looking out for his own country interest nothing more. Just to be remembered that he did not support more middle east wars nor he is in support to make Golan or Jerusalem to be completely Israelis.

Israel is just a client state nothing more to both Russia and China. The commodities it sells is USA.

Posted by: same | Dec 27 2018 13:32 utc | 124

@ Posted by: S | Dec 27, 2018 8:27:42 AM | 123

That's why nostalgia for the USSR has grown to the highest levels in 20 years, even among the young:

Back to USSR: Record number of Russians regret collapse of Soviet Union

According to this article, what triggered this upswing was the pension reforms Putin and co. did during the FIFA World Cup (june-july 2018).

Posted by: vk | Dec 27 2018 13:38 utc | 125

Often, b lauds others via his Twitter, which few here seem to visit.

karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 8:07:45 PM | 90

I don't use Twitter, or Facebook, or Linkdin. I don't why b chose Typepad as it's not the best platform for debate as there's no 'threading', although I have to say that even with threading, it can be very confusing, especially if there's a high volume of traffic.

I've been using Wordpress since around 2010, first self-hosted which is far superior to the hosting even when I pay for my own domain but my old hosting company got fed up with the problems the site created on a shared (and grossly overloaded) server, so I had to move the entire site over. Took me forever and all the pre-2010 pages were flat html so moving them over would probably take me 6 months or more to convert!

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 13:53 utc | 126

vk | Dec 27, 2018 8:38:35 AM | 125

I read somewhere that 70% of the population regret the collapse of the USSR and given the chaos that followed, it's not surprising. But the Russian Communist Party seems as clueless as all the other communist parties, none can offer a viable alternative to the present madness.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 13:57 utc | 127

Karlof1 @65 your intention may be well-meant, and generally i support the axis of resistance in this war. But equating Muhammad to Christ is blasphemy in the eyes of Christians. Jesus clearly claimed to be the sole Messiah. And if you beleive in Him, there is no biblical wiggle-room. Obviously this massively grates both Jews and Muslims, which is a source of the strife in the ME. But thats just how its been for 2000 years, and sorry but there is no other response possible without contradicting scripture.

Posted by: Trimulim | Dec 27 2018 14:23 utc | 128


Yes he is looking out for Russia's security, but why do he accept and appeasing Israel - accepting their bombings, moving out iranians close to the Golan Heights. What do Putin get from Israel that is so valuable? I think he is quite alone in this policy, especially after russians were killed by israelis, that is bound to happen again and the most absurd - Putin somehow support Assad - but accept attacks on his state by Israel. That cant benefit Russia in any way, especially if Assad eventually would be bombed himself.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 27 2018 14:25 utc | 129

S, refreshing to see posts of the "more light than heat" variety, thanks.!

Can you talk about Deripaska? G Webb is fond of covering news re him:

He had another re uniparty Green Energy:

Yes - China has billionnaires and Taiwan "cross straights" reforms trickled it in and onward to Malaysia, Vietnam, etc. Taiwan's rail and National Health service work well also but its a small place after all.

One thing China has is long cultural history even despite historical revisionism (even high school maps in Taiwan still show outer Mongolia as "middle kingdom" territory). But starvation and strife from warring factions and political corruption are part of racial memory and public education alike. The weakness is not so much money but social prestige and fame. (think American high school style neurotic popularity posturing). Hanging out with Atlantic Council and CFR types while allowing KKR and Rockafeller cash circulate leads to the effect mentioned by Tibetans:

"When a glove touches poop, the poop does not take on the smell of the glove."

Posted by: slit | Dec 27 2018 14:57 utc | 130

" ....The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc..." @85

I'm inclined to agree. And this is why there is so much anger against Putin, in particular, in the 'west': the Russian oligarchs wield enormous power through the media which is at the service of anyone with money. Bill Browder being a prime example.
The oligarchs were the tools that the City of London and Wall St employed to plunder Russia's socialised wealth and resources.
The hate campaign against Putin, who is in many ways a very conservative economist pursuing the sort of neo-liberal policies that capitalist financiers approve of, is inexplicable unless we understand that the end game is a return to the looting that took place under the Empire's anointed, Boris Yeltsin.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 27 2018 15:21 utc | 131

@108 james

Let me answer you with a rhetorical question. Do you really think that the people fleeing China, with excess capital taken out of the country with which to buy up Vancouver real estate, are seriously the people who can give you the correct view of the nation of China and her people domestically?

Regarding some of the discussion here about Russia and its oligarchs - overthrown beyond doubt by the security state, which also put one of its best men, Putin, forward to stave off final collapse and to redeem society from its ruin - one could ask the same question: will we get a true picture of Russia from the people buying up London real estate with capital expatriated from Russia?

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 27 2018 15:39 utc | 132

No great surprise after Trump’s visit to Iraq: “Iraqi lawmakers demand US withdraw troops after surprise Trump visit”

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 27 2018 15:45 utc | 133

Grieved says:

It[China] allows billionaires to arise, and they all know they exist by the grant of the state, and that if the state decides the situation is too lop-sided, the billionaires will be reduced

not only will be...Beijing's unwritten policy to cap individual wealth has been evident for a while. they've prosecuted and imprisoned numerous billionaires, stripped others of much of their wealth, and according to their sha zhu bang (kill pigs list), executed a bunch of others.

Posted by: john | Dec 27 2018 15:53 utc | 134

I see my Posting of Canthama's Syria Report was finally posted overnight @33 along with my post condemning Zionistan for its War Crime attack on Syria @38. I hope james notes the complete lack of links in my @33.

Very large contingent of SAA troops now occupy the region surrounding Manbij. Canthama's report from earlier this morning:

"RG 106th arrived inside Manbij pocket. This is an elite force. Total nbrs of SAA inside Manbij pocket in the thousands, mostly near Arimah in the west and south of Manbij. No entry in the key city as of now."

The Saudi Foreign Minister's been demoted, removing yet another Saudi humiliation. The remaining Arab states will soon have reopened their Embassies in Damascus and Syria will be readmitted to the Arab League at its upcoming meeting in Tunisia.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 27 2018 17:16 utc | 135


I haven't yet gone beyond your post here, but want to corroborate the statement made as being consistent with what Muhammed himself originally proclaimed. I have just received my Old Calendar Orthodox calendar for 2019. The whole issue highlights Saint Catherine's Monastery located at Mount Sinai in the southern part of the Sinai desert. Here is what the historical report has to say:

"...the monastery at Sinai stands out by having had a perpetual truce with the Muslims. As Mohammed's power increased and spread from Arabia, the monks requested a letter of protection from him, and this request was granted in 618. Here are some excerpts from this little-known but extraordinary letter, known as the Ashtiname: 'In the name of Allah, the Most Benificent, the Most Merciful, this is a message from Muhammed ibn Abdullah as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them...I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be used on them...Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries...Their churches must be honored, and they must not be withheld from building churches or repairing their dwellings..."

Posted by: juliania | Dec 27 2018 17:23 utc | 136

Sorry, that was karlof1@65 I was replying to.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 27 2018 17:27 utc | 137

In my post @112 I'm addressing @35 not 34.

For the others who don't believe Putin is compromised especially 's' who makes some strong points.

Okay, so let's say Putin is not compromised by the Oligarchy and he created the Russian oligarchy instead of the other way around, i.e. that they are the kingmakers. The oligarchy he created that are in his debt because they get to keep their wealth and corporate power will never be completely loyal to someone, Putin, who keeps them in check, under his thumb and expects them to finance big projects when the state needs funds. They are like hostages who will always lie in wait of the opportunity to escape control dethrone him and seize power. They may be stockholmed for now, but they're always lying in wait. Therefore Putin who understands this, is compromised by the fact that he must give on the Zionist issue which reprsents the biggest threat to his power because Zionists wield power globally, and could present those oligarchs with just that opportunity. Zionist Russians with dual citizenship will never be as loyal to Russia and Putin as sovereignists are, as Zionists have one loyalty above all others, and in turn Putin can never be completely loyal to sovereignists and their anti-Western vision of strength for Russia because he knows that the authority he exerts over the Oligarchy he created is dependent on how he deals with Zionism abroad. In a sense, by trying to please both sides he thinks he can have his cake and eat it too, but by caving or even placating the demands of Zionists he Putin is walking a fine line and I think he'll get to a point where he has to throw one side under the bus. Sovereignists tolerate Putin for as long as he keeps Zionist power in check, and in turn Zionists don't mount a campaign to dethrone Putin for as long as he doesn't check their power outside Russia, and Russia will never achieve the power and greatness it needs to check the Empire's domination and stop its expansion by caving to Zionist power. Putin is in a catch-22, he is compromised, no matter how you look at it. Maybe he's trying to buy time, but if he allows the Empire to take down Iran by any means and contain China then he will make Russia a vassal of the Empire, because even Russia cannot compete alone against the Empire without alliances strategically in opposition to the Empire's domination. This time is a crossroads for Putin and he's going to have to make a choice soon and stop straddling both sides or he'll lose the gains Russia has achieved.

I don't trust Putin when he pals around with the Empire's proxy, the Saudis, or placates the lunatic Zionist state.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 17:47 utc | 138

Little video of Putin dealing with some oligarchs.

Posted by: arby | Dec 27 2018 17:49 utc | 139

Will UAE be allowed to resume projects is the big question I have regarding much of the Twittersphere's optimism? Just how much death and destruction is it responsible for and how does the Syrian Street view UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and their keeper Saudi? Hasn't the failed attempt to destroy the Syrian State dramatically altered the relationship it has with its erstwhile Arab--Sunni--partners. Seems to me the Saudi and its kennel ought to be hated as much as the Turks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 27 2018 17:59 utc | 140

UAE has opened its embassy in Syria and also first passenger flights to Tunisia.
There will be more international passenger flights as countries start to normalise relations with damascus.
Israel used passenger flights as cover for their recent attack on Syria. A good chance the next false flag to keep US in Syria and prevent countries normalising relations with Syria will be the downing of a passenger plane. MH17 2.0

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 27 2018 18:01 utc | 141

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27, 2018 12:47:12 PM | 138

I'm beginning to enjoy your tosh - especially the bit in this episode wherein you persuade yourself that you know what Putin is thinking. Given your extraordinary ability to read Vlad's mind, how about having a good poke around in there, next time you're visiting it, and telling us what he discussed with Trump during their 1 on 1 in Helsinki?
If it's not too much trouble...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 27 2018 18:45 utc | 142

@ 122 S... thanks! see @131 bevins note to your post as well..

@ 132 grieved... let me counter your question with another one.. when we were in india many years ago, i noted all the people trying to hustle us in the first few weeks of being there.. i believe most of this had to do with the recognition on their part that we were strangers to their country.. does this group of hustlers represent all the people of india?

@ 135 karlof1... okay - no links, but still a long text, which is another one of the criteria that seems to trip up the moderation dynamic..

@141 peter au... mh17 2.0 - exactly... blame syria for israels actions..

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 18:53 utc | 143

I don’t understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs, or that he’s lining his own pocket etc etc. IMHO his strategy has always been clear and direct, since the beginning. He values first of all stability - time for Russia to rebuild herself. Secondly, he performs a clever balancing act between the competing centres of power in Russia.

His mistake, however, when he became president, was to believe quite sincerely that the West - and particularly Washington (the important one) - shared a desire for peaceful partnership with Russia. Doubts emerged in 2011 - he realised that he was being played - and the doubts became certainties in 2014, since when some fairly radical reorganisations has been taking place. Russia is - again, IMHO - now ready to take its real place in the international order.

I take great pleasure in reading and listening to his - and Sergei Lavrov’s - words, at the same time regretting the low standard of our own representatives.

Many thanks to b and all of you who continue always to inform me and sometimes enchant me.

Posted by: Montreal | Dec 27 2018 19:01 utc | 144

Re: Honduras, the coup, the refugees, and Clinton/Obama

> our media tells us little about Honduras, least of all the role of the United States in reducing it to its current condition
> You have to understand that the rule of law has been destroyed in recent years, ever since the June 2009 coup that deposed the democratically elected president. The post-coup regime, including the judiciary, the police, the military, the attorney general’s office, and the congress, destroyed the rule of law, top to bottom. I would underscore: the United States-backed post-coup regime.
> An estimated two thirds of the people in Honduras live below the poverty line. Livelihoods that allow people to survive are actively being destroyed by state policies, such as hydroelectric dams that are forcing Indigenous people and small farmers off their lands, and the mining concessions granted by the government that extend to something like 30 percent of the whole country. These mines are being dramatically expanded on Indigenous lands. Those who legally resist these new land takeovers by elites are being killed. A push toward palm-oil production, backed by multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, is forcing thousands of small farmers off their lands.1 Lands that belong to the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people on the Caribbean coast are being seized to expand the tourist economy. Meanwhile about 140,000 people are employed in the maquiladora sector, the export processing zones, which are largely garment production, but also electronics. They’re tremendously destructive to a person’s health. Workers inhale cotton dust and all kinds of contaminants. They work twelve hours a day. Their eyesight is damaged. Most of those that are employed are young people, and when their bodies give out, the companies just hire new people.

> It’s clear from WikiLeaks and her emails that this was Clinton’s policy. She wanted the coup to stabilize. Her actions make it clear she wanted Zelaya out. She greeted the post-coup’s vicious regime with open arms, celebrating what the State Department called the “government of national reconciliation and unity” of Porfirio Lobo in the months after the internationally condemned 2009 election. She also baldly lied about the coup. In a 2016 interview with the New York Daily News ,23 she claimed that the United States had never called it a coup. Of course, it did—the issue at the time was that the United States refused to call it a military coup, which would have made it legally obliged to cut all forms of aid. Even more chilling, she insisted in the interview that the coup had been legal, and was not unconstitutional—that is, not a coup at all. This is terrifying! Clinton wasn’t just rewriting history. She was rewriting it to take a position that was to the right of her own documented position at the time, which was to recognize and call it a coup.
> In her autobiography, Clinton wrote that, after the coup, she strategized with the Mexican government and others “on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.” Let’s be clear about what she’s saying here: she didn’t want to restore the legal president, she wanted to have an election that would appear to be legit, so that Zelaya could be ejected for good. That passage was so volatile that she had it cut out of the paperback version of the book. That’s creepy, too.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Dec 27 2018 19:05 utc | 145


You think the case of China is the same as Russia? No doubt the Chinese set up what amounts to a research centre to study the collapse of the Soviet Empire and avoid the mistakes made. When China started to revolutionize its economy to get its people out of poverty, although the West played a role, it probably adopted the lessons learned from the Soviet experience on how to guard against the pitfalls of capitalism.

Also, you can't compare a country with a large population of Russian Zionists, dual citizenship citizens in Russia and Israel, who are protected by the most powerful lobby in the world, with China's population. Therefore that argument is weak.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 19:10 utc | 146

juliania @136--

Thanks for providing that excellent bit of history!! There's a massive amount of history that occurred from BC/AD to @700 that was altered to fit the rising institution of the Christian Church's narrative, with many of the transgressions reported by the Catholic Encyclicals themselves, but where only a few brave exegetes and historians have dared to penetrate.

One of those brave souls was Dorothy Milne Murdock, nom de plume--Archarya S. Wikipedia bio, CV from her website. She passed in 2015 at 55, far too young for one as brilliant as her. She was briefly discussed by me and another barfly a year or so ago. I've read most of her essays and have her Christ Conspiracy; everything she's written is meticulously documented which one ought to expect when challenging such an engraved narrative. I discovered her quest while on my own based on the very simple but extremely well obfuscated fact that no prominent exegete has been able to establish an historical Jesus--none, as in ZERO. My quest for an explanation continues and was reinvigorated by Dr Hudson's publications and his hypotheticals, which we've somewhat explored.

As proven by past experience, this topic attracts the ugliest trolls which quickly destroy the possibility of civil discourse; so, the topic rarely gets broached except around Solstice. As I once mentioned here several years ago, I find the Gnostic explanation jibes very well with science in declaring the "God Seed" resides within all, the "seed" being DNA. And I shall again leave the discussion at that point.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 27 2018 19:17 utc | 147

@144 Montreal: "I don’t understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs"

Simply because that is what trolls like Zanon (rather dumbly) and Circe (more sophistically) are mandated for, that is, to undermine Putin&Russia's credibility as a counter weight to the "Atlanticist Empire" by association to one of its component, Israel..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 27 2018 19:19 utc | 148

With Putin, as much (or maybe more) than any other leader on the globalist world stage, follow his actions and reactions not his words.

He is nobody's stooge for sure and he is also purely following Russia's self-interest in the world.

The tendency of some to deify Putin and the Chinese just indicates how much baloney that individual poster has swallowed.

Like the old son goes,

"there ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys
there's only you and me and we just disagree."

This holds for the globalist players of the "Evil Empire" as well as the globalist players of the "Non-Evil" Empire.

One can make moral equivalencies all day long as so many here and elsewhere do, but they are simply pulling fairy tales out their arse.

There is no redemption for anyone foolish enough to idolise (and idealise) any of the US, EU, Russia or China or their wealthiest perpetrators. They all suck. There is ample evidence to condemn the uber wealthy leadership of each country.

Happy holidays.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 27 2018 19:41 utc | 149

especially for grieved and psychohistorian... thoughts?

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 19:46 utc | 150

Lozion | Dec 27, 2018 2:19:37 PM | 148

Methinks you credit these people with far too much intelligence.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 19:56 utc | 151


Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll or mandated. I wish I were getting financial gain from this, but sorry to say you couldn't be more off base. Too bad for you I believe in what I write and have no problem with an intelligent contrary argument. Your's on the other hand speaks volumes about you.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 19:57 utc | 152

james | Dec 27, 2018 2:46:44 PM | 150

Imagine a world where many of your daily activities were constantly monitored and evaluated: what you buy at the shops and online; where you are at any given time; who your friends are and how you interact with them; how many hours you spend watching content or playing video games; and what bills and taxes you pay (or not).

Forgive me, am I missing something here? Isn't this what we've already done here in the 'free' world? Google, NSA, GCHQ, Facebook et al. The Panopticon. I think you've missed the boat, just as Wired did.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 20:01 utc | 153

karlof1 @78 thank you for that excellent link to Federico Pieraccini's analysis.

Jackrabbit @85, anyone who hasn't noticed the jostling has begun over 2020 election ("not a pressing concern at this time") isn't paying attention. dem operatives are in full throttle attacking sanders and trying to anoint the next "centrist" primary candidate. i definitely think it's an election move by trump, smart one too. there's a vast middle, the largest voting block (larger than dem or gop) that vote independent. although it's rarely discussed in msm many people base their vote on foreign policy including anti war / anti neocon contingent. a reason why many dem leaning voters could not vote with the party in 2016. it's enough to tip an election for sure.

but another thing pieraccini mentioned regarding domestic concerns was the mueller’s investigation. considering the timing i agree the combined investigations are a pressing motivation. especially given the troop announcement was within days of the announcements over NY investigating trump family taxes. if he feels those investigations closing in, the withdrawal of troops is a very bold shot across the bow that, if he was forced out, would define his lasting legacy. iow, it's absolutely domestic and possibly a partial revenge move against his domestic foes.

Posted by: annie | Dec 27 2018 20:15 utc | 154

donkeytale: there ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys

But there is an important distinction. The AZ Empire seeks hegemonic NWO.

That outcome would be terrible for anyone that has not clawed their way to the top. Imagine a global company town where neofeudal "owners" unrelentingly grind down the less fortunate.

Would a '1984' dystopia be worse? Maybe. But it seems to be the AZ Empire that is driving us toward such either of these dystopias.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 27 2018 20:25 utc | 155

@ 153 wb.. yes, you are missing the longer conversation here that is discussing china as some type of utopian alternative to the west...

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 20:36 utc | 156

There ain't no good guys--

Maybe that is true however if you have a listen to Putin or Lavrov at conferences or question periods and compare that to what you hear from western leaders who read their answers from scripted texts and teleprompters you would not find it difficult to notice a huge difference in brainpower and sincerity.
China is spending billions on the one belt one road initiative as opposed to the west that is spending billions trying to throw sand in the works.
To me those are big differences and not so easy to say they are all the same with trite stuff like there are no good guys.

Posted by: arby | Dec 27 2018 20:40 utc | 157

juliania @ 136

Thanks ever so much for this information. I'm approaching three score and ten years and I still learn something every time I log on to this site. Congratulations to b for all his hard, incisive work and to the regular posters from whom I learn so much.

Posted by: spudski | Dec 27 2018 20:40 utc | 158


You'll have to do better than simply restating Pieraccini. You haven't addressed my points regarding:

- the Israeli Christmas attack

- the imminent deployment of Russia's hypersonic strategic missiles;

- the potential elevation of Iran into SCO;

- the continued aggressive stance of USA in other areas (which make a 'change of heart' in Syria suspect);

- the apparent desire - some might say imperative - that Eastern Syria not be returned to Syrian control.

Backing up that last point, we were led to believe that Turkey would replace US troops in an action that was initially said to be happening immediately then revised to within 30 days but in his speech to the troops in Iraq Trump says that US withdrawal will be "orderly" and "deliberate", meaning much slower than we were led to believe. In essence, there is not longer any set time frame.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 27 2018 20:44 utc | 159

@karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 6:43:02 PM | 78

Anyway, here I go again trying to post a link to what I believe a very perceptive article by Federico Pieraccini

An excellent article indeed.
Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 27 2018 20:47 utc | 160

Circe @138

You mean that Putin's room for manoeuvre is "restricted". The word you use in your argument, "compromised", implies Putin did something disreputable (possibly illegal) that allows leverage to be be applied to which Putin has no choice but to comply.

Your argument, that you specifically apply to Putin, is surely just the pressures and lobbies of vested interests that any Russian President would face.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 27 2018 21:03 utc | 161

mauisurfer@145 thanks for that. I had an argument the other day with two friends about HRC and why I couldn't vote for her. She represents the typical DC face of the evil US foreign policy. Trump just doesn't hide the agenda with saccharin phrases for the public.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 27 2018 21:04 utc | 162

@ Montreal | Dec 27, 2018 2:01:23 PM | 144

I take great pleasure in reading and listening to his - and Sergei Lavrov’s - words, at the same time regretting the low standard of our own representatives.

I assume that "our own" refers to Canada (or perhaps only Montreal). In any case, I had the exact same experience as a US resident living outside of Philadelphia, PA.

Even as my understanding of geopolitics evolved during this century, for a long time I still bought into the Western/US mass-media portrait of Putin: a cold, even reptilian, and certainly ruthless "former KGB boss" with expansionist designs on Russia's neighbors and the EU.

Thanks, in part, to RT News arriving in the West, I began to finally get some direct glimpses of Putin and Lavrov. It didn't take long to realize that I'd been misinformed and manipulated about the Russians. Although I have no authoritarian-submissive predisposition to admire and respect politicians, I was impressed by both men's uncommon intellect, lucidity, and forthrightness.

They made the US and EU charlatans-- Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, David Cameron, François Hollande (and their successors) et al-- look like life-sized animatronic puppets, programmed to vehemently assert the US talking points du jour.

Posted by: Ort | Dec 27 2018 21:24 utc | 163

"...there is no other response possible without contradicting scripture."

Sorry that I am a slow reader, but Trimulim @ 128, please visit Saint Catherine's monastery in Sinai. That is the oldest monastery operating continuously in Christendom, and they are surrounded by Bedouin tribes. I quote my 2019 Orthodox calendar again:

"...Although the Bedouin living near the monastery today are Muslim...they feel a sense of loyalty toward the monastery, naming their town after St. Catherine. Their livelihood depends directly and indirectly on the monastery...Sinai is mentioned in the Koran as a holy place where God spoke to Moses. "

The monastery supports a clinic and a school for the Bedouin population. They believe in hospitality toward strangers, which certainly doesn't contradict Scripture. There are even two mosques located on monastery grounds.

Yes, the two faiths are different in their beliefs. But it is possible for people of different faiths to help one another, and indeed recognize what they have in common rather than their differences.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 27 2018 21:31 utc | 164

@karlof1 | Dec 26, 2018 6:43:02 PM | 78

Re the Pieraccini piece: Yes, it kinda makes sense on one level; domestic politics driving Trump. However, the Empire hasn't spent billions (or is it trillions?) expanding across the planet, destroying everything in its path in the name of its god, Capital. So you could also argue, that what appears to be a withdrawal from Syria, could be a temporary measure or setback, after all, they've not actually left, and if they do, they'll just hop across the border to the biggest foreign US base on the planet, in Iraq.

I suppose that given the Empire’s history, I just don’t believe it’s walking away from Syria. So really, the debate hinges on whether in fact the US has really been defeated in Syria and I see no evidence of that. It’s not the US Embassy in Saigon, with helicopters on the roof and the Vietminh hammering at the doors. I’m going to need a lot more convincing but convince me I’m wrong, I want to be wrong!

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 21:32 utc | 165


Simply because that is what trolls like Zanon (rather dumbly) and Circe (more sophistically) are mandated for, that is, to undermine Putin&Russia's credibility as a counter weight ..

I think its sad that you feel so strongly about Putin that you cannot deal with people criticizing him on the internet. Relax, we dont have to agree, I would only wish you could elaborate, factually, why you think I am wrong about Putin. I might be, but you need to put forward your argument, so lets debate. :)

I wished you were right though about Russia.
But lets check 2 topics: If Putin is a "counter weight" to Israel and US, why do Putin work with both US and Israel to further US/Israeli goals? For example when it comes to the illegal occupation of Golan?

Netanyahu thanks Putin, Trump for statements in support of Israel (video)

Or remember just past some months:
Russia, after Netanyahu visit, backs off Syria S-300 missile supplies

"after Netanyahu visit", thats not an ally and that was in May - and still no S300 is in syrian hands, thus the attacks by Israel is ongoing.

Ask iranians what they think about Putin's "counter weight" ask Hezbollah, ask syrians.
Then ask Israel and they will gladly tell you that Russia doing great. Go figure and ask yourself - who is really wrong in our debate?

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 27 2018 21:41 utc | 166

@Pft | Dec 26, 2018 8:20:31 PM | 91

So Putin may not be what he seems.

Perhaps. But he has still done Russia a lot of good, and is still doing it. If as you think he is only seemingly benign and is truly evil underneath, he has done a good job sustaining a fake, benevolent personality for almost two decades. I doubt he is doing that.

In addition, the common wisdom is that you can tell much about a man by his companions. Lavrov and Shoigu are good men, and I doubt they are faking it. So this is more evidence that Putin is not evil.

As for Israel it controls Russia as much as it does the USA.

I very much doubt that Israel controls Russia. Influences, yes. But not controls. Have you forgotten already that Russia has completely changed the fate of Syria? ISIS and al Queda were within weeks of deposing Assad, then Putin intervened. The rest is history. The intervention was a giant kick in the pants to Israel, and the Zionists have been extremely butt-hurt ever since. If this is what Israeli control of Russia means, then the Zionists are more suicidal than I thought.

You may be right that Putin is actually a malign force, but you will need much more evidence to convince me.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 27 2018 21:54 utc | 167

James, you mentioned that the Chinese are buying properties out on the west coast.

Might we envision one day that these properties could be confiscated when the rivalry becomes more intense?

To make that legal, some states and provinces may want to issue purchases for a specific amount of time, as was done in Hong Kong. The time period would be much less than 99 years, however.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 27 2018 21:56 utc | 168

Throughout its existence the Soviet Union was hobbled by the sanctions imposed on it by the capitalist world. Despite being uniquely qualified, by virtue of its geography and culture, to survive without being part of the international economy, it had to pay much more, by being forced to rely on its own resources, than other countries for every advance that it made economically.
And then it was constantly under threat of coordinated military attack by the richest and most technically advanced powers, led by the anglo-US empire. Twice it was invaded by massive international coalitions, in 1918 and 1041. Twice its industrial base and its infrastructure were reduced to smoking ruins.Twice it had to rebuild, from the ground up without the assistance of foreign capital.
By contrast the imperial powers, bent on crushing it by economic or military means, throughout its existence came through the period virtually unscathed-its great rival the US actually thrived from threw two world wars.
It was this fate which China, under imperial pressure after the 1949 Revolution, was determined to escape. And so far, since it changed course and played the US and the Soviet Union off against each other, it has made great strides forward-advances complementing the enormous gains made after 1949, during which period all the basic indicators of well being, life expectancy included, rose and a firm base was established for future improvement. And this at a time when the US used every means in its power, including biological warfare, to weaken China and reduce its people to starvation.
For example China-well known for its polluted air-is well in advance of North America in its development of renewable energy sources and seems genuinely committed to replacing fossil fuels.
Nor is it using its growing strength to engage in military adventures and impose its rule on others.
It is important when considering China not to repeat the mistakes of some of the neo-Trotskyist factions whose theory that the Soviet Union was just another capitalist society (something that most Russians disagree with) was an important part of the Empire's ideological struggle against the Soviet Union in the world and socialism everywhere. China is not a communist country but it serves its people much better than, for example, India. And it certainly plays a vital role, together with Russia in resisting the Imperial ruling class's campaigns to reduce the globe to accepting the diktats of Washington, Wall St and Hollywood.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 27 2018 22:01 utc | 169

Thanks for responding, karlof1 - yes, I agree it is a difficult topic to address, but I think a pertinent one, given that Syria's Christians still speak Amharic, which was the language of Jesus. And of course, it all depends on which historical references you consider to be accurate, since the followers of Christ do have an unbroken traditional history in the records of church practices as well as the earliest persecutions and indeed settlements. It always amazes me to discover how far afield they managed to go - we who rely on machines to get us more than short distances don't realize how far the early Christians boldly went, on foot.

I can, tongue in cheek, claim to be 'one up' on the lady whose bio you linked to, since also studying Latin and Greek, plus philosophy, I attended the third oldest college in the US. But I bow to her as to her credentials, a lowly amateur, I. But I came to Orthodox Christianity after my course of studies, and it so made sense to me that there I stayed.

Another place of comity, sadly not any longer a place of friendship, though it could be again, is the tombs of the patriarchs, where Jews and Muslims ought to be rubbing shoulders as they worship the burial places of their holy forefathers.

Divide and conquer was always the way of empire builders I guess. They have a lot to answer for. And will.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 27 2018 22:13 utc | 170

@152 Your one-note-samba-ing about seeing Zio pawns in Trump/Putin/your corner store delivery boy, ad nauseam since you first starting posting here in 2106 is either an obsession (ok, We GOT iT!) or a favorite hasbara tactic. Maybe the jury is out for others but not for me..

@166 Your argumental manure has been demonstrated for what it is by others so I wont engage with you needlessly..

Posted by: Lozion | Dec 27 2018 22:15 utc | 171

Cyril | Dec 27, 2018 4:54:19 PM | 167

Right on, Cyril!

Putin ain't no saint, that's obvious, he's a politician but a patriot as well. A rare combination. Yes, he's a conservative, sexist, macho man, definitely not politically correct. I've said here before, once. Russia and Russians will NEVER forget what the Great Patriotic War did to every family in the Soviet Union, mine included, which got exterminated down to almost the last man. I think that's what drives him. As was said, just check out the people closest to him, especially Lavrov, that guy is an artist!

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 27 2018 22:26 utc | 172

@168 bart hansen... i doubt it.. most of them have immigrant or legal status here... back prior to the hong kong transition, a number of folks from hong kong were given the option of living and owning property in b.c. if they had a minimum of 250 grand and started a business... over the course of 20 years, vancouver has changed a lot... there was also the expo land that was given for development by a very rich man and development company from china - forget his name.. anyway - richmond, a suburb of vancouver is a very different community then it was 30 years fact, the traditional chinatown of vancouver has mostly been relocated to richmond! vancouver has always had a large chinese presence - 3rd 4th and maybe even 5th generation chinese who have merged into the westcoast and are great citizens... it is the latest group from china - 1st generation, that are noticeably different, and very much into status symbols and flaunting their wealth.. they live in big box houses with the right feng shui and they are probably all fine people, but it seems like money is the over riding religion being practiced..

now, all this probably sounds racist to some, but i am just making my own observations on what continues to happen on the westcoast of canada.. to think that china is going to be some utopian type alternative to the rampant large stage capitalism we have going at present seems misplaced or unrealistic..

@171 lozion.. keep on keeping on my man!

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 22:38 utc | 173

karlof1 and juliania... thanks for sharing your ongoing discussion... i have enjoyed reading what you have both shared..

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 22:47 utc | 174

@Ort 163

Posted by: Schmoe | Dec 27 2018 23:09 utc | 175

@Ort 163
FYI - RT has been removed from Spectrum Cable in NYC. It must have started to get a following.

Posted by: Schmoe | Dec 27 2018 23:10 utc | 176


So now you're encouraging ad hominem instead of debate over differences of opinion? I thought you were better than that, but you had to go and prove me wrong.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 27 2018 23:11 utc | 177

circe - i generally always agree with lozion and this time is no different.. i think there are a lot of posters or lurkers here that see it the same too.. doesn't mean i won't talk to you though, lol...

smoothies latest post on the israel attack and etc for those interested..

Posted by: james | Dec 27 2018 23:19 utc | 178

@ Grieved about China....thanks for sharing your research

I have just finished reading for the first time through: Technical Foundation of Neurofeedback by Thomas Collura. It is my understanding he owns Brainmaster that has the middle-ware hardware and then control/presentation hardware that most/many of the neurofeedback providers use. It provides the gnarly dipole bio-electric detail of brainwaves and their measurement as well as overview of therapeutic concepts, models and use of software to provide measurement and intermediation.....not an easy read and it didn't all stick....

@ james with the concern over China's prototype of "social management".

Someone else commented and I concur that the West already has this and you don't get to know how it works. Are there aspects of the China prototype that I wouldn't like? Probably, but I respect they are being "open" about working through the concept.
I am in favor of our world having a merit based social system instead of the born into or prostitute yourself to one. Of course the devil is in the details but more importantly to me is the "cui bono" or who benefits question by such a system.

I do believe that humanity can construct and manage a society that is merit based instead of the competition/zero sum base one of the West.
I continue to challenge folks to think about how the social dynamics and incentives would change if humanity were the recipients of the benefits of the tools of global finance instead of a very few.......we need global public finance not private

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 27 2018 23:36 utc | 179

@Grieved | Dec 27, 2018 12:14:31 AM | 107

What [Trump] has shown is that even a weak President can still affect foreign policy, and also that the neocon dream means nothing compared with domestic political realities - if the two come into sharp relief, as they now do, then the illegitimate and parasitic neocon force must yield.

That is true, if Trump doesn't backtrack on the Syria withdrawal.

If he follows through with it, that would show that Trump isn't really all that weak. That would prove that at least the rank and file of the military approves of him, that even the mighty Mad Dog is powerless against the Presidential authority.

The revocation of Jared Kushner's security clearance (if it's still revoked) is more evidence that Trump's influence is expanding, and the influence of Zionists like Sheldon Adelson is shrinking. Perhaps the elites (or a faction of them at least) are supporting him, and he no longer needs Adelson.

The loud shrieking of all the Zionist media is proof that they hate the Syria withdrawal; if Trump actually does it, that would be evidence he isn't in their pocket.

We'll see what happens.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 27 2018 23:48 utc | 180

I've just spent a little time trying to make sense of a hysterical headline (and mini-essay) at a major propaganda site for the apartheid Jewish state. No link, but anybody who wants to read the "stuff" can use 'teh' google.

Russia and Syria threaten to fire SA-5 missiles into central Israel if IAF air strikes continue

Recall an earlier report Syria planned to do a "tit for tat" reply to attacks. Well, that may have already started.

Israel is also thought to have targeted a Syrian Army arms dump near Damascus, with Syrian air defenses going into overdrive to try and repel the attack. In response, a Syrian S-200 missile fired toward Israel was shot down, according to US military sources quoted on Debka, by an Israeli Patriot anti-air missile. The resulting explosion rocked coastal towns between Tel Aviv and Haifa.

The key part is that Syria fired only one S-200 munition. Thing is, this particular missile is a big mother, and has a surface to surface capability. The warhead is large too, and not something you want to be exploding at your airbase or industrial center. So the apartheid Jewish state was forced to spend $3 million dollars worth of Patriot missile to bring the antique but still dangerous SA-5. So it didn't matter whether the SA-5 hit anything or not, the chicken***t state was out a pile of money. The hysteria I spoke of might be a fear the Syrians will continue to shoot back. This could get expensive!

By the way, the second headline at the propaganda site was "Moscow: Israeli air strike hazarded Beirut, Damascus civilian aircraft, weighs extending Syria’s missile shield to Lebanon"

God's Favorite One Holer may be digging itself into a hole which will be very difficult to get out of.

Latest News Biblical Perspective

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 28 2018 0:01 utc | 181

@ juliania | Dec 27, 2018 5:13:43 PM | 170

Syria's Christians still speak Amharic, which was the language of Jesus.

I think you meant to write "Aramaic". Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia.

Posted by: PhilK | Dec 28 2018 0:08 utc | 182

@ Posted by: Zanon | Dec 27, 2018 4:41:19 PM | 166

There are three ideologies in contemporary (i.e. post-1991) Russia: the Ocidentalists (who believe Russia is an European country and should always mold its foreign policy in the direction to being absorbed by Europe geopolitically), the Slavophiles (who believe Russia is neither European nor Eurasian/Asian, but a unique kind of State which arose from the fusion between the Mongol system and the European system, i.e. a Slavic State, nothing more, nothing less) and the Eurasianists (who believe Russia is an Eurasian country and should have an Eurasian foreign policy).

It is not secret among the people who study the subject that Putin is, personally, an Ocidentalist with a touch for the Slavophile element of liking the idea of the Orthodox Church dominating the ideological landscape. He probably hates the Bolsheviks, communism, and the fact that the Russian Revolution happened. Put it simply, he hates the USSR.

But in the real world, it is not about what you hate and you don't hate personally. That may work in your private life, where you can subjugate your wife and kids and mold them to your image. But, in the public life, things get serious, and you're nothing. Putin compreends that -- that's why he unwillingly accepts the fall of the USSR was the worst disaster of the 20th Century history; that's why he doesn't throw away the toys the Soviets left as inheritance to the Russian Federation; that's why he behaves like an Eurasianist when doing his job. Because, at the end of the day, it was the Bolsheviks who crushed the Wehrmacht, made the Red Army the most powerful war machine in Europe and turned Russia into a global superpower; at the end of the day, Russia is still in Eurasia. It wasn't the Orthodox pope, it wasn't the czar, it wasn't the capitalists who did it. It is what it is, it was what it was.

Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: vk | Dec 28 2018 0:09 utc | 183

@Pft | Dec 27, 2018 2:34:06 AM | 113

3% of Chinas parliament (NPC) are billionaires. The top 153 have a net worth of 650 billion

Why are the billionaires in parliament? Why dodn't they simply sit back and buy some people, as the deep state buys Congresscritters in the U.S.? The answer can only be that the Communist Party is still pretty clean -- and still socialist enough that the billionaires need to fight for their interests.

Whether the Party will remain clean, I don't know. Rot has a way of spreading.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 28 2018 0:12 utc | 184

I suspect if and when and where and how to respond involve some careful thought - this is not spagetti western.
- Syria is not Russia.
- Something about dont attempt to destroy your enemy while he is busy destroying himself. To some extent Russia is winning the war without firing a shot.
- Isreal is possibly a diversion from movements elsewhere.
- Isreals action are annoying but Syria (not Russia) might pick its moment.
- US is trying to draw Russia into a morass much like it has done itself in (name pretty much any place). Again Russia wins by not acting.
I dont wish for more violence but it seems likely.
Isreal may yet receive the benefit of its actions - clearly they are stalking horse however.

Posted by: JARED | Dec 28 2018 0:46 utc | 185

@Zanon | Dec 27, 2018 4:57:21 AM | 117

Sorry you are in denial too, Putin have helped Israel on EVERY, note that word, EVERY request they have made regards to Syria and Iran.

Except for the most important of Israel's wishes: that Russia would stop supporting Assad and withdraw from Syria. That one nyet is overwhelmingly more important than everything else, and Putin's sticking to it.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 28 2018 0:48 utc | 186


If you want to make more more money , being in parliament or Congress (especially President) is a great way to do it. Lots of inside information, control of tax legislation and business regulations that may affect your interests, etc. I bet Trumps made a killing although he dare not release his financials so we will never know. Most of those in Congress increase their net worth far beyond their salary by the time they leave office.

As for being clean, a number of Chinese parliamentarians and Xi’s close relatives were exposed in the Panama papers. The news was censored in China of course.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 28 2018 0:49 utc | 187

@156 james, @153 William Bowles

james I think it is you who misses the point, while William Bowles actually gets it very well. You know, we must eventually realize that we are trying to parse China through western values and it doesn't work because China is its own civilization. It can only be understood and appreciated in its own terms, which are terms that its people cherish.

And the irony is very strong of cleaving to "western values" when they really don't exist - and may never have existed in the way we mythologically accept that they have - and are under continual subversion.

It is indeed true that the Chinese system is transparent to its people, while the western system is not only opaque but intentionally deceptive. The Chinese people are very much on terms with it, because it's how they've lived and participated in their own governance for thousands of years. Jeff Brown calls the overall system "Democratic Dictatorship" and this is where the Chinese find their social stability. The people know that they can overthrow their rulers if their rulers fail to provide harmony and justice across the land, and the rulers know this very well about the people.

All of this is in plain view for the west to see, but it's never noticed - it will be a hard thing to accept for some, but I can't argue for the truth of it, you have to study and see how it actually is this way.

In fact, I wonder now how many here would like to dispute these statements, not actually knowing any better, simply believing things to be true, from a lifetime of propaganda and prejudice, not all of which we have managed to become aware of. The China discussion is a splendid way for us all to become aware of those residual, imperial lies that have permeated our thinking from birth until, hopefully, now.

I would like to propose one overarching principle here: that the way the Chinese have crafted their current system is founded completely in their ancient ways. Communism, or communalism perhaps, is millennia-old in China. Nothing much is new here. And the political system actually is communist by the way in every formal sense of what holds power and sway in China. I've read their Constitution, and they're not fooling around.

Finally, to address your point of whether China is "some type of utopian alternative to the west", I'd like to suggest that in certain ways it is exactly that. But I could say the same of Cuba or Iran or other socialist countries. Socialism is the antidote to capitalism. And what we know as capitalism is in fact imperial plunder. The neoliberal, shock-doctrine, crisis capitalism as described by Naomi Klein is precisely what we're up against, and the history of world affairs seems to suggest that it takes an actual revolution to displace it.

I'll have to leave this discussion on that thought. I'm going to try not to spend a lot of time discussing the minutiae of this China thing. Time is limited for me, and I still have a lot more studying to do in this area. I will share what I can, as I can.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 28 2018 1:07 utc | 188

@178 psychohistorian.. i pretty much concur, although they are saying how that social score card is going to work and for such a thing as jaywalking one loses merit points! i am not drawn to a system that monitors people like that either, even if i know that we have a similar system of spying in place here 24/7... but i would draw your and grieveds attention to the last line in @185 pfts post for more of an insiders view - stifled of course in china..

Posted by: james | Dec 28 2018 1:11 utc | 189

@ 186 grieved.. thanks for your comments! we are going to have to agree to disagree then on some of the info discussed.. i think it is fine to be drawn to a utopian type system... i just don't think it is all that realistic, or based on a realistic assessment of the present.. but it is worth striving for.. perhaps something better will come out of a collapse of the present system we find ourselves living in... do i want to be tracked 24/7 in either system? no.. to me that is not utopian by any stretch of the imagination..

Posted by: james | Dec 28 2018 1:15 utc | 190

@147 karlof1

I humbly recommend Lee Strobel's book "The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus".

Posted by: xLemming | Dec 28 2018 1:31 utc | 191

@ james with the focus on j-walking control

There are urban centers where j-walkers are dangerous and disrespectful of the management of traffic and they should get points off there.

In the countryside, not so much if any but maybe a bit in small urban centers.

One of my career mantras has been "The appropriate application of technology." I think that China gets that more than the West but could be proven wrong.

To me it gets back to social incentives. I think China is showing a better way than the soft slavery of most of the West.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 28 2018 1:52 utc | 192

Federico Pieraccini has an excellent round up of the significance of the US troop withdrawal from Syria, going down the check list of the winners and losers. and also explains, once again, why the neo-liberals and warmongers in the US political and media classes are so irate - it all calls their bluffs and shows clearly what a dead-end their whole destroy-Syria strategy has been

...Putin has always been five moves ahead. He is aware that the US could not stay long in Syria. He knows that France and the UK cannot support the SDF, and that the SDF cannot hold territory it holds in Syria without an agreement with Damascus. He is also conscious that Turkey does not have the strength to enter Syria and hold the territory if it did. It would only be able justify an advance on Idlib with the support of the Russian Air Force...

....Trump's move was driven by US domestic politics and aimed at the 2020 elections. But in doing so, Trump inevitably called out once and for all the bluffs built by Syria’s enemies, infuriating in the process the neoliberal imperialist establishment, revealing how each of these factions has no more cards to play and is in actual fact destined for defeat....

Posted by: michaelj72 | Dec 28 2018 1:58 utc | 193

@ Grieved | Dec 27, 2018 8:07:30 PM | 186
. . .we must eventually realize that we are trying to parse China through western values and it doesn't work because China is its own civilization. It can only be understood and appreciated in its own terms, which are terms that its people cherish.

Yes. I've lived in China and the Chinese are no way perverted forms of westerners, rather Chinese see themselves (correctly) as the 5,000 year-old central kingdom, 中国. In thousands of years Chinese have developed (naturally) their own way of doing things, and of thinking about things. And these ways do not relate to "western values" whatever they are. (Personally I think they aren't.)

Actually the proof of the pudding is in the eating. China currently, after years of western subjection, is doing things its way and they are powerful ways. The Belt and Road Initiative is spreading Chinese influence not only in East Asia but also to western Asia, Europe, and even to Africa (where China is paramount as a foreign power) and South America. All this while the US and allies piddle around with useless military maneuvers here and there. . .But it's the economy, stupid!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 28 2018 2:04 utc | 194

@Pft | Dec 27, 2018 7:49:51 PM | 185

If you want to make more more money , being in parliament or Congress (especially President) is a great way to do it. Lots of inside information, control of tax legislation and business regulations that may affect your interests, etc.

China's National People's Congress has like 2000 members, and it meets only once a year. Influencing so many is extremely difficult -- not to mention that all of them are being carefully monitored for graft by a powerful Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and the penalty for being caught can be death.

No, the likelihood is that the Communist Party is still pretty clean, and still socialist enough that the billionaires feel that they must personally fight for their interests.

As for being clean, a number of Chinese parliamentarians and Xi’s close relatives were exposed in the Panama papers. The news was censored in China of course.

Putin's friends were also in the Panama Papers. So Putin's and Xi's cronies all just happened to use a single money launderer, Mossack Fonseca. Out of who knows how many firms, all those people picked the same one. Yeah, right. It seems more likely that the Panama Papers were one of the CIA's dirty tricks.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 28 2018 2:21 utc | 195

Everyone seems eager to accept that things are as they seem. Trump WILL deliver on his promise of US retrenchment. He must! Because it is readily apparent, even to the hardest of neocon hearts, that the Empire is in decline.

We're saved! Oh happy day.

It's seems smoothiex12 and his Russian comrades are also unwilling/unable to see beyond what we are led to believe.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The POSSIBILITY that Trump rushed his announcement of Syrian withdraw in anticipation of a false flag is apparently unworthy of discussion. Why fret about such a silly thing?

Trump's pull-back of his pull-back should NOT! give us pause. That this means that Mattis resigned for essentially no reason is ANCIENT HISTORY.

That Trump's announcement of an "exit" from Syria was made 11 days before Israel's Christmas attack on Damascus is IRRELEVANT. And if the Syrian's had downed a commercial airliner that would have NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER on world affairs. Because Trump is SURELY COMMITTED to withdrawal. Until he isn't.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Wish fulfillment is so sweet! Let's ignore any facts to the contrary and readily accept anything that keeps that high going! Even if that means clutching at straws.

Trump's focusing on his election is one such straw. Despite all evidence to the contrary, it assumes:

- that Trump is a populist and that US is a democracy;

- that Trump is a threat to the establishment;

- that Obama - another populist! - was sincere or that his many betrayals were so unusual that they should be ignored;

- that "factions" are vying for control when it is clear that the US establishment has remarkable agreement that US government will be guided neocon and neoliberal ideologies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 28 2018 2:29 utc | 196

@psychohistorian | Dec 27, 2018 6:36:44 PM | 178

concern over China's prototype of "social management"

Like you, I am worried by some aspects of China's social credit system. But maybe I am too ignorant about it. What I like is that the system will apply to billionaires, corporations, and government officials. If a company cheats some people, it will be punished. Same for the people in government.

The West has something similar in credit scores, except that they apparently apply only to the little people, and there is no appeal.

How long will China's system last before some people abuse it or pervert it? I've no idea.

Posted by: Cyril | Dec 28 2018 2:41 utc | 197

Posted by: ben | Dec 26, 2018 11:32:24 PM | 106

As I understand it "the West" resents that Russian oligarchs nowadays are controlled by Russian security services.

And Putin is the architect of the renewed security centralization.

I would say that after the Western model failed spectacularly in Russia in the Jelzin years, the Russian leadership (and that is not just Putin) is looking for something that works for Russia. And they have not found it yet.

Critique from German progressive circles is that Putin (the Russian leadership) suppresses the entrepreneurial spirit of small and medium enterprises intentionally as economic independence would bring political independence. Behind this is a model of decentralisation that might be intended to weaken and destabilize.

Russia more or less has weathered the economic wars.

My guess is that with Trump's withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan the "new cold war" is over. This will not just have an effect in the Middle East but in Europe, too.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 28 2018 2:43 utc | 198

karlof1 | Dec 27, 2018 2:17:58 PM | 147

John Allegro would agree; no objective evidence of a historical Jesus.
Allegro was the only secular scholar allowed to study the Dead Sea Scrolls back in the 50's.
Somewhere back in the states I have a first edition with its beautiful cover.
A truly fascinating (if somewhat dry) read.
His book caused a firestorm and he was shunned.

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East

Author John M. Allegro

Publication date
Media type print (hardback)
Pages 253 (third edition)
ISBN 0-349-10065-9

Posted by: V | Dec 28 2018 3:05 utc | 199


My guess is that with Trump's withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan the "new cold war" is over.

What withrawal?

In his speech to the troops in Iraq yesterday, Trump said the "withdrawal" would be slow and deliberate.

When Trump first announced the "withdrawal" it was reported that it would be immediate. A few days later, it was reported that it would be within 30 days. Now there is no time frame.

They'll get around to it someday, somebody.

<> <> <> <> <>

Big apologies to all those who are offended by this "news". Didn't mean to disturb your reverie. Please go back to sleep. Everything will be just fine.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 28 2018 3:18 utc | 200

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