Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 22, 2018

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2018-69

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

One of the two companies who wrote the Senate reports was caught running a fake "Russian influence" campaign:

One participant in the Alabama project, Jonathon Morgan, is the chief executive of New Knowledge, a small cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

An internal report on the Alabama effort, obtained by The New York Times, says explicitly that it “experimented with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.”

The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.

“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says.

The U.S. military will retreat from the al-Tanf border area in the southeast of Syria where it was blocking the crossing between Syria and Iraq. The reopening of the border will help the economies of both countries.

As expected the Russians are taking the initiative to put the northeastern area back under Syrian government control over. A delegation of the Kurdish YPG and the SDF forces will shortly visit Moscow where they will receive new orders.

This Daily Beast piece confirms our take that Trump torpedoed the neocons' plans for Syria. He took the offer Erdogan made as a chance to escape the trap: Bolton’s Hawkish Syria Plan Backfired, Pushing Trump to Get Out - The national security adviser expanded U.S. goals in Syria to challenge Iran. But Trump wasn’t on board, senior officials say, and Turkey took an opportunity to push the U.S. out.

How long until Bolton gets fired?

A good read from Matt Taibbi on the lunacy of the domestic U.S. discussion: We Know How Trump’s War Game Ends - Nothing unites our political class like the threat of ending our never-ending war

Unlike Taibbi I expect the discussion to die down over the coming holidays. If it does not do so, Trump will create some new outrage to divert from the issue.

Service announcement: Over the next five days your blog host will be visiting family and do a lot of cooking. Posting will be light.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on December 22, 2018 at 04:17 AM | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

Merry Christmas everyone.   Enjoy your holiday b.

Posted by: Ian | Dec 24, 2018 3:27:06 AM | 101

Merry Christmas b & everyone, thanks for a fantastic site.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 24, 2018 4:16:05 AM | 102

British nuclear archive files withdrawn without explanation

My Christmas everyone.

Posted by: TJ | Dec 24, 2018 5:35:52 AM | 103

@ somebody

Surprising that one allegedly educated like you never heard the term "wage slavery" before. It has a long history, you might want to read some books. Although of course this is political discourse, not ivory tower pondering of angels on the head of a pin. And the concept is robust. Good to see your take on it, your notion of freedom: The worker is "free" to starve to death under a bridge if he likes. Unless your majestically egalitarian "law" forbids both rich and poor alike to sleep under a bridge, right?

Thanks, but I'll stick with a definition of freedom which includes never being economically coerced by an alien centralized regime. And to say again, if you're forced at economic gunpoint to perform alienated labor for an alien boss, you're a slave.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 6:21:11 AM | 104

Thanks Ben @ 97


Posted by: ab initio | Dec 23, 2018 7:45:59 PM | 90

"With the exception of Tulsi Gabbard and Ro Khanna none that I can see among the anti-war left is supporting the withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan."

Those are Democrats, therefore by definition not "left". I'd say openly opposing vs. supporting capitalism (as Dems do by definition) is a litmus test for left vs. leftish-liberal.

Do you really want to import corporate media lies about "Democrats (including Hillary) = the Left" to this site?

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 6:26:09 AM | 105

Trump's pick for acting defense secretary was attacked by McCain for not wanting to send weapons to Ukraine.

Well that's a positive.


Who is Patrick Shanahan?

Posted by: financial matters | Dec 24, 2018 6:43:30 AM | 106

Happy Christmas ‘b’ and all The commenters on this first class site !
Make love not war !
And a especially happy Christmas to President Putin and all the people of Russia !
Also merry Christmas to all the people of Syria and Yemen may this coming year be more peaceful than the last !
To Britain, USA and Israel —- get a grip you guys your an embarrassment now !!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 24, 2018 7:56:32 AM | 107

@ Posted by: Pft | Dec 23, 2018 6:48:38 PM | 85

Yes, slaves in the USA had a better life quality than the so-called "white trash" during the post-colonial times. Artisans in the late Middle Ages in Europe also had a much better life quality than the proletariat in the first Industrial Revolution (Marx picks the numbers for the Prussian Army: the minimum height required for serving was 1,78m, and, during the Industrial Revolution, begun to diminish steadily, which indicates the dismal situation of nutrition of the Purssian workers; he also picks up the numbers of infant mortality in England, which also steadily rose during the Industrial Revolution).

But liberal (i.e. capitalist) ideology was never about life quality, but about liberty (freedom): if you take the first articles of the French Constitution (upon which the American Bill of Rights is heavily based), you can clearly read that liberty is the capacity of an individual to fully enjoy his private property (l'industrie). This concept is important, because it is the juridical basis for the rights to life (because dead men cannot enjoy their private property) and freedom of movement (with his possessions). By logic, you can infer that, for the liberals, you are more free the more private property you have: therefore the right of the capitalist (the owner of the means of production) to freely exploit the labor power he bought in the free market with his money (money-capital).


-//-

@ Posted by: somebody | Dec 23, 2018 7:48:24 PM | 92

It depends on what type of slavery you're talking about. Yes, in capitalism, slavery was (and could only be) used for very simple tasks: mainly agriculture and other extrativist activities (mining, silviculture etc.). That's because, in capitalism, a slave is fixed capital: he's paid in kind, not in money, so he doesn't engage the market. In accountancy terms, a slave would be equal to a beast of burden (e.g. a horse): a machine you use until it wears off. In Brazil, where capitalist slavery happened in its most pure form (because most of it happened when it was still legal), the average life expectancy of a slave that arrived the shores alive was 7 years: more than 90% were men, so they obviously didn't reproduce, and they worked till the death. Hence the golden age of slave trade.

The Southern USA practiced slavery much beyond the times when the British Empire outlawed slave trade, so they engaged in slave breeding. But that was a desperate, exceptional circumstance: that was not how it should work.

In the Ancient times (the Greek and Roman era), a slave was everything but a politician and a soldier: teacher, philosopher, nanny (for the aristocratic children), accountant, secretary, farmer (the majority), miner, etc. etc. Most of the Greek culture that came to Rome came through the enslaving of the Greek population. Such sophisticated slaves were possible because the Ancient world was very fragmented and violent: each conquest came with a box of (cultural and technologic) surprises. Most of the Roman technological advances came through assimilation of conquered "tribes" (including the famous "gladius" -- the AK-47 of the Ancient World).

The Roman citizens were either Aristocracy or simply common citizens (mostly, inhabitants of Rome itself or at least Italy, Gallia Narbonensis and Hispania). The Aristocracy's job was simply to be politicians; the citizens were soldiers or did nothing (after the absortion of Aegyptus and the foundation of the Empire, the inhabitants of Rome didn't need to work for food), with occasional working in constructions projects within the city in exchange of coin. Only after the Vandals conquered North Africa some 400 years later the free food was interrupted.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24, 2018 8:15:13 AM | 108

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-46638212
Soldiers stealing from each other????
They surely are non germanic. as that is th lowest possible.
A soldier chrishes and and jold his comrade dear.
in my army.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 24, 2018 8:28:29 AM | 109

Workers Rights, worker safety and worker unions which gained traction after the Triangle Shirt Company fire were not anticipated by the Robber Baron employers.

These features took some control from the barons of industry and profits of course.

Tax reform, union busting and rollbacks of environmental regulations - work toward MAGA.

Back to the golden days of yore. When robber barons could set their employees on fire. And so on.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | Dec 24, 2018 8:49:04 AM | 110

This is important news:

Stock Market Rout Has Trump Fixated on Fed Chair Powell

Here's the thing: since taking the Chair, Powell has been the economist of the "natural rate of interest and inflation thesis". He stated several times that the interest rates are too low and that "the natural rate of interest" is somewhere higher. Contrary to Yellen, who's been stating interests should go up because the economy was good (but, in her actions, she was delaying those rises as much as she could), Powell put his professional integrity at the table.

If Trump forces the Fed to lower the interest rate, I expect Powell will resign for the sake ideological/doctrinaire coherence. It would also show the "right signs" to the "markets" -- or whatever the terminology the capitalist ideologues prefer to state publicly.

This one is even more important:

Treasury Secretary talks to bank CEOs amid Wall St. jitters

Here's the key excerpt:

In an unusual move, Mnuchin disclosed the calls with the heads of Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo in a tweet about the private conversations.

Mnuchin said the CEOs all assured him they have ample money to finance all their normal operations, even though there haven’t been any serious liquidity concerns rattling the market.

It's not a secret to anyone that Apple has been borrowing from the Treasury at almost zero interest rates in order to pay it shareholders vast amounts of dividends in order to keep their stock at a high price.

The trick is: Apple also has what would be -- if it was one -- the third biggest hedge fund in the world. They are literally sitting over and gargantuan amount of cash. So, no matter that its sells are declining: its stocks will rise because the dividends keep coming thanks to the very low interest rates in the USA.

Now, the question: is this the attitude of a company that has faith in the American economy? Of course not: this is the attitude of a company that is preparing itself for the next big financial crisis. We know it will happen, everybody knows it will happen, it will happen: what we call nowadays "Western Civilization" will unravel soon. The next question is: with or without a generalized civil war?

Posted by: vk | Dec 24, 2018 10:11:22 AM | 111

@111 Powell, apparently, thinks the US economy is doing really well. He looks at things like full employment and low inflation and decides this is a good time to hike rates. The stock market sees the money tap getting turned off.

At the same time Trump is getting tough with China on account of what he considers unfair trading practices. This also has the markets spooked.

My guess is Powell will try to calm things down with a vague statement and Donald will reach an agreement with China soon. Civil war will be postponed.

Posted by: dh | Dec 24, 2018 11:39:22 AM | 112

karlof1, and others, here an acid critique of Ocasio-Cortez' "Green New Deal."

https://www.mintpressnews.com/corporations-see-a-different-kind-of-green-in-ocasio-cortez-green-new-deal/253076/

Sounds very much like the same old techniques. Fresh new-face. Everyone claps. Self-congrats on super progressiveness (argh). Then back to BOA, with the junior aspirants - entrants well rewarded.


Posted by: Noirette | Dec 24, 2018 1:04:51 PM | 113

@112 Mnuchin's attempt to restore confidence seems to have made things worse. It smacks of desperation. DOW down again.

Posted by: dh | Dec 24, 2018 1:10:16 PM | 114

@ 113

Yup, "green" deal, same old deal. I especially liked when AOC told activists, “Should Leader Pelosi become the next speaker of the House, we need to tell her that we’ve got her back in showing and pursuing the most progressive energy agenda that this country has ever seen.”

Yeah, nothing says radical change like sounding the tocsin to follow where Pelosi leads. ("Leader" Pelosi. Unser Fuhrer.)

Why is the green deal a scam? Because like every other corporate “solution” it assumes productionism, consumerism, capitalism, industrial electrical generation and consumption (the great majority for industry), and the dominion of The Car. George Bush said the proper response to 9/11 was to Keep Shopping. And today’s climate scientists, Big Green NGOs and “progressive”/"socialist" politicians say the proper response to the climate crisis is to Keep Shopping. More and Better Capitalism. And of course Keep Driving.

But these are the very things driving the ecological crisis. More of the same ecological assaults cannot result in anything but more of the same ecological destruction.

There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis:

Stop industrial emissions; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.

And this is the only way to avert the worst of the general ecological crisis.

But all corporate system “solutions”, including the “green new deal”, propose to continue massive emissions (industrial “renewables”, to give the most egregious example, can exist only on a foundation of fossil fuels and are ecologically destructive in themselves), continue the massive destruction of sinks (one of the main purposes of the Paris scam was to enshrine the carbon-hemorrhaging “biomass” assault as a system-legitimated climate action), and pay only the most modest lip service to rebuilding sinks.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 1:44:26 PM | 115

@115 Russ

Good points, along with many of your other posts

Question: For the benefit of our studio audience, what are "sinks", in the context of the environment, ecology, climate change, etc?

Thanks...

Posted by: xLemming | Dec 24, 2018 2:32:06 PM | 116

To add a bit to the fascinating discussion of the nature of slavery, here's an
engaging dialog among northamerican aborigines regarding the slavery question:

...there was a hierarchy of cousins and uncles who ruled the clan
and who finally gathered in squatting conclave over the Negro question:

"We cannot eat them," one said.

"Why not?"

"There are too many of them."

"That's true," a third said. "Once we started, we should
have to eat them all. And that much flesh diet is not good for man."

"Perhaps they will be like deer flesh. That cannot hurt you."

"We might kill a few of them and not eat them," Issetibbeha said.

They looked at him for a while. "What for?" one said.

"That is true," a second said. "We cannot do that. They
are too valuable; remember all the bother they have caused
us, finding things for them to do. We must do as the white
men do."

"How is that?" Issetibbeha said.

"Raise more Negroes by clearing more land to make corn
to feed them, then sell them. We will clear the land and
plant it with food and raise Negroes and sell them to the
white men for money."

"But what will we do with this money?" a third said.

They thought for a while.

"We will see," the first said. They squatted, profound, grave.

"It means work," the third said

from Read Leaves by William Faulkner

Posted by: Guerrero | Dec 24, 2018 3:11:31 PM | 117

Thanks xLemming @ 116

"Question: what are "sinks", in the context of the environment, ecology, climate change, etc?"

Far more carbon is stored, "sunken" in the soil than in the atmosphere and in all living bodies combined. Whenever forest or grassland or wetland is destroyed, and the soil dried out or ripped up, vast amounts of this sunk carbon is released into the atmosphere. (Wetlands destruction is one of the main sources of methane emissions; methane is a far more potent GHG than CO2.) In the same way, to destroy a natural community like a forest or grassland or wetland and replace it with any kind of monoculture or suburbia always means a great net loss of carbon contained in the natural network of organisms vs. whatever threadbare monoculture is imposed in place of that network. That's in addition to all the emissions from the industrial infrastructure within which systems like industrial agriculture are ensconced.

So all "carbon-neutral" claims for industrial systems superimposed over the destruction of natural ecologies are lies. In every case huge amounts of carbon which were sunk in the ground and in natural biomass are emitted to the air, and whatever is imposed in place of the natural order sinks or incarnates only a fraction at best of what the natural ecology used to sink and incarnate.

The way to reverse this is (1) stop destroying the little forest, grassland, wetland which still exists - this will halt the destruction of sinks; (2) let these resume the habitats where they naturally would prevail - this will begin to rebuild natural sinks; (3) food production needs to transform from industrial commodity agriculture which destroys sinks and produces only corporate commodities (from which food for people is then supposed to "trickle down") to horticultural agroecology, which grows food for the people of the region (not commodities for globalization) in harmony with natural processes, only on the proper kind of land, disturbs the environment far less while producing far more food per acre, in terms of both calories and nutrition, than industrial monocultures, and which uses the science of building the soil both for improved food growth and to incorporate the greatest amount of soil organic matter. In this way growing food can become carbon neutral and even help sink more carbon, which industrial agriculture never could do, quite the contrary.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 3:43:11 PM | 118

Guerrero @ 117

That dialogue is great, sums up the insanity of modern productionism superbly.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 3:45:15 PM | 119

* Looks like CentCom's Christmas / Goodbye gift for Syria got delivered early: US Coalition bombs bridge being reconstructed by Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor
I apologize for the sarcasm here, but it's just so low.

* Has anyone come across this piece of news: Rumors Swirl As Mystery Firm Takes Fight With Mueller To Supreme Court
At the very first, I thought Ah, yes, the Russians. That thought just popped up automatically. But then it crept on me, might this be the British, rather? Trying to protect their election meddling and anti-Trump crusade from becoming a reality in the eyes of the public?

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Dec 24, 2018 4:04:59 PM | 120

@82 clinton and the like are not the "anti war left". they are the pro war right wingers pretending to be left.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 24, 2018 4:27:42 PM | 121

And today’s climate scientists, Big Green NGOs and “progressive”/"socialist" politicians say the proper response to the climate crisis is to Keep Shopping. More and Better Capitalism. And of course Keep Driving.

this is absolute f'kn horsecrap as far as "today's climate scientists". give me a quote from a climate scientist that says that. i would almost automatically characterize anybody that pushes this as fake left, because why push fossil fuel company propaganda. every legit climate scientist says we have to reduce emissions, and says nothing about shopping or capitalism except insofar as regulating it. this is like dropping a plug for cigarette smoking into standard analysis of neoliberalism--it doesn't fit. neither the tobacco companies nor the fossil fuel companies are defenseless victims of neoliberalism. stop pretending they are.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 24, 2018 4:33:11 PM | 122

Looks like Daniel Ortega is showing those soft-left snowflakes from Brazil how you crush a "color revolution":

In Nicaragua, Ortega Was on the Ropes. Now, He Has Protesters on the Run<https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/world/americas/nicaragua-protests-daniel-ortega.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage>

Excerpt:

When huge protests demanded that he leave office, President Daniel Ortega’s days seemed numbered. But his repressive response has sent thousands into hiding and tightened his hold on power.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24, 2018 4:35:32 PM | 123

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 24, 2018 4:33:11 PM | 122

"give me a quote from a climate scientist that says that."

I think it would be much more to the point if you could find one who doesn't say some version of "renewable energy to continue industrial electricity generation" or "electric cars" or "clean coal" or "carbon tax". All mainstays of the fossil-fueled capitalist economy. And why would one religiously assume the whole extreme-energy industrial nightmare MUST continue? Only out of a fundamentalist commitment to productionism and consumptionism. Keep Shopping.

(Whatever they say, they'd have to say it fast so they don't miss their next luxury flight to the next "climate conference".)

Of course the great James Hansen found a second career as a nuke shill.

Since you object to my calling the lot of them capitalist dead-enders, why don't YOU name a single one who even calls for socialism?

"every legit climate scientist says we have to reduce emissions, and says nothing about shopping or capitalism except insofar as regulating it."

Maybe you ought to read what I wrote again. My whole point is that the inherently genocidal-ecocidal system CANNOT be "regulated" (the entire history of capitalist regulation proves this), and anyone who's pushing Better Regulation, like all your scientists and NGOs and politicians, is a liar and a fraud.

"i would almost automatically characterize anybody that pushes this as fake left, because why push fossil fuel company propaganda."

You tell me. You're the one who's evidently peas in a pod with them in agreeing that no matter what the extreme energy system MUST continue, authoritarian technics MUST continue, The Car MUST continue, total ecological destruction MUST continue, and therefore the task of propagandists like scientists and NGO cadres is to invent a plausible-sounding scenario (plausible to those who haven't done the research and follow the government and corporate media) according to which the climate crisis can be dealt with while remaining within the productionist-consumerist-capitalist-extreme energy framework. Propaganda like the "green new deal".

Posted by: Russ | Dec 24, 2018 4:56:55 PM | 124

Russ, excellent posts. The underlying problem that all the technofixes and Green New Deal types of faux solutions ignore is that there are just too many humans. Maybe not today, but at some point in the future, there will be. There is no solution for runaway population growth, much less a solution that also allows us to maintain our modern lifestyle. The only way our of this trap is a civilization collapse, even with the innumerable new problems that will create.

Posted by: Sorghum | Dec 24, 2018 7:36:02 PM | 125

Sorghum@125

You have drunk the neomalthusian coolaid.

Malthus prediction of doom 200 years ago with a global population of 1billion never came to pass. Clube of Romes prediction of more doom never came to pass despite a doubling of the worlds population.

The world is a greener and cleaner place than in was 50 years ago thanks to pollution control and better forest management, not to mention higher CO2 levels and warmer temperatures. In the US people consume less energy on a per capita basis and CO2 emissions from electricty use is down 28% since 2006. Crop yields have never been higher.

While 7.6 billion people seems a lot in terms of biomass humans make up 1/10,000 of the worlds total biomass. Vast areas of the planets land surface are very rural with few people. The bulk of human population occupy a small percentage of the planets surface as they are concentrated in urban areas. 90 per cent of the world's population lives on just 30 per cent of the land area, or 10% of the planets total surface area.

Estimates 50 years ago said we would run out of oil long before now. Despite a doubling of population and much larger consumption we have proven reserves tripled that of 50 years ago.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 24, 2018 8:55:31 PM | 126

@120 Scotch Bingeington.. thanks for the update.. that first link is fairly depressing, but it is what so many have come to expect of the exceptional bullshit nation.

Posted by: james | Dec 24, 2018 11:28:48 PM | 127

"N. Korea ordered to pay $501mn over US student’s death" by an Outlaw US empire court of injustice. Well, if that's the value of a human life as judged by a US court, than the Outlaw US Empire owes the Koreas--both South and North--$501 Million for every Korean killed during the Genocidal war it waged against Koreans from 1950-1953--AND--$501 Million for every child likely to be born that wasn't during those years because of its Genocidal War against Koreans. Lets call it an even 20 million people killed and never brought into existence at $501 Million a head--20,000,000 x 501,000,000 = $10,020,000,000,000,000.00--10 Quadrillion, 20 Trillion dollars. Then since we've established how much an individual's worth is, lets go after the total for the Iraqi Genocide, and the Southeast Asian Genocide before it, which has about double the deaths and non-births as Korea for an additional 20 Quadrillion dollars.

I truly hope the Koreans and others use this nicely supplied formula and loudly broadcast what the Outlaw US Empire owes to them!

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 25, 2018 1:28:47 AM | 128

Posted by: Pft | Dec 24, 2018 8:55:31 PM | 126

> Clube of Romes prediction of more doom never came to pass despite a doubling of the worlds population.

Really? Here's an update 30 years after Limits to Growth was written compared to real world data:
https://static.mediapart.fr/etmagine/default/files/2017/12/08/limits-to-growth-update.png?width=640&height=360&width_format=pixel&height_format=pixel

Looks like they were impressively accurate to me.

Posted by: Ash | Dec 25, 2018 3:26:54 AM | 129

The problem with Malthus isn’t that he was wrong but that he gave wrong and pernicious explanations for the things he described, and ever since he’s given aid and comfort to anyone who wants to blame the poor and hungry for their own predicament.

In modern reality there’s no such thing as “natural” hunger and famine, driven by some inertial depravity of people recklessly reproducing themselves. On the contrary, hunger and famine invariably are caused artificially, by depraved systems of agricultural production and distribution which turn food into commodities, which require money in order to access food, which dispossess and impoverish vast numbers of people by driving them off their land, rendering them unable either to grow their own food or to get the money to buy it, and which concentrates these masses in slums and shantytowns where they’re then dubbed “overpopulated”.

But they never were naturally overpopulated in the first place, they only artificially became so when they were driven off their land and concentrated. And they never were naturally hungry, they only artificially became so when they were rendered unable to produce their own food.

That’s one main artificial reason for modern hunger and famine. The other is the ecological onslaught of modern productionism which, through climate change and related environmental assaults renders much of the subsistence farmland still in the hands of the people increasingly vulnerable to drought, desertification, and flooding. Of course agribusiness locks up all the best land, driving subsistence farmers onto ever more marginal land which is less productive and more vulnerable.

Those are the reasons Malthus was a liar when he blamed the poor for their own hunger. He fails where it comes to why people become overpopulated and hungry. This doesn’t mean he’s ultimately wrong about what the end results will be. Industrial agriculture is unsustainable in multiple ways: Dependency on finite fossil fuels; dependency on finite aquifer water; dependency on finite mined phosphorus; dependency on increasingly denuded soil; dependency on increasingly weak crops and depleted crop gene pools; dependency on a pesticide arms race which inevitably will be won by the weeds, insect pests, and disease. Any of these or more likely a combination of some or all guarantees the collapse of industrial agriculture and subsequent mass famine. The Earth will restore the balance. But this too is an artificially chosen outcome which has nothing to do with Malthus’s explanations.

The point here is that if you identify the symptoms but make a completely wrong diagnosis, your prescription also will be wrong and probably make things worse. Just look at an idiot like Bono, or his hero Bill Gates who’s a combination of conscious willful predator and true-believer fanatic. That’s why I’ve always scorned Malthus.


No discussion of this subject is complete without one more point. There is one group which is grossly overpopulated and grossly gobbling up its resources, is doing so voluntarily, and is doing so out of nothing but sheer depravity. But this group isn’t from among the poor. On the contrary, this is the group of those living the extreme-footprint Western middle class lifestyle. (You know, the group which spawns the overwhelming majority of “Malthusians”.) This group, indeed, already has vastly overshot any capacity of the Earth to sustain it and will be reduced with extreme prejudice (if their corporate masters don’t liquidate them first). So if you want to engage in Malthusian moralizing, there’s the right place to look.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 3:37:36 AM | 130

BTW that's not to agree with the corporate wingnut @ 126, but rather to emphasize that humanity does not face any absolute resource limitation, IF humanity had the sanity to give up all the worthless expensive high-maintenance junk. My counterattack against the "green capitalist" types who fraudulently claim you can "have it all."

Of course I don't expect any sane mass movement. Just in my most utopian moments, I wish I'd find a few other people who haven't drank the civilizationist kool-aid and aren't stupid and who understand the crisis.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 3:58:18 AM | 131

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 25, 2018 1:28:47 AM | 128
(If a clueless AmeriKKKan tourist/petty thief is worth $501 Million, how much is each innocent person AmeriKKKa has slaughtered, worldwide, worth?)

That definitely qualifies as a US lawfare (pseudo-legal) pratfall.
Thanks fore taking it to its logical conclusion.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 25, 2018 10:28:21 AM | 132

When the story about the dumbfuck mentioned in karlof's #128 broke it reminded me of a story about The Spartans from Primary School. Spartan boys were encouraged to be adventurous in preparation for their destiny as soldiers of Sparta. To this end they were sent out on forays within Sparta to practice surviving by stealing whatever they needed to survive. If they were caught they were severely punished and it was impressed upon them that the punishment wasn't for stealing.
It was for GETTING CAUGHT.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 25, 2018 10:54:41 AM | 133

juliania @ 90

There's another piece on neoliberalism and language etc., today in counterpunch at https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/12/25/the-language-of-neoliberal-education/

Posted by: spudski | Dec 25, 2018 11:16:50 AM | 134

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 25, 2018 10:54:41 AM | 133

I read that too, and I read worse than that: Spartan adolescents were organized into gangs who were supposed to sneak among the helots and murder them at random (as well as targeting anyone with a dissident mouth, of course), both to instill terror among the slaves and to indoctrinate Spartan males into killing as such.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 11:19:24 AM | 135

Trump's pick for acting defense secretary was attacked by McCain for not wanting to send weapons to Ukraine.
Well that's a positive.
Who is Patrick Shanahan?
Posted by: financial matters | Dec 24, 2018 6:43:30 AM | 106

The Festive Season hasn't been a complete waste of time. I discovered that one of my friends has had a professional association with Shanahan. Circumstances precluded an extensive discussion but the friend doubts he would be a hawk or that he could be bought.

They weren't bosom buddies so this as purely anecdotal...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 25, 2018 12:09:39 PM | 136

i read what you wrote russ, it's horseshit. you can't come up with one quote, just continue with vapid generalizations. climate scientists don't make political decisions about industrial policy. you can't come up with any evidence so you make up more bullshit.

the seven sisters have helped start wars all in the name of profits, and you spout their propaganda about climate science. you pretend to confuse politicians with scientists; i'm not buying it.

i notice you're making up quotes and position from me. where did i say the car must continue? i didn't, you're lying, just as you lied about the climate scientists. in my book, somebody that consistently lies about the science behind climate change is a fossil fuel company shill, and that means fake leftist.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 25, 2018 1:09:16 PM | 137

Hey dipshit @ 137

If you're such a Dembot-style retard that you're incapable of paying attention to the real world, and you're seriously claiming you haven't seen scientists touting industrial renewables, it's hardly my fault you're so out of touch. I suppose next you'll demand someone show you an example of where the corporate media is pro-war.

You're denying that Hansen is a nuke shill? Here's one of my many links. If you want more, do your own research dickhead.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/the-attack-of-the-nuclear-hucksters/

That's just one typical example.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 1:59:46 PM | 138

I notice you can't give a single example of a climate scientist who's anti-capitalist, let alone anti-productionist. Don't you think that would help your case?

Can you show me one who calls for the abolition of industrial agriculture?

As for The Car, you're the one who implied it is sacrosanct. Name the scientist who speaks the truth that the car is incompatible with any kind of ecological reform.

Hmmm? Anybody out there?

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 2:13:56 PM | 139

Pretzelattack, you're the worst kind of climate denier. You're there to front the lie that the abuser is helping the victim. I'm here to expose and defeat your lie.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 25, 2018 2:24:46 PM | 140

Ash@129

The scale of the chart hides their miss on resources and food

Interesting article from 20 years ago still rings true today

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.economist.com/christmas-specials/1997/12/18/plenty-of-gloom#ampf=undefined

Limits to Growth” said total global oil reserves amounted to 550 billion barrels. “We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade,” said future President Jimmy Carter shortly afterwards. Sure enough, between 1970 and 1990 the world used 600 billion barrels of oil.

The Club of Rome's mistakes have not tarnished its confidence. It more recently issued to wide acclaim “Beyond the Limits”, a book that essentially said: although we were too pessimistic about the future before, we remain equally pessimistic about the future today.

Global 2000” predicted (in 1980) that population would increase faster than world food production, so that food prices would rise by between 35% and 115% by 2000. So far (1998) the world food commodity index has fallen by 50%

.......compare two quotations. The first comes from Newsweek in 1975: “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” The second comes from Vice-President Al Gore in 1992: “Scientists concluded—almost unanimously—that global warming is real and the time to act is now.”

Environmentalists are quick to accuse their opponents in business of having vested interests. But their own incomes, their advancement, their fame and their very existence can depend on supporting the most alarming versions of every environmental scare. “The whole aim of practical politics”, said H.L. Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed—and hence clamorous to be led to safety—by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”


Posted by: Pft | Dec 25, 2018 4:03:57 PM | 141

In one of my comments related to Putin's Annual Meeting, I suggested that several millions would watch the vid and/or read the transcript. Well, I'm happy to report that I was well of the mark. "More than 1.1 billion social media users closely followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference, which was held on December 20, the Medialogiya monitoring company said in a report.

"Social media users left a total of 584,000 messages from December 20 to 22 concerning the president’s news conference. "The total coverage was more than 1.1 billion users. These figures considerably exceeded those of 2017, which in general corresponds to the overall increase in user activity along social media," the company noted."

Unfortunately as the UNGA vote on Russia's proposal to bolster the existing INF Treaty revlected, not enough of those voters read or paid attention to the part about the rising potential for Nuclear War the striking of that Treaty presents, which is why I copied/pasted it here and at other locations. Furthermore, as TASS reports, what those billion people were mostly interested in amounts to a major triviality of no real consequence--whether or not Putin would marry again.

So, on the one hand joy that so many took interest, while sorrow on the other hand for the crass shallowness that drove their interest.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 25, 2018 5:00:21 PM | 142

Hoarsewhisperer @132--

I wasn't the only one thinking that way as I discovered, although he didn't figure births prevented by deaths or include South Koreans. "The United States murdered up to 4 million North Koreans in the fifties. Therefore America actually owes DPRK $200,400,000,000,000."

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 25, 2018 6:34:19 PM | 143

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