Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 08, 2019

Open Thread 2019-08

News & views ...

Posted by b on February 8, 2019 at 17:34 UTC | Permalink

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The solution is what I already mentioned-reclaiming the lost values of respect for the Earth and all of it's inhabitants and an understanding that we are part of that natural world, not it's masters. My issue is with whitewashing and idealizing our history, it blinds us to the ongoing crimes of the Empire and prevents us from recognizing that current events are a continuation of the crimes that established this republic.

The US was a white, elitist project from the beginning and the primary beneficiaries have been white men. The long bloody history of the US Empire in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia are best understood within the context of an honest acknowledgement of our history, not in an idealized version which paints the Empire as a force for good in the world or on this continent.

I'm not assigning guilt, I'm asking for some honesty. "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." US history, and present is a repetition of the past.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 9 2019 3:40 utc | 101

I neglected to mention Africa in the context of the long bloody history of Empire. That's inexcusable.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 9 2019 3:45 utc | 102

@ mourning dove who wrote
I'm not assigning guilt, I'm asking for some honesty.
Please tell where I have written something dishonest. What is this honesty you are asking for?

Please tell me your solution to move our species to a better place from here. Most at MoA are way past your level of angst at our species history but find it useless to dwell on it as you are doing in response to my comments

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 9 2019 4:02 utc | 103

teri 36

I believe the US is moving from dollar hegemony to energy dominance. Energy dominance is the physical control of a large portion of the worlds oil. This will then give the US control over Asia, China specifically, and Europe.
If this is the plan, which I think it is, then the US and Russia would control a very large portion of the worlds oil.
I believe Trum,p's overtures to Russia is in relation to this rather than good intentions for a fair world. Under what I think is Trump ands Kissinger's plan, is that Russia and the US become allies, form a cartel. For the US, oil production that they cannot take control of as in revenues going directly to the US, would be destroyed. Russia is the only major oil producing nation where the US cannot militarily destroy or halt oil production.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 4:03 utc | 104


Sigh. It's dishonest to suggest that the crimes of this nation are a part of the distant past, well beyond any reclamation. The crimes are ongoing.

I'm not going to repeat myself a third time in the solution that I proposed.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 9 2019 4:08 utc | 105

The US became the dollar hegemon immediately following WWII. I have read US came out of WWII with 75% of the worlds wealth. This was coming to an end in the late sixties and early seventies.
Kissinger kicked off the strategy for the petro dollar, which would extend the life of US dollar hegemony, when oil was discovered at Prudhoe Bay.
It took around ten years to complete the strategy, the deal with the Saudi's was the first part, a price spie was required to force legislation through so the trans-Alaska pipeline could be constructed, The Iranian revolution was kicked of only a couple of weeks after the first barrel of oil came through the pipeline causing oil prices to skyrocket and all countries then requiring lots of US dollar to pay high prices for oil.
The trans-alaska pipeline was running at full capacity by 1980-81 when the last of the pumps were installed.
The petro-dollar was essentially a limitless credit card which the US have used to extend the period of dollar hegemony.

A chart of US debt. There are many charts like this. All show US debt skyrocketing at this point. Note the 1982 point on the chart. This skyrocketing debt has all been on the petrodollar credit card.

Trump and whatever faction of the US elite backing him see that dollar hegemony has run its course, the debt needs to be offloaded, and the US needs a new game to maintain its domination of the world. Energy dominance will be an in your face mafia style extortion racket.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 4:28 utc | 106

Thanks for the link to Hudson's contact page. I will send my question to him. If I happen to get a reply as to his thoughts on US changing course rather than continuing with dollar or financial hegemony, I will post it here.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 4:34 utc | 107

Pft @ 72:

"... Third, [Christianity] gave us institutions like hospitals, universities, chartered corporations and promoted science contrary to the popular history that is biased by anti-catholicism in US/UK ..."

Sorry to disturb your reverie but the modern institution of the hospital is based on models developed in the Islamic world from the early ninth century onwards. Hospitals in cities as far apart as Baghdad, Damascus, Cordoba (during Muslim rule) and in-between were subdivided into departments according to the types of diseases and health conditions treated, and employed administrative staff to ensure medical treatment and hygienic standards were adhered to. Hospitals were funded by endowments from the state (caliph, sultan; in Ottoman times, they were often funded by the mothers and wives of the sultan) or wealthy individuals. Women patients could be treated by women physicians and hospitals employed male nurses to care for male patients and female nurses to look after female patients. Hospitals also had medical schools and medical libraries attached to them, and provided lectures and hands-on training to students wishing to become physicians.

David W Tschanz, "The Islamic Roots of the Modern Hospital" (March / April 2017)

"Islamic Culture and the Medical Arts: Hospitals"

There are some who assert that the model of the scientific method is based in part on the practice of verifying sayings (hadith) of the Prophet Mohammed, the practice involving verifying where a known hadith first appeared, the bona fides of who said or quoted that hadith, then tracing where that person heard or found about that hadith, and whether the chain of sources going back to the Prophet himself can be further substantiated with other, independent sources; but the history of the development of the scientific method has many roots going back to Aristotle, not just to Islamic scientific inquiry during the the mediaeval age.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 9 2019 4:37 utc | 108

Re the US constitution.
No matter how many words are used in a document, there is always a way around them.
What matters most, is where the interests of a countries leadership lays. Is the leadership working for the majority of citizens or is it working for the interests of a few.
In relation to this question a constitution is very minor or meaningless. A constitution gives a rough guideline, but no matter how well it is written, those that make laws within the guidelines of a constitution, can frame those laws so they benefit a select few.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 4:47 utc | 109

the poster KC on a previous venezuala thread, left a great article on the topic of food and venezuala that is well worth reading.. here's the link..

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2019 4:48 utc | 110

@ james and KC on link about food in Venezuela

I agree that the link is worth the read. It shows clearly what happens when you let an elite gain private control of crucial aspects of society.

If finance was a public utility instead of being a private tool of the elite
If there was a limitation on the private ownership of property (China has 99 year limit)
If there were drastic limits on the rules of inheritance

I posit our world would evolve to a meritocracy without wars but instead be heading to the stars to find more answers to all our existence questions while respecting what we have left of our starship earth.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 9 2019 5:25 utc | 111

Jen @ 107; Nice and very informative links. Thanks!!

Posted by: ben | Feb 9 2019 5:35 utc | 112

@92 Don Bacon

So the law is violated - is this a failure of the law, or of the people? Whoever thought that laws would be obeyed and never violated, simply by being laws, and without needing the efforts of each age and each person subject to them, including this present age, and each of us here in this discussion?

In my view, the miracle is that so much of the Constitution still remains, and has been so difficult simply to delete. The Bill of Rights consists of revolutionary demands by any standards, of any age. And they have endured. It doesn't mean they're not violated, it just means they haven't been destroyed yet.

To me the issue is not what evils occur in violation of the law of the land, but the practical question of if anything at all can be done to restore the land to the law.

In the US, the Constitution is still the law of the land. And many people including especially the military have sworn an oath to uphold it. Can one not find even a sliver of possibility in these facts?

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 9 2019 5:35 utc | 113

@ Jen 27

Going by the logic of your argument, if you were living in Britain and were a Labour Party supporter, you sound very much as if you don't care much for Jeremy Corbyn and his platform for improving the lives of the British people at all; and instead you support the Blairite faction in that party that opposes him and supports current British foreign policy as pursued by Theresa May's government, and also supports the neoliberal austerity programs driving British people into poverty.
Equally if you were living in Venezuela, you would not have been too impressed with previous President Hugo Chavez's policies to uplift the living standards and education of the bulk of Venezuelans and to diversify the Venezuelan economy away from over-dependence on extracting oil and exporting it in its raw state.

"... Humans evolved to be tight-knit social primates acting automatically as a group, and automatically enmeshed within the ecological web ..."

Sounds like a perfect description of the groupthink and behaviour of the primates in Washington DC and those surrounding the Chief Orangutan in particular.

If you find anything about any aspect of the US government (or any government) to be ecologically healthy (as your reply indicates you do), you're hallucinating. The same with your ridiculous crack about the Blair/May destroyers of the Earth.

But to speak seriously, as I've already said here several times I don't see much to choose between e.g. Bolivarians destroying the Amazon to extract the heavy oil and any US-friendly regime doing so. The same goes for any other version of "do you want destruction or destruction?". The productionist extreme energy civilization itself, the religious insanity of "growth" aka cancer itself, is inherently all-destructive, including of humanity. The historical record is crystal clear on that.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 6:12 utc | 114

Karlof1, didn't you agree with me once when I wrote a comment about the 1787 convention being a counter-revolutionary coup? Or am I confusing you with someone else.

As for constitution-worship in general, it has a lot in common with the decadent senile stage of Christianity - lots of people claim to "believe", but in practice almost none of them do. Almost all self-alleged Christians in the West, including almost all church-goers, act as de facto atheists in their day-to-day lives (that's what Nietzsche meant when he wrote "God is dead"). Similarly, almost no one who mouths fake reverence for the constitution really cares about what it's supposed to represent in theory. Almost everyone loathes the concept of rights, except where these mean license for themselves and anyone they agree with. Same for "checks and balances".

Both groups of fake worshippers cherry-pick the parts of the Bible/constitution they like and ignore the parts they don't like.

Also, both groups are usually grossly ignorant of their own divine text and would flunk even a basic quiz on what the Bible/constitution actually says (just the words themselves, not even getting into interpretations of the words).

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 6:21 utc | 115


Thanks for the links. Point of fact is that no civilian hospitals existed in the Roman empire until the Christian period. These were established and run by the church/monasteries. Western Europe was far behind the East in many things, the church played a big role in them catching up.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 9 2019 6:34 utc | 116

To Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 8, 2019 9:18:39 PM | 81

Finally friend Guerrroro I get a moment to thank you for your contributions to our forum, especially the ones in English and the ones in Spanish.

About the Mexico Constitution you quoted:

"Article 2

This article states the nature of the Mexican nation.

The Mexican nation is unique and indivisible. The nation is pluricultural based originally on its indigenous tribes which are those that are descendants of the people that lived in the current territory of the country ... "

I have often tried to explain how comfortable I have felt travelling in Mexico, most especially in the country, even when a half-mile away from the enclosed resorts, but especially when travelling within the country rather than spending a week in a resort.

The people are warm, welcoming and knowledgeable.

My explanation of this, the fact that the indigenous people I've met are not in reservations like they are here in Canada, and in the US, has been that somehow Mexico has been able to fold in the European immigrants with the local people to create better version of integration than we have done up here.

That this integration is documented in your constitution, Guerrero, gives me great hope about the future of our shared continent.

I look forward to learning more about the constitution of Mexico, Venezuela and my other southern neighbours.

Posted by: jonku | Feb 9 2019 6:41 utc | 117

@ mourning dove #93

A People's History Of The United States

This book is like "wiki", a good place to start for beginners. I discarded my copy several years ago because I found it to be a strange combination of hysterical and shallow. Zinn's coverage of WW2 demonstrated to me he was much better at moralizing than writing useful history.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 9 2019 7:14 utc | 118

@Peter AU,

Thank you for responding. It's an interesting take on things and I think it is quite possible as an alternative explanation of what is going on. Sadly, I see no way around another world war under this scenario, as if this is the US plan, it is unlikely to be met with quiet acquiescence.

Posted by: teri | Feb 9 2019 7:34 utc | 119

For those who found interesting the 2018 Monthly Review piece on Venezuela's food predicament, here's their 2009 issue devoted to imperialism and the global food crisis.

It includes a piece on Venezuela co-written by one of the same authors as the 2018 piece.

So you can compare the outlook in 2009 with that in 2018.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 7:45 utc | 120

Russ @ 113:

Thanks a lot for sullying my comments @ 15 and 27 with your crackpot hysterical assumptions that I was advocating the Ayn-Randian concept of the "individual" and "individualism" as essentially isolated, elitist and entirely self-absorbed, and which mainstream forms of Christianity have taken on board, both to exalt and to deride when it suits them. Traditional mainstream Christianity and political conservatism as an ideology regard humans as unreformable, tainted by sin from birth, inflexible and unable to grow morally and spiritually.

Humans of such nature may indeed form tight-knit social groups that act "automatically" (instinctively?) as one - but such groups aren't necessarily better than the current societies we have. They may be adapted to particular ecosystems but there is no guarantee that those ecosystems remain the same forever, otherwise dinosaurs would still be roaming this planet.

Did you even read my second comment that you reproduced @ 113? I did say that while he was President, Hugo Chavez did try to diversify Venezuela's economy away from over-reliance on oil extraction and export. Among other things, his government took land away from wealthy families that they had taken in the past (often illegally) from farming communities and which they allowed to deteriorate. The land was given to farmers or farming communities for cultivation. Chavez also tried establishing agricultural collectives and formed projects such as Gran Mision Agro-Venezuela to assist farmers.

Do you realise what these agricultural collectives would be doing, in an ideal socialist economy and society? They would be working with communities in their areas to decide what to grow, how much and when, where to grow the crops, what those crops need to grow and flourish, when the harvest must be collected, to whom it is to be distributed and how, what prices to charge for what quantities, how to market the produce, how and where to store it. All these decisions require discussion among their members. There will be arguments and disputes, maybe even conflicts, based on how strongly the members hold their opinions, based on what they know or have learned, predicted and thought or reasoned with others about. Decisions have to be based on what individuals (or the representatives they elect or select to decision-making groups) believe will result in the best outcomes. They have to take responsibility for decisions that result in failure, which could be dire depending on the circumstances.

To do this, the people in the collective must have knowledge about what it is they're aiming to achieve, not just for the collective but for their communities. In a socialist society, they need not just to be knowledgeable (and to have the relevant education, whether formally acquired or acquired from informal, non-mainstream channels) but they need to advocate for the collective and their communities. This virtually requires them to continually improve themselves as individuals with unique combinations of innate talent and aptitude, and acquired knowledge, skill and experience so they can be in a position to serve their communities and enabling others in the communities to also fulfill their potential as human beings.

Nowhere here have I insinuated that these people are part of a for-profit corporate entity believing in neoliberal "trickle down" let-them-eat-cake economic notions.

If socialism is defined to mean that the people own and control all resources in their territory, and the role of government is to carry out the people's wishes and desires, the corollary is that everyone in that territory has a responsibility as well as the privilege to articulate their wishes and desires. If they don't have the natural ability to do that, then they need the skill and the knowledge to do so, or appoint someone to do it for them. They need to know what choices they have, and how to judge which choices are right or wrong for them. In such a society, they need to have self-identity and independence, and they need reasoning skills so they can at least separate what is right or good for them and their families or communities in the long term as opposed to what will gratify them in the short term.

This assumes a view of humans as having the capacity to change themselves and aspects of their nature, if not their nature entirely, and to improve their lives and the lives of others.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 9 2019 10:27 utc | 121

>>>: crowleigh | Feb 8, 2019 5:47:04 PM | 40

low yield nukes have been use (sic) in syria iraq and yemen dialed way down
Rubbish. By their very nature low-yield nuclear weapons rely on the fission reaction and that produces plentiful indicators of various elements that one has occurred. If one had been used it would have been detected by now. The same would apply to a pure fusion device if they even exist.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 10:47 utc | 122


yeah, that Duterte seems like one gnarly guy. i agree that his encouraging the armed forces to overthrow the government if it ceases to perform satisfactorily is pretty radical stuff, and he even has a law degree. he doesn't mince words, and i get the feeling that he's fully prepared to take a chest full of slugs to validate them.

Posted by: john | Feb 9 2019 10:59 utc | 123

@43 English Outsider

That was a good summary. To which I would like to add my tuppence worth. I voted Leave, as many I know did due to the fundamental incompatibility between our Constitution and the various Treaties, those Treaties were and still are unlawful. A Leave vote was not a choice but a duty.

Posted by: TJ | Feb 9 2019 11:07 utc | 124

What I really came over to comment on is the Trump seems to be giving the right-wing revolution in Venezuela the kiss of death. With all the suggestions that it's about the oil and how he, an ardent anti-interventionist, might have the Yanquis intervene in Venezuela in response to that part of the opposition's request for intervention, no true Venezuelan nationalist can support the part of the opposition controlled by Leopoldo Lopez and fronted by that Trojan Horse Guaido.
As a businessman, Trump should know there are profitable commercial opportunities to be had in oil production even if that doesn't involve controlling the oil. Perhaps Trump's references to the profit to be had from American involvement in Venezuela's oil production is that the government should open up the industry to American companies which could improve profitability for Venezuela by making the extraction more efficient. After all an American president who is prepared the meet the Satan of North Korea should be able to come to a commercial arrangement with the Venezuelan one. Just imagine the impact on the Washington Borg if he did.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 11:09 utc | 125

Meanwhile, the global community, whatever that is, is prepared to accept the results of a an obviously corrupt election in the DRC.

the Congolese people may turn to other methods to overturn the unbearable status quo, in which the vast majority of the population wallows in poverty while those at the summit of the state amass fortunes.
The international community has invested many billions of dollars in DRC over the past two decades to try to stabilise the country and the region, and to steer the republic towards a democratic, just and prosperous future.

Which translate as we've invested billions so we can rip off the country but are quite happy for the elite to do so as well. A suitably neo-liberal approach.

No accusations of Russian or Chinese involvement but they will come when the lower orders turn to "other methods".

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 11:38 utc | 126

@ 34 The US Constitution is not 'a piece of paper' but the basic rules for the people living in the United States.

BS, Show me one rule the USA constitution imposes on Americans? There are no rules for the masses of people living in America, in the USA Constitution! The USA constitution was designed to protect the armed rule making structure (a nation state), by placing middle men between the Oligarchs and the masses. 527 Article I and Article II salaried, paid hired hands (in service to the Oligarchs), make the rules that apply to Americans during their elected terms. These rules govern, control, abuse and regulate Americans.

Problem with slave drivers is they come and go at the whim of the designers. When is the first time or the last time that you were asked to make a rule ( law ) or decide to go to war or not, or decide the budget, or agree on a presidential proclamation, or anything else.

Posted by: snake | Feb 9 2019 11:43 utc | 127

Jen @ 120

"Thanks a lot for sullying my comments @ 15 and 27 with your crackpot hysterical assumptions that I was advocating the Ayn-Randian concept of the "individual" and "individualism""

Then thanks in return for ignoring everything I said in my (brief) comment about tight-knit traditional and ecological holism, instead smearing me by hysterically claiming that what I said had even the slightest thing in common with the eco-destructive mass society I explicitly denounced.

As for individualism, I say again Randroidism is inherent in the original liberal so-called "enlightenment" notion. As of course it has to be, since liberal individualism was part and parcel with the rest of the bourgeois capitalist, private-individual ideology. Randroidism is just taking the logic to its logical end, once one disposes of utopian notions about capitalism and government policing themselves, or the people remaining eternally vigilant.

"Do you realise what these agricultural collectives would be doing, in an ideal socialist economy and society?"

As one who's been active in the community food movement for ten years now including as an agroecological farmer, and who has written scores of pieces on the need for humanity to abolish industrial agriculture and transform globally to agroecology and food sovereignty, I think I realize it pretty well.

"This assumes a view of humans as having the capacity to change themselves and aspects of their nature, if not their nature entirely, and to improve their lives and the lives of others."

I agree with that and pretty much everything you said (except the implication that mass societies and governments ever can be anything but destructive). But it's clear that modern individualism was a wrong turn and that the kind of movements we need must get past it. I reject monotheism as well, especially organized monotheism, on many grounds, but its alleged hostility to the modern individual isn't one of them. On the contrary, and like I said @114 above, organized religion is merely one of the many things which has become the playground of individualist decadence, therefore aiding the elites who work to control it against the people, as groups and as biological individuals.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 11:47 utc | 128

Russ says:

...I don't see much to choose between e.g. Bolivarians destroying the Amazon to extract the heavy oil and any US-friendly regime doing so.

well, if you were a poor Venezuelan you might, though sure, ultimately, ecocide is ecocide.

Posted by: john | Feb 9 2019 11:49 utc | 129

Ghost Ship 124

It will be good if your comment turns out to be correct.

My opinion on Trump's attitude to NATO, NK ect. These are cold war relics serving no useful purpose, a drain on US finance. He is pragmatic enough to know the US cannot launch a military attack on Russia or China and survive. An attack on NK is an attack on China, and rather than peasants with rifle that drove the US back last time, China is now a high tech military. NK does have rare earth minerals which the US needs, but that is out of reach.
Russia is no threat financially or militarily to the US other than its vision for the world.
China's economy is the number one threat the US faces. China's achilles heel is oil - energy. I think this is why there is a difference in Trump's attitude to the likes of NATO and NK as compared to Iran and Venezuela.
Earlier Trump appeared to be simply scrapping everything put in place by Obama, but I have started noticing a few things that Obama had started or put in place in regards foreign policy that Trump is using or expanding on.
What I think we are seeing is anything not useful for the new direction Trump or the people behind intend to America being discarded.
Any of the WWII and cold war relics that serve no purpose in the new strategy will go, similarly, systems to enforce dollar hegemony and the petro dollar that extended the life of it, will also go, if they are not useful for the new strategy.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 12:04 utc | 130

The Orinoco belt, which is the heavy oil belt, in not in the Amazon basin. It is mostly or all in the Orinoco river catchment.
Looking at google maps satellite veiw, the majority of the belt is in farmland. The eastern end may extend into forest country.

Just a very cursory look at a map shows that the Orico belt lays on the northern side of the Orinoco river.,You have not even bothered to check where it is.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 12:23 utc | 131

John 128

"well, if you were a poor Venezuelan you might, though sure, ultimately, ecocide is ecocide."

The rural poor always suffer the worst in the extraction zone. Usually the urban poor of the extractivist state suffer directly as well. The political class, of whatever persuasion whether de jure capitalist or nominally socialist or what have you, those who actually benefit from the extraction, always suffer last, and so far really haven't suffered at all though in the long run there's nowhere to hide.

Globally, the effects of deforestation and climate change, in this case the global effects of the destruction of the Amazon in Venezuela and Brazil and elsewhere, will be felt most immediately and short-run severely by the poor everywhere.

This globalized production-consumption system has us all trapped good and hard, and there's no "good" position which can be objectively good for the poor. There's only better or worse. But I think my position is at least the least bad, since every other position wants to continue the death march.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 12:25 utc | 132

>>>>: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9, 2019 7:04:43 AM | 129

China's economy is the number one threat the US faces

Not really unless you regard it as a zero-sum game. In reality, the economic development of China has and will continue to benefit the United States' elite considerably so it's a non-zero sum game though many Americans don't seem to understand that concept. Actually regarding it as zero-sum game is the most dangerous approach of all. Increased threats from the United States force the Chinese to respond which will include an arms race which almost inevitably results in a real shooting war, which will have catastrophic results for both countries and perhaps the rest of the world, and unless the United States also attacks Russia, it will be put in a very vulnerable place. The United States may be able to fight multiple wars against small countries populated by brown people as the British Emire before it was able to do, but fighting a war against two near peers would be a disaster from which it might never recover. Just look at how the two World Wars destroyed the British Empire. Also, if the United States is the aggressor, how many members of NATO would respond to support nothing more than Washington's dumb foreign policy objectives. Perhaps Canada and London if still controlled by the Conservatives, but the rest would be wise to sit it out. It would be wise for Trump to get bored with FON day trips by the USN, but the tariff stuff not so much because he does have a case there.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 12:41 utc | 133

I just checked the location of the belt in relation to forest at the eastern end and the heavy oil belt does not reach forested country. The western end is on country in which the only vegetation is in water courses and appears to be either infertile or too rocky for vegetation, natural or farmed.
b conveniently has a map of Venezuela's oilfield at the to of the previous thread.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 12:47 utc | 134

Ghost Ship "In reality, the economic development of China has and will continue to benefit the United States' elite considerably"

I believe there is a split in the US over this. One side are as you state, and to give them a name I call them the globalists. This faction would also include those still living the cold war.
The other faction, I call the nationalists, who want to retain US economic and military dominance of the world.
Economy, manufacturing and tech are required for a powerful military. China will pull ahead of the US in all areas in the next few decades.

Make America Great Again. There must be a date when Trump considered America Great. That can mean different time periods for different people, but what is the date that Trump considers the US to have been at its greatest.
I have found only the one instance of Trump being specific on that question.
It was shortly after Trump assumed office. Trump's term is greatness, whereas Kissinger's term is importance in the world. Trump said intended to return the US to the place of importance it held in the world 25 years ago. 25 years prior to 2017 was 1992. The Soviet Union had collapsed and the US was the sole super power. This is the Great that Trump refers to.
That is on a video, with Trump and Kissinger seated in the oval office. I had put up links to it some months ago, but tried looking for it on youtube a day or two back and could not find it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 13:09 utc | 135

Zachary Smith@117

You aren't someone that I would consider to have any moral credibility. You demonstrated your warped and racist worldview in a previous thread when you made a comment about the "towelheads" in Iran and what happens when religious nuts run a country. Well, religious nuts are running the US and Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran, unlike the others isn't invading or occupying or bombing or starving or threatening any other nation or peoples. But I guess I'm just moralizing, right?

This is just a gut feeling but I don't believe that you've actually read the book, despite your vapid and dismissive "critique". If you had read it you'd know that it is very thoroughly researched and documented. I kinda doubt if you even owned it, but who knows? Maybe it was a gift, I still don't believe you read it.

As to your claim that Howard Zinn was moralizing, morality absolutely has a place in an honest accounting of history. Removing it is the first step to sanitizing, whitewashing, and idealizing history to create a false paradigm. In the context of US history, that false paradigm states that the framers of the constitution were high minded individuals who had noble aims and intentions. It also states that the constitution itself is a sacred document because those lofty ideals were enshrined in it making the US a force for good in the world. The false paradigm of US history also states that dropping nuclear bombs on civilian targets in Japan "saved" rather than destroyed millions of lives. "War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength. Slavery is Freedom."

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 9 2019 13:34 utc | 136

Russ @ 131

i'm with you, Russ, but short term thinking subsidized by oil revenues has lifted quite a few Venezuelans out of abject poverty...for the time being.

Posted by: john | Feb 9 2019 13:46 utc | 137

Peter 130

I knew Venezuela has one of the worst deforestation rates on earth and I knew they have an oil sands extraction zone like that ravaging the forests of Canada. So I assumed the oil zone was part of the deforestation zone. If I was mistaken about the location of the heavy oil destruction zone, I wasn't about Venezuela's deforestation for the sake of high-impact commodity extraction, nor about the country's dependency on globalized commodity markets controlled by hostile powers.

"Cattle ranching is the biggest driver of deforestation in Venezuela. In the 1980s and 1990s, gold mining and logging were important causes of deforestation and forest degradation, but logging has dwindled in recent years. Gold mining still causes intense damage where it occurs, but limited to southern reaches of the country. There is potential to expand coal and bauxite mining in the country, potentially putting forests at risk."

These plus oil extraction all are modes of self-destructive dependency, and the forest is being destroyed, and the oil will be refined and burned. So if I made one technical error, that doesn't affect any of my points. But thanks for correction on the error.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 13:57 utc | 138

John 136

Yes, and like you say it's for the time being. As we see with the political and economic crisis the US is inflicting, as well as the longer run unsustainability of dependency on oil and other types of extractivism, no one's free and self-reliant until they break free of such dependency.

Even in the mainstream there's lots of talk about reducing dependency on fossil fuels, referring to imports and consumption. But that's only half of it. The other half (for de facto colonized extraction states) is the need to reduce socioeconomic dependency on extraction and export.

But this is only possible when a people is truly self-sufficient in needs and renounces any mere wants which can't be self-supplied.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 14:06 utc | 139

"Cattle ranching is the biggest driver of deforestation in Venezuela."

Imagine eliminating the ranching, thus reducing the deforestation rate, while putting any ecologically appropriate ranchland into food production (not export commodities, but food for people). That's sane, and prevented by nothing but violent insanity.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 14:12 utc | 140

Something I have thought about often.
It is the developed countries that have cleared all but a few remnants of their forests that are calling on developing countries to halt land clearing. I agree that the remaining world forests should be saved.
But the question is, who pays for this.
We cannot expect them to stay poor and undeveloped because we want them to be the lungs and the bio-diversity of the world. We have cleared or forests and have made money from this and will continue making money on the cleared farmland.
We must now pay these countries to be the lungs and the bio-diversity of the world.
Although, I would like these forests to be saved, I could not expect these countries to stop developing until they are enumerated buy the developed countries for doing so.

In this way, rather than your target being the developing countries, I think your target should be the developed countries.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 14:18 utc | 141

That should have read 'remunerated by' in the second last sentence @140

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 14:35 utc | 142

LIVE:Yellow Vests Rally Hits Paris as Protests Continue for 13th Week (VIDEO)

The french regime days have come. Next election there will be no more Emmanuel Macron.

Posted by: Zanon | Feb 9 2019 14:52 utc | 143

>>>> Peter AU 1 | Feb 9, 2019 8:09:03 AM | 134

I doubt that there are just two foreign policy factions in the United States and what the American people think is even harder to fathom, particularly when the consequences aren't spelled out to them. That it's more than two centuries since any external war the United States was involved in impacted on the contiguous United States except in the most trivial way probably explains a lot as does the exceptionalist narrative presented by the MSM.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 14:58 utc | 144

59 Don Bacon - Don't forget that there is no right to vote in the constitution. Probably won't be because everyone fears a constitutional convention.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Feb 9 2019 15:18 utc | 145

psychohistorian at 2, interesting.

Michael Snyder is a sorta USA Christian survivalist.. I d k exactly, see his popular blog, his advertised books, e.g. the Rapture Verdict (book) He was a Repub. candidate in Idaho, 2018. Some good articles were pub. on that blog.

Zero Hedge quotes another blog of his, the End of the American dream

(top post is about mystery booms and mysterious flashes of light)

Such interfaith moves reflect a need to shore up the bastions and get together to keep some of the ‘faithful’ on board, under the same umbrella, prompted by waning influence. The message is togetherness, cohesion, brother-sister-hood, anti-war, love for the poor. (Ok, yes, ..)

The Orthodox church has split, the Ukrainian Church is now independent of the Moscow Patriarchy. Clearly, a Poroshenko symbolic move against Russia (hating and opposing Russia keeps the IMF and others shelling out, this religious thing cost nothing), no adherents were consulted, afaik.

In short, religious leaders are entirely dependent on world geo-politics and can’t pretend otherwise any longer. (Exceptions: KSA for ex.)

The one-world religion thing goes in the direction of the Kalergi plan (as it is called today.)

I’m an atheist and know little about religious matters so am happy to be corrected to become better informed.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 9 2019 15:22 utc | 146

Talking about ranches in Venezuela. In 2005, the Venezuelan government under Chavez seized a British-owned ranch of 66,700 acres which provided grazing for 8,500 cattle for export in the south, the campesinos tried to farm it under attack from supporters of the owner and eventually, surprise, surprise, the World Bank awarded the owner $100 million in compensation for the ranches seized.

Then the Guardian gets all neo-liberal

Chávez handed a thousand farmers the vast nationalised cattle lands, though many who came hoping to grow arable crops found their harvest wiped out by flooding. Critics of Chávez’s drive to break up big ranches say most of them are in swampy plains only suitable for cattle raising.

It's not as if "swampy plains" have never become major arable farming areas, and The Guardian should know that.

Making Venezuela import most of its food is a large part of the imperialist project to control it.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9 2019 15:36 utc | 147

@110 psychohistorian... how to we get from private to public finance? i am glad you enjoyed that article.. i thought it was quite informative..

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2019 15:50 utc | 148

Chrystia Freeland IS Canada's Victoria Nuland.
What would Canada expect from Trump as a reward for that? Lower Tariffs?

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump's Coup In Venezuela

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 9 2019 15:57 utc | 149

@ snake | Feb 9, 2019 6:43:41 AM | 126

Re the US Constitution as a set of basic rules: Note first that I am not saying that the laws - rules - of the US Constitution are sufficient, well stated, or reflect what I would consider to be a sensible and well crafted Constitution. But it does lay out the rule of law foundation - the laws given primary status - for the people of the United States.

For example, the US Constitution's Article XVI gives all Americans a right to vote that "shall not be denied ... on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Well, that is not as robust a rule protecting the right to vote as I would prefer, even when it had added to it by Article XIX "shall not be denied ... on account of sex." And there are other Constitutional rules pertaining to the right to vote.

I would prefer something more direct, conclusive and inclusive like "All citizens [of a certain age] have the right to vote. Or, the right to vote shall not be denied to citizens." I would also prefer a Constitutional inclusion of a very strong protection of voting procedure, and a strong guard against voting fraud.

So again, from my perspective, the rules in place in regards to the right to vote in the US are far from what I would prefer but:

Those are the rules, the law, in place for Americans in regards to voting rights.

In practice, many people in the United States have been denied the right to vote.

Now similarly, "the right to bear arms" is a Constitutionally guaranteed right. Note I am not denigrating or advocating that right. But that 'rule' is given robust basic status by the US Constitution.

Article I declares a very robust legal right to freedom of speech. It essentially says: the law cannot be used to restrict your freedom of speech. This is actually quite unusual; many societies have tended through legal language to restrict the right to freedom of speech.

But in practice again freedom of speech in the United States has been severely restricted, undermined, attacked, etc.

Constitutions will potentially protect implicit rights or allow implicit infringements of rights far beyond the particular language used.

If a Constitution declares say that there shall be no torture, implied is that a very wide range of behavior has been made illegal. So for example, implied is the right to not be questioned by police in a brutal manner, with sleep deprivation etc. So Constitutions typically don't micromanage details, but they are in effect included. And the realm of implications enters into the realm of human discretion, debate, reflection etc.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 9 2019 15:58 utc | 150

Moon of Alabama’s explanation of Washington’s attack on Venezuela gives you a truer picture that differs completely from the lies voiced by the American and European politicians and presstitute media, a collection of whores who are devoid of all integrity and all morality and lie for their living.

I am not as confident as Moon of Alabama that Venezuela’s effort dating back to Chavez to be a sovereign country independent of Washington’s control can survive. Washington is determined to teach all of Latin America that it is pointless to dream of self-determination. Washington simply will not permit it.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 9 2019 16:02 utc | 151

London Review of Books has taken down the paywall - for today at least - for what looks like an interesting article on Brazil: Bolsonaro’s Brazil by Perry Anderson,Vol. 41 No. 3 • 7 February 2019. Normally, I read the whole article before posting about it but with the paywall down (for now) and with the article being 17270 words in length, I thought I'd post now.

Posted by: spudski | Feb 9 2019 16:13 utc | 152

james @ 5 wrote : the info on freeland is old news... the info on the usa using the imf and world bank to screw other countries, is also old news.. but, it is all worth repeating for anyone who is just finding out about all this..

Yes, james, old news, .. ppl continue to discover much, over time..

No historical memory or analysis in official forms exist, just some readily available trivial stereotypical solidly entrenched BS sayings e.g. the US won WW2, with the help of ‘the Allies’ .. the plucky valiant Brits and the oh so cowardly French.

Via the intertubes ppl can discover much, but ordinary ppl have no venue, no group, no support for their world view, there is nothing out there, no hope of creating a pol. party, other org., of having any influence whatsoever. (? see Gilets Jaunes. for ex. ..)

The Internet furnishes an outlet, ppl feel relieved, acknowledged, even admired, liked, and thus happy, etc. when they post their opinion and get some +++ points.

The PTB understand this and grin snidely or laugh hysterically, the expressed messages on various ‘internets’ allows them to analyse in fantastic detail what is going on, so as to take it on board, then manipulate, encourage, counter, accept, etc. etc. whatever.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 9 2019 16:46 utc | 153

The Mexican Constitution has indeed been most welcome in the South since it invited
the diverse communities to develop in accordance with their own respectable traditions.

The idea of having a right by law is generally pleasing to the common citizen,
and it is conditioning the population to become constructive and cooperative.

Article 2 states that Mexico is pluricultural, and that indigenous peoples own their own cultural identity and that it is protected by law. Article 3 of the Constitution states that every Mexican has the right to education and that which the State imparts must tend to develop all the faculties of the human being, including love for the country and respect for the rights of other citizens.

Additionally, a Labor Law was established governing employer employee relations and
guaranteeing the rights and benefits of the workers and the obligations of employers.

Article 1 states: "Slavery is prohibited in the United Mexican States.
Foreign slaves who enter the national territory will, by that fact alone,
attain their freedom and the protection of the laws."

Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution begins thus:
"The ownership of lands and waters included within the limits
of the national territory, correspond originally to the Nation."

So, apparently, Mexico has the resources to do what it wants and the people have already paid their share of blood in the Revolution; it was supposed that, on account of the sacrifices of her patriots, Mexican rights were universally regarded as well-earned.

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 9 2019 16:51 utc | 154

mourning dove

I will admit I have never read Howard Zinn's book but your endorsement piqued my interest enough to make it the newest addition on my to-do list.

Posted by: metni | Feb 9 2019 17:27 utc | 155

Peter 140

I sure don't expect undeveloped places to forego whatever development they're able to carry out, at least not on account of any exhortations from the hypocrite and predatory West. Though it would be best if they listened to their own native voices urging them to avoid the trap, such as Latin America's Via Campesina or Africa's homegrown food sovereignty movement which warns against Western-dominated agricultural colonization. Of course all participation in the global commodity system will always be on the terms of a handful of Western banks, governments, and globalization cadres like the World Bank. Under no circumstance will any lesser power have any agency within that system.

However, when I speak of colonized places, I mean America, its places and regular people, every bit as much as a place like Venezuela. America's fracking zones, coal mining zones, pipeline zones, CAFO zones, logging zones, and so on all are colonized as surely as the global South (though most Americans remain oblivious to it, the way southern peoples aren't).

So my target is the monolithic globalization system and all its lackey organizations - governments, etc. - and the colonized peoples are everyone else, everywhere.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 9 2019 17:27 utc | 156


Deplorable?!?! Really?

1. Brexit means 60 million things to 60 million people.
2. City of London had it coming. They gave us 2008, and enjoy perks you and I only dream of. They put themselves in their precarious position through greed.
3. Nothing has changed. If democracy isn't followed through, there will be repercussions. Quite what, I've no idea, but if middle class remainers think they are something, wait until the angry "deplorables" appear.

Posted by: Some Random Passer-by | Feb 9 2019 17:40 utc | 157

@150 virgile - i am not sure how confident b is either at this point...

@153 noirette.. when will it ever end?

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2019 17:56 utc | 158

Grieved @112--

"To me the issue is not what evils occur in violation of the law of the land, but the practical question of if anything at all can be done to restore the land to the law.

"In the US, the Constitution is still the law of the land. And many people including especially the military have sworn an oath to uphold it. Can one not find even a sliver of possibility in these facts?"

I've bolded the initial points in your words that I made at the beginning of this topic. Yes, the Constitution's quite imperfect. Yes, it came about through shady means and wasn't approved by anything approaching a majority, and is thus undemocratic. Yes, abominable acts were perpetrated prior to and after its adoption; and since 1945 similar abominations have and are occurring. However, the massive difference between pre- and post-1945 is those abominable acts are now illegal whereas they weren't before. Thus, We The People have a mechanism--Leverage--that must be employed to stop the evil. If the effort fails, then the consequences for the nation will be catastrophic. From my perspective, it is the morally, ethically correct move to make as there really aren't any other avenues for peaceful redress as I've already challenged the Oh woes me bleaters regarding armed revolt.

I want to thank all those who participated in this discussion as the objections made are quite valuable in writing an argumentative essay, which is my next task. Perhaps with luck and fortune this will be an instance when the pen is shown to be mightier than the sword. Even a losing effort will still win by showing beyond doubt that the USA is totally bankrupt when it comes to its word and ability to be lawful--that it is indeed The Outlaw US Empire: An Ogre bent on devouring humanity in its avarice fueled quest to enslave one and all.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 9 2019 18:11 utc | 159

To mourning dove @ 62 who writes:

"...that blood drenched document. I can't separate my feelings about the constitution and it's framers from the genocides of indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans. How many millions were killed to establish this republic?..."

It is an historical fact, researched and revealed more and more in later times up to the present that the sufferings of indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans did indeed take place when this country was colonized. And indeed there needs to be an awareness of this consequence of the European settlements and the tragedies which ensued. However, you cannot blame the Constitution and its framers for this happening. Indeed, mankind itself is at fault for not caring for its fellow creatures in better ways - there are plenty of examples of man's inhumanity to man. We, all of us, are charged to rise above such examples.

The Constitution does follow the Declaration of Independence and it does incorporate the Bill of Rights - but it is not bloodsoaked. It is an attempt to create a government that is fair, and no, we don't enshrine it because it is based on practical necessity and full of compromises. It is, as is evident, an imperfect document. We are human beings full of human frailties but also capable of rising above our imperfections and trying for better government. It won't ever be perfect. But it can be better. The Constitution is a wise foundation on which to build; it is far better than having none at all, believe me it is.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 9 2019 18:23 utc | 160

nyt;Germany built biggest spy complex in the world.merkle will have to face the German wrath.

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 9 2019 18:43 utc | 161

Thank you Peter AU 1 @ 97.

I was also thinking of an opinion piece written by Putin in the New York Times, September 12, 2013, "A Plea for Caution from Russia on Syria" which is still available online. Here are the final sentences:

"...There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."

Posted by: juliania | Feb 9 2019 18:57 utc | 162

Ghost Ship @121 [as I write] &
Crowleigh @40 [as I write]:

Could depleted uranium be what's showing low-level nuclear radiation without what we "normally" call "nuclear weapons"?

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Feb 9 2019 19:03 utc | 163

@ dahoit | Feb 9, 2019 1:43:22 PM | 160

"nyt;Germany built biggest spy complex in the world.merkle will have to face the German wrath."

Could you be so nice to explain what you mean?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 9 2019 19:27 utc | 164

Peter AU 1 140

Forestry in Western Europe and North America (and Russia) is in a comparatively good state - tight government controls exist. As an example - forest cover in the Appalachians is considerably better than it was 100 years ago.

It is mainly in places where political control is weak where the forests suffer, (although I admit that I know little about the situation in your part of the world).

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 9 2019 19:38 utc | 165

Saw an article at yahoo news about the coming showdown between Israel's air force
and the S-300s. The article mentions that the pantsirs and buks underperformed.
This is not a problem, since the Syrians can use the buks and pantsirs to exhaust
the Israeli ecm and then the S-300s can deliver the fatal blow.

Posted by: evilempire | Feb 9 2019 19:41 utc | 166

It is a really good article, well worth anyone reading. As an added bonus the entire LRB archive is open also for 24 hours.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 9 2019 19:41 utc | 167

and.... a link to it -

Posted by: james | Feb 9 2019 19:48 utc | 168

Peter AU 1 @ 129

"Russia is no threat financially or militarily to the US other than its vision for the world."

I think Russia displayed it's military dominance over the US when it stopped the US attack on Syria on April 13, 2018. I think this was paradigm shifting.

@Bakerpeter 114

I think they are serious though about limiting future damage done by the US.

I think there was a good reason that Mattis came out less than an hour after the attack started and said 'ok we're done'

Also, I think the financial worries are overblown. I think the world would be much better off being less dependent on the USD. These worries help feed financial institution welfare.

Posted by: financial matters | Apr 18, 2018

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 9 2019 19:49 utc | 169

Peter AU 1 @ 140 Indeed, the US ought to have a program similar to the one it had during the New Deal era, creating jobs all over the country to plant trees. Especially there should be such now not just for national parks but for every agricultural area. Not only wetlands and native grass habitats but forestry, as native to the different areas as are climatically possible. In my native land, NZ, such are called 'reserves' and we have always had them there, even in the case of almost wiping out the ecosystem in favor of farms or cities in some places. When King George the father of the current Queen of England died, my classmates and I planted kauri trees at the head of our local reserve - a memory from my childhood.

Too many states have lost their native forests to the claims of big agro. There should be an amendment to the Bill of Rights reversing that practice. There ought to be an eco-right established within the Constitution, and that immediately.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 9 2019 19:59 utc | 170

London Review of Books is not behind a paywall
the lead articles are freely available
there are some articles that require subscription
I read these articles through RBdigital, which is free
I access RBdigital through my state library website
(which requires local residency + $5 library card)
perhaps your state or locality is also connected to RBdigital
good luck

Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 9 2019 20:03 utc | 171

Let us have a look at cargo container missile systems:

LORA: Ballistic, tacticall use, small size/signature, fast deployment, smaller warhead kinetick/explosive, shorter range, versatille: sea to ground, ground to sea, sea to sea, ground to ground.
Manufacturer: IAI

Club-K: Ballistic, cruise, strategic/tactical use, high value targets, all ranges, all types of warheads, all terrain to and from.

Other platforms relevant to the battlespace:
Packets of upgraded B-52's / X-47B (carrier launched) ucav drones - stealthy High-Altitude Long-Endurance unmanned aircraft.

Posted by: OSINT-suggests | Feb 9 2019 20:13 utc | 172

Ghost Ship @ 146

Control of food supply is a classic example of the fraud called "Free Trade".

In the 1980s, US was pushing Japan to relax trade barriers to import of US rice, which is a staple food of the Japanese food diet.

I forget names and titles, but a Japanese trade minister explained
[I paraphrase]:

" Agreed that American rice is lower cost and superior in uniformity and other important qualities, Also it is true, as you protest, that the Japanese government unfairly subsidizes many inefficient, small-farm rice producers. Thus, if we import American rice it would become a large part of our vital food supply and our small rice farmers would be out of business. Then, what if our nations have any significant disagreement? You could threaten to cut your rice exports to get your way? We would be forced to accept your viewpoint or starve."

To which the US trade rep had no coherent reply.

Posted by: chu teh | Feb 9 2019 20:13 utc | 173

The Constitution

The US establishment doesn't really like the US Constitution.

Constitutional rights are problematic to them. Freedom of speech, Freedom of the press, and right to bear arms are anachronisms of a time when the people were sovereign. Such rights are not aligned with our current Inverted Totalitarian, Empire First government (don't be fooled, exceptionalism = 'Empire First').

Even Obama, a Constitutional lawyer and "populist" acted against the Constitution in a multitude of ways: from allowing NSA to invade people's privacy (and allowing Clapper to lie about it to Congress) to bombing Libya without Congressional authorization to his support for the TPP trade deal and more.

Furthermore, I sense that many in the establishment would prefer a Saudi or Israeli-like governing compact that allows for residents that have limited rights/protections. A large population of economic migrants that are 'Guest workers' or 'second-class' citizens helps to insulate the ruling establishment by forcing a bond with "citizens" that benefit from the exploitation of economic migrants.

Also note: there has been steady progress toward a new Constitutional convention.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 9 2019 20:37 utc | 174

Russ @ 127:

The remark I made @ 27 that the dysfunctional culture in Washington DC is an example of humans in a tight-knit social community adapted to an ecological system is a valid statement. The fact that Capitol Hill has survived as long as it has, feeding on and generating rumour, lies, propaganda and fake news, even spreading such narratives outside its own physical confines, demonstrates its closeted social nature and that an ecosystem (even if wholly human-made) supports its survival.

There is a danger in assuming that the ideal for humans is to live in close social communities that are adapted to their ecological environment. The fact that nearly all human societies engage in trade and have done so for thousands of years would suggest that their environments do not provide everything people or their societies want or desire, though these environments certainly provide everything they need.

Not all close social communities are necessarily ideal either, for particular groups of people within them or even for most people: for much of human history in the last 2,500 years there have been societies dominated by a small close social community dependent on slavery. (What is an elite if not a tight-knit social community adapted to a particular ecosystem?)

In such societies, one of the ways in which the elite minority controls the majority is through social and psychological control that tells people that as individuals they have no worth, no identity of their own and therefore nothing of theirs personally (in talent, skill, knowledge or experience) is their own to control. If people are brainwashed not to feel a sense of personal worth, how can they take responsibility for the things they think, say and do?

The 18th-century Enlightenment movement aimed at restoring autonomy to individuals and enabling them to question the political, social and religious dogmas of their time. One result of the Enlightenment was to reduce the power of established Christian custom to the extent that churches such as the Roman Catholic Church no longer hold the power over people's minds it used to do.

Unfortunately the Enlightenment emphasis on individual autonomy and encouraging individuals to realise they could change their own reality and thus improve their lives and perhaps those of others and their communities, instead of being controlled by Church and other elite brainwashing, has been twisted and distorted into another form of elite social control and brainwashing. The end effect is to delude people into believing that by consuming products or experiences, or believing propaganda and lies over actuality, they can achieve their dreams or desires, when in fact those dreams and desires have become impossible to realise because the elites keep changing the environment and the cultural frameworks of that environment.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 9 2019 20:38 utc | 175

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Feb 9, 2019 2:03:50 PM | 163

Do you mean this?

"Nuclear bunker buster:
A nuclear bunker buster,[1] also known as an earth-penetrating weapon (EPW), is the nuclear equivalent of the conventional bunker buster. The non-nuclear component of the weapon is designed to penetrate soil, rock, or concrete to deliver a nuclear warhead to an underground target. These weapons would be used to destroy hardened, underground military bunkers or other below-ground facilities. An underground explosion releases a larger fraction of its energy into the ground, compared to a surface burst or air burst explosion at or above the surface, and so can destroy an underground target using a lower explosive yield. This in turn could lead to a reduced amount of radioactive fallout. However, it is unlikely that the explosion would be completely contained underground. As a result, significant amounts of rock and soil would be rendered radioactive and lofted as dust or vapor into the atmosphere, generating significant fallout.

In a hypothetical US/Israel attack against for instance Iran some CNN could very well spin it like detected radiation in the environment was from depleted uranium etc. while most radioactive elements above ground would be blowing off to a narrow path across Yemen or Qatar borders weather permitting for instance.

Posted by: OSINT-suggests | Feb 9 2019 20:40 utc | 176

financial matters "I think Russia displayed it's military dominance over the US when it stopped the US attack on Syria on April 13, 2018."

Rather than dominance, they are equals in mutually assured destruction. In Syria, Russian military act as trip wires which the US are not game to trigger. The Trump admin takes great care to avoid hitting these trip wires, though going by the calling off of the Idlib offensive, I believe the Russian leadership felt the US would attack, regardless of Russian casualties if the offensive went ahead.
Russian air defense is dominant over US cruise missiles and other stand off munitions that have been used against Syria.
Raytheon has built a new missile plant. I believe this will produce high supersonic range, if not hypersonic missiles that can maneuver at high G loads. Mid to high supersonic missiles with the capability of high g maneuvering will be very difficult for even the Russian tech defenses to bring down and many will get through.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 21:03 utc | 177

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 9, 2019 10:36:34 AM | 147

What? Like floods out of nowhere? Days after days of unexpected torrential rain, hail in the summer, 'extreme weather'etc.?
Just an arms length from USA downwind towards Cuba/Venezuela.
It doesn't sound like a cook theory anymore does it?

Posted by: OSINT-suggests | Feb 9 2019 21:03 utc | 178

@174 Jen - "What is an elite if not a tight-knit social community adapted to a particular ecosystem?"

That's an excellent observation. It explains a lot about the failure of the elites to see the world around them changing. Many thanks.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 9 2019 21:06 utc | 179

@170 juliania - "There ought to be an eco-right established within the Constitution"

Good call, but how will this come about? I'm seeing that one doesn't simply make these demands except after a successful revolution. In this thread I've called the Bill of Rights a set of revolutionary demands, and in truth I didn't fully realize this until this discussion. But it's true. These are not rights that a king would grant his subjects, or that any elite would allow its subdued population to enjoy. The fact that they exist is a kind of miracle, and it only makes sense as coming from the victors of a revolution.

So what will be the next revolution? I suppose it could be against those who steal all the natural wealth of the world, although the impulse will come from the simple needs of the dispossessed rather than for the Earth itself. But the two causes are the same, because after all, what rights would the Earth have or need to its natural resources other than property rights?

The goal of saving the planet and its life forms may seem a little like chasing unicorns and hugging trees, but I think it's much more bloody than it may appear. It is nothing other than the fight against the plunder of capitalism, with the goal of living within the carrying capacity of the planet and sharing its bounty sustainably, as stewards.

So I suspect that the eco-right you call for resides on the other side of the total demise of the plundering elite. Wittingly or unwittingly, all the next revolutions may well be fought for that right.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 9 2019 21:26 utc | 180

In every war US participated at least since the 90's we have seen strange weather. Some would argue that something fishy was going since Vietnam.
To illustrate my point:
American university research with weather and rockets:

1 rocket + 1 wire = 1 thunder bolt.
Many rockets - many wires - many thunder bolts etc
Add apparatus (regional) to conduct at higher altitudes + obviously reflective aerosol (as electric capacity force multiplier or atmospheric screen reflector/s) and some manip. with the ionosphere and what do you have?
Research for defence against high terminal velocity impactors. Decades ago. Nothing new under the sun.

There you go.

Posted by: OSINT-suggests | Feb 9 2019 21:35 utc | 181

Jen 174

I much appreciate your comments here for both factual information and opinion. Your 174 post... you have the ability to climb outside the box of human nature and history then study it from a good vantage point. That post put into words that which I had been looking at but could not adequately describe.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 9 2019 22:08 utc | 182

So what will be the next revolution?

According to the folk song, Zapata said to President Madero:

If you do not give the land /
you will see the Indians again entering the fight.

The break came.

The 28th of November of 1911, in Ayoxuxtla, Puebla, The Plan de Ayala was promulgated.

This is when the peasant leader Emiliano Zapata famously declared:

— Those who are not afraid, let them sign!

15. Mexicans: Consider that the cunning and bad faith of a man is shedding blood in a scandalous way, being unable to govern. Consider that your system of government is seizing the nation and trampling with the brute force our institutions; And as we lifted our arms to raise you to power, we will now turn against you for having failed your commitments to the Mexican people and betrayed the Revolution you initiated. We are not personalists, we are supporters of principles and not of men. Mexican people: support with arms in the hand this Plan de Ayala and you will make the prosperity and well-being of the Nation.

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 9 2019 22:14 utc | 183

Some Random Passer By @ 157.

I'd say our policies there have been on the wrong track for a very long time. Compare with the German system - there's no doubt that one of the reasons for their superior industrial performance has been the access to long term financing afforded to SMEs and larger there.

But as indicated, there's really no such entity as "The City". There are too many components to lump them all in together. A lot of what goes on there and elsewhere in the UK is bread and butter services and we're very good at that. I've had German businessmen say to me that in freight forwarding, for instance, we're simply the best. We do need services - in the most ideal of business environments you still can't send stuff anywhere unless it's reliably insured, for instance.

But I take your point. The provision of needed facilities and of finance does shade off into dodgy stuff - we ought to know who funded our businessmen who were involved in the selling on of ISIS oil and we don't. Similarly with the well-connected chancers who dabbled in Ukrainian assets after the coup. But all that is a failure of supervision, or sometimes of government policy, not a failure inherent in the system itself.

Nor is it a particularly English phenomenon. The EU, you'll understand, is a neo-liberal construct designed to provide a market and a source of cheap labour for the richer EU countries and some of the deals done over there would make even some of our crooks stare.

Don't forget, too, that half the time people talk of "the City" when they really mean the corporations. And from there one takes off into a consideration of the cronyism and legalised corruption that both we and the Americans, and the Continentals, are past masters of.

We'll not clean that up by pinning it all on the Square Mile, though I expect we both agree that that Square Mile would function more efficiently (and equitably) if it got a good clean up itself.

Brussels, by the way, according to a trade paper I happened to see, is using the Brexit commotion to sneak some of our City business away by underhand means. So wicked. We, of course, would never dream of doing anything like that.

TJ, @ 43.

Same for me. 100%. I wonder what we'll make of our democracy when we get one again. Hope we still know how to use it. We've been so long without.

Well, almost 100%. I also think we'd be better outside than in when the EU collapses.

Posted by: English Outsider | Feb 9 2019 22:36 utc | 184

(Apologies. My Reply was to TJ 124, not 43.)

Posted by: English Outsider | Feb 9 2019 22:47 utc | 185

Thanks Grieved @ 179 for addressing my suggestion. I took a look at wikipedia and found the following Constitutional processes:

"To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either (as determined by Congress):
The legislatures of three-fourths (currently 38) of the states, within the stipulated time period—if any;
State ratifying conventions in three-fourths (currently 38) of the states, within the stipulated time period—if any.

Various amendments have been attempted after original ten of the Bill of Rights, and there are some still in limbo having not yet concluded the time period allowed, while others failed. So there is a process, Constitutionally speaking, that could be followed. I don't know if any of the proposed amendments support eco-friendly positions - that would take some research. And since in any case it is a time-consuming process, perhaps individual states could simply begin the process of planting more trees in the meantime. It wouldn't hurt!
Upon being properly ratified, an amendment becomes an operative addition to the Constitution."

Posted by: juliania | Feb 9 2019 23:45 utc | 186

Sorry, the final sentence of my post belongs up top in the quotation from wiki, as can be seen by the quotation mark which ends the quote. Above it, that paragraph is my own.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 9 2019 23:47 utc | 187


The enlightenment was a movement of the elites to free themselves from the moral laws of Christianity and the power of monarchy. The individualism, freedom and liberty they preached was meant for them. The non -elites were meant to be enslaved by capitalism (wage slavery) and debt and enforced by “mans “ laws and a legal system they would create and control.

America was looked upon as the New Atlantis or New Israel. An opportunity to create a utopia for the illuminated elite. Sometimes called the illuminati they organized themselves through a number of secret societies and operated through the more open Free Mason lodges that were centuries old , although only the highest levels were privy to their work

The principal of duality and good and evil are central to their philosophy which is more of a religion. This is a gnostic or occult religion which expresses Orwellian thoughts, where evil done to others is good for them, slavery of others is their freedom. This gnostic religion holds that some people (elites) may become gods. Knowledge is the light and reserved only for the elite, the rest are fed lies that they refer to as Noble Lies

This occult religion of the elite, some call it Luciferianism, is not new and has been evolving for around 2600 years at least. Christianity and Islam and Torah following Jews kept it in check until all were corrupted from within by their agents and weakened until they could now operate freely without constraint. Now many of these religious organizations are simply agents of the elite and will play a role in unifying all religions into some kind of
Green One World Religion subservient to the elites secret occult religion.

Put simply in the battle of Good and Evil the outcome has been long decided. Evil rules the day. We live in a Technocratic Pathocracy , although still allowed the illusion of a Democracy that pretends to be Good, although not very convincingly in recent years.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 10 2019 0:09 utc | 188

I hope you like the book. It took me a long time to get through it, I kept having to put it down to process what I'd just read.

I understand where you are coming from and I'm not sure exactly how to respond. The framers of the constitution were actively involved in the genocides of indigenous peoples and most were slave owners. They were all white, wealthy elitists. Their interest was not in anything but protecting their own power. My complaints about the constitution and it's framers isn't in the text of the document but in it's hypocricy. The US has never been an egalitarian society despite the language of the constitution and it's preamble. The latter, by the way has no legal meaning. Today, many white Americans are shocked to find out that they live in a police state but people of color always have been living in a very repressive police state. I've been having difficulty posting links lately but please look up an article from Consortium News titled "Deep History of America's Deep State". It's about the constitutional congress and is very informative. Also, you might be interested to read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United State. It is available online at

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 10 2019 0:21 utc | 189

juliania, there's also an issue about rights that are bestowed upon us by a government can also be stripped away from us by that same government. Governments don't own our rights, we do.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 10 2019 0:35 utc | 190

@ mourning dove | Feb 9, 2019 7:21:11 PM | 188

Here's a link to the Consortium News article: "Deep History of America’s Deep State".

Posted by: Ort | Feb 10 2019 0:38 utc | 191

If I may ask, why do you define 1945 as a turning point?

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 10 2019 1:09 utc | 192

Thank you for that.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 10 2019 1:10 utc | 193

To people considering reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the US, I would like to suggest also the following: Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano; An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: and the absolutely charming writings of Alexander von Humboldt. To say that Humboldt was prolific is the understatement of the century. A good starting point is Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent. He makes some interesting comments on the various indigenous peoples he met, how their lives were molded by their environment, and from time to time, how their lives were affected by europeans - ok spanish. Well worth the time.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Feb 10 2019 1:56 utc | 194

The sun of the United States rose over all America with its twin stars,
the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, shining indicators
of a good future for humanity, both documents appealed to the idea of an inherent
nobility of the human being, and the capacity of free citizens to govern themselves.

The audacious intellectuals of the time, with their lofty and charismatic ideas,
dreamed of becoming gifted modernizers of society, perhaps this was because a certain
quality of character had been inculcated in them by their families or maybe it was that,
on account of their having read romantic literary novels, men and women of the time
imagined themselves as real world heroes.

Meanwhile, in the colonial regime, youth training was in the hands of priestly functionaries. Instruction was restricted. Education was very lucrative for the institutions of the church.

This caused enormous rage in Mexican republicans; it offended them to the marrow that the clergy had the people subjected to an irrational dogma, and calling this “education”.

The Plan of Ayutla, proclaimed 1 of March of 1854, was the formal expression
of a movement to take away the patent of education held by the Roman church
and its conqueror cronies.

In the end, liberal and federalist forces triumphed when they forcefully ended the dictatorship of Antonio López de Santa Anna.

Afterwards, Benito Juárez led the War of Reformation, which lasted three years culminating on January 1, 1861, with the defeat of the reactionary faction
that sought to overturn the republican laws, and to restore courtly privileges
to the church and to elitist military officers. It was a rebellion promoted by
land owners, merchants and moneylenders and imperialist foreigners.

Juárez served as President of Mexico between 1858 and 1872.

He consolidated the Mexican Republic and was at the head of the fight against
the interventionist army and the absurd puppet emperor Maximilian of Habsburg,
singing final victory over the foreign invaders by the national forces in 1867.

By triumphing over the church and the centralists, and then against the imperial armies,
the republicans had truly conquered the mandate; so they immediately moved to implement
public, secular, gratuitous, rational, humanistic and scientific education, universal
public education, the education of the national population to raise its intellectual
and cultural level, education for the benefit of those with the lowest economic standard
of living, free education for all Mexicans, especially those not knowing the Spanish language.

According to the ideology of those democrats, such a policy would yield a benefit to
Mexican society in general; thus, the emerging liberal government favored the peasantry
subsisting in their ancestral lands by respecting their diverse uses and customary ways of governing themselves, and their unique traditional practices, tested over centuries.

The immediate antecedents of the Mexican Revolution were the persistent protests and
rebellions of the indigenous communities in the Porfiriato, forming a link in the chain
of insurrections going back to the Spanish Colony days and the early Nineteenth Century
insurrection of Hidalgo and Morelos, the independentist priests.

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 10 2019 2:05 utc | 195

Grieved @ 41 and karlof1 @ 49

You both may find of interest the arguments of the anti-federalists back in the day. They seem to me to hold up very well 200+ years later.

See: The Antifederalists by Cecelia M. Kenyon (1966)

includes 1.) The Context of the Debate of Ratification -- 2.) The Impossibility of a National Republican Government over a Large Area and a Heterogeneous Population -- 3.) The Inadequacy of Representation and the probably Aristocratic Effect Thereof -- 4.) Abuses of Power Predicted under Various Clauses in the Constitution -- 5.) Proposed Changes -- 6.) Concluding Observations -- * BIBLIOGRAPHY -- * Anthology of primary source articles.

The Antifederalists: 1781-1788. Critics of the Constitution by Jackson Turner Main

Posted by: pogohere | Feb 10 2019 2:39 utc | 196

@183 English Outsider

You may have seen the episode of RT's show, Renegade, Inc, where Professor Richard Werner described the differences between UK finance and German finance - with those 1,000+ local, non-profit community banks in Germany that finance small and medium sized businesses.

Werner starts explaining this at about the 9-minute mark:
The Finance Curse - Renegade, Inc, March 2017

The whole episode is priceless because Werner has such a clear eye on economic matters, and explains things so understandably. I could listen to him for hours. Close to the end he explains that the City of London is not in the EU, nor is it a subject of the Crown - the Queen has to ask permission to enter the City.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 10 2019 3:01 utc | 197

@ Guerrero | Feb 9, 2019 9:05:57 PM | 194 Thank you. I've appreciated your eloquent Mexican offerings.

In Canada's formation there was this Native/English/French mix-up that didn't treat the original members of the land with respect, by and large, but as something to 'assimilate'. However lots of the land mass of Canada remains in a kind of actual or potential limbo in terms of actual 'ownership'. There are those many treaties, and broken promises, and unresolved disputes....

One oddity about Canada: we as far as I know retain the quaint custom of requiring new citizens and people working for the governments to swear allegiance to the head of the dysfunctional British Royal Family.

You haven't dwelt on the Mexican view of the gringo; in Canada since its formal birthday, 1867, until the 1980s one important motivation, that really drove the Canadian project, was the desire to keep the Americans at bay. When a railroad in the 19th century across Canada was proposed it was dismissed by many as ludicrous, can't be afforded. But without a trans-continental railroad the Americans would likely have moved into what became Western Canada. So it was done.

The pattern became a perennial political tussle between those who were enchanted by visions of dollar signs from the American side of the border, and those who believed that that kind of pursuit of prosperity would inevitably involve the reduction and then eventual end of Canadian independence. Which is where we are pretty close to today.

Prior to sinking deep into our current role as US Imperial madness sidekick/terrier, Canada implemented nearly half a century ago universal health care. And as a kind of crazy amazing moment in Canadian history, in the 1950s Canadians began a project that culminated in the creation of what some still maintain was a military jet (the AVRO Arrow) that was a generation ahead of its time in capabilities. That ended in a pile of rubble, rumor has it due to American objections. From my perspective Canada's tussles with Trump of late give Canada a chance. potential motivation, to back away from the US embrace, but love is blind...

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 10 2019 3:20 utc | 198

jen - as others here have said - i would like to also say it - thanks for your ongoing posts and commentary!

Posted by: james | Feb 10 2019 3:32 utc | 200

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