Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 30, 2019

Open Thread 2019-30

News & views ...

Posted by b on May 30, 2019 at 16:50 UTC | Permalink

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China: "State Capitalism" or Socialism? The Chinese themselves reiterate their position for the nth time:

Stereotypical question reveals Regan’s poor understanding of China

China-US TV anchors' talk trumps tensions

Posted by: vk | May 30 2019 17:00 utc | 1

For some local international color re. Random Guy-do and Official Maduro, Swiss TV interviews both those who claim to be THE legitimate representatives of Venezuela.

First, a lady who officiates in a restaurant, has a lot of adherents, claims legitimacy, etc. The local Guy-do partner, nominee, adherent, designated ambassador or -ess (who knows)?

Second, the official embassy in Berne, who have all power, are quite upset, objecting.

3 mins, in F - some spanish can be heard - but well worth it for the scenery and expressions!

Posted by: Noirette | May 30 2019 17:16 utc | 2

One Man's Quest To Expose A Fake BBC Video About Syria

It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.” The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?


Robert Stuart is not quitting. He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

My main point of posting
They are looking for crowd funding to produce a documentary.

I have not contributed thru crowd funding before.
1) is it safe and secure? input please
2) will my contribution be a matter of public record?
3) anything else you want to say, thx

By the way, I recommend watching the 3 minute video at the crowd funding site:

Posted by: librul | May 30 2019 17:31 utc | 3

Countries such as India, Turkey and China seem to be lining up to support Trump's strangulation od Iran.

Posted by: paul | May 30 2019 17:42 utc | 4

@ paul | May 30, 2019 1:42:48 PM #4

A quick search suggested to me that only Turkey is a sure thing with the Iran boycott. The other two aren't yet in the bag.

A story I find more interesting is the prospect that Venezuela is the real target despite the news spotlight being turned towards Iran. The US is quietly importing a lot more Russian oil to replace what was previously bought from Venezuela. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and inducing a complete economic collapse in Venezuela would be a 'triumph' for the Trumpies.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 30 2019 18:39 utc | 5

Hi everyone,
Can anyone give me some suggestions on Spanish language websites or blogs along the lines of this one? I'm trying to gather some other perspectives as well as hone up on on mi Español.
Gracias, danke, شكرا جزيلا, спасибі

Posted by: roza shanina | May 30 2019 18:39 utc | 6

"Countries such as India, Turkey and China seem to be lining up to support Trump's strangulation od Iran."

India yes, but Turkey and China - no.

Posted by: Passer by | May 30 2019 18:49 utc | 7

Robert Mueller is a pedophile.
We can't prove it false, so it must be true.

Posted by: JoeG | May 30 2019 18:56 utc | 8

US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as 'molecules of freedom'...and this is in The Guardian and not The Onion:

Posted by: Victor | May 30 2019 19:12 utc | 10

No 2. short vid. Here, two adolescents who climbed up Notre Dame and slept up there, 2018 (> ! no security.) Vid is spectacular and ‘office safe’ but not for those who are scared of heights. 6 mins. In French, no matter, see the views!

Posted by: Noirette | May 30 2019 19:23 utc | 11

"Countries such as India, Turkey and China seem to be lining up to support Trump's strangulation od Iran."

US desire rather than the truth, I would think.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 30 2019 19:27 utc | 12

Bilderberg meeting starts today:
Topics: Russia, China, Social Media.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo will be there along with reps from Google, Goldman Sachs and various powerful people.

Bilderberg Meeting: Who’s going and what’s on the agenda

Posted by: Zanon | May 30 2019 19:46 utc | 13

Zachary Smith

I believe Russia buys oil from Venezuela. US refiners then buy oil from Russia to replace the Venezuelan oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 30 2019 19:58 utc | 14

Peter AU 1 @15

So refineries in the US that are set up for working with Venezuela's extra heavy crude have to buy from Russia now, but Russia doesn't produce so much in that grade so they buy it from Venezuela and then resell it to the USA.

That sounds like a pretty good deal for both Russia and Venezuela.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 30 2019 20:08 utc | 15

Laguerre @13 said: "US desire rather than the truth, I would think."

Western corporate mass media, owned by the oligarchs attending the Bilderberg meeting mentioned by Zanon above, and choreographed by the CIA, trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps?

Posted by: William Gruff | May 30 2019 20:18 utc | 16

“Palast explains the situation in Venezuela, where the Trump administration has recently been signaling for U.S.-backed regime change. Although the claim is that it’s the U.S.’s duty to support “democracy,” says Palast, the concern is really for Venezuelan oil. Major players like the Koch brothers need reliable access to Venezuela’s particular form of heavy crude oil, and the Maduro government doesn’t play ball the way the Saudis, for example, do. “

Posted by: Stever | May 30 2019 20:21 utc | 17

Amazing the methods the state uses to crush dissent and opposition. Here is a prime example of how they use this “tool” against popular and national sentiments to stir yellow vests to another direction and maybe extinguish.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 30 2019 20:21 utc | 18

@librul #3
Using a public site like Indiegogo or Kickstarter means contributions are public.
At least, the difficulty in finding out who contributed is minimal. Among the entities guaranteed to know: the site itself, its money processor, the entity asking for the money, and anyone who can levy a "terrorism" funding info request to 2 or 3 portions of the supply chain.

Posted by: c1ue | May 30 2019 20:27 utc | 19

Some people say US corporations rule the US. I say the Deep State/National Security State rules the US. They are the top tier. Corporations are secondary.

What happens when the Deep State demands that corporations stop cooperation with Huawei? They stop cooperation with Huaiwei. What happens when the Pentagon demands US corporations to stop using Russian space launches & satellites? They stop using russian space launches & satellites.

What is it that Trump said recently? That Google assured him that they are committed to the US Military, not the Chinese military.

Thus there is a hierarchy in the US. My ranking:

1. Deep State/National Security State.
2. Neocons/Zionists.
3. Corporations.

Posted by: Passer by | May 30 2019 20:33 utc | 20

William Gruff 16

That looks to be the way it works. Oil refineries in the US being mothballed would not be a good thing for the MAGA image so I take it the Trump admin turns a blind eye to the rebranding.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 30 2019 20:35 utc | 21

One event to watch is this weekend’s Shangri La Dialogue, where US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a government greenhorn, is expected to unveil a new American Indo-Pacific Defense Strategy following months of increasingly assertive U.S. statements and actions regarding the People’s Republic of China.

That new American Indo-Pacific Defense Strategy, a supposed extension of Obama's shift from the Middle East to Asia, which didn't pan out, has included a change in the US military's moniker for its Pacific Command, based in Hawaii, to the Indo-Pacific Command. Why the "Indo?" The plan was to form a new Asian NATO called the Quad, composed of the US, Japan, Australia and India. But India with its independent policies didn't go along with that. In the recent US naval exercise in the Pacific the fourth participant was South Korea not India. (So much for Indo-Pacific.)

This is the US effort (including sanctions) to counter China's rise, which includes its Belt and Road and its Made in China 2025 initiatives, which are intended to propel China into world contention in the commercial and technical areas, which Washington sees as a direct attack on the US and also against "the liberal rules-based international order" which has worked so well for the US for fifty plus years.

more at Breaking Defense:

This all takes place in the context of a framework established by last year’s National Defense Strategy. The NDS prioritized “Great Power Competition” and the Trump Administration later designated the People’s Republic of China – with Russia as dangerous but dysfunctional runner-up – as the principal competitor driving U.S. defense planning and modernization priorities (or, as Patrick Shanahan reportedly told his staff after becoming Acting SecDef, it’s now “China, China, China.”). . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 30 2019 21:02 utc | 22

#11 Thank you. After watching that how can anyone not feel wonder and joy of life.

Posted by: so | May 30 2019 21:06 utc | 23

@ Peter AU 1 | May 30, 2019 3:58:45 PM #15

Venezuela oil exports seem to be imploding. Headline:

Venezuela Oil Exports Slump to a 28-Year Low
By Lucia Kassai January 2, 2019

More recent:

Shipping data shows that imports of fuel and diluents necessary to make Venezuela’s extra heavy crude refinable have dropped to 86,000 b/d in the first part of May from 225,000 b/d for April. Fuel rationing is being overseen by the military as shortages begin to bite deeper. As local crude oil production continues to fall, and refineries operate much below capacity, the lines at gas stations outside of the capital are now miles long.

The shipments to Cuba and Russia and possibly a few others just aren't enough. Remember that Venezuela's population in 1989 was 19.3 million while today it is 32.7 million. And back then that nation didn't have to cope with smothering economic sanctions of every kind along with the physical attacks and sabotage of infrastructure.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 30 2019 21:34 utc | 24

The MSMs Qatar agency AlJazeera gives us the latest on "The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as White Helmets."

Syrian rescue workers and activists say government warplanes bombed the last rebel-held stronghold in the country again, levelling a building and killing five people inside, including three members of the same family.
The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as White Helmets, said its volunteers pulled bodies and survivors from under the collapsed building in Maaret al-Numan, a town in southern Idlib province that was hit in an air raid on Thursday.
The group says a mother and her two children were among those killed while the woman's third son survived. Activist-operated Baladi News agency also reported that five people were killed. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 30 2019 21:57 utc | 25

At the peak of their power, ISIS killed nearly 20k in 2 years in Iraq.

For an Iraqi population of 36 million in 2015, this converts into a homicide rate of 28 per 100,000 inhabitants

20,000 * 100,000 / 36,000,000 * 2 = 27.78

(deaths by war or conflict would not normally be counted to calculate a homicide rate but is done here simply for comparison)

Some homicide rates for comparison (from wikipedia):
El Salvador 83
Honduras 57
Venezuela 56
St. Louis 65
Baltimore 55
New Orleans 40
Detroit 40

I'll leave the implications up to the reader but remember there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Posted by: Colin | May 30 2019 22:21 utc | 26

Regarding where the US is getting crude from, some may still be coming from Venezuela directly

Posted by: Colin | May 30 2019 22:40 utc | 27

@ Colin | May 30, 2019 6:21:23 PM #28

Perhaps you ought to have consulted the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant wiki, for it has a civilian population statistic for the area ISIS possessed at its maximum size.

Civilian population In 2015 (near max extent): 8–12 million

Even that number causes a re-adjustment of your final figure by a factor of three or four. Add to that the fact ISIS held the maximal territory only for a short while, so the true figure for the civilians in their tender care would be even lower and the corresponding murder rate far higher.

As an aside, why are you defending the head-choppers and burning alive guys?

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 30 2019 22:43 utc | 28

... and a worthwhile analysis of the causes of the Venezuelan economic collapse (including a lot of analysis of their oil export industry) from Francisco Rodriguez who Mark Weisbrot (from the 40k deaths report with Jeffrey Sachs) says knows more about the Venezuelan economy than anyone in the world (although he is a critic of Chavez and Maduro).

Posted by: Colin | May 30 2019 22:47 utc | 29

At her site Caitlin Johnstone has an article titled Assange Is Reportedly Gravely Ill, And Hardly Anyone’s Talking About It. In the text she uses the term "slow-motion assassination", and unfortunately that might be a spot-on observation.

Speculation: middle of last year an unfriendly President of Ecuador took office. Might he have included among his other actions against Assange giving the Brits and/or the US access to the prisoner's food and/or medications? That they might actually murder Assange hadn't occurred to me, but such an event may be entering the final stages even now.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 30 2019 23:05 utc | 30

Bilderberg 2019 Meeting Information Revealed

Stacey Abrams, Eric Schmidt, Mike Pompeo, and Mattel Renzi, among others, will be attending the top-secret Bilderberh meetings from today through the weekend.

Topics to be discussed include the weaponisation of social media, the future of capitalism, Brexit, China, and threats to the neoliberal world order.

Held since 1954, Bilderberg has acted as a meeting point for high-level establishment politicians and corporate elites to promote the interests of Atlanticism and global corporations.

Many attendees of Bilderberg have gone on to play major roles in their countries' politics, including Angela Merkel and Barack Obama.

The presence of Abrams at the event is another sign that she may act as a vice-presidential candidate for Joe Biden, who himself has attended corporate-linked summits including Davos and the Munich Security Conference this year and who has seen his narratives bolstered by think tanks such as More in Common and the Trilateral Commission.

Abrams is herself a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has pursued a neoliberal agenda while in office.

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | May 30 2019 23:33 utc | 31

Pepe Escobar's latest provides great detail about the ongoing effort to integrate BRI/EAEU by linking to events from the "May 14-15, Third Russia-Kazakhstan forum held in Nur-Sultan. Over the course of the two days, the Valdai Club, in partnership with the Kazakhstan Council on Foreign Relations, held five sessions with the participation of experts from the two countries." An overview:

"It was important for Russian and Kazakhstani experts to “synchronise their watches” in light of the latest (US-Chinese) events, and talk about the changes that China’s well-known rise has generated. The violent reaction of the United States in the form of the trade war vividly demonstrates the Chinese-centric fears of the former hegemon, and indeed of the West as a whole. Russia and Kazakhstan view the rapid rise of China a little differently, although, as the forum revealed, not without some trepidation."

Pepe remarks on the formation of a new geopolitical grouping, NAM 2.0, about which the forum says:

"A concept is being developed that can be called the Non-Aligned Movement 2.0. It suggests the emergence of a bipolar world with the opposing sides being US and China. The other big countries should not have to join either side on the front lines; the best tactic is to remain neutral."

The analysis provides a much different slant at the Sino/Russo relationship, although it's mostly describing reality. At the end of the linked page is a link to a summary of the discussion wherein it's proposed the current state of geopolitics represents, "According to Andrei Sushentsov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, what is happening now cannot be called a 'Cold War'. It is rather a 'Phony Cold War' – there is no pronounced aggressor, and no one sees an ideological component in the confrontation,'" a judgement to which I totally disagree with--The Outlaw US Empire's clearly the aggressor and the ideological component pits the Empire's Neoliberal Zero-sum philosophy against the China and Russian adopted Win-Winism, which is amply displayed in Xi's Socialism With Chinese Characteristics. What the summary does make clear is a disappointment over the pace of Eurasian integration.

Another curious paper Pepe links to is one by Oleg Barabonov: "China's Road to Global Leadership." Very much in contrast is the recent Rand effort [PDF], "Overextending and Unbalancing Russia: Assessing the Impact of Cost-imposing Options," the opening paragraph showing it was written by Rand's version of Yeltsin:

"Today’s Russia suffers from many vulnerabilities—oil and gas prices well below peak that
have caused a drop in living standards, economic sanctions that have furthered that
decline, an aging and soon-to-be-declining population, and increasing authoritarianism under
Vladimir Putin’s now-continued rule. Such vulnerabilities are coupled with deep-seated (if
exaggerated) anxieties about the possibility of Western-inspired regime change, loss of great
power status, and even military attack."

Given the outstanding misdirection by US-based stink tanks, it's no wonder Trump's efforts against Russia, China, Syria, Venezuela, Iran, etc, produce failure upon failure.

A note about Syria. The 2019 wheat and barley harvest was one of the best ever, but storage is tight thanks to many silos being destroyed by terrorists. As for Idlib's terrorists, SAA has deployed @100,000 combat troops around Western Aleppo, while its Tiger forces and their support continue to clear Hama and will soon enter Latakia. Yet, SAA still had plenty of forces to send a battle group back to the Palmyra region to blunt the anticipated disruption attack by terrorists based at al-Tanf. Iranian and Hezbollah forces will be involved in the liberation of Idlib, a fact Zionists will loathe.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 30 2019 23:52 utc | 32

Colin @ 31:

Bear in mind that over 2014 - 2015, Saudi Arabia flooded global oil supply and this act crashed down the global price of crude oil. This apparently was done to ruin Russia's economy (because at the time Russia's economy was perceived to be heavily dependent on oil exports) and had the side effect of ruining Venezuela's economy at the time as well, just after Nicolas Maduro became President in 2013.

This US government document admits that the US has used various economic, trade and financial sanctions against Venezuela since at least 2008.

Posted by: Jen | May 31 2019 0:32 utc | 33

For Roza Shanina @6. Try It is a Spanish language blog affiliated with The Saker. I find the Spanish language website of RT interesting for a different perspective also: Like you I like to read different sources and practice Spanish at the same time. I could send some different suggestions in the future.

Posted by: Steve | May 31 2019 0:41 utc | 34

Jen @35--

As you see in my brief citing from Rand @34, lowered hydrocarbon prices are supposed to have greatly weakened Russia's economy when all indicators show that's not the case whatsoever. As events have proven, Venezuela was far more vulnerable, as was Saudi, but the latter isn't reported on and targeted. The circular heavy crude trade shows how dysfunctional Outlaw US Empire policy is thanks to advice from Rand and other utter idiots.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2019 0:44 utc | 35

Why China Likely Won’t Buy Fewer U.S. Treasury Bonds

A January 2018 Bloomberg article suggests that Chinese officials may reduce their purchases of U.S. government bonds. It is very unlikely that China can do so in any meaningful way because doing so would almost certainly be costly for Beijing. And even if China took this step, it would have either no impact or a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

China Cannot Weaponize Its U.S. Treasury Bonds

A number of recent articles suggest that Chinese officials may reduce their purchases of U.S. government bonds.

This is an updated version of a previously published January 2018 blog post.

Posted by: John Smith | May 31 2019 1:03 utc | 36


Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in an interview with FCCJ (Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan) stated that he did not believe in Russia's involvement in the crash of the Boeing MH17. The politician, in fact, directly accused the so-called JIT of being biased and not transparent. Video at 40:56.

Just a few excerpts:

We should be involved in examining the black box. We may not have the expertise, but we can buy expertise. But for some reason or other Malaysia was not allowed in to check on the black box to see what happened.


They are accusing Russians of firing the missile but what is the evidence? We need strong evidence to show that it was fired by the Russians, but it could have been the rebels in Ukraine, it could even be the Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile.


We don't know why we are excluded from the examination, but from the very beginning we see too much politics in it. The idea was not to find out how this happened and all that, but they seemed to be concentrated on trying to pin it on Russia. This is not a neutral kind of examination.


Here we have parties who have some political interest in the matter and they examine.


People from Russia - they are military people. Military people would know that it is a passenger plane. <...> I don't think [that] discipline, very highly discipline party would be responsible for launching the missile.

By the way, a year ago Malaysian Minister of Transport Anthony Loke spoke about this. The JIT obviously found this "not very important". Who would doubt. The task of covering up the Ukrainian regime that shot down the plane is still relevant. Just wondering how many more years they will play this farce with an "investigation".

Posted by: alaff | May 31 2019 1:08 utc | 37

"Trade war" between the United States and China in pictures:

Posted by: John Smith | May 31 2019 1:10 utc | 38

@ John Smith with speculations about what China can/can't do with its trove of US Treasuries...I admit not following your links

How about if China used them to "pay off" a bunch of countries IMF and World Bank debt?

Just a little beyond the think tank box rumination for you.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 31 2019 1:13 utc | 39

Posted by: alaff | May 30, 2019 9:08:42 PM | 39

Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in an interview with FCCJ (Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan) stated that he did not believe in Russia's involvement in the crash of the Boeing MH17. The politician, in fact, directly accused the so-called JIT of being biased and not transparent.

MH17 - 5 years on:

"How BBC faked an MH17 story" now available on YouTube:

Our official copyright dispute filed 30 days ago was not challenged. #MH17 #BBC

Posted by: John Smith | May 31 2019 1:19 utc | 40

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 30, 2019 9:13:53 PM | 41

@ John Smith with speculations about what China can/can't do with its trove of US Treasuries...I admit not following your links

PSYCHOhistorian, do you feel smarter than the author of the above articles?

Relax, buddy, and breathe more intensely, don't hold your breath ...

Posted by: John Smith | May 31 2019 1:29 utc | 41

@ myself and John Smith about what China can/can't/should or whatever with their 1+ trillion in US Treasuries

I went looking and it would have to be small countries to create the bunch I speculated about but that is China's style.....bring the bottom up.

As long as the global private finance "music" keeps playing the assumptions that China can't do anything are relevant but it seems obvious to me and others that the global private finance "music" is being challenged in a way that makes that future iffy and overburdened by debt, getting ready for a fatal fall.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 31 2019 1:31 utc | 42

@ Jen 35

Thank you. Do you have another link for that document?

Posted by: Colin | May 31 2019 1:50 utc | 43

Bloomberg claims that Kim Hyok Chol, ex-ambassador to Spain, was executed for spying for the USofA. The one whose embassy was raided by the CIA.

Posted by: Maleńczuk | May 31 2019 2:10 utc | 44

@45 Colin

the trailing slash broke the link. Here it is:

Posted by: Grieved | May 31 2019 2:10 utc | 45

@ John Smith who is responding with derisive comments instead of addressing my positions

Commenters get thrown out of MoA for that sort of petty response.

Please tell us why your sources are so authoritative that they preclude other options like I have been commenting about

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 31 2019 3:09 utc | 46

Zachary Smith

A number of ships that were to take refined fuel and food to Venezuela were sabotaged while in port.

Some different takes on it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 31 2019 3:22 utc | 47

@6 & @36 Telesur's Twitter account as well..

Posted by: Lozion | May 31 2019 4:21 utc | 48

Julian Assange has been moved to hospital unit at Belmarsh ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 31 2019 5:15 utc | 49

@ Peter AU 1 | May 30, 2019 11:22:31 PM #49

Given the nature of the Corporate Media, we're probably hearing of only a small fraction of the dirty work going on.

It's a puzzle to me how Trump figures this stuff is going to look good in future history books. Naturally that assumes his putzing around will allow the writing of those future history books.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 31 2019 5:15 utc | 50

@ Uncle $cam | May 31, 2019 1:15:22 AM #51

What was it again that happened to the Skripals - didn't they just disappear? If Assanges dies I'd expect he'll be quickly cremated and his family will be given some ashes which they'll be told are his final remains.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 31 2019 5:20 utc | 51

Karlof1 @ 37:

I'm well aware that most "information" about Russia that routinely appears in the Western MSM and which the US government and think-tanks like the RAND Corporation rely on is actually misinformation.

Although it's probably a good thing that neither the US government nor these think-tanks read reports on the Russian economy like this one from Jon Hellevig's Awara Group.

Grieved @ 47:

Thanks for dredging up that link for me.

Posted by: Jen | May 31 2019 5:24 utc | 52

@ Maleńczuk | May 30, 2019 10:10:43 PM #46

Just had an odd and likely irrelevant thought, but an invasive Embassy raid would be quite the opportunity to plant "evidence" for security forces to uncover.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 31 2019 5:25 utc | 53

@ psychohistorian | May 30, 2019 9:31:53 PM #44

My knowledge of economic issues approaches being a know-nothing. I did make a quick search for numbers:

China reduced its holdings of U.S. debt in March by about $20.5 billion, bringing its overall ownership down to $1.12 trillion.

I'd say Option one is to buy up everything in sight a pile of US money will currently purchase. Belt/road? Resources? Option two would be to use the US holdings to maximize destructive effects to the US. Walking away from a trillion dollars would seem a reasonable swap in exchange for becoming #1 in the world.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 31 2019 5:40 utc | 54

Jen @ 54

While I am not in a position to verify the authenticity of that report on Russia's economy I can easily see it it skewed in its presentation...

With this clout, Russia is prepared to withstand the economic siege, that the US regime is hatching.

Most importantly, Russia has the weapons which will wipe out any invading Western hordes at one fell swoop, if need comes. We refer to Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which allows for the use of its nuclear weapons arsenal to defend against invading troops.

This document is replete with comments like that. It does not sound like a dispassionate analysis; it sounds like the writing of a Russian patriot.

I hope they are doing that well and I do not doubt some of the materiel presented is true. The lack of debt I certainly believe as they are not part of the Western debt based economic system. I just dislike this type of propagandists slant to a report.

Posted by: dltravers | May 31 2019 6:09 utc | 55

China reduced its holdings of U.S. debt in March by about $20.5 billion, bringing its overall ownership down to $1.12 trillion.

There was some more detailed coverage of this not long ago, probably on Strategic Culture. China has largely stopped buying US treasuries for a few years now, and more recently has been very slowly reducing its holdings. It has to recycle its US dollars from its exports to the US somehow - instead of buying US treasuries and thereby funding the US military encirclement of China, it is using them for infrastructure investments in Eurasia under BRI - much of that is denominated in US dollars.

So that Carnegie Endowment crap is nothing but mindless bullshit propaganda*. No wonder the US fails in everything it tries to do these days - these are the sort of idiots who "advise" the US government what to do!!

As to that troll - B's advice is always this: Don't feed the trolls

* Disclaimer - I haven't read the troll's links, nor do I intend to.

Posted by: BM | May 31 2019 6:56 utc | 56

Russia has largely eliminated its holdings of US treasuries. Many other countries have also reduced their holdings, including several US allies (eg Japan, if I recall correctly). Many countries in Eurasia now have huge gold reserves instead, which is a much better bet - not just Russia and China but also Kazakhstan, for example.

Posted by: BM | May 31 2019 7:06 utc | 57

For the football fans, another leaker faces long jail time for simple revealing the truth about the sport

Posted by: isaac | May 31 2019 7:31 utc | 58

ref 3 Librul
You can certainly find a way to contribute while staying anonymous; there is no reason your name should be exposed, as there are possibilities to sign up on different crowfunding platforms with a pseudo

Posted by: Mina | May 31 2019 8:55 utc | 59

even though we've pretty much established that the cia is running the show, i share this link with some reluctance. by default i just don't trust any of these people, though in this case it is very clear that these treasonous crimes against the State have indeed been committed(yes, Circe, they have).

but how many opportunities to prosecute treasonous activity have we seen come and go over the years and decades without delivering even a semblance of accountability?

a lifetime smoking opium might well be more rewarding than a lifetime smoking hopium.

Posted by: john | May 31 2019 10:01 utc | 60

Europe's mercenaries to Syria (and their "joy divisions") and how to wash their hands with it

Posted by: Mina | May 31 2019 10:39 utc | 61

For those who think China is going to help the American Empire take down Iran and thus wreck their Belt and Road Initiative, please think again: HK ignores US sanctions on Iran as tanker heads east

Western corporate mass media is cherry-picking what China has said: "Restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iran have been fully implemented in the HKSAR under the United Nations Sanctions [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – Iran] Regulation [Chapter 537BV of the Laws of Hong Kong]."

"Woohoo! China's on our side! They are backing US sanctions!" -gullible American mass media consumer

Fake western "journalists" leave out the very next three sentences: "However, the UN Security Council has not imposed any restrictions on the export of petroleum from Iran. Certain countries may impose unilateral sanctions against certain places on the basis of their own considerations. Those sanctions are outside the scope of the UN Security Council sanctions implemented by the HKSAR."

In other words, "Go f#$k yourselves, you exceptional fools!", though of course the Chinese are too polite to say that outright.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 31 2019 11:18 utc | 62

China reduced its holdings of U.S. debt in March by about $20.5 billion, bringing its overall ownership down to $1.12 trillion.

Those U.S. Treasuries fluctuations are very likely following trade movements rather than political intentions. As commented before, China's enormous exports require large-scale FX handling and USTs are the easiest way to do that.

It's not a credible political threat to sell those off, as the next wave of 'QE' money printing is imminent and it will specifically target USTs (per Bloomberg article two days ago, with projected Fed balance sheet to soon grow beyond the recent peak). In other words, anything China might sell will be absorbed by the Federal Reserve with freshly printed money. In the scheme of the money printing madness, another trillion USD is not a large amount.

Why has Russia then sold their USTs? Probably for fear of being disconnected from the SWIFT system and being stuck with worthless paper. In any case Russia's total divestment of their entire UST stock didn't register in the ebb and flow of the market.

Posted by: Leser | May 31 2019 12:55 utc | 63

@60 john

It bears repeating: Trump has delivered more for Israel and Zionists, especially the 1%ter kind than any other President since Truman. Sooo, anyone defending Trump at this point IS highly suspect of having a Zionist agenda. If Trump is a rabid Zionist, which he has proven to be again and again (they love him in IZ land!), Netanyahoo loves him and it's a mutual admiration club, THEN, anyone defending Trump at this stage has a Zionist agenDUH! OKAY?! Case closed.

Posted by: Circe | May 31 2019 13:27 utc | 64

Maybe the think tanks think Russia is crumbling but the money boyz don't.

Posted by: arby | May 31 2019 14:17 utc | 65

One more thing, William Barr, the Attorney General acting as Trump's personal attorney, was a CIA man for 5 years and also tried to institute an illegal phone surveillance program later in his career. And now he's fueling a conspiracy that Trump is a victim of the deep state Barr was and still is a part of??? Hello??? This is all kabuki theater for the gullible masses patronized by Zionist interested parties. Poor, poor Trump the victim outsider. HAAAAAA! Suckers for Trump victimhood abound and Zionists can count on a sucker every day,

Posted by: Circe | May 31 2019 14:31 utc | 66

Trump's swindler deal of the Century to ethnically cleanse and rob the Palestinians blind is thankfully on ice because NetanyahOO can't form a coalition and there will be elections in IZ again. That's why yesterday Trump was on the WH lawn blathering to reporters about how unjust this is for his bestie Bibiyahoo and how bad it is for Israel.

Trump has literally imposed economic tyranny on the Palestinians pulling all funding to try to force them into a deal. If Trump gets a second term; Palestinians will be bullied into submission and surrendering everything to Zionists thanks to Trump!

Yet here you all are defending poor, victim Trump! If Trump gets a second term it's game over for the Palestinians, it's a complete takeover of Venezuela and war with Iran!

So spare me your Trump is a victim of the deep state CLAPTRAP.

Posted by: Circe | May 31 2019 14:49 utc | 67

Circe @ 64 says:

anyone defending Trump at this stage has a Zionist agenDUH

no dude, 'cause most all of the folks accusing him are not accusing him for his Zionist agenDUH, but for inanities designed to obfuscate their own treasonous sabotage.

if they wanted to impeach him for, say, illegally launching a volley of cruise missiles into Syria, then you might have a point, but they don't, and they don't because the entire imperial agenda is reinforced in the halls of power by a bipartisan mass majority on a daily basis… matter who's president!

Posted by: john | May 31 2019 15:05 utc | 68

Today at Peterson AFB. The Russian painted F-16 just flew in followed by another F16 that appeared to be in Israeli colors. Lots of movement there lately...

Posted by: liveload | May 31 2019 17:41 utc | 69

@Mina #59
Signing up under a pseudo doesn't work if you have to pay via credit card or Paypal.
As far as I know, the major platforms do not accept cash payments.

Posted by: c1ue | May 31 2019 18:00 utc | 70

@John Smith & psychohistorian
The US Treasury publishes the MFHT - Major Foreign Holders of US Treasuries report - with historical data going back a long ways. You can see exactly what both China Central Bank and attributed private ownership of Treasuries is, by country.
The key is to look at the overall numbers: Since 2012 - the entire world has not increased its holdings of US Treasuries. The US has accumulated $7T or so in additional debt in that period, vs. the $4T or so held by foreigners.
US national debt (federal) was $14.78T in September 30, 2011 - so roughly 27% of the US national debt was held by foreigners.
Today, national debt is estimated at $22.3T - so less than 18% of US national debt is held by foreigners.

Posted by: c1ue | May 31 2019 18:09 utc | 71

@ c1ue with the MFHT data....thanks......I use to know here to go find all those numbers but have been preoccupied

I read somewhere that the percentage foreign ownership had gone down and appreciate the confirmation.

Let me add follow on points

Since 2008 the elite have time and motivation to set up the next crash that sends them and other nations to the "global settlement table" with an even bigger percentage ownership of everything. Certainly all those trillions that have added to the US debt are not in the pockets of the common man.

The elite have also had time since 2008 to insure that the debt bubble will not injure their holdings either by not owning any or having derivative positions that cover the losses of the debt they do own.

What is the wild card are the rest of the parties at the "global settlement table" were not at previous settlements of the West. That is an argument for a period of dual global nation axis centered around public/private finance until private finance is shown more clearly for the anti-humanistic social construct it is.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 31 2019 18:55 utc | 72

US Coalition strikes Syrian gov’t boats transporting oil from eastern Syria

at some point russia is going to have to address this..same bullshit as always from the west-israel run group.. destroy syria-iran and anything associated with 2 countries wanting autonomy from the dictates of the west..

Posted by: james | May 31 2019 19:45 utc | 73

>> james | May 31, 2019 3:45:11 PM | 73

Gee. it would really be too bad if somebody were to 'hit' some Saudi Irabian boats off the coast of Yemen. Let's just hope that that never happens!

Posted by: blues | May 31 2019 20:20 utc | 74

@psychohistorian #72
Your view is not uncommon among the conspiracy minded. However, I don't share the sentiment.
The change of monetary regime following the US abrogating the Brenton Woods gold standard saw a lot of people and nations caught wrong footed; the Arab oil embargo and oil price shocks of the 70s are just a few major examples.
The enormous increase in US debt is not something which can be protected against in absolute terms. While Japan has been able to run up it's debt to over 200% of GDP, that nation is far more homogeneous, it's citizens are both largely isolated from the world and willing to endure hardship, and it has enormous private savings which the government has been able to redirect into purchasing of Japan debt. And, of course, Japan is a positive currency account country - still a net exporter with a very small military budget.
The US has the dollar reserve currency status to offset it's net currency account deficit, but the dollar reserve status also confers enormous over valuation to the dollar, over valuation which will both suffer from decreased US role in world trade (as China, Africa, SE Asia grow faster) and as the US debt grows to the point where the entire planet could not pay it back.
Yes, the smart people will try hard to retain ownership of productive assets, but this isn't the same as wealth preservation necessarily, at least for US assets.
I'd also note that the belief that derivative positions will protect anyone is utterly false, as Bear Stearns, Lehman and AIG found out. Counterparts risk is very real, and arguably there can not be any real counterparties when obligations supercede cash by 2 orders of magnitude or more (100x).
Nor is what I am saying based on our speculation - there are recent precedents such as the British Empire collapse that shows just how well "elites" can protect their assets.

Posted by: C1ue | May 31 2019 20:34 utc | 75

c1ue @71--

Thanks for posting that figure which tells us 82%+ of US Debt is held by the FED or other US-based entities. So, when the debt default occurs, it surely looks like US-based holders will suffer the great majority of the blow.

Thus this question's begged: What would occur if the debt is written off, that is the portion owed to the FED?

Economic Affairs writer Ellen Brown writes about Japan's debt write-down and offers links to similar articles.

Alexander Artamonov writing for Pravda concludes his article about US Debt level with this observation:

"It does not matter how high the ceiling of the US debt is going to be raised. More than 80% of US public debt is of national origin, which means that the USA owes most of its debt to itself. Needless to say that the USA can write off the debt to itself at any moment, so there is no financial disaster coming from this direction."

(Most articles that appear when using 'writing off US national debt' don't deal with that subject at all.0

Then of course we have Michael Hudson's series of articles on debt jubilees declared in the ancient world, which cancelled debt owed to the palace/government. The difference being those debts, like credit card or student loan debts, are personal debts, not the collective debt of a nation which was loaned to it by its central bank in return for interest bearing bonds. What would occur if the federal government defaulted on the bonds held by the FED, saying it will no longer pay the interest or purchase them--what recourse would the FED have? FED stockholders would no longer be paid dividends based on bond interest and the FED would have to write the bonds off its balance sheet. But would it be harmed, debilitated in its ability to do what it does, which is loan monies to other banks? Given how loans are made nowadays, I don't see any damage being done as the monies are virtual, not physical.

The danger is thus faced by the non-FED owners of US Bonds, but the write-off doesn't apply to them as only bonds held by the FED would be retired. What then does that mean? IMO, it means the US Government can self-finance any type of program it legislates into reality, like national healthcare, free K-20 education, all sorts of infrastructure programs, and a massive military. The authorizing legislation's passed and signed into law; the monies required are created via keystroke at Treasury and electronically transmitted to providers enabling the legislation's program, which in turn pays the individuals doing the work. The above is essentially how Modern Monetary Theory would function. It would probably work best in a unitary state rather than a federal state with multiple legislating and budgeting entities.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2019 21:15 utc | 76

Caitlin Johnstone writes about the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer's report on Julian Assange. Given the appalling lack of discussion by barflies, it appears few care for his fate:

"'In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,' Melzer said. 'The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!'"

But as with previous denunciations of UK behavior toward Assange, I doubt Melzer's demand will even be read much less acted upon.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2019 22:07 utc | 77

From Caitlin's essay:

"It is hugely significant that a UN expert has included the massive anti-Assange smear campaign in his assessment of psychological abuse. For far too long this devastating psychological weapon of the powerful has gone fully normalized and unacknowledged for the damage and suffering it causes, and now an authoritative voice has pointed it out and called it into public consciousness for the depraved manipulation that it is. It’s a very interesting development to see western governments and their media stenographers condemned in this way for their participation in such savagery....

"Menzer’s report is an indictment on our entire society. It’s an indictment of the US-centralized western power alliance. It’s an indictment of the politicians, opaque government agencies and plutocrats who lead that alliance. It’s an indictment of the mass media who regurgitate whatever their government tells them to into the minds of a credulous populace. It’s an indictment of everyone who has ever helped spread the smear campaign against Assange, wherever they may have spread it; every remark, every social media comment, every share and retweet. The entire abusive construct has been outed as exactly what it is, from top to bottom.

"So things have been severely shaken up. A massive smear campaign spanning all western nations across all political sectors has been pulled into the spotlight of public consciousness, mass media outlets who’ve devoted huge amounts of resources to assassinating Assange’s character have been forced to report a major revelation coming directly from the United Nations, Assange supporters can now officially say with full authority that his persecutors have literally tortured him, and establishment narrative managers are fighting on the back foot....

"Because of that decision, because Julian Assange decided to stand his ground and trade blows toe-to-toe with the most powerful empire in the history of human civilization, he forced them to expose themselves. He forced the oppression machine to reveal its true face, by coordinating across national borders to drag him bodily out of the embassy, locking him in a cage, waging a war upon the free press with outrageous espionage charges, and finally being found guilty of torturing a journalist for publishing factual documents about the powerful.

"We have all that information now. It can’t be unseen. Because Assange chose to fight, we now have that evidence and we can use it to help wake people up to the true face behind the smiling mask of “liberal democracy” we’ve all been told to believe in since grade school. Even while imprisoned, sick, and barely even able to speak, Julian Assange is still exposing these bastards for what they are.

"Don’t let his example go to waste." [My Emphasis]

No, that's not her entire essay. Please click the link and read in full!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2019 22:23 utc | 78

@74 blues... there are a lot of folks playing with fire (and oil).. i can't see it ending well... cheers..

Posted by: james | May 31 2019 22:38 utc | 79

Karlofi @77

"Given the appalling lack of discussion by barflies, it appears few care for his fate"

I think that maybe we avoid talking about the Assange predicament or thinking about is because it exposes our helplessness to ourselves.

Posted by: arby | May 31 2019 22:41 utc | 80

karlof1 - ditto arbys comment... i get caitlins articles via e mail and they are all really good.. i relate to her views well..

Posted by: james | May 31 2019 22:44 utc | 81

"Because Assange chose to fight, we now have that evidence and we can use it to help wake people up to the true face behind the smiling mask of “liberal democracy” we’ve all been told to believe in since grade school."

Even collateral murder did not dent the sacred cow of 'liberal democracy'. For controlling the rabble, democracy is the best thing since sliced bread.
Turns the masses into addicted gamblers - always thinking the next vote will be a winner.
But then, only a small percentage of voters in the so called liberal or western democracies bother to look further than MSM for their news.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 31 2019 23:16 utc | 82

arby @80--

Caitlin Johnstone once felt that same way, but look at her now that she decided to stand up and act out. Why the fuck get out of bed and eat if one feels that defeated--Oh woes me, I'm just going to die eventually, so might as well avoid the hassles of living and end it all now. Why do you think I bolded that last sentence?

But it's not all Doom&Gloom! "Brazil refuses to accept diplomatic credentials of Juan Guaido's fake ambassador, reflecting the unease of the country's military over destabilizing the region."

And "Taste of their own medicine? Venezuela's Constituent Assembly proposing that figures who defend the US blockade have their assets seized."

What if Syrians had given up or Palestinians or millions of people all over the planet? Homeless people on the streets within the Outlaw US Empire struggle daily and could easily give up but most don't. You want to know why? It's because they're next to someone facing the same challenges and they can draw strength from that association--Strength in Numbers/Solidarity. Once they may have lived an atomized existence and despaired like all too many, but they're now members of a social grouping. And that's paramount as humans are social animals that must have such contacts for their wellbeing as Assange's case exemplifies. That's why the lonely go to a pub to find comradery as virtual relationships aren't sufficient. Unfortunately, MoA is a virtual bar. It's helpful, but falls short of being an actual support group.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 31 2019 23:26 utc | 83

The current GRC system has broken beyond repair.
Trade surplus dollars are NOT being recycyled into dollar denominated assets.
Existing dollar reserves have declined in nominal terms over the last four years.
In inflation adjusted real terms the decline is -30%.
The smart money has been getting out of dollars before a stampede.
The TIC report should be taken as a lie,or fairytale,depending on your mood.

Posted by: Winston2 | Jun 1 2019 1:55 utc | 84

@ Winston2 who wrote
The smart money has been getting out of dollars before a stampede.

I did that in 2008, where is that stampede?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 1 2019 2:23 utc | 85

Open Thread - question

At the GritPost site is this headline: "New Poll Suggests Trump Would Beat Biden in Key Battleground States in 2020"

I don't believe it - Trump is raising his lunacy to a new level with threats to slap tariffs on Mexico. He is directing the US military to destroy internal oil transport within Syria. This and much more contradicts all the 'progressive' and isolationist stuff he was peddling in 2016. Farmers, Corporations, and many more are beginning to suffer from the fool's work.

But suppose I'm wrong. Let's say it's now a 'given' Trump will trounce Biden. Obviously Democratic party leaders don't care, for what Trump has been doing makes them happy even if they can't say so out loud. Question is, should I care? Both men have a "hands-on" approach to women. Trump is a newly developed disaster while Biden has a long, long record of being a Corporate hack and smiling thug - but both are horrible. Neither one will do anything to halt and reverse global warming climate change with either one in the White House.

Why shouldn't I line up with the Zionists on this issue and say "doesn't matter to me which one is elected".

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 1 2019 2:31 utc | 86

At the GritPost site is this headline: "New Poll Suggests Trump Would Beat Biden in Key Battleground States in 2020"

I don't believe it - Trump is raising his lunacy to a new level with threats to slap tariffs on Mexico. Zachary Smith | May 31, 2019 10:31:27 PM

Actually, a good post, but the starting line is weak. I just do not see white blue collar folks of the Rust Belt being appalled by the whimsical sanctions on Mexico. True, they could be ratcheted up: threaten them to be forced to take Texas back. Most importantly, the claim that Trump is so bad that he would loose to a tree stump was already tested, alas, Democrats fielded a candidate with even less appeal than a tree stump. Without scientific basis, I have a feeling that Biden is in the same category. But he is damn sure to deliver his home state of Delaware.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 1 2019 3:03 utc | 87

As we discuss troubles in various countries, Israel seems to be an oasis of tranquility. External threats are so remote that they actually have to look for them 1000+ miles away. To avoid death of boredom, Israel is bent on showing that proportional representations may be ridiculous too (in USA we complain about gerrymandering, electoral college etc.) The last election led to impossibility in forming a government, so in few months there will be another one and the chances are, with identical outcome.

The root of the problem lies in the top achievement of Israel. As you know, there are many achievements, but could you guess the top one? "In Israel you can be more Jewish than anywhere else". This is a quote from memory of the most celebrated Israeli novelist (NYT would not lie about that, would they?) The achievement is fine, but a vexing political problem is how to be most Jewish. There are two main school of thought: (a) military service in IDF, preferably in an "elite unit", highly recommended by so-called secular Jews and Modern National Orthodox, (b) spending years on prayer and studying texts like Torah and Talmud, without such unseemly distractions like military service. "Right wingers" got 65 seats, 61 are needed to form a government, 5 insists on reducing exceptions for military draft -- the most sacred Jewish duty, and 16 insist on increasing the exceptions for "religious studies" -- needless to say, even more sacred endeavor.

Of course, the religious nuts could be replaced by "left-of-center" militaristic nuts, but the latter hate Netanyahu, raising objection that police and prosecutors promise to indict him on bribery. But replacing Netanyahu as Prime Minister is not possible according to the law, And there is a good chance that the next elections will have the same outcome.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 1 2019 3:44 utc | 88

@77 karlof1 arby, James 80,81

No that's a bullshet cover excuse. Manning got a commuted sentence thanks to the hard work of many who pushed for her cause. Assange's fate is not discussed around here because of one glaring hypocritical reason. First of all the Justice Department just piled on more charges against Assange; that's Trump's Attorney General 😉, you know the one who also acts as his private attorney! Since this site is all about getting Trump re-elected and whitewashing his shet every second day, and Trump's Attorney is after Assange, Trump bootlickers here are staying away from having to defend the indefensible. And before you chime that it's not Trump's fault again, it's Bolton, it's Pompeo and their grannies too...and Trump is the eternal victim and controlled hostage of the deep state, Barr has done everything Trump wants of him to date! So don't go there! The reason Assange is out of sight and out of mind is that Trump's bootlickers can't handle THE TRUTH about Zionist Trump!

Posted by: Circe | Jun 1 2019 5:15 utc | 89

some people still regard Saudi Arabia and Israel as different countries.

They are both sides of the same pharisee coin, murderous wahhabists and satanic jews who destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya and are now telling us that IRAN is the problem.

When are the retarded American Christians going to wake up and realise that these demons are not their friends? After they've killed another 2 million Christians?
just sayin

Posted by: boris | Jun 1 2019 11:22 utc | 90

Circe @ 89
I'm no Trump fan or promoter nor am I a fan or promoter of almost all the choices on offer in the US.
We can all sit around and bemoan what is happening to Julian on this board but I fail to see what good that would do.
Caitlin is an excellent writer and she is doing what she can.
The UN on at least two if not more occasions has denounced as illegal what the machine is doing to Assange yet nothing changes. To me it looks like nothing short of a civil revolt complete with thousands upon thousands of armed and angry protestors demanding his release would work.

Julian BTW is not Wikileaks but an important symbol nonetheless. I recall him saying that Wikileaks staff should do there work in secrecy and he would be the Lightning Rod.
He got hit by lightning which he obviously knew was a strong possibility considering the work they were doing.

Posted by: arby | Jun 1 2019 12:12 utc | 91

One takeaway from the Trish Regan-Liu Xin exchange on Fox News is the remark by the Chinese anchor that – for talks to move forwards again – the American team has to respect its Chinese counterparts.
Sounds like the aggression and bullying may come right down to the person-to-person level, talking at and down to the other party.
Trump should know better, even if his troglodytes don’t (or don’t care less).
He had already taken a measure of the Chinese president during dinner.
Xi Jinping barely flinched when the Donald casually dropped that missiles were being fired upon Syria even as they spoke. `` None of China’s business.’’ (Russia could take care of that neck of the woods).
As I mentioned on Saker’s blog before, China won’t react. It will choose the moment, and method, to act and defend its interests.
Perhaps forbearance is the Chinese way; there are precedents, such as the Marco Polo bridge incident that sparked the second Sino-Japanese war.
Intuiting that the clash was a false flag by Imperial Japan to push into China proper, Chiang Kai-shek decided that the time had come for all-out resistance.
Imperial Japan was an advanced technological power, China only a semi-feudal society; an asymmetric contest.
Yet, as Mao elaborated so passionately in Protracted War (as posted earlier by another commenter) time, circumstances and history were on China’s side.
Even Baron von Falkenhausen, who trained Chiang’s Nationalist troops, supposedly claimed that China would eventually prevail over the invaders.
Face is an Asian value that Westerners may hear about, but don’t always grasp.
Giving face is so often more important than face for yourself; it reflects on a person’s magnanimity to another party, in the spirit of win-win compromise.
So much face was given to the American team, yet they chose to cross the Marco Polo bridge – or in Western terms, the Rubicon, the point of no return.
The reality, of course, could be that Washington was never ready to negotiate in good faith.
The trade war was, from the start, a fig leaf for what Kishore Mahbubani recently called a `multi-dimensional’ assault (political, military, etc) on an almost-peer power.
As the chief Chinese negotiator put it:``China is not afraid, the Chinese people are not afraid.''

Posted by: LittleWhiteCabbage | Jun 1 2019 13:24 utc | 92

@91 arby

I wasn't implying you are a Trump bootlicker around here. Those who are know themselves, and usually can't stand communicating with me who gives them the time of day. Anyway, I'm just saying that the excuse of feeling helpless gives them cover to not have to discuss and defend the indefensible c/o Trump yet again. It's an easy out. The more Assange's situation is kept relevant, and Trump exposed for his part in this, the better. When Manning was first imprisoned, she too was treated inhumanely. Manning suffered a lot as well, and human rights activists had to pressure the previous administration to protect her rights. The U.S. is a notorious human rights offender, but of course, Israel is even worse. Anyway, I don't think that giving Trump bootlickers cover for not holding Trump responsible is right. That's what I was getting at. I do think karlof1 is right to shame the silence here on Assange, and I think the hypocrisy of Trump's bootlickers has everything to do with that silence. Trump is not a poor victim hostage of the deep state. The Attorney General was hand-picked by Trump to be his yes-man at Justice, and he is exactly that; and when asked about Assange Trump took the opportunity to praise what a great job Barr is doing. Trump had the power to declassify all kinds of intelligence, and order up an in-depth investigation on the FBI and Mueller investigation, and Barr jumped when Trump said JUMP! Trump is not a defenseless baby or hostage Prez in training! Need I say more?

Posted by: Circe | Jun 1 2019 13:55 utc | 93

Sarah Abdallah
‏ @sahouraxo
16h16 hours ago

Imagine the international uproar if Julian Assange was rotting away in a Russian dungeon for the “crime” of mere journalism. But because he exposed US war crimes, he’s been unfarily persecuted and subjected to psychological torture for years, and the media’s cheering it on.
66 replies 1,493 retweets 3,149 likes"

Posted by: arby | Jun 1 2019 14:15 utc | 94

We were both way to early on that call.The world simply was not ready at all.
Its still not really ready,but ready or not,its happening now.

Posted by: Winston2 | Jun 1 2019 14:18 utc | 95

@ 34 Steve & Lozion - Thanks for the suggestions! I didn't know the Saker had a Spanish site.

Regarding the unresolved crime of MH17, Manchester University Press recently published a book by Dutch author Kees van der Pijl:

MH17, Ukraine and the new Cold War

Global Research gave it a good review. I'm going to read it when my copy arrives.

Posted by: roza shanina | Jun 1 2019 14:57 utc | 96

@89 circe.. you really are off your rocker... please skip over my posts, as you haven't a clue how to read them.. thanks...

Posted by: james | Jun 1 2019 15:13 utc | 97

more on assange today from craig murray...

Posted by: james | Jun 1 2019 15:26 utc | 98

Circe @89: Trump's Attorney General 😉, you know the one who also acts as his private attorney!

The Attorney General is not Trump's "private Attorney" it is the attorney for the government which is headed by the President.

There is a clear, recognizable difference between the Presidency and the person holding that office.

Barr was chosen because he's trusted by the Deep Staters like Mueller, Comey, Brennan. Trump is merely a member of the team.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 1 2019 15:47 utc | 99

The Melzer UN report
"Melzer said he had seen no sign of Australian assistance for Assange.
“Australia is a glaring absence in this case. They’re just not around, as if Assange was not an Australian citizen. That is not the correct way of dealing with that.”"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 1 2019 16:03 utc | 100

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