Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-28

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

See also: Rob Slane at The Blogmire - The Sinking Credibility of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

John Bolton created the crisis by claiming that Iran put some imaginary missiles on a boat. When Trump told him to stop the campaign, at least for now, the imaginary missile had to be removed. The NYT willingly stenographed the "news": U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Removed Missile Threat From Some Boats

I don't expect that Bolton will let the issue go. He will find or create an incident sufficient to convince Trump to go to war with Iran.

My hunch is that China will -in the end- win through the trade war. Others disagree.
Christopher Whalen at the American Conservative: China Has Already Lost the Trade War

---
Other issues:

The movies Hollywood produced are often telling psychological conflicts as the central story. Each character has a certain fixed attitude and the interacting of the characters create the story. It does not matter if the setting is in antic times or in the far future. In the end there are always the bad and the good guy slamming it out in a fistfight.

The historic Chinese drama which I currently favor are based on sociological storytelling. As they develop the stories form their characters. Their attitudes change over time because the developing exterior circumstances push them into certain directions. Good becomes bad and again good. The persons change because they must, not because the are genetically defined. I find these kind of movies more interesting.

This Scientific American piece about Game of Thrones (of which I have seen only half an episode) touches on the differences.

The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones
It's not just bad storytelling—it’s because the storytelling style changed from sociological to psychological

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 02:30 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Maybe this is Bolton's next move:

rocket fired toward US embassy in Baghdad

Posted by: TheBAG | May 19, 2019 2:46:12 PM | 1

the american conservative...also known as "that site where i wade through garbage to read larison". to paraphrase "training day": americans play checkers while the chinese play chess. the show "silicon valley" touched on the subject brilliantly; the character who is basically an avatar of bezos and gates and every other 1990s tech prick goes to china and tries to bully them into overworking their staff to death. it alludes to steve jobs' "that's an acceptable amount of suicide" comments when the foxcon suicides where peaking. the owner of the production plant says "this is the new china" before politely telling him to piss off.

they've industrialized and are (slowly) transitioning from being a giant pollution factory to giving solar a chance. they get along with russia and are pretty much the only reason australia and several other countries even have an economy. what do they need from america besides a base of increasingly destitute customers for their cheap goods? the ones that won't be cheap much longer since they are (slowly) building a middle class while america defecates all over its own?

tl;dr - you're probably right. that guy is a typical conservative thinly veiling "those damn slants" prejudices as economic "realpolitik".

Posted by: the pair | May 19, 2019 2:46:51 PM | 2

I have not ever seen Game of Thrones, since I have not Netflix, nor satellite TV for that matter, just do not watch much TV to have it, but everybody seems hunged with it....
I usually end tiring of such long sagas, as I rarelly am able to follow them for such long time, and then get lost. Last time I got interested was with Homeland, when it was broadcasted on TV, but changed so many times and moreover to wee hours that ended being impossbile to follow for me.
Do you think it is worth GoT?

Posted by: Sasha | May 19, 2019 3:06:16 PM | 3

Illargi: Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King

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

And, if you haven't seen it, here are links to the Assange disccusion at MoA:

My initial comment (#141)

Start of the Assange discussion (#200), with many comments following

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 3:22:11 PM | 4

The story in the American Conservative is very weak: that "the Americans" have already won the war is just due to the built-in superiority: the "land of the free" against "communist dictatorship" (so everybody knows who has to win). Or, a variation, "free market" against "state-owned".

A typical statement of that article: "China views commercial relations with other countries as an extension of the political conflict between Western democracies and itself—that is, an extension of war." -- a very defining element of the "American" character, to project the own aggression onto others.

There was another opinion-piece somewhere, can't find it anymore, where the author argued that hopefully that "trade-war" will do really good for the Chinese economy -- forget about the US, and develop the home market.

As I believe that the sanctions are a great gift to Russia, I also believe that this "trade-war" is a (potential) great gift to China.


Posted by: Oliver K | May 19, 2019 3:32:24 PM | 5

Latest ridiculous attempts by the US propaganda machine on Gaza, Venezuela – enjoy

Posted by: Never Mind the Bollocks | May 19, 2019 3:36:21 PM | 6

The Scientific American article's author isn't really saying anything new here. In the aggregate, all of the more grounded complaints amount to the same thing - Hollywood can't tell as sociological story without some kind of help from.....an author/screenwriter who's great at.....writing.So yeah, the writing got stupid and horrible in the past 3 seasons, culminating with a season that would embarrass a rank amateur.

As stated there and everywhere else, the CGI, directing, acting, music, costumes, and cinematography are usually very good. But this season the bad writing has even eclipsed and brought those things down. For example the exterior lands surrounding King's Landing cannot seem to remain consistent. Sometimes it's dry desert and shrubs, sometimes its lush, beautiful forest. Or the episode nobody could see. Or the one where someone left a Starbucks cup on the table. It all speaks to lame, rushed writing and the producers having phoned it in, in a rush to move on to ruining other stories (Star Wars for example).

Posted by: KC | May 19, 2019 3:43:46 PM | 7

Anybody have further info or references on this incident? Same one listed by Bag#1 above:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-19/rocket-fired-toward-us-embassy-central-baghdad-explosion-reported

Posted by: WJ | May 19, 2019 3:45:52 PM | 8

B, what is the name of the Chinese show? You're leaving us in suspense.

Posted by: Cresty | May 19, 2019 4:03:47 PM | 9

That was an interesting article on psychological vs sociological storytelling and it makes a good companion piece when thinking about how the US media personalizes US geo-political conflicts with the heads of rival state (Putin, Xi, Castro, Kim Jong-un, Khomeini, Gaddafi). If you believe the US media if they just removed Putin, Russia would go back to being a good little puppet state just like under Yeltins. Which is a shockingly naïve way to look at international relations. States have permanent interests and any competent head of State will always represent those interests to the best of their ability. True, you could overthrow the government and replace every senior government figure with a compliant puppet (which the US always tries to do), but the permanent interests that arise from the inhabitants of the State will always rise up and (re)assert themselves. When the State leadership is bribed or threatened into ignoring or acting against these needs it ultimately creates a failed State.

Even the US media seems to subconsciously understand this, when they talk of "overly ambitious US goals of remaking societies", however, they never make the logical next step of investigating why these States do not wish to be remade as per the US imagined ideal, what the interests of these actually are and how diplomacy can resolve conflicts. According to the US media everything boils down to the US = good, anyone who disagrees with our policies = bad and diplomacy is just a measure of how vulgar our threats are during talks. I'm specifically thinking of the US Ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman's boast of a US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean as being 100,000 tons of diplomacy to Russia - of all the ridiculous and stupid things to says to Russia when supposedly trying to "ease" tensions (I still can't believe Huntsmen, former Ambassador to China under Obama, is regarded a "serious" professional ambassador within the State departments when compared to all the celebrity ambassadorships the US President for fundraiser).

Posted by: Kadath | May 19, 2019 4:21:27 PM | 10

@WJ #8 - That's probably a daily occurrence there anyway.

Posted by: KC | May 19, 2019 4:31:39 PM | 11

Somewhat on-topic, China's state media is broadcasting Anti-American movies.

Posted by: KC | May 19, 2019 4:35:35 PM | 12

More info on Mossad foreknowledge of 9/11 in recent book focusing on FBI investigation:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/newly-released-fbi-docs-shed-light-on-apparent-mossad-foreknowledge-of-9-11-attacks/258581/

Posted by: WJ | May 19, 2019 4:42:59 PM | 13

Cresty @9

It is not just Chinese but Asian in general. Watch several seasons of the Japanese cartoon "Gundam" and get back to me about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are in it.

The whole notion that the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are set in stone is antithetical to any worldview founded in Buddhism/Confucianism, or influenced by the same. Can you imagine western children's programming teaching ambiguity between good and evil? That which is which depends upon the observer's perspective? This is the sort of concept that few western people get exposed to until graduate level ethics and philosophy courses.

Or maybe not. I have never seen a single episode of "Game of Thrones" and maybe that delves into ethical complexities that typical western mass media avoids. I wouldn't know. What I do know is that this moral and ethical complexity is something that most Asian children are introduced to before they hit their teens.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19, 2019 4:43:17 PM | 14

Trump just tweeted "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!". Needless to say, more ridiculousness, Trump is pretty close to plagiarizing himself with his prior comments regarding North Korean "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!". I think Trump is getting desperate now waiting by the phone for the Iranians to call him. Trump is certainly still smarting after the failed Venezuela coup and wants to avoid a second embarrassing defeat, however I doubt the Iranians will care that much about his latest threat by tweet.

Posted by: Kadath | May 19, 2019 4:59:33 PM | 15

GOT was jarring this season. In the penultimate episode, a dragon wreaks havoc on a western capital city, brutally murdering most of its inhabitants.

It is impossible not to make the correlation of the dragon as China and kings landing (The city) as Washington d.c.

From this one can glean that they were attempting to show the ascendancy of China and the utter destruction of the U.S. With shades of gray thrown about as to if the people of the city deserved to be burned alive and as to whether the dragon and its rider, China, have become what they originally set out to vanquish. The old Nietzsche maxim...those who fight with monsters...

It was indeed unsettling because there are no moral winners. It is well realised for this reason but poorly written and produced in other aspects as noted above by other posters.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 19, 2019 5:18:09 PM | 16

On the alleged Arendt´s banality of evil, well, some more evil than others, if not because o of their clearly over the top ambitions:

Interesting comment linking some sources and articles on US military strategy from decades ago, some of which I am not able to get to anymore, as the article at ICH numbered 3011:

"First published From Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14: US Army War College: "There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing."

"Excerpts From Pentagon's Plan: 'Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival':
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.
This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

There are three additional aspects to this objective: First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.
Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. An effective reconstitution capability is important here, since it implies that a potential rival could not hope to quickly or easily gain a predominant military position in the world."
... access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil"


Posted by: Sasha | May 19, 2019 5:26:49 PM | 17

Re: Illargi: Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King
______________________________________

I don't disagree, but a case can also be made that "Julian Assange is Today's Alfred Dreyfus".

Posted by: Ort | May 19, 2019 5:38:30 PM | 18

Nemesiscalling @16

GOT is an allegory that explores the nature of power. If you see China's destruction of Washington it says more about you than the show. Firebombing of Dresden might be a more apt analogy.

People always suffer when they allow corrupt sociopaths to gain power. That is as true today as it was in Germany in 1930's and 40's.

The complaints about poor writing are just fan sadness at unexpected horrors that actually make sense for the show. Loose ends created by these horrors will likely be resolved in the last episode tonight.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 6:01:23 PM | 19

Funny that Trump is never banned from Twitter....hmmm one wonders... neither is he though...

Posted by: Maximus | May 19, 2019 6:04:10 PM | 20

Link not working above here it is: https://twitter.com/realgollumtrump?lang=en

Posted by: Maximus | May 19, 2019 6:09:55 PM | 21

Alabama's new bill outlaws abortion at every stage of pregnancy

The Supreme Court has 5 Catholics, 3 Jews, and one "unidentified" who was raised a Catholic. The Vatican is an authoritarian "nation" with an absolute ruler whose territory is a whole 109 acres. Makes the pissant apartheid state look positively enormous by comparison. So Holy Israel owns both houses of Congress and the White House while the Roman Pope has a hammerlock on the US Supreme Court.

There is nothing in the Constitution specifying the size of the SCOTUS. As of now I expect a Democratic landslide in 2020, so the Congress is most likely going to correct the situation of the lazy Trump allowing the Heritage Society to pack the court with right-wing hacks. Not to mention the seat the criminal Mitch McConnell stole.

By the way, the women I know see the Alabama (and others) passing these laws not as a religious thing, but to reestablish Male Dominance over US women. I suspect they're right.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 19, 2019 6:58:38 PM | 22

WJ @13 thanks for the link, I am eternally hopeful that this particular thread gets pulled on until it unravels.

One of my distinct memories of the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (I lived in NYC at the time), was the trumpeting of the Post and other tabloids about 'the Dancing Arabs,' which obviously fanned the flames of hatred towards the designated villains. Once it was revealed that they were actually Israelis, then crickets until the whole thing was shoved down the memory hole.

Posted by: Roy G | May 19, 2019 7:12:22 PM | 23

I'm going out today to buy a couple of Huawei 'phones'.
According to news reports since the moron in charge announced that he had signed an executive order 'blacklisting' Huawei, those lovely humans at Google are denying Huawei phones access to gmail and playstore. The android operating system is open source and still available to Huawei.
Doubtless FB and M$ will follow suit. Getting rid of all the nasty stuff that spies on users 24/7/365 now means that Huawei phones have all the advantages with none of the disadvantages.

They put their own chips in newer models and I have no doubt will find enough bright sparks to take over apps integration meaning that this divergence point will become a boon not a hurdle. Even better a Huawei costs 60% of a comparable korean model and half the price of the fbi backdoored american shit.
I really like thinking expressed by an un-named english politician in a Henry Jackson Society report: "“Huawei has long been accused of espionage” – a claim repeatedly denied by the firm – and notes that “while there are no definitely proven cases”, a precautionary principle should be adopted."

All politicians are crooks and liars, everybody says so, lets lock em all up right now, no need for evidence or trial or any of that due process nonsense, the precautionary principle should apply.

Posted by: Dolores P Candyarse | May 19, 2019 7:30:47 PM | 24

William Gruff wrote:

I have never seen a single episode of "Game of Thrones" and maybe that delves into ethical complexities that typical western mass media avoids. I wouldn't know.

Having suffered through four seasons of Game of Thrones, after a degree in philology and literature, I'd be happy to share my impressions with you. In Games of Thrones, the good characters are regularly disembowled, choked and drowned to death. Or turn evil. The evil characters grow in power and menace and rarely perish. The overwhelming message is that all people and all power are evil. There is no good in the world or what good there is will be quickly stomped out. Resistance is useless.

The main message is really that resistance is futile. If the powers that be can condition the contemporary (and naturally idealistic) Western youth to accept that hypothesis, any threat to their depredations and financial tyranny is rendered impotent. If resistance is futile, said youth will simply have to accept how things are and try to stay out of the way of tyrannical kings, rapacious queens, brutal captains of the guards and wanton dragons. I.e. sit down and shut up while HRC, John Bolton, John Brennan and James Clapper ruin the planet.

Despite impressive production values, excellent acting (for the most part) and majestic locations, Game of Thrones is truly the most evil large scale creative work I've ever seen. On a philosophical level, Game of Thrones has no redeeming features. At best an impressionable mind might come away with a hedonist mindset, i.e. the traditional salve of weak spirits, carpe diem.

PS. There's some very good comments at the tail end of the Takedown of Heinz-Christian Strache including one of my own covering in some depth the Austrian political background to this event. Worth revisiting if you only saw the early comments.

Posted by: Uncoy | May 19, 2019 7:32:02 PM | 25

Analysis from a poll sometimes cited by Chomsky.

See Gallup International poll pg 134
https://www.circap.org/uploads/1/8/1/6/18163511/pollsoniraq-nonus15.pdf

Using populations per country from '03 we get the following conclusions:

of the 36 countries outside the US we get 33% of the world population where
less than 8% supported unilateral military action by American and her allies
and 57% supported under no circumstances

this list excludes 42 additional countries with another 40% of world population who have had their governments overthrown or attempted to be overthrown by the US since WWII

In the US 33% supported unilateral action, 70% of congress voted for the unilateral military action

Being that the invasion was illegal and unpopular, the Bush admin invented a 'coalition of the willing to give the appearance of support.

The Trump admin needed to create a similar type of facade for the Venezuelan coup. Such things are needed specifically because the move is so unpopular and illegal.

Posted by: Colin | May 19, 2019 7:39:27 PM | 26

@ William Gruff | May 19, 2019 4:43:17 PM #14

I'm with you on not ever having seen that 'famous' show, and I've gone a step further in removing the name of George Martin from my SF reading list.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 19, 2019 7:46:58 PM | 27

Cresty @ 9:

B is watching re-runs of "Story of Yanxi Palace". Episodes of the series have been uploaded to Youtube.

If you don't care for watching Chinese historical soap operas (I did try watching a bit and found it cloying), you can try watching "The Magnificent Century" on Youtube. This is a Turkish historical drama mini-series based on the reign of Ottoman Suleyman the Magnificent and his Polish-Ukrainian wife Roxelana. A follow-up series based on the life of Greek-born Kosem Sultan, mother and grandmother of several Ottoman sultans in the 17th century might also be worth a look.

TV soap operas about underdog concubines who scheme their way to top dog position in a harem and in a palace full of intrigue, secrets and manipulation always seem to be popular!

Posted by: Jen | May 19, 2019 7:53:24 PM | 28

Thanks B for linking to that Scientific American article by Zeynep Tufekci.

The article explains a great deal about how and why the US government and MSM news media reduce complex politics in other countries down to one person.

This particular paragraph was interesting:

"... Told sociologically, Dany’s descent into a cruel mass-murderer would have been a strong and riveting story. Yet in the hands of two writers who do not understand how to advance the narrative in that lane, it became ridiculous. She attacks King’s Landing with Drogon, her dragon, and wins, with the bells of the city ringing in surrender. Then, suddenly, she goes on a rampage because, somehow, her tyrannical genes turn on ..."

Recognise the behaviour? It's parallel to what Syrian President Assad supposedly does every time the SAA pounds terrorists and drives them away from Aleppo or East Ghouta ... he goes on a rampage and releases CWs on civilians!

The psychological approach also smacks of the kind of pseudo-scientific racialist garbage that was common in the later 19th century (the period of the genesis of Nazism and Zionism) and which gave rise to eugenics policies and the mass sterilisation of women and young people deemed "mentally deficient" or who got pregnant out of wedlock in Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe and North America during the early 20th century.

Posted by: Jen | May 19, 2019 8:16:04 PM | 29

At least the alternative media is taking notice of the warmongering tactics of
John Bolton.

Posted by: KC | May 19, 2019 8:21:46 PM | 30

@19 jackrabbit

I disagree. The show's scope does not exist in an historical vacuum. George R.R. Martin has taken much of the sinister plot points and betrayals from history old and new.

In this case, a dragon from the east comes to annihilate the western kingdom. So far so good? Then, you have the majority of posters in MoA who wish up to bodily harm against the common American for their collective psychosis. And in the show you have that same retribution being carried out by Dany and her dragon as the show is telling what this looks like.

It is no stretch at all, but only to those that think that true artistry arrives from a vacuum and not the world-historcial situation surrounding them. There is no stretch of thinking here at all.

But if there was, elaborate on your theory and how this ties into current history.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 8:49:15 PM | 31

@31 addendum

Indeed, this is really why people are so disturbed by this episode.

It shows the chickens coming home to roost for us westerners who have been asleep at the wheel.

I'm sure the season finale will show that Dany will be usurped by Jon Snow (neutral) which echoes many posters here take that China is gearing up for imperialist expansion and repressive domestic times and so is unfit as well to rule over the people.

The downbeat ending will be Dany walking off with sole power and dismissive of all of her advisors call for temperence and mercy as the screen fades to black.

Or the hopeful one would be Dany returning to Essos, conceding her claim and destroying centralized rule over the seven kingdoms altogether.

We'll see.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 8:58:47 PM | 32

Jen

I'd wager that you haven't seen the show.

In the show, Dany is NOT treated like Assad has been in real life. Her full story is presented (unlike Assad) and her motives are depicted as good and on the side of common people and slaves (she frees tens of thousands of them).

Dany's madness is shown to stem from a complex mix of vengefulness, betrayal, and grief. It's hard to do it justice in a short description but the immediate circumstances are this: she is told by an advisor (who has previously betrayed her) that the city hates its rulers and will quickly give up as signaled by a ringing of the city bells. But when the city is clearly lost and cries to "ring the bells" are heard, the bells remain silent for what seems like an eternity. Dany probably takes this to mean that the advisor was wrong (again) and the city's sympathies lie with its current rulers (who have had years to propagandize them).

She feels that she must crush them to ensure respect for her rule later. I liken it to the Dresden firebombing. The Allies sought to crush the will of the German people to continue the fight. But, of course, the firebombing was excessive, cruel, and would be considered a war-crime today.

GOT has spend most of its time showing us how corrupt, sociopathic rulers use fear, force, and clever tricks to maintain and grow their power. But critics want you to focus on Dany's psycosis in one episode.

As I post this, the last episode is about to start. Maybe I'll have more to say later.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 9:03:17 PM | 33

@ Jen 29

I suppose that is a valid theory. But as the viewer we know the motivations of Dany and why in some small regard the people in King's Landing deserve a little roughing up.

Thomas Jefferson said: "I tremble for my countrymen because I know God is just..."

The difference here is that we judge Assad even though we don't see what he is truly doing.

Here we see what Dany has done, mass slaughter, and think to ourselves...we kinda had it coming.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 9:03:28 PM | 34

@25 uncoy

Concerning your take on GoT: Isn't this really the thesis of Thucydides through and through reflected in GoT almost to a T?

"The powerful do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

GoT is not disturbing to be nihilistic and shocking. It is holding up a mirror to history.

But the quality of the show has declined aince they have come to the end of the road in adapting the source material. The show has overtaken the books.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 9:21:34 PM | 35

Jackrabbit @ 33, NemesisCalling @ 34:

No I don't watch the show but I was only referring to that behaviour that Zeynep Tufekci cited in her article, in the context of what she wrote about the sociological approach versus the psychological approach in writing drama scripts - or in news reports.

Explaining Dany's motives in going full rogue upon a city is really neither here nor there. The issue in Tufekci's article is why the scriptwriters decided that Dany going full rogue would draw in viewers rather than follow the "sociological approach" as Tufekci sees it and write in Dany's reactions in a way that is plausible and makes sense with the character arc that was developed for her in previous seasons. Dany's descent into the abyss would have been more measured, with several incidents pushing her in that direction, and it would not take just one city's indifference to her victory to send her off the moral precipice.

You both rightly point out that we judge Assad without knowing his background and what his motives might be, but the reality is that the MSM media blithely barges ahead to say that what he does (or supposedly does) is all because he is a classic despot following in his father's foot-steps (and we don't know what kind of leader Hafez al Assad was really like either) and what he does is what all other foreign Third World baddies past and present have done and still do. The MSM media does not give a damn about the context in which Hafez al Assad came to power and the context in which that power was passed to Assad. Neither is the MSM really all that interested in what Bashar al Assad has actually been doing with that power since he became President in 2000.

Posted by: Jen | May 19, 2019 9:34:56 PM | 36

Below is a link from Xinhuanet about the China financial sector opening up

China to further open up financial sector: central bank

The take away quote
"
As of the end of March, overseas investors bought a net of 1.77 trillion yuan (about 260.3 billion U.S. dollars) of bonds at the country's interbank bond market, up 31 percent from a year earlier, and held 5.4 trillion yuan of yuan-denominated financial assets, up 19 percent year on year, according to the central bank.
"
What us peasants don't know is the extent to which China will let foreign investment influence their socialistic ways. That said, China is the new empire, private or public is yet to be determined but guess where all the "smart" money in the world is going? The money movements are a giant sucking sound that will leave America under the global economic bus.

Or not and China maintains its socialistic ways including projecting them around the world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 19, 2019 9:51:22 PM | 37

The movies Hollywood produced are often telling psychological conflicts as the central story. Each character has a certain fixed attitude and the interacting of the characters create the story. It does not matter if the setting is in antic times or in the far future. In the end there are always the bad and the good guy slamming it out in a fistfight.

The historic Chinese drama which I currently favor are based on sociological storytelling. As they develop the stories form their characters. Their attitudes change over time because the developing exterior circumstances push them into certain directions. Good becomes bad and again good. The persons change because they must, not because the are genetically defined. I find these kind of movies more interesting.

That's the difference between materialism (marxism) and idealism (kantism, hegelianism and noekantism). Besides, an idealist tv series helps selling more merch and doing more sequels, hence the capitalist preference for idealism.

Posted by: vk | May 19, 2019 10:06:03 PM | 38

@38 vk

Interesting take. Wouldn't make more sense if the ebb and flowing of character development on Chinese TV/film allowed the series to carry on ad infinitum, like US daytime soaps? More money in the long run.

And wasn't Marx a student of Hegel? Indeed, Heidegger called him and Kierkegaard the greatest Hegelians in his lecture "Hegel and the Greeks." I will have to go back and read it again.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 10:18:37 PM | 39

b's post seemed to be about the ambiguities of life and how Asians recognise this fact of life. The thread seems to have descended to gossip, excitement and argument about some tv show.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 19, 2019 10:21:38 PM | 40

Jen @36

Agree with the rushed aspect. A few more episodes in the last season would've made for a better-told story but the story probably would've have been fundamentally different.

- - - Caution: Spoilers below - - - -

As expected, in the last episode of the season and the entire show, the budding tyrant was stopped. But the way it was done will be very disappointing to many fans.

Also disappointing: that the feudal society of the GOT fantasy world will continue as before. GOT shows us how bad leaders can wreak havoc on society but the only solution offered is that powerful people choose the a wise monarch.

I'm looking forward to viewing the recommendations from b and Jen.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 10:36:44 PM | 41

@ Peter AU 1 who wrote
"
b's post seemed to be about the ambiguities of life and how Asians recognise this fact of life.
"
at the end of b's posting he wrote
"
Use as open thread ...
"
That is why I have treated it as such just like every other "week in review" and not as you characterize

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 19, 2019 10:39:58 PM | 42

@KC #12:

China's state media is broadcasting Anti-American movies.

How are these movies “anti-American”? These movies are simply the truth.

Posted by: S | May 19, 2019 10:50:33 PM | 43

@36 Jen, @40 Peter AU 1, karlof1 - and others

I have really appreciated the discussions you've held regarding this US view that places the power of national impetus in the person of one leader - rather than seeing cultural, seasonal, historical, collegial, etc. causes for the way things move.

You and the commentators whom you've cited and drawn from have created a paradigm that we can use moving forward, and will now never fail to see in the future. It is a terrible weakness of the US within the course of global real life.

It seems to be similar to what this TV show is said to be doing by employing psychological causation rather than sociological causation for the flow of events.

In sum, thanks!

Posted by: Grieved | May 19, 2019 10:51:22 PM | 44

psychohistorian
My mistake. Didn't read the fine print.
Carry on.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 19, 2019 10:52:55 PM | 45

Below is my final Xinhuanet link about China/US relations

Chinese FM urges U.S. to avoid further damage of ties in phone call with Pompeo

The take away quote
"
Wang also reiterated the principled stand against the "long-arm jurisdiction" imposed by the United States.
"
Empire is having its hand slapped back in Venezuela, Iran, Syria, ???

Where are they going to get their war on?

I see empire as a war junkie and they are starting to twitch in withdrawals which is dangerous but a necessary stage. Trumps latest tweets show that level of energy. The spinning plates of empire are not wowing the crowds like before.....what is plan Z?

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 19, 2019 10:55:01 PM | 46

Hot tip, GOT is just a movie. Please, no more psychological insights.

What fans really need, is some REAL WORLD justice, something that's noticeably missing in today's world.

Posted by: ben | May 19, 2019 10:58:49 PM | 47

@5 Oliver K

I agree that the American Conservative article was weak - as b obviously thought. It has the US trade war against China completely wrong. I side with b in his hunch that China will win. My own view is that, as with everything the US has done lately, it already lost the war before it even stepped into battle in the theater.

And let's counter the author's point, in the weak article, that China needs the US trade surplus more than the US needs the imports from China. The author says that China has no way to substitute for exports to the US. There's abundant recent analysis on this, showing the relatively small part of China's economy that hinges on this trade, but here's a good Sputnik interview that illustrates how easily China can simply absorb goods into its own domestic market:
Trade War: US to Pay Heavy Price for Underestimating China – Chinese Businessman

I especially liked this part:

"...we have our colossal domestic market, which has no competitors throughout the world. Our consumer and innovation markets provide us with a large number of advantages and room, giving China an opportunity to make a manoeuvre. Therefore, their blockage gives China a chance to become even stronger. We must express our appreciation to our mentor, Trump, for this, for this lesson and for forcing China to figure out how to withstand the threats on its own."

The US used to be an important nation to do business with - commercial, diplomatic, military. But as it has become "agreement incapable", nations are forced to replace it. This takes a little time and readjustment, but then the change is permanent.

Strangest thing of all that the US itself would do the forcing out of itself from the world's trust.

Posted by: Grieved | May 19, 2019 11:21:32 PM | 48

For those with a penchant for movie dissection, I offer this from Truthdig;

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/game-of-thrones-an-american-parable/

Posted by: ben | May 19, 2019 11:24:01 PM | 49

Trump, Saudi Arabia warn Iran against Middle East conflict

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on Sunday.

“We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack,” Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court and it is up to Iran to determine what its fate will be.”

He said the crew of an Iranian oil tanker that had been towed to Saudi Arabia early this month after a request for help due to engine trouble were still in the kingdom receiving the “necessary care”. The crew are 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

Is this a veiled threat on the lives of these crew members?

Posted by: Zack | May 19, 2019 11:50:54 PM | 50

@50 zack.. i get a feeling something is going to happen middle of june... i hope i am wrong.. the usa will be the instigator.. maybe it will be a minor event.. pretty sad when the ksa kashoggi headchopping crew are giving you advice..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2019 12:21:19 AM | 51

Re@ 51 James, well Sputniknews is reporting that the Saudi's claim that the Houthis are planning to attack 300 critical infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the coming weeks so that might be the instigating event your concerned about

Posted by: Kadath | May 20, 2019 12:41:41 AM | 52

Grieved @44--

Thanks for your kudos! As I've written previously, the political philosophers of the nascent USA thought they would have a Natural Aristocracy (here and here) somewhat based on a meritocratic system instead of the Old World's Inherited Aristocracy based on blood relations and closed to anyone not within a very small circle. Yet it was still an Aristocracy with all it inherent evils, and it is that vast assortment of evils the US citizenry has yet to overcome in its supposed--idealized--quest for self-government. Recall that George Washington was deemed safe to become the first president because he could be trusted not to proclaim himself king--something often forgotten by students of US History.

I've often lamented on the nature of the 1787 Constitution because it allows any POTUS to become a king with almost zero hindrances on the power wielded. Sure, compared with other systems of government at the time, the USA's was revolutionary, but only down to the waist to borrow a phrase from Gilbert & Sullivan. Madison's theory, IMO, was--other than being Aristocratic--okay until his most important check/balance was removed--that of the "dueling oval office" where the losing POTUS candidate was awarded the Vice-Presidency--imagine Hillary Clinton as Veep with Trump in the driver seat! IMO, the 12th Amendment fatally wounded Madison's construction of a government that arrived at great decisions based on a consensus of genuine national interests instead of partisanship. Arguing that action is the great fault that must be corrected doesn't get much play nowadays. Indeed, it's very difficult to debate Constitutional Reform given the engineered political climate since the current situation suits the Ruling Oligarchy just fine.

I hope everyone had an opportunity to click the link I provided to the series of paintings known as The Course of Empire. ICYMI, here it is again. Please note which Empire's being copied and compare that with the predominant architectural theme in the Outlaw US Empire's Imperium. Creditors ruled and eventually destroyed that Empire. That's one historical lesson that's totally omitted from the historiography of the USA.

By and large, we know what and where the problems are. The fundamental question is, will we ever get the opportunity to fix them?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20, 2019 12:45:56 AM | 53

As for the movie topic, I watched The Green Mile today at the instigation of my wife and almost predicted the film's entire plot as it's based on a Steven King novel. But it was the twists that messed with my predictions. It was worth watching once. The metaphysical questions raised are worth exploring. Would it improve the sociocultural nature of the USA if it was seen by all? Perhaps; unfortunately, that question's moot.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20, 2019 12:53:39 AM | 54

Posted by: Grieved | May 19, 2019 11:21:32 PM | 48

Their disadvantage is that they have to import energy. So they need export if they do not wish to run a trade deficit.
They do not necessarily need the US for this though if they can trade in Yuan.

Posted by: somebody | May 20, 2019 1:26:48 AM | 55

Not exactly perhaps the usual topic area of MoA, but something I think very interesting from a US security standpoint: here is a link to the first of a series of three posts on the Category 6 blog on the Weather Underground site. They are about the Old River Control Structure on the Mississippi River, its vulnerability to increasing floods, and the implications of a catastrophic failure. As far as anybody seems to be able to tell, there is virtually no general awareness of this outside the Army Corps of Engineers and no high-level policy work on it in the US government.

But of course, they are all extremely busy trying to get Trump's tax returns, or, on the "other side," busily working to meet the terrible threats from Iran, Russia, etc.

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Americas-Achilles-Heel-Mississippi-Rivers-Old-River-Control-Structure

Posted by: PrairieBear | May 20, 2019 2:14:07 AM | 56

@ karlof1 with the link to Cole's paintings known as the course of empire....thanks

I find it interesting that Cole's pessimism is reportedly directed at then president Andrew Jackson. Jackson in 1835 was the only president to ever pay off the national debt and Jackson killed the current version of the private Central Bank of the day.....only to rise again as we know....and I did not read William Greider's book Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country suggested in an earlier thread about the US Federal Reserve

On to a quote from the Liberace grifter at the end of a lift from some MSM place
"
Trump also said that Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden should be investigated over a conservative author’s allegation that Biden’s son Hunter Biden took advantage of his father’s position to sign a lucrative business deal with state-controlled Bank of China. The allegation was made in Peter Schweizer’s 2018 book “Secret Empires.”

Asked if this should be investigated, Trump said: “100 percent. It’s a disgrace and then (Joe Biden) says China’s not a competitor of ours. China is a massive competitor of ours. They want to take over the world.”
"

So there you have the pretext for war with China......they want to take over the world.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This is some serious faith backed projection of monotheistic entitlement to the world and everything in it, IMO. I guess it has worked for a few centuries, so therefore it must continue this way in spite of the inhumane nature of those that own global private finance controlling our species for their entitlement.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 20, 2019 2:14:31 AM | 57

@ PrairieBear with the link to another example of failing US infrastructure

Yep, but there is plenty of money to create the media fog of a booming economy with full employment....as long as you ignore the 10% drop in workforce participation.......How to lie with statistics 101

Trump has a lot of backing because he is doing "nationalistic" things but he is not balancing that with stopping greed wars and rebuilding US infrastructure.....maybe a return to mass transit...cross country like the rest of the world. If profit continues to be the operating principle of the West then wars must be engaged in to control the outposts of empire.

I think Trump is faking the nationalism push to throw America under the bus so empire can transition to a new host...China And Trump has never hid his love for the private banker folks in and out of his cabinet......he is a tool of some faction of the elite.....old/big money/control would be my guess wanting to become svelte for quiet insertion into the growing China empire

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 20, 2019 2:35:46 AM | 58

Karlof1 wrote: 'By and large, we know what and where the problems are. The fundamental question is, will we ever get the opportunity to fix them?'

Yes, if - and that is a capital 'if' - humanity aka society manages to defy the laws of physics, thermodynamics in particular, that are the basis of our very existence and, too, govern individual behavior and the conduct of the masses. Cole's paintings are an artistic rendering of the effects the 2nd law of thermodynamics proposes.

In '92, I think it was, the physics department of a German university published a paper showing that traffic on freeways is following the laws of thermodynamics for the first time. This finding caused some stir, obviously, and, subsequently, had been back-checked by 2 more departments of physics, American and British, to yield the exact same results. Another more recent paper I'm aware of has been published in the New Journal of Physics in 2013.
Search for 'Phase transition in traffic jam experiment on a circuit'.
An example everybody can relate to:
Imagine a person being harassed by a horsefly. The natural reaction would be to either scare away the bugger or to swat it even at the expense of damaging tissue aka destroying a few of one's own cells.
Now with that in mind, take a large crowd of people, say 1 million, and a complete loony with a gun and 30 rounds starting to shooting into the crowd. How will the cells (individuals) of that body (the 1-million-crowd) react? Will this body agree to sacrifice a couple of its cells (individuals) to subdue the 'bugger', stop him from doing further harm as quickly as possible? Nope, each of the cells will go into full panic mode trying to get out of harms (stimulant's) way as fast (kinetic) as possible - compare this to the behavior of a bunch of gas molecules in a 'static' environment that are being exposed to a tiny stimulant (heat source, radiation, kinetic). The molecules will behave the same, the closer they are to the source of excitement the more 'erratic' they will behave.
It's all just physics - unfortunately.

So, to put it bluntly, IMO the outlook isn't very promising neither for the US, Europe or any other nation. The only question that matters is will the planet with its abundance of life survive the cataclysm that is to be expected.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 20, 2019 3:26:17 AM | 59

Peter wrote:

b's post seemed to be about the ambiguities of life and how Asians recognise this fact of life. The thread seems to have descended to gossip, excitement and argument about some tv show.

B's post was about sociology. I'm not sure you understand how big Game of Thrones is internationally among the under thirty crowd. Culturally, it's the modern Star Wars, Blade Runner, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon all rolled into one hundred hour tapestry. Game of Thrones is common tabletalk for an entire generation. The generation which is soon to inherit the planet. The main boomers are done (thank heavens) any day now, late boomers won't have a long moment in the sun and it's a leadership wasteland from there to the early thirties and under crowd.

Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel will both soon retire. Lifelong hypocrite Pelosi and her generation of lawmakers will soon follow John McCain to hell (hope she takes John Bolton with her). There are seismic changes coming in the very near future to the structure of power and relations among the generations. Those of you who've seen Soylent Green and/or Logan's Run have some idea of how an overcrowded society handles its pensioners. There's precedent. Inuit elders when they could not contribute any more left the camp for the ice, allowing the circle of nature to renew itself. Our current generation of early pensioners thinks it's their right to go on endless cruises and European/Asian grand tours until they've squandered the last of what their parents bequeathed them after a lifetime of toil and sacrifice.

So if you haven't taken a passing interest in Game of Thrones until now, you should. It's forming the generation which will inherit the earth if we don't blow it up before they get it.

Posted by: Uncoy | May 20, 2019 4:39:30 AM | 60

Speaking of Chinese stories, here in the UK I grew up watching The Water Margin, from the opening titles 'The ancient sages said "do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?" So may one just man become an army.' and also Monkey, the opening titles gave us "The irrepressible spirit of Monkey".

Posted by: TJ | May 20, 2019 5:16:46 AM | 61

Uncoy 60

I checked the wikipedia entry on game of thrones and see why b mentioned it.

"George R.R. Martin set out to make the story feel more like historical fiction than contemporary fantasy, with less emphasis on magic and sorcery and more on battles, political intrigue, and the characters, believing that magic should be used moderately in the epic fantasy genre.[9][10][11] Martin has stated that "the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves."[12]

A common theme in the fantasy genre is the battle between good and evil, which Martin says does not mirror the real world.[13] Just like people's capacity for good and for evil in real life, Martin explores the questions of redemption and character change.[14] The series allows the audience to view different characters from their perspective, unlike in many other fantasies, and thus the supposed villains can provide their side of the story.[11][15] Benioff said, "George brought a measure of harsh realism to high fantasy. He introduced gray tones into a black-and-white universe."[11]"

At the top of the entry, wikipedia said it was an American fantasy drama which was a bit off putting. I have been watching a lot of those. B usually does a bit of a write up on them.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20, 2019 6:06:20 AM | 62

Uncoy - 60
"The main boomers are done (thank heavens) any day now, late boomers won't have a long moment in the sun and it's a leadership wasteland from there to the early thirties and under crowd."
Except for, you know, the numerically smaller generation stuck in-between. But as we can see with the current media focus on millennials, on Greta Thunberg and her white walkers, on SJW and other fake progressive issues, there has been a deliberate and conscious choice from the elite to transfer the spotlight and, eventually, the power, from the boomers to the millennials, because they are more selfish and self-centered. And as usual, the bulk of people born between, more or less, 1960 and the 1980s will be taken for granted, will be taken advantage of, and will get fucked big time - sure. the most self-serving scum from that in-between generation already have their place in the sun, but not the generation as a whole, unlike both boomers and millenials.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 20, 2019 6:53:10 AM | 63

karlof1 says:

Please note which Empire's being copied and compare that with the predominant architectural theme in the Outlaw US Empire's Imperium

back in the early seventies i used to wander the great halls of the National Gallery in D.C.(in the early seventies you pretty much had the whole place to yourself!). anyhoo, to a teenage mind stirred by cannabinoids the Cole paintings were immediately impressive and fantastic.

but what impressed me the most was what i saw stepping outside the gallery into the National Mall...i.e. the neo-classical architecture so out of place there by the Potomac...and then it dawned on me...the National Mall, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, was the Great Society's attempt at leaving its mark.

but my fantasy didn't end there. driving out through northern Virginia towards Dulles airport there were banks and banks of kudzu seemingly encroaching on the spiffy newish highway. it's a fast growing vine, it could inundate an entire swamp in no time, it could smother the entire shining city on the hill.

i think it's a Chinese vine.

Posted by: john | May 20, 2019 6:55:44 AM | 64

b, it is generally fund raising time during this time for some publishers (i.e. counterpunch etc) and I would like to send you something as well. Can you please post the payment information. Thanks.

Posted by: Thirsty | May 20, 2019 7:55:53 AM | 65

Peter AU 1 @ 62:

If you are interested in watching a film with a sociological approach to telling a story and you are close to a cinema, Mike Leigh's "Peterloo" just started screening last Thursday in Australia. The film is an exploration of British society during the Regency period (in the early 19th century), the class attitudes and opinions prevalent then, and the conditions and events that led to 60,000 - 100,000 labouring class people gathering at St Peter's Field in Manchester in August 1819, and how it was viciously broken up by cavalry and foot soldiers acting on orders of the aristocracy.

The film is at least 150 minutes long and is a highly immersive experience. There is not much plot in the Hollywood sense of the term. I believe reviews have been mixed with most film critics complaining about the film being too long and boring. But if you are prepared to watch a film that uses a sociological approach to telling a narrative, then you'll agree with me that the film actually isn't long enough.

Posted by: Jen | May 20, 2019 8:28:59 AM | 66

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 19, 2019 10:18:37 PM | 39

Hence the invention of the chimera of Neokantism. Hegel's intellectual "burial" was so obvious and immediate at the time that even Marx himself noticed it. In the postface of the 2nd edition (24/1/1873) of Das Kapital book I, he wrote:

My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of “the Idea,” he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of “the Idea.” With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.

The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi [Epigones – Büchner, Dühring and others] who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.

In its mystified form, dialectic became the fashion in Germany, because it seemed to transfigure and to glorify the existing state of things. In its rational form it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.


Posted by: vk | May 20, 2019 8:29:43 AM | 67

John - 64
Another interesting and quite telling part of DC is the whole area S/SE from the Mall. The place where all the big administration buildings of various Departments are located. This part basically feels like what Germania would've looked like, had the Reich survived WWII.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 20, 2019 8:45:52 AM | 68

@67 vk

Both Soren Kierkegaard and Marx railed against Hegel during their time and against his system. They both thought that they were turning Hegel on his head. But Heidegger was right, dude. They both are the greatest Hegelians. They merely rearranged the chairs on Hegel's poopdeck.

I will read up on this further. here is Heidegger's lecture, "Hegel and the Greeks" which makes the claim.


Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 20, 2019 8:47:46 AM | 69

Not surprising to see such ignorance and closed thinking on display given that so few people try to get a wide view of the world around them as they drill down into one special area of interest.
The two are not mutually exclusive, they are achievable by those who attempt it.

Whether you find game of throne entertaining is irrelevant it is a major cultural phenomenon and the level of ignorance on display in here by those discussing it really makes mewonder how much many of the contributors actually know of the masses they alternate between castigating for 'sheepleness' and wanting to save from the 'bad eggs'.

This series was written over a long time and was set using the english 'war of the roses' as a basic framework. The china suggestion is ludicrous as the story which included dragons was written long before China was an issue. Dragons don't only exist in Chinese fable, the english reckon some bloke by the name of George had a set to with a dragon, other european and ME myths also feature big fire breathing lizards aka dragons.

As for the asinine piece in S.A. the saying about someone with a hammer only seeing nails comes to mind as a sociologist wrote an article and decided all what she considered to be 'the good bits' used sociology while the badly written pices were not.

The original writer a chap by the name of Martin is a competent story teller, but he was getting on in years and decided to sell the multi-volume ode off to a couple of Hollywood zionists and take it easy.
Unfortunately for him the story which coincided with massive uptake of streaming technology and social networking took off and season after season was produced, at a rate Mr Martin couldn't stay ahead of so in the finish he jotted down the outline of how he saw the rest of the story going and flogged it off to aforesaid zionists before getting back to his now luxurious retirement.

Someone upthread claimed the show portrays all humans in a bad light.
It does no such thing, it portrays all rich and powerful humans as sociopaths, the ordinary human even in the later stories is portrayed as decent generally peaceable and entirely unconcerned with the antics of the ruling elite except as a sort of vicarious entertainment.

The heart and soul of the story even with D&D helming has always been 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'.
D&D's shift in tone has little to do with academic labels and everything to do with that old Hollywood god money. American TV has always been about reaching the biggest possible audience by searching for the lowest common denominator. Which they have done via the usual marketing tools of focus groups, social networking, astro-turfing and old school publicity.

Both print and online media have got themselves into a state of apoplexy over this expensively crafted piece of mundane story telling because it is clickbait of the highest order thanks to the story having been crafted for mass appeal.
The morons who signed a petition last week demanding this season be reshot, will be withdrawing their petition after this weeks finale which was such a bitter sweet happy ending I'm sure many cried as the saccharine shit manipulated them right to the end of the final scene.

FFS at least try to get a basic grip on a subject before pronouncing on it.

No wonder the left is visibly non-existent. 'Lefties' criticising something as enjoyed as this show has been by so many many millions of humans isn't smart, but criticising it in such a way as to reveal no one seems to know even the basics of the yarn is just humiliating.
Most of the comments in here about GoT sound more like a Lanister turning their nose up at the smelly oiks, than empathising with their fellow humans.

Posted by: Dolores P Candyarse | May 20, 2019 8:49:27 AM | 70

@Hmpf-59
Very interesting studies and the ideas that they might spawn. The near parallels of the micro and macro as well as the flow patterns.

The culture I am immersed in (USA) is heavily weighted toward the dramatic and two dimensional. Simply put, mass perspective engineering is geared to over simplify and reinforce these views with media imprinting via hollywood, madison ave. etc. The lenses through which impressions from the "outside world" pass through engineered to give the desired results rather than expand consciousness or engender critical thinking. In short, we are breeding for weakness and gullibility.

In regard to large scale dynamics resembling the physics of things like the laws of thermodynamics, I am wondering if phenomena like those alluded to above might be engulfed and influenced by these kinds of natural patterns. So for example: Looking past the drama of sanctions, trade wars, and good guys vs. bad guys, wont the large scale movements caused by these things begin to move according to a kind of physics?

I keep wondering what the result of this latest round of economic warfare will lead to. If the USA continues to sanction, embargo and blockade (at the behest of banking cartels?) will this not cause a mass exodus from dollar reserves, SWIFT, BIS and the like? I hear all sorts of opinions, bushels of dis-info and I'm mostly at a loss as to what to think. We are clearly nearing the end of the Bretton-Woods era so a reset is in order. The USA is a mere 6% of the world population and some would say at the end of it's due date as far an being an "international influencer".

So if they and their EU poodles go ahead and sanction every nation who refuses to bend the knee what's stopping these nations from simply bypassing these decrees and going about their business? I get the sense that this is already happening quietly. Russia, China and various partner nations are creating alternatives in many forms, be they interweb servers, financial networks, OBOR, SCO and more I have never heard of.

Perhaps the ratcheting up of tensions could also be swept up in the turbulence of thermodynamics? If sanctions become embargoes and then blockades, what happens to the "compressions ratios in the Straits of Hormuz?

Posted by: Chevrus | May 20, 2019 9:19:33 AM | 71

Re: Game of Thrones

Well, I've come across a few advertisements, but I always thought it was some kind of children's video game. I cannot imagine why anyone other than a socially stunted and mis-developed American or Americanised adolescent could want to watch such infantile deranged garbage.

If it is Hollywood, then you can be certain the intention is to manipulate the younger generation to supporting and idolising their permanent wars. On the face of it, that indeed appears to be the case.

OK, I've got that off my chest now!

Posted by: BM | May 20, 2019 9:26:11 AM | 72


box sets for the masses 24 hour news sports and more sports distraction for the goy.

Terrorists Targeting Iran | Christopher Bollyn
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H9RY1N2ljA

Posted by: tony soprano | May 20, 2019 10:32:29 AM | 73

Symbols, narratives, etc. discussed, so..

What is your interpretation of this image? Piotr in prev. China thread.

pic of Trump-US-China dinner, G20, Dec. 2018.

https://bit.ly/2VQ2pDn

China and the US are lined up opposite each other in two rigid rows. Menu was steak.

A sign of opposition - the ppl should be mixed up, and others such as wives and aides, etc. would normally be present. This means that Melania and Juliana Macri had salad on their own.. say..

The scene setting is odd, the bank of flowers in the middle will have to be removed. The glasses are for wine (Ok, Argentina) DT is a teetotaller, so faux pas. Moreover the flags at the back should not be prominently figured at a ‘meal’, and why are they ‘doubled’?

Such arrangments seem to be standard in US-China meets. Here is Obama opposite Xi in practically the same arrangement, with the doubled flags. (Apr. 2016.)

https://bit.ly/2VCPlvQ

Transformation of a work-meet confrontation into a photo-op that signals ‘collaboration and friendship’ - a kind of muddling of genres. Imho.

Posted by: Noirette | May 20, 2019 10:42:22 AM | 74

Seems clear to me that D understood that she could never have the love of the peoples she would rule so she would rule through fear and in order to do that you must make it abundantly clear that you are just crazy enough to drop a couple nuks on an innocent population even after they have surrendered.

Posted by: jef | May 20, 2019 10:47:26 AM | 75

@ Chevrus | May 20, 2019 9:19:33 AM | 70

'Looking past the drama of sanctions, trade wars, and good guys vs. bad guys, wont the large scale movements caused by these things begin to move according to a kind of physics?'

I believe entropy is already - slowly but surely - revealing its hand. I believe the measures you're referring to are attempts - early ones at that - by the system to stabilize itself against a looming disintegration. Unfortunately, if I'm correct, the longer this lasts the more desperate the system will become, the more violent things will turn out to be, domestically and internationally. I like to compare this kind of development with a pressure cooker that is being fed with ever more energy, at a certain point in time it will fail, and the longer it is allowed to suck up energy the worse the outcome.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 20, 2019 11:00:57 AM | 76

@52 kadath.. thanks... i hope i am wrong... mid june the astro looks very ominous...

regarding julian assange - craig murrays latest
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/05/the-missing-step/

i liked this quote from Jack :
"Trump threats against Iran, China, Venezuela going on daily like its something normal." clearly, it ain't normal...

game of thrones.. i never watched it and don't know anything about it other then that it is a popular distraction...

Posted by: james | May 20, 2019 11:41:11 AM | 77

@73 noirette.. first image- i don't trust beardless men in suits...

same deal 2nd pic...

Posted by: james | May 20, 2019 11:43:17 AM | 78

i especially don't trust guys with moustaches, which might sound odd, but to me it is contrived.. all of it..

Posted by: james | May 20, 2019 11:44:42 AM | 79

Hmpf @59 observes:

So, to put it bluntly, IMO the outlook isn't very promising neither for the US, Europe or any other nation. The only question that matters is will the planet with its abundance of life survive the cataclysm that is to be expected.

To be even more pessimistic but also more optimistic: remember that modern theory holds that the earth has gone through several episodes of "snowball earth" in which the earth was more or less frozen, see Wikipedia Snowball Earth

There were explosions of life after each frozen period ended.
Snowball earth was probably more extreme than a nuclear winter.
Also, wildlife around Chernobyl is returning.
Life will prevail.
Waiting will fill.

Posted by: TheBAG | May 20, 2019 11:59:42 AM | 80

john @64--

I've only been to DC once, and only for 3 days, back in the late 1990s during my tour of the USA via train. But I also have an oversized book that chronicles its construction over the decades which is quite the work. The thing that struck me most was the proximity and architecture of the Banks to Congress and the White House. I wish I'd had more time as I wasn't able to visit several important places--Library of Congress and the Smithsonian being two. IMO, there's a lot to be learned about the psychology of the nascent USA through its art and literature prior to 1860, particularly related to Exceptionalism.

psychohistorian @57--

Imagine what Rome would have said about the Huns! Also recall that Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was extremely influential amongst the "natural aristocracy" as was Livy's pseudo History of Rome. Indeed, most of what was considered "classical literature" was consumed by them in Latin or Greek; so, they were far better educated than the "Liberace Grifter."

Hmpf @59--

Agreed. I've always thought society needed to overcome its own inertia in order to act to save itself. IMO, some societies are doing this while other's act an as anchor.

I have no comment about Game of Thrones as I don't subscribe to additional Pay-pay-tv, although I have heard it discussed in a manner suggesting you're hip if you watch and not with it if you don't; in other words, it's a Class--elitist--Thing. I'm reminded of The Sopranos and note that it was similar but no longer talked about as it was once.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20, 2019 12:28:42 PM | 81

@Thirsty @65

b, it is generally fund raising time during this time for some publishers (i.e. counterpunch etc) and I would like to send you something as well. Can you please post the payment information. Thanks.

I planned to ask readers to support this poor poet next week.

You can contact me for payment information via email (Address it is on the "About" page)

Posted by: b | May 20, 2019 12:32:57 PM | 82

TheBAG @80--

Certainly, life on the planet will continue until the sun's expansion destroys its life support mechanisms. Humans will likely be long gone due to their inability to overcome their folly. Only the most basic bacteria has survived for 2-3, perhaps 4 billion years it's been present on the planet--and they were only able due to their choice to cooperate symbiotically. Yes, I agree with Margulis that symbiotic combination is a sign of sentient ability.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20, 2019 12:39:50 PM | 83

@17 sasha

"Interesting comment linking some sources and articles on US military strategy from decades ago, some of which I am not able to get to anymore"

Hopefully this link is helpful:
Constant Conflict - RALPH PETERS - From Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14

Posted by: xLemming | May 20, 2019 12:48:52 PM | 84

James @77,

Thanks for that link to the always essential Murray. I did not know about the unprecedented and obviously contrived British decision to view a request from a prosecutor--not in possession of a judicial warrant--as a juridical authority. The extent and hostility of the propaganda wrt
Assange puts to rest any notion that he is "secretly" a CIA asset--a ludicrous notion if there ever was one. The *difference* between Wikileaks and the Snowden archive is clear and Murray rightly lets us infer for ourselves the implications.

The irony is that Assange is likely hoping that the Swedish court will agree to issue a warrant for his arrest, even though the case record shows that the prosecutor's office originally did not think that the accusation merited even an investigation! I wonder if Assange's lawyers are working backchannels to try to persuade the Swedish court to issue the warrant, as extradition to Sweden presents Assange with best
chance of escaping the U.S.

What if Sweden agreed to issue the warrant on the condition that Assange would be found guilty of rape in Sweden and must serve out the prison sentence for his alleged "crime" there? In exchange Sweden would deny the US request for extradition. Supposing such an agreement could be worked out--which itself is extremely unlikely--Assange would have to decide whether it would be worth it, given as his subsequent status as a "rapist" would be used to delegitimize Wikileaks as a whole. (Perhaps even the US would be happy with this resolution as it would enable them to avoid having to prosecute, which they may not *want* to do, depending on their awareness of the flimsy nature of the case and the likely appeals that would follow in the courts, assuming Assange is given access to them.)

Just thinking out loud here....

Posted by: WJ | May 20, 2019 12:55:37 PM | 85

Ms. Candyarse @ 70

FFS at least try to get a basic grip on a subject before pronouncing on it.

If subject knowledge were a pre-requisite for posting here the threads would become instantly threadbare.

Posted by: donkeytale | May 20, 2019 1:07:36 PM | 86

We tend to assume that "survival of the fittest" means "survival of the strongest/most aggressive" when natural history has shown that is not the case: the "fittest" are the most adaptable, not necessarily the biggest and baddest.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 20, 2019 1:08:55 PM | 87

southfront on the failed ceasefire in Idlib and the ongoing endeavor to transform northeastern Syria into US protectorate:
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-may-20-2019-hama-ceasefire-initiative-failed-clashes-ongoing/

Am I correct in thinking that the U.S. cannot allow its proxies in Idlib to be defeated, as that would then shift the focus of the Syrian government to the one remaining area of the country not in its control--to wit, the SDR-US illegal protectorate in the northeast?

Either the U.S. remains firmly committed to this asinine occupation, in which case it has no other option (as I see it) but to do whatever is necessary to prevent the clearing of Idlib of its jihadist proxies. This means we may likely see another "chemical attack" and another and perhaps more aggressive bombing of Syrian military infrastructure. (But does the US believe that Russia would allow this to happen again given their active role in clearing Idlib?) OR the U.S. knows that the war is lost and the defeat of proxies in Idlib is inevitable and soon after the abandonment of the protectorate. If the latter is true, then the U.S. is merely trying to delay the inevitable as long as possible.

Why? What does Israel and the U.S. have planned for this summer?

Posted by: WJ | May 20, 2019 1:09:28 PM | 88

WJ @88

I've been saying much the same thing. But in addition, I've noted that all the occupied parts of Syria are strategic to the 'Assad must go!' Coalition in different ways.

And I've also speculated that USA's recent military movements and saber-rattling is a prelude to supporting Turkey's occupation of Idlib while blaming any such action on Iran.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 20, 2019 1:15:53 PM | 89

WJ @85: ... as extradition to Sweden presents Assange with best chance of escaping the U.S.

No, extradition to Sweden is fraught. Assange originally sough asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden.

There seems to be a concerted effort to memory-hole that fact.

See my comment @4 with links to a recent discussion at MoA regarding Assange and Sweden.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 20, 2019 1:21:00 PM | 90

Jackrabbit @90,

The two propositions are not incompatible. One does not have to forget what was past to realize that circumstances are different in the present. THEN, a Swedish charge meant the possible or even likely extradition of Assange to the U.S. NOW, in max security prison in England awaiting almost certain extradition to the U.S., the revival of the Swedish charge and extradition to Sweden presents a more desireable scenario bc it allows for the further delaying of, or the better chance of defeating, the extradition request as compared with U.K. Surely you agree?!

Re: Syria, I largely agree with your account but can't for the life of me see how Turkey is supposed to be able to hang on to northeast Syria without continued US presence, and can't fathom how continued US presence is feasible without a significant devolution of Syrian stability, and can't see how Russia could possibly allow such a devolution to occur given all the money and equipment and men they've already invested in stabilization. I guess there is no limit to crazy.

Posted by: WJ | May 20, 2019 1:40:37 PM | 91

All the hate for GoT. Shame, I suppse, people depriving themselves of a generational cultural event.

Re: b's take that America produces linear, good/evil based shows, he is clearly not tuned into what HBO has been doing for the last two decades with "The Wire", The Sopranos, and the like, or what shows like Northern Expsosure did for the stranger in a strange land theme, or what Hill Street Blues did in 80s for cop dramas.

I don't blame you, though, b, you probably don't watch a lot of tv, are too mired in the BBC or canal+ offerings, or maybe are too busy with your country's excellent shows like Babylon, Berlin which was the absolutely best non-American show I have seen in the last decade. You are probably more aware of our "guilty pleasure" offerings, which is fine.

@ Dolores 70

I am just going to string together thoughts as to how the Chinese-America struggle was playing out in GoT, whether consciously or unconsciously threaded by the author.

▪ George R.R. Martin is an American and began writing Game of Thrones right at the precipice of NAFTA, early 90s.

▪ Dany and her dragons come from Essos, the eastern land.

▪ The west do not have dragons themselves and are only familiar with them due to studying the reign of the prior empires of the Targaryians and also have a fossilized dragon under the Red Keep in its crypt. This is showing that the Lannisters understand what came before them, Ancient Chinese Empires, and what is currently knocking on their door: Dany and her dragon (the east).

▪ Torching King's Landing is the equivalent of making the US pay for its reign of terror, which echoes many posters' here desire to see harm wrought to Americans.

I can not believe I am the only one to piece together this message that Martin is secretly hinting at. The timing currently is so obvious and perfect that even b references an article which draws parallels to Chinese storytelling!

It is certainly not a stretch to consider that Martin had current world-historical events to draw upon, as most artists do in their craft.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 20, 2019 1:45:36 PM | 92

@85 wj - thanks... yes, the info in murrays article is further confirmation of just how fucked up the powers are that are running things in the world today... in a race to the bottom, the usa has nothing on the uk which is also quite capable.. the question of just how in line with these messed up regimes sweden is, remains to be seen, but as a betting person i'd say they are probably on the same page too.. regarding all the speculation - unless we see some sort of change from the powers that are doing this shit, the world is headed further downward in good part to these same bullshit artists-sociopaths in power at present.. got that off my chest, lol...

@92 nemesiscalling... there is lots of culture to partake of... some of us seek it out independently and don't need to be spoon fed...

Vladimir Horowitz live in Ann Arbor 1978 - with Eugene Ormandy (Rach 3)
ethan iverson was talking about this in his post from a few days ago.. you probably don't know who either of these musicians are, lol.

https://ethaniverson.com/2019/05/18/volodya/

Posted by: james | May 20, 2019 2:21:09 PM | 93

NemesisCalling @92

... whether consciously or unconsciously threaded by the author.

Links? Otherwise you're speaking for yourself, not the author.

precipice of NAFTA, early 90s

What does that have to do with China or with a fantasic allegory about power?

The west do not have dragons ...

Dragons have a rich heritage in the mythology and symbolism of Western culture.

The Viking longship, also called a drakkar or dragon ship, was used to transport Viking warriors on their raids across Europe. Often, sea-going dragon ships would have a dragon head mounted at its stern to ward off sea serpents and evil spirits...

Dragons also appear in Greek mythology. Apollo, the son of Zeus, slew a dragon with a bow and arrow when he was only four years old. Zeus himself overcame the dragon Typhon using a thunderbolt. In the epic of Jason and the Argonauts, the heroes sought a golden fleece which was guarded by a fierce dragon.

An important English legend is St. George and the Dragon. As the story goes, Saint George was a Christian martyr who killed a dragon in order to rescue the princess Silene. Saint George is the patron saint of England. Other English tales include The Loathsome Dragon and the story of the Lambton Worm.

The French have a tale of Saint Martha and the Dragon.... Another French tale is that of The Vouivre: The Flying Serpent.

echoes many posters' here desire to see harm wrought to Americans.

This is offensive. You're accusing people here of wishing that WMD be used against the US. People can decry US militarism and not hope for war crimes as vengance.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 20, 2019 2:22:02 PM | 94

There are several side swipes in this thread that are ageist. Since it's one of my pet peeves, I want to point out that no large, or even small, grouping is necessarily homogeneous. Considering a named group, like 'boomers', to be entirely composed of like-minded individuals is mere stereotyping and is grossly inaccurate.

There are about 77 million 'boomers' in the U.S., and many will certainly not deserve the blame and criticism too often flung their way these days. I read that nearly 60% of those boomers who are parents, are supporting the education expenses of their offspring. Although a fairly major component of the economy, advertising is usually aimed at the younger generations, not seniors - probably something for which we may be grateful. Nevertheless, ageism exists in this new millennium.

That said, I'm not a boomer myself but fall into the much smaller 'generation' that is called, when anyone thinks about it (rarely), the Silent generation. I've even seen generational groupings that skipped the early/mid-40s birthdates altogether.

While reference to gays, race, and females has improved, other name-calling, e.g. the elderly, smokers, atheists, and other-sexed/gendered has not. I'm just saying, have a care!

Posted by: dus7 | May 20, 2019 2:54:01 PM | 95

@93 James

Don't have to be spoon fed? Very arrogant comment from you. I suppose I shouldn't watch nba basketball and should seek out some youth leagues to partake in! I'd be missing out actors, writers, technicians, and directors at the peak of their craft but it's so much better than being spoonfed! And I was defending my country's output in these arts because b had thrown some subtle shade our way. Heaven forbid I inform!

@94 jackrabbit

Do the Coen bros or David lynch break down their art for the dolts who miss the boat? They are more likely to laugh in your face if you ask for an explanation or better yet feign an explanation to you to make you look like an even bigger dolt.

Re: dragons in western lit: Virgil is earliest example per Wikipedia and that one is more serpent like. Medieval iterations are no doubt influenced by eastern trade at that point.

And if you haven't noticed the outside seething hate that some posters have for the average American here, then you haven't been paying attention. Up to and including nuking us yes. Maybe tongue and cheek but they still put it out there. I am sorry if pointing this out is offensive, but that is your problem, not mine.

Some definite snobiness in this thread and it is even an off-topic. Chill out people.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 20, 2019 3:01:53 PM | 96

Jackrabbit @94--

I don't disagree with your closing sentiment, but that does beg the question: What would be appropriate for the USA's comeuppance? What would be just retribution? The Outlaw US Empire refused to pay reparations to Vietnam and other nations it illegally waged wanton war upon and covered up the consequences while creating a BigLie Mythos around McCain. Perhaps the better question is to narrow the focus and ask, What ought to be the payback for politicos and other elite for their betrayal of humanity including their own citizenry? For several decades, I've advocated the USA needs its own version of Nuremburg, but I don't think that would be sufficient to turn off the tap that produces the Evil that seems to continuously rise within the USA and infiltrate the corridors of power.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20, 2019 3:06:13 PM | 97

@92

Don't want to see anyone come to harm, but it would be nice if you chaps could keep it in your trousers, it would be much appreciated.

Iran.

Not sure if this is credible, but I came across this earlier today

100 mininukes for Iran

Posted by: Some Random Passer-by | May 20, 2019 3:28:52 PM | 98


The Game of Thrones show runners lost a great opportunity to explore what Joseph Campbell called the Power of Myth. Wars and genocide occur at the interface of cultures with conflicting dominant social myths. From this viewpoint the “Hero” is just the embodiment of a dominant myth for the weak minded.

George R.R. Martin tried to use his story to convey the horror of wars and the myths behind such wars in hopes of educating the masses. Unfortunately, by focusing on the psychological condition(s) of the Hero(s) D&D fail to teach the viewer a lesson on the mythology of the cultural desire of the masses for violence. For example, In Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace the author interjects commentaries about the causes of wars stresses that the leaders are bound by their cultural myths. Furthermore, he states that if Napoleon did not exist he would have been invented as a cultural hero image.

The cultural acceptance of the logic of going to war is covered in detail relating to the ultimate defeat of Napoleon by Russia. Such a “drums of war” cultural mythology is in play today within the Judeo-Christian worldview. https://original.antiwar.com/Gilbert_Doctorow/2019/01/30/war-and-peace-the-relevance-of-1812-as-explained-by-tolstoy-to-current-global-affairs/

As an aside, in Chinese mythology it is the dragon that yields the bounty of the land.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IgGtGZwlDY

Posted by: Krollchem | May 20, 2019 3:40:13 PM | 99

#43 - @S

If you're not being sarcastic, those movies are indeed anti-American. Whether they are true or not is of no bearing. In fact, the truth in much of the world is indeed anti-American.

Posted by: KC | May 20, 2019 3:43:13 PM | 100

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