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 18:30 UTC | Permalink

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@Nemesiscalling - I am not sure if you're aware but GRRM has not come close to finishing his "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, and much of the past 3 seasons of the show are not based on his writings in any way other than that the characters (who haven't been killed off) were initially conceived of in his earlier books.

You did know that the show runners are being rightly criticized for extremely shoddy writing, and that - not coincidentally - this began right after they ran out of GRRM's original source material to work from, right?

Posted by: KC | May 20 2019 19:49 utc | 101

I've taken to reading Ron Unz's The American Pravda Series of essays, the first of which I linked @97. If you've never read any of his works, I highly suggest them as he represents an alternative, important, School of Thought. I'm currently reading the second installment of his series which spans many decades. I provide the following excerpt for consideration:

"Credibility is a capital asset, which may take years to accumulate but can be squandered in an instant; and the events of the last dozen years should have bankrupted any faith we have in our government or media. Once we acknowledge this, we should begin to accept the possible reality of important, well-documented events even if they are not announced on the front pages of our major newspapers. When several huge scandals have erupted into the headlines after years or decades of total media silence, we must wonder what other massive stories may currently be ignored by our media elites."

As you read, this issue lives at the core of MoA. Of interest, of course, is what Unz chooses to omit from his narrative. Unz mentions infiltration by communists into federal government positions and deplores them but doesn't once mention CIA actions of a similar nature, particularly within his chosen subject area--the media. I wonder how Unz would judge his own omissions with those of others he critiques? In the above citation, he notes the importance of credibility, but hasn't he damaged his own through his omissions? Or is it merely a lesson in the requirement to read critically? Or is he going beyond that and promoting skepticism--question everything no matter the source? Given his citing James Bovard, IMO the latter is Unz's aim.

As Agatha Christie might say: The aim is to prod the little grey cells into action lest they atrophy.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 19:49 utc | 102

@101 kc

Martin was consulted for the remaining seasons of the television show. The show's creators have said they know the major details of how Martin is going to end it. If that is true than what we saw this season will be echoed in the books.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 20 2019 19:59 utc | 103

@Nemesiscalling 104

Do you have citations for this? My belief was that GRRM was merely a secondary consultant past season 5 or 6, which is when the producers ran out of his original source material. In fact, if indeed they had the major details of how he's going to end it, that makes the writing in the past 2.5 seasons look even worse than I thought.

Posted by: KC | May 20 2019 20:02 utc | 104


Some time ago I was watching a Putin interview. It may have been at a press conference or at some forum where he was asked a question. I think it was in relation to spying or the Rosenburgs. He said they were merely the messengers. It was the American scientists that created the atomic bomb that sent information to Russia. They felt there had to be a balance of power otherwise the US would attack and destroy Russia.

It struck me when I started reading the UNZ piece on communists agent. How many of these people were there that rather than being communists and acting as its agent were in fact Manning's and Snowden's. This moves into a grey area as Manning and Snowden were clear cut whistle blowers getting information the public, whereas the manhattan project scientists sent information to a foreign state. There is no information anywhere that the soviets ever considered or drew up plans for attacking the US but we know the US drew up and considered plans for attacking the Soviets.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20 2019 20:17 utc | 105

@105 kc

I saw a post episode presser this reason where the creators said verbatim "George has told us how it ends." there is a possibility that they would throw a wrench into what Georges plans are for the books or vice versa, but more likely than not George will keep the same conclusion that he told them for his books.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 20 2019 20:19 utc | 106

An important interview with Bernie Sanders was published last Sunday by the NY Times that was framed thusly at the linked publication:

"Despite Anti-American 'Baiting' by NYT, Sanders Makes 'No Apologies' for Opposing Reagan-Backed Death Squads:

[Sanders said] "I plead guilty to, throughout my adult life, doing everything that I can to prevent war and destruction."

The interview is behind a paywall for me, so I can't determine the validity of the accusing headline, but it doesn't surprise me that the NY Times would seek to discredit/smear Sanders. Unfortunately, Bernie doesn't try to make the case that such policy goals are unconstitutional, which would greatly enhance his position and sharpen the entire debate on the subject while greatly squeezing TrumpCo.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 20:46 utc | 107

I also missed out on GoT though I caught the SciAm article. It has a good point but the main one already given is bad and possibly rushed writing that kills the rep of any series. (I used to sub to SciAm but they were very PC and tilted MSM on a lot of subjects. I had to leave them behind.) I have no cable just local broadcast ... and high speed internet. I'm a fan of maybe 4 shows.
Good vs Bad? 2006 had a show called Heroes. It started off well with good vs bad and each have a power of some kind. And a classic ingredient is some shady corporation and/or govt dept as a running mystery to be solved. And then it went screwy with the heroes switching sides. Miss an episode and you're ... Lost (another show I watched a couple of and tuned out).

Posted by: Curtis | May 20 2019 20:56 utc | 108

Peter AU 1 @106--

When examined neutrally, being a Communist Party member doesn't differ from being a Republican Party member, or differ from being a member of any political party as such membership is a constitutionally protected right. So, being a Party member and holding a government position doesn't automatically make one a spy. Indeed, it's most likely that such individuals were not spies. Similarly as I noted, what are we to call those members of the CIA that infiltrate government, media or elsewhere; are they just innocent Party members--although the CIA isn't a political party, but is most certainly harbors one if not more political factions--or are they something sinister--spies, promoters of false narratives, or? We now what the intent was behind Operation Mockingbird. What about the selective silence of the FBI as Unz notes and as we've observed with Russiagate?

I couldn't find any new item linking Putin with the Rosenbergs, but there are several like this one that confirms Julius's being a spy who provided nothing significant. Also, the grand jury transcripts that helped convict the Rosenbergs were finally released and can be found here.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 21:19 utc | 109

karlof1 @ 103

I too am a fan of Mr. Unz's American Pravda series. I have read most of them. I was surprised at your observation that Mr. Unz may have avoided criticism of the CIA's manipulation of the media. I do not believe he is "soft" on the CIA. Later installments of the American Pravda series show how deeply the CIA is embedded in cover-ups and propaganda. In particular, I would direct your attention to the article How the CIA Invented Conspiracy Theories

Posted by: TheBAG | May 20 2019 21:26 utc | 110

For those who don't have his site bookmarked:

Magnier - Netanyahu took Trump to new heights of global tension and dropped him

The essay follows pattern of the nifty cartoon - Trump as a wooden-headed puppet.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 20 2019 21:30 utc | 111

Sorry but didn't hit edit @110. To continue, what are we to call the FBI agents and those who ordered them to lie in order to spy on Trump's election campaign? And how can we be certain that was only the 2nd occasion, Watergate being the first? Given my thesis explaining what's become of the USA is due to escalating CIA control over the Executive, including recruiting the "candidates" it allows/selects to become POTUS, I don't believe this was just the second occasion, which is why I hope Trump does initiate an investigation into that spying as I'm convinced Russiagate was the cover up for it, although I'm sure he's being told not to by the usual suspects.

IMO, the real happenings in the world make fantasies such as Game of Thrones pale in significance, although they do serve as outstanding distractors.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 21:34 utc | 112

Game of Thrones is "cultural garbage".

The only mildly entertaining qualities of GOT are exhibited in its pathetic "fans" revealing their own rape, torture, perverted abuse fantasies in defending this garbage excuse for "entertainment".

Posted by: CitizenX | May 20 2019 21:40 utc | 113

Jen 66
Thanks. I don't go to cinemas so probably will not get to see it. I do remember seeing a documentary on that incident quite a few years ago.
My interest at the moment is not so much finding interest films to what, rather looking at national mindsets and what influences those.
For whatever reason, at the moment, I have an interest in understanding what cause the US to become what it is today, and also I don't understand China that well as it is a completely different mindset and culture, so to understand this better helps in seeing where it is going.
The west is mediterranean philosophers and middle east superstition or religion, whereas China and much of Asia came from a different starting point.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20 2019 21:42 utc | 114

karlof1 @108

Is this the interview you are referring to:

If it is, for whatever reason, it was not behind a paywall for me.

Posted by: xpat | May 20 2019 21:46 utc | 115

TheBAG @111--

I just discovered them and decided to read them in chronological order; so, I'm just at their beginning, nor am I surprised that he would get to them eventually. My goal was to read one a day until I was up-to-date, but I admit to slipping on that goal.

If my thesis is even close to being correct, how do we purge such a deeply-seated, well-armed, extremely violent organization that will stop at nothing to keep its position and power that's on par with the Gestapo/SS without the aide of a major war? Somehow I don't think defunding the CIA and its allies while repealing the 1947 National Security Act will be sufficient.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 21:49 utc | 116

@96 nemesis calling, i agree my comment could be construed as arrogant.. sometimes i skip writing longer posts and it is easy to be interpreted in a negative way, like you have here.. here's how i see it.. people are left to their own devices what they want to '''consume'''... someone at age 5-10 might be happy doing something that they wouldn't at age 20... and on and on it goes.. for me, so much of mainstream culture and what one decides to participate in becomes a personal choice as they get older.. prior to that time, much of culture is like a river we are swimming in, without realizing we can remove ourselves from the river and sit on the bank..

i view much of hollywood as propaganda.. lots of it is of a soft sell kind of propaganda... going back to a time when cowboys and indians, john wayne and etc is one simple example of it.. good guys and bad guys and etc. etc.. today the media seems to operate from much the same place.. instead of giving equal billing to alternative viewpoints, we are given a very lopsided view.. it feeds ethnocentrism.. peter au talked about 'exceptional nation' and etc. etc... it is along these lines that i speak of being '''spoon fed'''.. until one questions the dominant culture they are living in - the river in my analogy above - most folks are carried along in this river without question.. raising questions, having doubts and etc. etc. is more of a sign of wisdom as i see it.. for all i know game of thrones a a great show and series... if it is anything like what i associate with hollywood, i feel i can skip it... maybe the lessons being taught are the same lessons we keep on needing to learn..

it isn't just hollywood that i make these (unfair?) generalizations on.. it is much of the think tanks based in the usa and west that seem to be funded by special interests that warp people's perspective on the diversity of ways life and other cultures, or people can be interpretated as too... it is one of the many reasons i come to moa - to be challenged to think in a more independent way and to question much of what is given over as fact when it isn't..

Posted by: james | May 20 2019 21:55 utc | 117

xpat @116--

Thanks, but I've exhausted my allotment of free articles and must now subscribe if I'm to read them from this particular computer. Oh I do miss my college teaching days when I had access to a whole host of journals and other publications that required subscribing.

Elsewhere, Sputnik reports China won't allow GOT finale to be broadcast due to Trade War. Sputnik also confirms "Chinese TV Station Pulls US-Made Films, Runs Classic Anti-US War Flicks Instead." The last item cites the films as being propagandistic and "not useful" trying "to brainwash us," which is hilarious as those making the comments don't seem to consider the trash they watch from the West as doing the same.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 22:08 utc | 118

karlog1 @117

how do we purge such a deeply-seated, well-armed, extremely violent organization that will stop at nothing to keep its position and power that's on par with the Gestapo/SS without the aide of a major war?

It will be very hard. I like the following quote from Alfred McCoy's book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade:

“Since prohibition of narcotics in the 1920s, alliances between drug brokers and intelligence agencies have protected the global narcotics traffic. Given the frequency of such alliances, there seems a natural attraction between intelligence agencies and criminal syndicates… Both are practitioners of what one retired CIA operative has called the ‘clandestine arts’—the basic skill of operating outside the normal channels of civil society. Among all the institutions of modern society, intelligence agencies and criminal syndicates alone maintain large organizations capable of carrying out covert operations without fear of detection.”

I think the best model is to assume that intelligence agencies are large, powerful transnational criminal organizations that get their power from illegal activities rather than governmental funding. Consequently, the only solution is likely to be the one that Mussolini employed in the 1920's to get rid of the Mafia: all-out war.

Posted by: TheBAG | May 20 2019 22:29 utc | 119


In regards your post to me and also your reply to TheBAG, some thoughts based on the recent discussions.

The early founders of the US I think tried to set up a better society than those existing at the time in Europe. What the US has developed into was completely unknown at the time. Difficult to put safeguards in place to defend against unknowns.
What they did was build a nation and culture in which high functioning sociopaths would rise to the top. The sociopaths psyops and information operations against Americans - they are simply drumming the early american idealism and culture into them, not letting the culture changes as the world changes. Most of these sociopaths I think believe in the American culture themselves, but they also know how to use it to control the majority of the population.

Your question to TheBAG "If my thesis is even close to being correct, how do we purge such a deeply-seated, well-armed, extremely violent organization that will stop at nothing to keep its position and power that's on par with the Gestapo/SS without the aide of a major war?"

You are in the same position as the Germans who were anti nazi. What the US is now will not be changed internally. It requires a shock that will break through the psychosis of the majority but then what will they do. It would be like finding you were only standing on a cloud, nothing solid beneath your feet. Something like the collapse of the soviet union. Nobody knew what to do.
The only other option I can see is the same ending as Nazi Germany.

I will link the Putin video if I run onto it again. A short piece in a longer video is difficult to find with a search, plus google search engines are designed to make some things difficult to find.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20 2019 22:39 utc | 120

Gee, almost forgot that Monday's the day of the week that Strategic Culture publishes Alastair Crooke's weekly essay, this one entitled "Iran Messages to Trump’s Pressures: Pain Can Be Reciprocal." The thesis:

"But this wait-and-see period seems to be coming to a somehow synchronous ending: It has had no results, for all the rhetorical hype. Notably, China seems has switched from an emollient mode and tone, to one of gathering its people behind a painful, yet necessary strategic struggle. North Korea too, seems to be nearing the end of its patience with negotiations that go nowhere; and now Iran is signalling (like the others), that to sit passively, is not an option – whilst the US pursues maximum pressure with no cost to itself. We begin the phase then, in which these states are ready and willing to impose asymmetric costs on Trump."

Crooke often invokes the "Christian" Evangelist Sect within the Outlaw US Empire as the driving force behind Trump's West Asian policy. But I've yet to read a corresponding article charging that sect with trying to destroy Israel, the rest of West Asia and the USA though its pursuit to enact the myths of Armageddon and Rapture. For all the talk, ink and electrons wasted over the non-issue of Anti-Semitism toward Jews and Israel, this sect's obvious Anti-Semitic desire is never called out. This must be due to the alliance between that sect and Zionists who in turn control the Outlaw US Empire's BigLie Media. IMO, the taboo against denouncing this very devious alliance must be overcome.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 22:42 utc | 121

@118 james

I don't like Mountain Dew or McDonalds either. You have an ally in promoting tasteful and stimulating culture and entertainment. There is a lot of schlocky pap that seems to be the result of this somnambulist consumer-culture that we find ourselves in.

But GoT is not Hollywood. It is closest thing to Thucydides that we have ever encountered in television, although it is my dream to write a teleplay for a long series based on The History of the Pelopennesian War.

The people that rail against it or are turned off by its popularity are misinformed, or have misinterpreted, its place in the culture of arts and entertainment in the west.

And for what its worth, John Wayne was in one of the greatest films of all time, The Searchers, but I get what you are saying with the playing down to stereotypes.

Werner Herzog once famously said that watching nothing but Goddard films is really unhealthy and it is much better for you to read trashy magazines and watch martial arts movies.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 20 2019 23:01 utc | 122

xpat @ 116; Thanks for the link on the Sanders interview.

Posted by: ben | May 20 2019 23:21 utc | 123

It seems that Operation Mockingbird has been a great success, as it is apparent that the CIA has been writing scripts for television and movies all along.

Find anything modern that goes against the grain. Ok, there's The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu.

Go ahead. Take a look at the selections on Netflix.

Posted by: hallelujah hinton | May 20 2019 23:27 utc | 124

Citizen X @ 114:

I read those essays you linked to in your comment and something in those essays (and Adam Elkus's essay especially) reminded me of what I read about the role of hyper-violence in Hollywood films, TV shows and videogames and how it fits into a particular narrative structure.

In most such productions but especially in films and television shows, the narrative builds up in emotional intensity (and drawing in the viewer to have an emotional attachment with a character or set of characters) to a climax which features violence and destruction. After this climax, viewers feel a sense of relief, of being purged or being made "clean" in some way.

(If you think the way narrative structure is designed to escalate emotion and then release it in films and TV shows resembles an important biological function in human beings, you are not far wrong. I would say that in Hollywood and advertising generally, a great deal must have been invested in the study of mass psychology by the studios to find the best ways of manipulating people's emotions and bodily reactions.)

It is at this point that viewers are most suggestive to messages (hidden or made explicit) in the film's denouement and coda, or in the break for advertisements before the TV show concludes the episode.

Of course, Hollywood is not concerned with the long-term psychological effects of watching such films on mass audiences and culture generally.

Posted by: Jen | May 20 2019 23:37 utc | 125

TheBAG @120
Peter AU 1 @121--

Thanks for your contributions to a subject few want to confront, certainly not corporate media of any stripe. Perhaps it'll be possible to enlist media outside the Outlaw US Empire as an ally, which means that media must be convinced first, and non-deniable facts will be required given the subject being indicted. IMO, such an indictment's possible, but it will require a team to assemble, while the target will know it's being targeted and can be expected to react. Until the CIA and its allies are purged from the US Government, I don't expect much behavioral change unless a formidable non-CIA related POTUS and VEEP gain their offices--Sanders/Gabbard are my current choices.

As with gangsters, the CIA wants all the action and will only make alliances that advance its interests--The Mafia example is excellent. IMO, it will never accommodate an Eurasian Bloc that's premised on sharing, not dominating. The big assumption is the Eurasian Bloc won't seek accommodation with CIA and will see it for the virulence it is and the need for its elimination.

Something must give so the very real existential problem for humans can be properly addressed.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2019 23:40 utc | 126

NemesisCalling @ 123:

I have seen a few Jean-Luc Godard films. They are quite nutty in their own way. I've seen "Alphaville" twice: the first time I saw it, it was a bit boring; the second time I saw it, I had already read a few articles on it, so I was a bit more prepared and I ended up watching it as comedy.

More often than not, the most insidious and rubbishy films are the ones touted as "thoughtful" and "intelligent", and the most culturally valuable are the films dismissed as garbage.

One film I've seen which most people would call schlock but which I think is actually quite intelligent (in spite of all the gory excess and the extreme violence) is Ruggiero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust". The film mocks Western obsession with the lives and customs of people deemed to be "savages" and in its own way is a commentary on the ethics of journalism.

One trend I see which I find quite disturbing is British-American films plundering the lives and works of people like A A Milne and his son Christopher Robin, Alan Turing and Tolkien and turning them into softcore propaganda in a world of an idealised 1930s Britain. The film on JRR Tolkien is soon to hit cinemas this year.

Posted by: Jen | May 20 2019 23:55 utc | 127

#122 karlofi
"For all the talk, ink and electrons wasted over the non-issue of Anti-Semitism toward Jews and Israel, this sect's obvious Anti-Semitic desire is never called out. This must be due to the alliance between that sect and Zionists who in turn control the Outlaw US Empire's BigLie Media. IMO, the taboo against denouncing this very devious alliance must be overcome. "

Believe it or not, 60 Minutes had a segment hosted by Bob Simon a year or two before his death on exactly that topic. It did not mince words and pointed out Evangelicals' desire to see all Jews destroyed, while noting most Israelis greet them with open arms. Israelis interviewed took the position (as I recall) of "well, they support us to the hilt, and they are a voting bloc". I was quite surprised to see that issue addressed.

Posted by: Schmoe | May 21 2019 0:07 utc | 128

Well, relying on some degree of violence, including graphical one, is nothing new. The Greeks did it too, from Homer to the great tragedies - with people allegedly fainting during some parts like the Erinyes appearing or Oedipus after taking out his eyes. And the importance of climax purging people of some feelings isn't something Hollywood invented, of course; they just needed to reread Aristotle's Poetics.
Which is why bashing video games or Hollywood movies merely for displaying significant amount of violence is absolutely stupid. A good deal of mankind's key works of art rely on violence, be it Gilgamesh' epos, Beowulf, Iliad, Water Margin, Roland's Song, Heike Monogatari or countless other writings, a good deal of operas across centuries, and plenty of paintings, to begin with Hieronymus Bosch. And is it just a Western sin, or is it bad when it's Zhang Yimou who uses it in Shadow or Hero?
Now, relying on violence to make a quick buck without having anything more of value behind it is a bad way. It's also the kind of message conveyed by the work of "art" that matters.
But to each his own, I guess. Though I would wager that most people who bash on principle pretty much all modern "cultural" works are also people who vastly prefer to read non-fiction to any kind of fiction, even old classical novels, because the former seems more "real" and "relevant".

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 21 2019 0:08 utc | 129

WJ @91:

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?!

No I vehemently disagree.

The question of Swedish and US extradition requests is being treated as either/or.

It is not. They should BOTH be denied.

Assange's reasons to avoid extradition to Sweden have not changed. Extradition Sweden puts him in jeopardy of being swiftly and easily carted away to USA via 'temporary surrender'.

Once again, please look at the links I provided in my comment @4. There is an important discussion that explains 'temporary surrender' and why Assange is being railroaded to Sweden.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 0:20 utc | 130

Schmoe @129--

Thanks for the FYI! The problem with my embargo of BigLie Media is that I miss the rarely broadcast Truth nugget. The Unz item I just finished reading comments on the reality that if it doesn't get airtime then it never happened.

In movies depicting/happening in the distant future or in a galaxy far, far away, video is almost never portrayed. One exception that millions saw was a scene from Attack of the Clones, Star Wars Episode II, when Anakin and Obi-wan enter a bar in pursuit of an enemy where all the patrons were entranced by the massive video screen which was showing something I can't recall and are oblivious to the reality taking place around them--not too much different from some sports bars I've known.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 0:38 utc | 131

@128 Jen

That's a good take. I completely agree. I am not saying though that French New Wave films are bad for you, just that people don't put enough weight on the cultural importance of camp. Susan Sontag said so in her essay, "On Camp."

Being a little gorehound, I grew up seeking campy horror films on VHS, especially zombie films, so I knew of Cannibal Holicaust and regret to inform you that THEY.MADE.A.SEQUEL! It's called the Green Inferno. Haven't seen it but I think it is just a dramatic movie take on the found-footage documentary style of the original. It probably has little going for it, for this reason.

Yes, the Academy Awards especially are very telling of the special neo-liberal, globalist, anti-religious, gender-fluid world the Hollywood intelligentsia and TPTB in the CIA have planned for us. Bishop Barron of the arch-diocese of LA, who has a popular youtube channel, correctly guessed that Guillermo Del Toro's "The Shape of Water" would win best picture because it was about beastiality and unconventional sexual relations. Ding-ding-ding! He was correct.

There are some good films that squeeze through the cracks in Hollywood, of course. My favorite director being Terrence Malick as his film 'The Thin Red Line' took the war-movie genre and flipped it on its head.

Interesting take on c. 1930's Britain and idealized prewar setting. If you are interested im the time period in Europe, there was an excellent tv series from Germany in the last few years called Babylon-Berlin. It's on netflix and one of the best things on there IMHO.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 21 2019 1:23 utc | 132

@123 nemesis calling.. thanks for your overview on GoThrones... i would be the first to admit i am a bit jaded... i mostly stopped watching movies sometime in my 20s - 40 years ago.. back then i liked foreign flicks from india, iran, mexico and stuff like that.. it was easy to access when i lived in vancouver... i got more caught up in music - live music.. that has been mostly my focus.. most popular movies i haven't seen.. as i mentioned on a previous thread, i haven't had a tv since i left home.. my wife has netflicks, but i don't watch the movies with her.. i have chosen to pick and choose what i want to from our western culture - which is a lot...

clueless joe - i read fiction and non fiction, but i am mostly reading astrology books at present - another life long passion of mine.. we all do what we have to, to get by in this world.. the diversity makes it way more interesting too.. a friend at the record shop here in town suggested a dvd that i took out and watched a few days ago - high fidelity which i got a laugh out of.. mostly though, staring at a screen is something i do enough being on the internet.. i like reading - transcripts and books, as opposed to watching - videos, films and etc.. perhaps i am in a minority in this regard.. i don't know.. my ears are more focused then my eyes.. my sense of smell when i go for the forest walks is also pretty keen.. we all go with what we are able to.. thanks for your comments..

Posted by: james | May 21 2019 1:39 utc | 133

@ James

I didn't know you were that old! Lol. I wouldn't have been so hard in my response to you. Being in your 60s gives you a license to be crusty.

And your writing and pace at which you produce posts really belies your age. I will quick making a big deal about it. I appreciate your good nature, however. I can't imagine how jaded I am going to be at 60.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 21 2019 1:47 utc | 134

@132 Karlofi
I was way off on the date - it was broadcast in 2002 (I'm really getting old). Back then, the US had a bit of a free press and I doubt if this could even be broadcast anymore; I am probably risking being burned at the stake for posting this.

"''This is a grim comedy of mutual condescension,'' says Leon Wieseltier, the Jewish scholar and literary editor of The New Republic. ''The evangelical Christians condescend to the Jews by offering their support before they convert or kill them. And the conservative Jews condescend to Christians by accepting their support while believing that their eschatology is nonsense. This is a fine example of the political exploitation of religion.''

On ''60 Minutes,'' Mr. Falwell boasts to Bob Simon: ''It is my belief that the Bible Belt in America is Israel's only safety belt right now.''

Mr. Simon reports that Zion's Christian soldiers say they are a bigger source of support for Israel than American Jews, a notion Mr. Wieseltier calls ''insulting to the American Jewish community.''

Posted by: Schmoe | May 21 2019 2:00 utc | 135

lol! thanks nemesiscalling! i hope you become more and more fluid as you age.. that way, you'll stay young in mind and body!

Posted by: james | May 21 2019 2:15 utc | 136

NemesisCalling | May 20, 2019 7:01:08 PM | 123:

It is closest thing to Thucydides that we have ever encountered in television ...

That's a real stretch. Closest thing to Thucydides is happening in real life, isn't it?

GOT is first and foremost escapist entertainment. It may not be Hollywood but it reflects Hollywood/USA values. And part of those values are that the good guys will always win out.

But what if WE are not the good guys? ... said no propagandized, self-centered, dumbed-down American ever.

Your paranoia notwithstanding, GOT is not a cautionary tale of viciousness that vindictive enemies wish to unleash upon good ol' USA. It is far worse. It's a fake world that both mocks and mimics the Western neo-feudalist power structure. For most of the show, Dany fights for what a Western audience would see as the Western liberal tradition, where slavery is banned and people are free to make their own choices. She's experienced powerlessness and shame (as a women and a disgraced former noble) so she wants to rectify injustices. And she develops the means to do so - dragons.

But GOT can't allow such noble sentiments to prevail. That might inspire their audience in a way that makes the Western neo-feudal power structure quite uneasy. The producer's plot twist in the final episodes that makes Dany into a terrorist has a real-world analog: Julian Assange.

Wikileaks is the 'dragon' that threatens the rule of our real-world neofeudal elite and Assange, like Dany, has been depicted as a "narcisstic" terrorist (hacker/rapist) so that the powers that be can continue to enjoy their position and privileges.

John Snow is the 'good soldier' that is so propagandized that he does the most unnatural thing imaginable: he kills the women he loves and who loves him. In the name of an amorphous 'duty' that Tyrion (who is from the wealthiest family and whose family moto is: "A Lanister always pays his debts") plays upon.

Like all 'good soldiers' that serve the establishment, John Snow is essentially forgiven. He gets to live the life he freely chose earlier in the series. This is depicted as some sort of punishment (it is not).

In fact, it was John Snow's failure to comfort and reassure Dany before the battle that likely caused her to destroy the city. After John's failure to 'be there' for her, Dany says to him: "then it will be fear" - meaning that the betrayal of her close advisors and John's remoteness means that she is forced to rule by fear instead of love. This creates a disturbing disconnect in the story as John's killing Dany makes no sense given that HE KNOWS what led her to extreme measures. This disconnect can't be explained except that the writers/producers simply wanted to manipulate the story such that Dany is a narcissistic terrorist that is killed by the 'good soldier'.

As you can see, I've come around to the point of view that the writing this season WAS terrible. While fans sense the disconnects, most probably don't see how it may relate to Assange/Wikileaks.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 2:30 utc | 137

For anyone who hasn't seen it, a fascinating 1982 indie film titled "Chan is Missing" findable on Youtube (, which explores the two conflicting approaches b describes. Instead of progressing from clue to clue to narrow the search for the potential culprit (the stereotypical Charlie Chan detective strategy) the plot progressively explodes our certainty about 'Chan' and ultimately leaves us with nothing. A gem.

Posted by: Loftwork | May 21 2019 2:42 utc | 138

Jackrabbit #131,

As best I can tell, "Temporary surrender" in Sweden has to meet all regular requirements for Swedish extradition, which are more onerous that those in the U.K. as they rule out political crimes, etc. The U.K. *also* has a "Temporary Surrender" agreement with the U.S. You don't need to go to Sweden for that.

Is this information not correct?

Obviously Assange is likely screwed whatever happens. Yet I would not be so sure to determine that it's obvious that it's better for him *not* to get extradited to Sweden. (Maybe it is. Who knows?) Nor would I on this basis be so quick to conclude that Craig Murray is "compromised."

Perhaps what I have read regarding the conditions for temporary surrender under Swedish law is incorrect. But there is at least *some* reason to believe that *some* people in Assange's camp now think that his being extradited to Sweden *might* afford him a better chance of delaying or drawing out the legal proceedings than is likely in the U.K.

Posted by: WJ | May 21 2019 2:45 utc | 139

One more thing

GOT's ending with Bran as King is remarkably similar to neocon philosophy that extolls the virtues of a 'philosopher king' that is charged with doing whatever is necessary to achieve the objectives of the state - including lying to the people that he rules.

Bran's magical/mystical/religious connections mean that his rule is also very similar to a theocracy - somewhat similar to KSA, Israel, and the Vatican.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 2:50 utc | 140

P.S. Of course, the Swedes violated their own law re temporary surrender when it came to be two Egyptians they handed off to the CIA and it is perfectly *possible* they would do be same with Assange. But it is not clear this would happen. It's a roll of the dice I think.

Posted by: WJ | May 21 2019 2:51 utc | 141

WJ @140

"Temporary surrender" in Sweden has to meet all regular requirements for Swedish extradition
That is unclear at best.

Is this information not correct?
Professor Klamberg had to issue two corrections to what he wrote. And even then, what you see there seems to be incomplete.

The U.K. *also* has a "Temporary Surrender" agreement with the U.S.
But the UK's 'temporary surrender' would be much more difficult politically and UK would likely be forced to add restrictions on Assanges' transfer that US doesn't want.

... there is at least *some* reason to believe that *some* people in Assange's camp now think that his being extradited to Sweden *might* afford him a better chance of delaying or drawing out the legal proceedings than is likely in the U.K.
"Some people in Assange's camp now think..." AFAIK this is just media spin.
"better chance of delay ..."? More spin to promote sending Assange to Sweden.

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

Once again, extradition to BOTH Sweden and USA should be denied by UK. Public pressure has the best chance of a good outcome for Assange. Squashing public discussion of the 'temporary surrender' mechanism is likely designed to minimize protest.

Assange desperately sought to avoid Sweden 7 years ago. AFAIK nothing has changed. And anyone that knows or should know that but advocates extradition to Sweden is suspect.

Question: When will we be allowed to hear from Assange?

<> <> <> <> <>

Note to readers

These issues and more explained at the links to the Assange discussion that I've provided in my comment @4. A 'must read' IMHO.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 3:12 utc | 142

WJ @142: But it is not clear this would happen.

As you might expect, Assange wasn't happy to leave it at that. His lawyers determined that Assange faced a real danger of 'temporary surrender' from Sweden to USA. That's why Assange forfeited 340,000 pounds bail and entered the a sort of self-exile in the Ecuadorian embassy. Those are grievous costs that no one would 'pay' unless they felt sure that there was a real danger.

The letter from Assange's renown human rights lawyer says (in part):

The very real danger that faces Mr. Assange is that should the extradition request by Sweden be agreed by the courts here [in UK], once Mr Assange is in Sweden (and, we are informed inevitably held in custody even if not charged) an application for his 'temporary surrender' by the USA will most likely materialize. This may happen and even before any decision is made to bring criminal proceedings in Sweden. What it means is that Mr. Assange could be, without further ado, on his way to the United States and to a situation of considerable judicial uncertainty, not to say peril.

Since nothing legally has changed AFAICT, I fail to see how anyone can argue that Assange should go to Sweden.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 3:24 utc | 143

I agree with Jackrabbit that his comment #4 plus links is a must read. The legal terrain still seems very murky to me but Jackrabbit's strategy makes sense. Still not convinced that Murray is "compromised" and would like to withhold assent on that absent further definitive evidence.

Posted by: WJ | May 21 2019 3:25 utc | 144

@141 jackrabbit

Thanks for the spoiler, dude. The episode was just last night! Do I still need to watch it? Lol.

And then you call me paranoid! Lol.

I sure want to listen to your theory after that!

It is not paranoid to suspect that there are a lot of people the world over, including Americans, and even me to a certain extent, who want to see some comeuppance for our military adventurism abroad.

There won't be anyone torching main street in the US on a dragon, to be sure, but some other form is probably coming.

Other than that your Assange theory is really a stretch as this has only been a phenomenon for 10 years or so. GoT has been spinning in the author's head for 25 years+.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 21 2019 3:35 utc | 145

Some time ago I was watching a Putin interview. It may have been at a press conference or at some forum where he was asked a question. I think it was in relation to spying or the Rosenburgs. He said they were merely the messengers. It was the American scientists that created the atomic bomb that sent information to Russia. They felt there had to be a balance of power otherwise the US would attack and destroy Russia.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20, 2019 4:17:24 PM | 106

You were probably watching Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews, Episode II of IV. Your cite rang a bell so I checked my copy.
Putin's reference to the electrocuted Rosenbergs, and Manhattan Project insiders leaking Nuke secrets to Russia, as a hedge against Yankee psychopathy, is circa 6 minutes in from the start of the episode.
The series is freely available on the www.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 21 2019 3:41 utc | 146

Jackrabbit 138+141

Great analysis. Too bad GOT show runners failed to use the show as a mirror on Western Society as you suggest. What can one expect from writers who are steeped in Hollywood superhero mythology.

The small council and its decisions you mentioned reminded me of the neolib as well as the neocon continuation of the wheel. In this case GOT provided two sets of wheel on Bran's chair a replacement to the wheel Dany wished to break.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 21 2019 3:51 utc | 147

NemesisCalling @146: your Assange theory is really a stretch as this has only been a phenomenon for 10 years or so.

1) But what is at issue is the writing of the last season and especially the last few episodes.

2) I really hadn't thought much of the fan complaints until today. I'm not the kind of person that generally takes any show or movie to heart. Most popular shows and films are crap.

In fact, I wrote an earlier comment in this thread that was dismissive of fan complaints.

But GOT has grown into a phenomenon and GOT fan complaints of spoiled 'character archs' are intriguing. So I gave some thought as to why this might be so.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 3:52 utc | 148

@149 jr

George R.R. Martin and the shows creators are on the same page. The author told them how the story is going to end in the books.

There was no last season scramble to adapt the story to current events.

Besides, Martin has always been painstaking in fleshing out his characters on the page. The rich details of this will make waiting for the books worth it, irrespective of knowing the end point. Story is always secondary to his characters.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 21 2019 4:03 utc | 149

Thanks for digging it up. I watched it again and I think karlof1 will find it interesting.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 21 2019 4:22 utc | 150

I'm not up to commenting yet, but damnit I feel totally compelled to have to write this! Stop whitewashing Trump and making him out to be a Bolton/Neocon hostage!!! Trump is about to pardon U.S. military war criminals that shot civilians in cold blood, killed prisoners and peed on deceased enemy combattants in Afghanistan!!! Trump is a disgusting and depraved individual!

The only reason he's not rushing to war right now is because he wants to keep the Sanders supporters that voted for him in protest in 2016! He's postponing the worst for after the election. Zionist billionaires poured millions into his campaign through the RNC, Pacs and his inaugural to ensure he goes after Iran! That's his main mandate.

Quit making him look like he's a hapless innocent hostage steady!!!

Posted by: Circe | May 21 2019 4:57 utc | 151

steady should be already. My android rewrites words on me and sometimes I don't notice.

Posted by: Circe | May 21 2019 5:01 utc | 152

@circe... welcome back....

@ 147 hoarsewhisperer.. thanks for mentioning that.. here is the video you reference.. the last 3 minutes of this video stone interviews putin on who he would like as president of the usa.. it is interesting to listen to and watch...tail end of the interview was from feb 2016..

Posted by: james | May 21 2019 5:49 utc | 153

Cerce @ 152 & 153
Please come back soon you can see by this post, how things have gone down hill !!
This comment thread is pure escapism!
In-depth revue of tv fiction whilst the world burns.
What the hell ?
The yanks just busted into the Venezuela Embassy breaking the Vienna convention! That’s all right apparently judging by this lot !
Cerce we need your fiesty sanity !!!

Posted by: Matk2 | May 21 2019 6:45 utc | 154

Typo above should be Circe

Posted by: Mark2 | May 21 2019 6:47 utc | 155

horsewhisperer @ 147

Theodore Hall realized the global threat of monopoly on having a truly overwhelming weapon. He had firsthand knowledge of the implosion technology whereby crushing a non-critical, fissionable mass to create a denser and critical mass would yield a scaleable weapon, using Plutonium. This, in complete detail, is what he passed on to the Soviet Union via their US agents; or so I have read on the internet.

Posted by: chu teh | May 21 2019 7:53 utc | 156

Jackrabbit / NemesisCalling:
Oh dear are we really going to debate GOT here. Well, GRR Martin allegedly told the ending to the showrunners, but considering how badly the last season was set up and thought through, odds are that the showrunners hadn't a clue why and how the endings would happen. It's quite telling and encouraging that a lot of the audience is pissed off because it was rushed and made no sense in the show's context - specially Dany's turn to the dark side and Bran's surprise ending.
When it comes to the end of Daenerys' story though, it seems legit, but I don't think it's Martin basically telling the plebs to stop fighting because it won't work; I think it's rather a cautionary tale about the illusion of the great man (or woman), the savior, a similar view to Frank Herbert's, which he tried to convey in his Dune series: a charismatic and great leader is a terrible thing; he can easily become the bane of a society, because said leader can do great work and amass power, but he can become corrupted, and if he doesn't, his successors without any doubt will be mediocre people that will ruin the whole thing and will abuse their powers for evil or corrupt ends.
That said, I don't think this has much to do with Thucydides. Granted, parts of the books and the early parts of the show who relied heavily on the books were quite complex, a nice change from the white/black cliche that had plagued fantasy (and Western societies) for decades - clearest example in the books being Jaime Lannister, saw as a despicable bastard by the others, until you read his own chapters and saw how he felt and where he came from -, but that didn't last more than a few seasons. Heck, Trump's Twitter and Bolton/Haley/other US jerks speeches at the UN are just as much an illustration of Thucydides as anything fiction we have around. Someone should tell them that the Melian dialogue isn't meant to be praise or apology of such behaviour.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 21 2019 8:43 utc | 157

VERY COOL article on Game of Thrones, which never interested me, but still : between the concept of separate Self and the dynamic whole, very interesting and thought provoking. For this and all your nice work, Danke B ;)

Posted by: Featherless | May 21 2019 8:52 utc | 158

The "Queen of Response" to sanctions?
Suspension the TRIPS Agreement respect to the Countries/Firms that apply them (with no refund after reactivation, unless also the damage from sanctions is refunded).

Posted by: IL Discobolo | May 21 2019 9:23 utc | 159

On GRR Martin and Game of Thrones.

Read the books, they are damn good, however only reach as far as the 6th season of the series.
He was hugely inspired by JRR Tolkien, and created, in essence, an "American Mythology", in the same way Tolkien created an "English Mythology". It's entertainment, for chrissakes, and very good at entertaining, considering the results.
What the studio did to the story was an absolute aberration. In the book, Dany has a younger brother, that Tyrian befriends and returns to Westeros with, so utterly destroying any claim to the Iron Throne that Dany had. In fact the books were so fundamentally different, so much richer, that I was reminded of watching the first Lord of the Rings and going "Where the fuck is Tom Bombadil?" or the last one going "Holy shit, they left out the whole story of Orks taking over the Shire!"
So HBO has made a boatload of money, but thats their job. Read the books.

Posted by: dan | May 21 2019 11:24 utc | 160

There is no information anywhere that the soviets ever considered or drew up plans for attacking the US but we know the US drew up and considered plans for attacking the Soviets.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 20, 2019 4:17:24 PM | 106

The evidence that the Soviets never had any intention of attacking the US does seem to be very clear, and maintained atomic weapons exclusively as deterrent, as they considered the effects of nuclear war to be too unthinkable. There was an article on Strategic Culture not so long ago that touched on this, most probably by Brian Clough, something on arms reduction. The following is sketchy and based on memory - it is true in spirit but probably not in detail:

In the 1960's or so the US had about 1000 nukes, while the Soviets had ... just 4! They considered that sufficient deterrent. Meanwhile the US was drawing up detailed plans to destroy virtually every town and city in the USSR with more than 100,000 inhabitants, and had every intention of using them if they possibly could. The principle difference is that the US never cared about their own people being killed.

Posted by: BM | May 21 2019 12:27 utc | 161

here is the video you reference.. the last 3 minutes of this video stone interviews putin on who he would like as president of the usa.. it is interesting to listen to and watch...tail end of the interview was from feb 2016..

Posted by: james | May 21, 2019 1:49:07 AM | 154

Could you be kind enough to post links to the other three if you have them readily at hand, James? Last time I looked I couldn't find the last two at all, and the first two also had some kind of problem, as far as I recall (it was some time ago though).

Can someone recommend a good and safe non-browser program for downloading videos without watching them online? I used to use Ummy (which I never liked because of its nasty covert internet activities, but it used to be usable as long as you are offline when Ummy is opened) but it is causing more and more problems these days. Recently I did a search but most of what I found were very dubious online websites (as opposed to programs) - one I tried downloaded malware on the second video download, so I decided to stay away.

The direction online software is going these days is really terrible, in user security terms. The trend is designed that way - as a way of facilitating trojans and surveillance.

Posted by: BM | May 21 2019 12:43 utc | 162

Clueless Joe @158

For the most part I agree, but Dany doesn't win power because she's charismatic any more than she wins power because of her family connection. She wins because she's got dragons. They are magical creatures that are like technology in our world. In fact, its been said that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

She puts the dragons/technology to use to free people and overthrow the existing order. This makes the analogy to Assange apt.

We may both be right as it may be a matter of emphasis.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 12:54 utc | 163

The Hollywood show runners, hacks incapable of or unaware of the possibility of a sociological narrative point of view, are products of fine US educations, elite private colleges, and then Trinity College Dublin. You might say the atrophied, vacant social perspective is a product of the 'best' of Anglo-US higher education.

Posted by: fairleft | May 21 2019 13:17 utc | 164

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

Kierkegaard was the anti-Hegel; Marx was the evolution of Hegel. Completely different philosphers of completely different importances: nobody remembers who Kierkegaard is anymore.

Kierkegaard was a very important promoteur of Hegel in the sense that his counterarguments were so inferior that it actually propped up the German. Hence Sartre's famous quote.

Posted by: vk | May 21 2019 14:00 utc | 165

Re: Game of Thrones

CIA likely involved in GoT storylines and development.

Dragons obvious metaphor for nuclear weapons.

We've all been subjected to predictive programming intended to get westerners to accept use of first use of nuclear weapons in a "unjustified" way. Perhaps GoT final season written and scheduled to coincide with threats of war against Iran.

Reason why final season scripts were so odd is that they were fashioned to fit the Empire's priorities.

Enjoy your popcorn.

Posted by: ADKC | May 21 2019 14:38 utc | 166

@118 james is my dream to write a teleplay for a long series based on The History of the Peloponnesian War.

Second that motion.

Posted by: Guerrero | May 21 2019 14:48 utc | 167

Re. Murray and Assange. The recent Murray, posted by james @ 77

Murray has also posted, on 13 May 2019

The Re-Opening of the Swedish Assange Case Should Be Welcomed

Content. To clear J. A ’s name as rape is serious accusation, etc. But Murray does not write that Assange was never accused of rape, only that: Julian Assange has never been charged with anything in Sweden.

The *original complaint* wasn’t even a complaint of any kind but a ‘worry’ about unprotected sex and the desire to have Assange forced by authorities, somehow, to take a STD test (because of lack of / destroyed condom. Very easy to scare ppl about that..)

See Ardin egging on Wilen to go to the police, and then laying it on, claiming the same herself (debunked as the condom was proved to be unused! - yikes..)

Author: Craig Murray, *Why the Assange allegation is a stich-up.* Feb. 2016. He knows all about it.

But now… ohh.. it is all about European warrants? Something is seriously off.


The whole story was a manipulated fabrication. By Anna Ardin (and Swedish operatives.) And it should be called out as such.

Posted by: Noirette | May 21 2019 15:03 utc | 168

@163 bm - i haven't watched them - only 2, that i shared above..

here is part 1

here is the 3rd segment..

pt 4-

@168 geurrero.... that isn't my quote, but i can see how some would like that!

book review of john helmers new book.. i liked the review and it gives more insight into john helmer that others might enjoy reading.

Posted by: james | May 21 2019 15:08 utc | 169

@169 noirette... i agree with your last line and wonder if that is the angle that murray is pushing for the swedes to follow thru on.. the idea being that the whole fabrication would fall apart if they did... lots of questions and i am not sure if this theory is correct..

Posted by: james | May 21 2019 15:11 utc | 170

@BM 163
It's a good idea to skip the shady stuff and use free ("libre", as in free speech, not free beer) open-sourced software since they're generally non-commercial, community or personal endavours.

To download from Youtube and other video sites, try youtube-dl-gui.

Alternatively you can replace "" in URLs with "" to display videos on a proxy site that allows for downloading. (The site is a demo for the similarly named proxy server software, which is also free software.)

Posted by: Drive-by Commenting | May 21 2019 15:14 utc | 171

@171 Yes but it doesn't explain why the Swedes want to re-open the case. They either figure they have a solid case against Assange or they want to get the whole rape/condom story out in the open finally and have done with it. Have Wilen or Ardin said anything new?

Posted by: dh | May 21 2019 15:37 utc | 172

Correction: missiles on boats, deployed by Iran, are not imaginary.

Instead, this is a VERY STANDARD type of coastal defenses. About 30-40 years ago the standard defense were torpedo boats which are smaller and faster, but advances in ship artillery made them obsolete. Missiles can be deployed from a further distance than torpedoes, so even though they are larger, more expensive and slower (40 knots vs 50-60 knots), missile boats became the standard.

Iran seems to select cost effective strategy of having so many missile boats that a group can trail any important and potentially hostile target. In the case of a start of hostilities, this is semi-suicidal, as sophisticated Western vessels could massacre the boats, but if the latter launch missiles from a modest distance in concert, the big vessels are bound to get some hits and losses, making sure that a war would start from Iranians proclaiming a success and Westerners loosing thousands of crewmen and several ships.

The aftermath of such an exchange would make insuring merchant vessels for sailing into the Persian Gulf next to impossible. A protracted aftermath has a potential of catastrophic political consequences, recall riots in Western countries that were caused by increased fuel prices -- UK and France come to mind. It is best if djinnies stay in their bottles.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 21 2019 15:39 utc | 173 is my dream to write a teleplay for a long series based on The History of the Peloponnesian War.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 20, 2019 7:01:08 PM | 123

DO you have screenwriting credentials? I would love to be involved with production.
Thucydides has it all: he lays out the question: what is the point of this
stupid war? that destroyed the classic culture and old-fashioned notions of honor?

The author was an active duty citizen general listened in person to Pericles'
eloquant exortations in the senate hall. He asks and answers his own question:

His theme is: WHAT were the real causes of this particularly disasterous war?

Unique book has it all: Action, intrigue; scene-after-scene. A period documentary
dramatized with detailed realism. Please, let me get involved with this project.

Nota bene * I have not seen Game of Thrones having NO idea about the King's Landing

Posted by: Guerrero | May 21 2019 15:56 utc | 174

@Nemesis #107

Perhaps true, but I haven't seen any written confirmation of this, nor have I watched any of the horrible post-show interviews with D&D all season as they are typically boring and redundant.

However, even if true, the complaints are still valid - the writing for the past two or three seasons has been progressively degrading to the point that the show runners had to abandon the long-term development of numerous characters, completely throw any previously alluded prophecy out the window as if it was never even mentioned, and were relying almost exclusively on deus ex machina characters and occurrences to paper over the terrible holes in plot and story arcs. Based on my external, objective (meaning I had not read the books, so I came into this "fresh") forensic viewing of the situation, I'd put good money on my original guess that GRRM was only giving these guys vague input; probably in such a manner as you said - "here's what ENDS UP happening to these _____ (insert number) characters." and that's it. So it doesn't really matter all that much, and I think he was only tangentially involved in the actual writing and production.

Further, I think it's safe to say that if GRRM finishes the remaining books, the writing will be much more consistent, satisfying and complex than the simplistic garbage the HBO producers phoned in over the past few seasons. In fact, that's the very core of my complaint - the characters may have had preconceived arcs - with GRRM's input - to get them to where they are when the show/books end, but the writing and depiction of those arcs in the TV version was unbelievable, inconsistent with all previous books/tv episodes, went against the books in numerous cases, and amateur in terms of storytelling.

The devil was in the details and the producers gave themselves carte blance to ignore, downplay, or create any details they wanted regardless of whether they made any sense.

Posted by: KC | May 21 2019 16:06 utc | 175

Of course, the Stone-Putin Interview which I've yet to watch for some unknown reason. Thanks very much!

Escobar expects Cold War 2.0 to escalate but assesses the Empire's position as untenable as China has already outwitted and is years ahead when it comes to the utterly vital tech advantage provided by innovation:

"In September 2014, Premier Li Keqiang addressed the Chinese 'Summer Davos' [article linked at original] in Tianjin to explain how technological innovation was essential in creating growth and modernizing the Chinese economy.

"These speeches usually consist of a somnolent litany of jargons and exhortations. But this time Li came up with a new, unheard of, slogan: 'Mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation'. And that soon became the rallying cry for a government-driven process of fostering startup ecosystems and supporting technological innovation.

"In July 2015, China’s State Council – which comes up with all the big policies that matter – issued a major directive; from now on everybody should join the 'mass entrepreneurship and innovation' bandwagon. The aim was to create thousands of technology incubators, entrepreneurship zones and 'guiding funds', backed by Beijing, to seduce more private venture capital, in parallel to sexy tax policies and streamlined government permits necessary to start a business."

A whole 5-year plan head start that's led to amongst other developments Huawei's having a Plan-B already to go in anticipation of Outlaw US Empire illegalities: "The US crackdown on Huawei will inevitably backfire.

"Huawei has now accelerated the commercial implementation of its own operating system, which will be thoroughly adapted for global markets. Their Plan B is now Plan A – with a vengeance. Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences; Huawei breaking Google’s de facto monopoly may be just around the (tech) corner."

My local newspaper headlined "A ban becomes a boon" regarding China's decision to cease imports of US garbage and recyclables and the opportunity that provided a New Jersey company. Of course, AP doesn't say such opportunities work in the reverse, nor is the irony of Chinese companies providing the majority of funds to finance such ventures remarked upon. As Hudson often comments, US banks no longer support industrial capitalism; they support financial capitalism almost exclusively, which is one of the major reasons Trump's MAGA was doomed to failure without first disciplining the banks. Imagine what will occur to the Outlaw US Empire's economy it such investment flows are cutoff due as a move in the escalating Trade War! The Chinese won't mind as there're other destinations for their investment capital Clearly, it's not just Trump who's a fool, but Mnunchkin and others too.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 16:13 utc | 176

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? Chevrus @ 71

Yes.. maybe, in part, in the sense of unintended consequences, and the thresholds / aka tipping points, where a system flips without the humans predicting it in their trivia account books, and are unaware of their precitpitating actions, and don't know what to do next. (2008 fin crisis has some aspects of that.)

That said, it is interesting that the UK is applying a deliberate de-population / de-growth agenda (eugenist?) Human agency writ large.

From May’s ‘hostile environment’ for legal immigrants (which is official policy, and extremely cruel), to the cut in policing (knife crime in London, soon horror-show), to Cameron ‘austerity’ which, with the new Universal Credit, forces many disabled etc. ppl to wait 6 weeks before ‘new’ benefits (again, official policy), who then kill themselves…

To the 2-child policy (no benefits paid for a third child), to the uncaring attitude to hungry / suffering children, to the rising homeless population as no social housing (arrangements) are created, to pension cuts, training youth cuts, local facilities slashed (libraries, parks, roads, community centers, med care..) and the lack of defense (and ? wish to privatise) the NHS.. Much more could be said, in the same direction.

Neither France or Germany are on that path, if anything the opposite, e.g. Merkel worried about aging population, slow growth (see Japan), need for new young work force, therefore one million immigrants… France continues to support births, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | May 21 2019 16:17 utc | 177

Meanwhile, Pelosi demanded to do her duty and begin impeachment proceedings aimed at Trump, but she remains adamant in her refusal. If she continues, she ought to be impeached. Looks like it's going to be a hot Summer in DC for Deep State agents like her.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 16:22 utc | 178

ADKC @167: Reason why final season scripts were so odd is that they were fashioned to fit the Empire's priorities.

CIA-Hollywood connection is well known. There interest in the GOT conclusion seems very possible.

I've suggested that the story veered off-course because Dany's overthrow of the establishment could not be tolerated. To show their displeasure, the writers had John Snow kill Danys instead of Ariya (the vengeful assassin) and had the characters laugh-off the suggestion of democratic government.

The plot twist that turned Dany into a terrorist that had to be murdered seems eerily similar to the 'op' to smear and jail/disappear Assange.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 16:29 utc | 179

Noirette @177--

The Tories seem hell-bent on committing political suicide with their policies which only help to promote Corbyn and Labour despite the intense BigLie Media smear campaign against him and his party. Such policies are somewhat mimicked by the USA's R Party which creates space for Sanders and his policy proposals. The upcoming vote can't arrive soon enough.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 16:31 utc | 180

Noirette @169:

The whole story was a manipulated fabrication. By Anna Ardin (and Swedish operatives.) And it should be called out as such.


I've said the same thing. BOTH the US and Swedish extraditions should be rejected by UK.

Those who pretend that we must support the 'lesser evil' of the Swedish extradition and/or blithely ignore the likelihood of the use of the US-Swedish 'temporary surrender' mechanism are doing Assange a disservice.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 16:40 utc | 181

@166 vk

I don't take it personally your slight against Kierkegaard, the most impactful author I haveever read in my life and perhaps singlehandedly the one responsible for my conversion to Christianity. I can not say anything about him that would do justice to his life of agonizing writing as he sought to rescue the individual from "massification."

I will say that his writing is not nor will ever be irrelevant. Wittgenstein believed him to be a saint and Derrida even said that he was the last one who ever spoke with God directly. In fact, his influenced on Heidegger and Derrida is well known.

My point re: Kierkegaard and Marx being Hegelians according to Heidegger is that they were so despite their better wishes. Indeed,much of the work of Heidegger and much of all of Derrida was to parse through texts and unravel errors in logic and points of arrival in thought. Just because Marx said that he was inverting Hegelianism, does not necessarily mean that this is true nor can not be revealed to be untrue as it has been by there two towering figures in western philosophy, Heidegger and Derrida

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 21 2019 16:51 utc | 182

@166 vk

I don't take it personally your slight against Kierkegaard, the most impactful author I haveever read in my life and perhaps singlehandedly the one responsible for my conversion to Christianity. I can not say anything about him that would do justice to his life of agonizing writing as he sought to rescue the individual from "massification."

I will say that his writing is not nor will ever be irrelevant. Wittgenstein believed him to be a saint and Derrida even said that he was the last one who ever spoke with God directly. In fact, his influenced on Heidegger and Derrida is well known.

My point re: Kierkegaard and Marx being Hegelians according to Heidegger is that they were so despite their better wishes. Indeed,much of the work of Heidegger and much of all of Derrida was to parse through texts and unravel errors in logic and points of arrival in thought. Just because Marx said that he was inverting Hegelianism, does not necessarily mean that this is true nor can not be revealed to be untrue as it has been by there two towering figures in western philosophy, Heidegger and Derrida

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 21 2019 16:51 utc | 183

Jackrabbit @179

Daenerys is Trump.

Posted by: ADKC | May 21 2019 16:53 utc | 184

Huawei ?
Trade war ?

You aint seen nuthin yet....

China's looming food crisis,

fukus latest Bio warfare attack,

Posted by: denk | May 21 2019 17:00 utc | 185

ADKC | May 21, 2019 12:53:28 PM | 183

Trump is the perfect "heel" in what is now a non-stop Pro-zedential Wrestling Reality Match.

Kayfabe rules in DC now....

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | May 21 2019 17:01 utc | 186

Power to the people: DC residents could soon issue parking tickets

Interesting concept. I wonder how it will work in real life.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 21 2019 17:10 utc | 187

It took awhile, but Iran's finally pointing out the actual violator of JCPOA:

"#Zarif to CNN: 'We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises'. He is talking about Trump's offer to talk and the US's not fulfilling it's commitments under the Nuclear deal."

Of course, Trump would reply that he never made any such promises. However, IIRC, a majority of the US citizenry backed JCPOA, and it was approved by Congress. Trump seems to have penned himself into a box of his own making in an attempt to gain Evangelist Sect approval.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 17:16 utc | 188

Wow, Theresa May have just raised to have a NEW referendum on Brexit,
this really shows that democracy isnt working when the losing side decide and thus: the peoples vote is not respected. Really dangerous development right now.

Posted by: Zanon | May 21 2019 17:16 utc | 189

There has been some comment on Trump not starting a war as that would be detrimental to his second term prospects. On the other side of the coin, if he does not show a win against Iran, he is likely to lose a lot of the evangelical vote, and if he does not show a win against Venezuela he will lose the Florida vote.
He may have risked attacking Iran if it was alone, but I believe that what rattled Pompeo in his meeting with Putin is that Putin told Pompeo that Russia would intervene if the US attacked Iran. Most likely the same for Venezuela.
Trump is caught in a trap of his own making. Be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 21 2019 17:33 utc | 190

game of throwns is amazin i love it the i luv how most of the queens are trans folks it is all so inclusives we should be so fankfull that the frankfurt school the chabad and gorge soros ashkanazim rabbi give us such amazin ways to pass the time whiles the raping and theft go on
this generations of goy are the luckist in history i tell ya init
the talmud has so many stories you guys sud reed it sometimes

Posted by: gordon giltraps | May 21 2019 17:35 utc | 191

@ Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 21, 2019 12:51:28 PM | 182

I don't take it personally your slight against Kierkegaard, the most impactful author I haveever read in my life and perhaps singlehandedly the one responsible for my conversion to Christianity. I can not say anything about him that would do justice to his life of agonizing writing as he sought to rescue the individual from "massification."

Erm, okay?

Derrida, Heidegger etc. are not authorities in history of Western Philosophy. Just because they said that doesn't make it true.

And yes, Kierkegaard was essentially the philosopher that, let's say, foreshadowed Postmodernism: he stated that Hegel was wrong precisely because, as an individual, I can have experiences that can only be "documented", known, by myself, and will be lost forever. With this line of thinking he argued against Hegel's "Spirit of the World". Put it simply, he essentially posits the existence of the soul. He was literally the anti-Hegel, in the literal sense he wanted to completely discredit and destroy Hegel's theory.

I never read any Kierkegaard quotation in Marx. My perception is that, at the time, Hegel was the dominant thinker in the Continent (not in the UK), while Kierkegaard was a marginal writer at best. But, I don't know, late 18th Century European History is not my specialty.

It's important to highlight that Marx also thought Hegel was, ultimately, wrong. Marx was not a Hegelian (except, of course, during the period of time he was Hegel's student). Marxism is not a form of Hegelialism. What Marx gave credit for Hegel was his rescue of dialetic thinking.

From the point of view of the "individual vs collective", Marx is precise when he stated this dichotomy doesn't exist: men write their own destiny, but they don't do it according to their own will -- they do it according to the objective material conditions they are facing.

Posted by: vk | May 21 2019 17:53 utc | 192

MKB: "China hails Modi victory. This is why." Much is revealed in his essay. I felt this bit important:

"Curiously, Russia also shares the Chinese view. To what extent Indian policies have figured in the Sino-Russian discourses we do not know — and we may never get to know. But India being a 'swing state' in the contemporary world situation, its policies impact the Eurasian integration processes, which are at the core of the Russian and Chinese strategies. It is entirely conceivable, therefore, that Moscow played a significant role behind the scenes in getting the Chinese block removed on the Masood Azhar denouement."

At the end, MKB links to the two Global Times reports he cites, which allows the reader to learn even more.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2019 18:00 utc | 193

Peter AU 1 @189: Trump is caught in a trap of his own making.

If by "Trump" you mean the US Deep State, then yes.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 18:19 utc | 194

@28 Jen
Thank you!

Posted by: Cresty | May 21 2019 18:28 utc | 195

The deep state are fully behind the Iran and Venezuela moves, but being blocked in these moves, they do not have to try and save face as they are not elected. They can simply back off without damage.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 21 2019 18:42 utc | 196

ADKC: Daenerys is Trump.

Sorry, I don't see it.

Danys strikes me as a young SJW (Social Justice Warrior) while the "white walkers" are akin to "white nationalists". Both threaten the feudal/oligarchical power structure of GOT and the real world.

Both the left and right extremes can be authoritarian. But Dany's downfall is not based on flaws in her philosophy, it's based on her sudden psychological change (after losing her dragon baby, her close friend, and having been betrayed by her advisors and lover).

This sudden change is disturbing in part because the corrupt system remains. Oh sure, Dany was a shock to the system but how long before the slavery and corruption return?

The sudden change just seems contrived to ensure that the Danys character doesn't inspire others. An example is made of her (by the writers/producers).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 18:43 utc | 197

@191 vk

They never spoke so boldly about themselves. It was only the people that read and understand them who are instantly aware of their authority.

I am at work right now but I can put together a better response later this evening. I appreciate the discussion however!

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 21 2019 18:48 utc | 198

Peter AU: [The Deep State]... are not elected.

And Trump is? You are getting very close the false narrative of democracy works!.

I thought you recognized what I've been saying for months: that Kissinger's 2014 Op-Ed showed that the Deep State was planning for a MAGA nationalist to meet the challenge from Russia and China well before the election. Trump was that MAGA nationalist.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2019 18:50 utc | 199

I believe there are factions that are sometimes in agreement and sometimes arguing. like a lynch mob arguing over who they will lynch next.
Your veiw is that all are unanimous all the time.
We could argue endlessly on this point and never convince the other of our veiw.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 21 2019 19:06 utc | 200

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