Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 16, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-34

Sorry for posting only four pieces this week. There was family visiting here who deserved a bit of attention.

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Your host is quite proud about the above scoop on Iran's new strategy. I developed the idea that Iran runs a "strategy of tension" by putting myself into Iran's role. What were my options?

After I wrote that up in the update of the first post, I became convinced that it was the right idea. Iran had gained escalation dominance. I contacted Elijah Magnier on Twitter and asked what he thought about it. He rejected the idea. He thought, like I earlier did, that Friday's attack would hurt Iran.

A few hours later Elijah came along with my idea. He later contacted his sources in Tehran who confirmed that it is indeed Iran's current strategy. Each tanker incident in the Middle East will now become, as Bernd writes, another version of the "Murder on the Orient Express". Everyone will ask "Who's done it?" No one believes the U.S. when it points towards Iran. Such U.S. claims are only good for silly jokes:

    John Bolton: ‘An Attack On Two Saudi Oil Tankers Is An Attack On All Americans’ - The Onion
    Chief of Naval Operations lauds return to tradition of ‘false flag’ operations - Duffelblog

Even the otherwise docile Japan is mightily pissed that the attack on a Japanese tanker during Prime Minister Abe's visit in Tehran is blamed on Iran. Its government officially demands an explanation:

    Japan demands more proof from U.S. that Iran attacked tankers

Other issues


Enviados de Guaidó se apropian de fondos para ayuda humanitaria en Colombia - PANAM Post (Spanish)

Shocking expose of Juan Guaido's envoys in Colombia, who are accused of embezzling "humanitarian aid" funds, inflating figures, fraud & threats in order to surround themselves with luxury. There are even copies of receipts.


Associates of Venezuelan coup frontman Juan Guaidó embezzled funds raised in Cúcuta, Colombia for humanitarian aid and lavishly spent it on hotels, nightclubs and expensive clothes. This is a monumental scandal! - more

Guaido's people in Colombia collected aid and money for 1,400 soldiers they claimed had come to their side. There were in fact less than 700 most of whom were not even deserters. The Colombian government paid the hotel costs for most of them. They were soon evicted because Guaido's envoys just kept the money. They spend it on whores and bad drugs. One ended up dead, another ended up hospitalized. The government of Colombia is not amused about this. It is really no wonder that the coup attempt failed.


Remember how electricity in Venezuela failed during the U.S. coup attempt? The Maduro government claimed that U.S. cyberattack caused the damage. The U.S. blamed the "incompetence" of the Maduro government and said it would never do such a thing. Except when its does:

U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid - NYT

The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.
[T]he American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.

I do not have time to pick the piece apart, but I believe that it is mostly scaremongering and psychological warfare against Russia. Endangering the electrical network of a nuclear power is an immensely stupid idea. This piece from January 2018 explains why:

Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms - NYT

A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.

Does anyone expect that Russia would react differently? President Putin offered several times to sign a binding agreement that would prohibit such cyberattacks. The U.S. under Bush and Obama rejected that. It will now have to live with the consequences.

How good are the cyberwar folks at targeting their weapons anyway?

Parts of Latin American hit by massive power outage

Buenos Aires (dpa) - Large parts of Latin America have been hit by a massive power outage, local media and an Argentinian energy company said. Argentinian energy company Edesur confirmed on Twitter that all of Argentina and Uruguay had been affected by the outage. Argentinian newspaper La Nacion reported that Brazil and Chile had also been affected, while the BBC flagged outages in Paraguay.

That also must have been caused by the "incompetence" of the Maduro government in Venezuela ...

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on June 16, 2019 at 16:56 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

So Iran discovers CIA network in there country ! And busy rolling it up !

It’l be interesting how US plays this more false flags, sanctions or threats ! Or overt action !!

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 17 2019 15:37 utc | 101

Passer-By - 96

Indeed, the situation in Eastern Europe is quite dire. At this point, the only countries of the ex-communist bloc who have higher population levels than in 1990 are Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Poland stagnates since then; Russia is slowly rising again and coming close to it. Elsewhere, it's quite bad. It's even dramatic in some places, Baltic States (mostly flight of the Russian population), Ukraine, Bosnia (civil war doesn't help obviously), Romania and Bulgaria. For the last 2, massive emigration to Western Europe hurts quite a lot.
That said, one could safely bet that most of Western Europe would stagnate, were it not for massive immigration (including the boost due to higher birth rates of early immigrants - which tend to align with the local population after a few decades). Greece, badly hit by the crisis, is losing people right now. And if you look at the real numbers, it's blatant for Germany, who's been losing people since the 1970s, if you actually look at the natural change. By the way, it's quite funny to see how Wikipedia Demographics pages are, on purpose, badly designed: unlike what any serious statistical office / atlas would do, they only give the population by year and the natural change, but never the total population change nor the migration net change - you have to do the maths by yourself to see why during some random year, when the natural change was negative by -100.000 people, Germany's total population actually grew by 150.000 year.
Still, I tend to consider a stagnating population without brain drain and without any significant immigration to be, overall and in the long run, a healthier and safer situation than both extremes.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 17 2019 15:47 utc | 102

Sasha haha :D It is the name of a recipe of sorts I posted some time ago* but no it turned out to be the link I usually provide with the name. It did cross my mind that it could be the reason but only briefly.

The link was to a communal/community voluntary donation-driven non-profit website where anyone can submit, and comment on news stories and moderate (but not censor) if one is a registered user (which is free). The site started as a protest against another similar and perhaps more famous site called Slashdot making intrusive and annoying changes to itself. It took the free and open Slashdot code and massively improved and updated it and at least initially the vast majority of the users and voluntary staff were old Slashdot users. It's not perfect but it's good and an interesting approach towards encouraging genuine debate (there's plenty of trolling of course).

Since it is very liberal (in the non-political meaning of the word) it has a tendency to run afoul of various "guardian" systems and some people probably also report it to various places purely with the aim of being aggravating and causing trouble.

However I thought that last part was a thing of the past but it seems they've managed to get back onto some "naughty list" somewhere :D

I did try to post the link using an URL shortener but that didn't work, it's no problem; I already have something different in mind for when I get around to it.

B has no blame of any kind and was very helpful (especially since I really ought to have done what he said in the first place) and shouldn't do anything concerning any of this, it's a solved non-problem and I'll stop unintentionally clogging up his spam folder :D

* essentially a "sunny fried"/runny yolk fried egg between two burger buns, something I made which I found surprisingly tasty despite it having a tendency to make a mess, one can add condiments or other ingredients as one pleases.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 17 2019 16:08 utc | 103

DT @ 87 and 88

If what you state is true than Russia and China seem extremely clever at disguising their true intentions unlike the other guys with their sanctions, embargoes , threats, colour revolutions, bombing , military bases everywhere and much more for all to see if they look.

Posted by: arby | Jun 17 2019 16:17 utc | 104

And of course an incredible amount of money and resources spent pointing eyes in the opposite direction.

Posted by: arby | Jun 17 2019 16:21 utc | 105

@ Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 17, 2019 12:08:48 PM | 102

Try 'Sunny Runny Breakfast Burrito', they can be fantastic with bacon and beans lettuce, cheese and salsa. ;-)

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 17 2019 16:33 utc | 106

"If Iran is responsible for the fuel tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman (and it may not be), it is only a reaction to Washington’s outrageous conduct in the Middle East"

Posted by: arby | Jun 17 2019 17:05 utc | 107

Global Times Editorial alludes to Unequal Treaties past in "The US trade war against [not just Chinese] human rights":

"The US seeks to overwhelm China's will, force China to accept unequal conditions, deprive China of the right to further development, and maintain its hegemony by stopping others."

Global Times is considered the unofficial mouthpiece of the PRC's CCP, particularly its editorials. The overall tone echoes the sentiments expressed in the recent White Paper on the Trade War.

Pepe Escobar's latest is somewhat cryptic. He begins:

"With the dogs of war on full alert, something extraordinary happened at the 19th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) late last week in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan."

But we are left hanging as to what was "extraordinary," thus its cryptic nature. His review of the SCO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) are cursory, with the linked TASS article tasked with explaining what happened at the latter conference.

The key focus of the SPIEF, SCO and CICA was described by Putin:

"'Unfortunately, trade wars are raging across the world, in fact, ultimate fighting is ongoing, which involves bullying and attempts to eliminate competitors through non-market methods. Today, our collective efforts to find a way out of the situation are important like never before,' Putin noted. He emphasized the need 'to restore trust and establish fair economic cooperation rules,' 'starting by protecting the social and humanitarian sector from trade and economic sanctions.'"

Clearly, Putin's statement is mirrored in the Global Times editorial. Undoubtedly, the G-20 will see a battle over the above and more, with Trump decidedly in the minority. And I certainly expect another incident to occur in the Persian Gulf region prior to the G-20, which as fate would have it will take place in Osaka.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 17 2019 17:18 utc | 108

@107 karlof1

Thanks for that link. I surmise that what was "extraordinary" to Escobar was not one particular event but the entire parade of the ascendant, multi-polar world moving forward, inking deals, sharing between departments, and the like.

He was overwhelmned by the gestalt (if I'm using that word correctly). And he was right to be overwhelmned. I'm profoundly impressed by how this new world keeps coming on. Out of all Pepe's words, the few mentions of the US position show it as hapless and trivial.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 17 2019 17:40 utc | 109

Any commenter here who continues rambling on cartoonishly with repetitive allusions to Myhthological China offering some sort of better path for mankind (thankfully we see very few examples any longer of this nonsense being applied to Putin's Russian fascism--so there is hope for scales falling from eyes) simply can't be taken seriously. Worse, they become part of the problem as they unwittingly seek to sustain the imperial grandiosity which envelops the working class world, even as it is sustained with "Chinese charatceristics".
Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 8:01:19 AM | 87

DT @ 87 and 88
If what you state is true than Russia and China seem extremely clever at disguising their true intentions unlike the other guys with their sanctions, embargoes , threats, colour revolutions, bombing , military bases everywhere and much more for all to see if they look.
Posted by: arby | Jun 17, 2019 12:17:01 PM | 103

It would seem that The West's racist looters, liars, mass-murders and vampires have left it too late to reverse the Rise Of China.

A very interesting 2019 PBS-Frontline doco was broadcast this evening by It's called Trump's Trade War. It examines the intended consequences vs the likely consequences of this US strategy.
PBS made it riveting by casting it as a battle between the Globalists and the Nationalists - the Nationalists being the folks who want to bring jobs back to AmeriKKKa.

It begins with the origins of Trump's whining about China's unfairness in trade matters and "stealing our jobs and technology" which Trump has been alarmed about since the 1980s. It then jumps to China and the Chinese definition of Progress, which means adopting economic policies based on a series of 5 year plans which has allowed China to create a prosperous Middle Class larger than the entire population of the USA.

There are two significant take-aways...
1. China decided, way back, that the benchmark for a useful level of industrialisation would be the ability to mass-produce motor vehicles, the reasoning being that motor vehicles require a large and diversified industrial engineering base. AND if you can make vehicles you can make anything which requires engineering input.

2. China realised that the 2008 sub-prime scam was proof that the US elites were so greedy, self-interested, aloof and arrogant that AmeriKKKa would never be able to catch up to China.

It's available at
or Google PBS - Trump's Trade War.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17 2019 18:38 utc | 110

The Marxist Professor of Economics, Richard D. Wolff, is interviewed in the superb RT show, Renegade Inc, to examine the malaise of the US economic system, and potential future changes:
Full Marx: Has Karl had the last laugh?

I like Wolff but sadly my time is so constrained that I can rarely sit back and enjoy his congenial wit. It's a pleasure then to see him in discussion with the show's host, Ross Ashcroft, who always runs a very tight and penetrating interview. (If this one seems at all verbose, imagine Wolff without someone like Ashcroft on the reins.)

Those who admire China's economic system will also enjoy Wolff's view.

Wolff gets around the country and speaks to people. His view on contemporary dissatisfaction in the US is worth listening to. He supplies some indication as to why the wealth-holders in the US have little clue how to stop the "train roaring straight towards the wall", as opposed to what happened in the 1930's, when the US populace had enormous organized power and essentially forced the wealth-holders to share some of the money in order to preserve the political status quo.

Wolff never dives deep into how much of the economic ignorance and mythology might be created deliberately from the top down, so it's not that kind of conspiracy-busting show this week. On the other hand, speaking as he does at the level of surface politics, culture and education, his thoughts on how this all might continue to evolve into solutions are valuable. There is some hope for systemic change. Indeed the only hope lies in systemic change.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 17 2019 19:05 utc | 111

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 17, 2019 11:47:44 AM | 102

Thanks, good comment. I will remember that nick.

So you are into demographics? Me too, among other things. Have you noticed that the last several years TFR is dropping in almost all western countries? Btw TFR in EE right now is similar to western countries overall, so it is better than in the 90s. Interesting to notice the failure of the Scandinavian model, TFR is dropping there too. Btw population started dropping in Russia again.

It is pretty clear that large spending programs to boost tfr do not work anywhere. The only thing that works appear to be religion.

What is your opinion on US TFR? Will it continue to drop into the future? The US was proud of its replacement level but this is no longer the case. Will latino TFR drop to the levels of white TFR? Do you think that the US population will reach 460 million by 2100 (the UN medium scenario)?

What do you think will happen in South Korea and Taiwan? TFR there is dropping below 1, this is almost unprecedented.

How do you see the situation in countries with median age of 52, considering that this is the future (around 2050) of countries such as Japan, Germany, Italy and Spain?

Do you think that gdp growth will keep dropping due to aging and how much do you think it will be for advanced economies in 2050? Maybe zero?

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17 2019 19:07 utc | 112

If we can do a pas de deux with the spin mistress at Foggy Bottom

blah blah blah - all sizzle no stake ( 40 yrs of behaviour)
Trump does not believe in his own Intel and now we have to believe the US intel on Iran ( or may be that's why Bibi is getting his nose brown with Trump Heights)

Posted by: Yul | Jun 17 2019 19:32 utc | 113

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17, 2019 3:07:12 PM | 112

What's TFR?
It's customary, in polite circles, to spell out the meaning of an acronym in full before using it. I assumed that Clueless Joe must have introduced the term in his #102 but, nope, he didn't use it either...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17 2019 19:59 utc | 114

VK @ 97

Well, you can accuse me of moralising I suppose but the other problem you claim for my narrative, a lack of empiricism, is blustering nonsense. I would claim you have your head buried in sand.

It is true the Chinese Communist Party does have much better control over its own fabulistic narrative and to suppress research into whatever of its internal corruptions it desires to keep secret.

But this doesn't mean there is any lack of empirical evidence...and of course you may seek to discredit the source...which is your right but that too would be a "moralistic" response, would it not, unless you can produce counter-arguments based on...empirical evidence...that these leaked reports are complete fabrications?

Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, a leaked cache of documents reveals.

The confidential files include details of a real estate company co-owned by current President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and British Virgin Islands companies set up by former Premier Wen Jiabao’s son and also by his son-in-law.

If you mean my moralising on the imperialistic, exploitative qualities of capitalist China, yes there exists ample evidence of China's imperialistic tendencies as well.

Chinese capital is also prominently involved in the fight against the small African agricultural peasantry – the seizure of community-owned agricultural land and its conversion into “vacant land” by national authorities. Fewer independent small peasants, a few more proletarians and lumpen-proletarians who can be joined by those who have suffered the destruction of their activities by the competition deployed against the small local production of other economic sectors by cheap products “Made in China”.

The South-South neoliberal superprofits realized by Chinese firms are repatriated, partially opaquely, to be re-injected into the circuits of reproduction. Some of the practices of Chinese private capital, especially in southern Africa, are no different from the French-African trafficking, [66] thus coming to resemble a “Chinafrica”.

The African partner states, despite a few skirmishes (Chad, Zambia ...), are not willing to cross this power. Quite to the contrary, the financial strength of the yuan even pushes some countries (South Africa, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, etc.) to use it already as an international currency alongside the dollar, euro, etc. An acquisition of Chinese power in Africa that some people consider soft, preferring not to look at reality...

Now, I believe just as Nanga does there are multiple generations of historical imperialism at work in Africa and around the world. This is my point too, actually. And I may allow for one being relatively more evil in practice than another simply because of timing of their stage of capitalist development. The US today is capable of the most far...but things change!

And a Marxist as you profess to be must constantly keep score of the growing imperialist threat from wherever it arises. Don't be dissuaded simply because the threat of physical violence from an idealistic teenager is not yet as powerful as that of a hardened, grown man...for soon the grown will become enfeebled with age and the idealistic teenager will become the more powerful enemy hardened by his own course of conquest...and you and we will remain the same captive from one passing the torch to the other.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 17 2019 20:15 utc | 115

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 17, 2019 3:59:19 PM | 114

Here you go - Total Fertility Rate. When you search for it, it is the first result that comes up.

Probably my personality is the "problem" here, when i encounter various terms i search for them to understand what they mean and try not to ask people. I like to do things by myself.

But i also heard you, and will try to express myself better here.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17 2019 20:30 utc | 116

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17, 2019 9:35:23 AM | 94

But surely this is counted as part of GDP per capita whatever the country does with it.

It is part of the German economic housekeeping mentality to save for bad times ...
Another part of it is NOT lowering taxes. Germany has close to zero unemployment even counting immigration and tax coffers are full.

To spend it on crumbling infrastructure and housing - as they must - will heat up the economy further. So the state pays off its debt.

Posted by: vk | Jun 17, 2019 9:59:21 AM | 97

Sorry, this is nonsense.

Definition of gross domestic product gdp

GDP is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period.

It is a pretty marxist definition. Only work counts.

So all the Scandinavian countries plus the Netherlands and Austria produce more value in goods and services per person than Germany.

What a country does within this equation - if they tax some people until they are blue in their face and subsidize others or if they run into debt to subsidize social services or have no social services at all - does not change anything.
Accumulated wealth may - but Germany does poorly on that scale - at least since reunification.

If you take accumulated wealth you get Belgium before Spain before Austria before France before Germany.

"Rich Germany" is a myth.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 17 2019 20:38 utc | 117

TFT = Total Fertility rate
Basically, how many kids on average a woman has in a given group / country / area. Above 2.1, a population with current Western technology and knowledge will grow - because we basically haven't much if any infancy mortality anymore. In ages olf, odds are that you'd have to have an average of 4, 5 or even 6 kids to actually see population growth, because many died young, others died in their teenage or young adult years for various reasons - epidemics, famine, war and other violence.
The key issue is that life expectancy and living conditions improved very fast, when humans react with far more inertia, and therefore you still have countries with 5 kids per woman, but who, despite all the suffering, hunger and diseases around, are still massively better off than they were 150 years ago, before vaccines, andtibiotics and a very productive agricultural system, so these countries will have a massive population growth, like we saw during the last century. We've seen it in the West in the 19th and early 20th century, we've seen it in China in the 20th century, we still see it across Africa and the Middle-East. For instance, Africa's population growth in the last 100 years was double what it was in Europe+America (since a lot of European growth ended up migrating across the Atlantic) during its peak growth, between 1815 and 1914.

To add a few thoughts for Passer by, UN once again released their own guesstimates, which as usual will turn out to be deadly wrong - close to 10 billion in 2050 and a peak at 11 bio in 2100, with sub-Saharan Africa doubling between 2019 and 2050 (their previous estimaets was that African population would be above 4 bio in 2100. Sure, the trends might go this way, but that's just never going to happen. To be brutally cynical, unless vast parts of America, Europe and Asia are nuked in some stupid World War III, there's just no way they will let Africa grow that much. Besides, the global environmental crisis (not just global warming, but a global resource crunch, destruction of biodiversity, drop in available freshwater, ongoing waste of topsoil and arable lands, and others) will hit way before that, before 2050 even, so I don't expect mankind to ever hit the 10 bio mark, and Africa will be badly hurt, specially considering many countries still have high population growth.
I don't think there's any way to avoid it and to avoid huge losses of life due to violent or painful ending - war, pandemics, famine, basically our 4 Horsemen of old. But it's our duty to make sure that the pain and suffering is shared across the board and doesn't just hit some areas of the world, some countries, the lower classes, but that all countries feel the common pain and that the high classes, including the 1%, pay a heavy tribute when the toll comes. Or, to put it bluntly, when hundreds of millions will die due to smallpox, plague, flu or whatever disease will come, and due to mass-murders and famine spread by the incoming chaos of resource wars and population pressure, I don't want the likes of Jeff Bezos, Koch Brothers and Bernard Arnault to die peacefully of old age in their beds - I want the heads of at least some of them on pikes.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 17 2019 20:47 utc | 118

But surely this is counted as part of GDP per capita whatever the country does with it.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 17, 2019 4:38:27 PM | 117

Well, me thinks that all those countries i mentioned will have lower gdp per capita if not for their large debts.

In the same way i see US gdp per capita as overrated, since it is based on significant deficits every year that are raising its public debt. But if the US stayed at 2008 debt levels, their per capita gdp would be far lower.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17 2019 20:48 utc | 119

This kinda confirms my hypothesis that an hybrid war in Hong Kong is not viable:

‘It depends on what the Chinese do’: US ‘unlikely to move’ on Hong Kong barring dramatic escalation over extradition bill

The only hope for an hybrid war in Hong Kong would be if the color revolution which is taking place right now there to bleed to the Mainland, thus creating a domino effect. This won't happen for one simple reason: Hong Kong is capitalist, therefore a completely different world in relation to the Mainland. Those people from, e.g. Shenzhen must be wondering about what the fuck those liberals are thinking; their cause is not the Mainland's cause (the spread of liberal democracy ideology is the primeval ingredient to trigger a color revolution).


@ Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 4:15:12 PM | 115

Socialism is the theoretical system in which a transition between capitalism and communism is taking place. It is perfectly possible for early socialism to include many elements of capitalism still.

Even assuming your sources are correct, you still have the contradictions of History, which doesn't progress in a straight line. Yes, there are many corrupt CCP officials, but empirical evidence shows that the resultant of the party is socialism: the quality of life of the Chinese people is increasing in an accelerated rythm; it is, until now, the only Third World country which managed to become a superpower (as the USA itself officially admits); poverty is almost ending in China (if you take China out, poverty has increased in the world since the 1980s).

China is socialist for many reasons. Here are some:

1) it is the official position of the government ("market socialism with Chinese characteristics");

2) the Chinese people itself considers their nation socialist;

3) the main means of production and land ownership still are of the State, therefore the people;

4) private sector (capital) does exist, but it is still not dominant;

5) many capitalist crises which would certainly destroy China if it was indeed capitalist (1980-2, 1997 and 2008) didn't do so, because the country quickly adopted some anti-cyclical policies which go beyond liberal economic theory (indirect evidence).

And about Africa: well, those African countries are capitalist, right? China is merely respecting their system -- which proves they aren't imperialist to begin with. Besides, if the Chinese indeed wanted perpetual servitude from these countries, they would go the traditional neoliberal route of investing through short-term, high interest lending; instead, they are investing directly in productive infrastructure.

Posted by: vk | Jun 17 2019 21:30 utc | 120

Robert Kennedy on GDP

"Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

from a speech at the University of Kansas on March 18, 1968

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 17 2019 21:31 utc | 121

There must be some misunderstandings about what Gross Domestic Product is, the Wikipedia page on it looks decent and is probably worth a look. Don't use it to measure things it doesn't measure (similar to how the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) doesn't actually measure how smart anyone is but only how well they did in testing with a narrow and mostly abstract scope).

To Formerly T-Bear: thanks but that sounds even more messy :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 17 2019 21:32 utc | 122

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 16, 2019 1:40:08 PM | 5

MH17 occured during Obama era

Posted by: brian | Jun 18 2019 0:20 utc | 123

Passer by @ 112:

"... It is pretty clear that large spending programs to boost [total fertility rates] do not work anywhere. The only thing that works appear to be religion ..."

Countries with the lowest total fertility rates include South Korea, Taiwan, Moldova, Portugal, Italy and Spain: a rather motley mixture with respect to religion, culture and history.

Some Muslim countries also have low total fertility rates. Iran's TFR is projected to be lower than China's in 2019.

I do not think that religion only can be used to explain TFRs across the world. In some countries, yes, it can be a factor but not necessarily in the way most people assume. It's quite possible that some Catholic countries in Europe have had very socially conservative governments dominated by Catholic politicians who have resisted subsidising middle class and working class families (through providing free healthcare and education) and as a result, over decades, the lack of social welfare support given to families has had an impact on their nations' demographics. The same could be said for Japan which for decades since the 1950s has had very socially conservative governments (thanks in part to a system co-engineered by WW2 war criminal politician Nobosuke Kishi, the grandfather of Shinzo Abe).

In the case of some African countries, especially in West Africa, genetics and diet might play a role in their TFRs: some groups in Nigeria have the world's highest rates of twinning and a diet where the staple crop is yams (high in progesterone) is thought to encourage high rates of fertility.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 18 2019 0:28 utc | 124

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 16, 2019 1:40:08 PM | 5

MH17 occured during Obama era

Posted by: brian | Jun 18 2019 0:32 utc | 125

@c1ue | Jun 17, 2019 1:53:17 AM | 76

And you assume that anything past the Strait of Hormuz wouldn't be affected even though Iran extends well past the Strait into the Indian Ocean. Seems like a ridiculous statement particularly since the goal to interdict would be to affect SA as well as UAE and Oman supply - not just Iraq and Kuwait.

Why would Iran want to block its own tankers? Oman is too trivial to matter, as Iran can give the Europeans a big heart attack by stopping non-Iranian oil from passing the Strait of Hormuz. Why would the Iranians bother with Oman? The answer is, they wouldn't.

The U.S. could try to interfere with Iranian and Omani tankers, but if the Yanks do so, that would only encourage the Iranians to prolong the shutdown of the strait and send Europe into permanent depression. I doubt the U.S. can afford to lose the Europeans.

So my conclusion stands: China might lose 21% of the oil it needs if the Iranians shut the strait.

"Only" 2.6 million barrels of oil a day would be lost if the Persia Gulf is interdicted.
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because it was getting embargoed over less than 180K barrels per day.

Japan had no domestic sources of oil. China does.
Japan was totally dependent on the oil. China is not.
Japan was small enough to strangle. China is not.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 0:46 utc | 126

@donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 8:01:19 AM | 87

Way too much nonsense in your comment for me to answer point by point. I'll just address one thing.

Chairman Xi's in-laws obscenely gathered wealth is a prime example of the so-called Buddha-faced President for Life being nothing more than a temperate-appearing, more inconspicuous member of the same Club as Trump and his in-laws.

Credible link for the so-called wealth of Xi Jinping and his family?

Please don't mention the Panama Papers, or any article that cites the fake news. The papers have been debunked as a CIA disinfo operation; see this 2016 article in Fortune: Bank Whistleblower Believes CIA Is Behind the Panama Papers Leak.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 1:38 utc | 127


With all due respect, this little blogger game you play isn't convincing in the slightest.

Just because you call the Mossack Fonseca "Fake News" doesn't make it so. Where did you learn that trick? From Donald Trump of course. Congratulations on having such a fine intellectual mentor to emulate...

If you or anyone cares to actually read and assess your own link carefully, nowhere does it state nor does the Bank Whistleblower himself assert that the information contained in the Mossack Fonseca documents is fake.

The Bank whistleblower "believes" the documents were hacked by the CIA. Ok, I will grant you the CIA was behind the leak solely to embarrass the Xi family.

Logically, this debunks nothing factual at all, except perhaps your seriousness as an honest analyst.

There is is also this in your own link: "the Panama Papers—a collection of more than 11 million confidential documents with detailed information about offshore companies. Edward Snowden himself has called it “the world’s biggest leak in the history of data journalism.”

Following your logic, then, Snowden's leaks are also "fake news" debunked because he was an NSA spook?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 2:44 utc | 128

@donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 10:44:13 PM | 128

The Bank whistleblower "believes" the documents were hacked by the CIA. Ok, I will grant you the CIA was behind the leak solely to embarrass the Xi family.
If you or anyone cares to actually read and assess your own link carefully, nowhere does it state nor does the Bank Whistleblower himself assert that the information contained in the Mossack Fonseca documents is fake.

So you either didn't read the whole article, or you didn't understand it. According to the article, Birkenfeld says "The very fact that we see all these names surface [in the Panama Papers] that are the direct quote-unquote enemies of the United States, Russia, China, Pakistan, Argentina and we don’t see one U.S. name." That in itself is extremely suspicious.

Elsewhere, the article bolsters Birkenfeld's credibility, especially when it comes to how many Americans are laundering their money: when he left the big bank UBS and blew the whistle on the tax evasion by many Americans, he was imprisoned for two years. But he was eventually proven right, as the IRS awarded him $104 million in reparations.

I would say Birkenfeld and Fortune Magazine are a hell of a lot more credible than whatever source you could find.

(As for Edward Snowden, notice that he didn't say anything about the credibility of the leaks, only that the leaks were large.)

So your attempt at using the Panama Papers to smear Xi Jinping is a dud.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 3:04 utc | 129

No Cyril I read the whole thing and once more all you offer in retort is nothing of substance. Mere internet cliches. For one thing, MF had 9 offices seeking business in China and none in the US. The US global elites have many secret tax havens to choose from including Bermuda. Delaware and Nevada.

MF simply targeted different markets worldwide for its business. Nothing sinister or suspicious there at all.

An interesting side note that is definitely sinister and suspicious...the lead journalist reporting this "fake news" story was subsequently murdered via car bomb explosion.

All in all nothing in your second comment refutes any factual basis of the PP either. Nor details any improvement in your analytical capability. But I appreciate the sincere effort.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 3:28 utc | 130

@donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 11:28:33 PM | 130

No Cyril I read the whole thing and once more all you offer in retort is nothing of substance.

OK, what credible evidence do you have to justify your smear of Xi Jinping? You started this, so you must back up what you say.

I offered Fortune Magazine and someone so credible that the IRS was forced to give him 104 million dollars in apology. You know how much the IRS loves to give money away, yet they gave him $104 million.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 4:47 utc | 131

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17, 2019 4:48:36 PM | 119

That would depend on whether the debt is used on the production of goods and services.

If for example, a country uses its debt to buy weapons that are not produced in its country that would be not part of its GDP.

Germany's debt to GDP ratio is good but countries like Turkey or Russia are much better in this.

Same for investment to GDP - that is below average for Germany but much lower for example in Britain which has a higher debt to GDP.

Germany attracts labor but that is NOT because it is rich but because of demographics and a policy that subsidizes labor to world market prize.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 18 2019 5:33 utc | 132

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 17, 2019 4:48:36 PM | 119

US debt is necessary because of low taxation. US tax is way below average.

Taxation is the main issue counting the real "richness" of a country which people actually feel - ie social services, security, free education, free quality health services, subsidized housing.
Theoretically your income is higher in the US because of low taxation but practically you have to pay whereever you go.

And yes,
Posted by: AntiSpin | Jun 17, 2019 5:31:09 PM | 121
this is a very nice quote.

Quality of life does not depend on GDP but economic security, solidarity and equality.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 18 2019 5:45 utc | 133


I already offered credible evidence in response to VK's request for empirical evidence.

I repeat for the final time, nowhere in your comments or link is the accuracy of the Panama Papers leak debunked.

It's up to you my friend to provide credible evidence that the PP are fabrications. So far you haven't come close. Nothing.

I don't fully understand why you wish to pursue a certain shopworn propaganda technique as your comments expose you as someone not only uncommitted to truth wherever it may be found but also as someone defending heinous tax free global wealth accumulation by .01%.

And using Donald Trump tactics to do so.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 12:15 utc | 134

VK @ 120

Thank you for participating in this dialogue with me. Although I don't always agree with your comments I value them for the perspective, intelligence and care with which you offer them.

We will have to agree to disagree. I agree with you that China's is a hybrid economy which retains some level of socialism. To some degree or another every modern country retains some form of socialism, including the hated US. Nazi Germany was also socialist in vaious aspects.

However, let's be very honest here. China ain't Cuba. Cuba exports physicians and medical expertise to the third world. China exports concrete and its own corporate interests into the third world. Is this an example of "enlightened self interest?" Yes. It is still capitalist and as I stated above within the life cycle of historical capitalistic development the empirical, Marxist analysis proves that things change....

China is an example of state managed capitalism. The growth in their economy has been very impressive to date. The growth has been aided (some might say created) through favourable political openings in the west, followed by globalist investment, opening of global financial markets and massive financial support from wealthy investors and corporations worldwide.

In turn, as its economy has developed China has started down this path to the extent Chinese corporations are now offshoring lower quality jobs to less developed nations ("exploiting cheap labor") and contributing mightily to earth's ongoing environmental degradation. For this I don't place blame on China because the US and West cannot seriously deny developing countries their own share of the wealth engine after destroying the environment for the past 200 years of industrial development in exchange for the easier, wasteful lives we all enjoy to some degree.

Will China forever evade the same fate that befell all other late stage capitalist economies in the west? Will they also shun the militarism inherent in defending financial empire after a certain point?

The gathering evidence of imperialism as detailed by Jean Nanga also indicates they certainly will not offer a different pattern, except for the fact the face of colonial imperialism has changed from the classical colonialism of the 19th-20th centuries.

I concede future history has yet to be written and China could turn out to be different. Again, I am not singling out China for special punishment, rather seeking to keep them in a Marxist historical perspective.

If you truly believe late stage capitalist imperialism to be a horrific develpment for humanity then China too needs to held to the same standard as they ascend to the higher stages.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 13:05 utc | 135

@donkeytale | Jun 18, 2019 8:15:25 AM | 134

I already offered credible evidence in response to VK's request for empirical evidence.

Where did you give credible evidence to justify your smear of Xi Jinping? If it's "donkeytale | Jun 17, 2019 4:15:12 PM | 115", and if the "credible evidence" is this ICIJ article, then you fail again.

I can only laugh at your attempt to cite a George Soros organization as a pillar of truth, honesty, and reliability. Soros is notorious for his lies.

How do I know that ICIJ is a Soros organization? Their website lists the Open Society Foundations as one of their funders. And the home page of the Open Society Foundations very proudly pictures George Soros as the founder.

So you fail again at smearing Xi Jinping.

I have Fortune Magazine and Birkenfeld, famous for his knowledge of real money launderers, on my side. So far, you have cited only liars. Try again.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 15:33 utc | 136

"China is an example of state managed capitalism."
Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18, 2019 9:05:06 AM | 135

Another 'accidental' distortion of the truth from MoA's resident China-basher?

China's economy is regulated by the government, not managed.
AmeriKKKa's unregulated Neoliberal economy is managed by its wealthiest greedy citizens to maximise the profit they extract from it.

Regulation sets limits on greed and dishonesty, which is the reason poverty is worsening in AmeriKKKa and being eliminated in China.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 18 2019 16:34 utc | 137

Hoarse @ 137

The great thing about this mickey mouse game of assertion without fact practiced so poorly first by Cyril and now by you is it actually leads me to study what you say to quickly realise how you both cheapen a good debate with your intellectual laziness and attempted "gotcha" vainglory.

The Chinese economy is "regulated" and not "managed" you say? OK, define those terms first in your useage and how they differ and why that matters in the context of this debate or don't waste my time. I already wasted enough with the dismal Cyril.

But thanks for the engagement. Very helpful.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18 2019 16:51 utc | 138

On Mh17
There will be huge propaganda show tommorow, wednesday as Russia will be blamed:

MH17 investigators to name the names of alleged culprits ("Russia") on shoot down of MH17, Bellingcat will on the same day release more information.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 18:04 utc | 139

Thanks Zanon | Jun 18,2019 2:04:50 PM at 139

See you have done the pooch again. Please in future when you see a line of print without spaces and it is longer than the width of the space, please for f*ck sake use the >A HREF= as provided otherwise you are going to get a reputation for sledgehammer dumb. When there are {-} between words the program can break the line as needed for width, the {-} acts like a space but when you see a{_} that acts like another invisible letter and the program cannot break the line without changing the link address to something that does not function. Your accommodation will be truly appreciated.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18 2019 19:09 utc | 140

Formerly T-Bear
The link looks just fine from my place and clicking it leads to the site? Nothing out of width here, perhaps an outdated browser at your place?

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 18 2019 19:30 utc | 141

Zanon @141

Yandex browser, same happens on older Safari.
Am losing vision and extended pages make reading very difficult.
Now page width about double normal width.
Have noticed links with { - } never cause the problem, only when a { _ } happens between words.
Thanks .

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 18 2019 19:58 utc | 142

@donkeytale | Jun 18, 2019 12:51:36 PM | 138

The great thing about this mickey mouse game of assertion without fact practiced so poorly first by Cyril and now by you is it actually leads me to study what you say to quickly realise how you both cheapen a good debate with your intellectual laziness and attempted "gotcha" vainglory.

You are as honest as the people you side with. You have not withdrawn your smear of Xi Jinping, nor have you retracted your citation of a lying Soros organization as "fact". I have certainly noticed.

I repeat: I have Fortune Magazine and Birkenfeld, famous for his knowledge of real money launderers, on my side. So far, you have cited only liars. Try again.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 18 2019 20:00 utc | 143

The Chinese economy is "regulated" and not "managed" you say? OK, define those terms first in your useage and how they differ...
Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18, 2019 12:51:36 PM | 138

I'll go one better and draw you a picture.

A driver's behaviour on the road is Regulated by a Govt Authority. It is the driver's responsibility to Manage his behaviour to avoid punishment for breaching the regulations.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19 2019 3:53 utc | 144

British hands in the on-going Yemen genocide

Posted by: Mina | Jun 19 2019 7:54 utc | 145

Meanwhile, the Euro-whores are at it again. These fucking useless traitorous scum have nothing better than to buy 200 new Boeing 737 MAX, you know, the shit that isn't fit to fly anywhere on the planet. Propping up that bloody shitty company when it can be dealt a lasting blow is treason of the highest order from people who should have in mind the safety of their passengers and the future of Euro economy.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 19 2019 8:10 utc | 146

@ Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 18, 2019 9:05:06 AM | 135

China, according to the Chinese themselves, is a "market socialist country with Chinese characteristics".

By "market socialism", the Chinese mean "the most primitive stage of socialism". If socialism is a transition system, then market socialism is the beginning of the transition, or, if you want to be cynical, the "transtion of the transition".

The Chinese know they are still a poor country and their goal is to be a "moderately prosperous society" by 2050.

By "moderately prosperous society", they mean today's Belgium living standards (that's their own definition, I'm not inventing none of this).

Land is all State-owned -- when you buy it in China, you're not buying the land per se, but a 70-year lease. This makes a huge difference, because that means you cannot inherit it. The most strategic means of production are also State-owned.

Yes, there is capital in China (capital by its scientific definition being value which self-valorizes) -- but it's not the dominant mode of sociometabolic reproduction. Capitalism is the state where capital is dominant, therefore, China is not capitalist in my opinion. Maybe there'll be a capitalist counterrevolution in China someday, but I don't have a crystal ball to see the future with absolute certainty, so I won't speculate.


About Xi Jinping:

You know how I know your accusations against him are false, and that your sources are not reliable? Because the MSM is not using them.

When the Panama Papers came out, the MSM immediately tried to accuse Putin of stashing billions of dollars because the was a Russian violoncelist on the list who's friend with a Russian oligarch who -- of course! -- must be under Putin's firm control.

If your sources were even barely credible, the Western MSM -- who did this absurd association to try to discredit Putin -- would've already been putting them on their front pages monday-to-monday.

Yes, there is corruption within the CCP -- but it recognizes it is an existential threat to the party's and China itself, and investigate and arrest, sometimes even condemning to death, the members who do it. There's even a prison complex dedicated only for the CCP's high officials condemned for corruption -- which the new members of the council are require to visit annually so they can see with their own eyes what awaits them if they betray the Chinese people.

Posted by: vk | Jun 19 2019 12:51 utc | 147

vk @147 wrote "...sometimes even condemning to death..."

And this is behind why the neolibs/cons say that China is "violating human rights". It is perfectly acceptable among western libcons to summarily execute some irrelevant plebe for selling cigarettes without a license, particularly if they are darker skinned, but even using harsh language with corrupt officials? That's a crime against the Market's Invisible Hand (hallowed be Its name)! How can capitalism gain sufficient influence to seize control if corruption has dire consequences?

Of course, the libcons also see as "human rights violations" any efforts to deprogram extremist dirtbags that the US State Department and Saudi wahhabeast madrasas are trying to shape up into fascist death squads: "Muh religious freedums!" It is amazing how these latte-sippers try to claim the moral high ground while supporting religious head chopping and institutionalized child rape. This sort of hypocritical doublethink is necessary these days for one to support empire while pretending to be a humanitarian, and results in such grotesque concepts as "humanitarian bombing".

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 19 2019 15:09 utc | 148

The Christian Colonial Cartel has convened a Planet Of The Apes style Kangaroo Kourt in The Nether Lands with the aim of pointing the finger at Russia for destruction of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 airliner shot down over Ukraine. Ukraine, entirely coincidentally, had recently been Regime-changed by Christian Colonial Cranks affiliated with War 'Hero' John McCain and other hi-profile AmeriKKKan anti-Russia political ideologues.

Curiously, Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines are far from convinced that Russia is responsible for the crime. So in the interests of opacity and Creative Myopia the CCC Kangaroo Kourt declined Russian & Malaysian requests for an invitation to participate in any non-fake Nether Lands inquiry.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19 2019 18:10 utc | 149

Molten salt 24hr solar power.

There was a pilot plant being set up in Australia at one stage. Not sure what happened to it as the Abbott government did away with alternative energy grants in favor of healthy coal.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19 2019 19:38 utc | 150

Below is the complete posting about Iran on Xinhuanet just now
TEHRAN, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Thursday downed a U.S. "spy" drone in the southern Hormozgan province, official IRNA news agency reported.

The unmanned plane, a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone, was struck down after entering Iran's airspace in the Mobarak Mountain region, the report said.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 20 2019 6:02 utc | 151

Further to...
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19, 2019 2:10:06 PM | 149
(MH 17. Nether Lands fake inquiry)

A breaking "news" bulletin on this evening announced a sensational breakthrough PROVING, once and for all, that Russia did shoot down MH 17.

The source? > BellingCat aka Bellingcrap.

I can hardly wait to hear what Integrity Initiative has to say...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20 2019 19:46 utc | 152

@ Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20, 2019 3:46:29 PM | 152

Probably Integrity Initiative will let slip the missing Skripals are in witness protection in Phoenix where nobody knows their neighbours as it's too hot to go outside (my WAG).

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 20 2019 21:19 utc | 153

US to get its rare earth minerals from Canada.
"China supplied 80% of the rare earths imported by the United States from 2014 to 2017.
Trump and Trudeau “instructed officials to develop a joint action plan on critical minerals collaboration,” the White House statement said."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 1:49 utc | 154

Abbot and Bishop are two among many that would be facing a court over MH17 if there were any sort of honest investigation. I see some of the victims families are going along with this official investigation bullshit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 1:54 utc | 155

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