Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 04, 2019

Open Thread 2019-37

News & views ...

Posted by b on July 4, 2019 at 15:41 UTC | Permalink

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Both a majority of the US public and the British public opposed using military force in Iraq. Foreign policy is run by the executive branch in the US who appoints senior officials and many underlings at State, Homeland Security CIA, NSC, FBI, and controls military policy. Congressional oversight is neutered by symapthetic gate keepers in key defense and security committees who control access to the limited information they are provided, and congress has refused to exercise authority through the War Powers act. The public be damned, f*ck t he EU, etc, etc. No true anti establishment candidate can pass the gate keeper's test and raise sufficient funds to run a viable campaign. It is also probable that blackmail is widely used to control potential opposition as banking, phone, medical, and internet records are available to the security agencies.

The British PM is 'selected' by party insiders and foreign and defense policy is similarly controlled. France selected an unknown banker who married his school teacher as president. Top EU officials are all selected by insiders. Democracy in action.

Most citizens are necessarily focused on bread and butter issues. More the case the less wealthy they are. The progressive impoverishment of the middle class serves to ensure that foreign policy never, or rarely, comes under critical scrutiny. The abolition of the draft also helped disconect the general population from the consequences of state foreign policy decisions.

My 2c

Posted by: the pessimist | Jul 5 2019 18:50 utc | 201

Gruff - one more and I'll let it rest....

In his current post b is presenting a "Real Clear Politics vetted narrative" by your definition. RCP as a news and polling aggregator is about as mainstream media as you can get. Co-founded by a Chicago Commodities Board Options Trader and an Advertising Account Executive, at least one of whom is a conservative Republican. Not sure about the other. But the site presents a mix of mainstream conservative and liberal opinions and is generally rated middle of the road over all.

I hope you are consistent enough in your logical reasoning to ignore that thread and then call out b as a troll for presenting a "mainstream media vetted narrative".

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 5 2019 18:54 utc | 202

@ AC 197
citizens aren't responsible for their chosen government's atrocities...

The military has a saying “with authority comes responsibility” which means that a colonel, say, with authority over a unit or base is responsible for what happens in that unit or on that base.

The opposite is also true. If the citizens don't have any authority to affect affairs, for example there is never a referendum taken on what they want, then they can't be responsible for what transpires. What US citizen is ever able to provide input to his/her representative in a structured way on important matters: health care, overseas military bases & adventures, taxation, etc.? . .None. It could all be done using modern communication methods but it isn't.

That lack is not democratic, so calling the US a democracy is feeding the lie. It isn't. And if it isn't, if citizens have no authority, then they have no responsibility.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 18:57 utc | 203

I see a lot of groaning about properly formatting hyperlinks, and of course I assume it means that some people here cannot see them properly unless they are embedded in a shortened HTML tag. I have zero problems seeing any links - some are just longer than others. I have used Chrome (ditched it), Firefox and other browsers on my phone and my laptop and never have any issues seeing links, nor do long http://www....... links cause any other page view issues.

So what's all the fuss about? Are we supposed to be taking great pains to ensure that those readers using some kind of special tablet computer can see everything perfectly? What am I missing here that hasn't manifested on literally a single device from which I have viewed MoA over the past year or so?

Posted by: Casey | Jul 5 2019 19:06 utc | 204

@O #80
The same reason why "natural" and "organic" food advocates ignore the 12,000 or so years in which everything we eat has been genetically engineered - just not with recombinant DNA techniques.
As an example - which perhaps you already know, but I did not until a few years ago:
cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts are extremely closely related. Brussel sprouts and cabbage are actually the same species, even. These all share as few as 3 common ancestors.
Rutabagas, in turn, are a 17th century Scandinavian crossbreed of cabbages and turnips - so it is literally an "artificial" species.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 5 2019 19:17 utc | 205

Long links HAVE caused page view issues. Links aren't difficult, just do it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 19:18 utc | 206

@Bemildred #84
I can't say that I agree. It is absolutely possible that Merkel and Macron allowed this to go forward - particularly Macron as he is an Atlanticist finger puppet, the French Obama.
On the other hand, the UK pretending to represent EU opinion on behalf of US interests would not be received well at all. Note that there were no Spanish, German, French or other actual EU (i.e. not EU Exit-proximate) forces involved.

Personally, given that the EU has only reluctantly agreed to Iran sanctions and has not been enthusiastically supported US withdrawal from JCPOA or ongoing tensions in the Persian Gulf - I doubt that the EU leadership would be happy with headlines like "EU seizes Syrian/Iranian sanctions busting tanker".

And as I noted, Spain definitely isn't happy either. Gibraltar as owned by the UK is a very touchy subject for Spain, and the seizure of international shipping in Spanish waters by Brits is a not a recipe for happy UK/Spain relations - with or without Brexit.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 5 2019 19:22 utc | 207

@ William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 13:43 utc | 156

"In short, yes, today's idea of economics is very much a religion in the West, with the god being mammon."

Methinks there is a confounding of dieties going on here. Everyone speaks of Miss Mammon as the motive power of greed when even Charles Dickens' Oliver of Oliver Twist identifies the real culprit when Oliver says "Please Sir [notice the form of Sire], can I have some MOAR". No messing with Mammsy, spoken directly to the real power - the deity MOAR itself.

Just thought to point the misapprehension out - no charge.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 5 2019 19:27 utc | 208

donkeytale @201

Yes, RealClear Investigations published an informative article by Aaron Maté. And The Intercept, founded by neoliberal color revolution backer Pierre Omidyar, publishes informative articles by the moderately anti-establishment Glenn Greenwald. These are not really corporate mass media organizations and are more like personal hobbies for some oligarchs, but controlled opposition media needs to publish somewhat legit stuff on occasion in order to maintain the appearance of opposition, and outfits that profess to air "all sides" must likewise occasionally publish stuff like what Aaron Maté writes.

That said, I never mentioned mainstream media in the first place. I spoke of corporate mass media. Being "middle of the road" does not confer legitimacy. In the case of RCP it just means that they publish lots of imperialist propaganda tailored for varying demographics, and they occasionally let slip things like the Aaron Maté piece.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 19:31 utc | 209

Chu Teh @ 175

And I see it's available for free online. Will give it a whirl...thanks!

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 5 2019 19:33 utc | 210

@O #85
Economics as dogma and religion is the outcome. The reason for this outcome is very much deliberate.
Once again, Dr. Michael Hudson has showed that economics in the era of John Stuart Mills, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, Adam Smith etc was progressive - the leading practitioners were forging the field in order to understand and show how aristocratic ownership of assets - primarily land - was holding back economic development. Not just for the lower classes, but by extension for the entire society.
This explosion in thought - including the concepts of rentiers and unearned income - led to global governmental movements of reform for self-interest sake (i.e. not to get left behind and be too poor to defend selves or seize more resources).
The roots of modern neoliberalism, efficient market theory, U of Chicago nonsense is directly traceable to John Bates Clark - who propounded that there is no such thing as unearned income, with a significant helping by von Mises and Hayek - who are the monopolist's best friends (no or low government = no check on monopolists).

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 5 2019 19:41 utc | 211

c1ue @206: I see I was not clear, I think we pretty much agree. The thing that struck me about this "seizure" when it happened is how it contradicts/thwarts all the claims made to want to save the JCPOA. I think Iran will see it that way, although the idea suggested above that they might have suckered the Brits into doing it is intriguing. Spain has already said they will lodge a protest IIRC.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 5 2019 19:41 utc | 212

Joe Biden goes full Republican and pushes himself further away from attaining D-Party nomination. The sooner Biden drops-out the better for everyone except the Current Oligarchy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 5 2019 19:44 utc | 213

@Bemildred #211
From what I've seen, the tanker is Iranian owned or controlled.
That it is breaking sanctions seems likely, so that's not the issue.
The issue is enforcement. While the tanker wasn't going to unload in the EU, the use of "EU" enforcement capabilities to interdict a tanker going to a non-EU 3rd party - that's not a minor thing.
It is one thing to not directly buy oil from Iran, it is a clear escalation to prevent Iranian oil from going anywhere else.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 5 2019 19:45 utc | 214

@202 Yes but people know, or should know, where their candidate stands on things like health care, overseas military bases & adventures, taxation, etc. so they take on some responsibility when they vote.

Posted by: dh | Jul 5 2019 19:49 utc | 215

It sounds to me, re the tanker, that it was to degree opportunistic. The US obviously tracked the tanker on its course right round Africa. They knew in advance, as the British 42 Marine Commando was sent from Britain to do the job, something which required advance notice. How they actually played the game, to get the tanker into Gibraltar waters seems to me unclear, if that is what happened.

I'm not sure that most tankers for Syria go that way. It was too big for the Suez canal. Is that normal action? Do other tankers do that?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 5 2019 19:51 utc | 216

donkeytale @195 sez: "Here's the problem with your becomes whatever you want it to mean."

No, it means exactly what it appears to mean. Trump and Escobar are individuals who offer personal commentary. The Washington Bezos Post is an organization employing hundreds of people to authenticate what they publish and verify that it conforms to a particular narrative. If it were not known that they are in the business of publishing #FakeNews then that narrative should be afforded more authority. That is the whole ideal behind professional journalism. Large professional journalistic organizations should not be regularly in the habit of being put to shame by individual bloggers working out of their kitchens.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 19:57 utc | 217

Formerly T-Bear @207 sez: "Everyone speaks of Miss Mammon as the motive power of greed...

I'm not really big on the religious interpretations. I just use that phrase to suggest a primary focus on profitability and success in "The Market™" (hallowed be Its name).

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 20:03 utc | 218

For those of you who are interested in the EU sanctions list…

It’s not exactly behind a paywall, and by that I mean that you don’t have to pay any money at all for access. But you’d have to go through a tiresome and pointless registration process to get the list. Typical EU style, complicated and convoluted for no apparent reason.

Anyway, feel free to use my token to get it, just copy the following link into your browser and you’ll get it as a pdf:
(They also offer CSV and XML formats – if you want those just send me an e-mail, it’s a different link!)

This latest version of the list was released just today. I took the opportunity and searched it for the Baniyas (or Banyas/Banias) Refinery, the supposed destination of the Iranian tanker captured yesterday. Baniyas is in fact on the list, and has been since 2014. They cite EU Council Regulation 792/2014 as the “legal basis”. Not a project of the EU Parliament or the EU Commission, but the Council. Just like a royal decree back in the olden times, no say for anybody. Their reason for sanctioning Baniyas Refinery is as meager as you’d have to expect:

“Subsidiary of the General Corporation for Refining and Distribution of Petroleum Products (GCRDPP), a section of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. As such it provides financial support to the Syrian regime.”

Seriously, this is how it’s done! Two incomplete sentences and the energy supply of a whole country is put in jeopardy. No biggy.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jul 5 2019 20:16 utc | 219

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jul 5 2019 20:16 utc | 218

It's not really an issue of what the EU thinks; that's a US fake to blame them, for what them US is doing.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 5 2019 20:28 utc | 220

@Don Bacon

I get that Americans are brainwashed. I realize that they are the most thoroughly propagandized and brainwashed people on the entire planet. Their minds are so heavily laundered that they are frayed and ragged like an old pair of jeans by the time most Americans hit middle school. The technology employed to turn Americans into meat robots is beyond anything humanity has ever dealt with before.

Here's the problem: If Americans really are helpless in the face of this assault on their volition, then they are not really human anymore, are they? They actually are just meat robots following a program engraved in their minds from infancy. That's basically what you have to believe if you want to absolve the American people of responsibility for the crimes their empire commits in their names. Is that so much better than suggesting that they might have the ability to do the right thing but just haven't worked themselves up to it yet?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 20:30 utc | 221

Joe Biden goes full Republican . .you mean he wasn't?
When Biden was Senate Foreign Relations chairman in 2002 he made sure that Bush's impending war got fully supported in the hearings. No dissidents need apply. Later, when Bush negotiated the Iraq troop pullout Biden was as quiet as a mouse. No advice and consent for him! That came back to bite him when Obama got blamed for the pullout. That's justice.
And while Trump got four student deferments and a medical deferment during Vietnam, Biden got five students and a medical. He beat Trump on that one!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 20:33 utc | 222

@ WG 220
You must be referring to someone else. I never said Americans are brainwashed. I referred to authority and responsibility in my 202.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 20:36 utc | 223

c1ue @213: Well yeah, it's an act of war, generally speaking, sufficient cause. I understand Iran has claimed the cargo.

laguerre @215: Yeah, it's too big for Suez is the reason given for going around Africa.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 5 2019 20:37 utc | 224

In Iran the government has little choice but to counter-attack the UK. The hardliners demand it, just as they would in the US if a US ship were seized somewhere. Except the US lacks imagination and would revert to bombs, whereas I expect Iran to do something a bit more clever.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 20:46 utc | 225

Don Bacon @222

I thought that was what you were referring to in: "Every local meeting in our town, or most every one, starts off with the Pledge of Allegiance to that striped cloth. Actually for most it started in elementary school."

This is in fact part of the brainwashing process, as is the conditioning them to be identity-obsessed navel-gazers who don't care who is being murdered on any given day with their tax dollars and where those people may live.

Just because Americans don't want to think who they are killing on any given day is important doesn't mean that it is not important, but I am willing to cut them a tiny bit of slack because of that Pledge of Allegiance and daily war propaganda stuff.

But as Caitlin Johnstone points out, if the American people really were incapable of influencing their empire's policy, why does the imperial establishment put so much effort into building public buy-in for their wars? What are the points to false flags if it doesn't matter what the public thinks anyway?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 20:51 utc | 226

re: Suez Canal
A ship the size of the Grace 1, known as a Very Large Crude Carrier, or VLCC, can’t pass through the canal fully loaded. VLCCs have the option of transiting the canal by discharging half their cargo, sending the oil through the Sumed Pipeline, and pick it up again in the Mediterranean, but the pipeline’s owners have refused to accept Iranian crude since 2012.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 20:56 utc | 227

@laguerre and @218 Scotch Bingeington... thanks both for your informative posts... it was a bit of slogging, but i am glad i got to see what you both had to say..

making something legal in order to put further pressure on syria is another form of regime change.. the usa only knows one tactic - bullying.. and unfortunately europe is unwilling or unable to acknowledge it for what it is... a day or reckoning is coming... it can't happen soon enough.. this shit has to stop...

Posted by: james | Jul 5 2019 21:04 utc | 228

donkeytale @158 ...

... shows us how the "Putin is a Zionist!" propaganda narrative is constructed.

The Haaretz article he links to is from September 2018 and concerns an nonevent that occurred 6 months before: the Russia chief Rabbi's joining a large Russian delegation to Iran.

You see, the rabbi wasn't one of a few people accompanying Putin, he was:

> one part of a large delegation'

> which was "headed by the chairman of Russia's State Duma"; and

> the rabbi's only role was to visit Jewish communities; plus,

> the reporting is based on anonymous sources.

Wasn't it logical for Putin to use his influence in an attempt to reduce tension between Israel and Iran? The rabbi's participation otherwise had no bearing on the Russian-Iranian talks.

Furthermore, the only sources I find online that were interested in covering this nonevent are Jewish/Israeli-linked. Because hasbara will use any info they can to tout that "Putin is a Zionist!".

Thanks donkey for showing us how it's done.

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

Other sources consulted:

Times of Israel

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 5 2019 21:12 utc | 229

@ WG
Sadly, dodging personal responsibility has long been fashionable in America
I didn't know that.
What's your evidence?

Posted by: Don Bacon

Evidence: how many US residents and citizens publically protest or resist the mayhem which the US Government visits on the populations "over there"?

Where is the outrage being expressed when the absolute evil of starving populations wholesale inorder to goad them into overthrowing their own governments is applied (sanctions and blockades physical and economic) by the US? There are countless other clear and unequivocal not to mention more directly violent examples of acts by the US wherein there is a failure on the part of Americans in general to accept responsibility for what their government does with their acquiesce and tax dollars.

Posted by: once bit twice shy | Jul 5 2019 21:18 utc | 230

@ c1ue | Jul 5 2019 19:41 utc | 210

As you indicated, historical political economics has a long and well documented trace of development through the writings of Adam Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, James and John Stewart Mill, Jevons, Marshall and John Maynard Keynes that produced MMT analysis as result of Keynesian analytic work. Appearing, sui generis, without president at the Chicago School of Economic Phrenology, built on the pseudo-economic opinions of Mises, Hayek, Milton Friedman Leo Strauss under the sponsorship of Dr David Rockefeller (economics mid 1930's) to produce the neoliberal economic catechism taught universally as MBA econ 101. There Is No Alternative, anymore but the vocabulary still rules all economic thought. Not bad for something that did not exist during World War II.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 5 2019 21:20 utc | 231

Laguerre @ 215, Bemildred @ 223:

It seems that according to a Syrian military source who spoke to a Lebanese newspaper in April 2019, the transit authority monitoring Suez Canal traffic (and who has the right to enter the Suez Canal and who doesn't) answers to a higher power than the Egyptian government.

Syria says Iranian oil tankers blocked at Suez Canal if shipment is destined for Syrian port

That's likely the main reason that the Iranian oil tanker took the scenic route.

Going slightly off-topic, there is another reason that could have applied: in times when oil prices are low and oil-guzzling countries have put their populations on austerity programs so that results in demand for commodities and exports being low, global trade contracts and a lot of maritime shipping companies have excess shipping capacity, are looking for work and want to keep running costs down, going around Africa instead of through the Suez Canal can save money even when you factor in the extra fuel and wage costs involved in an extra 20+ days' sailing.

Another issue is whether the Iranian oil tanker would have been able to travel through Yemeni and Djibouti maritime territory to enter the Red Sea at its south point in the first place when those waters are being patrolled by the Saudis and the US. The US has a military base in Djibouti.

The oil tanker being too big for the Suez Canal seems like a too-easy excuse designed to throw off inquisitive inquirers.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 5 2019 21:21 utc | 232

@ WG 225
why does the imperial establishment put so much effort into building public buy-in for their wars?
It's not much effort when there are so many people profiting from wars.
It's like what the pediatrician said when someone asked him how he liked his job:
"It's great, I've got so many guys working for me!"
So the State Dept puts out an email every so often with the buzz words, like "increasing Iran tensions," to the six corporations responsible for ninety percent of the media, and with a little help from the profiteers in government, in corporations and in the military it's easy sailing. As Bush said, we'll send the troops to Iraq and you go shopping at the mall.

Any journalist that doesn't toe the line becomes an ex-journalist.
For more info check out Norman Solomon's book “War Made Easy, How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us To Death”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 21:33 utc | 233

Here's an article which might interest computer people...Hacker Heaven: Huawei’s Hidden Back Doors Found

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 21:41 utc | 234

Jen @231: Good points. I read somewhere that the true destination was not Syria, which is already backed up at that refinery, because its pipelines there were sabotaged and there is a tanker waiting. I like Beeley's idea that its Hunt waving his "big dick" around, a chump if I ever saw one. And Boris said today it's very important to support JCPOA, but then goes on about Iran's need to comply, even as they sit on their pirated oil. So I take it the UK/France/Germany are all in with US' on this, which beggars description, "confused" doesn't cover it. Like Trudeau's self-sabotage over China. But maybe that's the point. They want Iran to strike back, justify all their accusations.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 5 2019 21:53 utc | 235

re: citizens' responsibility

In fact Don Bacon acknowledges our diagnosis @192:

But in the US because the government is a world hegemon the citizens are supposed to be concerned with events in. . .Afghanistan? No, they're not, and I don't blame them. We shouldn't HAVE to be concerned with a poor tribal mountainous country on the other side of the planet. That's BS.

But shockingly he doesn't see anything wrong with that. So by constantly not voting for the good people (Nader, Gravel, Stein…) you make evil ones your presidents and don't give a damn about their atrocities all over the world.

Posted by: Acar Burak | Jul 5 2019 21:55 utc | 236

The conversation about trolls was interesting.

Trolls at MoA and elsewhere would like you to believe their:

Not propaganda! propaganda

They pretend that what they say is not propaganda - it's just another point of view - and alt-media readers are hypocrites if we don't let them express it freely; despite the fact that:

> their views are readily available in Mainstream Media (MSM), and

> troll reasoning often relies on cognitive biases and rhetorical tricks to make those mainstream views appear plausible/palatable.

If challenged, they will often retreat to legalisms like demanding a definition of trolling or attack the blog itself as 'group think'.

Many will pretend to be socialists (in particular) so readers will let down their guard. But it soon becomes clear that their chief interest is in guiding the conversation toward support for establishment objectives like distrust/hate for leaders of countries/movements that challenge establishment interests.

Free speech! propaganda

Trolls are the loudest voices defending "free speech" on alt-media but they rarely denounce MSM and/or establishment restrictions on free speech or other MSM manipulations. Stark example: they never show any concern for the free speech rights of BDS.

When trolls are denounced for knowingly pushing propaganda narratives and disinformation they will often play the victim to recruit others to support their "free speech". If that results in a destroyed threat, they don't care: they know most readers will avoid the 'mess' so they can start over a few days later.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 5 2019 22:22 utc | 237

Jeremy Hunt, Britain's secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, called the capture a "bold move to enforce Syria sanctions. Their swift action has denied valuable resources to Asad's murderous regime," he said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

That's good, way out on that limb, opens the door (mixed metaphor) for an Iran "bold move" to force release of their oil, and deny valuable resources to stuffed-shirt pirates. They can't legally keep a huge ship full of oil because they believe it was headed for a sanctioned refinery.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 22:26 utc | 238

@235 'But shockingly he doesn't see anything wrong with that."

I think you have misunderstood DB. The way I read it he is saying the US has no business in Afghanistan.

Posted by: dh | Jul 5 2019 22:31 utc | 239

Words are the enemy, too many fungible meanings attached; democracy is a fine example, just think how and where that word shows up; the country is a; the government is a; the state is a; the people are a; etc., etc., etc. All totally wrong. Try placing republic in almost every example and the chance of being correct improves immeasurably. Universal suffrage is not democracy, never was, not likely to be either. A democracy requires involved citizens; the Venetian Republic the citizens were merchants for example, other republics had other citizenship requirements reflecting their histories but those citizens were involved in ruling their political state or city. The one thing that must be obvious is the massive increase in population of the U.S. since the 1940's - some doubling plus since then. Very few have accumulated much of an economic stake in the country, nor are they likely to do so. It should be noticeable that those having sufficient economic wherewithal to become educated have dwindled in relation to the population. It is from this class that the elite are drawn (barring charlatans, brigands and chancers); the New Deal was so populated, many from academia and the professions and that did not serve the country so poorly but that exercise will not be happening again, those conditions are gone forever as are the resources then available and the leadership - isn't what it once was. Interesting times - will need strong glue to hold the hegemon together. Not going to get it out of an oil well.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 5 2019 22:35 utc | 240

@AB 235

(I'm not American, I don't vote)

When people vote they lend credence to the system.

You know many governments are formed with only a minority of the eligible voter base.

If you vote you don't ever know what anyone will do (in your name) or if voting for them will make any difference.

If you don't pay taxes you get jailed, there is acquiescence for you.

So you are just not going to say that American citizens are responsible as a whole, because you would be wrong to round them into a single camp like that. It is known that governments and bureaucracies around the world are less and less answerable. Hitting on "the population as a whole" via people like Don Bacon who are open enough to discuss, is not going to help resolve this reality. But you might listen to him, because what he IS doing is explaining to people how the system is. He is telling you the honest sentiments of many people also - they don't want to know. Why? Because they probably rejected the idea of a war, they did not want to know about it (It's a phrase in English meaning definitely NO).

You can't expect other people to go and fight a government for you, even if it is "theirs", and by blaming them for that government you won't get their sympathies, at all.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 5 2019 22:36 utc | 241

According to the Gibraltar Constitution, the UK is fully responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations. Therefore it seems odd that the tiny Gibraltar government has involved itself in this theft of a huge Iran tanker ship using a UK military force, on speculative grounds, and then informed the EU of what happened and why. . .All the more reason for Iran to strike back!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 5 2019 23:24 utc | 242

dh @238 sez: "I think you have misunderstood DB. The way I read it he is saying the US has no business in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately it is you who have misunderstood. Don Bacon is claiming that Americans are not responsible for what America has done to Afghanistan. Moreover, he is claiming that Americans have the right to not concerned themselves with what America has done and is doing in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

That is a problematic perspective.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 5 2019 23:25 utc | 243

@242 "Regarding foreign policy, how many people in the world consider it important, worth thinking about. Mostly people are rightly concerned with their family first, also their occupation and their community. But in the US because the government is a world hegemon the citizens are supposed to be concerned with events in. . .Afghanistan? No, they're not, and I don't blame them. We shouldn't HAVE to be concerned with a poor tribal mountainous country on the other side of the planet. That's BS."

That is DB's original post @192. I'll admit it leaves room for interpretation. Perhaps some clarification from DB himself would help.

Posted by: dh | Jul 6 2019 0:00 utc | 244

re the debate between William Gruff and Don Bacon. I submit that gruff wins with his post at 225.

Bacon might like to delude himself that his individual efforts make no difference, but it only lets him off the hook if every other US citizen tales the same view. If they act together to oppose their government in sufficient numbers then they can effectively become the government and impose their will. Isn't THAT what the American Revolution was all about?

In the final analysis it comes down to a question of individual morality, and the sum of a nations individual moralities make up the national character.

Posted by: eagle eye | Jul 6 2019 0:08 utc | 245

re: the Gibraltar tanker seizure, it seems pretty clear application of US State Department mafia lawyer logic.
the whole episode seems premised on some vague prediction of what might happen in the future if it sails to Syria.
Assuming the tanker decided to sail into Gibraltar under it's own captain's free will, deciding not to refuel it
seems the normal legitimate scope of any theoretical "sanctions" stance, not seizing it and preventing it's transit,
if Gibraltarians think it is "illegal" for that ship to dock, they should have directed it not to enter their port.
But who knows, with Hard Brexit looking likelier by the day, Gibraltarians may soon experience siege first hand again.

Posted by: jaish | Jul 6 2019 0:18 utc | 246

dh @243

I was thinking more about his post @160: "What pushes me over the edge is not labeling me but labeling the American people as stupid and responsible for US mistakes, which is why I quit this barroom for a while."

The fact that he considers murdering millions of people an "Oops! My bad!" mistake raised my eyebrows a bit. As if napalming Laos and Cambodia was some sort of accident.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 6 2019 0:22 utc | 247

It seems to me that France has joined NATO in order to fulfil
its neo-colonial endeavour. De Gaulle opted out, but others
French Presidents reenlisted.

Picture a Lion (US) accompanied by lesser predators, UK (wolf),
France (dogue de Bordeaux) and others using their NATO membership
to reassert their hegemony on southern nations and populations.

In other words here are NATO members bent on reconquering their
former colonies

For example, France wanted Gaddafi out and agitated NATO to bring
Libya down. Nato obliged!They are militarily all over french speaking
Africa, and they want their Syria Protectorate back. So they conspire
and act against Bashar to get a french puppet in power.

Members of NATO are neo-colonialist powers that abuse others via
their military alliances.

If Roosevelt wanted the established empires to collapse, he achieved
his dream only momentarily.

IMF, NATO, BM, SWIFT, and all are colonial tools of the Western Predators.

Posted by: CarlD | Jul 6 2019 0:28 utc | 248

CarlD @246

Not bad, but I would add that the lion is mangy and crippled and has a worm in its skull (Israel?) eating its brains out. Dangerous to be certain, but functioning on borrowed time.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 6 2019 0:34 utc | 249

@Formerly T-Bear #230
John Bates Clark was the first - he started the counter-reformation in economics in the 1920s. Yes, Rockefeller et al were all involved, but this is one of the actual cases of "conspiracy" in the sense that there was a clear agenda and well documented interaction among the principals.
What is really sad is that Simon Patten - the founder of the Wharton school of business - was much more a progressive economist (although not entirely "socialist").
The drowning out of progressive and/or meaningful economic analysis is now a nearly century old effort, the most recent flagbearer being Krugman...
As for MMT: MMT is a very specific, macroeconomic viewpoint. Progressive economics from the founding of the United States (i.e. Alexander Hamilton's economic development policies) up until the Great Depression was focused on bringing government, private capital and sovereign goals together into a national economic policy aimed at growing production capabilties and/or reducing internal costs.
As you noted, MMT primarily concerns itself with fighting TINA - but most of the MMTers have done very little to address how money should be spent and why.
Dr. Hudson, on the other hand, has put forward many examples on how money flows as changed by policy can be used to reduce overall cost and increase cost/benefit ratios.
For example: the building of a new subway or train station in an urban area has a very well documented positive impact on both residential and commercial property prices, because the public transport decreases transportation costs to/from that area and benefits economic flows due to the greatly lowered transport costs for residents and visitors. Why not tax back some portion of the increased property value?
The oligarchical play, in this case, is to push the creation of the station but to keep all the resulting asset price increase.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 6 2019 0:39 utc | 250

@gzon 240

When people vote they lend credence to the system.

I know that argument since I was 17 or something. It's wrong, at least in this context. What I say is very very simple:

The citizens could vote for the good people (Nader etc.) who might have at least a chance to prevent some (many) atrocities (before getting murdered), but they constantly let the evil ones to take control either by voting for them or not "bothering" to vote for the good ones.

You know many governments are formed with only a minority of the eligible voter base.

That's what I say people do not bother to vote for the good people.

If you vote you don't ever know what anyone will do (in your name) or if voting for them will make any difference.

Wrong. We know what someone like Nader would do.

So you are just not going to say that American citizens are responsible as a whole…

I haven't (I'm not idiot), you've just missed my first post, not all the people, but many of them.

But you might listen to him, because what he IS doing is explaining to people how the system is. He is telling you the honest sentiments of many people also - they don't want to know.

He doesn't explain anything new, he's actually confirming what we say. Yes, they don't want to know and that's why we blame those people, but he doesn't. He's one of them, shockingly.

You can't expect other people to go and fight a government for you, even if it is "theirs", and by blaming them for that government you won't get their sympathies, at all.

Not true. I haven't expected other people to go and fight a goverment for me. I expect them to vote for the good people, that's all. And that's not for me, for those millions who have been slaughtered and suffering (including US citizents). And I certainly haven't asked for and don't need anyone's sympathies. What an absurdity.

Posted by: Acar Burak | Jul 6 2019 0:44 utc | 251

Seems the information provided by the Open Preview of this book's Preface and Introduction will add to folks understanding Bacon and his understanding others. What Alperovitz illustrates comes with my craft but is generally not well known by the general public, particularly on controversial topics on which the public's been heavily propagandized, as with the current Russiagate hoax that's still accepted as THE Holy Grail by so many despite the extraordinary proof required that Mate shows it so woefully lacks.

So, brew some tea, crack a beer, mix a cocktail, make a latte, settle into your chair for @ an hour and read. I guarantee you'll learn at least a few things and add them to your critical thinking tool box.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 6 2019 0:49 utc | 252

@AB 249

The difference is you believe a system can be changed, where I see it being upheld in close to existing form. There is no argument, it is individual perspective. I don't hold it against anyone for trying to improve a system , the opposite . Personally I prefer to reduce it, which is also why I live very much outside of it. You see, when people lose faith in humanity, it runs very deep, much deeper than a vote, and they just turn away to where life makes sense, and deal with the rest from the sidelines.

"And I certainly haven't asked for and don't need anyone's sympathies. What an absurdity."

You are asking for sympathy of vote, something I don't do.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 6 2019 1:30 utc | 253

typo @236:

threat => thread

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 6 2019 1:34 utc | 254

@gzon 251

The difference is you believe a system can be changed, where I see it being upheld in close to existing form. There is no argument, it is individual perspective. I don't hold it against anyone for trying to improve a system , the opposite . Personally I prefer to reduce it, which is also why I live very much outside of it. You see, when people lose faith in humanity, it runs very deep, much deeper than a vote, and they just turn away to where life makes sense, and deal with the rest from the sidelines.

I completely sympathize with you here. I too (try to) live very much outside of it. I'm probably more radical than you. You've only lost faith in humanity! What about animals? The whole life is a cycle of suffering. Yet these are beside the point in this discussion.

Evil will always win, as good cannot organise; when it can, it transforms into evil. Yet again the least we can do is to support the good, at least to help reduce suffering as much as we can.

Posted by: Acar Burak | Jul 6 2019 1:48 utc | 255

Thierry Meyssan has started publishing Right Before Our Eyes in episodes on Voltaire Net; definitely worth tuning in for

Posted by: robjira | Jul 6 2019 2:03 utc | 256

So riddle me this: Drone shot down over Iran, throwing up US plans for a big July 4th war rally, Russia has a submarine accident, and now there is this social media craze about some water bottle challenge. I am seeing too much into this or is it another Wag the Dog episode like the ALS water bucket challenge after MH17?

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 6 2019 2:22 utc | 257

donkey 162
'you must first show that everything printed all the time in the MSM is always a lie and everything printed all the time in your favoured handful of alt media "fora" is always the truth.'

donkey dung!

All accusations are subject to verification, Doubly so for the serial lying MSM .

When we say 'yikes, the Guardian, enuff said !', that doesnt means its necessarily
false, we'r simply daying...
'Show us the evidence or fuck off'

Posted by: denk | Jul 6 2019 3:49 utc | 258

I am LOVING the story about the Brits hijacking an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. They're certainly no strangers to theft, piracy and self-deception. This incident neatly encapsulates what it means to be British. The Monty Python crew nailed it in the late 1960s in their Upper Class Twit sketch. And David Bowie fine-tuned it when he sang "We could be heroes, just for one day."

That's the essence of the British Soul. Even the Cockney Workin' Class harbour delusions of grandeur and rarely decline an invitation from the Upper Class Twits to participate in some creative OverLord-ism in exchange for table scraps.

Unfortunately, contradictions between the (Terribly) British Class System, the Upstairs-Downstairs syndrome, and Delusions of Grandeur can combine, awkwardly, to create much unintended Mirth & Merriment for casual observers. The tanker hijack provides a window into these contradictions...

On one hand we have the Brits wishing to re-invigorate their Masters Of The Universe myth, but then choosing to do so by showing the AmeriKKKans what obsequiously good little lap-dogs they can be.
They seem to have 'forgotten' that the Persians had been building roads and palaces for a thousand years when Brits were still living in caves and huts.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 6 2019 3:56 utc | 259

People who think that merely voting for "good" people haven't been paying attention, and also they don't understand that democracy, if it ever existed, would involve more than voting for one clown or another every four years. There's a lack of wisdom.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 6 2019 3:57 utc | 260

@AB 253

I actually wrote a too long reply, but will just post a short one.

We do what we can which is good and we learn, there is always a balance to be found, and that is where meaning appears.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 6 2019 4:32 utc | 261

Don Bacon,

There's a sizable, I'd say majority of
'my country right or wrong' rednecks,
without which, three centuries of warfare couldnt be sustainable.

Other wise, why'd Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton,.....etc all ran their prez campaign on a 'IM gonna get tough with so and so' platform ? [1]
They know its sure fire way to get votes and it works !

We see lots of them even in the alternate media, never mind the MSM !

YOu shouldnt take it personally,
like i say, i know there;r still many decent yanks around.

[1] tOP bogeyman China.

A recent poll shows more than 60%
are sinophobes.

Posted by: denk | Jul 6 2019 4:33 utc | 262

@Don Bacon 258

People who think that merely voting for "good" people haven't been paying attention, and also they don't understand that democracy, if it ever existed, would involve more than voting for one clown or another every four years.

I haven't advocated "voting for one clown or another", I was talking about someone like Nader whom you've worked for.

I haven't advocated doing nothing besides voting every four years, though you yourself previously have mentioned its futility.

There's a lack of wisdom.

Not only that, unfortunately.

Posted by: Acar Burak | Jul 6 2019 5:05 utc | 263

#231 Jen,#234 Bemildred

Good points indeed.
When the reason for the long journey would be the Egyptian or higher authority not allowin Syria-bound oil to pass through the Suez-channel,it would be just logic from a transports logistic point of view to try to hire the biggest tanker available to make such journey profitable,and indeed then you exceed the channel's limits.

Posted by: willie | Jul 6 2019 7:26 utc | 264

@ c1ue | Jul 6 2019 0:39 utc | 248

John Bates Clark is an unfamiliar name among the traditional main line of political economic philosophy; Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers, The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers mentions a Californian (IIRC), a Henry George who at turn of century made some economic suggestions (I forget exactly what now) but is not included in any other list of the prime economists that I am aware of, certainly no European pantheon of greats. I am sure Mises, Hayek, et al had in their maturation of thought some un-noted precursor such as your J.B. Clark.

Political economics from the beginning addressed the misapprehension of economic process known as Mercantilism and its assumptions, one being wealth consisted in the accumulation of specie ( a small step, easy to do when silver and gold were the substantial form of currency). Mercantilism caused the rupture of relations between some of the North American colonies and Parliament, Poor George III was only an easy target rather that Parliamentary Parties responsible.

The economic history of the North American rebel colonies has involved extracting itself from English mercantilism and creating credit based financing to develop their economic resources, always contending with mercantilist creditors demanding hard, sound currency. Little has changed, today gold-buggery holds mercantilist thought, notice how the debt fear terrorist mount their attack on credit and fiat currency in the same manner as their mercantilist ancestors. New day, same ol' crap.
Note how easy it is to paste a label on something that fails to inform on the contents, a shorthand that obscures information. Mercantilism does not begin to inform of its requirements and assumptions; little has changed today such as the use of progressive or progressivism, terms that should be used in a political context and studiously avoided in economic contexts as it has no actual economic meaning but rather serves to obscure and deceive the unschooled (as most are).

Much has been produced here about the evils of private banking (now devolved into private financing bugaboos). First observation would be: 'Just how can effective legislation be written to provide for due diligence?' - the answer is such legislation cannot be written, due diligence is completely served by the self interest of private banking. Private banking (last seen disappearing during the 1950's) no longer exists outside of a few holdouts mostly found in middle-America flyover country outside of large population centres. Private banking provided private financing for main street America, the most sophisticated application of extending credit for economic production and services ever developed. It is now dead, killed by political ignorance of economics. But then: 'Those who cannot be bothered to know economics, are destined to feel the lash of slavery until they do' .

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 6 2019 9:34 utc | 265

From oz,

Former 'defence' official, now a 'respected
political analysis', Hugh White..
'We might need nukes to counter a rising

I keep hearing its the Jews fault,
but me think there's something wrong with
the 5rogues themselves, hehehhe

Posted by: denk | Jul 6 2019 10:26 utc | 266

And in Toronto, Banderites and the 'rules-based-international-order' crowd gathered for the 'Ukraine Reform Conference 2019', to drum up investment, hear President Ze, and bash Russia...

Canada and Ukraine Strenthen Cooperation at the Ukraine Reform Conference 2019

FM Chrystia Freeland, the Nazi's grand-daughter, PM Justin Trudeau and Pres V Zelensky of Ukraine.

Canada To Block New Russian Passport Holders From Eastern Ukraine, Says Freeland

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 6 2019 10:29 utc | 267

John Gilberts: @267: More air foreign policy, all air, no policy to speak of.

denk @266: Nukes, the magic weapon that cures everything.

Formerly T-bear @266: Progress and Poverty by Henry George My mother was a big fan, I may still have it around here somewhere. The "single tax", aimed at rent-seekers. Rent seeking has pretty much taken over US politics in the last 40-50 years. All this bullshit about copyrights and patents and "intellectual property theft", and speculative "finance". They don't want to talk about Henry George.

willie @264: thanks.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 6 2019 12:54 utc | 268

@ FTB 265
Private banking . . . no longer exists
It looks like private home ownership may also be a thing of the past. Houses are being bought up by syndicates, who then rent them out.

from the web
A real estate syndication is when income property investors come together to finance a property investment. There can be a few real estate investors involved or even hundreds. Not only do they pool together their financial resources for the real estate investment, but property investors can share any other real estate investing resources at their disposal.

This allows income property investors to make a profit and further their real estate careers as well as allowing them to get involved in real estate investments of a much larger scale than they could on their own.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 6 2019 13:34 utc | 269

I find it helps to remember one-liners by writing them down.

Hal responds to cognitive dissonance by querying:

Hal: "...are you a Conspiracy Theorist?"

Moi: "Hal, you are grasping for an off-button to your brain."

Posted by: librul | Jul 6 2019 14:30 utc | 270

And you don't need a PhD in economics to understand that the engine of capitalism is cheap labor. O at 63.


What is missing in considerations of this topic (not particularly O’s post, but in general) is:

More important is the extraction of ressources, let’s say fossil fuels (not only, see e.g. rare metals) in a relentless fashion, to ‘fuel’ the machine. Ex. slavery in the US was killed off by the tractor, short version.

Longer story, the ‘feudal’ type model, w. slaves, of cotton (and other) production could not compete with ‘industrial’ innovations.

One can argue that extraction is not related to any type of ‘regime,’ see for ex. the Soviets who became good at it and thus made fantastic advances in a supposedly ‘communist’ frame (Hobsbawn for ex.) But that argument holds for slaves as well - they may be literally slaves, or indentured labor, or exploited and housed on site factory workers, fireable at will (partly replaced slavery in the US, as expanding industries needed the ‘flexibility’), or modern day slaves, many guises, ex. prison labor, today’s sex slaves, gig workers with 3 jobs and no home, women who work all their lives with no say, etc.

This brings up the questionable contrasts between capitalism and socialism or ‘communism’ and between ‘democracies’ and ‘authoritarian regimes’ (which last was critiqued above, by O amongst others to a poster who wrote of W Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes elsewhere..) —-The labels are used to manipulate ppl, gather followers, etc., secular imposed cultish frames that obfuscate.

For ex. the USA is a very 'redistributive' country (thus, perhaps, "socialist") which is not admitted. It comes about because forms of rapacious and lawless (or supported by law) 'capitalism' create havoc that may lead to revolution / uprising. Pay offs have to be made.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 6 2019 15:14 utc | 271

Noirette @271: questionable contrasts between capitalism and socialism

Yes. Payoffs don't qualify as socialist distributions but we are told that we have a "mixed economy" (mix of capitalist-socialist). Low taxes for the wealthy and welfare payments for the poor can each be viewed as a type of payoff.

<> <> <> <> <>

But its the brainwashing that's most troublesome. When citizens become mere consumers of government services and go along to get along is normal practice, then we have enslaved ourselves.

Perhaps the most stark example is foreign policy. Wealthier Americans (the "people that matter") are much less likely to oppose war because USA has an "all volunteer" army.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 6 2019 15:49 utc | 272

@ Bemildred | Jul 6 2019 12:54 utc | 268
@ Don Bacon | Jul 6 2019 13:34 utc | 269

Acknowledging replies.

Bemildred - Yes, there were several books by Henry George who convinced quite a following amongst the early 20th century populists and helped guide their ascent to prominence and political authority. However, the point being taken was that his writings were more toward the political side of political economics and although economics was the subject, it was 'applied economics' and not writing establishing economic principle as in the case of Adam Smith, et al. I think I recall J.M. Keynes maybe using the term 'neo-classical' maybe once in his collected works to describe the later political economists of that century as being along and further developing the lines established by the pioneers of economic thought. Also just the point I attempted with Clark, the term neoliberal (wikipedia entry) was an appellation applied from a much later time. Again, 'applied economics' vs. principle is in order.

Don Bacon - Agreed, something new under the sun - rent extraction from former social capital owners, a.k.a. revenue stream creation. Home ownership is/was the capitalisation of providing the economic good - shelter. That capital in many cases was used as an ATM credit source; debt came on the other side of the credit coin given but was ignored. Such pipers have ways of getting paid. Think the final line in #265 may be a good (but sad) summary.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 6 2019 16:38 utc | 273

Formerly T-Bear @265--

Who was it that coined your quote: "Those who cannot be bothered to know economics, are destined to feel the lash of slavery until they do"? I did an internet search but came up with nothing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 6 2019 17:36 utc | 274

@ karlof1 | Jul 6 2019 17:36 utc | 274

I think I might have used it here but didn't record where. Glad to hear 'Total Information Awareness' has flaws.

Posted by: Formerly T.Bear | Jul 6 2019 17:45 utc | 275

Formerly T.Bear @273: Yes that sounds right. I think economics is 100% political, and mathematics is used to pretend otherwise, and I think that choice is political too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 6 2019 20:13 utc | 276

Anyone know anything about seismograms?

Trying to figure out how this tracing is possible.

Specifically the red tracing @ 19:15. For every movement you should get an opposite movement, right? This tracing appears to show large movement in one direction which then stays at a new baseline for some time.

Posted by: Zack | Jul 6 2019 20:37 utc | 277

I am not apologizing for the people of the West, but the brainwashing is extremely effective. Most folks I talk to do not want at all to hear the fact that we may not be the guys with the white cowboy hats. We have been washed in that continuously and who wants to think they are the bad guys? The idea is instantly rejected with a covering of the ears if necessary.

Voting like the quip says-- if it made any difference it would be illegal. Here in the west the machine has sold the idea completely that there is only three choices. Dems, Repubs, or no vote. All the other choices are sidelined, smeared, denied a floor to most and in some way pushed out of the picture.
To also think that all the brainwashed people with their own problems are going to rise up together in rebellion to what the rulers do is silly.

The rulers only see protests as nuisances and have at their disposal head thumpers with trunchons.

Just a bit of view on the idea that voting or protesting might change anything particularly from an individual stand point

Posted by: arby | Jul 7 2019 1:07 utc | 278

@Formerly T-Bear #265
John Bates Clark may not be popularized like Hayek, Mises, Friedman et al but he is very much a key figure in the economics counter reformation.
Among other things: the John Bates Clark medal is one of the premier prizes for economists in the US. It is awarded to the most promising, under 40 year old economist in the US.
First winner: Paul Samuelson
Third winner: Milton Friedman
Krugman was another winner, as was Stiglitz. Larry Summers was awarded one while he was at the World Bank.
Of the 41 awarded from 1947-2019: 8 Harvard, 6 University of Chicago, 5 Stanford.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 7 2019 1:21 utc | 279

@ arby 278
t the brainwashing is extremely effective.
I agree with the thrust of your comment except I wouldn't call it brainwashing. That's too simple. Life is more complex.
In this case we have young men and women mostly recruited when they were teenagers, young people who are not mature. Their brains will not be fully developed until about age thirty, the experts say. (Explains some of actions when were in our twenties.) Do something for your country! They are sent overseas to kill people who have never done anything to us, men women and children. These young Americans come back, most of them, not all, many with their minds messed up, even suicidal. Perhaps they have only one leg now, etc.
It's the practice to say that these young Americans served the country, and they should be thanked for their service. We shouldn't say to them: You made a big mistake, and I'm glad you're paying for it.
No, we say thank you for your service.(The ones that return)
So that's a part of it. It's much more complicated, there are other parts, but that's a piece of it. It's using people to advance "national interests," power and profits. It's considered to be clever.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 7 2019 1:36 utc | 280

Don Bacon @280

I wouldn't call it brainwashing

But then you explain how their young minds are susceptible to brainwashing! LOL.

We shouldn't say to them: You made a big mistake, and I'm glad you're paying for it. No, we say thank you for your service.(The ones that return)

I've never seen anyone suggest such cruelty. You're using that as strawman to justify the establishment's patriotic brainwashing. And then you tack on "The ones that return" to garner sympathy for your position.

<> <> <> <> <>

Why do we feel obligated to show support for troops that execute policies that are unwise and wasteful? Why are we forced to support elite adventurism and wars that are for Empire, not defense of our country? They aren't fighting for us - they're fighting for the 1%.

Most of them thought they were fighting for freedom and democracy. So, why are we embarrassed into showing fake patriotism instead of genuine concern? Why not honor them with truth and real solidarity:

"If it's any consolation, I disagreed with the policies that led to that war / forever wars / wars of choice / etc."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 7 2019 2:49 utc | 281

genius: lol at this.....
brainwash: make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

Why did you come back up out of the rabbithole with a stupid remark?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 7 2019 4:59 utc | 282

Don Bacon @282

Your definition of "brainwash" is extreme so it's not surprising that you don't provide a source. Most people would agree with Meriam Webster's definition (redirects to "brainwashing"):

1 : a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

2 : persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

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

In any case, IMO convincing soldiers that a "war of choice" is just and necessary and dehumanizing others so that killing and torture is acceptable constitutes a "radically different belief" for almost any young adult.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 7 2019 5:43 utc | 283

C'mon Don

You put a lot of good input to debates here but you have to admit that JR has a serious point with the paragraph below:

Why do we feel obligated to show support for troops that execute policies that are unwise and wasteful? Why are we forced to support elite adventurism and wars that are for Empire, not defense of our country? They aren't fighting for us - they're fighting for the 1%.

Posted by: m | Jul 7 2019 5:43 utc | 284

@ c1ue | Jul 7 2019 1:21 utc | 279

…but he is very much a key figure in the economics counter reformation.

The inner curmudgeon in me-self cannot resist: Exactly why 'J is for Junk Economics' called 'J is for Junk Economics'? It would be quite close to shooting fish in a barrel to use guilt by association to find the measure of the holders of the J.B. Clark medal as those who f*cked up American Economics beyond redemption. For one, I don't buy goods from their roadside stall; caveat emptor about what one fills their head with, even if it was good enough for Dr- David Rockefeller, esq.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 7 2019 7:09 utc | 285

As far as troops and military are concerned it is heavily promoted. They are called heroes by the media over and over. They make names for highways and roads like Highway of heroes, Veterans roadway , etc.. IIRC, they paraded some Canadian troops who had been killed in Afghanistan at some big event. Even using the dead soldiers to push their agenda. Soldiers are trained (brainwashed) to do as they are told and not think.

As far as protesting goes just have a look at what kind of starvation and deprivation they put on populations to get them to overthrow their governments.
Protests in the west are seen by the regimes as a pain in the butt, and certainly there is virtually no interest in what the protests are about only how to disperse them.
EG: Gilets Jaunes, Julian Assange, Occupy.
Other ones like BDS are met with all kinds of counter measures by power.
It is pretty well obvious that these do not work.

Posted by: arby | Jul 7 2019 12:07 utc | 286

Virtually everyone I know has zero interest in Geopolitics but they all have some well imbedded thoughts that i believe they are almost unaware of.
EG; one persons tells me , "well Russia is communist" (translation-- Communist means evil).
"Kim is a truly evil dictator who murders his relatives among other things like starving his people. Even an 8 year old knows this".
Exceptonalism, we're number one is pounded into these non interested heads almost by osmosis.
Very few people bother to see through the constant indoctrination.
Kardarshians or the Yankees or the Packers get all the interest above peoples own more pressing interests like rent, food, job, or Jimmy's soccer game at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Again I am not apologising for the lack of concern , just seeing why.

Posted by: arby | Jul 7 2019 12:26 utc | 287

from UK Independent:
Trump White House 'uniquely dysfunctional', says UK's ambassador in Washington
Donald Trump’s White House is “uniquely dysfunctional” and “inept”, according to leaked memos from the UK’s ambassador in Washington.
The documents detail Sir Kim Darroch’s judgements on the Trump administration from 2017 to the present, and could prove highly embarrassing for the Foreign Office.
Officials insisted the relationship with the US could withstand the “mischievous” leak and defended Sir Kim’s candid style of assessment..
In the diplomatic memos, obtained by the Mail on Sunday, Sir Kim questioned whether the White House “will ever look competent”.
In one scathing assessment, he wrote: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.” . . .here

How embarrassing, coming right after the UK pirate-puppets pulled off an illegal op against Iran on US orders.
I wonder who did the hack of Her Majesty's cables, and coming right after Independence Day?
It smacks of asymmetric warfare.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 7 2019 12:48 utc | 288

Further to #267 and Chrystia Freeland's Canadian foreign policy, this is relevant:

'Canada Adopts America First Foreign Policy', US State Department Boasted in 2017, with Appointment of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

"The memo offers the most concrete evidence to date that the US sees Ottawa as an imperial subject and considers Canada's foreign policy as subordinate to its own."

Long obvious but as obvious is that too few Canuckleheads notice or care.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jul 7 2019 13:00 utc | 289

Headline (not the URL) → Headline (not the URL)">Russian-led assault in Syria leaves over 500 civilians dead: rights groups, rescuers

And yet another report on Russian/Syrian attacks by "rights groups and rescuers." They are accused of using cluster munitions and incendiary weapons (and barrel bombs) indiscriminately. What? No chemical weapons? Magic numbers are used again like "300,000 ... forced to leave their homes," and "3 million civilian lives at risk, including 1 million children." And apparently hospitals, schools, and markets have been targeted.

Reported by? SNHR, HRW, "Idlib-based Civil Defence," "first responders and witnesses," and Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UoSSM). All claim to be independent, non-governmental, etc. This is getting old. The US MSM will cover some of it like the Reuters article but the Syrian story has been worn through. TPTB's main target is Iran so Iran continues to be demonized via the destruction and death in Yemen and Syria.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 7 2019 13:33 utc | 290

Finally got it right.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 7 2019 13:35 utc | 292

@Formerly T-Bear #285
I don't believe that every recipient of the John Bates Clark medal is a shill for the oligarchs and a proponent of Junk Economics.
However, I do firmly believe that the guiding principles behind this award are shared by those who were/are worried about the proliferation of progressive/socialist ideas in economics.
A major tell is the lack of representation of empirical economics researchers who have shown that efficient market theory/logical market participants is very much inaccurate.
Another tell is winners like Parag Pathak, 2018 winner. His "empirical" studies are heavily cited as reasons for school choice and vouchers...
In any case, I really doubt anyone credible, who has looked into economics in any detail, can really dispute the disarray of the profession. Besides the enormous macro-economic forecasting failures (no bubbles, didn't see crashes coming, etc), there are also examples like Stiglitz who - despite a career in mainstream economics, has become ever more strident in declaiming the failures of said mainstream economics.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 4:28 utc | 293

@ c1ue | Jul 8 2019 4:28 utc | 293

I am of the persuasion of those who find, floating face down in the bathwater an ETS* that doesn't move or react or make any sound and is a remarkable shade of blue, to throw that sucker out with the bathwater
* Expired Teat Sucker - one cannot even mention 'dead babies' without Trump going off and bombing someone. oops!
(Moar 'Trump_Derangement_Syndrome' derangement syndrome.)

What 'proliferation of progressive/socialist ideas in economics'? That statement shows pure ideological based ignorance of the social basis of the species, exactly what one would expect for followers of 'Social Darwinism'. Traditional or Historical development of economic theory took those factors into account but not the hodgepodge of neoliberal balderdash now sold in every higher academic institution of credentialisation, cannot even use education anymore in their nominative. For the life of me, I cannot understand why credit is still offered the followers of the neoliberal cult or even that their catechism still holds water. Rather than beginning a search for some valid alternative, so much energy is still being used to pedestalise those captured by that thought collective. I don't expect any advancement of economic thought until that lot is long mouldering in their boxes and can no longer perpetuate their economic delusions.

Yes every recipient of that 'award' is a shill, maybe to lesser or greater extent but a shill nonetheless. I see your milage does vary. Your academic godlet fails the smell test; not novel, not original, not fresh.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 8 2019 6:43 utc | 294

Addendum to #294

If you read MoA - Open Thread 2019-37; Pft's comment about #87/88, it approached the issue much better in the form from programming - trash in:trash out. As my point is since neoliberal MBA economics is faulty to the point of fraudulence, why bother to put that trash between one's ears - it will only produce more trash (I would use a slightly more scatological term than trash). Nonetheless, Pft's argument still stands as best outline of how the neoliberal agenda were able to destroy what FDR built in his New Deal.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 8 2019 16:26 utc | 295

On brainwashing and military service:

Unless you've participated in the training process for becoming a member of the military, you lack the proper context to do anything other than a cursory analysis--to get a proper analysis, you must have gone through the process; and admittedly, that process differs for each branch of the military and Coast Guard. That said, what happens inside the brain to people exposed to the T part of PTSD--trauma--is hugely significant: They are effectively cutoff from feeling and acting as a normal human. I ought to note PTSD doesn't just afflict soldiers; it can happen to anyone who experienced trauma--and it's not just limited to humans as Pavlov observed his dogs after they were exposed to near-death trauma. Much research is happening with child trauma that backs Freud's associations with childhood experiences and later adult behavior, which is similar to pre-combat/post-combat outcomes--internally the brain gets physically altered and become abnormal.

When I went through my basic Army training, all the targets with a humanoid shape had a cap with a red star on its head--the red star being associated with Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Cuban, and Russian/Soviet troops--and only appeared at close-combat ranges. Electro-mechanical pop-up targets are what we aimed at when using basic rifle and qualifying ranges from 30-300 meters. Vehicle mock-up targets all had red stars, while US Army vehicles all had white stars.

The general red star versus white star pattern was continually stressed from ranges to field manuals. Those moving on to combat infantryman, armor or artillery specialties got further indoctrination aimed at dehumanizing the enemy. Watch the "Collateral Murder" video that made Manning infamous and note how easily the helo crew mows down the innocents--people they admit are non-combatants while they're killing them. That crew was made to be abnormal in order to do what it did. And they weren't the only ones.

My partner's father has PTSD from Vietnam, but luckily he's not as severely afflicted as some of his peers. It may seem odd, but being able to open carry where he lives helps ease his mind--and he wears his pistol everywhere except to bed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2019 20:10 utc | 296

@Formerly T-Bear #294
Unfortunately, you have gone so far off topic that I no longer have any idea who you are talking about.
Is the academic godlet Dr. Michael Hudson? John Bates Clark? Joseph Stiglitz? someone else?
As for Social Darwinism - this is a political theory - perhaps an anthropological one, not an economic one, and one which has been discredited for nearly 100 years.

I don't agree that every person who works in the economics profession is a shill. There are those who focus on very specific, non-ideological niches like empirical testing, mathematical modeling, data collection and processing, etc. There are also those who don't subscribe to the current model - the MMT group that overlaps with the UMKC program.
Yes, at least some of these people's work is used by the neoliberals - but this is no different than Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes having specific bits of their body of work used to justify neoliberal policies, or Karl Marx's writings used to vilify communism.

In any case, I do agree that modern, mainstream economics is thoroughly discredited, but that doesn't mean everyone in it is a conscious shill, ill intentioned or otherwise anti-society. As I noted in previous posts: Joseph Stiglitz has been increasingly vocal on how badly broken mainstream economic theory must be and thus the social/political constructs built upon it.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 9 2019 14:34 utc | 297

@karlof1 #296
Agreed - a major part of military training is to reduce/overcome the natural inhibitions and negative outcomes from humans killing other humans.
However, a significant part of the present US PTSD problem increasingly looks like it is medical. IEDs and similar close explosions, particularly repetitive incidents, cause actual holes in the brain to appear. These lead to all manner of psychological negatives: rage, depression, etc. It seems that the technology today saves lives but not necessarily the whole person.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 10 2019 18:08 utc | 298

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