Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 21, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-41

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Related: Boeing faces largest quarterly loss in its history after a $4.9 billion financial hit due to 737 MAX grounding

The total so far is about $8 billion. Each month of grounding will add another $1.6 billion.

The above take was correct: La Stampa, published on July 17 confirms it (machine translated):

The MATRA operation of the DIGOS in Turin, which in recent days has led to the discovery of a weapons depot belonging to a pro-Ukrainian neo-Nazi group from Turin, does not seem to be over. This morning, Wednesday 17 July, two LR-0 "Rockets" were seized for rocket launchers used to arm MB339 aircraft also supplied to the Italian Air Force.
The entire operation started following the activity of some Italian fighters with extremist ideologies, who took part in the armed conflict in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

How Trump’s arch-hawk lured Britain into a dangerous trap to punish Iran - Tisdall/Guardian
UK navy heard in audio trying to thwart Iran ship seizure - AP
Khamenei’s three commandments for the Iranians: the Middle East is heading towards “maximum danger" - E.J. Magnier

Iran's foreign minister:

Javad Zarif - @JZarif - 0:48 UTC Jul 20, 2019
Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int'l maritime rules.
As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz.
UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.

Other issues:

U.S. policy failure in the Middle East:

The Wheels Are Coming Off - Gary Sick/Lobelog

A series of events, some of which got little attention in the media, suggest that the wheels may be coming off the Trump administration’s Middle East policy.
Yemen was supposed to yield to overwhelming power. Qatar was supposed to collapse under siege. Iran was supposed to fold when faced with maximum economic pressure. Even the presentation of the economic portion of the Deal of the Century in Bahrain failed to attract the level of investors that had been expected.

There are major shifts in the balance of power underway in the Persian Gulf. They are not what the Trump administration anticipated.

The delusion continues:

U.S. Plans for Post-Maduro Future With Team to Send to Venezuela - Bloomberg

How to defend against U.S. imperialism. Quite long, but an excellent analysis. Recommended:

Michael Hudson: U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses - Naked Capitalism

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on July 21, 2019 at 14:44 UTC | Permalink

next page »

b Thank you.

One can only hope that Gary Sick is right and that a) the wheels are coming off; and b) that this reality doesn't impel the US (and its vassal state the UK) to demonstrate its military "might" before those wheels roll off into the sunset.

Posted by: AnneR | Jul 21 2019 15:03 utc | 1

I read the Michael Hudson piece and shake my head at the manifest obfuscation at play

The world is in WWIII which is between private and public finance. To characterize the private finance side as being just the US is obfuscation

Global private finance exists outside the bounds of any one nation state and the US is just the current face of the centuries of empires under this model.

Why is the West unable to have a discussion about the core component to the world war we are engaged in?

Sad comment on the successful brainwashing at work here.....that is why I call the web site Michael Hudson's writing is provided at ALMOST Naked Capitalism

Wake the rest of the way up fellow humans of the West.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 21 2019 15:20 utc | 2

RE: Gary Sick - Yep, he nails it. The Gulf despots, Israelis, Uncle Sugar, have created the enemies that will bring them down, worked at it assiduously for decades. I think the question that keeps them up at night these days is: will Iran be as vicious to them in return as they have been to Iran? It seems quite reasonable at this point for Iran to consider them all an "existential threat". But I expect Iran will show them up there too, and not be dicks about it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 21 2019 15:35 utc | 3


The essential problem is that money functions as a contract, with one side an asset and the other a debt, but as we experience it as quantified hope and security, we try to save and store it. Thus Econ 101 tells us it is both medium of exchange and store of value. Even though one is dynamic and the other is static, like blood and fat, or roads and parking lots.
Necessarily then, in order to store the asset side, generally equal amounts of debt have to be manufactured and this creates a centripetal effect, as positive feedback pulls the asset side to the center of the economy, while negative feedback accumulates the debt on the fringes.
The ancients used debt jubilees to push the reset button, but since we have been conditioned to think of money as private property, not a public medium, now the only way to reset is for societal collapse.
Value, as a savings for the future, needs to be stored in tangibles, like strong social and environmental networks, not as abstractions in the financial circulation system. The functionality of money is in its fungibility. We own it like we own the section of road we are using, or the fluids passing through our bodies.
We are also conditioned to think of ourselves as individuals, not as parts of a larger community, so this social atomization enables finance to mediate most transactions and tax them. A figurative version of The Matrix.

Posted by: John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 15:39 utc | 4

I just tried to post my comment above over at Naked Capitalism under the Michale Hudson piece and it is under moderation. Would other MoA barflies that are regulars at NC let me know if it is allowed/shows up? Thanks!

I was called Crazypants by Yves for my views of global private finance a number of years ago and came to MoA where b hasn't called me that yet.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 21 2019 15:41 utc | 5

ZH is highlighting a couple of articles on Cypriot relations with Turkey, the US, and Greece:

2nd Cyprus partition, American promises vs Turkish arms vs Russian money and missiles


Turkey prepared to re-invade Cyprus if needed...

A complicated geopolitical situation in the middle of a rather hot region at the moment. The link below is helpful, I believe, in understanding how Russia fits in to this mess:

a long but interesting read

Posted by: the pessimist | Jul 21 2019 15:49 utc | 6


I was pretty much banned from NC for questioning MMT. Yves called me a troll. The exchange is jan 6, in the links post.

Consequently I'll only try posting very occasionally and one or two have gone through moderation.

My view in MMT is that either these people are extremely naive, or operatives for the oligarchy, as there is no free lunch and the public issuing ever more promises only drives it further into debt. Which is then accumulated by the oligarchy and eventually traded for remaining public assets. It's basic predatory lending/disaster capitalism and has been going on since the dawn of civilization.
Not that people are not often incredibly stupid, but I suspect some recognize the dynamic. When you start having to pay tolls on most roads, you will know we are way down that rabbit hole.

Posted by: John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 15:49 utc | 7

John Merryman @7: Sure there are free lunches, Uncle Sugar has been getting lots of free lunches ever since WWII. The thing about free lunches is those situations cannot be permanent in a growth economy. To have permanent free lunches you have to have an ecologically stable economy and a stable population consuming it. In other words, you can't get too greedy.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 21 2019 16:06 utc | 8

The UAE pulling out of Yemen is viewed here as the major turning point in the Anti-Iran Crusade. Luongo cites Magnier:

"Where the pips are squeaking is on the Arabian Peninsula, not across the Persian Gulf in Bandar Abbas. Specifically, I’m talking about the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sent a delegation to Tehran recently that coincided with its partial withdrawal of troops from Yemen.

"That meeting, according to Elijah Magnier, focused on Emirates realizing they are in the middle of this conflict, up to their skyscrapers." [My Emphasis]

And UAE understands they will lose big if a wider conflict explodes. Smartly, they don't want that.

Luongo again:

"He [Trump] can get Iran to the table but he’s going to have to give up something. So, now framing the negotiations with Iran around their demands we stop arming the Saudis is politically feasible."

So, enter Rand Paul and his unofficial chat with Zarif on the 18th. Things are positively progressing despite the UK's interference.

Luongo's hypothesis of linkage between DPRK and Iran seems to have followers besides himself. Maybe in a few generations that might be proven correct.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 16:09 utc | 9

Bemildred @8--

Yeah, and our ecologically overshot situation proves we've eaten way too much and drastically need a crash diet.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 16:12 utc | 10

What's ridiculous is to fall for the "public vs. private" scam, one of the most potent divide-and-conquer scams of the corporate state, where in reality there's zero distinction between public and private power.

Power is power, and the finance sector is purely wasteful, purely destructive, serves zero legitimate purpose, and needs to be abolished as a necessary part of any kind of human liberation.

Of course the Mammon religion has brainwashed almost everyone into believing, among other lies, that the dominion of money is necessary for human existence. Never mind that the vast majority of societies didn't use money for more than a few special transactions, and many didn't use it at all. Almost all of those societies were humanly more wholesome than this one, and all of them were less ecologically destructive by many orders of magnitude.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 21 2019 16:17 utc | 11

"The ancients used debt jubilees to push the reset button, but since we have been conditioned to think of money as private property, not a public medium, now the only way to reset is for societal collapse."
John Merryman @4

There are compromises in this business: debt repudiation being an obvious one.
It is easy enough to make a case for declaring large parts of the public debt, odious. This is particularly true of the enormous debts run up by Public-Private Partnerships of the sort that the former UK Premier Brown promoted so enthusiastically. But it is generally true of debts contracted for purposes which contradict the public interest.
Debt used to make deposits in private bank accounts in the Caymans for example can justifiably be repudiated by the public, particularly when the creditor was well aware that its loans were going to be employed for corrupt purposes.
Most of the US Debt, contracted to finance the MIC, is not only odious on general grounds (Defending what against whom?) but on a contract to contract basis, most contracts being padded to ensure the ability to provide kickbacks: when Congressmen receive funds from government contractors and 'public servants', including military types, get jobs/sinecures from the same, then any money borrowed to finance such contracts is, clearly, odious.

It would be revolutionary no doubt but perfectly practicable to push a 'reset' button on the Public Debt by proclaiming that, in future, all borrowing for purposes not approved or understood the putative taxpayer would be found to be odious.

Another possible course would be to stop paying interest on public debt and issue bonds to repay the capital amounts lent.

The fact that such options are understood would make the regular claims, by neo-liberals pushing austerity, that there is no money for such things as social security or living wages, an obvious trigger for debt reduction measures designed to impact the rich rather than their victims.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 21 2019 16:22 utc | 12

Predators and Prey. But the prey believe themselves to be predators also, or at least to have the potential to become predators should they win the lotto.

"Send Her Back!, Send Her Back!"

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jul 21 2019 16:31 utc | 13

The problem I have in trying to figure out where the Iran situation is going is that while I can understand why the US may be extremely hesitant to start shooting, for all the reasons cited by Luongo, Sick, Escobar etc., I also can't see the US doing anything to defuse the crisis in a way that will satisfy Iran. By simply waiting and letting the sanctions and economic blockade take effect, the US can both cause major harm to Iran, while not unduly exposing its supposed allies in the region to retaliation

If the US refuses to genuinely resolve the crisis, then how long can Iran tolerate the sanctions before it has to force some kind resolution of its own?

Posted by: xpat | Jul 21 2019 16:33 utc | 14

Re Iran.
I tune in to the international News (CGTN, NHK, DW, F24, BBC, and Al Jazeera) on SBS 1, as often as possible. SBS has been covering the Tour de France as a top priority and has used the time-slots normally reserved for BBC and Al Jaz as T de F time-slots.

It's noteworthy that all of them are telling "both sides" of the story when reporting on the latest Iran news. So the viewer is treated to Iran's responses to the UK's Upper Class Twit accusations & drivel about Iran's 'illegal behaviour' in the Gulf. This leads me to wonder if ANY of the USA's so-called allies are feeling enthusiastic at the prospect of a hot war with Iran?

I don't know where Iran is on the scale of comparative military powers but common sense tells me that Iran has had 40 years to prepare for an assault from Christendom's God-bothering psychopaths and lunatics. I'll be VERY surprised if anyone and everyone who decides to attack Iran doesn't bitterly regret the decision.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 21 2019 16:34 utc | 15

thanks for the week of news b...

okay crazypants - look what you have done.... everyone has been converted to seeing how central finance - private verses public - is...

i was going to quote @4 john merryman specific quote and then i see bevin already has! i will again anyway...

"The ancients used debt jubilees to push the reset button, but since we have been conditioned to think of money as private property, not a public medium, now the only way to reset is for societal collapse." well the collapse will be the conversion from private property to public property... much of the debt is interest.. if the debt was issued by the country and not a private bank - it wouldn't be a problem, but because it is a private bank, we are all servicing the debt with our natural resources and etc. etc..

that michael hudson article from yves is worth the read.. thanks for that b...

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 16:41 utc | 16

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 21 2019 16:34 utc | 15

They have just demonstrated that they can snatch tankers from under the noses of British "warships"

What this conflict is supposed to achieve is to make it politically impossible for Europe to circumvent Iran sanctions.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21 2019 16:48 utc | 17

US life expectancy drops for third year in a row. It was not that high to begin with.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21 2019 16:49 utc | 18

From Pepe Escobar's Facebook page:


From an internal newsletter circulated among key banking/finance/business Masters of the Universe - relayed to me by two of my sources/very well informed readers:

“The United States has been industrially destroyed. You cannot have a great military if you have no industry. Half of internal industries lie as a rust belt of ruin and the other half is on its way out. You cannot be a world power if all you have left is a lot of intrinsically worthless dollars lying as book entries at the Federal Reserve and commercial banks. Nothing has been done to stop this madness hemorrhage despite Donald Trump's massive efforts as the intelligence agencies have stymied him at every turn.

There has been no improvement in the balance of payments deficit; there has been no improvement in the budget deficit; the immigration flood continues; and Clapper and Brennan and the intelligence agencies and the military not only did all this but blocked detente as it would reduce the military budget and moved to impeach Trump as his punishment for trying to reverse this madness. And the infrastructure is sinking to third world status. These were the main planks of the Trump campaign which lie in ruin to the delight of Clapper, Brennan, etc.. (…) Rome's military lasted a longer than the collapse of its domestic economy but in the end it also collapsed as the British (…) Wall Street fiddles as America burns.”

Meanwhile, South Korea's economy continues to decay:

Korea suffers steepest fall in exports

South Korea is an artificial Cold War era country, created essentially from scratch first by the USA, then by Japan. It's economy is not, never was and never will be, "innovative" -- its industrial prosperity depending almost exclusively from copying American technology from the 3rd Industrial Revolution (often, through Japan, which, apart from some restricted sectors of biogenectics, is also not an innovation economy), producing it cheaper and exporting it en masse. The most illustrative evidence for this is that none of its tech chaebols engaged into 5G -- a technology that even Nokia and Ericsson tried to develop. Putting it in other words, this is South Korea's limit -- time is running out for them to absorb North Korea.

On the other side of Eurasia, we're now beginning to see what should be obvious to the common people: the European Union is forever stagnated economically, and is not in position to simply discard a member like the UK:

Brussels to offer Boris Johnson extension on no-deal Brexit

The article states that:

The extra period of EU membership would be used for renegotiation but could be billed to Conservative Brexiters as an opportunity to prepare further for leaving without a deal.

“It will be described as a technical delay to save Boris from political embarrassment but then we will have time to find an agreement,” said one senior EU diplomat.

Translating this diplomatic bullshit to a direct language: we still hope Brexit won't happen because our economy is in the shitter and we need you.

In 2011, the EU almost collapsed when an alleged leftist party took power and threatened to exit the Euro Zone. It was saved thanks to the mastery of Wolfgang Schäuble -- who had the merit to smell the rat under Tsipras and Varoufakis -- but mainly to the failed ideology of Eurocommunism, from which Syriza is a late tributary. When Tsipras took office for the first time and had access to the books, he realized Greece's exit would mean the destruction of the EU (because the Deutsche and the Société Générale would go bankrupt and need an epic bail out from Germany and France). He chose to save the abstract ideal of an united Europe over the prospect of a violent revolution in the European peninsula.

In Hong Kong, what we already suspected is now pretty much confirmed: there was an attempt of a color revolution in the city:

Two of three men arrested over Hong Kong’s biggest bomb plot, discovered on eve of major anti-government protest, are members of pro-independence groups

The process was textbook hybrid warfare: first, they tried to do "mass peaceful protests" in order to seek a violent police response (preferably, with some dead) so as to trigger a chain reaction to topple the democratically elected government. The Chinese are not stupid and ordered the police to not act violently. Then, they tried to storm the Legco in order to provoke a violent response: the police was against smart, and used the "scorched earth" tactic: the building was left empty and unprotected, so all that was left to the protesters was to vandalize the building (which played against their image); the fact that some blowhards waived the colonial flag also didn't help their image (good image is a conditio sine qua non for a color revolution).

Carrie Lam then outsmarted the protesters further by killing the bill (which is not essential to Mainland governance of Hong Kong either way). That further delegitimized the continuation of the protests. We can even speculate here if this bill wasn't a bait used to test the waters in Hong Kong.

As a last, desperate attempt by the protesters, they tried to besiege the police hq in order to try to induce a massacre. That obviously didn't work.

And then, this came to light:

Hong Kong protesters ‘went to Taiwan in June’ to explore options for asylum

Those "protesters" are likely the heads of the color revolution attempt, almost surely on the pockets of some NGO linked to Washington. They are now planning a fall back in order to regroup. Taiwan is using this to consolidate itself even more as liberal Festung in China.

As I stated here before, a color revolution only works against a strong government when it has the backup of the unconventional warfare (UW). Hong Kong is very susceptible to a color revolution, but is inviable as an unconventional warfare theater. That's because it doesn't have any sources of potable water -- which comes from the New Territories (the flatlands directly above the city-peninsula).

Well, it seems the color revolutionaires are very aware of this fact:

Police use tear gas against protesters in heart of city, violence erupts in New Territories

According to "Two masked male protesters", there's new reivindication in the agenda: they want the dissolution of the government and new elections, to be decided by "popular vote" (i.e. whoever is in the pockets of Washington).

Posted by: vk | Jul 21 2019 16:51 utc | 19

@ John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 15:39 utc | 4

Probably the greatest problem our '…historian' has is absence of definition in their raves. Over time the reader has seen its object drift from bankers to private bankers to finance to private finance; that piñata certainly is mobile, and uncorralable over time. I no longer find any communication on that subject possible. Sad, the …historian is so emotionally attached to what in substance is a delusion that nothing can dissuade or convince otherwise, their mind is ossified and that is how it will be. Again Sad, because by examining recent history from about the 1930's to present, a flow of events, properly identified, provide a brilliant illumination of the current conditions, how they developed and how they can be solved, but that is for another time, maybe.

Your summary of economics in your comment is concise and illuminating (hopefully) for those not acquainted with the subject. Kudos! Missing might be the subject of contract in the process of credit and debt; contract is the fulcrum that the system pivots and if there is little or no understanding of that, there can be little understanding of real economics itself. Same goes for understanding the development dynamics over historical periods of credit itself, how it works, who gives it, who gets it. This has been entirely overlooked (or ignored) in the economic process since the end of the Second World War when such observers died in Spring 1946. MMT was the last product produced by Keynesian analysis and its validity rests in Keynesian economic edifices. But those edifices have been dismembered and buried and their memory disbanded if not buried also.

My opinion of Yves' efforts may be found in my reference to the site "Naked Capitalism and Bordello" which should say enough. She put together a fine book that ended without conclusion, just a withering away of inputs.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 21 2019 16:52 utc | 20

A class guide to the American election

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21 2019 17:08 utc | 21

Now even the Chinese government recognize the existence of the "Clash of Civilizations" doctrine in the USA:

Op-Ed: Promulgating the myth of “clash of civilizations” is stupid and dangerous

Posted by: vk | Jul 21 2019 17:10 utc | 22

The barfly foolisholdman posted a very important link dealing with the Outlaw US Empire's bioweapons program and its development of AIDS. The link also contains an excellent timeline detailing the Empire's biowarfare development along with other informative material. Do please click and at least save until you have the time to go over it all!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 17:12 utc | 23

Hudson has nice concise views on the IMF and World Bank. China is offering important alternatives.

""In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.""

Posted by: financial matters | Jul 21 2019 17:27 utc | 24

The moves Iran made in taking TWO vessels was superb. First they demonstrated their capability to seize vessels under the snot-dripping nose of the British Navy. More important, when they over-reached and took a second vessel, they released it right away, restoring the tit-for-tat balance.

Posted by: Trisha Driscoll | Jul 21 2019 17:36 utc | 25

Things are just about to get very very dangerous in the Persian gulf !!!
How do I know this ?
Tobias Elwood mp has been on the U.K. radio 4 news several times today (Sunday)
Worth doing a lot of deep research on that name and who his contacts are ! Makes Ya Bolton look like a pussy cat !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 21 2019 17:41 utc | 26

Sadly, one more weekend comes to an end....

Brace for more geopolitically correct news incoming :D

If I could stand it I'd let you believe what you choose
But how can I let you proceed when there's only one view ?
Simple to state but don't dare implicate that I'm wrong
I'll dish the dirt and I'll show you the door and if you keep coming I'll tell you to try a little harder...

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 21 2019 17:43 utc | 27

Just so long as you read the fine print. We are part of a cycle and have to accept the ups with the downs. It's a flatline otherwise.
bevin, james, T bear,

I'm mostly trying to start a conversation and keeping it to bullet points is most effective. The complexities are enormous, otherwise.
Public and private are an essential dichotomy. A house has public and private rooms. Nodes and networks. Medium versus store. I think there are a lot of conceptual issues which are not carefully ironed out, before trying to understand how all the details fit together. Schools are just a bunch of fragmented disciplines and fiefdoms, with no sense of the underlaying dynamics tying it all together.
That we seem to be headed for a monumental breakdown will open up the opportunity to ask questions and look at the situation from other perspectives, than the current rut.
I think in the long run, humanity is more toward the end of the beginning, than the beginning of the end. If you look at it developmentally, we really are in an overwrought adolescent stage.

Posted by: John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 17:53 utc | 28

According to officials who were speaking on condition of anonymity, Trump is demanding to be addressed with
"Jawohl, mein Führer!" beginning immediately.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 21 2019 18:05 utc | 29

Trisha Driscoll @ 24

That shows war is not going to happen unless we see a massive buildup in the region. The US and British assets are not in place.

There are some parallels here from the '56 Suez crisis. Khrushchev threatened the players in the Suez crisis with nuclear weapons fired on the capitals of Europe and they backed down. That was the birth of intermediate range nuclear missile program in the West. Khrushchev offered peaceful alternatives as well.

Iran is willing to deal with the EU to some extent but refuses to even considering dealing with the US and for good reason. Look at the past and look who is charge today. A new administration may change that issue. Only time will tell.

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 21 2019 18:09 utc | 30

The various efforts at pinpointing who is now obstacle to some kind of resolution with Iran have made understanding the topic a moving target. The approach of the west is very Frankenstein like, UK using EU law indpendently with US encouragement for example leaves a whole field of possible interpretation. Iran has recently signalled the US as being the main driving force, but you imagine a country faced with this complexity, half partners and innefective law or renegued agreements. This is a very bad state of affairs full of confusion that is open to misunderstanding or taking of advantage. Add the many other circumstances that are incident and I think fear would be a reasonable reaction.

So while attempts are made, adjustment tried, the fact that trust in the region and regarding the US is near absent makes resolution seem much more distant than it appears. There may be delays, lulls, and patches but the existent disagreement of status quo is not likely to change, it has one way or another been this way for many decades now and is quite entrenched. There is no real exit of an idea at all, and so it is improvisation.

The ballistic missile question is feasible as a route to de-escalation on the international stage, if I remember US missile defence in Europe, which encouraged IBM changes, was touted on rogue nuclear balistic attack.
In practice though this will not change Iranian levels of shorter range armament, and after watching what became of other countries in mena that reduced their capability it is clearly going to be too much to expect Iran to do similar to any great degree.

So it is quite possible that the format now will be offer of exchange of concessions while sanction pressure increases using UK complaint as channel. None of this will resolve the status of Iraq and Syria, it won't resolve questions relating to Israel either, and because these are the main themes that are now powering regional politics even agreement of concessions, a new JCPOA for example, will not be understood as true answer. I think Iran is very aware of this, and aware that it will remain as targeted by the west.

It was mentioned previously that tanker Happiness 1 had been released by Saudi, it is limping back to Iran under tug without engine. The Panamanian authorities have also deregisteted Riah (small tanker seized previously by Iran) due to it not having its paperwork in order.

So who knows where this all goes now, hopefully the time and space will be used to reform positions and approach some of the other main regional problems mentioned above in a rational way.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 21 2019 18:11 utc | 31

BBC World Service quoting Iran as an alternate version of events on Grace 1.
That generally means that the editors don't believe the official UK version.

It seems the Bolton/CIA/MI6/Nato/whoever attempts to persuade Trump/UN/theworld that Iran/Venezuela/etc are crossing red lines is no so blatant that even the established media now considers most events as probably false flags.

If Skripal or MH17 happened now, it would be laughed out of town.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jul 21 2019 18:15 utc | 32

Okay, so I read Philip Giraldi’s 1,800 word article “Teaching Holocaust: Don’t know much about history” and I’ve read all 994 comments in response to the article

Now I want to balance this out with the officially approved, government endorsed narratives, to get the other side

Should I read (((Naked Capitalism))) or (((Moon of Alabama)))

Or both?

Hmm….that’s a tough one


Posted by: sanjib | Jul 21 2019 18:33 utc | 33

Merryman @ 26

Excellent comment and I'm of open enough mind to hold a conversation.

The commonly held perspective here is we are at the end stage for the US and Western Europe. This is normal psychological projection perhaps for a blog consisting almost entirely of 60-70 something caucasians who failed in our attempts during our lives to bring about a more just and equitable society.

Yes, we are truly approaching the end stage of something, that is the end of a lengthy debt-induced expansionary cycle. And unlike in 2008, the fastest growing debt loads are those of the emerging economies, China and India.

Personal debt has more than tripled in China since the last recession and corporate debt is now 160% of GDP.

China escaped the 2008 downturn as did other emerging economies who had greater capacity for leveraging much higher growth rates...then.

Today, not so much as reflected by the increasing number of companies who cannot make their repayments. Notably, the real estate and financial firm China Minsheng has just announced it will be unable to make interest and principal bond repayments coming due on $500 million in note.

This company is trying to position itself as the JP Morgan of Chinese financialisation.

Instead it may well turn out to be the Bear Stearns or Lehman Bros.

With Chinese growth slowing, Brexit follies proceeding and Trump's idiotic Tariff and Turf (middle east) Wars the stage is set for a truly global downturn this time around. China can only continue a policy of forced leverage on its corporate sector for so long as growth rates increase.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 21 2019 18:59 utc | 34

bevin @ 12 says:

It would be revolutionary no doubt but perfectly practicable to push a 'reset' button on the Public Debt by proclaiming that, in future, all borrowing for purposes not approved or understood the putative taxpayer would be found to be odious

it seems to me that what IS revolutionary is that government records can and do document $21 trillion taxpayer dollars in unsupported adjustments without stirring nary a whimper from our illustrious representatives(not to mention the public). that's 21 trillion dollars of public finance! in just 2 departments. in just 17 years.

kinda gives odious a whole new tenor.

Posted by: john | Jul 21 2019 20:03 utc | 35

donkey - you have to admit china and india learned from the best or worst - depending on your values! and of course like morning glory - once the usa financial system gets in the soil of china and india, it is hard to uproot it... ddt to the rescue my man - another made in the usa product - killer product, lol...

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 20:03 utc | 36


The impending destruction, or forced disappearance, of the San Francisco mural seems another indication of the breakdown of U.S. cultural fabric. It seems equivalent to the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan buddhas - a swipe at the past by self-appointed self-righteous minders.

From the AP story, quoting a school board official in favour of this vandalism: "“Painting it over represents not only a symbolic fresh start, but a real fresh start.” So it's some sort of quasi-revolutionary act? How is it in any way a fresh start? The intellectual poverty of the pro-destruction viewpoint is astonishing.

Posted by: jayc | Jul 21 2019 20:12 utc | 37

@ 37

A mediocre piece of George Washington kitsch is the equivalent of 1500 year old monumental sculpture? I don't know what's more extreme about you Americans, your narcissism or how pathetic and puny and trivial you are in that narcissism.

You and the idiots who are painting over the stupid mural are nothing but flip sides of the same coin. Like Putin said, the lot of you have no culture.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 21 2019 20:37 utc | 38

The transcript of Hudson's Tour de Force presentation at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy provided at Naked Capitalism is an elaboration and expansion of his recent interview at Guns & Butter linked to and discussed here @10 days ago. I'm sure it has think tank members globally pouring over and discussing it--some angrily, some thankfully.

It's difficult to find the sponsoring group online, but here's the call for papers announcement at the organization's rather slim website. This year's Forum was held at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, so Hudson didn't need to travel far this year. It appears Hudson's paper covers all ten of the suggested topics in some manner.

What differs in this paper are the many suggestions for action to supplant the Outlaw US Empire, several of which are underway. One hopes that the NAM Conference members--also happening this weekend in Caracas--take note and very seriously consider Hudson's many suggestions. His presentation of the Big Picture will advance our abilities to discuss events within that context.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 20:40 utc | 39

Hard-hitting documentary on MH17 and the JIT frame job:

Posted by: evilempire | Jul 21 2019 21:00 utc | 40

Just discovered that Hudson's providing his seminal work, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire, 2nd edition, free in PDF.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 21:02 utc | 41

psychohistorian, John Merryman, et al.

Yves (Susan Webber) banned me from her site when I joined with dozens of others in criticizing her position on Greek negotiations with the Troika. The uproar over Yves' positions caused her to institute much more strict moderation - what some might term censorship. AFAIK, that's been in effect since.

She would, no doubt, counter that her Greek analysis was correct. But IMO the larger issue (which I felt was ignored by Yves) was the establishment campaign waged against progressive support for Greece. That support that would've been crucial to a more favorable outcome to the Greek people but even 'progressive' organizations/blogs had backed away from supporting Greece as the establishment depicted the Greeks as freeloaders.

As a nominally progressive blog, nakedcapitalism's anti-Greek position (which did turn out to be largely correct in anticipating Sampras' betrayal) seemed designed to score points as Greece struggled against it's more powerful opponent instead of advocate against Troika bullying.

As I came to terms with the banning, I came to the following conclusion (not necessarily reflecting nakedcapitalism's view of itself or nakedcapitalism policy): nakedcapitalism is primarily a financial blog with a left-leaning political outlook but the willingness to chart an independent (truly progressive) political course is very limited.

Yves is a very practical person (to her credit) and anyone that's read the site knows that those that run the site are VERY concerned with the Overton Window. Thus, the site doesn't endorse Democratic Party candidates outright but supports the progressive side of the Party (no matter how flawed or stooge-like they may be).

Nakedcapitalism is one of Ms. Webber's money-making properties (she also has a consulting business) and her audience is largely composed of Democratic Party institutional/fake left people that fancy themselves to be the "progressive wing" of the Democratic Party (though there are some commenters that are genuinely progressive).

Yves has done ground-breaking work on financial corruption and the workings of Wall Street. She is a financial reformer, not a political crusader. Her site helps to educate a lot of people. But as a commercial venture, it can never really be the progressive champion that it sometimes pretends to be because it needs to pay the bills by (among other things) developing and retaining an audience.

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

Additional thoughts:

1) b's comment policy is much more accommodating so it's easier to express progressive thoughts and discuss "conspiracy theories" that might get moderated at But the audience at MoA is much smaller.

2) The prevalence of Empire-first policy-making in the US (Trump's "America First" is just propaganda) means that MoA is actually more relevant than nakedcapitalism for political pundits that want to focus on the issues that are most important to real change.

3) Running a blog is not easy as I've discovered by trying to do it myself - and I don't have to deal with dozens of comments. My hat is off to both Susan and Bernard for doing so for so long.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 21 2019 21:35 utc | 42

Interesting article at Zero-Hedge on a visit by Margolis to Epstein's Manhattan home. (

In the article is this sentence.

'I had arrived with Canada’s leading lady journalist who was then close to Epstein’s sometime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell'.

I wonder who that journalist might be.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Jul 21 2019 21:35 utc | 43

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21 2019 16:48 utc | 17

In the video release (@ 0:32 in the RT branded version) we see the masked IRGC commando giving a "thumbs up" to his fellow Iranians. They're awfully pink looking Iranians. Not much tanning opportunity in south of Iran this time of year ...

Posted by: Realist | Jul 21 2019 21:40 utc | 44

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the terrorist character of the so called "peaceful activists" allegedly demonstrating against extraditon law, as well as their obvious links with the US and its proxy terrorists armies, starts grossly showing in front of everybody who wants to see, making increasingly clear that this is not a peaceful protest but an intend of coup d´etat, as it was crystal clear since the beginning for some of us....

3 people have been arrested and accused of organizing a bomb attack in Hong Kong. Two of the detainees belong to Hong Kong independence groups. Powerful explosives were found in an industrial building, as well as 10 gasoline pumps.

On Friday night, the police seized in an industrial building 10 petrol bombs and approximately 2 kg of explosive triacetone trioxide, called "Mother of Satan" due to its great explosiveness. ISIS has used this homemade explosive in attacks in the West.

It is the largest seizure of explosive material since Britain returned the city to China in 1997. Detainees have denied they wanted to use the explosives. Among the seizures have been found leaflets and T-shirts against the law of extradition.

A few days ago at another demonstration in Hong Kong, the attendees asked for help and intervention from the United States.

Today also protesters have carried the flag of the United States while they were barricading the ferry to Macao.

The protesters also carried out damage against the government office of the People's Republic of China.

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 21 2019 21:51 utc | 45

donkey tale,

Thanks for the response. Yes, there certainly is a debt fueled bubble, which has grown far beyond sustainability, but since my commentary on the course of civilization runs much deeper than its economic direction, that they are on a course to blow the whole system out of the water will open up the possibility for a far deeper reset in the future, than the incrementalism currently possible.
Here is an essay I wrote a year ago;
On a personal level, I think these ideas could be a match to start a significant fire, after that crash happens, but they are more an exercise in analysis to me and I just like discussing them. As a younger child in a large family, I realized very early on that what I said didn't matter, so I made my own course and have come to like the space, while everyone else fights over the appointed rules and goals.
While MoA might be a limited group, they are minds that think.

Posted by: John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 21:51 utc | 46

@ John Merryman | Jul 21 2019 17:53 utc | 26

Arrived end of day here; Just a thanks for making an attempt to 'splain' basic economic principles to the wider public, a Sisyphean task indeed. Best of wishes too.
Being autodidact concerning economics, from somewhat eclectic reading, mostly economic classic writers, I perceive a completely new format for understanding economics that at this time does not exist and will not be born until the current capital-centric system has become intellectual dust in the library. That will not happen until power passes into other hands; those hands insist on status quo continuing, they cannot surrender power, they cannot learn and they cannot self-correct. Their successors must be able to do all that and more, they must understand actual up-to-the-moment history as well. Having three quarters century of experience, it is time for others to 'take the torch', what I've seen will likely go to ground with me, yummy wurm-food. I haven't a doubt some lad or lass will find some old books in a barn and read them and find their contents enticing enough to follow the subject the rest of their lives. These are the ones who will succeed John Maynard Keynes and the flow of economic knowledge. The seeds of false economics are well planted, the whirlwinds of their harvest are about to begin.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 21 2019 21:53 utc | 47

james, yes indeed. China Mingsheng Investment Group learned by working with Amerikkkan companies.

A plane carrying 189 people traveling from Jakarta to another Indonesian city about an hour away crashed into the sea Monday morning shortly after taking off. Everyone on board was feared dead.

The aircraft used for Lion Air Flight JT 610 was a new Boeing 737 Max 8, leased from CMIG Leasing Group, a Chinese aviation and port logistics leasing operator based in Tianjin.

It was the first deadly accident involving a leased plane provided by a Chinese company. The aircraft was delivered to Lion Air in mid-August, according to, a website that monitors air traffic.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 21 2019 21:54 utc | 48

@43 dh-mtl... my guess - it could be barbara amiel - married to conrad black for a number of years...

other less likely possibilities - linda mcquaig, christie blatchford, cyrstia freeland! margaret wente and etc. etc..

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 21:55 utc | 49

@ donkey... usa exceptional exploitation at it's finest - boeing...

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 21:56 utc | 50

Parliamentary election in Ukraine:

It gets crsytal clear what the amjority of Ukrainians want, a change in the opposie direction as things ahve been directed so far.
It seems that Zelensky will need to form a coalition to achieve majority in the Rada, which could reach joining "Opposition Platform" of Medvedchuk, achieving around 57% of the parliament seats...

I can not wait to see Parubyi going home unemployed and without and pay and parliamentary immunity to be judged for the Odessa massacre....

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 21 2019 21:59 utc | 51

"'I had arrived with Canada’s leading lady journalist who was then close to Epstein’s sometime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell'.

"I wonder who that journalist might be."
I'm guessing (Mrs Conrad Black)-Barbara Amiel or Christie Blatchford.
I see that James agrees.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 21 2019 21:59 utc | 52

@37 and 38
From what I gather the mural in question is far from being 'patriotic''Washington kitsch' but is a Communist artist's vision of America's real history- having survived decades of rule by John Birchers and other reactionaries in California it is now under real threat by stupid Identity Politicos of the kind who object to the depiction of Blacks as slaves, rather than CEOs, lawyers and Harvard Professors...
Cannot someone put up an image of the work?

Posted by: bevin | Jul 21 2019 22:08 utc | 53

@ bevin | Jul 21 2019 22:08 utc | 53

The New Deal program supporting art and artists, the name escapes at the moment would have a visual record somewhere in their files for not only the work but the artist. Sorry I cannot help more than that. Maybe wikipedia will be your friend. G-night.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 21 2019 22:14 utc | 54

@Russ re: George Washington etc. mural -

I'm with you....two sides of the same coin. American exceptionalism is a disease that even the cynics and "woke" people here don't seem able to recognize in their own viewpoints.

But this particular mural is puzzling to me as a target for the identity warriors. It's essentially a social critique from its time, painted by a self-described leftist and looking back on and criticizing the racist past of the U.S. So It's just a curious choice for removal. FWIW, I am all about relegating every Confederate "hero" statue possible to museums or private property.

Posted by: KC | Jul 21 2019 22:15 utc | 55

Formerly T-Bear @20--

I believe you've mischaracterized psychohistorian as the following citation from the Forward to Hudson's J is for Junk Economics shows:

"It's been forgotten what made the 20th century great was progressive taxation and public infrastructure spending to lower the cost of basic economic services--along with the New Deal and other legislation making money and finance a public utility instead of the predatory monopoly it has become." [My Emphasis]

In his Forum presentation, Hudson also goes off against the monopolizing privatization of everything being attempted by the 1% in numerous places, here for example:

"In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.”[5]In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is 'fair' trade." [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 22:24 utc | 56

@bevin #53 - here you go. Sorry I can't format the link easily so I'll just post it.

Posted by: KC | Jul 21 2019 22:28 utc | 57

Not to get all wrapped up in this mural story, but this strikes me as a bit ironic:

Not one school board member advocated to keep the mural. Instead, Commissioners Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins, Stevon Cook, and Mark Sanchez commented on how emotionally draining it was to hear —and have other rehash for them — the pain they know firsthand comes from violent, demeaning imagery like this. The board has been discussing the issue for more than a year, even attracting national coverage, and will vote on which option at its regular meeting next week.

“My question is who needs to remember it? I don’t need to be reminded. It’s in your face all the time,” said Collins, who said she had ancestors who were enslaved. “White supremacy culture is when folks are more concerned about the life of Washington murals than they are about Native American and Black lives.

Gee, that's interesting because it would seem to be those who want the mural covered or destroyed that are more concerned with it than their own lives or those of other blacks or Native Americans.

Posted by: KC | Jul 21 2019 22:31 utc | 58

Cannot someone put up an image of the work?

@Posted by: bevin | Jul 21 2019 22:08 utc | 53

You can appreciate some details of the mural in this video...

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 21 2019 22:38 utc | 59

John Merryman @26: OK. Thanks for the response. I do think we need private and public "spaces", but it seems pretty clear we are waaay out of balance now.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 21 2019 22:42 utc | 60

For bevin @53, a Google image search will help. That's not the best option, but it can give you an idea of what the mindlessly delusional, navel-gazing, pity-party, victims of identity politics mind-cancer want to paint over.

There are 13 murals, and they very clearly do not glorify slavery. That these people somehow imagine the murals glorify slavery indicates just how far gone from any link to reality many Americans actually are. What these feeble-minded fools really want is to just not be reminded that enslavement for profit of Africans and genocide of Native Americans really happened.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 21 2019 22:42 utc | 61

I posted this question about Trump's identity a few weeks ago.. here it is again..
seems to be too important a false Identity claim not to get to the bottom of it..

Posted by: snake | Jul 21 2019 22:43 utc | 62

Cannot someone put up an image of the work?

@Posted by: bevin | Jul 21 2019 22:08 utc | 53

You can appreciate details of the murals in this video:

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 21 2019 22:47 utc | 63

Posted by: vk | Jul 21 2019 16:51 utc | 19
I have never heard the mainland propaganda voiced so succinctly. You have both the "foreign interference" angle and the "violent protests" angle, very good!

Of course, the violence is the hapless HK government, under instruction from Beijing, trying to get itself out of this mess. You failed to mention that Carrie Lam has already tried to resign but her resignation was turned down by Beijing and she was told to stay in position while they sort out the "mess".

The escalation of violence is being paid for by Beijing in order to discredit the protesters: If the violence is not being paid for by Beijing then what is Beijing doing to fix the problem? Nothing. I find it hard to believe that Beijing is doing nothing, so I am convinced that Beijing is paying for and organising the one thing that is changing, the escalation in violence.

It will be interesting to see whether the international community, which saw the peaceful protests of 2m HK people (1/3 of the indigenous population), accept the smearing by the violent incidents of less than 100 people paid for by Beijing. Beijing has never had a "crafty" side, they don't understand negotiation and compromise, they only understand force and I suspect they are looking for western support to move their forces into HK: At which point the white people, such as myself, will vacate HK: This process is actually already underway as businesses opt for Singapore.

The question is whether the western media and their overlords will support them in this effort or whether using the PLA will end HK's life as the gateway to China, which in turn will further isolate China and result in Xi's downfall.

Posted by: aspnaz | Jul 21 2019 22:49 utc | 64

Here's Hudson from the Preface to the 2nd edition of Super Imperialism:

"The book received a wider review in the business press than in academic journals. A few weeks after the U.S. publication I was invited to address the annual meeting of Drexel-Burnham to outline how the new Treasury-bill standard of world finance had replaced the gold exchange standard. Herman Kahn was the meeting's other invited speaker. When I had finished, he got up and said, 'You've shown how the United States has run rings around Britain and every other empire-building nation in history. We've pulled off the greatest rip-off ever achieved.' He hired me on the spot to join him as the Hudson Institute's economist."

But that "rip-off" has only lined the pockets of a small percentage within the private world at the expense of the Global Public--the USA's included. In many respects, Michael Hudson's unique--he's blown the whistle without being a whistleblower; but as he notes, not many have listened. Yes, I'm very guilty of pushing him onto barflies here, but it ought to be clear why.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 22:50 utc | 65

I laughed for real at the transparent regurgitation of the empire's false narrative about Hong Kong above. Few here are ignorant of the empire's standard regime change playbook: Imperial NGOs instigate protests and then CIA death squads kill police and protesters to trigger riots and then complicit corporate mass media fans the flames from those riots towards the target government. This exact same recipe has been used countless times over the last couple decades and really should be quite obvious even for those outside the bar who consume mass quantities of toxic corporate media.

Of course, the CIA side of that tag-team operation has repeatedly failed in Hong Kong. This was due to the Chinese breaking the security of the CIA's communications and quietly exterminating those cockroaches before they could do the Maidan sniper gig in HK. The CIA's difficulties also arise because they tend to work with organized crime (because that's what they really are anyway), but the HK Triads are too nationalist to work with America's top organized crime network... their cultures clash too much.

Yeah, HK's economy will suffer, but that is their own choice and has nothing to do with Beijing. In fact, with the big infrastructure projects linking HK to the mainland Beijing is going out of their way to throw HK a lifeline. Turning their backs to that lifeline is HK's choice.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 21 2019 23:13 utc | 66

John Merryman @ 4: very well said! Esp. like your take on Jubilee Year.

karlof1 @ 64, and you too, sir, Hudson's been thee, done that, and speaks from direct experience PLUS omg how many books? Nice defense.
I've worked in maintenance a lot. How people relate to precisely where they put their buildings, and what Nature does with them as a consequence of their doing so, is very instructive.

Also done a lot of field research, looking for wetlands for building permits and the like. I kid you not, property owners will tell you explicitly and point blank, "Don't find a wetland." That's not how it works, but try explaining that to the Old Man.

It is thus that meter-readers get shot, and others whose business puts them, quite unknowingly, in the line of actual fire from actual guns, should they be so unlucky as to be mistaken for 'that bastard that stole my water rights.' In many a case, more water has been permitted to be drawn by more people than there is water to draw.

Then whose at fault for all the fighting? And I'm just trying to go look for frogs!

It's all RTF, or MxC: Run to Failure/ Management by Catastrophe. I can assure you, having worked the range, from research psychologist to actual wiper of other ppl's actual buttocks, it's everywhere.

Ppl jump at paying me, to paint their houses, at up to 5x the rate they bitch about paying me, to take care of Son or Dad or Grandma. 5-figure paint jobs are common, but try making that as a home health aide for long enough to have, let alone plan, a life.

Hell, ppl will spend 80K on their g.d. kitchens, and squeal like stuck pigs if I ask for enough not to starve or go homeless.

Well said, sir, IBIYVD.

This ain't at all like they said in kindergarten. But it's way too late for a refund, and I never kept the receipt, anyway. Might as well enjoy the ride (h/t Bill Hicks).

Posted by: TheOtherDave | Jul 21 2019 23:14 utc | 67

It seems that Zelensky will need to form a coalition to achieve majority in the Rada, which could reach joining "Opposition Platform" of Medvedchuk, achieving around 57% of the parliament seats...

Posted by: Sasha | Jul 21 2019 21:59 utc | 51

It depends a bit how people will vote for single-district candidates. "Servant of the People" seems to be a rather random collection of candidates that the voters hardly know. That may well be the plus, given what they know about the established figures. If SoP gets a supermajority of 199 single district mandates, they do not need a coalition. Otherwise, coalition with Medvedchuk would lead to bloody riots, "ardent patriots" (fascists if you will) are very good at it, so SoP would probably ally with "Fatherland".

I also wonder about "ardent patriot" deputies. In the previous Rada, they did not have any major party, but a lot of key positions in key parties and the government. with that mode of operation, they should get a nice share of people infiltrating SoP.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 21 2019 23:21 utc | 68

Merryman -

Interesting read. I enjoyed your ideas and descriptions very much.

The basic human problem, our dualism, has yet to be resolved within the individual, or perhaps more accurately, has yet to be resolved within enough individuals to comprise a critical mass. And as the population skyrockets, the critical mass grows increasingly more difficult to obtain. OTOH, a great disaster which reduces the human population may make that equation easier to solve...or it may not. Optimism versus pessimism.

The sudden success of our species first in propagating ourselves and then second in keeping up with the Joneses overwhelms both our desires (which consist mainly of ways to entertain ourselves unto death...through, uhm propagating (or maybe blogging as a substitute), while desirously scheming for ways to keep up with Joneses) and our logic (which is corrupted on so many levels by our desires).

For myself, I feel the circularity of the moon and the seasons much more than I feel the linearity of time. I'm not mentally affected by the fake notion of my "advancing age" until I see it in a chart of age brackets.

I believe at bottom you're calling first for acceptance and improved understanding of the outmoded state of our fallen human nature just in time before a "Great Flood" (rather than Armageddon) allows our descendents an opportunity to start over from a heightened sense of enlightenment we still have time to pass down to them, hopefully.

Is that accurate?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 21 2019 23:37 utc | 69

Its interesting that most of the alt media sites I follow ignore the protests in the occupied territories of China (Hong Kong) and US (Puerto Rico). Have to go to MSM for that

Maybe need to look for alternatives or supplements to my current go to sites.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 21 2019 23:39 utc | 70

Beating the horse cause it's not dead yet. From a discussion (pdf) about J is for Junk Economics:

"Capitalism, according to Marx, was supposed to fulfill its historic destiny in getting rid of the
landlord class, getting rid of the monopolists, getting rid of the banks and making them public in character, and evolving towards socialism. Instead of evolving towards socialism, industrial capitalism has retrogressed towards feudalism and you’ve had a resurgence of the financial sector, the real estate sector, the monopoly sector." [My Emphasis]

And finally, from a footnote to a short 2001 essay, "Money Matters: Clean Slate,"

"4. Michael Hudson writes that in 1516 Martin Luther preached a sermon on the Eighth Commandment, classifying usury as a form of theft and warning that it was destroying cities much as a worm destroys an apple from within its core. In similar vein, John Calvin, in the final year of his life, wrote a commentary on Ezekiel defining fraud and usury as theft. He held that wealthy lenders were as guilty as robbers and highwaymen in breaking the Eighth Commandment."

Whatever happened to those sentiments from the two leading Christians of the 16th Century's Reformation and Protestant Revolution? Is it because Christian institutions are just as corrupt as the Western governments they're associated with? If a church were to open next Sunday and sermonize on Luther and Calvin's thoughts on the subject and continued to beat that drum, would it gain a following, a congregation, that might perhaps spread? I know there are some devout Christians out there in the bar; what do you think?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 23:41 utc | 71

@69 Pft

Hong Kong an occupied territory? Sounds like an interesting interpretation you have over a city that is rightfully a sovereign part of China.

Now Puerto Rico is a whole different story and definitely US occupied....

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 21 2019 23:44 utc | 72

re Public vs private finance

All so-called Contract Law" is utterly dependent on our system of Federal and State law courts which determine enforcement, pseudo-enforcement or no enforcement. Such was established over 200 years ago.

Such arrangement has been gamed [simple Game Theory] so only a small group, sharing narrow interests, now control the court system
enough to modulate enforcement/pseudo-enforcement/no enforcement at all levels. That covers all aspects of laws and regulations, whether via US Congress, gov agencies or courts.

Example #1 of gaming: the 20th century redefinition of "corporation" having the legal "rights of persons".

Example #2 of gaming: the ongoing scandal of Mortgage Electronic Registration System [MERS}.

Example #3: the US Dollar is now pure fiat; just a piece of paper not redeemable for anything; an IOU for another IOU piece paper; a promise to pay nothing; a debt that can not be extinguished.

Justice, also known as fairness, has been gamed beyond workability.

Perhaps only select, clearly definable contracts should be enforceable by the courts; all other contracts enforceable only to a very modest limit that is agreeable without lawyers or courts. I am only smart enough to read MOA and daydream in retirement.

Posted by: chu teh | Jul 21 2019 23:44 utc | 73

chu teh @72--

What you illustrate is what occurs to provide the conditions for the implementation of Chicago School of Economics Neoliberal control. Again, from J is for Junk Economics:

"Chicago Boys: After the Kissinger-Pinochet 1973 military coup in Chile, University of Chicago economists were brought in to give away public enterprises to the junta’s supporters. To silence criticism of Chile’s privatization of social security, to let corporate owners loot pension plans, to end public subsidies and to break labor union power, they shut down every economics department in Chile except that of the Catholic University where the Chicago School had gained control. (See Labor Capitalism, Privatization and Washington Consensus). These anti-government ideologues recognized that their brand of “free markets” and giveaway of the public sector
required that no economic alternative be permitted or even discussed, but could only be imposed at gunpoint with totalitarian political control. Their neoliberal version of “free markets” is akin to medieval conquerors appropriating the land and basic infrastructure by force of arms. The aim is to privatize economic rent, and weaken the power of communities by rolling back democracy. This is usually done by establishing client oligarchies and economic dukedoms."
—J Is For Junk Economics, p. 53

Here's part of the conversation prior to the above citation to give you a better idea of how this is done outside of the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals:

"What the University of Chicago people realized is their definition of free market, which is one
that I didn’t give before: they realized, You can’t have a free market in Chile, for instance, if
you’re not willing to kill every one who disagrees with you. The first thing the Chicago Boys did
in Chile, after assassinating the labor leaders, assassinating and having the assassination program of land reformers, they closed every economics department in Chile except for the Catholic
University that taught Chicago School of Economics. Unless you have totalitarian censorship you
cannot have the free market of the form that the mainstream economists talk about. Free only for
the 1 percent and unfreedom for the 99 percent."

It's not just Venezuela's oil; it's their socio-economic system TrumpCo wants destroyed, along with Cuba's, Nicaragua, and other semi-socialist mixed economies. That was the fundamental subject of Hudson's presentation. It ought to be obvious to those following the Big Picture that the Class War threatens to go Nuclear such is the desperation of the Outlaw US Empire to implement its Full Spectrum Domination--Hudson's Super Imperialism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 0:20 utc | 74

@70 karlof1

Actually Calvin was the enabler of Usury and facilitated what was to become the foundation of modern capitalism. In his De Usuris he stated:

“...there is no witness of scripture by which all usury is totally forbidden.” In other words man has no business in deciding matters that God himself has not revealed through Scripture.

What then of the Old Testament prohibition in Deuteronomy 23:19, “you shall not lend upon interest to your brother”? This law, Calvin states, “is political and has no more bearing upon us now than equity and human reason carry. Of course it would be good to desire that usurers were expelled from the entire world and that the name became unknown. But since that is impossible we must submit to a common utility.” This argument is quite extraordinary in some respects because Calvin appears to state an admonition that is contrary to the permission that he has just granted. (Wykes, 2003).

This already showcases the deeply flawed argument upon which Calvin based his theology on usury. Wykes continues

It certainly seems as if Calvin is somehow exposed here in an attempt to please all parties concerned, by permitting usury on the one hand and yet wishing it did not exist on the other due to the greed and exploitation that invariably accompanies the practice. Why should it be good to desire the expulsion of usurers if their activities are not against the Word of God, and who is Calvin to pronounce upon what God has not? (...) Calvin is by no means blind to the reasoning that the value of money is not to be found in itself but through its yield or use. Therefore, he bangs the drum of rational arguments in classic humanist rhetorical style: “one would be at liberty to rent out a field imposing a charge, and yet it would be illegal to take some fruit from money? What? When does one ever buy a field thinking that money does not father money?”

At this point Calvin’s dismissal of scholastic arguments is seen to be somewhat cavalier and possibly detrimental to the central tenor of his own argument. (...) Calvin asserts a moral equivalence between an entitlement to rent from leasing a field and an entitlement to interest from lending money (ibid.).

No, dear karlof1, preaching less, not more, Calvinism would be the solution!
There are many theories as to why Calvin was so open to the practice of usurious lending, but the flawed argument apparent in the few quotes posted here clearly show that from a theological standpoint at least, his remarks were heretical. As for his motivation I cannot know for certain whether it was conspiratorial. He may have just been misled as with so many other aspects of his theological thinking. And as you point out in the later part of his life he even backtracked a bit. But the floodgates had been opened, the consequences of which could soon be felt in the Seven United Provinces.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jul 22 2019 0:28 utc | 75

Pft @ 69:

Try following 21SilkRoad on Facebook.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 22 2019 0:28 utc | 76

Merryman , Tbear, and Psychohistrian; thanks for the thought provoking reflections on economics

Posted by: les7 | Jul 22 2019 0:28 utc | 77

@ psycho

Years ago, Yves reacted, IMO, strangely and rudely to me asking another reader to explain his point of view. Even though I’d been on the site for years, she called me a troll and threatened to delete all my past comments. It was surreal.

Posted by: oglalla | Jul 22 2019 0:38 utc | 78

Israel busy encourageing Iran to harden its stance.

"Israel is the only country in the world that has been killing Iranians for two years," Israel's Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Sunday in an interview with the Israeli radio station Kan Bet.

"We strike the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria. Sometimes we acknowledge it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it," he said.

@ aspnaz 63

I go with your version, or even that protests are completely native looking for simpler concessions , for the reason that the possibility of some kind of greater independence seems slim.

On the other hand it is hard to say if this were not outside inspired colour revolution just aiming at destabilising China. Some of what I see seems more like that but I am not familiar enough with the whole topic to guess.

Maybe there is a mixture of the above at play at the same time.

Hongkongers were left behind in terms of nationality by UK, with limited amount granted UK citizenship. UK went as far as asking Portugal to deny Portuguese nationality to Macanese with Macau being devolved around the same time so as not to show UK up or provide a route to UK via Macau then EU for Hongkongers. I guess some Hongkongers must feel trapped or manipulated by this.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 22 2019 0:38 utc | 79

The civil suit against Trump that alleges that he raped a 13-year old at an Epstein event coupled with Epstein's arrest creates the possibility of Trump's being blackmailed into war with Iran.

Trump should immediately excuse/recuse himself from decision-making related to the Israel and Middle-East affairs that relate to Israel.

If Trump won't do that, then the cabinet should invoke the 26th Amendment to remove him from office.

If the Cabinet can not or will not act, then Congress should impeach the President and the Senate should convict him for abuse of power.


NOTE: It's irrelevant whether Trump is innocent or guilty of rape of a 13-year old. The problem now is the likelihood that he is subject to blackmail by a foreign power.

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

The timeline:

Robert Maxwell dies
Ghislane moves to USA
Mega Group starts

2016 civil suit claims that Trump raped a then 13-year old women at an Epstein event

Maria Farmer claims Epstein and Ghislane sexually asaulted her and her 15-year old sister

Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is founded

Wexner transfers NYC home valued at tens of millions of dollars - did this pay, or help to pay, for Epstein's Lolita Express plane?

Wall Street Journal article about Mega Group:

... a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation's wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen. Formed seven years ago by Leslie Wexner, chairman of Limited Inc. and Charles Bronfman, Edgar's brother and Seagram Co. cochairman ...

There are indications that Mega Group has Mossad connections - as might be expected given the collective power of the individuals that comprise the group.

PNAC release "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (RAD) Report which included a chilling wish:

"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

Bill Clinton and others fly on "Lolita Express"

Abuse period of Florida complaint

Non-Prosecution Agreement

Trump is elected President

Civil suit claims that Trump and Epstein abused/raped a women in 1993 at an Epstein event (when the women was just 13 years old)

2019, July 5th
Trump decides not to attack Iran

2019, July 6th
Epstein flies back to USA and is arrested


Epstein is in a position to seek a plea deal in which he could confirm allegations of rape (of a 13-year old) against Trump and/or offer to be a witness against Trump. There is a strong possibility that Epstein's industrial-scale abuse of under-age women originated as, or morphed into, a Mossad-supported or -sanctioned operation. The involvement of Mega Group and the daughter of a suspected Mossad agent (Robert Maxwell) are causes for concern.

US authorities must describe to the American people what Acosta meant by "belonged to intelligence" and/or the President, the Cabinet, or Congress must take immediate action to ensure the integrity of the office of President.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2019 0:45 utc | 80

@ chu teh... thanks chu and karlof1 for those posts...

@ 79 jr... how old is the civil suit against trump you refer to?

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2019 0:50 utc | 81

Alexander p @74--

Thanks for your reply! Perhaps Calvin had second thoughts about his behavior as his life was nearing its end and his written critique was meant as atonement. Probably wasn't read very widely either. Been confused about Calvin for many years but never sought to investigate him while concentrating on more recent history. Which work of Wykes were you citing?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 0:52 utc | 82


The American Herald Tribune article says that he lawsuit was dropped. It has a link to the lawsuit on Scribd (filed 6-20-2016).

There is a question whether the accuser is a real person or if the allegations are politically motivated.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2019 1:00 utc | 83

Short video of Nasrallah explaining the great vulnerability of a 1,200km square portion of Occupied Palestine containing a very high percentage of critical infrastructure if war against Iran were to occur. Hezbollah probably has at least 10 missiles for every one of those square kms. IMO, the message is meant for TrumpCo as much as for Nuttyahoo.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 1:01 utc | 84

jackrabbit @ 79

Pretty good layout for that timeline....

Here is another pretty good backgrounder. I may be changing my position on Trumps involvement. One commentator noted that since the Establishment cannot take down Trump the Southern District of New York is going to use the "Sampson option" where Sampson pulled down the pillars of the Temple and killed all the Philistine leadership and himself.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case

Or maybe always time will tell. Will the Teflon Don escape this one as well?

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 22 2019 1:03 utc | 85

Zarif goes off (vid) at NAM meeting in Caracas:

"Today at NAM mtg on sanctions I said, 'Terrorism is use of violence & intimidation against civilians in pursuit of political aims.'

"The US is thus engaged in #EconomicTerrorism. It cannot be called 'sanctions', as they're not designed to enforce laws. They in fact violate law."

The man is 100% correct! As with the decades of the Cuban Embargo, the civilized world has voiced its opposition to such evil. BigLie Media won't inform anyone, but the global standing of the Outlaw US Empire continues to burrow its way toward the earth's center.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 1:11 utc | 86

Thanks b it sure has been a hot week gone past. Next week is likely just as fraught.
For those interested in Epstein:

This is a broad and deep dive!

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 22 2019 1:24 utc | 87

I still think its concerning that:

1) an allegation was made against Trump;

2) Epstein is (conveniently) in a position to confirm or deny that allegation via a possible plea deal, at a time when ...

3) ... USA is at brink of war with Iran.

4) pro-Zionist (mostly Jewish) neocons pressured USA into the disastrous war with Iraq.

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


Compromising large numbers of people that matter would allow Israel to eliminate opposition like this (a must read):

Whose War: The Loudest Clique Behind the President's Policy (Pat Buchanan, 2003)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2019 1:27 utc | 88

@ kalof1 with the Zarif link and who wrote
....but the global standing of the Outlaw US Empire continues to burrow its way toward the earth's center.

I keep waiting for that global standing to effect the purchase/retention of US Treasuries by all nations. Until and unless that happens the "music will continue to play".

@ chu teh with the cogent daydreaming......I like your 3 examples....right on the money, so to speak

@ others with the response to my strident One Note (public finance) Samba....thanks I believe we are in the cusp of geo-political change and badly want to see the structural public finance change that wasn't even whispered about in the 60's. Now China et al are impossible to ignore and are growing in influence......I think it is a matter of when more than if

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 22 2019 1:36 utc | 89

Posted by: gzon | Jul 22 2019 0:38 utc | 78
Beijing has not fully honoured it’s agreement with the UK. When breaches are pointed out by the HK locals and by London, China tells London to stop interfering: Beijing wanted an unmonitored agreement. Don’t forget that HK island, the business centre, and Kowloon were never part of the lease agreement, they were gifted to China (with no referendum of the local people) in return for guaranteeing the two-systems agreement for 50 years. The Hong Kong people were fucked by the Brits.
When China took over they gave nothing to the Hong Kong people, instead they flooded the country with mainland Chinese, trying to force integration: There are still 6 million HK natives even though the population has grown from 6 to 8 since 97. The mass immigration of mainlanders has caused its own problems: They don’t speak the local language and most HK natives don’t speak Mandarin. Also, Beijing has flooded HK with mainland tourists, they are unpopular as mainlanders are loud, ill mannered and discourteous, many having been peasant farmers prior to factory work: For example, the British taught HK to queue, the mainlanders ignore queues and will literally push in at the front: Trivial, you might say, but one of many paper cuts applied to the HK people.
The final straw was when Beijing decided to completely fuck over the HKers by threatening to extradite them to China: Even the Chinese don’t trust China so imagine the HK reaction.

Posted by: aspnaz | Jul 22 2019 1:51 utc | 90

re University of Chicago...

Every mention of the University of Chicago brings to mind Rockefeller, John D. After all, he founded the Univ. of Chicago!, so those dots need no connection; they in fact overlap.[original U of C closed in the 1890s. JDRockefeller funded a new institution at a new location, under same U of C name but fully under his control by generous donation.] This was coincident with his plan to dominate the oil business as he correctly forecast its vital , global nature as premier energy source. Arguably, U of C was/is his think-tank
for strategy in playing the "How to dominate others" game.

IMO, JDR and Dieterding, et al of Royal Dutch Petroleum/Shell Oil [after merger] had every incentive to share domination of the oil business [with no need to prove it! At that level [the Crown and the US movers/shakers, you do not "put it in writing"].They badly wanted Baku, etc but the Depression and WW2 intervened.

BTW, it was Prof. Silliman at Yale did 1st, formal, chemical analysis of crude oil [from Drake's 1st well in W. Pennsylvania]. Silliman was a disaffected Skull&Bones. [IIRC, the 1st oil well was in Canada a year earlier. Don't know whether it was dug or drilled.]

re: Dr. Michael Hudson. Can't get enuf but can't read fast enuf and digest too slowly. Just now starting Superimperialism.pdf [BTW, I'm reminded some friends from Vietnam calling the Americans the "Supercommunists" in the 70s.]
I will drop it if a copy of Bronze Age to Jubilee gets in my hands.

Posted by: chu teh | Jul 22 2019 2:03 utc | 91

In 'Fungi and the Great War', chapter 27 of 'The Advance of the Fungi (1940)' EC Large described the Total War waged by the UK against Germany as biological and chemical warfare
"...There was no necessity for either side to spread disease germs among the enemy. They were there in plenty already. It was necessary only to lower the natural powers of disease resistance by partial starvation and nervous strain, when an ever attendant host of pathogenic organisms would accomplish as much and more of evil than the most sinister maniac could desire....It was necessary to carry total warfare by blockade only a little further and a condition would arise in which the mute fungi and bacteria would be charged with the final arbitrament of human disputes."
Both in Iran and Venezuela the imperialists, crying crocodile tears over consumer shortages, are deliberately setting out to induce epidemics while preventing them from being treated. This is biological warfare on a large scale. It is very likely, if the experiences of Cuba and Korea are anything to go by, that at the same time the United States and its allies are deliberately introducing both plant, animal and human disease vectors into the targeted populations.
The last estimate I saw of the estimated number of deaths attributable to sanctions against Venezuela was 50,000. No doubt the victims in Iran are also to be reckoned in the tens of thousands. Those responsible, who include criminals like Trudeau and Freeland in Canada, are no less war criminals than Blair and Bush.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 22 2019 2:14 utc | 92

Pillaging Amazon Forest update by Pepe Escobar. Easy to read between the lines of Outlaw US Empire neocolonialization powered neoliberalism at work. Pepe's point is for China to stay clear of financing the destruction lest it become complicit in an ecological travesty capable of greatly, rapidly worsening the Climate Crisis:

"It’s about gold – to be duly shipped to the West."

Fortunately, China incorporated all of South America into its BRI that has some strict guidelines to follow, far beyond World Bank/IMF seldom enforced rules. But as Pepe concludes:

"Brazil is now a privileged pawn in the most important geopolitical game of the 21st century: the clash between the US and the Russia-China strategic partnership."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 2:15 utc | 93

bevin @92--

See my link @22 above if you haven't already.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 2:20 utc | 94

@ apnaz 90

Sincerely thanks for that explanation, we don't hear it put so bluntly anywhere else much. I don't know what UK wants with Hongkong now, I'm surprised it thinks it has any real say, but maybe this is just going through motions or being at the table for whatever that brings. I have been on the wrong side of UK "incompetence" also, you realise there is a purposeful side to it but it is not based on trying to do damage, they just protect themselves and own position and could not care more for the other once they have chosen, in my opinion. It is irresponsible and it leaves other people done over when they are like that (and UK is more and more like that).

I don't see what anyone (average people) can do for Hongkongers from outside that will have any good effect - maybe just talking like this is a good start.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 22 2019 2:29 utc | 95

@82 jr... thanks.. there goes one of the main planks in your platform!!

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2019 2:32 utc | 96

donkey tale,

Basically. Though there is some impulse to transcend death, in that I've come to see the sense of self shining out of others and while it has become a habit, I'm rarely in agreement with the lens they are looking through, so there is a desire to modify the collective indoctrination.
Do you ever get the sense, around other people, that there is some underlaying awareness, that bleeds together? We have these pocket devices which communicate wirelessly, so wouldn't a few billion years of evolution have adopted something metaphysically similar?
Having spent my life mostly around race horses, I found early on that I had to turn down my own sense of self as far as possible, in order to sense them and when you open that door, the rabbit holes are endless. So for me, this rat race culture is little more than a temporary scab over very much deeper factors at work. Not to say nature isn't every bit as blood thirsty, but that is a factor of reality and this expectation of living in an air-conditioned cocoon, with our entertainment pumped in, is just one more temporary adaptation to current conditions.
Those floaters in the vision, that seem to be other's concentration, if you have a line running through one, pulling it towards you, the effect is the classic heart shape. One of those experiences of teenage years, as an example.

Posted by: John Merryman | Jul 22 2019 2:39 utc | 97

Jackrabbit #several on Trump. Love your posts but exactly which zioflunky would replace Trump should he resign or be impeached? AND do you think we might be closer or further from warmongering?

I do not see congress as being decision capable and Pence? SHEESH! That dud would make Nagasaki look like a fizzer on fireworks night.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 22 2019 2:39 utc | 98

Hudson on the Fed:

"The Federal Reserve is privatizing what should be the Treasury’s function of public money
creation and of public credit. The Fed’s job is to make sure that there is no public option in
banking and to protect the other big banks
, especially Citibank—which is the most crooked bank
—Wells Fargo, to make sure that banks continue to engage in financial fraud against consumers,
against the fraud of selling junk mortgages—that’s how they have AAA ratings—basically they’re part of what my colleague Bill Black at Kansas City calls the 'criminogenic sector.' The
Fed is the Public Relations Department for Citibank and for Wall Street and for Goldman Sachs."
[My Emphasis]

Bill Black article link.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2019 2:47 utc | 99

uncle tungsten @98: which zioflunky would replace Trump

Hopefully, his zioflunky replacement would face greater scruitiny if Trump was recused/removed for the reasons I wrote about.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2019 3:10 utc | 100

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