Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 13, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-59

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

U.S. troops are withdrawing from north Syria. Turkish sponsored "rebel" units now encircle Ain Issa and Kobane. Turkey uses "former" ISIS fighters as auxiliaries. These promptly commit war crimes by killing prisoners and civilians.

Betraying the Kurds - Yasha Levine
The way the Kurds are treated by America is a perfect example of the weaponization of nationalist and sectarian movements: use them when it fits your goals, abandon them when it doesn’t.

12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. One Culprit: Russia. - NYT

An analysis of previously unpublished Russian Air Force radio recordings, plane spotter logs and witness accounts allowed The Times to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one.
The staff of Nabad al Hayat had evacuated three days earlier after receiving warnings and anticipating a bombing, ..

The Boeing media folks give a new meaning to the word "hypothetical".
FAA order warns of 787 slat issues during winter- FlightGlobal

The US Federal Aviation Administration is requiring airlines take steps to a prevent a potentially dangerous slat issue that could affect Boeing 787s operating in winter weather.

"Boeing discovered that 787 slat operation could potentially be affected by ice during winter operation," Boeing says in a statement. "The issue is a hypothetical event that has never occurred in service. The probability of this issue occurring is very remote."
The agency issued the order in response to reports that five 787 slat actuators failed when aircraft were taxiing, causing the slats to be in a position different from that commanded by the pilots.

"This condition, if not addressed, could result in insufficient lift, resulting in inability to maintain continued safe flight and landing," the FAA's AD says.

Other issues:

Paramilitary Panda: WWF Land Grabs Rooted in Covert Apartheid History - Michael Molitch-Hou, Reality Institute
The Global Climate Strikes: No, this was not co-optation. This was and is PR. A brief timeline - Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

Whitney Webb
Glenn smears me (again) as a liar for suggesting that his boss-- CIA-linked billionaire Pierre Omidyar--influences the Intercept's reporting and influenced the closure of the Snowden archive. Greenwald's OWN words contradict this claim completely, see below ...

Russian and US visitors, targets for the Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange - El Pais
The CIA had access to the server where the company stored the profiles of hundreds of people who visited the WikiLeaks founder during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London

We're in a permanent coup - Matt Taibbi
Adam Schiff has 2 aides who worked with whistleblower at White House - Washington Examiner

Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans collapse: What we know, don't know day after tragedy - Times Picayune
Drone video of the crushed building
The columns of the building look extremely flimsy to me. But the two German built cranes are still standing :-).

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on October 13, 2019 at 14:15 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

DBEP @ 8:

Jos van Dongen made a documentary on the WWF for the Dutch TV documentary series Zembla. You can watch the documentary at this link.

Among other things the documentary covers, such as the ways in which WWF continually encroach on agricultural land belonging to indigenous communities neighbouring national parks, that the Paramilitary Panda overlooked, is the issue of mass sterilisation of people living near the parks through supposed family planning programs sponsored by the WWF. That should be no surprise to MoA barflies: the people who founded WWF or who were involved with it from its beginnings were just as enthusiastic about eugenics as they were about apartheid.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 14 2019 1:21 utc | 101

Peter AU 1 @98:

... what I call Putin strategy in these areas is to create a stalemate ...

And USA strategy is to accept the military stalemate(s) until they catch-up on hypersonic technology. Until then, they employ soft power (like sanctions).

Russia's technological advantage helps to make Putin look like a genius (not saying he's not) while USA/Trump touts their patient pursuit of peace.

... until the US is gone as a world power.

I would caution that the West looked like geniuses when the won the Cold War. Then they lost the peace and wasted resources via stupid ME wars and massive corruption.

Will Russian leaders after Putin be as capable as Putin?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 1:33 utc | 102

@ oglalla | Oct 14 2019 0:34 utc | 91

"Praise is not..." Well, yes, that's what I myself said...thanks. You have pointed out that we both said something well-aligned, it's not a coup nor a permanent coup... ( "coup" meaning what it does)

But my point was in logic> praise or condemnation is independent of truth.

We may not like 3+4=7, but our feelings, or praise, change zero.

Some may, in view of the claims of "coup" or whatever, wish to avail themselves for entertainment purposes a classic performance in coup-movie-genre> On TY > "Seven Days in May 1964" Burt does a bangup job, and Eva is herself... JFK wanted this movie made...but why? Right...

My emotions tell me this is all nonsense...but it seems to me that all domestic pathways in DC lead to dictatorship, whether by one faction or another. At least for a time...and the inflation "Weimar type" forecast recently on RT...does suggest an interesting arena for any dictator---how will he keep the fractious breakaway states like Texas and California and Hawaii and (gasp!) Alaska? Keep them for Chinese and Russian business deals, and backed hard money..


It's 2055 and...

Putin and Obama and a few others have passed on to Heaven, and decide to visit New York. Saint Pete OK's the trip, and they beam down to the Bowery... "Hey!" Says Obama, "Vlad! Here's a great New York corner bar...lemmme buy you a beer!" They order and the beers arrive....Obama says to the waiter "How much?"

"That'll be one ruble..."

Putin sips his brew with that Mona Lisa Smile...

Posted by: Walter | Oct 14 2019 1:35 utc | 103

SDF and Syrian government have reached some kind of deal. Details sketchy...

"The deal represents a significant shift in alliances for the Kurds, after losing the military protection of their long-term US partners in the area.

It is not yet known what the Syrian government has committed to.

However SDF chief Mazloum Abdi acknowledged "there would be painful compromises" with the Assad government and its Russian allies, in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.

"We do not trust their promises. To be honest, it is hard to know whom to trust," he writes.

"But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people."

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2019 1:38 utc | 104

Joe Biden spills the beans -- again:

Biden Says He is 'The Only Reason' Behind Trump’s Impeachment in Bid to Spin Corruption Allegations

Posted by: vk | Oct 14 2019 1:49 utc | 105

The NY Times never labeled the U.S. a “culprit” when the USAF AC-130 shelled the hospital in Kunduz to pieces.

Posted by: David G | Oct 14 2019 2:10 utc | 106

Jackrabbit "Will Russian leaders after Putin be as capable as Putin?"

My guess is probably not. In saying that, I think Russia's leadership for the next generation or two after Putin will be of the same mindset - will try to resolve problems using similar methods.
I guess the mindset I'n thinking of is turning enemies into friends, using military force to bring about circumstance in which reconciliation can occur. This is quite different to much of history as generally the things go is military conquest and subjugation of an enemy or target.

S @94 comments about the team and the people Putin has put together to lead Russia. This and many of the foundations Putin has layed, I think will last a number of generations of leadership. This will disappear in time but will see out the demise of the US as the center of the world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 2:16 utc | 107

I'm hearing talk about a new "northern industrial alliance", to corner the bulk of the energy resources for "christian cultures" globally. To include the U$A, Canada, NATO countries & Russia.

Sounds like a fevered dream of one Samuel P. Huntington..

Posted by: ben | Oct 14 2019 3:21 utc | 108

@197 Peter AU 1 - "This will disappear in time

Yes, that is such an obvious inevitability that I wonder if certain civilizations - such as China, Russia and Iranian - are working on developing systems of governance that are proof against such deterioration?

I study, in China, the huge number of people required for the Party to conduct its trials and deliberations and couple this with the massive social feedback solicited, and also consider the stringent benchmarks for selection of persons and ideas into this governing process.

And when I study these things, I am struck by the thought that this system of "governance with Chinese characteristics" could perhaps be stable enough, and sufficiently founded on eternally wise principles of human life, that it could endure for a very long time, and not get old and stale, or rigid and off-track, but remain supple and alive to the needs of the people, and the environment in which they exist.

The ancient civilizations actually have a track record already of enduring through time.


When I was younger I had the idea that this planet actually would last for millions of years before the sun would dim, and - this being the only natural constraint - we could live on it for an extremely long time. It seemed that a quiet and unending existence could be achieved here by all of us and our descendants.

During the last four decades of neoliberal plunder, these ideas went away and were replaced by a very dark despair. Russia cut through this despair in 2014 and showed me that there was an alternative to the Hegemon. Even if I wouldn't experience it myself, trapped in the dystopian west, I was glad to see that the world actually had a future again.

Then came China into my understanding and I saw that not only was there a future again, but that problems, even of a global nature and scale, could be solved.

The Demonstration Effect is not to be taken lightly. As the world sees increasing evidence of competent governance aimed towards the well being of its people in certain places, we can all begin to ask again, why is it that we suffer this theft of our money, our labor, our dignity and our liberty? Why not, instead, settle into a sustainable model of living, one fit for the centuries and millennia ahead?

We can change our thinking, given enough good examples of better thoughts. And these are proliferating.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 14 2019 3:36 utc | 109

@S | Oct 13 2019 21:54 utc | 61

Putin’s genius is in hiring smart people and following their advice.

Exactly. It is a collective work and success culminating from Russian historical learning, thinking, training, educating, theorizing on art of diplomacy.

I remember Staffan De Mistura, the UN envoy for Syrian war, one time ( few moths before stepping down) was talking, by an envy, about Russian diplomats, he told: US has not produced diplomats to understand ME, while Russian has excellent diplomats, he gave an example and named one of them: Mikhail Bogdanov. De Mistura described Bogdanov:  speaks flaunt Arabic, has 4 decades of experience in Arab countries, he started as Soviet ambassador in Yemen 1974, since then served as ambassador in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and now is Putin's special representation for the ME and Africa, he is an extraordinary diplomat. end of my recollection of De Mistura speech.

It is good to see Bogdanov from an enemy eye: Carnegie Endowment 


To illustrate, let’s have a look at the career of one of the key figures for Russia’s Syria policy. A leaked 1994 telegram from the American embassy in Damascus, made available via Wikileaks, describes a meeting with the then deputy chief of mission at the Russian embassy. His name was Mikhail Bogdanov, and he’s still around today, as one of Russia’s deputy ministers of foreign affairs.

An Arabic-speaking career diplomat, Bogdanov has spent all of his professional life poring over Middle Eastern politics since entering the Soviet diplomatic service in South Yemen in 1974. He soon gravitated toward the Levant. Between 1983 and 1989, and again between 1991 and 1994, he was stationed at the Damascus embassy, working closely with then Syrian president Hafez al-Assad’s government. In addition, he has spent another combined total of eighteen years in Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and as head of the Middle East desk at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In June 2011, Bogdanov was appointed to the post of deputy foreign minister, and he has since acted as Putin’s point man on Syrian affairs.


What type of diplomats US has produced during in last 40 years?! One example is Robert Ford, the last US ambassador in Syria,  the architect and initiator of Syrian war. Then he regretted his crimes.

Then the head of US diplomacy deliberately said: " We lied, we cheated, we stole, we had entire training courses, it reminds you of the glory of American experiment"

Posted by: arata | Oct 14 2019 3:39 utc | 110

fars news angle on some of the developments..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 3:42 utc | 111

ben From your link "The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures."

That is occurring now in that the anglo culture or five-eyes is trying to retain dominance over the world.
Re "corner the bulk of energy resources". Trump calls it 'energy dominance'. Worth looking up his speeches on the subject. I believe it is also why Trump wants good relations with Russia. Form an energy cartel that would have control of Asia and Europe through energy supplies.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 3:43 utc | 112

"Most of the way through the article that I promoted last week, Stephen Walt, having explained all the ways in which Trump is not behaving rationally, considers the possibility of a rational strategy at play on a deeper level:"

"[T]here’s a third possibility, one that offers a unified, coherent explanation for some of the apparent contradictions in Trump’s foreign-policy views. Trump and some of his advisors (most notably Stephen Bannon) may be operating from a broad, Huntingtonian “clash of civilizations” framework that informs both their aversion to multiculturalism at home and their identification of friends and foes abroad.

The above, is from this article;

Posted by: ben | Oct 14 2019 3:51 utc | 113

Hallelujah, it looks like the Syrian Kurds have finally come to their senses.

I wonder what role Bagdonov (re: #110) played in putting this plan together. Whoever, it looks like Russian diplomacy is, yet again, the best.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 14 2019 3:52 utc | 114

The coup de grace would be for the hated Assad to bail out and save the Kurds from the (currently) evil Turks. This would show the utter hypocrisy of the western pundits and talking heads and, perhaps, soften regional attitudes enabling an easier path to reconciliation with Syria. Perhaps this is one of the hoped outcomes - necessitating that for a short time Turkey should continue its offensive and not come to the table with Assad too quickly.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 3:59 utc | 115

Below is a link to Xinhuanet posting about Syria that I found comprehensive

Syrian Kurdish forces declare deal with gov't to confront Turkish assault

Will Turkey withdraw from Syrian territory in their desire to create a "safe zone"? I expect we will know before the week is out.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2019 3:59 utc | 116

@70 psychohistorian

I meant to say congratulations and good news to hear of your decision to work for public banking in Oregon. You set an excellent and inspiring example - many thanks!

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 14 2019 4:04 utc | 117

MadMax2 #65
"Yeah, Putin’s philosophy is near unbreakable - it truly is Russia First (MRGA), though not at the expense of anyone unnecessarily."

It was at the expense of Russian Oligarchs and their supporters in the west. It is too late for this years' Nobel Peace Prize but how about President Putin and President Trump for next year? That explosion you just heard is Rachel Maddow's head exploding and a few others in Washington and NYC. The sudden announcement by Trump, whether intentional or not didn't give the perpetual war crowd much time to organize a counter attack. I myself lean toward intentional. What works in business work in politics.

A great day for all Syrians, a lousy one for Zionists. The war is over. The fat lady is about to sing.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 14 2019 4:05 utc | 118

If we have another Dallas we shall have a dictator. If we do not have another Dallas we shall have a dictator... .. We do not get a vote. by: Walter@ 83 <= Maybe we do get a vote.. ever hear of ratification..Article VII of the constitution of the USA.. ? //

3) the USA is in a quicker state of decline then some want to acknowledge and it wouldn't matter if it was Trump or someone else.. the wheels are coming off the exceptional empire.. this is mostly how I see it.. by: james @ 92

I think Trump threatened Erdogan either free the 100,000 or so ISIS from their jails to swamp Syria or I will sanction Turkey. and it might be because Trump had to make a choice, Syria or Yemen.. The Houthi technology seems to be in the driver seat in Yemen Saudi Bombing today of Yemen was very heavy indeed... The two rockets that hit the Iranian ship yesterday were fired by whom..? Who ever it was will soon see a response from Iran ..Iran is pissed that the Saudi did not respond to the ships distress calls.
I think that response to the ship damage could ignite WWIII.

From my prospective I see traditional Jobs in "USA governed America [USAGA], failing everywhere, unemployment is now the only employment. Consumer debt is increasing again .. even the local propaganda is talking about what would happen if the Fed had to start over.. government jobs and government contractors are all about new housing starts, several contractors say the government is not paying them? Also the housing units are mostly cages investors build because the government has agreed to subsidize the rents tenants can't pay. The big cities have more homeless than residents with roofed sleeping units. .. retirement funds are gone, the SS system will never go broke but the amount it tenders will soon not buy a loaf of bread IMO Interestingly the small business culture in America has moved under the radar, its a rumble to avoid government at any level because the small business cannot pay the fees and taxes. .

Posted by: snake | Oct 14 2019 4:22 utc | 119

As an addendum to my post @115 above Turkey could use unneeded/unwanted proxies to execute their part of the dance. Sad and cold, but perhaps at this point a necessary price for all. The Russians had close consultations with all relevant parties recently and have been talking to all for years. If this is the case then likely only the Russians, and likely Erdogan and Assad would be privy to the endgame. The Turks could save face if they are able to claim elimination of radical Kurdish elements before coming to the table, and their forceful entry has given the US cover to withdraw - at least a little - in order to avoid additional entanglements and possibly body bags. Perhaps...

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 4:29 utc | 120

@ Grieved with the thanks to me about my trying to help Public banking grow in the US.

I have had to heal myself from my truck/bicycle crash to become effective in the world and now Ellen Brown and her cohorts have done the heavy lifting to establish an outline for a public banking alternative as shown by the recent California initiative. Figuring out how to help move such forward in Oregon is just an extension of my moniker definition which I have explained before is to shorten the time frame for humanity to move to global public finance from the private finance insanity we now have in the Western world.

All we have to offer of any potential impact on others is the example of how we live our lives.....

Blessings to your efforts as well

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2019 4:30 utc | 121

How can Russia come to rescue the Kurds when it sold Turkey the S-400?

The Syrian Government forces cannot take on Turkey's forces alone.

This is a crazy mess.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 14 2019 4:37 utc | 122

Grieved "are working on developing systems of governance that are proof against such deterioration?"

I have been thinking about this also. The years that have passed since the advent of nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction (which I consider a 'Revolution in Military Affairs') is only a blink in time compared to the thousands of years of civilisation conquest and empire building.
I believe Russia and China have been looking at the institutions that have been set up post WWII and how they have failed, or perhaps the areas in which they have failed.

Australia was a country that contained a large number of nations that from dating of rock paintings appear to have been constant and stable since the last sea level rises perhaps 10,000 years ago.
No reason the rest of and the current world cannot be just as stable.
I think what we are seeing coming from Russia and China is not just new institutions that address previous problems, but a new philosophy on relations between nations.
SCO and Russia I think are the center of this philosophy and it is spreading to all that come in contact with it.

Your line that I quoted at the top of this comment was perhaps intended in the context of a nations government, but wnen used in the international context and creating stability in geo-politics and relations between nations, it may also be creating the conditions or environment for stable government within nations.
Perhaps we will not live to see it Grieved, but I think or children will.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 4:47 utc | 123

@ Circe | Oct 14 2019 4:37 utc | 122

These things usually come with some kind of kill switch to never pose a threat to the exporting nation's forces. On an another note, afaik Turkey's got the export version lacking some of the advanced features the domestic version employs - FFI comes to mind.

Posted by: Hmpf | Oct 14 2019 5:03 utc | 124

this looks to be a pretty good sitrep:
Use Chrome to translate

Posted by: ryuuoh | Oct 14 2019 5:10 utc | 125

So many winners in this situation with the neo-cons looking to be the only losers. US bring in sanctions on a NATO member spells the beginning of the end for NATO.

"As options narrow on Syria, Trump prepares to drop sanctions hammer on Turkey"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 5:15 utc | 126

U.S., Israel and MBS Saudi Arabia are fully to blame for endless war in Syria. Why doesn't Erdo ship the Syrian Opposition refugees to Saudi Arabia???

Turkey and Saudi Arabia supported ISIS, so repatriate them there.

How can the U.S. use the excuse thst Assad is a dictator when Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship ruled by monarchs and the Saudis are killing civilians in Yemen. The hypocrisy and double-standard is too staggering for words.

I'm wondering what kind of deal Assad made with the Kurds. Whatever it is, it better be iron-clad. It's time the Kurds realize that they will be better off as Syrian citizens fighting for Syria.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 14 2019 5:15 utc | 127

Since even the graun is running the Kurds cut a deal with Damascus line it is obvious that something is up. (I do like the way the graun talks about 'Damascus', rather than their usual 'Assad' or 'Assad regime' I guess the subs don't wanna be accused of writing a headline which could be interpreted as casting President Assad in a positive light, which incidentally may bode well for the quality of the deal)

The big question is or course has amerika been played in a 3 way deal between Syria Russia and Turkey esp since it was allegedly said :

"Donald Trump has ordered all US troops to withdraw from the country’s north to avoid a bloody conflict between Turkey and formerly US-backed Kurdish fighters that “gets worse by the hour”, defense secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday."

The means outta the oilfields AFAIK.
For me the give away was when Erdogan changed over the weekend to say "I dunno about only going 30 kilometers in we may hafta go much further, right when the Kurds were humming and hawing on a deal with the Syrian government.

If a 3 way was made it means Erdogan got to look strong without actually losing too many Turkish troops (whose real job is domestic population suppression anyhow) The former Turkish backed jihadis will be pushed over the border back into Syria with their families along with a mob of the other refugees and maybe Syria has agreed to this as a way to get their northern territory back without a long slog. Presumably the SAA and SDF will have the advantage in keeping a lid on the repatriated types who likely mostly have had their fill especially since their families are with em altho it will have to be SAA troops right on the border.

We will know pretty soon which way it is going to go since Turkey will be completely on their own if they start shooting at the troops of the sovereign government of Syria, in Syria. If it doesn't take long for the SAA to mobilise we will know that they were ready and waiting.

Not even the waiting in the wings HR Clinton would be able to run a convincing argument for sending troops back into Syria if the nation is under the control of the forces of Syria's internationally recognised government.

Of maybe Erdie is a no-hoper POS mainchancer who wants/needs war to keep his boot on the throats of all Turks.

Let's hope it will all work and end one chapter in the book of the US' most despicable crimes of empire.

Posted by: A User | Oct 14 2019 5:18 utc | 128

Bemildred @ 85
Nah, it's political theatre - a while back I noted that Putin had introduced the Political Front into Deep Battle Practice - which is obvious really, if you can achieve the destruction of the enemies fixed forces by political means, then why not, it saves treasure and lives. And Clausewitz would approve "War is the mere continuation of politics with other means. Hopefully the military theatre will be superfluous if Putin, etc. have got the politics right although it would be a shame to see those takfiris spread throughout the world.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 14 2019 5:28 utc | 129

The phase one trade deal that the Xi-Putin cabal sent Trumps way may have been part of the price for US withdrawal. Without it Trump didn't have a chance of re-election, with it he keeps a promise, hangs some CIA types put to dry, gains bragging rights,and gains momentum against raging critics

Posted by: les7 | Oct 14 2019 5:47 utc | 130

According to muraselon The SAA is mobilised and heading up to the border under the “Autonomous Administration for North Eastern Syria” reached between SDF and SAA .

Posted by: A User | Oct 14 2019 5:51 utc | 131

Saw this at
Babak Taghvaee
‏ @BabakTaghvaee

#BREAKING: #Tabqa air base near #Raqqa is now under full #Syria Arab Army control. First group of #SAA troops entered the base & took-over its control from #SDF according to #Russian diplomatic sources. This place is suitable for #SAA to re-establish a military base in the region

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 14 2019 7:18 utc | 132

The oil fields will be the place to watch. Solid confirmation of Syrian control over the east Deir Ezzor oil fields means a full pullout of the US. I have read this is occurring but will wait and see.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 7:31 utc | 133

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 7:31 utc | 133

I'm not sure the oil-fields are really an issue. They can't be defended by the US 1,000 troops without Kurdish help. And right now, the US really can't rely on the Kurds to help them out.

The interesting point though about the oil-fields is that since the SDF took them over, the US refused to allow the sale of the product to Damascus. All previous ISIS/rebel occupants had continued to do so. That has meant severe shortages in Syria, of which cooking gas is mentioned, but also no doubt fuel for vehicles. It was why the Iranian tanker was an important issue; I'm certain the US was trying to starve Damascus out.

And now, all of a sudden, the oil is going to be back in Syrian hands. The wells are on Arab land, not Kurdish, only one is.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 9:36 utc | 134

As long as most Americans are clueless about the politics of the Middle East, the press can tell them just about anything they want about it. The most recent developments with the Kurds are indicative. Soon we will be seeing them only as a Marxist Terrorist insurgency against our Turkish allies.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 14 2019 9:49 utc | 135

Laguerre 134

Much of what I have been thinking.
I guess to add to that, I have also thought about US handing out SDF hats to the tribes that had sworn allegiance to ISIS, which enabled US to quickly gain control of the oil fields. To hold the oilfields, the US would need to dump the Kurds and move to backing those tribes.
At the moment, it looks good for a complete pullout of the US in Syria, but I guess because of this this, I wait for confirmation Syria is in full control of its oil fields to be sure of the US pullout.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 10:18 utc | 136

Ralphiebpy #135

yeah, bloody socialists everywhere ruining the USA empire. Bernie Sanders is one of them too /sarc.

If only the Kurds had not got in the way of the Glorious US army conquest there would be peace in the world ;-)

I can almost see tomorrow's NYT lead story about Bernie accepting $ from Kurdish socialists. Yawn. I see Joe Biden now has a Romanian problem.

Thank you mighty b. These are huge times.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2019 10:31 utc | 137

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 10:18 utc | 136

I have also thought about US handing out SDF hats to the tribes that had sworn allegiance to ISIS, which enabled US to quickly gain control of the oil fields. To hold the oilfields, the US would need to dump the Kurds and move to backing those tribes.
That's too simplistic. The Sunni Arabs don't support Da'ish. Rather there is some support for Da'ish in those tribes. The leaders have been recorded in the past as willing to join the SDF, so that Syria can be put together again - under the leadership of Damascus!

The oil itself is not of great interest to the US, as the production is not very great. The issue was financing the Kurds, and denying supplies to Damascus.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 11:19 utc | 138

I hope that the SDF, YPG, and PKK get what are coming to them; we must fight the terrorists. That said, I disagree with the Turkish invasion. On the one hand, it seems to have essentially forced Washington to get out. On the other hand, it is not in cooperation with Assad's government. I feel that Turkey has done irreparable damage to its image on the world stage.

Let's hope things sort themselves out and that Turkey gives back northern Syria.

Posted by: Hello | Oct 14 2019 11:28 utc | 139

An interesting take from Tom Luongo on Hong Kong and the Dollar:

A Peg for a Peg: That’s the West’s Offer for China

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 14 2019 11:29 utc | 140

@ snake | Oct 14 2019 4:22 utc | 119 "ratification"

The cryptofasict revangist "State of Jefferson" "movement" (a bit like Catatonian independence) begin their spiel with a loud statement> "Either the Constitution is a lie or it means what it says." (with variations).

That Good Man Alberto G, Bushie 43's lawyer, is said to have seen the USC as "quaint", while his Great Man, B43, called it "just a goddamn piece of paper."

The course went wild in November of '63. Since then they vote, we don't.

It seems absurd to speak of "ratification" under such a reality does it not?

Posted by: Walter | Oct 14 2019 11:52 utc | 141

dh-mtl @7 argued: "Authority must be distributed for the system to be effective." and then followed it with "When authoritarians take control of complex systems, they very quickly override the whole system of distributed authority, making decisions that belong to the roles and responsibilities of others."

But dh-mtl @7 also noted: "Performance increases with increasing complexity. To see this you can look at nature, where the most complex creatures are the highest performing (i.e. Human beings themselves)..."

Is authority within the human body equally distributed between all cells of the body? Do rectal epithelial cells have the same authority over the actions of the individual human organism as do the nervous system cells? While many samples of the species certainly do source the wisdom for their behavior from their rectums, the more remarkable examples of humanity have that authority reserved for their central nervous systems. Is this "authoritarian" or specialization? If we are to insist upon a strict and uniform distribution of authority, then slime molds and algae would certainly exemplify more cellular democracy than humans.

Grieved @109 said: "I study, in China, the huge number of people required for the Party to conduct its trials and deliberations and couple this with the massive social feedback solicited, and also consider the stringent benchmarks for selection of persons and ideas into this governing process."

Is China's ruling party "authoritarian"? Perhaps it is, but no more so than the human nervous system is a dictator to the human body. Specialization is a requirement for complex systems, and the ability to decide what is best for the organism as a whole is beyond the abilities of the common isolated fat cell.

I would like to add from my personal observation that authority seems to be far more distributed in China than it is in America. I see no evidence that China's President Xi has amassed anywhere near the amount of personal power that western jingoism tries to claim.

Where is state policy discussed and deliberated in the USA? Aside from the vote every couple years, what input do the common people have into whether America attacks another country or not? That decision is discussed only by a few hundred people in Washington DC, with technical input from a few thousand more. Policy in China percolates up to the top through debate and discourse involving literally millions of people... nearly a hundred million people spread out across the entire country and from every industry and field are formally and directly involved in that decision making process.

Another point to consider: It is estimated that there are about 90,000 mass protests per year in China (Wikipedia). Many jingoism-poisoned people in the West think that this is a sign of instability in China, but the opposite is the case. There are so many protests in China not because the system doesn't respond, but precisely because it does respond. People in China get together as a physical representation of the numbers supporting an idea and that causes systemic priority changes that they can see and feel in their lives. This feedback encourages the behavior.

In contrast the number of protests in the USA are so pathetic that Wikipedia can list all of them. Why so few protests in the USA? Because they do not accomplish anything so there is no point. In fact, western governments (not just America's) pride themselves in not responding to protesters.

People in mainland China will protest on a specific issue in the morning and then boycott the NBA immediately after that for unjustly bad-mouthing China. This behavior is beyond comprehension for many in the West, but it is a nice demonstration of healthy and respectful civic participation (distributed authority?) that the West cannot match.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 14:32 utc | 142

@123 Peter AU 1

Thank you for that idea - it hadn't occurred to me. It makes sense that these countries have an idea of a global rule of law that is sustainable through the ages to come. We only really got started on such things back in the last century, and now we see it was just a US power consolidation move. But the world has only grown smaller since, and it's a work in progress. That's a wonderful thought.

@142 William Gruff

I know you well understand this, but just for the record, China's democracy is better than that of the US. Godfree Roberts says that China is the world's leading democracy, and since it's Roberts, he offers plenty of data to back up this claim.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 14 2019 15:03 utc | 143

Thanks to William Gruff @ 142 - lovely dissertation!

"...People in mainland China will protest on a specific issue in the morning and then boycott the NBA immediately after that for unjustly bad-mouthing China. This behavior is beyond comprehension for many in the West, but it is a nice demonstration of healthy and respectful civic participation (distributed authority?) that the West cannot match."

The stunning meritocracy that is China's political process is matched, I think, by Russia's meticulous grooming of executive authority in a different way as suits that country's own historical experiences. I feel Russia hasn't yet the same fluidity of connection between the populace and government that China demonstrates, but they are learning fast and the reciprocity of respect is clear in Putin's outreach to his people, which should bear dividends. It only remains for his political students to follow his example, and they will be successful also.

Would that we had such vision in the US! It is so much more creatively attractive than the mere accumulation of money!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 14 2019 15:44 utc | 144

About the Silicon Valley "unicorns":

WeWork Showed Us How Badly Start-up Bros Suck—but Shareholder Rule Isn’t Better

And an interesting book review about the history of the foundation of Silicon Valley:

The">">The Confidence Game: How Silicon Valley broke the economy

Posted by: vk | Oct 14 2019 15:48 utc | 145

@ William Gruff who asked
Is authority within the human body equally distributed between all cells of the body?
My short answer to your question would be yes, there is distributed authority. The bit longer answer would be that we are run by our Glia but we don't know exactly how. One of those Glia types are astrocytes that set up every synaptic cleft and clear it out after the bio-chemical event and while they are doing that they are bio-electrically communicating with their neighbors in ways we know happen but have trouble measuring and understanding yet.

Below is a link to a recent study about how cortical organiods were cultured for months and started to produce coherent bio-electric wave forms similar to early human infants. You may find it interesting.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2019 15:52 utc | 146

Grieved @143

Very true, but many in the West fetishize the antiquated form of government they are familiar with and assume that it exemplifies democracy. If there is no Congress and Senate and President, or Parliament and Prime Minister, then it cannot be Democracy™ in their view. If there are no theatrical "high stakes" elections every few years - which are not really high stakes at all since the candidates are vetted by big business and have nearly identical agendas - then most westerners would argue it isn't really democracy.

It is the pageantry and staged horse-race drama that defines "democracy" for most people in the West. Actually influencing state policy? Few people in the West even think that is possible regardless of the form of government. It is more important for voters in the West to put people in office who in some manner or another embody their personal "identities", even if that embodiment is just an act.

Yes, China is more democratic than the United States. Believe it or not, Libya was much more democratic (note the small 'd'... function not form; content not label) than the US before that fragile experiment was destroyed. You try to explain this to the typical westerner, though, and they will dismiss you out of hand, even calling you crazy just for suggesting it.

I agree with dh-mtl above that distributed authority is necessary in complex systems, but so is specialization. China's Party is trying to do both, and so far succeeding.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 15:57 utc | 147

A Nationalist's lines:

"Foreign policy can’t be separated from domestic policy because the waging of regime change wars, the new cold war, and the nuclear arms race is costing American lives and wasting trillions of $ that should be invested in domestic needs like health, education, infrastructure, etc."

That Nationalist is Tulsi Gabbard.

William Gruff @147--

How close is this notion of Democratic Centralism to what you're thinking about, particularly as explained in these tow paragraphs:

"The democratic aspect of democratic centralism ensures effective decision making. It includes thorough discussion of political questions, full airing of minority viewpoints, collective decision making or periodic review of delegated decisions, reports from the members on their work and analyses, provisions for initiatives from members, and criticism of all aspects of political, organizational, and theoretical practice. The democratic practice of the organization rests on the principle that collective decisions made by majority vote after a full, informed, and frank discussion are more likely to reflect the interests of the working class than decisions made without such a discussion.

"Centralism is necessary to ensure unity of action in carrying out the organization’s decisions, to provide strategic and tactical flexibility in dealing with the highly centralized bourgeois state, and to create the basis in social practice for evaluating the organization’s line. Centralism includes leadership at all levels summing up the ideas and experience of the membership, drawing up proposals for the organization to consider, presenting political arguments for the positions it recommends, implementing policy, and responding decisively to guide the organization and the working class through the twists and turns of the struggle."

The initial ratio for population to number of house delegates was 30,000:1. At @340,000,000 in population, the US House at that ratio would see 11,333 delegates instead of 435, or @26X more than now sits, which represents a massive centralizing of government that's facilitated its great corruption. Clearly, the Founders were agreed on democratic centralism, but didn't name it that. One of the big political theory questions at the time: What's the proper/ideal size to allow for the smooth functioning of a Democratic Republic? At the time, many had dreams of a continent spanning nation, but didn't put much thought into how population growth would alter the representational ratio to the point where no actual representation occurs despite the façade enabled by Town Halls and other such fora. Ideally, in a one-party situation, partisanship's eliminated leaving only the local interest of the populace as the primary consideration followed by the national interest. Yes, factions within the party debate to determine how to act based on the input provided by their constituents. Most importantly, the wellbeing of the nation and its localities is to rise above the egos of the people's representatives. The rise of partisanship practiced though the advent of political parties overthrows the paramountcy of the nation which is then placed in a subordinate position to that of the political party--although all political parties will argue the reverse is true: Their party provides the best vision for advancing the nation.

Based upon what we've seen historically, multiparty nations are more dysfunctional than single party democratic nations, although there've been too few of the latter. It really boils down to a culture's philosophy. If the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, then the mass-based national interest will be pursued while egos and hyper-individualism are suppressed. If the freedom of the few to oppress the needs of the many is deemed proper, then only the interests of the few will be served at the expense of the needs of the many and overall national interest, with politics distilled to a battle of elite egos.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 17:34 utc | 148

@S #30
Health care in Russia is not free, unless you're a Russian citizen.
However, health care in Russia is immensely more affordable than the US. But that's true for every single other nation in the entire world.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 14 2019 17:35 utc | 149

@vk #145
I've written numerous posts talking about WeWork and its multi-level scheme:

Stage 1: Building owner invests $5M-$10M into WeWork; WeWork leases 80% of building. This lease increases value of building by $100M or more.

Stage 2: Softbank sees this company growing super fast and getting a lot of investment, decides it will use WeWork to lure in the Saudi and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds for its Vision Fund 1: a $100 billion investment vehicle (Softbank put in $35B). Softbank puts $4.4 billion into WeWork in 2017 - causing its valuation to jump to $20 billion.

Stage 3: Softbank puts over $5 billion in January of 2019, this jumps WeWork's valuation to $47 billion - meaning the $4.4B invested previously was worth more than double. This allows the Vision Fund to show amazing growth at enormous scale to the Saudi and Abu Dhabi funds to try and raise Vision Fund II - a second $100 billion investment vehicle.

Stage 4: IPO, cash out. But IPO fails because WeWork's business is fundamentally bad. WeWork IPO valuation drops from $47B+ to $20B to even less and is eventually called off. WeWork could run out of cash in a month. WeWork CEO is forced out, but he doesn't care because he's pulled $750 million out already. Being fired is a benefit.

We're now in stage 5: What will Softbank do?

Softbank probably can't let WeWork fail right away: losing the $10.5 billion investment and even more (with paper gains already booked) would not be good. But WeWork lost $2 billion in 2018, so keeping it alive, as is, isn't going to be cheap either. Mass layoffs are, without question, coming. Will it be half? 3/4s?

To be fair, not all of Vision Fund's investments are WeWork-like dogs. Uber and Slack IPOs were a bust, and Wag (dog walking a la uber) is also failing miserably, but SoFi and others are doing ok. The problem is that Vision Fund 1 needs one of its other plays to literally become Uber scale (i.e. $50B valuation) in order to even out WeWork. I just don't see that happening.

So the most likely play is a mass layoff, drop in burn, and spacing out the WeWork losses over some significant period of time: 1 year? 2 years? The precise period is a function of ongoing cash burn in WeWork's lease commitments vs. the quarterly hit on Vision Fund 1's financials.

There are also question marks on Vision Fund 1 operations. I've read that some of the investors in Vision Fund 1 are getting 7% interest payments. The IPO fails for Uber and Slack may not have been booked yet - but a failure to sell these stocks means Vision Fund 1 may well be low on cash as well, so Vision Fund 1 may have constraints on how much cash it can deploy to spread out the WeWork burn.

Interesting times.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 14 2019 17:59 utc | 150

On October 11th, Ted Rall [a fellow Columbia grad!] wrote of impeachment as an anti-progressive move:

Trump’s impeachment is a DNC/centrist coup attempt against progressives inside the Democratic Party.


The drone of impeachment will eclipse Warren’s remarkably disciplined campaign. She has plans for everything, but the media won’t cover them. Warren trails Biden on name recognition. How will voters get to know her? I’d be spitting bullets if I were her campaign manager.

Does Ted read MoA? I had described Ukrainegate as an establishment ploy at least a week before!

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

Sept 26: At first I thought impeachment was a distraction from a war with Iran.

Sept 29: But I soon realized the political implications:

Biden will wear Trump's contempt as a badge of honor.

He'll say that Trump is gunning for him because he is threatened by Biden's political campaign.

Which was confirmed on Oct 3rd:

"He [Trump] did it because, like every bully in history — he’s afraid," said Biden on Wednesday. "He’s afraid of just how badly I would beat him next November."

Oct 3: I described exactly how impeachment is an establishment ploy to help Biden (these are just the bullet points, see more at the link):

* This whole affair is a nothing-burger that only serves to bolster Biden.

* Trump already helped Pelosi to become the Speaker of the House.

* Biden is a Deep-Stater. He's viewed as 'safe hands'.

* 99% of Democratic voters will not care that Biden's son got money from Ukraine and China.

Oct 4: I further fleshed out the issues:

Lamenting the inability of others to see the game being played:

People SAY that they're skeptical of the USA political duopoly. People SAY that USA is ruled as an oligarchy via money politics. They SAY that individuals with long connections to the Deep State should not be trusted. But they prove otherwise when they take the bait and invest themselves in a divisive nothing-burger.

It would be funny, if it were not so sad.

You are being played as you wax on about Ukrainian minutiae and how the OTHER SIDE is corrupt. Our political conversation is ALL about Biden and Trump now. And it will be that way for weeks to come. The Democratic primary race is over. The Deep State wins (once again).

And describing Trump as a key player in maintaining Deep State/establishment control:

If you're thinking that Trump was just being Trump then I have a bridge to sell you. Remember when Trump hired Manafort? Well, when he did so, Manafort was already in hot water over his Ukraine dealings. Oh how easy it was to use Trump's hiring of Manafort and a bogus "hack" of DNC emails to kick off Russiagate and the new McCarthyism.

Furthermore, in the Spring, Pelosi and Hillary were adamantly against impeachment, saying that it would only hurt Democrats. What changed? Warren became the expected winner of the Democratic Party primary in mid-August.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 18:15 utc | 151

Link to Ted Rall's UNZ post. (ht ZHedge)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 18:17 utc | 152

I am reading Ellen brown's Banking on the People to refresh my understanding of the current private banking "system"....more like a casino with them playing with public money.

Let me share one tidbit indicative of the status

In the US, public bank depositors are suppose to be insured for up to $250K by the FDIC. In 2017 the FDIC fund had only $93 billion in it with an estimated exposure of $8.5 trillion. The FDIC has a $500 billion credit line with the US Treasury but would have to stand in line for it behind the bottomless black hole of derivative liabilities ($216.5 trillion, or more than 15 times US GDP) that were given in 2005 by our government super-senior position on all bank funds. Even US municipalities come behind the derivative crazies.

This is an example of the jackboot of global private finance I continue to write about here. It is crazier that I thought and is about to go boom again bigger than in 2008....sad

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2019 4:35 utc | 153

psychohistorian @ 153

Great point!

I am a big fan of Ellen Brown after first being exposed to her via her excellent provocative article on Libya.

I also really enjoyed her book: Web of Debt.


J.D. Alt often does a great job of explaining monetary matters and here is his current effort to try and explain the Fed. Part 1.

""financial matters | October 15, 2019 at 6:03 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

This may be outside the purview of these articles but I’d like to suggest a 6th money-intensive, life defining dilemma that America now apparently confronts: Supporting the repo system.

The Fed is apparently injecting a lot of these funds that could be used for the other 5 dilemmas to support the money markets.

The money markets are definitely important but I think the question should be asked: Why are they in so much trouble?

This may involve the shadow banking system of hedge funds and the vast derivative markets but what is the Fed’s responsibility to keep these kind of activities afloat vs using these sovereign dollars for the other 5 dilemmas:

(1) climate change (2) healthcare (3) student debt (4) early child-hood care and development (5) affordable housing

I would also add retirement security. Especially as money markets may not be as secure as many may think. ""

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 15 2019 11:20 utc | 154

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 14 2019 17:59 utc | 150

Yes, mass layoffs are a given and it seems it will happen very soon:

WeWork set to sack 2,000 staff as anger towards founder Adam Neumann grows

Posted by: vk | Oct 15 2019 11:50 utc | 155

Let us not forget the real economy and the realpolitic arena of domestic affairs> "Mack Truck, copper strikes show potential to spread GM walkout to Ford, Fiat Chrysler" (WSWS)

Trumpie's not needin' this...will he alienate his base with Taft-Hartley orders?

Will the rankandfile obey?

Posted by: Walter | Oct 15 2019 12:43 utc | 156

To psychohistorian@146 who posted:

"@ William Gruff who asked
Is authority within the human body equally distributed between all cells of the body?
My short answer to your question would be yes, there is distributed authority..."

I will give the Orthodox answer to the question, which is:

All authority within the human body resides in the heart. In prayer, one stands before God with the mind in the heart. This is a distinction from the usual western location of authority as designated brain-centered. In which science supercedes any other form of knowing as being the superior answer to all questions, as psychohistorian has elaborated above in #146. And indeed those matters are highly informative and the search for knowledge is ongoing.

What tends towards the answer Mr. Gruff has given is the complexity that is understood by seating the residence of authority in the heart, and not the brain. For, as we now see very clearly, the brain lacks a moral compass, a sympathy, an empathy, a discernment of how what the knowledge it uncovers will relate to life itself. And that too relates to the reciprocity between the 'masses' and the executive. If I may intermingle the concepts, the authority is that woven substance that is both people and leadership, heart with mind in it.

I do not see your problem, karlof1, since we do have the tools at present for the same ratio of leadership to currently perform very well, only needing further tweaking to the admirable scientific connections we now have, so that our representative leaders are easier by far to connect with in this day and age than they were back in colonial times. It should not matter how many steps we take to have our views known; this forum is one example of how that is done.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2019 15:44 utc | 157


A couple of videos from a bloke out near alice springs. Never met him but had a bit of contact with him on a rotorcraft forum. Birdy flew pretty much the same style as me. Country is generally more open than where I worked.

Another gyro here

This is what I did for a couple of years in the Kimberlies. This is choppers, bull buggies and bikes doing a bit of bull catching and mustering.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 15:54 utc | 158

I should have said, 'how many different steps we take'. In other words, it can be face to face, by letter, or by the magic of the computer. And there can be assistants along the way for both people and leadership to funnel the views of the many to the leadership. Mr. Gruff gave the example of 'protests'. It can be done; but there must be leaders who will listen. There's the rub.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2019 15:55 utc | 159

@vk #155
13% isn't going to be anywhere near enough.
And what's really funny is the latest WeWork funding spin: No Softbank control, but JP Morgan will rescue them. JP Morgan, of course, is the company that enabled Neumann to cash out $700M from WeWork.

This actually makes sense: JP Morgan cozied up to Neumann not just because of phat fees on the WeWork IPO, but more likely because there are many, many JPM fund and wealthy individual clients who are riding the WeWork train. Many of the early real estate/REIT investors are JPM.

So it isn't just Softbank that needs to space the WeWork fail out - it is JPM as well.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2019 16:30 utc | 160

@juliania #159
The present US Government already operates by such as system.
And the present state of governance is what happens, over time. The representatives will always be a choke point for influence.
Don't forget, the same dynamic is why there were kings/queens: the individual feudal lords could never settle differences consistently by themselves, so hierarchical layers of arbitration were created.
Over time, these led to the ones on top becoming absolute rulers.
The same dynamic affected the Soviet Union. The first generation leaders were, more or less, focused on the mission: build up the nation. The second generation leaders were bureaucrats, and the entire USSR bureaucratic network became the absolute rulers.
I don't see any hierarchical system maintaining its idealistic goals over time.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 15 2019 16:34 utc | 161

@ peter - about erdogan.. i agree with your characterization - give him an inch and he takes a mile... when he is not silencing or throwing the opposition in jail, he is up to some scheme to make himself look good to the turkish people... i suppose he is the consummate politician in that regard..

16 days til brexit!!

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2019 17:45 utc | 162

juliania @157--

What I pose as a representational problem is directly tied to the amount of systemic corruption long a part of the US Federal Government. This article provides excellent info on how it operates. And the small size--535 Congresscritters--makes such legalized bribery all too cheap for those with big bucks. One of the first methods was providing watered stock to key Senators by railroads and other preferential treatment after the Civil War. Then there's the Twain observation about Congress being the #1 criminal syndicate in the nation I paraphrased earlier. But mostly, I'm reasking a question George Carlin made famous decades ago: Which of the two political parties represent us--the people? His answer: Well none, since it's all one big club and you're not a member. The scary part of that was the audience response--laughter & applause instead of boos and shouts of indignation. (When I saw him do that skit live decades ago, my response was paralyzed by his utter correctness and the chilling fact the audience found it all a big laugh.)

It's extremely difficult for self-government to work when your agents aren't responsive to your entreaties to enact majority-based legislation as the article shows so well. IMO, one very large part of the problem was/is the rise of political parties after the nation's founding such that there's no basic constitutional controls over them whatsoever--and they certainly cannot be said to operate in the public's interest. However, getting any legislation passed limiting their scope of operations will never occur as such is not at all in the interests of political parties as presently constituted. As you hopefully see, it's not just my problem but the nation's problem.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 19:14 utc | 163

The dude b attacks on Twitter is really a head-case and deserves what's coming for lying on the linked application--how can he not be involved in politics given what he's doing for UAE?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 22:28 utc | 164

Caitlin Johnstone writes another thought provoking essay, "On Psychopathy and Power," where she sees no other solution other than using culture as the only viable curative. Yes, it's short and non-clinical as is her style, but the problem she poses and its seemingly unsolvable nature could expand into many pages.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 22:54 utc | 165

What you pose then, karlof1 @ 163 is that corruption is easier when the number of the corruptible is small. However, had the system which put the corruptible in place been more rigorous from the beginning of the selection process, and fairly presented as voting conditions overseen by international observers, with all safeguards in place for debates, etc under impartial conditions, and rules that are more rigorously followed, it wouldn't matter that some corruption was occurring as always bad folk could be found out and dealt with. Not perfectly but certainly better than what we have today.

It has happened that we have had better leadership than now. And there are remedies to make it better. One of the first remedies would be with respect to the judicial system. It could have more teeth. Not rules made up to suit the corrupt, but actual remedies that send people to prison.

I agree with your description of what we have now. I would like to see remedies, regulations begin to work on the problem, because I think public oversight is more easily obtainable with the technology we have today. The Chinese are doing it with a different system, but the system is not at fault if it is followed correctly. And sometimes all that takes is leadership at the top eg Theodore Roosevelt and Tammany Hall.

Russia had corruption up the wahzoo. They fought it. So did China. It's worthwhile to see that it is not a TINA situation. That's what makes me hopeful.

Thanks for your response.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2019 23:39 utc | 166

juliania @166--

Thanks for your well considered reply! Got a questionnaire from League of Women Voters Monday and filled it out today. Many of its questions had to do with the problem of or related to corruption, which caused a short chuckle. I think you'd enjoy reading Caitlin's essay I linked @165 as well as this one here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2019 0:14 utc | 167

@ juliania 166

"It has happened that we have had better leadership than now. And there are remedies to make it better. One of the first remedies would be with respect to the judicial system. It could have more teeth. Not rules made up to suit the corrupt, but actual remedies that send people to prison."

Even when the american's supreme court exonerates corruption in american politics

In a nutshell from the article

"Last year, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court vacated Bob McDonnell's conviction, but condemned his conduct on ethical grounds.

McDonnell and his family accepted $177K in gifts and loans while he was in office. His attorney admitted the evidence looked bad, but that's just the way U.S. politics works.

Now, politicians found guilty of bribery in New York, Pennsylvania and Louisiana are using the McDonnell case to fight their own convictions."

So one might surmise political corruption in america starts at the top and you wanna give them even more teeth?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Oct 16 2019 0:29 utc | 168


"In contrast the number of protests in the USA are so pathetic that Wikipedia can list all of them. Why so few protests in the USA?"

It only proves Americans are spineless cowards through and through, despite their fetishism with 2nd Amendment.

If the CCP ever remotely tried to replicate the hugely oppressive US tax/healthcare/education regime in China they would be overthrown by the Chinese in seconds.

Posted by: JW | Oct 16 2019 1:23 utc | 169

The idea that government must operate and decide based on what the representatives of citizens determine has obviously not worked, and why should it? It's a faulty model based on the fallacy that the peoples' will actually affects what representatives do. That has been proven false by campaign funding for one thing, also corruption. So it doesn't matter what the ratio of citizens to representatives is, it doesn't work.
Look at the stats: Congressional job approval in the U.S. hovers at twenty percent here. Participation in national elections is at 50-60%. The representative system doesn't work.
What to do?
In this age of polling and pervasive communications it ought to be able to get the sense of what people want by asking them. What a concept! In fact the Obama 2008 campaign included many things, one of which was that congressional bills would be published on the web for comments prior to a congressional vote. I don't know if Obama actually knew about it but it was in there. It would be a start but of course it never was implemented.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 16 2019 2:08 utc | 170

Q@ JW 169
the number of protests in the USA are so pathetic
Street protests absolutely don't work. That's been proven.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 16 2019 2:10 utc | 171

Biggest surprise of the latest US Democratic debate?

3 of the 12 candidates cite John McCain as a friend.


> Amy Klobuchar recounted a touching personal story to illustrate their close connection;

> Bernie Sanders: fondly recalls working with him on vet legislation;

> Joe Biden: proud of his association with this great American and his 'can do' spirit.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 16 2019 3:22 utc | 172

Don Bacon @170--

I wrote a reply to William Gruff and mentioned the idea of what's known as democratic centralism, which is how the CCP operates within the single-party nation of China. But at root, it's the culture, its values and the philosophy that grounds it. Resetting the system in the Western world would entail resetting far more than its institutions. The Why it requires resetting would need to be closely examined and well aired. These two article, here and here discus some of those reasons and why they must be aired. IMO, far more than tinkering around the edges is required.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2019 3:40 utc | 173

Bernie's back!!! AOC will be endorsing Bernie at a huge rally named Bernie's Back! this Saturday in Queens. Ilhan Omar is also endorsing Bernie. Go Bernie-go Bernie-go Bernie go Bernie!📣

I have to admit Beto's growing on me. He's authentic. Bernie/Beto has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 16 2019 4:01 utc | 174

Peter AU 1 #123,

Your comment regarding Australia having stable population for 10,000 years is tempting but I suggest the Burckle meteor impact event 5000 bp may have caused a serious dip. It seems highly probable that this event terminated many nations far away from the impact with the past century excavations from deep mud cover are revealing. Concrete linkage is elusive for such historical events but body of evidence grows. Certainly the chevron sand dunes of Madagascar and Western Australia reveal an immense catastrophe arising from that event.

The durability of Australian Aboriginal peoples seems to me to be secured to a singular creation story shared by all (with subtle variation) plus a profound respect for natures bounty. My impression is that an enduring system of totems and taboos bonded securely to localism gave these remarkable people a capacity for endurance beyond the norm. They seem to have little worship for 'the nation' and that may be a fundamental aid to their endurance.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 16 2019 10:40 utc | 175

Long-lasting cultures are sustainable, I presume I don't have to justify that? It's just a re-statement of the definition of long-lasting in terms of inputs and outputs. They have stability, they don't have to change all the time. Son can follow in his fathers shoes and expect to have that choice treat him well.

So far, the human race has not produced any high-consumption civilizations that are anything like sustainable. Not even interested. Civilizations, up to now, all run on the "consume like mad or the other guy will get it principle", as we see Uncle Sugar doing now, they get greedy. Killing people to get what they have is very old and very popular. It's what empires are about. Greed is what they are about. Want want want. Busy, busy, busy. Christmas every day.

So I think if we want to create a sustainable advanced technical culture, we are going to have to re-think how we do business fundamentally. Being sustainable is among other things about not being needy, demanding, greedy, etc. And that will require society to be arranged that way, to not make people needy. One thing modern technical culture does is make people really needy.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 16 2019 12:36 utc | 176

Bernie's Back with AOC

Over at Dkos they're totally ignoring this news as are the mainstream cable trying to push Warren, Buttigieg and Klobuchar. Too bad for them AOC could care less who they're promoting! Warren team has been hoping to get AOC's support. Looks like AOC recognizes authenticity when she sees it. Tough!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 16 2019 12:49 utc | 177

Big Boss Mossad (Yossi Cohen) admits to murder? Oh My!

see> “If there is one target that we eliminate without hesitation, it is Hamas officials abroad."

@ information clearing house (they got it from intelnews (org), which is a reliable source of certified intelop - saying what they want you to believe - sometimes true, always with a dark agenda. cum grano salis, amigos.)

Just my silly idea, but is it a good idea to admit doing murder, particularly a Policy of murder? Circumstances those Good Men at Nuremberg discovered at the end of ropes...

Maybe Brother Yossi was drunk...but on what substance? Or perhaps the gods have made him mad...

I have heard men, cops and judges and lawyers, talk...and heard them agree that when a man says he's going to come and get you the proper response in Nature is to get him first... Not so much in Law, but in Nature...

Maybe Brother Yossi's suicidal, eh?

Poor Bloke! A real pity...such a waste, eh? Nice young man gone off the rails...

Posted by: Walter | Oct 16 2019 13:07 utc | 178

Apologies, karlof1, as I only have time this morning for a quick read of the Caitlin piece and a short reply. I will do better later. There are two assertions I want to think over:

1)In modern society this ability is a natural advantage that the rest of us simply cannot compete with.

2)All the worst atrocities in human history have been perfectly legal.

And her solution being that of a 'healthy society.'

I'll just give my knee jerk reactions here - elaborate later. Firstly, I believe that the 'successful' societies we've been examining today had components dealing with corruption - and I'm positing the early US of A in that group. Today China and Russia - yesterday the US. I believe the first two learned from the experiences of the third. Russia more obviously, but China as well.

I have a low bar for the word 'successful'. Just, for me, a successful society is the one aimed at the elements of a good life for the most people under condition of sustained peaceful relations with other countries. Doesn't have to be the wealthiest; doesn't have to be the most powerful.

The US was founded on principles put forward by educated men that dealt with the hard facts faced at the time of exploitation and greed. It wasn't a perfect system as no government is. It relied upon the integrity of those who would come to power in its functions. Out of it came the principles that created the UN.

Neither institution functions 'perfectly'. But the rule of law each proclaims is a perfect one. The international rule of law which Putin holds to is, if adhered to, what I call 'perfectly legal'. That is far different from the 'laws' being put into practice today by a corrupt legal system that is not perfect. Putin calls those rules not laws. [Sorry, have to go]

Posted by: juliania | Oct 16 2019 13:33 utc | 179

Biden - Gabbard 2020

Tulsi once again went after Biden's main opponent, this time Elizabeth Warren.

Biden's strong condemnation of Trump's withdrawal of forces in northeastern Syria was a perfect opportunity to attack Biden on Tulsi's signature issue (ending the regime change wars). Biden was at the center of decision-making that got USA into those wars.

But she didn't do that. Instead, Tulsi directed two 'gotcha' questions to Warren.

<> <> <> <> <>

In the second Democratic Debate, Tulsi practically eliminated Kamala Harris with an attack that led to Harris' fall in the polls. Harris had become Biden's main opponent when she successfully attacked him in the first debate.

Tulsi has always been a fringe candidate in that she lacks widespread support. Like all candidates that are not well known, she needs media attention to advance. Butting heads with leading candidates helps to garner that attention. While Harris and Warren qualify as "leading candidates", Biden does too.

Once again, Tulsi may have missed the opportunity to "take the fight" to Biden. She didn't have enough support to participate in the previous debate and she may once again be barred from future debates.

If Tulsi was really fired up about ending regime-change wars then she'd go after Biden - if only to get her message out. It's her signature issue. Instead, she has used her precious time on the world stage to attack Biden's main opponents actually helps him.

Tulsi makes a great surrogate for Biden as 'white guy' Biden doesn't want to alienate voters by going on the attack - especially against women and/or people of color. Tulsi will also make a great VP candidate for much the same racial and gender-based reasons.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 16 2019 16:16 utc | 180

Ellen and establishment solidarity

Democratic candidates have chosen NOT to mention Biden's ethical transgressions. Whether it's sweetheart deals for his son or involvement in disastrous "regime-change wars", Biden gets a pass.

This is reminiscent of Sanders refusal to attack Hillary in 2016.

Ellen's 'forgive and forget' friendship with Bush is the new "enough with the emails". American unity and Party unity is touted when the Deep State wants to protect its untouchable political operatives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 16 2019 16:30 utc | 181

Today was the US Fed's first POMO (Permanent Open Market Operation), not to be confused with temporary.

I thought it was slated to start in November but basically it is a planned QE4 whereby the Fed buys $60 billion of Treasuries a month at $7.5 billion per operation. Todays operation was oversubscribed by 4.3x. That is to say the Fed bought $7.501 billion in Treasury Bills out of $32.569 billion in T-Bills submitted.

In 2008 this sort of activity occurred after the AIG/bank/market crash but Trumps said today the market will go up and the last I looked it is being manipulated strongly to that end.

When you have a global private finance system that can create fiat "money" with a few keystrokes, anything can be a degree.

The Temporary (overnight) REPO situation today looked like as follows: "in its latest overnight operation, the Fed indicated that $80.35BN in collateral ($74.7BN in TSYs, $5.65BN in MBS) had been submitted into an operation that maxed out at $75BN, with a weighted average rate on both TSY and MBS rising to 1.823% and 1.828% respectively." (h/t - ZH)

Privatize the profits and socialize the losses is the meme once again bigggly

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 16 2019 18:57 utc | 182

I am happy to read the new Syria post by b but want to remind folks that a civilization war is going on with many fronts

Below is a ZH link that shows the latest efforts to squash (like Occupy Wall Street) any protests against the Shadow Banking system, of which, according to the Ellen Brown book I am reading Blackrock is the biggest member

London Bans Extinction Rebellion Protests After Blackrock Offices Targeted

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 16 2019 19:32 utc | 183

Me at # 182 who wrote
Trumps said today the market will go up and the last I looked it is being manipulated strongly to that end.

Mr. Market is closed now and Trump was wrong.....wonder how he feels about that?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 16 2019 20:09 utc | 184

I am curious what all the Canadiens think of Barack Obama tweeting the following
'I was proud to work with Justin Trudeau as President. He's a hard-working, effective leader who takes on big issues like climate change. The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term.
Will you now vote for "black-face" Trudeau because a "real black man" thinks he's great?

What a farce our world has become......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 16 2019 23:18 utc | 185

@ Don Bacon 96 of the latest Syrian thread

"Recall (if you can) that President Kennedy's Peace Offensive started in June 1963, with a speech at American University, and he was assassinated in November of that year."

@ Don Bacon 101 of latest Syrian thread

"In 1963 Kennedy was negotiating detente and peace with Kruschev, including the Partial Test Ban Treaty. Kennedy was an articulate, persuasive operator who could make deals. He was assassinated."

I'm still learning etiquette here, which is why i moved your quotes over here DB, if you happen to see them. Imho there were likely many reasons JFK was assassinated and the way it was handled was obviously a bloody coup. I'd like to posit that JFK's executive order 11110 had much to do with his assassination, which also occurred in June of 1963, because it was my opinion that order had tried to brush the federal reserve system aside, by producing silver dollars backed by silver bullion. However, when conferring, with wikipedia and a couple of other sites what i'd thought were facts seem to be getting glossed over in a different way.

Reading the order's transcripts doesn't help me much trying to keep up with their jargon, but i value your opinion as well as the other excellent commenters here and would appreciate anyone's opinion(s) of whether this was a viable reason for Kennedy's offing, or just another debunked conspiracy theory?

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Oct 17 2019 4:24 utc | 186

If the prognostications of some who see the US in collapse and retrenchment are even marginally valid, then one may expect the process of escape from Imperial Grasp we see ongoing - looks like Satrap Erdo is escaping - process of escape to continue bit by bit. At some point, presumably, Hawaii will escape, and then other States - Texas, California (these were independent sovereigns that joined the US) other States and Cities and regions will discover a drang nach Osten (China, mostly) the "drang" being based on Chinese Gold and business deals... It may be that the Good Men down at the shop want to slow that process...hence (see below)

The financially strained Economies of Cities, farms, and regions (and States) seems to be seen as an opportunity by Mr Chin... (Well, it is.)

"US imposes restrictions on Chinese diplomats" (in violation of Vienna Convention) @ Press TV

Posted by: Walter | Oct 17 2019 12:20 utc | 187

aye, myself & me @186--

In his attempt to refute the hypothesis that JFK was killed specifically for his shift on Vietnam policy, Chomsky provided a long list of other moves JFK made that riled the elites composing that era's Current Oligarchy, of which what you cite is one. IMO, the Current Oligarchy operates by consensus, and JFK managed to rile the differing factions to the point where they reached agreement that he had to go. So, as Chomsky argues, there isn't one specific causative reason for the murder. Prouty doesn't try to provide an specific why either, but his essay "Guns of Dallas" is the best illustration of how it was done and the coverup that ensued. Prouty also authored The Secret Team, which I'm sure you'll find beyond interesting.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2019 18:19 utc | 188

There isn't a thread on this at the moment, but this Global Times editorial contrasting what's happening in Catalonia with Hong Kong is a must read:

"Supporters of the Catalan separatist movement publicly declared to have learned from the Hong Kong demonstrators, promoting the latter's tactics such as to 'be water' and wearing masks to reduce the risk of being arrested. They seized the local airport on Monday and Tuesday, forcing a large number of flights to cancel. They also blocked roads and railways, set garbage cans on fire. Their slogan is 'We're going to do a Hong Kong!'"

And the editorial points out such imitation isn't limited to Spain:

"In addition, some environmentalists in the UK are imitating Hong Kong protesters by occupying the London City Airport. In Australia, a group of environmentalists are also attempting to carry out Hong Kong-style protests. Signs that violence in Hong Kong might be mimicked by Western societies are emerging. Catalonia is more like the beginning."

Blowback is thy name. Is it just me or do I detect a hint of delight in the writer at the West's escalating dilemma caused by its own double standards and continuing attempts to maintain its dominance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2019 18:28 utc | 189

Below is a link to a Reuters article about another front in the Civilization war we are in

IMF sidesteps clash with U.S. over funding, delays shareholding changes to 2023

The take away quotes
The International Monetary Fund said on Friday its 189 member countries agreed to maintain the IMF’s $1 trillion in total lending resources while delaying changes to its shareholding structure to as late as December 2023.

The IMF’s bylaws drafted at the end of World War Two require the Fund to be headquartered in the world’s largest economy - which may require a shift in coming decades based on forecasts that China’s GDP will eventually exceed that of the United States.

The deal preserves the U.S. veto power at the IMF and ends a deadlock over quotas while avoiding a bigger share for China for the time being, said Mark Sobel, a former U.S. Treasury official and U.S. executive director at the IMF.

I don't see China waiting until 2023 to try again for balanced control of the IMF. I see an alternative to the IMF coming when the Civilization war clarifies the players and sides of the war.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19 2019 1:48 utc | 190

I suppose this comment will just get lost here like the ones above it because there will be a new Week in Review tomorrow but feel the need to share my feelings.....

Below is a comment that I just tried to leave on the Ellen Brown Web of Debt blog but it doesn't seem to be there, yet. I will follow it with some more context about my thoughts


I am reading your new book, Banking on the People, and it is quite educational but is scaring the heck out of me. I am into Chapter 15 about QE and while I understand your arguments I don't share your optimism that inflation of "property" is not occurring.

I see property as a global thing and can't help but believe that the global elite are and will continue to drive the price of "property" up world wide if your public banking initiatives become reality. Don't get me wrong. I am way behind public banking/finance but believe it must happen along with a redefinition of "private property" and inheritance or we will evolve further into an elite owned rentier economy worse than what we have now.

Maybe you cover a bigger picture view of needed evolution of our Western/global social contract and the global "Commons" later in this book but felt motivated to share my concerns with the lack of global context of your claims of no inflation because of QE at this juncture in my consumption of it.

With Respect,

More context
In the book Ellen makes the assertion, supported by "studies' and observations, that QE (US Fed buying up Treasuries and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS)) are not and will not be inflationary. As you can read from my comment to her I think that she is limiting her measure of that concept geographically and especially if public banking occurs and drives the elite to look for "profit" elsewhere.
I read as do others about the elite buying up swaths of Argentina and other countries. What is to stop that from escalating if public banking takes hold? Won't the elite just take the $trillions out of the private banking system and buy "property" all over the world?

While I appreciate her efforts, I worry that they are not being explored and solutions considered in a broader context of the Western social contract of private property, inheritance AND private finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20 2019 5:02 utc | 191

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