Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 28, 2019

Open Thread 2019-70

No Turkey for me ...

Posted by b on November 28, 2019 at 14:04 UTC | Permalink

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No turkey for me either. But that's my choice. I never liked meat that much anyway.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, b, another year almost complete.

It's raining here, and we can use it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 28 2019 14:23 utc | 1

Never mind the turkey. Traditional thanksgiving festivities are being revived in Bolivia-indigenous people being massacred to quieten them down- and Chile, where the UK,France and Spain have pledged themselves to help police 'restore order.'
That's 'restore order' as in
The General Strike in Colombia must have been resolved though: I haven't read a word about it in the newspapers. All the Latin American correspondents are in Venezuela trying to find a Guiado supporter, so far, no luck.
There's a good article, a long one too, by Scott Ritter at Consortium News. It's about the Ukraine business and its almost too detailed. Its good to see that Ritter, who has been exposing US governmental lies for twenty years, is back after that long hiatus thanks to the poisonous combination of gossipy puritans and secret police fabrications that was deployed against Julian Assange.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28 2019 14:31 utc | 2

No Turkey for NATO.
No NATO for Turkey.

Posted by: bjd | Nov 28 2019 14:51 utc | 3

Me neither and I'm not sure what I'm having. I think at this time shrimp and noodles.

Posted by: jo6pac | Nov 28 2019 15:05 utc | 4

@ Bevin 2

I just spoke with a friend in Colombia and the strike is in full swing.

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 28 2019 15:09 utc | 5

there's a bean, rice and cheddar burrito with my name on it in the fridge. and some chocolate cookies for dessert. thanks, pilgrims.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Nov 28 2019 15:16 utc | 6

No turkey for me either but I am thankful for the community of MoA even though we don't all agree on everything.

I am starting my day reading the good comments of William Gruff on the Weekly Open Thread and a report by the St.Louis Fed about US debt linked to below

Making Sense of the National Debt

It will be interesting to see how China responds in reality to the naked hegemony of the US law just passed and signed by Trump about HK. Is China ready to stand up to the bully of dying empire or be cowed into slicing their response even thinner and thinner but not saying NO MORE!

We do live in interesting times.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 28 2019 15:23 utc | 7

@2 bevin is still at it.

By referencing Scott Ritter's arrests and conviction related to under-age girls, bevin shows his abiding interest in this subject.

So why is bevin so wrong wrt Epstein?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 28 2019 15:41 utc | 8

A good Thanksgiving Day for everyone, whatever is on the Menu.

@ psychohistorian 7

China. Early reports are little Marco will be unable to visit:
It looks like Marco Rubio isn't traveling to China anytime soon

Posted by: Likklemore | Nov 28 2019 15:41 utc | 9

Happy Bird Day man.

Posted by: Josh | Nov 28 2019 15:42 utc | 10

@7 I guess it depends how the protesters respond. Will they see the US bill as a greenlight to make more trouble? Most of the hardcore rioters have been demasked by now so it may not be so easy for them.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28 2019 15:43 utc | 11

Transferring my post to this thread, about the decline of US fertility rates:

Japanification of the USA:

Birthrates in the U.S. are falling. Abortions have also hit an all-time low

As we all know, constant population growth is essential for the survival of capitalism, since it is one of the main factors that slow down its tendency of the profit rate to fall. The article seems to agree with this:

Birthrates have been trending downward overall since 2005, sparking concern about potential economic and cultural ramifications. Keeping the number of births within a certain range, called the “replacement level,” ensures the population level will remain stable. A low birthrate runs the risk that the country will not be able to replace the workforce and have enough tax revenue, while a high birthrate can cause shortages of resources.

Another related article approaches the issue from another angle:

Social counterrevolution and the decline in US life expectancy

Virginia Commonwealth University professor Dr. Steven H. Woolf and Eastern Virginia Medical School student Heidi Schoomaker analyzed life expectancy data for the years 1959-2016 and cause-specific mortality rates for 1999-2017. The data shows that the decline in life expectancy is not a statistical anomaly, but the outcome of a decades-long assault on the working class.

So, this is not an "anomaly". If it isn't, then there's an underlying cause, which the same article hypothetizes:

Obamacare was part of a deliberate drive by the ruling class to lower the life expectancy of working people. As far as the strategists of American capitalism are concerned, the longer the lifespan of elderly and retired workers, who no longer produce profits for the corporations but require government-subsidized medical care to deal with health issues, the greater the sums that are diverted from the coffers of the rich and the military machine.

A 2013 paper by Anthony H. Cordesman of the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) frankly presented the increasing longevity of ordinary Americans as an immense crisis for US imperialism. “The US does not face any foreign threat as serious as its failure to come to grips with… the rise in the cost of federal entitlement spending,” Cordesman wrote, saying the debt crisis was driven “almost exclusively by the rise in federal spending on major health care programs, Social Security, and the cost of net interest on the debt.”

Meanwhile, conditions for the rich have never been better. This is reflected in the growing life expectancy gap between the rich and the poor. The richest one percent of men live 14 years longer than the poorest one percent, and the richest one percent of women 10 years longer than the poorest.

I wasn't aware of this CSIS report. If true, then this is indeed a very interesting hypothesis.


The thing I don't understand in the WSWS article linked above is this:

The first nodal point, in the early 1980s, corresponds to the initiation of the social counterrevolution by the administration of Ronald Reagan, which involved union busting, strikebreaking, wage-cutting and plant closings on a nationwide scale, combined with cuts in education, health care and other social programs.

So, Ronald Reagan did a "counterrevolution". That means there was a revolution before him, which I suppose is the post-war "Keynesian consensus", the "golden age of capitalism" of 1945-1975.

I really can't understand the logic behind the Trotskyists: they condemn the USSR and China as "stalinists", i.e. as counterrevolutionaries. But Harry Truman was a revolutionary? Dwight Eisenhower was a revolutionary? Clement Attlee was a revolutionary? De Gaulle was revolutionary?

What kind of nonsense is this?

What is most funny is that these same Trotskyists from the same WSWS website use the rise of labor strikes in China to argue China is a capitalist empire -- but uses the same strikes as evidence there was a revolution in the West during the post-war (by negative, since Reagan's "counterrevolution" was characterized by "union busting, strikebreaking, wage-cutting and plant closings on a nationwide scale, combined with cuts in education, health care and other social programs").

I think Trotskyism is having an identity crisis. They don't know if they are essentially a movement whose objective is essentially to tarnish Stalin's image or if they are closeted social-democrats. They forgot Trotsky fought for the revolution, not personal vendetta.

Posted by: vk | Nov 28 2019 15:44 utc | 12

Chinese premier stresses quality in making 14th five-year plan

According to what came out from the Global Times and Xinhua, the 14th will focus more on growth in relation to the 13th, which centered more on the quality of said growth. Let's see if the CCP can pull this off.


The fantasy world continues

Europe and the USA are already stagnated and on the verge of an outright recession. Their manufacturing sectors are already in recession, and the only reason it isn't dragging the USA to an overall recession is the fact that manufacturing makes up only 12% of the American GDP.

It is the financial sector and the financial sector only that is keeping Western Civilization (i.e. Europe + USA + Japan) afloat right now. Since their stock markets are clearly overheated, a big time recession is long overdue. Michael Roberts estimates it will probably happen at the end of 2020, but it can be delayed until the end of 2022.

The situation is so dire for Western Civilization that even South Korea is trying to do some kind of economic cooperation with the Mekong nations (a very uncommon move for a third rate American ally). World trade (globalization) has halted, and the cake is too small for all the First World nations to keep sustaining their high living standards.

Posted by: vk | Nov 28 2019 15:58 utc | 13

No traditional meal for me today, but, I will have some fruit cake from Texas.

Wishing b, and all here, a very progressive and safe day..Raining here in So. Cal. We need it badly.

Posted by: ben | Nov 28 2019 16:17 utc | 14

Not Hungary then?

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Nov 28 2019 16:17 utc | 15

WSWS does, despite some qualities, publish interesting stuff...just now it seems to say Mexico is on the list, and all sorts of things about the Clown threatening to attack Mexico..."Trump threatens to designate Mexican cartels as “terrorists” "

Posted by: Walter | Nov 28 2019 16:24 utc | 16

A foot of snow and still coming turkey either, but cranberries for sure, with chile'd chicken thighs. Yum. Oh, and mashed potatoes. Thank you, indigenous peoples everywhere for your care of our earth mother.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 28 2019 16:44 utc | 17

Michael Roberts is the best economist of the left.

Posted by: Richard | Nov 28 2019 16:49 utc | 18

Home-grown pumpkin made into a very nice pie. And some whisky.

I discovered a strange tale. Some of it I had already known, so far as knowing goes...anyway you tell me what you think.



Posted by: Walter | Nov 28 2019 16:55 utc | 19

vk, what’s a good article describing the difference between Trotskyists and the others? Thanks.

Posted by: oglalla | Nov 28 2019 16:57 utc | 20

canucks had thanksgiving a good month and a half ago... i am most happy it goes by un noticed by the rest of the world..

happy thanksgiving to the american folks here.. nice to hear of rain in south california ben! a friend in northern colorado says they got hit with a pretty good snow storm...

Posted by: james | Nov 28 2019 16:59 utc | 21

Walter @16

Posted by: arby | Nov 28 2019 17:01 utc | 22

Giraldi brings up again the stupidity of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the predictable and predicted results:

Iran May Be the Only Winner in Iraq

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 28 2019 17:10 utc | 23

@ Posted by: oglalla | Nov 28 2019 16:57 utc | 20

I'm afraid there isn't one.

There are, of course, Trotsky's texts. But the main critique of the Trotskyists is that they distorted what Trotsky said and wrote.

Posted by: vk | Nov 28 2019 17:16 utc | 24

@ 22, Thanks. I remember working with Mexicans who told me the way it was about elections.

Notch up another miraculous coincidence. Forensicnews (net) tells us that there has been a suicide...or some might speculate, another disappearing stunt. Trump, bless him, got lucky, or is getting framed, or maybe both.

"Thomas Bowers, a former Deutsche Bank executive and head of the American wealth-management division, killed himself in Malibu, California, on Tuesday, November 19th, according to the Los Angeles county coroner’s initial report.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 28 2019 17:18 utc | 25

Happy Thanksgiving folks, and a friendly reminder that "Alice's Restaurant" is degenerate garbage.

Posted by: Vegetius | Nov 28 2019 17:23 utc | 26

Walter @ 25

"Thomas Bowers, a former Deutsche Bank executive and head of the American wealth-management division, killed himself in Malibu, California, on Tuesday, November 19th, according to the Los Angeles county coroner’s initial report.

You have to look at the banker suicide index. Banker suicides go up exponentially prior to a banking collapse. I lost count of banker suicides during the 2008 collapse. Bank troubles = suicides of high ranking employees is the algorithm.

Posted by: dltravers | Nov 28 2019 17:28 utc | 27

Following up as vk has done from the weekend thread, thanks to Walter @258 there for suggestions on further reading of de Beaumont who accompanied de Tocqueville - I only have an abridged paperback, fairly battered, of the latter at present. Would love to get the full two volumes as I'm finding it a fascinating read so far. Lots of quirky bits, due to his background, but it's a lively account. They came during the Jackson administration and only stayed nine months - so far I'm only through the first few chapters.

And thanks also to William Gruff @ 262 on the weekend thread - yes, indeed I was thinking of expansion rather than empire, and you are correct that many peoples filled the intervening spaces with thriving civilizations. I presently feel very fortunate to live on pueblo land. I do own my little house but they own the land, and that is as it should be. Still, if you call that empire building, then you would also call the settlers who first set foot on east coast lands empire builders, since they too displaced tribal communities. I just could not see that they were as some of them were refugees, and some corporate entities - a mixed bag at least, not a military invasion. But okay, empire building for the French, the English, the Spanish as they made incursions on the established native populations, the pilgrims also - I apologize for not using the term. I did not mean to offend. I simply had a different definition, that of colonization or in some cases out and out refuge, in mind.

I compare it to what happened in my native land, that is, where I was born - New Zealand. A very similar early process and natives in separate tribes certainly occupying the entire country - so conflict ensued. I am proud also to have a bit of that native blood, as do many kiwis, through my maternal grandmother, so I know where you are coming from. It's a wonderful gift. Still, I do think there's a distinction between empire building that occurs from a country to other countries and that which happens within a country as populations interact. It's hard to see New Zealand today, for instance, as an empire, but I suppose some do and we have empires in every country by that definition. (Just had a chuckle to think of states like Oregon having an empirical mindset: visit, don't stay!)

And back to vk @ 12, I think one definite shrinkage point for population in the US is the current economical barriers to raising a family - it is extremely expensive these days to have a baby. That has deterred members of my own family - not to mention the difficulties a young couple has even without thinking of doing so. This country is eating its own children and has been for a very long time.

Well, happy Thanksgiving anyway. It was good of native people to help the needy; it just was.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 28 2019 17:52 utc | 28

Happy T-day all

Here's a very nice roundup of the Hong Kong protests, with some helpful discussion of the recent elections: Hong Kong ensnared in the West’s color revolution hot box

Posted by: Colin | Nov 28 2019 17:55 utc | 29

Looks like NATO has a new deal:

NATO Military Spending Approved: US to Pay Less, Germany to Pay More - Stoltenberg

But, according to the CNN (the original source), Germany will still not disbuse anywhere near the 2-3% minimum required for each member.

At this point, many people here must've been asking: why doesn't the other NATO members rise their contributions, since, as capitalist nations, it could provide them a consumerist black hole (infinite demand) a la Keynes? After all, what works for the USA should work for them, right?

The answer is simple: Keynes was wrong:

Military expenditure (Milex) and the rate of profit

Posted by: vk | Nov 28 2019 17:59 utc | 30

Gearóid Ó Colmáin's article on Bolivia from the other day is - how to put it? - interesting. It's been stimulating in a unique way, pointing to a shortage of thorough foreign analysis. The thesis that Evo Morales is a major villain obviously clashes with the statistics of halved poverty rates and greatly reduced unemployment & illiteracy rates under his presidency. Who knows how to reconcile all of that.

Helping me get a better perspective was also this exchange between 'Realist Left' & a Bolivian by the name of Andres Rolon.

Posted by: Dors | Nov 28 2019 17:59 utc | 31

Beaumont wrote a very interesting book about Ireland that I read a while back.

Posted by: lysias | Nov 28 2019 18:31 utc | 32

@ juliania | Nov 28 2019 17:52 utc | 28

One for you here

Posted by: Formerly T_Bear | Nov 28 2019 18:34 utc | 33

For all the talk of collusion, an actual case of it just occurred. Hong Kong protest leaders were in Washington twice before the protests began (March,May), during which both the need for demonstrations against the extradition law and the desire to pass the Human Rights and Democracy Act were discussed. Mission accomplished!

Phase two was announced by Joshua Wong today, as he described Hong Kong as an “international financial centre” with status of a “global” or “world city”, and called for other states to pass their own versions of the legislation in support of Hong Kong’s “freedom.” The effective elements of the blunt stick the HKHRDA represents will inevitably weaken if not destroy HK’s position as a financial hub, a fact which the protest leaders seem not to have gamed out. Or maybe they have.

Another bizarre spectacle: people of HK imploring the international community to destroy their city in the name of “universal freedom”, much as the Maidan protesters demanded the IMF impose an austerity programme in the name of “universal values”.

Posted by: jayc | Nov 28 2019 19:05 utc | 34

Thanks, Colin @ 29

Is there any way the poor of Hong Kong can be offered transportation and rehabilitation in mainland China? And would they go? That would be a coup of sorts for the Chinese government (not that they need one.)

Posted by: juliania | Nov 28 2019 19:09 utc | 35

wrt wsws i sincerely appreciate the alternative (actual) news source but they are so over the top i can never recommend the site without qualification. communism / marxism are ANTI establishment / authority but the wsws is the established authority on how to come across like a pseudo intellectual rich prick with the biggest shoulder chip you’ve ever seen.

Posted by: rae82 | Nov 28 2019 19:33 utc | 36

Apologies if someone already posted this but on Nov 16 Joe Rogan and Matt Taibbi discussed the current state of the MSM in a wide-ranging conversation that I think most Barflies will find very interesting:

Joe Rogan Experience #1386 - Matt Taibbi)

Posted by: HD | Nov 28 2019 19:45 utc | 38

@12, 16, 36 Completely agree. The WSWS is a great source of information but their logic is twisted. My pet hate is the way they scream about how scientific their marxism is while barely managing a sentence without using a bunch of leading and loaded adjectives and adverbs.

Posted by: sharda | Nov 28 2019 19:46 utc | 39

@ psycho - 7

Nice link. It's often interesting to hear from the source the explanation for why their actions acceptable and everything will be OK. The financial industry is generally a con game built on managing perception and after all its all about the money when we strip away the facade. As the former ZH was so effective in making known - when it gets serious one has to lie.

An also interesting counter point:

Posted by: jared | Nov 28 2019 19:47 utc | 40

@ jayc # 34 who wrote
The effective elements of the blunt stick the HKHRDA represents will inevitably weaken if not destroy HK’s position as a financial hub, a fact which the protest leaders seem not to have gamed out. Or maybe they have.
Exactly! I think destroy is closer to the truth. China does not want profit forced in the middle of their financial dealings with the outside world and there is little or no value that HK can add to the equation.

As jared adds in comment #40 above
The financial industry is generally a con game built on managing perception and after all its all about the money when we strip away the facade.
The lie that private finance masturbation for profit adds anything to the GDP of the world is getting closer to being obvious to many. If anything it can be shown that profit subtracts value that could/should be provided as a public utility by government.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 28 2019 20:08 utc | 41 outerspace...

After initiation of Operation Condor 2.0, which debuted with massacres in Bolivia following fascist coup d´etat against majority of pueblos originarios, as preparations in other countries of CARICOM are in the making, starting with Grenadine....

The swamp already overflowing even the toilets of the US sector of the International Space Station...oblying the US astronauts to use diapers...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 20:23 utc | 42

I have now read completely the St. Louis Fed report that I linked to in comment #7 and I want to provide a quote from it and discuss the obfuscation therein.

In addition to owing money to "the public," the U.S. government also owes money to departments within the U.S. government. For example, the Social Security system has run surpluses for many years (the amount collected through the Social Security tax was greater than the benefits paid out) and placed the money in a trust fund. These surpluses were used to purchase U.S. Treasury securities. Forecasts suggest that as the population ages and demographics change, the amount paid in Social Security benefits will exceed the revenues collected through the Social Security tax and the money saved in the trust fund will be needed to fill the gap. In short, some of the $22 trillion in total debt is intergovernmental holdings—money the government owes itself. Of the total national debt, $5.8 trillion is intergovernmental holdings and the remaining $16.2 trillion is debt held by the public.

The US Social Security Insurance program use to be a stand alone entity with a huge trust fund of Treasuries that wasn't debt but in the Reagan/Greenspan era the funds were "stolen" (turned into debt) and used to fund "Star Wars" etc. while payment for the program became a budget item along with managing the contribution amounts to keep it viable into the future....they took it away from the actuarial folk, spent the money and it is now a political debt football.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 28 2019 20:48 utc | 43

Kushner's Apparent Extortion of Qatar is an interesting gem. If you remember Rex Tillerson quitting, Saudi Arabia and the UAE almost going to war with Qatar and then Brookstone Partners, financed by Qatar paying, 1.4 billion for Kushers failed 666 building in NY where they were hemorrhaging money.

All this happened so Kushner could shake down Qatar to pay for his families losses? This came out of a recent deposition in Florida concerning the royal family of Qatar. Read Ilhan Omar deposition text also names Sarsour and Kushner as Qatari assets


Indeed, if Bender's testimony is accurate, they are already close.

Explaining that Qatar uses western companies to effectively launder the money they paid to American citizens, Bender cited a $1.4 billion payment which he claims was passed to Jared Kushner from Qatar, via a Canadian company named Brookfield, which he says they have invested heavily in.

Despite knowing that it was a failing investment, Qatar leaned on Brookfield to buy 666 Fifth Avenue from Kushner, to write off his debts.
"Why didn't they pay Kusher directly?" the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Ms. Castenda, asked.
"Too risky," Bender replied.

"Jared Kushner approached the government of Qatar for a bailout of 666 Fifth Avenue?" Castenda clarified.

"Correct. That's what they told me. ... And they did it. And Kushner is happy with them because, according to them, I don't know Kushner personally, but the Qataris said Kushner told them: 'Choose one of two. You pay what I tell you to pay, or I unleash my dogs.'"
"The dogs being who?" she asked.

"Saudi Arabia and the UAE," Bender replied.

The Qataris were aware that as an investment the pay-off was a write-off, but told Bender, "'We just paid it to pay off his debt. And as long as he's in the White House, we have to do what he wants until we control the White House.' We as in Qatar," Bender clarified.

Did we really expect anything less than this?

Posted by: dltravers | Nov 28 2019 20:51 utc | 44

Oh, Happy ThanksGiving!

#ThanksGiving, or the annual laundering of genocide in the US. And from there they jump tomorrow to "Black Friday", an ode to predatory capitalism that many countries have copied as trained sheep from the American Empire, including Spain

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 20:53 utc | 45

On the need tu purge the "5th Column" the illustrative case of Bolivia so clearly exposes....

The GDR historian Kurt Gossweiler (1917-2017) is probably the greatest Marxist-Leninist thinker not only of the GDR but of Germany. In the IIGM he participated since 1939 as a soldier in the Wehrmacht and in 1943 he joined the Red Army. In 1947 he joined the SED of the GDR.

Between 1958 and 1970, Gossweiler worked at the Humboldt University of the GDR as a research assistant, receiving in 1973 the Patriotic Order of Merit in bronze. Gossweiler emphasized the central role of large banks in German monopolistic financial capital.

In a speech delivered at the International Seminar of communist and workers' parties in Brussels in 1994, Gossweiler declared that "anti-Stalinism" was the "main obstacle to the unity of all anti-imperialist forces and the communist movement."

Kurt Gossweiler, at the 1994 Brussels Seminar, defended Stalin and the "purges" carried out in the 1930s, stating that those "purges" saved the Soviet Union from a "fifth column" and secured the victory of the USSR in World War II.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 21:00 utc | 46

Posted by: vk | Nov 28 2019 15:44 utc | 12

If the birthrate is trending down, it is not a crisis for capitalism, but for the economy. In most Western countries, if not perhaps in the USA, state retirement pensions are paid out of current workers' subscriptions. Fewer workers means more of a load on the individual. So more immigration to keep numbers up is inevitable.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 28 2019 21:07 utc | 47

Had turkey & avocado sandwiches for lunch; tonight's fare is smoked duck with trimmings. Just enough time to share this Global Times editorial regarding the gross interference in China's affairs by the Evil Outlaw US Empire's Congress--to cooperate with the Empire is to commit treason:

"In the meantime, the law also threatens to sanction Hongkongers who do not cooperate with the US. This will suppress neutral space for people with different ideas and further tear the city apart. The only way to maintain the solidarity of Hong Kong is to resist US provocation and prevent more people from joining hands with the opposition for fear of US sanctions. Efforts to fight the forces colluding with the US should be stepped up, and the corresponding laws need to be improved. There is no way to allow traitors to prevail and patriots to suffer.

"'One country, two systems' is China's independent constitutional arrangement and US intervention damages its external environment. Hong Kong society should be vigilant. To maintain "one country, two systems," the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR need to work together. Anyone who colludes with external forces to undermine 'one country, two systems' must pay a heavy price."

Here's a softer op/ed, although it has a Confucian bite at its end:

"To sum up, Trump has signed another evil law that intervenes in China's domestic affairs and violates the country's sovereignty by using Hong Kong as a stick. However, in deciding how to use the stick and whether it will take the US where it wishes, Washington has to think carefully because the move would probably backfire." [All Emphasis Mine]

The Empire has started something it cannot win. I have other thoughts on this but I just dropped by to post this and get back to my entertaining chores, me being the chef and all that.

Happy T-Day, and may Peace at some point finally prevail and come to Rule this and all other days.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 28 2019 21:22 utc | 48

I hardly ever hear any discussion or outrage about nukes and nuclear war on the site/boards that I see or visit from time to time, and yet it seems to me to be by far the most pressing existential threat to all humankind, as well as to the planet

I went searching again for one or two of the scientific studies that I'd seen within the past few years about global effects of a 'small' nuclear war, and came across a new study. Surprisingly enough, there have been but a handful of studies in the past 30-40 years!! Yes, it's true. The appetites of sharks and shark attacks on humans are more studied than nuclear war and the Fate of the Earth.

In this recent case, a mere 100 nukes exchanged between India and Pakistan would bring devastation

here's a few for everyone's info. And a new one which I just became aware of, from Fox of all places:
Nuclear war between India and Pakistan would unleash 'global climate catastrophe', scientists warn

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would place the entire planet in jeopardy by unleashing a “climate catastrophe,” according to new research published in Science Advances, a journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science...

“A nuclear war between India and Pakistan — which share a long history of conflicts — would not only result in 50 to 125 million direct fatalities but could jeopardize the entire planet, causing sharp drops in global temperatures and precipitation that could devastate the world's food supply,” writes AAAS...

...“They find that if Pakistan attacks urban targets in 2025 with 150-kiloton nuclear weapons and if India responds with 100-kiloton nuclear weapons, smoke from burning cities would release 16 to 36 teragrams of black carbon into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight and cooling the global surface by 2 to 5°C (3.6 to 9°F).” average precipitation would drop by 15 percent to 30 percent. Additionally, the rate at which plants store energy as biomass would decline by 15 percent to 30 percent on land and by 5 percent to 15 percent in oceans, a scenario that would threaten mass starvation.

“Russia and the United States still possess by far the most nuclear warheads, at 6,850 and 6,550, respectively.....

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 28 2019 21:31 utc | 49

If the birthrate is trending down, it is not a crisis for capitalism, but for the economy.
Actually, Earth added 83 million people to the planet last year.
We are in massive overshoot, in a collapsing ecosystem.
Not a problem, a predicament.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Nov 28 2019 21:39 utc | 50

Here in the U.K. the turkeys will be voting for Christmas on the 12th of December.
Thanks for your blog b and happy Thanks Giving.
Sorry could’nt resist it !!

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 28 2019 21:42 utc | 51

some of the science about nuclear war is presented here at this link, from a 2008 study.

Computer models are much more advanced now, and it would appear that environmental consequences of even a small nuclear war would be more severe than previously thought

Environmental consequences of nuclear war - Owen B. Toon, Alan Robock, and Richard P. Turco

A regional war involving 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would pose a worldwide threat due to ozone destruction and climate change. A superpower confrontation with a few thousand weapons would be catastrophic

More than 25 years ago, three independent research groups made valuable contributions to elaborating the consequences of nuclear warfare.1 Paul Crutzen and John Birks proposed that massive fires and smoke emissions in the lower atmosphere after a global nuclear exchange would create severe short-term environmental aftereffects. Extending their work,two of us (Toon and Turco) and colleagues discovered “nuclear winter,” which posited that worldwide climatic cooling from stratospheric smoke would cause agricultural collapse that threatened the majority of the human population with starvation.

.....Neither the US Department of Homeland Security nor any other governmental agency in the world currently has an unclassified program to evaluate the impact of nuclear conflict.Neither the US National Academy of Sciences, nor any other scientific body in the world, has conducted a study of the issue IN THE PART 20 YEARS (my emphasis)...

Posted by: michaelj72 | Nov 28 2019 21:43 utc | 52

@48 The protesters in Hong Kong see getting the US law passed as encouraging. But they need more help. Now they want sanctions applied against Carrie Lam and other HK officials.

And Joshua Wong has a plan to make HK into a global financial hub. I guess he hopes it will help his masked friends find comfortable office jobs.

“The passage of the act as well as the district council elections are not the end game. America, please continue to fight with us,” Kex Leung Yiu-ting, a representative of the organiser, said.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28 2019 21:55 utc | 53

Bruce M. Boghosian, a mathematician at Tufts U, has an interesting article in the November Scientific American entitled "Is Inequality Inevitable?" An excerpt from near the end of the article:

"We find it noteworthy that the best-fitting model for empirical wealth distribution discovered so far is one that would be completely unstable without redistribution rather than one based on a supposed equilibrium of market forces. In fact, these mathematical models demonstrate that far from wealth trickling down to the poor, the natural inclination of wealth is to flow upward, so that the “natural” wealth distribution in a free-market economy is one of complete oligarchy. It is only redistribution that sets limits on inequality.

The mathematical models also call attention to the enormous extent to which wealth distribution is caused by symmetry breaking, chance and early advantage (from, for example, inheritance). And the presence of symmetry breaking puts paid to arguments for the justness of wealth inequality that appeal to “voluntariness”—the notion that individuals bear all responsibility for their economic outcomes simply because they enter into transactions voluntarily—or to the idea that wealth accumulation must be the result of cleverness and industriousness. It is true that an individual's location on the wealth spectrum correlates to some extent with such attributes, but the overall shape of that spectrum can be explained to better than 0.33 percent by a statistical model that completely ignores them. Luck plays a much more important role than it is usually accorded, so that the virtue commonly attributed to wealth in modern society—and, likewise, the stigma attributed to poverty—is completely unjustified.
Moreover, only a carefully designed mechanism for redistribution can compensate for the natural tendency of wealth to flow from the poor to the rich in a market economy."

Posted by: spudski | Nov 28 2019 22:44 utc | 54

In the heights of informative blackout in Bolivia...affecting now even remaining RT Spanish ( the only Russian channel which was offering the reality more or less as it was...) since other media like TeleSur were wiped out off air in the first weeks after the coup...Testimony on the continuous chasing of MAS members and activists as well as doctored terrorism charges against them as the alibi to keep them out of election process, now that international human rights organizations are arriving in the country...For now, InterAmerican Comission on Human Rights and an Argentinian organization...Michelle Bathelet neither is there... nor is she expected...Nor it is expected a UNSC motion to condemn the coup in Bolivia and current ethnic and political cleansing...The permanent members of the UNSC are not ordinary countries in this respect, they were awarded a privilege, including that of being able to hold nuclear weapons, so as to bear the responsability for keeping peace in the world and to this end fighting fascism....When they allow fascism running amok anywhere they are neglecting a duty which was entrusted to them by the peoples of the world ( who were who really fought the nazis in the battle field at a too high price....). Fighting fascism in the borders of the Russian Federation or that affecting slavic people is only part of that duty....Of course, we are aware some members of the UNSC have gone rogue ( well, were not them so...anytime...?), but we would expect something different from those who still have not gone...Dunno...the style of the efforts made when the harassment was against Venezuela?...No need of "Shock and Awe" ( by now...) although the way events are developing... at galloping pace...I would not discard that would be the final unavoidable case we are really in the antifascist front....

The persecutions continue in Bolivia. Nacho Levy, from @gargantapodero does not forget that solidarity is the tenderness of the people and does not leave the compañeros of Bolivia alone. Think of Germany in 1933, Spain 1939, Chile 1973. #EvoElMundoEstaContigo #lapoderosaBolivia

And thus, since solidarity is the tenderness of the peoples, I do not swallow talk of love for humanity ( unless it is for white humanity...) from any of those who have not solidarized with the persecuted and slaughtered Bolivian people ( nor from any of those who exculpate these...) nor I swallow that they are part of a project for a best future for humanity...The more "zen" they could show themselves in the forums...It´s mee who sees them showing "their true colors" ( well, in fact colors seen quite time ago in other forums not characterized precisely by the wide tolerance of views, lack of censure, lack of bigotry....where these commenters never expressed the least criticism....on anything..., simply, everything fitted them well over there....) when the "fat lady finally sung"...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 22:45 utc | 55

>> it is extremely expensive these days to have a baby.

Yes. USA has outsourced not just manufacturing but also its STEM education and baby-making to foreign lands. This frees discretionary capital for use in command and conquering.

Posted by: oglalla | Nov 28 2019 22:50 utc | 56

@Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 22:45 utc | 54

El compañero @irayr0 has made the trascription of the words of Andrónico Rodriguez in the video posted above on the situation in Bolivia...

- Andronicus, why are we in Senkata and why do you have to go in a car like this? Can one call the rule of law what Bolivia is living?

- Unfortunately, all rights have been violated. For them, democracy and freedom had been to restrict freedom of movement, of expression and, of course, the rule of law has virtually disappeared in all its dimensions. Now the requisitions are strictly everywhere and at all levels. You cannot have a group of MAS on your cell phone, you cannot have a photo, unfortunately. The one who uses a little backpack, they are doctoring it. They put you in dynamite or a grenade and you're already a terrorist. You're using a cell phone or an agenda, you're already seditious, unfortunately, aren't you? What happened, 2001-2002, more than 13 years ago has returned again. The army never in these 13 years went out to shoot its people in any way, and now, imagine, it is impressive what happened in Sacaba and El Alto. It definitely fills us with a lot of pain to all Bolivians that the military and police themselves have that direct order from the government to kill the people. Then, Bolivia is definitely at a very, very delicate moment without the rule of law.

We know about media armor and we suffer from it.
A message, Andrónico, for the peoples of Latin America, from the young and indigenous leadership that all these years of Plurinational Government have managed to build.

-Always standing, never on your knees. Unity is a lethal weapon for great victories. In the most difficult moments we cannot show weakness. We have to generate unity and, of course, all social movements, indigenous peoples, from across the country, both from Bolivia and throughout Latin America, we have to start generating unity and building a Great Homeland that our great liberators had always dreamed of.

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 23:20 utc | 57

a good UnThanksgiving/Day of Mourning to you b, and to all of his most brilliant commentariat. best in the blogosphere, as far as i'm concerned. the following i a brief storify:

Posted by: wendy davis | Nov 28 2019 23:26 utc | 58

The "War on PetroCaribe"...

On the verge of 6th December elections...

After Bolivia, the OAS orchestrates a new coup process in Dominica

Coup D´etat in Dominica? Thread...

On December 6, Dominica will hold general elections to define its new authorities. From the OAS and the US Government, an attempt is made to create a climate of ignorance of the country's electoral system to favor the opposition United Workers Party UWP.

OAS interference, deployed under the narrative umbrella of the implementation of electoral reforms, has been used as fuel for the opposition to convene and organize violent protests.

In the style of the guarimbas in Venezuela, almost 200 protesters in Dominica led to road blockades, burning garbage and destruction on public roads. The country's prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit accused UWP chief Lennox Linton of organizing and directing the chaos.

More than 200 protesters clashed with police when they attempted to march to the home of President Charles Savarin on Monday night. These acts of violence, orchestrated by the main opposition force of the island, are not new.

In May 2017 the opposition organized looting, commercial fires and clashes with the police using stones and bottles, trying to force Skerrit to resign under a narrative of electoral fraud.

On this occasion, the negative influence of the OAS has been much more pronounced. Even Luis Almagro has positioned himself as a spokesman for the opposition giving him institutional weight, while legitimizing the acts of violence.

“The observation mission would be essential to guarantee and suggest improvements to the system,” said Luis Almagro from his social networks, making clear his short-term objectives: to repeat the coup d'état in Bolivia through the use of the Electoral Mission of The OAS.

Luis Almagro's tweet was published in the midst of the acts of violence and it is no accident: the destabilization plan is synchronized with the various actors who seek to undermine the credibility of the electoral process of December 6.

In line with the position of "renewing the electoral system," Alexis F. Ludwig, deputy representative of the US at the OAS, said the government must address three tasks for this: "Unfortunately, the Government of Dominica rejected all these recommendations".

With a threatening tone, the US representative at the OAS asked the organization to pay attention to “the tense political situation in Dominica around the elections of December 6, and the Government's decision to hold these elections without implementing electoral reforms”.

These movements indicate that in Dominica there is a trial of regime change in the phase of accumulation and softening of public opinion, of the street and of the diplomatic battlefield, prelude to the deployment of hard outbreaks of violence.

All this is being stimulated from above, with the figures of Luis Almagro and the US government at the center of this new trial of regime change. A reissue of the recently completed coup scheme in Bolivia is sought.

What is the OBJETIVE? Realign Dominica in the area of ​​American influence, undermine regional integration mechanisms and create a “spring effect” that encompasses Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and other allied countries of Venezuela.

Worth highliting...

Ehhh...Happy ThanksGiving! God is definitely with you...yeah...

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 28 2019 23:58 utc | 60

Another great piece from Caitlin Re the Douma attacks ...One wonders when these fools will learn that increasingly the only way that they will "win" from here on in is to start telling the truth ... but can't do that because going back decades (more possibly) all they've been doing is lying. - conditioning themselves and their readers/believers to hate the truth ... sad

Posted by: Maximus | Nov 29 2019 0:06 utc | 61

From Michael Roberts Blog's Facebook:

How World Bank Arbitrators Mugged Pakistan (Jeffrey D. Sachs, Project Syndicate)

American economist Jeffery Sachs reveals that the World Bank, an international agency supposedly committed to help reduce poverty globally, is really funding multi-nationals to exploit poorer countries, even through outright fraud.


From Peter Lee's Twitter page:

How Hong Kong's greatest tycoon went from friend of China to punching bag

Reuters paraphrases it like Beijing have a naive relationship with the HK elite, but if you abstract this infantile language, you can see it strengthens my opinion that the protests in HK will hurt HK capitalism more than it will hurt Chinese socialism. They are shooting at their proverbial feet.

Posted by: vk | Nov 29 2019 0:10 utc | 62

Michel Levine was an undercover agent of the DEA, who worked at the US embassy in Argentina between 1978 and 1982. During his investigations, he exposed the role of the CIA in the narco-coup in Bolivia in 1980.

A country ruled by the US, neo-Nazis and drug traffickers: the past to which Bolivia returns

Bolivia in the abyss: who is part of the de facto cabinet of Jeanine Áñez?

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 29 2019 0:24 utc | 63

I have to admit that reports to the effect that Horowitz will soft-pedal his conclusions as DOJ IG are unfortunately not a surprise, if a disappointment.

Of course, this could and likely is part of a strategy to leak in such a way as to minimize the impact of the report once it's released.

Not clear to what extent Durham would be constrained by Horowitz's conclusions, assuming that's something Durham would resist at all.

PCR and Pat Lang had both predicted that the swamp would not be drained.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Nov 29 2019 0:27 utc | 64

PCR and Pat Lang had both predicted that the swamp would not be drained.

@Posted by: Paul Damascene | Nov 29 2019 0:27 utc | 63

And one does not need to be a genious, or an insider for that matter, to get to such the fact that some of us saw it crystal clear since even before election so patently shows..

Posted by: Sasha | Nov 29 2019 0:49 utc | 65

Below is a quote from the Introduction to the Ellen Brown book, Web of Debt that says things I have been writing about much more elegantly

The hoax is that there is virtually no "real" money in the system, only debts. Except for coins, which are issued by the government and make up only about one one-thousandth of the money supply, the entire US money supply now consists of debt to private banks, for money they created with accounting entries on their books. It is all done by sleight of hand; and like a magician's trick, we have to see it many times before we realize what is going on. But when we do, it changes everything. All of history has to be rewritten.

And below is another quote provided in the foreword by Reed Simpson

Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are US Government institutions. They are not...they are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the US for their benefit of themselves and their foreign and domestic swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders. The sack of the United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history. Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers, but the truth is the Fed has usurped the government. It controls everything here and it controls all our foreign relations. It makes and breaks government at will.

Congressman Louis McFadden, Chairman, House Banking and Currency Committee, June 10, 1932


Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 29 2019 1:09 utc | 66

Thanksgiving here in New England has become for many of us a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native Americans, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the
racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience...

Posted by: Robert | Nov 29 2019 2:30 utc | 67

I am now up to the end of chapter 8 in the Ellen Brown Web of Debt book and want to provide another quote, from the end of that chapter, this time from Thomas Edison reported in the NYT in 1921


If the Nations can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 29%. Whereas the currency, the honest sort provided by the Constitution pays nobody but those that contribute in some way. It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the People.


This Web of Debt book provides a wonderful history of finance, foreign and domestic, going all the way back to Sumer times. It is interesting to read how tally sticks were money for over 500 years during the middle ages and the society that benefited from their use.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 29 2019 4:13 utc | 68

regarding corbyn and the uk election coming up - gideon levy wrote a good article disputing the rabbis claims on corbyn..

Posted by: james | Nov 29 2019 4:13 utc | 69

@65 psychohistorian

Good citations there, many thanks.

Perhaps it's useful to drop this link again to the documentary on the Bank of Japan's manipulation of the economy in order to bludgeon the political process into granting it independence from political constraint. This was 25 years ago, and Professor Werner, who features centrally in the documentary, makes the point very well that the same thing is happening now in the EU.

I found the film very well made, especially for using so much archival footage:

Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

"...reveals how Japanese society was transformed to suit the agenda and desire of powerful interest groups, and how citizens were kept entirely in the dark about this.

Based on a book by Professor Richard Werner, a visiting researcher at the Bank of Japan during the 90s crash, during which the stock market dropped by 80% and house prices by up to 84%. The film uncovers the real cause of this extraordinary period in recent Japanese history.

Making extensive use of archival footage and TV appearances of Richard Werner from the time, the viewer is guided to a new understanding of what makes the world tick. And discovers that what happened in Japan almost 25 years ago is again repeating itself in Europe. To understand how, why and by whom, watch this film."

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 29 2019 4:20 utc | 70

@ Posted by: Grieved | Nov 29 2019 4:20 utc | 69 with the thanks for the Web of Debt I am with another quote from Web of Debt at the beginning of Chapter 12


President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the Reserve Act into law in 1913, said:

We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled governments in the civilized world -- no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by....a vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.

Who were these dominant men? Wilson only hinted at it saying:

Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 29 2019 5:17 utc | 71

Steve Wynn has to search the couch cushions and the pocket lint. Lots of kosher mafia in the news lately. Did Adelson ever reach a settlement in the Macau snafu? No turkey for me. Big relish plate and lots of Coors. First solo in 60+ yrs and digging it.

Posted by: Idland | Nov 29 2019 5:32 utc | 72

spudski @ 53

I will have to read that. However, I read pretty much the same idea in 2011:

Entrepreneurs, Chance, and the Deterministic Concentration of Wealth
Joseph E. Fargione, Clarence Lehman , Stephen Polasky

PLOS; Published: July 21, 2011

Here is the relevant part of the abstract:

We present an intentionally simplified individual-based model of wealth generation among entrepreneurs to assess the role of chance and determinism in the distribution of wealth. We demonstrate that chance alone, combined with the deterministic effects of compounding returns, can lead to unlimited concentration of wealth, such that the percentage of all wealth owned by a few entrepreneurs eventually approaches 100%. Specifically, concentration of wealth results when the rate of return on investment varies by entrepreneur and by time. This result is robust to inclusion of realities such as differing skill among entrepreneurs. The most likely overall growth rate of the economy decreases as businesses become less diverse, suggesting that high concentrations of wealth may adversely affect a country's economic growth. We show that a tax on large inherited fortunes, applied to a small portion of the most fortunate in the population, can efficiently arrest the concentration of wealth at intermediate levels.

Like all econ, this paper uses toy model. But this toy model takes the usual neoclassical BS to its logical conclusion. Namely, whenever advantage is acquired for whatever reason, that advantage allows a business to grow vs its competitors. Because it grew, banks will loan it more money or give it better rates or terms. Thus the banks add advantage more to people who already have advantage. Essentially, it demonstrates that the existing rules of the economy drive towards "winner take all".

Not having read your paper yet, I'm unsure if the author thinks its a "law of nature" for all time in all societies that inequality will happen; or whether he understands that the reactionary rules of neoclassical economics makes "winner take all" inevitable, but that it could be different under different rules.

Thanks again for the reference.

Posted by: john brewster | Nov 29 2019 6:02 utc | 73

Why is ZH continuing to push the false assertion that the Steele Dossier was originally funded for Dem oppo research while it has been long known that the original contract was taken out by R primary opponents?

Posted by: Idland | Nov 29 2019 6:18 utc | 74

McCain was the one who turned the info over to the FBI.

Posted by: Idland | Nov 29 2019 6:22 utc | 75

@7, @65, @67 psychohistorian, @69 Grieved

Any article that compares the US Government's budget to a household budget is immediately suspect. The Federal Government, but not state and local governments, can and does issue US currency. As the issuer of the currency that is not "backed" by a commodity or pegged to another currency, the US Government faces no *financial* constraint to creating and spending as much currency as it wants. It does not need to borrow or earn US dollars to fund any program, and if you think about it, it is illogical that the entity that issues currency would have to borrow it. Government "borrowing" is the sale of a Treasury bond or bill in exchange for currency that the government created in the first place - it is an asset swap, one that exchanges an asset bearing no interest for one that does.

There is indeed an *economic* constraint to Federal spending - too much government spending leads to inflation. But to cause hyperinflation, the government would have to spend beyond economy's productive capacity, which is what happened in Weimar and Zimbabwe after their economic output collapsed.

Furthermore, legislatures can place voluntary *legal* constraints (e.g. debt ceiling laws in the US) on government spending. But these are not inherent financial constraints.

A group of economists developed these ideas into a body of theory called Modern Monetary Theory. There is a lot of info available on the web as well as in a recently published textbook. Search for Warren Mosler, Stephanie Kelton, Bill Mitchell (Australian economist, not the talk show host), Randall Wray

A few links:

Posted by: Jimmy from NE | Nov 29 2019 6:46 utc | 76

The situation is so dire for Western Civilization that by: vk @ 13 <= yes but the assumption is that the money supply is real. the thing about virtual money is that it is a never ending, completely default proof supply of consumere currency .

..private profit can only come from public sources.. Psychohistorian.. @ 41 and 65 "there is virtually no "real" money in the system, only debts" <=these thesis imply that value is finite, fixed, and limited; that its total is a function of something other than effort or other inputs. Total value = ∑ (private sector value + public sector value); if private sector value is 0, then all value comes from the public. but now we need to add time to this function because value often depreciates or appreciates over time..
Ok, I like that.. but then what is value.. how do you define it.. outside of market parameters. value is ∫(∫(time)*(future expected utility]+[f(time)*(actual existing utility)].

by: dltravers @ 44 <==are you saying Kushner.. blackmailed Qatar.. to retire his 666 building debt?

by: michaelj72 @ 49 and 51 I saw published in a science journal ..where someone claims to have developed laser technology so that it can decontaminate radiation, nuclear waste and fall out in 30 minutes .. anyone know more about this? such a technology could change the nuke use landscape quite a bit?

by: spudski @ 53 and Sasha @ 54 failure of the state to tax the inequalities in wealth accumulation and to redistribute such excessive wealth taxed explains that the nation state system is the problem... leads to protection and monopoly powers for the wealthy few.. and it is those monopoly power and structures of the state that protect the wealthy from the state and its people that show the clear need for a human rights courts along the lines that I discussed at length a few weeks back, skewed wealth distributions will only get more skewed and abuse of human rights to control those who refuse to be abused will only get worse.

and snake ask What about the hydrocarbon plant fire in Texas,
what companies in what countries are its competitors? who set that fire? who does it impact?

Posted by: snake | Nov 29 2019 8:24 utc | 77


This is all old KGB propaganda - volcanoes regularly explode with billions of times more energy and cubic kilometers of ejecta.
In the last 10,000 years, 5 with over 100km^3 of ejecta, and we're all ok. Nukes are not even a mosquito bite to the planet compared to what nature throws at it regularly.

Posted by: Ilya G Poimandres | Nov 29 2019 8:33 utc | 78

Posted by: Dors | Nov 28 2019 17:59 utc | 31

Gearóid Ó Colmáin's article on Bolivia and Morales was well worth the read if
somewhat, way off out of left field

Part I here:

Parts II & III yet to come ?

Your discussion link was broken, this one works

Posted by: haze | Nov 29 2019 9:22 utc | 79

The Chinese local elections have been called a "big defeat" for Beijing. Yet Andrew Korybko, in "Global Research", sees a big success for Beijing, because free elections have been held without interference from China, and HK electorate has given its manifest interest in the continuation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy:

I would like to read an analysis of b of the elections and their importance for China's capabiluty to withstand the Empire.

Posted by: Thomas Bargatzky | Nov 29 2019 10:23 utc | 80

@ dltravers | Nov 28 2019 17:28 utc | 27 (Banker Suicide) (and also about blocking RT etc)

That particular suicide was the death of the guy at DB who signed off on 300 m loans to trumper...they say.

There may have been some who were delighted at the coincidence.


About RT and other broadcast source being shut down...

The old AM radio and SW bands are very hard to jam. It may well come to pass that re-transmission of the audio feed from RT may be transmitted via AM radio. This would be a trivial expense in a technical sense.

And it would rhyme with the Brits' construction of the Aspidistra system in W2. Of course in the present circumstances the transmitters would be situated and designed to be portable and less easy to suppress by "drone" eg harder to liquidate. It is within the capacity of almost any hamradio club at a junior college, even from a closet with disguised antenna - though RDF would "see" the antenna pretty well. Well enough to make that a dangerous place.

A more expensive location would be orbital in the FM bands, requiring numerous transmitters. Any actor with suitable industrial capacity can do that.

Note that I am not advocating. I am saying that I expect the audio feed from RT (and others) to be heard on AM and FM from transmitters situated outside "targeted" States.

The old SW radio "propaganda" systems have been almost all terminated and in many cases the sites re-purposed. I expect RU to rehabilitate some of that system in a suitable configuration.

https://www.psywar [dot org]/seftondelmer has a bit about how it was back in Churchill's war... Imagine how it must go this time with modern equipment...

I imagine the proposals are on somebody's' desk down at the shop...

Posted by: Walter | Nov 29 2019 10:46 utc | 81

Posted by: Thomas Bargatzky | Nov 29 2019 10:23 utc | 79

Hong Kong: It is difficult to tell the true consequences of these propaganda/color-revolution offensives we've become so fond of since our military (such as it was once) was crapified too in the name of profit. These "non-military" attacks have the potential to precipitate any other pent up tensions in the society targeted, and Uncle Sugar will use that as much as possible, hype it. So you may get results, but not the ones expected (Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, to name a few) or you may set off general societal collapse. Sometimes I think that is the desired outcome, much easier to exploit. Some places there really isn't much government left to revolt against when we're done, like Afghanistan, just a sort of legal fig leaf for taking what we want (opium).

A lot of the targets have large numbers of unemployed young men, a great weakness. Especially if they have experience with war. Any nation that has large numbers of unemployed young men in particular ought to have its head examined: e.g. Hong Kong. Notice this is what is being exploited against Iran now, but with less success so far. If Iran wants to avoid this in the future, they need to keep everybody gainfully employed. Same for us for that matter.

So anyway, that said, an opinion:

While Hong Kong is certainly a problem for China, I think they need to keep staying uninvolved as much as possible until it collapses, it's not their system, and they are supposed to leave it alone. The last thing they should do is "invade" and try to fix it. That is what USA wants. Having it collapse into violence while China keeps hands off isn't going to look good for Hong Kong "Capitalism" and "Western values". Like say Ukraine isn't at the moment. This seem Putin-like too, he's stalled a couple color-revs now and let the fester: Ukraine, Georgia.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 29 2019 12:13 utc | 82

Fareed Zakaria is not happy about the USA right now:

It’s hard to be an optimist about America right now

He mentions a lot of things to substantiate his argument, but none of them are relevant, and none of them are from relevant people.

It's not a matter of "optimism" or "pessimism", or about cultural particularities. The problem with the USA is that the numbers are simply not adding up anymore; the economic data are simply not indicating -- bar a chaotic scenario of a WWIII -- it will be able to overcome its obstacles.

Zakaria's opinion piece is an example of why science and reason are so important when analysing geopolitics. We have to avoid all the preconceptions we have and coldly and critically interpret the objective evidence. Opinion is only valid when it contributes to the debate, and, therefore, can only do so when based on the objective reality (the closest methodology we have in our times being science).

Posted by: vk | Nov 29 2019 12:22 utc | 83

Walter @ 80

Banker suicides Trumps bankers boss dies. How many other loans was he overseeing? BD is a bank is in deep trouble across the board.

Never Trumpers never need evidence, just a tenuous connection of some sort. Anyway, the documents and the truth will come out eventually. One dead banker is not going to stop that. I like the idea that Trump kept two sets of books, one for the loan people and one for the tax people. That is believable and should be provable beyond mere allegations.

snake @ 76
are you saying Kushner.. blackmailed Qatar.. to retire his 666 building debt?

It is out there in Internet Land. I posted it for discussion. It sounded fishy when it happened and the other events tie into it like a bow around a Christmas gift. Blockading a country and almost starting a war to clear your personal debts? That is quite an allegation and somewhat plausible given the absolute crass nature of the couple.

The fact the the Jerusalem Post picked it up is interesting. The Western media is silent as of yet. These stories are floated and allowed to gain traction. The guy was deposed was singing like a bird and too well connected not to ask for permission to talk.

Posted by: dltravers | Nov 29 2019 13:01 utc | 84

#83, You're right, every banker has sharks round himself, But I am delighted by Trumpie. Please do not imagine me to be an NT, whatever you may imagine that to be. Aesthetically and in rhyme with classical histories' pattern the TMan is ideal - an ideal misc en scene. Incoherent, helpless, hysteresis in Character...the several grey eminence in shadow, Jews, Bankers... it's Shakespeare.

Understand, while of course I have moral opinion, I am entirely uninterested in politics. My interests center on orientation, on knowing, understanding and seeing history. Just that.

Meantime, about anomalous features, so to say...

"Abuses show Assange case was never about law" @ Johnathan Cook blog (net) 17 coincidences, oh my! Shocking!

O Tempora O More! eh?

Posted by: Walter | Nov 29 2019 13:22 utc | 85

West and Europe Are no Longer the Axis of the World, Claims Ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy

"We are no longer the axis of the world and there are demographic reasons for this", Sarkozy said.

"The axis of the world has passed the West and today shifted to the East. Of the 7 billion people that inhabit the planet, 4 billion live in Asia". The former French president made the statement at a conference titled "The Future of Europe", which he attended together with former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

I agree with Sarkozy's overall conclusion (that the West is losing the supremacy it earned in the 18th Century), but I disagree it has demographic causes. The UK didn't have any problem to subjugate India and China. The Dutch also subjugated much more populous nations before, as did the Iberians and probably Belgium.

Besides, the USA continues to have very generous population growths thanks to mass immigration from Central America.

Demographic decline is one more symptom of the overall problem in the West, which is the general decline (falling rates of profit) of the capitalist mode of production.

Posted by: vk | Nov 29 2019 13:58 utc | 86

Was going to say:

Know this: At the core of Russiagate/Ukrainegate is one issue:
The Deep State decides foreign policy and the President can go
along or he can get along.

But this morning after Thanksgiving I am feeling a bit tired of heavy thoughts and
feel like lounging with a nice carafe of coffee.

Posted by: librul | Nov 29 2019 14:02 utc | 87

FAS blog posts, from time to time, things of interest.
See> "Secrecy News. "Life Underground: US Army Subterranean Operations"
The document, newly revised and current, is 248 pages, but you know how they use paper. As always, consider not so much as claim or statement, but the implications in Policy.... The detains are innarrestin' in between.
FAS dot org

I often think, these days, of the unpleasant profession of Johnathan Hoag,and Shirer's description of prewar Germany, and of "a time of gifts", between woods and water, and Klemperer's diaries...

These dialogs here might be in an annex to the History we're in, if it were written properly.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 29 2019 14:33 utc | 88

@2 & 84

Another at Consortium News item on Julian Assange by John Pilger.

" “I think I’m going out of my mind,” Julian Assange told John Pilger at Belmarsh Prison. “No you’re not,” Pilger responded. “Look how you frighten them, how powerful you are.”

News on Julian Assange by John Pilger

Posted by: imo | Nov 29 2019 14:51 utc | 89

On the fed---

"The remainder of the regional Federal Reserve Banks' profits is given over to the United States Treasury Department. In 2015, the Federal Reserve Banks made a profit of $100.2 billion and distributed $2.5 billion in dividends to member banks as well as returning $97.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury."

Posted by: arby | Nov 29 2019 14:55 utc | 90

@b, you should look into creating a Revolut account..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 29 2019 15:19 utc | 91

regarding wsws: andrea lobo has been merciless in her indictments evo. here's a petition a couple socialists on Twitter put together and published at counterpunch:

'Statement Condemning US Removal of Democratically-Elected Evo Morales'

Posted by: wendy davis | Nov 29 2019 15:48 utc | 92

Yes, Sasha @ 45 New Zealand has Black Friday also - no Thanksgiving, just Black Friday. Noticed that yesterday, which was their Friday on ads within the cricket commentary. Very weird.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 29 2019 16:11 utc | 93

@michaelj #72
You do realize the study is from 2008, right?
The problem with models is that they need to be calibrated vs. reality, or else they become nothing more than extensions of the model-maker's goals.
The excerpt in question isn't a paper - it is a political manifesto.
For example: at least 6 of the 17 citations referenced in the paper refer to one or more of the 3 authors past work, extending all the way to 1973. Any paper which self-references to this degree is highly suspect. A 7th reference is to Sagan's Foreign Affairs article talking about nuclear winter.
To be clear: I don't believe nuclear war is, in any way, an acceptable outcome.
However, it is far from clear that models pushed by activists can be trusted in any way.
The first author, Owen Brian Toon, is also a UNEP contributor specifically called out in the Peace Prize award.
The second author, Alan Robock, is also UNEP.
The 3rd author, Richard Turco, has published papers in conjunction with one or more of the first 2 extending back to at least 1982, as well as working with prominent CAGW advocated like Trenberth.
All 3 authors of this paper have biographies in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists - progenitors of the "Doomsday clock", so their advocacy position is extremely clear.
All 3 authors are in their 70s and have pushed their nuclear winter agenda for literally 40+ years.
They're all smart people with a long history of academic research, but it is a lot less clear that they have credibility in modeling in general, much less computer models for either climate or nuclear war.
Their very clear political advocacy means the objectivity of their scientific pronouncements has to be questioned.
In particular, the climate models which the authors say are so much improved - still are very dramatically deviating from actual global weather even after literally 25+ years of "improvements": A pictorial of CGM models vs. actual temperatures"
Here's a more updated one - extending to the end of the HADCRUT temperature record: Note the 2015-2016 spike due to El Nino which has now ended.
Is this evidence of a successful model? To me, it is not but clearly many disagree.
The next few years will be interesting; CMIP6 is due out and is apparently continuing the CMIP5 prediction of rapidly accelerating temperature increases - much more rapid than actual temperature increase (and actual temps are increasing). The acceleration promised by the models will have to redouble from actual reality in order to catch up with the predictions - so we'll know in 5 years or less, barring major model reconfigurations (i.e. more fixes), as the divergence will be too dramatic to downplay.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 29 2019 16:19 utc | 94

That's a lovely quote from Ellen Brown, psychohistorian! I'm happy that my concern for the Constitution and yours for finance meet, but unhappy that Social Security funds are in such a perilous condition. How that is going to affect millions of Americans (well, all really) when all comes to naught I cannot imagine. We are on the deck of the Titanic. Thanks very much for your posts.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 29 2019 16:29 utc | 95

I meant 'series of quotes from Ellen Brown' above @ 94, sorry.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 29 2019 16:32 utc | 96

Very important for people from the First World countries to read this:

Why I cannot vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, by Martin Wolf

If you are from a Western European country: this is what awaits on the other side of the door. Don't feed yourselves the illusion the German social-democrats had in 1918. Today's civilized academic in an expensive suit is tomorrow's Freikorps.

Posted by: vk | Nov 29 2019 16:34 utc | 97

@ vk - 96... one can't read it unless they subscribe... it says subscribe to read...

read my linke @68 as an alternative..

Posted by: james | Nov 29 2019 17:22 utc | 98

LIke I say, one objective of the current HK caper is to
subvert the KMT in the coming TW election, so Washington's
puppet Cai YIn Wen can keep her crown.

Whatever one might say about those sobs in Langley,
[[[they]]] do make good use of murkkan tax payers monies,
always going for the biggest bang per murkkan buck !

For example, the 2008 Tibet bloody riots served at least three

ONe is of course to humiliate the Chinese on the eve of their
big event, hosting the 2008 OLympics.

Secondly, to subvert the TW election, by fabricating the big lie
that there was a brutal crackdown on 'peaceful protestors' in Tibet,
in order to push the TWnese away from pro unification candidates.

Exectly like what the sobs are doing right now in HK,
conjuring up fake meme of 'police brutality' to sway the
TW electorates.

CIA bastards playbook never changes, yet the sheeples
fall for it again and again and again,.


Posted by: denk | Nov 29 2019 17:28 utc | 99

Thanks to vk @82 for posting Fareed Z's piece. I have been sad about him ever since the Iraq invasion after 9/11 when he was frequently the face of that criminal enterprise on tv. He has stayed true to his convictions (in the sense of being convict-worthy) in this piece. It ought to give notice that what he is saying deviates from logic and truth as per the following:

"...In Attorney General William P. Barr, Trump has found an extraordinarily useful aide, who appears to believe, despite all this history, that the great problem in the United States is that the presidency is too weak..."

I have found this belief of AG Barr to be worth considering, in light of some comments here to the effect that Trump might be a better president if not constrained by elements of what b has called the Deep State, and which AGBarr finds very resident in the makeup of both the Congress and the Supreme Court in this current tangle of "-gates". Also the press, and as psychohistorian observes, it is ultimately all about who has control of finance. (It isn't us.)

In my reading of de Tocqueville, I am gobsmacked (not a term I customarily use but it serves) by his constant assertion of the equality of all US citizens in the time period he is observing. Admittedly from an elite vantage point, but he does condemn slavery and point to the differences between north and south that will result in further conflict on this issue.

He also, by the way, even at the time he is writing, see the country as very much out of the mainstream of international affairs, only attempting to be to itself and its citizens a working and workable government. He is critical, but not when it comes to the vibrancy of the local governments, townships ordering themselves in setting local agendas etc. The sovereignty being actively expressed by the people themselves, unlike what is happening in Europe. It made me think that the closest example of this we have had recently has been the communities of Occupy at the height of their activities, or the people amassed in the square in Cairo. This country used to be like that. The Constitution was written in an attempt to provide for that.

When it was, there wasn't a concerted effort by ptb to infiltrate and redirect. The various coups and 'color' revolutions are precisely that. This absence of or diversion from legitimate free protest is well-deservedly abhorred. This country, like Israel, has become what it previously fought and convened to prevent.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 29 2019 17:37 utc | 100

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