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January 09, 2020

Open Thread 2020-02

For news & views not related to the recent U.S.-Iran conflict ...

Posted by b on January 9, 2020 at 14:14 UTC | Permalink

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Know More News on YouTube

Posted by: Information_Agent | Jan 9 2020 14:19 utc | 1

German Satire with English subtitles; Terrorism in the Middle East

From 2017 - nothing has changed.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 14:19 utc | 2

The long awaited report from John Durham will seem like an anti-climax
now that Orange Man is openly an international criminal and Washington his complicit enabler.
(hmm...guess, technically, that crosses the line into "related to the recent U.S.-Iran conflict";
but it is intended as a memory jogger that just days ago Russiagate/Ukrainegate was the biggest scandal
Is fatigue setting in for horrid news out of Washington?

Posted by: librul | Jan 9 2020 14:39 utc | 3

Trump's flip from threatening to bomb Iran's culture back to the stone age to mouse was profound. What are the chances that he knows something that the rest of us do not? Perhaps as in a repeat of 1988 when we shot down flight 655?

Posted by: lefty665 | Jan 9 2020 14:46 utc | 4

Earlier this morning I did an AOL google search on "genesis" because I wanted a piece of information on the Biblical book.

The results came up, in order: Car, rock band, car, car, car, car, Biblical book.

Gives you an idea what the real dominant religion is.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 9 2020 14:46 utc | 5

@somebody #2: Die Anstalt is a great show. Its unofficial translations into Russian are very popular in Russia.

Posted by: S | Jan 9 2020 14:51 utc | 6

Bolivia’s interim administration has been working very aggressively to essentially criminalize MAS ahead of proposed elections scheduled for May.

This in concert with wide-ranging policy changes which have replaced the positions of the former elected government with policy reflecting the unelected hard-right opposition. This is exactly what was planned for Venezuela.

Western media routinely reports that October’s election was marred by “widespread fraud”, or similar description, ignoring the serious detailed critiques of the OAS analysis on which the mischaracterization depends.

Posted by: jayc | Jan 9 2020 15:54 utc | 7

As I mentioned in the last post: "The Boeing 737-800 Ukrainian Airlines was most likely shot down by one of those fine shoulder launched missiles. The plane has no problem flying on one engine even on take-off. Most of these missiles are heat seeking, so they would hit the engine and start that fire that we saw in the video."

I wanted to keep the post short, but it looks like other commenters did not understand so I will add the missing text: That MANPADS need to be fired close to the aircraft since they have very limited range. Please read your owners manual. So right outside the airport perimeter, keep your radio tuned into air traffic control, plus keep monitoring wind direction and you will know exactly where this airplane is going to be well before takeoff. Get to a good location within the flight path and launch it within a minute of take-off. It will be easy to see with those fine navigation lights and beacon. A good fire time is when the aircraft is directly overhead.

If you are a bad guy and want to plant a bomb, then you will want to design it to detonate fairly high up in the air for the safety of yourself and your team. (And by the way I hope you rot in hell for even thinking about this.) But this aircraft never got very high, so it is unlikely to be a bomb.

A fire rules out pilot error so that leaves mechanical problems, or bad guys.

Since aircraft are incredibly safe, with thousands of flight a day, and the chance of a catastrophic engine failure being low, and one bringing down the plane even lower, then that leaves the bad guys as the most likely cause.

The Iranian authorities should already know for sure if this is the case. Just check in and around the engines for chemical explosive residues and look for the tell tale signs of explosions in the metal in the same areas. There is a good chance that the pilot would not have known. The black box will help, but looking around the wings is the thing to do.

In any case, Iran did not shoot it down with one of their ballistic missiles or with air defense. That line of thinking is crazy. This plane was most likely hit within 1,000 feet above ground. A typical False Flag that is so popular with certain groups of people these days.

If it was not a missile but rather mechanical, then Boeing is screwed. But the odds favor the bad guy theory.

Posted by: meshpal | Jan 9 2020 16:11 utc | 8

IRGC generals are claiming, on video in Farsi, that several sorties of helicopters and airplanes were transferring something from Ayn al-Asad to Tel Aviv and Jordan immediately after the strikes.
They imply that they were killed and wounded soldiers.

What are your thoughts?

Posted by: A | Jan 9 2020 16:17 utc | 9

Iran has found a way to get on US's nerves/financing without forcing them to go to war (they can still do that if they like to, but it is politically unlikely).

Speaking on Iranian state television on Thursday, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) aerospace commander, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, elaborated on the operation the previos day. We didn't seek to kill. We sought to hit the enemy's military machine.

In other news they are doing the plane crash investigation the correct way.

Hassan Rezayifar said countries whose nationals were among the victims of the crash, as well as the manufacturer and operator of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, should be lawfully represented in the investigation.“In addition to Ukraine, Sweden and Canada have introduced their advisors and the plane manufacturer has also introduced its legal representative to the CAO.IRI,” Rezayifar told IRIB News.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 16:18 utc | 10

Bolivia seems to be almost a carbon copy of the coup in Honduras. HOw much core strength to resist does MAS have?

Posted by: paul | Jan 9 2020 16:34 utc | 11

@2+@6: The only show in German TV that i can still watch without feeling a mixture of rage, betrayel, and the need to vomit. I think they will not last long anymore though. MSM attacked them pretty fanatically when "Die Anstalt" educated their viewers about the NATO thinktank controlled "Journalists". "All Nazis those left leaning satire performers" was the MSM narrative. ;)

Nice to see this being watched in Russia! Rutracker and Russian filesharing sites often have true treasures of German art. And in general the most riches and broadest collections of culture. A pretty telling fact about how open, and culturally minded the Russian people are.
Greetings from Germany!

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 9 2020 16:47 utc | 12

So POTUS refused the rehearsed bait. Iran bombed some empty bases for public consumption. No escalation. All parties seem pleased with the calculus. The neat and tidiness of it all is too surreal for words.

It looks to me like the revolutionary wing of Iran (really, everyman-in-the-street Islam) has been decapitated --very reminiscent of MbS culling the Wahabbist financiers from the House of Saud. Sorry, but I think Trump has been working the Swiss intermediation line with Khameini. And on these phone calls, Pompeo was NOT listening in. Is the ME swamp being drained of Dal al Harb making it more habitable for old-fashioned state power? A lot of Mullahs are struggling to makes ends meet under crippling sanctions. Apparent True Believer Soleimani had to have a lot of enemies in-country. He wasn't a State Actor. He was a Transcendent Actor. Castro hated and feared Che Guevara. We'll be seeing Soleimani on t-shirts for decades to come.

Cui bono from the too-charismatic (and dangerously transborder hero) Soleimani's demise? Why, every state actor with a bordered interest, that's all. Was the Shia Crescent getting ahead of Iran's state interests? But how to turn it off except by hiring the Great Satan for a hit and then crying like a baby (tears augmented by guilt) at the Great Man's funeral.

America retreats to its corner, leaving the ME (a key Trump objective) while Iran reels back the IRGC's revolutionary fervor. Sounds like the bones of a decent quid pro quo to me, with a revised JCPOA and removal of sanctions looming in the future.

Let the Rapturists form their own version of the Revolutionary Guard for Jesus and obtain the necessary building permits to construct the Third Temple, if the Israelis will consent to that, which they most certainly won't. Cannon-fodder perhaps; but otherwise, the Rapturists are viewed with fear and loathing in Jewish circles.

Keep our formal military out of the Armageddon biz. That's how the Iranians do it. Lockheed Martin can sponsor them.

If Pompeo drops a few pounds and gets a tan, he'll make a great Laurence of Arabia. He has the temperament for a Soleimani-type job, Dar al Harb (House of War) not Dar us Salam (House of War). A modern secular nation-state is no place for him. Similarly, Esper should just drop the state actor charade altogether and sell bombs.

If you want to kill a Christian Zionist's buzz, tell him the Jewish calendar has 220 years left. You can practically see the righteous venom drain out of their eyes. Unless the New Testament caught Gd in a math error.

How are we going to kill the time? Besides making Hal Lindsey a wealthy man, Christian Zionism's hubristic forcing of Gd's hand was always a little unseemly. (For the record, I'm a Christian, just not in its death-cult formulation.)

Christian Zionists are going to have to deal with the arduous task of being Christians one day at a time without salivating over blowing stuff up, which is the easy way out. Psychologically, they are married to a climactic end. It'll be a tough dependency to kick.

Or here's a good idea. Divert some apocalyptic energies into stemming the Christian extinction event happening all over the Middle East. That would be a very Christian gesture. Saving fellow Christians from the lions.

Posted by: FSD | Jan 9 2020 16:50 utc | 13

I'd like to think that this whole Iran/US tension has now subsided - but I'm not sure. Outside of the criminal casino of Wall St, the only correctly functioning part of the US economy (in terms of making money) is the military industrial complex (their shares shot up after the US assassination of Soleimani - capitalism, eh, you gotta love it...). Indeed on December 21st 2019, Trump approved a new defence budget for 2020 of $738 billion dollars...and when you spend that much money on weapons you just have to use them, don't you? so that you can bill the taxpayer for shiny new replacements...

Posted by: Richard | Jan 9 2020 16:51 utc | 14

I'll put the news here in this comment following the order of the most relevant to the less relevant.


1. The NY Fed finally admits the obvious:

An increase in sales of riskier corporate debt poses a “financial stability concern”

This is specially interesting:

Just two companies in the US — Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft — still have a pristine, triple-A rating, the researchers noted. While sales of both the safest, triple-A rated bonds and the riskiest “high-yield” bonds have been declining over the past five years, there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of triple-B rated bonds that sit on the lowest rung of the investment-grade ladder, just above high-yield.

You don't need to be Warren Buffet to know J&J and Microsoft are blue chips. The problem is: how much rotten are the triple B? Financial expertise has degenerated to who know which is the not-so-rotten-papers instead of knowing which are the most promising investments for the progress of humanity, free market etc. etc. Having a guy spying for you behind the scenes became more valuable than being a rocket engineer with a suma cum laude at MIT.

Russia, Iran and China are doing well in biding their time. The whole capitalist system is ripe for another "corrective" recession somewhere between 2020-2023.


2. The giant of giants of the Asian Paper Tiger is in trouble:

One-third drop in Samsung’s Q4 operating profit

This is the funny part:

Samsung was hit by a series of difficulties in 2019, with chip stockpiles bloating and prices falling


But the figures beat expectations, analysts said, with chip demand starting to improve and strong smartphone sales.

So, the Samsung's profit took a nose dive and still this was good news?

Who cares about "expectations"? In capitalism, either you're profiting enough or you aren't. You can't just move the goal posts like that.

If it happened to some SOE in China, those "experts" would've already be souding the trumpets of Apocalypse, calling for a complete privatization of the system and the mass suicide of every CCP member - you know, because "the system doesn't work".


3. Speaking of a system that doesn't work:

India facing major recession: Nobel laureate

Those two Rijksbank laureates (there's no Nobel Prize of Economics, that's a fantasy term) are two pseudo-scientists, but the numbers are too clear:

India’s gross domestic product has been on a downward spiral for six consecutive quarters, finishing at 4.5% in the September 2019 quarter. Private consumption, which contributes about 60% to the gross domestic product, is growing at 5.7% in 2019-20, much below the rate for the previous financial year when it grew at 8.1%.

The National Statistical office has now forecast that India’s gross domestic product growth will hit a 11-year low of 5% in 2019-20, down from 6.8% in the previous year.

People who are reading this blog for enough time know that India cooks the books, essentially doubling its own GDP growth figures. That means a 5% GDP growth in India actually means 2.5% (maybe even 2.0%).

India promised the world and its own people it would become a superpower by 2020. They have 357 days left.


4. About Australia's raging bushfires:

Raging bushfires expose multiple governance woes of Australia

Yep. The Chinese agree with me: climate change was the main factor responsible for the scale, durability and vastness of this year's epic bushfires in Australia. Drier eucalyptus forests turn even a kid with a matchstick into a deadly eco-terrorist; a lightning bolt into a massive volcanic eruption.

The Australian government itself agrees with me and the Chinese:

Australian fires: Victorians urged to leave amid fears 'heat spike' will cause bushfires to merge

Emphasis on "heat spike".

Bushfires are natural to the Australian ecosystem, and they happen every summer - what is up to debate is the scale and vastness of this years' bushfires. The Australian right-wing, backed up by the Murdoch media, should not try to pull a Nero and try to blame a random group of innefective ecologists in a shameful witchhunt.


5. Age segregation in the UK seems to be serious business:

'Age apartheid’: Britain is one of world’s most segregated countries – report

Britain is one of the world’s most age-segregated nations, with the generational divide increasing over the last decade, according to a new report which calls for urgent action to address the “age apartheid” dividing the country. [...] According to the report, divisions have increased as a result of the housing market, with the concentration of wealth now firmly in the hands of older people. They tend to live in towns and rural areas, while the young are sucked in by city life.

Nice curiosity if you're into that sociology stuff.


6. Japanification of the USA continues:

Why Are Young Americans Killing Themselves? Suicide is now their second-leading cause of death.

Suicide in Japan already is (it is for some decades now) the main cause of death among young adults. The USA is quickly catching up.

Before blaming China for exports of Fentanyl, the Americans (and Trump) should look themselves in the mirror first.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 16:56 utc | 15

OK let's cut it out with the rampaging acronyms and abbreviations already!

=/ How much core strength to resist does MAS have? /= [???]

I had to try and look that ('MAS') up, and the closest I could get was =/ Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement to Socialism; Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela) /=. How the hell am I supposed to know what it means, (with the gratuitous salt-in-the-wound the acronym to boot)?

Flinging out acronyms and abbreviations is not going to win you any prizes, and will only going to create annoyances and resentments.

Enough already. Unless 95% know what it means, please just spell it out.

Posted by: blues | Jan 9 2020 17:17 utc | 16

Every tragedy is a propaganda opportunity. Why does anyone read US news anymore?

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 9 2020 17:38 utc | 17

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 9 2020 17:38 utc | 17

US now spread that Iran mistakenly shot the plane down - which is unlikely.

Donald Trump makes it sound as if the US shot it down mistakenly:

Trump just said the Ukraine plane was “flying in a rough neighborhood” and that it might have been shot down “by mistake.”

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 17:46 utc | 18

blues @16:


Posted by: David G | Jan 9 2020 17:51 utc | 19

I, for one, stopped reading any msm sources about current events, including those ludicrous and mentally instable ones like trump, pompeo and other leading mafia figures. They are 100% confirmed liars and at this point, anything that come out of their mouths is psy warfare. It is futile to try to deduce speakers intentions or which parts or lie are more "truthfull".

I'm sticking only to sources that are proven usually reliable, and there are none of them in western sphere (not counting alt-media like this website).

Apart of benefits to my mental health and less stress, I also have more correct information about what is going on.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 9 2020 17:58 utc | 20

@ DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 9 2020 16:47 utc | 12 (Die Anstalt)

They did one where they exposed the names and faces of the nazis in prominent position in Germany at the present time...

I don't remember what episode.

In a remote provincial backwater California town, my dentist watches Die Anstalt, in German. So do I.

(I also favor the old DDR and Soviet films...)

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 18:09 utc | 21

According to a new article by the legendary Michael Hudson the American military agenda is always about the dollar's supremacy as defacto reserve currency for the world in order to control the world. Which China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and others are/were trying to escape from. He writes:


First came the 9/11 attack (Sept 2001).

In the wake of this, Congress passed the 2002 Authorization Act. This authorized the President to move against Al Qaeda.

Fast forward to today: Suleimani and Iran were fighting AGANST Al Qaeda and its offshoot, ISIS/Daesh. Saudi Arabia had asked Suleimani (with U.S. approval) to help negotiate a peace, whereby the Saudi’s would stop backing ISIS. It was an official mission invited by Iraq to negotiate peace between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

This infuriated the United States, which wanted a permanent warfare there as an excuse to occupy Iraq and prevent a Shi’ite Crescent linking Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which incidentally would serve as part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation.

The implication is that the US wants a PERMANENT occupation of Iraq, which is needed to secure the US grab of Iraq’s oil and Syria’s oil, as well as to prevent any non-U.S. oil transit.

The question is, how to get the world’s politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America’s all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, extreme weather and the disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure neoliberal dollarization is imposed on all countries to subsidize US imperial hegemony.

It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial following the assassination, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America’s military budget.

Posted by: Kali | Jan 9 2020 18:18 utc | 22

@Posted by: Abe | Jan 9 2020 17:58 utc | 20

"I, for one, stopped reading any msm sources about current events"

There is a Catch-22. Do you not want to be informed about what is the narrative that is
currently being fed to people? Is that not news itself?

It is also good exercise in discernment to read, for example, Reuters.
And, if you need it, a good exercise in anger management. :-;

Posted by: librul | Jan 9 2020 18:21 utc | 23

Gilad Atzmon:

The only way to grasp America’s bizarre operation is to accept a reverse approach to Clausewitz’ insight; American politics is a continuation of Zionist wars by different means. America has given away its world prestige for the Jewish state. American politicians shamelessly pledge allegiance to the Jewish state instead of their own. They go out of their way to appease Jewish lobby groups, whether it is the ultra Zionist AIPAC or the controlled opposition J-street.

I have no doubt that many Americans are aware of the danger ahead. However, the matrix of Zionist power in America has dismantled Americans’ ability to call a spade a spade as that is considered ‘anti-Semitic.’

Posted by: Mao | Jan 9 2020 18:22 utc | 24

Putin hopped aboard the guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov and left Turkey to observe/participate in joint exercises involving the Black Sea and Northern Fleets which utilized some of its most modern weapons. So, there was quite a bit more "insurance" on hand when Putin visited Syria and Turkey than we knew of.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2020 18:23 utc | 25

@Posted by: librul | Jan 9 2020 18:21 utc | 23

I see what you mean but it is way past "narrative" and deep into "virtual reality" waters. I simply have no benefit nor do I risk anything if I gather my info only from the rest of the world.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 9 2020 18:25 utc | 26

Posted by: somebody | Jan 9 2020 17:46 utc | 18

Trump just said the Ukraine plane was “flying in a rough neighborhood” and that it might have been shot down “by mistake.”

Posted by: Mao | Jan 9 2020 18:27 utc | 27

Eyewitnesses saw one engine on fire before the crash, the plane still on a glide, but the 737-800 can fly on one engine, others have done so and landed safely.

There are two fire detection loops in each engine, plus extinguisher and other cut-off systems.

This leads one to believe this was not a simple "engine on fire" situation.

If indeed it was a shoot-down, it was far enough away from the security-protected area of the airport, but not so high that a simple manpad-type weapon would be ruled out.

Another option is a small bomb placed in an engine cowl, which could be activated by altitude sensing or remote control (the plane wasn't very high, and the probable flight path well known). Big enough device to damage the engine and start a fire and maybe knock out the shut-off and fire suppression systems, but not big enough to be obvious. The engine fails, spits out turbine blades which damage the wing and puncture fuel tanks, damage the avionics for the whole plane. Rotor speeds will be in the multiple-10,000s RPM, so a LOT of kinetic energy when these things come apart.

Cui bono? The obvious answer is the Deep State Zionists in Israel and the US, so this may have been a Mossad operation, with or without the knowledge of the CIA or US military.

The fact Trumpty Dumbdy is playing the "deescalation card" so strongly could indicate he didn't authorize it and hopes to stop Nuttyyahoo/Mossad from frog-marching him into a war that would lose him the next election for being a flip-flopper on his last election "end the endless proxy wars" rhetoric.

"By deception shall you do war"... the Mossad mission statement.

Posted by: A P | Jan 9 2020 18:35 utc | 28

If US officials claim they are "confident", that actually means they don't have a shred of evidence. Intelligence lingo.

It's too early to call but POTUS claims Iran shot down the Ukrainian 737 near Tehran. On CBS fake News they suggest that the US have satellite imagery showing two SAM launches right before the crash.

Almost six years down the road we are still waiting for the MH17 satellite imagery that exist according to John Kerry. He was lying or the images and the narrative don't match. Hint: the second option.

To prevent crashing airliners, PSYOPS, sanctions, fake trials etc. steer well clear of the Ukraine, Ukrainians, Ukrainian airspace, the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian missiles and Ukrainian planes. You don't want to touch the Ukraine, not even with a very long stick.

We can be confident (in the normal sense of the word) that Bellingcat will be involved. Those NATO sponsored citizen propagandist will spend countless hours doctoring "evidence" and spinning neocon lies to their heart's content.

It must have been a Russian BUK that was driven on the back of a trailer by Putin's niece all the way from Kursk to Tehran, a direct order from the Kremlin!

In Turkey the trailer almost overran Bana Alabed and evil Assad provided some Novichok along the way to coat the throttles of the 737 in case the missile wouldn't hit its intended target. Boeing 737's don't fall from the sky on their own.

A fact finding mission from the OPCW has left The Hague for Tehran, they might even find some cannisters containing chlorine in the wreckage. It looks like they dropped from the air, they were not placed there manually.

The Dutch Safety Board is 100% independent from NATO influence and could conduct the accident investigation in an impartial way. No conflict of interest whatsoever.

The Ukraine will be part of the Joint Investigation Team that does the criminal investigation and to assure everything will be done according to law they will even get a veto right over the investigation.

Iran can be confident that justice will be served.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Jan 9 2020 18:36 utc | 29

Some folks here need to read better. The author said "For news & views not related to the recent U.S.-Iran conflict."

I'll add one on Syria, assuming that is fair game. Could the SAA use the overall geopolitical situation with NATO withdrawing from Iraq to quickly re-take some of the oil fields east of the Euphrates? I am thinking they might be able to grab some of the ones close to their own supply lines.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 9 2020 18:37 utc | 30

It has been a month now but, for my money, the defeat of the labour party in the UK remains a major international issue. It represents the final defeat of the sort of left social democracy that has been kept out of power since the last war, when it emerged as the most popular current in European politics.
The story behind the defeat of Corbyn, which was the work of the "New" Labour majority in the Parliamentary Party-the Blairites- can only be properly understood by understanding the role that Israel, both as a state organism and as a pivot for imperialist ideas, played.
Working people across Europe ought to realise that Israel has become the most formidable road block on the path to progress and democracy. It is the oldest story of imperialist era: injustice in the colonies, on the periphery of the capitalist system, has immediate impact throughout the world. Just as British rule in India pre-figured fascism and north American racist genocides inspired the Nazis, so does the daily example of ruthless racism in Palestine show precisely what the rest of the ruling class has in store for us.
So long as Israel exists none of us- of any race or religion- will be free.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 9 2020 18:45 utc | 31

Some videos of the damaged made in Al Asad base are appearing from american soldiers in this base, it is scary to think if there were no Iranian advice before the attack

On the other hand somebosy sent to me a link to an article commenting the "evil ruskies" help with the Iranians air defence after the shooting of the US drone back in June. I think probably contains many exaggerations, but it is probably the "evil ruskies" are, in fact, helping the Iranians to have a more decent air defense, among other things to prevent their comrades them from being frying by te yanks while working in Busher:

I do not think the yanks will attack Busher ever, not because it will be a "war crime" or a "crime against Humanity" or other empty words for the US government, but because the inmediate retaliation of Iran will be against Dimona, with hundreds of heavy missiles with pinpoint accuracy (as they have demonstrated), and the "strategic depth" of the Iraeli state is much much much smaller than the Iranian one; Israel will be finshed. Anyhow probably the ruskies do not want to take any risks

Posted by: DFC | Jan 9 2020 18:50 utc | 32

--There historically has been extremely bad blood between the Bahai'is, whom Iran considers an outsider-driven political cult dedicated to overthrowing the government vaguely similar to the MEK, and the Iranian government, whom the Bahai'is (correctly) consider to be genocidal towards them, and they hate with a passion. Iran has offered to take out Haifa, a Bahai'i enclave in Israel, as a demonstration if further hostilities continue. So a logically possible alternative is that the jetliner was downed by a Bahai'i, perhaps with CIA backing.

Posted by: Imagine | Jan 9 2020 18:51 utc | 33

This poll by Pew Research Center is very enlightening:

Trump Ratings Remain Low Around Globe, While Views of U.S. Stay Mostly Favorable

This poll confirms my personal perception that the First World (and much of the "emerging countries") are literally tolerating the far-right in power insofar as it help them get rid of the socialist/communist threat (real or imaginary, depending on the country) and to keep Eurasia week and Western Civilization on top.

This poll also shows how deeply pragmatic the masses are, and how this pragmatism are anchored on nationalism. Nationalism is still the true religion of the beginning of the 21st Century. Unconsciously or not, the masses rationalize their beliefs and ideology on what is best for the dominance, ascendance and/or survival of their own countries.

For example. In the countries polled in Europe, the one where Trump enjoys the most confidence is... Poland. Followed by... Ukraine! Slovakia, Hungary and the UK are technically tied at 34, 33 and 32% respectively. What these three countries all have in common is their geopolitical dependence on staying at very good terms with the USA.

Another interesting fact is Trump's abismal confidence in Germany - much lower than even France and Russia. This corroborates with the fact that Germany still has imperial ambitions (i.e. consolidating the EU as one of the poles in the multipolar order) and the fact that it was one of the main collateral victims of the USA's sanctions on Russia (Nordstream etc. etc.). His very low confidence levels in Turkey is expected, since both countries directly engaged each other in coup d'etats and border conflicts (Kurds).

But that's half of the story. The other, even more interesting, data lies in the fact that the lack of confidence on Trump didn't result in the rise of confidence on Putin and Xi. Both still enjoy high non-confidence levels across the Western Civilization's sphere of influence (57% and 43%, respectively).

The old has already died in the West - but they don't want the new to be born. They are still waiting for some "moderate"/"centrist" magic bullet, which, in my opinion, will only last until 2020 or until the next big recession comes.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 18:54 utc | 34

"So long as Israel exists none of us- of any race or religion- will be free." bevin 31

Exactly, importantly, excruciatingly correct. Nor will any of us be safe, prosperous - or have a chance to have a future worth living. I emphatically do NOT join up with those who are happy or relieved that 'greater conflict was avoided and tensions have returned to merely ever-simmer'.

I say shame on us all for kicking this can down the road for our grandchildren to have to pay the price. Just how ignoble are we to be happy to pass this buck to innocents???????????????

Posted by: Phryne's frock | Jan 9 2020 19:03 utc | 35

This year will mark the 4th "A.I. for Good" summit meeting at the (Geneva) United Nations. Given the current state of world affairs, where/how could A.I. be used to realistically bring the most good to the world?

Posted by: Imagine | Jan 9 2020 19:04 utc | 36

Hi first time commentor on here. With all that is happening in the U.S right now I can't help but think that it's past time for the people to reassert their power over the National security state, as unrealistic as that might sound. The Anti war movement is ideologically divided between progressives and libertarian/paleoconservatives, so a political party would not likely be the answer. Instead perhaps we should consider a grassroots movement to amend the constitution to guarantee U.S neutrality in world affairs(banning both the arming or financing of foreign belligerents) and to ban the Federal government from having a standing military force except in times of actual war. I don't know what chance either would have of actually being passed, but it might at least force a debate on these issues in a way that might resonate better with the average American. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Peace and Solidarity

Posted by: HarryOrd | Jan 9 2020 19:06 utc | 37

@ librul | Jan 9 2020 18:21 utc | 23

Yes indeed! One can know their thoughts and intentions by means of their lies. It is essential to keep stock of the lies, as they create a template, a negative, of truth, albeit with some distortion. It's art.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 19:14 utc | 38

@Kali #22

Michael Hudson is not the only one who's come to understand that maintaining the reserve-currency status of the US dollar (the "dollar hegemony") is the primary goal of US foreign policy. Indeed, it's been the primary goal of US foreign policy since the end of World War II, when the Bretton Woods agreement was put into effect. Notably, the Soviets ended up balking at that agreement, and the Cold War did not start until afterwards. This means that even the Cold War was not really about ideology - it was about money.

It's also important to note that the point of the "petrodollar" is to ensure that petroleum - one of the most globally traded commodities and a commodity that's fundamental to the global economy - is traded primarily, if not exclusively, in terms of the US dollar. Ensuring that as much global/international trade happens in US dollars helps ensure that the US dollar keeps its reserve-currency status, because it raises the foreign demand for US dollars.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 39

Cynica | Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 38

And, by maintaining petrodollar it becomes impossible to control CO2 and the consequences.

It amounts to dollar = poison

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 19:25 utc | 40

Finally, a report on the nefarious oil company spending against climate change: Guardian report
Unfortunately, the report is really weak:

Over roughly the last three decades, five major US oil companies have spent a total of at least $3.6bn on advertisements – not counting their investments in public relations programs like sponsored beach clean-ups, or their influence through trade associations, dark money groups and campaign donations.

$3.6 billion for advertising in 3 decades = $120 million a year. Even if all of this spend was specifically for anti-climate change whatever, this is nothing compared to say, Greenpeace's annual budget alone Greenpeace 2016 financial statement Note that the 80 million euro = $100M is just for the international Greenpeace org; the individual country orgs increase total budget by at least 60% more. Then there's WWF, NRDC, EDF, UNEP, list goes on and on and on.
For that matter, I have never seen an oil company anti-climate change ad. Has anyone?
Greenwashing, certainly: Chevron/Exxon cares about the environment, etc. That's not anti-climate change spend though.
The idea that the evil oil companies are subsidizing anti-climate change sentiment continues to be completely unsupported.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 19:29 utc | 41

This poll confirms my personal perception that the First World (and much of the "emerging countries") are literally tolerating the far-right in power insofar as it help them get rid of the socialist/communist threat (real or imaginary, depending on the country) and to keep Eurasia weak and Western Civilization on top.

The people being polled must be brain dead or so deep in the fog of propaganda that they have lost touch with Reality. This huge injection (almost by force) of refugees into the EU by Merkel is going to keep Western Civilization on top ???? Those people are smoking LSD. Swedish culture is choking. Danes are waking up and attempting to resist. Germany is .... LOST. France ... oh sacre bleu.

For example. In the countries polled in Europe, the one where Trump enjoys the most confidence is... Poland. Followed by... Ukraine! Slovakia, Hungary and the UK are technically tied at 34, 33 and 32% respectively. What these three countries all have in common is their geopolitical dependence on staying at very good terms with the USA.

Poland is at the top !!!! Holy smokes. They sure have a lot of faith in the West that in 1939 basically left them alone. You can bet your bottom bippy that they will do it again.

The countries are nuts if they are depending on the US. I smell cannon fodder in the East.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 19:34 utc | 42

@ Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 19:20 utc | 38

I agree that, today, protecting the Dollar Standard is the main national security objective of the USA. That is so because issuing the universal fiat currency is a conditio sine qua non of keeping the financial superpower status.

I also agree that the Petrodollar is the base that sustains the Dollar Standard.

But I disagree with the rest:

1) the Cold War didn't begin in 1945, but in 1917 - right after the October Revolution. There's overwhelming documental evidence of that and, in fact, the years of 1943-1945 was the only break it had. Until Stalingrad, the Western allies were still waiting to see if the USSR and the Third Reich could still mutually anihilate themselves (yes, it is a myth the Allies were really allies from 1939, but that's not a very simple demonstration);

2) in the aftermath of WWII, the USA emerged as both the industrial and financial superpower in the capitalist world (i.e. the West). But this was an accidental - and very unlikely - alignment of events. The USA always had imperial ambitions from its foundation (the Manifest Destiny), but there's no evidence it was scheming to dominate the world before 1945. The American ascension was more a fruit of the European imperial superpowers destroying themselves than by any American (or Jewish, as the far-right likes to speculate) design;

3) the USSR had nothing to do with Bretton Woods. BW was a strictly capitalist affair. And it could not be any difference: the USSR was a socialist country, therefore, it didn't have money-capital (money in the capitalist system has three functions: reserve of value, means of exchange and means of payment). The only way it had to trade with the capitalist half of the world was to exchange essential commodities (oil) for hard currency, with which it bought what it needed for its own development (mainly, high technological machines which it could copy and later develop on). So, the USSR didn't "balk" at BW - it was literally impossible for it to pertain to the agreement.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 43

HarryOrd | Jan 9 2020 19:06 utc | 36:

Hi Harry, it's not possible to amend the Constitution (assuming you're referring to the United States) in today's political climate. To complicate matters, the rot in Washington DC is so deep it's impossible to fix it via voting. There's only one time tested method left to correct matters now.

I'm waiting to see what those idiot politicians in Virginia are going to do later this month when they pass a Gun Control law which many consider the final straw. The people are so concerned they've started declaring their counties Second Amendment (2A) Sanctuaries, covering most of Virginia. Only areas controlled by the Democratic Party don't have them. I believe one of them went as far as authorizing the creation of a civilian militia. Rumors of Virginia's National Guard would be used in enforcing this Gun Control law. I would hate to be the door knocker.

Anyone live in Virginia to give us a better idea on what's going on?

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 9 2020 19:36 utc | 44

@ Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 42

Correction: the three functions of money in capitalism are reserve/store of value, means of exchange and unit of account. I basically wrote "means of exchange" twice in the original comment.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 19:40 utc | 45

@ vk | Jan 9 2020 19:35 utc | 42
(no evidence it was scheming to dominate the world before 1945.)

We agree except for that quote above. In fact Stimson stated domination as "overwhelming power" in the first reel of Capr's Why We Fight.

The policy was to use the bomb on Russia began sometime prior to March of '44 (Groves to Chadwick and Rotblatt) This butresses your position, I think.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 19:43 utc | 46

Cynica @38--

Hello! Michael Hudson first set forth the methodology of the Outlaw US Empire's financial control of the world via his book Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire in 1972. In 2003, he issued an updated edition which you can download for free here.

If you're interested, here's an interview he gave while in China that's autobiographical. And here's his most recent Resume/CV/Bibliography, although it doesn't go into as much detail about his recent work as he does in … and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, which for me is fascinating.

His most recent TV appearances are here and here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2020 19:45 utc | 47

Walter @39--

Bingo! You're the first person here to make that connection aside from myself. You'll note from Hudson's assessment of Soleimani's killing he sees the Outlaw US Empire as using the Climate Crisis as a weapon:

"America’s attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world’s U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on the U.S’s ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion. These are viewed as hostile acts.

"Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy....

"This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming (and extreme weather)."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 9 2020 19:55 utc | 48

@Cynica #38
Financially, the US dollar as reserve currency is enormously beneficial to the US government's ability to spend.
And oil has historically been both a tactical and a strategic necessity; when the US was importing half its oil, this is a lot of money. 8 million bpd @ $50/barrel = $146B. Add in secondary value add like transport, refining, downstream industries, etc and it likely triples the impact or more - but this is only tactical.
Worldwide, the impact is 10X = $1.5 trillion annually. Sure, this is a bit under 10% of the $17.7T in world trade in 2017, but it serves as an "anchor tenant" to the idea of world reserve currency. A second anchor is the overall role of US trade, which was $3.6T in 2016 (imports only).
If we treat central bank reserves as a proxy for currency used in trade, this means 60%+ of the $17.7T in trade is USD. $3.6T is direct, but the $7 trillion in trade that doesn't impact the US is the freebie. To put this in perspective, the entire monetary float of the USD domestically is about $3.6T.
USD as world reserve currency literally doubles (at least) the float - from which the US government can issue debt (money) to fund its activities. In reality, it is likely a lot more since foreigners using USD to fund trade means at least some USD in Central Banks, plus the actual USD in the transaction, plus corporate/individual USD reserves/float.
Again, nothing above is formally linked - I just wanted to convey an idea of just how advantageous the petrodollar/USD as world trade reserve currency really is.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 19:58 utc | 49

Posted by: Walter | Jan 9 2020 19:43 utc | 45

US was ready to nuk non-nukers more than once,

Americans are sleeping and they have no clue who they are sleeping with. American (not only) think that "Today it is different". WRONG !!!!!

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 19:59 utc | 50

@Ian2 #43
Yes, the development is interesting because it is a direct offshoot of Left Coast states and cities defying US federal mandates on immigration.
Thus counties in Virginia have the precedent to defy state mandates.
I wonder how far down this will extend?

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:00 utc | 51

Comments from someone on the Saker to the effect that the target of the missile strike were CIA, MOSSAD, M16 Agents or contractors not US soldiers. The dead/injured were flown to Tel Aviv. Also the Ukrainian plane leaving Tehran was carrying intel types of unknown origin . British (M16), Canadians (Canadian nationals have been shown to be CIA/Mossad agents , which would explain why it was brought down. It would also explain why this is being played down No pictures of grieving relatives unlike the plane downed over Ukraine. I don’t believe a civilian plane would have taken off so soon after the barrage of missiles were fired, and no one appears to be asking why it was allowed to fly.

Posted by: Kitty | Jan 9 2020 20:11 utc | 52

c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:00 utc | 50:

Apparently there's going to be a rally on Jan 20 in Richmond between 8AM to 1PM around the General Assembly Building. More info HERE.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 9 2020 20:12 utc | 53

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 19:58 utc | 48

Can you build on what you have written ? Namely expand a little bit more what you have written as though you were talking to an intelligent high school student. Me :-)

- only tactical
- Worldwide, the impact is 10X = $1.5 trillion annually.
- "anchor tenant" , is one needed ? How do it fit into a currency being a world reserve currency
- treat central bank reserves as a proxy for currency, "proxy" ???

Thanks c1ue :-)

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 20:13 utc | 54

Not sure what to make of this news exactly, but it seems the organ-grinders are getting into action again...

Trudeau claims 'Intel from multiple sources' points at Iran shooting down Ukrainian Boeing

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 9 2020 20:13 utc | 55

@vk #42

1. It does not seem accurate to posit that the Cold War began once the October Revolution occurred. Yes, during the Russian Civil War that followed the Revolution, foreign powers (the US among them) invaded Russia on the side of the "White" forces. However, once the Bolsheviks had emerged victorious, many business transactions occurred between the Soviet Union and organizations in the US. Anti-communism in the US did not prevent that. Furthermore, the Soviet Union received assistance from the US as soon as it was invaded by Germany on June 22, 1941. Stalin was famously called "Uncle Joe" by FDR during the war. There was at least one wartime propaganda poster that depicted a Soviet soldier with the claim that he's a friend and that he fights for freedom. So it seems that relations between the US and the Soviet Union went from hostile in 1917 to very friendly by 1945.

2. The US entered the war on the side of the UK. It once again bailed out the UK like it did in World War I. It chose the UK over Germany because, although it had business ties to both countries, its business ties to the UK were far stronger (again, like in World War I). The US had every reason to expect to emerge in a dominant position after the war, if only due to its location. Except for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was virtually untouched during the war. It's certainly true that the US did not scheme to dominate the world before World War II, but this commenter did not claim otherwise. On the other hand, by the time the Bretton Woods conference was held in June 1944, it was clear that the world was ripe for the US's picking, which the US proceeded to do.

3. The Bretton Woods Agreement was intended for the entire world to sign. It was literally going to set up a new world order. The Soviets balking at it meant that the new order covered only part of the world. It's no coincidence that the Cold War was a confrontation between those countries that were within the Bretton Woods system and those that were outside it. While from the Soviet leadership's point of view, it may have been impossible to join the Bretton Woods system, the leadership of the US apparently didn't see it as impossible at all. The Bretton Woods system was actually compatible with the Soviet state monopoly on international trade, as the US dollar was just another hard currency.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 20:16 utc | 56

@c1ue #49

Indeed, the reserve-currency status of the US dollar has been referred to as the US's "exorbitant privilege". It essentially allows the US to consume more than it produces (with the rest of the world making up the difference).

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 20:25 utc | 57

i like pat langs comments from today... sounds like he would vote for tulsi if the dems were smart enough to offer tulsi..

"Trump offered Iran peace negotiations in his post Iran strike speech? No. He did not. He once again offered them the opportunity to surrender to Israeli demands relayed to them by the US.

Now, he is transformed into just another neocon, in fact the neocon in chief. His foreign policy team is run by neocons and bootlickers who fear Pompeo's scorn. The Defense part of that team is dominated by the Pompous one and his West Point classmate Esper at DoD. General Milley and the other present chiefs of staff are carefully chosen to eliminate the possibility of "push-back" from the military. I retract anything bad I ever said about Joe Dunford. I wish he were still here."

Macgregor got it part right on Carlson's show last night

Posted by: james | Jan 9 2020 20:28 utc | 58

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 20:16 utc | 56

1. It does not seem accurate to posit that the Cold War began once the October Revolution occurred.

You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT !!!! Business is Business.

As I hate writing about these people I will just include this that I came across in some comments about this period. I must say it was an interesting shock for me.

Dear Comrade Hammer!

Excuse me please; I have been very ill; now I am much, much better.

Many thanks for Your present—a very kind letter from American comrades and friends who are in prison. I enclose for You my letter to Comrade Zinoviev or for other comrades in Petrograd if Zinoviev has left Petrograd.

My best wishes for the full success of Your first concession: such success would be of great importance also for trade relations between our Republic & United States.

Thanking You once more. I beg to apologise for my bad English. Please address letters & telegrams to my secretary (Fotieva or Smolianinoff). I shall instruct them.[1]

Yours truly,

McCarthy was right but being alone he had no chance.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 20:30 utc | 59

Ps, Apologies for the OT@55

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 9 2020 20:31 utc | 60

@Tom_LX #54
No worries - it may well be my writing style, too :)

"tactical": When the US was the largest importer of oil in the world, this fact made the petrodollar much more likely. The biggest customer drives the terms. However, because of shale fracking for oil, this is no longer true. The biggest importer of oil is now China - and China has many reasons why it would not want to subsidize a belligerent nation that is confronting China at every turn.

"worldwide": the world actually consumes a bit under 100 million bpd. The former US oil imports of around 8 million bpd, at $50/barrel - is multiplied by 10 to approximate the total USD value of world annual oil consumption. The actual number is tricky and isn't "100 million bpd x $50 x 365" because lots of oil isn't actually bought/sold: the Middle Eastern producers consume a lot of oil "for free", for example, but I use $1.5 trillion as a rough approximation of just how many petrodollars there might be due to the oil trade.

"anchor tenant": tactical above describes a reason why the petrodollar was formed - in reality, it is a lot more complex. In reality, the petrodollar arose because of the US closing the gold window/exiting Bretton Woods I. But because the US was both largest oil importer and largest single trade partner (before the EU was formed) - this is a very significant reason why the standards came to be. And so long as they both hold true (largest trader, largest oil importer), these facts would prevent anyone from displacing the USD in its existing position much as anchor tenants in a mall bring more traffic to all the stores. If you subtract an anchor tenant, however - in this case, US oil imports and US largest trade nation (Still true, EU and China are about 2/3rds volume of US), then it would be unsurprising if fewer people went to that mall (or wanted to use USD for trade).

"central bank reserves as proxy for currency" - I've looked for, but have never found any credible data which shows just how much of world trade is denominated in USD vs Euros or whatever. However, I make these assumptions
1) that the central bankers in each country have some idea of how much of their trade is USD denominated
2) that the central bankers hold USD in reserve to protect liquidity and flows for these operations
So that's what I meant: USD as central bank reserves is around 60%, meaning likely 60% of all world trade is USD denominated.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:54 utc | 61

Australia bushfires note:
The fires this year are tragic but are a tiny fraction of the wildfire acreage burned in 1975. historical AU wildfire acreage burned graph
1975 both had more rain and lower temperature.
Thus while there is a theoretical difference in wildfire occurrence with higher temperatures and lower humidity, clearly it is not a controlling factor.
More importantly, the precipitation totals in the past few years is higher than average, not lower. The climate models and mainstream climate change prognostications do not back up either the short term temperature or the wildfire risk being realized this year.
You can read about this here source
Key takeaways from the article:

1) Global wildfire activity has decreased in recent decades, making any localized increase (or decrease) in wildfire activity difficult to attribute to ‘global climate change’.

2) Like California, Australia is prone to bushfires every year during the dry season. Ample fuel and dry weather exists for devastating fires each year, even without excessive heat or drought, as illustrated by the record number of hectares burned (over 100 million) during 1974-75 when above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures existed.

3) Australian average temperatures in 2019 were well above what global warming theory can explain, illustrating the importance of natural year-to-year variability in weather patterns (e.g. drought and excessively high temperatures).

4) Australia precipitation was at a record low in 2019, but climate models predict no long-term trend in Australia precipitation, while the observed trend has been upward, not downward. This again highlights the importance of natural climate variability to fire weather conditions, as opposed to human-induced climate change.

5) While reductions in prescribed burning have probably contributed to the irregular increase in the number of years with large bush fires, a five-fold increase in population in the last 100 years has greatly increased potential ignition sources, both accidental and purposeful.

As always, there are people who won't let any tragedy go to waste.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:59 utc | 62

Pat Lang sees the light (finally).

Only months ago, pl would've rebuked, censured, or banned someone that made a "TDS" comment like this:

Trump offered Iran peace negotiations in his post Iran strike speech? No. He did not. He once again offered them the opportunity to surrender to Israeli demands relayed to them by the US.

Now, he is transformed into just another neocon, in fact the neocon in chief.

Hey pl, you've been part of the problem. Welcome back to reality.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 9 2020 21:04 utc | 63

US keep murdering people, today a US drone strike kill 60 people in Afghanistan!

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 21:08 utc | 64

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:54 utc | 61

Yes it did !!!

I mull over it for a day and if new questions come up I know who to ask :-)

Thank you.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 21:09 utc | 65

@c1ue #61

It's also important to keep in mind to consider which commodities are traded worldwide in terms of US dollars. Most likely the balance is skewed in favor of more fundamental commodities (such as petroleum). Also, it's likely that a bigger percentage of world trade was USD-denominated in the past. Finally, one has to wonder if the US leadership would be willing to impoverish the rest of the world in order for the US to remain the largest trading nation.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 21:10 utc | 66

@ Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 20:16 utc | 56

My replica, in order.

1) yes, cooperation happened after the Civil War ended, but it was mainly individual endeavors with individual American capitalists that require herculean effort from exceptional diplomats. This pattern repeated with the European powers. Not only these isolated cooperations didn't happen with the blessing of the USG, but it is known the Americans had a plan to completely bankrupt Soviet Russia by stipulating only gold was accepted in trade with the USA.

The American anti-communist operation during the first half of WWII was very sophisticated. It pretended it didn't have enough resources to effectively help the USSR and gave only token supplies until 1942. Meanwhile, everytime Molotov urged the Americans to open a second front in the west, the American diplomats always conditioned it with the end of Lend Lease to the USSR. There is an overabundance of documentation on the Soviet side that prove beyond reasonable doubt they were certain the West planned to let them bleed the most possible, so they could march gloriously later over two corpses.

This double-faced politics rapidly ended after Stalingrad - after which it became very clear the USSR not only would win the war, but march to the entire European Peninsula. Suddenly, the Americans had a lot of high-octane fuel, a lot of spam and a lot of trucks to give to the Soviets, all the while also opening a second front.

And yes, I consider the Red Scare period as the first Cold War.

2) Yes, the main factor was that it would be impossible to draft American men to fight for nazism against the British. But the main reason the USA drew a red line on the UK was for it national security: the Americans have a doctrine that stipulates its real frontiers in the west and south lie in a crescent in the North Atlantic, that goes from the UK to the northeastern coast of Brazil (therefore, also engulfing the entire Caribbean). This means that the mere fact the Third Reich could deploy its submarines in Gibraltar or anywhere in the northern Atlantic would mean an attack on American soil.

The Americans had a plan of defense in depth: the first line of defence would be the UK itself and its Royal Navy (RN). If the RN failed, the second line of defense would be the islands of the Caribbean and northeastern Brazil. Luckily, the UK didn't fall, so it was never necessary to activate the Latin American line of defense.

A curiosity: the first baseball game ever played in Brazil happened because of that. A deal was made for the construction of American military bases in Brazil and, in one of those bases (Natal), American soldiers played the first baseball game in the country's history. It is also very possible the first ever American Football game was also played in Natal, although there's no documental evidence for that.

3) Bretton Woods lasted only 27 years. It wasn't sustainable even in the capitalist system itself - let alone in a capitalist-socialist system.

The problem with Bretton Woods was that it was essentially the gold standard with extra steps. The gold standard has a fatal flaw in capitalism, which is that it is a deflationary system: as capitalism produces more and more commodities, the gold production stagnates (until it would eventually stop, since the amount of gold on planet Earth is finite). That results in falling prices over time, which will erode profits. The capitalists then react to this by stopping production - for the simple fact you can't print gold (therefore, devaluing it). This results in cyclical famines in capitalism, where many workers died.

The gold standard only survived for so much time for two reasons:

a) it existed in an era there was no democracy (i.e. no universal suffrage), so the governments could inflict heavy losses on the working classes without worrying being voted out and

b) there were at least three big discoveries of gold reserves at pivotal moments of its history (California, Australia and South Africa). The California gold rush, by the way, culminated with the American Civil War of 1861-1865.

A big crisis during the gold standard era was the likely cause of the eruption of the French Revolution of 1789. The riots were likely triggered by the lack of bread in the market (and the stratospheric prices of the few that still existed), and not the storming of the Bastille, as many liberal historians like to tell us.

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 21:10 utc | 67

Just curious, but what do barflies think is the bigger cause for the empire's beef with Iran:

1) Histrionics from religious lunatics squabbling over a tiny scrap of desert that literally nobody in America really cares about, including the supposedly Zionist oligarchs running the show from behind the curtain.

2) Iran trading oil outside the petrodollar system and potentially representing a development model that competes with western values capitalism.

I believe it is somewhat awkward to those fighting for 2) to admit it publicly, but not so polically difficult to openly take a side in 1). It's just a hunch, but the Zionism noise seems to just be cover for regular old big business imperialism.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 9 2020 21:14 utc | 68

@William Gruff #68

Something similar to #2 is the case - Iran has been less than completely loyal to the "dollar hegemony" and "Western" business interests since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 21:19 utc | 69

Let's face it:

Almost all the passengers were either Iranian Nationals or Canadian Nationals of Iranian origin.
In general, when Iran's Authorities have problems with its turncoats, they merely arrest, sentence and jail them.

I fail to see a motive for Iran to collectively kill them in an airplane accident. Especially when the country has
been the subject of libel and calumnies galore.

Let's suppose an instant that a MANPAD was used to down the 737. It would certainly enter the engine by the exhaust duct and blow it up. Now, we have seen MANPADS enter exhaust ducts of warplanes and yet
the pilots have had time to call and make their ejection.

A 737 is certainly longer than any jet fighter and the obliteration of the engine would not kill the pilots
considering how far forward the cockpit is relative to the engine that would shed blades at right angles to the
engine's centerline.

This may have cut electrical sources for the airplane avionics, which means that the pilots, even though perfectly
whole, would have been unable to get their voices off the cockpit and into the air. The transponder would
shut down too.

Whether by a missile or a purely mechanical failure, the results are the same. Blades intrude into the wings,
cut fuel lines, electrical wiring, even hydraulic lines leading to control surfaces.

It has been mentioned that a 737 is able to take off on only one engine.

This is probably possible under certain load conditions. However, Theran's altitude is 4000 feet above sea level
at its lowest and above 7000 feet at its highest.

All engines are derated due to altitude because air is not as dense at altitude as it is at sea level.
Besides, we have to consider the propensity of airlines to fuel up wherever fuel is cheapest. I surmise that
Jetfuel is cheaper in Tehran than in Kiev. Therefore the plane was probably filled to the max. Under these conditions,
it is probable that the airplane could not continue to climb on one engine only.

Now, if on top of that the controls and electricals were severed, the pilots could only become passengers.

So it could have been a heat-seeking missile that caused this catastrophe, but and engine failure would fill the bill too.

If we look at it through the "Qui bono?" lens, I fail to see an Iranian's hand downing that plane. A mistake is certainly
not possible as even on radar the jet would be seen climbing away from Tehran.

Unless of course it were an MEK warrior equipped by some foreign foe of Iran.

Let's wait for the result of the investigation. Canada, Ukraine, Denmark have been invited to join the search party
and the analysis of the wreckage. We will find out in due time.

Posted by: CarlD | Jan 9 2020 21:19 utc | 70

US Media HAS TO DOWNPLAY Al Assad bombing.
Else Raytheon, Lokheed stocks down the drain.
So, put on some Boeing in Teheran soap opera to distract 24/7.
Though Boeing an US corp too. So, lose lose for the US during "win-win" Trump presidency. WHO bennefits other than "Yinon" project?

Posted by: Qparticle | Jan 9 2020 21:24 utc | 71

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 9 2020 21:10 utc | 66
Posted by: c1ue | Jan 9 2020 20:54 utc | 61

I suspect you guys will know better. Why did the FED stop providing the information about M3 monetary aggregate ? What would it tell us ? What does it hide ?

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 21:25 utc | 72

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 9 2020 21:14 utc | 68

Certainly for geopolitical reasons.

Today's conflicts in the Middle East have nothing to do with religion (e.g. Israel is allied with Saudi Arabia).

Posted by: vk | Jan 9 2020 21:47 utc | 73

I posted on the previous article about Bellingcat and his internet sleuths discovering a Tor guidance head at the scene of the crash. Tor = SAM with a movable fin guidance nosecone at the tip, and a warhead just behind it. That reply didn't make it through for some reason. I think I mentioned The Atlantic Council. Something get filtered?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 9 2020 22:08 utc | 74

Al Assad
Possible candided for US Navy EM warfare experiments forward base.

Google: "m.i.r.a.g.e : microwave ionosphere reconfiguration ground based emitter"

Mobile plasma screen shooting EMR at sounding rockets particle trails.
System fits in a simple trailer or shipping container. Israel has a small ballistic missile LORA which can be used as high capacity trail dispenser, also fits in to small containers. Can also be loaded on commercial ships. coms - radar Jamming, more effective monitoring, weather mod on demand.

Stealling Iran's clouds, but also if deployed on a nexus, Turkey, Lybia, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Russia borders, the Med too.

Posted by: Qparticle | Jan 9 2020 22:09 utc | 75

regarding Bolivia - the question is not exactly how resilient MAS is, but rather how more much filthy lucre is going to pour into the coup side from reptiles like con=gressmen Menendez and Cruz - and how much support the coup=istas can expect from neighboring Peru and Chile, aka the Lima Group, which tried to pull down Venezuela. Peru is in a bit of a tumult right now, and Chile is temporarily on its knees from the 80+ days of "manifestaciones" which, for example, nearly totally destroyed the Metro system, and resulted in the cancellation of important APEC meeting. Remember lithium. Chile has it and so does Bolivia. China and Russia had some negotiations going with both countries - a no no for the Evil Empire. (kudos to karlof1) surprise surprise.

At the moment the coup-istas seem to be going for some infighting - similar to the Venezuelan "opposition" where disgusting Guido seems to have fallen on his face again. You can find updates at Grayzone and Mint Press amongst others. cheers.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Jan 9 2020 22:21 utc | 76

IRGC commander pinpoints US bases aroun Iran.

Note: First base shown is in Qatar.
Americans hastily started moving out from there since Iraq's Al Assad base attack.


Posted by: Qparticle | Jan 9 2020 22:22 utc | 77

Looks like the hated ZH web site is having fun with the latest News from the Ministry of Truth,

Video From Outside Jeffrey Epstein's Cell "No Longer Exists," Government Says

Posted by: Tom_LX | Jan 9 2020 22:23 utc | 78

William Gruff

War with Iran is the goal Israel and neocons have had for many decades. I thought that fact was obvious here to be honest.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 9 2020 22:32 utc | 79

Zanon | Jan 9 2020 19:50 utc | 19

Possible false flag against not only US but CERTIFIED allies too in the ME/Med region from Israel. Danger dates second half of March, first half of April 2020

Posted by: Qparticle | Jan 9 2020 22:36 utc | 80

The Australian right-wing, backed up by the Murdoch media, should not try to pull a Nero and try to blame a random group of ineffective ecologists in a shameful witchhunt.

But you know they will because they own, run and dig up the joint. Neoliberalism married to two centuries of colonial-settler exploitation—it's wonder they haven't concreted over the bush yet. "If it wasn't for those bloody trees mate, the place'd be a paradise!" No trees, no fires, no worries—that's the National Party motto (almost).

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 9 2020 23:00 utc | 81

The kind of guy Trump then pardons...after killing all what he fins in his way...adter all i tis an Iraqi dog....

This kind of attitude, along with Trump´s and that of certain kind of Americans who pass all day bragging about anything, makes one wonder how little these human debris feel himself...

Hence they need to exterminate those who risk against the powerful, those who do not fear, those who protect the weak, those take as responsability not only their own families but a whole nation ....

A psycho-nazi, no doubt ( in case there are other kind...), one wonders how many they are in the US Army...That you can negotiate anything with this filth is a bad joke...

Every sane honest people in the world only has to wait, since it is a given that they will exterminate each other...meanwile....of course, cut them short in their overextensions...

What would be impossible to de-escalate... is people´s accumulated rage...for so long......

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 9 2020 23:05 utc | 82


'The Australian government itself agrees with me and the Chinese:'

So what. So do corporate executives- see the problem with this?

The Chinese have privatized water rights and had the AU government build dams to contribute to the 'fuel'. In addition, arson, mining and in general criminal mismanagement of the land are explicit contributing factors. Citing climate change as the key is spurious at best and criminal at worst. Consider your sources ffs.

'And just to keep everyone distracted from this great discrepancy, CFOs had a convenient scapegoat on which to "focus": global warming. According to Deloitte, CFOs were also asked about climate change, with more than 70% saying they are under some pressure from stakeholders to take preventive actions. Perhaps that "action" is to buyback their own stock?'

Posted by: Chris S | Jan 10 2020 0:07 utc | 83

@70 CarlD

That is my guess at this point as well: MEK. They have the motive, means, access, and partners. Timing was highly useful to overall narrative management (Iran is bad) and target carefully chosen for maximum blowback. Seems like the NATO mob got off to a slow start with the witch hunt which might mean mossad were organizers. Total speculation but the puzzle pieces seem to fit.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Jan 10 2020 0:11 utc | 84

Below is a ZH link to a posting about Occupied Palestine attacking supposed Iranian forces on the border with Iraq and Syria today

Israel Bombs Weapons Depot Run By Iranian Militia

The take away quote
Sources claimed that the airstrikes were targeting weapons shipments, according to the Washington Post. The Kataib Imam Ali, an Iran-backed militia, was apparently moving weapons, possibly in preparation for a strike against US interests.

Al Mayadeen reported that the strikes targeted ballistic missile warehouses run by the group. The warehouse was situated outside of the city of Al Bukamal

There is more warfare to come but the direction is good. At some point Occupied Palestine will start losing all their jets to defensive S-300 or S-400 equipment......6 months is a guess to Iraq for delivery and installation that just might be speeded up for some reason.

Interesting times.

Is Saudi Arabia working behind empire back on a ME deal?

Just like I hope that both North and South Korea kick out the problem with their relationship.........

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 10 2020 1:59 utc | 85

I had a bigger picture thought while I was fixing dinner.

Oil = money/power/control

In our current world, one can't get enough of it.

What if all this tilting at Iran is a ploy to get enough US/NATO troops in the ME so that then taking the oil from SA, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, etc is a cake walk.

Take the oil Trump keeps saying in his role. Shale is not going to keep the US in enough energy. Will the world look sideways if a US/empire country takeover happens anywhere?


Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 10 2020 2:22 utc | 86


Adam Green is a limited hangout and pied piper to lead those curious about the big Q towards white nationalism.

Posted by: m00n_cricket | Jan 10 2020 2:55 utc | 87

Below is a quote from the end of the latest posting at the Wall Street on Parade web site about a recent World Bank report.

The report also contains a not so subtle outlook for another debt explosion at some point on the horizon. World Bank researchers write as follows:

“The global economy has experienced four waves of debt accumulation over the past fifty years. The first three ended with financial crises in many emerging market and developing economies. During the current wave, which started in 2010, the increase in debt in these economies has already been larger, faster, and more broad-based than in any of the previous three waves.”

The researchers write that since the financial crisis, global debt has reached “an all-time high of about 230 percent of global GDP in 2018.” And they offer this warning:

“High government debt levels can also limit the size and effectiveness of fiscal stimulus during downturns, and can dampen longer term growth by weighing on productivity-enhancing private investment.”

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 10 2020 3:07 utc | 88

@ 63 jackrabbit.. you missed my post @ 58 where i said much the same thing!

@ 68 william gruff... number 2 obviously.. it is always about money and maintaining the us$ dominance on the planet..

Posted by: james | Jan 10 2020 3:57 utc | 89


On the question of the Murdoch press and our (Australia's) bushfire catastrophe, you will enjoy this.

It has been sent to the memory hole by now.

This footage of Batlow in NSW (scroll halfway through this article to the video) is gut-wrenching. It depicts the holocaust (literally in the Greek sense) of hundreds , if not thousands, of domestic and wild animals against a landscape of (almost post-nuclear apocalyptic) horror. I have been hand-feeding the kangas on my aunt's property in the Blue Mountains with sheep pellets. They are in shock, with patches of fur burnt away, half-starved and have no water other than from the bores. My heart broke to see it. They suffer for our crimes when the karma should be raining down on a cynical, bitter and exploitative regime.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 10 2020 4:05 utc | 90

Zarif from Iran was not able to come speak to the UN directly but his words were delivered by Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi as detailed in the Xinhuanet story below:

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday told the United Nations Security Council that one "unhinged" regime is frantically clamoring to turn back time and explicitly pointed the finger at the United States in his speech.

Zarif, whose visa was denied by the United States which made him impossible to attend in person the Security Council ministerial-level open debate on the topic of "Maintenance of international peace and security upholding the UN Charter," told the meeting, through the delivering of Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi, that "the world is at a crossroads: with the end of monopolies on power, one unhinged regime is frantically clamoring to turn back time."

"This has meant more damaging American unilateralism in defiance of international norms and law, most recently a dastardly targeted assassination of the heroes who were the nightmare of groups such as ISIS," said Zarif.

"Since the regime's inauguration, more and more threats and attacks against the people of Iran and other sovereign nations in utter disregard of the Charter. It now even seeks to emulate the war crimes of Daesh (also known as ISIL, Islamic State, or ISIS), menacing the cultural heritage of the millennia-old civilization of Iran," said Zarif.

"Our January 8th, action against an air base in Iraq from which the cowardly armed attack against martyr (Qassem) Soleimani was launched, was a measured and proportionate response to a terrorist attack, in the exercise of our inherent right to self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter," he said.

Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport on Friday. In retaliation, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday, which U.S. President Donald Trump said resulted in no American or Iraqi casualties.

"This rogue U.S. regime has withdrawn from several landmark accords, including the Paris Agreement, the INF Treaty, and not least, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That, in an open affront to this very Council, has involved unprecedented and unlawful U.S. punishment of anyone who attempts to comply with Resolution 2231, which unequivocally endorses the JCPOA," said the Iranian top diplomat.

Also in his speech, Zarif blasted what he called the U.S. economic terrorism and said the U.S. regime has adopted "mob tactics to expand or gain market share" in the face of the increasing diversification of the sources of power.

"In the case of my own country, U.S. economic terrorism has involved the strangulation of access of ordinary Iranians to food and medicine as well as use of illegal unilateral sanctions to give American oil a foothold in Asia," said the foreign minister.

"No one is spared from this malign behavior, as evidenced by how the U.S. approaches global trade - including its targeting of European infrastructure to force the entry of its own natural gas," said Zarif.

"The question amidst this rogue behavior is how to protect the UN Charter," the Iranian diplomat said.

"For if other states become 'passive unilateralists; if they succumb to unilateralism in their bilateral relationships or compromise Charter principles for the sake of short-term gains or the avoidance of immediate harm, they inadvertently encourage the lawless unilateralist to bully them," Zarif added.

"To protect multilateralism, we must never appease unilateralist regimes. We need political will as well as an instrument that will safeguard the values, principles and multilateralism enshrined in the Charter," said Zarif.

Zarif called for renewed commitment to the Charter, "particularly non-intervention in internal or external affairs and prohibition of the threat or use of force."

He also urged rejecting all coercive unilateral measures including sanctions as unlawful, entailing international responsibility, including financial responsibility to compensate for damages imposed on the target and third countries.

The top Iranian diplomat urged assigning international criminal responsibility for obstructing in any way, shape or form humanitarian trade.

He noted that Iran is dedicated to multilateralism and committed to the Charter and its principles.

"Our commitment to the JCPOA as well as our most recent inclusive initiative to promote peace and security in the Persian Gulf region (Hormuz Peace Endeavor, or 'HOPE') prove our strategic approach," he said.

In reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Iranian nuclear deal in May 2018 and the subsequent sanctions, and in response to the Europe's sluggishness in facilitating Iran's banking transactions and its oil exports, Iran, since May 2019, has made stage-by-stage moves away from its nuclear commitments.

Iran on Sunday announced the fifth and final step to drop its commitments pertaining to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal after U.S. killing of Soleimani. Iran also said it would continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and remain ready to re-embrace its nuclear commitments if anti-Iran sanctions were removed and its economic interests under the nuclear deal were secured.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 10 2020 4:19 utc | 91

WG @ 68 asked;"Just curious, but what do barflies think is the bigger cause for the empire's beef with Iran:"

This is my pick;

"2) Iran trading oil outside the petrodollar system and potentially representing a development model that competes with western values capitalism."

Posted by: ben | Jan 10 2020 4:21 utc | 92

Another juicy bit of 737 max news for @b and @fellow barflies. Perhaps not as urgent as the other current news (middle east), but nonetheless another arrow into the heart of Boeing... More Very Incriminating Boeing Correspondence

Posted by: retiredmecheng | Jan 10 2020 4:51 utc | 93

james @89: you missed my post @ 58



Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 10 2020 4:59 utc | 94

Trumpor empire.. they may have different priorities. For Trump, the Tehran embassy hostage drama makes Iran the worst of the worst. They embarrassed his exceptional country.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 10 2020 6:42 utc | 95
"Battleground Niger: Almost 90 people dead in jihadist attack on army base'

Oil in Niger.
" After more than four years of exploration, Esso and Petronas abandoned the Agadem permit in 2006, judging it economically unprofitable. The block thus fell back in the public domain of the State with an estimated 324 million barrels of oil reserves and nearly 10,000,000,000 cubic metres (3.5×1011 cu ft) of gas. Unfortunately for the Esso and Petronas venture, the oil prices skyrocketed starting 2007 going from $30 to $147 in 2008. The reserves considered meager became more attractive and in 2008, China National Petroleum Corporation through its exploration and development company (CNODC) acquired the permit on the Agadem block. As part of the agreement with the government of Niger, CNODC created national branch in Niger (CNPC-NIGER-PETROLEUM SA) and carried out further exploration. Between 2008 and 2012, 76 exploration wells were completed of which 62 have resulted in discoveries. This led to an increase of the previous estimates from 324 million to 744 million barrels of oil"

Always worth looking up when US proxies are in action.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 10 2020 8:27 utc | 96

@ CarlD | Jan 9 2020 21:19 utc | 70

I apologize for OT.

Is self-evident 737 blew engine below "The minimum control speed (VMC)".

See wiki. Generally this results in a yaw-roll toward the failed engine and the aircraft hitting the ground upside down. Poor maintenance, defective design, foreign material ingestion. There are photographs of the compressor wheels online that show severe blade erosion.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 10 2020 9:29 utc | 97

BBC can't even get the basics of the story right:

"The Ukrainian flight was headed to the Canadian city of Toronto via the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv."

Uh, yeah, right. A 738 from Kyiv to Toronto?

Posted by: Tony | Jan 10 2020 11:54 utc | 98

ben @ 92

Iran trading oil outside the petrodollar system and potentially representing a development model that competes with western values capitalism."

Nah, Washington is still bitter about the occupation of the U.S. Embassy and the overthrow of the Shah. Yasha Levine has tweeted repeatedly about how Washington weaponizes immigrant against the countries they come from but it's a two way street. Recent immigrants who are often people who wielded political power in their former countries know that the most reliable way to regain that power is to persuade Washington to back them. For example, many leading Nazis in Eastern Europe fled to the United States after their defeat but because they were anti-communist, they achieved positions of influence in Washington and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they spread that influence back to Eastern Europe. Same with the former Yugoslavia. With the overthrow of the Shah, the same has happened with Iran. Washington has never accepted the result of the revolution and has always regarded the Islamic Republic as an interregnum until normal service is resumed with the monarchy.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 10 2020 12:55 utc | 99

As for all the crap coming out of the usual suspects, this is done in the full knowledge that the western MSM stenographers will accept it lock, stock and barrel and the propaganda becomes the "truth". Goebbels would be proud even his propaganda skills were shit.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 10 2020 12:56 utc | 100

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