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January 16, 2020

Open Thread 2020-04

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 16, 2020 at 17:08 UTC | Permalink

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Is China about to throw Iran under the bus?

Posted by: paul | Jan 16 2020 17:14 utc | 1

I saw in the Jan. 15 @2130 Teheran Times that, "TEHRAN – A possible disruption in Iran’s radar network by the U.S. may have caused the operator mistake the Ukrainian passenger plan for an incoming American cruise missile, at top Iranian military official said late on Tuesday."

Read article at

It wouldn't be at all surprising.

Posted by: zarathustra | Jan 16 2020 17:23 utc | 2

@ 2 zarathustra.. thanks.. "Abdollahi said a team has been established to investigate such a possibility." i am sure that is true and they might be exploring the idea of the transporter being shut off before the incident too.. hopefully they are exploring all the ideas peter au, jr and a few others have been discussing here at moa the past few days..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2020 17:38 utc | 3

@ zarathustra and james about the Ukrainian plane downing

Here is another link saying similar things

Iranian Military Now Claims US ‘Cyberattack’ Brought Down Passenger Plane

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 16 2020 17:46 utc | 4

A Canadian here... The yappy-lapdog Canadian gov't is "demanding" a whole lot of control over the investigation, yet in the same breath demands "impartial" analysis and prosecution of the perps... by definition, the Cdn gov't is not impartial, it is a vassal administration of the US/ZATO/5Eyes MIC.

More importantly, will the black box show what happened regarding reports that the plane's transponder had been shut off shortly after take-off and before the missiles were launched. It is known from the MH370 investigation that Boeing planes automatically report back to Boeing head office with various bits of telemetry. Is it such a stretch that Boeing has various "backdoors" in the 737 flight computers which could allow the transponders to be shut off remotely? The CIA/Mossad surely would know about such backdoors, being Boeing is part and parcel of the US MIC.

The Canadian rabid response smacks of trying to hide or get ahead of any proof of the above.

Posted by: A P | Jan 16 2020 18:09 utc | 5

Looking at all the stories coming out, the deep state is getting pretty serious about getting rid of Trump.
What if they get Biden as the democratic nominee too and we have a Pence/Biden matchup?
Top that with everything the Fed is doing to keep the market bubble from bursting and it raises interesting possibilities.
Trump laughing it up from the sidelines, for one thing.

Posted by: John Merryman. | Jan 16 2020 18:13 utc | 6

psychohistorian | Jan 16 2020 17:46 utc | 4

This Nariman Gharib or his commanders are straightout stupid. With this behaviour they confirm the suspicion that the incident was staged. While proof of electronic warfare to create the havoc may never come or is impossible to obtain the main weakness of the effort is the fact that filming the event in the middle of the night from a rooftop is explainable only if the camera guy has known what would happen where. - Staged to overshadow the impressive triumph the Iranians had with the attack on the Iraqi US base.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 16 2020 18:14 utc | 7

Macron order aircraft strike group to the middle east,

Something about to happen?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 16 2020 18:14 utc | 8

An extremely rare candid and somewhat precise piece of journalism by the NYT (albeit telling the story from the point of view of the Americans/capitalists):

A Trade Deal Meant to Heal Rifts Could Actually Make Them Worse

Here's an interesting paragraph:

What it does not do is tackle the root causes of the trade war. The deal leaves untouched Beijing’s subsidies for homegrown industries and its firm control over crucial levers of its hard-charging economy. The deal also keeps in place most of Mr. Trump’s tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, a much heavier tax than Americans pay for products from practically anywhere else.

Solving those issues could take years.

Interesting to see what the Americans consider to be China's "root causes of the trade war". And we still have people who believe the war against China is not a war between capitalism and socialism, but between "freedom and tyranny". Pure middle class liberal dellusion of grandeur.


In the last open thread, in my first comment, I highlighted how fast the Western MSM gave up the idea the Labour Party should have its first female leader in order to prop up their guy, Keir Starmer (literally the only male still in the dispute right now). The reason, of course, is that his main rival - Rebecca Long-Bailey - is Corbyn's successor and, as such, has Momentum's (and, probably, of the unions) support.

Well, this didn't stop the typical Western hypocrisy from working. Yesterday, a wave of accusations of Bernie Sanders happened (again).

I have been stating here for some time now that the function of the middle class is to serve as the battering ram of the capitalists. They are the class tasked with fabricating the narratives and "theories" which all the society should believe and never question. They are what that 007 villain (Spectre) called "visionaires", or what the far-rightists in America call "the experts".

If that's true, then postmodernism is their ideological weapon of choice nowadays.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2020 18:16 utc | 9

It doesn't matter in which order they're read, but Escobar's latest intersects with Alastair Crooke's to provide Big Picture perspective.

Towards his conclusion, Escobar cites retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2001 to 2005:

"We are going to lie, cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That’s the truth of it. And that’s the agony of it."

But nowhere in the citation does Wilkerson say that any of this effort's being done to defend the USA, whereas its beyond clear that Iran, China and Russia are all working to protect their nations and people. Rather, it appears as if "the profound disgust and revolt against US policies all across the Global South" is finally being adopted by a majority of the USA's polity as it becomes clear that all the lying, cheating and stealing is being done at the expense of the 99% for the 1%'s benefit.

As Crooke alludes, wagging the dog a la Clinton might save Trump from being convicted and removed by the Senate, but such a move will likely cost him the election, although much depends on how those controlling the D-Party behave in the face of Sanders winning the nomination via the primaries prior to the Convention.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2020 18:37 utc | 10

NYT has a new report on Russia that is not strictly negative. It is about a port city in "sub-Arctic" that lost a lot of population and now is "hanging on". Federal subsidies make it cheap to fly to the capital or to warm Asian places on vacations, there are jobs and various ways for amusement, but the climate sucks. So most young people think of getting out.

Authorities actually look decent in the article, but the stress is on how gloomy it is because of the weather. Surprisingly, as it is such a main part of the report, the description of the climate is totally botched. "The temperature drops below freezing on the way to -50". And no word about the wind. However, because of the impact of the sea, the temperatures in Magadan are "similar to central European Russia", although winter is long, temperatures stay above -20 C, rarely dropping below -25 C, so people can enjoy winter sports (the photo from a colorful bar shows a wall covered with snowboards). What makes Magadan's winter unpleasant are frequent humid strong winds from the sea.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2020 18:38 utc | 11

Now that Warren has been exposed as the charlatan (The Damned Debates) many of us knew she was all along, the media is all freaked out that her plan to attack Bernie Sanders is backfiring and that she is losing support rather than gaining it. It looks to many like she made a deal with the Wall St. crowd funding the DNC who support Biden to attack Bernie for them in exchange for a VP spot. They are obviously very worried about Biden though because the Trump-GOP attack on Biden over Burisma is coming, and they know they have nothing to stop it. That is what the impeachment is all about (Impeachment For Dummies: or How progressives were conned into supporting Joe Biden for President), and what the recent claim of Russia hacking to harm Biden is all about. It is all about trying to protect Biden from the upcoming Trump-GOP Burisma related attack on Biden. So with Biden in trouble and Warren stumbling, expect Hillary to save the day? LOL. They are worried, but unless Bernie is far ahead when it matters then the superdelegates will save them. But if they do that then they fear many people will go 3rd party next election cycle, meaning the DNC has no chance to beat the GOP in the future if that happens. What will they do? Right now they are full on trying to threaten their way to keep their new world order as it crumbles around them (Pax Americana: Between Iraq and A Hard Place). Times they are a changin.

Posted by: Kali | Jan 16 2020 18:40 utc | 12

I think it was a tragic error in the fog of war. Not the first time and probably not the last.

But those with a more conspiratorial take will find this older article interesting

Posted by: Joe | Jan 16 2020 18:46 utc | 13

this video analysis by a privat german researcher showing the ukraine plane was hit two times - first by a kind of "Stinger"-missile, which hit its front... and second when the plane turned around going back to the airport without any transponder signal by the iranian air defense. this scenario is currently the most valid conclusion imho. I.e. a clandestine "terrorist" attack first and a "official" missile second with radar jamming in between...

Posted by: sirius | Jan 16 2020 18:50 utc | 14

This from Fars News;

"TEHRAN (FNA)- A report by a correspondent for Danish TV 2 who has interviewed Danish soldiers positioned at Ein Al-Assad in Iraq, which was the target of a retaliatory attack from Iran against US forces, shows that the damage done to the military base has been “much greater” than American officials claim."

Interesting. are we all being mislead?

Posted by: ben | Jan 16 2020 18:51 utc | 15

ok this is way over my head but i'm posting a link on the Ukranian crash in Tehran to get you all's perspective.
Russell Bently has a piece on Information Clearinghouse where he says the "accident story is bullshit" and details his reasons. Many of you know a great deal about planes and missiles so here you go....

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 16 2020 18:56 utc | 16

@ 16; Thanks for the link. The BS and misdirection in today's Geo-Political struggle is almost overwhelming.

And in the blatant and purposeful confusion, the new feudal elites consolidate their gains.

Posted by: ben | Jan 16 2020 19:09 utc | 17

Strong analysis by WSWS today on core legal foundations currently under threat by the determined persecution of Assange -

The prosecution of Julian Assange, the destruction of legality and the rise of the national security state

Posted by: jayc | Jan 16 2020 19:12 utc | 18

Stephen Gowans' latest'

"While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful. Indeed, against the total embargo Washington has imposed on Iran with the intention of starving Iranians into submission or inducing them to overthrow their government, the killing of Soleimani is a act of little consequence, even if its significance in provoking widespread outrage and galvanizing opposition to US aggression is undoubted."

Posted by: arby | Jan 16 2020 19:16 utc | 19

@13 "following an american private intelligence company ... citing a mexican source".

are you serious ?

Posted by: murgen23 | Jan 16 2020 19:18 utc | 20

" Rebecca Long-Bailey - is Corbyn's successor and, as such, has Momentum's (and, probably, of the unions) support."

This is not clear. Rebecca's campaign is managed by Lansman-Momentum's 'owner'no voting allowed!- whose manouevrings on the NEC and at Conference were responsible for the fudge in Brexit that led to the defeat. Lansman is also the genius who persuaded the Party to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-semitism which was used against Corbyn and, essentially, equates anti-zionism with anti-semitism.
As to the Unions they are split, most are still run by Blairites (who do not consult members before casting votes on their behalf).
Bear in mind that Lansman-now acting as Rebecca's campaign manager- was responsible for the NEC's refusal to end the suspension on Chris Williamson's membership, his ousting from Parliament and expulsion from the party.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 16 2020 19:30 utc | 21

Since it is an open thread here, I 'll repeat my off topic request from yesterday.

What is the story about "Mr expert on everything, every week" Gwynne Dyer? I've just endured another of his gatekeeping, boundary defining columns where he states "...but the Iranian government lied about it for three days..."

WTF is this broadly published disinformer? Out there, there is probably some indepth erudite deconstructions of the Gwynne Dyer machine. Can someone supply them or point me to them?

Posted by: tucenc | Jan 16 2020 19:34 utc | 22

@20 The article was on the Jerusalem Post... OF COURSE it is BS.

Posted by: A P | Jan 16 2020 19:34 utc | 23

Posted by: Joe | Jan 16 2020 18:46 utc | 13

Thanks for the concern trolling, Shlomo...sorry, I mean "Joe".

Posted by: Information_Agent | Jan 16 2020 20:05 utc | 24

A P @5

Actually Boeing has an uninterruptable autopilot system that can result in remote control of the plane.
FLIGHT CONTROL: Boeing’s ‘Uninterruptible Autopilot System’, Drones & Remote Hijacking
This article is about the lost MH370.

Abel Danger went into quite a discussion of this during the 9/11 event that had 2 planes crashing into the towers. I can't find it on youtube any longer. A lot of their YTubes have been deleted.

Posted by: lgfocus | Jan 16 2020 20:10 utc | 25

@21 (and earlier post)

The largest UK union UNISON came out in support of Keir Starmer

As a Branch Secretary of this Union I can endorse the earlier comments about rampant Blairism and antidemocratic tendencies.

This is no coincidence of course.

Posted by: KarenEliot | Jan 16 2020 20:12 utc | 26

@Joe #13

(Reposting my previous comment on this.)

In early 2012, Wikileaks started publishing a database of 5 million internal emails of private “intelligence company” Stratfor. An email from that database written by Reva Bhalla describes his meeting with his “Mexican source/friend” who “is getting shadier by the day” and who told him about an alleged swap of “codes” between Israel and Russia. Go read the email and ask yourself if you believe the story. Remember, this is not a State Department cable written by a career diplomat, this is just an email from someone describing his meeting with a Mexican ex-cop. That’s all. How would a Mexican ex-cop know about a deal between Israel and Russia? And more importantly, why would Russia give away “codes” to its air defense systems to anyone and thus ruin its reputation as a reliable arms exporter? And, of course, you should ask yourself: is it even possible to give away “codes” to an air defense system? Aren’t these “codes” changed by an arms buyer, just like you set a password on your computer? The whole story is obviously BS. Just because something is published on Wikileaks doesn’t automatically mean it’s true. You have to look at the source and evaluate its credibility.

Posted by: S | Jan 16 2020 20:21 utc | 27

migueljose | Jan 16 2020 18:56 utc | 16

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 16 2020 20:22 utc | 28


my question to all from an ocassional reader is about the reputation of - I refer to 16 migueljose | Jan 16 2020 18:56 utc
You will understand that in todays environment the first defense line of people who do not like the message will be the question: isn't that a further conspiracy theory?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 16 2020 20:25 utc | 29

Funny how everyone talks about "Iran and its proxies" but never mentions Saudi Arabia's proxies... Oops because that would be ISIS et al wouldn't it. Actually the US itself behaves as one in a way as well... Orwell's world.

Posted by: Blofeld | Jan 16 2020 20:26 utc | 30

sirius | Jan 16 2020 18:50 utc | 14

I was hoping this video would offer new information about the Ukrainian plane being shot down but I don't think it did. The presenter's claim actually matched my initial suspicion about what might have happened: one missile (launched by MEK maybe?) did not immediately bring the plane down but did significantly damage it early on - and possibly disabled the transponder at that time - and then the Iranian missile only caused the final explosion just before the crash.

This analysis is inconsistent with the recent two-missile video from the NYTimes (which, granted, some here think was faked) and also with the presentation by Iran stating where on the map their missile struck the plane. I recall that early on Iran said the plane had turned significantly before they struck it, but then they said it had in fact been proceeding along its proper flight path. Not sure what to make of that. But now they're focusing on radar spoofing so I wish they would get all their facts together and present a coherent statement.

Posted by: LarryMorgan | Jan 16 2020 20:39 utc | 31

Can anyone verify authenticity of the attached document allegedly sent from Pentagon to House, signed by James P. Hogan?

The page link here.


Posted by: araa | Jan 16 2020 20:59 utc | 32


I would call it a fake.
There is NO way an FOI request on a sensitive issue such as this would be obliged in this time frame.
If Yankistan is anything like Aust, it would first be ignored, then lost, then sent to the wrong, department and rejected, then denied on national security grounds, then (pending the outcome of the legal challenge to have it released) it would be released but 90% redacted.

So, no. I don't believe it at all. Sorry.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 16 2020 21:14 utc | 33

Please ignore comma after 'wrong'.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 16 2020 21:15 utc | 34

#29 Hausmeister

Information Clearing House is a News Aggregator from a variety of alt-media sites. The original source is usually listed on the bottom of the articles.

Posted by: Kali | Jan 16 2020 21:16 utc | 35

There is a lot of talk here and in comment sections at forums about how the American Empire is going to collapse soon due to its blunders and Russia and China gaining military superiority over it. This kind of talk is a type of magical thinking and has no basis in reality. The United States’ most potent weapon isn’t military, it’s economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire’s imperial hold on the global economy. The economist Michael Hudson in an article called A Note To China (link at bottom) explains how this works:

The U.S. strategy is to control your economy in order to force you to sell your most profitable industrial sectors to US investors, to force you to invest in your industry only by borrowing from the United States.

So the question is, how do China, Russia, Iran and other countries break free of this U.S. dollarization strategy?

There are a lot of articles on sites about how China and Russia are de-dollarizing their economies in order to resist, and eventually end, the US domination of the global economy that is preventing them from maintaining independent economic policies that benefit their citizens rather than global elites and US central bankers.

Russia managed to put a stop to overt US economic imperialism after the looting spree in the post-Soviet 1990s decimated Russia’s ability to provide for its citizens and degraded the country’s ability to maintain economic independence. But it still ultimately got caught in the neoliberal trap. Hudson again:

Yet Russia did not have enough foreign exchange to pay domestic ruble-wages or to pay for domestic goods and services. But neoliberal advisors convinced Russia to back all Ruble money or domestic currency credit it created by backing it with U.S. dollars. Obtaining these dollars involved paying enormous interest to the United States for this needless backing. There was no need for such backing. At the end of this road the United States convinced Russia to sell off its raw materials, its nickel mines, its electric utilities, its oil reserves, and ultimately tried to pry Crimea away from Russia.

China, Hudson argues, by accepting the advice of American and IMF/World Bank economic “experts” and through Chinese students schooled in American universities in American neoliberal theory is in great danger of falling into the same trap.

The U.S. has discovered that it does not have to militarily invade China. It does not have to conquer China. It does not have to use military weapons, because it has the intellectual weapon of financialization, convincing you that you need to do this in order to have a balanced economy. So, when China sends its students to the United States, especially when it sends central bankers and planners to the United States to study (and be recruited), they are told by the U.S. “Do as we say, not as we have done.”

He concludes that:

The neoliberal plan is not to make you independent, and not to help you grow except to the extent that your growth will be paid to US investors or used to finance U.S. military spending around the world to encircle you and trying to destabilize you in Sichuan to try to pry China apart.

Look at what the United States has done in Russia, and at what the International Monetary Fund in Europe has done to Greece, Latvia and the Baltic states. It is a dress rehearsal for what U.S. diplomacy would like to do to you, if it can convince you to follow the neoliberal US economic policy of financialization and privatization.

De-dollarization is the alternative to privatization and financialization.

Loosening the Empire’s hold on economic and geopolitical affairs and moving to a multipolar world order is a tough slog and the Empire will use everything it can to stop this from happening. But at the moment even countries under American sanctions and surrounded by its armies, with the possible exception of Iran, aren’t really fighting back. That’s a bitter pill for many to swallow but wishful thinking isn’t going to change the world. After all, the new world has to be imagined before it can appear and right now it’s still global capitalism all the way down.

Link to article:

The article in full, and Hudson’s work generally, is well worth reading. He is one of only a few genuinely anti-imperialist economists and he is able to explain in layman’s terms exactly how the US-centric global economy is a massive scam designed to benefit US empire at the rest of the world’s expense.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

@ 20 murgen23... beware the free arsenic.. that info seems straight from stratfor, an israel disinfo outlet...

@ 22 tucenc... i saw your post yesterday.. you read it right, but i have no sources to provide to debunk gwynne dyer..

@ 29 Hausmeister.. i avoid informationclearinghouse... not sure why...

@ 32 araa.. i see it the same as jon_in_au..

@36 daniel...quote - "But at the moment even countries under American sanctions and surrounded by its armies, with the possible exception of Iran, aren’t really fighting back. That’s a bitter pill for many to swallow but wishful thinking isn’t going to change the world." i agree with most of your post and comment daniel.. what i see missing in your comment is the fact russia and china are hip to all this and working at changing all this.. i think it is going to take some time, but your or michael hudsons comment at the top is indeed bang on - "The United States’ most potent weapon isn’t military, it’s economic, and through it the US government controls the world." although it is centered in the usa, i am not sure that it is the usa itself driving it so much as private finance which doesn't really relate to a specific country.. however, the usa is where it is centered.. it is going to take time for this multi headed hydra to be taken down but being aware of it is a start.. i think the signs are happening that it is coming down with the usa acting increasingly beligerient and hostile on the world's behaving kind of like a wounded animal at this point which makes it exceedingly dangerous for all the world here..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2020 21:46 utc | 37

paul @1:

What the hell are you talking about? What has happened that led to your question? Please post a link to the article.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 16 2020 21:57 utc | 38

I was thinking about winston2's comment in the previous thread. A good way for China and Russia to respond is to go after those in the MIC; the CEO, lobbyists, financiers, etc... If they follow the money and take them out, I suspect we all would see a dramatic turn of events. No need to publicize their early retirement. Make it messy and public but not to the point of taking out innocents.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 16 2020 22:03 utc | 39

@ Daniel | Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

Yes, Michael Hudson is excellent, mostly because he’s rare economist, that is, one who begins from the premise that the ‘economy’ is a set of historically-situated and specific modes of exchange and forms of human relations. Aristotle located what we call the economy in ethics and politics; we follow the fairytales of neo-classical economics and global capital by imagining that it has some scientific autonomy from human social relations. Marx was right in following Aristotle’s insight by critiquing the very idea of an autonomous economy, which the chief ideological fiction of late capitalism. Sam Chambers and Ellen Meiksens-Wood are also excellent critics of this obstacle to reimagining a viable alternative to the economy as it is propagated by the US neoliberal global apparatus.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 16 2020 22:20 utc | 40

I just read a Caitlin Johnstone essay [ 12-22-19] that is one very workable outline of humankind's basic problem...for starters.

Her observations and straight-arrow conclusions IMO point the way to improved understanding, which itself suggests that an actual solution is possible...a solution that benefits all members of humankind ...and even those who have passed beyond this condition.

Apparently, we are in some kind of very advanced trap. So advanced that it is designed so that even if it was recognized as a trap, any attempt to resolve the trap would destroy humankind. I.e., the attempt itself would be booby-trapped.

An exquisite trap designed by [theoretically] advanced beings;...dare I say, "minds"?

Our scientists still do not have an agreed-upon definition of "mind" that is workable; a workable definition should give enough understanding to suggest workable handling of the trap.

ICYMI, the word "educate" had the original meaning "to lead out". [Its Latin roots are "e" meaning "out" and "ducere" meaning "to lead", which together gives "to lead out"!

Perhaps oddly, there is the Greek equivalent. Our word "exegesis" also had the original meaning "to guide out",. Its Greek roots are "ex" meaning "out of" and "hēgeisthai" meaning "to guide, lead".

How about that? AFAIK, we are not there. Yet.

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 16 2020 22:23 utc | 41

Does anyone here have any insight on the future of Oman now that Sultan Qabus bin Said has died? His portrayal in Western media reminds me of that of the Shah of Iran: He was an absolute monarch, but the West praised him for "modernizing" his country.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 16 2020 22:34 utc | 42

@Daniel #36:

The United States’ most potent weapon isn’t military, it’s economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire’s imperial hold on the global economy.

But at the moment even countries under American sanctions and surrounded by its armies, with the possible exception of Iran, aren’t really fighting back.

The dynamics of Russian reserves composition tell us that Russia is fighting back:

                    % Reserves
Date       Dollar  Euro  Yuan Other  Gold
30.06.2017   46.3  25.1   0.1  12.4  16.1
30.09.2017   46.2  23.9   1.0  12.2  16.7
31.12.2017   45.8  21.7   2.8  12.5  17.2
31.03.2018   43.7  22.2   5.0  11.9  17.2
30.06.2018   21.8  32.0  14.7  14.7  16.8
30.09.2018   22.6  32.1  14.4  14.3  16.6
31.12.2018   22.7  31.7  14.2  13.3  18.1
31.03.2019   23.6  30.3  14.2  13.7  18.2
30.06.2019   24.2  30.6  13.2  12.9  19.1

Posted by: S | Jan 16 2020 22:37 utc | 43

@ Posted by: Daniel | Jan 16 2020 21:18 utc | 36

Exclude me from this squad. I's always from the opinion that the USA would collapse slowly, i.e. degenerate/decay. I won't repeat my arguments again here so as to spare people who already know me the repetition.

However, consider this: when 2008 broke out, some people thought the USA would finally collapse. It didn't - in great part, because the USG also thought it could collapse, so it acted quickly and decisively. But it cost a lot: the USA fell from its "sole superpower" status, and, for the first time since 1929, the American people had to fell in the flesh the side effects of capitalism. It marked the end of the End of History, and the realization - mainly by Russia and China - that the Americans were not invincible and immortals. It may have marked the beginning of the multipolar era.


The world (bar China) never recovered from 2008. Indeed, world debt has grown to another record high:

Global debt hits a record high in 2019 at 322% of GDP, or $267trn

The world governments - specially the governments from the USA, Japan and Europe - absorbed private debt (through purchase of rotten papers and through QE) so the system could be saved. But this debt didn't disappear, instead, it became public debt. What's worse: private debt has already spiked up, and already is higher than pre-2008 levels. The Too Big To Fail philosophy of the central banks only bought them time.


Extending my previous link (from the previous Open Thread) about money laundering:

No tax and chill: Netflix's offshore network

The global TV subscription streaming company, Netflix made $1.2bn in profits in 2018, of which $430m was shifted into tax havens, reports Tax Watch UK.

The estimated revenue from UK subscribers was about $860m, but most of this was booked offshore in a tax haven Dutch subsidiary. Netflix claims its UK parent company got only $48m in revenue. When the costs of Netflix UK productions were put against this, Netflix was able to avoid paying any tax at all to the UK government. Indeed, it received tax reliefs for productions in the UK from the government.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2020 22:50 utc | 44

Why nobody should go to Moscow fuck with Russia.

A simple question requires a simple answer. Russia's defence expenditure in PPP terms is probably in excess of $180 billion per year which buys a shedload of "capable military equipment".

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 16 2020 23:10 utc | 45

8 On can only hope that the "Gharles De Gaulle" get destroyed and that the french military at least take some initiative to get rid of Macron.

Posted by: Bob | Jan 16 2020 23:26 utc | 46

It should be noted that the point Hudson's trying to make in his "Note to China" is to warn China of what if faces by using historical examples. As S points out @43, Russia's Ruble is very sound and its dollar and T-Bill holdings are extremely low. The message to China and the entire SCO community is to cease supporting the Outlaw US Empire's military by supporting its balance of payments by buying T-Bills. The sooner the SCO community, or just the core nations, can produce a new currency for use in trade, the sooner a crisis can be created within the Outlaw US Empire--essentially by turning the "intellectual weapon of financialization" against the global rogue nation foe.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2020 23:40 utc | 47

Macron order aircraft strike group to the middle east,

Something about to happen?

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 16 2020 18:14 utc | 8


Yes, get ready for an attempt to bring Reza Pahlavi back. Why do you think he splits his time between LA and Paris.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 17 2020 0:12 utc | 48

Dr. Hudson also posted the transcript to a forum he participated in last month entitled "Democratizing Money." Much of what he discusses will be repetitious for those keeping pace with his work, but there are additions as he tailors his replies to the questions posed. In a nutshell, the following is the primary focus of his crusade:

"The whole idea is to tax what is created freely by nature, whether it’s land rent, natural resource rent (whether it’s from the oil and gas and minerals) or other monopoly rent. These forms of rent are what classical economics called “unearned income.” It is what landlords make in their sleep without working. This should be the tax base, not an income tax on labour or on industry. "

With zero taxes on labor and industry, economies/nations stagnating thanks to neoliberalism would find themselves competitive again and industrial capitalism would be freed to continue its evolution into Socialism and what by necessity will be a steady-state economy as endless growth cannot occur on a finite planet. And there's a very good reason why Hudson doesn't deal with the demands/theories of a steady-state economy: That form of economic organization won't occur until the beast of Neoliberal Financial Capitalism is slain, dismembered, and buried forever.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2020 0:13 utc | 49

Karlof1 - I always appreciate your comments. In fact I often do commandF and find your comments. however your comment, "...nowhere in the citation does Wilkerson say that any of this effort's being done to defend the USA,...", are uncharacteristically naive. When, not if the dollar ceases to be the world reserve currency and all that that means, the USA will collapse in the worst possible way.

I am not defending the Outlaw US Empire, I am simply stating that all thoughts, considerations, and analysis needs to be centered on this single, simple reality or otherwise be useless. It is why we can not even think about getting out of the middle east, it would be game over for USA. Again I am not siding by making this comment, just that that is how it is, and nothing we can say or do will change that.

Posted by: jef | Jan 17 2020 0:13 utc | 50

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2020 23:40 utc | 47 with the Hudson "Note to China" comment

The last line in the Hudson article sums it up
De-dollarization is the alternative to privatization and financialization.
One does not need another currency if the exchange can be properly conveyed using the exchange nations currencies. This assumes some stability in the exchange rate between their currencies and not using the private BIS for settlement.

Creating a new public BIS (Bank of nation's Central Bankers) is a necessity more than a new global Reserve Currency, IMO. In a dynamic multi-polar world there will be ongoing fluctuation of exchange rates between and among nations. What is needed in a public BIS is a transparent financial clearinghouse and trade monitoring agent. The BIS of today is not a transparent financial clearinghouse and its agenda is that of the global private finance elite....ongoing control and profit.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 17 2020 0:16 utc | 51

Gather around the fireplace barfiles. Skripals & Sturgess in the news.


PRECAUTION: Remove all liquids

John Helmer [in Moscow] finds strange goings on with Coroner Ridley's inquest on death of Dawn Kelly Sturgess.

Full Article


In a ruling issued by the Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley (lead image) this week, the British Government allegations of a Russian assassination plot against Sergei Skripal by the nerve agent Novichok were repeated and accepted — without the qualification that they have not yet been tested and proven in the coroner’s court.[.]

“On the face of the evidence I have seen,” Ridley said of Sturgess’s death in Salisbury District Hospital on July 8, 2018, “[she] appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and her death may well have arisen as a result of ‘collateral damage’, a phrase that I apologise in using but I am unable to express it any other meaningful way.”[.]

Ridley’s ruling was directed at the London lawyers for the Sturgess family, barrister Michael Mansfield QC and solicitor Irene Nembhard. They have proposed putting Russia’s military intelligence agents and also the British security services on trial in a scheme for a large payout in compensation to the Sturgess family. The lawyers claim the Russian assassination threat was so well-known to the British services, they were negligent in their duty to prevent it and to protect the people of Salisbury, particularly Sturgess.[.]

Shocked I am not.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 17 2020 0:17 utc | 52

Turmoil in US would be perfect cover for preparation for war.
Europe does not will not complain except as cover because they are complicit and must likewise serve the owners - same as US.
All resistance and alternatives must be destroyed an alternative is a threat to the one world order.
Indirectly the market is Russia peeling away the supporting structure, destroy the oil market.
FED has bought the market so market signals are controlled.
The more desperate the more violent.

Posted by: Jared | Jan 17 2020 0:19 utc | 53


Stratfor wrote the report, dated February 2009, and cited a “Mexican source,” described as a former police officer and a current military analyst. Pretty sure Stratfor does not encourage BS reports. Doesn't make it true but without knowing who the military analyst (ex-cop) was working for and his access how can it be dismissed as BS. If it was disinfo planted by Stratfor for subsequent wiki leaks one would assume they could invent a source people might find more credible. And why would Jerusalem post write a story on it calling it obvious BS if thats what it was?

The major point being not that it is true or not but that it does plant the seeds of doubt in Russian weapons among those who may purchase such weapons to be used against Israel and its allies. Perhaps this is the point behind the email , leaking and reporting, but we still have the inexplicable shooting down of a civilian aircraft in Iran using a Russian missile system, which was surely a gift to Israel and its anti-Iran objectives. Reports coming out that external actors may have played a role and perhaps using those Russian codes (impossible to say) to facilitate conditions that prompted the operator to fire.

The smart thing would be to assume the codes of any Russian or US piece of equipment are in Israel hands and do whatever tech thing needs to be done to counter that

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2020 0:35 utc | 54

Majority of Babies Born in US in 2019 Were From Illegal Immigrants or Tourists, to Obtain Citizenship

Posted by: Mao | Jan 17 2020 0:35 utc | 55


Creating debt is the same thing as creating money. If you have debt (US government) you create the money via your central bank (Fed) , so you can never default. Commodity inflation wont be a problem because the money created is never seen by the majority of households. Instead you do have asset inflation which actually removes money from the bottom 90%, and you have stock market inflation which benefits the top 10% on paper. You also have plenty of cash to exercise dollar diplomacy or dollars tyranny to acquire other countries resources or impoverish them with debt which must be repaid in a currency they cant create (USD)

Its really a fool proof system. Not that they wont pull the plug at some point since crashes are great buying opportunities. Paper losses can be used to offset future taxes. Up or down, those with cash on hand make money. Also, such events create opportunities to implement solutions that are favorable to the elite. The Hegelian dialect process of action-reaction = solution is a time proven winner. Some call it disaster capitalism. 2008 was a big win for the elite. The next crash will be as well. But it doesn't mean the system is failing. On the contrary, its the way the system was meant to work.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2020 0:54 utc | 56


Math skills are declining. With 4 million births a year 400K is only 10%. Hardly a majority. Also, wasn't Trump going to clean out the illegals? Lol-fooled you again and again and again

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2020 1:00 utc | 57

Last weekend, I went with some friends to an anti-war protest. We wanted to point out the obvious: that America’s Middle East wars are favored by Israel, and they are backed by many wealthy, powerful Jews in the US. Of course, many non-Jews are guilty too, and that’s also a problem. But it cannot be disputed that the heavily Jewish, pro-Israel lobby has been pushing America into wars that are good for Israel and bad for most Americans.

If you doubt that, consider this. Have you ever heard of the “pro-Palestinian” or “pro-Arab” lobby? How about the “pro-Iranian” one? No? That is because no such lobby exists. But there is a massive pro-Israel lobby, funded in no small part by many very rich Jews.

If you think my argument is “anti-Semitic”, you might be right! But that should not matter. What matters is: Is it true? Because if it is true, then it needs to be talked about.

We will never stop these wars if we cannot talk about their causes. You cannot cure a sick person if you cannot diagnose their ailment. Therefore, we need to talk about Jewish power, and how rich Jewish people living in America are able to steer our foreign policy to give Israel what it wants.


If we cannot talk about Israel and Jews, then we will never stop the wars with all of their killing, destruction, and horror.

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 17 2020 1:06 utc | 58

karlof1 @ 47 said;"The sooner the SCO community, or just the core nations, can produce a new currency for use in trade, the sooner a crisis can be created within the Outlaw US Empire--essentially by turning the "intellectual weapon of financialization" against the global rogue nation foe."

Yep, but, as psychoh @ 51 opined;"Creating a new public BIS (Bank of nation's Central Bankers) is a necessity more than a new global Reserve Currency, IMO."

IMO, both are a necessity, in any order..

Posted by: ben | Jan 17 2020 1:18 utc | 60

Inkan1969 @ 42:

A lot depends on who succeeds the Sultan. Sultan Qabus bin Said did not have any children.

From The Arab Weekly:

Article 6 of the Omani constitu­tion states that a member of the ruling royal family must choose a new ruler within three days of the sultan’s death. The choice is usu­ally based on the recommendation of the monarch himself as the Aba­di sect of Islam prevents the formal appointment of a crown prince.

If the royal family council can­not reach a consensus based on a sealed letter containing the late sultan’s choice as successor, then the sultanate’s top military offic­ers, the head of the supreme court and the heads of the two chambers of Oman’s Consultative Council participate in a wider selection process with the royal family.

Oman is an absolute monarchy, with the sultan’s position of ut­most importance. Sultan Qaboos serves as prime minister, supreme commander of the armed forces and police and minister of De­fence, Foreign Affairs and Finance.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 17 2020 1:32 utc | 61

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2020 1:00 utc | 57

Lol-fooled you again and again and again

What are you talking about? About the codes for Tor-1M that the Russians handed over to the Jews?

Posted by: Mao | Jan 17 2020 1:37 utc | 62

Sarah Abdallah:

The President of the United States bragging about stealing the oil of #Syria, a sovereign country more than 6,000 miles away.

This is the same man who wants to bring “freedom and democracy” to the people of #Iran.

Posted by: Mao | Jan 17 2020 1:40 utc | 63

Nicholas Wilson, a financial services whistleblower who was fired by UK law firm, Weightmans, after exposing millions of pounds in unfair customer charges, claims the City of London relies on "dirty money" and says the world economy would collapse if the City stopped laundering it.

Posted by: Mao | Jan 17 2020 1:44 utc | 64

New claim that 'traumatic brain injury' suffered by US troops from Iran's response of 8 Jan - assuming a convenient lie - any intel on the position?

Posted by: Nick | Jan 17 2020 1:45 utc | 65

This was already common sense among (serious) historians. I'm surprised it is not common sense at least in Europe:

75 years later: Newly-released wartime docs debunk myths about WWII’s liberation of Warsaw

Posted by: vk | Jan 17 2020 1:49 utc | 66

Posted by: tucenc | Jan 16 2020 19:34 utc | 22

Re Gwynne Dyer: Dyer has made a seemingly successful career of dissident light and the question might be posed as to whether such a role helps or hinders understanding what's really going on, or sensibly sizing up the overall scheme of things. In support of Dyer, one might say that for the busy with life people, who might have got some whiffs of the presence of much bs, and want to know what's really going on, but also have at least one foot well planted within the matrix, he offers some spicy pablum beyond the normal diet.

My own opinion is that he belongs to that category of media personalities that serve to delay and make more difficult understanding what is actually going on. And is thus ultimately insidious. As any effective gatekeeper, he writes many sensible, informative sentences and paragraphs.

Dyer's book FUTURE TENSE: THE COMING WORLD ORDER was published in 2004, and Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorist attack are given pretty much the official bs narrative slant. The book has no index, so good luck in easily locating particular references.

From the concluding paragraph of FUTURE TENSE: "The particular problem for Americans who have to make this adjustment [ie. loss of supreme global power. RS] is that they are unaccustomed to thinking of the United States as simply a large, English speaking democracy with considerable ethnic diversity that occupies the middle band of the North American continent."

One could probably digest that....

Ironically, the 2004 book is largely about the American attack on and occupation of Iraq, in 2003; Dyer wrote "It would be helpful if UN troops, preferably from Muslim countries, were to arrive in Iraq as American troops were leaving....'

Try digesting that.

There is a quote from Maclean's Magazine on the back cover of Future Tense, in reference to another Dyer book: "Dyer's account is considerably more coherent than Bush's case for war." Strikes me as more of a verbal knife slipped in between the ribs, than a pleasantry.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 17 2020 2:01 utc | 67

Oman, Inkan1969, and Jen:
I don't know much but I'll stick my neck out and disagree with Jen and instead say that no matter who becomes the next sultan Oman would want to stay the course they've been on, at least I think it would be wise from their perspective to do so (they like to keep out of trouble). Maybe I am wrong because there's so much I don't know but I see them as a little bit like a Switzerland of the Arab peninsula despite being a monarchy by the sea.

I could be very wrong.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 17 2020 2:06 utc | 68

A collapse of the U.S. is not the only alternative. We can strike a deal with China whereby, in return for our allowing them to become the dominant power, they agree to provide us and the dollar a soft landing. Considering the alternative, such a deal would be in the interest of both powers.

The U.S. saved Germany after 1945. Maybe China can do the same to the U.S.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 17 2020 2:09 utc | 69

With zero taxes on labor ....
Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2020 0:13 utc | 49

Brief points in this regard: that by not taxing labor you encourage, dignify, make more valuable, human labor. You encourage independence. This also has environmental benefit. Also freedom to decide what to spend on is increased.

So, via simple example, if someone say grows a tomato plant, and sells some of those tomatoes or products derived from those tomatoes, under the current system the income is taxed, and the sales transactions may be taxed. These taxes are disincentives, penalties in effect. The producer has less; the system gains without contributing, and may even use the proceeds to help pay for a cluster bomb....

The environmental benefit can come from, for example, by making human labor more valuable, human energy itself becomes more valuable, and human energy is in itself in harmony with the biosphere, even allowing for flatulence....

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 17 2020 2:22 utc | 70

For reasons I have never been able to understand, the ruling class of dominant powers has never been able to accept demotion to number two status, even when it is in the interest of both that ruling class and of their country.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 17 2020 2:42 utc | 71

I've been looking at IRNA somewhat regularly recently and it can be interesting. Here are some short news items from today.

· Rouhani says Iran is getting better at dealing with the sanctions.

"…stressing that the Iranian nation has become stronger and more powerful in dealing with the US sanctions and plots."
"President Rouhani made the remarks through his speech to the 59th annual session of the General Assembly of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) underway in Tehran on Thursday."
There's not much more than that, essentially just a claim but interesting nevertheless.

· Zarif talks about opening a branch of the Iranian bank in India and India seems like it might be interested.

"Bank Pasargad is poised to set up a branch in India, Zarif said, noting that it has proposed to India to open a branch in Chabahar."

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 17 2020 3:30 utc | 72

Regarding the Iranian attack on the bases in Iraq, it seems to me they may be very profound in terms of the interest of the US defense industry to sell more weapons and fighter aircraft.

The attack was made with relatively simple missiles rather than stealth fighters and the military base was apparently unable to defend itself with missile defense systems; even with adance warning.

To me this seems to be a game changing proof-of-concept.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 17 2020 3:55 utc | 73

Below is a ZH link about the US in Afghanistan that is probably preaching to the MoA choir but at least shows that US Congress Critters are told how bad it is.

'Mendacity, Hubris & Lies' Defined US Nation-Building In Afghanistan, Watchdog Tells Congress

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 17 2020 5:39 utc | 74

jef @50--

Well, Not only does Wilkerson omit what I tried to put in his mouth, he also omitted any rationale for that behavior/policy course. What I was raising was the issue of WHY? Serial Killers often have a logical motive for their actions; psychopaths generally just act without reason. The further explains the point I was attempting to make; sorry I was so obtuse.

psychohistorian @51--

An unaffiliated BIS would be optimal, one that merely performed its job and did no more. Same with SWIFT. IMO all international financial architecture must be neutral and collectively owned by the world's nations, favoring no nation above another. For decades the very biased, unfair, international financial system's been a major compliant by the vast majority of nations. That must cease.

For humanity to survive, all types of hegemony must cease and a common purpose must emerge. IMO, such a world's possible, but those imbued with Hubris must exorcise it or be eliminated as there'll be no place for such thinking in the future.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2020 5:46 utc | 75

Former congressman Ron Paul, the father of current US senator Rand Paul mentions the possibility of foul play & electronic warfare by DeepState adversaries of Iran. Causing the Ukrainian plane crash in Teheran: Iran must investigate!‬

Posted by: Amir | Jan 17 2020 6:00 utc | 76

Former congressman Ron Paul, the father of current US senator Rand Paul mentions the possibility of foul play & electronic warfare by DeepState adversaries of Iran. Causing the Ukrainian plane crash in Teheran: https//

Posted by: Amir | Jan 17 2020 6:02 utc | 77
Former congressman Ron Paul, the father of current US senator Rand Paul mentions the possibility of foul play & electronic warfare by DeepState adversaries of Iran. Causing the Ukrainian plane crash in Teheran
Sorry for posting it 3 times, the links were not working

Posted by: Amir | Jan 17 2020 6:05 utc | 78

Just one picture:

The show must go on
The show must go on, yeah
Inside my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile, still, stays on...

Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles

Posted by: Mao | Jan 17 2020 6:26 utc | 79

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 17 2020 3:30 utc | 78

Economies just go underground with sanctions. It complicates things, makes stuff more expensive and money less controlable. But of course, Iran can get everything via third countries and third parties.

It basically makes everything harder. Part of this plane tragedy meant Teheran airport was taken out of business. Very few international airlines are servicing it.

US has put no "deal" on the table, just surrender.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 17 2020 6:51 utc | 80

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 17 2020 1:06 utc | 58

It is true that the US is ruled by a guy appealing to people's lowest instincts by using racist dog whistles to distract.

He has reduced government services and regulations, whilst spending on the military. He has also been waging wars without declaring them. USians cannot afford health care and have to relie on addictive self medication, something people in much poorer countries do not have to do.

If you hate lobbying, fight for making it illegal. There are loads of people in Washington living off bribing politicians. It is quite obvious in an election season. And the people doing it are billionaires made in USA.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 17 2020 7:04 utc | 81

11 US troops were injured in last week's Iranian missile strike in Iran after all (sorry for long link but in a hurry)

Posted by: Jonathan W | Jan 17 2020 7:24 utc | 82

Yes, get ready for an attempt to bring Reza Pahlavi back. Why do you think he splits his time between LA and Paris.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 17 2020 0:12 utc | 48

I don't think Macron is about to go off on foreign military adventures, other than in former French Africa. The reason Reza Pahlavi "splits his time between LA and Paris" is that the French have always had good relations with Iran, going back to the Qajars in the 19th century, no doubt exploiting Iranian hatred of the British. That doesn't mean Macron is planning war just because he is friends with the exiled elite. He has more sense than Bush. And LA - LA is known as little Tehran in the Iranian community.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2020 7:50 utc | 84

He was an absolute monarch, but the West praised him for "modernizing" his country.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 16 2020 22:34 utc | 42

It's pretty well known that Qabus was gay, that's why he never married and had no heir (almost unheard of in the Arab world).

Qabus did not merely "modernize" his country in the western sense (such as MbS does for example). When he came to power in 1970, there was an ongoing civil war in Dhofar, which was largely being fought by the British SAS. He settled that, and then continued to run the country mediating between the tribes, such that today it's a very prosperous country. Quite an achievement, I would say. They say he was somewhat neutral between Saudi/Gulf and Iran, also a wise position.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2020 8:02 utc | 85

From Hollywood to Hitler is worth a read at Zeroanthropology

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2020 8:57 utc | 86

One of the very few (if not only) commentator based in the US raising the possibility of an intentional US jamming and spoofing attack that led to the shootdown of the airliner. Guys got balls

The SA-15 Tor defense system used by Iran has one major vulnerability. It can be hacked or “spoofed,” permitting an intruder to impersonate a legitimate user and take control. The United States Navy and Air Force reportedly have developed technologies “that can fool enemy radar systems with false and deceptively moving targets.” Fooling the system also means fooling the operator. The Guardian has also reported independently how the United States military has long been developing systems that can from a distance alter the electronics and targeting of Iran’s available missiles.

The same technology can, of course, be used to alter or even mask the transponder on a civilian airliner in such a fashion as to send false information about identity and location. The United States has the cyber and electronic warfare capability to both jam and alter signals relating to both airliner transponders and to the Iranian air defenses. Israel presumably has the same ability.

Who targeted 752? Iran shot it down but there might be more to the story

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 17 2020 9:08 utc | 87

Posted by: chu teh | Jan 16 2020 22:23 utc | 41

Apparently, we are in some kind of very advanced trap. So advanced that it is designed so that even if it was recognized as a trap, any attempt to resolve the trap would destroy humankind. I.e., the attempt itself would be booby-trapped.

An exquisite trap designed by [theoretically] advanced beings;...dare I say, "minds"?

There were a few comments on the previous thread touching on this as well. On the surface it seems we have the hominid brain which evolved to become clever with tools and was equipped with appendages uniquely suited to manipulating tools. (It's impossible to answer chicken-and-egg questions about the development of the neurology, the hands, and the facility with tools, how "accidental" as opposed to "teleological" such development was. The best anyone can say is that these mutually reinforced one another.)

Then evolution selected for linguistic capacity, perhaps for the rudiments of culture. (Again we can't know to what extent cave painters were "self-conscious" or "unconscious" artists, except that here too there must have been a mutually reinforcing development.)

At any rate self-conscious human sentience must have developed first as a side-effect of these practical developments, an evolutionary fluke. (Unless one wants to posit a Creator God, or what's the same thing extraterrestrial tutors, sowing sentience, "educating" us to it.) Then this fluke messed with the practical wiring, became inflamed and bloated, and convinced itself that it was the real driver of the brain. No one knows what genome processes (informally and fake-formally called "genes") combine to form this self-consciousness. Reg Morrison developed a descriptive theory of this brain inflammation and its characteristic extremism in his Spirit in the Gene.

This self-consciousness often has been pegged as the "original sin", the point at which hominids started to become sundered from their environment. (Sundered in mind and destructive action; of course it's impossible for any animal truly to separate from the ecology, in spite of all the de jure (Dominion, Heaven, Rapture) and de facto (scientism, technocracy, eugenics, space colonization) religious fantasies about doing so. The only thing the mind-sundered humans can do is destroy their biological basis and thus commit collective suicide.)

That as well is difficult to assess since we lack good ways to understand the sentience of other animals and plants, and whether these have any affinity with ours as well. Except for other primates and cephalopods, other animals lack the type of versatile appendages that could actually use the tools, even if they're otherwise capable of conceiving them. Someone once wrote of the paradox of thinking about a "Raphael who was born without hands".

And then what about the ancient Greeks and Romans (and perhaps others), who were aware of how to burn fossil fuels and conceived how to use this for steam engines, and had the hands to actually do it, yet chose not to/failed to do so.

That example seems to prove that it wasn't necessarily sentience in itself, but that the fanatical expression of the "spirit in the gene" also had to undergo considerable development, mutually reinforcing through its fixation on Sumerian-Judeo-Christian-scientistic Dominion theology, and through the mutual development of Dominion thought, especially in Christianity, and technological development, culminating in modern scientism, technocracy, "Progress" theology. Cf. David Noble's The Religion of Technology..

So that's my description of the human trap. How to get out of it? It's impossible consciously to "engineer" a way out; this route can only be doubling down on the pathology. Needless to say all "solutions" which remain enmeshed with the framework of the economic civilization, from de jure denialist advocacy of Business as Usual, escalate the Status Quo (Keep Shopping), to the climate-industrial movement's utopia of green capitalism, Green New Deal, green cancer aka "growth" (IOW Business as Usual, escalate the Status Quo, Keep Shopping, just do it the "Green" way). None of these are solutions, just expressions of the inflamed brain's destructive and self-destructive fanaticism.

I don't know what the answer is, but I can think of one analogy that seems helpful. It's long been clear that no Western intervention in the Global South is anything but destructive. Invariably it has an ulterior motive, and the malign motive always overrides whatever sincere "humanitarianism" there was in the intervention. This was true of the "Green Revolution", it's been true of each and every war of aggression under the rubric of "humanitarian intervention", it's been true of every activity of the likes of USAID and the Peace Corps, and of every Western Big NGO and professional campaign (for example Western anthropologists who slander and steal).

Based on this unbroken record, it's clear that the one and only thing the West can do to help the South is to Get Out. Completely.

In the same way, probably the best humanity (or, to be realistic, whatever small handfuls of humans care about anything but destruction and self-destruction) can do is to end its industrial and technological interventions and learn to live as a value in itself (the way all other creatures live) rather than to pursue the pipebomb dreams conjured up the Dominion-obsessed inflamed brain.

Certainly modern civilization as a whole never will do this. Only the Earth itself will impose it by force.

And afterward, assuming humans have survived at all, they'll have another chance to rebuild a communal life. The best we can say about the future prospects of subduing the inflamed brain is that at least the physical drugs - the massive easy upfront capital in the form of easy-to-tap oil gushers and huge mineral hunks just lying around - will no longer exist, and anyone who wants still to dig for them will have to work very hard for very little gain. That physical fact may finally subdue the inflammation and finally bring an end to the Dominionist cycle.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 17 2020 9:41 utc | 88

Idle thought for the day - has anyone (apart from the intelligence services) ever tried to assess how much money is floating around in the main off-shore centres such as Dubai, BVI, Panama, Cyprus and probably any number of places we haven't heard of? And where it originates? I have read, for instance, that most if not all oil based transactions at some stage go through off-shore intermediaries.

Any ideas?

Posted by: montreal | Jan 17 2020 9:47 utc | 89

My previous comment dwelt only on the phenomenon of human self-consciousness and its theoretical genetic root.

There's another realm of significance I didn't talk about but which needs to be included in order to have an integrated theory. This is the endosymbiotic origin of neural cells, the fact that like all other animals humans form a symbiotic organism with internal bacteria (the microbiome), and that there's a particular faction of bacteria which especially are advantaged by human industrial actions.

These - the botulins, salmonella and others advantaged by the massive deployment of pesticides, factory farms and similar practices, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, Agrobacterium tumefaciens used in most genetic engineering - are by now in a mutually reinforcing process with human extremist action, so that looking at it from an evolutionary point of view one can't separate humans-using-them from them-using-humans.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 17 2020 9:59 utc | 90


Watch “The Spider’s Web: Britain’s second Empire” - perhaps a staggering £50Trillion in offshore tax havens under the purview of the nation within a nation known as “The City of London”.

Posted by: PJB | Jan 17 2020 10:04 utc | 91

Interesting ... take a look at this

Posted by: Maximus | Jan 17 2020 10:10 utc | 92

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2020 8:57 utc | 93

Nazi propaganda was kind of unsubtle compared to today, according to that article. They've made a lot of so-called "progress" since then.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2020 10:15 utc | 93

Maximus | Jan 17 2020 10:10 utc | 99

There was this article in an Israeli newspaper claiming 9 US planes arrived from Irak with injured and deceased American soldiers that was cancelled 2 hours later. To be correct: there was a claim such an articles had existed.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 17 2020 10:17 utc | 94

Laguerre #100

I see CNN is sticking closely to the original formula especially as far as promoting Warren for president.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2020 10:32 utc | 95

Maximus | Jan 17 2020 10:10 utc | 99

Fake or not?

(Once they've admitted to cases of concussion others may come out, the buildings looked pretty wrecked).

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2020 10:32 utc | 96

Laguerre | Jan 17 2020 10:32 utc | 103

In Germany this publication admits 9 injured soldiers. In this moment. BKut they say these have been taken to Kuwait and Germany.

Die Zeit

Sorry, do not find again this claimed Israeli publication.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 17 2020 10:35 utc | 97

Russ @ 95 says:

(Again we can't know to what extent cave painters were "self-conscious" or "unconscious" artists, except that here too there must have been a mutually reinforcing development.)

Werner Herzog's 2010 documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, makes a pretty convincing case for the "self-conscious" artist, 32,000 years ago. a beautiful film.

Posted by: john | Jan 17 2020 11:06 utc | 98

@ lysias | Jan 17 2020 2:09 utc | 70 "Saved Germany" ??

"Saved" does not seem to describe the process, which was and is: invaded, occupied, and so far as possible, colonized Germany, which remains unable to assert sovereignty. This is manifest particularly in the colonization and looting of the DDR. That was of course after the WW2 bombing avoided the targets that belonged to US corporations - those with enough power, eg associated with Dulles and his gang of cryptonazis to influence the target lists.

The war, for the "West" was always imperialist - the Atlantic Charter being one of the more subtle indicators.

Victory is always attended by betrayal...ask FDR and Wallace. It might have been a pretty cool Peace, except for the US cryptonazi hijacking coup of 44-45..."businessman's coup 2.0" worked to the disadvantage of almost everybody, so did the "correction" of '63...ask a Vietnam vet.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 17 2020 11:12 utc | 99

Walter @79

"The United States did not have Patriot air defenses at the base, putting the onus on local commanders to protect their troops. " source reuter

So US outsourced the air defense to Iraqis which do not have any, so the US soldiers rushed to Sadam bunkers.

Posted by: murgen23 | Jan 17 2020 11:30 utc | 100

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