Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 20, 2020

Open Thread 2020-40

Non-Coronavirus news & views ...

Posted by b on May 20, 2020 at 13:21 UTC | Permalink

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Pepe Escobar: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/19/covid-19-china-updates-its-art-of-hybrid-war/

Posted by: bjd | May 20 2020 13:47 utc | 1

Foxes and hedgehogs: expert forecasters suck
Atlantic source article

And note this isn’t even looking at forecasters with ideological agendas.

People who have wide ranging interests and no direct personal stake in their predictions (fame, money, power, prestige etc) do far better than experts who do. Information sources don’t matter because the experts ignore data which contradicts their views (and staked interests)

Yet another reason why I appreciate MoA

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2020 13:51 utc | 2

Is there is situation forming in the southern carribean? Recent information suggests that US carrier groups are in the VZ area as Iranian tankers head in that direction. I have not done any real digging, so i suppose you could say I am just being lazy and posting the question here. After the epic embarrassment of US led mercs getting rounded up before they even left the beach, a face saving move might be in order. Some sort of tripwire event, and then an all in attack?
It occurred to me that the mercs that got caught may very well have been a diversion.

Posted by: Chevrus | May 20 2020 14:09 utc | 3

Katha Pullitt, writing for The Nation, opens her hit piece on Tara Reade by claiming she would vote for Joe Biden even if he boiled and ate babies.

then there's the leaked phone calls that expose quid pro Joe. is Trump Derangement Syndrome strong enough to counter the mounting evidence of Biden's rampant corruption?

tune in for more reality tv politics if you want to remain distracted from the real evil being perpetrated by both parties.

Posted by: lizard | May 20 2020 14:21 utc | 4

"Venezuela to Sue Bank of England for Theft of 31 Tons of Gold"

link

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 15:19 utc | 5

Chevrus at 3

Iran has warned the US to dare not touch its ships heading to Venezuela.

link

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 15:26 utc | 6

Posted by: lizard | May 20 2020 14:21 utc | 4

It's predictable. The left or right will be completely apologetic for their respective "grab'em by the pussy" candidate. It's beyond absurd.

Posted by: One Too Many | May 20 2020 15:31 utc | 7

Re: 4 Lizard

thanks for the link Lizard! Any article supporting Joe Biden that starts with the words "I would vote for Joe Biden if he boiled babies and ate them", shows just how little support Biden has with actual people, since they need to stoke a panic, reduce the election into vote blue no matter who, this is an existential crisis if Trump gets re-elected. It also provides more evidence (if any more was needed) that this whole "believe all women" and "me too" movement was nothing more than a political hatchet to use against the Democratic party's political enemies.

Posted by: Kadath | May 20 2020 15:31 utc | 8

Clipping:

UK unemployment hits 1.33 million after rising by 31,000 in three months, official data shows

We were talking about American myths yesterday. Now it's time to bust some European (social-democrat) myths. Here we have the British situation deteriorating quickly, regardless of all of those social-democrat policies (pay 80% of the salaries of freelancers, etc.).

Yesterday, minister Eustice called the British unemployed to go pick fruits that are rotting in the country's orchards.

Rolls-Royce to cut 9,000 jobs, mostly in the UK, in order to survive the coronavirus pandemic

I hope those fruit-picking jobs pay as well as those Rolls Royce jobs. I also hope those farm-owners accepting 55-year old aerospacial engineers.

Lockheed Martin Forced to Make Sharp Cutbacks to F-35 Production Due to Parts Shortages

Not that the Americans are gonna miss it. After all:

US Air Force F-35 Crashes During Routine Exercise in Florida Just Days After Similar Incident

World news:

World Was Headed For Recession Before COVID-19 Lockdown, Says City of London Economist

It took a few months to the bourgeois economists to admit the obvious. It's ok, better late than never.

But the "needed" ""Marshall Plan for the Pandemic"" won't work. The West of the 21st Century is very different from the West of the 20th Century. It is much more financial, much more services-oriented than the manufacturing powerhouse it was 70 years ago.

The original Marshall Plan only worked because the USA of 1946 was, at the same time, the newly-born industrial and financial superpower. It had almost all the industry of the world and, thus, excess manufacturing capacity. At the same time, the rest of the world (deindustrialized) had no USD. The Marshall Plan solved this osmosis problem by inundating Western Europe with USD - which lubrificated the path of capitalist rotation by transferring excess manufactures from the USA to manufacture-starved Western Europe with American money.

A new Marshall Plan, today, would be just another name for QE.

Besides, have you noticed that, when it comes to First World countries, the IMF is always late to the party? It almost seems as if they are their lackeys...

Ah, who am I kidding? I love to talk about the degeneration of the American Dream:

'We missed the sweet and sour sauce': joy as McDonald's drive-throughs reopen

A friend once told me a joke about the differences between the USA and the UK. To this day, I don't get it.

Why Tsai Ing-wen’s success in containing Taiwan’s coronavirus outbreak could trigger a backlash from Beijing

Evidence the process of imbecilization is happening in the West as a geopolitical entity, not as a racial one (as the far-right wants us to believe).

Liberals in Asia still living in the world where a tiny island, with a growth rate less than half and a negative birth rate that makes the Japanese look like rabbits is going to take down the Mainland with some colored disposable masks.

The best for the last:

Coronavirus New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern floats idea of four-day week to boost economy post-lockdown

Ms. Ardern lifts a very important and interesting point for debate.

Does a longer weekend increases labor productivity? The answer is simple: it depends on the historical context you're speaking of.

New Zealand is a capitalist, services-based, economy. If you increase the weekend by one day in this context, you won't see a labor productivity decrease - but you won't see an increase either.

That's because the services sector is highly resistant to automation. Sure, a white collar worker, working from a desk on demand will do his/her job in four days just as he/she did it in five. But that's only because white collar workers are unproductive labor: they only deal with circulation of commodities, not with their production.

The only way unproductive labor can increase in "productivity" is indirectly, i.e. by increasing the productivity of the productive workers (industry and agriculture). That can be achieved in two ways: creating an automation that can replace the unproductive workers and making unproductive workers do their operations faster (increasing speed of commodity circulation). Both require massive investments in infrastructure by the capitalist class.

In a pandemic crisis, I don't see those those investments coming to New Zealand. Those kind of investments generally only occur to the capitalist system when there's a notable increase in scale - which certainly isn't happening now (on the contrary: global trade is shrinking).

So, yes, ms. Ardern three-day weekend is welcome if only because it will increase life quality of the New Zealander working classes (except the retail workers, as my guess would be she intends the economic boost to come from increased consumption). But it won't save the NZ economy.

Posted by: vk | May 20 2020 15:31 utc | 9

Posted by: vk | May 20 2020 15:31 utc | 9

Now it's time to bust some European (social-democrat) myths. Here we have the British situation deteriorating quickly, regardless of all of those social-democrat policies

Umm, do you actually know anything about Britain?

Posted by: Laguerre | May 20 2020 15:42 utc | 10

Lockdowns still don’t reduce carbon emissions much
Grauniad article

Of course, the Grauniad spins this as dramatic: a 17% fall in carbon emissions during the peak lockdown April.

The problem is that emissions have to fall far, far more than that in order to avoid the climate catastrophe that is also part of the package. A 30% reduction in oil consumption by the entire Western world only does that?

And note, barring multiple months of more lockdowns, the carbon tally for 2020 is likely to be only down 5%.

Fail.

Posted by: c1ue | May 20 2020 15:54 utc | 11

@ 2 c1ue.. the world and nassim taleb calls that 'skin in the game'... people that don't have any in the game, aren't in a position to offer any of anything..

Posted by: james | May 20 2020 16:08 utc | 12

Is there is situation forming in the southern carribean? Recent information suggests that US carrier groups are in the VZ area as Iranian tankers head in that direction.
Posted by: Chevrus | May 20 2020 14:09 utc | 3

In any event this would be a good time for Russia to send half a dozen friendly Tu-160's with an ample supply of hypersonic anti-carrier missiles on a friendly cultural exchange visit to Venezuela (and of course, not-so-discreetly deter Washington). A few friendly sports teams, of the Tu-160 pilot variety!

Posted by: BM | May 20 2020 16:54 utc | 13

The furlough scheme must be reformed to avoid mass unemployment

Those poor business owners - they wanted to reward themselves for "taking risk" but don't want to pay the price when they lose the game.

Privatization of profits, socialization of losses - petite-bourgeois edition.

Posted by: vk | May 20 2020 17:10 utc | 14

"Leonardo Flores
@LeonardoEFA
·
18h
13 million Venezuelans just lost access to @DIRECTV
, which stopped services due to US sanctions. Cruel for this to happen during covid, seeing as how so many people rely on TV for education and news about the disease. No doubt there was US government pressure involved."

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 17:14 utc | 15

I am a Londoner.
Our Tory government has just announced that it has bulk purchased hydroxychloroquine.
It has been reported on the BBC and the Guardiaan in the past 36 hours.
Why would they do that?
Are we allowed to mention this here or is that considered "trolling"?

Posted by: Skeletor | May 20 2020 17:19 utc | 16

BM @13
The imperialists' vulnerability in the region is that its allies are retaining power only by naked force. Absent the military and the death squads there wouldn't be a US ally between Texas and Terra del Fuego.
The most notable aspect of the current jockeying between the Empire and its rivals is that only the US intervenes in other countries. It regularly makes coups to bring down governments which it finds to be insufficiently obsequious. On the other hand despite the unpopularity of governments in Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia they are allowed to crush popular protests, assassinate critics and lower popular living standards without anything but mild and private criticism from outside.
While Brazil and Colombia openly allow their territories and resources to be employed in terrorist attacks on their neighbour the incendiary social materials in both countries are given no state assistance from Venezuela.
No doubt there are good reasons for this-Venezuela knows that the slightest action on its part will be blown up into a casus belli by the United States and that Russia and China will watch from afar while the global gangster acts with impunity, not least because there is virtually no organised opposition to imperial excesses in the United States, Canada, the UK etc.

Posted by: bevin | May 20 2020 17:21 utc | 17

Michigan government is now resorting to biblical explanations to save face:


Michigan Flooding is '500-Year Event', State Seeks Help From Federal Gov't - Governor

Why didn't you prepare for that, if you know it happens "every 500 years"?

The anti-scientific counterrevolution continues unabated in the West.

Meanwhile:

Granddad dies of coronavirus, dad denied test & dies, mom sent back home with symptoms: Detroit man shares family tragedy with RT

Is this a "once in 500 years" event, too?

Posted by: vk | May 20 2020 17:41 utc | 18

B?

Posted by: Cosmos | May 20 2020 18:00 utc | 19

China reported earlier 3 Chinese (2 surveyors) will assault the peak Mount Qomolangma on 22 March 2020, if weather permitted

"12 people to climb to peak of Mount Qomolangma, Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-19 13:58"

"May 18, 2020. A Chinese mountaineering team on Monday released a list of 12 people, including two surveyors, who will climb to the peak of Mount Qomolangma.......... they will arrive at the peak on May 22 to conduct surveys in gravity, global navigation satellite systems"

Eat your heart out fat man Pompeo probably China again steal, cheat and lied about data...

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/19/c_139067915.htm

Posted by: JC | May 20 2020 18:01 utc | 20

I am reluctant to post anything to do with CV19, but I just read Gowans on it and it is a scary article.

"If you think the coronavirus lockdown is worse than the disease, you don’t understand the disease"

https://gowans.blog/

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 18:06 utc | 21


F-35 Stealth Jet Crashes In Florida During Training Mission

pilot attempted to fly at supersonic speeds? /sarc

Posted by: Perimetr | May 20 2020 18:12 utc | 22

The Palestinian authority has rescinded all agreements with the US and Israel after Netanyahu's announcement in the Knesset yesterday that the goal of the new government is to steal the rest of the Palestinian's land. The decision to do this was made by joint meetings of the PA, Hamas, IJ, and other political parties more than a year ago. Since then Abbas has made threats but not done it. This looks like it is different as it is an official announcement and posted on WAFA.

http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=XWg2jja117154132029aXWg2jj

The implications here are big. First it means the end of the Camp David and Wye River accords. The Palestinians protecting the Israelis ends. Forced tax collection by the Israels ends etc, etc. This is the final nail in the coffin of the of the 2SS. Expect the next entifada very soon and don't be surprised if other states get involved. This is a big thing.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | May 20 2020 18:25 utc | 23

In his rush to develop one, two, or even seven different vaccines for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), billionaire software tycoon Bill Gates openly admitted that upwards of 700,000 people could become injured or die from these jabs.

The Microsoft co-founder and prominent eugenicist has been more outspoken in recent days than perhaps ever before about his desire to vaccinate the entire world, in this case as soon as possible for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). And the reality is that many more will die from the vaccine than from the virus itself.

Speaking during a recent segment on CNBC, Gates admitted that in order to make vaccines “work” for the most vulnerable groups, they have to be super-charged, in a sense. And this super-charging means that some people are going to be injured or killed as a result.

https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-05-17-bill-gates-harmed-killed-coronavirus-vaccines.html

Posted by: Mao | May 20 2020 18:33 utc | 24

Press Conference "NEW FACTS OF INTERNATIONAL CORRUPTION AND EXTERNAL GOVERNANCE OF UKRAINE"

English CC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaE9OZ89bnQ

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 20 2020 18:42 utc | 25

If you thought you knew everything about Eric Blair/George Orwell, I suggest reading this essay as a test. Hopefully, you'll discover many facets not known before as I did.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 18:51 utc | 26

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 17:14 utc | 15

13 million x $25.00 month x 12 month = $3.9 billion for the year just went poof. Businesses in the US are taking it in the shorts with the orange dotard in charge. For all of this talk about corporations running the US you would think they would have banded together by now.

Posted by: One Too Many | May 20 2020 20:03 utc | 27

Hey Arby,

what part of NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS did you not understand?

here, I'll give you some ideas on what you can write about.

here in the states everyone is talking about Michael Jordan and the docuseries last dance. it's not just a sports junky thing, it's a remember when America and our sports and our sports icons were so amazing thing.

as a writer of poems I like finding poets who write better and more interesting poems than my simple rhymes. along those lines I highly recommend Joe Wenderoth's Letter's to Wendy's. the set up for this collection is a dedicated patron of the fast food chain Wendy's writing weird comments, so not your usual stuff.

Fuck Yeah Poetry has some examples from this collection, like this:

October 8, 1996

It would bring me to despair to think that I could get a Frosty in my own kitchen. I need to believe a frosty can only be gotten outside of where I ordinarily dwell. To be constantly in the place of real Frosties- this is unthinabke, somehow unbearable. The fact is this: to be a subject of language is to desire an Event, and an Event needs to be nothing to move out of, to seem to begin.

And this:

March 14, 1997

As I look around the restaurant at all the beautiful folks enjoying themselves, I wonder what catastrophe awaits each one. Young man, will your heart explode? Will your intestines fill with blood? Perhaps a seizure on a boat in the middle of a lake. The sun shinning down. The stars concealed once and for all. I always feel less anxious when I recognize that the collision is already well under way.

another topic worthy of consideration is gentrification. the place where I live has seen skyrocketing housing costs and the misuse of tax increment financing was finally getting the attention it deserved when something came along to grab everyones attention.

I'm still paying attention because, while we get a "new normal" imposed on us, the old normal of using public money to enable private development continues.

the big event center that will drain 16.5 million in public money is currently on hold, but as soon as they think the climate is ripe to break ground, they will try and push it through.

this is a big issue in our little community, especially after a whistleblowing veteran by the name of Brandon Bryant was arrested on felony charges for allegedly intimidating public officials.

Bryant was looking at a possible trial date in late April or May, but the courts were closed and the backlog is immense. I guess a speedy trial, as guaranteed by the Constitution, is just one more thing that has to be put on hold for now.

Posted by: lizard | May 20 2020 20:07 utc | 28

sorry, to hasty to post.

fuck yeah poetry link

Brandon Bryant is a political prisoner

Posted by: lizard | May 20 2020 20:11 utc | 29

Karlof @ 26

Key to Orwell’s time in Burma is that his mother was a Limousin and the family owned tens of millions of acres of timber in Burma. Precisely in the district where he was a policeman. Basically he was there on family business. First job of any artist is to create himself, that Orwell’s version of Eric Blair was entirely fictitious is long known. Same family as PM Tony Blair. The tale that he was a “scholarship boy” at Eaton was always ridiculous. Only made men go to Eton.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 20:23 utc | 30

Regarding those 5 Iranian tankers on the way to Venezuela the Saker uploaded a new article suggesting that the US will use the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) to justify boarding the tankers in International waters as part of the war on drugs (since the US previously declared Venezuela a narco-state). Even by threadbare excuse standards that seems laughably ridiculous but perfectly in-keeping with how the US has acted these past 20 years. If the US is so reckless as to board those tankers I can only assume that the Iranians will respond forcibly against US ships in the Persian golf.

Posted by: Kadath | May 20 2020 20:48 utc | 31

Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 20:23 utc | 30

Orwell's career was a lot more complicated than that. Basically, he came from a relatively prosperous middle-class family, which allowed him to play the game of the writer, when it worked, and to come back to the family when things were thin. Of course he exploited his own experiences, as every writer does. That doesn't detract from the great creations. Animal Farm and 1984 don't have direct origins.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 20 2020 21:39 utc | 32

@Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 18:51 utc | 26

That essay is a real shame, an impossible intend of whitewashing and redime Orwell, just another intent on rewritting of history, and try to paint what is black as white. Neo-language
This intent could be inscribed along the rescues of Stepan Bandera and the Forest Brothers as new heroes of NATO world in their offensive against reviving socialist ideas.

That Orwell did not change even a bit after returning from Burma is proven by the fact that he came to Spain, and strolled around there with the Trotskyites of POUM, to elaborate black lists of communists which then were provided to Franco, at result of which many people was tortured and summarily executed. He, this way, contributed greatly to decimate the resistance in the side of the legitimate republican government, and thus, to help the fascists in their way to power, well supported by the US with arms and fuel and by the air forces of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

That he finished himself slowly is not but poetic justice, the same case as fascist torturer "Billy El Niño" who ended being finished by the Coronavirus just a week ago.

Of course, Troyan Horse in the Spanish new left formation Podemos, such engendre called "Izquierda Anticapitalista", who joined Podemos when they were on the rise, and abandoned the new left formation when they had a worse result in the last elections but were about to grab power, and whose main worry today, in the middle of a pandemic with the economy in tatters, is the differential fact and nuances of the Andalusian language ( whatever so as to deviate attention from the real problems and put sticks in the advance of the left towards power...) still hail Orwell....How not?
I detected these impostors in zero coma at the first meetings when Podemos was in formation, they squeked more than a rusty door in a leftist formation, and act like a sect to knock down and eject any person who shows awareness and is critic of their contradictions.

"In all countries the Trotskyists gave themselves good names to mask their dirty bandit work. In Spain they are called the Marxist Unification Workers Party (POUM). Did you know that they constitute spy nests in Madrid or Barcelona at Franco's service?”, Ho Chi Minh.

https://twitter.com/ciudadfutura/status/1263161311678078981

The unemployed in Andalusia and the hundreds of thousands of solemnly poor must be very concerned about the problems that this lady invents.

https://twitter.com/ciudadfutura/status/1263150511412346881

Orwell: Sneak sighting of British secret services in the Cold War (is declassified by MI-5 and documented). Its function: to expose communists. He even betrayed Charles Chaplin, exiled in his native England for FBI persecution. "Referrer". "Always loyal"

https://twitter.com/ciudadfutura/status/1262794482963091460


Albert Escusa: Who was George Orwell really? Orwellian myths: from the Spanish Civil War to the Soviet holocaust

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 21:40 utc | 33

Posted by: Kadath | May 20 2020 20:48 utc | 31

I'm not sure that Trump wants another crisis at the moment.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 20 2020 21:44 utc | 34

The “democratic” and “freedom-loving” YouTube once again, without giving any reason, blocked the YouTube channels (main and backup) of the well-known news agency ANNA NEWS (as well as a number of other 'rebellious' Russian media). It is curious that the blocking is carried out whenever the ANNA releases extremely painful materials for the American (as a whole, 'Western') neo-liberal fascists. This time, the channel was blocked shortly after the release of an ANNA journalistic investigation into the supply of ISIS with weapons by the Americans in Syria.

Posted by: alaff | May 20 2020 22:05 utc | 35

@Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 21:40 utc | 33

In the essay by Alert Escusa linked above, it is studied the historical context in which Orwell published his most famous works, at all innocent, debunking the legend on that he was kinda an outsider and was about to self-publish Animal Farm, being the checked reality that he had full support of the birgueoisie to publish his influential works when the time was more propice for the capitalists.

As a sample, a button:

What was happening that year of 1943, while Orwell was writing his Animal Farm? It was not exactly, as Pepe Gutiérrez says "the distribution of the world", but something quite different that he hides from us: the Nazis had invaded the USSR two years ago, exterminating millions of Russians and devastating much of the country. The greatest battle of the war, Stalingrad, had taken place, and it was not yet known who would win the conflict, whether Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. No one could safely predict that Nazism would be extirpated from Europe, the Nazi death camps had not yet been discovered, but Orwell was obsessed with his anti-Soviet writings. What did Orwell want to portray with his Farm Rebellion? Nothing more and nothing less than the following: "The specific purpose Orwell threw into it with a sense of urgency was the desire to exploit the "myth" of the Soviet Union, as a paradigm of the socialist state".

There are plenty of comments about it. It is only worth reflecting on who benefited from Orwell's position in 1943. The victory was precisely achieved by the Soviet people and the Red Army at the price of innumerable human sacrifices, also easily forgotten in the West, where the true character of the anti-fascist war is hidden. It is logical that the USSR, which had suffered a war of extermination unprecedented in history, and which also defeated the collaborationist and fascist regimes of Eastern Europe, along with the popular and communist guerrillas, was seen as a liberating power by broad sectors of local populations. In addition, the communist guerrillas, ideologically linked to the USSR, had come to have great prestige throughout Europe: so much so that, in the first French general elections after Nazism, the French Communist Party was the most voted party, achieving more out of 5 million votes representing 30% of the electorate [7]. As we will see later, the USSR had very well-founded reasons to believe that a new war was being prepared against him, this time with the country devastated, so it was logical and legitimate that he try to win allies against the possibility of a new world war. This is a long way from "distribution of the world" and trying to equate imperialism with socialism, as will be seen later.


Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 22:08 utc | 36

bjd @1
Thanks pepe as usual excellent good reading

Posted by: JC | May 20 2020 22:24 utc | 37

H.Schmatz Thank you this makes a lot of sense. is there an English link?

Posted by: Kerry | May 20 2020 22:44 utc | 38

BraveNewWorld #23

Expect the next entifada very soon and don't be surprised if other states get involved. This is a big thing.

Thank you for that report, but I must express my reluctance to accept that 'this is a big thing'. The thin and vapid support from neighbouring Arab states for the State of Palestine and its people has been their destruction for years. Perhaps this time it will be different but I suspect Israel is hell bent on seizing more land from the Palestine State. That is Israel's modus operandi and history has led me to expect they will achieve another slaughter and extend their genocidal expansion yet again. I do not see any global alignment change that could act as a brake on the land grabbing juggernaught in the near future.

I also suspect that Abbas is merely posturing as usual and has no strong hand to play. He certainly can't count on FUKUSA to offer any real support. He could even end up with no peace framework and reduced global support and be reduced to begging to reintroduce same just to collect the few small coins that fall into his hands from the international community.

You can be sure that the the IFUKUSA collective have gamed this situation very well. Russia is not in this game and I doubt it would engage. I hope I am wrong as land grabbing elites are detestable killers of humanity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 20 2020 22:44 utc | 39

Trump *may* not want another international crisis right now, but Elliott Abrams' entire career is based around causing international crisis and Mike "The Pompous" Pompeo was the one pushing for the Soleimani assassination. So if Trump decides to surround himself with a bunch of madmen he shouldn't be surprised if he ends up living in a madhouse.

Posted by: Kadath | May 20 2020 22:45 utc | 40

Posted by: Laguerre | May 20 2020 21:44 utc | 34 I'm not sure that Trump wants another crisis at the moment.

Politicians use one crisis to deflect another. Trump is desperate to deflect from his failed virus response and the resulting economic collapse. Starting a war somewhere is perfect, since he'll get the support of his idiots, the neocons around him will tell him he's a genius, and most people won't be directly affected (until the gas price crisis hits, of course, but since not many people are driving due to the slowed economy, that might be survivable for him.)

In any event, Trump doesn't "think" - he reacts. And *how* he reacts is mostly unpredictable.

Attacking Venezuela would probably be a bit easier than attacking Iran directly since Venezuela has one-third the population of Iran, is 1/8th the size of Iran, and its military is probably vastly less capable. Getting a (comparatively) easy military win would boost Trump's chances in November. If it did turn into a "quagmire", that could be spun and possibly stretched out to past Election Day.

And the icing on the cake is that Trump and the neocons get to aggravate Iran some more, possibly stimulating Iran to retaliate, thus increasing the odds for a direct war with Iran - but *after* the election. A lot of Trump supporters keep saying that Trump doesn't want a new war - which is bullcrap since Trump doesn't know what he "wants" at any given time (he's a lot like Batman's Joker in that respect.) But the supporters say he wouldn't risk the election by starting a war. I keep asking them: "What about *after* the election, assuming he wins?" I get crickets in response.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 20 2020 22:45 utc | 41

I must say the replies to my 26 go in many directions. As to Martin Sieff's essay, it's fundamentally a well deserved critique of the BBC that segues into a discussion about how George Orwell would easily recognize its Fake News for what it is that draws on Finding George Orwell in Burma for some of its content. (A very short preview's available at the link and it can be borrowed if you're an Archive member, for which there's no excuse as it's free.) IMO, the comments fit Sieff's intent quite well. Judging from book excerpts offered here, the book's more a critique of Myanmar than Orwell, although the additional sources provided at page bottom leads to credibility questions. I also note that most websites promoting Finding lead with the NY Times jacket blurb which is more about dissing Myanmar than revealing what was found regarding Orwell. Sieff says he knows the author but doesn't speculate on why he chose a female nom de plume; I too wonder why as I don't see what purpose it could serve unless it's anti-Myanmar propaganda that Orwell would recognize or something similar.

Curious--an innocuous comment becomes a can of worms. Also curious how Orwell and his writing still generate an intense level of controversy.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 22:47 utc | 42

@Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 22:08 utc | 36

A bit more from the must read essay linked, even related to current events...

2. THE HISTORICAL ENVIRONMENT OF "ANIMAL FARM" AND "1984"

What events were taking place in the western world at that time, which caused a favorable change of attitude towards Orwell's publications, of those who were previously reticent? Neither more nor less than the imminent offensive against socialism, which had already lost almost thirty million lives during the anti-fascist war and had suffered appalling material destruction.

While the first copies of Animal Farm were being printed and bound, some extremely disturbing events were taking place. Just at the end of the war, Nazi spies and war criminals were being recycled by the American spy services, such as the German SS General Reinhard Genhlen, whose spy network passed entirely to the Americans and was used in Eastern Europe to promote the anti-Soviet uprisings in East Berlin in 1953 and Hungary in 1956. Clandestine networks were created to evade thousands of Nazi criminals towards Latin America and the USA. Later, with Japan defeated, the operation was repeated with the Japanese scientists who are experts in bacteriological weapons, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of allied prisoners, but who were secretly brought to the United States. Meanwhile, during the 1945 Potsdam conference, which brought together Hitler's victorious allies - where the alleged "honeymoon" took place to "divide the world" - US President Truman and English Churchill had speculated before Stalin about the power the western allies had with a new secret weapon. On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. According to Ian Gray, Stalin's biographer: "Stalin and the majority of Russians immediately understood the terrible meaning of this fact ... Stalin realized that the Americans had used the bomb mainly to impress and threaten Russia". Stalin and the Soviets were right: the American Secretary of State, James Byrnes, recognized that the bomb was necessary not against Japan, but "to make Russia moldable to Europe".

As the historian Pauwels has explained, the initial will of the Soviets in Europe was not to have like-minded regimes and their own zone of influence, but to intervene in Germany to prevent it from engaging in a second war, this time together with its former allies against the USSR. This is demonstrated by the fact that until well into the post-war period, the Soviets did not help to make any political-social change in the liberated countries. It was Truman's nuclear policy that forced the Soviets to stand face to face with the Americans in Eastern Europe, thus deterring American aviation: from this way they would have to carry out a long trip until arriving at the Soviet cities where they had to drop their bombs. This caused the political and social changes in Eastern Europe to accelerate, which, however, were already taking place autonomously since the end of the war thanks to the triumph of the popular anti-fascist forces. This fact not only saved the USSR from a new war and enabled socialism to survive: stability in Eastern Europe laid the foundations for a development of national liberation struggles and for socialism throughout the world: in 1949 the victory of the Chinese Revolution heralded the triumph of many others, putting all capitalism in danger of death.

In parallel, just after the Cold War started by imperialism, the conservative British leader Churchill theorized about the need to build an Iron Curtain to contain the communists and allegedly asked the American President Truman to attack the USSR with the atomic bomb by means of a preemptive attack. Churchill was not just any character, but one of the most influential leaders of the British Empire, champion of English colonialism and the participation of his country in World War I, therefore responsible for many millions of deaths and suffering of peoples.

That was the real reason for the delay in publishing Animal Farm. Orwell, naturally, during the anti-fascist war could not see his anti-Soviet work published until the end of the conflict, since it would have been quite awkward for the Western governments allied to the USSR, who were risking their lives against the Nazis, to criminalize in this way a friendly government. On the other hand, at that time, from the Orwellian model, it would be difficult for western and world public opinion to understand how it was possible that the Soviet people fought with such a degree of sacrifice and heroism, expelling the Nazis from Europe: all the other bourgeois regimes, where there was freedom, had collapsed rapidly and had collaborated with the Nazis.
It was in connection with these events that the first copies of Animal farm were placed on the shelves of bookstores. Precisely the publication coincided with the end of World War II and the dissolution of the anti-fascist alliance between England, USA, and the USSR. The first edition is exactly from 1945 in England, published by Secker & Wargburg, from London, and from 1946 in the USA, published by Harcourt, from New York. The capitalist governments, which were imminently going to promote Animal Farm, were evaluating different options to attack the USSR: from rearming German units as shock brigades to attack the Soviets, to the launch of "preventive" atomic bombs. The prestige that the USSR had among all the workers of the world, fundamentally the Europeans who suffered the Nazi atrocities, was enormous, as well as among the intellectual and popular sectors, whose reflection could be followed in the great influence that some communist parties had. It was necessary to dismantle this prestige to sweep the opposition of the world public opinion to an armed aggression against those who liberated Europe from Nazism, and Orwell's novels came as a ring to a finger for this purpose, since they were a good instrument to spread among the so called mass culture, just as later were the film versions of his works.


Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 22:52 utc | 43

And now we have an interesting update on the Iranian Tanker situation. Sputnik is reporting that the Venezuelan military will provide an armed escort for the tankers when they enter Venezuela's exclusive economic zone (about 200 nautical miles from shore). We'll see what happens soon, but if the US doesn't back down this could lead to a disaster.

Posted by: Kadath | May 20 2020 22:55 utc | 44

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 20 2020 22:44 utc | 39 I do not see any global alignment change that could act as a brake on the land grabbing juggernaught in the near future.

I'd say you're correct. Something that *might* change things somewhat - I don't do guarantees - is if war with Iran breaks out. Hezbollah takes on Israel, Syria helps. Won't matter unless the Palestinians join in, however. So you're probably right. But Israel getting a lot of damage in an Iran war might give the Palestinians some breathing space (or not).

"Russia is not in this game and I doubt it would engage."

I agree. Some people think Russia and China would engage in a US-Iran war. I doubt that, except indirectly (arms sales, some intelligence support, etc.) Neither are likely to be concerned about the Palestinians - and why should they? National interests are *national* interests.

The Palestinian situation won't change for the better until Israel is essentially *destroyed*. The US will never abandon Israel, and no one has the power to destroy them in the region, especially with US support. Hezbollah can seriously damage the Israeli economy and piss off Israel's electorate, but they can't *destroy* Israel militarily, regardless of how many missiles they get from Iran.

I got banned from Josh Marshall's blog years ago when I said the only real way to solve the Palestinian crisis is if the UN retracts its 1947 decision to partition, declare Israel a rogue illegal state, and forces a bi-national state. As long as the US is in the Security Council, "that ain't gonna happen" (quoting Percival Rose again.)

The only *other* way is if some smart Arabs figure out how to steal an Israeli nuclear weapon and blow up Tel Aviv and maybe a couple other Israeli cities.

Bottom line: The Palestinians were fucked, are fucked, and will continue to be fucked.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 20 2020 22:56 utc | 45

@Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 22:47 utc | 42

Albert Escusa, gives in his essay a good semblance of what kind of person could Orwell really be:

Orwell was above all a great individualist, with some important personal contradictions and prejudices that led him to oscillate along various paths without being able to commit himself in a stable and permanent way to anything that was not himself, in such a way that, when he became disenchanted with some social processes that he was unable to interpret correctly and scientifically, ended up ranting against what he believed to be the object of his anger. We can see it in Corbière's sharp description: «Who was Orwell? A sniper, a skeptic who devoted his efforts to Manichean criteria describing the great social and political contradictions of our time. Anarchist, Semitrotskyist in Spain, Labor in England, free thinker, undercover anti-Semite, his real ideas reveal a kind of elitism. He had an intense imagination but his methodology of thought was restricted, one-sided.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 22:59 utc | 46

@Posted by: Kerry | May 20 2020 22:44 utc | 38

No that I am aware, but, if interested, you could translate it with a translator.
Since the essay is quite long, you could translate paragraph by paragraph, then read the whol thing once assembled.

A bit complicated, but worth the effort, the essay is a well researched work, wu¡ith several referecnes as weel worth reading, like a disection of Orwell, his epoch and motives.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 23:05 utc | 47

Oh dear. Relatively prosperous middle class means descended from Earls of Westmorland, family tree of Fanes, de Veres, Grosvenors, at a little reach basically related to the entire peerage. True, Orwell’s father was a bit of a dope, he did manage to contract a marriage to a very wealthy woman. Jacintha Buddicom’s memoir, Eric and Us, about growing up living next door to the Blairs, will tell you what ‘middle class’ life was like.

Orwell maintained the friendships from St. Cyprians and Eton for life. Pretty much everyone on the roster could be considered as spooks and agents. All of them tied to old money, old family, government service. Government as MI6 and CIA.

I think he’s a great writer. My copy of the four volumes of Collected Essays Letters & Journalism is still right here next to the fireplace. All the rest of it around here somewhere, even the minor novels from the 30s. But no illusions what team he is on or what station he was born to.

Winston Smith means ‘maker of Winston’, as in broadcasting from Room 101 and forging the myth of Winston Churchill. Orwell was a big boy when he did that and was far past having any illusions. He created the myth that Room 101 of Broadcasting House was the worst place in the world. And talked of how the war years were the best years of his life.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 23:13 utc | 48

@Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 23:13 utc | 48

I think he’s a great writer

Not even so, more proper a plagiarist and propagandist at the service of Western totalitarian imperialism.

Since we are in the task of deconstructing Orwell, let´s go to the end...

In addition to the Animal Farm, one of the works that most influenced the construction of Western totalitarianism against the Communists was 1984. It shows an overview of socialism in the USSR similar to a delusional totalitarian and monstrous drama, with a Big Brother (Stalin) who had absolute social control over the individuals under his rule, through a sophisticated mind control mechanism. This work became a must-read for CIA officers and a dependent body called the Council for Psychological Strategies, in addition to the fact that NATO used the entire vocabulary of this novel during the 1950s in its anti-communist strategy.12 It is interesting to know how He conceived this book, since it was apparently a plagiarism Orwell did to another disenchanted of Bolshevism, in this case a Russian writer, in the opinion of the writer Emilio J. Corbière: "Orwell's was a conscious plagiarism, since he explained it himself in another of his works. The plot, the main characters, the symbols and the climate of its narration, belonged to a completely forgotten Russian writer of the beginning of the century: Evgeny Zamyatin. In his book We, the Russian disillusioned with socialism after the failure of the 1905 revolution, devoted his efforts to anathematizing the Social Democratic Workers Party founded by Jorge Plejanov. When the October revolution happened - in 1917 - Zamyatin went into exile in Paris, where he wrote his posthumous anti-communist work"

This opinion is also shared by the historian Isaac Deutscher in his work The Mysticism of Cruelty, an essay about 1984, where he states that Orwell «borrowed the idea of ​​1984, the plot, the main characters, the symbols and the whole plot situation from the work We of Evgeny Zamyatin»

We see how behind the image of a great writer, lies the reality of a plagiarist of stories, which served to elaborate theoretical and academic models on the functioning of socialism in the Soviet Union totally adjusted to the requirements of imperialism in the anti-communist Cold War. The impact of 1984 was tremendous among the population, creating an atmosphere of anti-communist and anti-Soviet paranoia that was very effective among the masses, as the disturbing personal testimony of Isaac Deutscher demonstrates: "Have you read that book? You have to read it, sir. Then you will know why we have to drop the atomic bomb on the Bolsheviks! With those words, a miserable blind newspaper vendor recommended me in New York 1984, a few weeks before Orwell's death".


Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 23:31 utc | 49

H. Schmatz.
I am not a good book reader but I did read 1984 and it definitely seemed to be a veiled critique on Communism.
However it seems the story is now more fitting to capitalism.

Posted by: arby | May 20 2020 23:45 utc | 50

some hidden trump supporters here in comment section kept smearing biden..

they forgot after the years of trump presidency and the many botched and lies from white house , people do not want to reelect trump

just as ppl hold their nose and choose trump because they hate hillary , they will hold their nose and choose biden to avoid trump getting reelected..

the crazies , racist and fake patriots gun nuts will keep voting trump , thats a given .. the centrist will move to biden and dont care about his history , just as they voted trump in 2016 while ignoring trump's obvious shortcomings.

Posted by: milmilo | May 21 2020 0:10 utc | 51

i dunno milomilo... do you live in the usa??

Posted by: james | May 21 2020 0:12 utc | 52

milomilo at 51 may have a point.

Looking at my own reaction to the 2016 candidates, I knew Hillary was the the most corrupt politician since Hermann Goering. I also knew Trump was a freak show. However, Trump did claim to be against new wars and getting along with Russia. Not that I believed him, but in a choice between the two, Trump was obviously better. And that's what the Trump supporters believed and that's why he was elected (with some help from the Electoral College setup.)

Today, it's a choice between a President who has been an *utter circus* and has *proven* to be a freak show, and a "garden-variety" corrupt politician who also has dementia. People elect corrupt politicians all the time. Is there any other kind? How likely is it that the electorate will take the time to fully understand the depth of corruption of Biden vs the *obvious* lunacy of Trump? How many people are going to believe Biden has dementia, especially if the mainstream media (outside of Fox) refuses to even mention it (you know that's what they will do)?

I don't know the answer to that and neither does anyone else.

The real questions are: how will the economy question play out before November? Does Trump get blamed? Does he get rewarded for reopening the economy even though the death toll from the virus spikes? If the virus slows in the summer, does he get rewarded for that? If a second virus wave roars in before election dat, what impact will that have? What happens with Venezuela, Iran and China over the next five months? There's plenty of time for SHTF on any of those fronts - does any of it reward or downgrade Trump's chances?

Like I said before, it is *way too soon* to be estimating the outcome of this election.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 0:28 utc | 53

@ milomilo

Are you new here?

Please refrain from inserting comments on various threads (in the past week) accusing people on this board of “supporting” Trump. If you think anyone here supports trump, it’s because you haven’t invested enough time to understand people’s comments and point of view.

It’s okay to lurk and learn, without “contributing” anything. If you are indeed new, please try it for a month. (For comparison, I almost never post because I have little to add.)

Posted by: oglalla | May 21 2020 0:45 utc | 54

New York Times continues to prop up the vaccine hype:

Coronavirus Live Updates: Scientists See Progress in Path to Vaccine by Next Year

In addition to this Home Page highlight, there's an opinion piece as a side dish:

What to Expect When a Coronavirus Vaccine Finally Arrives

Buried a little bit more at the bottom, there's this borderline pseudoscientific, definitely reckless article:

Prototype Vaccine Protects Monkeys From Coronavirus

There is a statistical possibility a vaccine comes out next year. But his possibility is remote. The key here is that a vaccine must be tested to the exhaustion before being ok'd by any government for mass use. Any mistake can result in a number of deaths that will make this pandemic look like child's play. My opinion is that the NYT is feeding too much enthusiasm to its readers.

Posted by: vk | May 21 2020 0:49 utc | 55

The murder of a young woman is abhorrent, but please, Canada… INCELS are not a terrorist group

Well, now it is...

There's a first time for everything, the saying goes.

Posted by: vk | May 21 2020 0:58 utc | 56

This article doesn't really violate the "no-coronavirus" rule because it applies to Trump generally...and thus to the election...

The plan is to have no plan
4 May 2020 11:02 pm
https://tinyurl.com/y8tqwwje

"There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives."

Got that exactly right.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 0:58 utc | 57

@ karlof1

Thank you for your comment and Orwell link. Worry not about the canned worms you inadvertently opened. The side dishes complement the main course.

Posted by: olalla | May 21 2020 1:15 utc | 58

milmilo @ 51

I don't know about that , the "Patriots" will always vote red or blue because it's all they know. The centrist and independents might go a whole different route this time. You can only hold your nose for so long then it's time to move to a better location,if a third party with the right words come along it might be a time for change, but knowing human nature they'll just keep voting against their best interests.

Posted by: Tobi | May 21 2020 1:33 utc | 59

Posted by: Chevrus | May 20 2020 14:09 utc | 3

You can easily track the routes of tankers...


https://www.marinevesseltraffic.com/2013/02/tanker-track.html?full_screen=yes

Posted by: notlurking | May 21 2020 1:45 utc | 60

Last time I voted for a major party presidential candidate was 1988. Since then, I've always voted third party. It really mystifies me how few Americans vote third party. Even in an election like 2016, where both major party candidates are so obviously unsuitable. I wonder whether third party votes are being accurately counted.

Posted by: lysias | May 21 2020 1:47 utc | 61

Our Lysol president said "“It was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing,” the president tweeted."

Amazing such a brilliant president, running around telling everyone cock and bull stories...while China's factories slowly opening up.....

John Helmer dance with the bear said it best "On Tuesday, following the WHA vote, the Chinese government issued a statement from its embassy in Canberra. It said the terms of the Covid-19 resolution were “totally different from Australia’s...... of Australia’s call is nothing but a joke.” "

http://johnhelmer.net/truth-vaccine-kills-australian-american-campaign-against-china-in-world-health-organisation-debate/

Posted by: JC | May 21 2020 3:10 utc | 62

I rather like what Michael Hudson says about the US political scene, "I don't think there is a solution under the American political system. There is a difference between a problem and a quandary; a problem can be solved. . . but you are in a quandary, there is no way out, you can't start your own party because the Democratic party [is run by] are the 12 richest people, the Wall Street thugs who run the whole party, and they don't care what the voters vote for, it's all a charade. They've already picked Donald Trump, they want him for the second term, as the ideal Democrat, the ideal Kleptocrat, or whatever you call the stage of financial capitalism we are in . . . I don't see any way out except violence. i'm not advocating that, but I don't see any other way out. Otherwise, you are going to starve quietly, in the dark."

quote taken starting at about 1:09:20 in Dr. Michael Hudson: Economic Lessons for 2020

Posted by: Perimetr | May 21 2020 3:18 utc | 63

Assuming someone may have posted this link to Glenn Greenwald's latest piece on the Flynn case and the corruption and abuse by intelligence agencies and Obama DOJ, and IMO it's his best work ever. The video is long but very compelling, highly recommend to watch and share.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB26jj0jrjc

Posted by: Kabobyak | May 21 2020 3:56 utc | 64

Posted by: Perimetr | May 21 2020 3:18 utc | 63 They've already picked Donald Trump, they want him for the second term, as the ideal Democrat

This reminds me of something Pepe Escobar wrote back during the 2016 election (or after, no sure when). He said that *some* of the "Masters of the Universe" (as he refers to the elites) picked Donald Trump to run as the Republican candidate, in opposition to *other* "Masters of the Universe", who presumably wanted some other Republican, and of course those "Masters of the Universe" who wanted Clinton to win.

However, he didn't name any names. Does anyone have a link to anything *specific* - preferably with actual *names* - as to *who* was or is backing Trump, either in 2016 or now, versus who is backing the Democrats?

Just would like to know who needs to be in the sniper scope or whose limo needs to drive past a shaped charge IED, if you get my drift... LOL

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 4:24 utc | 65

Additional news on the race for a Covid antidote
A drug being tested by scientists at China's prestigious Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say


https://www.barrons.com/news/scientists-in-china-believe-new-drug-can-stop-pandemic-without-vaccine-01589862305

Posted by: curious | May 21 2020 4:39 utc | 66

I shouldn't . . . but I will since so much is happenning right now complertely non-virus related.

re curious | May 21 2020 4:39 utc | 66

WTF DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING EH?

Can you not read? This thread has been designed as a place for those of us who consider the virus thing has been crassly over-debated to discuss other vital issues. GEDDIT?

PS once I've pulled dinner outta oven I wanna come back to consider issues here particularly articulate hypocrite E Blair.

Posted by: A User | May 21 2020 8:03 utc | 67

Another propaganda piece intended to stir up US support for another war between Hezbollah and Israel...

20 years after withdrawal, Israel, Hezbollah brace for war
https://tinyurl.com/y7zfcre3

Israel knows it cannot defeat Hezbollah by itself without risking the same effects as would happen in an Israel-Iran war, i.e., enough missiles bombardment from Lebanon to force the Israeli population into bomb shelters 24x7 for at least three months, devastating the Israeli economy and pissing off the Israeli electorate resulting in the ruling parties being forced out of office in the next election.

Israel can not afford a war with Iran until Hezbollah's military capability has been degraded sufficiently - and it can't do that itself. Thus, Israel has been pushing the US to levy sanctions on Hezbollah, and try to swing the Lebanese military against Hezbollah. Israel hopes that given Trump's massive support for them and antipathy to Iran that he can be persuaded to directly supply military support to Israel in the event Israel decides to try to take out Hezbollah.

Articles like this one crop up every little while to keep the propaganda going. It's part of the eventual buildup to another Lebanon war - which, depending on how it turns out, will lead inevitably to a war with Iran.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 10:31 utc | 68

b thought he could exclude the VIRUS from this thread. No way. The VIRUS is viral.

Posted by: blues | May 21 2020 11:01 utc | 69

This Hudson piece was written a year ago but is still pertinent:

https://michael-hudson.com/2019/02/trumps-brilliant-strategy-to-dismember-u-s-dollar-hegemony/

""Just as the Vietnam War drove the United States off gold by 1971, its sponsorship and funding of violent regime change wars against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is now driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.

The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on “socialism,” not on U.S. political attempts to “make the economy scream” (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende)

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran.

The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland,

The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline — something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.""

Posted by: financial matters | May 21 2020 11:37 utc | 70

Regarding the previous post about the American Dream. To me the phrase recalls more than anything the last paragraph in George Orwell´s Homage to Catalunia. He was returning to England after participating in the Spanish Civil War, both on the front lines and in the brutal infighting among the various elements supporting the Republican cause. He was wounded on the front and had to flee for his life from the political infighting.

¨And then England — southern England, probably the sleekest landscape in
the world. It is difficult when you pass that way, especially when you are
peacefully recovering from sea-sickness with the plush cushions of a boat-train
carriage under your bum, to believe that anything is really happening anywhere.
Earthquakes in Japan, famines in China, revolutions in Mexico? Don't worry, the
milk will be on the doorstep tomorrow morning, the New Statesman will come
out on Friday. The industrial towns were far away, a smudge of smoke and misery
hidden by the curve of the earth's surface. Down here it was still the England I
had known in my childhood: the railway-cuttings smothered in wild flowers, the
deep meadows where the great shining horses browse and meditate, the
slow-moving streams bordered by willows, the green bosoms of the elms, the
larkspurs in the cottage gardens; and then the huge peaceful wilderness of outer
London, the barges on the miry river, the familiar streets, the posters telling of
cricket matches and Royal weddings, the men in bowler hats, the pigeons in
Trafalgar Square, the red buses, the blue policemen — all sleeping the deep, deep
sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we
are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs.¨

Yes, the deep deep sleep of the American Dream is alive and well. Just like the English of 1938, I fear that the Americans will not wake up until they too are jerked out if it by . . .

Posted by: c | May 21 2020 11:37 utc | 71

@ Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 10:31 utc | 68

I'm thinking that by now even the idiots in the Pentaghasp must have calculated the insane economic costs of one more large Middle East War. They just might be getting a little bit scared. There probably would not be enough left for their fat pensions.

blues-1-7.45Aest-5-21a

Posted by: blues | May 21 2020 11:46 utc | 72

blues,
I thought that after the 08/09 debacle but alas they upped their game and upped their spending as if nothing had happened.

Posted by: arby | May 21 2020 12:08 utc | 73

b thought he could exclude the VIRUS from this thread. No way. The VIRUS is viral.
Posted by: blues | May 21 2020 11:01 utc | 69

The last virus thread seems to be almost dead already. I did post a substantive contribution there last night, but it appears the feverish past activity of the virus must be burning itself out. Maybe it has already exceeded its critical temperature!

Posted by: BM | May 21 2020 12:09 utc | 74

@vk: the 50, 100, 500 year flood event language is about probabilities not religion. The issue in Midland is that the first dam is privately owned and there was no money in maintaining it, so the company didn’t. It’s also 100 years old. The second dam overtopped and led to failure of the structure because it was designed to work in tandem with the first. This is a story of America’s failing infrastructure where most dams are pushing 100 years old.

Posted by: Lex | May 21 2020 12:13 utc | 75

Regarding Pepe Escobar's article
Posted by: bjd | May 20 2020 13:47 utc | 1

I have replied on the Covid crossimmunity thread, since that is where it belongs!

Posted by: BM | May 21 2020 13:01 utc | 76

Korea’s exports dive 20% in first 20 days of month

This is capitalism's "success story" against the pandemic.

South Korean economy is on the ropes. The only reason it didn't delve deep into a great recession right now was the Fed's generous swap deal, which compensated for the USD hemorrhaging it was suffering and continues to suffer. It is now, for all intents and purposes, a zombie economy.

--//--

Why ‘Made in Vietnam’ won’t replace ‘Made in China’

In Depth: Despite Attempts to Lure Them Away, Multinationals Aren’t Leaving China

Who knew that building manufacturing infrastructure had so many variables!

Posted by: vk | May 21 2020 13:32 utc | 77

"Any U.S. military action to impede the arrival of the Iranian oil tankers at Venezuelan ports could set up a clash between Washington and two of the principal nations it has targeted for regime change.

If U.S. warships block the Iranian vessels in international waters and Iran makes good on its threat of retaliation, other nations may quickly be drawn into a conflict that would undermine efforts by the UN to foster a worldwide cessation of hostilities.

However, should Iranian oil tankers arrive safely at Venezuelan ports, two sanctioned nations will have opened a breach in the U.S. imposed economic blockade through an act of mutual assistance during a health and food emergency."

link

Posted by: arby | May 21 2020 13:52 utc | 78

C@71

Yes. That is why we continue to read Orwell, even if he was a scoundrel.

And yes, you make your point very well with that quote.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 21 2020 14:04 utc | 79

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 10:31 utc 68
Oooh Richard, the war porn with Iran you’ve been pushing will never cease. Will it?
Some ticks/itches need scratching every once in a while.
For over a decade it’s been your wet dream and you’ve been predicting this war, which has not come to pass.
Let me spell it out for you, and some day, maybe not ,you’ll come to understand what I”m about to write.
The empire is in SW Asia at the BEHEST OF Iran.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 21 2020 14:29 utc | 80

SB--
"The empire is in SW Asia at the BEHEST OF Iran."

Care to elaborate on that because the empire is awfully damn good at looking like they want to destroy Iran.

Posted by: arby | May 21 2020 14:38 utc | 81

Reuel Marc Gerecht once said, and I'm paraphrasing here, I've written several thousand words on attacking Iran. Even my mom said enough.
He's got nothing on you Richard.

Arby,
No need to get into that. Iran is there. Not 8000 miles away.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 21 2020 14:57 utc | 82

craig murrays latest article - worth getting involved...

Authoritarianism is Shoddy

Posted by: james | May 21 2020 15:57 utc | 83

Michigan Flooding is '500-Year Event', State Seeks Help From Federal Gov't - Governor

Posted by: vk | May 20 2020 17:41 utc | 18

Indeed, geologist inspecting cores of flood sediments and other data discovered that Michigan has the highest number of dams evaluated as "unsafe" in the last 500 years. To put the disaster in perspective, Brazil is much worse: to handle enormous amounts of "tailings" from iron ore mining, corporations use "mud dams" that are made of properly deposited mud, so it is a miracle that they do not fall apart as soon as they are made. There is a puzzle about not planning for the event when the miracle does not happen:

The dam in Brumadinho, in the state of Minas Gerais, was built to hold waste from an iron ore mine. When it burst on Jan. 25, 2019, the company cafeteria and other facilities were buried in a torrent of mud [killing 259]

Cafeteria and other facilities were covered by the sludge, and in the valley there were obviously higher places. Building on a sharp slope is definitely more expensive than on a flat ground.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 21 2020 16:00 utc | 84

And the stich up continues:
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/05/authoritarianism-is-shoddy/

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 21 2020 16:01 utc | 85

About prospects of "isolating China economically" by a resolute action led by USA:

On the Dalian commodities exchanges [in the main Chinese steel making region], iron ore futures climbed for a sixth straight session to $107 a tonne, up 20% from early April.

Iron ore prices have been underpinned by hopes that China, responsible for more than 70% of the world’s seaborne iron ore trade, will spend massively on infrastructure and construction to revive an economy devastated by the coronavirus. [there was also a drop of production in Brazil, the largest exporter]
========
Commodity exporters are enormously dependent on Chinese market, and they include Australia, Canada, Brazil (currently a "stalwart USA ally") and the American farmers.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 21 2020 16:09 utc | 86

b just posted an article about Biden. So the discussion about Iran-Venezuela will happen here for now.

IMO USA will attempt to board the Iranian ships because they fear that Iran may be delivering weapons and weapons tech (esp. missiles/missile tech) to Venezuela.

<> <> <> <>

For easy reference, I complied the discussion so far:

Chevrus | May 20 2020 14:09 @ 3

Is there is situation forming in the southern carribean? Recent information suggests that US carrier groups are in the VZ area as Iranian tankers head in that direction.

arby | May 20 2020 15:26 @6

Iran has warned the US to dare not touch its ships heading to Venezuela.

BM | May 20 2020 16:54 @13

In any event this would be a good time for Russia to send half a dozen friendly Tu-160's with an ample supply of hypersonic anti-carrier missiles on a friendly cultural exchange visit to Venezuela.

Kadath | May 20 2020 20:48 @ 31

Regarding those 5 Iranian tankers on the way to Venezuela the Saker uploaded a new article suggesting that the US will use the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement (CRA) to justify boarding the tankers in International waters as part of the war on drugs (since the US previously declared Venezuela a narco-state). Even by threadbare excuse standards that seems laughably ridiculous but perfectly in-keeping with how the US has acted these past 20 years. If the US is so reckless as to board those tankers I can only assume that the Iranians will respond forcibly against US ships in the Persian golf.

Richard Steven Hack | May 20 2020 22:45 @ 41

Attacking Venezuela would probably be a bit easier than attacking Iran directly since Venezuela has one-third the population of Iran, is 1/8th the size of Iran, and its military is probably vastly less capable. Getting a (comparatively) easy military win would boost Trump's chances in November. If it did turn into a "quagmire", that could be spun and possibly stretched out to past Election Day.

Kadath | May 20 2020 22:55 @44

And now we have an interesting update on the Iranian Tanker situation. Sputnik is reporting that the Venezuelan military will provide an armed escort for the tankers when they enter Venezuela's exclusive economic zone (about 200 nautical miles from shore). We'll see what happens soon, but if the US doesn't back down this could lead to a disaster.

arby | May 21 2020 13:52 @ 78

"Any U.S. military action to impede the arrival of the Iranian oil tankers at Venezuelan ports could set up a clash between Washington and two of the principal nations it has targeted for regime change.

If U.S. warships block the Iranian vessels in international waters and Iran makes good on its threat of retaliation, other nations may quickly be drawn into a conflict that would undermine efforts by the UN to foster a worldwide cessation of hostilities.


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2020 16:33 utc | 87

@ 87 jackrabbit.. i don't think the usa is going to board the iran ships.... we will find out soon enough..

Posted by: james | May 21 2020 16:42 utc | 88

Chinese surveyors team failed to reached the peak Mount Qomolangma due to bad weather, 21 May 2020.

The next few days will determine whether they can succeed, depends on weather condition again, supplies and human endurances... Good Luck China. China Jiayou

Posted by: JC | May 21 2020 16:42 utc | 89

Re: Jackrabbit #87,

Interesting that you mention the US allegations that Iran is delivering weapons tech to Venezuela, I was listening to John Bachelor 2 days ago and his guests said that Iran might be delivering WMDs parts to Venezuela. Yes, a totally insane allegation, asserted without any proof or pushback from the host (par for the course nowadays).

Right now, I'm leaning towards the US not attempting to board the vessels, because neither the Pentagon or the Whitehouse has made a similar reckless assertion that would almost force them to seize the vessels if they made it or be humiliated on the world stage. So we'll need to watch what they say over the next week or so. I think the oil tankers are suppose to arrive in Venezuela in 2 weeks or so.

Posted by: Kadath | May 21 2020 16:44 utc | 90

No surprise here, but the US has announced that they will notify Russia of their intent to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty on Friday. Russia will probably follow suit in a few days, after this the only arms control agreement remaining will be the New Start Treaty that the US plans on allowing to expire in a few months. Will this finally convince the Europeans to cut their ties to their imperial masters before they are thrown into a nuclear furnace?

Posted by: Kadath | May 21 2020 16:59 utc | 91

@ Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 21 2020 16:00 utc | 84

Brumadinho was a straight up fascist engineered natural cum humanitarian disaster.

The dam should have x meters in thickness, but was built with only x-y meters (I don't remember the exact numbers, but it was like half the thickness it should be).

They then arrested the engineer who signed the project, when it was a clear case of bean counters' guilt.

Posted by: vk | May 21 2020 17:03 utc | 92

Richard Steven Hack @65--

I recall those articles Pepe wrote, have them archived, but he never mentions the names of his sources; yes, names--plural. IMO, they are old money industrial capitalists given the contexts provided. Since Trump's fed the Money Power so well, he has their backing, which is the same as the Dem's backers.

Perimetr @63--

I recall Hudson's use of "quandry," remarked upon it at the time, and later found and adopted Socrates's maxim; paraphrased: Don't waste your time and energy on the old regime that's beyond fixing; instead, focus all your efforts on building the New Way. I see the New Way already under construction, and we can see the Old Way trying to keep it from arising to replace it. We can also see those caught in the middle--the EU mostly. The Global South not colonized/captured by the Outlaw US Empire is all for the New Way. What I see unfolding/being built is Henry Wallace's Century of the Common Man, which he viewed through the lens of his Liberal Christian Communalism.

/////////

Trump's mounting a Rear Guard Action in an attempt to keep the Old Way on top, but he's failing miserably as exemplified by his Treasonous Do Nothing Policy in the face of COVID-19. IMO, who wins between Trump and Biden will reflect which of the two the Current Oligarchy think can do the best job of keeping the Old Way running. Trump's burned a lot of bridges and will be rightly blamed for the economic debacle caused by his Do Nothing Policy. He's really done nothing for Evangelicals, and his Blame China lies only fool those who want to be fooled.

Numerous enlightened citizens have cast off their allegiance to the Outlaw US Empire within which they reside to go about the task of building the New Way. They live in places like Humboldt, California; Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon; upstate New York; Colorado; New Mexico; Texas. They don't do a lot of self-promoting since they're focusing their efforts on building the foundations for the New Way--Yes, they're explicitly Counter-Culture since they don't advocate the Old Way. It seems the Old Way will only die when the old that support it finally die, which is my generation--the Baby Boomers.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2020 17:20 utc | 93

to Richard Steven Hack | 65

Couple of days ago I was interested in those names, too. I came across this website: https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16
It's not bad, I found a lot. Pritzker and Soros are some big names for the Dems. For the Trump campaign, one of the biggest contributors was the man himself (meaning he spent a lot of his own money, in contrast to Clinton). Other than that, no names for him that were obvious to me. Which doesn't mean much, sure. From what I read the Koch brothers, though with a Rep leaning, stayed out of the 2016 race. Funny thing, one company that spent roughly equal on each of the two candidates (and a lot in each case) is Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund. I don't know anything about them, unfortunately. Maybe you do? Some other funny things: the State Department as a government entity donated to Clinton, while the armed forces donated to Trump.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about your findings if you go on digging into the matter! Cheers.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | May 21 2020 17:39 utc | 94

No surprise here, but the US has announced that they will notify Russia of their intent to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty on Friday. Russia will probably follow suit in a few days, after this the only arms control agreement remaining will be the New Start Treaty that the US plans on allowing to expire in a few months. Will this finally convince the Europeans to cut their ties to their imperial masters before they are thrown into a nuclear furnace?

Posted by: Saglikli Birey | May 21 2020 17:47 utc | 95

james | May 21 16:42 @ 88

i don't think the usa is going to board the iran ships...

So ... you think they will sink them? Hehe ... just kidding.

IMO they will board - but not in international waters. They'll do it in Venezuelan waters under the pretext that the Maduro government is an illegal narco state and Iran is a terrorist state.

=
Kadath | May 21 16:44 @ 90

I was listening to John Bachelor 2 days ago and his guests said that Iran might be delivering WMDs parts to Venezuela. Yes, a totally insane allegation, asserted without any proof or pushback from the host ...

Yes, that is insane. But I think talk of WMDs is for public consumption. I think US Mil really is concerned about the missile tech which Iran has demonstrated in it's strike on the US base in Iraq.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 21 2020 18:27 utc | 96

Posted by: arby | May 21 2020 14:38 utc | 81
Arby,

This, from an insider,Barbara Slavin, whom has been writing on Iran for a while, to whet the taste buds:

"He [Khalilzad] recognized then. as now, that Iran has enormous capacity to help or hinder the political stability of its neighbors and, thus, advance or retard US interests in the Middle East."

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/iransource/iran-and-the-us-meet-again-over-afghanistan/

She can't come out and say 'behest' though. Will end her courier.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 21 2020 18:33 utc | 97

@ Jackrabbit | May 21 2020 16:33 utc | 87

From what I have been reading, it will be very extremely tempting for the US Navy to board the Iranian oil tankers that are headed to Venezuela. Something to consider: there's probably nothing easier to sink than an oil tanker. Hold that thought while I segue into an obliquely relevant issue.

The idea that the USSA can be oil independent due to ample resources on the North American continent is effectively a myth. There is not enough oil in the ground, or sands, etc. to last for very long at all. This fact makes the USSA somewhat unique, since its oil can only be adequately provided via oil tankers.

I read that Iran has five or six 'regular' submarines, plus 23 'littoral' (shallow water, I suppose) submarines. So they could, perhaps, randomly sink all of the oil tankers that the USSA can expect to depend upon.

Then what?

Posted by: blues | May 21 2020 19:58 utc | 98

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 21 2020 18:33 utc | 96 (and elsewhere)

And you've always believed Iran is too powerful to be attacked, or that it would cost the US to much in oil prices (heh, now would be a good time since the oil price is barely getting $30), etc., etc. - the usual excuses from the cognitive dissonance crowd.

Good luck with that. War with Iran is inevitable. No two countries with that much animosity have ever avoided war indefinitely.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 21 2020 20:59 utc | 99

Oops. Sorry barflies. A decade of war porn from Richard and that itch was scratched once more, along with the cognitive dissonance BS.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 21 2020 21:15 utc | 100

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