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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Global Times has a significant editorial: "National security legislation offers overdue remedy for HK":

"The draft represents a significant legislative step regarding HKSAR security issues. It aims to resolve HK's legal deficiencies and prevent internal and external forces from using the region as a tool or creating situations that threaten national security....

"For example, take a look at what the internal and external opposition forces have done to HK by manipulating security loopholes. For the year of 2019, HK did not enjoy a single peaceful day. It was like a city in an undeveloped country engulfed in turmoil. Stores and subway stations were damaged, roads were blocked, and innocent people were attacked and burned. College students were prevented from attending classes. Due to the chaos, HK fell sharply in the global rankings. Now is the time to put an end to it all....

"Extreme opposition forces try to steer HK off course and direct it to external influences like the US. Opposition entities in HK and the US try to create a value system against China's central government and the 'one country, two systems' policy. They try to redefine the policy, and what HK democracy and freedom mean to them. In recent months, they have distorted Hong Kong public opinion. The concept of right and wrong has become so warped that last year's law-defying violence has since been labeled as 'justice.'"

I'm sure more points of interest will emerge from the 13th National People's Congress and CPC confabs. The main aspects and a recap are provided in this article:

"There are some key words for this year's CPPCC session. Security, safety and recovery all top the agenda of Chinese policymakers and advisors. Some stressed that more work should be done in safeguarding public health, national security and security in the operation of the economy."

As anticipated, much of the work will center on strengthening China in face of ongoing attempts by the Outlaw US Empire to weaken and embarrass China. Also, look to see the West's handshake greeting to be replaced by China's traditional bow and folded hands salute--About Time!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 21 2020 21:18 utc | 101

thanks jackrabbit... we'll see how it goes...

regarding the inevitability of a war between usa and iran.. it has to be repeated it is in no ones interest other then the military - banking industrial complex.... the people of the usa and iran don't want this.. the m-b i c does... so i am hopeful we will see this for what it is - a con job brought by the same forces who have been selling wars indefinitely.. and i would like to point out to richard that this is where the real animosity rests - between people being duped into believing all the bullshite on iran or usa and seeing who is zooming who... it is the banking, military complex that is zooming americans for the most part.. if they are too stupid to see this, then they deserve to get what they continue to get moving forward here..

Posted by: james | May 21 2020 21:37 utc | 102

lock me in the sock drawer, mama
the needle men are here
the dreams they bring
with pinprick stings
hiss like daddy’s beer

Christopher on the playground
said his dad has a plan
the heart can see
how the mind deceives
but I didn’t understand

all I see are eyes now, mama
and hands that cannot touch
I want to play
but Karen will say
I use it like a crutch

the cartoons have gone feral
like silly Pepe frog
oh what the heck
I’ll channel KEK
and rule from my log

Daddy hasn’t spoken
for 19 days and nights
before going mum
he told me, his son
to teach rabbits how to fight

I’m not sure how to do this
they cannot hold the knives
so instead I said
with our strong legs
we best run for our lives

Posted by: lizard | May 21 2020 23:40 utc | 103

James I agree with you.
I do not see Iran acting with animosity to the US. I only see Iran as refusing to bow. Iran, IMO, just wants the US to fuck off out of the ME.
Also I only see animosity from the US as a small part of its motivation. The larger by far motivation seems to be Israeli wishes, with the US desire to put down all defiant countries,and a finishing off of their plan after 911 to take out 7 countries.

Of course you have to stir in military money as a motivation and other such things as showing everyone how tough they are.

The problem seems to be that the world has changed. Russia stuck her nose in Syria. Suddenly it is much more possible that starting a war with Iran could erupt into something that only might last for half an hour BUT could be unimaginable horor.

Hopefully there are some Generals and guys who make the decisions realize this.

Posted by: arby | May 22 2020 0:14 utc | 104

BUT could be unimaginable horor.
Posted by: arby | May 22 2020 0:14 utc | 102

This unimaginable horror you talk about in my view is a nuclear holocaust of the entire planet. That's how this war is going to end.

As always, if anyone has any illusions, the study was done. Oh, and that was eighteen long years ago.

Go Paul, Go. Van Ripper, that is.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 22 2020 0:54 utc | 105

thanks arby... i agree with your additional commentary too regarding the usa being israels bitch boy... until something changes, that is how it looks to me.. meanwhile russia and china don't want to respond aggressively but are preparing for such and as you note in syria - it is not a slam dunk how things move forward here...

iran wants to be treated with respect and dignity and on an equal footing.. this the last thing the usa-israel want... they want slaves who go along with what they want - domination...

i was talking about a book i am reading 'solitary' by albert woodfox... the guy is locked in solitary confinement for over 40 years and in jail for longer, but ''they'' didn't break him.. it is an incredible story from the point of view, he didn't back down to the bullshit thrown his way and survived to tell the tale of his life in this book... the usa prison system had it in for blacks back in the 60's when he first went to jail... the lies and deceit poured on the public and dished out to the blacks is a story of how racial issues lie just beneath the surface of so much in the usa, but in particular the prison system and who does or doesn't have the power... usa-israel would like to do the same to iran as the usa has done to black people in the usa, with throwing them in prison one of the first approaches to breaking them.. mind you, angola the prison woodfox was in, was a slave plantation, before it became a prison and it was ran this way up into the 70s or 80's before much of any change happened... they would frame you for a crime you didn't commit on a regular basis... doesn't that sound like what the usa is doing here with iran or venezuala?? same fucking bullshite... it is about power and trying to intimidate, shame and demean anyone who gets in the way of there desire for absolute power, devoid of any compassion or human understanding... for those who want dignity, one has to stand up against this... that is what iran and venezuala are doing.. good for them... fuck usa..

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 0:58 utc | 106

Foreign Minister of odious colonialist settler-state, imperial flunky on why Canada deserves a seat on the UN Security Council...

'No one is perfect', but 'people want more Canada'

Ask Bolivia. Ask Venezuela. Ask Haiti. Ask Libya. Ask Syria. Ask Paletine. Ask Mohawks, Secwepemc or Wetsuweten.

Besides. Does USrael really need another c*cks*cker at the UN?

Posted by: John Gilberts | May 22 2020 1:33 utc | 107

@ john, arby and other canucks..

send him an e mail and tell him what you think...

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 1:46 utc | 108

dear francois,

the fact canada is unable or unwilling to distinguish itself from the usa on foreign policy, and i say this in a general sense, makes me think it is not appropriate for us to be on the UN.. the way we have interfered in the affairs of venezuala is another reason why i think it is inappropriate.. i say this as a canadian my whole 64 years - a 6th generation canadian... until canada can find a way to a more independent position that is not beholden to pleasing the usa all the time, i think we don't deserve a special position on the UN council...

yours truly,

i also included my address, but i am not including it here.. and my last name..

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 1:51 utc | 109

I recommend people read Eric Blair/George Orwell no matter what he might or might not have been; the value of books and the value derived from books depend mostly not on any author but on the reader and a vast majority of people should be able to understand and think about the core messages of both 1984 and at least Animal Farm.

If it was a Mea Culpa doesn't that make them even more valuable? If it wasn't a Mea Culpa and was some attempt at manipulation in favor of the things it speaks against how is that supposed to work?

People need to train their own thinking skills, reading anti-dogmatic books can be a good start.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 22 2020 1:53 utc | 110

I don't comment much and I often self-censor but in a comment I'm pretty sure I didn't post I made a joke about how it would be very funny if the Iranians had painted the sides of all the tankers in huge writing with "IT'S A TRAP" (sorry for any perceived shouting but that would be the point) :D

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 22 2020 2:13 utc | 111

May 2020: What Covid means for India's itinerant internal labor population:

Posted by: gm | May 22 2020 2:26 utc | 112

As a Canadian, I will flat out say there's no valid reason for Canada to be on the UN Security Council. The whole point of the Security Council is to have a range of world opinions on a given issue. If Canada is simply going to move in lockstep with the US/France/UK/Germany/Australia/Japan and the rest of the NATO collective, then there is no point in us being there. Back in the 70s & 80s (and even the early 90s) Canada held strong independent views on key issues (such as Cuba and nukes) plus a major role in international diplomacy so there was point, even a value for a presence. Since 2006, Canada has meekly followed the US lead on a host of issues into major international disasters (I.E Crimes!) While stepping back from diplomacy. in 2010 we lost the campaign for the seat to Portugal, and hopefully we'll lose it again because the opinions of a vassal are simply not important

Posted by: Kadath | May 22 2020 2:39 utc | 113

I just read that the National People's Congress in China is going to meet for 7 days instead of the earlier reported 2 days

Below is a link to the agenda for that meeting

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 22 2020 3:59 utc | 114

@110 gm.. thanks... really well done documentary and shows how the poor are the ones who suffer the most and the elites think they are the problem... the system is really messed up.. thanks for sharing...

@111 kadath... i agree with you.. we must be a similar age... send a note to telling him what you think.. these politicians need to hear directly from people like you and i... cheers..

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 5:29 utc | 115

My first introduction to Blair/Orwell was at school as I'm sure it was for many others.
I was in form 2 (Intermediate school in Aotearoa) I was 11 yo. Although we were all loaned copies of the book it was a group setting where we would take turns at reading the damn thing aloud with the chalkie continually interrupting to reinforce any of the less didactic more subtle pieces of this propaganda he thought any of us may have missed.
I regarded the entire episode as being propagandistic & wasn't the only one. That year was kinda messed up as our regular chalkie got crook & we had a substitute for like a term & a half.

That bloke didn't seem to teach us anything off any curriculum. The principal would come in for 3 periods a week & teach us Maths (he was head of the Auckland Maths Society - whatever that was) & cos the school was heavily streamed & we were meant to be the stream, the principal took great delight in catering to those boys (it was a co-ed school with some smart females with good maths brains but he ignored them. He was a real creep around pupils mothers too) who lapped up pure maths. That wasn't me, gimme history, english, hell even geography n I lapped it up, same with maths problems that had a bit of a story attached but a straight equation/algorithm or wtf & my eyes glazed over. Oops big digression.

I occasionally have wondered if the "Animal Farm" thing may have been a set up. Our school was attached to the Teacher's College so teaching academics did test stuff out on us. Most of that was leftie stuff though.

There was a conservative party government in power & the substitute teacher who got us into 'Animal Farm' later went on to become a high level official in that party.

The area we lived in, ie the school zone, was chocka full of university academics, writers & stuff so if that was the case they picked their target.

Unfortunately for them it didn't take. I remember one morning getting into a debate with the chalkie, I was supported by one of the 'maths head' girls, about how unrealistic it seemed.

For example a bloke who the right wing press were always telling all he was "the most powerful man in NZ" was the president of the "Federation of Labour" which was the confederation of all trades unions.
He had got into the union game by way of the musicians union (he had been a flautist) & even though he had a hectic job which probably kept him to a mere 80 hours a week plus all the responsibility, he was paid the award wage for a musician. That was the deal back then, union officials were only paid whatever the standard rate of pay their members collected.
He lived in a state house (which was a rental from the government for working people) and caught the bus to work. Didn't own a car.

When I pointed out to the chalkie that did not seem to be pig like behaviour, or that these 'communists' cos back then most Union officials were communists so the media claimed, actually seemed to be determined to live the same life as the hoi polloi.

Chalkie got quite upset saying Orwell was writing about 'Russia' (not the Soviet Union, but Russia he said) I still remember.

So then a female maths head leapt in saying "Really where does it say that in the book?" Of course it didn't, there was some reference to the USSR in the publisher's intro, but that wasn't Orwell's words. Looking back now, he probably didn't have the balls to say what he meant.

All we had succeeded in doing was provoking another lecture on the meaning of 'allegory' - yawn.

I have just had a quick gander at the book while writing this and I have to say that the fact Orwell/Blair named one of the boss pigs Napoleon, is a total giveaway.

If Blair/Orwell had actually been a socialist, Napoleon Bonaparte wouldn't have been considered a derogatory figure.
The man single-handed introduced enlightenment values for all citizens' having inalienable rights to just about all of Europe.

He didn't succeed with england, where King George III freaked out at the notion of a head of state not being chosen from within his own chinless inbred clan of 'royalty'.

Consequently many millions of pounds grabbed off englander taxpayers was wasted on bribing Russia, Prussia, Austria & Portugal into opposing Bonaparte with their armies.
Sure the englanders finally had a win, after 15 years, at Waterloo but that was far too late, by then the word was out, serfdom was abolished pretty much everywhere but Russia.
Plus monarchs everywhere but england were realising they were all past their use by dates.

Blair/Orwell by choosing Napoleon as a name for his evilest protagonist shows that he wasn't a socialist's arsehole. Blair/Orwell revealed himself to be a high tory english monarchist whose assertion of socialism was just a wedge to drive open a gap to put his nasty propaganda tosh through.

"Animal Farm" was used the world over by reactionaries to try to convince young people that an egalitarian state was unattainable lies promoted by greedies.
Since Aotearoa was proud to claim to be egalitarian (which it wasn't, racism ensured that) the chalkie's effort wasn't that successful.
However I suppose it went over big in parts of amerika back then (early 1960's).

Posted by: A User | May 22 2020 6:36 utc | 116

How can the US compete with China?

The US has a privatised monetary supply, created as debt, the money for slaves. A $1 loan at 6% annual compound interest, calculated daily, over 400 years creates a debt of 26.4 billion dollars!

China refuses to float its currency and creates its own monetary supply. An equivalent $1 loan over 400 years creates a debt of $1 to the Chinese nation.

And a personal loan over 400 years has the same structural nature as an entire nation working for a day.

Welcome to the debt peonage of compound interest. All China has to do is wait, the US is caught in the net of usury, soon to be sacrificed as a fish upon a banker's dinner table.

Welcome to the freedom of international finance/debt!

Posted by: Ric G | May 22 2020 11:01 utc | 117

james, that solitary experience book must have somewhat related to our ongoing strange experiences with the virus here. I don't know how it is up ion the nw of Canada but nature goes on pouring out its lushness here, in spite of hot winds and unpredictable temperature spikes. I am reading a book my youngest daughter sent - "The Wrong of Rudeness" by Amy Olberding. It was hard getting into it because I kept inwardly disagreeing with her attitude, but going further in to her observations of what the Confucians were all about, I have started to connect.

I haven't finished the book yet, rather not in a hurry to do that, which is a sign of a good book. She makes the point that the Confucians, with Confucius himself as a prime example, were as they were in the midst of a violent world, and that their 'way' was in contrast to the Taoists 'way'. I'd never thought of that before, but can see it is true. Here are two Confucian thoughts helpful to dwell upon:

Behaving well-disposed is a capacity that will increase as it is exercised.

The initial trust in realities unknown can summon those realities into being.

Also, I'm not well informed on the Canadian question of Security Council admission - is it that they are to take over the helm there, as New Zealand has done in the past? It might, in the Confucian terms expressed above, be a good thing for Canada to have to do that, to assume such a role?

Thinking about solitary, which we all have been in, to a better or worse advantage than before, the US has, it would seem, entered a kind of voluntary solitude, in which it most definitely has swung worse; time for better.

Posted by: juliania | May 22 2020 14:04 utc | 118

@ Posted by: Ric G | May 22 2020 11:01 utc | 115

Indebtedness has no relation to a country having a "floating" or "fixed" currency.

It has all to do with: 1) the principal 2) interest rates 3) the size and robustness of the country's economy 4) the state of the art of the rest of the world (i.e. the creditors and the other debtors).

China has a robust and diversified economy. It is a global net creditor in USD terms (i.e. it doesn't owe to the rest of the world). Even the tiny debt it owns in USD has a very low principal (15% of its GDP). I don't know about the Chinese interest rates, but they must be low by international standards, as the better "credit rate" you have in the market, the lower the interest you can borrow.

The Renminbi is not a true fixed fiat currency. The CCP determined it should, for now, float around seven to the USD. But it only stays there because the Chinese Government (Bank of China) intervenes in the market as a normal player. It doesn't bend or disrupts the "rules of the game". The fact it has been successful to keep it at the 7:1 ratio is a symptom - and not the cause - of China's sound economic fundamentals.

And the USA is still (and will continue to be, for the foreseeable future) the world's financial superpower. It can erase any debt it owes to the rest of the world at any moment it wants. The problem is: it is a weapon the USA can use only once. If it does that, the rest of the world will simply stop buying American debt, thus stopping with the American people's capacity to consume more than it produces.

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 14:34 utc | 119

I think that some of you would appreciate some levity. Poland is in the midst of campaign for the office of nation's President. Until recently, the incumbent had passing chance to win in the first vote (50% required) and a very good chance in the 2nd. However, public opinion in Poland is more volatile. A catchy slogan can save or doom a campaign.

A sentence from a video of PAD (acronym for the incumbent, a bit derogatory) suddenly makes huge rounds

"Nobody asks your name when you fight sharp shadow of fog"

Very poetic, if you ask me, but the response is dominated by cheap derision, and the polls collapsed. Not that polls of Poles are reliable...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 22 2020 14:54 utc | 120

Thanks, Piotr Berman @ 118, and on the subject of polls sans Poles, this article was quite helpful in surveying other parts of Europe:


[Not wishing to disturb the thread]

Posted by: juliania | May 22 2020 15:18 utc | 121

"U.S. prepared to spend Russia, China 'into oblivion' to win nuclear arms race: U.S. envoy"

Isn't this what Reagan did? Lose/Lose, what a philosophy.


Posted by: arby | May 22 2020 16:23 utc | 122

"If Blair/Orwell had actually been a socialist, Napoleon Bonaparte wouldn't have been considered a derogatory figure.
The man single-handed introduced enlightenment values for all citizens' having inalienable rights to just about all of Europe..."
You might have thought differently if you had been one of the 650, 000 mostly conscripted members of the Grand Armee, 'Enlightenment' values aloft, who marched into Russia in 1812. Of that army, which caused countless casualties of every kind on the way in and out, about 10,000 returned.
In fact what Orwell was doing was being totally unoriginal: Stalin was routinely charged on the Trotskyist left with having chosen the role of Bonaparte in burying the Communist revolution. It was a political cliche- part of the Foreign Office/CIA inspired propaganda which was largely composed of -I'm not sure of I'm using the word properly- a 'bricolage' compounded of the most serviceable bits of the critiques of Bolshevism that had been flying around since the year dot (and many of them were just reworkings of anti-Jacobin smears).
I met a man once who had known Orwell/Blair when he was in Crewe, slumming it, he regarded Orwell as a treacherous snob. I was shocked at the time. But not half as shocked as I was to discover how sincerely admired he was by members of the most reactionary sections of the British Establishment. He had been to Eton, after all.

Posted by: bevin | May 22 2020 16:30 utc | 123

juliania | May 22 2020 15:18 utc <-- thanks for the link

To continue the levity theme, Duran has an article about an American politician I have never hear about "Why Klobachar is Biden't best bet". Apparently a female, and the article refers to her several times as Klobachar. I only checked the matches of "klob" so I do not know what is so great about her, but I guess it helps if nobody can remember her name -- no risk to overshadow the top of the ticket.

One can use Paul Robeson song and change it a little, "They misremembered my name"

Is it a sister? No and no!
Is a brother? No and no!
They misremembered my name.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 22 2020 17:00 utc | 124


Well, I met my sister the other day
I give her my right hand
But just as soon as ever my back-a was turned
She misremembered my name!
Now, do you call that a sister? No, no!
Do you call that a sister? No, no!
Do you call that a sister? No, no!
She misremembered my name!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 22 2020 17:07 utc | 125

"Ollie Vargas
Bolivia's govt is preparing a Fujimorii style 'self-coup' to close the elected congress and end the possibility of any elections. The aim is to establish a full dictatorship until the state companies have been privatized & Indigenous movements crushed.
Quote Tweet
Kawsachun News
· 23h
Bolivia's coup president Añez is trying to push through promotions within the military without congressional approval. The move comes as the regime attempts to secure their backing in the face of calls for democratic elections."

Posted by: arby | May 22 2020 17:12 utc | 126

Senility strikes: for Crewe please read Wigan!

Posted by: bevin | May 22 2020 17:24 utc | 127

Don't hold your breath waiting for Canada's government- sticklers for democratic forms as any Haitian, Venezuelan of Honduran will attest- to protest against this quick transition from a popular democracy (including that rarity an indigenous Head of State) to a plain old military dictatorship.
All those yummee mining concessions and all that state property to be had!
I hope that the socialists in Bolivia make it plain that everything stolen now from the people will be taken back, together with the sum of any exported profits, without any compensation when, inevitably, the revolution comes. As to those responsible they will be thieves and liable to be treated as such.

Posted by: bevin | May 22 2020 17:32 utc | 128

Propaganda and deception can be similarly deployed by the careless use of language on both sides of an ideological fence. Rigid ideology is a pernicious kind of group think. The intellectual prison of political theory has all too often condemned people to death, and used the promise of the yet unfounded society or "man of the future" as a way to justify a host of crimes against mortal flesh. I read Orwell in high school and Camus when I went to college. And neither of them could be seduced by the mirage a perfectible world, or the kind of theory that interprets its way into committing crimes in pursuit of a perfect society.

Orwell's sympathies were never with the ideological mind or with those who weaponize words in the service of destruction.

Posted by: Copeland | May 22 2020 17:32 utc | 129

@Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 14:34 utc | 119

I suspect that there is still a fundamental difference in the creation of the Chinese and US monetary supply.

The US monetary supply is not owned by the Treasury but by the private Fed and the private bankers. The Chinese internal monetary supply is created by the Chinese themselves. China then has the power to erase their own internal monetary debts, the US does not.

Interest in China is also paid to the government, interest in the US is paid to the private bankers, and the interest streams are the 'honey' in the national hive.

Beware then of privatizing the monetary supply!

Posted by: Ric G | May 22 2020 18:26 utc | 130

People who pretend to not have an ideology are just people who are ignorant of their own ideology. The default ideology that people possess without being aware of it is whatever ideology is fed to them embedded in the media that they consume. For those people in societies with a "Free Press©" and privately owned corporate mass media entertainment, that default ideology is capitalism. Everyone in such a society who does not deliberately and carefully cultivate a different ideology will absolutely and in all cases possess the default. That is inevitable and inescapable.

Capitalism most definitely kills, and by the many millions at that, but being wedded to capitalist ideology causes people to become skilled at apologetics for the ideology that they claim they do not have. To them capitalism's victims die as a consequence of their choices. People whose lives are cut short by homelessness or lack of health insurance are people who have made bad choices in their lives. This isn't to say that the people who understand the world using capitalist paradigms lack compassion, and many may even make some sacrifices to aid those who are thought to have made bad choices in their lives, but this they do as a display of their virtue and not as a behavior informed by their ideology.

The only way to "free" one's mind from ideology is to develop conscious control over the ideology that one's mind employs.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 22 2020 18:47 utc | 131

@ Posted by: Ric G | May 22 2020 18:26 utc | 130

I'm aware the USA is the only country in the world with a private central bank.

However, from the point of view of sovereign debt and fiat currency system, it really doesn't matter. A central bank still has to behave like a central bank; this is not optional for capitalism.

Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 19:00 utc | 132

@ 118 juliania... yes - the solitary book has some resonance with covid and distancing.. i bought the book back in dec. or january and lent it to a friend.. i just got it back the past week! it is definitely lush and nature is in full gear here on vancouver island.. it is a beauty to behold!

it is interesting the book you are reading 'the wrong of rudeness'.. what a title, lol! i have never gotten into Confucius, or confuciun thinking... i read the book 'tao teh ching' many years ago and that always resonated with me in a special and rewarding way... confucius thinking seems more superficial and the title of the book emphasizes that to me.. but, i remain open minded.. maybe there is some special beauty and i like what you outlined in terms of ones actions - staying positive and imagining the best with regard to canada having a seat on the un security council... but as @ 113 kadath and others have articulated - canada hasn't shown much of any independence in the area of foreign affairs for some time... it can always change, but at present it doesn't look like it will... we have a person named crystia freeland who is looking to win the brass ring of the liberal party of canada at some point and she is all george soros ideology, spearheading the campaign to replace maduro with guiado... if that doesn't tell you where canada's foreign policy agenda is right their, then nothing will! thanks for sharing!

Posted by: james | May 22 2020 19:38 utc | 133

WG @ 131

"People who pretend to not have an ideology are just people who are ignorant of their own ideology. The default ideology that people possess without being aware of it is whatever ideology is fed to them embedded in the media that they consume. "

Good one. I get in debates with people who say they have no opinion, but it turns out that they very much do and seem to be unaware that it is an opinion. They see these things/opinions as self evident.

Posted by: arby | May 22 2020 20:04 utc | 134

Opinion and ideology are not even in the same ontological class. The tyrant of antiquity is different in kind from the totalitarian realm where language has been corrupted and where the syllogism kills. Group think, dogma, crusades religious and political, system of indoctrination---all these obliterate any nuance of thought--or dialogue. Ideology often pretends to be scientific or to represent the purest Natural Law; and its purported power is to carry us to an ideal world. From Saint Juste to the show trials of the Stalinist era, to the persecution of the Dalton Trumbo and the Hollywood 10 by HUAC and Joe McCarthy, to the War on Terror itself. "Four legs good, two legs bad."

Posted by: Copeland | May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 135

Well, James, New Zealand went through a pretty nasty stage as I understand it, with John Key and others. (I was down there briefly when Muldoon was in, and he was pretty awful as I understand, though my father loved him. He was ill at the time, so I don't blame him too much.) The Russians with Yeltsin, and so it goes... I read a book on travels in Siberia during the Yeltsin years and it did seem things would never change, conditions very turgid, but they did.

Yes, I have been enamoured of the Tao also, so learning about Confucius with this book is interesting. I love what Laotse has to say about the power of water. I wouldn't say the two are incompatible, just different.

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2020 0:04 utc | 136

"Venezuela military to ESCORT Iranian fuel tankers to Caracas against de facto naval blockade by US "


Posted by: arby | May 23 2020 1:08 utc | 137

Just discovered two excellent new interviews by Useful Idiots that has restored my faith in their work.
First one is with Aaron Mate at 31 minutes

and second Jimmy Dore. To skip the preamble if you wish then Jimmy Dore commences at approx 51 minutes

Both are worth the time for the entire production.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 23 2020 7:15 utc | 138

See UK Column for some internal strife with Integrity Initiative and Brigade 77. Commences at the 9:30 mark.

Perfidious Albion is still at it. Well worth the time as it takes a deep look at the nexus between military and government and all oversight by the military.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 23 2020 8:39 utc | 139

In reply to Ric G | May 22 2020 11:01 utc | 117

The same end can be had by setting the interest rate to zero, in other words 'free money'. There lacks incentive to invest money, time, effort etc. It's also based on the presumption that we're willing to be paid by debt, thereby assuming that an entity which simply erases it is an unreliable source of income. Technically we can't erase debt without erasing the money supply since it's based on debt. It becomes a circular arrangement like "I'll spend more money so I can make more money to spend." USian policymakers call it 'economic stimulus'. While we thought we had $1, we found that weighted value to be much less than face value when we considered all the expense incurred in the transaction processes. So we only have $.5 value compared to the $1 face value. I'm referring to the middlemen of course.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 23 2020 9:38 utc | 140

In reply to vk | May 22 2020 14:34 utc | 119

"It can erase any debt it owes to the rest of the world at any moment it wants. The problem is: it is a weapon the USA can use only once. If it does that, the rest of the world will simply stop buying American debt, thus stopping with the American people's capacity to consume more than it produces. "

Solid point can't be overemphasized. Remember the trillion dollar coin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 23 2020 9:49 utc | 141

One cannot have "thought" absent a framework for understanding. If that were possible then dogs and cats would be philosophers. One cannot have "any nuance of thought" without first disassembling and reassembling the framework for understanding that one is employing to build that thought. Without full knowledge of one's own ideology then one cannot really even have genuine thoughts, much less nuanced ones. What passes for thoughts are for such a one little more than sensations that percolate up from the subconscious accompanied by fragments of recycled dialog. Labeling such experiences "thought" very much cheapens the endeavor.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 23 2020 14:50 utc | 142

Naked Capitalism just posted a discussion about capitalism with Michael Hudson and some libertarian from Cato.

Posted by: spudski | May 23 2020 15:11 utc | 143

while we waste time here, under-the-radar people like Bob Langer will turn fear into massive wealth.

I have a poem for Bob, and for a Joe who actually has some guts to do something about censorship.

Covaxitastic patent man
Bob, from MIT
didn’t get the axe
for awkward ties to Epstein

his colleague in the media lab,
Joi Ito, had to quit
but Bob survived the scandal
because his patents are the shit

a chip to turn fertility off
and on by remote control?
you’re in their science fiction now
just try to break their hold

so Rogan has gone rogue
and throws down against Big Tech
lets Alex break the story
going for their neck

maybe there’s some fight
left in people’s spine
that the lockiNazi control zombies
cannot quite out-shine

Posted by: lizard | May 23 2020 15:24 utc | 144

I suggest that disassembling and reassembling the framework for understanding is the work of philosophy, and is not to be confused with ideology. It is a mistake to confuse the two words or ignore the different classifications to which they belong. Philosophy is a Greek word that means love of wisdom. Ideology has become more destructive than ever since the Industrial Revolution; and there is no confusion in terms of the regimentation and orthodoxy and implicit violence that superintends it.

A closed system that has no respect for truth, or is without conviction about the difference between truth and lies, will not care whether it employs a lie or tells the truth, because the only thing that matters in ideology is the political objective. Ideology is the means to an end which forces itself on the world. That is the modern understanding of the word ideology; and its terms have been welded into the mind by images of bombed cities and death camps.

It should not escape notice that the point under consideration is connected to the dialogue about Orwell. Dispelling some of the myths about Orwell's life is quite different from the malicious deconstruction this writer's life. Some of the comments that have been made would go so far as to strip him of his humanity. The antidote to this slander is to read Orwell. Read his essays if you haven't read them, read "Politics and the English Language."

Posted by: Copeland | May 23 2020 18:29 utc | 145

@ Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 23 2020 9:38 utc | 140

The greatest treasure in the nation is the monetary supply. Why then do we swap our monetary supply for debt, why do we line up with our national treasures and swap these treasures for the debt banker's debt confetti, created with no intrinsic definition, measure, or value?

History, assuming that there is one left to live, will ponder this strange economic psyche, lost into the madness of debt.

It is a monetary system fit only for the ignorant, the insane, and the psychopathic.

Some people wonder where humanity went wrong, with 40,000 nuclear warheads pointed at each other. For a reason, look no further than the monetary system.

@ Posted by: vk | May 22 2020 19:00 utc | 132

I would consider all central banks to be privately owned or controlled. They are all just pizza franchises connected to the Domino's HQ of the BIS, the franchises where the nations go to trade their treasures for debt!

Posted by: Ric G | May 24 2020 0:02 utc | 146

In reply to Ric G | May 24 2020 0:02 utc | 146

In the rhetorical, "why indeed?" :^)

It's been this way since I can remember.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 24 2020 4:53 utc | 147

@ Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 24 2020 4:53 utc | 147

History will be fascinated by us, as if we have been possessed by devils and witches.

I am sure this possession started way before, but AD1694 is a good place to start, the birth of the privately owned Bank of England, the time the pawn brokers began to seize control of the world with their instruments of debt!

Posted by: Ric G | May 24 2020 6:45 utc | 148

In reply to Ric G

...and that we still use archaic terms like sunrise and sunset.

Consider this: what system works best? The debt system has emerged to hold the position. And we use the tools we have at our disposal, it just makes sense. No reason to fight it, but there are reasons to come up with a better tool. Cell phone was scifi when I was a kid, and now we're up to 5th generation (smart? or not so much?). I don't use one because I don't see the advantage, in fact I like my solitude. Wild animals are near extinction if you get my drift.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 24 2020 10:41 utc | 149

In reply to Curmudgeon

Ah, yes, the extinct species, leaving the rest lamenting, 'do not fight the world, life is hard enough as it is'!

Here is a simple asset monetary system, runs in the same way as hydro lakes create electricity.

But only the dwindling near-extinct species will even contemplate it, and then only for a moment!

Posted by: Ric G | May 24 2020 11:05 utc | 150

In reply to Ric G
Can the simple asset monetary system compete and win? Second place is the first loser.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25 2020 2:48 utc | 151

In reply to Curmudgeon

An asset-hydro banking system, connected to Cyclos banking software, is a multi-billion dollar business waiting for an enterprising group of people, an idea which makes Facebook look as though it is a 10 cent lemonade stand!

However, standing among the hypnotised debt sheep, the ignition point seems as far away as ever!

Posted by: Ric G | May 25 2020 5:24 utc | 152

In reply to Ric G

I assume you mean to say it has potential. Is it a risky investment? The enterprising group of people would likely assume some sort of risk in the event of its failure.

Debt is not necessarily a bad thing. Investors are creating debt while the benefactor of the investment is assuming debt. The statement holds truth even in the given model. Debt is essentially my word that I will repay the obligation in lieu of my own ability to pay in currency and having no other thing of value to offer in exchange.

Which is the scoundrel, the person creating the debt or the person assuming it? There is a third person, the one who determines whether the debt is valid. Again I refer to the middlemen, those parasites to whom you refer in earlier comments.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25 2020 5:59 utc | 153

There is surprisingly little risk in creating an asset-hydro monetary system. The only missing element is either a large email list of people who can be rapidly transferred to 'seed' the marketplace, or alternatively, a clever marketing campaign. The first 50,000 members are the hardest hurdle to climb over. The next 500 million will be effortless.

The problem with our debt system is that it is a swindle. The debt banker/pawn broker monetises the customer's collateral as an asset owned by the bank, creating the capital for the loan as a reflection of collateral in a financial mirror.

The banker then charges compound interest upon this reflected capital, backed by the banker's deception that the customer is borrowing valuable capital, supplied by the 'third party'.

If the customer has no collateral, the banker has no capital, and it is the act of loan creation which creates the capital for the loan!

And the customer would be reaching for his pitch fork once he realises that he is paying interest upon a reflection of his own assets!

Posted by: Ric G | May 25 2020 6:35 utc | 154

Marketing is persuasion. There's also coercion. Altruism aside, in order to convince people, there must be something in it for them. I think 'sheeple' is the wrong term since for the most part people are predatory animals. The predator can be exploited by its ignorance.

The only problem with the debt system is there's too much of it. Swindle is subjective; it's up to the predator to make that call. They can't force me to assume their debt, and it works both ways as long as we operate on the 'eyes wide open' concept. We're all ignorant of some things.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25 2020 7:01 utc | 155

@ Curmudgeon

Money is whatever your government will accept in payment for taxes, and when the monetary supply of those banknotes, those debt instruments, is controlled by a small cartel of debt bankers, operating from international Debt HQ, then your concept of freedom and choice is the choice of which wall in a two square metre prison you choose to lean against!

Welcome to the slave plantations, where the dark treasure we call money is debt!

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted by: Ric G | May 25 2020 9:06 utc | 156

I don't disagree on anything you're saying in particular. People are slaves to their choices. Life enslaves us indirectly. I don't see a way around the need to eat or drink to survive.

The tax reference is the most important in my opinion. It's the only acceptable means of keeping the government at bay. I refer to the coercion aspect in my earlier statement. Is there a difference between the government and the banking cartel? I don't see it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25 2020 10:22 utc | 157

The bankers seize the interest streams as their profits and the government is as poor as a church mouse as it cannot create its own sovereign monetary supply. According to the debt bankers, this would be 'money printing and inflationary'.

The government then is just a tax collector for the debt bankers and the government gives the legitimacy to the debt which the debt bankers need, or the people would rebel.

The identities of the debt bankers then are protected even more than the nuclear codes!

Henry Ford. "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."

Posted by: Ric G | May 25 2020 10:34 utc | 158

Most people would accept that the monetary supply is the greatest treasure in our nation. Why then do most people not also wonder, 'why do we create our monetary supply as debt? How have we turned our greatest treasure into our greatest liability?'

Surely this is an astonishing feat of black magic, or Satanism?

Posted by: Ric G | May 25 2020 10:37 utc | 159

You see. So while we attempt to separate the currency manipulators from the government we find they are one. It's a handshake. Two hands, certainly, make up one handshake. On the lighter side, I'd surmise it not to be Satanism but MAGAism. :^)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 25 2020 11:06 utc | 160

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