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May 17, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-39

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:


New Information: Guaido Was the 'Commander in Chief' of the Failed Mercenary Operation Against Venezuela - Venzuela Analysis
US-Based Advisers From Guaido’s Team Quit Over Foiled Coup Plot - Telesur
Revealed: Secretive British unit planning for ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela - The Canary


It’s not about Assad - MEI
US-Backed Forces Seize Syrian Commercial Bank In Oil-Rich Northeast Province - Almasdar
U.S. Syria Representative Says His Job Is to Make the War a 'Quagmire' for Russia - Newsweek
Pentagon says Damascus, Moscow exploit discontent in Kurdish-controlled Syria - AL-Monitor


“The American friends”: New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange - Grayzone

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on May 17, 2020 at 14:53 UTC | Permalink

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Oooh, where is the outrage?
Here you go Iraqis, we don't want it anymore. It's just costing us too much. We came. We broke the shit up. Now, you go figure it out. It was always your problem to figure out anyways.
They can beat us with $450 Katyushas. Time to get out.
The gall of this article from Military Times.

Iran also gets a lopsided return on its investment in Iraqi surrogates. A U.S. Special Forces soldier costs over $1 million to recruit, train and equip. A brand new Marine infantryman has at least $45,000 invested in him. But the obsolescent Katyusha rockets being flung at U.S. outposts in Iraq can be had for $450.

Iraqis, not US troops, must be the ones who counter Iran’s influence in Iraq

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 18 2020 14:25 utc | 101

@ 70 rsh quote " My hatred for religion is on a par with my hatred of the state." richard, reading thru the posts this morning, seems to me your religion is hate.. funny thing about religion is we are typically blinded by it..

Posted by: james | May 18 2020 14:52 utc | 102

If Covid19 was as infectious as it is purported to be, the Zaandam should have resulted in the totality of the population to be infected. guidoamm

On two warships of the French navy the infection rate was 50%. They had 20 bunks per one dense enclosure for sailors. This is probably the most intense example of unlimited contacts.

On a cruise ships the lodging is typically for 1-2 people and avoiding crowding etc. is much easier. That said, "quarantine" model is in most situations better that "lockdown" model. Right at the start, quarantine is easier to invoke in the early stage of the epidemic, and properly executed, with LOCAL lockdown, it should suffice. But there is still no definite answer what level of testing, methods of isolation etc. is sufficient.

My hometown was only mildly affected, but at the beginning one could see systemic delay of sensible actions. There were no masks and huge shortage of sanitizing materials. Both caused by ineptitude of the Federal Administration. They could ramp up the mask production by reopening production lines and orchestrate the distribution of sanitizing materials. And there were no tests. Still, one could be isolating everybody with cold symptoms for a period and trace, but that requires some procedure, e.g. what to do with people who do not live alone. In my town it could be easy, just "commandeer" half of the hotels and motels. Thinking about it, in rural areas without motels they have a huge number of hunter cabins, perfect place to isolate small groups... especially for those who can hunt and fish their own food...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 18 2020 15:03 utc | 103

Posted by: Jen | May 18 2020 5:04 utc | 76

Thanks your comments and appreciate the extra truthful materials. I didn't care much about Australia and Kevin Rudd while he was PM but after leaving office and as president of Asia Society Policy Institute I watched his interviewed and in TED. People changed after leaving office agrees he is not "lapdog material.” I have a brother in Australia we spoke regularly keeping in touch. We are miles apart in Australian - China politics. But blood still thicker than water and kept it out our brotherly love. The same Kevin Rudd is Australian first. But time has changed, China is no thread to Australia but The Americanism and exceptions is threads to Australia and the rest of the world - that the way I see it.

Posted by: jc | May 18 2020 15:34 utc | 104

Many of us barflies are old enough to recall the novel then movie, The Valley of the Dolls, Dolls being pills--uppers & downers--whose awareness was also made by The Who's Quadrophenia. Their usage never went away thanks to the overall nature of society within the Outlaw US Empire, and such "cocktail" usage has OD rates soaring as revealed in "All mixed up: It’s more than just an opioid crisis, polydrug use is poisoning Americans." IMO, its very unfortunate this longstanding problem very akin to a pandemic doesn't get any real media exposure.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 18 2020 16:17 utc | 105

emerson @ 42

article is: “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” Nature, 2015.

gm @ 54

Elsevier is the worst of the lot imho. They have a terrible reputation. (At one time I was on a committee for negotiating the cost of sci. journals - yes the cost for a ‘country’ or a ‘library circuit’ if very large is negotiated, in good squeeze-em fashion or ‘trust the market’ ha ha. The sums paid are proprietary. Elsevier is brutal.)

The whole functionning of this biz shows that there are few ppl in the scientific - purveyors of such information - (world) community who try to stand up to this racketeering. Oppo grew terribly slowly, rumbling along, there was great hope boosted with the intertubes, researchers could post (etc.) and in some small measure that has turned out correct, but the ‘main’ so-called ‘top’ journals retain, besides the impressive! financial profit, a grip on info. which affords them considerable power. At present, this system is slowly crumbling, as many others are, in the 08 financial - crisis onto cov19 times. The basic reason is loss of ‘growth’ and thus loss of automatic or complacent ‘trust’. (in the rich ‘West’)

Posted by: Noirette | May 18 2020 16:18 utc | 106

Glenn Greenwald on, amongst other things, the madness of Marcy Wheeler.

Posted by: bevin | May 18 2020 19:12 utc | 107

re: Huawei

It's not clear to me that the US can exclusively claim technological leadership in semiconductors now or in the past 10 years. Asian firms (JP, Korea, Taiwan) led the way in 14nm for example. Euro firms are very strong in the most cutting edge stuff, like the 100Ghz range optoelectronics.

Chinese domestic capacity will displace most "ordinary" chip imports by 2025. The size of the Chinese domestic market guarantees viability and economy of scale, and there is no question of strategy or resources. In the interim, the countries home to the other global tech leaders in chips already do equal or more business with China than the US, although the individual govts could be persuaded to act against their interests, in some cases.

US taking over Ericsson would be very sad too. Would end up killing it, like Nokia.

Posted by: ptb | May 18 2020 19:35 utc | 108

Re: school lockdown might introduce more parents to what their kids are actually being (or not being) taught in public schools, Harvard recently put out this article of 'warning'... see comments, also.

Posted by: Nancy E. Sutton | May 18 2020 22:48 utc | 109

Posted by: lizard | May 18 2020 13:16 utc | 98 I am having a difficult time reconciling why RSH would want us stupid humans to help other stupid humans by wearing masks if he hates stupid humans so much. won't it be beneficial to planet earth to get infected and go kiss grannie?

By all means kiss *your* grannie. I couldn't care less. You (or your grannie) try to kiss *me*, I'll put a bullet in you first.

I recall an episode of the old "Mission Impossible" TV series. There was a millionaire villain who was into life extension. His doctor make the usual (stupid) statement about how if everyone lived forever, the earth couldn't sustain the population. The millionaire replied: "I said I wanted to live forever. I didn't say I wanted you to."

The same applies here. I have a simple personal agenda to avoid dying of COVID-19. But anyone else who dies is utterly irrelevant to me.

But as a matter of *correctness*, in a *rational* society - instead of the one we have now occupied by idiots like you - it would be *correct* for everyone to adhere to the policy of dampening the pandemic by any means necessary in order to spare unnecessary deaths.

Which is why I advocate maintaining the lockdown until the proper amount of testing, tracing and isolating can be ramped up. Eventually an effective *treatment* - not vaccine - can be developed so that even if I do get infected, I'm unlikely to die at my age.

I don't expect anyone here at your level of ignorance and lack of intelligence to comprehend the above, but I'm sure there are others here with some intelligence who will comprehend the point.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 18 2020 23:32 utc | 110

Posted by: guidoamm | May 18 2020 13:31 utc | 99 Testing, tracing and isolating is wholly consistent with reopening of the economy.

What the hell do you think I've been saying? The problem is the US is *not ready* to do the necessary testing, tracing and isolating.

But of course you don't care. You just want to re-assert your nonsense. I notice in your barrage of questions, you did nothing to address my point. Because you can't. All you can is assert, assert, and assert that "the lockdown is futile". Except it's not. It's what every country that was *not* prepared for the virus has had to do.

But for you, the fact that, as b has pointed out, lockdown is something that has been done for *ages* and is supported by virtually every epidemiology expert - except of course for a few cherry-picked by you - isn't accepted by you. *You* are the only person who matters. *You* are the only person who has discerned the TRUTH. Everyone else must bow to your agenda.

In reality, you're a person with *zero* intellectual integrity whose only function is acting as a propaganda mouthpiece for someone who wants the lockdown lifted for their own economic or political agenda. You're on a par with a hasbara troll paid by the Israelis to bad-mouth the Palestinians and Iran.

People like you disgust me. I view intellectual integrity as a prime virtue. Being *correct* - not *right* - is something I value highly. And you're the exact opposite of that.

So "disparage" you? You're scum. You're household mildew. You're a roach under my sink.

How do you like me now?

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 18 2020 23:42 utc | 111

Richard Steven Hack
lacks love so loves attack
the stoopid, seething masses
who cannot manage masks

let them tongue the air
sicken, gasp and die
Richard Steven Hack
doesn't care 'bout why

concern is primal me
he's smart as smart can be
approach him with bare face
he hath a bullet for thee

Posted by: lizard | May 19 2020 0:08 utc | 112

HK elites doing what they can and can't to keep Jimmy Lai a viable political force, but the end is near:

HK judicial affairs interrupted as Jimmy Lai’s case postponed

"We in Hong Kong urgently need the full support of the West and the US," Lai said in an article titled "A Call for Help" published in his Apple Daily on Sunday. "We are calling for your help." [...] "I miss the CIA, I want the US, the UK, and foreign countries to influence (help) us. Their (external power) support is the only way for us to survive," Lai said.

Jeez, this Jimmy Lai dude doesn't belong to jail, but to a zoo. And then to a slaughterhouse, as that's where petulant animals should go to.

Hong Kong's economy fell by 8.9% last quarter, 2.1% more than the Mainland (-6.8%). It is a drag to the Chinese economy now. By April, the HK government had already spent USD 37 billion in relief packages alone - equivalent to 10% of its "GDP".

To say the Mainland has already won this "war" is being excessively modest.


From b's Twitter account:

Ben Smith’s NYT Critique of Ronan Farrow Describes a Toxic, Corrosive, and Still-Vibrant Trump-Era Pathology: “Resistance Journalism”

That's a fine piece, but there's one problem: where are the editors in the story?

It's one thing when only some journalists do this kind of thing. After all, there are bad apples everywhere.

But the article clearly indicates this is becoming - since 9/11 - a widespread practice by many journalists, including illustrious ones. And more: they are getting away with it - their careers continuing to progress - after they're caught. This heavily indicates it is not journalism per se degenerating, but a more ample degeneration that goes from the CIA/Pentagon to the editors of the big and small news outlets. It is the editor-in-chief who decides if a journalist will be hired or not.

The article mentions only three editors: Ben Smith (in-chief), Jeffrey Goldberg (in-chief) and Margaret Sullivan (as public editor). The first was only mentioned from the point after he left the job, the second is explicitly mentioned as getting the job because he was playing the game (but only as a curiosity, nothing more is developed on the system itself) and the third is also mentioning only as an identifier ("former public editor"). There is absolutely no questioning on the clear corruption in the journalism (propaganda) industry.

Sure, the Marcy Wheeler case is truly bizarre. However, as the article develops, it is clear it's just an extreme case by a desperate and/or crazy individual. To take her as the example to be punished is ridiculous, as the practice is clearly being induced by bigwig editors.

Mu guess is Glenn Greenwald doesn't delve into the corruption of the industry - which puts the editors as the main culprits - for the simple fact he's himself an editor (editor-in-chief). As such, he's willing to protect his ilk so he can continue to milk the system - only as the "good guy within the system", as the good cop, the "beacon of hope". After all, he became a multimillionaire because of it.

Posted by: vk | May 19 2020 0:43 utc | 113

Posted by: ptb | May 18 2020 19:35 utc | 108

Intel is no longer the leader in either process node or performance, despite a massive home ground advantages. Micron while competitive has been reduced to bottom feeder status by the Koreans in the memory market.

Now onto Huawei, their 5G is so popular not only because of performance and also because their single piece antenna + radio solution allows operators to save massively on real estate rent at cellular sites, which can be up to the tune of 200K pounds per site in the UK for example according to Huawei (Geez, how many sites can be built in China with that amount of dough?). This killer advantage never gets mentioned by western MSMs as far as I can tell for obvious reasons.

Posted by: JW | May 19 2020 1:28 utc | 114

@ 107 bevin... thanks for the greenwald article taking apart marcy wheeler.... no mention of it at emptywheels site, lol.... in fairness to her - they are all a bunch of inward looking doofus's at ews, led by the lead swamp dog himself bmaz... that can't help...

Posted by: james | May 19 2020 2:16 utc | 115

Marco Rubio has been chosen to lead the US Senate committee which exists, in theory, to provide a check on the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (among others).

Because who better to keep the CIA in check than one of its greatest cheerleaders.

Posted by: OHH | May 19 2020 3:00 utc | 116

So apparently the Saudi trainee who shot 3 Americans and injured 8 others at the Naval Base in Pensacola Florida had contact or links with Al-Qaeda. I guess it's the excuse being given to whitewash the Saudi kingdom and its Clown Prince.

Here I was under the impression that AQ and ISIS were mercenaries of convenience for the kingdom.

There's so much to despise with Trump, besides the fact that he's a Ziofascist, but his greed-driven, Zionist-inspired strategic relationship with MBS and the corrupt Kingdom is almost as despicable.

Posted by: Circe | May 19 2020 3:44 utc | 117

Sheldon Adelson's in the spy business???


Posted by: Circe | May 19 2020 4:08 utc | 118

The planet wide lock down to Covid-19 could be the first chapter in a genocide program and I suspect that those who clamour for this lock down are not willing to pay for it with their superannuation and their tax streams.

They are quite willing to pass the debts onto those who are yet to be born, sorry kiddies.

If we were to use the Covid situation to change our monetary system then we would perform a great service to history.

Here is a simple description of our current monetary system, an alternative monetary system, and the concept of a petition which could be presented to our national parliaments.

Posted by: Ric G | May 19 2020 4:18 utc | 119

Richard Steven Hack

I hereby authorise b to vouch as to the fact that my email address corresponds to a real person. If b pleases, he may also reveal my general geographic location down to country level.

Irritating though your outbursts may be, I am sure your heart is in the right place.

I ask however you dial down your aggressive stance.

Posted by: guidoamm | May 19 2020 4:32 utc | 120

Nancy E. Sutton @109: "Re: school lockdown might introduce more parents to what their kids are actually being (or not being) taught in public schools..."

Fortunately, the school shutdowns are also teaching parents what totally undisciplined, unmanageable assholes their children are.

Parents "burning out" trying to manage their own children's bad behavior... and they only have to deal with a couple kids, and its their own kids at that!

Do I pity parents having to deal with their own asshole kids' behavior? Nope.

Thank you covid for turning the great wheel of karma.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2020 12:11 utc | 121

I've been reading Global Times and its editorials for awhile now, and I can state with certainty that today's is the strongest I've seen in its rhetoric toward the Outlaw US Empire. There are several statements I might excerpt, but this IMO is the strongest:

"To be reelected, will the Trump administration do more outrageous things, posing more serious threats to the world? We suspect there is nothing Washington dare not do right now. After all, what will it care if it doesn't care about tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of lives? We sincerely hope the US political system can restrain the Trump administration's recklessness and prevent it from throwing the US and the world - which are suffering a catastrophe - into a deeper abyss." [My Emphasis]

Please also see Escobar's piece as he makes clear China's ready for whatever Trump might try to do. He also reminds us to watch what happens at the annual People's Congress than begins Friday. IMO, Trump and the pro-war Outlaw US Empire crowd have no idea what they're about to get themselves into. The source Pepe cites notes:

"An example, referring to Covid-19, is the capacity to produce ventilators: 'Out of over 1,400 pieces necessary for a ventilator, over 1,100 must be produced in China, including final assembly. That’s the US problem today. They have state of the art technology, but not the methods and production capacity. So they have to rely on Chinese production.'"

And that's just one item out of millions the Empire requires to keep itself stocked. About the only thing it can do itself is provide food, although the virus has severely disrupted that process, exacerbating Trump's deportation policy's already severe damage to farm labor. Even production for the military's being slowed or halted, as with the F-35 example of parts that were made in Turkey that are no longer allowed to be imported.

And don't forget Russia works in tandem with China, and it hasn't remained quiet either.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 19 2020 15:18 utc | 122

It is astounding that this came out! I always knew Uncle Joe was as crooked as a dog's leg, but I never expected to hear him just come right out and spell it out on a leaked tape. He must be as dumb as a rock to let it come to this. And a decent search engine drill-down shows that all the big 'news' media machines are frantically trying to look the other way.

Incredible Joe Biden Screw-Up!!!

For now...

Posted by: blues | May 19 2020 17:40 utc | 123

Eustice says British furloughed workers to go pick fruit

Eustice is now talking about the availability of foreign labour for the harvest.

Normally workers from countries like Romania and Bulgaria come.

But only around a third of them are here, he says.

He says the government is encouraging Britons to take these jobs.

He says staff who are furloughed may want to supplement their income with a second job.

Yeah, do it, Brits! Get on your fours, collect the strawberries, then look to the sky with a radiant smile and thank God and Her Majesty for your insignificant existence!

Posted by: vk | May 19 2020 18:06 utc | 124

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