Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 11, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-81

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:



The virus disrupts the cellular signaling system that alarms our immune defenses in very sophisticated ways. The immune defense is delayed but thereby often more intense than is good for our bodies. How does it do that? The first link, from April, already touched on this. The next two are new research.

Saudi Madness:

Class war:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on October 11, 2020 at 12:53 UTC | Permalink

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Smith@185 and 190,

The Mandate of Heaven is not fixed to some one or family forever. Typically, when a new dynasty or regime arises in China, the ruler would seek and claim that he has the Mandate of Heaven. Getting the Mandate of Heaven is one thing; however, maintaining it is another. If the ruler does not govern diligently with people's interests in mind, the ruler can lose the Mandate of Heaven. In the example Taiping Tian Guo that you cited, they could claim Qing Dynasty had lost its mandate because the people at the time didn't live well, which was true. In Chinese history, this happens over and over again. When people's lives become tough and unattainable, it's very easy for rebellion to arise. If a ruler really does a bad job, it could be legitimate to rebel. A Chinese term for this is Diao Min Ga Zui.

Yes, there is indeed a Chinese saying You are the king if you win. You are a bandit if you lose.". History is basically written by winners, isn't it? However, Cao Cao himself didn't take over the mandate of heaven from the emperor (though he was the de factor ruler).

In Chinese history, it's typical chaotic when multiple factions fight to become the next ruler at the end of a dynasty. It is usually one faction gradually consolidates then takes over the Mandate of Heaven.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 13 2020 3:18 utc | 201

Correction: Diao Min Ga Zui should be Diao Min Fa Zui.

Sorry about the typo.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 13 2020 3:21 utc | 202

@ RSH #198
Confucianism teaching is ultimately about unity. . .I prefer Taoism, which is anarchistic
Chinese believe both, with a shot of Buddhism, and have all their icons around the house -- got it all covered. Take no chances, and consider the Yin and Yang of everything. Too difficult for westerners, but it suits them, right?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 3:24 utc | 203

@ LuRenJia

Well, that's kinda my point that the Mandate of Heaven, like the Divine Right of King, is a "If you are winning, you are doing something" i.e. Might Makes Right.

It's not unique to the chinese, and it's not about formenting rebellion, it's actually the opposite "the going is good right now, you should not speak up/rebel".

And while Cao Cao did indeed just become a Prime Minister, his son did crown himself Emperor, and then, the Sima family usurped the Cao family.

The issue here is that many people think modern China is the saviour of the world against the US, and I do not think so, they are the US's competitor, they are useful against the US, and there are many things we can learn from them (government control of corporations, nationalism, investment in infrastructure), their trajectory is bound to even more abject control of their populace (through IT), which isn't going to end well.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:26 utc | 204

@ Don Bacon

Taoism is basically libertarianism in its practice, which can be both and bad, but mostly bad because you need a degree of control otherwise the populace grows decadent, such as when the Song emperor plays with bird and sings songs, while the mongols are at the gate.

Buddhism is mostly irrelevant these days, and it's mostly to prop up the current ruler.

I think the struggle of good governance is finding a happy medium between freedom and duty, but even I cannot say what should be the model to follow.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:30 utc | 205

@ Smith #208
Okay, but my point is that Chinese are in effect multi-deists, including several of the major beliefs into their lives, and not just one. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 3:36 utc | 206

@191 Don Bacon - "...Pepe struck out"

Only if it's a zero-sum game, wherein each article has to stand alone and either succeed or fail in that stand. That's one way to look at an article, but if one looks at the author and the overarching points the author is trying to make, the judgment, and the running score, can both become more extensive.

This is especially true with a guy like Escobar, who travels a lot and who riffs fast and well on current events, writing amazingly prolifically (in my view), while also carrying a lot of depth in his thinking.


@183 karlof1

Thanks for carrying that material over here. I had a similar view when I read his second article, the one that reviews Xiang's book. Many of the concepts presented made good sense to me, it was the paradigms of the inferiority, or present jeopardy, of China that seemed odd. Also the sense that CCP doesn't enjoy the respect of the people seemed very wrong according to all stats and polls we've seen. Godfree Roberts could demolish a lot of that view quickly.

My comment at the Saker was that I would have to read the book to get deep enough in the mix to tangle with it. It's obviously a large book, with large concepts, and one article-length review didn't seem adequate. With what Pepe's saying now about wanting to start a rolling discussion over this, I may hold off on the book, and wait for further commentary from Pepe.

There will be more articles on this, for sure. It could take Pepe Escobar half a year to get all this out of his system and reworked into strong, gonzo punchlines that connect with the world as it is. The articles will be fun to read. I can wait. I can wait as long as China.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 13 2020 3:39 utc | 207

@ Don Bacon

The modern chinese is mostly buddhist, and ancestor worship. Taoism, as a religion, is still a thing but it's mostly superstition.

Of course, religion is a bit different than in the West, there's less zeal, but there's also more inbound (social) conservatism.

The newer generation is more liberal/progressive and less religious, like everywhere else on the globe though, mainly because of the language, English.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:41 utc | 208

@ Smith #211
Taoism, as a religion, is still a thing but it's mostly superstition.
They need a bible, is what they need./s

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 3:47 utc | 209

From my last quoted article ("Debt disaster with no escape"), other excerpts demonstrating how tight is the American grip over the rest of the world - and over the Third World in particular:

And so these poor countries will be forced to raise even more debt to deal with the pandemic slump and meet repayments on existing debt. Nevertheless, Reinhart [N.E. President of the World Bank] argued that “while the disease is raging, what else are you going to do? First you worry about fighting the war, then you figure out how to pay for it.”


But mostly it’s all talk; with speeches like those of IMF chief Georgieva and Reinhart at the World bank. As Oxfam says in a devastating new report on inequality and the lack of public services and workers’ rights, “emergency programmes have focused on closing the huge budget and balance of payments financing gaps produced by coronavirus-related revenue collapses, and on allowing more space for health and limited social protection spending to confront the crisis.” And the “IMF’s global, regional and national reports are already warning of the need for ‘fiscal consolidation’ i.e. austerity, to reduce debt burdens once the pandemic has been contained.”

Virtually all the national emergency loan documents emphasize the need for governments to make anti-corona virus spending temporary and to take fiscal adjustment measures to reduce deficits after the pandemic. For example, in June 2020, the IMF agreed a 12-month, $5.2bn loan programme with Egypt, which detailed a FY2020/21 primary budget surplus target of 0.5% to allow for spending related to the coronavirus pandemic, but demanded that it be restored to the pre-crisis primary surplus of 2% in FY 2021/22. The IMF has also been linked to large cuts in health spending, which have left countries ill-prepared for the crisis.

The World Bank has pledged $160bn in emergency funding over the next 15 months, and has advocated debt relief by other creditors, but has so far refused to cancel any debt owed to it, despite low-income countries repaying $3.5bn to the World Bank in 2020. Oxfam’s analysis shows that only 8 of 71 World Bank COVID-19 health projects included any measures to reduce financial barriers to accessing health services, even though a number of these projects acknowledge high out-of-pocket health expenditure as a major issue. Such expenditures bankrupt millions of people each year and exclude them from treatment.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) called for the IMF to sell some of its stockpile of gold to cover the debt payments owed by the world’s poorest countries for the next 15 months. The JDC said selling less than 7% of the IMF’s gold would generate a $12bn profit, which is enough to cancel the debts owed by the 73 poorest countries until the end of 2021 and still leave the Washington-based organisation with $26bn more gold than it held at the start of the year. The JDC and others have also called for a new issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDR), in effect international money, to fund the poor countries. Both these suggestions have been rejected.

So, here's how the imperial scheme more or less works: the IMF, World Bank etc. etc. lend money to Third World countries in USDs. As a result, they have a debt obligation denominated in USD. Interests are charged over the principal - poorer countries are never able to even touch the principal, so there's de facto debt vassalage - but it doesn't change the fact that the USD is, at the end of the day, a fiat currency, and that the debtor country also has its fiat currency (unless it is Eurorized or Dollarized, in which case it is outright fucked).

That's where the "fine print" comes in. The IMF and friends don't just charge interests (which may be even low): they also put GDP surpluses clauses in their loan contracts. In the example given by Michael Roberts, the IMF forced Egypt to have a gigantic +0.5% GDP surplus ("primary surplus") in an year of COVID-19, plus an even bigger, of gargantuan proportions, primary surplus of +2.0% in 2021 ("FY 2021"). This is important because, now not only is Egypt owing in USD, it is now forced to sustain whatever shitty fiat currency it has, thus keeping inflation too low and its currency rate against the USD too high (overvalued). The USD is thus leveraged, the very source that is sustaining its purchase power by forcibly transferring capital to American soil, giving substance to the Greenback.

That's why a piss poor redneck blue collar worker from West Virginia is able to drive his/her brand new Ford truck to a giant Walmart and load it with manufactured goods with his/her minuscule salary, while the same piss poor blue collar worker from Egypt is literally starving to death.


@ Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:08 utc | 201

What you're stating is simply a universal truth: when shit hits the fan, every system, every government loses legitimacy. It's not only applicable to the Chinese (last time I saw over my window, the British Empire wasn't there to be blessed by the Sun anymore).

On my part, I've never seen the term in any CCP text. Indeed, it would be weird to find the term on a text of a Marxist party, as Marxists don't believe in fairy tales, which the Mandate of Heaven basically is.

Now, sure, the idea may still survive among the Chinese populace as some kind of a joke, a metaphor or an old saying. Doesn't mean it carries the weight it did during the Middle Ages, when the dynasties were at their apex.

Posted by: vk | Oct 13 2020 3:48 utc | 210

@ Don Bacon

Nah, Christianity in Asia is mostly CIA/foreigners subversion, this has been known for a long, long time.

The only form of Christianity that is good for Asia is Orthodox because Orthodox has incorporated actual Buddhism in their practices, so it fits a bit better.

You won't be having that "I subject myself to da Lord, not the government" shit in Asia.

I say Islam in Asia is less troublesome, provided they are not riled up by the Saudi or Turkey.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:50 utc | 211

@ vk

It's not a joke. And marxists do not comprise of the majority of chinese, ordinary chinese do, and these people are superstitious, no matter what you say otherwise.

Hell, even chinese marxists/officials believe in Feng Shui.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 3:52 utc | 212

re: debt disaster
Reminds me of John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 2005. Amazon: In this astonishing tell-all book, former economic hit man (EHM) John Perkins shares new details about the ways he and others cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Then he reveals how the deadly EHM cancer he helped create has spread far more widely and deeply than ever in the United States and everywhere else—to become the dominant system of business, government, and society today.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 4:05 utc | 213

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 12 2020 15:27 utc | 125

The Barbarians Are Threatening Us!

"Russia is de-coupling from Europe, because it no longer trusts Europe. A huge shift. Seventy-five years after the end of WW2, German militarism and nationalism is stirring — and its élites are once again targeting Russia:"

"Do not rejoice in his defeat my men. For though the bastard is dead, the bitch that bore him is again in heat." Bertolt Brecht

The Russians have noticed and are prepared this time.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 13 2020 4:12 utc | 214

Sorry, this is not true, #214

"...Orthodox has incorporated actual Buddhism in their practices, so it fits a bit better..."

The two forms of meditation are very different. Christians meditate on Christ; there is nothing of Buddhism therein. Quite the opposite.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 13 2020 4:21 utc | 215

@204 LuRenJia

Good to see you here. As to your warning a few comments earlier, I don't think we need to worry about commenters here falling for westernized propaganda from Xiang. In fact, most of the comments both here and at the Saker were very opposed to the overall sense being presented by Xiang.

Xiang does seem to have many paradigms suffused with western exceptionalism - and yet, outside of that bias, many of the points he makes are very good ones. I can see why Escobar is excited by the reach of this author, but it's clear he ignored a few red flags to endorse him so strongly.


But much of what Xiang says about China seems very true and accurate, at least according to my understanding from other sources. This excerpt from Escobar's writing, for example, gives what seems a totally accurate and useful understanding of Chinese governance and the Mandate of Heaven:

Xiang shows how since the beginning of the Greco-Roman tradition, politics was always about a spatial conception – as reflected in polis (a city or city-state). The Confucian concept of politics, on the other hand, is “entirely temporal, based on the dynamic idea that legitimacy is determined by a ruler’s daily moral behavior.”

Xiang shows how hefa contains in fact two concepts: “fit” and “law” – with “law” giving priority to morality.

In China, the legitimacy of a ruler is derived from a Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming). Unjust rulers inevitably lose the mandate – and the right to rule. This, argues Xiang, is “a dynamic ‘deeds-based’ rather than ‘procedure-based’ argument.”

Essentially, the Mandate of Heaven is “an ancient Chinese belief that tian [ heaven, but not the Christian heaven, complete with an omniscient God] grants the emperor the right to rule based on their moral quality and ability to govern well and fairly.”

The beauty of it is that the mandate does not require a divine connection or noble bloodline, and has no time limit. Chinese scholars have always interpreted the mandate as a way to fight abuse of power.

Escobar's article is full of things like that which present a useful picture of China.


But then the enormous propositions that Xiang brings seem very wrong, for example that the CCP is based on a Soviet intrusion into Chinese culture, and this alien thing must ultimately be cast out by Chinese culture. But we would tend to think that the CCP is not at all Soviet but rather a Chinese entity, with Chinese characteristics, forged in Chines revolutions by Chinese people casting out the true alien, the imperialist occupiers.

In other words, we would say the CCP was created from the ground up, and cut from whole Chinese cloth, according only to international Communism principles, and not at all as a mere copy of a Soviet pattern.

And this is where Xiang become very suspect, because he wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater - positing that the CCP is bad because alien, and ignoring the great success that CCP is. And this is so extreme that one wonders if Xiang is a Trojan Horse, planting this concept of the "Soviet Alien" in order purely to taint the CCP.

And that was just one of Xiang's several weird points. The list goes on.

Hmm...I guess if Escobar wanted to start a discussion, he may have started it. I suspect it ends with more of Xiang's proposals discarded than adopted, but we shall see.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 13 2020 4:22 utc | 216

@ julianna

You can meditate for different gods, even for a Buddhist.

The purpose of meditation is to clear mind, not worship per se.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 4:28 utc | 217

Tried to post twice...disappeared. And I'm not even on the VPN this time.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 13 2020 5:44 utc | 218

Let's try posting by getting rid of the Chinese characters in the Wikipedia article...

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 3:47 utc | 212 They need a bible, is what they need./s

There is one; The Tao Te Ching. But it has nothing to do with a deity.

From Wikipedia:

The word Taoism is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field:[10]

"Taoist religion" (Dàojiào; lit. "teachings of the Tao"), or the "liturgical" aspect[11] – A family of organised religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy";[12] the first of these is recognised as the Celestial Masters school.

"Taoist philosophy" (Dàojiā; lit. "school or family of the Tao") or "Taology" (dàoxué; lit. "learning of the Tao"), or the "mystical" aspect[11] – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the Yi Jing, the Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Jing, dàodéjīng) and the Zhuangzi (zhuāngzi). These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before.[13][14] It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Tao Te Ching,[14][15] and Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death.[15]

However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Western and Japanese scholars.[16] It is contested by hermeneutic (interpretive) difficulties in the categorisation of the different Taoist schools, sects and movements.[17] Taoism does not fall under an umbrella or a definition of a single organised religion like the Abrahamic traditions; nor can it be studied as a mere variant of Chinese folk religion, as although the two share some similar concepts, much of Chinese folk religion is separate from the tenets and core teachings of Taoism.[18] The sinologists Isabelle Robinet and Livia Kohn agree that "Taoism has never been a unified religion, and has constantly consisted of a combination of teachings based on a variety of original revelations."[19]

The philosopher Chung-ying Cheng views Taoism as a religion that has been embedded into Chinese history and tradition. "Whether Confucianism, Taoism, or later Chinese Buddhism, they all fall into this pattern of thinking and organising and in this sense remain religious, even though individually and intellectually they also assume forms of philosophy and practical wisdom."[20] Chung-ying Cheng also noted that the Taoist view of heaven flows mainly from "observation and meditation, [though] the teaching of the way (Tao) can also include the way of heaven independently of human nature".[20] In Chinese history, the three religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism stand on their own independent views, and yet are "involved in a process of attempting to find harmonisation and convergence among themselves, so that we can speak of a 'unity of three religious teachings' (sanjiao heyi)".[20]

I prefer to refer to Taoism as a "spiritual philosophy", i.e., a philosophy primarily concerned with an individual's place in the universe and society and deriving appropriate behavior from that knowledge, rather than a religion. Even though Taoism talks about "the Way" or "the Path", and recommends following that Path, it has nothing to do with prescribing an ethics or moral code as such. Religions generally are interested in prescribing behavior ordained by some deity and subject to real world punishments if not followed. Taoism couldn't be further from that, short of becoming full-blown individualist anarchist.

To be clear, I'm not a Taoist per se. I just grant it some philosophical validity as compared to every other religion. Buddhism could in some cases be considered a philosophy as well, but has descended into just another religion with adherents worshiping "relics of the Buddha". Zen appears to be an exception, Confucianism appears to have started as a philosophy but then was converted into a religion over time and especially in Western eyes. The difference between Taoism and Confucianism appears to mirror the divide between individualism (the Taoist approach) and collectivism (the Confucian approach) as social guidance.

As an individualist anarchist and radical Transhumanist, I recognize that all such philosophies are limited and inaccurate descriptions of solutions to the human problem. You will find no solutions to the problems of either Chinese or Western or Third World societies in them. There are no such solutions as long as humans retain human nature.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 13 2020 5:47 utc | 219

Ah, that worked. The site's filters apparently don't like Chinese characters. :-)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 13 2020 5:48 utc | 220

Juliania @ 186:

The difference between cloth masks and other items made from fabric is human behaviour.

People are very likely to keep reusing cloth masks throughout the day without cleaning them between the times they have to use them. In this respect they are not much different from cloth handkerchiefs that end up drippy and with increased viral loads from constant reuse. A cloth mask that is reused constantly, and only gets occasional disinfecting, is not much better than smooth surfaces contaminated with the coronavirus, with respect to the virus's longevity. You would be better off using paper masks - or paper tissues.

Human behaviour is the main reason some doctors and other medical experts prefer not to recommend the use of masks (full stop) and strive to emphasise other preventive measures that are easier for individuals to use.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 13 2020 6:13 utc | 221

Debsisdead #193

Biden gets in and nuttyahoo cops the big flick, the deals will be about retaining zionist political control and that will be more like genocide, something trump is not that into because there is no easy earner in mass murder.

Thank you Debsisdead, That is about the strength of it. I'll shout you a drink. AND with $hillary pretending to be a clever military adviser (blatantly shilled by the MSM stenographers) you can count on a genocide here and there.

Besides if nuttyahoo needs a quiet retreat, there is an Island in the US Virgin Islands that Mossad now likely has 100 percent ownership.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 6:28 utc | 222

Ireland and Europe’s Viral Outlook – what does the Latest Data say?



This fellow creates meaningful context for the data on deaths, seasonality, cases and what can be expected as the next "respiratory" season begins.

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 13 2020 8:13 utc | 223

Biden gets in and nuttyahoo cops the big flick, the deals will be about retaining zionist political control and that will be more like genocide, something trump is not that into because there is no easy earner in mass murder.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Oct 13 2020 2:40 utc | 193

First of all, your entire response is based on speculation with zero proof.

That the previous Presidents are all handled by Zionist Wall Street, YES, but Trump as well if not more, because he's delivering much more on Iran, Palestine, China, Venezuela and Arab servitude, while lowering taxes for their super-rich class, and advancing fascism which is what they need to control dissent from growing hostile demographics. Trump has delivered to them on all fronts while the rest hesitated to go as far.

What you wrote Biden will do in regards to Palestine is again pure speculation on your part. My guess is that he will promote the views of the rest of the International community on the matter, in other words, press for negotiation by the parties for 2-state, but that will go nowhere without clear adherence to legal pre-67 lines and fair terms for refugees. Thus the agony of limbo occupation will be prolonged for 4 years, but giving Israel most of the West Bank permanently and Palestine mere isolated bantustans like Trump proposes is a recipe for disaster because further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land would be required which is yet another serious crime within the massive theft and con. So you think that's better because Trump is doing it and naturally Trump is better and purer on all things according to your post.

BALONEY. You're no different than other Trump tools here who continue to peddle Trump iconoclast peacemaker, when instead he has advanced the goals of his Zionist masters further than any of their previous lackeys.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 13 2020 8:25 utc | 224

Interesting tweet, if true. This is how you deal with a pandemic.

Joe Jughashvili @glevonian
Oct 11
Just talking to my Chinese ex: two foreign sailors on shore leave in Qingdao just tested positive for covid. So now in the middle of the night everyone in Qingdao has to get up and go tested. Right now, not in the morning. Because of two cases.

Joe Jughashvili @glevonian
Oct 11
According to my ex testing has already found infected people. Without this monumental effort by the Chinese government Qingdao would have had had an outbreak (there still might an outbreak of course, there are no guarantees, but fingers crossed).

And this fun response:

lord jamovich @lordjam
Replying to
@_Frye_ @glevonian and @jonjones
Fire in China: everyone starts pouring water on fire.

Fire in US: everyone starts debating: Is there really a fire? Water doesn’t work! Let it burn, I’m okay. Don’t make me splash water on it, I don’t mind burning.

And of course - it’s China’s fire!

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 13 2020 8:42 utc | 225

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 13 2020 8:42 utc | 227

You left out "letting it burn so we can achieve fire immunity and not destroy the economy".

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2020 9:44 utc | 226

King Lear #202

Thus, I advise that if you live in a “Safe” state (California, Texas, New York, etc.) either sit out or vote third party, However, if you live in a “Swing” state (Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, etc) you should hold your nose and vote for Joe Biden, because though he is a shitty centrist, he is slightly better then Trump (both are promoters of “Covid-19” hysteria and the 4th industrial revolution though it can even be argued that Trump is even worse on these issues because of his “operation warp speed” push for a rushed vaccine) because he will reenter the Iran Nuclear deal (Thus stopping a War with Iran), not privatize Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid etc., and won’t sign anymore Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

and your plea at #219 for some critique of #202

BS. Biden is no 'shitty centrist' - Biden is a far right loony war mongering Demonazi trans Repugnant.

'Slightly better than Trump' ?! You are off your meds for sure or your crown is kryptonite and has fried your brain. Have you paused to consider the bait and switch? Karma Harris is a warlord OK? PLUS she shills for Wall Street. Both of these scabrous teams are detestable and there are so few among them that have even one iota of credibility, that it is an affront to the world, an insult to the intelligence, a degradation of the concept of 'democracy' by any interpretation.

These two parties and their controllers are decrepit, late stage barnacles on the arse of humanity.

And you suggest that they are worth a vote?

There is so much in your post at 202 that should be refuted and challenged but take the Fort Detrick virus released/leaked sometime mid to late 2019 in NE USA. Do you seriously suggest that big pharma has only Trump by the short and curleys and not Biden and Harris by the same grip? They would both be rushing a vaccine to the public and both short cutting measured, cautious implementation. The behavior of the Demonazi leadership - take Pelosi - a perambulating piece of coprolite sounding off and doing nothing constructive with her House Majority. The Demonazis typified by the image of Bernie Sanders holding the left down on the ground and urging Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer to crap on the victim.

Vote Democrat King Lear? off to the guillotine with you.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 10:48 utc | 227

Bemildred # 228 to Richard Steven Hack #227

You left out "letting it burn so we can achieve fire immunity and not destroy the economy".

And refuse to wear raincoats as there is no such thing as 'wet' when pouring water.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 10:53 utc | 228

Uncle tungsten @ 229
Says ——-
Barnacles on the arse of humanity !!!
I agree whole heartedly.
Your on form today sir.
If we could bottle that @ 229
We could put the world to right.

Posted by: Mark2 | Oct 13 2020 11:06 utc | 229

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 10:53 utc | 230

Yeah, exactly:

Raincoats don't really keep all the water out anyway, it leaks around all the edges and drips inside anyway, and the condensation will have you soaked before you know it, especially if you are working at all. You should welcome the water, it's an essential nutrient. Don't you want rain!!! Etc. etc.

I can go on and on, it's easy.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2020 11:12 utc | 230

Smith #214

Hell, even chinese marxists/officials believe in Feng Shui.

Thank you for that odd statement. I am with them in yet another way then. My house was designed incorporating Feng Shui, I carefully considered the place of water stone fire and air in the layout and structural specifics. The front and rear gardens incorporate specific plants conforming to Feng Shui theory and a place for the fire pit and fish/frog pond. It was easy to build mostly and everyone who assisted and worked on it fell in love with the form and feel of the rooms.

It is a delight to live in and it is simple and restful throughout.

Feng Shui is a delightful design tool and a meditation on form and nature and spirit and it has much to commend it. I am sure that Buckminster Fuller and Victor Papanek would have appreciated the inspiration inherent in Feng Shui had they been acquainted with it. Victor taught me much in a very solid workshop that I had the immense good fortune to attend.

If that element informs the CCP leadership and the rank and file members in their service to their fellow citizens then I am reassured they will continue to succeed in their social and political transformation. All the more strength to their progress I say.

Perhaps you have a reference or two that you might link here.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 11:18 utc | 231

Mark2 #231

Thank you and yes the muse has come to sit by my side and the owls are calling softly to the night. Now the curlews are singing their nocturnal pulsing trills. I guess it is the passing of the Aries full moon but then that is a dangerous and esoteric, even unscientific observation I guess.

Thank you too Bemildred and Richard. That was fun.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 11:29 utc | 232

Vk :"To the Covidiots here, repeat with me, a hundred times: "the concept of herd immunity only applies to a vaccinated population". Then write on your notebook a thousand more times. Do that x times more, until it is properly ingrained in you tiny brain." Sorry can't agree... herd immunity is not dependent on vaccinations..

Posted by: dp | Oct 13 2020 11:32 utc | 233

Grim new analyses spotlight just how hard US is failing in pandemic:

A grim series of articles published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes clear just how hard the United States has failed at controlling the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic—from the country’s horrifying death toll to its inability to drag down its shamefully high death rates.

It was already clear that the US has tallied more deaths from the coronavirus than any other country and has one of the highest death rates per capita in the world. But, according to one article in the series, the US is also failing to lower COVID-19 death rates—even as harder-hit countries have managed to learn from early disease peaks and bring their rates down substantially.

For the analysis, researchers Alyssa Bilinski of Harvard and Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania compared the shifting COVID-19 death rates of 18 high-income countries during three time windows. The idea was to see how death rates changed as countries adopted different public health interventions, especially if they had seen surges in cases early on that boosted their overall death rate during the pandemic. Specifically, Bilinski and Emanuel looked at COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people starting from February 13, May 10, and June 7, with all three windows ending on September 19.,/BLOCKQUOTE>

Grim new analyses spotlight just how hard US is failing in pandemic

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2020 13:25 utc | 234

@VK still waiting on your answer to my 178.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 13 2020 13:48 utc | 235

@ uncle tungsten

So you believe in something with no scientific basis?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 13:59 utc | 236

China does not manipulate COVID-19 data, say experts

Anatoly Altstein, a virologist at Russia's Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, told Russian media RBC in a recent interview that China has contained the pandemic at an early stage with its "high discipline and effective quarantine."

Echoing Altstein, Larisa Popovich, director of the Institute for Health Economics at Russia's National Research University Higher School of Economics, also praised China's strong discipline in the anti-epidemic fight, according to RBC.

China once applied a strong lockdown and has strictly abided by the T3 (test, treat, track) strategy, she said.

"The discipline of the behavior of the population as a whole is much more characteristic than for the countries in Europe, including us," RBC quoted Popovich as saying.


IMF sees less severe global contraction but worsening outlook for many emerging markets

You can thank China for saving the world economy again, First Worlders. You'll live to see the next crisis.


This is a tasty one:

Johnson & Johnson pauses its coronavirus vaccine trial because of a volunteer’s ‘unexplained illness.’

Let me translate from corporate language for you:

"unexplained illness"= a very grave, at least crippling for life, maybe deadly, illness.

"a volunteer" = a lot of subjects, maybe up to 5% of the total sample.

"The company did not say whether the sick participant had received the experimental vaccine or a placebo." = definitely received the vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine propagandizes itself as the only candidate not needing to be frozen. It is clearly eyeing the African, Indian and SE Asian markets. Who knows what kind of toxic shit they put there in order to make it high-temperature resistant. Plus, since it is aimed at the Third World - whose lives nobody cares about - it will be approved easily, with a lot of deadly side effects that will take decades to come to the forefront and, even if they do, nothing will happen to J&J, because the USG has already granted those big pharmaceuticals preemptive legal immunity on top of that USD 2 billion voucher it is distributing to them.


@ Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 13 2020 13:48 utc | 237

No, you don't get vaccinated by getting infected and surviving COVID-19. You're vaccinated when you receive the vaccine - clue is in the name.

Posted by: vk | Oct 13 2020 15:08 utc | 237

Lavrov says enough is enough!!

"'People who are responsible for the Western foreign policy and do not understand the need for mutually respectful dialogue, we probably have to suspend dialogue with them for a while. Especially since [President of the European Commission] Ursula von der Leyen is saying that the geopolitical cooperation with the current Russian authorities is not working. So let it be if that's what they want,' Lavrov said at a session of the Valdai discussion club."

I'll try to find and link to that session. I noted at the beginning of October that Russia was growing tired of the Bullshit and was adjusting its policy. Looks like Hardball will now be the order as Lavrov is speaking for the entire government. (Putin just had a meeting with his Security Council on the 9th, just prior to hid birthday.)

Lavrov's phone call with Josep Borrell yesterday apparently wasn't very good:

"The Russian side, in turn, pointed out that fomenting anti-Russia sentiments in the EU and creating new irritants in relations with Russia under far-fetched pretexts ran counter to the goal of stabilising the situation in Europe. It was noted that these relations could only be based on equality and mutual respect of each other’s interests. In order to achieve this, some countries that set the tone in the EU should abandon approaches based on adopting a position of superiority and admit that there is no alternative to a candid fact-based dialogue."

This train wreck was easy to see approaching. Some say the Cold War never ended. I'd say this ought to be seen as a new development and named Cold War 2.0.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 15:26 utc | 238

@vk #45
Marx is brilliant, but his analysis is ultimately flawed because he simply could not possibly have anticipated how the modern world would evolve.
In particular, Capital in Marx's era was almost exclusively a function of the state. The newly somewhat de-feudalized governments in the UK and other European countries (the US didn't even register) were the primary backers of the industrialization process - and so there is little to no differentiation between Capital and Government in Marx's work.
This is unfortunate given that there has always existed pools of capital which interact with government but are not of government - the Rothschilds are an example.
Another example which Marx could/should have been aware of is the Dutch East India company and its successors.
This is a fundamental oversight.
Capital as a stand-alone entity is very different from government - it has different goals and different horizons.
The multinational corporations of today are nothing compared to the DEI in its heyday, for example, but are different because they shape their environment (i.e. the world) via lawfare vs. the DEI's largely brute force bribery, piracy, looting and enslavement.
If you have not already: I would suggest reading Nitzan and Bichler's work where they have sought to expand upon Marx's outdated (due to changed environment) views into the modern world. In particular, they have been working at length on the concept of "Capital As Power" - Capital not being just money/wealth/economic production but as an extension of power. This concept is important because one of the key findings which this school of thought has uncovered is that profit may actually not be the primary motivator behind corporate behavior and thus provides a better description of how capital vs. government vs. other forms of power operate.
In my words - power creates profit rather than the other way around. This dynamic is important because it explains far better how oligopolies and monopolies/monopsonies arise: it isn't some accident but an outright goal for those who really understand how to maximize profit.
It also has ramifications beyond explanation of economic dislocations: capital as power also explains why companies are far more inclined to sabotage than to create/generate.
Capitalism has always had a hard time to explain this aspect of the "free market": creating new productive capacity/capability/markets should be what a proper, profit-oriented company's primary goal but reality is that large companies focus mostly on destroying actual and potential rivals. In contrast: monopoly of power is very well understood in the political/government realm.
Again, impossible to say if Nitzan and Bichler's work is truly reflective of reality but the concepts and the economic documentation is very much worth spending time on if you are really interested in trying to understand.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 15:45 utc | 239

@Smith #91
Your starting premise is flawed. The US isn't going to attack any power with even 2nd world weaponry. It can barely subdue 3rd world nations.
What the US wants is for someone else to fight someone else, and for the US to sell food, machinery and weapons to one or both sides. And maybe ride in at the last second to claim victory.
That has been an enormously profitable and successful endeavor in World Wars 1 and 2; in contrast the US efforts in Korea, Vietnam and many other locations have been outright disasters.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 15:50 utc | 240

Report from TASS repeats the MFA press statement. There's nothing available at the Valdai Club currently. Perhaps the EU will cease acting like cowed children, grow up and act like adults and cease its current relationship with the Outlaw US Empire.

IMO, showing the EU the door is similar to placing a child in a chair in a room's corner to contemplate its incorrect behavior. A new chapter in relations has certainly begun.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 15:50 utc | 241

@_K_C_ #72
You are correct - masks don't prevent squat but they do reduce viral load.
That, plus the fact that masks are fundamentally cheap and low risk, is why they are worth mandating.
The reason why the fanatical right are fighting against them is largely a result of demonization by the limousine liberal left and the MSM - which are mostly their stooges.
However, it is equally false to believe that masks will, in fact, make any real difference in the longer term.
Unless and until a vaccine is developed, tested, approved, distributed and administered - reduced likelihood of catching COVID-19 just means it will take longer for everyone to be exposed.
Note that it is not at all clear that a vaccine will pass through the entire life cycle noted above, in less than 2 years.
The head of the largest vaccine maker in the world has said that the entire vaccine production capacity in the world cannot make enough vaccine until 2024 at the earliest, for example - so the manufacture stage alone is problematic.
Administration: the anti-vaxxers are more left and there is significant limousine liberal participation. It will be fascinating to see how the PMC/limousine liberal/MSM deal with the "natural" anti-vaxxer contingent.
Yes, the hard right contingent that is automatically against anything the limousine liberals/MSM want aren't very smart, but the mainstream message is just as much a lie: that lockdowns, masks and social distancing will save us.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 15:58 utc | 242

@Jen #106 (and others)
The number of people who get COVID-19 from the virus sitting on a surface are 1 in 10000 or less. That's because it is viral load that matters; 1 or even 100 viral particles on a surface almost never transmit a severe case. However, a cough or sneeze droplet with 10,000 particles... that's why masks don't hurt. It isn't clear at all they help - particularly if you're using a cloth mask over and over and over without washing/disinfecting it or taking special precautions when taking it off/putting it on.
Fomite contagion (virii off surfaces) just isn't a thing.
Thus wiping surfaces down and using disinfectant, and even washing hands, is primarily "health theater" much as TSA checkpoints are "security theater".

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:10 utc | 243

@Smith #206
The Mandate of Heaven is backward looking, not forward.
It is *not* the same as the western Divine Right of Kings.
If a ruler is experiencing rebellion and what not - they've lost the Mandate of Heaven.
Otherwise, they haven't.
That is why Mandarins would present petitions for reform by noting that XXX bad thing and failure to act could result in loss of said Mandate.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:12 utc | 244

@Don Bacon #208
I would suggest you be more clear what you consider "Chinese".
Mainland chinese are mostly not religious at all - not Buddhist, Christian, Confucian or whatever. If fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the largest religious groups in China are Uighur/Muslim or Tibetan/Buddhist - and thus aren't ethnically Chinese at all.
Both outside and inside China - there are significant numbers of Christian Chinese but they tend to American-type Christian cults rather than something like Catholicism or mainstream Protestantism.
The "Buddhist" Chinese exist also, but again, tend to be more cult-like - i.e. Falun Gong - than truly devout mainstream Buddhists like you would see in Bali. The non-cult Buddhists are like American Catholics: yes and no.
And lastly: Confucianism isn't a religion. Among other things, there is no God. It is more like a Promise Keepers setup but without God.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:18 utc | 245

@vk239. Thats not what I asked. Kinda dishonest to frame my ? that way, btw. Same thing being the operative phrase. Again If I contract Covid and survive, am I not in the same category as vacinated?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 13 2020 16:21 utc | 246

@ Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 13 2020 16:21 utc | 248

No. All the evidence available indicates you can be infected again, as little as three months later.

The Russian vaccine promises a 2-year immunity.

Posted by: vk | Oct 13 2020 16:27 utc | 247

Here's yet another great article by Matt Ridley. Original link here but paywalled, significant excepts here

Excerpts - longer read at sources above

Scientists have been revealed to be neither omniscient demigods whose opinions automatically outweigh all political disagreement, nor unscrupulous fraudsters pursuing a political agenda under a cloak of impartiality. Somewhere between the two lies the truth: Science is a flawed and all too human affair, but it can generate timeless truths, and reliable practical guidance, in a way that other approaches cannot.


So when people started falling ill last winter with a respiratory illness, some scientists guessed that a novel coronavirus was responsible. The evidence proved them right. Some guessed it had come from an animal sold in the Wuhan wildlife market. The evidence proved them wrong. Some guessed vaccines could be developed that would prevent infection. The jury is still out.

Seeing science as a game of guess-and-test clarifies what has been happening these past months. Science is not about pronouncing with certainty on the known facts of the world; it is about exploring the unknown by testing guesses, some of which prove wrong.

Bad practice can corrupt all stages of the process. Some scientists fall so in love with their guesses that they fail to test them against evidence. They just compute the consequences and stop there. Mathematical models are elaborate, formal guesses, and there has been a disturbing tendency in recent years to describe their output with words like data, result or outcome. They are nothing of the sort.


On May 22, the respected medical journals the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine published a study based on the medical records of 96,000 patients from 671 hospitals around the world that appeared to disprove the guess that the drug hydroxychloroquine could cure Covid-19. The study caused the World Health Organization to halt trials of the drug.

It then emerged, however, that the database came from Surgisphere, a small company with little track record, few employees and no independent scientific board. When challenged, Surgisphere failed to produce the raw data. The papers were retracted with abject apologies from the journals. Nor has hydroxychloroquine since been proven to work. Uncertainty about it persists.


The scientific consensus is that the evidence is good enough and the inconvenience small enough that we need not wait for absolute certainty before advising people to wear masks.

This is an inverted form of the so-called precautionary principle, which holds that uncertainty about possible hazards is a strong reason to limit or ban new technologies. But the principle cuts both ways. If a course of action is known to be safe and cheap and might help to prevent or cure diseases—like wearing a face mask or taking vitamin D supplements, in the case of Covid-19—then uncertainty is no excuse for not trying it.


Advocates of competing theories are apt to see the same data in different ways. Last January, Chinese scientists published a genome sequence known as RaTG13 from the virus most closely related to the one that causes Covid-19, isolated from a horseshoe bat in 2013. But there are questions surrounding the data. When the sequence was published, the researchers made no reference to the previous name given to the sample or to the outbreak of illness in 2012 that led to the investigation of the mine where the bat lived. It emerged only in July that the sample had been sequenced in 2017-2018 instead of post-Covid, as originally claimed.

These anomalies have led some scientists, including Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who recently left the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health and is a strong critic of the Chinese government, to claim that the bat virus genome sequence was fabricated to distract attention from the truth that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was actually manufactured from other viruses in a laboratory. These scientists continue to seek evidence, such as a lack of expected bacterial DNA in the supposedly fecal sample, that casts doubt on the official story.

By contrast, Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research in California has looked at the same confused announcements and stated that he does not “believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.” Having checked the raw data, he has “no concerns about the overall quality of [the genome of] RaTG13.”


Herbert Ayres, an expert in operations research, summarized the problem well several decades ago: "As a referee of a paper that threatens to disrupt his life, [a professor] is in a conflict-of-interest position, pure and simple. Unless we’re convinced that he, we, and all our friends who referee have integrity in the upper fifth percentile of those who have so far qualified for sainthood, it is beyond naive to believe that censorship does not occur.” Rosalyn Yalow, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine, was fond of displaying the letter she received in 1955 from the Journal of Clinical Investigation noting that the reviewers were “particularly emphatic in rejecting” her paper.

The health of science depends on tolerating, even encouraging, at least some disagreement.


Anthony Fauci, the chief scientific adviser in the U.S., was adamant in the spring that a lockdown was necessary and continues to defend the policy. His equivalent in Sweden, Anders Tegnell, by contrast, had insisted that his country would not impose a formal lockdown and would keep borders, schools, restaurants and fitness centers open while encouraging voluntary social distancing. At first, Dr. Tegnell’s experiment looked foolish as Sweden’s case load increased. Now, with cases low and the Swedish economy in much better health than other countries, he looks wise. Both are good scientists looking at similar evidence, but they came to different conclusions.


How should the public begin to make sense of the flurry of sometimes contradictory scientific views generated by the Covid-19 crisis? The only way to be absolutely sure that one scientific pronouncement is reliable and another is not is to examine the evidence yourself. Relying on the reputation of the scientist, or the reporter reporting it, is the way that many of us go, and is better than nothing, but it is not infallible. If in doubt, do your homework.


Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:31 utc | 248

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 15:45 utc | 241

You critique on Marx is exactly the same the center-right (and many of the center-left) do on his theory. I've heard and read this line of argument many times before. It's a fallacy: Marx's theory of value is true in every stance of capitalism, be it early, high or late capitalism. It will always be true because it is a scientific certainty.

If much, your comment talks more about the fact that you certainly never read Capital (or, if you read, you only read book I).

Posted by: vk | Oct 13 2020 16:36 utc | 249

For those needing a reminder about the contextual background in recent Russia/EU relations, I relink to the presser Lavrov engaged in during the recent Oct. 5th meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia where Lavrov gave a very good review of the issues going back to the EU sponsorship of the 2014 Ukraine coup. The following unfortunately only scratches the surface:

"These alarming trends [Unilateralism during a pandemic] have also affected Russia-EU relations. There are hardly any positive achievements to speak about. Since 2014, when the European Union flagrantly violated its own pledge to guarantee the agreement between President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition, it has not just accepted the coup but has actually been encouraging those who seized power in Ukraine illegally and in violation of the Constitution. In particular, the EU has turned a blind eye to the fact that the coup plotters’ policy is based on Russophobia, and that they threatened to oust Russians from Crimea and tried to browbeat the Russian-speaking regions which refused to recognise the coup and said they wanted to sort out the situation. They were denounced as terrorists, even though they had not attacked anyone, and the army and Ukrainian security forces were sent to fight them. As I said, they have been designated terrorists for refusing to recognise the coup.

"Since then, the EU, probably becoming aware of its negative role in these processes but still trying to shift the blame onto someone else. Since 2014, it has ruined the multilevel architecture of interaction between Brussels and Moscow, from summit meetings to over two dozen sectoral dialogues. The programme of four common spaces has been abandoned. To this very day, the normalisation of our relations is being artificially conditioned on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Moreover, they say openly that it is the Russian Federation that must do this [There's nothing stipulated in Minsk for Russia to do; it's all on Ukraine to act]. Meanwhile, our Ukrainian colleagues have announced once again through their leaders, as you probably know, that the Minsk agreements should be preserved as the basis of the EU and US sanctions against Russia. This is their logic.

"Of course, we will insist on the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures, which has been approved by the UN Security Council, but we will not do this because we want the EU to lift its sanctions. We will do this above all in the interests of the fraternal Ukrainian people, who are suffering from what has been recently going on in Kiev and other parts of their country."

The Eurasian Economic Union will look very peculiar indeed without many European nations inclusion because of their psycho-idiotic Russophobia. Let them watch from outside while their financial parasites continue to destroy their economies as the Baltic-state and Greco-Polish plague moves Westward.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 16:36 utc | 250

@Tannenhouser #248
The reality is: even if it is possible to catch COVID-19 again (which it is still not clear), it is 100% clear that such is extremely rare even if possible.
And if you can, in fact, catch COVID-19 again after being infected, then you can also catch it after vaccination.
But again, the key is how likely.
If you are 80% likely to be immune to COVID-19 after being vaccinated - would you skip vaccination? 50%? 99%?
I don't actually see why any of the 3 values would matter in making the vaccinate or no decision.
The anti-vaxxers, for example, like to try and contrast the measles benefit vs. the likelihood of getting autism.
You might consider them to be the ultimate in risk-aversion: by every measure, autism is quite rare. Even if vaccines caused it - which is extremely unproven because autism rates scale directly with DSM methodology changes, not vaccination rates - why again is it a good idea to not vaccinate when measles is 100% a serious problem?
Personally, I see that movement as another outgrowth of social media: the "natural health" movement funds significant outreach for anti-vax fanatics because those people also buy "natural health" products, and tribalism only enhances the stickiness of the sect.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:39 utc | 251

@vk #251
In fact, I have read all of his works and done a lot of thinking on what he actually says.
But here's an easy one for you - since you proclaim expertise: how do you measure a util?

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 17:32 utc | 252

Here's an important article talking about the urban-rural divide and how Trump benefits from it
Jacobin interview of Katherine J. Kramer

But the surprise was that three weeks after he took office, Walker proposed a budget repair bill that was about far more than the budget.

This budget repair bill included legislation that undercut public employee unions, basically making collective bargaining illegal for most of them. The unions erupted in protest, and the protests grew tremendously in size. By the weekend, there were tens of thousands of people protesting, and not just for days, but for weeks.


If you were living in Madison, it seemed like this was the most unpopular piece of legislation ever passed in the state.


But you didn’t have to drive that far out of Madison to see that many people outside the cities were very supportive of it. They were feeling and saying things like, “It’s about time that somebody stood up to these public employee unions,” and, “I can’t afford health care for myself or my family, and yet my taxes are going up so that I can pay for health care for public employees. How is that fair? They make so much more money than I do.”

In some of these rural places, public employees are the highest-paid people in the community. The debates over the legislation got very personal in these places, where 10 percent of every community is a public employee of some kind, the largest group being teachers. In these places, people are doing physical labor for not enough money, and they’re starting to think, “Those public employees have pensions and health care and their summers off,” and it looks to many people like a pretty cushy job.


People look around their towns and think, “Something bad has happened here.” Now I don’t want to overstate this, because obviously the people love their towns, they love the pace of life, they love the people they live around. It’s not totally miserable all the time. But there’s definitely a sense of loss, a feeling that things aren’t the way they used to be.


I should add that it’s not like the people I spent time with were devout Republicans. But they do find it convincing when someone says we should limit government spending, which they feel hasn’t been working for them.


They definitely feel they’re being shortchanged. After the Great Recession, when news started rolling in about the recovery and jobs returning, that wasn’t happening in these smaller communities, so there was an impression that all of the stimulus must be focused on the cities.


I think there are a lot of factors, perhaps the main one being that he communicates to these people that he’s going to stick up for them and not let anybody push them around. The debate last week is a great case in point. His in-your-face style says, “I’m gonna stick up for you all, and I’m not gonna let these urban lefty people even finish a sentence.”


It’s not like these people are a bunch of white supremacists. They’re not like card-carrying KKK members. But they do have the feeling that something has happened to their communities and attention has gone away from people like them, and sometimes this pairs with the impression that governments are paying a lot of attention to people of color, the Democratic Party in particular.

And so when a politician is conveying, “No, actually I’m sticking up for people like you,” I think there is an appeal to that. It’s not necessarily a hatred of people of color, it’s that what someone like Trump says resonates with this feeling that nobody has been listening to them for decades.


It does seem that Trump is vulnerable. And I think a lot of it has to do with who his opponent is, because Hillary Clinton was very unpopular in a lot of these communities well before she was a presidential candidate. The impression I’m getting is that people see Biden as a lot more palatable.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 17:40 utc | 253

Clue @ 253

Autism is not rare. In one click discovered that CDC says one US child in 54 has autism. Surely there are different numbers out there and anything can be disputed, CDC is close enough on this one. It used to be fa less common. I have no notion why this has occurred, vaccines maybe but seems low probability.

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 13 2020 17:43 utc | 254

@ c1ue | Oct 13 2020 16:10 utc | 245.. i agree with you in your post here.... the clean freaks will persist, but it is not via surfaces that people get covid..

Posted by: james | Oct 13 2020 17:58 utc | 255

Smith@219, you simply prove my point. Christian meditation is not to clear the mind, but to take the mind into the heart, standing before God. As I said, not Buddhist. And I understand the difference while preferring the former, obviously.

I will point out that Christ in the Gospels does go out to different spiritual communities (trying to be politically correct here) and even uses 'the good Samaritan' as an example of the second commandment, to love one's neighbor. Since in my faith he is God incarnate, that speaks to me of the need for a tolerance and respect for those other paths which indeed ought to be our practice today. Not always the case, even in some Orthodox circles. Fortunately, we don't have the concept of infallibility woven into our historical matrix, though some might forget that. In that respect we are each of us able to use our own minds, though as I say, heart-oriented.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 13 2020 18:02 utc | 256

@Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 17:40 utc | 255

I find it demagogic that in that article the author throws it all agsint techers unions, or any public servants union, and not against the military, for that matter, which, if I am not wrong, enjoy the same or probably better benefits on healthcare and pensions, to which you can probably add housing...

This is the typical liberal right attack on public jobs and unions, especially in this case as this would be considered a traditionally Democrat voting collective. It is a Trumpist meme repeated to exhaustion that the leftist ideas are being introduced in youngsters´minds at schools...That may be because their offspring gp to private schools where the liberal ideas are introduced in theirs? One would think it is a fair state of affairs...what do they want, monopolize education as they try to monopoilize high court?

But.. then, this could well be part of the alternative reality the Trumpsters continuoulsy spread, since I very doubt the teachers enjoy such priviñeged status in the US, otherwise there would not have been such huge protests of teachers in the US and definitely you would not have teachers sleeping in their cars, as has been reported is happening since years ago...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 13 2020 18:07 utc | 257

@253 C1ue. Too be clear I am not anti vax. Efficacy of Vaccinations isn't a question in my mind. The profit motive does give me pause tho.
When people say things like "the (insert name here) vaccine is promising 2 year immunity" It gives me pause to wonder wtf as no vaccine is 100% and there is ZERO way that at this point anyone could promise 2 years immunity. IMHO

I think if I get sick and survive my immunity would be the same if not better than a man made infection. again just my op. This is how it's always been not sure why all of a sudden things are different.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 13 2020 18:13 utc | 258

China calls for ASEAN nations to work together to remove "external disruption" in the South China Sea:

“'[The] South China Sea should not be a ground for major power wrestling teeming with warships'...'China and ASEAN have full capacity and wisdom, as well as responsibility, to maintain peace and tranquility.'" [Emphasis Original]

A month after the UNGA there appears to be a reinforcement of ASEAN solidarity over regional security and bolstering of commerce. This Global Times editorial reflects that rise while slightly mocking the Outlaw US Empire for its failures for which it blames China:

"The US comprehensive suppression of China has begun to stumble. While China has substantially controlled the epidemic and engaged in economic recovery, the US is deeply mired in the epidemic, and in all kinds of chaos the epidemic has caused. It has been proved that the positive energy for national development from China's own efforts has far outweighed the obstruction the US strategic containment has caused to China. Containing China is nothing but the insane fantasy of a few US top elites, and their shallow tactics cannot prevent the massive development of China....

"China has been through a tough time, in which the US has created trouble. But by solving those problems, China has gained energy for development. As we look back, it was not bad to have the US as a training partner that helped China get stronger." [My Emphasis]

Talk about being slapped in the face!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 18:31 utc | 259

@oldhippie #256
Again, autism is a psychological diagnosis - not a medical one.
Psychological diagnoses are dictated by the DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Model of Mental Disorders.
1 in 54 - as classified by DSM - and which include such autistics as Greta Thunberg. Who, despite her outrage, seems to be pretty much a functional human being. As recently as 30 years ago, pretty much the only people diagnosed as autistic were the ones who were literally and completely non-social.
Secondly, there have been all manner of studies including million plus European ones - and there is no correlation of autism to vaccines or to anything else medical.

So while it is not proven that DSM changes have caused autism to spike, what is proven is that there is no proven cause.
When there is no proven cause, you look at other factors and the DSM methodology changes are suspiciously well timed with autism diagnosis frequency increases. DSM changes directly affect autism diagnoses since the DSM is literally the definition used so there is both a causal and a direct link.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 19:41 utc | 260

@H.Schmatz #259
Thank you for so clearly demonstrating that you didn't read either the full article or even all of the excerpts I posted.
The interview is of someone who has studied the rural voters in Wisconsin and what they think drives their voting and belief systems.
This isn't a right or wrong, but rather an opportunity to understand where people are coming from.
Furthermore, you clearly have some kind of pet peeve driving your response since the article neither endorses or condones the belief systems described but tries (and succeeds) in providing objective background as to why these beliefs exist. Which is to say, there are both real and imagined reasons for them and thus the people who hold them are neither irrational nor stupid.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 19:45 utc | 261

@Tannenhouser #258
Let's address your concerns one by one:
1) Profit motive. Why is it ok to eat a burger, drive a car, take a pill, buy a house - all of which are fundamentally for-profit economic activities but a vaccine isn't allowed to be profitable? What matters, first, is if it works.
2) Duration of immunity.
The reality is that the immune system functions the same, but different diseases have different stabilities in their genetic profiles. The common cold - what people get every year is an emergent strain from the uncounted numbers of mutants that arise every year. It is inherently impossible to accurately predict, but predictions of some benefit can be made by looking at the most recent variations and the likely nearest variants that are different enough to be "not immune" against. Other types like mumps also mutate significantly, which is why vaccines aren't 100% lifetime against them.
The coronavirus - to every report I have seen so far - is inherently incredibly stable compared to the common cold. There is no indication whatsoever that a vaccine based on what COVID-19/SARS-COV-2 virus exists today, is going to be obsoleted by a major mutation of said virus which is both dangerous and widespread. Not saying it cannot happen, but it is historically unlikely given what we absolutely do know about SARS-COV-2 virus behavior from the last 11 months.
3) Vaccine vs. "natural" immunity
The point of a vaccine is to skip the IFR/CFR rate of the real disease. Yes, COVID-19 isn't a death sentence but most people would prefer not to roll any dice with regards to dying, even if the odds are 100 or 50 to 1 in your favor.
There is also the epidemiological aspect: I actually don't care about what anti-vaxxers do, if it only affected them. However, as the real world has shown - once vaccination levels against measles drops below a certain point, measles epidemics break out.
The same dynamic is going to happen for COVID-19. Governments are going to have to either mandate everyone get vaccinated or else just let the disease run its course, roughshod, through the population. In the latter which case, the point of the enormous economic smackdown we have been going through is largely pointless now.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 19:55 utc | 262

@ karlof #259
Regarding the SCS, the US regularly claims that China's nine-dash line, introduced in 1947 prior to the PRC, represents China's claim to sovereignty in waters within the line. But there is no such claim. Nobody ever links to such a claim. And the State Dept has said there is no such claim in its "China Maritime Claims in the South China Sea," December 5, 2014. . .excerpts from the doc:
..."In May 2009, the Chinese Government communicated two Notes Verbales to the UN Secretary General requesting that they be circulated to all UN Member States. The 2009 Notes. . .stated the following:
"China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the relevant waters as well as the seabed and subsoil thereof (see attached map). The above position is consistently held by the Chinese government, and is widely known by the international community" . .note "sovereignty over the islands"

The State Dept document goes on to state: . . ."China has not clarified through legislation, proclamation, or other official statements the legal basis or nature of its claim associated with the dashed-line map. Accordingly, this Limits in the Seas study examines several possible interpretations of the dashed-line claim." . . .and the State Dept goes on to speculate about the nine-dash line for 24 pages, then concluding. . ."For these reasons, unless China clarifies that the dashed-line claim reflects only a claim to islands within that line and any maritime zones that are generated from those land features in accordance with the international law of the sea, as reflected in the LOS Convention, its dashed-line claim does not accord with the international law of the sea.". . .That's so funny, a line for unknown reasons (but sovereignty over islands is mentioned) on a map violates a treaty of the sea (not islands) which the US has not ratified. China is driving the US nuts over a line on a map. .. .Don't try this at home!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 20:50 utc | 263

@ karlof #259
The claim is often made by the US and its puppy-dog think tanks, for over five years now, that China intends to (or does) interfere in South China Sea commercial traffic. Well commercial traffic is doing quite well, as one can see on this current maritime traffic map (may need to scroll display). . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 20:54 utc | 264

I can say that the ASEAN nations will not accept the nine dash line no matter what honeyed words China is saying.

1. What China claims is against established history and laws.
2. China is interfering in ASEAN territores while using US intervention as a practical excuse to scare everyone in line.
3. ASEAN knows that it is actually very hard for China to uphold the claim even if they have the naval power, the geography and straits support the countries closer to it.

I think after the US is gone, ASEAN and China can have some mature discussion instead of this childish imperalism.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 13 2020 21:55 utc | 265

Smith #236

@ uncle tungsten

So you believe in something with no scientific basis?

Far more certain is that I live in something that has physical properties of solidity and pleasure beyond mere scientific certainty. And scientific certainty is a contestable concept - a thing of challenge and proof or refutation.

You simply cannot win a proposition based on a method that has gained its credibility by welcoming and encouraging further proofs. Once upon a time electron theory was roundly condemned too.

I live and spend my life in a three dimensional space that is refined by a theoretical and historically developed concept. One that is appreciated by a vast number of our planets population.

Are you about to dismiss art due to its lack of scientific basis?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 21:59 utc | 266

karlof1 #238

This train wreck was easy to see approaching. Some say the Cold War never ended. I'd say this ought to be seen as a new development and named Cold War 2.0.

Thank you for your posts and updates on the Lavrov position. It is sad that international relations have been so utterly trashed by the Trump class of 86 and the wretched ignorance of the Demonazis.

Your interest and monitoring and informing is most appreciated.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 22:03 utc | 267

Don Bacon #264

The claim is often made by the US and its puppy-dog think tanks, for over five years now, that China intends to (or does) interfere in South China Sea commercial traffic. Well commercial traffic is doing quite well, as one can see on this current maritime traffic map (may need to scroll display). . .here

Thank you Don Bacon, another contributing factor to the improved safety of commercial vessels in the region has been the removal of US destroyers from international shipping lanes following their repeated collisions with large freighters over the years. Increased complexity of high use shipping channels by unnecessary and badly captained vessels is a major threat to world commerce. I am unaware of any other nation acting so recklessly as the USA.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 22:09 utc | 268

@ Smith #265
I can say that the ASEAN nations will not accept the nine dash line no matter what honeyed words China is saying.
How about a link to some honeyed words?
And how about the State Dept words, which claim that China hasn't said anything, honeyed or plain, about the nine-dash line?
Finally, how could ASEAN take a stand on something that's never been explained?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 13 2020 22:10 utc | 269

c1ue #253

It does seem that Trump is vulnerable. And I think a lot of it has to do with who his opponent is, because Hillary Clinton was very unpopular in a lot of these communities well before she was a presidential candidate. The impression I’m getting is that people see Biden as a lot more palatable.

Yes yes yes. Thank you. Biden palatable, like smoothing the pillow of the dying patient. Biden is folksy and his faults tolerable to many - just a bit of an old fogey but he has a strong VP and Hillary is out of their face - at last.

But I see that the century of anti socialist propaganda has worked and class envy has replaced class solidarity as the private finance vultures drive the final wedges home to split the rock of USA solidarity and cohesion. There is a sucker born every day eh?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 22:23 utc | 270

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 15:50 utc | 241

Unfortunately I found nothing in english, not in anyway, here is the link for the Valday Report video in Russian:

I took some quick notes of the first 35 minutes total length is 1:42 hrs¡¡¡¡

Well, lets follow the trend of the times so influenced by computers, if you want to call it Cold War 2.0 that's fine, endless updates are essential to unfinished and/or imperfect projects or products, but that assertion negates the much ballyhooed victory on the 1.0 edition.

Valday Club forecast positive, but the main thing is not the fact of a changing world but if we are able to influence those changes.

New power centers are surging opposed by the west who is not ready to share its privileged position, origin of the turbulence and instability in international relations, the changes occurring are epochal.

Laments de pitiful state of world diplomacy based on accusations and yearns for a return to the diplomacy of old that looks for points of agreement and compromise, even if it is not an easy task.

In spite of its shortcomings the UN is a necessary institution with no alternatives, compares its shortcomings with the fact that motor traffic is not to be banned due to traffic accidents.

International law was written with blood, the blood of the victors of fascism. Quote Mendeleev as a philosopher, realism.

Cooperation with covid, but won’t force our solutions on nobody, efforts should be to unite not divide.

Next anniversary of UN should be marked by a summit.

Climate change, to be focused with cooperation not rivalries.

All in all agrees with the Valday report.

International institutions in spite of a possible brilliant past today are in bad shape is the opinion of the speaker, Lavrov enumerates the basic principles of the UN which he qualifies as positive.

Enumerates all the treaties abandoned by the US, as well as international institutions like Unesco. Briefly: Washington is not capable of agreements Недоговороспособный is the Russian word.

OPCW a scandal, semi privatized, when the forum for implementation of international law does not satisfy the demands of the west they go to an alternative forum that will comply, a new reality that should be opposed since it does not respect the letter and spirit of the UN chart.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 13 2020 22:26 utc | 271

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 13 2020 17:32 utc | 252

Don't know exactly what you meant by "util". Searched in the dictionary and only found it as an abbreviation of "utility". So either you mean, in Marxist terminology, of "use value" or "value".

Value is always measured by socially necessary labor time. That already answers your question.

Use value is any effect that satisfies any kind of human need (physiological or spiritual).

The only relevance of use value in capitalism is in the fact that it is the substance of value, its "support".

Not every labor is productive. Professions related to the circulation of commodities (irrelevant if they are goods or services) are not productive. This means the entire commerce sector and the entire management sector, plus the entire banking sector (which deals with fictitious capital, another category different from commercial capital). By "management", it is irrelevant if it is public (politicians, bureaucrats) or private (CEOs, managers, directors) - all it requires is for it to serve as the proverbial "whip" to keep the workers "in line".

In the case of unproductive labor, their wages is merely the partition of the surplus value extracted from the productive workers. Their wages will fluctuate according to the state-of-the-art of the productive sector.

Posted by: vk | Oct 13 2020 22:40 utc | 272

Paco #271

Thank you, good to see sanity in major nations.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2020 22:47 utc | 273

In other news, China, Russia, and Cuba were elected to the UNHRC (UN Human Rights Council) but unfortunately Saudi Arabia did not make it in.

Pompeo apparently failed to get somebody to run against Cuba in their sector, so they couldn't lose.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2020 22:57 utc | 274

Don Bacon @263&264--

Hi Don. Yeah, been back and forth about that which the Outlaw US Empire has no grounds to comment upon; it's claimed its "right" to go wherever it wants since it proclaimed the Open Door 120 years ago. It must be noted the ASEAN Charter is modeled closely on the UN Charter which the Outlaw US Empire has violated daily since it came into force on October 22, 1945, a fact likely unknown to Agent Smith. As such, the Empire has the same problems and violates the same principles of the ASAEN Charter as with the UN Charter; and it must be noted that such violations began as soon as the ASAEN Charter was signed in November 2007 through its disruption of each nation's sovereignty via telecommunications espionage, amongst others.

The Outlaw US Empire also refuses to obey the edicts of the ASEAN's Nuclear Free Zone which isn't unusual as we know since violating treaties is one of its major fortes as it's never really been agreement capable. The latest ruse the Empire's employed is trying to portray Trump as reasonable on arms control despite his withdrawal from many such treaties, and Russia's not taking the bait:

"According to reports, the United States has 'agreement in principle' with Russia to extend the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), a nuclear weapons treaty that is set to expire in February 2021. However, Moscow has pushed back, saying no such agreement exists."

There is a bit more on the topic from YTASS. In case of denseness on the part of some readers, the issue is this: Russia said it will negotiate but with no preconditions, whereas the Outlaw US Empire says it will negotiate only if Russia agrees to freezing its nuclear arsenal, which is clearly a precondition to negotiations. As with the EU and nations within that group, the Outlaw US Empire refuses to listen and is unwilling to accommodate. Meanwhile, financial parasites continue to eat away at the underlying strength of both the EU and Outlaw US Empire, with one group saying the Empire needs to provide another $4 Trillion in QE to waste on top of the $7 Trillion that's done nothing but enrich the already rich.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2020 23:07 utc | 275

Recently in the South China Sea the US has taken to sailing its warships within 12nm of China Paracel (real) Islands, which is China territory, claiming a right to exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Seas. They further categorize the subject trespassed highly built-up island "disputed territory" which explains (to the US) why they can do it. As a matter of fact China had a short naval battle with the puppet government of South Vietnam fifty years ago and took over the islands. Sort of like how the US took over the Philippines and other islands.

Anyhow the US is violating UNCLOS but that's okay, the US never ratified it. The US senate refused to ratify UNCLOS, UN law of the sea, because they would not care for a world body hauling them into a hearing and dictating to the US what it could or could not do. They said that. But of course it's okay to haul China, a signatory, into a kangaroo court composed of westerners and make decisions on its behavior. It was mainly fishing rights, by the way, which are disputed in many places in the world including the US.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2020 0:05 utc | 276

Recently in the South China Sea the US has taken to sailing its warships within 12nm of China Paracel (real) Islands, which is China territory, claiming a right to exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Seas. They further categorize the subject trespassed highly built-up island "disputed territory" which explains (to the US) why they can do it. As a matter of fact China had a short naval battle with the puppet government of South Vietnam fifty years ago and took over the islands. Sort of like how the US took over the Philippines and other islands.

Anyhow the US is violating UNCLOS but that's okay, the US never ratified it. The US senate refused to ratify UNCLOS, UN law of the sea, because they would not care for a world body hauling them into a hearing and dictating to the US what it could or could not do. They said that. But of course it's okay to haul China, a signatory, into a kangaroo court composed of westerners and make decisions on its behavior. It was mainly fishing rights, by the way, which are disputed in many places in the world including the US.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2020 0:05 utc | 277

Paco @271--

Thanks for your posting that synopsis!! Unlike with the first Cold War, some say there's no ideological divide; I disagree. We have one bloc of nations led by the Outlaw US Empire that ignores law and human rights while claiming to uphold both; in other words, it/they continually prevaricate. In addition, their political-economy is driven by the Zero-sum principle of the Game of Monopoly as expressed by Neoliberalism. The other bloc espouses continual adherence to the Rule of Law as defined by the UN Charter, all related treaties, along with honest dialog that seeks accommodation. Those values in turn support a political-economic philosophy of maximal human development based on the Win-Win principle and collectivism. Underlying everything is the 7,000+ years of ongoing Class War between Creditors and Debtors that informs the basis for the West's war on the world via firstly its Colonialism, then its Imperialism, and now its Neocolonialism and Neoimperialism impressed via the privately held global financial system. We now see that the Parasites of that system have finally turned upon their host nations since they've taken most of what was to be eaten in those nations unfortunate to have coopted "leaders" who invited them to ingest their nation's vitality.

One can posit the Cold War allowed the Parasites to gorge on many nations under its cover via the IMF and World Bank. Finally the Empire in its hubris founded the WTO but met its demise there thanks to the ability of the raped nations to form a collective and use the WTO's democratic mechanisms the Empire thought it could control against it; and now it wants out. Something similar is playing out via the UN's 2030 Development Goals and with the shared goals of Eurasian development via the BRI and EAEU visions which are being implemented despite the attempts by the Outlaw US Empire to destroy them.

Ultimately its Fascist philosophy of being atop a pyramid of Full Spectrum Domination combined with Neoliberalism undermined the Outlaw US Empire's goal of global domination, although it's not yet completely defeated. The coming decade will require hard work to oust the parasitic forces globally with the biggest tasks existing within the UK and USA where Neoliberalism's roots are very deep. I find it ironic that the Cold War's demonized forces in the East will be the liberating forces finally throwing off the West's yoke, the West having been the Devil the entire time. But it's not yet time to celebrate. That will come when the nations and peoples of the world use a currency backed by that global public for their commerce that's not the property or debt of any nation which will finally free us all from the too many years of subjugation to Creditors and their allies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2020 0:05 utc | 278

Don Bacon @276--

Thanks for your reply Don! I trust that some future historian will write based on the premise: Why didn't the United States seek to aide nations via genuine friendship and the Golden Rule rather than trying to dominate and control them like slaves. Yes, such a work could be started now, but the Empire has yet to fall and have its domestic institutions turned into a genuine democratic-republic where the people actually rule themselves. The Futurist in me has thought of writing something along those lines; perhaps about life emerging from the shadows of dystopia with when always being the hardest part of the scenario to envision.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2020 0:47 utc | 279

@ Don Bacon

The honeyed words are China asking ASEAN to unite against the US. I think this is similar to Pompeo going to ASEAN and ask them to unite against China.

Both of these proposals won't hold because they are dishonest, both these powers want ASEAN's support to maintain their hegemony, but they won't get it until they start to give ASEAN a honest deal on the South East Asia Sea.

@ uncle tungsten

Well, I do enjoy in art, I do not believe in art as in messing up a part of art will somehow end up affecting my health or something like Feng Shui, that's closer to superstitions.

Anyway, my point is that the ordinary people believe in a concept like the Mandate of Heaven, vk says it's outdated medieval concept, except that modern chinese (party officials) still believe in outdated antiquity concept like Feng Shui thus I have no reason to disregard concept like the Mandate, which actually is more understandable/universal than Feng Shui.

@ c1ue

I disagree. The Mandate is invoked every times there are rebellions against authority, such as the famous "Han time has ended! Yellow flag rises!" of the Yellow Turban, it's not necessarily a backwards revisionist philosophy, but it can be used any times if you want to support or oppose the existing authority.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 1:02 utc | 280

@ julianne

Getting the mind closer to the heart? This seems to be getting a bit too mumbojumbo, even for me.

Anyway, I learn some new things about Orthodoxy I guess. But at the end of the days, Orthodoxy does not want to subvert/challenge the existing authority, just like Buddhism, so it will not be disturbed.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 1:36 utc | 281

news report -- SCMP Oct 13
President Xi visited a military base, where he called on marines to improve combat readiness and stay vigilant. Xi told marines they should aim to be a “multifunctional, rapid response, all-weather and region” fighting force.
“[You should] focus your minds and energy on preparing to go to war, and stay highly vigilant,” Xi said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
"Marines have many different missions and the demands on you will vary,” he said. “As such [you] should base your training on [the need to] go into battle … and raise [your] training standards and combat ability.”. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 14 2020 2:01 utc | 282


Could you please provide some example that China seeks hegemony?! China once said that the Pacific is big enough to accommodate both China and US. It's US or to some extent the anglo-axis wants full-spectrum dominance. What I saw from news is that some US official traveled around the world, not to ask but threaten "consequences". In my view, China tries to find a win-win solution with others. For the amerikka, it's always I-win-and-you-lose. With amerikka's fundamental winner-takes-all mindset. What's left for others?

To Chinese, it's to revive from more than a hundred years of suppression and colonization by the west. Why is it seeking hegemony when China works hard to lift Chinese's living standard without invading or suppressing others?

By the way, your terminology about the specific sea is interesting. China just called it South Sea (Nan Hai). I believe it is not China that names it South China Sea.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 14 2020 2:21 utc | 283

@ LuRenJia

No, if China indeed seeks win-win, there would be negotiation between ASEAN and China and the nine-dash-line wouldn't even be a thing. That's an evidence of naked imperialism/empire building and the fact China refuses to bulge puzzles me. If they want a less hostile SEA, all they need to do is work on trade deals with ASEAN and abide by international EEZ, not to reinforce imperialistic claim.

Also, the issue isn't China AND the US, the Pacific is to be shared by all asians with access to it, not just China AND the US. The fact China only considers it's either them or US means that this is just empires dividing region by themselves, never mind the little guys.

For asian history, the chinese were the conquerors in the region, they regularly invaded other countries in the past, so for ASEAN, both China and USA aren't to be trusted, especially if both of they act so dishonestly.

And yeah, that's a more accurate name of the part of ocean, considering it primarily belongs to SEA and not China.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 2:31 utc | 284


You took the Pacific thing out of context. China said that to US regarding US's desire for dominance.

As for the nine-dash-line, it was claimed by Republic of China before PRC. PRC just keeps the same claim. Why no one gave it a !@#@!$# when ROC made such a claim? Does China not try to talk with neighboring countries to find a solution that all can live with? China does not say to ASEAN take-it-or-leave-it. In addition, there is amerikka interference which makes things more complicated. For China's win-win approach, you stick to the SCS issue but I look from a more broad sense.

Where did China invade in the past century? Please don't use west propaganda. What asian history do you read from that China is the conqueror in the region? The term "conqueror" seems more applicable to the west. You must read different asian history than I do. I don't recall China "regularly" invades others.

By the way, you are free to put whatever name you want for that sea on your map. If you'd like to apply it to the maps others use, you would need to become The Conqueror first.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 14 2020 3:08 utc | 285

@ LuRenJia

Why would the ROC's claim matter here considering the ROC claim goes against the win-win you speak so highly off?

And ASEAN has had many meetings on this issue, even with the UN as arbiter, but China is the one who refuses to bulge and resorts to military for legitimacy, never mind international laws and the interests of other neighbors country. And of course, America's interference means China should have it all, really now? Is China big brother now, capable of deciding for all asians?

What happened to win-win?

And the evidences of China invading other countries are in history, some examples:

Some of China's territories do not even belong to China's historically, such as areas that used to be Dali and West Xia.

The fact you seem to deny China's obvious imperialist history while playing up the western threat seems very typical to me. China needs the bad guy USA in order to make itself look good, but this is dishonest.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 3:27 utc | 286


Why China can't claim what its predecessor does? And it's not seeking win-win if it does? Would a country easily drop a territorial claim? Your point is not convincing. Is the UN arbiter fair? It's a setup by amerikka. Not everything with a UN brand is fair and legit. You know a UN org OPCW, right?!

Regarding Vietnam, the northern part was on and off a part of China since Han Dynasty. It basically depends on China's strength at the time. It's typical when China's central government becomes weak, some regions that are remote to the central part would seek "independence". It is nice to be king, isn't it? Similar to Dali and West Xia, which even went back to Sung Dynasty. In fact, Mongolians took both Dali and West Xia, not Sung Dynasty. At the time, Mongolians were not considered as Chinese. The two may not be counted on China. Today's China territory is basically based on Qing Dynasty. And Qing Dynasty lasted about 260+ years. I am not sure back then there was a such thing called international laws. If you even goes back to 1500 years, you'd have more claims to make about that China invaded here and there. However, arguing about that does not make much sense to me. So your claim that some of China's territory today doesn't belong to China rings hollow. If you insist, please apply your this rule to every country in the world and see what you get.

For Sino-Burmese war, there were some border conflicts before the war. So it is not a simple invasion out of nowhere.

For Qing-Joseon, it's at the early stage of Qing Dynasty. Two Ming-dynasty generals escaped to Joseon. Therefore, there indeed exists a pretext for Qing's action.

In my view, Chinese dynasties are not in the same sense as the west imperialists. Does China deal with others like the west imperialist?? It's your view treating them the same. China does not need a bad guy US. China would not mind if US leaves China alone. It seems to me that it is you who need a bad guy China.

There seem no much value to argue further. You can believe/call whatever you like.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 14 2020 4:07 utc | 287

Correction. Sung Dynasty should be Song Dynasty.

Apologize for the typo.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 14 2020 4:14 utc | 288

@ LuRenJia

You seem very defensive when it comes to China's history, but you love to prop up the western threat.

This is useful to you because it masks China's problems, and to be honest, it's a good strategy. But unfortunately, it doesn't work with one who has a neutral point of view that is outside the China/US framework.

And no, China cannot claim its predecessor's claim because its predecessor claim infringes on other claims of its neighbors. So this naturally destroys any notion of win-win and becomes win-lose.

For West Xia and Dali, the Ming took upon all the Yuan territories, they sure didn't mind the Tangut or the Dalian, it's fun to blame the faults of the mongols, but when the Mings take over mongols conquered territories, it's not the Ming's fault.

And vietnamese, the native rebelled against the chinese, much like the indian rebelled against the british, it's the same exact play.

For Sino-burmese war, border skirmish does not legitimize invasion, same for Joseon war. Not to say all actors are innocent, but saying China dindu nuffin is outright false.

In my view, what stopped further Chinese invasion is not that because they were not willing, but they were unable beat their neighbors, unlike West Xia, Dali, Tibet, half of Mongolia and basically northern China.

This means China's insistence of being the peaceful empire (of THAT size) is dishonest and thus chinese cannot be trusted.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 4:19 utc | 289

@ LuRenJia
Because China’s claim infringes on other claims and the international laws of EEZ. It cannot claim to follow international laws while claiming imperialist claim at the same time. That’s not win-win. And yes, I know UN is not legit, but if you do not trust UN as an arbiter, who represents neutrality here? Are we back to “win king, lose bandit” here? Should we scrap international laws and we all be outlaws?

Vietnam rebelled against the Chinese just like the indian rebelled against the british and the chinese against the british, both got occupied and the natives decide they have enough. Dali and West Xia got wiped out by the mongols, then the Chinese take them over, never mind the tangut and dalian. The fact you seems to think these natives do not actually have right to rule their country means you are a “Chinaman burden” imperialist. And the fact there isn’t international laws back then doesn’t mean countries can invade as they like, or is the British Empire good now for “liberating” China from outdated feudalist rule of the Qing Empire?

For Sino-Burma, this still results in invasion of a sovereign country.

For Qing-Josean, so two Ming dynasties escaping to Korea means Qing has right to invade to Korea? What? This thinking is very similar to modern US.

And your views are wrong, Chinese invade, occupy and ask for tributes/slaves, the same as the western imperialists. They were beaten off by the natives, the same as western imperialists. The fact you trying to make distinction is in fact you trying to mask your own past imperialist act by saying West worse than China thus China good.
That kind of things can work on useful idiots, not on me. And no, your own logic requires the bad guy USA “leaving you alone”, because if the bad guy USA does not “leave you alone” you can continue your sea grab in the South East Asia Sea and refuse to bulge.

I, on the other hand, can go on because I have logic and reason on my side. The US is bad, doesn’t mean China is free to do whatever it wants on other countries and ignores international laws, that’s not win-win. That’s big brother China wins by eating the meat – little brother ASEAN wins by licking the bones. And ASEAN is not going to accept that as a “win”.

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 4:58 utc | 290

@ Smith | Oct 14 2020 4:58 utc | 288 who wrote
I, on the other hand, can go on because I have logic and reason on my side.

My logic and reason tells me that in the West social control is exerted by a cult of folk that own global private finance tools/parts and in China the core finance tools are controlled by the government that has responsibility for social control.

My logic and reason tells me that China is controlling finance in a way that benefits the masses whereas in the West finance is operated in a way that benefits a minute minority of humans.

My logic and reason tells me that China is operating in a humanistic/good manner and the West is operating in an anti-humanistic/bad manner.

I am just trying to make you work for your pieces of silver....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2020 5:34 utc | 291

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2020 0:05 utc | 277

Excellent summary, hard not to agree with.

Here is the russian text that will allow you to machine translate Lavrov statement and the questions and answers part that I did not watch last night.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 14 2020 6:01 utc | 292

The closing statement is a reference to the relation between the report title and two Russian literature characters, the dog Mumu and nature loving Grandpa Mazay and the Hares, and it is based on a game of words since utopian in Russian is an homophony with sinking Утопия/Утопить and therefore he chooses Grandpa Mazay alternative, anti utopian or anti sinking, adding that the salvation of the ones that are sinking depends on themselves, and therefore they are ready to collaborate with all the sinking ones searching for a mutually acceptable disentanglement.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 14 2020 6:14 utc | 293

Posted by: Paco | Oct 14 2020 6:18 utc | 294

@ psychohistorian:

If so, why is there a nine-dash-line in the South East Asia sea?

And when asked, China says it's just using the claim from its imperial past? When it should share and maintain good relationships with her neighbors and upheld win-win attitude as it said?

Has China's own logic and reason failed? Or have your logic and reason failed?

China would literally be hard to criticize if they decide to sit on a table and negotiate with ASEAN but they don't. Why?

The West? The West being bad does not excuse China's issues. Why hasn't China tried being the good guy instead of excusing its own sea grab/imperialism by bringing up the West?

Posted by: Smith | Oct 14 2020 6:34 utc | 295

On a tangent but I spent a wee time scanning some of the looney right and Qanon blab fests today just to get the picture on their world. Amazing Polly is rattled and there was a hint of impending crisis in some of her recent stuff. The commenters were of their usual form IMO. Then I caught up with some news on Steve Bannon as I figure his fate could be significant. I found this at the Bannon Centre (no relation and opposite side of the fence if you will excuse the pun).

Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of all of the bank accounts for We Build the Wall Inc., the bank account of Citizens of the American Republic, and a $800,000 yacht named “Warfighter.” So perhaps at the end of the day, the federal government will end up with the money from the We Build the Wall effort after all.

At least the spell in prison will allow Steve the man to dry out a little. Meanwhile the grubby side of global lobbying to influence the US elections and Justice System comes into the light.

In addition to Mr Broidy, his business associate, Nickie Mali Lum Davis, and a former Justice Department official, George Higginbotham, were involved in the scheme. Those two individuals have already pleaded guilty to their involvement. Ms Lum Davis not only lobbied against the 1MDB investigation, she also lobbied for the country to release the wealthy Chinese exile Guo Wengui to China.

Mr Guo recently burst into Americans' consciousnesses when Steve Bannon, a formerly invaluable part of Mr Trump's campaign team, was arrested on his yacht in connection with fraudulently fundraising to build the president's promised border wall.

This could go far I guess.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2020 8:51 utc | 296

On Navalny and the rapid unravelling, John Helmer of Dances with Bears has reported one of those great leaks that bring a wry smile:

Meier’s letter, dated September 4 and written in English, told the Swedes exactly what they were expected to report back to Berlin. Navalny was suffering from “symptoms of a poisoning due to a substance belonging to the group of cholinesterase inhibitors”, the document declared. So that the Swedish laboratory understood what was requested from them, the Defence Ministry added that the German Army laboratory in Munich had reported that “a nerve agent from the so-called ‘Novichok group’ could be determined as the source of this poisoning.”

The Twitter publication originated from Mats Nilsson late on October 9. Nilsson, who claims to be a prolific source on many subjects, publishes here.

(Site added through my twitter search).

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2020 9:16 utc | 297

And so to my irregular call at Wall Street on Parade authored by that magnificent pair Pam and Russ Martens:

For years we’ve been trying to figure out why JPMorgan’s Board of Directors hasn’t sacked its Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, as the bank racked up two felony counts in 2014 for its failure to alert U.S. regulators to glaring red flags in the bank account it held for Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme; one felony count in 2015 for rigging foreign exchange markets; and two more felony counts just last month for rigging the precious metals and U.S. Treasury market. (The bank admitted to all five counts.) In addition, the bank came under another criminal investigation in 2012 and 2013 when it lost $6 billion of its bank depositors’ money gambling in credit derivatives in London (the London Whale scandal). Turns out Jamie Dimon has been taking very good care of the Directors on his Board...

More here and enough to keep you on their page for an hour or so. I go here occasionally as it is just too distressing to make a habit of it. A truly great site.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2020 9:46 utc | 298

For those interested in details of the outrageous 1MDB fraud in Malaysia mentioned in my Bannon post above, I recommend a quick trip to the Sarawak Report for details. Now here is a magnificent Malaysian news site - the Sarawak Report

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2020 9:59 utc | 299

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2020 9:16 utc | 297

Thanks for the link to the Nilsson twitter, there's interesting stuff there. Concerning Navalny, I'm quite surprised how shoddy the whole affaire setup looks, especially coming from the germans with their reputation for black and white efficiency. There will be more surprises with the Yale World Fellow Navally if he is to go back home to Russia. He has made public serious accusations that I imagine some judge will want to clarify.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 14 2020 10:33 utc | 300

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