Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 24, 2020

Open Thread 2020-101

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 24, 2020 at 10:44 UTC | Permalink

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Resumen Latinoamericano: Since the end of the so-called ‘progressive wave’ in Latin America, which marked the first decade of this century, the regional left was relegated to being the opposition, but in the agitated atmosphere of 2020 it regained its hopes with new electoral victories. In Chile, the proposal for constitutional reform promoted by leftist sectors was approved, while in Bolivia, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of former president Evo Morales (2006-2019) returned to government. Already in 2019, Peronism had returned to Argentina with the triumph of Alberto Fernandez, which awakened the first hopes among Latin American leftist sectors.

Venezuelanalysis: The US Treasury Department has levied successive rounds of unilateral measures targeting Venezuela’s oil sector. (...) However, oil giant Chevron and a number of oil service providers such as Halliburton have had their sanctions waivers extended until June 2021. Chevron currently runs four joint ventures with PDVSA, the largest being Petropiar in Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt.

Mercopress: Argentina's health ministry said on Wednesday it has given the controversial Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine “emergency” authorization, making the country the first in Latin America to do so. The first shipment of the total 25 million doses of the vaccine bought by the Argentine government is due to arrive on Thursday.

Colombia Reports: Colombia’s prosecution arrested some 10,000 students on bogus terrorism or rebellion charges between 2000 and 2018, a study on the criminalization of youth revealed. According to the study by the Gran Politecnica university, the prosecution arrested 10,471 students between 15 and 25 between January 2000 and February 2018. In these 17 years, only 491 students were found guilty.

BAHAMAS: The Caribbean island of The Bahamas has something up its sleeve that has likely made central banks from all over the world turn their heads and observe how it will go. Via a mobile application, Sand Dollar is a digital currency issued by the Central Bank of The Bahamas last October for use across the country. The food items in restaurants were among the first to be bought using it.

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 24 2020 11:40 utc | 1

A Hard Look at Rent and Rent Seeking with Michael Hudson & Pepe Escobar

Posted by: Idiocrates | Dec 24 2020 11:47 utc | 2

Fabulous Christmas to everyone!

Posted by: Chevrus | Dec 24 2020 14:08 utc | 3

still Maracatu @ 1 it is not clear to me how to process what you have summarized..
are the people loosing their hold on the government that governs them or is there a movement away from being controlled by those who are power Hungary?

I for one am over 80 and I refuse to allow my body to be Genetically Modified until I know more about it..

Taking a secret vaccine seems even more stupid than allow the government to operate in secret. No telling
what will be enabled in the genetics that supports and operates your body. The more I study this virus
the more convinced I become the deaths, are not from a virus but from a pneumonia cocci bacteria. It may be the
virus makes bacterial survival more likely.. Florida's governor said just two days age he was not going to take the vaccine, now i just heard on fox that ancient floridians and the governor will receive first shot at the mystery vaccination.

Posted by: snake | Dec 24 2020 14:20 utc | 4

source of the mutated virus I forgot to post this..

Posted by: snake | Dec 24 2020 14:26 utc | 5

Posted by: Maracatu | Dec 24 2020 11:40 utc | 1

Thank you for that, much appreciated.

Interesting that we see local digital currencies come into being in different places. That is to be expected in current conditions. I expect to see it here soon too. Since everybody is busy debasing their currencies, people will have to invent their own. We have to have a reliable medium of exchange of we are all screwed.

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 24 2020 14:45 utc | 7

A Merry Christmas to all and a safe New Year.....(and PEACE to ALL).

Posted by: georgeg | Dec 24 2020 15:33 utc | 8

Bellingcat debunk's Trump's claim that the rockets launched at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad were from Iran.

(April Fool's!) but wouldn't it be sweet if Bellingcat actually did something useful instead of being a paid NATO stooge.

The 107mm Rocket is made by Russia, China, Iran, ... and used by them and Iraq, PMU, and Kurds, so how does Trump know these came from Iran? It's common for a few of these rockets not to explode on impact, this happened when the U.S. contractor was killed over a year ago.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Dec 24 2020 15:46 utc | 9

Sorry, Americans: no candies for you this Christmas:

Congress Blocks Trump's Request to Increase COVID Relief Aid Amid Looming Government Shutdown


Joke of the week: this time, we have a double-header, from the same newspaper:

How India could tweak China in the South China Sea

India could soon give Vietnam the BrahMos supersonic missile, a weapon that would erode China's naval advantage in the disputed waters.


To date, India has refrained from shipping the missile to Vietnam for not altogether clear reasons. China has made it crystal clear in state media commentaries and statements it considers delivery of the BrahMos to rival South China Sea claimants a strategic red-line. Beijing has also repeatedly warned New Delhi against inserting itself more directly in the South China Sea disputes.

I searched for that in the Global Times and the Xinhua and found no data that confirms the highlighted part of the quote. There was only one instance of "BrahMos" in 2020, which merely states the system was tested.

The most it has is one statement by Sun Shihai, an expert at the South Asia Research Center of Sichuan University, in the Global Times article. He stated that "China and India should avoid a vicious arms race and refrain from using force as a threat, despite some Indians' belief that building a strong military is the right way to ensure a peaceful border".

So, yes, China is opposed to an arms race between itself and India - and the BrahMos, logically, is part of that - but then so is Russia officially against a new arms race against the USA. There's a long distance between being against an arms race and admitting your enemy has absolute military supremacy over one region just because of a new military toy - let alone a supersonic one, in a hypersonic era.

China slowly retreating from Pakistan’s Belt and Road

Pakistan’s army is set to take near-total control of the Beijing-financed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a US$60 billion infrastructure building plan replete with railways, roads, ports and special economic zones (SEZs) that is key to China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).


Recent media reports, citing data compiled by Boston University researchers in the United States, note that overall lending by the state-backed China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China declined from a peak of $75 billion in 2016 to just $4 billion last year. Provisional 2020 figures show that amount shrunk to around $3 billion in 2020.

Someone should teach those journalists some maths: the whole project cost USD 60 billion. USD 75 billion already were lent in 2016 alone - more than covering for the entire cost of the entire project. The article revolves around a new bill passed in the Pakistani parliament giving its Army more power on supervising the project, with an explicit aim to better guard it against external threats and terrorist sabotage.

Most likely scenario is that the project is already paid and in construction, those additional loans by the two State Chinese banks having nothing to do with the Corridor, but with other projects.


Game over for Japan:

Japan reports record-high 3,450 new COVID-19 cases

Never fooled me. Paper tiger.


Good news:

Llegan a Cuba nuevas locomotoras desde Rusia

Seven TGM-8KM locomotives have just arrived to Cuba. It is part of a larger deal made between Russia and Cuba in 2016.


It's done. Happy now, Westerners?

Protecting intellectual property rights equals to protecting innovation

30 from now, Westerners will be whining for the opposite reason: that China's IP protection laws are "too harsh/unfair", as China becomes the leading innovation center of the world.


Very interesting read for those uninitiated in American History or basic philosophy:

John Locke and America’s Cult of Private Property

It explains a lot, specially on the differences between liberalism on the American Left, on the American Right, and between American liberalism and European liberalism. It also explains why both sides claim they're the real America.


One more defeat to the "herd immunity" believers:

One in 85 in England have COVID-19, China and Brazil stop UK flights: COVID-19 daily bulletin


China's top market regulator probes Alibaba Group over alleged monopoly

Jack Ma tried to get to the CPC, but the CPC got to Jack Ma first.

Let this clown serve as a lesson for the rest of the Chinese bourgeoisie.


With Hacking, the United States Needs to Stop Playing the Victim

That FireEye/Solarwinds fuck up was too much even to the NYT.


Trump pardoned some dozens of war criminals. I'll not post any link here because I'm sure it will be the most talked about topic in this thread.


Brexit deal finally concluded:

UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal

The report is 2,000 pages long and I won't read it, but the fact is Boris Johnson is claiming victory. Implied in his speech is that the UK won't have to adjust to any additional EU regulations in exchange for the maintenance of zero tariffs. Honestly, I doubt that. The key here is "additional": after decades in the EU, the UK has already adapted to the EU's tastes and regulations.

The "fishing waters" imbroglio seems to be left unresolved. A sign that it didn't matter in the first place.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 16:05 utc | 10

I finally got around to listening to the Michael Hudson/Pepe Escobar that karlof1 shared here a little while ago, and must say I really liked it:

A Hard Look at Rent and Rent Seeking with Michael Hudson & Pepe Escobar

Hudson's positions on economic/political subjects are very pithy, memorable and engaging here when he expresses them in the video/spoken medium [I've scanned a few of his written essays, but the economic jargon used in such scholarly economic writings usually makes my eyes glaze over after a short time].

One of many his statements that sticks with me is where he said said something to the effect that "It used be the case that only a major war could destroy a country, but nowadays, adopting/embracing the American finance capitalism model is the most cost-effective way of achieving the same end" [paraphrasing].

Lots of other thought-provoking stuff in there too, and I still have yet to listen to the final 20-30min of the discussion with Pepe (who I find great in both his spoken and written formats).

Posted by: gm | Dec 24 2020 16:24 utc | 11

Well, as predicted Republicans blocked the Unanimous Consent motion to approve the $2000 stimulus payment, AND GUESS WHAT?

Trump knew very well this would happen when he pulled this STUNT two days before Christmas before leaving to play golf!


...Asshole narcissist playing golf at this moment.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 24 2020 16:38 utc | 12

No matter how much money Americans get under stimulus bill, it’s not enough to deal with their financial problems – Prof. Wolff

Richard Wolff is one of the only two Marxist economists still alive in the USA - the other being Michael Hudson. They are not pure Marxists, though, and often degenerate to an underconsumptionist theory - a typical trait to contemporary American Marxists.

However, in this case and as expected, prof. Wolff agrees with me. You can only print money in a useful manner to a certain extent.


To the uninformed:

Who is making waves in South China Sea?

It must be clarified that “freedom of navigation” is a universally acknowledged concept, but “freedom of navigation operation” is a US-exclusive concept. Established in 1979 and formally implemented in 1983, the “freedom of navigation operation” program was intended to challenge, through diplomatic and military operations, what the US thought were “excessive maritime claims” by other states. Completely outside the framework of international laws such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), the program is essentially a hegemonistic move taken by the US to dodge its international duties and replace international law with its domestic rules in the final stage of the negotiations on UNCLOS. The program has no legitimacy in the international community, and even US allies, including the UK, Japan, and Australia, don’t adopt its concepts and practices.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 16:40 utc | 13

RE: -vk | Dec 24 2020 16:40 utc | 13

"Richard Wolff is one of the only two Marxist economists still alive in the USA - the other being Michael Hudson. They are not pure Marxists, though, and often degenerate to an underconsumptionist theory - a typical trait to contemporary American Marxists.

However, in this case and as expected, prof. Wolff agrees with me. You can only print money in a useful manner to a certain extent."

I assume vk is well aware of the strongly pejorative connotation the term "Maarxist" carries with the great majority of MSM-programmed Americans[akin to something just slightly less bad than being a "Pedophile'].

It is not a term I would associate with Michael Hudson after listening to his discussion with Escobar.

Posted by: gm | Dec 24 2020 17:19 utc | 14

Three-Tier Truncated Range Voting (3TTRV) -- Something to look forward to after the looming revolution:

The principle objective of a three-tier truncated range voting (3TTRV) system is to completely avoid any strong motivation to utilize automation, machinery, computers, etc. in the voting and the tabulation operations of political elections and referendums. The only means to achieve hand tabulation is to design the process to be absolutely as simple as reasonably possible. This obviously demands an extremely minimal transfer of data within the system, or more succinctly, extremely low information traffic.

The 3TTRV system consists of a significantly modified form of the range method. The ballot allows voters to grant 5, or 4, or 0 votes to each and every candidate printed on said ballot. The existence of the 0 vote tier merely adds a small degree of additional security for the ballots. Voters can also grant 5, or 4, but not 0 votes to write-in candidates, since allowing them to grant 0 votes to write-ins could lead to personal harassment. Allowing 3, 2, or 1 votes to be granted would afford very little improvement in the relevant expression of portions of electoral support, but would approximately double the complexity of automation-free tabulation. Only voters who provide provable significantly valid reasons should be allowed to submit mail-in ballots, so as to provide adequate system security.

Voters should probably be preregistered, with their names being noted on lists at the time when they vote. Voters would fill out paper ballots and then insert them into ballot boxes at polling places. At the end of the polling period, the votes should be immediately hand-counted at the polling places. Then the polling place staff should announce and publish all of the results one hour prior to submitting them to larger tabulation centers, which should do the same prior to submitting them to yet larger centers, since this would suppress organized tampering.

Upon close examination, systems of proportional representation (PR) do not appear to provide positive outcomes for the factions they ostensibly represent, and it is apparent that all PR methods require unacceptably high levels of information traffic.

Just in case anyone may overlook the point of extremely low information traffic 3TTRV, with such a system the pragmatic voter would grant 5 votes to their strongly preferred contenders, thus providing them with a 5/5 (i.e. 100%) portion of electoral support.

That voter would probably grant 4 votes to their powerful-influencer-fronted front-running lesser-evils, thus providing them with a 4/5 (i.e. 80%) portion of electoral support.

And that voter would grant no votes at all to their powerful-influencer-fronted front-running greater-evils, thus providing them with a 0/5 (i.e. 0%) portion of electoral support.

In this way, such voters would sacrifice only a 1/5 (i.e. 20%) portion of electoral support for their lesser-evils, should they choose to do so, while providing no support at all to their powerful-influencer-fronted front-running greater-evils. This is almost as simple as the approval voting system, although it gives the voters a much improved way to deal with the lesser-evil phenomenon.

Advocating three-tier truncated range voting (3TTRV) will be a very worthwhile mission! Over my surprisingly lengthy lifetime I have accumulated a considerable hoard of out-of-the-box agendas, which I intend to share on my main website in the coming rather scary year 2021:

Community Survival Org

Happy holidays to all my friends here! Here's a little something that was donated to us all by a friend of mine:

Horizon - Sunday Postman

Posted by: blues | Dec 24 2020 17:20 utc | 15

blues @Dec24 17:20 15

Thanks Blues. I hope your 3TTRV gets attention.

Happy holidays!


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 24 2020 18:30 utc | 16

The origins of the RT-PCR on which it is based our whole strategy against the Covid-19 pandemic, how it was created and in a rush published in a scientific private review, without oblied previous peer review, and which the conflict of interests are and how some people are profiting from this pandemic:

Turning science into a botch for profit and at the expense of the health of the whole world

Merry Christmas! Take care of your and yours!

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Dec 24 2020 18:35 utc | 17

gm @14--

In that discussion, Hudson self-describes as a Classical Economist, of which Marx was one. Even the renowned Charles A. Beard was smeared as a Marxist for his Economic Interpretation of the Constitution he published in 1918, which is further evidence in what Hudson called the "Counter-Revolution" waged by Bankers, Rentiers and their allies against the progress made in eradicating Feudalism. My own research is rooted in what Hudson writes here:

"This has led many countries to reconsider the character of macroeconomic management – and behind it, the body of economic and political theory guiding today’s societies. What seemed at first glance to be a systemic policy failure of mainstream economics is coming to be seen as not so much a failure as part of an orchestrated class to protect financial wealth and its allied rentier sectors. Economic policy has passed out of the hands of elected democratic government to central banks and other government agencies controlled by financial planners and the rentier class behind them. Their post-crisis management has enabled these interests to gain control of a large swath of the pubic domain of debtor countries, along with industries and real estate in the creditor nations themselves. [My Emphasis]

That is from the the Preface to the book from which this excerpted essay is derived, which I've linked to before. And finally for your holiday reading, here's the link to Veblen's book on the topic, Absentee ownership and business enterprise in recent times: the case of America.

The terms Marxism, Socialism and Communism were made into pejoratives to smear and discredit those tarred and were pushed prior to WW1, Russian Revolution, Red Scare, and the war to destroy the aims of Industrial Capitalism, which was to end Feudalism and Banker and Monopolist control of enterprise and government. The reason why Hudson champions Industrial Capitalism ought to be plain to see now--like Marx he sees it as the interest base capable of dealing with humanity's longstanding enemies: The Creditor Class and its allies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 18:50 utc | 18

I highly suggest this Global Times article, "Lessons for China from US COVID-19 crisis." I don't share the optimistic take on Biden easing tensions with China or acting in concert with China on any issue.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 19:00 utc | 19

@ Posted by: gm | Dec 24 2020 17:19 utc | 14; @ Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 18:50 utc | 18

My hypothesis is that Marxist economists adopt an underconsumptionist stance simply because otherwise they wouldn't have any chance of having a good career as economists. Economists are a naturally reactionary class in capitalism, capitalism's clerics, so they can't viably go to the logical conclusion of Marxism that capitalism will be over.

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 19:29 utc | 20

Merry Christmas to all the Barflies and many thanks to B for continuing this site. I have learned much from my fellow readers and your posts are the highlight of my day. Cheers and here is hoping for better days ahead.

Posted by: ld | Dec 24 2020 19:36 utc | 21

Posted by: vk | Dec 24 2020 16:40 utc | 13

I've read almost everything Michael Hudson has written. Even his more academically work. He almost never writes about underconsumption, overproduction or the falling rate of profit. He is first and foremost a scholar of the history of economic thought and a balance of payment analyst (with Marxist background of course).

If you want to grasp how prolific he was at his best, try to get a copy of his 2-volume series on Trade, Development and Foreign Debt.

The man is a genius.

Posted by: vato | Dec 24 2020 19:52 utc | 22

@ karlof1 (19)
I've heard rumors that Biden has ties to the Chinese government*. What do you know about those rumors?

(* wasn't there a debate here at one point on whether it's the CCP or the CPC?)

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: joey_n | Dec 24 2020 20:50 utc | 23

While governments around the world are planning to spend trillions on clean energy, EV's, renewables and the green energy revolution, there are a number of limiting factors:

see also the mind blowing recent [2020] book: 'The Rare Metals War, the dark side of clean energy and digital technologies' by Guillaume Pitron, Scribe. 'La guerre des metal rares' [2018]

Posted by: Paul | Dec 24 2020 20:52 utc | 24

I'm very interested in the glaciological happenings on Greenland and was very pleased to see this news. What these researchers did and will continue to do is quite ballsy but essential. Unfortunately, the entire paper is behind a paywall. I imagine it will soon be displaced by new research as the significance of the water drainage via moulins dawns upon the wider scientific community.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 21:17 utc | 25

vk@10 seems to be unaware that "fair competition" includes employers paying on average the market cost of employee's labor power. Their use of said labor power in the production process generates more value than they bought, which surplus value is the ultimate source of profits and interest. Their exploitation of labor power is conducted entirely in "fair competition" as understood by pretty much everyone pushing for an anti-trust policy.

Historically anti-trust, fair competition policies, are vain efforts of the petty bourgeoisie to stem the tides of concentration and centralization of capital. Since concentration and centralization of capital lead short term to expanded reproduction, and in the long term to crises that will eventually destroy enough capital to restore profitability (barring catastrophic wars and/or social collapse,) new petty bourgois are constantly spontaneously regenerated in new places, novel businesses and unexpected forms. As both social newborns and as ideologically blinkered by their class position, they tend to rediscover the same failed nostrums. In the nineteenth century, the petty bourgeoisie included lots of small farmers convinced soft money, which favors debtors, specifically silver, regulating railroads etc. were the promised land to fair competition. We all know how much good breaking up the trusts did.

The proper socialist policy re Ali Baba in my opinion is not anti-Marxist fair competition utopianism, which is ultimately simply aping the West, a failure of nerve. I think the proper policy is to socialize Ali Baba.

Re the CPC debate? The CPC proper is losing control not just of many provincial governments (any effort of provincial parties to maintain control over them was targeted in the Bo Xilai affair, I think,) but the central government as well. The US government wants to encourage the government's increasing reliance on the Chinese bourgeoisie (in Taiwain and elsewhere, entering Chinese economy via uncontrolled foreign trade, as well as more purely domestic.) When the government achieves independence from the party, it will be able to truly reorganize the Chinese economy to promote capitalism, the private power of the owners of the means of production over social investment. That is the true meaning of democratic freedom, after all. The conclusive restoration of capitalism in China I think will require a murderous attack on the party as well as a huge rollback in human welfare. I expect the casualties, direct and indirect, will exceed the alleged toll of the Great Leap Forward *and* the Cultural Revolution *combined.*

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 24 2020 21:27 utc | 26

joey_n @23--

The Biden connection appears to be with his son but involved corruption which is a big taboo in China that can cost you your life. The anti-corruption campaign was escalated when Xi became chief and is a big domestic issue in China. Current Chinese thought on Biden is he'll soften Trump's hardline as he must to rescue the Outlaw US Empire's economy. But those are all feelers. Based on who's been nominated for various positions in BidenCo--and particularly what's been published in BigLie Media about China during Trump's term--I doubt much softening will occur. Biden will continue to pursue the Outlaw US Empire's #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Domination regardless the cost to the Real Economy and commonfolk.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 21:29 utc | 27

karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 18:50 utc | 18...and 19, and to all at MOA

Thanks for today's reading refs! A climax is upon us.

Posted by: chu teh | Dec 24 2020 21:43 utc | 28

Link I just posted in reply at yesterday's thread:

chu teh | Dec 24 2020 21:21 utc | 99

Posted by: chu teh | Dec 24 2020 21:48 utc | 29

Yasha Levine offer some sober end of year clarification. Always a good writer and thinker.

An extract:

It might have been easy for people to believe that there was surging leftwing movement in American politics while Bernie Sanders’ star was rising in 2016 and 2020. I had always been skeptical about how deeply that left movement actually went, but even I — cynical as I am — started believing in it a bit last winter. Shit. Bernie has a chance, I thought. Maybe there is something real happening here. But then he got crushed, endorsed drooling Joe Biden, licked the “we can move him left” boot, ducked out of the fight, and exposed a totally barren political left landscape. Turns out that Bernie’s “revolution” was really nothing other than an electoral campaign, after all — and that campaign and all the organizational energy it harnessed dissolved immediately with his candidacy. What did it leave behind? Not much, other than huge platforms for a few top influencers and political operatives who leveraged the Bern into lucrative Patreon and Substack careers.

Who am I talking about? Well, people like David Sirota, who seems to have taken his official Bernie campaign Substack newsletter and privatized its massive email list post-election for personal profit. Or his comrade Briahna Joy Gray, who just launched a podcast with a Chapo cohost that’s already raking in more than $35,000 a month. Meanwhile, the people whose interests these two Bernie operatives had represented — the millions who gave Bernie a few bucks — are being immiserated more and more. David and Briahna are now on different sides of the Force the Vote fight, arguing endlessly on platforms with multi-tiered subscription offers. And what service do these leftwing influencers provide to the people? As far as I can tell, not much other than distraction and politics-as-entertainment. It’s all very fucking grim.

Good luck to all for the year ahead and particularly good luck to Yemen, Iran and Venezuela and all those nations being jackbooted by the USAi. PEACE please.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 24 2020 21:57 utc | 30

This Scott Ritter op/ed is a good read and puts much into perspective if you've been paying attention. For example, think of the breakneck speed Putin's trying to get Russia's national projects underway and completed. Think of the ongoing and quickening pace of Eurasian integration. The McFaul citation, "Russia is way more powerful today than it was 20 years ago, and it’s way more powerful today than it was four years ago," is yet another consideration. Finally, Putin and Lavrov have spoken of the ever increasing need to negotiate an International Cyber Security Treaty for almost all of Trump's term. And I'll wager the USA's National Debt that Russia is very busily finishing its "for internal use only" internet that firewalls the energy, defense and communications portions of Russian infrastructure.

The hole Obama/Biden were busy digging from 2009-2017 is now much deeper and getting deeper daily. We've now seen the bipartisan rejection of the saner, larger, stimulus Trump and some Rs & Ds demanded for the commonfolk, which provides an excellent signal as to what's going to follow--nothing, aside from the hole deepening yet further. IMO, the economic draft will soon cease as who will want to defend something that's indefensible. IMO, a majority if not now will soon conclude that they no longer have a stake in this society, that they're being milked for all they're worth then discarded.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 24 2020 22:14 utc | 31

HIB Trumps $2K noTrump
Become an Oligarch, join the deplorable don't matter (DDM) movement.

Posted by: snake | Dec 24 2020 22:49 utc | 32

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Dec 24 2020 15:46 utc | 9

That photo is fake. The lettering on the rockets were cut and pasted rather poorly. Open the image in any photo editor and zoom in on the lettering. It's clear as can be. You can confirm with a forensic scan here:

Posted by: One Too Many | Dec 24 2020 23:06 utc | 33

The narcissistic sociopaths and their parsimonious $600 offer get totally played by Trump.

Joe Biden at the centre of the insult to the USA citizens and Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi fawning all over his discounted compassion.

Scumbags like these top four are the sign that the US citizens have ZERO champions in their national leadership.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 24 2020 23:37 utc | 34

Vic reminds us all of our human fragility

All the best for 2021 VIC and stay strong and ticked off.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 25 2020 0:13 utc | 35

Does anyone suspect it unlikely that Reps and Senators wouldn’t have checked with trump whether he would sign the prospective legislation?

Has anyone considered the possibility that this is a public show?

I can only speculate as to “why?” But, just because i can’t answer that question doesn’t mean it’s wrong to reason from the probable facts in evidence.


I felt the same way about the “shutdown” over the “wall”. .gov pisses away trillions. $5B over the wall was a sideshow.

But for what?

Posted by: oglalla | Dec 25 2020 1:24 utc | 36

Excellent unz article titled "The Rise and Fall of Conservatism in Michigan."

The death of conservatism in 2016 meant the resurrection of America First in 2020. Just look at the map of election results, and you will see the same configuration that Charles Lindbergh addressed in 1941. Both then and now, the center of the country supported isolationism, high wage manufacturing, and limited representative government, and the coasts supported globalization, low wages, identity politics, gender ideology, and Jewish usury. The triple melting pot of religious identity re-asserted itself over race-based identity politics. Religious-based ethnicity trumped race, because in America religious-based ethnicity is a category of reality, whereas race is a category of the mind which invariably gets deployed for political purposes which have nothing to do with race.

I am continually fascinated by Ron Unz's site where alternative views thrive and are debated. I would say the above article's thesis, that, through it all, and despite any pet project of those at the bar, the real conflicts at play in the U.S. continually involve the three predominant religious identities of Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism.


Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 25 2020 2:24 utc | 37

I voted for Bernie in the primary of 2016 because although he was just less bad on foreign policy his domestic program was ok. This time I voted for Tulsi Gabbard because her foreign policy was ok and she appears to be as she presents herself. I didn't vote in the actual Presidential elections because we the people had lost when the nominations were done. Since then Bernie is ok as a member of Congress but doesn't have what it takes to make his program happen. Similarly for Jeremy Corbyn. He let the Zionists gut his party and later him. National politics in the US is a lost cause. Why waste energy? The EU is just as bad. Even b. doesn't seem to notice that covid is providing the mechanism for the "great reset" and will be the NWO

Posted by: gepay | Dec 25 2020 3:33 utc | 38

The narcissistic sociopaths and their parsimonious $600 offer get totally played by Trump.

Joe Biden at the centre of the insult to the USA citizens and Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi fawning all over his discounted compassion.

Scumbags like these top four are the sign that the US citizens have ZERO champions in their national leadership.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 24 2020 23:37 utc | 33

Noone got played. The only thing Trump played is f*ckng GOLF all day.

Biden did not figure in negotiations; he was only stating that he was glad something got done for now given the urgency and need. He already stated more needs to be done later when he takes over. There is one President at a time!

FYI, the Dems brought the $2000 stimulus to the floor for unanimous consent and Trumplicans shot it down. Quit with your rabid biased one-trick pony bullshit!

You write like you're on Putin's payroll.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 6:16 utc | 39

Not only has Trump made fools of both Pelosi and McConnell but he could have some more tricks yet to play. Monday is the next tricky day for the law makers. Katie Halper and David Dayen discuss and the terrain and tactics are set out by David.

Trump may well be a detestable turd but he sure is a devlish tricky detestable turd. Pelosi is wholly responsible for the bill getting to Trump with a built in timefuse that Trump alone can detonate.

THAT is the Pelosi leader of the House for ya! Perhaps we should henceforth refer to Pelosi as Comrade Pelovskaya.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 25 2020 11:04 utc | 40

Posted by: oglalla | Dec 25 2020 1:24 utc | 35

Yes, it has occurred to me that this is all bullshit. I think that is mostly accurate as to the public display. These are not good actors.

I think Trump is a vengeful prick and he is in the process of rewarding those he likes and punishing those he doesn't. It's not a mystery.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 24 2020 21:57 utc | 30

Thanks for Yasha Levine. I agree. Some people are looking for the exits and trying to cash out. Gee, who could have predicted that? I'm wondering if Trump will seek asylum "soon".

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 25 2020 11:55 utc | 41

@Maracatu #1
A Bahamian bank offering a cryptocurrency is nothing more than a combination of attempt to cash in and an attempt to stay relevant.
Due to the US' flexing of muscle - the value of Caribbean banking and citizenship (tax haven and wealth hiding) has been steadily declining for all but the super rich or citizens of a handful of nations.
This as Harris Kupperman's multi-month prediction about bitcoin price rise continues to hold true, despite his (accurate) view that it is pure Ponzi scam. Bitcoin blew through its previous all time high, now it is making new highs every few days. Presently at $24500.
Look up Kuppy's article here

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:05 utc | 42

@gm #11
I would recommend going to Dr. Michael Hudson's web site here to see more of his work. In particular, note the combination of his work in economic history plus real world work in Chase bank. His views thus aren't via pure ivory tower nonsense which the majority of economists today spout.
He has also done seminal work in documenting how oligarchs have created and supported a counterfactual movement in order to justify their existence and ongoing actions - of which neoliberalism is prominent but among which the libertarian icons like Hayek also feature.
Nothing he says in the Escobar joint piece is new, nor is it a secret that the World Bank and IMF were created by the US as instruments of economic power.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:12 utc | 43

@vk #13
As usual, your understanding of what Marxist thought is, is dated from before the World Wars.
Michael Hudson was a socialist in his youth, but is not a Marxist by any stretch of the imagination.
His work is entirely based on reality:
the reality of how money came to be (government created money for taxes)
the role of government spending and regulation vs. bankster's goals

For that matter, the utter failure of Marx's political predictions as well as the failures of Leninist governments only serves to further underscore the fundamental flaws of Marx's economic theories.

Investment, and most money for that matter, was primarily a function of government in Marx's era - vs. the masses of private capital that dominate governments today.

Nor is the fact that workers in the Western democracies never rose up to overthrow Capital - it was only in 3rd world nations where peasants rose up to overthrow feudal lords, where Communism arose.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:23 utc | 44

now circe wants to claim biden has no influence on negotiations. why, he's just a disinterested bystander right circe? on putin's payroll, jesus. standard right wing democrat bs.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 25 2020 12:33 utc | 45

@blues #15
3TTRV is nothing more than a variant of ranked choice voting.
I am categorically against it - ranked choice voting in Europe has resulted in the Center Left and Center Right parties' views merging into an indistinguishable mass. Or put another way: the American Democrat and Republican parties' collective actions on behalf of the wealthy in the past generation, is only different than European socialism because Europeans still remember being the epicenter of 2 World Wars.
In my view, political parties are merely descriptions for collections of people and their shared interests. This dynamic inevitably results in dualism unless it is over-ridden by some specific greater purpose.
Or put another way: it is the rank and file Republicans and Democrats in the US and Social Democrats/Christian Democrats in Europe who form and use power. Merely changing the voting system - even if it were magically possible - would not change the ongoing emergent interests of these collections of people.
Only when the emergent interests change enough, will change occur. We saw this with the elections of Obama and Trump: huge numbers of Americans are (rightly) dissatisfied with how the country and their lives are going.
This is why I have, from the very beginning of my participation at MoA, been of the view that "the worse, the better".
Only after the economic situation for enough people gets bad enough, will change be able to occur.
The lockdowns are accelerating the estimated timeframe. These unilateral acts, which have destroyed a huge number of livelihoods and a wide swathe of the world economy and underscored the power governments have over individual lives, may well energize enough people for real change to occur.
Unfortunately, real change never occurs by reason but rather by emotion.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:36 utc | 46

@steven t johnson #26
I am continually amazed by your combination of ignorance and poor thought.
Literally everything you wrote in this post is wrong.
I strongly recommend getting out of the basement.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:39 utc | 47

@NemesisCalling #37
The premise of the article is false: the proportion of voters that identify as "non-religious" has been growing steadily for a long time.
Nor are the views noted necessarily "religious".
Religion has nothing to do with isolationism - note the Crusades in the Christian past, the Tibetan golden era when Tibetan armored cavalry dominated their near-hinterlands, the Muslim Wahhabist jihad of today and the public Christian support for Israel.
I find Victor Davis Hanson's descriptions more accurate:
the coastal elites benefit from access to the greater world markets - to sell to and the buy labor from - whereas the hinterlands where goods are manufactured/farming is performed, suffer from the accelerated exposure to far cheaper labor abroad and foreign mercantile policies.
His own personal experience is instructive: in the 1980s, his 5th generation farm grew raisins for the European markets - selling them for $1200/ton. The advent of the EC included EC subsidies to Turkish and Greek farmers; the price for raisins fell to $400/ton within a handful of years.
This same setup is repeated for American auto and steel manufacturers or pretty much any other production economy function.
Note that Hanson doesn't advocate cutting off all imports.
What he notes is that the American political elite - of both parties - sold out their constituents in favor of American oligarchs and foreign interests.
Or in other words - it isn't religion, it is economics and government policies arising from different fundamental interests which separate the coasts from "flyover" land.
This is particularly interesting because the Democrat party believes in "demographic destiny" - that incoming surges of immigrants, particularly Hispanics, will guarantee political power for the foreseeable future. Hanson shows this is fundamentally wrong by looking at the evolution of political preference in the many waves of immigrants in the past, even as Trump showed in 2020 that a billionaire Republican can achieve improvements in minority votes. Trump's anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric simply isn't relevant enough compared to his anti-China outsourcing stance.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:53 utc | 48

@pretzelattack #45
Indeed. That's the problem with fanatics: they're stupid and they're blind.
And as such, they're easily led by Judas goats like Biden: the senator from MBNA.
This incoming Democrat executive pair is as odious a set as has not been seen since Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. Look up what LBJ's wife did in amassing a media empire.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 13:01 utc | 49

@40 Uncle Tungstenovich

No, I think you're the Comrade!

Timefuse my ass! Quit with the the catchy word spin that means squat. Pelosi put the $2000 for unanimous consent to try to accelerate the process of getting the $2000 approved!

The Republicans knocked it down, so we'll see what happens on Monday and you're no clairvoyant! So quit painting Pelosi as a saboteur. You can bet your ass Pelosi will try to put McConnell in the hot seat on this. However if Trump signs the bill Republicans had flown in to Florida before that; it's over. Mitch McConnell will have cover. If he doesn't sign it then the House will have to take up the stimulus increase and then send it to McConnell for Senate approval and my guess is; he'll knock it down cause the last thing Mitch wants is anything that looks like a socialist handout attached to him. So Mitch will be responsible once again for a miserly outcome and Trump knows this perfectly well! He did this only to make himself look magnanimous without lifting a finger or caring about who is affected by this delay! He's an ego-driven asshole you pretend is clever, when he's just an evil narcissist trying to take credit for something he already knows will not pass the Senate!

So you know squat! You're a one-trick pony trashing Dems before they even make a move cause you could care less what happens and who's affected; although after all this time you're suddenly a purist defender of the little people when you're nothing but a tool. You just spit out nonsensical vitriol against Biden coz he won't be giving Putin any passes and that's all you care about. I got your number mister and I won't let you get away with even an iota of bullshit. So you better cross your t's and dot your i's or quit demonizing the Dems, Biden, the Squad and Sanders on every thread for ulterior motives!

@49 c1ue-less

Is that all you could conjure up, LBJ???Anything spit out against Biden by a biased rightist Trumplican bootlicker like you should be worn as a badge of honor. Biden's not my favorite politician, but already he has the great distinction of putting down the depraved lunatic Trump that would go as far as chaining himself to the Oval Office to hold on to power and not go down as the all-time LOSER he really is.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 13:34 utc | 50

b was wrong when he predicted Dems wouldn't take the House in 2018;
b was wrong that Trump would get a second term; and
he was wrong on a no-deal Brexit.

That's 3 for 3.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 13:57 utc | 51

@ Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:23 utc | 44

The issues you rose in your comment are very complex and I won't delve into them fully in a comment section of a blog.

But I'll tell you these two observations:

1) your interpretation on Marxism is not only 100% wrong (and I'm not rounding up), but it achieves the feat to condensate all of the failures and prejudices of postwar Western center-leftism (social-democracy);

2) Michael Hudson's concept of money and debt are fundamentally wrong. The key here is that none of those are an innovation of capitalism; they are just institutional devices created over history. What is important is not that there is money and debt in capitalism, but that they exist in capitalism in the form of capital. Hudson obviously can't see that, so he tells us absurd little stories about why because of the Code of Hammurabi we should all write off debt in modern capitalism.

There's a reason those underconsumptionist wackos only emerge in the USA. The USA has the standard fiat currency, so they live up with the illusion they can print money forever without any serious consequences (the MMTers merely say that, if an inflationary cyclone emerges, the State just has to increase taxes). They'll disappear as fast as the antivaxxers did with the COVID-19 when the Dollar Standard falls.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 14:12 utc | 52

Looks like I was right (see "joke of the week"):

Gwadar port sealed off to protect Chinese firms

Amid growing security concerns in Pakistan’s restive province of Balochistan, authorities plan to fence off the entire 24-square-kilometer area surrounding the Gwadar seaport to secure what they call the “crown jewel” of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


Work on erecting barbed-wire fencing around Gwadar’s sensitive parts, which is planned to be complete in phases, has already started. Authorities plan to have 15,000 acres of land secured with iron barriers in the first phase of the project.

To monitor the inflow and outflow of traffic, three entry and exit points will control passage to and from the gated city.

Government sources revealed that the “Gwadar safe city” would be equipped with more than 500 high-definition surveillance cameras to keep a close watch on “suspicious activities” or unauthorized or forceful intrusions into the city.

The goal of the bill, therefore, was to protect the project, not take it away from China. The funds already are available, they just need to finish constructing it.


Hard to beat COVID-19 without China's vaccine: Global Times editorial

Don't you think it's weird all the negative "news" about the Chinese vaccine come from Brazil?

You know, Brazil - that shithole country with a rabid and completely delusional pro-USA government...

I don't know, something tells me I will trust China in this one.


Larry Summers being Larry Summers:

Top economic policy voice under Obama & Clinton says $2,000 stimulus checks could OVERHEAT economy... and even $600 is too much

MMTers partying hard and he's still in the 1990s. It's sad to see. Really.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 14:28 utc | 53

Merry Christmas Everyone

Posted by: ld | Dec 25 2020 14:37 utc | 54

so b WAS wrong and Britain got pretty much everything they wanted out of EU and they regain their sovereignty back. B was wrong as usual. FUCK the EU.

Posted by: Hoyeru | Dec 25 2020 14:38 utc | 55

@c1ue | Dec 25 2020 12:12 utc | 43

Thank you. I'll do that--And I sensed much the same as you just wrote, did come through clearly in the Hudson/Escobar video karloft1 had put up.

Another pithy and memorable statement Hudson made in that video: [paraphrasing] 'the powers behind western-style finance/credit capitalism [and the Great Reset/Davos overlord Trash co-conspirator crowd] are working to drive the world to a global *neo-feudal system*...".

---With themselves as the [over]Lords of course, and 'the serfs(that would be the rest of us) "will own nothing, and be happy about" [or else?...].

Maybe that's why Trump trashed the Davos crowd thoroughly in his Jan 21, 2020 address to the *Annual Gathering*:

mockingbird CNN spin: Trump snubs Davos vision in another America-first speech

Full Trump speech YT (35 min):

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 15:10 utc | 56

Tsirtsyeya, that’s your nick transliterated from Russian, a lot easier to figure out how to pronounce than Circe. You should call tovarisch T. Mister Wolfram, hard as a rock but not as much as depleted uranium, tons of the stuff dropped in Irak, Yugoslavia and other places by your beloved Dims, and the rest sold by the Queen of Chaos, La Hilaria, to the Russians¡¡¡ for cheap. That frustrated harpy that could not get over the big horns that degenerated Billy put on her, boy, thirst for power or what, to live with a debauched of that caliber swallowing toads for breakfast lunch, dinner and midnight buffet.

And your beloved Uncle Joe, he's still not aware what his job is going to be in DC, senator, congressman, foreign secretary, or sniffer in chief, don’t matter, Kamela will fill in to keep “camelando” them all, with string puller Harpy behind the curtains. Sorry spectacle, the rest of the world is watching not because we give a hoot about that bunch, but because a wounded animal could pull a Samsom trick on us all.

Uncle Joe won’t give Vlad any passes? girl o girl, that one really made me laugh, maybe he should dare him to do push ups like he did with that poor soul that went to a meeting to count the participants with the fingers of one hand.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 25 2020 15:20 utc | 57

@55 Hoyeru

Not so fast. The UK will pay an economic price. Oh, and by the way: Fuck UK hubris. The UK was an ulcer on EU's ass anyway. I would say: good riddance!

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 15:21 utc | 58

Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine shows 91.25% efficacy in Turkey trials

Important to highlight that the Chinese vaccine being developed in Brazil is not 100% Chinese, but a partnership between the Chinese and the local Butantan Institute.

The Chinese vaccine version to be distributed in Brazil is called Coronavac.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 15:46 utc | 59

One more thing my dear Tsirtsyeya, happy holidays, may the coming year be bountiful and free of bugs, of the garden, cell and computer kind.

Pelosi sounds awful in Spanish, almost as awful as the lady's looks and his fridge with ice cream. Pelo in Spanish is hair, so I call her Pelosi del Sobacosi, that is hairy arm pits, something that does not bother me at all, to the contrary and going against present times fashion, a bit of hair is exciting, if rightly placed.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 25 2020 15:49 utc | 60

- uncle tungsten | Dec 25 2020 11:04 utc | 40

That vid you shared is very informative insight into the possible/likely congressional covid stimulus bill political sausage-making strategy going forward.

Allow me to repost it;

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 15:51 utc | 61

India admits liberal democracy an inferior system to socialism, will never catch up with China; will start to play dirty to win:

Why India so interested in South China Sea?

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 16:47 utc | 62

@tungsten @Circe @Paco

you do realize your throwing "Putin's agent" insults around make you look like toddlers in a playground, right?

Makes it very puzzling from a non-american point of view, but funny nonetheless. It only serves to expose americans as brainwashed drones, which I find refreshing after the 90s and 2000s era of worldwide "'murica fuck-yeah" propaganda.

Please do the same with China once in a while like they do on ZeroHedge, to mix it up a little bit. Some pointers: "Xi Poo-bear", "China-virus", "dem CCP chinks", "freedum o' navigation", "Hong-Kong", "Uyghur genocide".
Ready? Fight!

Posted by: Lemming | Dec 25 2020 17:08 utc | 63

@48 c1ue

Hi C1ue. Merry Christmas to you and yours.


I know you often include statistics to back up your claims, which is appreciated. However, in this case, I believe the statistic you cite, that America is increasingly areligious, belies an important confusion on the part of these Americans polled.

I will offer you this: those that are often the least politically-minded or, iow, inactive, still probably have very strong opinions regarding religion, regardless of affiliation. In addition globalists are very anti-religious or, at least, anti-Christian. While conservatives are not only most likely Christian (or Christian-friendly jews) but also very opinionated politically. All groups therefore have strong opinions about religion.

The consumer society, as a result of globalist control wrested away from the nationalists, has confused a great number of Americans and has put them to sleep politically. But they have also been programmed to despise religiousness. These are globalist friendly consumer classes, including the young and "liberal" who have been told that conservatism and religiousness and white supremacy go hand in hand in hand. They are useful golems in the sorcery of globalist control.

But the actual productive classes of the local economy have always been pro-American isolationist, often conservative and Christian. They coalesced under a protectionist banner for many decades, Protestants, Catholics, and good Jews.

The problem the coastal, globalist elites are soon to encounter is one of an out-of-control golem where the sorcerer will be outed and the terms will be named again and out in the open for all to see. The terms of course being the displacement of the racial question in favor of the globalist question.

The confusion that the current outward trend of globalism engenders is nipping at the heels of the globalist class. For instance, locally here in the NW, BLM went to Nike headquarters and protested not for good paying local jobs for the productive class and an end to outsourcing labor for slave-wage jobs abroad, but for more BIPOC admin positions within Nike's exective group. IOW, they are not protesting any kind of globalist injustice, but rather seeking a mere cut of the take.

The racial lines being drawn in this country are a farce. I know it. You know it. And when our economy craters more as a result of multipolarity in the global order, nationalist (read: Christian (i.e. the alliance of Protestants, Catholics,and good Jews)) will upend the coastal globalist control and bring down the golem to a thunderous crash which will rock the U.S. consumer class back into reality.

The productive class will then coalesce around Christianity as a uniting force always emphasizing American-first isolationism.

This is the rational path of history and what must come provided the globalists go quietly. If they don't, they threaten a confrontation with Russia that will engulf the world. They are literally currently trapped in a pincer movement.

The question I have repeatedly asked here and now again is whether China will allow the globalist class safe harbor. It is an important question.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 25 2020 17:19 utc | 64

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 15:21 utc | 58

The UK was an ulcer on EU's ass anyway.

Interesting. Is that an English idiom? We have the same expression in Serbo-Croatian, čir na dupetu.
The word čir could mean both ulcer or boil but I always thought it was referring to boil here.

Posted by: hopehely | Dec 25 2020 17:51 utc | 65

@Circe #50
Your attacks might be hurtful if you weren't such an idiot.
Juvenile, incompetent, inexperienced, lacking insight, emotionally fragile, the list goes on and on.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 17:52 utc | 66

@vk #52
Regarding Marxism: you have your interpretation. No one else I've seen shares it.
Everyone is welcome to their own opinion, nonetheless the credibility side of the equation is extremely fraught with your position.

Regarding money: your credibility here is nonexistent. Perhaps when you actually are able to make timely, detailed predictions or provide actual real world experience or data, will your unusual view of economics be credible.

As it is, what you post seems like the output of solipsism.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 17:55 utc | 67

@vk #52
As for underconsumption wackos - it is extremely ironic that you ascribe that to Marxism when it is the neoliberal economists who try to justify Western overspending vs. Eastern high savings rates - with the latter as "underconsumption".
The reality of economics is that complexity yields wealth. The primary reason Western economies are wealthier is that they are far more complex. Complexity encompasses both breath and depth of goods and services as a function of coverage of needs and desires.
This complexity is what money velocity attempts to quantify.
Japan is nearly the perfect example of this. Despite a largely enclosed economy, Japan has an extremely impressive GDP. It is because Japan has a hyper-evolved internal ecosystem.
Yes, the Japanese trade surplus helps but Japan needs this in order to import the vast amounts of energy and other natural resources - the surplus isn't why Japan has an enormous GDP. Taiwan, for example, actually started earlier than Japan in taking advantage of Western markets (and Western geopolitical trade favoritism), but their economy is puny compared to Japan's.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 18:02 utc | 68

@gm #56
If you really want to dive deep into the immense pool of knowledge and wisdom possessed by Dr. Michael Hudson, buy a copy of Super Imperialism.
All you need to know is Dr. Hudson's complaint: he wrote Super Imperialism to expose the ways by which the West economically preys on 2nd and 3rd world nations in order to help those victims better understand and cope.
Instead, the book became a "how to" manual for wannabe Imperialists...

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 18:04 utc | 69

I second c1ue's recommendation @69. Also good, though much shorter, is Hudson's "Finance as Warfare."

Posted by: spudski | Dec 25 2020 18:10 utc | 70

I get a kick out of how people think they are complimenting or defending Hudson by asserting that he is not a Marxist. It is kinda like thinking one is defending a biologist by saying they are not a Darwinist. Weird.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 25 2020 18:17 utc | 71

@NemesisCalling #64
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

I would note that I didn't say the America overall is becoming areligious; what I stated specifically was that voter polls were showing decreasing overt religious affiliation among voters.
One does not actually have to correlate directly with the other.

As for your thesis: I would agree that the "red states" are more religious in general. However, it is far less clear to me that this "more religious" is actually particularly meaningful given the unique "American way" the major religions are practiced in the US. From my view, a power clique coalescing around Christianity isn't significantly different than one coalescing around Yahweh or Mammon. Catholic history, in fact, has undergone multiple cycles of corruption and "return to values" - the worst of which yielded the many flavors of Protestantism - which, I think, still dominates American religion in politics, if not on the ground.

Be that as it may, I would note that the notion that Christianity will be the influence which rekindles American unity and direction is highly suspect.

Among other things - Christianity is not united in any way. Among other things, there are a lot of people like me who are not anti-religious or religious, not maniacal vegan Gaia worshipers or cynical coal burning industrialists.

Thus while 65% of Americans poll as "Christian" - I question how many are really strongly so and among those who strongly identify and practice, how united they are.

From my view: the issue is class based, not religious/race/sex based. Multipolarity was used in the late 1800s/early 1900s to divide potential union members in steel shops: the Swedes would be played off against the Finns and Czechs. Thus I see the Democrat party nonsense as pure 2020 version oligarch nonsense.

So while I can hope that Americans will absorb the lessons of 2020 and push for something better - my realistic side believes that the most likely outcome is increased radicalization and division.

As such, I focus on specific top issues:

1) Health care. I don't care if you're religious or not - health care in the US is a travesty and an ongoing crime of historic proportions. Americans pay nearly twice as much, as a percentage of per capita income much less in absolute terms, than anyone else in the entire world. This includes Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Monaco - all uber-wealthy enclaves. This is an annual theft of around $2 trillion.

2) Military spending. The US military spend more than the next dozen or so nations following it. It is clearly unnecessary - thought to be fair, much of this is offset by the economic benefits from the dollar as reserve currency.

3) Collusion by American elites in offshoring.

4) Monopoly and oligopoly.

None of these issues have any direct bearing on religion - but they have direct bearing on every American.

My preference for Trump over Biden is entirely based on this - Trump addressed 3) and didn't make 1), 2) or 4) worse vs. Biden doing literally nothing in any of these areas - and arguably made several worse as part of his historical record.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 18:21 utc | 72

"I get a kick out of how people think they are complimenting or defending Hudson by asserting that he is not a Marxist. It is kinda like thinking one is defending a biologist by saying they are not a Darwinist. Weird."

-Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 25 2020 18:17 utc | 71

I guess it mostly boils down to where you get your programming from.

I faintly recall someone around here posting a medium long comment about 'programming' not that long ago...

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 18:31 utc | 73

Posted by: Lemming | Dec 25 2020 17:08 utc | 63

you do realize your throwing "Putin's agent" insults around make you look like toddlers in a playground, right?

Makes it very puzzling from a non-american point of view, but funny nonetheless. It only serves to expose americans as brainwashed drones, which I find refreshing after the 90s and 2000s era of worldwide "'murica fuck-yeah" propaganda.

They eat too much freedom fries, that screws up their brain chemistry.

Posted by: hopehely | Dec 25 2020 18:33 utc | 74

Scary stuff happening in Nashville TN right now.

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 19:40 utc | 75

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 14:12 utc | 52

So you're suggesting you're the expert on debt while that fool Michael Hudson has been wasting his career?

"LOL", as the kids say.

Posted by: Observer | Dec 25 2020 19:50 utc | 76

""I get a kick out of how people think they are complimenting or defending Hudson by asserting that he is not a Marxist. It is kinda like thinking one is defending a biologist by saying they are not a Darwinist. Weird." William Gruff@71
Absolutely correct. Any social scientist, historian, economist, philosopher, anyone with any intellectual pretensions at all, and just about all literate people have been Marxists for more than a century and a half. Marx was a writer of such enormous influence that it has been impossible, since his day, not to take him seriously and to examine his ideas and conclusions.
On the other hand there is no single Marx, he constantly re-examined and criticised his own ideas. Much of what he wrote was re-evaluation of his own thoughts.
Anyone who sees Marx as a source of dogma is no Marxist.
Anyone who sees Marx's observations, of a world long buried by developments, a anything more than honest attempts to accuracy is a fool. Marx was a man who thought for himself, whose entire life was spent questioning received wisdom and defying the polite hypocrisies of the bourgeoisie.
A real Marxist is a person committed to freedom who subjects everything he is told to the most rigorous criticism. And tests everything he reads against his own experience, knowledge and honest belief.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 25 2020 20:03 utc | 77

Medicare for all - for Congress that is!

Kyle Kulinski has found the turd floating on the Democrats soup bowl. Too good.

This D party has no shame, no compassion and no brains. You would think it was trying to mirror its other half the Repugnants. But of course the Dimratss thought of it first.

Bemildred #41 re giving Trump asylum. Well I can offer a two month space where he would only have one simple task - to pick up the toothbrush and scrub the sunlight off my front steps and then he could have one bowl of porridge. All the time I would read Marx to him or recite all of Vladimir Putin terrific press conferences. I could read some of my vast library of Russian tomes to him so that his dread fear of the ruskies is driven to peak terror. Stay well comrade.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 25 2020 20:27 utc | 78

bevin #77

Marx was a man who thought for himself, whose entire life was spent questioning received wisdom and defying the polite hypocrisies of the bourgeoisie.
A real Marxist is a person committed to freedom who subjects everything he is told to the most rigorous criticism. And tests everything he reads against his own experience, knowledge and honest belief.

Nicely expressed, and Marx did it all with the best intentions toward the common folk and working class. He was a humanist too.

Thank you.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 25 2020 20:36 utc | 79

The incident in Nashville on xmas morning amerikan time really underlines the thesis put forward by Jacobin editor Seth Ackerman, in an article entitle "Failure is an Option" that not only is amerika a failed state, it was designed by its 'constitutional framers' to become one.
I'm drawn to this youtube vid made about 4 hours after the explosion in Nashville, because it reveals the bureaucratic bouillabaisse of a plethora of different emergency & law enforcement organisations each with a different culture mindest objective that claim to be responsible for attending to and/or investigation this carefully planned to minimise loss of life, incident.

Just as Ackerman says in his article which I apologise for quoting so much from, but it is behind a paywall

" in the absence of a ruling nobility or established church, without a Hegelian bureaucracy or military caste, the only source of legitimate authority Americans will recognize is the sovereignty of the people — yet the concerted exercise of popular sovereignty is precisely what the nation’s institutions are designed to rule out.

The origins of this American Sonderweg lie in a thwarted revolution. In the years immediately after the Revolutionary War, plebeian majorities, still imbued with the ideological radicalism of the rebellion, demanded and obtained from their state legislatures inflationary measures designed to shift the burden of war debts from cash-poor farmers to creditors. More than any other aspect of the turbulent politics of the 1780s, it was horror at such spoliation that inspired James Madison and his fellow Framers to convene their wildcat convention in Philadelphia (the proceedings had no sanction from any provision of the existing constitution), where they resolved that popular majorities must be prevented from ever again extorting policies of property redistribution from the government.

But in a land-abundant continent whose free inhabitants enjoyed the world’s broadest franchise, and where they had done so even before the revolution, there was no question of restricting the suffrage. The Framers had to innovate new methods of fettering popular sovereignty that could function even in the presence of a broad electorate. Madison’s jujitsu solution to this puzzle, taking its inspiration from Montesquieu, was to use the force of democracy against itself: to divide the state into fragments, arming each with a veto over the others — fissuring public authority vertically between the states and national government, and horizontally between the different branches of the state at each level — so that no electorate, however broad or narrow, could exercise real control.

Like a topiary that grows into the shape of the frame that surrounds it, the whole culture of US politics took on the shape of its Madisonian mold. Nothing in the Constitution gives the Supreme Court a veto over duly enacted legislation; nor is there anything in Madison’s text about a supermajority requirement for ordinary laws to pass the Senate (a feature shared by no other representative body in the world). Yet judicial supremacy and the Senate filibuster were smoothly incorporated into the fabric of national institutions.

The Madisonian stamp on the party system was especially consequential. When national party organizations emerged in the 1840s, they took the form of loosely organized patronage machines serving officeholders with intensely local political horizons. As a result, they pointedly lacked central governing bodies with the power to decide uniform national policies and impose them on their candidates and officeholders. (Parties of the Left that did have such features emerged later, but they were written out of politics by discriminatory ballot laws unknown in conventional democracies.)

Thus, the programmatic mass party — the main instrument by which electorates in modern democracies can seek comprehensive adjustments of policy — was stymied from an early date."

Ackerman goes on to point out using examples of how deliberate, extreme and unusual this is that right from the get go amerikan administration has been fragmented vertically and horizontally to ensure that no matter how 'the people' may decide they want their government to act, any uniform action which could impact on the designated ruling elite is simply impossible.

Of course the fact that despite more than 70% of its citizens want medicare for all, but even the alleged radical leftists in congress aren't prepared to bat for it illustrates the effectiveness of Madison & Co's stymy.

Hence the plethora of city, state & federal 'officials' all (even the US Attorney for Nashville) wearing some militaristic uniform.
The video is especially noteworthy in that apart from the city fire chief, none of these types gave out anything that could remotely described as newsworthy, all they said was "Hi, we're here so y'all can get back to what you do best, consuming".

Equally of interest is the reason that amerika has failed so badly in 2020.

Ackerman posits that is because the ruling elite is no longer the cohesive well ordered controller of amerika it once was.
Instead it has become a greedy rabble of frequently competing interests. Quoting Ackerman one last time:
"There is a void at the center of the state, in the space where popular sovereignty ought to be, a deliberately engineered vacuum that sucks in dysfunction, incompetence, and venality of every kind. Incoherent and undemocratic, the American form of government has turned into a trap — a recipe for state failure, scratched out on an ancient parchment."

The pandemic and amerika's massive failure to deal with it competently much less justly was Ackerman's example of amerika's failure, well I reckon at a micro level the chaotic response that will bubble with intercine conflict unless there is some quick & real breakthrough demonstrates how the inefficiency & ineptitude that is amerika is now a daily obstacle to all its citizens.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 25 2020 21:01 utc | 80

MSM Video footage of the scene shows dark smoke rising right next to a high-rise office-type building with a big 'AT&T' logo sign on the top.

Also shown is a big hole in the side of one building near ground level and a huge amount of debris and shredded vehicles thrown all about. Obviously a big bomb went off, maybe in a parking area close to the side of that building.

I have not heard any MSM sources/officials on site identify yet the name of that building with the huge hole blown through the side of it.

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 21:35 utc | 81

"AT&T outage reported: Planes grounded, 911 disrupted in wake of Nashville explosion. See the outage map"

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 21:39 utc | 82

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 25 2020 17:19 utc | 64

As an NDN I didn't need globalists to poison my mind against the white man's BS religion. It's just putting lipstick on an infected turd. My grandmother from the Rez said to me, "Never get involved with wasichu (greasy white person) religion. It's just weak.".

I celebrate the Battle of the Greasy Grass and Custer, who died for your sins.

Posted by: Ruben | Dec 25 2020 21:55 utc | 83

Uncle T.

Once again I beat you ass.

Quote from Nancy Pelosi:

If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction. On Monday, I will bring the House back to session where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000.

We'll see what Trumplicans and McConnell do with that!

So what you wrote earlier about her holding a unanimous consent vote Thursday so Trumplicans could knock it down and she could use that as an excuse so as to not hold a full vote on the floor is as I wrote earlier: plain ol' spin and bullshit.

The only turd you refer to is the one that you pulled out of your hapless brain, disgusting jackass peasant! Or is it Neanderthal? Same difference.


Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 22:04 utc | 84

@ Posted by: Observer | Dec 25 2020 19:50 utc | 76

I'm not a debt expert - I just know more about it than 99.99% of the world population (not a great feat, judging by the level of imbecility of the First Worlders I've been observing here and elsewhere).

But yes, you're correct on the second part of your affirmation: Michael Hudson wasted his career in intellectual terms (he had a successful career financially, as the bank he worked for must have paid him a hefty sum).

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 22:04 utc | 85

The Nashville AT&T Building (aka the Batman Building) at 33 stories, is the tallest building in stat of Tennessee.

According to Wikipedia the building is now owned by some *three letter* company called MTL LEASING LLC, (purchased in 2019, and it looks like AT&T, which renewed its lease in March 2019, is still the major tenant.

The explosion knocked out AT&T services [?including data and cloud storage services??] to a large chunk of Nashville, Cincinnati/adjacent N Kentucky, N. Ala, and N. Ga.

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 22:09 utc | 86

Err...MTL purchased the building in 2007, acccording to Wiki.

Posted by: gm | Dec 25 2020 22:11 utc | 87

@ Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 18:02 utc | 68

Marxism is not underconsumptionism. In no circumstances.

What I'm saying is that there's an active and conscious movement by recent American economists who claim to be Marxist, and they indeed quote Marx's theories in Capital, but then distort it in the end to deliver an underconsumptionist conclusion or even twist to Marx's theory.

Evidently, for an American, the world would be a much better place if Marx was wrong and the underconsumptionists were right - but what they're doing is intellectually dishonest, as they're attributing to Marx a theory that not only wasn't his, but one that he refuted in Das Kapital.

If the Americans think underconsumptionism has scientific merits, then speak publicly as underconsumptionists - don't try to ride on Marx's reputation to do so. At least the MMTers own the shit they're talking and writing.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 22:12 utc | 88

@ Posted by: c1ue | Dec 25 2020 17:55 utc | 67

My credibility is irrelevant here. Marx wrote and published his scientific theory - you either understand it or you don't. This is not religion: you can't interpret the text however you want to.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 22:14 utc | 89

Fake news:

One Vaccine Side Effect: Global Economic Inequality

No. This is what is happening: the rest of the world will receive either one of the five Chinese vaccines (which can be preserved in a normal refrigerator and last for weeks at 27°C, say, in a scenario of power shortage) or the Russian vaccine Sputnik V (whose laboratory has already stated can already produce to half the world's population). The First World countries have already blocked the Chinese and Russian vaccines because they have to give it to their own Big Pharma, so they're closed off this international system. But they can't produce for everyone in those countries because those vaccines are expensive to produce and to store: they'll have to choose who will and who will not receive the vaccines. You don't need to be an expert on capitalism to know which will be the main criteria: sure, healthcare workers will be the first (because even ideology has its limits), but a class struggle will commence to decide who'll be the second. My guess would be that the rich (capitalist class) and their clerical minions (middle class and petite-bourgoisie) will be second and third, respectively. The working class will be last, and the lumpenproletariat may not receive them at all: they'll be left to die.

The Russian and Chinese people will probably be 100% vaccinated by next year's end, as will the Cuban people (who have already developed a domestic vaccine either way). The nations able to get out of the First World's totalitarian grip and knock on China's and Russia's door will also have access to enough for their entire populations. This will be a political - not economic - issue.

Posted by: vk | Dec 25 2020 22:22 utc | 90

In addition to my 84, b's recent article on Biden was also a bunch of bunk!

FYI Biden has already committed to a third relief package with another stimulus payment.

This bill is just the first step, a down payment, in addressing the crisis -- crises, more than one -- that we're in," Biden said Tuesday. When asked by a reporter if a future package would contain the third stimulus check and how much money he would seek, Biden said, "That's a negotiating issue... But it will, yes, it will.

Quote from CNET. Tried posting link with html; didn't work. Don't get why. Won't post it without html so as not to mess up thread.

Just search the quote yourselves if you want proof.

Biden deficit hawk?...Pfft. Anyway b's 0 for 4 now.

Posted by: Circe | Dec 25 2020 22:52 utc | 91

I know all barflies love polls. Here's one from China, a place we don't get to see polling results from often. I thought the report very clear as were the questions. My only beef with the sample is it being 100% urban.

Here's an explanation of "Wolf Warrior" diplomacy by the Chinese. Probably should be read before looking at the poll results.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 25 2020 23:29 utc | 92

@ 56 gm and @ 69 c1ue and for others... Super Imperialism .. this link is a free pdf of the book... cheers..

Posted by: james | Dec 26 2020 0:18 utc | 93

@ Posted by: james | Dec 26 2020 0:18 utc | 93

That link wouldn’t work for me but here’s the site:

Posted by: suzan | Dec 26 2020 0:28 utc | 94

@ suzan... thanks... yes, i see the link doesn't work that i left, but perhaps it has to do with i have uploaded it already, whereas others haven't yet... your link is helpful!

Posted by: james | Dec 26 2020 0:54 utc | 95

gm @73: Re: Marxism "I guess it mostly boils down to where you get your programming from."

We know where a good portion of the anti-Marxist (capitalist) programming comes from, which is corporate mass media. Of course that happens to be practically all mass media in the West.

I wonder where Marxist programming comes from? I wonder who could be spending even a minuscule fraction on promoting Marxism of what big business spends on selling anti-Marxism? That is quite the mystery.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 26 2020 0:55 utc | 96

Bill, u know its a one way street.

Posted by: humperdink | Dec 26 2020 1:02 utc | 97

U are a monkey, u see u do. There is nothing new under the sun, the Jesus, christos, that is the truth.

Posted by: humperdink | Dec 26 2020 1:52 utc | 98

no economist scientist mathematician or politician or any other fucking clown that has spent years studying how we are will ever solve our problem. It is inevitable that I am that I am. Amen.

Posted by: humperdink | Dec 26 2020 1:57 utc | 99

As usual, c1ue is shamelessly incompetent, responding to my @26 with mindless abuse. vk is a regular so @44 c1ue tries to pretend to argue.

"Investment, and most money for that matter, was primarily a function of government in Marx's era - vs. the masses of private capital that dominate governments today." This is either insane or maybe just a shameless Big Lie technique. This isn't even true of England, where the Bank of England started a market in government bonds to stabilize government finances and bind the landed aristocracy investing their surplus (as they had most of the wealth,) and, oh, yes, the businessmen who were starting to get rich from manufactures. In places like the US, private banks *printed their own currency* and there wasn't a national currency until the famous greenbacks were a desperate wartime measure. Gold and silver was money and people who wanted soft money, the predecessors of the Hudsons, wanted silver. The smarter reformers of the time at least wanted to tax the main form of wealth, land (look up Henry George, though c1ue might just think it a dandy new religion to tout.)

"Nor is the fact that workers in the Western democracies never rose up to overthrow Capital - it was only in 3rd world nations where peasants rose up to overthrow feudal lords, where Communism arose." In the so-called Third World countries, the working class still led the revolutions. The free and easy assumption that feudalism was still around in later nineteenth century and even in the twentieth century (China in 1949 really was feudal? Sic!) is truly mystifying. I'm afraid the only obvious explanation is the free and easy assumption that the lesser races are hopelessly backwards. Even more offensive is the pretense that workers' revolutions had nothing to do with "Western democracies." The Chartists, teachers of Karl Marx---a man who unlike the c1ue's of the world actually learned from workers!---were essential to creating English democracy, such as it was. French democracy was critically shaped by the wwokers' element in the repeated revolutions in France, including their very impure form as "sans culottes." Workers rose in Germany and were defeated, to give us, eventually, Hitler. (Note the absence of Leninism in the German Revolution in 1918, 1919, indeed no mass Leninist party till 1920, after the best chance was lost.) Fascism arose in the ferocious struggle against workers' revolution. As a fellow opponenet of revolution, this is very likely not a problem for c1ue, though.

Petty bourgeois delusions about restoring "middle class" honest, "free competition" by kicking out the foreign competition, sticking it to the big bourgois who connive in betraying their country is reactionary utopian. The most contemptible part about pretending to support Trump for stuff like that is the Trump hasn't successfully pursued any such policy. His stupid tariff spats are no more effective than Jefferson's dimwitted Embargo Act.

Hudson is also probably wrong about the earliest states creating money simply for taxation. Money for foreign trade, exchange, was almost certain deeply implicated. Sumerian temples, Lydian monarchs etc. would find it easier to use money than manage barter.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Dec 26 2020 2:09 utc | 100

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