Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 14, 2021

Open Thread 2021-004

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 14, 2021 at 11:15 UTC | Permalink

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@vk #81
You really need to make up your mind: either you are truly a Marxist economist or you're not.
Right now, you are picking and choosing between neoliberal GDP growth assessments - which are wrong because they skew growth by financial chicanery as opposed to actual productivity or infrastructure improvement - vs. other nation's economies whose growth which generally is far, far less dependent on financialization. There's a reason why the US and UK "grew" according to the sellout economists: these contain the 2 financialization capitals in the world - Wall Street and the City.
In any case, your ongoing separation from reality is still preventing you from understanding that China is still growing. It isn't growing by double digits any more, but it is still clearly growing in reality.
They're building more rail, more buildings; their standard of living keeps improving; they're still increasing export shipments in both monetary and volume terms, etc etc.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 14:29 utc | 101

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 13:49 utc | 99

Who would you recommend to read as a historian to someone that is not one but is interested in it as a supportive realm of a general education. I read Hobsbawm series and overall I found it positive since it is general and helps matching events interrelated to have a wider view of universal history.

The Central American sweat shops are called Maquiladoras, with one L, maquiladora with two LL would be a make up artist, from "maquillaje" which means make up. Of Arab origin it is a unit of measure, to pay in kind and not money, as for instance the part of oil kept by the mill for pressing the olives.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 14:36 utc | 102

@Bemildred #98
Your assessment is utterly wrong.
Medvedev gets along with Putin because they know each other from St. Petersburg: Medvedev was legal department and Putin was Oriental Languages.
Both were top guys for Sobchak - ex-mayor of St. Petersburg.
However, Medvedev is the silent Cardinal of the Atlanticists.
Putin has never cracked down on the Atlanticists because he has always hoped that Russia would achieve true rapprochement with the West - but it is pretty much clear now that he thinks it will never happen, at least on anything approach non-1991 terms.
Medvedev was allowed to be titular head of Russia so that Putin wouldn't violate the (more than 2) consecutive term limit and promptly caved on Libya - allowing the US and France to destroy that country without any pushback from the Russian and Chinese vetos in the UN. This term in office destroyed Medvedev's political credibility with most of the Russian population even before the ongoing economic sanctions finished off most of the (non-insane, non-paid off) remaining believers.

Medvedev has no future whatsoever in leadership in Russia.

Ironically, I actually know someone who was taught by Medvedev in St. Petersburg university. He is a very smart guy - just not smart in the geopolitical sense.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 14:40 utc | 103

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 162021 14:40 utc | 103

Good assesment, he is known as "twit prezident", and obviously after the latest scandals with that flock of noisy birds being censored, his already very low ratings are only going down. He is deeply disliked by the average Russian.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 14:48 utc | 104

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 14:40 utc | 103

I pretty much agree with all that (some new bits there about St. Petersburg, thanks) which is why I found it interesting that Dmitry would get all that space in the Russian press there. It sounded sort of like Medvedev had given up on the "Atlanticist vision" too. And I was wondering how he fits into future plans, since they still seem to get along well. But it's not like I have any answers.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2021 14:49 utc | 105

@ Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 14:29 utc | 101

I agree that even the UK and the USA also never truly recovered from 2008. What I mean is that, even by bourgeois economics' (failed) methods, it wasn't China that lift up the world "recovery" after 2009. So they are contradicting themselves.

Unfortunately, Marxist economists aren't in command of the institutions that really have the means and funds to gather economic data. We have to use bourgeois indicators and data in order to extract an approximation to Marx's theory. Hence we use GDP instead of capital accumulation, Gross Capital Formation instead of Fixed Capital, wages/income instead of Variable Capital, Return on Profit instead of Profit Rate, the Penn Tables instead of Social Profit Rate etc. etc.

We don't have, for example, any bourgeois analogue/approximation to a productive labor vs unproductive labor statistics, for example, so there are a lot of content of Marx's theory that we still can't prove definitively (even though the circumstantial evidence being overwhelming, so practically proven) for the simple fact Marxist economists don't have the funds/means to gather the data.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 15:19 utc | 106

@ Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 14:36 utc | 102

Depends on what historical subject you want to study. For the USSR until WWII, I recommend Edward H. Carr.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 15:22 utc | 107

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 15:22 utc | 107

Thanks, but I was thinking about something more general and not so specific, besides, 14 volumes is something hard to digest at this point in time. In any case I'll try to read some of his works.

Seems there is an abridged version called "The Russian Revolution, Fron Lenin to Stalin." Thanks again.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 16:00 utc | 108

@ Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 16:00 utc | 108

Yes, the abridged version is also good.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 16:38 utc | 109

Some more for the Dystopia Times series:

WSJ: Facial-recognition technology is here to stay. China demonstrates its dangers, but its use after the Capitol insurrection shows its promise, write Floyd Abrams and Lee Wolosky

See, kids: it's not totalitarianism when its a capitalist country doing it. Fuck Orwell, long live Hannah Arendt!


Bill Gates Becomes Biggest Owner of US Farmland, New Report Shows

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been named the top owners of US farmland, having acquired 242,000 acres (almost 1,000 square kilometres) across more than a dozen states.

According to The Land Report, their largest holdings are as follows:

Louisiana 69,071 acres
Arkansas 47,927 acres
Nebraska 20,588 acres
Arizona 25,750 acres
Washington state 16,097 acres

I find it very cute when the American alt-right proselytizes about a so-called "urban-rural divide". It almost looks like they don't know how capitalism works!

What's next? Will the alt-righters preach for the forced collectivization of American land in order to repel the oligarchs from buying out their land? Warn me before you do so I have time to buy the Doritos, as that would a hilarious shitshow circus.

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 16:50 utc | 110

Has anyone noticed the changes in MoA as it became increasingly clear that Trump will have to go? Getting much closer to pre-2020 quality and style of reporting. More piercing articles, and about more cutting edge topics. It seems almost like a sword of Damocles is disappearing from view!

I'll step out of line and make a prediction: as long as Biden gets his ill-gotten confirmation on 20th January, MoA will be pretty much back to pre-2020 normals from then on (not quite sure about the Covid disinfo, but I think he will be more subdued at least).

Wow, what a Hobson's Choice! I'd still prefer to see a military takeover in the US under the Insurrection Act, arrest and prosecution of all the election fraudsters, and some semblence of law and justice - but short of a miracle it isn't going to happen.

Confused? Why would I make such a strange prediction? Work it out for yourselves!

Welcome back Bernhard!

Posted by: BM | Jan 16 2021 17:30 utc | 111

@Bemildred #105
I would just add that Russians aren't Americans that speak a different language.
The Atlanticist demographic in Russia is the equivalent of the limousine liberal in the US - except they're not at all focused on identity politics. Rather, they want Russian society to be as free wheeling as they perceive the United States to be.
It is no coincidence that many of the klepto-oligarchs are behind the Atlanticist movement.
However, unlike the US where the limousine liberals hold sway in the dense, urban areas - the Atlanticists are a thin paste smeared across a very unsympathetic populace. They don't even completely dominate in the big cities but rather are like AIPAC in that they exert a lot of influence but don't actually have direct involvement.
As for the Russian press: look carefully to see which "press" is actually printing.
The Moscow Times, for example, is literally entirely foreign sponsored and operated. Certain other news orgs are owned by klepto-oligarchs.
I'm sure you can see the background I'm implying...

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 17:31 utc | 112

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 16 2021 17:31 utc | 112

The only Russian press I read is TASS/Sputnik/RT, and various more or less agenda-driven blogs. Which is still a lot more than any US MSM I consume these days. "A vast wasteland" indeed.

Anyway, you can see what I'm aiming at, a question relevant both in China and Russia, what are they going to do with their oligarchs? They seem to have them tamed for the moment, but will they keep them around in the long run? Why is Medvedev still up there and doing so well if what you (& Saker) assert about his position in Russian politics is true? I think we might find out in 2021.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 16 2021 17:48 utc | 113

Paco @108--

Hudson's ... and forgive them their debts is a history that is tied to contemporary events in a manner that makes it fascinating and very useful. Another fascinating book is The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis-Williams that has you explore the Upper Paleolithic rock art in the French caves that aren't too far from you, which I found important in further formulating hypotheses for proto-religions that I'd begun when examining Joseph Campbell's work. Speaking of Campbell, his four volume series The Masks of God also provide a time-trip out of our times, are easy to find and not very expensive. Charles Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus also gets the reader out of the contemporary era. I'll end my suggestions with one antiquated classic, More's Utopia for its description of contemporary life within England and how some viewed the New World at the time.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2021 21:43 utc | 115

b, any thoughts about the foreign policy alignment implications of the next German Chancellor? Indian Punchline viewed it as a good choice.

Posted by: schmoe | Jan 16 2021 21:50 utc | 116

@ Paco | Jan 16 2021 14:36 utc | 102

A superb historian of Russia of that period is Dominic Lieven who is a senior research fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge and a fellow of the British Academy. He previously taught Russian Studies at the London School of Economics for thirty-three years. His Russia Against Napoleon won the 2009 Wolfson Prize for History and the Prix Napoleon. Some of his books in my library are:

The End of Tsarist Russia, The March to World War I & Revolution ISBN 978-0-310955-6 Penguin Books (PB)

Russia Against Napoleon, The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 ISBN978-0-713-99637-1 Allen Lane imprint of Penguin Books (HB)

Russia's Rulers Under the Old Regime ISBN 0-300-04371-6 Yale University Press (HB)

Nicolas II, Emperor of All the Russias ISBN 0-7195-4994-9 John Murray (Publishers) LTD. (HB)

Empire, The Russian Empire and Its Rivals ISBN 0-300-09726-3 Yale University Press (HB)

Contributed to:
Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution Ed. Tony Brenton ISBN 978-1-78125-021-1 Profile Books (HB)
The Cambridge History of Russia Three volumes: (PB)
> From Early Rus' to 1689
> Imperial Russia, 1689 - 1917
> The Twentieth Century

Other books: The Aristocracy in Europe, 1815 - 1914 [yet to be obtained]

A rich source and resource. These should quench the thirst to know. Great reading ahead.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 16 2021 22:07 utc | 117

Mint Press News takes an interesting peek at the latest moves in the China trade confusion within the USAi. Compares the the hysteria toward China with the same hysteria toward Japan in the 1980's when the USA just stole Japans high tech industry in the end.

With just days left in office, the Trump administration has blacklisted an additional nine Chinese companies, adding them to a long list of firms on the U.S. military blacklist and escalating the trade war on Beijing as the U.S. attempts to suppress China’s economic rise...

...Chief on the list is electronics giant Xiaomi, whose stocks plunged by 11% this morning and have not recovered. While still relatively unknown in the U.S., Xiaomi is a global giant, manufacturing televisions, smartwatches, tablets, and all manner of home appliances. They are surely best known, however, as makers of smartphones. In quarter three of last year, Xiaomi stormed past Apple to become the planet’s third-largest smartphone maker, behind only Samsung and fellow-sanctioned Chinese giant Huawei. Xiaomi sold 46.5 million units, a 42% increase on Q3 last year — an impressive jump, especially considering the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Airplane manufacturer Comac, oil giant CNOOOC and Chinese chipmaker SMIC were also added to the list.

Quickly developing a loyal base of customers, Xiaomi is increasingly seen across the planet as a major competitor to Apple, selling similarly specced units for a fraction of the price of an iPhone. By contrast, both Apple’s smartphone sales and market share have been falling dramatically, suggesting that, unlikely as it seems, Apple could go the way of Nokia or Motorola before them.

The government’s move is the latest episode in the ever-intensifying trade war against Beijing. The Trump administration has previously sanctioned other Chinese tech giants like smartphone manufacturer and 5G provider Huawei and video-sharing social media app TikTok, claiming them to be dangerous appendages of the Red Army. In 2020, the president threatened to shut down TikTok, unless it was sold to an American corporation. Other pro-U.S. countries such as India went further, instituting an outright ban on the popular platform.

Every country on earth has links between the military and tech sectors as that is what national security and defense preparedness is all about. Anyway I guess warmongers have to monger.

A good short read.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 16 2021 22:10 utc | 118

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2021 21:43 utc | 115

I'm familiar with Hudson's work, and his work is quite relevant in this times.

The origin of art, exciting, yes Altamira is probably on the same level as Lascaux, closer to where I live there is rock art also, not as relevant though as in the north. Good times to read since mobility is restricted by the pandemic.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 16 2021 22:14 utc | 119

On last Thursday, there was a discussion about Webster Tarpley wherein I disclosed he was published by Lyndon LaRouce's media firms. I also again disclosed the fact that Matthew Ehret and Cynthia Chung were also part of that network, are both based in Canada, and are often published by Strategic-Culture. Today, One finds this essay by Chung, "An OrWELLSian Purge? Why H.G. Wells’ ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ Has Arrived Today," that presents some very curious facts about H.G. Wells. As I wrote on Thursday, one must be very aware while reading their work. This was proven true regarding Chung's essay when she discusses Wells's The War of the Worlds and the radio play performed by Orson Welles in the USA--She says there was a similar radio play that occurred in England run by Wells that never happened. Why a so easily discovered falsehood amidst her essay?! Indeed, there were two as she also states, "Apparently, during the broadcast it had not made itself clear to its audience that it was in fact a radio drama and not the actual news," when in fact the audience was informed on four separate occasions--once before, twice during, and once after--during the broadcast. (I had a double disc vinyl recording of that very radio play that I listened to well over 100 times and thus confirm what's reported about that fact in the linked Wiki entry.) The vast majority of readers--and the publishers!!--will never know the author lied to them thus destroying the credibility of her entire essay. And that's not the first time I've discovered such deviance, which she shares with Ehret.

There was absolutely no reason to insert those lies. Worse, it hurts the reputation of Strategic-Culture, which is already censored by Facebook. The essay's purpose was likely ethical in the author's mind. But employing unethical means lowers the author to the level of those she's accusing, thus in reality rendering her no different.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2021 23:01 utc | 120

Petite bourgeoisie melts down in Western Europe as economy continues to deteriorate:

TEN THOUSAND protesters decry Covid-19 curbs in Vienna, face counter-protest (VIDEOS)

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 23:21 utc | 121

Very interesting article. It was made originally for a Chinese audience, so it explains the USA system in a very simple and didactic way:

Class and Race in the US Presidential election

[...] the first myth which sometimes appears in parts of the media is that Trump represented the ‘working class’ or Americans who were ‘left behind’ economically. The data shows that this is simply entirely untrue – Trump was the candidate supported by affluent and better off Americans.

The opinion polls show that in 2016 Clinton had an 8% lead among US household with an annual income of less than $50,000 (50%-42%) and this further increased to a lead of 12% for Biden in 2020 (55%-43%). In contrast, among households with an income of $100,000 to $199,000 Trump had a 15% lead.

Taking the trends overall, Biden had a large lead among families with an income of less than $50,000 a year (55%-44%), and those with incomes of $50,000-$99,000 (57%-42%), while Trump had a massive lead among those with incomes of over $100,000 (54%-42%).

Get out of the closet, Trumpists. We know who you really are (hint: it begins with petite and ends with bourgeoisie).

Posted by: vk | Jan 16 2021 23:37 utc | 122

On Navalny and Trump--

The Ds and many Rs support the idiotic notion that the politically inconsequential Navalny is being hunted and had his life almost terminated by the dreaded Novichok because he poses a threat to Putin and the entire Russian government. Meanwhile, as Jonathon Cook reports, Madcow Maddow is again agog about Russia interfering in the Outlaw US Empire's politics because a Russian MP--just one!--voices disapproval of Trump's Impeachment on very realistic grounds. (Please see tweets at original.) This leads Cook to say:

"All this is not just the latest sign that the US political system has degenerated into tawdry theatre. It is growing evidence that US politics is devolving into a permanent confrontation between two authoritarian tribes. Both are convinced that the other side is un-American, perverting the true Republic. Both are unwilling to compromise, believing they share no common ground. And ultimately both are fighting for a rotten cause." [My Emphasis]

Ironically, the bolded portion is 100% correct, for the cause both sides are fighting for it that of those behind the Duopoly and its "rotten cause" of privatizing all assets within the USA or controlling them via Debt Peonage. So, is it all theatre as this paragraph implies:

"This is not a divide between ethical and unethical politics. This clash is now a bitter grudge match. It is civil war by other means. Not only is the chasm between these rival camps widening, but the real criminals are making off—as they always do—with the loot....

"This mood is not likely to dissipate. The two political tribes are locked in an antagonistic tango, mirroring each other’s moves, each other’s grudges, each other’s sense of victimhood. Much more unites them than they would ever care to admit." [My Emphasis]

Cook goes on to write eloquently about our situation, echoing many of my thoughts. His conclusion also conveys my thoughts but use his verbiage:

"Trump is not the enemy. That target is far too small and limited. The class he belongs to is our enemy, as is the system of privilege he has spent the past four years upholding and his successor will defend just as assiduously.

"Whether Trump is ultimately convicted or not in the Senate, the system that produced him will be acquitted—by Congress, by the new president, by Wall Street, by the corporate media.

"It is we who will pay the price." [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2021 23:39 utc | 123

Instead of Russiagate, this time we have Insurrectiongate. Even Progressives who ought to know better are pushing this line of Bullshit. If that crowd was intent on Insurrection, the entire Capitol would be under siege at this moment and Congress would never have met to conduct any business there. Just as with Chung's essay, using lies to uphold a likely untrue narrative--otherwise, why the need to resort to lies?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 16 2021 23:48 utc | 124

Germany elects Merkel successor, "Armin Laschet, the premier of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia." I admit to not being up to speed on Germany's political scene, but the short article was somewhat helpful, particularly here,

"Speaking after his victory, Laschet vowed to solidify the ties between the CDU and its Bavarian ‘sister-party’, the Christian Social Union (CSU), so that they could 'stick together through this year,' signaling that the two parties will again run for the federal elections in September together. While the new CDU leader is likely to succeed Merkel as chancellor, Laschet abstained from making such a bid so far, merely stating that the CDU/CSU should work toward ensuring that 'the next chancellor in the federal elections will be from the union.' Moreover, the CSU leader Markus Soeder is the most popular conservative politician among the Union’s voters, according to new polls cited by German media."

Merkel and Laschet are considered Centrists, so is there any chance Soeder could become Chancellor?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2021 0:06 utc | 125

karlof1 #120

Well that was a ridiculous and extraordinary blunder on Chung's part. Well spotted and thank you.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2021 0:08 utc | 126

The Dimratss are not corrupt ;) Kyle Kulinsky points at the revolving door from military to Raytheon (etc) to Biden appointee.

Collect $1.7million on the way past GO. The Dimratss are not corrupt ;)

If Biden can collect $?million from the Ukraine raid then why not the Pentagon appointee.

The masters of war and pillage - the Dimratss. And not even a squeak from the DSA squad of stooges.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2021 0:47 utc | 127

uncle tungsten @126&7--

Thanks for your reply! Note that Chung's essay lost its steam after her lies. As for the Dimratss, it's just as Cook wrote and I cited. Nothing like a little insurrection false flag to preempt the real one to come.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2021 0:55 utc | 128

Matt Lee asks insightful questions that often irk the State Dept spokesperson.

So I'm surprised that Matt Lee contributed to this plablum: Trump’s presidency not just a blip in US foreign policy

Digging deeper ... Deb Riechmann, who has top billing on the article, is a "national security reporter". Strangely, she has very few tweets despite being on twitter since 2011. I guess opinions are a luxury when your job is to toe the party line.

She apparently proved her loyalty in Afghanistan and now has been rewarded with writing PR for CIA with articles like this:


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2021 1:26 utc | 129

We're not supposed to notice when toadies are groomed to replace critics and free thinkers.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2021 2:23 utc | 130

@120 karlof1

I'm inclined to be more forgiving of Cynthia Ching for this, preferring, with uncle tungsten @126, to call it a "blunder" rather than outright lies.

She cites a radio play and quotes Wells talking about London by name, giving the footnote to a Wells book published in 1905 - before, I assume, radio plays in London were actually happening, and certainly before the NY version of his novel was aired. So there's some broken coherence here but it seems to me more innocent than sinister. I urge forgiveness here. There are few enough authentic and well meaning writers around as it is. I'd hate to lose this one. And as you know, citations can be a bear.

I didn't finish her article when I started on it yesterday, but I went back to see what I could get from it.

I skimmed and skipped, but I landed at the conclusion, where she was heading all along, and it's wonderful, the complete refutation of Wells and all that imperialist killer mentality that thinks itself superior to those races it exploits and that it believes are expendable.

She draws from Hitchcock, but these are her words:

" is not in fact the superior being who is capable of committing murder, but the criminally insane. That the idea of purging the world of its “inferiors,” would in fact rid the world of its most loving and moral beings, their traits regarded as intolerably foolish and weak.

In the end, we would be left with the worst of humankind, a human race that had cannibalized itself."

For that alone, personally, I can forgive Cynthia Chung. And I must say, this cannibalism is exactly where Wells's ideas lead to, and he couldn't see that. But I enjoyed much of his fiction as a kid, so I can't be too hard on him, either.

People are foolish and misguided - but it's best we keep them :)

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 17 2021 3:07 utc | 131

For those who need a laugh in these times.

Here are some great cartoons from the Australian Financial Review. See what the establishment thinks of Australia's 'ally.'

Warning don't look if you are a Trump fan!

Posted by: Paul | Jan 17 2021 3:32 utc | 132

@113 Bemildred

When Medvedev was removed as Prime Minister by Putin to take a position as advisor on the Security Council, all of the analysis I read regarded it as the end of his public political career. He is not popular in Russia, as Paco reminds us, and would not be good as leader of the RF - but I don't want to try to enlarge on this last point if not needed.

This doesn't mean he has no value, but I think Putin is happiest with Medvedev as a reliable and diligent colleague in the sphere of general governance, close to his side for both the obvious reasons. I also think that as an advisor, he may even be finding the mind space to write these kinds of analyses and almost overtures to the west. I thought he did a pretty good job. I'd like to see how much of his words come back from the Biden administration. And I really liked his coining of the "cold civil war" of the US in the years leading up to the 2020 election. That's a useful phrase.

I think when Putin retires, Medvedev retires. May they both live healthy and long lives thereafter, with Putin as the grand elder statesman, God love him. And I think Putin has a timetable in his own mind, and is very aware of the need to replace himself. His progress in this matter is something known only within the Kremlin.

Putin replaced Medvedev with Mishustin because he had an urgent agenda to complete, and the government wasn't getting it done. Mishustin as far as I've seen IS getting it done. This agenda is I think the most important thing in Putin's mind.


I have the feeling that behind the quiet snows outside the Kremlin's walls, the pace inside is somewhat frenetic. Russia, I think, is trying to match the pace of China, because very deeply in its secret mind it knows that today's friendship may only last perhaps a half-century, which is nothing for either civilization.

Not that I believe China would ever threaten Russia in the conventional sense of the word, but I suspect that Putin sees the quantum leaps (no pun intended) being made by China in science, and knows that Russia must maintain the same kind of leaping pace. Putin keeps pressing for the "breakthrough" in Russian achievements - what else but China could spur this kind of ambition, when everyone else in the world is behind Russia, in weaponry and geo-strategic security?

It's not enough to safeguard Russia. Putin also needs to create a society that can survive his passing, and that indeed can survive everything in the centuries to come. I actually think what Russia needs is more than Putin's personal belief system can provide, but I also suspect that Putin himself knows this - which is why he keeps people like Glazyev around. He welcomes diverging thought, but he is who he is, forged by his life and time. The question is, what thought will survive and perhaps ascend when he goes?

The handover will be the biggest thing he ever does, and this is obvious to the whole world.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 17 2021 3:50 utc | 133

@ Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2021 1:26 utc | 129.. that link with matt lee was pretty substandard... especially the part of all the great work trump had done in the middle east getting the headchopper cult people - ksa, uae - to be on the same side as israel... whow... ain't that just great? same type bedfellows - all of them.. they make no mention of how biden would be any less agreeable to any of it.. only that big bad iran, is well - big and bad, lol... what a friggen joke of an AP article that was.. thanks for pointing it out..

Posted by: james | Jan 17 2021 4:18 utc | 134

@ Grieved | Jan 17 2021 3:50 utc | 133 who wrote about Putin
The handover will be the biggest thing he ever does, and this is obvious to the whole world.

I disagree.

Putin's place in the civilization war that is being waged is the biggest thing he can/will do in his life. The result of that struggle will set the stage for the Russia that his successor inherits.

Putin is fighting a micro-civilization war in his country with the oligarchs and the outcome of the bigger war will decide the smaller one as well. The makeup of the leader of a post civilization war world is not the same as one that got civilization to that point....there are substantially more marbles at stake at this time, IMO, than in the past wars.

Is humanity going to evolve beyond barbarism? Stay tuned!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 17 2021 4:31 utc | 135

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 17 2021 3:50 utc | 133
Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 17 2021 4:31 utc | 135

Thanks for your comments, not seeing anything to argue with. Mention of Mishushtin is good point, temperament is essential, have to fit the man to the job. And the guy who replaces Putin needs to be that kind of guy, who fits people to the job.

"Is humanity going to evolve beyond barbarism? Stay tuned!"

That's my focus, wondering what Pooty-Poot will come up with. I think Grieved has it right about Putin's attitude to Medvedev, a known quantity and loyal, I'd use him too.

RE: Russia-China-Competition, well, if you really accept the message of evolution, than we are all steps on the way to something more. I call it the Human Project. Maybe the Life Project. It's not about you, and it's not about "winning". So if you accept that sort of idea, than we all have to keep working on it, and we'll never see the end, there is no end. So that's why Russia needs to keep running. Because we all do. Not to compete, but to try as many paths as possible.

Back to bed.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 17 2021 8:36 utc | 136

The barometer has capitulated according to Wall Street on Parade. Or words to that effect from Pam Martens:

I can further assure you that if an actual, violent coup d’état did occur inside the halls of Congress and played out in real time on every television network and cable news program in the country and around the world, there would have been a crash in the stock market. (I was sitting behind my trading terminal on October 19, 1987 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average crashed 22 percent by the end of the trading day and the country was peaceful.)

The stock market of that prior era would not have greeted 20,000 National Guard troops descending on the nation’s Capitol and television pictures of hundreds of those troops guarding the halls of Congress with a meaningless loss of 8 points — a tiny fraction of one percent...

Clearly, today’s stock market is broken. And that’s a big problem for this country and the world because the U.S. stock market is supposed to be an early indicator of when things are going well and when things are going badly. When the U.S. stock market is sending a signal to the world that bloody coups of government are nothing to fret over, we’ve entered a dangerous dimension where fascist rule is deemed a good thing.

The stock market of my day reflected the composite wisdom of all of its participants. Today’s stock market appears to reflect the composite wisdom of only its fascist-inclined participants.

Pam Martens then sets out her remedy for this situation.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2021 10:12 utc | 137

@ Grieved | Jan 17 2021 3:50 utc | 133

I think President Putin's basis comes from an acute knowledge of Russian history and drawn sound conclusions from that knowledge of what is needed to rule the Russian Empire, after all St. Petersburg shared being state capital with Moscow. That collection of books listed above (@117) has a historian's eye view and captures nuance not found elsewhere for each of the governance factors needed to create and successfully rule that empire. It appears V. Putin is aware of those factors and operates from that basis; his intelligence work would have focused on such information and accurate analysis. The Russian Eagle had heads looking either direction - and still does.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 17 2021 14:34 utc | 138

@Bemildred #113
Russian and Chinese oligarchs: it is pretty clear, at least to me, what the strategy is: let them keep their ill - or otherwise - gotten gains so long as they don't intrude into government affairs and obey when told to not do something.
It makes sense: the hoards are going to be owned by someone. Trying to redistribute them would be impossible to do anyway.
Khodorkovsky was nailed because he tried to sell out Russian energy to the West, then tried to get into politics when told not to.
ANT is being shown the same type of stick as we speak: profit doesn't matter if the government deems that operating model to be unacceptable (internet based loan sharking).
Sadly, we freedom loving Americans seem to prefer our oligarchs using the government to enrich themselves even more...

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 17 2021 16:37 utc | 139

@vk #122
You just keep discrediting yourself.
Clinton/Biden outpolled among the under $50K households by 8% and 12%, respectively? That's considered representing the little people?
So 8 <$50K income people voted for HRC vs. 7 for Trump, that number changes to 23 for Biden vs. 17 for Trump - hardly a huge class divide - particularly considering Trump is a Bronx, New York billionaire.
Equally that somehow the 34 >$100K who voted for Biden (vs. the 37 >$100K who voted for Trump) are somehow meaningless.
The TDS is strong in you.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 17 2021 16:49 utc | 140

@Grieved #133
No, Putin's succession is not the greatest thing he ever does.
The greatest thing Putin ever did is already done: he brought Russia back from literal post-Soviet collapse and built it into a successful, self-sufficient and strong nation.
The succession is just hopefully to put a little Maraschino cherry on top of a huge wedding cake of statesmanship.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 17 2021 16:52 utc | 141

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 17 2021 16:37 utc | 139

That's probably right, not that sticky to let people enjoy their own winnings as long as you have a good effective inheritiance tax to clean up after. That's really one of the problems here too, we used to do better, but the rich are very industrious when it comes to protecting their privileges and making their piles of assets bigger.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 17 2021 16:53 utc | 142

I read the Putin discussion late last night but was too tired to write clearly. Here's how I see him:

Putin is 68 and in very good health for one that age. The agenda he's set out for Russia's ongoing development is very aggressive in the sense that he wants much to get accomplished in laying the foundation for a continual rise in the overall standard of living for all Russians, particularly those in Russia's Outback who've been overlooked for decades. As a student, he's learned a very great deal which has led him to modify his positions on the environment, geopolitics and geoeconomics; and he's become an outstanding governor and statesman. He's very fortunate to have his Eurasian Bloc visions shared by China's leaders, who IMO have helped him see the light environmentally. In his formative years, he tried to accommodate the West, but that didn't last very long, which resulted in his Munich speech in 2007. Unless he passes, he'll be present in Russia's government for at least another decade thanks to the new Senator-for-Life position crafted for him to further the development agenda he's already set in motion. I watch him as closely as I can by visiting the Kremlin website daily, which has made seeing his priorities much easier along with the energy he devotes to them. As far as I can tell, he's assembled a very capable team and has instituted his own version of Democratic Centralism via his many press conferences and other appearances--Putin's level of activity makes US presidents look dead in the water. The two of us are peers chronologically, so I hope neither of us outlasts the other by very much. The Russian people will choose his replacement, but it remains to be seen which Russian will try to ascend to his position.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2021 19:37 utc | 143

vk 122
"the first myth which sometimes appears in parts of the media is that Trump represented the ‘working class’ [...] 8% lead among US household with an annual income of less than $50,000 (50%-42%) and this further increased to a lead of 12% for Biden in 2020 (55%-43%)."

I'd like to point out that most of American households with annual income of less than $50,000 most likely aren't working class households. A large portion of them would have to be lumpen-proletarians.

Roughly translated as slum workers or the mob, this term identifies the class of outcast, degenerated and submerged elements that make up a section of the population of industrial centers. It includes beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements. In times of prolonged crisis (depression), innumerable young people also, who cannot find an opportunity to enter into the social organism as producers, are pushed into this limbo of the outcast. Here demagogues and fascists of various stripes find some area of the mass base in time of struggle and social breakdown, when the ranks of the Lumpenproletariat are enormously swelled by ruined and declassed elements from all layers of a society in decay."

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jan 17 2021 20:35 utc | 144

It used to be acknowledged that a middle-class household was one where the wife didn't have to work.

At any rate, if an unfortunate couple were each employed full-time (a tricky proposition sometimes,) at federal minimum wage, the gross household income would be $30 160. Yet these people in Mao Cheng Ji's eyes are scum. I think nothing has ever exposed the profoundly vicious pretty bourgeois outlook of Mao Cheng Ji so clearly. I say there are in fact people who are very much working class in this position.

Marx's comment by the way is outdated by the way, as plenty of swindlers (like Trump) or racketeers or even a few top gangsters have income levels far above the $50 000 Mao Cheng Ji despises as failure. Worse, I don't know who wrote this, but there has never been so much of a mass base for fascism in the unemployed etc. In Weimar Germany, the Communist Party was strongly based in the unemployed of the Great Depression, while the Nazis, not so much. The SA appears to have been fairly lower class...but then, Hitler found it entirely desirable to kill the SA leadership. Hard to argue with a straight face Ernst Roehm was the sould of Nazism, or it should be, anyhow.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 17 2021 21:59 utc | 145

Here is a quick video from RISING at the Hill discussing Mitch McConnell playing Republican hard ball in the Senate over the House vote to impeach Trump yet again.

The delight is that McConnell seems to be about to pay back for the delay and damage done to Trump by the total BS Russia hacking election fiasco of 2016. If its good enough for the Dimratss to sabotage a Republican presidency then ditto for the Republicans to return the favor to Biden.

The Senate rules stipulate that the Senate can only do one thing at a time and impeachment trials require EVERY Senator to be physically present or the proceedings halt. PLUS Senate rules require each Biden appointment to be vetted and that can take days for each and longer if one party plays hard ball. So as Biden has a few dozen to appoint then the entire program can take months and not even start until the impeachment trial is completed.

And some of Biden's nominees are the scum of the earth and could be subject to gruelling examination. I would like to see that!

Now IMO Mitch McConnell is as low as snakes belly but there is a sweet justice here that only a mendacious Repugnant could dream up. Apparently Joe Biden has taken a deep dandruff snort and asked his old friend Mitch to play nice :))

Too good. Laugh your rs off Vladimir, the evil empire is truly devouring itself.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2021 22:05 utc | 146

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