Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 11, 2021

Open Thread 2021-87

News & views ...

Please keep the comments short. Don't copy stuff that is available elsewhere on the web - link it.

Posted by b on November 11, 2021 at 15:03 UTC | Permalink


This is a short, original comment, posted as an example to follow.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 11 2021 15:12 utc | 1

"An oil tanker detained by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has been released by court order after its cargo of stolen Iranian oil was unloaded at Bandar Abbas port, the IRGC said on Wednesday.

The tanker, the MV Sothys, was confiscated on Oct. 24 in the Gulf of Oman where IRGC forces thwarted an attempt by the US Navy to escort the stolen cargo to the destination which the US government wanted."

Posted by: arby | Nov 11 2021 15:13 utc | 2

Twitter has become the model for human discourse.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 11 2021 16:16 utc | 3

Nothing the mainstream media and their business and government masters like more than to nab and disable the free competition for using copyrighted material. Give b a break.
For that matter, there is more transparency and better context when original sources are linked.

Posted by: fx | Nov 11 2021 16:27 utc | 4

Any predictions on the outcome of the Rittenhouse show trial?

Posted by: Masked Marvel | Nov 11 2021 16:35 utc | 5

fx @4

I actually fully agree with our host. Linking material and providing a synopsis or key excerpts as posters like karlof1 or vk do is the proper use of the hypertext technology on which the WWW is built. I was simply ridiculing those who can fully express the depth of their thoughts with 140 characters... or is it more now? I was banned from Twitter long ago and have not been interested enough to pay attention to it since.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 11 2021 16:38 utc | 6

Masked Marvel @5

Aquittal on all of the first degree charges and guilty on the charge of being a stupid kid. No jail time.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 11 2021 16:49 utc | 7

FDA recalls millions of Covid test kits over false results

what this all about..

Posted by: snake | Nov 11 2021 16:54 utc | 8

On Taiwan, SecState Blinken commits the US to action if Taiwan were attacked.
Reuters: U.S. and allies would 'take action' if Taiwan attacked - Blinken
Taipei Times: Blinken vows ‘action’ if China attacks
. . .from a NYT-Blinken interview:
QUESTION: Does that mean that we would step in and defend it? I think that’s the big question.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Our role is to make sure that it has the means to defend itself, because if it does, that is the best deterrent against any very, very, very unfortunate action that might be contemplated by China. That’s what we’re focused on.
At the same time, I think it’s fair to say that we’re not alone in this determination to make sure that we preserve peace and stability in that part of the world. There are many countries, both in the region and beyond, that would see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they too would take action in the event that that happens. But again, the purpose here —
SECRETARY BLINKEN: — is to make sure that no one does that. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 11 2021 17:02 utc | 9

The Philippines is the next US battlefield:

Here is the boondoggle for Israel, courtesy of US taxpayers:


Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2021 17:08 utc | 10

More on the costly Philippines military buildup:

At sea:
The air:

These weapons are not for fighting Moro separatists in the lawless southern jungles.
Although president Duterte is a christian from Davao he has muslim relatives. Where is the fight?

Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2021 17:31 utc | 11

Posted by: Platero | Nov 11 2021 17:49 utc | 12

No, I don't mean that at all.

There is a pattern here.

The US taxpayer pays billions to the Bandit State for expensive military equipment and then 'donates' the equipment to the Philippines. This somehow 'obliges' the Philippines to fight US enemies to the last Filipino, on their own soil.

Having spent months in various parts of the Philippines I know the money would be best spent elsewhere.

Looking at poverty and homelessness in the US, it is obvious the US needs to stop financing the ugly and destructive ideology of zionism. Charity begins at home.

Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2021 18:28 utc | 12

New book: CIA Hero porn 'Damascus Station' by David McCloskey

Historical fiction about a CIA agent investigating the fate of a Syrian asset and handler in 2012 Syria (spoiler alert, they were killed by the evil Republican Guard).
Along the way our agent ...
Beds a stunningly, beautiful Syrian official in Paris and turns her into a U.S. asset.
Discovers a plot by the regime to use a Sarin gas attack and blame it on Israel and more.

This book was written by an actual CIA analyst, David McCloskey, in Syria who briefed Congress about the civil war.

I didn't read the book so how do I know it is BS?
1. The book was released and held in limbo for 'security review'. This tells me it favors 'the narrative'.
2. Gen. Petraeus loved it.
3. I read his long interview w/Aaron Mate where David gushed out 'the narrative'.
'The protesters were non-sectarian, Assad was a monster, Assad only survived because of interference by Hezbollah and Russia, Obama should have forcefully bombed Assad and not taken for granted that Assad would have fallen.'
Whenever Aaron Mate brought up an inconvenient fact, such as the rebels being largely sectarian, aligned w/Al Qaeda and ISIS, and the massive support from foreign govts, David would give a confusing answer starting with 'it's complicated'.

Did I read the book? No.
Does David McCloskey speak Arabic? (I'll bet a $1 he does not)

BTW the U.S. reviewers loved the book.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Nov 11 2021 18:38 utc | 13

In post @14, I meant ...

1. The book was released and NOT held in limbo for 'security review'

If it had contained any useful information, the security review would have kept it tied up for decades and gutted it beyond recognition.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Nov 11 2021 18:41 utc | 14

Scum Mo's deviously non-committal bullshit and lies are beginning to irritate everyone in Oz. Yesterday, ex-PM Paul Keating jumped back into the limelight on's National Press Club broadcast to deliver a stern warning to Scum Mo's Nazis:

1. China is well on the way to becoming a Trade and Military Superpower and every country with an eye on a prosperous future should be jumping onto the China gravy train.
2. Oz should meet Russia and China halfway and stop sucking up to AmeriKKKa.
3. AUKUS is the most pointless, reckless and stupid idea since the Beginning Of Time.
4. The whole world recognises that Taiwan is part of China and if a war over Taiwan's Freedumb breaks out Oz should refrain from participating.

I'll always admire Keating for his delightfully accurate description of Johnny Rotten, aka John Dubya Howard, as "Mr Magoo without the good intentions."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 11 2021 18:57 utc | 15

What is weird is that the US has recognized that Taiwan is part of China for 50 years.
And then they just change their line and drop that inconvenient fact down the Memory Hole.
"We have always been at war with Eastasia".
China has not attacked Taiwan in over 72 years. Why would they start now? (Unless provoked, which the US is obviously doing, poking the tiger).
This reminds me of the perennial announcements by the US that "Iran is only 5 years away from a nuclear weapon", which started in 1979. Surely Iran should have one by now? It's been more than 5 years.
Or the "Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014". Really? Surely they should be to Kiev by now, in that case.
Are Americans really that gullible and easily led?
Yes, they are, apparently

Posted by: wagelaborer | Nov 11 2021 19:08 utc | 16

When will the day arrive that our host realizes that C has brought a comeback for facism to Central Europe. We badly need help from the outside.

Posted by: e | Nov 11 2021 19:27 utc | 17

Hoarsewhisperer @ 16:

I am astonished that Scott Morrison even made it as far as Cabinet Minister given his track record as Marketing Director at Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Australia - the latter position gifted to him by the Liberal Party while John Howard was leader - leading to his forced resignation from both organisations. On both occasions the issue was lack of transparency in Morrison's dealings with external suppliers. He must have done something at Tourism Australia that even the Howard government couldn't stomach after all it had done to smooth his path. It could well have been something close to being illegal.

And yet here we are in Australia with this odious individual as Prime Minister in a position to do things that got him close to being sacked twice in lowlier positions.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 11 2021 19:44 utc | 18

Paul, thanks so much for the link to the 4 Corners coverage on the Obeid family!! I was struck by two things: the extensive kms long beach that has no development, and that someone involved in real estate corruption was actually convicted of a crime and went to prison. You need to explain Australia to me a bit more, please! Who exactly did Obeid offend to receive that kind of a response? And why is that beach pristine? Is it used by the military or something??

Just for fun, here’s one from Canada. Cottagers and Indians.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Nov 11 2021 19:59 utc | 19

from the Corbett Report

Well, brace yourself. The global planners have been crafting simulations, war games and exercises to simulate our responses to the crises they are intending to create in the coming decade. And, as serious as all of the above-named simulations were, these ones foretell of an even darker vision for humanity in the years to come.

Posted by: ld | Nov 11 2021 20:00 utc | 20

@ wl 17
Are Americans really that gullible and easily led? Yes, they are, apparently
Americans have nothing to do with what the US says, mainly because there is no system for doing so. So there is no reason for dumping on Americans, especially by other Americans.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 11 2021 20:59 utc | 21

Bruised Northerner #20

And why is that beach pristine? Is it used by the military or something??

Thank you Bruised Northerner, much land in Oz is state land and is not developed. Much coastal land is National Parks. The last coastal sand mining was in the 1970's at Middle Head where there was large persistent opposition that was camped on adjacent private property and that confrontation ended the granting of sand mining leases in NSW.

Many of the National Parks were introduced by the Wran/Ferguson government of the time in order to protect those lands. Great for people's recreation. In the north of the state there is an extensive National Park with an air force bombing range at its northern end. A very beautiful place.

Obeid was an opportunist that wriggled his way into the declining Labor Party (the pseudo 'left') and ran an empire within. I think he was sent down for granting dodgy mining leases to his mates. There are more like him.

The combination of resisting forest logging, protecting coastal lands and the BLF union advocacy for better communities resulted in the emergence of the Green Party some years later.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 11 2021 21:21 utc | 22

Christian J Chuba @ 14:

"... [CIA agent Sam Joseph beds] a stunningly, beautiful Syrian official in Paris and turns her into a U.S. asset ..."

That detail which seems to have come more from the James Bond films than from the spy thriller novelists David McCloskey claims inspired him is all you need to know "Damascus Station" is BS.

Would two officials from opposite sides really be prepared to compromise their professional careers by carrying on a clandestine affair together? How would the CIA agent be confident the Syrian official was not a honeypot?

I admit I know nada about how CIA field agents think and feel and whether seducing their assets is part of the job but this romance trope seems to be a marketing tool to suck in readers and capture a market for a first-time novelist peddling the same old lies about Syria, President Assad and the war waged against Syria by the West over the past decade.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 11 2021 23:28 utc | 23

Posted by: Bruised Northerner @ 20

Good questions. Complicated answers.

Corruption begins at local government, 'developers', councillors and council staff can become multi millionaires overnight. Political parties are shunned so they all recruit stooges for branch stacking. They fight internal battles by branch stacking. Favours are given and exchanged among councillors, even political opponents. Then they are promoted to state or federal parliament.

Wanna a free trip to Israel?

The Hawks Nest area has extensive development to the north at Port Macquarie:

To the south at Port Stephens;

The now multi millionaire ex-mayor was involved in a number of scandals:

The residents fight back:

Further south at the Central Coast area and Terrigal is the home of the Labor sub faction 'The Terrigals'.

Another beautiful area commuting distance from Sydney.:

Obeid's antics outraged the Premier and the Premier lost his job 16 years ago:

Hawks Nest is off the main highway. All these areas have different councils. Thousands of investigators would be needed to stomp on it all.

Obeid used inside knowledge to buy farmland with extensive coal deposits. The ex- mines minister was also convicted.

'Developers' also use front companies and stooges. Former council town planners become planning consultants so money can change hands out of sight. Hawkesbury City Council is one of the worst.

Here is some more on Housing from 4 Corners:

Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2021 23:44 utc | 24

I think the whole world uses the metric system except the US. I wonder how a prospective president would fare in the elections if switching to the metric system was one of his goals?

Posted by: arby | Nov 11 2021 23:46 utc | 25

National Park with an air force bombing range at its northern end. A very beautiful place.
Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 11 2021 21:21 utc | 23

Reminds me signage around one of the pine forests on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, in rough translation "Artillery trial range. Entering can cause death." I did not check how pretty it was inside.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 0:01 utc | 26

Lukashenko threatens to cut gas to Poland & EU. The EU generated crisis regarding Belarus is escalating. And the Outlaw US Empire escalates the Ukraine crisis.

IMO, it's a shame NS2 was completed and filled with gas. EU bureaucrats and members of the EUP deserve to freeze. Perhaps voters will get the message since they're the ones who will be frozen.

Do recall what entity started these multiple crises--The Outlaw US Empire under Obama/Biden then escalated by Trump/Pence, and further escalated by Biden/Harris. The EU dolts merely acquiesce and get drunk.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 0:02 utc | 27

karlof1 #28

Ns2 is yet to get German operational approval afaik. Lots could go wrong there.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 12 2021 0:24 utc | 28

@ 28
The US arms escalation in Ukraine is based on the recent Joint Statement on the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership including a lot of BS:

Russia’s aggression, including the war in eastern Ukraine and its seizure of Crimea, has claimed more than 14,000 Ukrainian lives, destabilized Europe and the Black Sea region, and threatened the global rules-based order. The United States does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea and reaffirms its full support for international efforts, including in the Normandy Format, aimed at negotiating a diplomatic resolution to the Russian-led conflict in eastern Ukraine on the basis of international law, including the UN Charter. . . .
Providing Ukraine with Security Assistance: The United States is announcing a new $60 million security assistance package, including additional Javelin anti-armor systems and other defensive lethal and non-lethal capabilities, to enable Ukraine to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. The United States has committed $2.5 billion in support of Ukraine’s forces since 2014, including more than $400 million this year alone.

Of course there was no mention of Minsk 2 in this partnership agreement, no mention of allowing some autonomy to the Russians in Donbas, no real US intention to do anything to resolve the US-caused instability as a result of the coup the US pulled off almost seven years ago and the installation of neo-Nazis in Kiev.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 0:25 utc | 29

Dostoyevsky is 200 today. Putin visited revamped Moscow museum:

"The opening of the Dostoevsky Moscow House is the central event as part of the anniversary celebrations planned in accordance with the Presidential Executive Order. The entire world is marking the great writer’s anniversary, not only Russia. UNESCO declared 2021 the Year of Dostoevsky."

I tried to find more pics of the revamped museum besides those at the above link, but it's too new apparently. I wonder what he would say about what's happened to Russia since his passing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 0:34 utc | 30

IMO, it's a shame NS2 was completed and filled with gas. EU bureaucrats and members of the EUP deserve to freeze. Perhaps voters will get the message since they're the ones who will be frozen.

Do recall what entity started these multiple crises--The Outlaw US Empire under Obama/Biden then escalated by Trump/Pence, and further escalated by Biden/Harris. The EU dolts merely acquiesce and get drunk.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 0:02 utc | 28

I agree with your sentiment, but here is the catch: it isn't shared by Putin. And while I can understand that there may be geopolitical and ecnomic needs in play for Russia, there should be at some point a serious expression of displeasure. And that's just isn't forthcoming.

One, of course, may claim that Russia is passing the message from less prominent channels. However, considering that the Anglo-American empire has been ratcheting up the game, increasing the pressure nonstop - particular emphasis on the racist vilification and dehumanization of Russia and its allies - and with its chief neocon ideologues declaring that there is still more room for anti-Russian measures, it is clear that there is no such development.

In short, while you are right that there should be a threat of serious consequences for western neocolonialists who continue to behave criminally on so many levels, there just isn't one and it doesn't seem to come any time soon. Russians are spouting threats, but the other side proceeds in concrete anti-Russian policies (you can also pick other targets of the empire as victims, almost all friendly to Russia).

I expect that the chorus of loyalists, who are unable to offer minimal criticism towards the Russian President and his government to come out against me for the offensive nature of this post.

Posted by: Constantine | Nov 12 2021 0:42 utc | 31

karlof1@31, one of the unforgettable moments in my life was visiting his home. the russians honour their heroes & even in the early 90s while russia was being robbed & raped there was no dust, no frayed ends, the home shone with love & respect. by the way i thoroughly enjoyed michael hudson's on how some of the events unfolded, & look forward to your critique.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Nov 12 2021 0:43 utc | 32

Further on the Belorussian immigrant "crisis":

EU Weaponizes Belarus Border, Blaming Minsk and Moscow

Most of the refugees stranded at the Belarus borders with Poland and the Baltic states are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the same as in 2015. The common denominator is that these three source countries have been subjected to war and aggression by the United States and its European NATO allies over two decades. That is the root of the phenomenal migration to Europe. One can also factor in the NATO destruction of Libya in 2011 as another gateway for mass migration.

The EU is weaponizing the issue by distorting the cause: alleging that it is Russia and Belarus creating the human tide when in fact it has been illegal imperialist wars and regime-change operations conducted by the United States and the Europeans.

It is Poland and EU members that are deploying thousands of troops, tanks and barbed wire along the border with Belarus. This is an abomination of supposed “European values” and respect for international laws of asylum. The fiasco of Brussels financially supporting the construction of barbed wire fences is an international disgrace. Pointedly, this rush to ring-fence Europe comes exactly 32 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He left out sub-saharan Africa, which is also sending refuges, but that was likely an oversight.

You know migrants have been known to bring down empires before. Maybe making all these refugees was an own goal?

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 0:49 utc | 33

Don Bacon @30--

I don't know about you but I'm beyond fed-up with the continuous string of lies about most everything under the sun uttered by The Outlaw US Empire. The level of insolence is beyond the nth degree. Before the Nuclear Age, we'd be at war already. The message seems to be: "Nah, Nah, Nah! Whatscha gonna do, nuke us over Ukraine? We'll just keep piling on the bull shit, and there's nothing you can do to stop us!!"

Obviously, what was said to DCIA Burns wasn't strong enough. And I thought Bush/Cheney were disgusting, but it's only got increasingly worse since.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 0:50 utc | 34

When will the day arrive that our host realizes that C has brought a comeback for facism to Central Europe. We badly need help from the outside.

Posted by: e | Nov 11 2021 19:27 utc | 18

I would use "fascism" more narrowly, but there are political party, like the one currently ruling in Poland, that capitalize and increase intolerance, xenophobia, coarse political language (opposition consists of "traitors") etc. In Poland the political balance was unstable, but the tilt to the right, like in other Central European countries (do not call us East Europe! natives view themselves as "Central"), was associated with the wave of migrants that reach Germany. Merkel demolished moderates to the east of Germany. Parties resolutely opposing "European solidarity" and quotas for admitting migrants instantly gained popularity, and if moderates would accept modest quotas, they would accept no one. Worst of all, migrants were Muslim and not Europeans (before, some Chechens were accepted with only minor troubles, perhaps only particularly docile Chechens chose Poland).

Either Merkel and Eurocrats were OK with the rise of such parties, or they were stupid, probably a combination. That said, no one can help from outside. Obviously, there are local differences. Orban, the "dictator" of Hungary, seems shrewd and some of his "independence" is eminently rational, like cutting deals with Russia. Polish wing nuts know how to play populist themes, but not only their electorate is skewed toward villages, small towns and lower education attainment, but they are, well, not as bright as Orban. Recently they made some blunders that they KNEW are blunders, perhaps because their parliamentary majority depends on groups of extremists. One group are a Catholic equivalent of Taliban, displeased with overly lax rules for abortion: more than 1% of abortions of Polish women is legal (I guess, most of the rest requires to go abroad which is easy). Petitions to Sejm (Parliament) went nowhere, but the judges packed by the ruling party into Constitutional Tribunal reduced that percentage to ca. 0.1%, to the detriment of women who experience dangerous complications in pregnancy -- a women with a typical need to control number of children could easily take a train, say, to Slovak border, where she could be picked by a ride to abortion clinic. Seems that PiS will loose few percent of the vote, so they will go to opposition in a year or two. Especially that now there is a new petition to impose heavy prison sentences for conducting abortions. While most Poles are Catholic, the majority is not THAT fanatical.

In short, less intelligent "fascists" will follow Darwin selection. More intelligent will survive, but I am not certain if it is a bad thing. E.g. does Hungarian opposition present a genuinely better program?

Incidentally, moderates in Poland may get help from EU, however belatedly (or properly belatedly). To achieve police state, they are enacting laws that bring "discipline" to judges and make it easier to pack courts with their stooges. At long last, they did it too blatantly for EU structures to swallow, and it seems that a generous package to Central Europe countries aimed to recover from Covid-19 economically will skip Poland. While the government appeals to national pride, many rural supporters are farmers for whom EU is very advantageous. Farmers, however Catholic, can count.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 0:51 utc | 35

Just for fun, here’s one from Canada. Cottagers and Indians.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Nov 11 2021 19:59 utc | 20

I thought that you are a decent person, you Northern scum! I survived with my mental faculties intact only because YouTube made the video "unavailable" and closed the access to comments (perhaps they were equally injurious). Glory to YouTube!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 0:56 utc | 36

@ karlof 28
IMO, it's a shame NS2 was completed and filled with gas.
Josh "hawk" Rogin has an opinion piece in WaPo which agrees with you.

The Biden administration this week made a public show of solidarity with Ukraine, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington. But it refuses to do the one thing the Ukrainian government and Congress believe could deny Putin yet another weapon to use against America’s European partners: stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 0:59 utc | 37

Constantine @32--

As you probably know, I'm a Putin fan, and I read what he and Lavrov have to say publicly about that mess and understand their POV. But as I told Don @35, I've reached my limit, although I've known since 1970 that our #1 enemies are Domestic. I'd very much like to live out my life within a nation having a moral basis, but I'm fettered via my commitments, and must somehow find a way to swallow/vent my ire.

emersonreturn @33--

Thanks for your reply! Not quite certain what recent Hudson item you're referring to; the traitorous D Party perhaps?

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 1:04 utc | 38

@ Piotr Berman - I can still see it. For Canadian eyes only maybe. You don’t happen to live in a country with undeveloped lakefront property, do you? (Is there anything more symbolic of the AngloZionist American dream than owning lakefront property?) Musn’t let others be polluted by the local experience. It’s amazing how much development has happened in lake country in Canada, throughout Canada. I remember back in the 80’s, when those dudes who invented Trivial Pursuit, invested some of their newfound wealth in building a golf course in that cottage country, threatening the already threatened water table for the entire area.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Nov 12 2021 1:25 utc | 39

Bemildred @34--

Thanks for linking to Cunningham's essay; it was in my queue. He nails it in his opening paragraph:

"European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made a stark accusation against Belarus and Russia, claiming they are weaponizing the migration problem on the border with Poland. This is a cowardly move to divert blame. It is also recklessly escalating confrontation." [My Emphasis]

Note the use of the "Democracy" versus authoritarian rhetoric used after her getting orders from Biden. IMO, this is the best news piece written about the contrived crisis. But the lies will continue to be told because that's what the orders are.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 1:27 utc | 40

I like Lukaschenko.
He said, (paraphrasing here) that our sovereignty is paramount and nothing is off the table.

Posted by: arby | Nov 12 2021 1:30 utc | 41

Iran-backed terrorists seize U.S. Embassy in Yemen…take hostages

When Oppression is the Lens of Politics All Outcomes Will Be Due to Racism: Racism is not a Public Health Problem: Crime, Education and Poverty Are

Posted by: Dogon Priest | Nov 12 2021 1:34 utc | 42

karlof1@39: Rentier Capilatlism & its Discontents power, morality & resistance in Central Asia.

pardon me for neglecting to post the title as i am well accustomed to lagging behind your voracious reading. nonetheless i found this essay, one i've been long awaiting & as expected most interesting. my deceased brother was in the oil business in houston during the taliban visit as well as the russian delegation. both were as you know big news in the oil texas world.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Nov 12 2021 1:45 utc | 43

Escobar has completed his resettlement to France's Brittany and has published two new articles, one on Afghanistan and another dealing with the New Great Game.

As instructed, barflies will need to discover their substance themselves.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 1:50 utc | 44

Watched an interesting short video on RT showing a Russian Air Force bomber patrol of Belarus. In the clip it appears the navigator is using a Slide Rule. I wonder how many other navigators can use one? I presume it's for nuclear blast EMP intellectual property protection.

Posted by: Dim sim | Nov 12 2021 1:54 utc | 45

emersonreturn @44--

Thanks for your reply! I'm done for the evening and will probably be absent tomorrow as well. I'm hoping to write a long article about domestic issues for my VK Space by Monday. I decided to check Asia Times to see if Pepe had posted a new item; he did, so I shared.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 1:56 utc | 46

Two related and highly recommended reads:

János Kornai on capitalism and socialism

Has Capitalism Defeated Socialism Yet?—Kornai's Turnaround on Liberalism, and the Evaporation of Myths about Eastern Europe by Ping Chen, Fudan University

János Kornai died some days ago at 93 years of age. Almost everything you think about the Socialist side of the world during and after the Cold War (I'm assuming the average reader of this blog is either an American or a Western European), he invented it. No, you didn't come up with your ideas about the world by yourself, some obscure liberal "intellectual" invented it somewhere, sometime.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 2:08 utc | 47

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 12 2021 1:27 utc | 41

More than welcome. I thought it one of his better rants. Yes, I have noticed the EUcrats fondness for cliches and hackneyed political insults. No imagination at all. Just copying us, really.

And everybody is angry.

@Piotr Berman, @canadian provocateur:

Just FYI that video is unavailable to me. Was available earlier today.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 2:11 utc | 48

@ DP 43
Iran-backed terrorists seize U.S. Embassy in Yemen…take hostages
Was that like the US-backed terrorists that . . .you name it. There is US-caused instability in many places.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 2:22 utc | 49

Josh "hawk" Rogin has an opinion piece in WaPo
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 0:59 utc | 38

I blessed YouTube from sparing me from mental damage from a video linked by Bruised Northerner, but Don Bacon's link works in central Pennsylvania. To my detriment:

Josh Rogin, the punchline paragraph, tour de dumb force:

The argument against sanctions seems rational on the surface. Who are we in the United States to tell Germany it can’t have a pipeline it wants? That stance, however, ignores the implications Nord Stream 2 has for several other allies. The Biden administration’s hope that Putin won’t weaponize it against several countries, including Germany, is either disingenuous or naive. When Putin gets powerful leverage, the pattern shows he will surely use it.

The long-term U.S. strategy should be to bolster European energy security by increasing U.S. natural gas exports there, while working with Europe to transition to a post-fossil fuel economy. But meanwhile, allowing Putin to amass even more control over Europe’s fate is counterproductive and dangerous. The good news is there’s still time to stop it.
So, USA should take upon themselves to defend "several other allies" from the effects of German feeblemindedness, and the German themselves, even if the ingrates do not know any better. Seems, the question "who we are to be so wise and noble" was not answered.

BTW, the vision of increasing LNG export to Europe has problems. President Biden has a misfortune of presiding over a country with large freedom given to free enterprise. This year, driven by profit calculations and thus their fiduciary duties to stockholders and other stake holders, American LNG companies signed long term contracts with China (and perhaps other Asians as well), so few LNG laden ships sail from USA to Europe. Ditto Qatar. Hence Europeans were left to tender mercies to the likes of Russia and Algeria. Algeria has a huge row with Morocco, so decided to stop transiting gas through that country, putting Spain in trouble. There is also another pipeline from Algeria to Spain that goes straight under the sea, so Spaniards lost only half of the supplies. In short, Algeria weaponized. Algeria also complained that Morocco refused to spend money to maintain their section of the pipe while they pocketed transit fees.

The situation Algeria-Morocco-Spain is surprisingly similar to Russia-Ukraine-EU. Except Russia did not shut down that route but limited the transit to the minimum negotiated two years ago. Consider: Morocco is an American/Western friend, Algeria is a maverick. Algeria uses transit to pressure Morocco, in part because Morocco annexed Western Sahara and Algeria hosts resulting refugees, this is VERY WRONG on the part of Algeria because that annexation was GOOD, i.e. approved by USA. As we all know, USA and the rest of the West opposes only those annexations or secessions which are BAD. This is the basic tenet of moral clarity: support GOOD, oppose BAD and leave it to the State Department to decide which is which. Nevertheless, for unclear reason (presumably GOOD reasons, i.e. approved by the State Department), USA says nothing about this situation.

EU enacted VERY GOOD rules for gas contracts, discouraging or disallowing long term contracts with stable price formulae. Russians like such contracts, which means that this is a BAD type of contracts. Unfortunately, this did not foster as much reliance on GOOD natural gas, from USA and Qatar, because American and Qatar companies like the same type of contract as Russians. In short, the debacle was caused by stupid European Commision that defined what is a BAD contract as a contract of the type that Russians like, instead of the correct definition, as a contract with Russia.

But perhaps the poor commission had a hard task. Outright banning gas imports from Russia would deprive Ukraine of more money than Western aid provides. Plus EU would be hit too, economically That would wreck the American plan to prop Ukraine with money provided by Russia and EU -- USA nobly allowing IMF loans. Russian would not pay for the transit, and EU would lost both motivation and cash to prop Ukraine. You can see that defining a GOOD contract is tricky.

The second part of the long term solution that Rogin likes, " working with Europe to transition to a post-fossil fuel economy." is even harder that flooding EU with American LNG. Again, USA lacks command economy. "We Americans" can offer symposia on that theme, but if American companies will "work with Europe to transition blah blah" depends on their fiduciary duties to stockholder and stakeholders, i.e. profits. Controlling the behavior of companies through their profits is hard, given than among many assets of those companies we see many Congressman, Senators etc. -- again, investments in the name of fiduciary duties.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 2:38 utc | 50

Having worked blue collar here all through the 70s, when inflation was hitting the high teens, I agree with this, it was good times for employees. Rich people hate it:

Inflation Is Good for You

(Source is Intercept).

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 2:40 utc | 51

Devastating blow to Poland:

France defends Russia in Belarus border row

This is also a heavy blow to the EU, which sees its social fabric looser and looser. Just to remind you that the EU has already started to disintegrate: it literally lost territory, with the loss of the UK in 2016-2020; it already doesn't exist "as we know it".


Death Toll From Astroworld Festival Jumps to Nine After 22-Year-Old Succumbs to Injuries

The interesting thing to note here is that there is a far-right/alt-right conspiracy theory being viralized on social media claiming those deaths were actually a Chinese chemical attack (through injection of some kind of drug).

In reality, those kind of deaths are common in the West. It's a side effect of the "sex, drugs and rock'n roll" culture that arose in the 1950s-1960s.


Dems & Republicans have only one thing to offer to American workers: nothing

Oh, well, what a shame...



Taiwan suspends 2nd doses of Pfizer for teens over health risk

Could have had the much safer and cheaper (the Mainland was actually going to donate them) Chinese vaccines.


Jordan Peterson hammers ‘totalitarian’ Covid rules

So, the hero the Gen Z turned out to be the same old liberal ideologue recycling those same old liberal ideologies from the Cold War.

Just the old shit repackaged. Symptom of an empire in decline.


Wait, what?

(The Joke of the day)

US inflation spreads like wildfire to China by William Pesek, for the Asia Times

Talk about bourgeois economy entering into short circuit.


Wait, what?

(The Joke of the day)

Self-apotheosis doesn’t make Xi a good leader by Dennis Roy, for the Asia Times

Yes, this is a deja vu. But what can I say, it's the Asia Times.


Germany’s Fourth Covid Wave: ‘A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’

I always knew reality would catch up with Germany someday.

If it makes the German people feels better, they never disappointed me. I could always see Germany as a fraud since the epic failure of the reunification of 1989-1990.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 3:00 utc | 52

"The long-term U.S. strategy should be to bolster European energy security by increasing U.S. natural gas exports there"

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 2:38 utc | 51

The delicious irony of Rogin's prescribed solution being structurally impossible for the US to carry out - because who is the US government to tell its O&G industries to prioritize European markets when the laws of the blessed free market dictate that Asia is the preferred customer - that is unless it were to violate this dogma and start invoking command economy principles, and in the process become ever more like his national bête noire China.

Posted by: J D | Nov 12 2021 3:28 utc | 53

@ Bemildred 52
That article on inflation was written by Jon Schwarz, who used to preside over the excellent blog "Tiny Revolution." So I looked him up, and happened on this page which had a 2015 article (scroll down) on the current Israel prime minister Naftali Bennett who took great pride killing Arabs, possibly contributing to 9/11.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 3:39 utc | 54

@ JD 54
re: who is the US government to tell its O&G industries to prioritize European markets
Is Rogin imagining that the US is like China, where the government owns the corporations instead of the opposite?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 3:47 utc | 55

@27 Piotr Berman - "how pretty it was inside"

You outdid yourself.

I imagine your mind as one that is always smiling inside.

Although I would not enter it ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 12 2021 4:04 utc | 56

@ vk 53
Dennis Roy: Self-apotheosis doesn’t make Xi a good leader by Dennis Roy, for the Asia Times
Apparently Xi's supporters disagree.
..a previous Roy essay:
"Xi Jinping’s top five foreign policy mistakes"
1. Wolf warriorism
This came from the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, who prodded officials at a foreign ministry gathering to display stronger “fighting spirit” in the face of international challenges, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. That's a XI foreign policy mistake?
. . .and so on
2. Galwan Valley skirmish
"According to Indian sources,. . ." blah blah
3. South China Sea policy
China has responded to US provocations, Roy doesn't mention that.
4. Taiwan
"Rather than blazing a creative new solution to the cross-Strait dispute, the man celebrated for “Xi Jinping thought” has simply doubled down on his predecessors’ demonstrably failed policies." The solution is to move toward enforcing Taiwan as a part of China, which has been a US position for fifty years, also recognized by other nations.
5. Economic coercion against Australia
"The consequences of this Chinese policy were worse for China than for Australia". . .and Oz's allies in Asia are. . . Japan which is occupied by the US and has no allies in Asia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 4:23 utc | 57

I think the whole world uses the metric system except the US.

Posted by: arby | Nov 11 2021 23:46 utc | 26

You can rely on the UK to keep one foot in the past. There was metrication around 1970 but while the shops switched to grams and ml, distances remained in miles. Now the present lunatic government (fawning to its key supporters) has promised to let shops revert to pounds and ounces, thus undoing the entire process. Anyone under 60 will have no idea what they are.
(Mind you I always secretly thought that dealing with £sd, 12 inches to the foot, three feet to the yard, five and a half yards to the rod pole or perch was good for training mental arithmetic).

Posted by: Walt | Nov 12 2021 4:34 utc | 58

So that was the problem with these series!

Kim's 'Got to Be Loving Squid Game', Claim North Korea Experts

Gordon Chang, another political expert and author of 'Losing South Korea', suggested that series such as 'Squid Game' and films such as Oscar-winning 'Parasite' by director Bong Joon-ho, undermine the faith South Koreans have in their own government and add a certain appeal to the promises of the communist DPRK to the extent that some people favour reunification with the North.

So, according to Gordon Chang's logic, if you don't show the problem, it doesn't exist. Simple world for a simple mind.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 5:11 utc | 59

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 11 2021 18:57 utc | 15

He also famously referred to the conservative opposition as a "...conga-line of suck-holes..." on the floor of parliament.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Nov 12 2021 5:50 utc | 60

[in UK] Now the present lunatic government (fawning to its key supporters) has promised to let shops revert to pounds and ounces, thus undoing the entire process. Anyone under 60 will have no idea what they are.
(Mind you I always secretly thought that dealing with £sd, 12 inches to the foot, three feet to the yard, five and a half yards to the rod pole or perch was good for training mental arithmetic).

Posted by: Walt | Nov 12 2021 4:34 utc | 58

I would not be too confident about the agility of those 60+ in using older units. In US most of the population believes that "metric system is complicated". In my naive initial years I had two experiences with the simplicity of the units that are used.

1. In supermarket, I hesitated if I want to buy 100 or 200 g of certain cheese, so I asked for six ounces. The clerk in the deli department was flabbergasted. Only later I realized that his scale can show either the dollar amount after selecting the article and thus the price, or the weight in hundreds of a pound, so he would need to figure out that six ounces is 0.375 of a pound, but even then, should he go for 0.37 or 0.38?

2. In a fabric store I wanted material for curtains, four pieces with length 2 ft 3 in (something like that). The selling lady had a yardstick, so she would need to convert it to inches. She tried a calculator, but then she realized that she does not know how to do it.

But even STEM students would not answer such a simple question: what weights most: one ounce of butter, one ounce of milk, or one ounce of gold? Should it be common knowledge that "normal ounces" are used for butter, "fluid ounces" for milk and "troy ounces" for gold, roughly 28, 29.5, 31 g respectively. Now for a more difficult question: what weights more: pound of butter or pound of gold? Obviously, pound of butter because troy pound consists of 12 troy ounces.

People who grew up with such confusion can think that when Russia moves several battalions to a training ground mere 32 Lithuanian miles from Ukrainian border are very close to that border. Too bad, Lithuanian miles (traditional if not currently in use in nearby Belarus) are 5 times longer than those in USA.

Onward to knots and phantoms.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 7:46 utc | 61

Further to my earlier comment and links,

Here are both links to Blue Murder - Killer Cops, episodes #1 & #2, a triumph of Australian screenwriting and a synthesis of screen production and real history, based on fact:

I have personally encountered Roger Rogerson two times, but that's another story.



Roger Rogerson is now doing life for murder.

I appreciate the script and the actual locations.

The original Blue Murder episodes #1 #2 & #3 are also fabulous.

I tip my hat to Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. There is an incredible and real twist in the tail.

Enjoy your lockdowns.

Posted by: Paul | Nov 12 2021 8:40 utc | 62

@arby (26)
That depends.
I'm not sure how many people in the US are willing to go metric. Or whether the debt-ridden US can afford (to complete) it.

All I know is, some 'conversative' folks have conflated the metric system (and soccer, but that's another story) with 'socialism' or 'communism' and see it as one part of a ploy to make America 'more like Europe'.
There are also types who see customary measures as instrumental to the moon landing, notwithstanding the rockets' dimensions which were done in metric behind the scenes. Whether the moon landing was fake or real, it seems to imply that feet and inches could perform such a feat where meters could not - a questionable assertion.

Ironic how one aspect of American Exceptionalism is the adherence to a non-decimal system of measurements based on the body parts of dead English monarchs*. And that says something considering that the US was also the first Anglophone nation to use a decimal dollar-cent currency system - and swears by it to this day - in stark contrast with Britain's pound-shilling-penny system. (Thank you Mr. Berman for your anecdotes)

* Speaking of England, I'm not sure they'd count as the 'rest of the world'. Speed signs there are still in miles per hour, and some people still measure themselves in feet/inches and stone/pounds/ounces. Among the Brexit crowd, there are some who see it as an opportunity to return to Imperial units and pounds/shillings/pence. There's also a British Weights and Measures Association, of which Peter Hitchens is a member.
** Months ago I came across a video claiming the US, Canada and the UK to be "enemies" of the metric system. The US and UK, understandable, but with Canada I wasn't too sure (English-speaking Canada, maybe, but what about French-speaking Quebec? How are they doing?)

Posted by: joey_n | Nov 12 2021 9:39 utc | 63

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 12 2021 3:39 utc | 54

I am aware of Mr.Bennett's background and who he is, haven't studied him, he doesn't need much.

Thanks for the link, looks interesting. I believe I have run into Mr. Schwarz before ...

I like Lukaschenko.
He said, (paraphrasing here) that our sovereignty is paramount and nothing is off the table.

Posted by: arby | Nov 12 2021 1:30 utc | 41

Yes, I agree, like Putin he has grown on me. Guys who don't lose their nerve in a fight and stick to business are good to have around, enemies or friends, you're better off.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 10:09 utc | 64

Regarding snippets, I have long followed these rules:

1.) Never more than 4 paragraphs or equivalent, i.e maybe 30-40 lines tops, ever. "Fair use".

2.) No excerpts if the Subject line makes the content clear enough.


Regarding slide rules, and other "low-tech", I still have three. I think Russians have been keeping these skills hot for some time now, typewriters for example, in response to our nosy takeover of the Internet and general weaponizing of everything electronic, which is exactly what I would do too.

Electricity is nice but you cannot always rely on it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 10:17 utc | 65

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 0:51 utc | 35

I was more thinking on german speaking nations, especially Austria

Posted by: e | Nov 12 2021 10:50 utc | 66

Posted by: joey_n | Nov 12 2021 9:39 utc | 63

In Quebec we use litres and millilitres, pounds versus kilos about equally but small weights in grams, and generally kilometers and not miles, feet more often than meters, and inches especially when talking about cutting wood.

Posted by: Featherless | Nov 12 2021 12:17 utc | 67

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Nov 11 2021 18:38 utc | 13

Thanks Christian, I saw Aaron Mate's interview of the retired CIA kid too and your summary and insights were spot on as always. The interview is very long-- over an hour-- and Mate is very patient and respectful but was not easy for me to watch a very young man who was in the CIA for 10 years attempt to parrot the imperial fairy tale to Mate, whom I consider one of the best interviewers in the English speaking world. Interesting and fitting that lizard prince Petraeus loved the book which is violence porn squared: sex and killing, core themes that feed our sick imperial souls.
The kicker is at the end of the interview, as the visibly nervous and somewhat chastened CIA boy begged viewers to buy his porno fairy tale, Mate asked him "What's next?" He said he's going to write a book about Russia! to Aaron Mate! Mate kept a straight face and offered to invite him back for another session.

Posted by: migueljose | Nov 12 2021 13:32 utc | 68

A masterpiece in the manipulation of covid figures

Posted by: Tom2 | Nov 12 2021 14:20 utc | 69

There's inflation, and there's inflation. Those fanatics from the Asia Times should take note before publishing an avalanche of neoliberal psalms:

GT Voice: Flying US inflation is bad news for Biden, Federal Reserve

By the way, The Global Times agrees with me. My initial take, to be found here in a post from the beginning of this year, was that the main cause of inflation was the Trumpian-Bidenian aggressive money printing, not some mythical shortage of goods and commodities. The USA can export inflation to the rest of the world because of the USD Standard - and that was precisely the plan.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 14:58 utc | 70

Nazism, the highest stage of imperialism:

Doubtful vaccines will be tested on soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in exchange for military assistance from the West

The "deal" is with American pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck, and also includes experimental drugs.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 15:07 utc | 71

By the way, The Global Times agrees with me. My initial take, to be found here in a post from the beginning of this year, was that the main cause of inflation was the Trumpian-Bidenian aggressive money printing, not some mythical shortage of goods and commodities. The USA can export inflation to the rest of the world because of the USD Standard - and that was precisely the plan.

Posted by: vk | Nov 12 2021 14:58 utc | 70

Yep. Just like the 60-70s. A replay of Vietnam, they promsied guns and butter back then, in 2003 it was just the guns, but still the same inflationary result. Complete military incompetence both times, grifters gotta grift.

And boy do they hate inflation, our billionaires. It's like watching your money evaporate. They are going to jack up interest rates soon.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 15:09 utc | 72

The masterpiece linked by Tom2 is actually quite solid on facts, but caters to hasty readers. I think that BBC has rigorous training in that direction. Opening words:

"While many European countries are seeing steep rises in coronavirus cases and preparing to step up Covid restrictions, the UK has been going in the other direction."

To someone who was enlightened by Communist propaganda in the younger years, the opening is very lucid. When a the puff piece uses "many", it mean two things. First, they did not use "most" and they would if they could. Second, means the countries selected countries for comparison below were selected very carefully. Finally, without opening the newspaper we know that if two stats were possible, they would choose that makes the comparison more favorable, in this case the choices are "daily infections" and "daily deaths".

Overall, BBC is fairly informative if read properly, so outright b..t is more readily accepted (e.g. ANYTHING that connect deaths, chemicals, Russia or allies).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 12 2021 16:04 utc | 73

First it was 40, then 70, then 100, now we are at 111

111 container ships waiting offshore LA

Does anyone really think Xmas isn't going to be affected? We are already 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 12 2021 17:04 utc | 74

@Bemildred #51
That article is nonsense.

Let's start with the assertion that the 1% are hurt by inflation.
This is 100% wrong - because the 1% own the assets: stocks, businesses, real estate etc. Yes, the small part of their portfolios which are cash and/or bonds/Treasuries is hurt, but the net is a huge gain as all of the other assets skyrocket in value.

The next: inflation is good for regular people.
Also mostly wrong. If you work in a business with pricing power - say plumber - you can pass along the increases. But huge segments of the population do not have this. Retired people is one example - particularly if on Social Security. Government workers is another example - the French Connection ending (huge drug bust disappeared from police lockup), Serpico etc occurred in the 1970s because government jobs don't have the pricing power, at least in the rank and file.

The article reads like a limousine liberal proclaiming "I, for one, support our Inflation overlords".

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 12 2021 17:16 utc | 75

I normally don't bother with comedy, but this is just too funny

Imgur image link

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 12 2021 17:19 utc | 76

@Dogon Priest

I am a little mystified by the "BLM movement".

1. In early summer of 2020, in the wealthiest, whitest neighborhood of a certain metro area, there appeared, essentially overnight, a plethora of BLM signs. In other neighborhoods, they were scarce. In particular, there were none in the black neighborhoods. The people who sported the signs were young (30s or 40s), with professions of law and education predominant. The same BLM signs are still there, neither more nor less.

2. Sticking with cases of white cop perpetrator, there are plenty of examples where the black victim is perfectly innocent. However, those are not the cases that the movement champions. Instead, the cases usually involve a career criminal who is high and resisting arrest. By isolating race as the issue, one passes over the fact that there is a real problem with US policing which involves incompetence, overmilitarization, and impunity.

Posted by: Platero | Nov 12 2021 18:07 utc | 77

Posted by: Platero | Nov 12 2021 18:07 utc | 77:

By isolating race as the issue, one passes over the fact that there is a real problem with US policing which involves incompetence, overmilitarization, and impunity.

Yup! Incompetence, over-militarization, and impunity are indeed the ailments that permeate the police ranks. Your characterization reminds me of a Stones tune 'sympathy for the Devil': Every cop is a criminal. Well, 'every' is too absolute a claim; I'll say, 95% are criminals. They come in three or four cars full against one or two of you, roughshod you into resistance, then proceed to manhandle you onto the ground with knees on your neck. They say they saw a flash of something and believe it was a gun or knife, so they opened fire, guilt free. The press will back them up; the dumbed-down public will back them up; the judge will find an excuse to set them free. They move on to their next victim. That's the present protocol of policing in America. You don't like it? Feel free to bump into a stone wall.

Oh the legal professionals luv these shenanigans. Every case that's hyped up in the media means millions into their coffers, in addition to enhancement of reputations to having upheld justice. That's how things are in the so-called West, these days.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Nov 12 2021 19:46 utc | 78

Government workers is another example - the French Connection ending (huge drug bust disappeared from police lockup), Serpico etc occurred in the 1970s because government jobs don't have the pricing power, at least in the rank and file.

The article reads like a limousine liberal proclaiming "I, for one, support our Inflation overlords".

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 12 2021 17:16 utc | 75

Government jobs not having pricing power is not the problem we have at the moment. It is precisely the people who have pricing power who are the problem, because they are greedy and selfish, and have not taken care of business.

There are many good people in government jobs, most of them, they are not the problem either.

Inflation is terrible for banks and billionaires, all their money floats away too, that is why they are buying up all the land and other assets they can find. All that money sitting in the Cayman's, those are the people who hate inflation, the people with cash.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 20:10 utc | 79

So I am seeing that "after 3 years and five months the battle of Hudayiedah is over, and it is now all Houthi. (on twitter)

And IRNA says 3.5 billion of their funds have been released "by another country".

$3.5b of Iran’s blocked assets unfrozen: IRNA chief

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 12 2021 20:59 utc | 80

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 11 2021 18:57 utc | 15

He also famously referred to the conservative opposition as a "...conga-line of suck-holes..." on the floor of parliament.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Nov 12 2021 5:50 utc | 60

No, Jon, it was Mark Latham

"..The Prime Minister puffs himself up and talks about strength.
The real strength and purpose of national leadership every now and then
comes from saying no to another country. That is what Mr Howard should
have said to the Americans instead of committing Australia to forward
deployment and the inevitability of war in Iraq. But he is too weak, and
behind him sits a weak and ineffective backbench. It has been left to
the elder statesmen of the Liberal Party — John Valder, Fred Chaney,
Peter Baume, John Hewson and Malcolm Fraser — to articulate a true
small-l liberal position. Mr Howard and his government are just yes-men
to the United States. There they are, a conga line of suckholes on the
conservative side of Australian politics. The backbench sucks up to the
Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister sucks up to George W.

That is how it works for the little tories, and they have the hide to
call themselves Australians. In my book they are not Australian at all.
They are just the little tories—the little tory suckholes. The backbench
sucks up to the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister sucks up to
George W. That is all they have left on their rotten little side of

Australia deserves better than an American apologist as its Prime
Minister. We deserve better than someone who is too weak to say no to
Uncle Sam. In his statement to the parliament, the Prime Minister
dismissed the opposition to war as anti-American prejudice. That is what
he said - "This is just anti-American prejudice." Fancy the member for
Bennelong lecturing us about prejudice. This is the same member of
parliament who opposed sanctions against South Africa, who wanted to cut
Asian immigration, who opposed the Mabo judgment tooth and nail, who
welcomed Pauline Hanson’s first speech in this place as an outbreak of
free speech. He still refuses to say sorry to the stolen generation and,
to this day, cannot bear to utter the word "multiculturalism". Fair
dinkum, this bloke has a PhD in prejudice; he has no right to be
lecturing anyone else. .."

Posted by: tucenz | Nov 12 2021 21:42 utc | 81

This sounds interesting:

Simple, low-cost, high volume distiller removes salt from seawater using solar energy

Biological ammonia is not hard to come by either.

Maybe Ruthenium is not the best catalyst.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 13 2021 14:08 utc | 82

Posted by: tucenz | Nov 12 2021 21:42 utc | 81
(Conga-line of suck-holes)

Yes it was Mark Latham. I was going to tell Jon it wasn't Keating but couldn't remember who it was. Keating never used vulgar language which is probably one of the reasons his quips were so popular. Someone published a selection in a booklet called Banana Republic. It's cover was yellow and shaped like a banana....

Another quip for the list...
A resigning Secretary-General of the Liberal Party, called something Stone, attributed his resignation, in part, to the fact that the Public perceives the Libs as "Tricky and out-of-touch."

When the Howard Liberals were returned to government circa 1996 Johnny Rotten airily dismissed a question about his growing list of broken election promises with: "Oh, aha, those were non-core promises!" accompanied by his traditional cheesy grin -like a kid caught in the act of shoplifting.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 13 2021 15:15 utc | 83

Former Australian Treasurer and Prime Minister, Paul Keating, returns to the National Press Club after 26 years and talks about China the US and Australia's strategic interests:

Posted by: Paul | Nov 13 2021 19:44 utc | 84

Fowdy asks the correct questions, while BigLie Media misleads as usual:

"Now anointed with the same status afforded to Mao and Deng, Xi has the opportunity to usher in a new era that will complete his vision for the rejuvenation of China while dealing with the threat posed by America.
The country’s ruling Communist Party (CPC) passed a significant resolution on Thursday, affirming the 68-year-old leader as a key figure in the party’s history, elevating him to the same historical status as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

"The document, a summary of the party’s history, addresses its key achievements and future directions. It’s only the third of its kind since the party was founded 100 years ago – the first was passed by Mao in 1945 and the second by Deng in 1981.

"This consolidates Xi’s legacy, ideology and policies as a historic epoch for the party and country’s direction. Inevitably, the Western mainstream media interpreted it critically, claiming Xi was centralizing power, building a personality cult, and taking China in the wrong direction at a time of growing geopolitical friction.

"But what does this affirmation of the man really mean? Why is it happening? And how can we better understand these events other than through the caricature of stereotypical villainy, which portrays Xi as someone who is taking the country backwards, or as a threat to the world?" [My Emphasis]

So, IMO, Xi will remain at the helm until the critical year of 2035, when he becomes 82.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 13 2021 20:02 utc | 85

1. China is well on the way to becoming a Trade and Military Superpower and every country with an eye on a prosperous future should be jumping onto the China gravy train.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 11 2021 18:57 utc | 15

Us superannuated folks have to update numbers at least once in a decade. Go to "Trading Economics", select "China" as a country, and "Imports" as the indicator. Click "Compare", and select "USA, Imports". Seems that since 2010, China has larger imports, USA is no longer the largest importer in the world. Unlike USA, China has positive trade balance, but the combo of controlling "the currency of international trade" and the largest imports in the world forced most of the countries, be in Latin America, Africa etc. to be very careful to preserve the access to American market.

If the lunatics in USA will prevail, the world will be split into two trading blocks: the block that trades in a way approved by USA, "road rules" as National Security Advisor Sullivan calls them, and the block that trades with China, with unaligned countries having to choose. Australia can afford to "fight for its ideas", but Brazil and Guinea, not so much. You may get credits from IMF/World Bank or the fabled western financial markets, or from China and allied institutions. For most countries, the access to markets and credit will be better in the Chinese blocks. Chine is an economic superpower NOW. USA still dominates most of industrialized countries which gives a certain control over critical technologies. For example, to produce microchips you need to use machines produced by a single company in the Netherlands, and if USA tell them not to sell to China, they will obey. Thus American sanctions still affect China, but the bite goes smaller and smaller.

In the same time, there is a long list of commodities such that China provides either most of the world demand, or most of the world supply. Trying to put China on its knees would create enormous economic chaos. Such situation did not exist during Cold War. This restricts USA to relatively petty harassment that may backfire more often than not.

The corollary is that a massive attack against China, be it with missiles or naval blockade would backfire against the West very acutely, perhaps more acutely that freezing going in and out of Persian Gulf. With economic power of that magnitude, the military power is secondary. What USA with allies still can do is the destroy or immiserate vulnerable countries, like Venezuela and Syria, but not the core opposition, China and Russia.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 13 2021 21:59 utc | 86

That's how things work in a direct, real time democracy:

Chinese official sacked for supporting virtual currency mining, abuse of power

Xiao Yi, a former vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), has been sacked and expelled from the Party for violations including supporting virtual currency mining which is against China’s regulations.

I.e. a very powerful man, not your average low-in-the-pecking-order fall guy.

Posted by: vk | Nov 13 2021 22:23 utc | 87

But they are the 'wrong' kind of Christians.

"America Does not Care What will Happen to Palestinian Christians." Documentary film by the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem:

Posted by: Paul | Nov 13 2021 22:35 utc | 88

The Russian ambassador to Canada, Oleg Stepanov said that Russian exports to Canada increased in the first eight months of 2021 up to 1.088 billion dollars. I know, I know this in tiny, but so is the 25 percent of imports or so that Canada doesn’t source from the US. (I once heard Putin say in an interview that a single Finnish company invested 1 billion in Russia. Geography uber most alles.) Anyway - given the political climate between Russia and NATO, I found this to be remarkable. On May 8, 1993, former PM Brian Mulroney and Boris Yeltsin signed a short economic cooperation agreement. I can only imagine what kind of liberalized trade that facilitated at the time. But it’s still in effect (I checked). In the recent interview with Mulroney that I posted on another thread, he said a PM was elected to be a leader, to tell people what they have to know, not what they want to hear. And he expressed full confidence in Canada’s economic recovery… maybe it’s worth re-considering this little treaty in light of the current context??

Sputnik interview with Russia’s ambassador to Canada

Flashback: Economic Cooperation Agreement from 1993 (it’s brief)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Nov 14 2021 0:45 utc | 89

There is a story breaking about a public facing FBI email server being compromised early Saturday and sending out 100K warning emails.....but no virus attached to emails....grin

Talk about having your ass handed to you in public...and these people work for the folks that run our jackboot world......that boot is slipping a bit internationally it seems.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 14 2021 1:35 utc | 90

Below is a link to a Wall Street on Parade posting about why America is a banana republic

Wall Street Is Not Only Rigging Markets, It’s Also Rigging the Outcome of its Private Trials

Its too bad this subject does not elicit the response of the Rittenhouse thread because it is where, IMO, our social discordant energy needs to focus.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 14 2021 1:46 utc | 91

Boeing's humiliation has begun:

Boeing 737 MAX receives ‘ticket’ to fly back in China but final return still unconfirmed: expert

The Americans are blaming management for the 737 MAX fiasco, but, as a matter of fact, it seems STEM in the USA has already degraded in quality, and Boeing's engineers don't know what they're doing anymore.

Posted by: vk | Nov 14 2021 4:25 utc | 92

Below is a Xinhuanet posting about the prelude to the Xi/Biden meeting

BEIJING, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday at the latter's request.

Wang said Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden via video link on Nov. 16, noting that the meeting, keenly followed by the whole world, is of great significance not just for China-U.S. relations, but also for international relations.

It is the shared hope of the two peoples and the international community that the meeting will yield outcomes beneficial to both countries and the world, and the helmsmanship of the two heads of state plays a key role in steering bilateral relations, according to the senior Chinese diplomat.

The two sides, he suggested, should work in the same direction and make every preparation to ensure a smooth and successful meeting and bring bilateral relations back onto the track of sound and steady development.

Blinken, for his part, said that the world is following closely the virtual meeting between the U.S. and Chinese heads of state.

Both sides have made full preparation and are making progress, the secretary of state said, adding that the U.S. side looks forward to sharing views on bilateral ties with the Chinese side during the meeting in the spirit of mutual respect and jointly send a strong message to the world.

In response to the U.S. side's recent wrong words and deeds on the Taiwan question, Wang further elaborated on China's solemn position.

Both history and reality have fully proven that "Taiwan independence" is the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and any connivance of and support for the "Taiwan independence" forces undermines peace across the Taiwan Strait and would only boomerang in the end, the Chinese foreign minister stressed.

If the U.S. side truly wants to safeguard peace across the Taiwan Strait, then it should clearly and resolutely oppose any "Taiwan independence" moves, abide by the solemn commitments it made in the three China-U.S. joint communiques and put the one-China policy into action and stop sending wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" forces, he added.

The two sides also exchanged views on issues including energy security, climate change, and the Iranian nuclear issue, and agreed to maintain dialogue on responding to all kinds of global challenges.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 14 2021 6:38 utc | 93

Posted by: vk | Nov 14 2021 4:25 utc | 92

No, they are know what they're doing. But of course the problem is capitalism: whatever the engineers said doesn't mean shit to the executives filled with financial people.

Posted by: Hangar | Nov 14 2021 9:05 utc | 94

Hangar @94: "...whatever the engineers said doesn't mean shit to the executives filled with financial people."

Perhaps so, but that doesn't mean vk is wrong. How is it that marketing slime and bean counters can overrule engineers in an enterprise that supposedly lives on engineering and bully those engineers into silence?

Boeing's engineers might still be very good like they were back when they made 747s and Moon rockets (though probably not), but the culture of the organization has changed. The engineers no longer have the status at Boeing that they used to have. That is due to outside contamination of the organization from an attitude towards STEM that pervades all of American culture now. STEM just isn't important to Americans anymore.

Of course, the problem is actually far worse than that. It isn't just STEM fields that no longer command respect in American culture but competence in general that is seen as irrelevant. After all, anyone who puts in the extra effort to become good at something is seen as a fool when everyone gets the same trophy and what really matters in determining one's status is the aspect of one's "identity" that one claims to be victimized by (excluding class, of course... that's off limits).

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 14 2021 10:44 utc | 95

psychohistorian @93 re: Xi - Biden meeting.

"Come on man!"

You and I (and everyone in this forum, for that matter!) both know that all Biden will do is mumble incoherently about Uighurs and Hong Kong and Taiwan and the South China Sea and other ridiculous nonsense. There is zero chance of respectful dialog because that takes two to accomplish and Biden is incapable of it. It is not just that Biden is a crude and ignorant clod who is long past his "Use-By" date, but the allowable discourse surrounding the official narrative about China demands "Tough on the commies!" visuals for the domestic audience. If Biden doesn't deliver then he will be pilloried as "weak on China" and that will further wreck the Democrat's midterm election prospects.

There is just no way whatsoever that we will see anything like statesmanship from Biden. That just is not in his character nor is it possible in America's current narrative atmosphere. I just hope the Chinese fully understand this and Xi is prepared for the worst. I don't mean that Xi should get down in the mud and wrestle with America's political pig, but he should be ready to offer some sharp replies that are plain enough for brain-burned American audiences to comprehend.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 14 2021 11:18 utc | 96

Further to my comment @89 - something others have probably concluded but not posted. I was grumbling to myself about the glowing report that Sherpov gave to Sputnik news about the Canada-Russia relationship. I thought, how many “Glory to the Ukraine!”s are we going to have to give in tithing? … Wait… maybe this is a sign that Ukraine is… entering a new phase of it’s development??

And on the British: if that 1 billion dollars of exports that Russia has sold to Canada in the first eight months of this year is building the foundation for new industry, then we can all draw conclusions about precisely how genuine the calls for war with Russia are. Pushing the US over the edge, are we? Maybe AMLO can talk some sense into the White House.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Nov 14 2021 16:38 utc | 97

Vk @72:
I'd like to give an example of the problems STEM faces: natural gas used in homes in Belgium, Europe. In an attempt to lower fossil fuel use, new construction in Belgium is no longer hooked up to the gas network. People who live in newly built houses are expected to heat their homes with electricity, and to heat water with an electric boiler. As a result people use more electricity, and new gas-fired power plants have been built. This undoes any fossil fuel savings.
Now the Belgian minister of Energy is a charming lady of the Green party who did African studies.
What is the use of studying STEM if your boss has done African studies?

Posted by: Passerby | Nov 14 2021 22:14 utc | 98

@Bemildred #79
I believe I know what you meant to say; but I will point out that billionaires aren't "pricing" anything because they don't labor. They're getting richer because they own productive and/or scarce assets.
Pricing power in the wage context is the plumber, the AI machine learning expert. And possibly, these days, the McDonald's worker.

Posted by: c1ue | Nov 15 2021 20:18 utc | 99

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