Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 19, 2022

Open Thread 2022-06

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 19, 2022 at 18:17 UTC | Permalink

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Just a comment on how much “professional interest” there is in your excellent news forum, b.
A year or so ago, I wrote here, not a particularly exciting comment. I subsequently received an AMZN parcel from Spain, containing a selection of lock-picks. In discussions with AMZN security, they had no trace on their databases of this order #1234, their PC only showed order #1233, then jumped to #1235. Powerful stuff.

Posted by: David.in.Italy | Jan 19 2022 18:39 utc | 1

More fun with Biden:

Joe Bidens Awesome First Year - Matt Taibbi

The Gallup agency released a picture of the comet that is the Joe Biden presidency on its first anniversary. This is what a one-year, 14-point party affiliation swing looks like:

Gallup poll image, Democrat vs. Republican identification numbers for the past year

The pollsters put the numbers in context:

Both the nine-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter and the five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter are among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter since it began regularly measuring party identification and leaning in 1991.

'nuff said.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2022 18:39 utc | 2

It seems the US got the enemy and the crisis they wanted, by hyping up fear of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and Europe and repeating it enough times to make the lie believable. The have their”Tabaqui’s” barking round them in their circled wagons, and Russia seems without a viable next move.

Empire is first and foremost about maintaining an illusion.

Posted by: Moses22 | Jan 19 2022 18:40 utc | 3

@Posted by: Moses22 | Jan 19 2022 18:40 utc | 3

You need a mirror to reverse the image, the Empire is running around like headless chickens wondering what to do next after all of their sanctions threats have been shown to be empty. Russia will take its own sweet time to decide what to do, and fulfilling the Empire's illusions will not be on the menu; more like showing them to be the illusions that they are.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 19 2022 19:05 utc | 4

@Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2022 18:39 utc | 2

The Democrats have stopped another leftish wave, including thoroughly coopting AOC and her fellow "socialists". So, job well done - the insider trading will continue, the corporate bribes/donations will continue to flow and the world is a good place. Then, once the Repubs take the house and senate, the Dems can scream for two years about the nasty Repubs and invent nightmares about the Orange Man while maintaining the oligarchy in their protected sanctuary.

After stabilizing the new reality for four years (just like Obama did after Bush) the time will be ready for the next flight of stairs down for the average American, then the Dems get back in 2028 promising to reverse what the horrible Repub did. Then another 4 years of disappointment and rinse and repeat on the way down to a Brazil-like society.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 19 2022 19:11 utc | 5

@Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2022 18:39 utc | 2

The Democrats have stopped another leftish wave, including thoroughly coopting AOC and her fellow "socialists". So, job well done - the insider trading will continue, the corporate bribes/donations will continue to flow and the world is a good place. Then, once the Repubs take the house and senate, the Dems can scream for two years about the nasty Repubs and invent nightmares about the Orange Man while maintaining the oligarchy in their protected sanctuary.

After stabilizing the new reality for four years (just like Obama did after Bush) the time will be ready for the next flight of stairs down for the average American, then the Dems get back in 2028 promising to reverse what the horrible Repub did. Then another 4 years of disappointment and rinse and repeat on the way down to a Brazil-like society.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 19 2022 19:11 utc | 6

This is an interesting take on Xi Jinping's Davos speech. And about the only article in western media that I've seen writes about what I consider the real meat in Monday's China GDP data trove. the Fact that China is breaching the high income country definition of per capita GDP of usd$12,500, as defined by the World Bank.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2022/01/19/mr-xi-plays-davos-man/

I would like to add that the so called middle income country trap, which has snared countries from Mexico to Brazil to Turkey to Malaysia is nothing but a concept developed by the west to discourage developing economies. As this theory seeks to portray their economic performance as something inevitable. China has proved it again that this is simply not true. They simply need to make smart strategic investments into key industries to take their economies to the next level.

Posted by: Cindy6 | Jan 19 2022 19:25 utc | 7

@ 3 moses... you might enjoy this from john helmer..


THE RUSSIANS LAUGH AT THEIR ENEMIES – THEY KETTLE THEM AND SEND THE PARTS BACK LIKE THE HAWAIIANS DID TO CAPTAIN COOK

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2022 19:28 utc | 8

Oh goody, millions of masks available for free. Problem is, millions of moron Americans refuse to wear em'. Not a fool-poof solution, but, another useful tool in the virus war.

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 19 2022 19:29 utc | 9

Roger @ 5 ended with;

" Then another 4 years of disappointment and rinse and repeat on the way down to a Brazil-like society."

Yep. It's all baked into the cake. That scenario is what Oligarchy looks like.

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 19 2022 19:35 utc | 10

A draft appeal to V. Putin “on the need to recognize the DPR and LPR” has been submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

Gradually, a 'deck of cards' of possible solutions to the Ukrainian problem appears...

Posted by: alaff | Jan 19 2022 19:40 utc | 11

@c1ue | Jan 19 2022 18:39 utc

While I agree with your sentiment, I've become very leery of the polls that ask about leaning Dem vs Rep. From my perspective there is no difference other than tribal/cultural ones, and the question itself creates a sampling distortion along those lines.

Also it's curious that the total on both polls tally up to the same, 89%. My thought, based upon logic and history, the total should be less, due to disillusioned voters.

Methinks the poll only measures Fox viewers vs the other corporate conglomerates. In my experience and views of other polls most USAians want the same thing: food, meaningful employment at a decent wage, affordable health care, and a future for their children. It's also interesting to not that neither D nor R offer either.

Given the hysterical state the conglomerate media keeps viewers/listeners in, emotional distress is the primary measure of the polling.

Posted by: Michael.j | Jan 19 2022 19:48 utc | 12

I again link the lastest Diesen op/ed, "How the EU found itself excluded from talks on deciding Europe's future":

"In advance of the talks last week, Washington rhetorically agreed that European security cannot be decided over the heads of the EU and Ukraine, before then simply going ahead with the bilateral US-Russia format. Simply put, Washington cannot do diplomacy with Eurocrats in the room."

Nor does Washington seem capable of doing diplomacy with anyone.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2022 19:53 utc | 13

alaff @ 11

Who is behind the submission of the draft appeal? Thanks.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jan 19 2022 19:53 utc | 14

Digital Spartacus @14--

Paco told us it's the CPRF in his link at the week in review thread.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2022 19:56 utc | 15

karlof1 @ 15

Thank you for that!

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Jan 19 2022 19:59 utc | 16

Oh goody, millions of masks available for free. Problem is, millions of moron Americans refuse to wear em'. Not a fool-poof solution, but, another useful tool in the virus war.

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 19 2022 19:29 utc | 9

Do you also drive golf balls at a soccer net?
Not until 2020 was there EVER a mask study that was unequivocally stating that masks can be effective, and that was in quarantine and or poor ventilation settings.
Now there is a serious pollution problem with all these non-biodegradable masks, complete with Mass Formation.
And cowardly sycophants.

Posted by: Mann Friedman | Jan 19 2022 20:00 utc | 17

Blinken as the boy who cried wolf: "Russia could invade [Ukraine] at any moment."

Karlof1 to Blinken: Yes, and Russia could send a hypersonic missile to your location any time it chooses and there's nothing you can do to avoid it. Neither is likely to occur, but they're both possible. Now shut up and write your fucking response to Russia! Opps, sorry, I forgot, but you're not the one who makes such decisions or writes them, which is why you spend all your time howling at the moon.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2022 20:01 utc | 18

In appreciation of b's contribution to our collective sanity, I offer a bit of a "literary/theatrical" riff concerning our current age of schizophrenic somnambulism:

A Parody of Product-Placement Propaganda
(after the style of William Shakespeare's prologue to Henry V)

About the title:

Four “p”s in sequence mark alliteration,
Alluding to ("suggesting") urination.
If such you’ve gleaned from just these sounds alone,
You’ve got the point, perceptive Anglophone.
With your agreement, then, let us commence
To sing, because the sounds support the sense. ...

CHORUS:

Wanted: a hack for hire who would descend
The darkest depths of Disbelief's suspension.
TVs for a stage, dunces to act,
And morons to consume the threadbare theme.

Then should the Precious Peacock, him or her,
Put on the bomber jacket while the troops,
Like gladiators chained, prepare to fight
And for the mob's enjoyment, die. But wait!
We promise that with each new show you'll learn,
Again, Brave Audience, what we have taught:
That nothing real concerns you, so relax
And let us your attention span beguile.

Don't touch that dial (or digital remote)!
We'll be right back with further plots and schemes
Designed to glue your eyes and ears and minds
To images that flicker and move on
To be replaced with advertisements glib
Exhorting you to buy expensive stuff
Of which you've neither need nor can afford
But must from your exhausted credit borrow.

Brave Audience, if we have done our jobs
Your courage, once projected on our work,
Will serve, we trust, to fill in all the blanks
Which otherwise might mar, through glaring gaps,
The inconsistent logic of this tale.
Blink, when we show you dragons belching flames
And feel your skin begin to warm, then cringe.
Your thoughts, suppressed, have nothing they need do
At Warp Speed, through black holes, you'll conquer time.

Whole galaxies will fly apart, then merge
Into an episode on Friday night
Of Fragrant Perspiration: Season Six.
When nothing matters anyway, why not?
So sit and stare, and we'll supply, the rot.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2019

Posted by: Michael Murry | Jan 19 2022 20:17 utc | 19

I am impressed that Poland has said no the Americans and will go to Beijing Olympics and meet with Xi Jinping

Must be the first time in their lives they did not slavishly get on their knees for the 🇺🇸s

Posted by: bobby | Jan 19 2022 20:24 utc | 20

karloff1 #18: "Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment"

I had the same reaction reading that headline on Antiwar.com this morning. What does it even mean? Russia could have attacked Ukraine at any time over the past 30 years too ... they could end human civilization on earth through a first-strike ... they COULD do many things.

In other words, they are a major world power whose security needs to be taken seriously.

Is this actually a new concept for Blinky?

Posted by: Caliman | Jan 19 2022 20:31 utc | 21

@11 alaff

The request to upgrade level of relations with DPR/LPR ... request was made by KPRF ... anyway, this is the eventual form of the so-called invasion threat, and entirely predictable.

https://tass.com/world/1390513

Posted by: ptb | Jan 19 2022 20:33 utc | 22

@ 19, Michael Murry - wonderful work.

Posted by: PAUL SPENCER | Jan 19 2022 20:42 utc | 23

China is deftly outmaneuvering the US across the Indo-Pacific region.

By Syed Munir Khasru
"Beijing understands that economic security created through trade is more enduring than when done through military superiority.

China has deepened ties with Singapore, signing 14 new deals at an annual bilateral cooperation meeting held on December 29. Beijing has been active in South-East Asia since the 1990s, becoming a dialogue partner of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1996. In November 2020, the 10 ASEAN members signed the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement involving several major powers, but with the notable absence of the US..."

https://johnmenadue.com/china-is-deftly-outmanoeuvring-us-across-the-indo-pacific-region/

Posted by: Paul | Jan 19 2022 20:46 utc | 24

check out the video in A.Martyanov`s PCR`s broadside!
his sit report is also worth the time.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 19 2022 20:49 utc | 25

in oz currently:
stocks in grocery shops are low (still plenty, just not the usual orgy of excess)

hospital systems are on ‘code brown’ (no leave, no ‘elective’ procedures, other compromises per location - victoria seems most desperate)

testing is effectively non-functional (there are no publicly available rats and pcr tests are backlogged indefinitely)

principals, teachers and parents are still in the dark regarding whatever is being planned for school (currently a ‘delayed start’ with non-teaching staff being told they may have to take classes)

according to msm all problems are related to staff shortages but not the mandates

Posted by: Rae | Jan 19 2022 21:00 utc | 26

This is all too funny.

Back about 2000-2010, there were three evil actors, Syria, Iran, N.Korea.

US media ran a 9-18 month cycle vilifyed one after the other. Just when the media hit a crescendo of war lust, the target shifted as one of the other three did something obviously designed to get 'attention'

I watched it through three or four rounds, and was able to predict the next 'crisis'

I often wondered if the three had agreed a strategy for one to be the whipping boy while the other two got done what needed to be done

Certainly with all the brooha about Russia, the attention is off China, and they will get a showcase Olympics.

Prior to Putins headline grabbing move, all the rising attention was on China.

Are they playing the western MSM driven politicians while letting them circle the drain of their own foolishness?

Posted by: Les7 | Jan 19 2022 21:14 utc | 27

TASS: Russian delegation declares start of ‘countdown’ in wait for adoption of Russian proposals

"There arrives a moment of truth when the West either accepts our proposals or other ways will be found to safeguard Russia’s security," the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control Konstantin Gavrilov said

That's pretty clear language ... which obviously is required with the boneheads at the other end of the table.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 19 2022 21:15 utc | 28

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2022 19:28 utc | 8

Follow the Helmer links and listen to the great Visotsky sing, very hard to find words to describe the great bard, an elemental force.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 19 2022 21:20 utc | 29

Who polices the "Fact Checking industry"
SFA to do with the facts for a long time!
Unless it's the right facts.

https://www.activistpost.com/2022/01/ron-paul-congressman-of-30-years-banned-on-facebook-after-quoting-pfizer-ceo.html

Posted by: JPC | Jan 19 2022 21:25 utc | 30

@30 JPC

For a month the world's largest climate site - WUWT - headlined the admission, in court, by Facebook that it's fact checkers are only expressing opinion. The statement buried in the fine print was their way out of slander and defamation lawsuits

Smoke and mirrors,

Posted by: Les7 | Jan 19 2022 21:38 utc | 31

Iran's president Raeisi meeting with Putin in Moscow

No hindrance in way of improvement of Iran-Russia ties: Pres. Raeisi tells Putin in Moscow

“We have no limitation for expansion and development of ties with Russia and are after establishment of strategic relations with Moscow,” the Iranian president said during the meeting on Wednesday.

The new world order is taking shape (we might as well redefine the language of the psychos).

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 19 2022 21:42 utc | 32

Judging by multitude of recent media headlines, the Americans and Europeans are scrambling to close NATO to prospective members, but do so in a way that wouldn't make it look like a total Putin's victory. It's obvious that they are pushing hard for Ukraine and Georgia to come out openly and "voluntarily" renounce their NATO aspirations, forswear from ever belonging to any military alliance, and in exchange for that favor they'll be offered accelerated EU entry.
That should be good enough for Russia. Moscow would not mind it because it knows that EU has no capacity for further enlargement, and these promises will eventually be proven to be wholly empty.
Then, couple years from now - sufficiently removed from current acute crisis to avoid direct connection - NATO would rewrite its chapter and officially crystalize its current membership for good.

Posted by: Venom | Jan 19 2022 21:43 utc | 33

Senior UK ministers travel to Australia for defence and security talks

Read: Sinophobic conservatives in the Federal govt still desperate to remain part of the British Empire to avoid having to acknowledge that Australia is strategically and economically linked to the larger destiny of the Asia-Pacific for as long as possible.

Read: Britain's last imperial clutch at straws is to inject Australian cultural cringe and its racist terror of Asia into its rotting corpse to forestall historical obsolescence.

Read: In 234 years the world's most distant and abject penal colony, populated by the detritus of Britain's 18th century slums, has become one of the wealthiest and successful nations on the planet while the metropolis has disappeared into the dustbin of history over the same period. Australia cannot see the irony nor realise the potential because it lacks the ability to plan policy for longer than 12 months (max) and hates itself because, despite the success, it is still ruled by a settler oligarchy clinging to the coast who regard the interior like Belgians in the Congo.

The UK's cynical solution: stoke subconscious Australian self-loathing and then feed off the bad energy like a ghoul. Exploit the fact that Australia is saddled with English institutions and terrorize it with CCP phantoms.

Our counter-solution: perform a ritual exorcism (full republic), cut off all ties to the UK, put the US on notice that we're not their largest aircraft carrier, and embrace our destiny in the Asia-Pacific by seriously sitting at the table with China. And either adopt the Eureka standard as our new flag or the flag of our indigenous people.

It's a pipe-dream I know.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2022 22:04 utc | 34

I'm beginning to suspect there won't be a written response.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Jan 19 2022 22:30 utc | 35

Peter AU1 is still alive and commenting on Martyanov's blog. In response to an important interview of Colonel General Andrey Kartopolov on Solovyev LIVE, he made this important observation:

"It occurred to me when watching the video that Russia is ensuring everything is in writing and reordered for the future which is why they wanted the US response to the proposal in writing and points US would not agree, to the reason why in detail. And as far as Russia's standing in international law, they have the agreement signed in Istanbul. I suspect US is signing its life away if it gives a written response to Russia's proposals that is in line with what they were saying at the meetings."

Peter is stating what I've put forth in a different manner which I'll repeat again. Russia has a hand of 5 Aces, which are the two separate promises made regarding Germany's reunification and Warsaw Pact's decommissioning combined with no Eastern NATO movement, and the three separate OSCE Treaties on Collective European Security that all essentially say that no nation or group of nations can secure its/their security while making another nation insecure. Either the Outlaw US Empire apologizes for its wrongdoings, or it breaks the three treaties atop the other two promises it's already broken. Those are the only two possible outcomes. Russia has played its diplomatic hand superbly and has already won. The Anglo's problem is which choice to make in reply.

Peter, if you're lurking, please chime-in!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2022 22:45 utc | 36

I don't know Richard Murphy but his observations on the BoJo Affair are equally applicable to the Brandon Affair...

The Tories chose Johnson to deliver Brexit. It was always going to be a disaster.

They also chose Johnson to take on the state and diminish it, a policy seen through attacks on the NHS, BBC and other institutions, including those relating to law and order and defence, all of which are also in parlous states.

Underlying their support for Johnson was a desire to govern solely so that the power of the state could be used to extract value for their chosen elites at cost to society at large. Covid was just a gift that has kept giving as cover for this, but it was always policy.

I would argue that the continual attempts to divide society, over migration, the EU, the right to protest and vote and so much more are all party of the same policy. They are all deliberately designed to foster hatred in some and fear in others.

The aim is, to use the Tories’ current favourite word, implicit. It is to fuel discontent to provide cover for their policy of dismantling the state as an effective agent for the delivery of services whilst ensuring that it can still deliver riches for a few, unchallenged.

Call it trickle up on a grand scale, if you like. So let’s not pretend that the end of Johnson is anything to celebrate. He is just another Tory leader to be treated as expendable when their usefulness in delivering the greater goal of crushing society and the checks and balances that sustain it is the real agenda.

In other words, Johnson is not the problem. He is being disposed of simply because he no longer meets the need of a Party desperate for power in pursuit of the wanton destruction of all that is good.

Richard Murphy

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/01/remember-that-the-tories-are-only-getting-rid-of-johnson-to-make-things-worse.html


Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Jan 19 2022 22:46 utc | 37

@ Paco | Jan 19 2022 21:20 utc | 29... thanks for your encouragement to do that! fascinating character and passionate singer/songwriter, although he prefers to see himself as an actor and poet... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Vysotsky

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2022 22:46 utc | 38

It's a pipe-dream I know.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2022 22:04 utc |

I'm minded of an Australian PM of the mid 70s who was removed from office in a palace coup for a similar proposition!
Just saying.
Start with stepping back from the nuclear submarines and see how it goes!

Posted by: JPC | Jan 19 2022 22:48 utc | 39

Definition of irony https://youtu.be/_jyS5uXQer0

Posted by: J | Jan 19 2022 22:52 utc | 40

Biden walking back expectations

https://mobile.twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1483925907823759362

(and quite possibly repeated something he heard at a briefing that wasn't on the teleprompter)

Posted by: ptb | Jan 19 2022 23:01 utc | 41

@37 james and Paco - Indeed! Thanks for the new musical rabbit hole to go down. My Ukrainian co-worker said that form of music is chanson, but the Slavic version. Songs for the underclass. Old school gopniks.

Here is a YouTube link to the Aborigines song.

Why Did the Aborigines Eat Captain Cook (V.Vysotsky)

Очен спасибо!! Хорошо!


Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 19 2022 23:02 utc | 42

Blinken today in a VOA interview in Kyev:


QUESTION: The Minsk Agreement is seen as the only valuable solution for this crisis. However, Russia and Ukraine has a different reading of the agreement. What has to be done to implement the agreement, or it’s time to renegotiate its norms?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: I don’t think there’s any need to renegotiate because, as you say, there is an agreement. In fact, there are actually three of them because Minsk evolved 2014 to 2015, and there are a number of very clear steps that both of the parties have to take. I think it’s fair to say looking back that many of those steps Ukraine has either implemented or begun to implement. There are some that it hasn’t yet tackled. I think unfortunately, it’s equally fair to say that Russia has done virtually nothing in terms of the steps required of it in the Minsk Agreement.

So the first question is whether Russia is serious about resolving the Donbas through the Minsk process. If it is, I agree with you. I think that’s the best and right now really the only way forward. France, Germany are an important part of this through the so-called Normandy Format, and there are supposed to be upcoming meetings in that process. And again, it’s a test of whether Russia is serious about it. The one positive sign that we’ve seen in the last few weeks when it comes to Minsk is a loose ceasefire that is clearly an improvement over where things were that takes us back to where we were in 2020.

But the real question is: Is Russia serious about implementing Minsk? If it is, we are prepared to facilitate that, we’re prepared to support that, we’re prepared to engage in that, but in support of this Normandy process that France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine are engaged in. . .here


Again, UN 2202(2015) which mandates Minsk was not mentioned. Meanwhile Russia needs to step up publicly (not in writing somewhere) and respond to Blinken's charges that Russia hasn't done enough on Minsk 2, and especially address the failure to draft a new Ukraine constitution which would provide some autonomy to the two provinces in Donbas.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 19 2022 23:07 utc | 43

“As of yet no one has given Vladimir Putin a bloody nose,” Mississippi’s Roger Wicker told reporters. “I think the alliance, our friends in NATO and a bipartisan majority are prepared to assist Ukraine in making sure that, if it happens, this time Vladimir Putin will get a bloody nose,”

Apparently this US Senator is confused as to the results of a nuclear exchange. God help us all.

Posted by: jasper | Jan 19 2022 23:29 utc | 44

@Michael.j #12
Polls are certainly only samples, and some of the polls are junk.
However, the key point from Taibbi's writeup is this:

The Democrat slant at the beginning of Biden's presidency, as well as the Republican slant now - are both record highs in the history of these Gallups polls...going back to 1991.

It thus isn't the absolute value per se - it is the swing from record high Democrat to record high Republican, all in less than 1 year.

I would lastly note that it would be odd indeed for Fox viewers to slant Democrat. Methinks your statement arose from something else than actually reading and thinking about what Taibbi wrote.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2022 23:34 utc | 45

Talk, talk, say nothing. Blinken's whole function seems to be give nothing and keep hitting the ball back to Russia.

Posted by: dh | Jan 19 2022 23:35 utc | 46

thecelticwithinme | 35

I'm beginning to suspect there won't be a written response.

Probably because the Russians aren't willing to accept 140 character (or is 280 characters now?) snarky putdowns full of weird abbreviations and emojis as a legitimate written response. And that's all the current crop of American diplomats are capable of producing.

Seriously, based on interviews, statements, and the documents they produce, the current Russian leadership seems capable of thinking in paragraphs, producing quite elaborate and well thought out positions.

By contrast, the current American leadership seems to have difficulty thinking in complete sentences. For them, everything is a sound bite or a meme.

Posted by: Kukulkan | Jan 19 2022 23:38 utc | 47

Saker thinks an evil storm is brewing:

http://thesaker.is/lots-of-short-but-important-news-a-huge-storm-is-brewing/

It almost looks like the Empire wants something disruptive to happen, be it in Ukraine, Taiwan or wherever. Maybe the financial system is about to collapse and they want to blame it on something else. Covid + War would do nicely, it seems.

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Jan 20 2022 0:06 utc | 48

Can someone point me to a summary of the situation about the Minsk agreements or explain it for me? What did they say, who were the parties, what’s been done or not? Thanks.

Posted by: Hickory | Jan 20 2022 0:08 utc | 49

I've put it all together into this short article, "Completely Outplayed by Russia's Diplomacy and Sabotaged by its Own Actions, The Outlaw US Empire is Now Having a Temper Tantrum". It could certainly be expanded to include a variety of other happenings that are semi-related to the hysteria Blinken the actor is now performing. I'm sure Raisi and Putin enjoyed his performance.

Blinken's hysteria sends another message--the Outlaw Anglo Empire has capitulated on this issue since it's very clearly been beaten. Hopefully nobody in Ukraine from either side will die or get injured as a result of this tantrum. The next question: How will Russia respond? IMO, the obvious would be for either Lavrov or Putin to say it's clear the Americans are incapable or refuse to give the sort of detailed response required, and that Russia will take some unspecified action at a future point in time of its choosing to rectify the situation. One initiative could be to ask the EU if it still desires to abide by the three collective security treaties it signed or if it too is breaking those. Russia might also inquire if Europe wants to cease its relationship with Russia as an energy security provider as it doesn't want to be seen as forcing unwilling nations into agreements they find unpalatable. And so forth. Looming in the background of everything is the new 25-year Strategic Partnership Plan offered to Russia by Iran that was made public today. And as a topper, there's Xi's Davos Speech that's rather close to a diktat for the many close to or insolvent Western nations. I imagine the French presidential candidate that said France needs to restore normal relations with Russia will get a boost from French voters capable of independent thinking that will make Macron and the French Establishment nervous.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 0:09 utc | 50

Hickory @48--

The Minsk-2 Agreements are also UNSC Resolution 2202, and are an easy to understand 5-page series of steps to be taken aiming at resolving the civil crisis that the Ukrainian leadership has refused to implement while advancing spurious arguments along with those who illegally overthrew the former Ukrainian government that caused the current crisis and aide the Ukrainians in their refusals and attempts to resolve the crisis by force.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 0:23 utc | 51

Almost two years ago now, I noted the following from Michael Tracey's twitter feed, @mtracey:

“Amazing! Russia supposedly “hacked” the entire US federal government but never got around to “hacking” a few electoral jurisdictions in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia such that their Puppet President could receive another four years to carry out a pro-Kremlin geopolitical agenda.”

Then, in keeping with my preference for vitriolic verse polemics, this happened:

Vladimir Putin’s DNA Detected

The Russians did whatever some imagine
they did because, you know, they’re Russians, so
that tells you what explains your accusations
as down the rabbit hole you glibly go.

No need for evidence or proof presented.
It is because it will be ’cause it was.
Just utter word-like noises and transcribe them
in spell-marks like the good factotum does.

Then have your friends repeat what you have written
till repetition makes the false seem “true”
by which you mean “unquestioned” (not the same thing).
Your reputation now looks black and blue.

Allege “the Russians did it!” loud and often.
No need to tell us what you mean by “it.”
Believe whatever Deep State minions tell you.
Say “classified” a lot (which smells like shit).

Red-baiting worked out well for Richard Nixon
and Joe McCarthy, two among the dregs,
who've taught the Democrats, their loyal students,
to think they can teach grandma to suck eggs.

Republicans invented “Russia-gating”
before the “Water-” prefix made its mark.
So asking them for yet another lesson
would seem like playing dinner for the shark.

But Democrats and CNN think Faux Noise
provides the best example of the art.
So Rupert Murdoch wins while imitators
produce pure wind not worth a squirrel fart.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2020

Posted by: Michael Murry | Jan 20 2022 0:24 utc | 52

US COVID update:
1/18/22: 1178403 new cases
7 day average: 762072

The curve shown has tipped down but the number of cases in the last 2 days (712K on 1/17) shows that it is far from clear that this will be as rapid a decline, as it was an increase.

The estimated total of new COVID cases since December 26 is now 14 million - vs. the present total of 68 million COVID cases since the epidemic began.

There have "only" been 30K deaths or so in this time frame, but it takes 2-6 weeks for new COVID cases to typically progress downward.
There has been enough time to say that while deaths are increasing, fatality rates are going to be lower than last winter's spike.

However, given the 2.5x more infections, the jury is still out as to just what the winter 2021-2022 totals will be.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 0:33 utc | 53

To further add what bobby @20 posted earlier.   Once again it's all about the money.   Uncle Scam have no money to give out so off to find another host.   ROFL


Poland's president to attend Beijing Olympics amidst U.S. boycott

"Poland is a sovereign nation and decides its own politics towards China. ... Poland is an ally of the United States but Poland also has a very friendly relationship with China," Duda's foreign affairs advisor Jakub Kumoch told Reuters.

Officials have told Reuters that, as Poland's relationship with the United States has worsened under President Joe Biden's administration, it's no longer in Poland's interests to continue criticising China simply to please the Americans.
...
Duda has said Poland plans to take advantage of its geographical location to boost its role in trade between Europe and China.


Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 20 2022 0:46 utc | 54

Ian2 @53--

As usual, Reuters is lying. China has issued many visas to USA officials to attend the games, thus there isn't any boycott. As reported here:

"The South China Morning Post cited sources on Wednesday that the US has expanded a list of officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics from 18 to 46, and most work for the Department of State.

"Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that China's gesture demonstrated its generosity toward the US' childish and two-faced behavior.

"The US has used actions to overturn its previous snarl as it realized that without diplomats and official representatives, the athletes' needs cannot be fulfilled, which will impact their performance, said Li."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 0:55 utc | 55

cjhopkins is optimistic about the last days of the covidian cult.

He is not usually optimistic.

Yes, its an unfair comparison but then that's what you get with satire:

This isn’t going to be pretty, folks. The downfall of a death cult rarely is. There is going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth, incoherent fanatical jabbering, mass deleting of embarrassing tweets. There’s going to be a veritable tsunami of desperate rationalizing, strenuous denying, shameless blame-shifting, and other forms of ass-covering, as suddenly former Covidian Cult members make a last-minute break for the jungle before the fully-vaxxed-and-boosted “Safe and Effective Kool-Aid” servers get to them.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 20 2022 1:02 utc | 56


https://sputniknews.com/20220119/biden-says-putin-has-never-seen-sanctions-like-the-ones-us-preparing-now-over-ukraine-1092378323.html

US President Joe Biden said at his presser that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has never seen sanctions like the ones that will be imposed if tensions escalate in Ukraine.

So US, UK and other NATO partners are moving lethal arms and secret service troops adjacent to RF borders and any RF response will be deemed to be "aggression" and result in the unilateral imposition of severe sanctions. A maritime blockade of trade is deemed an act of war; I don't know the contemporary treatment for being blocked from trade due to being denied access to SWIFT. Without UN sanction such unilateral action, and or threat of action against another state, seems hostile in the extreme, may invoke UN Charter Article 2(4) and warrant the threatened state to respond under Article 51.

In other news the RF is in negotiation with the UAE for the co-production of an advanced stealth fighter the SU-75. The UAE recently withdrew from US purchase negotiations for the F-35. Details at the link:
https://asiatimes.com/2022/01/russia-uae-eye-win-win-su-75-stealth-fighter-deal/

This RF initiative fits well with those ME nations seeking to expand beyond extraction economies. Plus it gives them independence from US suzerainty in addition to potential future export earnings.

With respect to the dominance of the global hegemon I keep thinking of a Simon Garfinkle song:


Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

Posted by: Sushi | Jan 20 2022 1:06 utc | 57


If I might ask a stupid question of more knowledgeable barflies:

What processes would be involved or necessary for the USA to make a legally binding commitment to Russia in response to her request for a written agreement concerning no more NATO encroachment; and a European security agreement more broadly?

Even treaties are broken left and right by the non-agreement capable, so anything forthcoming would be simple markers, historical landmarks, tracking reality, nothing more?

[I once attended a seminar on how foreign policy USA is made ( in the mid 1990s) but I learned much more from julian’s 2015 book, the w.l. files.]


~~

Some people still view their mere word as a binding vow. It is these communities of people who continue to thrive now.

What of a people who trust in opportunists, wordsmiths, course and refined ?
A culture of lies causes cultural decline.

Posted by: suzan | Jan 20 2022 1:12 utc | 58

@Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 19 2022 23:07 utc | 42

Blinken just makes shit up as he goes along and perhaps thinks that he is creating the new reality through discursive and rhetorical brilliance/trickery. With him I am continuously surprised by how much lower his antics can go, what a clown show. It would be a benefit to the US if Russia off'd him, better to keep such an incompetent delusional idiot in the position - he should go back to writing briefing notes and stop playing at trying to be Secretary of State. But then again, you could say that about a lot of the US administration who should correctly be wracked with imposter syndrome.

The end result of US antics is that China, Russia and Iran pull closer and closer together to create an axis of alternatives to the declining West.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 20 2022 1:16 utc | 59

karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 0:55 utc | 54:

Yes I know about Reuters and all. But, it's still a boycott as top officials like US President Biden and his administration will not be attending. The US is driving the boycott not China.

In any case, I was referring to Poland's 180° diplomatic flip.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 20 2022 1:23 utc | 60

@ karlof1 | Jan 20 2022 0:09 Ute

Thank you for the link to your VK article.

I can’t imagine anybody here ever apologizing because of the political culture prohibits it.

Posted by: suzan | Jan 20 2022 1:31 utc | 61

Here's a non-politician stating an obvious truth;

https://www.rt.com/usa/520080-barkley-divide-conquer-politics/

short quote;"The political system is rigged to favor the powerful and keep everyone else at each other’s throats to protect the status quo, Charles Barkley said in fiery commentary on the divisiveness in the US."

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 20 2022 1:39 utc | 62

For the liar Friedmann @ 17;

https://medium.com/beingwell/mask-effectiveness-and-covid-19-84d43b063832

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 20 2022 1:53 utc | 63

Hey Friedmann, here's another tidbit;

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/03/americas/flu-america-1918-masks-intl-hnk/index.html

Posted by: vetinLA | Jan 20 2022 2:00 utc | 64

@ suzan 57
for the USA to make a legally binding commitment to Russia. . .
The US Constitution Section 2, Article 2 (President), states:
"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."
Recently these limitations on the president have been rejected, violated and not followed.
>The US agreement with Iraq to remove troops was done unilaterally by Bush-43 and the Senate didn't make a peep. So Obama caught flak when he actually did it, as Iraq demanded.
>Similar with the JCPOA with Iran, nullified by Trump.
So this violation of the Constitution make it easy for any president unilaterally to alter a "commitment" to any other country. Involving the Senate in accordance with the Constitution would (1) make any agreement more difficult and (2) make it more difficult to nullify.
But the bottom line is that the US is not to be trusted, according to many historical examples.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 2:06 utc | 65

My wife and I were born in Lancashire.

Our kids were born in London.

But the Lancashire Kids went back to school after Christmas, and refused to wear masks.

What they did, seriously embaraased The British Government, and will have a Massive World Wide Effect.

I did say, but you never read it, cos you don't like me.


It’s not a loo, and its not that noisy, but I thought wtf is it?


It’s a chocolate fountain machine, on our Birthday Table.


I have to admit, once I did vote for Boris ( a long time ago ) and he got in as Mayor of London


They are all trying to crucify him now, but he has spent almost his entire political existence, whilst shagging, completely taking the piss, and I thought his Boris Bikes were a pretty good idea.


I actually got a phone call, today, from my Doctor’s Receptionist. To my Amazement, she sounded posh and English. The details were short and sweet…Do you want a jab???


I told my missus, I had heard (though not confirmed), that all jabs were going to be discontinued within the next couple of weeks at least in England, cos people had noticed the effects of people keeling over and dropping dead just after being jabbed.


After Kazakhstan, where it is strongly rumoured, the “slight problems”, had next to SFA to do with the price of gas, but more to do, with turning up at the bank, asking can I withdraw some of my money. – NO unless you have a Vax pass – That can really piss people off – That both the Russians and the Kazakh Government are no long there in Kazakhstan.. Its a bit like a Cartoon, I can’t quite remember, which goes, “Oh Shit”


So now we at least in the UK, have got this – even in the Daily Telegraph


“Covid latest news: No more masks and back to the office as Plan B restrictions dropped”


Reasons to be Cheerful, especially if you are a Child going to School tomorrow.


We can Thank The Lancashire Kids for that.


https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Uploads/Graphics/596-1117122309-NO-MASKS-FOR-KIDS.png

We have Grandchildren now, also born in London


Tony

Posted by: Tony_0pmoc | Jan 20 2022 2:06 utc | 66

Big news for the Poles.
If the poles step away from the american, the americans have practically lost everything in Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 20 2022 2:06 utc | 67

@ Roger 58
Blinken just makes shit up as he goes along and perhaps thinks that he is creating the new reality through discursive and rhetorical brilliance/trickery
Yes, and reinforces my plea that Russia take these clowns on in the public fora which requires a Russian, in English, to respond and destroy such cheap palaver as soon as it appears. Certainly the New York Times wouldn't report such a disclaimer but the attempt should be made for Russia to appear in the public fora and I wager that it would be published somewhere. Certainly Blinken is vulnerable, as you suggest. Get Vlad on the phone for me!! (He may not read MOA.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 2:15 utc | 68

Some opinions from Donetsk are here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 2:23 utc | 69

karlof1

Just saw your post upthread a bit and yes still going. A couple of odd things happened and I pulled up for a bit.
A few other things I've posted at Martynov's blog and will repost them here.
...............
I put in some time researching how far US is away from fielding a hypersonic missile. In 2019 they successfully tested a lab built boost glide missile that functioned correctly and good accuracy. They have now moved into production and crew training and expect to have them deployed and functioning in 2023 with initial prototypes for training through 2022. Two failed tests to date due to production booster not launching from the aircraft. There will be a few teething problems but under current circumstances these will be overcome quickly and will quite likely still be deployed as early as 2023 if not sooner. This is the window in which Russia must get a security agreement with the US.
Reading through the Russian proposals, the overall picture of them is a buffer zone all around both Russian and US in which neither side can place their missiles or militarize. A type of no mans land and, on the Russian side, this must be in place before US deploys hypersonics. If US get to the stage of deploying these missiles before there is a security agreement in place, then I think Russia will strike first, no period of escalation, rather the complete elimination of a threat.

On the American side, going on what is occurring, they may well spend this time trying to create a situation to launch an all out strike on Russia. I see the Russian presidential spokesman has voiced the possibility of the current propaganda indicating a provocation in Ukraine. The Brits have a couple of nuke armed subs and will join the US.
US nuking the Soviets was always a British wet dream and I think would at the moment be quite capable of creating a provocation separate from the US with the aim of inducing the Americans to launch a strike against Russia if it looked as though US was willing to enter a security agreement with Russia.
.................

It looks like Lavrov will be meeting Blinken on Friday. Found this in Russian news.
"We agreed on a meeting. Now this meeting is being worked out, indeed, the date of January 21, Geneva, was announced. I saw that the State Department has already announced it, " she said on the Solovyov Live YouTube channel.
Zakharova added that the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that this meeting can "take place on this day, now it is being prepared." https://regnum.ru/news/poli...

And this in Tass
"US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will not provide Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a written response to the Russian proposals on security during their upcoming meeting in Geneva Friday, he said during a press conference in Kiev Wednesday.
He noted that the US plans to "take stocks of the conversations" after a "pretty intensive week of engagements" with Russia, and to give "the Russians time to give stock of these conversations." https://tass.com/world/1390515

Going by what Zakharova said, US state department had announced it to the press before date or anything was finalized with the Russian foreign ministry. Blinken will be turning up with nothing but empty talk according to what he said in Ukraine ???
..................

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 2:54 utc | 70

There's a poster of the Titanic, about to slide under the waves.

It's pithy statement:
Some people's lives simply serve as a warning to others.

Or, for politics today, never underestimate the power of a bad example.

Putin, I believe, continues to develop the Ukraine as a bad example for those who would trust the West or walk in its way.

Invasion would undermine all the work he has done in subverting the western narrative.

Posted by: Les7 | Jan 20 2022 2:59 utc | 71


@ Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 2:06 utc

Thanks for your reply.

Some trace the rise of unitary executive doctrine in the USA to the Reagan era, with the presidents succeeding Reagan expanding executive power even further beyond constitutional norms as you listed. Such doctrine allows the president to ignore laws, disregard congressional intent and override federal court determinations, in other words legalizing the illegal through grandiose theory, interpretation and the sheer power of position.

Such a system, beset with political infighting over power as it is, is non-agreement capable re foreign relations, guaranteed, by definition. The irony for the self-proud shining exemplar ‘democracy.’

~~


Some aspects of the unitary executive are unobjectionable. The unitary executive doctrine is concerned with presidential powers in three ways: (1) presidential appointments and removals of officials in the executive branch, (2) presidential control over executive administration, and (3) the president’s interpretations of laws in the execution of his duty as president. The first two of these are not subject to much controversy now.

As to the third, while clearly the president must interpret the laws he is sworn to uphold in order to uphold them, and in some instances a president may find that a law conflicts with his duties (which may be properly resolved in a number of ways: by working with Congress, bringing the issue to a federal court, etc.), when the doctrine is used as a means to utterly ignore laws and treaties this is extremely troubling and may create a constitutional crisis.

[For example] When President Bush signed the McCain amendment, which prohibited the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a presidential signing statement. By this statement, in which he relies on the unitary executive doctrine, Bush appears to grant himself the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.
Jennifer van Bergen

Posted by: suzan | Jan 20 2022 3:37 utc | 72

Links for US hypersonic glide missile

It is a government research center or lab that has developed and successfully tested the missile in 2019
August 2019 https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/smd/2019/08/07/final-hypersonic-missile-contract-awards-im
The technology is owned by the government labs, he noted, “so we are transitioning that out of the labs into the commercial marketplace. That is a really hard thing to do, but there’s a lot of energy and a lot of momentum behind that outcome.”

Other links
https://www.defensenews.com/land/2021/02/09/us-army-begins-equipping-first-unit-with-hypersonic-capability/
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/21/politics/us-hypersonic-test-fails/index.html
..........

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 3:39 utc | 73

@ suzan 71
re: unitary executive theory
There are also the presidential executive orders. These are proclamations which have no basis in the constitution but which plainly make law in every sense. The president is not interpreting laws, he is making laws.
There are some books published on executive orders, I have one in front of me "With the stroke of a pen" by Kenneth R. Mayer. It contains fascinating information about how the president can pursue policy without congressional interference.
The president is thereby acting autocratically just like the dictators the US media manage to differentiate from US "democratic" presidents. . .A difference without a difference!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 4:03 utc | 74

Why Do US Hypersonic Missile Tests Keep Failing? . . .

A new arms technology is coming into its own, and the U.S. Defense Department is determined to achieve quick results in the field. Rather than select one or two concepts and usher them through the deliberate, highly structured process of research, development, testing, and evaluation, the Pentagon’s program managers opt for multiple, competing efforts, and place them on a streamlined course: rapid prototyping and testing, to be followed by rapid production and deployment. The major defense contractors set forth as confidently as prospectors during the gold rush.

The trouble is, the new weapons keep failing in tests, sometimes in fairly rudimentary ways that don’t lend themselves to evaluating and improving the design. The truncated development strategy seems to require a faith that American aerospace engineering can overwhelm all the usual difficulties by force of sheer élan. The results turn out differently.

Now, if you think I’ve just described the last few years of U.S. efforts to build and fly hypersonic gliders and cruise missiles, you’re right. In December, for example, the Air Force’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) failed in testing for the third time running in 2021, not even leaving the wing of the B-52 bomber carrying it. ARRW, remarkably, is supposed to become an operational weapon by 2023. Nor is it the only developmental hypersonic missile with a troubled test record. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 4:09 utc | 75

The libraries in DC have been distributing free Covid antigen rapid tests since the Xmas holidays. I've picked up a few, but haven't used them, barely looked at them. An article in Global Times made me have a closer look. They're made in China. LOL! Made in China for iHealth Labs, Inc (Sunnyvale, CA).

Posted by: Robert Macaire | Jan 20 2022 4:50 utc | 76

Don, for the boost glide missile it is just a matter of ensuring government laboratry quality in production missiles. There is a link within your link that goes to the various tests (successful/ unsuccessful). Putin said Russia knows when US will be deploying these missiles and it is the fact that US have a successful missile and now only have to sort out production issues before they can field it that has made a security agreement before these are fielded very important.
All this stuff about US not being able to produce a missile is bullshit. A hypersonic cruise missile may well be a good time away but US will have a boost glide missile in the very near future.

Both Putin and a couple of years earlier had mentioned something about a break through in physics. That deputy defence minister is now the deputy prime minister and has said the Physics breakthrough is in relation to the Zircon so I would assume that would be the scram jet motor. It may be many years before the US can develop a high speed functional scram jet nut not so with boost glide.

Separating cruise from boost glide is I think the way to look at US hypersonic missile development.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 4:50 utc | 77

lex talionis | Jan 19 2022 23:02 utc | 41... thanks... there were a few youtube tracks at john helmers site i linked to earlier, but i like this track you have shared with supporting accordian, drums and etc... same distinct voice though! cheers..

peter au / don bacon... thanks for the back and forth and view on where the usa is in the weapons developments... perhaps russia is right to be concerned, not that i ever thought differently, but it seems more strident at this point and probably for good reason..

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 5:03 utc | 78

In my post @76 this sentence should have read "Both Putin and a couple of years earlier the deputy defence minister...."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 5:16 utc | 79

@ suzan | Jan 20 2022 3:37 utc | 71

Darn right that excessive, unconstitutional presidential powers can and will cause a constitutional crisis! This is why our unelected rulers totally freaked out over Trump: They had, over a long period, created this monstrous office of the presidency and then lost control over it! They never meant for any president to rule on his own, without following "advice," and Trump appeared possibly not amenable to "advice." The national security state has made the presidency in fact a dictatorial office with untrammeled powers, but they didn't want a Caesar to actually be in it; they wanted only malleable puppets who would follow orders.

In fact, the Founders blew it by creating the basis for such an office in the Constitution in the first place, and some of them knew it and dissented at the time. Probably, the US Constitution, from the beginning the basis for an oligarchical republic, appears to have run its course because, like with any constitutional system given enough time, special interests have been able to game the system, so it no longer much resembles what was originally set up, particularly because those in elective office are not the holders of power.

One can suggest constitutional reforms that would improve things: First, get rid of the overbearing, dictatorial presidency. This could be done first of all by limiting the holding of that office to one year and allowing no reelection for life. Then one could divide the office and have two chief magistrates like the Roman republican consuls. Better yet, have an executive committee of five, elected by the voters only being able to vote for one, so that the five chief groups opposed to each other would all be represented. If it were objected that that would paralyze the state, good, if that would block the militarism. Just like when Trump was elected and one of the complaints of the MSM was, oh, he will tarnish the dignity of the office, to which I said at the time, good, it's about time! As if that office has any dignity to begin with.

As for the future trajectory of the American state, it looks to me like the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC, running wild over the Mediterranean basin, plundering all the foreign kingdoms, carrying off their people as slave laborers to work in latifundia in Italy, and ruining the Italian natives. The interests of the ruling class became empire-wide and conflicted with the parochial interests of the ordinary Roman citizens, who could sometimes be tricked into supporting wars against foreign adversaries promoted as threats, but when the citizens saw their own ruination with their own eyes, they became very angry, so you had class warfare culminating in the massacre of part of the ruling class in the period of 90-83 BC. After a long, torturous process of civil strife, the dictatorship of Caesar Augustus emerged, who could say to the corrupt plunderers, "That's MY stuff your stealing!" So the treason trials began. Not a very happy ending, but it did at least eventually equalize treatment in the Roman Empire.

Can we avoid some such autocracy? I wouldn't count on it. I see no way for the rulers to be displaced until they fall to fighting each other in a distributional conflict. After all, even Caesar Augustus, with all his populist bona fides, came from an aristocratic lineage.

Posted by: Cabe | Jan 20 2022 5:30 utc | 80

@ Peter 76
A hypersonic cruise missile may well be a good time away but US will have a boost glide missile in the very near future.
Will the boost gliders have a heat-seeking capability like China's hypersonic missiles supposedly have?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 20 2022 5:41 utc | 81

Don, that's a bit of an odd question. What China has other than fully functional boost glide missiles is unknown.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 5:46 utc | 82

A thought to add to 81.
Boost glide missiles appear to travel at mach 20 plus. Due to the plasma shield generated from traveling at that speed through the atmosphere, I doubt they would have any sort of targeting head. To hit a moving target like a ship, it may perhaps be possible to communicate with the glide vehicle to give it updated information but for the glide vehicle itself to do this moves into another dimension.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 20 2022 5:55 utc | 83

If you need something to keep you occupied while waiting for the US written response to Russia, this may do it:

Djokovic case

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 20 2022 7:37 utc | 84

The Mirror yesterday:


The Korolev, Minsk and Kaliningrad are from the Baltic Fleet and are today sailing south passing England in open seas, amid speculation that are bound for an impending invasion of Ukraine.

¡What idiots!

Posted by: Coiseam | Jan 20 2022 7:45 utc | 85

karlof1
thanks for your links and insights, required reading:

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/01/paul-craig-roberts-broadside.html?m=1

https://vk.com/@580896205-completely-outplayed-by-russias-diplomacy-and-sabotaged-by-i


"How the EU found itself excluded from talks on deciding Europe's future.

Simply put, Washington cannot do diplomacy with Eurocrats in the room.

Nor does Washington seem capable of doing diplomacy with anyone."

Posted by: Paul | Jan 20 2022 8:21 utc | 86

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2022 5:03 utc | 77

With over six hundred songs composed and most of them with various versions it is very hard to choose some and call them favorites. He is probably the most bootlegged artist ever since during his life just one long play album was released but everybody in the USSR had tapes with his songs.

https://youtu.be/Q1RM5c8Cd54

https://youtu.be/KZ1qzswymU0

Posted by: Paco | Jan 20 2022 10:21 utc | 87

A nice demonstration of the runaway problems in current reputation driven media: a CIA assessment says there is no proof for foreign actions behind the Havana Syndrome.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/cia-says-havana-syndrome-not-result-sustained-global-campaign-hostile-rcna12838
The article is written from the point of view that the Russian Actions theory is true until proven false, it has become the new null hypothesis, and they actually try to minimalize and discredit the CIA assessment.
There is nothing wrong with the principle that a hypothesis with weak reputation has to put in more effort to prove itself when competing with a hypothesis with bad reputation. The actual problems are in the way things quickly get polarized into extreme differences in reputation, the way groupthink quickly comes to unfounded consensus, and the way this groupthink is easily steered and magnified to increase conflict.
So apply this to the Peng Shuai case where a lot of conclusions were drawn by people not having read the original letter. Once they get to read that letter this will not change their minds. The letter shows a power asymmetry in the relationship and that makes the official she had a relationship with less than pure. The null hypothesis is now #metoo and people will not reverse their 'strongest possible condemnation' stance anymore in the light of that extra information.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 20 2022 10:29 utc | 88


US imperialism is run by a bunch of deceitful, ignorant, lying, pathologically narcissistic moronic mendacious nitwits and uncultured nincompoops who know nothing and then try make the whole world believe that the big bad bear is about to swallow up all of Ukraine


https://www.indianpunchline.com/blinken-delays-us-response-to-russia/

"....The senior state department official who gave the briefing Tuesday sees something sinister in the planned joint military exercise between Russian and Belarusian militaries and suspects “Belarus could play a role in Russia’s planned invasion of Ukraine.”

Yet, the official didn’t even know the scale of the exercise or the number of troops involved. In reality, the drill needn’t even be notified under the OSCE’s 2011 Vienna Document since they are below the threshold of 9,000 troops, etc. But Washington would have us believe that with a paltry force of a few thousand troops, Russia plans to stage an invasion of Ukraine across the Belarusian border!......"

some mainstream news article today now says there are hundreds of thousands of Russian troops readying... an invasion. I suppose by next Weds it will be half a million or two :)

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 20 2022 10:36 utc | 89

I must say this is amusing how the Russians have pushed "Biden" and Blinken into a corner so easily with a demand for a written response, which of course "Biden" and Blinken cannot and do not want to do.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 20 2022 11:50 utc | 90

Great picture of Lavrov, don't miss it:

Lavrov to hold talks with Blinken in Geneva on January 21, diplomat confirms

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 20 2022 11:53 utc | 91

Awhile back Shoigu noted that US mercenaries were bringing chemical weapons into the Ukraine. I could see Ukrainian terrorists mounting an attack in The Donbass, and Russia replying with airstrikes. A repeat of Syria might be staged at that point, with one of the Ukrainian NAZI squads using chemical weapons on its own people and blaming Russia. The Mighty Wurlitzer of NATO Propaganda has had plenty practice screaming about Russia using poison and backing Assad's gassing of his own people, they'd go on a massive propaganda blitz talking about war crimes and whatnot.

Posted by: Haassaan | Jan 20 2022 12:11 utc | 92

@Tony_0pmoc | Jan 20 2022 2:06 utc | 65

Great news, but don't forget that this happened because the opportunist Boris Johnson needed something to save his own skin.

The unprincipled sometimes make correct decisions.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 20 2022 12:23 utc | 93

“..members of the ‘Right Sector’ were also spotted in the vicinity of Mariupol, a city close to the contact line, according to Basurin. The group was accompanied by a psychological operations detachment and a crew from a Ukrainian TV channel, and is operating in the village of Pavlopol, controlled by the 36th Brigade of the Ukrainian army, he alleged. “

https://www.rt.com/russia/546554-donbas-false-flag-ukraine/

The article confirms the English CW usual suspects from Syria are there doing their worst.
The fact that the likes of Luke Harding - a lowly turd that writes reports in the Guardian about such actions and is part of the same bunch of Imperial Turds - has put in reports of fluent ‘english speaking’ Uke idiots in his piece a couple of days ago is a clear indication that the planned foray is not being called off - I do so hope they really are at that ‘frontline’ they have chosen & claim to be at. But wherever they are I’m sure they will be just as safe from any retribution for their parts in following orders of tge likes of Levy and Powell and Nuland.

Posted by: D.G. | Jan 20 2022 12:35 utc | 94

A new arms technology is coming into its own, and the U.S. Defense Department is determined to achieve quick results in the field. Rather than select one or two concepts and usher them through the deliberate, highly structured process of research, development, testing, and evaluation, the Pentagon’s program managers opt for multiple, competing efforts, and place them on a streamlined course: rapid prototyping and testing, to be followed by rapid production and deployment. The major defense contractors set forth as confidently as prospectors during the gold rush.
The trouble is, the new weapons keep failing in tests, sometimes in fairly rudimentary ways that don’t lend themselves to evaluating and improving the design. The truncated development strategy seems to require a faith that American aerospace engineering can overwhelm all the usual difficulties by force of sheer élan. The results turn out differently.

As Andrei Martynov says repeatedly, development proceeds on the knack and initiative of talented engineers. More than half of US STEM grad students, are immigrants on student VISAs. Job and Career prospects have advanced to the point that these people are returning home.

Our generation stayed on after normal retirement, but we and lots of working age folks are dying from reasons tied to the pandemic. In fact the working age death rate is 40% higher than normal among the working age population.

I for one, am pessimistic WRT the US developing a boost-glide vehicle. The DPRK just demonstrated theirs, China has a FOBS version, Russia has them, and hypersonic missiles too.

We must keep in mind that such vehicles require exotic alloys, including titanium, all of which must be imported by the US. Simply denying such imports would keep the numbers too low to support a meaningful attack.

Nonetheless, I agree that NATO won't give up, unless it is utterly defeated.

Defeat of NATO could involve curtailing its energy imports, for without energies, nothing happens.

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 20 2022 12:56 utc | 95

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 20 2022 12:56 utc | 94

Yeah, they talk about "innovation" like it was some sort of magic that comes from good genes or a proper attitude. You need those things, but that is not enough. Especially these days when all the low hanging fruit has been taken, intellectually speaking. One thing you need plenty of is luck, and perseverance.

Anybody that leaves that part out is selling something.

But the US Gov't has been relying on throwing money at things for a long time now, they aren't going to change, you are right about that.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 20 2022 13:22 utc | 96

@suzan #71
The reality is that any nation can break its treaties - and the US has a pretty poor record compared to anyone.
But that isn't the point. The rest of the world, at least so far, doesn't necessarily share Russia's view of US "agreement incapability".
Again, IMO, this is not aimed at the US but rather Europe. Europe does seem to care that agreements made, are kept although the French and German lack of enforcement of their own Minsk agreements may indicate a change.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 13:42 utc | 97

Climate/alternative energy news:

China produces more coal in December 2021 and the year 2021 than ever before

The world’s biggest coal producer and consumer mined 384.67m tonnes of the fossil fuel last month, easily topping its previous record of 370.84m tonnes set in November, after the government called for miners to work at maximum capacity to help fuel the country’s economic growth.

Official government figures show that China’s coal binge also spurred the country to record high coal output over the year as a whole. Chinese coal production climbed to an all-time high of 4.07bn tonnes, up 4.7% on the previous year, in a blow to climate campaigners months after the UN’s Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that global consumption of coal power, which is the world’s single biggest source of climate emissions, would reach record levels in 2021 driven by a surge in demand for energy to kickstart global economies following the coronavirus pandemic.

This is China: pragmatic. Whatever their lofty goals may be, they do whatever they think needs to be done when something needs to be done.

But it wasn't just China...

Coal power fell by 4% in 2020 as the pandemic caused a global economic slowdown, but the IEA found that the surge in demand for electricity during 2021 outpaced the growth in low-carbon sources, leading many wealthy economies to rely more heavily on fossil fuel power plants.

The IEA’s most recent report, published last week, found the steepest ever increase in global electricity demand last year was stoked by a 9% increase in coal use compared with the year before, or more than half of the global increase in power demand, to reach an all-time peak.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 20 2022 13:46 utc | 98

Whet have we got here ?

German prosecutors probe Greens' leaders over COVID bonus

BERLIN (Reuters) - German prosecutors have opened an investigation into the two leaders of the co-governing Greens, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, over alleged special coronavirus payments, the party said on Wednesday.

Spiegel Online reported the start of the investigation for a possible breach of trust to the detriment of the party over illegal payments of 1,500 euros to Greens board members in 2020.

The allegations concern the approval of a "coronavirus bonus" given by board members to themselves in 2020, a spokesperson for Berlin prosecutors was quoted by Spiegel Online as saying.

A Greens party spokesperson said six board members, including Habeck - the economy minister in Germany's new coalition - and Baerbock - now foreign minister - were being investigated by the Berlin prosecutors.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 20 2022 13:52 utc | 99

Most ‘Havana Syndrome’ Cases Unlikely Caused by Foreign Power, C.I.A. Says

Of nearly 1000 cases a few dozen are "unexplained".

Why now?

"Last year, Congress passed a law compensating victims of Havana syndrome, and giving the government until April to devise a payment plan. It is not clear how the interim findings could affect that process. C.I.A. officials would say only that they were working on implementing the law, that their decisions were not yet due and that they were mindful of congressional intent to support officers reporting symptoms."


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/us/politics/havana-syndrome-cia-report.html

Posted by: daffyDuct | Jan 20 2022 13:56 utc | 100

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