Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 01, 2023

Open (Not Ukraine) Thread 2023-26

News & views (not related to the war in Ukraine) ...

Posted by b on February 1, 2023 at 15:51 UTC | Permalink

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Erdogan has repeated that Sweden's NATO application will be turned down.

Was the Qur'an burning episode a deliberate face saving measure designed to avoid permanent NATO membership "obligations", while appearing to be willing to do US bidding? If so, it was a clever move by the Swedes.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 1 2023 16:10 utc | 1

@Opport Knocks | Feb 1 2023 16:10 utc | 1

Good (Sweden should thank Erdogan), but the former illusion of Swedish neutrality is completely shot.

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 1 2023 16:21 utc | 2

Re: Dangerously radio-active 8mm x 6mm pellet which fell off a truck in outback Western Australia has been located.

The interesting factoid for me is that it was detected by an highly sensitive instrument installed in a vehicle travelling at 70 km per hour, and was only 2 metres from the paved surface of the highway.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1 2023 16:31 utc | 3

Will the West's Christian Colonial Cretins attack China?

I doubt it. John Pilger's 2016 doco The Coming War On China, and a short-lived weekly current affairs program called China Tonight from March, 2022, have pursuaded me that:

1. China hasn't forgotten the Opium Wars nor the perps. And has made Opium Wars part of the school carriculum...

2. One suspects that China will have a much shorter Nuclear War fuse than Russia if subjected to an(other) Unprovoked Attack by the CCCs.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1 2023 17:06 utc | 4

Interesting read from Helmer (and Olga Samofalova) on Russia's internal issues and conflicts in moving oil and coal to the east for export to the expanding markets in China and India.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 1 2023 17:10 utc | 5

Trying to reach The Sakar’s site, as well as Unz’s site and both seem to be offline at the moment.

Any one have any info on these sites or notice these issues? Just seems a bit weird…

Posted by: drsmith | Feb 1 2023 17:27 utc | 6

There's been much useful discussion, hereabouts lately, of the most misunderstood word in any language, originally coined by Raphael Lemkin and disputed ever since: genocide. I've acquired some interesting angles on that word via Ward Churchill's excellent, groundbreaking A Little Matter of Genocide. (That title derived from a Russel Means epigram: "there's a little matter of genocide that's got to be taken into account right here at home.")

From an American indigenous perspective, talk of Nazis in Ukraine rings somewhat shallow, at times. We see definitively genocidal policies from Ukrainian nationalists, wherever 404's magnificent corruption allows the formation of any policy at all. Whether or not Nazi insignia are currently in play, the real meat of the matter is who's committed to genocide, and why.

Sartre (in the context of the Russel Tribunal's examination of genocide in Vietnam), equated genocide with colonialism -- you can't have one without the other. Here in USA this winter, we're suffering another outbreak of deadly internal colonialism. We sometimes call it police terror. Ward Churchill had this to say on internal colonialism (Little Matter, pg. 421):

Robert Melson provides a crucial analytical tool by focusing attention, not just on the dynamics of internal colonialism, but on that more particularized variation known as the "settler state" -- a structural innovation evidenced most plainly in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel (as well as the Hitlerian notion of territorial expansionism known as Lebensraumpolitik) -- in which an invading group quite literally supplants the indigenous population on its own landbase. Since wholesale displacement, reduction in numbers, and forced assimilation of native people is virtually a requirement for the existence of any settler state, Melson suggests they are properly construed as being inherently rather than potentially genocidal in their makeup.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | Feb 1 2023 17:48 utc | 7

@ Opport Knocks | Feb 1 2023 17:10 utc | 5

thanks for the john helmer link.. it is quite an interesting read... my first thought is how the west will try to sabotage those rail lines.. other then that, i think russia needs to continue to develop more outlets, as it is doing..

in a similar vein - indian punchline from 2 days ago -

Russia’s gas union eyes Pakistan, India

Posted by: james | Feb 1 2023 17:49 utc | 8

@ Posted by: drsmith | Feb 1 2023 17:27 utc | 6

Both working here in Canada.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 1 2023 17:50 utc | 9

@ Norwegian | Feb 1 2023 16:21 utc | 2

Swedish neutrality is completely shot.

Indeed. Now public & official.

Even though they've been a covert ghost NATO & 5-Eyes member since 1954 ...

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 1 2023 18:00 utc | 10

Unz available all day in Eastern Canada 2PM

Posted by: William White | Feb 1 2023 18:09 utc | 11

Talking of Swedish "neutrality" The Skwawkbox has an interesting story today about the efforts Sweden made, at the requests of Keir Starmer's Prosecution Service to destroy files in the Assange case.

"The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) under Keir Starmer and the Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA) destroyed or hid thousands of pages of evidence showing their correspondence in pursuit of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, an author and investigative journalist has found after years of legal action to enforce Swedish Freedom of Information Requests. The UN's body on arbitrary detention has ruled Assange's captivity wrongful.

"Stefania Maurizi first published revelations six years ago of the extent of evidence destroyed - without proper explanation and outside normal procedure - by the CPS. Now, after eight years of 'trench warfare' with the authorities to uncover the truth, she writes that:

"It is now clear that both of the authorities handling the Swedish case, the SPA and the CPS, destroyed a large part of their email exchanges. Why? What did those documents contain and on whose instructions were those materials destroyed? Now more than ever some sort of explanation is urgently needed, considering that the United States is currently acting through the Crown Prosecution Service itself in the extradition proceeding against Julian Assange...."

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1 2023 18:44 utc | 12

Saker is available in this corner of the imperial homeland (10:45 PST).

Posted by: robjira | Feb 1 2023 18:46 utc | 13

Thanks for the links @ 5 and 8,
I'm starting to wonder if the pace of the Ukraine conflict and Russia's willingness to let it be a slow cooker is related to its ability to function as a significant distraction for the US and a prompt for the larger project of the BRICS. When the conflict ends there's the potential for things to go back to how they were. The europeans and the americans won't lift sanctions but they'll happily ignore them. As the long as the conflict continues, the rest of the world basically has to continue moving along the trajectory of restructuring the international trade system because europe and america can only ignore the sanctions so much.

Posted by: Lex | Feb 1 2023 19:23 utc | 14

MoonOfAlabama mentioned:

The link below is about the latest from the Twitter Files. The Hillary For America advisor *Laura Rosenberger, and Marco Rubio counselor Jamie Fly, invented "Hamilton 68" which lumped together 644 mostly pro-Trump Twitter accounts as "Russian agents".

It was run by former FBI agent Clint Watts, now a "disinformation expert" at MSNBC.

They were cited countless times by major media like CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones (14 times making a story solely based on H68 claims) and WaPo. And cited by "fact checkers" Politifact and Snopes as a source.

Not one answered. They’re all going to pretend this didn’t happen. The few reporters who got this right contemporaneously, from Glenn Greenwald to Max Blumenthal to Miriam Elder and Charlie Wurzel of Buzzfeed to sites like Moon of Alabama, can take a victory lap.

For example, Mother Jones would write about "Trump flash mobs" created by Russian bots. Or that Devin Nunes or Tulsi Gabbard were being promoted by Russia. H68 was a "research institute," and when you have an ex-FBI agent that sounds impressive in leftist circles. Or they'd get some other former FBI/NSA/CIA guy to say "sure," to boost a Hamilton 68 claim.

Twitter KNEW THIS WAS FAKE. *Samuel Roth wrote internally that H68's list of 644 accounts should be published, and that it was mostly simply ordinary conservative accounts, like a 73-year-old retired woman in Florida. But they did nothing.

Posted by: Tenet | Feb 1 2023 19:41 utc | 15

Aleph_Null | Feb 1 2023 17:48 utc | 7


I don't see much misunderstanding of the word "genocide". What I see is the intent to sow ambiguity. I prefer to call a spade a spade and use the United Nation's definition:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The most recent example of a genocide discussion takes place in Brazil.
On Jan. 22, president Lula used the term in a tweet. Meanwhile, indigenous children are evacuated from Yanomani for urgent medical treatment. The government obliged the only air taxi company in the area to carry out the transports. see article here.
2 days ago, the supreme court ordered a genocide investigation into the Bolsonaro government.
Right so. I side with Sartre.

Posted by: OttoE | Feb 1 2023 21:21 utc | 17

Russia is about 2% of the world's economy, while Japan is 3%, EU is 14% and USA is 15%. Russia overestimes its economic weight.

Posted by: Quryas | Feb 1 2023 21:31 utc | 18

The Cradle has a very informative article dealing with the state of Iraq's development, "Iraq’s Silk Road: Port and canal project set to transform Baghdad’s geopolitical clout", that I highly suggest. Clearly, Iraq is still enmeshed in the snare remaining from all its encounters with the Outlaw US Empire and is still unstable politically. The plans the article describes are bold and potentially transformative, but many basic issues must be solved first that the article mostly mentions--the most important issue is the need to eject the Outlaw US Empire form the region as no in-depth development can occur with it there. In many respects, Libya shares the same issues.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 22:07 utc | 19

The record of Mother Jones is shocking. Most of the rubbish it published on Russia and its supposed influence over Trump can be traced back to David Corn, you'll find his picture in the Larousse next to traitor.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 1 2023 22:19 utc | 20

The weapons to which Watt is referring are threefold; first was informational – the use of propaganda and censorship. The second was psychological – the use of fear and terrorism. The third was chemical and biological – the widespread use of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, in reality, toxins and pathogens.

“This project has been going on for centuries: globalist and central bankers and many related organizations have been trying to get entire control of people through military and banking programs,” asserts Watt. “They kicked the public health aspect of it into higher gear in the 1930s and 1940s. In the mid-60s, we saw them inducing suicide and homicide by fraudulently labeling poisons as medicines, or as vaccines, or as prophylactics and telling people that submitting to that poisoning process was their civic duty. We saw that during covid with the shorthand for ‘do this or kill your grandma message.’”

The financial control starts at the top with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and cascades down through the financial system, says Watt. “The cornerstone is the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is not a health organization but a military organization. It is the military arm of the One World Government they are trying to set up. Basically, the International Health Regulations, currently going through another round of amendments to make them worse, called on national governments to strengthen their own domestic laws to fund more programs for surveillance, testing, detention and quarantine, physical control, and forced treatment during international outbreaks of communicable diseases. The pretext they used – it was bankers doing this – was that they needed to protect international trade. The real intent was to transfer sovereignty for government from the national state to the WHO and BIS automatically when a public international health emergency has been declared. Congress and U.S. presidents complied.”

Over time, Congress and one U.S. administration after another have brought in laws, amendments to these laws, and executive orders to whittle away at citizen freedoms. Examples include the Patriot Act, The Homeland Security Act, the National Vaccine Program, the Emergencies Use Authorization, the Public Health Emergencies Platform, and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Program, to say nothing of the use of OTAs (Other Transactions Authority) to issue contracts, all designed to create a legal framework for controlling our lives.

Posted by: Scorpion | Feb 1 2023 22:26 utc | 21


"Russia is about 2% of the world's economy, while Japan is 3%, EU is 14% and USA is 15%. Russia overestimes its economic weight."


" I think you're overestimating the real weight of finance, "services", social media, and colossal government waste (all of which are included on plus side of GDP) as opposed to weight of real economy producing energy, commodities, food, and manufactured goods.

The West has been divesting itself of these real sectors for decades. The virtual wealth of some numbers in computers is not the same as real material wealth. Just saying..."

The real wealth of Russia you need to Think of it as your pile of stuff. Goods and services. Everything from potato chips to healthcare. That’s your real wealth.

So your real wealth is everything you can produce when everybody’s working. That’s how you get the most real wealth. Plus whatever you import adds to your pile of stuff. Whatever you export subtracts from your pile of real stuff. Now I did not say that exports don’t help the exporters. Yeah, it helps those people. But it is a subtraction of real wealth from the entire economy. The exports are your cost of imports.

Back in the old days we called that ‘real terms of trade’. So to optimise your prosperity, you make everything you can with everybody working, and then you add to that with imports, what people export to you. Then whatever you must export, you try and get as many imports as you can.

If you can export one Ferrari and get four Mercedes, that’s good. If you can export one Ferrari and get five Mercedes, that’s better. Real terms of trade, that’s the important thing. The United States doesn’t even publish the trade deficit or surplus between the states.

How do you put your real wealth on steriods. Introduce a job guarentee anybody who wants a job can have one. Rather than leaving humans to rot in long-term unemployment because the private sector didn't decide to hire them today.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 1 2023 22:30 utc | 22

according to a comment at Craig Murray (Secret Power), Sweden is blocking a joint investigation into the Nordstream pipeline sabotage, along with Germany and Denmark. whatever, we know who the poodlemaster is, whichever poodles peformed the trick.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 1 2023 22:34 utc | 23

@ drsmith | Feb 1 2023 17:27 utc | 6

booth working here in France (where e.g. Rumnble and RT are censored / blocked

Posted by: Alfa Panda | Feb 1 2023 22:42 utc | 24

The US went from needing 99% of the people working to grow our food to less than 1%, and manufacturing jobs are down to only 7% of the labour force. And yet the remaining 90% of us are not all unemployed, as jobs have proliferated in the service sector, where most of those jobs are now considered to be better jobs than the lost agricultural and manufacturing jobs.

Nor has a trade deficit in the US necessarily resulted in higher unemployment or lower pay. In 1999, for example, they had record imports with unemployment under 4% and inflation under 2%, and students were getting recruited for good paying jobs well before graduation.

The answer to sustaining high levels of employment and pay is fiscal policy. If for any reason, including more imports, weak demand at home is keeping unemployment too high or wages too low, the appropriate policy response is fiscal relaxation- either a tax cut or spending increase, even if that increases the public debt- and not to tax or otherwise drive up the cost of imports.

Unfortunately however, the policy that allows all of us to pay the lowest prices for imports and have good paying jobs to replace those lost because of imports has been taken entirely off the table by both Republicans and Democrats. By introducing tarrifs and sanctions.

Consequently a very good thing for America- lower prices of imports- has been turned into a very bad thing- unemployment, and all because of the fake news about the public debt that is supported by Republicans and Democrats.

The US public debt is nothing more than the dollars spent by the federal government that have not yet been used to pay taxes.

Those dollars spent and not yet taxed sit in bank accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank that are called ‘reserve accounts’ and ‘securities accounts’, along with the actual cash in circulation. Treasury securities (bonds, notes, and bills) are nothing more than dollars in securities accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank, functionally the same as dollars in savings accounts or deposit accounts at commercial banks.

Think of it this way- when the government spends a dollar, that dollar either is used to pay taxes and is lost to the economy, or it’s not used to pay taxes and remains in the economy.

Deficit spending adds to those dollars that were spent but not yet taxed, which is called the public debt. And what’s called ‘paying off the debt’ (as happens to 10’s of billions of Treasury securities every month) is just a matter of the Fed shifting dollars from securities accounts to reserve accounts- a simple debit and a credit- all on its own books. (No tax payers or grand children required…)

The ‘ability to pay’ is always there- it’s just a debit and a credit to accounts on the books of the Federal Reserve Bank. The fear mongering about the US running out of money or constraints by foreigners is simply not applicable to today’s monetary system.

And if you are worried about inflation, the Presidents direct policy of tariffs or sanctions is to raise the prices all Americans will have to pay for imports.

Point is, once it’s understood that

1) the public debt is nothing more than what can be called the net money supply

2) there is no risk of default

3) there is no dependence on foreign or any other lenders

4)there is no burden being put on future generations

The President will be free to make everyone winners by being their shopper in chief who works to get them the lowest possible prices.

Neither Trump or Biden understands that when it comes to foreign policy. There was no need to introduce tariffs on China or sanctions on Russia as the US were winning the trade war.

China were sending the US goods and services working in terrible conditions up to 16 hours a day in factories. All they got in return was US treasuries in their account at the FED.

Paid in $'s that were swapped for US treasuries. So what can they spend those $'s on ? Anything sold in $'s aka more American goods and services.

Which allowed the Americans to concentrate on producing other things and play more golf and have more leisure time.

It WAS a win, win for the US. Now look at the state they are in.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 1 2023 22:51 utc | 25

Considering how toxic Western countries became against Russians like LCI had outright called for an ethnic cleansing in Crimea, I wonder if Russians, who would want to leave Russia, will immigrate in less hostile countries like United Arab Emirates and Malaysia instead of European countries.

Posted by: Ewrif | Feb 1 2023 22:51 utc | 26

Derek Henry @26--

Relying on government issued economic statistics is very risky business as much is falsified. Inflation, Unemployment and GDP are three that merit high amounts of skepticism and retooling.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 22:56 utc | 27

@ OttoE | Feb 1 2023 21:21 utc | 17

Defining genocide was practically the first order of business for the brand-new United Nations in 1945. Lemkin's original definition emphasized the importance of cultural genocide -- extinction of the meaning of a people. Much light was lost from Lemkin's first draft to what emerged from the UN sausage-factory in 1948.

The key phrase destroying all meaning in the UN definition you quote:

committed with intent

This business about intent wrecks the whole structure, legally. Then again, it's meant to do that -- to let the main genocidal culprits off the hook, don't you know.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | Feb 1 2023 22:57 utc | 28

Stoltenberg has spoken in Japan and Global Times has produced an editorial in response, "Why Stoltenberg's speech was so blatant in Tokyo". Here are the opening paragraphs:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered a speech at Keio University in Japan on Wednesday. If we are to describe this speech, it would be labeled with "poor level, bad influence, and insidious intentions." It was not worth mentioning, but the negative trends of NATO and Japan exposed from its content deserve the high vigilance of the entire Asia-Pacific region. It can be said that the speech is full of "ominous omens."

Before visiting Japan, Stoltenberg went to South Korea. Although he also played up the "China threat" in South Korea and tied China, Russia and North Korea together with malicious intent, his words were far less straightforward and blatant than in Tokyo. Facing the Japanese audience, Stoltenberg spent a lot of time attacking China. He said in a sensational tone, "What is happening in Europe today could happen in East Asia tomorrow." He also said unctuously, "China is not our adversary," but what he said later was basically to smear and slander China. He accused China of "substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons, without any transparency" and said that China (the Chinese mainland) is attempting to assert control over the South China Sea, and threatening Taiwan.

Stoltenberg's words and actions in Japan and South Korea are very different, which reflects many deep-seated problems, indicating that the two countries play different roles in NATO's strategic design. In Seoul, he mainly spoke to the South Korean side, which was the target of his persuasion and incitement, while in Tokyo, he spoke to the entire Asia-Pacific region, and the Japanese authorities stood by as accomplices and co-conspirators.

A joint statement was issued after talks between Stoltenberg and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on January 31, in which the common stance against China and Russia was very prominent, and the intention to interfere in the situation across the Taiwan Straits was very strong. These will undoubtedly create risks of camp confrontation and division in the Asia-Pacific region. The role NATO is playing is exactly the same as it has played on the European soil. In other words, it is actually NATO itself that is promoting the idea that "what is happening in Europe today could happen in East Asia tomorrow."

A wolf whose base camp and activities have been in the far west for a long time has found a foothold in East Asia with great ambitions. Japan is the one who lured the wolf into the house, and also seeks a high-sounding reason. As the secretary general of NATO, Stoltenberg is not qualified to dictate East Asian affairs, not to mention even giving outrageous statements. To some extent, Japan created such an opportunity for him and NATO. Stoltenberg did not hesitate to speak sweetly about Japan, saying that among NATO's partners, none is closer or more capable than Japan. He also praised Japan's substantial increase in defense budget and revision of its security strategy, behaviors that have been widely questioned in the Asia-Pacific region. NATO and Japan formed a vicious mutual reinforcement.

Like Germany, Japan is captured and lacks sovereignty. Only its people can alter the situation, which is the same formula for Europe. IMO, NATO will likely last through the 2030s, although it will likely shrink to just the Outlaw US Empire, Canada and UK, and perhaps Denmark and Netherlands. Once Russia establishes its new security arrangements, it will become clear there's no longer any need for NATO within Europe. But as with its evil twin the EU, it will take time for its complete demise.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:10 utc | 29

What is so revealing about debates over military spending. When the chips are down the numbers become irrelevant. Not one government minister anywhere has ever said that they can’t bomb Baghdad, Bazra or the Balkans because they don’t have the budget.

Of course that is because the numbers are indeed largely irrelevant for all government spending. In fact the numbers have become a mechanism in debates to avoid talking about the substance of government intervention in the economy — what the government proposes to use skills and real resources for, where it is going to get those skills and real resources from, and what the alternative uses are for those skills real resources.

I listened to the UK parliamentary debate about Trident. and it struck me early on that people were mostly pulling figures out of the air, and that the government had not actually put a figure forward for the monetary cost of Trident. A few MPs actually asked that precise question and didn’t receive an answer.

That is to be expected, because Trident costs what it costs to produce. Whatever is required to get the job done will be procured and placed at the disposal of the project. The cost, as with any government intervention, has nothing to do with money. If it is available for sale in the government’s denomination, then the government can always purchase it — whether that is missile systems or social housing or the unemployed. And, if it wants to, it can set the price in its own currency — simply by banning or restricting alternative uses of those resources until it gets what it needs. You see this all the time when a country is at war, but people act like Homer Simpson when you suggest it at other times.

The cost is, in fact, the people and resources required to create and build the submarines, crew the submarines and the ancillary services and suppliers that feed into the process. The unions representing these workers asked what else these people would be doing instead if Trident was not renewed, and there were very few answers to be had on that point in the debate. MPs opposed to Trident failed to make any reasonable case for alternative used of these skills and real resources.

Most MPs opposing the motion talked in terms of money, about how the money could be spent on the NHS, social care, or housing. But again the use of figures masked the actual problem.

The problem is never finding the money. An index finger and a computer keyboard and a spending bill passed in parliament finds The money.

The ship builders on the Clyde, or in Barrow don’t get up in the morning and think “today I’ll be a doctor”. The Navy staff don’t decide that they will build houses on a Thursday instead of piloting boats. It’s a ridiculous notion, and one that is rightly dismissed by the unions as hand-waving.

But it shows how ill-informed our representatives are about the way government spending works. They implicitly rely upon the magic of the tooth fairy - free markets to provide ship builders, navy crew and parts manufacturers with alternative orders and engagements. The tooth fairy assumes that people are mutable between professions at the snap of a finger. The free market tooth fairy believes that humans can be moved around like ignots of steel.

It was down to Scottish National MPs to make an actual case. The engineers engaged in Trident could perhaps be used to create more wind farms, or renew other Navy vessels instead of Trident. But it didn’t seem to be at the scale or intensity require to replace the whole of the Trident proposal.

Those opposing Trident failed to win the argument on that point alone. They really had no alternative plan for the people working in the industries. And that always seems to be the case. When government lays people off, there is NEVER a list of private sector employers sat there with cheque books at the ready. Even outsourcing’s open secret is that it is really a way for government to fire people without getting their hands dirty.

Government never seems to realise that the only way it can fire people is if they are hired and retained by the private sector. If that doesn’t happen then government just goes from paying people to do something, to paying people to do nothing. Hardly a sensible approach and what a job guarentee program would fix in a heart beat.

1. When the chips are down numbers become irrelevant to a government, because they are largely irrelevant. Government spending is a matter of people and stuff. Always is. Always will be

2. Numbers are used by those in charge as a way of avoiding the difficult questions relating to real people and alternative uses. Used by ideologues to wave placards and shout slogans.

3. Government is very willing to deploy vast quantities of people and resources on a huge white elephant project, but refuses to do so on anything more useful to mankind.

It is time to break down the frame of numbers. It is time to refuse to speak in terms of numbers, and start talking only in terms of people and real resources required to get things done.

That way we can avoid the nonsense of pretending submarine crew can become surgeons overnight. We can address the actual shortage of skilled staff without believing they will magically pop into being just because you’ve taxed some rich people.

And we can debate the actual use of the nation’s resources and ask if what people are currently doing is actually the best thing they could be doing.

The only constraint on government spending is the skills and real resources we have available. Trade is the same get rid of the numbers and actually look at what people are doing with the real resources instead. What type of real resources we receive from other countries. Why type of real resources you extinguish when you send them abroad and then run out of them.

No raid on wallets required. As taxes don't fund governments.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 1 2023 23:10 utc | 30

A meme my wife shared: Gas prices are rising again because China stopped its Covid crackdown. Of course, that's 100% absurd. China has noted it and this op/ed is a result, "Blaming China's economic recovery for global inflation? More nonsense from US media":

For years, the Western perception of the Chinese economy has alternated between two extremes: either the Chinese economy is at the cusp of collapsing - the "China collapse" theory - or the Chinese economy is rising so rapidly that it poses a threat to the world - the "China threat" theory. There is virtually no middle ground between the two totally contradicting narratives, though both serve the same goal - smearing China's socialist market economic system. Western media outlets switch between the two narratives at different times to best serve that goal.

Such a twisted, malign practice cannot be clearer than what we have seen over the past several weeks, as China moved to downgrade its COVID response, went through a COVID infection peak and embarked on a rapid economic recovery in such a short time span. The transitions happened so swiftly that the shift in Western media outlets' narrative of the Chinese economy could barely catch up. Before the Chinese Spring Festival holidays, many foreign media outlets made grim predictions about China's epidemic situation and economic recovery. Bloomberg on January 20 predicted a "COVID catastrophe" during the Chinese New Year, while CNN on January 18 claimed that a "COVID-19 tsunami" was brewing in the countryside amid the holiday travel rush.

And of course, China's Spring Festival is a smashing success.

Some of the info provided would make great material for comedians; Carlin would make much of the narrative swap. What's happening is NEVER the fault of the West; it's always somebody else's fault. I'm reminded of the Family Circus cartoon and the "Not Me" ghost. Bill Keane was very insightful with that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:22 utc | 31

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 1 2023 17:06 utc | 4
«2. One suspects that China will have a much shorter Nuclear War fuse than Russia if subjected to an(other) Unprovoked Attack by the CCCs.»

The PRC have an "absolutely never first use in any circumstance" policy, instead of "first use whenever we like" as the USA and UK, I think for quite traditional reasons, and "The Great Underground Wall of China" is designed not only to preserve retaliation capability in case of first use by an attacker, but also to make arming and launching a long and involved process (Pakistan have a similar policy) to make first use difficult.

Posted by: Blissex | Feb 1 2023 23:29 utc | 32

My last note today about China: Within this decade, China, Russia and India as well as other nations will cease being technologically dependent on the West, "Top meeting urges expedited establishment of new pattern of development":

China will ramp up efforts to stand on its own feet in science and technology and solve the issue of foreign stranglehold in the sphere, as part of a push for the country to become a global forerunner in key technological areas, according to key takeaways from the top leadership on Tuesday.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has stressed the efforts to accelerate the establishment of a new pattern of development and enhance the security and initiative of development when attending the second group study session of the Political Bureau of the 20th CPC Central Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

As the country eyes expediting the establishment of a new pattern of development, technological self-sufficiency and competitive yet secure supply chains will become all the more important, industry observers said, citing the US-led technology decoupling from China....

On top of that, the country will take accelerated steps toward science and technology self-sufficiency and self-strength and address foreign "stranglehold" issues, Xi said.

The actions by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals that began decades ago to thwart development within the Global South has finally blown-back onto their economies as becoming sovereign in all areas is now the goal of all Global South nations and is a Movement that will not be beaten back again as it was in the 1950-60s when it was first attempted. Recall that nobody holds a patent on Nature's Secrets; they can be discovered by anyone and used. The Global South holds a big advantage over the West in STEM grads and better economic models to follow to promote that advantage.

What remains to be seen in the future is the Global South's behavior towards the West: Can the urge to put the West down and trample on it as the West did to the Global South be resisted? Can Xi's vision of a Win-Win world of a shared human destiny triumph? Only Time will tell.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:44 utc | 33

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 1 2023 23:10 utc | 31
«The only constraint on government spending is the skills and real resources we have available.»

That's a pretty huge euphemism: what if the people who have the skills and the owners of the resources are unwilling to have them used by someone else? In practice history shows over some thousand of years that the only constraint on government spending is bullets (or swords or sticks etc.).

The claims above to me seems a classic case of someone discovering some useful ideas (functional finance recently re-labeled as MMT, the political economy as a factory instead of as a set of markets) and then reducing those to absurdity by stretching them to excess in their unremitting enthusiasm as new converts.

Posted by: Blissex | Feb 1 2023 23:48 utc | 34


Problem is, the "names" in the mainstream economics profession on both sides of the Atlantic, have been positioning themselves for over a year now, to say look didn’t our models do well. Just like they did after 2008. That’s how they have used Twitter to fool people. No surprise there.

It’s the voting public that needs to be convinced there is an alternative and they’ve been carpet bombed with nonsense from a 1000 feet. To the point, the majority still believe money is scarce and needs to be found and holes are in the budgets like that of a household so sacrifices have to be made. Sacrifices being a framing tool that will allow neoliberal reforms to continue faster than ever. Allow the forward planning of the FIRE sector to keep allocating both skills and real resources. Private investment will remain the key words over government spending making sure the rentier class stay in charge.

This is after everybody watched in real time in front of their TV dinners how things really worked up close. They still cannot connect the dots and will continue to vote against their own interests. Running alongside all that nonsense you have The rise of the moral elite.

Very few people are happy with the politics that we have. Few wouldn’t like it to be different than it is. Disillusion with democracy is high. Everything seems nasty all the time. This is is often explained as a result of the polarisation of political opinion between right and left, one that is seen as unbridgeable.

But is that really a sufficient explanation? There has always been a sharp polarisation between left and right thinking and it has seldom really been bridged. And the division, anger and nastiness we are currently seeing is ecumenical – liberals fighting liberals, left fighting left, right fighting right. Some of the greatest hostility is between people who share a broad political outlook.

So what is going on? How did we get here and, perhaps most importantly, how do we get back out of this again? Given that the start of 2023 (certainly in Scotland) seems more angry and divided than ever.

To begin with, how did we get here? To understand that it might be worth briefly familiarising yourself with a new philosophical theory recently espoused by a Professor at Cambridge University. You can summarise that theory quite easily. It goes as follows:

People define themselves through their decisions. It is the process of making decisions that enables us to find out who we really are. To deprive someone of the full agency to make those decisions entirely on their own without influence is to deprive them of their right to become who they are. Therefore if you offer advice to your friends or family you are acting immorally by removing their agency.

In other words if you think a friend is developing a problematic relationship with alcohol or has entered a toxic relationship and you say so in any form you are removing from the other person their right to make those mistakes and in so doing uncover their true self.

At first glance this seems nuts. Second glance too. We make our decisions based on information and the opinions of our loved ones is surely a useful piece of information? Surely it does not remove someone’s agency to offer them an opinion they are free to reject. Is NHS 24 immoral for removing people’s agency to discover their own cures? What if your friend asks you whether they should drink bleach? Let them find out for themselves?

This thesis is so detached from our normal understanding of how society (and a relationship) works that it seems odd it exists. But it isn’t – sadly it is a logical conclusion of where intellectual pursuit in the social sciences has been going.

The seeds of the change are sown in the 1960s as the progressives and social reformers started to deify individual liberty as the fundamental unit of a new, better, fairer world. ‘Be yourself’ as a revolutionary act in and of itself became a dominant idea.

This initially influenced culture more than it did politics or the social sciences, but then the post-war political settlement starts to unravel in the 1970s. By the time we get to the 1980s the idea of individuality has taken on an all-encompassing new importance. Collectivism is out of fashion; individualism conquers everything as the revolution grinds to a halt and the shopping begins.

(Of course, the irony is that this was happening during a major structural attacks on a large section of the population which was only partially able to defend itself through collective not individualist actions, but this is a swansong for collectivism for a decade or two.)

It is at this point that we reach the crucial moment – this accelerating trend of analysing society mainly from the individualist perspective is codified into an intellectual theory known as poststructuralism.

Without dwelling too long on social theory, the dominant model of understanding society from the Marx/Freud intellectual revolution onwards was structural. Society had big mainly (but not exclusively) economic and political structures which defined most human experience.

The arrival of the poststructuralists (Foucault, Lacan, Derrida) in the late 1970s and 1980s began to shift this focus. Rather than looking at the underlying structures of power, these theorists begin to analyse the way that power shapes and is shaped by individual identity. Rather than working out what made the elite the elite they instead focus on how the elite defend their position through language and control.

This means that rather than trying to show who has wealth and how they got it (for example), sociology in particular turns to an obsession with who controls what things mean and how they use that power to control society.

This was my primary focus when I was at university and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to understand how power exerts control through language. But there is a condition – this is the study of how power works, not why power exists as it does. If you give up on examining the underlying structures of the economy, no amount of linguistic analysis will properly explain poverty.

But during the 1990s that is exactly what the social sciences do; they give up on structuralism altogether (not least in the pointless detour into that most useless of intellectual cul de sacs, postmodernism) and everything becomes obsessed by the ways we interact with each other, the language we use, the subtle sign-systems which are everywhere in our lives.

This has massive consequences. Where before you understood social oppression largely in terms of who has economic and political power and how they use it (structuralism), now you understand it as an accumulation of individual social actions (poststructuralism). Society becomes an atomised system of individual behaviours.

Which in turn means that we are now viewing the world through the lens of who you are and how others behave towards you. In combination with hypercapitalism and the ‘shop because you’re worth it’ shift, who you are (your identity) becomes the fundamental building block of how you’re meant to see the world.

This leads a major shift from class politics to identity politics, from equality to diversity (where inequality is basically fine so long as the elite contains a fair representation of race, gender and sexuality), from negotiation to the concept of ‘validity’.

Validity is a concept impossible to see as anything other than the retrofitting of a justifying theory to what is little more than solipsism. This argues that whatever you think or feel, it is ‘valid’. Even if what you think is measurable, factually wrong, your feeling of it is ‘valid’, the experience of your thoughts and feelings is real for you. So if someone challenges your feelings, those feelings are being ‘invalidated’. Your truth has been devalued; you have been oppressed.

This opens up vistas of unrestrained relativism. You can define a kind of bespoke morality which has, fundamentally, inviolably, you at its centre. (Though please note that, what do you know, your ability to impose that bespoke morality on others is of course directly related to your economic power, almost as if economic power was still the real defining feature.)

And of course this new poststructuralist model of society is incredibly attractive to elites. If structural economic injustice is now secondary to individual moral action and you are in a position to define morality, you’re in an unassailable position.

The professor of sociology who used to have to acknowledge that their generous salary made them part of the problem could now keep their economic power and redefine themselves as the heroes by adjusting their individual actions. Corporations and financial elites absolutely love this stuff – the second they learned that activists would stop asking tricky questions about their use of sweatshop labour so long as they ran a special promotion for Pride Week they were all in.

Centrist politicians adore this shift too – put a statement of pronouns on their email footer and they can privatise the hell out of the public realm and yet still be progressives. And generations of activist students who used to have to reconcile their privileged economic position with their professed ethical position, well, didn’t have to bother any more.

In the next article I will make clear that there are important positives which have come out of the greater awareness of the social implications of language and sign systems, but the overwhelming impact has been to whitewash power and inequality and legitimise a neoliberal economic order by draping it in the language of individualised morality.

And from that point onwards, from the point that the elite rebrand themselves as the good guys through a tortured philosophical process which is in itself elite and exclusive, we are on an inescapable path to the nonsensical theories of a Cambridge professor who thinks the only moral world is one where we exist entirely isolated from each other in bubbles of our own making.

From there, perpetual and total conflict is inevitable.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 1 2023 23:56 utc | 35

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 22:07 utc | 20

That stuff about the Iraqi Silk Road and Dry Canal project is just a nonsense puff. It's just a revival of the ancient road that existed before the Suez Canal. It has some use, but it's not going to replace the Suez canal as the author claims. it has the same advantage as the China-Germany rail link: that it's faster than full sea travel, but slower than air freight, equally intermediate in cost.

Posted by: laguerre | Feb 2 2023 0:06 utc | 36

@Aleph_Null | Feb 1 2023 22:57 utc | 29

I see your point and agree: An isolated (as in "no other motifs and agenda) "intent" to destroy a group of people probably never applies to the many instances of genocide. If one substitutes "intent" with "ipso facto", then many policies which accept such destruction deserve the label "genocidal".

I include the (questioned in your OP) fate of the Native Americans explicitly in this perspective. On Nov.03, I posted (#80) a pertinent anecdote:

...loosely related to US immorality: I got a letter from a charity two weeks ago, begging for money for Native American children. In Germany. What a shame with all that money in God’s own country. What decay / neglect / robbing history behind this attempt alone!

Posted by: OttoE | Feb 2 2023 0:20 utc | 37


Who decides:

If there is only enough skills and real resources left to build a school. Or build a casino with a strip joint attached? Ultimately, it becomes a morale question and a community question.

May I suggest you look up " The battle of Skye bridge" for more details. How the People from the Isle of Skye in Scotland fought against an American banking cartel.

People vote for somebody to represent them if they promised to build more schools and win the election. Then what right does the unelected and unaccountable hoarder of real resources have to build the Casino and strip joint ?

We have planning laws for a reason.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 2 2023 0:23 utc | 38


What right does a US private healthcare company have to steal both the skills and real resources of the NHS. That the NHS needs. Just so the rentier class can put a toll on healthcare instead of free at the point of entry.In my view it is a morale and ethical question decided by the community.

In my world view The way to approach government procurement is as follows:

There are physical people in a nation. They all have labour hours for sale. Some are worth more than others because of skills and experience. A legislature is elected by those people to achieve an end. That legislature decides it needs some of those people to achieve that end, and it debates to set a price it is willing to pay. It sets that price relative to the labour hour of the unskilled individual.

If there are sufficient people who wish to choose public service over private fortune, then great, pay them the designated wage and off we go. They’ve crowded themselves out of the private sector and no further action is required.

If sufficient people don’t turn up, then the legislature needs to make people unemployed until the public service jobs get filled at the wage it is willing to pay. It does that by banning things and raising taxes, which crowds out the private sector in real terms.

Tax has one operational job† - releasing resources that the public sector wants to hire as part of its democratic mandate. Those of which they promised to do in their manifestos.

Government, on behalf of the legislature, then hires all those crowded out:

* those who were planned to be hired, via permanent public sector jobs.

* those who end up unemployed, because taxes and bans are not precise instruments, via the Job Guarantee.

The private sector is similarly imprecise and is incapable of clearing the labour market on its own. The Job Guarantee handles the fallout from the imprecision of both private and public sector activity.

This approach represents a completely different way of looking at the task of constructing a national economy. The private sector is the meat in the sandwich between the required public sector, and those who would otherwise be left unemployed.

Looking at the system people-first ensures everybody who wants to be hired in the monetary economy for wages gets a wage. This allows the economy to operate at a greater level of output than any other competing way of organising one. Yet, thanks to the stabilising and anchoring effects of the Job Guarantee, all while retaining stable prices.

Tax also has a functional task of driving the denomination across a currency area, but we’ll assume for the purposes of discussion that there is a large enough public sector here that the operational tax will do that job too. We’ll leave ‘how to do tiny government’ for another day. The false belief that there is ALWAYS a private sector with the cheque book open ready to hire ALL of the unemployed.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 2 2023 0:37 utc | 39

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:22 utc | 32
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:44 utc | 34

My thanks for those contributions on China. I have not commented for a while, not through any indisposition, far from it, so perhaps a brief update is due.

The western press’s reaction to China’s policy shift was laughable. I don’t read any of it directly but I do follow and their take that China was in chaos and the people very angry about it could not have been more wrong, nor written by anybody with any reliable source of information.

What actually happened was that during December we all went from knowing nobody who had had Covid to everybody having had it, and having recovered. This information does not rely on government sources but friends and family, their friends, and their friends’ friends, and so on. Everybody is delighted that life is back to as it was a year and more ago, with just a bit of mask wearing, but even that is now more honoured in the breach than in the observance.

Back now from the annual Xinnian holiday with epic numbers travelling again. My lady and I went to the far south of Yunnan by air and rail for two weeks close to the Myanmar border, a very interesting experience with many of China’s ethnic minorities resident in the region. The foremost group the Dai, don’t have any connection with my homeland Wales (sorry, a joke for the Welsh there) it is also rendered as Tai showing their connection to the Thai people.

OK, this is tending towards a lecture, I will finish by saying that this week China is cranking up again and next Monday will be back at full speed. Things to do, we have to prepare now for the US invasion.

Posted by: Walt | Feb 2 2023 0:48 utc | 40

The level of paranoia within the Outlaw US Empire is closing in on insane, "Pentagon Claims Proposed Chinese-Owned Mill by North Dakota Air Base Poses ‘Significant Threat’", which as we learn is a corn mill. The people of the town that were looking forward to the very much needed employment will continue to collect welfare or worse. That a corn mill presents a threat to national security is a titanic howler reminding me of Dr. Strangelove.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 0:50 utc | 41

Walt @41--

Thanks as always for your replies and additions. Maybe you should own and operate the mill since you're Western.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 0:53 utc | 42

@ Derek Henry

smoke this.. michael hudson from jan 29th..

Inflation’s Drivers on The Geopolitical Hour

Posted by: james | Feb 2 2023 1:09 utc | 43

RT Arabic interviewed FM Lavrov, the topic being Algeria, which I found unusual. The information provided an excellent insight into the state of Russian-Algerian relations and its chances of joining BRICS as you'll soon discover:

Question: In 2022, you met with your Algerian counterpart several times. He came to Moscow several times. You had a working visit to Algeria on May 10, 2022, at the same time intensive contacts continued between other departments in the field of energy, the military-industrial complex, and agriculture. At what level is our bilateral cooperation now? Can we say that Algeria today is Russia's key partner in the Arab world?

Sergey Lavrov: We have a long, good history of relations, which inspires respect and pride on the part of the Algerian and Russian peoples. They supported Algeria in the struggle for decolonization, freedom and independence. We recognized the Republic of Algeria in March 1962, a few months before the country's independence was officially declared in July 1962.

Since then, we have been developing close relations in all spheres. An intensive political dialogue has been established. President A. Tebboune in April 2022 and January 31, 2023 I had detailed telephone conversations with President Vladimir Putin, and Foreign Minister Robert Lamamra, whom I have known since my time in New York at our Mission to the United Nations, visited the Russian Federation in April 2022 as part of a delegation from the League of Arab States. Last May, I paid a working visit to Algeria, during which we held detailed talks with Foreign Minister Recep Talammra and had a long-term conversation with President Tebboune. The Algerian leader truly deeply understands the nature, history and future of our bilateral strategic partnership.

Algeria was the first country on the African continent with which we signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership in 2001. This document remains the foundation of Russian-Algerian relations and ensures the special and privileged nature of our ties.

If we talk about contacts at the political level, then in September 2022, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, we had another meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ANDR.

In 2022, events were held that showed the presence of a good material base, on which political interaction relies. In particular, in September of this year, the 10th regular meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was held in Algeria. Shortly before that, in August last year, the 25th meeting of the intergovernmental Russian-Algerian commission on military-technical cooperation was held. In September 2022, the Vostok-2022 military exercises were held on the territory of Russia, in which Algerian servicemen participated, and in November of the same year, Russian units took part in command post exercises in the province of Bechar, in Algeria.

There is an intensive dialogue in all spheres of life, the state, the people, including in the field of humanitarian and educational ties.

It is possible and necessary to do more, primarily in the field of material cooperation. We have a fairly impressive amount of trade and economic cooperation. Algeria is among Russia's leading partners on the African continent, but the potential has not yet been exhausted, especially in the fields of energy, agriculture and pharmaceuticals. The Intergovernmental Commission I have mentioned is working in this area.

Question: In your opinion, speaking about Russian-Algerian relations in the energy sector, including within the framework of OPEC Plus, are we partners or competitors?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, partners, and not only within the framework of OPEC Plus. As for energy issues, in addition to OPEC Plus, there is also the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, in which both Russia and Algeria are actively participating.

Recently, at the regular ministerial meeting of OPEC Plus, a decision was made that confirmed the coordinated, unified approach of all participants of this association to the regulation of the oil and oil products market based on the balance of interests of producers and consumers. This step caused a painful reaction of those who wanted this market to serve only their interests to the detriment of the producers of "black gold". "OPEC Plus" defended its position and proved that this format is a serious, independent and reliable association of responsible states.

The same can be said about the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, within the framework of which the main approaches of states supplying pipe and liquefied natural gas to world markets are coordinated. Russia and Algeria have a complete coincidence of positions here. We strive to ensure that the markets are stable. To do this, one should not try to "play" with prices and artificially "throw" them in one direction or another, as the United States and its allies are trying to do with regard to Russian oil and gas.

Question: Despite Western pressure, Algeria has not joined the anti-Russian sanctions. Now in the United States there are calls to introduce restrictions against Algeria itself because of its cooperation with Russia. Do you think this can somehow affect the policy of the Algerian authorities in the Russian direction?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that a group of 27 US congressmen made a special appeal to Secretary of State E. Blinken, in which they expressed indignation at the Algerian side's non-alignment with anti-Russian sanctions. In this regard, they proposed to "punish" Algeria, to bring the country's policy under the law "On Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions".

In Russia, there is a stable phrase – "the wrong one was attacked." Algerians are not a people to whom something can be "dictated", expecting that "at the snap of the fingers" from overseas they will obediently carry out instructions that directly contradict their national interests. Like the vast majority of other States, Algeria is a country that respects itself, its history and its interests. It is on the basis of this that the Republic builds its policy, not relying on behind-the-scenes agreements with those who promise "carrots", but in fact is only trying to infringe on the legitimate interests of their "partners".

Question: Algeria has now applied to join BRICS. How soon can this happen and how will the status of this association change with the entry of such a strong regional player?

Sergey Lavrov: Official applications for accession have already been received from several states. The number of such requests exceeds the initial number of BRICS members – more than five. Algeria is among these countries. At the recent events of the Five, held this year under the presidency of China, we agreed on the need to develop common approaches to such appeals. As a first step, we agree on the criteria, parameters and conditions for the admission of new members to our association. Algeria, in all its qualities, is among the leaders of the contenders.

We are promoting not only theoretical, conceptual agreements that should determine the parameters and criteria for the admission of new members, but also developing in parallel practical cooperation with those who are interested in this. In June 2022, the XIV BRICS Summit was held via videoconference under the chairmanship of Xi Jinping. President A. Tebboune was among the invited guests and participated in this event. There was an interesting discussion. There were three times as many guests as there were BRICS members. A good half of them want to have stable ties with our association. We must find a format that reflects the legitimate interests of these states in promoting, together with BRICS, the principles of justice and democracy in international political and economic relations. The structures of future cooperation will not depend on the whim of only one group of countries, especially one sovereign, as is the case with the United States, which grossly abuses the role of the dollar in the international monetary and financial system and its other monopoly positions, which for many years were built under the slogan of "globalization". It has been proved that for the sake of short-term conjuncture in the sphere of foreign policy and the realization of its imperial ambitions, Washington can overnight abandon the principles of market freedom and fair competition, the presumption of innocence and much more, which for many decades was promoted as the fundamental foundations of the very "globalization" into which everyone was so "dragged". Now the US is trying to abuse its monopoly position.

BRICS reflects a deep tendency to counter such injustices and build mechanisms that help to get rid of the harmful dependence on the tools of those who think about their own benefit at the expense of the interests of others.

I am convinced that in the coming years we will see concrete results in the expansion of BRICS and the number of its partners, which will promote the goals and objectives agreed between all participants.

Q: Will the name change?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a separate issue. There may be several options, but BRICS, as a brand, has already taken place.

The reasons Lavrov cites for the downfall of the Empire's globalization project are very clear and as he noted apply to most nations. When the reckoning is done decades from now, historians will conclude that the Outlaw US Empire caused its own downfall, although they might not agree with my reason--Pleonexia: Rome's disease.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 1:51 utc | 44

Major African bloc refuses to follow Outlaw US Empire diktat, "African nations resist US by taking non-aligned stance in conflicts outside continent: The summit in Windhoek was attended by the heads of state and government of Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, and South Africa, as well as relevant ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique."

Here's the entire TASS report:

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brings together 16 states in the southern part of the continent, has called on its members to stick to a non-aligned stance on conflicts outside Africa, including the crisis in Ukraine. The decision was taken at the extraordinary summit of the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, held on January 31 in the Namibian capital of Windhoek.

"[The] summit <..> reaffirmed the stance of Non-Alignment on conflicts outside the continent and the region at multilateral forums," the sides said in a final communique, published on Wednesday on the website of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

With that in mind, the summit adopted the draft African Union Declaration based on the US House of Representatives’ ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act’. According to the African News Agency (ANA), the SADC criticized the US government for trying to unduly influence African foreign policy by imposing punitive measures on those who support Russia in the current crisis in Ukraine.

The summit in Windhoek was attended by the heads of state and government of Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, and South Africa, as well as relevant ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique.

On April 27, 2022, the US House of Representatives passed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act by a bipartisan vote of 419 to 9. It has been sent to the Senate. The ANA notes that the bill is worded carefully to allow the US State Department to attempt to interfere with Russian policy in Africa, including military assistance and any actions that Washington deems a ‘malign influence.’

The continuing efforts at extraterritoriality will not accomplish what Congress envisions and will only serve to push other nations further away--something they are clearly too blind to see. Note the lockstep in the vote. Almost the entire Congress is Imperialist yet imagine themselves to be democratic.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 2:00 utc | 45

Azerbiajan continues to pose problems:

Azerbaijani Interior Ministry officers have detained 39 people as part of a special operation to uncover subversive activities in the country ‘under the guise of religion’, the Azerbaijani news agency APA reported on Wednesday.

"The special operation conducted in Azerbaijan by Interior Ministry officers led to the detention of 39 people who carried out subversive activities on the territory of the country under the guise of religion," the agency reported. According to its information, the detainees, "posing as believers, made propaganda for Iran on social networks and abused the freedom of religion in the country, carrying out the assignments of the Iranian special services."

Last Tuesday, Azerbaijan's Trend news agency reported on a special operation conducted by the Interior Ministry against the Iranian cell in the country, during which seven people were detained. According to Trend, the operation was carried out in Baku and several Azerbaijani regions, including the editorial offices of pro-Iranian news publications ’Shalam News’ and ‘InterAz’.

Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan previously told Al-Monitor that Armenia had intelligence that Azerbaijan was preparing a large-scale aggression against Armenia in September 2022, which was thwarted thanks to Iran's actions.

"We had intelligence that Azerbaijan was preparing a large-scale aggression when it attacked Armenia last September. Iran's actions and reports helped prevent the situation from further degradation. Iran is a key partner for Armenia. The border with Iran is of paramount importance to Yerevan. We have two closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, so the only gate to the outside world is through Iran and Georgia," Kostanyan said.

I remain convinced that the Empire is behind Azeri behavior, and I trust Iran far more. The Empire is in deep dire straits and is pulling every string to try and avert disaster for itself. That's THE point of everything it's doing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 2:11 utc | 46

Concerning the increased escalation in NATO's war against Russia, AND US generals statements of the coming war with CHINA!
We must stop this madness by helping bring into being a new security and development architecture for ALL nations: Tune into Feb 4th Schiller Institute Online Conference “The Age of Reason or the Annihilation of Humanity?”.

Program Panel 1: How Nuclear World War III Can Be Avoided 10:00 am EST; 4:00 pm CET) Panel 2: The Name of Peace: A New Security and Economic Development Architecture 2:00 pm EST; 8:00 pm CET speakers include :Helga Zepp-LaRouche (Germany), Founder, The Schiller Institute: H. E. Donald Ramotar (Guyana) former President of Guyana,Former US Amb. Chas Freeman (United States),Diane Sare (United States), candidate for U.S. Senate (New York); Nick Brana (United States), National Chairman, People’s Party; Angela McArdle (United States), Chairwoman, Libertarian National Committee: “Can Americans Put Aside Their Divisions to Stop Nuclear War?” and leaders from Europe,Asia,Africa, Latin America

Posted by: Marty | Feb 2 2023 2:22 utc | 47

@ Akito | Feb 1 2023 20:40 utc | 16
re: Looks like Indians are more for Kiev than for Moscow. Sushant Singh wrote about the superficiality of this 'alliance'.
.."looks like" you'd better have an eye test. . .

from VOA
India Remains Steadfast in Partnership with Russia
New Delhi —

Despite pressure from Western countries, India has remained steadfast in its partnership with Russia, refusing to condemn the war in Ukraine and not joining Western sanctions against Moscow. On a visit to Moscow last month, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said New Delhi will boost economic ties with its Cold War ally.
“For us, Russia has been a steady and time-tested partner and, as I said, any objective evaluation of our relationship over many decades would confirm that it has served both our countries very, very well,” he said.
New Delhi has not joined Western sanctions imposed on Russia and has abstained from United Nations resolutions condemning Moscow over its aggression.
Analysts say with India’s military heavily dependent on tanks, fighter jets and other equipment of Russian origin, it could not afford to isolate Moscow, particularly at a time when tensions with China are running high with both armies massed for a third winter along their disputed Himalayan border.
“If your soldiers are facing the Chinese, you can’t really take on the one country that is supplying you weapons. That defense relationship India shares with Russia made India choose a more pragmatic engagement,” said Harsh Pant, Vice President for Studies and Foreign policy at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
Rebuffing calls by Western leaders to not buy Russian crude, India increased its purchases of oil, coal and fertilizers from Moscow. From less than one percent before the war began, Russia became a top supplier to New Delhi of oil by the year’s end. Indian officials said that buying oil from Moscow was to the country’s advantage and it would continue to do so. India also sent a contingent to participate in Russia’s large-scale Vostok military exercises alongside China and several other countries in August. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 2:55 utc | 48

I think nobody notices an unexpected and unprecedencet removal of Vietnamese president.

Indian Punchline has a short analisis of the situation and claims that it's related to purge of NATO fraction by Chinese fraction.

Vietnam won't be next Ukraine, hopefully, then.

Posted by: Martin | Feb 2 2023 2:59 utc | 49

@ karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 1:51 utc | 45
. . .re: Lavrov in Algeria. . .also in the area. . .

The US, with France and Spain, have long had close ties with Morocco, on Algeria's western border.
. . . .yesterday, from State:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on shared priorities in the bilateral relationship and efforts to advance regional stability. Secretary Blinken also discussed his recent travel and engagements with Egyptian, Israeli, and Palestinian leaders, during which he called for deescalation and an end to the cycle of violence. The Secretary commended the Foreign Minister for Morocco’s commitment to promoting peace and security in the region, including through Morocco’s participation in the Negev Forum. . . .here

Blinken called for deescalation and an end to the cycle of violence! . . .We can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:11 utc | 50

@ karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 1:51 utc | 45
. . .re: Lavrov in Algeria. . .also in the area. . .

The US, with France and Spain, have long had close ties with Morocco, on Algeria's western border.
. . . .yesterday, from State:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on shared priorities in the bilateral relationship and efforts to advance regional stability. Secretary Blinken also discussed his recent travel and engagements with Egyptian, Israeli, and Palestinian leaders, during which he called for deescalation and an end to the cycle of violence. The Secretary commended the Foreign Minister for Morocco’s commitment to promoting peace and security in the region, including through Morocco’s participation in the Negev Forum. . . .here

Blinken called for deescalation and an end to the cycle of violence! . . .We can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:11 utc | 51

@ karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 0:50 utc | 42
re: "Pentagon Claims Proposed Chinese-Owned Mill by North Dakota Air Base Poses ‘Significant Threat’"

Memories of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), except then it was against Chinese laborers (who had a significant contribution to US railroad building in the west) and now it's against Chinese companies.
PS: I know that you probably know this but perhaps some readers are interested.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:19 utc | 52

@ karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 0:50 utc | 42

Corn has ears.

Posted by: John Kennard | Feb 2 2023 3:23 utc | 53

Just to add to the humor about Chinese, let's spread the joy - -
January 30, 2023 (Washington D.C.) -- Congressman Darrell Issa (R-48) has introduced the Saving Our Invaluable Land (SOIL) Act, which would prohibit China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing land within 10 miles of sensitive U.S. agencies and strategic sites, including military bases and federally-funded research labs.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:25 utc | 54

@ Martin | Feb 2 2023 2:59 utc | 50
Existing communist states in the world are in China, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. Gotta stick together, if petty differences can be overcome.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:37 utc | 55

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 3:19 utc | 53

Remarkably, the Chinese Exclusion Act remained on the books until 1943.

Wikipedia says:

The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by the 1943 Magnuson Act when China had become an ally of the U.S. against Japan in World War II, as the U.S. needed to embody an image of fairness and justice.

Fairness and justice eh? But only "an image".

What a great country.

Posted by: Walt | Feb 2 2023 4:20 utc | 56

@Walt | Feb 2 2023 4:20 utc | 57
Yes, China was an ally against Japan. At the Potsdam Conference On July 26, 1945, came the Potsdam Declaration including:
The "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine"

Then in September 1951 came the Treaty of San Francisco, also called the Treaty of Peace with Japan which re-established peaceful relations between Japan and the Allied Powers on behalf of the United Nations by ending the legal state of war and providing for redress for hostile actions up to and including World War II. It was signed by 49 nations on 8 September 1951, in San Francisco, California. But the new China government was not invited, and all the islands between Japan and China were granted to Japan, a reversal of the Potsdam Declaration which still alarms China.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 4:35 utc | 57

The US has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines . . .here . . .image here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 4:52 utc | 58

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 4:52 utc | 59

What a disappointment. I thought Marcos would have more backbone. I guess they made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

I have long regarded the Philippines, and Palawan island (it's not a location like the other spots, it's the name of the whole island) in particular, as a refuge from the ongoing madness, but now it too will be dragged into it. If that blob on the map has any accuracy then they have picked on the nicest spot on the west coast, the sheltered harbour of Port Barton, to ruin. Well I'll be back there in a few months, we'll soon find out.

Posted by: Walt | Feb 2 2023 5:20 utc | 59

I have a question. May be I am uninformed but a question shouldn´t be the problem:

There is constant talk about how this war will ruin the US and the West and lead to its downfall.

In the Vietnam Interview with Noam Chomsky which I linked here the other day he states that for the US this war so far works out perfectly well beause they got the war they were rooting and that for a fraction of what it costs the Russians. In comparison the US pays virtually nothing.

And so far I don´t see why that assessment shouldn´t be correct.

Whatever outcome, unless there is truly atomic bombs at least hitting European soil, the US seems the winner in the end economically and financially. At least compared with the status quo ante.

But may be I overlook some issues.

Posted by: AG | Feb 2 2023 5:28 utc | 60

The US has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines . . .here . . .image here
Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 4:52 utc | 59

it is just sickening to watch the US continue to play this ugly game in the face of so much war and suffering already happening. Just this Philippines move alone makes it clear there will be no cooler heads prevailing in Washington. While the US MIC is still making record profits nothing will change. Currently these parasites are absolutely NOT losing the war in Ukraine.

There are a few old timers here at the bar who remind everyone regularly that the US apparently losing a war is not the measure, the measure is in the corporate profits. This is why it's no simple matter for Russia or any country in the axis of resistance. Every war makes the MIC stronger, no matter the outcome.

Posted by: K | Feb 2 2023 6:27 utc | 61

But may be I overlook some issues.
Posted by: AG | Feb 2 2023 5:28 utc | 61

yes you did.

The people of the US are not the winners the MIC + pharma + big Ag and Chemical are the winners (for now) and they are not you nor do they intend in sharing with you. For the American people things will just get worse.

Posted by: K | Feb 2 2023 6:30 utc | 62

@ Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 4:52 utc | 59
@ Walt | Feb 2 2023 5:20 utc | 60

Oh fark. Had been hoping Marcos was genuine in his stated position, wouldn't cave. Obviously they managed to leverage/coerce him. Now, 125 years since we betrayed, slaughtered, occupied, exploited and interfered & 'used' the Phillipinos throughout for our own ends through to the current day, we're going to drag them back under & screw 'em over badly yet again, re China. :(

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 2 2023 7:55 utc | 63

Sheeet! even this quiet corner of the bar appears to be gathering weird attention seekers throwing out all sorts of baited hooks in the hope they'll pull in some fish who will acknowledge their presence.

I 've no problem with people doin' that who present interesting and original arguments but when it's just someone regurgitating a bunch of by the numbers truisms (esp when poster subscribes to some homogenised discipline), those of us who wouldn't dream of such a thing or who have no interest in the well worn cliches of a slothful academia are left gobsmacked or otherwise appalled and wait for the thread to return to some form of interesting argument.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 2 2023 8:46 utc | 64

karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 1:51 utc | 45

Re: Brics and Algeria etc.
Thanks as usual for the information!

It strikes me that the "BRICS+" itself could form the basis for a new (rival) currency/financial system as well as a political union. Not only to the dollar, but also to the touted CBDC's that are supposed to be issued in the future by the IMF, WB and the BIS controlled "central" Banks system.

Any form of "currency" or cryptocash issued by already existing organizations will be under US control and beneficial to them. In fact, the "basket" of currrencies would be used to support the dollar at a certain level. Something that should not be considered the "best" solution. Alternatively a BRICS+ based currency unit (I am not refering to any specific type of currency medium) would have certain advantages for it's participants, as it would exclude (could be made to exclude?) the Central Bank monopoly and the "tied to an International rules based grouping".

Algeria and others would NOT surrender their individual currency sovereignty to Washington, but would have standing in a freely associative alternative, where their sovereign rights could be more accurately calculated. It would also reduce, if not completely eliminate financial pressure from the US to "conform" to US-istan's objectives.

Well - only a suggestion!

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 2 2023 9:33 utc | 65

karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 1:51 utc | 45

Algeria, don't be surprised Karl, something to watch closely for us on the Mediterranean shores, Morocco is being transformed into a Colombia in Africa, we have to be on guard concerning the empire's games in Africa.

There is another longer interview in Russia24, for the time being not even a transcript yet, but it'll be there by the time you guys wake up on the west coast.

Posted by: Paco | Feb 2 2023 9:43 utc | 66

I was just looking at my World map, and - I’m in Canadia - particularly Alaska. And remembering something about Russia leasing Alaska to the US for 99 years, over 100 years ago. And did a little search.

“Alaska was leased to the U.S. for 99 years... What?”

Now I know well enough not to take any internet source for granted. So does anybody know the skinny on this ? And how likely is anything to come of it ?

Posted by: Featherless | Feb 2 2023 11:44 utc | 67

@ Derek Henry

Thank you for explaining Economics in an accessible way. When I started learning Geopolitics, I soon thought “Oh crap, I don’t want to have to learn Economics.” But the way you explain it makes sense to me. (I have ADD)

Kinda like when someone explained to me how the Petro-dollar works. Good and important stuff !

Thank you !

Posted by: Featherless | Feb 2 2023 12:12 utc | 68

they have picked on the nicest spot on the west coast, the sheltered harbour of Port Barton, to ruin. Well I'll be back there in a few months, we'll soon find out.

Posted by: Walt | Feb 2 2023 5:20 utc | 60

Bombs over Bikini: The World's First Nuclear Disaster

Bob Hope, 1947

"As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on Earth that hadn't been touched by war and blew it to hell"


Trouble in paradise_
Three people arrested in Gangjeong, South Korea, protesting naval base construction

Counterpunch ..
When the Pentagon Kill Machines Came to an Okinawan Paradise »

NVSE -- Paradise Invaded The U.S. Navy Bombs Puerto Rico

John Pilger
Diego Garcia,
Paradise Cleansed

over 5,000 animals for radioactive experimentation

Ph, paradise turned into ugly gringo base

Another one bites the dust...
Vicenza, paradise in northern Italy appropriated by USAss

Tip of an iceberg

I might've missed some.

Posted by: denk | Feb 2 2023 13:26 utc | 69

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 2 2023 8:46 utc | 65

Have you watched the sci-fi
<>Wandering Earth II ?

Posted by: denk | Feb 2 2023 13:30 utc | 70

@ Walt | Feb 2 2023 5:20 utc | 60
@ K | Feb 2 2023 6:27 utc | 62
@ Outraged | Feb 2 2023 7:55 utc | 64

I wouldn't give up on Marcos
(1) It's only "access" to bases
(2) Marcos needs China for BRI investments

Philippines' Marcos Vows to 'Strengthen' China Ties on Beijing Trip

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos said Wednesday he hoped to strengthen ties with Beijing on his first state visit to China since taking office.
China and the Philippines are at odds over the hotly disputed South China Sea, with Marcos expected to sign a deal in Beijing this week to establish direct communication on maritime issues.
Manila considers it "of primary importance to... strengthen the relationship between China and the Philippines", Marcos said in a meeting on Wednesday with top Chinese legislator Li Zhanshu.
Marcos, who is also expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, said he hoped for "partnerships that will stabilize and strengthen all of our economies".
Up to 14 bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during Marcos's visit, which ends on Thursday.
The Philippine government said last week both sides would sign a communication agreement to "avoid miscalculation and miscommunication in the West Philippine Sea", referring to the part of the South China Sea that it claims. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 13:32 utc | 71

re: Philippines
I'm sorry that I didn't post a complete story -- I was in a hurry and I mislead readers.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 13:37 utc | 72

Jimmy Dore to fucker carlson

China is not our enemy you dickhead !



Posted by: denk | Feb 2 2023 14:08 utc | 73

It's Lavrov vs. Blinken on Syria settlement. Guess who will prevail.

Lavrov welcomes decision to involve Iran in Turkey-Syria normalization talks
MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Russia can see the sense in involving Iran in further meetings on the Turkey-Syria settlement, Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday as he added that a relevant agreement had been reached.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tehran could join normalization talks between Ankara and Damascus, which currently also involve Moscow. . .here

Representatives of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States met at the envoys level in Geneva with UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen on January 24 to discuss the crisis in Syria. 
Begin Text:
We reaffirmed our steadfast support for UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen’s efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.  We expressed our firm commitment to the implementation of all aspects of UNSCR 2254, including a nation-wide ceasefire, the release of any arbitrarily detained persons, free and fair elections, and the need to build conditions for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, consistent with UN standards.  UNSCR 2254 remains the only viable solution to the conflict, and we look forward to working with partners in the region and opposition to engage fully under this framework, including the reciprocal step-for-step process, through the UN Special Envoy to ensure that a durable political solution remains within reach. . .. .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 2 2023 14:24 utc | 74

@ Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 2 2023 0:37 utc | 40

Job guarantee... Is precisely how the USSR worked, for a couple of generations, according to the nostalgia of my domestic partner. Naturally, she and her parents were near the top of the socialist hierarchy.

Much of what you say is correct.

However, I worked in the public sector for a decade and a half in the last century. There is a significant number of employees who are worse than useless, i.e. they prevent or obstruct useful work from getting done in a timely manner. From what I hear from people today, the ratio of new workers who are capable of production, as opposed to those who are obstructive is declining, at least in North America.

So we import the good ones (via student visas and points based immigration here in Canada) from abroad, which in turn hinders development and growth in those countries.

Then there is job loss due to automation and cheap energy. The latter appears to be ending. The benefits of automation are unevenly distributed.

So paying people not to work has benefits to the people who are capable of work, even if the producers resent it. And a job guarantee becomes basic income guarantee.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 2 2023 14:49 utc | 75

Be alert.......AI is expanding at a rapid pace. Do we really want to go there?

Humans think because they can, it shall be done even with self-harm to extinction.

This is a mile too far. Coming to a hospital near you. AI in ER.

Medical News

AI Bot "ChatGPT" Passes US Medical Licensing Exams Without Cramming
Also passes exams for MBA courses.

All well and good the theory. What about years of practical experience.......that of supervised internship in clinics and hospital venues?

Those developing robotics/AI give no thought of consequences:

the need for social human interactions?

tax revenues?

will robots shop or pay taxes?

will there be a need for governments and career politicians? whaaaaaaaaah

Any job categories except where critical thinking is required goes bye bye.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 2 2023 14:52 utc | 76

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:44 utc | 34

Dear @karlof1,

Thank you for your post, quite informative as always. I'll add (and sorry if I'm late and another barfly has already done it..) that pursuing technological self-suficiency as much as possible, altough not so explicit, is one amongst the objectives of the PRC's state initiative "Made in China 2025", made public in 2015.

For the ones interested in, a brief overview of this initiave can be found in this report from then (and still) PRC's Prime Minister Li Keqiang:

Posted by: C Khosta y Alzamendi | Feb 2 2023 15:16 utc | 77

Posted by: denk | Feb 2 2023 13:30 utc | 71

Can you post a link to watch this online? I can't find one, only ads. Thanks.

Posted by: morongobill | Feb 2 2023 15:35 utc | 78

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seems to be on a roll today. Several TASS articles quoting him seemed worth mention here. The first (going by TASS's article timestamp), Final solution to the Russian question? German politicians eye revival of Fascism — Lavrov, includes the following:

According to the top diplomat, in its pursuit of "the final solution to the Russian question", the West is gunning to hand Russia "a strategic defeat so it won’t recover for a long time." "Is this not racism, is this not Nazism, is this not an attempt at the ‘final solution to the Russian question?" he pondered. "Yes, not yet in gas chambers at this point. There are still a lot of decent people in Germany who won’t permit the revival of Fascism but there are also those who wouldn’t be against it at all," he insisted.

The Russian foreign minister noted that now, just like during the Great Patriotic War, Nazi dogma is being used against Russia."Why do people refuse to see the Nazi ideology that lies at the heart of the Kiev regime?" he wondered. "And all these statements voiced by its enthusiasts and puppeteers are impossible to be perceived as anything other than an attempt at the final solution to the Russian question," he stressed.

"This is why we are in the epicenter of a geopolitical battle," Lavrov stressed. "There is no sense in doubting this and those who are confronting practical tasks on the frontlines are doing the most important thing. They are heroes and the feats they perform are feats for the sake of mankind’s future," he added.

Posted by: David Levin | Feb 2 2023 15:36 utc | 79

A second nugget from Lavrov, US authorities try to suppress societal split using authoritarian methods — Lavrov, includes the following:

That said, the US is also seeking to make the rest of the world forget about its history by "spreading a new 'free democracy' everywhere," as it did to its own country, the top diplomat noted.

"[US National Security Advisor] Jake Sullivan <...> wrote a whole article where he once again discussed the subject of exceptionalism and said outright, I think, an awful thing: ‘No vision of American exceptionalism can succeed if the United States does not defeat the emerging vision that emphasizes ethnic and cultural identity’."

This means only one thing: everyone else is denied the right to remember their history. And the Americans want to take everybody through the ‘melting pot’ like they ‘melted’ all the people who came to America in their time, so that they all, in fact, will be American," Lavrov stated.

Posted by: David Levin | Feb 2 2023 15:40 utc | 80

Not only Lavrov, Putin's address during Stalingrad's aniversary, while the European US servants visit Kiev promissing more sanctions. Germany is asking for it, and it might get it, again.

Posted by: Paco | Feb 2 2023 15:40 utc | 81

The third piece in what I deemed today's Lavrov sampler, Quality of Russia-China relations superior to classic military alliances — Lavrov, contains the following (bold added):

He reiterated that it took Russia 17 years to join the WTO, and upon entering the organization, the country accepted their rules, which "in general, were the rules of fair competition."Now, it has all been ruined," Lavrov said with regret. "The work of the Dispute Settlement Body was blocked in the WTO precisely because China is beating America on its own playing field by its own rules and has every reason to demand compensation, which it will certainly be awarded by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, if the US allows this body to work," he added.

According to the foreign minister, the Americans take "a purely bureaucratic and, in the worst sense of the word, Soviet party approach" - they "simply block the appointment of new members of this body to existing vacancies, and there is no quorum there."

"This has been going on for years," Lavrov summed up. "That's exactly because China will win all these disputes with the US, they have started a reform of the WTO, publicly stating that this reform should be based on the interests of the US and the European Union. And all the rest will be told where they belong and how to behave," he stressed.

Posted by: David Levin | Feb 2 2023 15:45 utc | 82

The fourth and last passage from Lavrov in my micro-series, from Western politicians deserve peace prize if they promote equality of countries — Lavrov, includes the following:

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin explained in detail the goals, reasons and inevitability of our special military operation," the minister continued. "Moreover, he did it not just suddenly, but after long eight years, even longer than that, starting from the Munich speech of 2007. For many years he explained to the West that they were steering in the wrong direction and undermining everything that they themselves committed to enforce, including the indivisibility of security in Europe."

According to Lavrov, "the US and all Westerners, whom the United States has subjugated, depriving the European Union of the last signs of at least some independence, understand democracy as their right to impose their understanding of democracy on everyone else."

"And as soon as you talk to them about the need for democratic approaches in resolving international issues, they don’t show any enthusiasm," the minister said.

Posted by: David Levin | Feb 2 2023 15:58 utc | 83

Posted by: morongobill | Feb 2 2023 15:35 utc | 79

I only watched a few reviews and find the trailers impressive.

Posted by: denk | Feb 2 2023 16:09 utc | 84

is derek henry a bot?

Posted by: james | Feb 2 2023 16:46 utc | 85

Thanks for the many replies and additions. Yes, very disappointed but not at all surprised by Marcos as I watched what his father did.

Paco. Yes, we must watch developments in Morocco. Lavrov sounded positive on Algeria's admission to BRICS+. I'm hoping the former French African colonies can combine together into their own bloc for developmental purposes. Indeed, I'm very positive about Africa's overall development.

On the Corn Mill, Global Times attacked that decision in today's editorial, saying in agreement with what the city's mayor initially said about opposition to the project that it's "a large push away from globalization." An important excerpt:

"Even the New York Times admitted that the project had been welcomed as an economic development success. So why did the dramatic reversal occur in just a few months? What is the force and emotion driving behind? The attitudes of people like Bochenski and Burgum have changed so much that it is not normal. While questioning these, we have made many discoveries worth deep thinking. They reflect the complete process of how Americans' pragmatic rationality toward China has been eroded, coerced, and slowly deteriorated, and even reveal the internal logic of why today's China-US relations have gone so distorted." [My Emphasis]

Given the fact that there's essentially no investment being made in the Empire's Real Economy and as the article notes the poverty rate in the small city of Grand Forks is 18%--well above the national average--one wonders if it was a French company would the same objections be raised. The editorial closes with its own answer to that:

Throughout the whole incident, economic laws and market principles have been squeezed to the corner step by step by so called political and security concerns. A normal investment project has been sabotaged by abnormal means to the extent that the business environment of the US is as uncertain and unpredictable as a country in political turmoil and it doesn't look like a mature market. "National security" is like the sword of Damocles, hanging over the heads of all foreign companies in the US. This corn mill plant storm has not yet settled, and it should cause more Americans to reflect deeply.

At the same time, for those Chinese companies considering investing in the US, this incident is also a wake-up call. Even in a sparsely populated remote area like North Dakota, the so-called national security may destroy normal investment projects at any time.

China's will need to become inventive in finding ways to rid itself of its dollar debt holdings for they won't be allowed to do anything within the Empire on the grounds of national security.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 17:04 utc | 86

Further trouble, "US' illegal confiscation of Xinjiang products destabilizes global supply chain, will ultimately harm itself":

The US' use of the non-existent "forced labor" issue as an excuse to illegally confiscate products from China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region destabilizes the international supply chain, and will ultimately harm the interests of the US itself, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, warning that China will take necessary measures to defend the rights of Chinese enterprises.

The remarks were made after Bloomberg reported Thursday that the US is beginning to confiscate imports of aluminum products suspected of "being made through forced labor," particularly from the Xinjiang region, quoting one of the world's biggest shipping firms Maersk.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun issuing confiscation notices on aluminum products under the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), according to a notice through Maersk's official website.

A spokesperson from Maersk told the Global Times on Thursday that the notice is just a routine notification to remind customers of the latest legislation from the US.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Thursday that the US is once again using the non-existent issue of "forced labor" in the Xinjiang region as an excuse to politicize normal economic and trade cooperation.

The pukes in Washington and fucking insane. IMO, China ought to suspend all exports to the Outlaw US Empire for 90 days to teach it a lesson about its degree of geoeconomic dependence on China. Yes, I know China's not politically ready to take that step, but it ought to make a public statement that it's thinking about such a measure.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 17:16 utc | 87

The Lavrov interview transcript with Channel 24 and RIA Novosti is now ready. I've only read a few highlights provided by this TASS review. I'll be posting the entire transcript to my VK.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 17:24 utc | 88

@ karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 17:16 utc | 87

Insanely utterly self-defeating. Nuts.

Thank you for your labors & posts. Cheers.


@ james | Feb 2 2023 16:46 utc | 85

Ye are not alone ... how difficult would it be to train an AI bot specifically targeting this forum using multiple socks.


Posted by: Outraged | Feb 2 2023 17:32 utc | 89

What's happening is NEVER the fault of the West; it's always somebody else's fault.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 1 2023 23:22 utc | 32


Maybe people in the US should take something like this a little more to heart. :)

Posted by: Nobody | Feb 2 2023 18:50 utc | 90

I want to make one comment that explains the current situation in the U.S. and in Ukraine and in the world:
The basic reason why the neo-cons have been attacking and demonizing Russia for the past years is because they do not want the two most powerful Christian nations to become friends. In order to understand this reasoning, you have to understand that all the central banks of the west are privately owned by jews, and that it is these international jews who actually have all the power and control everything in the west. The fact that you are not allowed to criticize jews in the west should tell you something. The second you do: you are labeled as an anti-semite.

Posted by: Indrek Pringi | Feb 2 2023 19:06 utc | 91


There appears much confusion over the deletion of an email at the receiver and sender's end. Means it is gone forever, end of the story.

Is that a foolish wet dream of ignorance? Or has it already been debunked by Edward Snowden?

In a digital world at the sender and receivers end servers. Stored in the regular backup files. Are two exact digital copies.

In the paranoid terrorist under every bed(post 2001) plus mineral wealth(primary reason) western democracies. Yet another digital copy exists in shadow government spy-on-me 'STASI' agency archives.

As to how many digital copies of a simple email truly exist outside the realm of the sender and receiver. Now that is an unkown factor.

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | Feb 2 2023 19:38 utc | 92

Speculation suggests that this current geostrategic escapade is not going to end in the way that some of the more partisan, vociferous constituents think it is going to end. Certain individuals will certainly not welcome such an observation and the conclusion it portends, but both history and the current reality seems to suggest such an outcome, i.e., a political/economic status quo that reinforces both the dominant economic mythology and a hierarchical structure that substantially benefits both monied cliques and cartels. In other words, there appears to be obvious divergences, skewing, and blurred lines between the objectives of the professional political class and the professional economic monied class. Or, it seems to be that for some individuals patriotism, along with any ethical or moral considerations, apparently ends where the bank account and private profit begins. Because, it has already been pointed out that:

"Western business is still sustaining Russia’s war"

as it was the case in past conflicts, for example:

"Credit Suisse scandal is nothing new for bank that helped Nazis"

Because, "The histories of all these men show that while countries go to war, and millions lose their lives, finance and capital will keep channels across the front lines, while planning a future that will safeguard their interests and profits."

"Nazi blueprint for postwar integration"

Again because,

The driving force is just the basic logic of capitalism as Clark points out, “so this idea that they just handed Hitler cash is silly, they were interested in reaping more profit, merely industrial interests that’s all, any company or corporation is going to do that.”

Deanna Spingola and V.K. Clark - Freemasonry, Communism, Illuminati, Hitler and the Reichstag Fire


Or, "One of my Ph.D. students recently completed an excellent dissertation about the role of GM, IBM, and Ford in rebuilding the German economy in the 1930s, and helping directly, in the case of GM and Ford, with German rearmament. They were willing to do things to support the German military they were not willing to do to rearm in the United States during this period. And they stayed involved in ways that really defied U.S. law up until the war actually began. And then during the war their subsidiaries in Europe continued to produce, continued to make profits, which they were able to accrue after the war ended. In fact, GM and Ford were able to sue the U.S. government for millions of dollars for reparations for their plants that the U.S. bombed and destroyed in Europe during the war that were producing for the Nazis. So American business had a shameful record."

All of which supports the following observation that is the basis for the current, ongoing dominant global economic mythology:

“Every individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of the society which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to society. He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention.”

The only correction might be, is that the promotion and self interested pursuit of an advantageous end is entirely intentional in this case, and in the past instances. Or so it appears.

Posted by: deliriumtremens | Feb 2 2023 21:05 utc | 93



I replied to you in the week in review thread not realising that we have a new open thread.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 2 2023 21:33 utc | 94

Oppertunity knocks

" Job guarantee... Is precisely how the USSR worked, for a couple of generations"

No completely different, the job guarentee is a transition job that allows workers to transition between the different sectors of the economy. Into private sector work.

Forces capital to compete for Labour for the first time in 6 decades. This forces increased productivity on reluctant players that lifts all boats.

I've worked in the private sector for 40 years and believe me. The exact same problems exist in the private sector as in the public sector.

Perhaps the mental blockage is the horrible realisation that an awful lot of private sector activity adds about as much real value to the economy as a government furlough payment did. We have the paradox of productivity.

The neoclassical Keynsian, monetarist and Austrian view still believes that the economy tends to fix itself. If we just sit back economic growth will go back to its maximum.

Unemployment will drop to 2% what we consider full employment but it might need some help now and then. The Paul Krugman mainstream view. That There are no business cycles. Remember that when the globalist neoliberal war mongers claimed the business cycle is dead.

However, you could have the purist free market economy in the world but still have big unemployment numbers because the system tends to move towards breakdown.

Why ? Why does the system tend to move towards breakdown ?

Why can’t it be that higher wages force firms to invest in better management techniques and the most advanced technologies in order to get the most out of their higher cost labour?

That’s known as the paradox of productivity. Productivity improvements just lead to falling prices, so firms try to avoid doing productivity improvements and prefer to try and obtain monopoly power instead. That’s what a ‘market niche’ is. Oh boy have we seen this monopoly power as the public sector was transformed into rent seeking monopolies.

Higher wages will ultimately lead to some firms failing, which releases people onto the labour market, driving down wages. If you try to hold those jobs up, and force losses onto the other side you end up with an investment strike and the whole house of cards collapses into stagflation.Remember those privatised public services threatening the government with investment strikes last year. I do.

Failing to match higher wages with higher product *must* result in *both* investment capital and the demanding wage earners taking a cold bath. The economic system is a referee. It must not favour either side in the football match.

And why would firms in a competitive capitalistic system ever try to avoid productivity improvements? Simple-

Compare the cost of a concert violinist to a loaf of bread in the 19th century vs today. That’s what productivity increases do over time – because it takes less human time to produce an item, and time is really what everything ends up being priced in.

That’s the paradox of productivity. Productivity improvements ultimately leads to cheaper prices not increased profits. Because that’s what competition is there to do. The profits can go further – in that they can buy more stuff. But capitalists like to accumulate units of account.

In essence the dynamics of pure competition leads to an oversupply in the market which brings prices down until firms start to go bust to eliminate the oversupply. Therefore market players try to stop competition happening by constantly seeking a monopoly perch on which to extract rent.

Oh boy we have we seen this happening time and time again.

The myths of free market beliefs say it all sorts itself out. It clearly doesn’t. The system has to force competition onto essentially reluctant players, and eliminating the clarion call of “what about the jobs” is one way of doing that – let bad firms go bust.

A company that can produce more with the same inputs (costs) is going to do that if there is a market for their product. That’s the huge problem, there isn’t. Because the costs is the income that is used to buy the product (in aggregate).

If you expand output then you are selling to the same income which implies the price must go down to shift the increased amount of stuff. Theoretically their competition will eventually learn how to do the same and the excess profit will disappear.

Not theoretically. That is exactly what happens. The dynamics of market share maintenance then kick in and prices go down. You get a short uplift and then a nosedive. When you’ve been in business long enough you know that getting into a niche is better than constantly trying to run up the down escalator. Because items are ultimately priced in person time used to create them. We all make plans but when it boils down to it actual demand must match actual supply at the point of effective demand – whatever the plans were.

Posted by: Derek Henry | Feb 2 2023 21:57 utc | 95

Judge John T Dorsey is being watched ...

For the top two reports.

The U.S. Trustee, who represents the U.S. Department of Justice in bankruptcy cases, has been asking Judge Dorsey to agree to the appointment of an independent examiner in the case since December 1. And over the past two months, the deeply conflicted Sullivan & Cromwell law firm has been aggressively opposing the U.S. Trustee’s pursuit of an independent examiner.

Yesterday, a Joinder was filed by the securities regulator of Texas, supporting the motion by the U.S. Trustee. The joinder included letters from 15 other state securities regulators and Washington, D.C., also supporting the appointment of an independent examiner. The states included the three largest U.S. states by population: California, Texas and Florida. The states of Wisconsin and Vermont had previously filed their own joinders requesting the appointment of an independent examiner, meaning that the position of the U.S. Trustee is currently being advocated by 18 state securities regulators and the District of Columbia.

And in the second report...

Five pages of a deeply sensitive document that is both embarrassing and potentially a legal threat to people in positions of power vanished yesterday from public viewing in the criminal case against former crypto-kingpin Sam Bankman-Fried. The document is a letter written by five federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The courthouse where the five pages vanished from view is where the case is being heard: the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to personnel in the Press Office and Records Management Office of that District Court that we spoke to yesterday, all six pages of the document had been filed electronically on Monday, January 30, and all six pages of the document were able to be viewed in the court’s ECF system (Electronic Case Files) according to those personnel. ECF is the federal judiciary’s system that allows case documents, such as pleadings and motions, to be filed electronically. What’s available for viewing on the ECF system should also be available for attorneys, the press and the general public to view through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at a cost of ten cents per page.

I guess there might be a leak here and there soon :)

The scandal of major USA corporate law firms being outed as the designer, instigator, protector of the digital currency scams could end up being worthy of a bucket of popcorn and a beer at this rate. Meanwhile some capable investigative reporters are busy chasing fleas in the twitter files.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 2 2023 21:59 utc | 96

@karlof1 | Feb 2 2023 17:16 utc | 88

Yes, I know China's not politically ready to take that step, but it ought to make a public statement that it's thinking about such a measure.

Even though President Xi keeps saying to get ready to fight (鬥爭), a lot of people in Chinese government, academia, and "think tanks" are either "afraid" to confront amerikkkans or just amerikkkans-in-spirits. These people don't think China has a chance to fight amerikkkans and it will be better for China to "surrender" sooner rather than later. When Trump started the trade war, a lot of such people said China should yield. IMHO, these people understand neither their own Chinese culture nor the true nature of the anglo-saxon (or to a wider extent the west). So they become half-here-and-half-there with delusional thinking that all Chinese things are inferior and all amerikkkans are good/superior. So it may be some sort of struggle within China to clear these people out of the way before dealing with amerkkkans.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Feb 2 2023 23:06 utc | 97

@98 LuRenJia | Feb 2 2023 23:06 utc - "some sort of struggle within China to clear these people out of the way before dealing with amerkkkans"

Thank you for those subtleties. Recall that Russia has been making its cleanest sweep yet of its own naysayers since it started its military operation in Ukraine. It only really galvanized the nation into coherence and generated the resolve to crack down on its quislings after it had made the leap into kinetic action.

So, while you may be right, it may happen with China in a similar way, after some actual strife has occurred.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 2 2023 23:41 utc | 98

karlof1 @ 88

US' illegal confiscation of Xinjiang products destabilizes global supply chain, will ultimately harm itself"

It's not unwarranted punishment or gangster economics, it's bait, provocation-escalation, in search of a casus belli, part of the manufacturing consent for war with China just like the step by step sanctions and Russophobia since 1997 was the manufacturing consent for war with Russia.

Tariffs, boycotts, sanctions, impounding goods and ships is exactly how wars start, remember Medvedev's words to yapping ninny Le Mare's idiotic but forthright "we are waging a total economic and financial war on Russia," Medvedev: "Don’t forget that in human history, economic wars quite often turned into real ones.”

Medvedev is keen but he missed the point, real war is what the west wants and what it got. Mark my words, the march to world war is on, like in 1929. The west never recovered after 2008 they swept it under the rug, Eurolandia is a straight jacket, monetary failure, and an institutionalized downward drag on the European economy, Brexit was a duel where both parties mortally shot each other, the coup de grace was covid. Last year was 1929 but with the social safety net in place in the modern day west they could hide it from you, for a while anyway - 2023 it'll come light.

"...illegal confiscation of Xinjiang products destabilizes global supply chain, will ultimately harm itself..."

The USA wants the harm, they need the domestic rancor and are feeding it, like in 1929 they need to pit one half the working class to kill the other half, at home and across the globe so it doesn't turn on them, all the while getting rid of their vaunted and imagined Russian and Chinese adversaries.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Feb 3 2023 0:11 utc | 99

Much quieter today here in the backroom than on the UKR discussion out in the bar, ugly crowd came in, bridge and tunnel weekend creeps.

This is worthy, but maybe it has been already linked, from Scott Ritter. As the host Ritter is forced to let Bout speak which is good for a change:

Interview with Viktor Bout The real truth behind the case of

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Feb 3 2023 0:18 utc | 100

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