Moon of Alabama Brecht quote

Monthly Archives

January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
January 14, 2022

What Might A Lame Duck Biden Aim For?

These are a pretty bad days for U.S. President Joe Biden.

Wednesday: Quinnipiac poll shows Biden with 33 percent approval rating

The poll found 57 percent disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy, 54 percent disapproved of his handling of foreign policy and 55 percent disapproved of his handling of the pandemic, which was once a consistent bright spot for Biden.
---

Thursday: Kyrsten Sinema Backs Senate Filibuster in Blow to Joe Biden Amid Voting Rights Showdown

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has delivered a major blow to President Joe Biden as she reiterated her support for the chamber's 60-vote filibuster—the biggest obstacle for Democrats in passing voting rights legislation.
---

Thursday: Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills

All but conceding defeat, President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s now unsure the Democrats' major elections and voting rights legislation can pass Congress this year. He spoke at the Capitol after a key fellow Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, dramatically announced her refusal to go along with changing Senate rules to muscle the bill past a Republican filibuster.
---

Thursday: Supreme Court blocks vaccine rule for companies, allows health care worker mandate

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 workers, but granted a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect.
---

Thursday: Producer price index increased by 0.2%, up more than 6% for 2021

---

Friday: U.S. Retail Sales Slide Most in 10 Months on Inflation, Omicron

The value of overall purchases decreased 1.9%, after a revised 0.2% gain a month earlier, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, suggesting price-adjusted receipts were even weaker than the headline number.
---

Friday: U.S. Consumer Sentiment Drops More Than Expected Due To Inflation Worries

Noting inflation's regressive impact, Curtin said consumer sentiment among households with total incomes below $100,000 slumped by 9.4 percent in early January, while sentiment among households with incomes over that amount increased by 5.7 percent.
---

Losses on all fronts. The midterms will likely be devastating for the Democrats. Afterwards Biden will be a lame duck.

The only field where he will still be able to show political initiative, and maybe have some successes, will be in foreign policy.

What could he aim for?

---

This week Moon of Alabama is asking you, dear reader, to support this site. Please do so as well as you can.

Posted by b at 17:57 UTC | Comments (141)

January 13, 2022

The Failure Of This Week's US-NATO-Russia Meetings Make War More Likely

In the late 1990s the U.S. military-industrial-media complex lobbied the Clinton administration to extend NATO. The sole purpose was to win more customers for U.S. weapons. Russia protested. It had offered to integrate itself into a new European security architecture but on equal terms with the U.S. The U.S. rejected that. It wanted Russia to subordinate itself to U.S. whims.

Since then NATO has been extended five times and moved closer and closer to Russia's border. Leaving Russia, a large country with many resources, outside of Europe's security structure guaranteed that Russia would try to come back from the miserable 1990s and regain its former power.

In 2014 the U.S. sponsored a coup against the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, Russia's neighbor and relative, and installed its proxies. To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine into NATO Russia arranged for an uprising against the coup in the eastern Ukraine. As long as the Ukraine has an internal conflict it can not join NATO.

In 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty which had been created under the Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan to eliminate nuclear missiles in Europe. Now the U.S. made plans to station new nuclear missiles in Europe which would threaten Russia. These required a Russian response.

Meanwhile the U.S. and other NATO states have deployed significant 'training' units to the Ukraine and continue to send weapons to it. This is a sneaking integration of the Ukraine into NATO structures without the formal guarantees.

In late 2021 the U.S. started to make noise about alleged Russian military concentrations at its western border. There were groundless allegations that Russia was threatening to invade the Ukraine which was begging to enter NATO. The purpose was to justify a further extension of NATO and more NATO deployments near Russia.

Russia has had enough of such nonsense. It moved to press the U.S. for a new security architecture in Europe that would not threaten Russia. The rumors about Russian action in the Ukraine helped to press President Joe Biden into agreeing to talks.

After Russia had detailed its security demands towards the U.S. and NATO a series of talks were held.

I had warned that these would likely not be successful as the U.S. had shown no signs to move on core Russian demands. As expected the talks with the U.S. on Monday failed. The U.S. made some remarks that it would like to negotiate some side issues but not on the core of Russia's request to end the extension of NATO and to stop new missile deployments.

Wednesday's talks with NATO had similar results as had today's talks with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As Russia had previously announced it will not consider further talks as there is nothing to expect from them:

Cont. reading: The Failure Of This Week's US-NATO-Russia Meetings Make War More Likely

Posted by b at 17:30 UTC | Comments (147)

Open Thread 2022-04

News & views ...

Posted by b at 13:16 UTC | Comments (200)

January 12, 2022

With No Progress In Talks Russia Will Have To React

Monday's negotiations over Russian security demands between the U.S. and Russia were, as predicted, a failure.

Russia's core demand, to end the NATO drive to its borders by excluding membership for the Ukraine and Georgia, was rejected. A for once realistic NYT piece did not even try to hide the disaster:

In Talks on Ukraine, U.S. and Russia Deadlock Over NATO Expansion

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov, Russia’s lead negotiator, insisted after the meeting that it was “absolutely mandatory” that Ukraine “never, never, ever” become a NATO member.

His American counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, reiterated that the United States could never make such a pledge because “we will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO’s open door policy,” and she said that the United States and its allies would not stand by if Russia sought to change international borders “by force."

Today's talk between all NATO members and Russia in Brussels had similar results. Russia's core requests were rejected and a bunch of stuff with which NATO would like to restrict Russian advantages was thrown up to divert the attention from the core issues.

As NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg summarized it:

Cont. reading: With No Progress In Talks Russia Will Have To React

Posted by b at 17:52 UTC | Comments (242)

January 11, 2022

The Danger Of Subjective Reading Of Covid News

This site has linked and quoted pieces by Alastair Crooke, a 'former' MI6 agent and diplomat. Crooke writes a weekly comment for the allegedly Russian financed Strategic Culture Foundation website.

(Sidenote: Independent writers for the SCF, like Russia expert Patrick Armstrong, have come under undue pressure from the U.S. government to quit. Patrick had reason to fear serious consequences and did so.)

Alastair Crooke is an expert on Middle East issues and an outside of the box thinker. But he also, at times, gets things wrong. In several recent pieces he has combined measures against the Covid-19 pandemic and big money lobbying into some global conspiracy theory in which the Bill Gates' of this world want to enslave all other people.

In his latest piece, The Double Helix of Entwined Pandemic and Economic Strategy, Crooke goes off to even greater nonsense. He writes (emphasis added):

[T]hough ‘following the science’ is the mantra, these measures make no sense: the Omicron variant predominantly infects the double vaxxed, not the unvaxxed. This is never admitted.

That, dear friends, is 'never admitted' because it is utter nonsense.

Cont. reading: The Danger Of Subjective Reading Of Covid News

Posted by b at 10:33 UTC | Comments (256)

January 10, 2022

The Russia-U.S. Talks In Geneva Are Likely To Fail

Like Scott Ritter I am deeply skeptical that today's talks between the U.S. and Russia in Geneva will have any results:

If ever a critical diplomatic negotiation was doomed to fail from the start, the discussions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine and Russian security guarantees is it.

The two sides can’t even agree on an agenda.

From the Russian perspective, the situation is clear: “The Russian side came here [to Geneva] with a clear position that contains a number of elements that, to my mind, are understandable and have been so clearly formulated—including at a high level—that deviating from our approaches simply is not possible,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the press after a pre-meeting dinner on Sunday hosted by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is leading the U.S. delegation.
...
All the U.S. has been willing to do, it seems, is to remind Russia of so-called “serious consequences” should Russia invade Ukraine, something the U.S. and NATO fear is imminent, given the scope and scale of recent Russian military exercises in the region involving tens of thousands of troops. This threat was made by Biden to Putin on several occasions, including a phone call initiated by Putin last week to help frame the upcoming talks.

The U.S. continues with its false claim that Russia is ready to invade the Ukraine:

In a move that has aggravated already tense relations between Washington and the Kremlin, Russia has mobilized more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine. The United States has disclosed intelligence showing that Russia has a war plan envisioning an invasion force of 175,000 troops that Ukraine’s military, despite U.S.-provided equipment and training, would have little ability to stop.

On Friday, the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that “the risk of conflict is real.”

There are no 100,000 Russian troops near its border with Ukraine. In early December U.S. intelligence claimed only 70,000 troops:

Cont. reading: The Russia-U.S. Talks In Geneva Are Likely To Fail

Posted by b at 14:17 UTC | Comments (198)

January 09, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-003

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-003

Posted by b at 13:28 UTC | Comments (201)

January 08, 2022

Mysteries Of The Failed Rebellion In Kazakhstan

It is still a mystery what forces exactly are behind the rebellion in Kazakhstan. While I had presumed that it was a CIA operation it may have been outsourced to Britain's MI6. There are also still other possibilities.

The action seen over the last few days smelled strongly of a color revolution as typically instigated by the United States. The gangs which attacked police forces, set buildings on fire and stormed places where arms were stored seemed very well trained. They worked in formations and were obviously under someone's command. Some of them seemed to have been trained snipers as some shots hit policemen at longer distances. Three of the policemen killed were beheaded which points to some Jihadi elements. Some are also said to have been foreigner and the size of the total force was estimated as up to a quite high 20,000. This has led to some speculate that these people came from Turkey where President Erdogan has used Jihadis from Syria for his foreign policy purposes. But for who's benefit would he do such in Kazakhstan?

Turkey is of course a member of NATO and will in the end do NATO's bidding. Russia ultimatum to 'keep NATO off Russia's border or else ...' might be reason enough for Washington DC to create trouble at Russia's southern boarder. When the U.S. fled from Afghanistan it tried to get new bases in Central Asia but was denied them by every government in the area. A regime change in Kazakhstan might put someone at the top who would allow a U.S. outpost. But who could that person be?

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was installed in 2019 after the long term leader Nursultan Nazarbayev left under public pressure. But Nazarbayev actually stayed in control until very recently. He gained the title 'First President' and was made Chairman of the National Security Committee (KNB). The capital Astana was renamed Nur-Sultan in his honor.

The person who ran the day to day business of the security committee was Karim Masimov, a stalwart allay of Nazarbayev and a business friend of Joe & Hunter Biden. It seemed that the security forces were not really into a fight when the first gangs became violent. Forces guarding the airport of Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan, were allegedly told to leave shortly before a gang of some 50 rebels took over the airport.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has now taken the leading position of the National Security Committee. Nazarbayev is out. On Friday it was reported that he and his family had left Kazakhstan but his private secretary declared that Nazarbayev, who has not been seen in the public since the end of December, was still in Astana / Nur-Sultan.

Karim Masimov was likewise removed and has now been arrested and charged with treason:

Cont. reading: Mysteries Of The Failed Rebellion In Kazakhstan

Posted by b at 18:26 UTC | Comments (218)

January 07, 2022

Remarks on Exceptionalism

Some comments to the previous thread on Kazakhstan mentioned U.S. exceptionalism.

It started with Bemildred:

It is amusing how these "thinkers" ideas about how to undermine Russia or China tend to look a lot getting them to do what Bush-Cheney did, i.e. over-reach and over-spend and engage in little stupid wars for profit, revenge, and to stroke their little egos.

and:

"We'll give them their own Vietnam, Afghanistan, whatever the latest one was." Always fighting the last war, and always losing it again, at great cost, again.

To which Ghost Ship responded:

It's American Exceptionalism and American Projectionism working against Washington.

Washington believes in American Exceptionalism so thinks that the way it does things is the only right way to do those things, then American Projectionism kicks in and guides Washington to project the way it does thing on to others. Washington can't cope when its opponents do something a way it has not even considered and it runs around in circles all flustered while the opponent is so far within John Boyd's famous OODA loop that Washington with all its advantages loses.

BTW, what has become of John Boyd's OODA loop in Washington. At one time, you couldn't move for the paper generated by articles mentioning it. Now there is nothing. But it's still a useful tool to be used against Washington to unbalance a top-heavy regime like Washington. Has Washington given up on it because it's too slow to apply it successfully?

Meanwhile Washington seems to continue with the "My enemy's enemy is my friend" BS which has been brought back from the dead as a zombie idea.

Two days before those comments an essay which Professor Michael Brenner had sent to his mailing list had formulated a similar idea. In it he lamented the loss of a realistic view of the world in U.S. foreign policies:

Cont. reading: Remarks on Exceptionalism

Posted by b at 15:22 UTC | Comments (201)

January 06, 2022

The U.S. Directed Rebellion in Kazakhstan May Well Strengthen Russia

In early 2019 the Pentagon financed think tank RAND published an extensive plan for soft attacks on Russia.

Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground.

The 350 pages long report recommended certain steps to be taken by the U.S. to contain Russia. As its summary says:

Recognizing that some level of competition with Russia is inevitable, this report seeks to define areas where the United States can do so to its advantage. We examine a range of nonviolent measures that could exploit Russia’s actual vulnerabilities and anxieties as a way of stressing Russia’s military and economy and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. The steps we examine would not have either defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might contribute to both. Rather, these steps are conceived of as elements in a campaign designed to unbalance the adversary, leading Russia to compete in domains or regions where the United States has a competitive advantage, and causing Russia to overextend itself militarily or economically or causing the regime to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence.

RAND lists economical, geopolitical, ideological and informational as well as military measures the U.S. should take to weaken Russia.

Since the report came out the first four of the six 'geopolitical measures' listed in chapter 4 of the report have been implemented.


bigger

The U.S. delivered lethal weapons to Ukraine, it increased its support for 'rebels' in Syria. It attempted a regime change in Belarus and instigated a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The U.S. is now implementing measure 5 which aims to 'reduce Russia's influence in Central Asia'.

Cont. reading: The U.S. Directed Rebellion in Kazakhstan May Well Strengthen Russia

Posted by b at 9:19 UTC | Comments (297)

January 05, 2022

China's Excellent, Very Good Year

2021 was China's best year. Ever.

by Godfree Roberts*

Amidst global gloom, 2021 was the best year in modern Chinese history. Here’s what they accomplished:

  • Eliminated extreme poverty.
  • Reached 96% home ownership.
  • Kept Covid death rate at 0.6% of America’s.

bigger

Cont. reading: China's Excellent, Very Good Year

Posted by b at 7:39 UTC | Comments (263)

January 04, 2022

Slow News Day

I've got nothing ...

Posted by b at 18:40 UTC | Comments (233)

January 03, 2022

Shall We Drop Calls Or Airplanes? - Airlines And Wireless Companies Fight Over 5G Activation

Over the weekend several thousand flights in the U.S. were canceled:

The holiday travel nightmare worsened on New Year's Day with more than 1,700 flights already cancelled for Sunday after more than 2,700 flights were cancelled Saturday due to poor weather conditions and the impacts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The total number of cancelled flights since Christmas Eve now totals more than 14,000 - leaving thousands of Americans stranded over the holiday season.

Sunday's travel chaos stems from key airline hubs including Chicago and Denver, as well as certain airlines which have been left with staff shortages due to COVID.

In an effort to combat the travel disruptions, airlines say they are taking steps to reduce cancellations.

United has offered to pay pilots three times or more of their usual wages for picking up open flights through mid-January. Southwest and others have also raised premium pay for some workers.

Many more flights may get canceled after January 5. It will have nothing to do with Covid though, or with bad weather. It will rather be because of a fight between two U.S. government agencies and the client industries they serve.

Two years agon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auctioned off radio frequencies between 3.7 to 3.98 gigahertz for the use in 5G networks. Major telecoms paid a total of $78 billion to get access to these. They will start using them on January 5.

This is of serious concern for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Radar or radio altimeters in airplanes use frequencies between 4.2 and 4.4 gigahertz to determine the level of a plane above the ground. While they try to filter out neighboring frequencies to some degree they can be overwhelmed with false signals if these come at high power or were scatter around their frequencies through reflections.


Source: RTCA - bigger

The data from the altimeters is used in many automated alarms and systems especially in those that allow an airplane to operate in limited visual conditions during start and landing.

Cont. reading: Shall We Drop Calls Or Airplanes? - Airlines And Wireless Companies Fight Over 5G Activation

Posted by b at 17:54 UTC | Comments (65)

January 02, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-001

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-001

Posted by b at 13:30 UTC | Comments (326)

December 31, 2021

A Happy New Year To All Moonkind

To all commentators here a big "Thank You!" for giving me so much.

My wish for the next year: May it be less pandemic and more peaceful than this one.

A Happy New Year to all moonkind!

Posted by b at 15:00 UTC | Comments (130)

December 30, 2021

Talks Between Putin And Biden Continue

Later today U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin will have another video call. The Russian side had requested the call. Putin obviously wants to keep the pressure on the U.S. to agree on the two draft treaties Russia had offered.

He is helped in that by China who's Foreign Minister Wang Yi again emphasized Russian-Chinese cooperation:

On global governance, China and Russia have demonstrated our sense of responsibility. The two countries firmly upheld the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law. We jointly opposed interference in other countries’ internal affairs, unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. Our efforts have helped build a bulwark supporting the practice of true multilateralism and upholding international equity and justice, showing the world how major countries should behave.

We are convinced that as long as China and Russia, as two major countries, stand together shoulder to shoulder and deepen coordination hand in hand, the international order will not fall into disarray, justice in the world will not collapse, and hegemonism will not win.

A preview of the video call from Russia, by Valdai International Discussion Club Research Director Fyodor Lukyanov, is positive:

Cont. reading: Talks Between Putin And Biden Continue

Posted by b at 17:27 UTC | Comments (149)

December 29, 2021

Open Thread 2021-102

News & views ...

Posted by b at 18:28 UTC | Comments (185)

December 28, 2021

The Federal Government's Covid Failure Becomes Even More Apparent

Today I was busy with medical issues. Nothing bad to report on my side. But I feel somewhat sad for the people in the U.S. who's health get screwed by its 'elite' over and over again.

Seven days ago the CEO of Delta Airlines asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cut quarantine time for Covid breakthrough cases:

Delta Air Lines Inc's chief executive asked the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday to shrink quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals who experience breakthrough COVID-19 infections, citing the impact on the carrier's workforce.

CEO Ed Bastian, along with the company's chief health officer and a medical adviser, asked in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky seen by Reuters that the agency's recommended quarantine period for anyone who tests positive with a breakthrough COVID-19 infection be reduced to five days from the current 10.

The letter suggested that individuals could end isolation with appropriate testing.
...
"With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the 10-day isolation for those who are fully vaccinated may significantly impact our workforce and operations," Bastian wrote. "Similar to healthcare, police, fire, and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may exacerbate shortages and create significant disruptions."
...
Delta said that "as part of this policy change, we would be interested to partner with CDC and collect empirical data."

The CDC immediately set off to do what the business side of the U.S. told it to do. Yesterday it changed its guidelines for recommended isolation and the quarantine period:

Cont. reading: The Federal Government's Covid Failure Becomes Even More Apparent

Posted by b at 19:56 UTC | Comments (253)

December 27, 2021

When China Does Great Question Its Cost

There seem to be general meme directives for 'western' outlets with regards to official enemies.

Russia is said to weaponize everything. The position of China is not (yet) seen as in military terms. The emphasis is on economic competition. Any undeniable Chinese achievement must be declared to have been a bad investment. The directive thus reads:

"When writing about China's achievements - question their purported cost."

The results:

Cont. reading: When China Does Great Question Its Cost

Posted by b at 13:19 UTC | Comments (97)

December 26, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-101

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

---
Other issues ...

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-101

Posted by b at 13:27 UTC | Comments (212)