Pfizer/Moderna (i.e. NIH under US President - the patent holder) aren't sharing their vaccine recipe because they need to protect the mRNA platform, quite separately from the debate over proliferating vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in the context of saving lives in the Coronavirus pandemic.
It's possible the big pharmaceutical corporations don't object to letting poor countries make their own vaccines. The problem is with sharing the mRNA platform itself - specifically - because it is a multipurpose technology way beyond targeting spike proteins with potential for revenue streams that dwarf the billions made from SARS-CoV-2.
The mRNA platform has myriad uses as a cancer delivery drug, which is perhaps the biggest prize in medical science - a bonanza of incalculable trillions that could roll on and on for decades. This is why the patent isn't going to be shared. It won't be shared until the technology can be shared in a way that doesn't open access beyond targeted Coronavirus usage. The vaccine corporations will doubtless be working on a nerfed version. If they find it, there will be a mainstream media fanfare of "patent sharing"; and a feeding frenzy over much unearned but irresistible political capital.
The movie Awakenings is set in a sanitarium full of patients in an awake catatonic state. In the film, a psychiatrist performs a strange experiment. He throws a tennis ball at one of the long-term catatonics and despite having been frozen for decades, since childhood, the patient catches the ball. No other movement. Still catatonic after. It's like the patient borrows the kinetic energy of the ball - overcoming the catatonic state, but only for that moment.
This is how my engagement with the world works, nowadays, with social media and infowars and "neoliberal" consumerism.
There's a headline, an article, a conversation. It has a kinetics of context and a background that might animate a fleeting interest, empathy, research - usually leading to an opinion - a conclusion, a placement within the bigger picture of society and what people do.
Then the energy is spent. No more attention to be given, no natural engagement follows. Nothing lasts. The catatonic mindset returns. Nothing changes, except perhaps an imperceptible cold petrification that began years ago, at the extremities, and has been very slowly spreading inward towards the heart.
Some guys defy odds to make a difference. Most are content being more Ballerina than reformed fat slob endurance runner David Goggins. Now and then fate gives an individual the chance to challenge their inner mettle and - very occasionally - it comes with a public stage.
Cancel culture has been perverted into a wanton spectacle of coordinated hearsay, erasing anyone it touches. There's no recourse, no appeal, no end to cancellation. The smallest offence to prurient public opinion carries as severe a punishment as the most egregious.
Someone's got to show the world how to resist; how to break the paradigm of perpetual erasure.
Someone's got to figure a way through the coruscating glare of public bloodlust, to reach those who know and support the individual.
That reconnection may have power to build new foundations, fortified against being sacrificed by the mob to feed the insatiable spectacle of cancel culture.
The U.S. dollar was adopted as the global reserve currency at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, when the dollar was still backed by gold on global markets. The agreement was that gold and the dollar would be accepted interchangeably as global reserves, the dollars to be redeemable in gold on demand at $35 an ounce. Exchange rates of other currencies were fixed against the dollar.
But that deal was broken after President Lyndon Johnson’s “guns and butter” policy exhausted the U.S. kitty by funding war in Vietnam along with his “Great Society” social programs at home. French President Charles de Gaulle, suspecting the U.S. was running out of money, cashed in a major portion of France’s dollars for gold and threatened to cash in the rest; and other countries followed suit or threatened to.
In 1971, President Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the dollar to gold internationally (known as “closing the gold window”), in order to avoid draining U.S. gold reserves. The value of the dollar then plummeted relative to other currencies on global exchanges. To prop it up, Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a deal with Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries that OPEC would sell oil only in dollars, and that the dollars would be deposited in Wall Street and City of London banks. In return, the U.S. would defend the OPEC countries militarily. Economic researcher William Engdahl also presents evidence of a promise that the price of oil would be quadrupled. An oil crisis triggered by a brief Middle Eastern war did cause the price of oil to quadruple, and the OPEC agreement was finalized in 1974.
The deal held firm until 2000, when Saddam Hussein broke it by selling Iraqi oil in euros. Libyan president Omar Qaddafi followed suit. Both presidents wound up assassinated, and their countries were decimated in war which the U.S. Canadian researcher Matthew Ehret observes:
"... We should not forget that the Sudan-Libya-Egypt alliance under the combined leadership of Mubarak, Qadhafi and Bashir, had moved to establish a new gold-backed financial system outside of the IMF/World Bank to fund large scale development in Africa. Had this program not been undermined by a NATO-led destruction of Libya, the carving up of Sudan and regime change in Egypt, then the world would have seen the emergence of a major regional block of African states shaping their own destinies outside of the rigged game of Anglo-American controlled finance for the first time in history..."
Mitteleuropa-Paneuropa ideology -- KLAUS SCHWAB -- social aristocracy quote by Count Coudenhove-Kalergi
The British state evolved as a set of institutions whose function was to regulate the struggle between different social groups and classes. The tussle between the king and the barons gave rise to the Magna Carta: a deal between them the essence of which was to limit the king’s powers. After the merchant class acquired economic power disproportionate to its social and political rank, the state evolved further to accommodate their interests with those of the aristocracy, especially after the 1688 Glorious Revolution. The industrial revolution brought new social strata into the mix (industrialists, trade unions, local communities made up of former peasants), thus extending the franchise and refining the state’s apparatus.
The US government, along with its bureaucracy, also emerged at a time of intense conflict between vested interests and social classes. Slave-owning landowners, mainly in the South, clashed with East Coast traders and manufacturers in Illinois, Boston and Wisconsin. The Louisiana Purchase triggered a variety of new tussles among multiple interest groups. A brutal civil war proved impossible to avert and facilitated America’s consolidation. Later on, the rise of the labor unions and the military-industrial complex signaled fresh rivalries. To bring the nation together, and to homogenize its institutions so as to deal with the political, social and financial crises that these tensions threw up, Congress had to play a central equilibrating role. Indeed, no authority in the United States can defy Congress or ignore it. Whatever demerits American democracy may feature, there can be no doubt that the democratic process is essential in keeping the union together.
In contrast, the European Union’s institutions did not evolve in response to similar social conflicts. National parliaments and institutions did all the heavy lifting in terms of ameliorating social conflicts while the Brussels bureaucracy was devised for the purposes of managing the affairs of an industrial cartel made up of Central European heavy industry. Lacking a demos, a “we the people” to keep them in awe, and indeed to legitimize their activities, Brussels bureaucrats both disdained democracy and were shielded from its checks and balances.
"Christianity is many things to billions of people but - contrary to the conservative commentariat pandering - it is not the essence of the west. Christianity had 1000 years to inspire a Renaissance but it took Medici patronage, the fall of Constantinople and the rediscovery of classical Greece and Rome to light the essential fire of European - now Western - art and rational science; an overflow of curiosity and greedy, exceptionalist ambition that encircled the world."
"Think tanks are institutions wherein academics are paid by the worst people in the world to come up with intelligent-sounding reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid. Those narratives are then inserted at key points of influence before decision makers and the public, where they are used to help make the world a worse place to live."
The ballot paper for Presidential Election 2020 offers only two tickets with any chance of winning the election: Republican Trump Pence and Democratic Party Biden Harris. Any other vote, including not voting, in this context means less than nothing. The corrupt political process has seldom been more accurately exemplified then in this woeful choice between different but equally masochistic forms of self-harm.
Trump is a vain, venal moron, too stupid to lead, too easily manipulated by the luddite Republican base to be anything but a racist dog whistle.
Polarization fight over small manageable percentages.
Bones to population mitigating excess until the full grifters get back in the saddle.
Sanders beaten by blacks and Michigan crackers. The DNC won that battle. It shouldn't have been close.
Choice is between Ted Bundy and Charles Manson. Fucked up.
Brexit (for instance) is another plutocracy snow job. Sold on inane identity wedge issues, caressed into millions of brains by concerted psychometrics. But it's really just about removing regulations, unshackling the govt/oligarchy so they can enrich without pesky rules. Wedge: "take back control" "Britain independent" "Keeping out the foreigners" etc etc. Playing up some bullshit caricature of a British identity in a world of foreigners and rivals. Wedge issues is a very popular method, for dividing populations, playing to people's worst instincts, to deliver an outcome that's actually against their own best interests.
Farage was the cat's paw. The model usually has one. Democratic Party this year used Bernie Sanders for that role, though it almost got away from them. In the end though, this IS democracy. One human one vote. If half the electorate vote to get exploited, that's the will of the people. It's up to the plutocrats to walk the line between exploiting them to get richer Vs fucking them to the point they push back.
But the push back is also handled by having a duopoly. So if the ruling elite goes too far, their favourite govt grifters lose an election and the next bunch of grifters come in. Exploitation finds its new slightly less harsh equilibrium. Then typically the favoured grifters get back into govt and the process continues.
"Trump Is A Roaming Hitler" versus "Trump Campaigns To Save America"
Pundits and propagandists love to conflate left-wing economics with identarian bullsh1t, woke feminism, BLM, vegan fascism and cancel culture; and equate right-wing economics with evangelical self-interest, ethno-nationalism, climate denial, chauvinism and militarism. BOTH WRONG.
Prediction for 2021-2024: Trump rallies start immediately after Biden's inauguration. Insatiable need for clickbait will ensure news media continues to fixate on Trump hysteria. As it happens, the Trump hysteria sharp serves the duopoly. The GOP can use Trump and rallies to evangelize their populist message, weaponizing the loss as a grand conspiracy theory to bind their base to the fundamentalist Republican agenda. The Dems get to continue using Trump as their useful bogeyman. Rallies play into the DNC-neoliberal centrists' need to whip loyalty into the progressives, as the enemy stays a visible, urgent threat. Both parties get to sell "join us, be loyal, help us to Save America" to their supporters, with the other cast in the role of corrupt anti-America evil.
And so the papers and social media and news channels will be full of the same old pantomime - which'll somehow always be urgent and polarized and complete with its own set of facts depending on your "side" in the game.
It'll keep the public busy; and irrelevant for 4 more years.
Plutocracy finds a dirty equilibrium: #Trump2024 rallies begin soon as Biden takes office. Gives media 4 years guaranteed clickbait and the GOP/Dems 4 years hysteria, ensuring polarization against an evil enemy and a "Save America" script to keep everyone busy. And irrelevant.
2021-2024 Trump rallies begin as Biden takes office. Media and GOP/Dems get 4 years clickbait and polarization to impose orthodoxy.
Propaganda: overwhelm the mainstream 100 fold saying X means 1/100th X is enough to make X true.
It's okay to be informing yourself, to be learning, to be getting up to the coalface of current thought, current opinion. Until you're there. Then it is a matter of what moves the needle, what advances to the goals you believe in.
Exclusion by non-engagement is a common experience for middle-aged and older people, for whom the world is more complex than uniform team game ideology will admit. It seems to get worse as time goes by. Younger groups simply don't engage the nuanced ideas brought up by the middle-aged/older people. Complicated equals suspect, especially when it clashes with communal affirmation. Younger groups feel they afford to disengage, because time is on their side and they can be confident if they wait long enough, the discordant older person will fall off the map. These non-interactions are isolating, for the older person, but also self-sabotaging for the younger. Sadly the end result is each generation is doomed to repeat (i.e. get screwed over by) the learning moments of the preceding generation - just in time to learn the lesson, to be ignored in middle-age/older age by the next generation of 'change the world' young.
"...when money is free to travel, during the good times it chases after higher interest rates. Deficit countries offer higher rates and, in view of the fixed exchange rate, are very attractive for the excess money of the surplus states. But this causes a buildup of debt in the deficit regions that goes bad at the first sign of an economic downturn."
England was the modern progenitor of imperialist racism, the force majeure exporter of capitalism and contract law to every continent. English trading companies backed by a highly effective military systematically plundered vassal (protectorate) states while, back home, mostly ignorant but privileged directors got rich, safe to express contempt for both poor, uneducated foreign working class “savages” and poor, precariat home-grown working class “peasants”. These neo-feudal conceits persist in the conservative ruling class today: anti-intellectual, xenophobic and committed exclusively to rapacious acquisition of power and wealth.
In spite of the parochialism of its conservative elites, the United Kingdom is home to many of the world’s largest secular charities and greatest research universities, including an open-minded liberal population, well-spring of a quarter of all Nobel laureates. It has nurtured generations of ground-breaking scientists, academics and iconic genre-defining artists: Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Dickens, Turing, Hume, Dirac, Keynes, Huxley, Orwell, Woolf, a disproportionate share of creativity in music, art, literature, political thought, philosophy, economics, technology, architecture. The canon is remarkable by any standards; especially as the British Isles make up only 0.16% of the planet’s land and less than 1% of the world’s population.
Consider the following.
Britain’s relative global power declined markedly through the latter half of the 20th-century. Empire contracted and with it the loss of hegemonic economic advantages, reducing the flow of easy prosperity to its nepotistic merchant-aristocracy back home. The aristocrats and the privileged were able to pivot, following natural ethno-inclinations to tag-nut onto American adventurism to keep the money spigot flowing.
Labour movements and social democratic institutions flourished in the post-war decades, filling the spaces vacated by the retreat of establishment conservatism, taking advantage of the opportunities of post-imperial society: national health service, universal free education (up to and including college), union legitimacy, dynamic immigration, etc. Britain redefined its own international role as a pioneer of everybody-wins neoliberalism – ‘Anglo-globalisation’ – and whatever the reality of its participation in the America-led crimes of US dollar hegemony, back at home the transition from global British Empire to European United Kingdom was carried out with no major civil disruption, no fundamental schism in Westminster, and most importantly, no significant redistribution of wealth or power or privilege.
Until neoliberal Tony Blair’s New Labour government of the late 1990s, the relative influence of Britain’s reactionary post-imperial conservatives and its humanist-libertarian social democrats was mostly unchanged. In fact, the latter – if polled in 2000 – would have cautiously remarked the “good guys” were gradually winning the fight for the nation’s future heart and soul, that the ethno-imperialists were gradually falling off the map. Most educated Britons were able to take Bertrand Russell liberal social democratic progress as a simple article of faith.
Recently, however, the opposing dynamics of historical power in the United Kingdom have been undergoing a paradigm shift. The exponents of Anglo-white imperialism have run out of easy marks and, since at least 2008, lost patience with the egalitarian humanists, perceiving them as a threat – or a point of weakness – in the interests of strong post-capitalist society. For the first time since the end of the Second World War, the humanist class is being perceived as a direct obstacle to the well-being – and authority – of the exploiter caste.
The evils of bigotry, racism, prejudice, isolationism, unadulterated capitalist greed: surely these were so obvious, nearly everyone was on the same page? Wasn’t the British Empire a thing of the past? Hadn’t the Labour landslide shown the nation rejected the little Englander ideals of right-wing Thatcherism? Wasn’t Europe – as a whole – building towards transnational free movement of people with universal human rights, a changed landscape maturing into the 21st-century having rejected forever centuries of idiotic wars home and abroad? Wasn’t the United Kingdom one of the key signatories, defining force and central participant in this fundamentally optimistic project?
We had thought these questions settled.
We had assumed the questions were settled by having reached – as a society – clear, natural consensus on the objective principles of human society: equality, liberty, fraternity. We had thought bigots were an anachronism, on the way out.
We were wrong.
"The Anglo-white imperialist momentum in both Britain and the United States are approaching a profound and potentially permanent reckoning. The most egregious excesses of imperial plunder continue, despite the so-called end of Empire. Child labour, proxy wars, regime change, resource theft, impoverishing the Global South: all are more prevalent year on year. Why should this be? Perhaps it has been judged a necessary evil, to keep the neoliberal model in place, to prevent a disastrous crash in the American-led world order. Perhaps it will end, once the British and American and European ruling elites have silenced the civil libertarians, disempowered the liberal-humanists and completed construction of the permanent techno-carceral state.” – Howard Moon
Britain has two competing traditions – one that’s humanist, devoted in ideas of freedom, equality, democracy and Bertrand Russel liberalism, and another that’s ethno-authoritarian, seeing these words as mere rhetoric to be trotted out at will, utilised as a propaganda tool and violated whenever it serves the Machiavellian purposes of exploitation and the preservation of their generational power.
The undisrupted privilege of Anglo-white cultural hegemony has undergirded the basic assumptions of British ruling-class ideology for hundreds of years. The core presumptions of English progenitors are baked into American (and Australian, Canadian) society too. Despite the locus of global Anglosphere power shifting to the United States, no lesson was learned from the ultimately destructive violence of European colonialism. Generational power and status in the United Kingdom has faced no revolution, no dissolution, no period of exclusion, no significant revocation of legal or dynastic privileges.
Indeed, the worst aspects of British wealth and privilege remains hand-in-glove with America’s ruling elite – united by their shared entitlement, woven into the dominance structures of entrenched power, implacably hostile to their own citizens – and while today’s “United Kingdom” expresses its Weltpolitik economically and militarily subordinate to the “United States” behemoth – the per capita reach of Anglo-American cultural lineage has barely missed a beat in the transition from 20th-century empire to 21st-century post-industrial post-colonial capitalism.
Anglo-American elites are responsible for genocides for which nobody’s ever held accountable, playing out an insatiable appetite for the pillaging of people, resources and power at home and abroad. And yet Britain is the well-spring of deep-rooted humanism that’s been a uniquely civilising influence, the basis for rule of law, trial by jury, codifier of universal rights and the sovereignty of the individual in dozens of countries across the world.
The paradox in the collective British identity of the 70 million plus citizens of Great Britain and Northern Ireland can be confusing, especially as the public face of its media is an almost exclusively incestuous club of stenographers to elite power. Is it evil or good, inhuman or humanitarian, civilised or barbarous? The truth is: both. There has been a fundamental dichotomy for centuries. It can be illustrated with a few contemporaneous examples: Fascist versus Fabian, Pankhurst versus Moseley, Orwell versus Churchill, Jeremy Corbyn versus David Cameron, Extinction Rebellion versus the Rotary Club, Socialist Workers versus Soccer Hooligan Crime-Gangs.
The great strides made in western liberal societies since the Enlightenment have been firmly based on the Greco/Christian tradition. It should be no surprise that the purveyors of consumerist agnosticism firmly reject this tradition within the western democracies. By pulling the spiritual rug out from under Euro/American culture, they have left a black hole that can only be filled by their circus and gadgets.
You're feckless if you talk about trillion dollars blah in a massive hodge podge because what do you want - universal preK, free college, senior citizen hearing and vision and dental, what?>
Donors and lobbyists aren't misdirected by bullshit slogans into the indulgent airy debate over sweeping reform or principles bolx. Feckless voters are led, in great part by media - but the latter is also responsive to what works with the former - so if they choose to argue the toss over who pays for what, how govt should tax billionaire, which squad member should veto what, how treacherous is Sinema, how big is Manchin's yacht... This is feckless voter behaviour that's the goal of red/blue ingroup oligopolies; is a win from the get go.
Put aside all that bs you've inculcated about divide and gaslight and whatever. It's getting in the way of understanding both what I'm saying and what you're missing about what military budget is. I'll try to be more clear. 280 character Twitter isn't good for nuance.
So. Your original point was that the USPS shouldn't be judged only by profit criteria. You identify $750B - a huge sum - as annual military budget. Taxpayer money.
While the American people don't make profit on military expenditure, we don't expect profitable because we know military is vital to the country. It defends all of us, taxpayers included.
Like military, USPS plays an essential role. If it's an expense, it's for the national good. It may be publicly subsidized by taxes but it's ultimately serving the American taxpayer, i.e. all of us. USPS profitability should be treated same as military: not what matters most.
And serving the American people matters because military budget is funded by us. Most tax revenue comes from working and middle class Americans. People like you and me give nearly 24c of every tax dollar to pay for the military. Works out at just over 60 days of the average American's working year.
OK so far?
Imagine, M_ ______, 10 million+ English lads playing and CARING about football, agonies and ecstasies, sometimes in mostly out of organised teams, from reception to teens into adulthood. England has borne the weight of their hope, fear and expectation for 90+ years.
In fact, personal connection to the ups and downs of England team long ago overflowed into the national mainstream: grannies, mothers, daughters and the middle-class. Not quite the same intensely personal link as English lads (in most cases) but nonetheless one of the most potent engines of shared cultural identity.
This past decade or so, there has been rapid growth in women football at every level, from girls in school teams to women in pro clubs. England ladies teams are not just a thing, but highly ranked in world competition and some cross-pollination with football fans in the national mainstream too.
There's a spate of recent headlines on the back of Euro2020.
She's a virtue signalling cunt.
General Miller: Subordination or Hero? (14-Sept-2021) on washingtontimes.com website.
Simple binaries: "Preventing a war is easy to determine. Did Trump try to launch one?? If yes, the general is a hero. If no, doesn't matter how suspicious Pelosi or the generals were of Trump, it's no justification for refusing to withdraw from Afghanistan. Did Trump send the memo for withdrawal? If yes, the general needs to be court martialed. If no, where is the story here? It evaporates as another smokescreen wasting everyone's time while the upward wealth transfer continues and the poor continue to get f****d."
The formula for what our governing authorities do is very simple. Their true aim, let’s not forget, is continuous upward wealth transfer – from taxpayer and treasury to the elite stakeholders and the corporate donor class (same people mostly).
Day to day the job of corporate-state government is to manage the most profitable balance of immediate, ongoing and future revenue extraction with consolidating short-term authority and long-term power - without either power or profit facing disruption by mob insurrection. The management formula includes certain precepts: minimum spending on social provision, maximum upward wealth appropriation, and a merciless exploitation of the public for as much work (precarity), as much money (austerity) and as much debt (liquidity) as possible.
Play each and every official government-CDC-FDA public health decision through the above formula. It is the ubiquitous explanation for the two years of pandemic opportunism, from the first headlines about Wuhan and cruise ships infected by a novel coronavirus in February 2020 to the latest Christmas 2021 clickbait peddling booster vaccines against hyper-infectious Omicron variants. All public policy is made to serve the same completely consistent objective.
"It's funny. Governments certainly have a path of least resistance that routes via control. At times. Guys like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Aaron Swartz, Chelsea Manning exposed deep state (intelligence agencies) and military (deployed into danger - however unjust the politicians doing the deploying) and information (knowledge and science hoarded behind paywalls). Couldn't these guys be good, correct and worthy of government defending their individual rights while at the same time recognising their persecution is a revenge by deep state (military, intelligence agencies, etc) for putting their colleagues into harm's way? Principles like freedom of information are for civilian public servants to parse and apply. The path of least resistance (most likely, most not unreasonable) for the deep state is to defend their team of coworkers. Team CIA, Team FBI, Team USM, Team USN, Team MI6, Team GCHQ, Team US Congress, Team DNC, etc etc. Assange, Snowden et al attacked an extended family - even if it is a sinister, shadowy, over-powerful, unaccountable bunch of bastards - so the whistleblowers are getting fucked to settle the score, to make an example, etc. It's a trite explanation but perhaps more likely than risky, fatiguing prospect of a small group of well connected corrupt conspirators puppet mastering an entire country (or world) hegemony. In any case, it's up to the public servants (judges, lawyers, government elected politicians and so on) to play their role in the social contract: defend the public interest, safeguard individual rights, fiat justitia."
Community doesn't last outside the leftovers of ethnics in immigrant neighborhoods and stubborn holdouts doing irrelevant oldworld rituals in suburbia. Even the white Christian crackers only ape a Potemkin community they'll sell out if ever they can. The real American community is not public and not recruiting. "Let them eat cake."
Mass propaganda is pernicious, pervasive, and pluripotent. Writers like Caitlin Johnstone are essential, not just for calling out state-sponsored bullshit but because she mercilessly breaks the plutocracy's complicated misdirections into simple base elements everyone can understand.
Would propaganda be enough, on its own, to sustain the rapacious global empire? Is it simply a case of show the truth, expose the sociopath elite, watch the revolution? I suspect not. I'm thinking there's two further obstacles to fomenting widespread resistance, two factors the ruling class bet their very existence on being able to exploit: path of least resistance and insensible imperative conceit. It would be very interesting to read CJ's insight - and ideas for solution - on these twin evils.
Path of least resistance handicaps us all. It's another piece of our evolutionary toolkit that probably helped our ancestors survive but has been completely subverted by the modern world. Path of least resistance covers fear of change, aversion to expressing real freedom, preference for the sham security of demagogues, nationalism, and the reductio ad wanker of binaries like right/wrong, good/bad, ingroup/untermensch. Path of least resistance is the perpetual crude oil state power (and corporate consumer capitalism) uses in its propaganda refineries to manufacture consent (and sell us shiny crap).
Insensible imperative conceit is harder to describe - at least for a non-writer like me. Insensible means not seeing or hearing or allowing yourself to be exposed to truth/facts reality or some other person is trying to present. Imperative because time is short and we're driven by perceived urgency of getting from A to B without risk wasting time on possible distractions. Conceit because we think we know what's best and we see unfamiliar or uncredentialed sources of new information as a personal affront. "Who do you think you are to try to educate me?" and "I don't have time to listen to your quibbles, let alone debate them." The perceived toxicity of social media is caused more by our own insensibility than any outrage algorithm or trolling. We complain to avoid having to question ourselves, because conceit wants us blameless and urgency leaves us brainless.
So, in short, it'd be fascinating to see an exploration of these propaganda facilitating aspects of empire mass control. It feels like we need to deal with both path of least resistance and insensible imperative conceit, as well as laying bare the lies of the elite, if we're going to push back on the neocon-neoliberal cartel of doom.
Mass state surveillance is only feasible because of surveillance capitalism and its extremely low-yield ad-targeting systems, which require a constant feed of personal data to remain barely viable. Surveillance capitalism’s primary failure mode is mistargetted ads while mass state surveillance’s primary failure mode is grotesque human rights abuses, tending toward totalitarianism.
State surveillance is no mere parasite on Big Tech, sucking up its data and giving nothing in return. In truth, the two are symbiotes: Big Tech sucks up our data for spy agencies, and spy agencies ensure that governments don’t limit Big Tech’s activities so severely that it would no longer serve the spy agencies’ needs. There is no firm distinction between state surveillance and surveillance capitalism; they are dependent on one another.
I don't understand why educated adults in positions of public trust and/or authority are so keen to make a pig's breakfast of British culture. Last Night of the Proms simply happens to be today's target for extirpation.
I don't get why these spineless 'curators' of UK cultural heritage keep kowtowing to the demands of self-appointed identity police? Is it just for social media likes? Anything for a quiet life? Virtue signalling in the hope of winning woke brownie points? To what end?
Destroying the very traditions they're supposed to look after is a heavy price to pay, not least because their craven iconoclasm achieves nothing to actually help whichever oppressed minority is being championed by the "...haughty tyrants..." of woke outrage.
Give the decision-making power on whether to bend the knee to internet mob outrage to sometime with a backbone. I'm sure they'd stand firm on not falsely editing history or spuriously censuring the culture of this "..blest isle..." (I know I would.)
How Two British Orthodontists Became Celebrities to Incels - The Mews, a father-son team of orthodontists, have an unusual theory about the source of crooked teeth — one that has earned them a following in some of the darker corners of the internet (20-Aug-2020) @ NYT Hit Piece article. Useful both for its information and as a paradigm of current "Cathedral" propaganda tactics.
When the United States implemented Quantitative Easing the supply of base money increased from 800 billion to 4 trillion. The base money supply was increased by 500%., What happened is prices barely budged because direct spending (Money (M) times the Velocity of Money (V)) on goods, services, labor, or any other desired outcome did not change much. In the macroeconomy spending is the transfer of ownership of money from one person or entity to another for a purpose (purpose being to obtain goods, services, labor, or any other desired outcome.).
Any recipient of spending has gained income in the same amount. Therefore, in the macroeconomy, spending always equals income. Quantitative Easing did increase the money supply by a factor of 5 times. But it did not result in increased income (spending), to any large degree. Even though M went way up, V went way down.
This can be understood by knowing how the supply of base money is increased. The base money supply is increased by the Central Bank declaring the money as existing and then buying things with that money (Treasury Bonds is what the Central Bank usually buys, but from someone else who already owns that treasury bond, not directly from the treasury). The Central Bank then owns that asset and the former owner of the asset owns the cash. The wealth of the individual who sold the bond to the central bank has not increased, just the form of the wealth. That individual owns the Cash instead of the bond. The Central Bank owns the bond. Any assets the Central Bank owns is added to what is called the Central Banks “balance sheet”. Later the Central Bank can sell these assets to decrease the money supply.
So the total wealth of the private sector and the treasury does not increase. The treasury already got its share from when it originally sold those T bonds to some entity in the private sector, so its ownership of money does not further increase by the Central Bank buying bonds. And the wealth of the seller of the T bond has just changed its “form”…. from being a T Bond to being cash.
What happens when all that extra money was put into the hands of those private entities who sold their t bonds to the central bank, is the money ended up in commercial banks, increasing their reserves. The commercial banks become owners of the cash by agreeing to a debt to the depositor called a bank deposit. In this case the depositors are those who sold their T Bonds to the Central Bank. So what happened as a result of the Central Bank buying bonds, is that, instead of those t bond sellers being owed by the treasury, they are owed by their own commercial bank. The treasury, on their part, will then owe the central bank instead.
So, by owing the depositor, the commercial bank has become owner of the cash. Any money the Commercial Bank owns is referred to as their reserves.
What USED TO happen when those commercial bank reserves increased was that those Commercial banks would try to loan out those reserves and interest rates would decrease and people would be able to borrow more and spending would increase.
Now, in the United States those commercial banks do not have to lend out the money to gain income. Since a 2006 banking law, implemented starting in 2008, Commercial Banks are paid INTEREST on its reserves.
This puts a floor on how low interest rates can go, and therefore how much borrowing can increase and how much spending will increase from increasing the money supply.
When QE was combined with this IOER (interest on excess reserves) the money supply dramatically increased, and the commercial bank excess reserves swelled to close to 3 trillion dollars, (from a few billion!). Despite that, lending did not increase appreciably.
Recently the central bank has focused on reducing the IOER rate but this has still not led to much increased lending, because another factor necessary to have increased lending is to have qualified borrowers, and this requires income, and income going to those who will be borrowing and using it on direct spending of goods, services, etc. If we want to increase direct spending, we need to find a way to increase income for those who will do the most direct spending.
AXIOM: "To reduce all human interaction to power relations is the opposite of the rule of law and a gateway to despotism. To prevent the reduction of human interaction to power relations, and to keep despotism at bay, the executive’s discretionary power must be minimized by a sovereign body politic with the means to minimize it."
Leonard Schapiro, writing on Stalinism, warned us that “the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade. But to produce a uniform pattern of public utterances in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.”
"The main hope of the framers of the Constitution was to establish a strong central government, not one hobbled at every turn by an intrusive citizenry or challenged by the several “sovereign” states. They professed to be choosing a republic, but it is closer to the truth to say that they were focused upon establishing a system of national power to replace what they considered the hopelessly ineffectual system of decentralized powers under the Articles of Confederation.
The new system, with its emphasis upon a strong executive, an indirectly elected Senate composed (it was hoped) of the educated and wealthy, and an appointed Supreme Court also represented the fears of the Founders. Theirs was a counterrevolution against not only the system of politics that had led the revolution against Britain but against the democratic tendencies and populist outbreaks that had persisted from the end of the seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth."
"Hamilton in particular, the consolidation of national power and its extension required the promotion of certain interests, such as banking, finance, and commerce. These were “national interests,” even a “common interest” of which “the state” would be “guardian.”21 In other words, some interests were expansive, the constituents of national power, while the interests of the butcher were parochial and unrelated to state power. That understanding continues today."
"The political culture of the largely self-governing communities that preceded the Constitution made it unrealistic to attempt a political system without the consent of the power they distrusted most, the people. So they fashioned a variety of devices intended to “filter” expressions of a popular will, hoping to rationalize the irrational. They limited direct popular elections to one branch, the House of Representatives, and designed an elaborate system of separation of powers and checks and balances to make it as difficult as possible for a majority to control simultaneously all branches of the government."
Hamilton wrote, “When occasions present themselves in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of their interests, to withstand the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection.”
DIVIDE AND RULE: “Extend the sphere,” Madison wrote, “and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.”
IMPERIALISM: Hamilton was eager to annex Canada to the new Union, while President Jefferson justified the Louisiana Purchase by claiming that the huge expanse of southern and western land would “enlarg[e] the empire of liberty . . . and provide new sources of renovation.”34 Although later commentators would hail the notion of an “empire of liberty,” the more revealing phrase was Jefferson’s “new sources of renovation.”
EMPIRE TO FRONTIER REVIVIFYING DEMOCRACY: In the early 1960s, as part of his promise “to get America moving again,” President John Kennedy announced a “New Frontier,” the “race for space.” Over the next decades Americans “probed” outer space, circled the globe with satellites, contained communism, and expanded their nation’s power to forestall “domino effects.”
THE FEDERALIST NO 51 p351
"If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."
— Madeleine Albright, secretary of state (1998)
The Myth of Pre-emptive Self-Defense, The American Society of International Law, Task Force on Terrorism
"Up until 2014, when a coup d’état, or Putsch, conducted by a group of politicians, including Fascists, ousted the democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovich, the people of Donbass had enjoyed cultural freedom."
Minsk Agreements: "A series of agreements signed by the Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, Russian, OSCE – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and representatives of the Peoples Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk (the Russian-speaking Ukrainians defending themselves from neo-Nazis). Ukraine, although it signed these agreements eight years ago, was never serious about implementing the conditions and recently stated publicly that it had no intention of doing so. During this eight-year period, Russia’s position was not to recognise the independence of the Russian-speaking Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, which had proclaimed their independence from Ukraine, but to insist that they remain inside Ukraine under the terms of the Minsk agreements which guaranteed their safety and security and also their rights to enjoy their language, traditions and culture. Only when Ukraine stated it had no intention of implementing these rights and no intention of respecting the agreements that it had signed, and no intention of allowing the free practice of Russian culture among Russian-speaking Ukrainians, did Russia recognise the independence of the People’s Republics."
CIA Putin - 2005 or 2004. Some time had passed and we received a response from the American intelligence services. The response was quite peculiar. They wrote to us: “We support all the political forces, including the opposition forces, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Putin on NATO 2016 - "I see a threat. This threat consists of the fact that once NATO comes to this or that country, then as a whole the political leadership of that country, as well as the population there, cannot influence the decisions NATO makes—including the decisions related to stationing the military infrastructure. Even very sensitive weapons systems can be deployed. I’m talking also about the antiballistic missile systems. And that means that we would have to respond somehow to that."
"...we told them [Americans] that we deemed the construction of those [ABM] systems as a threat, and they always responded that this was not against us. This was against the missile aspirations of Iran. As of now an agreement has been reached, fortunately, with Iran. But the deployment of this system still goes forward. What does it tell us? We were right [about the intention to encircle Russia, to neutralise its nuclear deterrence capability]."
"When a decision on Kosovo’s independence was taken, the United Nations International Court of Justice decided that on issues related to independence and self-determination, no consent from the central authorities of this or that country were required."
1917 - No Recognition of post-revolution Russia - White Army v Trotsky - 1933 Roosevelt recognition - Yalta Potsdam - Rosenberg Nukes - Sputnik - etc
High point nuclear weapons treaties:
Ukraine War Settlement?
American imperialism kills:
Origin of the word ‘credit’: it comes from the Latin credere, which means ‘to believe’.
Russia Vs asset freeze - moonofalabama Russophile "If we start to confiscate russian assets we can lay hand on, Putin will do likewise. That does of course not only mean houses, money, companies. Most likely it will be patents. If russia can give a shit on patents and other assets held by „The Free Democratic West“ tm he can for example start the production of BMW in Kaliningrad on his own and sell them in the world as BMW by himself. Or he could produce any drug and sell it very cheap in the whole world - big pharma would really like that. There are billions of possibles he could do completely legal. Why hold on contracts or agreements when „The Free Democratic West“ tm is not doing likewise as anybody could see."
There's a lot of confusion over why Putin would've felt he was best served by full invasion of Ukraine. #UkraineRussiaWar
“Everything in a Plutocracy - or among Oligarchs in a de facto Feudal State (de jure democracy notwithstanding) comes from the twin dictates of extracting profit (which includes minimizing all expenses, reducing risk towards zero) and evading accountability (which includes consolidating influence, no censure, no backlash, absolute unchallenged status, reducing any cost to power towards zero)."
“All politics in the USA - especially the neo-classical architecture, the flag-draped institutions, the reverent rituals, the august pomp and circumstances of high office - is a Potemkin village. Whether it looks like a fortress-like Town Hall or an imposing Capitol, it's the same Potemkin: to maintain the maximum most efficient least risky profit extraction from the 300 million poor/precarity/working/blue collar/lower-middle class to the 1 million rich ruling elite (upper class, oligarchs, billionaires) without disruption to the silent running of wealth and power. The Potemkin facades and the complex often opaque mechanisms of wealth transfer and exercised power is managed by a multi-layered Professional Managerial Class (PMC) - a freemasonry of highly educated, corporate, well-paid wageslaves, dominated by the ruling elite, surrounded by the 300 million proles whom they exploit at smaller (but still significant) scale."
"Arguments between Liberals and Conservatives, GOP or Democrats, is either pure theatre or fodder for the unwashed masses to keep the morons spectating but feeling like they matter. In both cases it's time wasting. All real debate among the ruling elite is private and personal. Any public debate involving the Professional Managerial Class is a squabble over scraps, kneading the dough of popular opinion; more a litmus test, a dynamic polling, than an important factor in elite policy. This is why the 'ideals' supposedly enshrined and absolute can be picked up or dropped as convenient, why Reds can be fighting the Blues for the very fundamental rights the Blues had fought the Reds over just a few years before. Money and power eclipse all other considerations. The upper echelons of the PMC - those closest to the ruling elites, with perhaps a little finger on power, $100 million plus in the economy - have long since been winnowed of untrustworthy vassals. The Chomsky-Marr paradigm is universal among the topmost layers of the PMC."
"In the United States, the duopoly is Democratic Blue and Republican Red. These 'parties' have evolved and morphed throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st-Century. The constant is division - roughly equal - as the Dems/GOP represent different factions in the plutocracy, wielding different code games to achieve their ends. Code games serve multiple purposes: they're a non-violent purity test, an easily updated 'always current' civil protocol to sort the loyal from the disloyal, the right allies from the right opponents from the wrong proles, and a perpetual well-spring of tests, gateways, mandates, debate/argument fodder, distractions, socially overwhelming bullshit spigot - all of which converges naturally on keeping the public bickering (enforcing, avoiding, accusing, monitoring) over codes and thus never getting to organising solutions. Power meantime stays where the plutocracy wants it; in the hands of the ruling elite, the oligarchs and the monopoly on violence that backs up complete dominance of the only rules that count: the law."
To the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future. Take inequality. The real problem, many liberals believe, is that not enough poor people get a chance to go to college and join the professional-managerial elite.
"If there is an income divide in America it is over education," wrote Democratic media strategist Bill Knapp in the Washington Post in 2012, "and this makes sense: People who are better educated should make more money."
"What I fundamentally believe—and what the president believes," Arne Duncan, Obama’s secretary of education, told a reporter in 2012, "is that the only way to end poverty is through education."
"The best way by far to improve economic opportunity and to reduce inequality is to increase the educational attainment and skills of American workers," declared Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to the graduating class at Harvard in 2008, a group much perturbed by inequality.
Thomas Friedman, Obama’s other favourite newspaper columnist, comes back to the subject again and again. "The biggest issue in the world today is growth, and, in this information age, improving educational outcomes for more young people is now the most important lever for increasing economic growth and narrowing income inequality," he wrote in 2012. "In other words, education is now the key to sustainable power."
Every authoritarian mandate, every prophylaxis omission, every sledgehammer censorship, every single inexplicable announcement by celebrity public servants, every blatant contradiction, every one of Fauci’s weird never acknowledged lies, every hypocritical mismatch between what’s said and what’s actually done e.g. Joe Biden calling on rich countries to “share advanced vaccine technology with the world!” followed by zero sharing despite the President’s absolute right (and Bayh-Doyle authority) to do so. Pandemic handling has been totally consistent from the start.
Policy, legislation, strategy, official propaganda, media messaging, political polarizations, inexplicable yet relentless team loyalty division; everything serves the same elite power centers, enriching the same corporate stakeholders, shaking down the same working and middle class Americans, mercilessly bankrupting the same unreported cracker and ethnic precarity, etc etc.
Isn’t the game obvious to everyone? It sure oughta be by now.
Russia (and its allies) are going to need to produce enough military equipment to match the "lethal aid" coming in from the West, plus whatever stockpiles have been built up (which may be considerable).
For the Anglo-American Plutocracy this isn't war. It's a business bonanza for the arms industry in the best consumer capitalist tradition: profit from manufactured obsolescence, out with the old, in with the new.
Expect Ukraine to receive EVERY transportable piece of non-essential hardware NATO has accumulated the past 50+ years. Last season's unfashionable military gear, don't you know, who needs it? Send it to Ukraine, let those savages use it against Russians. And in place of the old kit, NATO militaries get shiny new weaponry, the latest de rigeur inventory of death.
Everyone wins, right? NATO upgrade, Ukraine armed, Russian resources eroded, distraction for the masses; and Raytheon, Lockheed, BAE, Northrop Grumman profit billions.
Health Act (2006) passed at the start of the third Labour term of Tony Blair's government. Across England the smoking ban in (pubs, bars, offices, restaurants, clubs, private members buildings) took effect on 1 July 2007. Key dates 1962-2021 in UK Tobacco Regulation per ASH PDF document.
Texas is asking is the Supreme Court to make First Amendment protection on platforms consistent with First (and Second) Amendment rights everywhere else. In fact, Texas is making an anti-discrimination "equality" case against platforms being allowed to 'moderate' with discrimination e.g. censoring some users, not censoring others, based on arbitrary ideological preferences.
Discrimination is legally distinct to non-discriminatory restrictions. Platforms could ban porn. The ban targets porn, not specific users because it applies equally to all. It's a limit to absolute freedom but isn't discrimination.
We can frame Texas' proposed change by using an extreme discrimination. Under current law, platforms could restrict a user's free speech based on his or her race. This does not apply equally to all, hence nowhere else are First or Second Amendment rights restricted by a whites only policy. Why should these public platforms be an exception?
Free speech, like gun ownership, is a Constitutionally protected, non-discriminatory, non-arbitrary, universal and inalienable right. These rights - and any limitations defined by platforms, same as those in the real world - must apply equally to all Americans/users. Texas simply wants the Supreme Court to bring the law on platforms into alignment with the law of the land. And the Supreme Court should grant the Texan petition.
It did not grant the Texan petition!
"Americans are subtly trained to refer to anything outside the US by referencing American equivalents. Not only is this stupefying, it conditions us to think parochial self-limiting lost in translation"
"Americans are subtly conditioned to refer to anything outside the US by always referencing American equivalents. It trains us to think parochial, self-limiting, dumber. It infects us like a mindprison."
Tweet: "Americans are subtly conditioned - from pre-kindergarten - to refer to anything outside the US by always linking in roughly similar American equivalents. This trains us to think parochially, always self-limiting, dumber, LESS, undermining memory. It's a mindprison we must resist!"
Activism is good. Making a stand to fight for something you value is good. Helping the weak against the abuses of the strong is good. Beyond specific actions, however, it needs organisation to impact the power dynamics of the world; and successfully scaled organisation to compete with the entrenched wielders of power and influence. So how can a handful of like-minded activists organise a group that has potential to become a movement, that won't be coopted or disintegrated or devoured or bought out by feudal overlords (and their delegates)?
Trust that scales must start grassroots - family, community, land autonomy - and build only through acts of generosity (sharing).
Trust, when it scales in an organized structure, creates and then amplifies power. But power to drive change (for the many) uses up trust as fuel. Power wielded without trust ends up corrupted.
Power refuels trust in many ways. Most commonly through a freely-given mandate, ideally in a poll pulsing from base to top. Power in an ideal world will reciprocate trust (and mandate) by dividing all value (gains) top be down to base per the simple axiom "equity in all things."
The US doesn't have political parties, it has narrative control ops disguised as political parties. One of them overtly promotes capitalism and imperialism by appealing to Americans' worst impulses, the other covertly diverts healthy impulses back into capitalism and imperialism.
Calls for civility and polite protesting always have a lot less to do with the actual protest at hand than with elites getting nervous about the commoners figuring out that their superior numbers mean they can do whatever they want to whoever they want and nobody can stop them. There doesn't seem to be any conscious, thinking force driving the escalations against Russia and China. It's more like watching a force of nature like a hurricane or a wildfire. Just microbes mindlessly responding to the stimulus of global capitalism, with no one ultimately in the driver's seat.
Consider. Call a prompt. Call it, record content, transcribe? Ask apposite NLP sentiment analysis questions. Cover the social strain of public narration etc etc. Problem is affinity part derived from expectation that's conditioned by a million humans who look like you - and there's your starting blocks. Go! (Non conformity, rebel bullshit, uniform, neurotetris, &c)
It all starts with the number $813 billion, the Biden national defense budget for FY 2023. That number is so hideously – nay, grotesquely – large that it is the inherent fount of the war fevers, Russophobia and sweeping disinformation that now gushes from the Washington war machine and its auxiliaries in the mainstream media.
The fact is, never before in the history of mankind have economic resources of this gigantic magnitude been showered upon the blob-like military-industrial-intelligence-foreign aid-think tank-NGO-lobbying complex that is now ensconced in the world’s leading national capital. Accordingly, there are literally hundreds of thousands of uniformed and civilian government employees and private contractors and consultants operating within the confines of the beltway and its outlying nodes that have an overriding interest in keeping the fiscal gravy-train flowing. So doing, they excel in inventing, spinning, hyping and lying about the national security threats which justify a “defense” budget of this staggering size.
Indeed, there is so much fat and walking around money is these elephantine totals that the US defense budget functions like a self-licking ice cream cone. Endless pockets of research and study money end up funding the think tanks, NGO’s and consultants who, in turn, make it their business to fuel a massive threat exaggeration syndrome. And they do so day-in and day-out focused upon a constantly rotating set of theaters all around the planet. For want of doubt, just recall where the defense budget was at the height of the Cold War when the Soviet Union was at the peak of its industrial might and at which time President Eisenhower delivered his famous farewell address warning of the dangers of unchecked power in the military-industrial complex. The budget then, which the greatest general to ever occupy the Oval Office felt was more than adequate to provide for the nation’s security, was $52 billion in dollars of the day.
In FY2021 purchasing power equivalents that translates to $370 billion, meaning that the pending Biden budget is 2.2X larger in real terms. And, also in constant dollars, that $813 billion Biden figure is:
After all, at that point the frightful Soviet Union had been swept into the dustbin of history in 1991. Likewise, in the early 1990’s Deng Xiaoping elected to replace Mao’s slogan that power stems from the barrel of a gun with the proposition that everlasting communist party rule would be better facilitated by a smoking hot printing press and a debt fueled construction and exporting spree.
Of course, that meant there was no industrial power left on earth that could conceivably threaten the American homeland: Not the rump of Soviet Russia, which was economically feeble and still basically is; and not the great export machine of China because no rational rulers would elect to bomb and invade the customers whose purchases keep their people employed and happy and the Chicoms in power. Still, the US war machine would not go quietly into the good night. Clinton could have led the world to global disarmament, but was so afraid of the Republican hawks in 1996 that he led in just the opposite direction – the eastward expansion of NATO, which turned Russia into a pariah and has now finally brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
As a consequence, there was no sweeping demobilization of what was now a redundant Cold War military machine. In Clinton’s last budget real defense spending totaled $460 billion or 25% more than Ike’s peak-of-the-cold war budget of 1961, when it should have been half that level given the negligible threats to the American homeland then extant. As it happened, the military-industrial complex was just biding its time in the modest defense budget shrinkage of the Clinton years, waiting for a change in White House leadership and the chance to launch a new exaggerated “threat” to national security that would restore real defense spending to the Reagan era peaks and beyond.
They got their wish with Bush the Younger and his miserable posse of neocon warmongers. By the time the Afghan and Iraq wars were in full swing and the idea of a post-cold war demobilization and peace dividend had been thoroughly buried, the final George W. Bush defense budget had exploded to $840 billion in FY 2021 dollars of purchasing power. That was 83% more than Clinton’s outgoing budget in constant dollars and was so festooned with loose change that Washington was basically turned into a permanent war capital. The dollars available to fund the threat-inflation game – beginning with the demonization of Putin after 2007 when he dared to draw some red lines near his own borders at the European Security Conference that year – were simply insuperable.
At that point it was all over except the shouting. The Bush years and the massive defense increases which accompanied them resulted in the euthanization of the modest resistance to the Warfare State that had shown a flicker of life during the early days of the Iraq invasion. Consequently, the leftist Obama Administration, which decades earlier would have been filled with McGovernite peace activists, punted completely on the Warfare State. Even after the expansive and expensive occupation of Iraq had been rolled back, the outgoing Obama budget weighed in at $668 billion or 181% of the Eisenhower standard.
And, of course, Trump finished the job, bringing real defense spending back to $750 billion in his final budget. While the Donald had moved his lips correctly about the obvious obsolesce of NATO and America’s failed Forever Wars, the real rulers of Washington were having none of it. Bamboozling the Donald with the toys of war weaponry, they got fat and happy like rarely before, feeding fulsomely the legions of avaricious Warfare State mouths that inhabit the beltway.
So, for what earthly reason does the US need a defense budget bigger than the next 10 largest defense budgets on planet earth, friend and foe taken together, which is also 2.2x larger in real purchasing power than Ike’s cold war budget in the early 1960s?
Answer: Wealth transfer with minimum disruption. Appropriating taxpayer surplus value up the ladder of the corporate oligarchy. Stock buybacks. Command capital consolidating in the hands of half a dozen megafunds like Blackrock, Vanguard, State Street, etc. The Warfare State doesn't exist to defend America and its allies. It prefers proxy war to direct confrontation. It exists as a perpetual motion engine converting - year on year - the energy value of the population into the surplus of the elites.
The true threats to the safety and security of the American homeland are no greater today than they were at the end of the cold war in the 1990s. After all, the GDP of the US/NATO combined is $43 trillion and the combined defense budgets are $1.2 trillion. By contrast, the fearsome enemy at the moment, Russia, has a GDP of just 3.4% ( $1.46 trillion) of the US/NATO total and a defense budget ($67 billion) which is just 5.5% of the US/NATO combination.
Likewise, the enemy next in line, China, has a GDP of $14.7 trillion and a defense budget of $230 billion. But neither of those figures, which are 34% and 19% of the US/NATO totals, respectively, even amount to the fractional threat they imply.
That’s because the Chinese economy is buried under $50 trillion of internal and external debt and would therefore scarcely survive a year without the $2.6 trillion of annual export earnings that keep its massive Ponzi alive. To paraphrase the president who went to Beijing in 1972, China is essentially a massively and fatally indebted version of Nixon’s “pitiful, helpless giant”; it does not have the economic latitude to wage war on the west, even if it had the military wherewithal, which it most surely does not.
Still, if real threats are nonexistent, fake ones will do when it comes to the care and feeding of the fiscally voracious Warfare State. And that gets us to the relentless con job that has become the war in Ukraine. It is prima facie evidence that the great assemblage of Warfare State denizen congregated in Washington DC are so needful of endless “threat” narratives that they are capable of conjuring and/or conveying sheer fiction when it serves that purpose.
What is this disease people have, where the world is an endless war of allies to bribe and enemies to kill; a war these people are never actually fighting?
Normally a brash and confrontational tweet by Marjorie Taylor Greene would have AOC Incorporated instantly scrambling to come up with a retweet-friendly retort that trends on Twitter all day fueled by US partisan culture war frenzy. But Ocasio-Cortez hasn't tweeted anything for days. Getting embarrassed by Greene is like getting your ass kicked by a quadriplegic. Getting outflanked on the left by Greene is like getting your ass kicked by a quadriplegic who is wearing a blindfold.
"The Squad", and other so-called progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna, are not here to oppose the oligarchic empire that is crushing people to death at home and abroad. They are here to let people feel like there's some opposition to that empire. They exist to legitimize the Democratic Party as a valid path toward change, when in reality it exists to obstruct change at all cost.
The elites who rule our world consider the operation of the empire too important to be left to the democratic impulses of the common riff raff who inhabit the nation that empire is built around. So they give them something to play with, something that lets them feel like they've got some degree of control, something that lets them feel like they're participating. That's what the Democratic Party is. It's the unplugged remote control you gave your kid brother so he'd stop nagging to play video games with you.
"But how can the whole thing be an act, how can they keep it up?" Same way actors on screen and stage manage it.
Weird how the media (screen, newspapers, journalists, academics, public figures with big platforms) never talk about what the fuck the war-mongering neocons/neoliberals think will be achieved by the war - with all its loss of life, destruction, unpredictable escalations and potential for nuclear holocaust. Why is more war v less war the limit of the public discourse instead of settlement? Why is the assumption Russia and China are evil - which serves the neocon/neoliberal 'dominate the globe' mania but neither matches reality nor best serves the national populations - allowed to define the limits of thinking, i.e. they are evil, so we may be starting wars but it's only because their evil would be evilly attacking us soon as we weren't watching? It's insanity.
There was a time, some years ago, when I didn't think my outlook on the world was unusual. I took myself for a fairly standard comfortable white middle class consumer, privileged in education and freedom to live the life I wanted, with humane hopes for an improving society better balanced to help the more deprived citizens get their fair share of the opportunity pie.
I knew there were others who did more, with their day to day lives, to speed up the process of making the world a better place. And I knew there were some who's politics were inspired by a preference for society of winners and losers; themselves the winners, naturally.
Right-wing my power, left-wing our love. Right covered the class of winners who knew they had inherited power and wanted to perpetuate their privilege, generation to generation, let the best of the poor prove their worth by competing out of their brutal class handicap. Left was a spectrum when it came to how, but the what - bottom line - was equality and a better world for all human beings. Save your complacent 2021 scorn for my once simplistic outlook. Hindsight is twenty twenty, as they say, but this is how I used to think.
Anglo-Canadian, when encountering pain, wants to eliminate it or permanently evade; the best pain is pain forgetten. Protestant aestheticism.
French-Quebecois sees pain and wants to run towards it, jealous of the intensity of feeling (even though it hurts). The most beautiful pain is pain from love and loss. Catholic angelus misericordia.
English culture worships potential - which means youth. French culture worships love - which means pain.
Youth worship subordinates mature, hard-won learning, that need years to acquire, to visceral fast-paced trends and fashions. Youth worship creates ephemeral personalities, cyclical rather than it evolving culture and a fear of being subjected to complexity. Worshippers of idealized youth practice luddite self-quarantined. The paradigm is cherubic, angelic, aggressively disinterested. Merciless purity.
Love worship subordinates material acquisition and the long-term attaining of sublimation. It can be invested in the drive to create other people (children) or instead pursue talent and accomplishment. Seldom both.