Dante Gabriel Rossetti Monna Vanna 1866
He nailed it. pic.twitter.com/0bFJw48XgT
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) April 29, 2022
Chinese state television channel CCTV map showing which countries would receive the territories of the Scoto-Russian federation after its collapse.
Quite a bit of Escobar today. He knows the territory better than just about anyone. History lesson:
• Why Europe Cannot Understand Russia (Escobar)
The apparently monolithic liberal west itself also cannot be understood if we forget how, historically, Europe is also a two-headed beast: one head may be tracked from Charlemagne all the way to the awful Brussels Eurocrat machine; and the other one comes from Athens and Rome, and via Byzantium/Constantinople (the Second Rome) reaches all the way to Moscow (the Third Rome). Latin Europe, for the Orthodox, is seen as a hybrid usurper, preaching a distorted Christianity which only refers to St. Augustine, practicing absurd rites and neglecting the very important Holy Ghost. The Europe of Christian Popes invented what is considered a historical hydra – Byzantium – where Byzantines were actually Greeks living under the Roman Empire.
Western Europeans for their part see the Orthodox and the Christians from the East (see how they were abandoned by the west in Syria under ISIS and Al Qaeda) as satraps and a bunch of smugglers – while the Orthodox regard the Crusaders, the Teutonic chevaliers and the Jesuits – correctly, we must say – as barbarian usurpers bent on world conquest. In the Orthodox canon, a major trauma is the fourth Crusade in 1204 which utterly destroyed Constantinople. The Frankish chevaliers happened to eviscerate the most dazzling metropolis in the world, which congregated at the time all the riches from Asia. That was the definition of cultural genocide. The Frankish also happened to be aligned with some notorious serial plunderers: the Venetians. No wonder, from that historical juncture onwards, a slogan was born: “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara.”
So since the 8th century, Carolingian and Byzantine Europe were de facto at war across an Iron Curtain from the Baltics to the Mediterranean (compare it with the emerging New Iron Curtain of Cold War 2.0). After the barbarian invasions, they neither spoke the same language nor practiced the same writing, rites or theology. This fracture, significantly, also trespassed Kiev. The west was Catholic – 15% of Greek catholics and 3% of Latins – and in the center and the east, 70% Orthodox, who became hegemonic in the 20th century after the elimination of Jewish minorities by mainly the Waffen-SS of the Galicia division, the precursors of Ukraine’s Azov batallion.
Pepe Escobar and Danny Haiphong; Russia, China, and the Post-Dollar World
I split this summary into two parts. Part 2 is just below.
“Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy..”
• Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card (Escobar)
Especially since the onset of GWOT (Global War on Terror) at the start of the millennium, no one ever lost money betting against the toxic combo of hubris, arrogance and ignorance serially deployed by the Empire of Chaos and Lies. What passes for “analysis” in the vast intellectual no-fly zone known as U.S. Think Tankland includes wishful thinking babble such as Beijing “believing” that Moscow would play a supporting role in the Chinese century just to see Russia, now, in the geopolitical driver’s seat. This is a fitting example not only of outright Russophobic/Sinophobic paranoia about the emergence of peer competitors in Eurasia – the primeval Anglo-American nightmare – but also crass ignorance about the finer points of the complex Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
As Operation Z methodically hits Phase 2, the Americans – with a vengeance – have also embarked on their symmetrical Phase 2, which de facto translates as an outright escalation towards Totalen Krieg, from shades of hybrid to incandescent, everything of course by proxy. Notorious Raytheon weapons peddler reconverted into Pentagon head, Lloyd Austin, gave away the game in Kiev: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.” So this is it: the Empire wants to annihilate Russia. Cue to War Inc.’s frenzy of limitless weapon cargos descending on Ukraine, the overwhelming majority on the road to be duly eviscerated by Russian precision strikes. The Americans are sharing intel 24/7 with Kiev not only on Donbass and Crimea but also Russian territory.
Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy, with the European Commission merrily acting as a sort of P.R. arm of NATO. Amidst the propaganda dementia cum acute cognitive dissonance overdrive across the whole NATOstan sphere, the only antidote is served by sparse voices of reason, which happen to be Russian, thus silenced and/or dismissed. The West ignores them at their own collective peril.
Part 2 of the same article.
“So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery.”
• Patrushev Goes Triple-X Unplugged (Escobar)
let’s move to an extremely detailed interview by Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, where Patrushev sort of went triple-X unplugged. The key take away may be here: “The collapse of the American-centric world is a reality in which one must live and build an optimal line of behavior.” Russia’s “optimal line of behavior” – much to the wrath of the universalist and unilateralist hegemon – features “sovereignty, cultural and spiritual identity and historical memory.” Patrushev shows how “tragic scenarios of world crises, both in past years and today, are imposed by Washington in its desire to consolidate its hegemony, resisting the collapse of the unipolar world.”
The U.S. goes no holds barred “to ensure that other centers of the multipolar world do not even dare to raise their heads, and our country not only dared, but publicly declared that it would not play by the imposed rules.” Patrushev could not but stress how War Inc. is literally making a killing in Ukraine: “The American and European military-industrial complex is jubilant, because thanks to the crisis in Ukraine, it has no respite from order. It is not surprising that, unlike Russia, which is interested in the speedy completion of a special military operation and minimizing losses on all sides, the West is determined to delay it at least to the last Ukrainian.”
And that mirrors the psyche of American elites: “You are talking about a country whose elite is not able to appreciate other people’s lives. Americans are used to walking on scorched earth. Since World War II, entire cities have been razed to the ground by bombing, including nuclear bombing. They flooded the Vietnamese jungle with poison, bombed the Serbs with radioactive munitions, burned Iraqis alive with white phosphorus, helped terrorists poison Syrians with chlorine (…) As history shows, NATO has also never been a defensive alliance, only an offensive one.”
In a subtle reference to the work of Sergei Glazyev [..] Patrushev hit the heart of the current geoeconomic game, with Russia now actively moving towards a gold standard: “Experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be secured by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, to put the ruble exchange rate in line with real purchasing power parity.” That was inevitable after the outright theft of over $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves. It may have taken a few days for Moscow to be fully certified it was facing Totalen Krieg. The corollary is that the collective West has lost any power to influence Russian decisions. The pace of the game in the new chessboard is being set by Russia.
[..] So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery. The pain dial is set to go substantially up – and with the total liberation of Mariupol and the resolution one way or another of the Donbass cauldron there is nothing the hysteria/propaganda/weaponizing combo deployed by the collective West can do to alter facts on the ground.
“I don’t want to make this about me.”
• Pentagon Spokesman Chokes Up While Talking About Ukraine (Hill)
The Pentagon’s top spokesperson became emotional Friday after he was asked whether he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin to be a “rational actor.” “It’s hard to look at what he’s doing in Ukraine, what his forces are doing in Ukraine and think that any ethical, moral individual could justify that,” press secretary John Kirby began before appearing to become choked up and pausing for several seconds. “It’s difficult to look at some of the images and imagine that any well-thinking, serious, mature leader would do that. So I can’t talk to his psychology. But I think we can all speak to his depravity,” Kirby added. Kirby later apologized for becoming emotional, saying “I don’t want to make this about me.”
He then called Putin’s reasons for the invasion in Ukraine “BS.” “It’s hard to square [Putin’s] … BS that this is about Nazism in Ukraine, and it’s about protecting Russians in Ukraine, and it’s about defending Russian national interests, when none of them, none of them were threatened by Ukraine,” said Kirby, pounding on the lectern for emphasis. Kirby also listed several “unconscionable” actions by Russian troops, including the reports of civilians being “shot in the back of the head, hands tied behind their backs. Women, pregnant women being killed, hospitals being bombed. I mean, it’s just unconscionable.”
Natylie Baldwin interviews academic Olga Baysha.
“..cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform…”
• Ukraine: The Real Zelensky (GZ)
The basic argument presented in my recent book is that the astonishing victory of Zelensky and his party, later transformed into a parliamentary machine to churn out and rubber-stamp neoliberal reforms (in a “turbo regime,” as they called it), cannot be explained apart from the success of his television series, which, as many observers believe, served as Zelensky’s informal election platform. Unlike his official platform, which ran only 1,601 words in length and contained few policy specifics, the 51 half-hour episodes of his show provided Ukrainians with a detailed vision of what should be done so that Ukraine could progress. The message delivered by Zelensky to Ukrainians through his show is clearly populist.
The people of Ukraine are portrayed in it as an unproblematic totality devoid of internal splits, from which only oligarchs and corrupted politicians/officials are excluded. The country becomes healthy only after getting rid of both oligarchs and their puppets. Some of them are imprisoned or flee the country; their property is confiscated without any regard to legality. Later, Zelensky-the-president will do the same towards his political rivals. Interestingly, the show ignores the theme of the Donbass war, which erupted in 2014, a year before the series started being broadcast. As the Maidan and Russia-Ukraine relations are very divisive issues in Ukrainian society, Zelensky ignored them so as not to jeopardize the unity of his virtual nation, his viewers and ultimately his voters.
Zelensky’s election promises, made on the fringes of the virtual and the real, were predominantly about Ukraine’s “progress,” understood as “modernization,” “Westernization,” “civilization” and “normalization.” It is this progressive modernizing discourse that allowed Zelensky to camouflage his plans for neoliberal reforms, launched just three days after the new government came to power. Throughout the campaign, the idea of “progress” highlighted by Zelensky was never linked to privatization, land sales, budget cuts, etc. Only after Zelensky had consolidated his presidential power by establishing full control over the legislative and executive branches of power did he make it clear that the “normalization” and “civilization” of Ukraine meant the privatization of land and state/public property, the deregulation of labor relations, a reduction of power for trade unions an increase in utility tariffs, and so on.
Odd take from the MSM.
• ‘Donbas Is Not Ukraine’: In Industrial East, Hopes For Russian Rule (Y!)
At a market in the industrial town of Lysychansk in east Ukraine — war-scarred after relentless attacks by Russian forces — one woman quietly hopes Moscow’s army will break through. “Technically, we’re Ukrainian. But Donbas is not Ukraine,” Olena confided to AFP, referring to swathes of east Ukraine that Moscow has vowed to capture from Kyiv. “Ukrainians are the foreigners here — not Russians,” she said, giving a pseudonym, concerned that unpopular opinions like hers could land her “in prison”. Olena’s view on the war is not unique in this part of Ukraine where long-standing ties with Russia, nostalgia for the Soviet Union and hopes for a fast end to fighting mean many would welcome a Russian takeover.
For years the Kremlin has accused Ukraine of discriminating against Russian speakers in the Donbas region, which has been partially controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014. It says it wants to “liberate” parts of the mining and oil hub still controlled by Kyiv. Moscow’s forces are closing in, pounding Lysychansk and seizing villages around it. Ukraine’s army has put up fierce resistance, slowing Russia’s advance, but some wearing blue and yellow patches already feel as if they are in enemy territory. “Even if we do everything possible to hide our positions, residents here give the other side information about us,” a sergeant in the Ukrainian army, Iryna, told AFP. Attesting to that, Kyiv’s army regularly announces arrests of “saboteurs” in Donbas territory it controls and many among the rank and file said they were suspicious of residents.
Iryna, whose unit recently withdrew from Russian-controlled Kreminna north of Lysychansk, described this tale-telling as “very, very common”. “It comes from people who are supposed to be above suspicion — even priests,” she added. Some Ukrainian troops and officials hope that the Donbas residents fleeing fighting towards Russia are the ones sympathetic to Moscow. Still, they worry pro-Russia sentiment is lingering among some who have remained. “These are people who at best don’t mind and at worst are hoping for the arrival of the Russians,” Vadim Lyakh, the mayor of Sloviansk in northwestern Donbas, told AFP. Lyakh, whose city briefly fell to the separatists in 2014, said however that now was not the time to confront the mainly elderly Kremlin-sympathetic residents who long for the Soviet past. “Now is not the time to quarrel with them,” he told AFP.
Contradictio in terminis.
• UK Wants ‘Global NATO’ Capable of Defending Pacific (LI)
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said her government favors the creation of a “global NATO” that is able to guarantee the defense of Taiwan and the broader Pacific region, calling for preemptive action against would-be aggressors. In an address outlining UK foreign policy on Wednesday, Truss said London rejects the “false choice between Euro-Atlantic security and Indo-Pacific security,” instead arguing “we need both.” “I mean that NATO must have a global outlook, ready to tackle global threats,” she continued. “We need to preempt threats in the Indo-Pacific, working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure that the Pacific is protected. And we must ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.”
Though the official did not elaborate on what kind of support she favors for Taipei or what she envisions for a globally-engaged military alliance, Truss’ speech mirrored remarks by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year, when he said NATO’s reach must be extended into the Indo-Pacific. Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are already global NATO partners – each designated as a “major non-NATO ally” by Washington – while other security organizations serve similar functions in the Indo-Pacific region. The Quad alliance, consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia, is often dubbed the ‘Asian NATO’ and largely exists to counter China. It has considered allowing other regional states to join to create a ‘Quad Plus,’ among them South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand.
The three-way AUKUS collective, meanwhile, has seen Washington, Canberra and London join forces to bolster the defenses of the region, including through the sharing of nuclear information. Like the Quad, the grouping has also reportedly mulled whether to expand to include additional countries like Japan. In recent months, several members of the NATO bloc have conducted ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the Pacific to support territorial claims recognized by the United States and its western allies, namely those of Taiwan.
“I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.”
• The Sweet Sound of Censorship (Turley)
President Joe Biden’s new disinformation chief Nina Jankowicz argued online mockery of Vice President Kamala Harris and other women in public life was a threat to national security: “Platforms and governments aren’t doing enough. It’s time to act. Our national security and democracy are at stake.” Jankowicz previously argued that Congress should create new laws to block mockery of women online by reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and including “provisions against online gender-based harassment.” Jankowicz testified before British House of Parliament last year about “gender misinformation” being a “national security concern” and a threat to democracy requiring government censorship. She has demanded that both tech companies and government should work together using “creativity and technological prowess to make a pariah of online misogyny.”
On the Hunter Biden laptop, Jankowicz pushed the false narrative that it was a false story and that “we should view it as a Trump campaign product.” She continued to spread that disinformation, including tweeting a link to a news article that she said cast “yet more doubt on the provenance of the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story.” In another tweet, she added “not to mention that the emails don’t need to be altered to be part of an influence campaign. Voters deserve that context, not a [fairy] tale about a laptop repair shop.” She even cites the author of the Steele Dossier as a guide for how to deal with disinformation. In August 2020, Jankowicz tweeted “Listened to this last night – Chris Steele (yes THAT Chris Steele) provides some great historical context about the evolution of disinfo. Worth a listen.”
She also joined the panic over the Musk threat to reintroduce free speech values to Twitter. In an interview on NPR, she stated “I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities.” Pitch perfect. Indeed, in seeing how we all “measure up,” Nina Jankowicz “is practically perfect in every way.”
” Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist.”
• Naomi Wolf Eloquently Deconstructs the Terms Dis, Mis, and Malinformation (CTH)
All politicians and candidates for office should watch how Wolf responds to the first question from Tucker Carlson, and then makes the better argument. Wolf doesn’t waste time debating “misinformation”, “disinformation”, or “malinformation”, instead she accurately just says those things do not exist. Information stands undefined. From that position there are truth and lies. Her approach is exactly correct. Do not accept the insanity of the Alinsky language effort. A refreshing and really good interview:
On January 13, 2022, the fraudulent and managed autocrat, the installed occupant of the White House, gave instructions to his fellow travelers in Big Tech, and I quote: “I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets: Please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that’s on your shows. It has to stop.” ~ Joe Biden. It was crystal clear what Joe Biden was telling his allies in social media to do. There is information the Government wants us to hear, and everything else is disinformation or misinformation the U.S. Govt disapproves of. Immediately CTH encountered criticism for our position on information. However, Wolf understands exactly what we have discussed:
…”There is no such thing as “disinformation” or “misinformation”. There is only information you accept and information you do not accept. You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.”…
The “vaccines” focus only on S antibodies.
• Vaccinated Had Fewer N Antibodies Even After Covid Infection (Blaze)
In a preprint paper posted last week, the NIH researchers studied the N (nucleocapsid) antibody levels of those who participated in the Moderna clinical trial vs. the placebo group upon the unblinding of the participants. Their findings were earth-shattering. m“We analyzed data from 1,789 participants (1,298 placebo recipients and 491 vaccine recipients) with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the blinded phase (through March 2021). Among participants with PCR-confirmed Covid-19 illness, seroconversion to anti-N Abs at a median follow up of 53 days post diagnosis occurred in 21/52 (40%) of the mRNA-1273 vaccine recipients vs. 605/648 (93%) of the placebo recipients (p < 0.001).” Kudos to Igor Chudov for finding this paper that clearly our government agencies are not excited to advertise.
Overall, the study’s authors found, “For any given viral copy number, the odds of anti-N seropositivity were 13.67 times higher for the placebo arm than the vaccine arm.” It’s truly hard to overstate the significance of this finding. These are the actual participants in the Moderna trial, and their levels were checked roughly seven weeks after being diagnosed with COVID, plus this was a study of the original strain of the virus when supposedly the vaccines were more effective. Yet just 40% of those with prior infection among the vaccinated group had anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, while 93% of the placebo group did. To be clear, this means that not only is the vaccine inferior to natural immunity, but it is so inferior that it might inhibit your acquisition of immunity to the nucleocapsid protein of the virus even if you wind up getting the virus, which you assuredly will because the vaccines don’t stop infection.
When you hear the proponents of the shots bragging about antibody titers, they are measuring the anti-spike protein (S) antibodies. The shots code your body to produce the most dangerous part of the virus, but on the other hand you don’t get the benefit of full immunity because your body is trained to recognize only the spike, not the main shell of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The implication of this study would be that the more you vaccinate, the more it erases your natural immunity, so not only do you still get the virus, but you will continue getting it because you can never achieve full immunity, as you might with natural infection without having been jabbed with a gene therapy that primes your body to respond inappropriately. It is an anti-herd immunity shot.
“People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020..”
• Moderna Montreal Factory Will Make Canada An mRNA ‘Leader’ – Trudeau (CTV)
The news leaked a day early, but Canadian leaders and biotech company Moderna officially announced Friday that a new vaccine production facility will be created in Montreal, helping ensure a long-term supply of made-in-Canada vaccines. “Our government promised to strengthen our capacity” for producing vaccines “here in Canada,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an announcement at McGill University in Montreal. Canada has a now-infamous trajectory over the last few decades of building up top-notch vaccine research but dismantling its domestic capacity to actually produce vaccines, leaving it dependent on vaccine facilities in other countries.
The facility, expected to be operational as soon as 2024, will employ 200 to 300 people and will be able to produce up to 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per year, Trudeau said. But it will also ultimately be able to do research and hopefully produce other kinds of vaccines or treatment based on the same mRNA technology, or messenger RNA, that was first used in the COVID-19 vaccines, he said. “It also will have a significant impact in the research that they’re doing on a range of illnesses. We talked about Alzheimer’s, we talk about cancers, we talk about the range of things that messenger RNA is able to deliver to keep Canadians and people around the world healthy,” said Trudeau. “And Canada, that has long been leaders in research around mRNA, will now be also leaders in delivering mRNA to Canadians and to the world.”
Moderna’s founder and board chair has deep ties to Montreal, where his family fled after escaping Lebanon’s civil war. He attended Loyola College and McGill before going to M.I.T. in Boston. Moderna, which was founded in 2010, is still based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel joined Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault for the announcement, saying that Moderna’s path over the past two years has been a dramatic one, as it raced to get its mRNA vaccine developed and approved for the first time. “People forget Moderna was losing money in 2020,” he said. “We didn’t have the financial straps to get this industrial machine going. And Canada was one of only a few, a couple, countries here to help,” by putting in one of the first pre-orders for the vaccine and sending much-needed cash, he said.
“The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.”
“This is this,” DiNiro’s character “Michael” famously told Cazale’s “Stan” in The Deer Hunter, explaining the metaphysics of the bullet in his hand, and pretty much everyone watching the movie got the drift of that cryptic utterance. Likewise, Elon Musk’s character “Elon Musk” explained to America’s Maoist managerial legions: “Free speech is free speech” — as if, a week after Twitter’s surrender to Elon, there was some part of the formulation that the Left didn’t understand. (Apparently, all of it.) What a concept! Free speech is free speech. It has bowled over the — what? — maybe twenty-three percent of the country that considers free speech “a threat to democracy.” This is what comes of inverting and subverting language itself for the purpose of mind-raping the nation like Jeffrey Epstein on a 15-year-old. The Left has exercised a Macumba voodoo death grip on free speech for years now.
The deeper the Left’s crimes against the constitution and common decency, the harder they strangled the flow of news, information, and opinion until the mental life of the USA turned into a gibber of shamefully obvious unreality. It’s one thing to lose your dignity as citizens, and another to just lose your country altogether, and that is the circle of hell that the Left has dragged everyone else into since even before Hillary Clinton booted the 2016 election. This tyrannical Maoist managerial mob, grown paradoxically rich beyond precedent, became a tool of the state itself working around the inconvenient first amendment to hog-tie public debate. Will the US government allow Mr. Musk to get away with liberating the new “public square?”
It looks like the DOJ, the SEC, and perhaps other nefarious actors of degenerate officialdom are fixing to go after the rogue Tesla mogul who had the effrontery to oppose totalitarian control of the narratives driving public life. It’s rumored that money-losing Twitter could not exist without the government footing the bill for the vast, backstage server arrays that enable all Twitter’s messaging. In an odd twist, though, the shareholders were not necessarily benefitting from that symbiotic relationship as Twitter’s stock fell from $71 a share in July ’21 to $32 in March ’22. But the C-suite of Twitter’s executives were already too massively rich to care about anything but punishing their political enemies — which they did with sadistic zeal — when Mr. Musk surprisingly stepped onto the scene.
The government’s first counter-move, under the vividly deliquescing “Joe Biden” — whose treasonous corruption became Twitter’s job-one to conceal — was to concoct a brand-new agency under Homeland Security called the Disinformation Governance Board, to be run by one Nina Jankowicz, “internationally-recognized expert on disinformation and democratization,” who also happened to be a RussiaGate shill and publicist for the fifty national security officials who labeled the Hunter Biden laptop story “Russian disinformation” (turned out: not). In other words, America now has a “truth” kommissar who is a soldier in the War on Truth.
“My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.”
• The Shanghai Lockdown: a Memetic Analysis (Ugo Bardi)
A “meme” is a small unit of information that can easily move from one human mind to another. It is the virtual equivalent of a virus in the sense that it “infects” people and influences their behavior. To explain the concept, maybe the best way is with an example: how my grandmother was absolutely convinced that nobody ever should drink a glass of milk without having boiled it first. She was infected with a meme that we could describe as “boil the damn milk.” It was simple and direct, but, unfortunately, completely useless in the 1960s, when pasteurization had become common. My grandmother was not stupid: she was simply applying a tested method to deal with things she knew little about.
The problem is that memes can be (or become) wrong or obsolete, and yet they are very difficult to dislodge. In the photo, you see Colin Powell, in 2003, showing a vial of baby powder while claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed largely on the basis of a meme that turned out to be completely false. The Covid pandemic is another case of a complex story that most of us are unprepared to understand. We should be trained in microbiology, medicine, epidemiology, and more — no way! So, we rely on simplified snippets to guide their everyday activities. “Wear the damn mask,” “stay home,” “don’t kill granny,” “flatten the curve,” and the like. That includes our leaders.
All memes have a story: that’s true for the one that led my grandmother to always boil her milk, and also for the “lockdown” meme. But whereas the first (“boil the damn milk”) was harmless, the second (“lock everybody in their homes”) can do a lot of damage. It did, and it is still doing damage in China with the recent massive lockdowns of Shanghai and other cities. So, where does this meme come from? Its origin can be found in the evolution of the concept of “biological warfare.” But let’s go in order.
“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”
• Why the Yen Fell While the Dollar Rallied (Mises)
How can we explain that the currency whose issuer has made the biggest inflationary mistake of all during the pandemic is the strongest (the US Consumer Price Index is up over 8 percent year on year), while that where the inflationary mistake if any has been the smallest (the Japan CPI is up less than 1 percent year on year) is the weakest? There lies the puzzle of the present dollar-yen rate. We can find at least part of the solution in a quote attributed to the Prussian and subsequently imperial German “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck. “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.”
Today the “hunt” is the search for yield by investors suffering from a famine of interest income on safe savings; the hunters have convinced themselves and others that persistent high returns obtained from risky assets, often highly leveraged, are the new normal, never mind a decade of economic sclerosis (as evidenced by only weak growth if any in median living standards and sluggish productivity growth). “War” is the military conflict in Ukraine coupled with the West’s economic campaign against Russia; accompanying propaganda is a version of Bismarck’s lies. “Elections” are most prominently the midterms in the US where the lies include Fed propaganda including promises of a soft landing and the total official silence on its disastrous policy mistakes inducing present high inflation.
The near collapse of the yen and fantastic strength of the US dollar (yen/dollar moving from 110 last autumn to almost 130 now) are the outcome of such illusions and propaganda. The essence of the “carry trade boom,” a well-known aspect of the hunt for yield, is investors moving out of a zero or negative interest rate currency into ostensibly higher yield assets whether in high-yield credit or high-interest rate currency markets. Currency carry trades involve short positions in the yen, euro or Swiss franc matched by long positions most of all in US dollars but also commodity currencies. High US inflation could wipe out gains to date. After all holders of US money are subject to at least a 12 percent inflation tax levy through 2021–22.
Yet many of the carry traders act as if the tax is phantom, always to be effaced by exchange rate gains or to now fade away. Some believe apparently the Fed has really changed its spots from inflationmonger to inflationphobe. Yes, top Fed officials are talking aggressively and nonstop—the so-called hawkish pivot—about their promise to bring inflation back down to below 3 percent in 2023 without a recession along the way. This is music to the ears of Democrats who face voter wrath about their number one issue of concern—present high inflation. According to the Fed and the administration, high inflation was not due to avoidable policy mistake but bad luck—pandemic dislocation and “Putin’s war.”
Russell Brand – worrisome… pic.twitter.com/iwrXKTnJMX
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) April 29, 2022
More than 30 years ago Fidel said: “The next war in Europe will be between Russia and fascism, except that fascism will be called democracy.”
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